by Winston Chua
The San Marino City Council Wednesday night voted 3-2 to discontinue the city’s farmers market.
Mayor Eugene Sun, Vice Mayor Allan Yung and Councilman Richard Sun, while agreeing with the market’s benefits, were troubled by the location and the impact the market was having on local businesses. Yung argued that having the market was not necessarily a necessity for the city and said he could not support its continuance at the current location.
A motion by Councilman Kneier to continue the market at its current location, though supported by Councilman Dick Ward, was defeated. July 25 will be the last time the farmers market will operate at its current location.
Ward said that he had never encountered an issue that stirred the passion of the community to such a degree as the farmers market and expressed sympathy for residents while trying to balance the benefits of the market with objections from the community. In spite of the city’s inability to find a better location, he voted to support the market at its current location into the foreseeable future.
Many people in the community spoke in favor of the market, including a former chamber president, the market’s coordinators and members of the city’s chamber of commerce. They told the council that the market brings a sense of community and increased business to the city.
But not everyone was happy with the market.
Edward and Brian Apramian, property owners near the area, said that the market has cost them thousands of dollars in lost revenue and that their tenants have no place to park on Fridays. They have also hired attorneys and declared that “it has only been a negative experience” for them.
Diana Doi, Miriam Nakamura Quan, Joanna Jimenez, Stuart Rogers and Gilda Moshir were among those who spoke in favor of the indefinite continuance of the market, but city staff were unable to find a viable alternative location.
In addition to arguing that the market has brought a sense of community to the city, supporters lauded the gathering point as a way to connect with people they haven’t seen in a long time. Some businesses owners have seen business pick up because of the market. Around 25 or so people standing outside the council chambers could be heard applauding whenever a market supporter was finished speaking in front of the council.
San Marino resident and business owner Steve Talt, however, said that those who so desperately wanted community have a plethora of options at their disposal, including joining the Chinese Club, Rotary Club, chamber of commerce, AYSO or Little League.
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