Avenue Theatre mysteries

Dear Editor:Something smells fishy here. What is going on with the Avenue Theatre and the secrecy around plans for it? In reading letters here in the Patriot and doing a little research on my own, it seems that the people of Downey are not behind the proposed affordable housing project. Also, I have some concerns about the overall approach the city has used to deal with the circumstances in acquiring the Avenue and Verizon properties. First of all, the land is not zoned for housing; it is actually zoned for commercial. No changes to the zoning of this property have been discussed with the public to date. Why the big secret? So my question is why the city of Downey is proceeding with designs and plans for the new complex if they do not have the proper zoning for the area? I would think that by law the city should have rezoned the property before they actually bought the property. Isn't it a little presumptive that the city is doing their rezone after the fact that they have spent money for a property that is not even legally zoned for the proposed use? Also, how is it that Fernando Vasquez, the acting planning commissioner for District 5, is a manager for National Core, the same company the city of Downey just happened to choose as the developer? Is it just me or is this not a conflict of interest? Even if he doesn't vote on topics in regards to the Avenue project, don't you think that by association alone it is a conflict just because of his community status and his relationship with the city? Isn't it true that the council and staff have a working relationship with Vasquez that cannot be ignored? In conclusion, no matter how the city spins this project, it just doesn't add up. There are many unanswered questions. Just who's to benefit from this project, the people of Downey, or the council itself? I don't believe any public official or staff member should benefit personally from this project or any of the proposed projects. These are big questions in hard economic times. If there was ever a time to write a Letter to the Editor, Mr. Mayor, this is the time. Please explain to us what is going on here. - Dennis Fernandez, Downey

********** Published: June 12, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 8