Monrovia Mayor Mary Ann Lutz and other members of the City Council fired back at Councilman Tom Adams Tuesday evening in response to Adams' heated to sell off city land to the Gold Line Construction Authority.
Adams e-mailed a letter to city staff and members of the media late Monday night that criticized the sale of $40 million in land to the Gold Line in order to shield it from the state.
He also took aim at Mayor Mary Ann Lutz, whom he said failed to get nearby cities to help defray the costs of locating a in Monrovia that is . He said Tuesday's meeting was too abrupt and did not allow the public enough time to digest the important topics being considered.
Adams' letter was read aloud to the crowd at Tuesday's meeting by City Clerk Alice Atkins before other council members weighed in. In a prepared statement, Lutz took issue with Adams' remarks and said that the council needed to rise past "petty squabbles."
"Mr. Adams' letter refers to this special meeting as 'rushed' and even comments that the proceedings, in his opinion, are less than transparent," Lutz said. "He seems to divorce himself from the fact that he has been a party to all of the council discussions leading to this point."
An unusually robust crowd in attendance for the special meeting broke into applause after Lutz's remarks, also clapping when Councilman Joe Garcia noted his own disappointment with Adams' actions.
"I, too, am disappointed by the fact that I had to read my colleague's comments in [the press]," Garcia said.
Councilwoman Becky Shevlin also said she was disappointed with how Adams voiced his concerns and asked City Manager Scott Ochoa to clarify the validity of one of Adams' main points: that other cities should have contributed monetarily to the maintenance yard in Monrovia because they would be enjoying its benefits.
Ochoa called such an idea "unprecedented."
"The idea of another agency giving money … to the city of Monrovia for this type of program would be unprecedented," Ochoa said. "At the end of the day it's all taxpayer dollars, and [other cities] cannot make a gift of taxpayer dollars."
Lutz said Adams' idea to have other cities help pay for the maintenance yard was "not realistic."
"Mr. Adams disagrees with the direction of the council on this matter, and he is surely entitled to do so--as long as we all understand that there is a difference between his opinion and our reality," Lutz's statement reads.
Local shop owner Pam Fitzpatrick, who runs the , piled on as well, noting that Adams was at a convention in Las Vegas during Tuesday's meeting.
"I am surprised and sorry about the rambling letter that I just heard and maybe what happens in Vegas ought to stay in Vegas," Fitzpatrick said. "He probably should have thought before he hit the send button."
Adams could not immediately be reached for comment.
Both Lutz and Garcia said that Adams' letter may have been a manifestation of "personal problems" that he has had with the mayor for some time. Several sources close to the council have said that Adams has been upset with Lutz since she decided to run for mayor in the last election after he'd announced his own intention to run. He ultimately pulled out of the race.
The exchange between Lutz and Adams marks the second public conflict between the two officials over the last few months. In February, Adams when the mayor unveiled a new city logo during her State of the City speech without the approval of other council members.
The whole point of the Tuesday meeting was ultimately not achieved, as the council decided to delay a vote on the Gold Line deal until the council's regular April 5 meeting.
The urgency of the deal comes from the state legislature's vote to kill redevelopment agencies, which is expected any day now, Ochoa said. But the city was still not satisfied with the deal Gold Line officials offered Tuesday, he said.