Arcadia, CA - Rt. 66 Rally Support Rod's Grill May 13 &

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Adriene
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Arcadia, CA - Rt. 66 Rally Support Rod's Grill May 13 &

Postby Adriene » Tue Feb 14, 2006 9:49 am

______________________________________________
~ADDED BY Moderator - See new May dates at end of this thread
______________________________________________


Join owner Manny Romero on Saturday, February 25th, to help rally support for Rod's Grill, one of the last original 50's diners along Route 66 in Arcadia!

FREE chili dogs, snacks & Rod's t-shirts (while they last!). Rod's is expecting a great turn-out from their loyal patrons, vintage car clubs and local community supporters!

DATE: Sat., Feb. 25th

TIME: 11am-1pm

LOCATION: 41 W. Huntington Drive, Arcadia

Rod's has been a favorite gathering place at this location since 1956, and is just around the bend from Santa Anita Racetrack and one of our past preservation issues, the former Van de Kamps windmill restaurant (now Denny's). A redevelopment project threatens demolition of much of this city block, including Rod's Grill, the Elks Lodge (World War I era), and a number of other neighboring businesses.
Last edited by Adriene on Tue Apr 11, 2006 9:52 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby MsJVonFink » Thu Feb 16, 2006 11:04 am

Rod's is great!
Image

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Adriene
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Postby Adriene » Sat Feb 18, 2006 11:58 am

Great pic! Thanks for posting! Hope to meet you and all your friends next Saturday!

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Postby nredom » Tue Feb 21, 2006 11:33 am

Now that's some plastic backlit signage a fella can get behind.

When did the artistry in that particular medium disappear...?

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Postby googiejackalope » Thu Apr 06, 2006 2:03 pm

from an August 2005 road trip:
Image
Interesting article here: http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/news/ci_3591421

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Postby Adriene » Thu Apr 06, 2006 3:42 pm

Pundits grilling Arcadia
By Gene Maddaus Staff Writer
Pasadena Star-News

When Hannity and Colmes are against you, it's time to throw in the towel.

Such is the pitiable position of the city of Arcadia, which earned the opprobrium of the Fox Newscasters for threatening to use - in Colmes' phrase - "the nightmare of eminent domain" to take out Rod's Grill.

"Hannity & Colmes" has been featuring eminent domain stories under the semi-alarmist tagline "It Could Happen to You!" (It should add: "Especially if you buy property in a project area with active redevelopment plans!") A headline for one story about a church in Long Beach sets the tone quite well: "Even God can't escape the wrath of eminent domain!"

Manny Romero, who owns Rod's Grill, has now appeared twice on the show. Last week, he talked about a Feb. 25 protest at Rod's. Thursday, there was an update: The city had started eminent domain proceedings against Rod's neighbor, Arcadia Self-Storage. Backed by the city, the Rusnak Mercedes dealership was closing in.

"This is not a bridge or a hospital or a school," said Alan Colmes, the liberal half of this Oscar-and-Felix routine. "This is a high-end auto dealership."

Sean Hannity, the conservative, apparently felt Colmes had not made the point strongly enough.

"This isn't for a school or a bridge, or anything that's gonna help the community," he said.

He then took aim at the finding of blight, demonstrating that he, and not Colmes, is the true rhetorical firepower behind the show.

"I love how many Mercedes dealerships must be hanging out in blighted areas," he said. "It's such a joke. It's pathetic."

Romero noted that he has gotten support from many community members who are "so outraged and so upset" about the Rusnak expansion. But it's hard to imagine they can match Hannity and Colmes, who, after all, do outrage for a living.

"It's outrageous what's happening to you," Colmes said, sounding like he really meant it. He noted that the City Council members had been invited on the show, but were unable to make it.

"They didn't call us until yesterday afternoon," city spokeswoman Linda Garcia said Friday. "They didn't give us a whole lot of advance notice."

Is this just a negotiating tactic? Unlikely. Or if it is, it's not a very good one.

After all, if the city came back with a better offer, and Romero took it, how exactly would he explain it to Hannity and Colmes?

Do nightmares have happy endings?

Mall developer Rick Caruso gets a lot of questions about his proposed Shops at Santa Anita development.

"Will you have casinos on the property?" asked a woman at a community meeting on Thursday night.

"Yeah, 12 of them," Caruso deadpanned, identifying his interrogator as a representative of the anti-Caruso group Arcadia First! "In addition to the 12 casinos and four strip joints, we're gonna have huge animated billboards!"

He will, he explained, have none of those things. But those are the kinds of rumors floating around.

Another man asked about the horse-drawn trolley idea. What would Caruso do about the manure?

"I'm not an expert on horse poop," Caruso said. "But I will be by the time we build this project."

Article Launched: 3/10/2006 11:00 PM

gene.maddaus@sgvn.com
(626) 578-6300, Ext. 4444

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Postby Adriene » Thu Apr 06, 2006 3:44 pm

Saturday, March 18. 2006
No eminent domain for private gain

Pasadena Star-News - News

ARCADIA - The race for Arcadia City Council figured to revolve around Rick Caruso's plan to build the Shops at Santa Anita, the biggest development in city history.

But at a candidates' forum on Tuesday night, a sleeper issue seemed most troubling to the more than 250 in attendance: eminent domain.

"No eminent domain for private gain," said candidate Peter Amundson, to loud applause. "I believe the intent of our founding fathers was that eminent domain was only for public use."

Several other candidates issued similar philosophical proclamations, including even Mayor John Wuo, who was part of a 5-0 vote last week to start eminent domain proceedings in an effort to expand Rusnak Mercedes Benz.

"It's a very powerful tool," Wuo said, adding that he voted to proceed against Arcadia Self-Storage only because the vote was needed to pursue negotiations. "We should try to negotiate with all property owners."

The city has been engaged for more than a year in trying to expand the Rusnak dealership to the east on Huntington Drive. The expansion requires the acquisition of five parcels, including the Elks Lodge and Rod's Grill.

City leaders say the Rusnak expansion will bring in new sales tax dollars, which could help fix the city's deficit.

Manny Romero, the owner of Rod's Grill, has fought back. He is gathering signatures to stop the expansion and has appeared twice on Fox News' "Hannity & Colmes," which is running a series denouncing the use of condemnation to expand private businesses.

Posting from
http://i40.com/Home/

Where did this country go so wrong to think this was even close to being a good idea? To TAKE property from one citizen and give it to a corporation? If you need to expand a road, or build a highway.. Ok. Build a hospital and there are no other choices? Maybe.. But to expand a #$%^&*( car dealership?

-Jason

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Postby Adriene » Thu Apr 06, 2006 3:46 pm

from LibertyPost.org

Constitution & Law
Title: Eminent domain vote paves way for Mercedes expansion
Source: Pasadena Star News
URL Source: http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/news/ci_3583371
Published: Mar 13, 2006
Author: Gene Maddaus
Post Date: 2006-03-15 06:28:30 by Freedom_Rider

Eminent domain vote paves way for Mercedes expansion By Gene Maddaus Staff Writer

ARCADIA - The city has taken its first step toward condemning part of a desirable downtown block to make way for the expansion of Rusnak Mercedes Benz.

The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to move forward with eminent domain proceedings against Arcadia Self Storage, a four-story building on Huntington Drive just west of Santa Anita Avenue.

The parcel, one of five under threat of condemnation, is the first to come before the council. The city must offer each owner "fair market value" for their land and relocation expenses. Most such proceedings end in a negotiated settlement.

The expansion of the Rusnak dealership has been controversial, drawing opposition from several former mayors. The opposition has come primarily from the Elks Lodge, which is just east of the storage building, and from Rod's Grill, just to the west.

Manny Romero, the owner of Rod's Grill, staged a protest against eminent domain two weeks ago. He has launched a signature drive in an effort to block the Rusnak expansion. He also appeared on the Fox News program "Hannity & Colmes" last week to protest the city's action.

The storage building owners, Gary and Dan Braun, have taken a lower profile. Their attorney, Dean Dennis, said that due to complicated loan terms, it would actually be easier for his clients to negotiate with the city after a so-called "resolution of necessity" is adopted.

The resolution codifies certain findings about the appropriateness of condemnation, but does not preclude negotiations. The city has six months after the resolution is adopted to file a condemnation action in court.

"My client would rather stay," Dennis said afterward. "We're watching how the city handles all the property owners. We haven't made the decision whether to fight."

Eminent domain has long been used as a tool of economic development, though property rights advocates bristle at the idea of taking land from one private owner and giving it to another. Last year's Supreme Court decision in the case of Kelo v. New London, Conn., which affirmed that authority, has reignited the opposition.

"The proposed project is a shameful moment in the city of Arcadia," said Dirk Hudson, an Arcadia resident.

"The Supreme Court decision was wrong," Mark Bower, another resident, told the council. "I'm very disappointed to see Arcadia doing this."

Mike Eash, another resident, argued that the Rusnak expansion would boost the sales tax base and help fix the city's operating deficit. "I don't agree with Kelo either," he said. "But no resident is getting put out on the street, or put out of his home because of this."

Brian Beatt, general manager at Rusnak, said the dealership generates more than 10 percent of the city's sales tax. If the dealership can't expand, it will have to move to another city, he said.

Chris Sutton, who represents Romero, called that a bluff. He said he believed Rusnak's ultimate goal is to own the entire block, all the way to Santa Anita, to create an Arcadia auto mall. "We believe the voters are gonna make it illegal to sell cars there," Sutton said, referring to Romero's ballot initiative.

City Manager Bill Kelly said the city is preparing a new appraisal for Rod's Grill, and will come back with a counter-offer soon. If that goes nowhere, Rod's Grill will be next up for a condemnation hearing, on May 16.

http://www.libertypost.org/cgi-bin/read ... Num=132849

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rod's is out of the spotlight

Postby khummer » Fri Apr 07, 2006 1:04 pm

This is an important issue, and I haven't heard a peep of it in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. I am thankful to read the posts here. This is just awful. West Covina recently got in trouble for these backdoor deals by a car dealer. This sound quite similar. Sounds like perhaps a Brown Act violation if everyone knows the plans, but the property owner called Rod's.

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Didn't realize this was happening!

Postby MsJVonFink » Fri Apr 07, 2006 2:23 pm


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Postby Adriene » Tue Apr 11, 2006 9:41 am

Thanks for your posts, this is a situation that's really starting to heat up. Kathy, letter to the editor at San Gabriel Valley Tribune?

Article Launched: 4/09/2006 12:00 AM
Modern challenge for old-time diner
Rod's Grill battles city takeover
By Gene Maddaus Staff Writer
Pasadena Star-News

ARCADIA - Most evenings before he goes to work, David Perches sits down at the counter at Rod's Grill and orders a cup of coffee.

When he's finished, he walks next door to the Mercedes-Benz lot where he's the night watchman.

He tries to stay out of it, but Perches finds himself in the middle of the hottest issue in local politics. The luxury car dealership where he works is trying to take over the '50s coffee shop where he dines.

"I'd rather remain neutral," Perches said.

A few minutes later, though, he allowed himself a moment of partisanship.

"I'd regret it if they closed up," he said. "I wouldn't want to see that happen."

Rod's Grill is one of those places that would be kitschy if it were self-aware. Rod Wellman built it in 1956, at the classical height of "Googie" architecture. Googie is that swinging retro-futuristic style that once projected Space-Age optimism and now, as its examples deteriorate, seems cartoonish and a little sad, in the way that a child's ambitions are sad when remembered from the vantage of adulthood.

Wellman owned a chain of coffee shops in the San Gabriel Valley. He also founded Rod's Food Products, which still makes creamy dressings that are sold to restaurants in three-gallon tubs.

"Dad was a straightforward kind of guy," said his son, Brian Wellman. "He ran a friendly shop. He took care of the customer."

Rod Wellman died in 1999. Long before that, though, he had sold his share in the restaurant to a partner. His family bought it back in 1986, but by that point, the city had declared the area blighted and had made a few tentative plans to redevelop the neighborhood.

"We figured we'd be able to stay at least 10 years," Brian Wellman said. "They weren't gonna move that fast."

Over the years, the family fought and lost a few battles with City Hall. When California banned smoking at restaurants, business tapered sharply. The Wellmans tried to get a permit for an outdoor patio where guests could smoke, but were denied.

They also considered moving the restaurant, but the city found code problems with each potential site, Wellman said. Some of those lots now have chain restaurants on them.

"There's a definite bias," Wellman said. "I think it's all backroom dealings. There's money to be made dealing with certain people."

The family sold the restaurant to Manny Romero in 1997. Romero came to this country from Zacatecas, Mexico, when he was 17. He was a busboy, a cook, a waiter and a bartender at a disco before moving into restaurant management. He ultimately bought a place in Redondo Beach and gained amnesty. He is now a U.S. citizen.

"It was my dream to own a restaurant," Romero said. "I've been in the restaurant business my whole life. I've achieved all my goals."

Romero's arrival supplanted postwar optimism with immigrant optimism. Alfonso Banuelos, one of three cooks, prepares traditional American diner food, though he doesn't speak much English.

"Burgers, omelettes," Banuelos said. "It's easy."

The most expensive item on the menu is the New York steak with shrimp. It is $11.95. The Manny's burger is a solid pound of ground beef. It costs $5.95 and has the heft of a discus. It comes with a generous dollop of mayonnaise and a slathering of Rod's-brand Thousand Island dressing.

"The only people I see finish it are the little guys who weigh about 120 pounds," said waitress Julie Vollrath-Pearce. (In this neighborhood, that means jockeys.)

Business has been stable, Romero says.

Carlos Roffredo, a 64-year-old cashier at Santa Anita Park, said Rod's reminded him of coffee shops from his youth.

"You see a lot of the older people here," he said. "It's a dying breed kind of place."

"Oh, the place," said his dinner companion, Diana Blanco. "I thought you meant the customers."

The interior is a jumble of wood paneling and turquoise upholstery. A slanted roof swoops low over clerestory windows. In the front are floor-to-ceiling windows with shades to block the late-afternoon sun. At night, Rod's red neon sign is outshined by the bright white glow of the Mercedes dealership.

Some Googie places trade on nostalgia, buffing and polishing it for newer generations. Rod's has not done that. It's just a '50s coffee shop that got old. It may not be gourmet, but it is authentic.

"It's not overdone," said Kevin Hansel, president of the California Historic Route66 Association. "If you walk in there, it's probably like it was 50 years ago."

The market, however, has changed. In the age of Starbucks, Wellman said, places like Rod's are falling behind.

"Nobody knows what a coffee shop is anymore," he said.

As Rusnak Mercedes-Benz looks to expand eastward, the city's redevelopment agency has approached Romero about selling out. According to Mayor John Wuo, he was first offered $900,000, which would have given him a modest profit, as well as help in relocating. Romero refused.

The city then offered $1.2million, Wuo said. Romero refused that, too.

Instead of negotiating, Romero has circulated petitions to block the redevelopment effort. He has also backed City Council candidates who pledge not to use eminent domain for economic development.

In addition, he has contacted the Los Angeles Conservancy about getting some sort of historic designation for Rod's Grill.

"It's an authentic part of old Route66," said Adriene Biondo, chair of the conservancy's Modern Committee. "The fact that it has so much integrity caused us to be interested. It's a vanishing species."

Romero has also leveraged political opposition to eminent domain, appearing twice on Fox News Channel's "Hannity & Colmes." The message has resonated with Arcadia's conservative electorate.

"Eminent domain scares the bejeebers out of me," said Harry Wayne Harvey, 57, over a dinner of pancakes and a hamburger patty. "I just don't think it's right."

Harvey voted by absentee ballot for three candidates who have Romero's endorsement: Sheng Chang, Bob Harbicht and Peter Amundson.

Wuo and Councilman Mickey Segal have lately said they don't believe there are enough votes on the City Council to launch condemnation proceedings in court. Tuesday's election will likely only solidify that opposition.

If Romero continues to refuse the city's offers, Rusnak may be forced to redesign the project to build around him. It seems unlikely, though, that such a development would be good for Romero's business.

Romero doesn't think he will be surrounded. (A sign in his office says "Don't ever give up!")

If the ballot measure passes, the dealership would be barred from expanding anywhere on the block. Romero is so untroubled, he says, that he has plans to build a fountain out front - hardly what one would do if planning to sell.

"He deserves to stay there," Wellman said. "But I believe they want him out bad. Everybody wants to make a buck these days. Nobody wants to do what's right.... I think big business will prevail."

gene.maddaus@sgvn.com

(626)578-6300, Ext.4444

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You got it.

Postby khummer » Tue Apr 11, 2006 3:08 pm


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Postby Adriene » Fri Apr 14, 2006 11:56 pm

Thanks, Kathy! Can you help us get the word out that Rod's will be celebrating its 50th anniversary on two dates:

Sat., May 13th, from 10am to 2pm

and

Tues., May 16th, from 3pm to 7pm

I'll distribute flyers at this Monday's Modcom meeting.

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Rod's

Postby khummer » Sat Apr 15, 2006 4:49 pm

I sent the opinion into the paper. They are printing less and less opinions to the editor than in the past. I'll pick up some flyers at MODCOM tomorrow if Adrian gets back from school in time. He has something going on there. But I'll help you spread the word. You can e-mail the flyer to me if I can't make it.

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Postby Futura Girl » Fri Apr 28, 2006 8:35 pm

from Adriene's additional thread - (so we keep all the info on Rod's in one place)

JOIN US ON ROUTE 66 TO CELEBRATE ROD'S 50TH ANNIVERSARY!

VINTAGE CARS!
T-SHIRTS!
HOT DOGS!

TO THANK THEIR MANY LOYAL CUSTOMERS & SUPPORTERS,
ROD'S WILL BE CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF GREAT FOOD,
50 YEARS OF MEMORIES, AND
50 YEARS OF SERVING THE COMMUNITY
BY ROLLING BACK PRICES TO THE 50'S

2 DATES:

SAT., MAY 13TH FROM 10AM TO 2PM
&
TUES., MAY 16TH FROM 3PM TO 7PM


LOCATION:
ROD'S GRILL
41 W. HUNTINGTON DRIVE (OLD ROUTE 66)
ARCADIA

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get together on Friday at Rod's

Postby khummer » Sat Apr 29, 2006 8:50 am


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Adriene
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Postby Adriene » Thu May 11, 2006 11:36 am


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Rod's Tuesday 3-7

Postby khummer » Sat May 13, 2006 9:07 pm

Well, we were there on Saturday, all 4 of us. And all quiet. Guess they are saving the thunder for Tuesday. The weird thing was that every dealer worker was there today, too.

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ROD's birthday!

Postby Litehse10 » Fri May 19, 2006 5:52 pm

I didn't realize that ROD's birthday was the same as mine May 16th. If I had know they were going to have a gathering I would of made it for sure....My husband took me to a casino instead and on my way out I hit the jackpot for $2,000.00...So that made my day but we left kinda early so we could of still went to ROD's in the afternoon if only I had known...I used to go to ROD'S when my family lived in Duarte since that is where I grew up in the 60's and 70's....It was always a treat to go to ROD'S for me...Now, I live in La Verne, California or Poipu Beach, Kauai at times....Make it another birthday celebration and this time I will come....We never can have to many birthday's I say.... :burger: :gulp: :(
If it was in the newspaper I would of seen it..So do it again!
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Postby Adriene » Sun May 21, 2006 11:23 pm

Thanks to all of you who joined us to celebrate Rod's 50th anniversary!

Here's the latest, following the May 16th City Council meeting:

Article Launched: 5/21/2006 12:00 AM
Did Arcadia lure car dealer?
Pasadena seeking lost tax revenue
By Gary Scott Staff Writer
Pasadena Star-News

PASADENA - The city of Pasadena says it may have a legal claim to half of all sales tax revenues generated by a Mercedes-Benz dealership that relocated to Arcadia four years ago.

Pasadena officials have asked an outside law firm to comb through correspondence and financial records to determine if the Arcadia Redevelopment Agency lured the profitable Rusnak dealership away from Pasadena with the promise of future financial incentives.

"We're just trying to make sure Pasadena is afforded whatever it is entitled to," said Michele Beal Bagneris, city attorney for Pasadena.

Pasadena originally launched the inquiry back in January 2005, after the Arcadia Redevelopment Agency approved an $8 million loan for a 3.5-acre expansion of the dealership.

Pasadena officials think Arcadia may have used the promise of an expansion loan as an enticement when Rusnak first considered leaving Pasadena.

An April letter from a customer liaison seems to lend credence to this theory.

"\ur understanding is that when the City of Arcadia was attempting to encourage the dealership to relocate from Pasadena to Arcadia, back in 2001, it was with the assurance that the dealership would be able to expand," the letter says.

"We are looking to make sure there was no city financial support in encouraging Rusnak to move because state law doesn't allow that," said Pasadena City Manager Cynthia Kurtz.

Cities across California depend on sales tax from auto dealerships and big box retailers to fund vital services, such as police and fire.

In the past, city redevelopment agencies competed to attract these tax producers through increasingly lavish public incentives.

To try and curtail poaching, the state passed a law that required any city that used an incentive to lure a dealership from a nearby town to give back half of the sales tax revenues.

"We don't want to fight with Arcadia. And we don't want to fight with Rusnak. But cities came to a conclusion years ago that we don't want to cannibalize each other," Kurtz said.

Arcadia officials and Paul Rusnak, who owns the Mercedes dealership, both deny any financial agreement was made at the time of the move.

"He came over on his own without any promises or any agreement," said Donald Penman, assistant city manager for Arcadia. "If I said to him you have a good shot at getting \ that isn't a promise."

Rusnak, in a March 2005 letter to Kurtz, said that when he bought the property at 55 Huntington Drive: "The City of Arcadia was not instrumental in any negotiations, nor did they provide any financial assistance."

He put the line in bold.

"There is no crime other than they were politically outsmarted," Brian Beatt, president of Rusnak Arcadia, said of Pasadena city officials. "There was no intent other than for us to take the opportunity to grab a piece of property when it was available ... and pursue on down the road an opportunity to expand."

Beatt said he understands Pasadena's interest in the matter. He estimates the city loses $1 million a year in sales tax alone.

The Mercedes-Benz dealership is the single largest sales tax provider for Arcadia.

The cities have endeavored to keep the dispute from causing undue friction between the neighboring communities. And, until recently, Pasadena appeared to have relegated the matter to the back-burner.

Then Pasadena attorney Christopher Sutton showed up at a Pasadena City Council meeting and threw a new twist into the proceedings.

Sutton represents Rod's Grill, which lies in the path of the planned expansion. He alleged Rusnak had shuttered his Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge dealership on East Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena last March so he could move it onto the expansion property in the future.

In 2004, the state strengthened its anti-poaching restrictions by prohibiting incentives from being used at all. Sutton theorized that Arcadia could offer help if Rusnak could show the Pasadena Chrysler dealership was no longer a going concern.

"If you offer somebody enough money they will close down for a year and get the big subsidy on the other side," Sutton said. "Arcadia has consistently denied it. I don't believe their denials."

Penman does in fact deny the plan, describing it as "nonsense." The city's agreement with Rusnak, he added, says the expansion has to be Mercedes "or a comparable high-end dealership."

Nevertheless, Sutton's allegations have rekindled interest among Pasadena council members in the original deal.

Bagneris said she will report the findings of the outside law firm to the council in the coming weeks. It is her belief Arcadia violated at least "the spirit of the law."

gary.scott@sgvn.com

(626) 578-6300, Ext. 4458

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