District 1: Denise Barnes AWOL On Key West Anaheim Revitalization Vote

Why did Councilmember Denise Barnes skip a key West Anaheim revitalization vote Tuesday’s council meeting?

She participated in the marathon three-hour closed session meeting to determine City Manager Chris Zapata’s fate.  When the city council re-convened for its public session, Barnes was absent.

Mind you, the council meeting was being conducted via telephone – so Barnes didn’t physically go anywhere. She decided not to participate in open session, missing a significant vote on West Anahem revitalization.

Revitalization is a big deal for residents of West Anaheim. It is something for which they have fought and advocated for many, many years. Last August, the council took a significant step on that front by approving 39 Commons, a major residential/retail/entertanment mixed use project on a 30-acre, city-owned parcel at Beach Boulevard and Lincoln Avenue known to locals as “Sinkin’ Lincoln.”  The project is being undertaken by Greenlaw Development.

The site of the proposed residential development at Beach and Lincoln is currently home to the dilapidated American Hotel, and other businesses.

On Tuesday, the city council was slated to consider an exclusive negoatiating agreement (ENA) with Greenlaw on purchasing a 5.56-acre property owned by the city, located across Lincoln Avenue from the 39 Commons project.  The property is currently home to several businesses, including Americana Motel, the Old Mexican Restaurant and a vacant lot where the Silver Moon Motel once stood.

Greenlaw intends to develop market-rate, for-sale homes and affordable-rent apartments, and the project will complement the dynamism of the 39 Commons project. Attractive new housing is a key to attracting more of the kind of retail and entertainment uses that residents want and will help drive West Anaheim revitalization. It will also help meet Anaheim’s need for more affordable housing.

This proposed project is in District 1, but the district’s councilmember – Denise Barnes – skipped the vote on this critical milestone (it was approved 6-0).

West Anaheim’s other councilmember, Councilman Jordan Brandman of District 2, was on hand to represent their interests.

Indeed – Councilman Steve Faessel from District 5 pulled the item for discussion and had this to say:

“We also know that the housing pieces on both sides of Lincoln, will help make the retail and community parts of 39 Commons more successful, so I am happy to support this ENA so ensure we get the project right and moving forward as quickly as possible, and and strongly as possible.”

Compounding the weirdness of her disappearing act was the fact Barnes phoned in again for the continuation of the closed session – late at night, after the public portion of the meeting was done.

Judging by Councilman Jose F. Moreno’s intemperate behavior during the open session – and his hysterical subsequent disinformation campaign – the earlier closed session about Zapata must have been intense and hostile. But every other council member was able to conduct the public’s business afterward.

Except Barnes.

When asked on Facebook why Barnes skipped the open council session, her aide Cynthia Ward averred her boss “was not feeling well.”

Blogger and Barnes supporter Vern Nelson posted a more direct explanation on the same thread: “Denise was too upset after closed session to continue, she might get back on.”

It’s fair to say every councilmember was upset after a grueling, emotional 3-hour closed session – yet the other six managed to take a breath, dust themselves off and stick around to conduct the public’s business – including an important vote on a key project in Barnes’ district.

How does Barnes feel well enough for nearly four hours of bookended closed session, but not well enough to give her constituents an hour to speak for them on a key District 1 revitalization project.

Being an elected official can be tough, but Barnes wanted the job. Walk it off, councilmember. District 1 residents expect as much.

17 comments

  1. West anaheim resident

    This is so typical of Denise Barnes.
    She hasnt helped out district 1 at all, she regularly listens and does whatever Jose Moreno tells her to do. So we are not surprised, just very, very disappointed that’s shes the one representing a district that needs help so desperately and shes done nothing. Zero.

    This was a huge important deal for west Anaheim district one, and it’s just unloyal to us that picks and chooses like she has. Shes been a waste of any representation for district 1.

    She should apologize, and fix this, but she won’t.

    As usual, thanks alot Denise Barnes. Classic and unforgiveable.

  2. West anaheim resident you have no idea what Denise Barnes does for the residents in her district. While you are here typing Denise is out serving lunches to seniors in her district, what other council members doing? They are making up stories like this one.

    • West Anaheim resident

      Brad I very well have an idea. Look at her voting history, or her lack of voting in this case. It’s very unfair! Great shes feeding seniors, but if you are following this whole revitalization, you should know how very important it is. Extremely. And I take it personally, because she is supposed to be representing us.

    • Matthew Cunningham

      “Made up”? Which part of this article is not true?

      Answer: it is all true.

  3. Another Resident

    Serving up the homeless is something any one of us can do, so BFD.

    Only 7 people could have voted on this matter, so vital to her district, and yet she opted not to do it. It’s inexcusable. First she was Tait’s lackey, now she’s Moreno’s. We deserve so much better than her.

  4. David Michael Klawe

    Good evening folks, this might take a bit, but I think it is good background.

    Now, to me, Item #1, the ENA, was the most important thing on the City Council Agenda. Yes, I saw the Closed Session Agenda Items, but since I didn’t know what was really going on, I accepted that the public would find out after the councilmembers had the Closed Session discussion.

    I am going to post my Public Comments, sent Monday Morning. Let me say, that morning, I walked my wife to the car around 6 AM, as she left to go to work for the Orange County Health Care Agency.

    I came back into the house, and decided to work on the garden in the backyard. Well, while I was outside, with earbuds on to listen to the radio, my mother woke up, and fell. She hit her MedAlert, which had them call the Paramedics, and then me. Well, I went inside right away, opened the front door and checked on Mom, who was fine, except she was on the floor. She was just fine, and after they left, showed no signs of medical problems. And she is still fine, for an 88 year old. Her body might be not as good as it was, but her mind is still sharp! I share that due to my public comments…

    >>Good day, David Klawe, West Anaheim Resident.

    First off, I would like to thank everyone working for and with the city to get through this COVID-19 Crisis, especially the Anaheim Fire Department. This morning, they responded to a Paramedic Call from our house. My mother hit her Med Alert, since she fell down while trying to use the bathroom. I happened to be outside working in the garden. They arrived quickly, performed everything professionally, and helped her up, and then since there was no medical issue, left with our thanks. So once again to Chief Russell and all of his firefighters and staff, the Klawe Family once again gets our thanks, since just over three years ago, they saved my life.

    Also, thanks goes to Anaheim Sporn, and the Anaheim Community Foundation for her work with W.A.N.D., last Thursday night, our Executive Committee made the tough choice to officially cancel the W.A.N.D. BBQ that was supposed to happen last Saturday, and then looking at Memorial Day Weekend. We are all looking forward to resuming our public events as quickly as possible.

    I am writing in total support of Greenlaw Development being given the Exclusive Rights to development the South East Corner of Beach and Lincoln.

    I have been fortunate to see a presentation of the possible project, talked to both John Woodhead and Rob Mitchell, and discussed this with others. Having the same developer that is building the 39 Commons project on the North West Corner, doing the South East Corner just makes sense. West Anaheim has been looking forward to the area being cleaned up and upgraded. We all know how much the late Esther Wallace wanted to see the project happen, and I am looking forward to seeing a tribute to her being added to the 39 Commons, heck Wallace Place sounds like a great Street Name.

    So I am asking all 7 of you to please approve Item # 1, and we look forward to seeing this project moving along quickly.

    Once again, on behalf of a grateful Klawe Family, our sincere thanks to everyone at the city, we appreciate what you are all doing during this COVID-19 crisis to make sure the city is doing to get through this situation, and being prepared to reopen as quickly as possible.<<

    • David Michael Klawe

      So on Monday night, just be 5 PM, I go to live feed on Anaheim.net, since I truly cared about the ENA. When it didn’t start on time, I wasn’t surprised, as I figured the Closed Session might go longer than expected.

      So at 6 PM, was happy to hear the Open Council Meeting starting. Then I hear the City Clerk announcing the fact Councilmember Barnes would not be participating in the meeting. I was in a bit of shock, why is she missing this, with the South East corner of Beach and Lincoln on the Agenda (In her district).

      Happy to hear all the support from the rest of the council on this important project.

      I then listened to the entire meeting, as I wanted to hear the COVID-19 update, It was amazing to hear from all the hard working city staff and how they are addressing the issue.

      When the council went back to Closed Session, I left it in the background of my computer with the sound up, so about 45 minutes later, heard the Open Session resumed, I found out that Councilmember Barnes returned to participate in the Closed Session, I once again thought, what is up with that?

      Now, I was questioning the Councilperson due to a post over the weekend, so I will get into that in the next segment/post

    • David Michael Klawe

      So I post on Nextdoor, and Councilmember Barnes is in my circle of nearby neighborhoods. Last Friday, the Councilmember posted a thread titled “I NEED YOU MORE THAN EVER…GOTTA KEEP ZAPATA, OUR CITY MANAGER”

      >>Dear residents of Anaheim and beyond. I ask that you write an email to city hall ASAP<<<TODAY.
      Our City Manager is being replaced possibly if we don't act NOW!
      In the middle of this great crisis we need to stand by him and tell the mayor, and the other city council members that we need Chris Zapata more than ever.

      email: lday@anaheim.net

      Gotta keep ZAPATA!

      THAT'S it. click enter and you will have saved our city. DON'T wait.
      SEND TO AT LEAST 5 more people.

      Thank you so much.<>Ken D, Anaheim – Baden-Powell/Schweitzer

      I wish you’d put this much effort into getting the hooker, homeless and drug addicts out of our neighborhoods.

      Denise Barnes
      Denise Barnes, Anaheim – Maxwell
      I do agree with you. However when I need 2 other council members to agree to move the effort forward. Thank you

      Ken D, Anaheim – Baden-Powell/Schweitzer
      Denise Barnes that’s a easy excuse. You don’t need other people to create change. Stand up for your district and make some noise. Your being complacent has turned your district into a ghetto. Your district has serious problems that you were elected to solve. Please don’t ignore our neighborhood to play petty politics.<>I think removing over sized vehicles and for sale parking cars off the street and trespass letters for commercial owners to remove homeless and caution coyote signs in the parks and closing the AMERICANA Motel and having permanent supportive housing and the (Homeless outreach team) and adding 2 more clinicians from the county to access our mentally ill and opening another food source for our Seniors is Just a little bit in my estimation. But what would you suggest?<>caution coyote signs in the parks<<

      I will discuss this in the next segment.

      I attended workshops, saw multiple councilmembers sitting in the audience listening, but never saw Councilmember Barnes.

      I don't remember any comments or anything about the changes, except worrying about how the Oversized Vehicles rules would affect the Homeless living in RV's. (Homeless meaning nowhere to park their RV in a leased space).

  5. David Michael Klawe

    OOPS, I posted something with a link, so let me try again, without it. Also, missed some things.

    So I post on Nextdoor, and Councilmember Barnes is in my circle of nearby neighborhoods. Last Friday, the Councilmember posted a thread titled “I NEED YOU MORE THAN EVER…GOTTA KEEP ZAPATA, OUR CITY MANAGER”

    >>Dear residents of Anaheim and beyond. I ask that you write an email to city hall ASAP<<<TODAY.
    Our City Manager is being replaced possibly if we don't act NOW!

    In the middle of this great crisis we need to stand by him and tell the mayor, and the other city council members that we need Chris Zapata more than ever.

    email: (LDay, at the city)

    Gotta keep ZAPATA!

    THAT'S it. click enter and you will have saved our city. DON'T wait.

    SEND TO AT LEAST 5 more people.
    Thank you so much.Ken D, Anaheim – Baden-Powell/Schweitzer
    I wish you’d put this much effort into getting the hooker, homeless and drug addicts out of our neighborhoods.

    Denise Barnes
    Denise Barnes, Anaheim – Maxwell
    I do agree with you. However when I need 2 other council members to agree to move the effort forward. Thank you

    Ken D, Anaheim – Baden-Powell/Schweitzer
    Denise Barnes that’s a easy excuse. You don’t need other people to create change. Stand up for your district and make some noise. Your being complacent has turned your district into a ghetto. Your district has serious problems that you were elected to solve. Please don’t ignore our neighborhood to play petty politics.<I think removing over sized vehicles and for sale parking cars off the street and trespass letters for commercial owners to remove homeless and caution coyote signs in the parks and closing the AMERICANA Motel and having permanent supportive housing and the (Homeless outreach team) and adding 2 more clinicians from the county to access our mentally ill and opening another food source for our Seniors is Just a little bit in my estimation. But what would you suggest?<

    I will discuss this in my next segment

  6. David Michael Klawe

    Sorry it is late.

    Let me repost what Denise Barnes posted the next day in the same thread.

    >>I think removing over sized vehicles and for sale parking cars off the street and trespass letters for commercial owners to remove homeless and caution coyote signs in the parks and closing the AMERICANA Motel and having permanent supportive housing and the (Homeless outreach team) and adding 2 more clinicians from the county to access our mentally ill and opening another food source for our Seniors is Just a little bit in my estimation. But what would you suggest?<<

    In regards to Permit Parking/Oversized vehicles and For Sale vehicles.

    I attended workshops, saw multiple councilmembers sitting in the audience listening, but never saw Councilmember Barnes.

    I don't remember any comments or anything about the changes, except worrying about how the Oversized Vehicles rules would affect the Homeless living in RV's. (Homeless meaning nowhere to park their RV in a leased space). She did vote Yes for the changes, but so did everyone else on the dais.

    • David Michael Klawe

      As for the Trespass Letters and adding clinicians, I happen to know more than a few APD officers, mainly from when they attend W.A.N.D. meetings. Many are H.O.T. and P.E.R.T. officers They explained how the trespass letters work, and how they get owners to sign them. Also, as for the 2 clinicians, they explained how the county approved them. Deputy Chief Harvey pushed the county to approve the positions. My wife Lisa was there, and paying close attention, since she works for the county’s Health Care Agency, where the clinicians also work. I heard of no involvement from the councilperson, as it was the county who approved the assignment.

  7. David Michael Klawe

    The Americana Motel was approached by the city to buy the property in 2016, before Councilmember Barnes was elected to office. (reference – OC Register, January 4th, 2018.

    The person to thank is John Woodhead, who as a member of the city staff for over 20 years, has worked on the area at Beach and Lincoln since he was hired. He was a big key to get 39 Commons project approved, after Mayor Sidhu found Greenlaw Development and had them partner with Zelman, who already had an agreement with the city. I do remember Councilmember Barnes thanking the Mayor from the dais in getting the Greenlaw/Zelman partnership done.

    But the one that really got me was this claim, which I will explain in my next post.

    >>caution coyote signs in the parks <<

  8. David Michael Klawe

    Let me explain my background with the Concerned Citizens about Coyotes.

    I was approached by the group in 2018, to help them get the word out, and making sure, especially children, got taught the basic safety information about being careful with Coyote interactions.

    I had a long lunch at the Pizza Hut at Magnolia and Broadway with the group. They wanted help in trying to get the word out, as they were frustrated with the city actions. First, I explained about how the city had no real power with school districts, the best thing there was to go to each of the 8 school districts that serve Anaheim. As for the city, I had them contact the city manager and the councilmembers/Mayor, since they were not happy with the current city staff member in charge of the Coyote Management Plan.

    That resulted with getting a meeting with Councilmember Brandman, as West Anaheim had the most serious Coyote Interactions in the city, by far. Jordan Brandman got the attention of the city manager, who did replace the staff member to Jesse Becerra, who has done a wonderful job. Also, Sandra Segart was placed in a position of oversight, and helped out a lot.

    • David Michael Klawe

      I was attending most of the Coyote meetings the city held for concerned citizens about once a month. State and County agencies also attended, as the group wanted a revised management plan. The only councilmember who I saw was in attendance was Councilmember Faessel, who I saw at two meetings, along with his wife Susan. He was at the meeting where they showed the first proposed sign. That sign had modifications due to the input the citizens made.

      In late 2019, there was a meeting held at the Downtown Community Center to go over the revised plan, the revised sign and other items. It was well attended by multiple agencies, and Ms. Segart was there, even though a council meeting was happening at the same time. Ms. Segart had a Homeless update she had to present, so she left by 7 PM.

      Anyways, it was the group that made decisions as to where to post the signs, based on coyote sightings. (Heck, my Ring Camera caught a Coyote at my front door).

      I remember no interaction from Councilmember Barnes at all, except when voting for the revised plan in November of 2019, which was approved.

      Let me share one more Nextdoor post.

  9. David Michael Klawe

    The Nextdoor post is from August of 2019

    >>Response from Denise Barnes Anahiem city councilwoman

    I believe parents are responsible for the safety of their children. I will report your request/demand to the city manager for our protection from coyotes. Thank you for your email.

    Denise Barnes
    Anaheim City Councilwoman, District 1

    On Aug 19, 2019, at 1:48 PM, mike w. wrote:

    I have lived in the same house for over 30 years, not until this year have I seen coyotes walking in the neighborhood and sometimes in pairs. They have taken and eaten household pets and because of there brazenness in morning when children are walking to Peter Marshall or evening when they play outside I believe this is a safety hazard and for you as our representative along with the city of Anaheim to tell us to jump up and down and carry a stick or a rock to keep these wild animals at bay till we call 911 and wait for a response was unbelievable when I heard this and is the stated position.

    I would like to know what you will do about this or if you are waiting for a child to be injured or killed by a group of these wild coyotes . They are not always lone hunters and they have been spotted in groups.

    You are responsible for the safety of our neighborhood children.

    I will await your response

    Sincerely

    Mike W.<>To Denise Barnes

    Shame on you Denise…Parents are responsible for the safety of their children, but so is the community. Especially those that are in office, the Police Dept., Fire Dept., and all those officials running our City. We pay our hard earned tax dollars to pay for these services from our local government employees and for the safety of our community.

    Your response to Mike W. was very much shirking the responsibility of your office.<<

    So I know that Councilmembers Brandman and Faessel were very proactive in getting the signs done and placed in the parks.

    I have no knowledge of Councilmember Barnes involved at any level of making the revised plan and new signs in the parks, and I was active in getting the project done.

    I remember at one of Councilmember Brandman's Town Hall that he invited David Belmar to discuss the Coyote Management Plan, and the importance of following it for the safety of the residents.

    I don't get how she can claim that she helped get the signs. So yes, I am frustrated with the councilperson and not seeing her step up, and I attend most of the community meetings in West Anaheim. I feel she has been M.I.A. since she was elected in 2016.

    Sent from my iPad

    • West Anaheim resident

      Well said.

      I agree 100%, and it’s all on record what shes not voted for, not helped with, and not supported.
      All anyone needs to do is look around at district 1.
      Its beyond frustrating that she isnt helping us. What a waste of money.

      Everyones begged her for years to step up. I have never had any support from her.

      Now it’s just too late. Unforgivable Denise.

  10. West tired anaheim resident

    We have the leades we deserved. It is timeto send a strong message to Denise Barnes. We need to vote her out NOW! We need the 39commons project to move forward. It is a chance that i would like to see finish in my life time. In this incoming elections we need to vote Denise Barnes out! When she can’t even stay loyal to her party, what can WE, the residents of West Anaheim, expect from her? What can i say? What a joke! I can emphasize this more, we need a leader that looks after District 1!

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