A debate over how to revitalize Arcadia's downtown business district took center stage Wednesday as the five City Council candidates held at the . The candidates will vie for two open seats in the city's first entirely mail-in ballot election. Ballots must be received by April 10.
The exit of Councilman Roger Chandler — due to a city ordinance requiring council members take a 2-year hiatus following two consecutive terms — created the council's second open seat.
With , whether and how to proceed with downtown development has become one of the most critical issues facing the City Council.
Nuñez cited Pasadena and Monrovia as examples of cities with vibrant downtowns, adding that he would like to see a focus on attracting the right kinds of businesses to Arcadia's downtown.
"There has to be a lot of effort and community outreach and business outreach to identify the type of businesses that we want, the type of development we want," Nuñez said. "We still don't have the type of strategic planning that we need for that area."
He added that he would also like to see buildings and other structures throughout the city utilize more green technology.
Dougherty said she envisions an "Old Town Arcadia" or "Arcadia Village" downtown.
The candidate, who also serves as chairperson of the Architectural Review Board for the local homeowners' associations, said downtown represents "a wonderful opportunity" for the city, but that the Council should look beyond downtown.
"The other issue is residential areas and having a standard throughout the community where mass, scale and design are critical," she said.
Kovacic countered that the city does have such a standard in place.
"We have citywide architectural review," he said. "It was one of the goals I had coming in on the City Council...In fact those architectural review guidelines were endorsed by the homeowners' associations."
Dougherty conceded this was true, but said those guidelines are not enforced regularly enough.
Public safety posed another hot topic at the forum, with Tay citing the issue as one of his primary concerns.
To that end, the candidates discussed whether more improvements should be made to the Duarte Road crosswalk in which . Du and the city now face lawsuits brought by and her .
"That crosswalk has been studied day in and day out," Kovacic said. "We lost one of Arcadia's daughters, but I think it's safe to say that if everybody was paying attention this wouldn't have happened."
Wuo said the crosswalk does not present as much of a problem as the congested traffic conditions around schools, particularly during drop off and pick up time.
If the city can improve traffic flow around schools, Wuo said, the streets will automatically become safer for drivers and pedestrians alike.
Other issues addressed by the candidates included the efficiency of the city's Dial-A-Ride service, how to ensure a smooth transition for incoming , and getting the best commercial value out of .