Judge Sharon Waters rules on the Save Our Chinatown case against the City of Riverside.
News release from the Save Our Chinatown Committee
September 5, 2009
We have ALL been waiting to hear Judge Sharon Waters' decision, so here's the news. Please find below
1) The SOCC press release, and
2) the article about the decision from the Press Enterprise.
Both documents are also available at our website - http://saveourchinatown.org .
Watch for the next updates that
a) will let you know some of our next steps and how you can help us, and
b) news of our recent activities.
Keep up the support and good thoughts; we will need all that and your continued help!
for the Save Our Chinatown Committee (SOCC)
1) SOCC Press Release
Save Our Chinatown Committee
CHINATOWN COMMITTEE HAILS COURT VICTORY
For immediate release
Riverside, California, September 4, 2009
Judge Sharon Waters issued her decision on the Save Our Chinatown Committees suit to stop the destruction of the old Riverside Chinatown archaeological site on Monday, August 31, 2009. While three defendants were named, the judge found against only two of them, based on one of the nine causes of action. Finding that the agreement for the Riverside County Office of Education to sell the land to developer Doug Jacobs violated state law, she invalidated the sale. Judge Waters ruled against the SOCC on the other eight causes, but committee members believe her ruling invalidating the sale of the land opens the way to a possible settlement that will preserve the site.
Our initial reaction is one of relief, but we realize that there is still work to be done before we can guarantee permanent protection for this extremely important archaeological site, said SOCC spokesperson Margie Akin. The judge decided that the sale of the land was improperly handled, and that the sale of the property is not valid. However, public statements by representatives of the Board of Education have made it plain that they want the revenue from the sale of the land, and it would not surprise us if they started the process of selling the land over again.
The land is now owned by a public entity, which gives us some time to organize and make use of the protections it still has as a result of public ownership. If the property is sold to a private individual our ability to protect the site is severely damaged.
In her conclusion, the judge stated that the court cannot veto political decisions made by the City Council. This means that if the people of Riverside, and beyond, want to save this site we can not depend on the court to save us, but must bring the political will of the people to bear on the council. The Save Our Chinatown Committee encourages all citizens of Riverside to learn more about the contributions of Chinese Americans to Riversides history, and to support efforts to preserve this historical and cultural resource, concluded Akin.
2) Press Enterprise article
Original posted 9/4/09, 10:00 pm; revised/replaced 9/5/09 12:10 am
Sides debate effect of ruling on Chinatown site in Riverside
A preservation group that sued to stop construction on Riverside's historic second Chinatown cheered a court ruling this week that appears to delay development at the site.
The Save Our Chinatown Committee claims victory in the decision, which said a pending deal to sell the Chinatown site can't be completed because the seller didn't follow the law.
Committee members said in a written statement they believe the ruling "opens the way to a possible settlement that will preserve the site."
The Tuesday ruling from Judge Sharon Waters did not stray from a tentative ruling she issued in July. It could slow or potentially derail developer Doug Jacobs' plans to put a medical building on the site.
Jacobs made a deal in 2007 to buy the 2.3-acre site from the Riverside County office of education. The city of Riverside later approved Jacob's development plans.
The committee challenged the land sale and the city's approval of the medical building. Waters' final ruling maintains the city's actions followed state environmental law, but the education office did not follow procedures for selling surplus land.
Riverside County board of education officials are disappointed with the ruling and "believe the court misapplied the relevant law to the circumstances of this case," a written statement from board President Adolfo Mediano Jr. said.
The board will review its legal options, Mediano said in the statement.
If the education office wants to make a new deal with Jacobs, it might have to first re-offer the parcel to other public agencies, though Waters declined to rule on what specific procedures a future sale would require.
Jacobs said Friday that he doesn't see the decision as a victory for the preservation committee and he doesn't expect it to halt his project.
"I'm very optimistic that I'll be under construction soon," he said.
The Save Our Chinatown case against the City of Riverside, the Riverside County Office of Education and the developer, Doug Jacobs, was held on July 9.
The community is now waiting for Judge Sharon Waters' decision and final judgment from the hearing that took place July 9 in Riverside, California.
The Save Our Chinatown committee sends its thanks to everyone who came in person to support the preservation of Chinatown and Riverside’s cultural history.
Here’s a link to the Press-Enterprise. "Judge's tentative Chinatown findings leave both sides with questions", Press Enterprise, Thursday, July 10, 2009
This report update is provided by members of the Save Our Chinatown committee.
The Save Our Chinatown trial date is scheduled for Thursday, July 9 for the Hearing on the Merits.
The trial is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. and will be heard by Riverside County Superior Court Judge Sharon Waters.
1. Thursday, July 9, SOCC trial date for the Hearing on the Merits.
4 weeks away and counting! The trial is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. and will be heard by Riverside County Superior Court Judge Sharon Waters. Watch this space for more developments!
2. Sunday, July 12, 2-4 pm, SOCC co-sponsoring the film "Wuyi Roots". Save the date!
As part of SOCCs cultural and education program, the film Wuyi Roots will be shown Sunday, July 12 at the Riverside Public Library from 2-4 pm (3581 Mission Inn Avenue). Admission is free. Other co-sponsors include: Inlandia Institute, Hua Xia Chinese School, and the Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Riverside.
Wuyi, or five towns, refers to the region surrounding Jiangmen, Riversides sister city. Jiangmen is Gom Benn, the ancestral village of most of the Riverside Chinese pioneers, the settlers of Riversides Chinatown. This inspirational film discusses the history of Chinese immigrants in the United States and the history of the American Chinese back in China. English subtitles. Dont miss it!
3. SOCC participation in UC Riversides Asian Pacific Heritage Month activities.
Monday, May 18: SOCC and UCRs Asian Pacific Student Programs (APSP) co-sponsored a film screening of When They All Still Lived.
The college and community audience enjoyed light refreshments before the film. Click on the attachments for photos of the event.
a) After the film, the audience was divided into two teams for a Chinatown Face-off Q & A. Team leaders looked for answers from their members, holding their competition buzzers in readiness: one, a twirling hand drum and the other, a wood pig percussion instrument. Correct answers earned prizes, a fun incentive!
b) Audience members were encouraged to post their thoughts about the historic Riverside Chinatown site on SOCCs citrus fortune tree. The early Chinese pioneers were significant contributors to the development and success of the Southern California citrus industry right from the very beginning.
Thursday, May 21: SOCC attended Free Your Mind, a popular "open mic" Spoken Word event drawing ~75 people. Thanks to APSP for arranging a table for us!
A big shout-out and thank you go to the UCR graduate and undergraduate students who supported SOCC and its activities this year. We appreciate your thoughts, effort, and contributions, and wish you well over the summer break. Returning students, we hope to see you in the Fall! To those moving on, best of luck in your endeavors!
4. Tuesday, May 19, Riverside City Council presented the 2008 City Spirit Award to Sam Huang.
SOCC members attended the ceremonies and joined the throng of well-wishers. Congratulations, Sam, for this well-deserved recognition! You are truly a community treasure! http://www.pe.com/localnews/inland/stories/PE_News_Local_W_wactbox20.436cf65.html
5. Other historic sites in peril.
Sad to say, Riversides Chinatown is not the only site in danger. Communities must remain ever vigilant for their heritages.
- Angel Island Immigration Station is one of 220 state parks slated for closure unless the Legislature acts to amend or rescind Governor Arnold Schwarzeneggers budget recommendations. For the latest information and how you can help, see http://www.aiisf.org/ .
- Japantown (San Francisco): We recently received word about the draft Better Neighborhood Plan for Japantown presented to the San Francisco Planning Commission. From the email:
The plan was suppose[d] to be an opportunity to preserve Japantown but rather contains increase[d] height and land use recommendations that COULD negatively impact the future of our historic and cultural community. What was supposed to be a plan to preserve our community has turned out to be a road map for developers. OVER THE NEXT 20 YEARS WE WILL SEE JAPANTOWN REDEVELOPED AGAIN, BUT WITH LESS OPPORTUNITY FOR SMALL BUSINESSES TO COME BACK, LESS OPPORTUNITY FOR FAMILIES TO LIVE HERE AND MUCH LESS OF WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT JAPANTOWN.
SF Chronicle article: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/05/12/MNMI17CUHQ.DTL&hw=japantown&sn=001&sc=1000
Copy of the plan: http://www.sfgov.org/site/planning_index.asp?id=57149
Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California: http://www.jcccnc.org/
6. Conferences for historic preservation
- The National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) will hold its 2009 National Preservation Conference in Nashville, TN on October 13-17, 2009. This years theme is Sustaining the Future in Harmony with Our Pasts.
- For the first time there will be a national conference focused on Asian and Pacific Islander (API) Historic Preservation. Plans are under development for a June 2010 event in San Francisco.
For more about Asian Pacific American Heritage in Preservation: http://www.preservationnation.org/about-us/asian-pacific-american-heritage/
Thats all for now; there was much to catch up and digest!
Until next time, keep up the good thoughts,
Judy and Han
Save Our Chinatown Committee (SOCC)