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March 08, 2007



"If Brea is so particular about what will take the place of Tower Records and clearly do not trust Tower to find a replacement tenant that is compatible with an "entertainment/restaurant" district, why don't they pay the rent on the 30,000 square feet and find an "appropriate" tenant themselves for their hang-around-drink-lattes-watch-movies-get-an-ice-cream district?"

Well clearly they don't have to, Jubal. I'll bet it's because the original developer was subsidized, (or Tower records themselves got some kind of Redevelopment subsidy to buy-in later) and there was a contractual proviso for City approval of future tenants. The issue here is not one of property rights, but one of government orchestrating "private enterprise" to effect their master plan. In 1930s Germany it was called National Socialism; in California it's called Redevelopment.


Good point, RP. Perhaps it would be more accurate, in this intance, to say Brea is hostile to free enterprise.


Let's see, no Walmarts (because the unions hate them), no Walgreens because they are tawdry. Seems the only things cities find acceptable is building Costco's where churches are suppose to go. I hope all these cities that have these mindless children running their governments take big sales tax hits and the voters run them out of office. Is it too much to expect Congress to step in to support our free enterprise system? Probably so, they are too busy trying to run a war on a schedule.

Vargas should run again

so he can lose again.

Of course, the county party would endorse him and yes he would lose big again.

Viva Vargas

Vargas is good on the issues, but his personality is a little "rough around the edges."

Richard Rios

There are times when people must choose self interest or principle. I live within walking distance of the Downtown area. I enjoy the shops, movies, and even a good coffee ;-) From a self interest stand point I would have to say I would prefer a high end eatery.

However, this kind of situation is what defines substantive principle. I do not believe that government agencies, be it the City of Brea or other, should dictate or regulate free market conditions.

I understand how the development of the downtown came into existence and understand the City has substantial financial interest in preserving it's plan. The debate on whether that original indebted interest should have been place on the taxpayer or left to private market conditions will be a hot topic for many elections to come.

What I am surprised at is that I have not heard more buzz about the business factors that enticed Walgreen's to put a store there. We have several vacant locations, some across from the City Center, that would be suitable.

Brea has a trolley transportation system that has several stops around town. I would have liked to see an encouragement to use another storefront and then adjust the trolley schedule and stops to accommodate the Seniors that would need to use the store. (I use the seniors as an example due to the colorful speaker at Tuesday's council session who advocated the need of a Walgreens for the Senior population)

The end result would be another anchor tenant in town, the downtown look and feel on it's current plan, residents pharmaceutical needs accommodated, and it would all make free market economic sense without the need for government influence in business.

Of course one could argue, "But Mr. Rios, by the City adjusting the trolley schedule it is influencing free market." To that I reply the Trolley is there to serve the residents by transporting them to those areas most desired.

"But Mr. Rios, you said to encourage the use of another storefront, isn't that government influence?" There is a difference in finding win-win solutions supporting free market and using tax payer money to prevent open free market. Time is too short to delve into the logistics and more importantly the rational of that.

Richard Rios
OC Chair - California Republican National Hispanic Assembly
Vice Chair - Brea Seniors Advisory Board
Housing Brean's Advisory Board

-my posted opinions do not in any way represent and most likely do not reflect those of the City or of the above listed city boards.

Richard Rios

BTW, did I miss something in the posts about Vargas. I only see what appears to be replies to a post of some kind.

Steve Vargas

So I'm reading this.....and I see a post that references me but I don't follow??? Help me out here, Post at 4:51 starts off with "so he can lose again". Was there another post that said I should run again?? The other one at 5:33 says I'm "rough around the edges" That is actually accurate.

You would be too if you started your political career as an honest hardworking family man trying to get good people to do the right thing, they know it's the right thing but they cave time after time to the bureaucracy. Lynn Daucher for a short time was actually paired up with me when I first was elected to kinda show me the ropes. I remember being in a meeting to discuss a workers comp issue and I was really confused by the roll-over we were about to do and she put her cold hand on mine and gently tapped, "believe me Steve I've been done this road before, it's all in the calculation, there's nothing we can do"

B.S. I took a class at CSU-Riverside on workers comp (got an A) and learned the calculation and everything about the subject. The very next time the lawyer came in to roll out this 15 part calc, I peppered him with question he couldn't answer.....we did not approve that settlement-(he did come back a few weeks later with a lower adjustment). The point is if you are willing to fight for good government and stick to your guns you CAN make a difference. But God, it is frustrating.

In my last campaign, my tag-line was "Kinder and Gentler" in recognition of my previous reputation as rough around the edges. I put on a great campaign, absolutely stuck to the issues and did not attack anyone. For my effort, the entire elected body, a group of enviro wacko's and Don Daucher walked a city wide hit piece that focus solely on my support from the Republican Party and questioned my temperament.

I am so glad you all are finally seeing what I have been battling for 10 years....this stuff is just the tip of the iceberg....stay tuned for more.
Respectfully, the real vivavargas

Kinder, Gentler and Dishonest

Steve would you like to explain why you and your consultant Adam Probolsky lied in a mailer to the citizens of Brea. The mailer claimed you received a unanimous endorsement from the county party. That was not true. It is common fact that Adam takes liberties with the truth but he is not running for office.

Art Pedroza

Mr. Rios,

Unless you are speaking for the organizations you are referencing under your name, you ought not be listing them with your posts. Bad form. Yes, you added a disclaimer, but why not just refrain from including these titles? Let your ideas speak for themselves.

Steve - this comment is for you. I think one of the reasons you lost is the company you keep. The people of Brea don't like far-right wackoes. I realize you tried to tone down the partsan rhetoric, but the 8:18 poster is correct. You sent out a misleading mailer that looked like it came from the OC GOP.

My advice - don't run as a Republican. Run as a resident of Brea. Run on your ideas, and run away from the party hacks you normally surround yourself with. You are a good guy and deserve better - but the voters won't bite until you convince them that you care more about them and the City of Brea than you do the OC GOP.

Steve Vargas

All Concerned: We are getting off subject here. The issue was Brea Turns Up It's Nose To Walgreens. Brea politicians have gotten themselves into a pickle with our downtown because after 12 years of Redevelopment abuse they were in such a hole ($651,000,000 debt in 1995) that they had to do a rush job of piece mealing it out. The result was the developers could keep on coming back and making demands for more money or delete items already agreed upon. A classic example is TOWER RECORDS’ who came back after signing a lease agreement to state they needed an additional $265,000 to build an escalator to the second story! This one passed on a 4-1 vote, guess who dissented?

Now – getting back to poster 8:18…. “would you like to explain why you and your consultant Adam Probolsky lied in a mailer to the citizens of Brea? The mailer claimed you received a unanimous endorsement from the county party…”
Adam was NOT my consultant, I wish I could claim he was…The independent expenditure had a minor error that said “unanimous” when a more accurate statement would have been 65-1. Big deal, it was such a moot point that everyone missed, even me, until Lynn Dauchers (reads Don) campaign stepped in and threatened to sue the Party for a correction. The LIE that took place was perpetrated by those participating in the whisper campaign to state I had no endorsement from the Party, much like you just did. Now stick with me here while I connect this to a lesson in loyalty to poster 9:30.
Art: When the Daucher’s threatened to sue the Party for a retraction regarding the “unanimous” issue, the Party had to bend a bit to placate the whiners calling for action. The Dauchers were in the middle of a State Senate race yet found time and resources to focus on my campaign in Brea. While all this played out, in order to protect the slim margin Lynn had to win that election I had to keep my mouth shut, nobody ordered me to do so, it was intuitive. If I fought the issue, it might have raised the attention in the slow election in Brea and I may have faired better, but doing so would certainly dash Lynn’s already tarnished reputation and Senate chances. So for the good of higher electeds I once again kept my very vocal mouth shut. That is the extent of my loyalty to even Lynn Daucher. The Party couldn’t defend me from the backstabbing going on in Brea in order to placate the Dauchers. My friends in the Party knew I would not abandon them or walk away from them because of a single issue. Loyalty is not won with a title but earned by being Loyal.
Art writes: “Run on your ideas, and run away from the party hacks you normally surround yourself with. You are a good guy and deserve better - but the voters won't bite until you convince them that you care more about them and the City of Brea than you do the OC GOP.”
I run on Principles, my ideas are based on certain Principles that we all (including you my prodigal son) hold dear: Property Rights, Less Government, Lower Taxes, and Open Governance. I only need to convince the voters that I believe in them to stand up for the Principles I am ready to fight for. When they are ready and see what you all are seeing these past few days, I stand ready to serve the citizens once again. Patience is a virtue which I have. Another quality I have is I never Run. To cut and run is the easy road, I prefer the road less traveled.
v/r Steven C. Vargas, Former Councilman, City of Brea
PS Thanks for the "you are a good guy" remark. I appreciate you mentioning it.

Richard Rios


Great advice, I always appreciate criticism that is meant to be helpful. I weighed the pro's and con's of the tag title and was unsure of which way to go. Your advice is helpful and has been taken.

Your point of letting your ideas speak for themselves is true and hopefully those idea's/principles will be self evident over time.

I respect your advice but disagree about running as a Republican. My values and beliefs closely parallel that of the Republican Party so to deny or not run as a Republican would be to not run as who I am.

I believe what you are saying is to not become so focused on party politics that it becomes the center of rational/reasoning and not the people I am trying to help. I am hopeful that this never occurs and if the political parties in general were removed I would still have the same values, hold the same principles, still volunteer where I can because I care about my neighbors, and still be appreciative of the family that I come home to every day.

Thanks again.

Richard Rios

While I'm no supporter of local governments impinging on free enterprise, I'm not sure that the post is accurate. It sounds to me like Brea went and asked a Federal bankruptcy judge to deny a motion by Tower records. It is implicit here that the Tower motion was seeking approval to modify an existing lease agreement between Tower and its landlord (which may be the City of Brea?). Brea, or whomever, as the landlord, opposed the motion because it would be contrary to the tenant mix devised for this particular area -- a valid concern of any landlord in any shopping mall. If once can't control its tenant mix, it can't effectively pursue its marketing strategy. Also, other tenants may become upset. If I've inferred the facts correctly, this may be a case of Brea acting as any other landlord would under the bankruptcy laws, which specifically provide protections for landlords to preserve their tenant mix when a deadbeat tenant leaves space prematurely and tries to foist a new tenant on the landlord without giving the landlord the right to negotiate its own contracts with its own tenants sitting on its own land.

Of course, if Brea is not the landlord, and the landlord wanted Walgreens, then I agree that Brea has no place inserting itself in the matter.


8:54: "While I'm no supporter of local governments impinging on free enterprise, I'm not sure that the post is accurate."

If you don't support local gov'ts impinging on free enterprise, then why is it okay for the Brea Redevelopment Agency to be a commercial landlord at all? Please be consistent.

In any case, I doubt if they are a landlord, just a provider of subsidies to privileged corporate recipients who meet their "profile." Subsidies for which they get veto power in future lease agreements, etc. The Agency has poured millions of dollars (debt) into their concept of a neo-urban valhalla and they certainly don't want to let the vagaries of free enterprise spoil their amusement park.


In reality, the location is a horrible spot for a drugstore.

Anyone whose ever driven through the downtown, if you can call it that, will attest to this.

Even my ten year daughter old thinks a Borders/Starbucks combo is a better xcommercial choice.

But, living here, I would'nt be suprised to see one of the evangelic churches snap it up, which the homophobe mayor would naturally support.

John Beauman, Councilmember

Why, in bankruptcy court, did the City of Brea oppose Tower Records subleasing to Walgreens?
The simple answer is: “a Walgreens” type store is not permitted by the Downtown CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions) created to control the new Downtown’s tenant mix and allow the local business owners to effectively pursue a marketing strategy consistent with the envisioned goals and mission statement for the Downtown.
As ruled by the bankruptcy court, Tower Records attempt to sublease its 30,000 square feet store to Walgreens constituted a violation of the legally binding CC&Rs which Tower Records agreed to abide by when first leasing the site. As nice as it may have been, Walgreens had no intention of putting in an ice cream parlor as suggested by some. Their intent was to divide the property and sublease it to “who knows who.” The City avoids interfering with commercial property owners rights to select tenants as long as it doesn’t violate city codes; but the Downtown is unique in that the City created the vision for the new Downtown and—via its Redevelopment Agency—is a member of the Downtown Owners Association (DOA). As such it has a vested interest in ensuring that occupancy is consistent with the CC&Rs.
Is there a better tenant than Walgreens? I honestly don’t know. But, ignoring the CC&Rs is can not a proper response since doing so may adversely affect the other Downtown small-business owners.


Ah, Mr. Beauman, that is probably the lamest exercise in circular reasoning I've heard in quite some time.

First, a real jewel:

"(Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions) created to control the new Downtown’s tenant mix and allow the local business owners to effectively pursue a marketing strategy consistent with the envisioned goals and mission statement for the Downtown."

and then this pearl:

"The City avoids interfering with commercial property owners rights to select tenants as long as it doesn’t violate city codes;"

You create the right to interfere and then you say you don't interfere - just uphold the law. That, sir, is a pile of, um, baloney.


RP--Isn't Beauman's circular reasoning the logical extension of cities micromanaging private sector development via the redevelopment process? A city without a soul.


Yes, BR it certainly is. Support of Redevelopment practices has always been a sort of litmus test for me not only about one's "conservatism" (if that term has any meaning anymore), but also of one's independence of mind, regardless of political party.

As for Brea not having a soul, that's a bit atmospheric for me, but it seems to be true that they lost something when they got into the business of dictating CC&Rs (after they demolished their existing downtown).

Richard Rios

RP, circular reasoning is a good descriptive.

I have to give Councilman Beauman credit though, at least he has made his view public. For example, I don't think it can be questioned he supports Open Space at the expense of Property Rights. Now that is not a comment directed purely at the current Carbon Canyon issue in Brea alone but his are reflective of his statements that proclaim the necessity even in LA County.

As far as Redevelopment, I think it can be said without reservation that he is a big Redevelopment advocate. I can remember in his first run for Council a question that came up at a local debate being held at a senior park where the concern of eminent domain was raised. The question was " How do we know you (speaking to council candidates ) wouldn't close our park and change it to commercial?” Roy Moore, Bill Lantini, and Steve Vargas all replied that they would never let that happen. Councilman Beauman reply on the other hand was he would have to evaluate it at that time and consider the economic conditions. The crowd was almost silent afterward.

So although I do not agree with him on Property Rights priority or Redevelopment spending at least I know where the lines are drawn. I wish the rest of the Council would be as open about what they believe.

Just for the record, I guess more my opinion, Eric Nichols who is the Director of the Redevelopment Agency has always been an open, courteous and helpful when I have asked questions regarding the Agency. I do not have any doubt he will run that Agency with effectiveness based on the direction he receives. The direction he receives is from the Council and the City Manager.

So the question is, will the current Council and Manager continue to direct him to get involved in directing open market business decisions or will there be a change in his marching orders that move to managing the Agencies current obligations and start crafting agreements that keep the city out of the private sector.

If there is not a change with or in the council, then the City's involvement in private business contracts will expand.

Richard, your question about who's calling the shots is largely irrelevant. I don't think it makes any difference who's calling the shots. The city is run by the Redevelopment cartel, a long tradition going back the days of Wayne Wedin - as both City Manager and city councilman. It's hard to get elected and stay elected if you aren't a loyal foot soldier willing to defend the Master Plan. Ask Steve Vargas.

Richard Rios

From my previous post:

However, this kind of situation is what defines substantive principle. I do not believe that government agencies, be it the City of Brea or other, should dictate or regulate free market conditions.

I wanted to point this out because Terri Daxon did an unscientific survey but the results were consistent with what my point was.

Wallgreens may not be the best fit for the downtown area BUT it is not the City's place to intercede in the private business transaction. Terri poses a great question/statement in her article. Should the Redevelopment Agencey's or the Downtown association be picking up the tab or even head the fight? This is a great question and one that I feel needs to be answered and the city needs to be held to account.

I would be extremely disappointed if the City is using tax payer money to regulate business through litigation and the association that supposedly the CC&R's protects have little or no contribution.

Even more interesting, I would like to know if there is a contribution when it occurred. After the judgment, after Teri's article, or was there a deposit for retainer paid at the beginning?

I have a correction in my last post. The Redevelopment Directors last name is Nicoll, not Nichols - just typing too fast.

Richard Rios


It is abundantly clear to me that both Mr. Rios and Mr. Vargas are desperately attempting to resurrect political careers that have been disasters from the very start. It seems they subscribe to the notion that if you say something often enough, even though there isn't a grain of truth in it, it will somehow become true.

Gentlemen, please try to do a better job of getting your facts straight before rambling on and on here. It's the least you could do for your would be constituency.



I don't see anything wrong with not wanting to put a Walgreens in the middle of "downtown". I live in Brea and while Im not a "drink a latte, go to movies and get ice cream" person I also don't want a giant drug store in the middle of the city, there is no need. There is a Rite Aid right across the street, likewise, we dont need another Starbucks! Usually, drug stores arent the top choice in entertainment choices and probably wouldn't draw too many customers from neighboring cities. No one is going to say, "wow honey, lets go to downtown Brea and pick up our meds and a Starbucks coffee, yippee!" When I heard a Pharmacy was going into that building I immediately thought it was a stupid idea and was disappointed, but now I am thankful that Brea did "turn up their nose" because they realize that their residents deserve better.


Hey Maria, here's a thought: buy the building yorself and bring in a tenant you deem satisfactory for Brea's "needs." But be careful you satisfy the Redevelopment Cartel first. Wouldn't want to upset Brea's Reichsfuhrer for Economic Development!

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