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UPDATE: We did it! The City manager has ordered that the affordable condos at 139 S. Los Robles and 482 S. Arroyo Parkway be sold to qualifying buyers as soon as possible.

My campaign discovered this issue and brought it to light. The developers in this story are the Thatcher Developers Andy Wilson is connected to. I will strengthen the City's enforcement of Pasadena's inclusionary housing ordinance.

PASADENA STAR-NEWS

January 21, 2107

Pasadena councilmen call for audit after low-income condos remained vacant for 3 years

PASADENA >> Two City Councilmen are calling for an audit of Pasadena’s housing department after learning four condominiums meant for very-low income buyers went unsold for as long as three years.

At least one unit was used as a temporary sales office for part of 2016, according to the city and the developer.

“We have a department of professionals that cannot fill four units and we talk regularly as a full City Council about how we can make it affordable for people to live in Pasadena,” Councilman Tyrone Hampton said Friday. “I speak to Pasadena residents regularly and they can’t afford to live in the city (where) they were born and raised.”

Combined, the city waived more than $340,000 in fees as a result of the developers’ promises to sell the four units significantly below the market rate.

On Friday, Hampton and Councilman Victor Gordo separately said they would call for a full accounting of every affordable unit built under Pasadena’s inclusionary housing ordinance. The law mandates developers set aside a percentage of any new development for low-income families.

Both Hampton and Gordo said they wanted to see the law changed to allow harsher punishments when units stay vacant for too long.

The four units in question are spread across two properties, 139 S. Los Robles Ave. and 482 S. Arroyo Parkway. The oldest two condominiums on Los Robles have sat vacant since Nov. 2013, according to the city.

The other two on Arroyo have been vacant since April 2016.

Both projects are affiliated with American General Design, a local company run by developer Patrick Chraghchian. The properties do not share all of the same investors, but Chraghchian owns at least a minor stake in each. Both are run through limited liability corporations,

All of the market rate units have been sold at one of the two properties. “It’s one thing when a plan to build affordable housing sits on a shelf, but it’s entirely a failure when constructed affordable housing sits on a shelf and is not made available to people who desperately need to be housed,” Gordo said. “It’s disappointing to me to hear that this has occurred and its important that we look closely to ensure that this is not occurring in other cases. It’s my hope that this is an isolated case and not a systemic problem.”

Pasadena’s Housing Director William Huang and Senior Project Manager Jim Wong said there is no specified time frame in the housing ordinance for how long a unit can be vacant. Still, the delays for these two projects are an anomaly, they said.

The city and the developer went back and forth on how many units would be provided. First the two sides settled on five moderate-income units, before reducing the agreement to two very-low income condominiums.

The inclusionary ordinance allows fewer units, as long as those units help the most needy.

“I’ve been in discussion with these two developers since 2013,” Wong said. “These developers took more time than they should have probably.”

The two parties did not sign off on an inclusionary housing agreement until November 2014, a year after the units went on the market. That agreement was executed a second time in June 2015 due to a change in state laws, according to documents provided by an investor.

Pasadena’s housing department offered to buy the two units at 139 S. Los Robles to use as very-low income rentals in Dec. 2015, then later proposed including the two units at 428 S. Arroyo as part of the potential purchase.

Huang said the city would buy the units at the discounted rate of $60,000-$70,000 per unit and then turn them into rentals that can help more families over their lifespan. The purchase is expected to come before the city council within the next two months and if the sale goes through, the residents might move in by the summer, Huang said.

He said very low income condominiums are harder to sell because the individual may have bad credit or trouble getting a loan from a bank.

Gordo disagreed with the staff.

“My experience is that there are waiting lists in the thousands of people who are qualified and prepared to purchase these properties,” he said.

Greg McLemore, an investor in both properties, said the ownerships would have sold the properties by now if the city had not expressed interest in buying.

“Until they’re sold we’re paying the taxes on them, we’re paying the HOA fees on them and we’re not getting the sales price on them,” McLemore said. “It definitely feels like a long time, it is a bunch of baby incremental steps. So when you see the timeline and the chain of events, there is a lot of ‘step, and then hurry up and wait, then another step.’ ”

A timeline provided by McLemore suggested months went by without any communication between the two parties. Documents would take weeks to get signatures.

It took the city seven months to meet with the HOA last year, McLemore said.

McLemore confirmed American General Design used one of the affordable housing units at 139 Los Robles as a construction office before the inclusionary housing agreement was finalized. Separately, one of the units at 482 Arroyo was used briefly as a sales office, but is no longer occupied. It is still listed as “office” on the building’s directory.

Wong said the use of the units as an office temporarily is not uncommon.

Both Gordo and Hampton said they did not believe the inclusionary housing ordinance was meant to provide developers with rent -free offices. Neither supported Pasadena buying the inclusionary units for rentals.

“It’s time we fill them, that’s what they were built for,” Hampton said. “I want my money back and I think the residents of Pasadena want their money back, too.”

Tuesday, May 2, 2017 6:17 PM

Guest Opinion | Phil Hosp: Thank You

Dear Friends & Neighbors,

Now that the election for District 7 has concluded, I would like to take the opportunity to thank my supporters, friends and neighbors for your time and encouragement over the past eight months.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017 5:28 AM

Wilson Considers Vote Recount Options as District 7 Awaits Election’s Final Results

With the results of Tuesday evening’s 7th District runoff election between incumbent Andy Wilson and newcomer Phil Hosp “frozen” until next week’s final vote counting session of remaining mail-in and provisional ballots, and Hosp clutching a razor-thin 20 vote lead, Wilson said he is exploring what recount options he may have if the final tally ends in a similarly slim Hosp victory.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017 11:18 PM

Phil Hosp holds 20 vote lead over Andy Wilson in Pasadena District 7 council race

On Wednesday, Wilson sent out an email to supporters asking for more donations to fund “resources to assist with the final ballot counting and verification process.” Reached by phone, Wilson said his campaign is seeking out experts who are knowledgeable about recounts as one possible option.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017 4:37 PM

Guest Opinion | Vivian Carrasco Hosp: Phil Hosp, A Representative for All Residents By VIVIAN CARRASCO HOSP

Through my husband’s campaign, he has opened the eyes of many residents to an uncomfortable truth about what is happening in our city. Election returns from March 7 show that his support is strongest in the most economically and ethnically diverse parts of the District.


Tuesday, April 4, 2017 11:05 AM

When developers strike deals with homeowner groups: 'Hush money,' or a way to defend L.A. neighborhoods?

The battle now being waged between the two nonprofit groups has pulled back the curtain on secret financial deals between developers and Los Angeles neighborhood leaders. Critics say such confidential agreements amount to “hush money.”


Friday, March 31, 2017 12:00 AM

Pasadena's Budget Shortfall: What's the Answer?

The City of Pasadena has a big budget problem on its hands.

Beginning with the coming fiscal year, the City’s spending will begin to outgrow its revenue. And, ironically, the answer to the problem lies smack in the middle of the reason for the problem.

The problem and the answer, experts agree, both fall under the heading of “pension costs.”


Monday, March 27, 2017 12:00 AM

Guest Opinion | Phil Hosp: An Insight and Measure of Character By BILL THOMSON and BILL PAPARIAN, former Mayors of Pasadena

Phil Hosp is a person of outstanding character and integrity. We are truly fortunate that he has stepped forward as a candidate in this election. District 7 and the City of Pasadena will be very well-served and will benefit tremendously from Phil’s leadership.


Monday, March 20, 2017 4:38 AM

City Council Tackles Range of Issues on Monday Evening, From Election Results to Street Design Guide

The resolution will also declare that Phil Hosp and Andy Wilson, who were among five candidates that ran for District 7 in the Council, received the highest number of votes in the election. Only their names will be on the ballot for District 7 when Pasadena holds its General Municipal Election on April 18.


Friday, March 10, 2017 6:08 PM

FPPC fines Pasadena Councilman Andy Wilson for failing to report donations on time

The Fair Political Practices Commission is fining Pasadena Councilman Andy Wilson $365 for failing to report $16,500 in donations to his election campaign on time.

Wilson received all of the donations on Dec. 7, at a time when he was required to report donations above $1,000 within 24 hours.

He did not report the funds until Jan. 26, roughly a month and a half later, according to a letter sent by Mark Jomsky, Pasadena’s City Clerk. Pasadena fined Wilson $100 — the maximum amount allowed by law — for the same violation.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017 9:44 PM

Wilson, Hosp to face in runoff for District 7 in Pasadena

The top two candidates for Pasadena’s District 7 council seat will continue fighting for another month, after both failed to receive enough votes to win Tuesday night’s primary outright.


Thursday, March 2, 2017 6:00 AM

On Tuesday choose Gordo and Hosp for council

ENDORSED BY THE PASADENA WEEKLY

"District 7 — Phil Hosp

A lawyer, Iraq veteran and Pasadena native, Hosp has pledged to make development projects open to the public and has rejected campaign contributions and endorsements from developers and architects with projects before the city. We also like his stance against the 710 tunnel, which he calls “a disaster disguised as a solution that will make traffic worse.”"


Wednesday, March 1, 2017 3:00 PM

Letter - Hosp in District 7

Pasadena’s City Council District 7 deserves the best representation. The report of job-seeking by candidate Andy Wilson clearly illustrates that he should not be in that position.


Sunday, February 26, 2017 8:53 PM

Pasadena councilman twice applied for jobs with city’s closest partners

Pasadena Councilman Andy Wilson sought three jobs in the last year from entities with business before the council and twice sent out his resume from his city-issued email address.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017 11:33 PM

Who is funding the Pasadena City Council candidates appearing on the March ballot?

At least 25 percent — nearly $20,000 — was donated by 12 paying members of Innovate Pasadena, the non-profit Wilson co-founded...

...“Innovate Pasadena is a networking organization and they are obviously motivated to keep Mr. Wilson in office,” Hosp said. “The regular residents who just go to work every day and are not part of the politically connected are fed up with the development and the fact that their interests are not being listened to.”


Thursday, February 9, 2017 12:00 AM

New Blood

Hosp said it would take a “hard target” review of the budget to attack the deficit but stressed his main job is serving the people in his district.

“It’s my job to represent residents and certainly reduce bureaucratic delays in city government and work against the things negatively affecting the quality of life in the neighborhood,” Hosp told the Weekly.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017 11:11 PM

How Pasadena candidates would change the city’s affordable housing laws

Hosp said the fee allows Pasadena to build projects, like the recently opened Marv’s Place, but it should be reviewed to see if it brings in a sufficient amount of money to offset the housing that isn’t provided. He said the city may need to look at its own fees and regulations to ensure building affordable housing isn’t too costly.


Thursday, January 26, 2017 5:50 PM

Pasadena backs away from buying long vacant low-income condos after a year of negotiations

PASADENA >> City Manager Steve Mermell ordered the housing department on Wednesday to stop negotiations to buy four very-low income condominiums left vacant for as long as three years and to instead find qualified buyers for the properties immediately.


Monday, January 23, 2017 3:01 PM

Pasadena launches internal review of low-income condominiums vacant for 3 years

Pasadena’s City Manager Steve Mermell has launched an investigation into four low-income condominiums that remained vacant for as long three years after a developer received more than $340,000 in fee waivers.


Saturday, January 21, 2017 12:01 AM

Pasadena councilmen call for audit after low-income condos remained vacant for 3 years

PASADENA >> Two City Councilmen are calling for an audit of Pasadena’s housing department after learning four condominiums meant for very-low income buyers went unsold for as long as three years.

At least one unit was used as a temporary sales office for part of 2016, according to the city and the developer.


Friday, January 20, 2017 5:27 AM

West Pasadena Residents Association Helps Fund Lawsuit Against the City of Pasadena

A West Pasadena neighborhood association has donated money to a downtown Pasadena coalition’s lawsuit against the City, saying it cannot “just stand by and ignore the threat of irreversible damage to Pasadena’s Civic Center.”


Thursday, January 12, 2017 9:40 PM

Pasadena sees more robberies, aggravated assaults in first half of 2016


Wednesday, January 11, 2017 7:43 PM

Immigration, affordability hot topics at Pasadena’s first candidate forum


Wednesday, January 4, 2017 7:58 PM

Pasadena Experiencing Rising Number of Home Burglaries

“For years, the affluent areas were almost untouchable. Typically, the gangs, if they were doing burglaries at all, were hitting in areas that they were comfortable in. Now, it seems like they move everywhere,” Hettema said. “They often use either stolen cars or rental cars. So we’re just asking everybody to stay as vigilant as they can.”


Monday, January 2, 2017 6:31 PM

City Council, School District Candidates to Meet in 2017 City Election's First Forum

The political new year in Pasadena starts January 10 when candidates for both the Pasadena City Council and Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education state their cases in the election’s first candidate forum.


Thursday, December 15, 2016 7:07 PM

Here are all of the candidates running for Pasadena City Council in March

Hosp is a securities fraud attorney with Locke Lord, LLP and a decorated U.S. Army veteran who received a Bronze Star for his service in Iraq.

Hosp said he is running because he wants to fight overdevelopment and restore the city’s financial stability. He has vocally opposed Wilson, who he says is too beholden to the developers and businesses who pay for memberships in Innovate Pasadena.

“District 7 needs resident-focused, non-conflicted leadership,” Hosp said.


Thursday, December 15, 2016 12:00 AM

Round Two


Thursday, December 8, 2016 9:28 PM

Who Are the Candidates in Pasadena's 2017 Elections?


Wednesday, November 16, 2016 9:32 PM

Here Are the Candidates Who Have Pulled Papers So Far for Pasadena’s 2017 Elections

“My campaign is all about making sure that residents’ concerns and voices are being heard,” said Hosp.


Tuesday, November 8, 2016 6:33 AM

Legal Challenge Filed Against Civic Center Kimpton Hotel Project

The battle over the City of Pasadena’s approval to build a six-story, 185-room hotel on city-owned land directly across from the Pasadena City Hall and within the Pasadena Civic Center National Register Historic District has moved into a new phase after the Pasadena Civic Center Coalition, a group of local preservationists (PCCC), announced Monday their filing of a court challenge to the proposed development.


Tuesday, November 8, 2016 12:00 AM

Pasadena Sued: City Violated CEQA

The Pasadena Civic Center Coalition (Pasadena CCC) filed a court challenge to the City of Pasadena’s approval to build a six-story, 185-room hotel located on city-owned land directly across from Pasadena City Hall and within the Pasadena Civic Center National Register Historic District (PCCNRD).


Sunday, November 6, 2016 6:49 AM

No Reprieve: Despite Last-Ditch Efforts, 3 South Lake Avenue Trees Cut Down as Dismayed Protesters Hold Vigil

Despite a last-minute legal filing served on Pasadena Vice Mayor Gene Masuda at his home in the morning and a protest along South Lake Avenue late last night, three healthy ficus trees on the Avenue were cut down Saturday night and early Sunday by a property owner who had sued the City of Pasadena in order to do so.

In closed session last summer, the Pasadena City Council agreed to settle the case and allow the owner to cut down the trees at his expense. Mayor Terry Tornek and Councilmember Tyron Hampton voted against the settlement, but were outnumbered by Vice Mayor Gene Masuda and Councilmembers Margaret McAustin, John Kennedy, Victor Gordo, Steve Madison and Andy Wilson.


Friday, November 4, 2016 3:35 PM

Pasadena ficus trees saga goes back to the courts, as residential group sues city

PASADENA >> The fate of three condemned city street trees has returned to the courts.
On Friday, the newly formed Save Pasadena Trees group filed a lawsuit against the city and the building owner granted a permit to remove the trees.


Thursday, November 3, 2016 12:00 AM

Throwing Shade

Protesters decry council’s closed-door agreement to cut down 70-year-old ficus trees on South Lake Avenue


Wednesday, November 2, 2016 5:29 PM

Group threatens to sue Pasadena to stop removal of South Lake Avenue ficus trees

A trio of South Lake Avenue ficus trees marked for toppling by City Hall were still standing Wednesday several days beyond their execution date, signaling an awkward pause in a three-year battle between a building owner who alleges the massive trees are damaging his property and a group of residents who have come to their rescue.


Wednesday, November 2, 2016 5:43 AM

Activists Say They Will Head to Court Thursday in Bid to Stop City from Destroying Three South Lake Avenue Trees

A citizens group called Save Pasadena Trees has retained an attorney and plans to go to court on Thursday seeking a temporary restraining order to stop the City of Pasadena from cutting down three large trees on South Lake Avenue. Meanwhile the group’s attorney, Mitchell Tsai, sent city officials a letter alleging the city has not properly followed its own rules and must immediate conduct a public hearing into the trees’ fates.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016 3:00 PM

Pasadena stands ground: 3 mature ficus trees on South Lake Avenue must go

PASADENA >> Saying the decision is final, Pasadena will replace three large ficus trees on South Lake Avenue with Chinese pistache trees, a deciduous tree popular in Texas and recommended by horticultural experts.

... The council voted to approve the settlement June 20, 2016 by a 6-2 vote. Councilmembers Gene Masuda, Margaret McAustin, John Kennedy, Victor Gordo, Steve Madison and Andy Wilson voted in favor of the settlement. Mayor Tornek and Councilmember Tyron Hampton both voted against the settlement.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016 5:41 AM

Council Faces Residents Angered by Imminent Tree Removals

Reacting to nearly a dozen residents who pleaded with the City Council Monday to reconsider and re-negotiate Pasadena’s settlement with a property owner that will result in the destruction of three large South Lake Avenue trees, city officials held firm to their position and the trees will likely be cut down over the next several days.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016 10:39 PM

The removal of 3 trees on Pasadena’s Lake Avenue has these residents calling for protests

PASADENA >> The scheduled removal of three mature ficus trees on South Lake Avenue has elicited a wave of protests from a group of residents who said they will fight to stop what they call “the slaughter of beautiful shade trees.”


Friday, September 30, 2016 9:25 AM

Thatcher Building - Councilman's Ties to Developer Challenged by Residents

"Councilman Andy Wilson...became a target, first from a shouting doctor who disrupted the meeting, and then from a resident who questioned his ties to the developer."


Wednesday, September 28, 2016 8:36 PM

Town Hall Tonight Focuses on Proposed Development of Iconic Thatcher Medical Center

"The project plan has drawn the ire of building tenants, most of whom are medical professionals, and neighborhood residents."


Wednesday, September 14, 2016 5:47 AM

Sole Newcomer in 2017 City Council Race Says He Will Focus on Giving Residents Bigger Say at City Hall

“The primary focus of this campaign is community outreach and the participation of the community in decisions that are being made at City Hall,” Hosp said. “Basically, I’m running because I think it’s time that someone needs to make sure the voices of current Pasadena residents are heard first and local residents should be consulted with because often times, in various development projects, they’re consulted too little, too late.”


Tuesday, September 6, 2016 5:20 AM

By Labor Day, Five Hopefuls Say They Will Run in Pasadena's 2017 Elections

Pitted against Wilson for District 7’s seat is newcomer Hosp, who said he believes Pasadena’s City Hall doesn’t listen to residents and instead favors those with the loudest voices and deepest pockets. Hosp said he is a military veteran who served two tours in Iraq, and that he has been a Pasadena resident for twenty years.


Thursday, September 1, 2016 10:48 PM

These 2 candidates are starting their campaigns for Pasadena City Council months early

Hosp is a business attorney with Locke Lord LLP. The U.S. Army veteran decided to run for office because he felt residents voices weren’t being heard. He pledged to base his votes on the will of the people in his district.

“I believe that residents should have a bigger say in decisions being made at city hall,” he said. “I am prepared to dedicate the time and energy necessary to make tough decisions and maintain fiscal discipline.”

If elected, Hosp said he would fight to control development and to reduce crime and traffic.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016 4:58 PM

Why are all these residents upset about a Pasadena housing project on Green Street?

Doctors working in the unique-looking Thatcher medical building at 960 East Green Street are up in arms over a plan to build a multiple-story apartment complex in their parking lot Tuesday, August 30, 2016. A Notice of Public Hearing bulletin board attached to the fence of the building. They say the noise and disruptions will drive away their business and make it hard to care for the patients who remain.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016 12:00 AM

Phil Hosp Announces Election Campaign for Pasadena City Council

Attorney Phil Hosp recently announced that he will seek election to the Pasadena City Council representing District 7 on the March 7, 2017 ballot.


Sunday, August 28, 2016 11:51 AM

Local community things to know and do for the Pasadena area for August 29, 2016

Attorney Phil Hosp, a candidate for Pasadena’s District 7 seat, announced his intention to run Wednesday. The seat was vacated when Terry Tornek became mayor last year.


Friday, August 26, 2016 7:07 PM

Why Pasadena’s recent housing boom won’t last but its impact will

Last year, Pasadena’s City Council approved a plan allowing developers to build 7,000 housing units over the next two decades, but more than 20 percent of the capped construction is underway right now, according to data from the Planning Department.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016 9:12 PM

Attorney Phil Hosp Announces Election Campaign for Pasadena City Council's District 7 Seat

Attorney Phil Hosp announced today that he will seek election to the Pasadena City Council representing District 7 on the March 7, 2017 ballot.


Monday, November 2, 1981 12:00 AM

Group threatens to sue Pasadena to stop removal of South Lake Avenue ficus trees


Paid for by Hosp for City Council 2017
FPPC#1389422
Mailing address:
530 S. Lake Avenue #918
Pasadena, CA 91101
626-788-7704
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