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Fixing a 'Problem" Intersection

The Altadena Town Council, the Altadena Sheriff's and neighbors of the intersection of Lincoln and Figueroa, where All Star Liquor is located, are all working together to help fix what they say is a problem situation.

From time to time when there has been crime in the area around the corner of Lincoln and Figueroa, concerned residents have brought up , located at the corner because of the late night loitering, public drinking, and other issues going on in the area.

Community leaders and neighbors have been complaining about those issues for years, and newly-elected Town Council member Brent Musson discussed the issue of the intersection during his campaign for office. During a phone interview with Patch, Musson laid out his plan, which is still in the works, to tackle this situation.  He said that while the location is a problem, the store's owner is not to blame.

“The area just west of that liquor store seems to be the problem,” said Musson, who has lived in Altadena since 1972 when the store used to be called Miller’s Liquor. “It’s not the liquor store owner’s fault. No one there is a problem, but we have to use a little more imagination in dealing with this problem."

That does not mean the store's owner should continue with business as usual, Musson said.  Ideally, the property should have a different use, a coffee shop for example, he said. 

The county should also be involved, Musson said, by cleaning up and repairing the sidewalks, improving the landscaping, and generally investing in the area.  For more on Musson's plan read his .

Even more attention was brought to All Star Liquor when . One was hit in the back and the other in the arm. They started running towards the liquor store, but they were not hanging out in front of the store when the shooting occurred and there were no fatalities, according to Lt. Joseph Dempsey of the Altadena Sheriff’s Department.

Still, that did not stop people from associating the store with the crime: At last week's Town Council meeting, public speakers mentioned the store and the location and suggested they were all connected.

The day after the June 14 crime, a shooting occurred close to the previous night's shooting. Again there were no fatalities, and the Sheriff's Department is investigating the incident as a possible gang-retaliation shooting.

“The area around the store has been a big problem for a long time,” said Dempsey. “This year we’ve had eight or nine calls for service at the store, but that’s not excessive."

Dempsey described the store's owner as cooperative in handling issues in the area.

"We are working with the owner, and he’s being extremely cooperative and assisting us to try to stop the loitering, the trespassing, the underagers trying to buy alcohol, and gang members loitering in the area," Dempsey said.

The owner of the liquor store who declined to give his last name and identified himself only as "Chyco," told Patch that he doesn’t believe his store is a problem situation anymore.

“There’s no more loitering around here anymore,” he said. “I do my best to keep people from standing outside. As soon as I see them, I go out and tell them to leave. I call the Sheriff’s station to take care of those kinds of things. It’s not a problem anymore.”

Still, Dempsey said a lot of work still needs to be done.

“The Sheriff’s Department is working closely with the store owner and community involvement in terms of the neighbors around the store calling when people are loitering and drinking in public, calling us when they see it, that’s the way we’re going to take care of the situation,” he said. “We’re also working with the owners of the properties around the street from the store to help stop the loitering and drinking and hanging out.”

Editor's note: The original version of this story misrepresented Brent Musson's views by suggesting that he labeled All Star Liquor as a problem, when he actually suggested the problem is a larger issue with the intersection in general.  For more on Musson's views, read his on the subject.

Lori A. Webster June 28, 2011 at 07:06 PM
Agreed, Steve. We could all be capturing the business that hiking and tourism brings....
Brent Musson June 28, 2011 at 11:35 PM
I'm always careful to remind those who would point a finger at the liquor store that the proprietors of All-Star didn’t bring a liquor store to our area, nor did they bring the loiterers, gang members and truants; those are our neighbors, sons and grandsons, and they were here long before the the store changed owners. In fact, that corner has been blighted and plagued with problems since I was a youngster riding my bicycle to what was then Miller’s Liquor, to buy Pop-rocks, Susie Qs and Orange Crush. And so, I’d like to clarify my position, as quoted above, on one critical point: I identify the corner of Lincoln and Figueroa as a problem, rather than All-Star Liquor. For a more detailed explanation of my position, please read my post, "A plan for Lincoln and Figueroa - Actions, not accusations," here: http://altadena.patch.com/blog_posts/a-plan-for-lincoln-and-figueroa-actions-not-accusations-2
Altamom June 28, 2011 at 11:48 PM
Brent, the link did not work.
Dan Abendschein June 29, 2011 at 12:34 AM
Altamom, it should work now
Steve Lamb June 29, 2011 at 03:29 PM
Councilman Musson- Millers had the BEST assortment of odd candy when I was a kid! Even then, say 1963-68 there were loiterers of a undesirable enough type (and mostly white in those days) that my parents expressed concern that I rode my bicycle to there. But, since they had great candy, being a kid, I snuck my way to there.....

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