Future of Nelles site still unclear

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREFrumpy Middle-aged Mom: My realistic 2020 New Year’s resolutions. Some involve doughnuts.However, the Assembly’s failure to vote on the prison bills Thursday does not mean Nelles is out of danger yet, said Councilman Greg Nordbak. “The subject can still come back up again between now and Nov. 30,” Nordbak said. “The issue is not over until they agree to sell it for the benefit of the city.” Both the Senate and Assembly bills were re-written in the past week, removing any mention of Nelles as a potential target for re-opening. But Mayor Cathy Warner said that was just the first round. “The Senate bill stipulates that all state facilities must be evaluated and reviewed by April 1, 2007,” Warner said. “But who’s to say what can or can’t happen by April 1? If we make a concerted effort with the governor to work out something that can benefit the administration while facilitating the sale, then maybe we can have a development.” Councilman Joe Vinatieri said while the earlier versions of the bills, that were amended Aug. 24, prohibited the sale of Nelles, the new bills put the site in the same position it was to start with. The only difference is that it must be put up for sale again by the Department of General Services (DGS), which oversees state property, before the process of trying to develop the site can get back on track. “If it passes today, it’s just the first step,” Vinatieri said. “We won’t have any bills saying \ has to be a prison or that it can’t be sold, but we still have the challenge of convincing the governor to let DGS sell it.” Lawmakers told the governor Tuesday they would not approve some of the major aspects of his $6 billion prison reform plan, proposing to fund less than $1 billion of it, published accounts said. Schwarzenegger ordered a special session on prison overcrowding this month after it became apparent that bed space in the state’s penitentiaries is projected to run out in June. In an effort to head off the release of thousands of inmates, the governor was forced to halt the pending sale of any surplus correctional sites in order to review the possibility of reopening them. “The whole thing started when the state lost a lawsuit by a prisoners’ rights group making the state responsible for the health and safety needs of prisoners,” Warner said. “That’s when the governor said time- out, we have to address the overcrowding and look at all our sites.” State Public Works Board members had been scheduled July 14 to formally approve the sale of the 73-acre Nelles site to private developer Meruelo Maddux Properties of Los Angeles, which submitted a high bid of $107 million for the property. Instead, acting on a request from the DGS, the board pulled the approval from its agenda to allow officials more time to consider whether Nelles should be reopened as a prison, officials said. But the move came nearly two weeks after Schwarzenegger called on June 26 for the state to build more prisons. The governor said he worried that the federal government could seize control of overcrowded state prisons unless more lockups are built soon. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3029160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WHITTIER – Local and state lawmakers managed to keep the Fred C. Nelles Correctional Facility out of all legislation related to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s $6 billion prison package by the session deadline Thursday night. However, since the Assembly never voted on their prison-related bills, it’s still possible for lawmakers to add it to new legislation if the special session is reconvened before Nov. 30, said city officials. The Senate passed some similar bills Wednesday night. Whittier officials have been in Sacramento around the clock this past week in an effort to head off any last-minute amendments that would put Nelles in a position to be re-opened as a correctional facility. last_img read more