Planning Commission Hearing on 8/27/2015 of File 10302, Canh Thai Temple – Kimberlee Lu’s Testimony
Original source: County's Audio MP3 (large download of 126 MB)
Ms. Lu: Good afternoon, everyone. My name is Kimberlee Lu. I am the treasurer of the organization. To add on to the information already provided, I would like to emphasize that we did put together a neighbor outreach and provided all the information regarding the project to everyone. And since then, we welcome all questions and concerns that the neighbors have. I also would like to share that our group is made of a majority of elderly [people]. It's a very small group at the moment. The organization not only provides a place where everyone [can] share the same beliefs [and] a way of life. We do also act as a help and volunteer center for the elderly. We help them in all aspects, such as doctor visits, groceries, paperwork, anything that they need help [with]. I strongly believe in community services. I was brought here by my adopted American grandparents. I was raised and encouraged to attend church every Sunday and be heavily involved in community services. I was taught by my tough grandparents that being kind and able to lend a helping hand is a very good policy. And I do use that as my principle today. I would like to ask you, the commissioners, to support us in this project because we need to have a solid wood(?) so we can continue our work and our community services. And something that our children can grow into. And that is all I have to share, since you say that I only have two minutes.
Chairperson Scott Lefaver: Thank you. Any questions. Yes, Commissioner Cauble.
Commissioner Cauble: Thank you very much Ms. Lu. I'd like to ask a question that Commissioner Schmidt asked of Ms. Ballard. But I think it's more important to direct it to one of the sponsors of the project. And I come at this not because of counting how many neighbors have expressed concern. Right now I'm looking at paper. And certainly your project is not the only project in the county as Ms Ballard points out that has had code enforcement issues before you get onto the right path. I would just like to ask[:] Do you understand that if this project is approved, the County is really serious about these conditions and they need to be complied with?
Lu: Yes, most definitely, I do understand. [She elicits nervous laughter.] And we will comply.
Chairperson: Okay. Any other questions? Commissioner Schmidt.
Commissioner Schmidt: To follow up on that, will all the people who attend the church understand those requirements also? --
Lu: (softly) Yes
Schmidt: -- and comply?
Lu: (softly) Yes
Lu: I will make sure that they do. [Hardy laughter]
Schmidt: Also. You know, the neighbors as you know have submitted lots of documentation to us. And they have been watching what's going on with a lot of detail, maybe more so than neighbors at other projects. But there are a lot of neighbors around this property, and maybe not so much around some of the other properties because it's right next to San Jose, or you enter it from San Jose. A couple of neighbors have pointed out things. You talk about being kind to people. A couple of neighbors have pointed out things that were done that according to them appeared to be unkind. And I was just wondering if you had a response to that. I think the neighbor behind talked about putting mirrors or something that was an Asian bad luck issue and planting, putting a toilet next to the property line, that sort of thing.
Lu: Well to answer you, in the mirror issue, first of all it was a very nice piece, big piece of mirror. And since everyone can tell we don't have storage and we don't have any structure to store that piece of furniture, so because the mirror is easy to break, so logically, we were just rest[ing] it against the little, what would you call, the little pad on the stairwell, there's a little corner for entrance, so logically on the mobile home we can rest it against that, so. Does that make sense? [Nervous laugh.] Oh yes, but it removed since we complied [sic].
Schmidt: Okay, I thought they showed something else, but maybe that's what it was, I thought they showed specific little mirrors focusing on their property, but I may have misunderstood the photograph. Another question I wanted to ask. If this is approved, their will be no food preparation on the site. Will you have events where there will be food served that would be provided from off site?
Lu: We will do cater.
Schmidt: Pardon? You will do catering?
Schmidt: Okay, so there will be food served at various events --
Lu: Snacks. Little, umm. Yes.
Schmidt: [Pause] Okay.
Chairperson: But it won't be prepared on site?
Lu: No, no. There won't be any food prepared on site. As I have mentioned, there will be catering, and they are all finger foods. You know, little cups, little bowls.
Schmidt: Okay, and I thought [there] was mentioned there might be receptions and that sort of thing. But it would be just small --
Lu: Yeah. Snacks, food. Is that what you have [inaudible]?
Schmidt: Okay. Thank you.
Lu: Well yeah, but those bowls, cup of noddle bowls --
Chair: Rice? Rice? Rice cakes? [The Chair chuckles.] Oh. Hold on Ms. Lu. We have one more question.
Commissioner Resendez: One more question. You know, I read all the Staff Report and every letter from the community. And, personally I don't like confrontation. And I saw that in many of those emails, letters and response from the community. But my question to you is, has there been a time when you sat together with these neighbors? Maybe in the community meeting that you had, trying to get to the middle of this issue? Or, you never got together and explain and shore your differences?
Lu: As I have mentioned, we did put together a neighborhood meeting. We did not have a chance, or the neighbor did not give us a chance to explain further what is the project about. And to be honest with you, the last neighborhood meeting that we had, I was very frightened. I was insulted. Yeah, I left with that emotion.
Resendez: Thank you.
Lu: You're welcome.
Chairperson: Commissioner Schmidt.
Schmidt: I'm just following up on what I was asking about before. Commissioner Rauser found the place in the documentation provided by the neighbors on page 45, it does show a series of round mirrors on posts the neighbor had taken a picture of, saying that there were three magic mirrors with incantations written on them to conjure evil spirits into my home. That's on page 45 of the documentation that I think the neighbors have left out there too. I'm just wondering --
Chairperson: Yeah, go ahead, yeah. Here you go Ms. Lu.
[Pause of almost one minute as Ms. Ballard advises to Ms. Lu in English. The advice, in paraphrase: If the mirrors don't have a religious reason, Ms Lu may say so. And if she didn't install the mirrors, she may say that.]
Lu: With these mirrors up, I do not believe that there is a Buddhist religious [reason], it was just up because [there was] a group of members [who thought] that it will -- You know, in that area, because we are a piece of open land. And a lot of, I don't know what you call those big birds, but, umm. Hawk, I think? Yeah. That it always come down and, and, and ummm, we grew some vegetables and sometimes neighbors have chickens? Raised chickens? And pets. And kittens. And it will come down and [eat] them. So. [Laugh] And that the time that we put that up, because we saw quite a few kittens in the area.
Chairperson: So you're trying to protect your vegetables?
Lu: And the kittens.
Chairperson: [Laugh] Okay. [Laugh]
Lu: And the chicken surrounding. [Cough]
Lu: But, but. That is one of. Yeah.
Chairperson: [Softly] Alright.
Schmidt: Thank you.
Lu: You're welcome. That's it?
Chairperson: [Laughing] Any other questions? [Laughing] Ookay. Thank you.