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LA PALMA : City OKs 3rd Carwash, Hears Criticisms

October 06, 1994|BILL BILLITER

The city continues to be divided over the number of carwashes a city of 15,700 residents should allow.

In the latest fray, the City Council on Tuesday night upheld its earlier decision to permit a third carwash. And at the same time, the council took aim at an existing carwash operator who had criticized council members and appealed their action granting the third carwash.

By a 4-1 vote, the council accused carwash owner Dr. Gordon Cook of improper water drainage and other code violations. The council's action gave Cook, a retired dentist, until Nov. 1 to correct the alleged violations or lose his city permit.

Several residents in an overflow audience of about 200 Tuesday night accused the council majority of attacking Cook to try to silence him. Cook bitterly had fought the new carwash granted by the council.

"I want assurance that we still have our constitutional rights to speak out in our city," one resident, Kathy Miller, told the council.

Another resident, Bill Sexton, told the council its action against Cook had a chilling effect.

"I'm almost afraid to get up here. . . . " Sexton said. "You've got people intimidated here."

Mayor Wally D. Linn repeatedly told the audience that the council and city staff had not singled out Cook.

"We have no personal vendetta against Dr. Cook," Linn said. "These violations simply came to our attention."

Councilwoman Eva G. Miner was the only one voting in opposition to the council's action against Cook. She praised Cook and said she was "embarrassed" that the city had threatened to suspend his business operation. Miner also cast the only opposing vote when the City Council later Tuesday night upheld its Aug. 16 decision approving a third carwash.

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