Lt. Manning, the City Attorney the Community Development Director (Code Enforcement, Planning and Building & Safety) and I met with the prior owner’s son who is also Jerry Wong. Mr. Wong is very interested in cleaning up the center. He is also open to the possibility of selling it or tearing it down and building something new. We indicated ongoing concerns with gang wannabes hanging around and people loitering at the liquor store and the smoke shop. He indicated a willingness to work on those issues with his tenants.
He signed a “Trespass Authorization” form which allows officers to move along or cite people who are loitering in the center and promised to post signs prohibiting loitering. I have not had a chance to see whether those signs have gone up yet.
We discussed the type of business the neighborhood would like to see go in the market space. A clean grocery store, a gym and a rock climbing gym were among the ideas discussed. Mr. Wong understands that a business that brings people to the center is beneficial and that more good citizens being present will help drive away the less desirable folks.
I was impressed with Mr. Wong. My perception was that he genuinely wants to improve the facility for the neighborhood as well as for himself. Progress will take some time, but I think we have a good start. The City will be continuing to watch for loitering and monitoring calls for service at the center. If things do not improve Mr. Wong understands that the City will be pressuring him to make changes through code enforcement.
It would be helpful if people who see inappropriate things happen in the center would let me know. My impression is that things are a little better, but I am not there as often as many of the immediate neighbors are. People are welcome to send observations, suggestions and questions to me. Email is best for me: firstname.lastname@example.org