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A Case of 'Big Money vs. the Little Guy'

February 11, 1990

I live in the small town of Altadena. About one week ago, a notice was posted around my community that there was going to be a land use meeting at the Mariposa branch of the Altadena Public Library regarding putting a McDonald's restaurant on the northwest corner of Lake Avenue and Altadena Drive. This was the first time I heard about this proposal.

At the meeting more than 100 people turned out, all in opposition of the creation of this facility. McDonald's representatives were there as well as the builders who would oversee the construction. There was not one aspect of McDonald's proposal convincing as to why the community should want this restaurant in their neighborhood.

McDonald's has failed to take into consideration safety and traffic issues. For one, the restaurant will be located at the bottom of a mile-long hill with an 8% grade, where there have been traffic accidents. Other issues involve security, trash, noise and odor. The McDonald's representatives could not address any of these issues but could only repeatedly state that they were within the boundaries of the law, that the site is zoned for commercial development and that the restaurant would be beneficial for the community.

It is also quite unusual that, according to McDonald's, this restaurant has been in the planning stages since September, 1989. Yet for almost all at this meeting, this was the first time we had heard about the restaurant going in. Also, we were told construction was to begin in a mere three weeks.

My questions are quite obvious: why was the Town Council not contacted when the proposal was first developed (though McDonald's said they did speak to receptionist several weeks ago)? Why was no survey taken among Altadena residents asking whether or not they wanted a McDonald's in the community? And most important, why should Altadena accept this without resistance if we do not want it? The only people who want this restaurant are those who stand to make a buck off of it: the property owner (who interestingly also owns the McDonald's 2.8 miles south of the proposed site, in Pasadena), the developer and McDonald's Corp.

The bottom line is, we, the community of Altadena are having this project, which we neither need nor want, shoved down our throats. It is the classic instance of big money versus the little guy. I am telling you now, we will not give up without a fight to the death. We will protest and petition. We will write our politicians. We will get up pickets and we will seek help through the judicial system and the media.

MICHAEL J. HEAD

Altadena

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