Bailey accuses Kusumoto of illegal recording

Cypress Councilman Doug Bailey accused Los Alamitos Mayor Warren Kusumoto of illegally recording a conversation between himself, and Assemblyman Travis Allen during a dinner meeting about the proposed 33-acre Katella Avenue truck project on Friday, May 10.The meeting request was made by Allen, Bailey said, and he was asked to participate in a meeting about the economics in the area.“I do not know Kusumoto, but I was told he wanted to chat,” he said. “The staff put together some economic information I could share and got to the meeting at four o’clock.Kusumoto and Bailey met, shook hands, and went to a table, Bailey said, and started chatting.“My phone rang and it was Allen,” he said. “I told him we were already at the restaurant. During that time Kusumoto was very standoffish and asked me blunt questions about Pro Logis.”Shortly after Allen arrived, Bailey said they both noticed that Kusumoto was recording the conversation.“He never asked us, or disclosed he was recording the conversation,” he said. “Travis Allen and I said hey Warren, you can’t do that. He grabbed his tape recorder and left.”The situation dumbfounded Bailey.“Allen went out to the parking lot and talked to Kusumoto and he would not come back in to chat,” he said. When Allen came back in his chief of staff was there and he said I am sorry, but I have never seen anything like this in my life. His chief said he has been at this a long time and he never saw it either.”Bailey shared the slides intended for Kusumoto.“The first slide I was going to show him demonstrates how retail sales went up during the first part of the century.”"Between 2005-2010 retail sales have actually decreased," he said. "In Los Alamitos the sales tax has decreased by 29.5 percent, so we are all looking at lower tax numbers."There has been an 11.5 percent decrease in the Cypress workforce, Bailey said, while Los Alamitos lost 6.8 percent."Both cities are losing retail sales and jobs," he said.The most important piece of information was how intertwined the two cities are."Of the top ten places that Cypress residents commute to, number four is the city itself and number nine is Los Alamitos," Bailey said. "Los Alamitos residents rank Cypress number five on their list, with their city coming in third."Jobs being lost in the area fall into the manufacturing, wholesale, and retail industries."They are not bad paying jobs," Bailey said. "Manufacturing jobs average $34,000 per year, the wholesale jobs average $77,000 and retail comes in at $42,000 per year for the people who work in these industries."Saying that Los Alamitos residents will not benefit from the job growth at the 33-acre Katella project is not true, he said, and the raw data proves that point."I just wanted to show him that it will," Bailey said. "Los Alamitos residents come to our city council meetings and say that no good jobs will come from this project."The final slide was a zoning map for Los Alamitos."I have residents from Los Alamitos call me names and say that I am endangering children because I am putting warehouses around schools," Bailey said. "If you look at this map, between these two zoned areas are the Los Alamitos schools right across the street from a food distribution center with 51 trucking bays. There are no distribution centers near schools in my town. In Cypress you need a conditional use permit to enter one of these businesses, but those businesses are already permitted in Los Alamitos."He said Kusumoto was not interested in discussing those issues."These are some of the things I am dealing with," Bailey said. "He wassolely interested in setting me up with some type of tape recording. I have been listening to this stuff and it is so frustrating. I have been on this council for seven years and we have done nothing but cooperate with Los Alamitos."The comments drew the ire of a Los Alamitos resident named Carol"I take great exception to the pompous,inflammatory comments made by Doug Bailey," she said. "How dare you say that Los Alamitos is unethical? Your actions are despicable. Measure A is flawed and the restrictive covenants prove that. I had no idea about why there isdissension between Cypress and Los Alamitos, but with someone like you, Mr. Bailey, now I get it."Citizens for Responsible Development President Steven Mauss said he is deeply trouble by the events reported by Bailey."I do not think anyone should have to go through that," he said. "Frankly, I amappalledand think we can do better."Los Alamitos resident Lois Waddle said she hoped the issue can be resolved."I was very happy to see what you did with your charts," she said. "We do not need this animosity between the cities during this crucial time. I cannot apologize for our mayor (Kusumoto), but I understand your anger and pain."In an interview with the Event News, Kusumoto called the incident a big misunderstanding."I told him I was recording this and set the recorder on the corner of the table right in front of him and me," he said. "I was not interested in talking about the economic benefits, but wanted to know what the Katella project was, because I heard him say officially that it is not a trucking or distribution center. I also wanted to know if he supported the project, and if he needed anything from Los Alamitos, like a left turn signal light or pocket."Kusumotoacknowledged that he was not having a good day."There were issues that day and I was not doing well," he said. "I was abrupt and wanted to cut to the chase. The recorder was out and he (Bailey) almost knocked it onto the floor. He grabbed it and put the recorder back on the table, so I do not know how it was not recording."Allen, said he did not give his consent to be recorded."I said I was done and kind of left without telling them that," he said. "From that standpoint, Councilman Bailey could have viewed that as stated."Kusumoto reiterated his intent to record the conversation."I told him and put the recorder on the table," he said. "Apparently he missed it. It was not like I was trying to hide the recorder, it was in plain sight."During a meeting wit Pro Logis representatives in January, Kusumoto said, he viewed the project plan."They were talking about the need for an ingress and egress," he said. ""I listened to all the information, but did not make a decision. I am still trying to take it all in."One frustrating issue Kusumoto said he was dealing with was the inability of Cypress to reach out to Los Alamitos directly."When I met with Allen he asked me if I knew Bailey and I said no," he said. "He said he wanted to get together and Bailey has this great project. I asked why he went to Allen if he needs to talk with us."A meeting with Supervisor John Moorlach at the end of March netted the same result."He said they have this project and Cypress needs something from you," Kusumoto said. "If they need something should I ask them what we can do? They need something from Los Alamitos."The Los Alamitos City Council voted against the Pro Logis development."We can issue an opinion because this is a Cypress land use issue, and not Los Alamitos," Kusumoto said. "I am not in favor of development that will have a negative impact on the region. I do not envy the Cypress City Council with this issue. They are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Development can happen and I hope it is the right project. One interesting thing is when I went to the coffee event recently held by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, her staff told me that Cypress has not reached out to her for support. They are going to my assemblyman without reaching out to Quirk-Silva."The next Cypress City Council meeting is Monday, May 27.

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