Friend: BTW, do you notice that Azusa flyer is touting City of Azusa, etc’s commendations and a guests’ shed permit? Don’t these mean anything? Won’t community donors be impressed?
Friend: Don’t fall for the hype! These are no substitutes for the real thing. They are there to lull you into a sense of false security.
Friend: The gullible donors don’t know. They are impressed! They would swallow these hook, line and sinker!
But the discerning won’t.
Same old 130
Everyone knows Azusa Temple’s CUP or Conditional Use Permit allows only 130 attendees at any one time. It also is subject to annual review.
Unless it’s officially raised through public hearings, it’s still the same old 130. No if’s, and’s or but’s!
Friend: I agree. From past experiences, everyone knows it’s rather hard to raise this attendance permit level.
Friend: It’s because of neighbors’ strident remonstrations.
Not a sure thing!
Friend: Helping in Azusa City’s Fair and being issued with certain commendations, is certainly a plus. But that’s only half the truth. It’s not a cure all. It’s not the complete truth.
It’s just “thanaka luu” or “powdering one’s face.” It’s not a sure thing.
Friend: The monk was over exaggerating his influence with the City. He wishes to convey that he has “glue” or “high connections” like in the old country.
Seems like the monk is giving a guarantee. In reality, it’s just empty air! Just “R luu” or hype.
Miscalculation – Grave Danger!
Friend: In US, there are laws not “glue” or “Thingyan cannon” as in the old country.
Going above and beyond the laws, is dangerous for the Temple.
*****Temple might even lose the valuable permit it now has. Why risk it?****
Friend: Why do you say that?
Friend: Short memories, my man. The monk and some trustees forget so soon. It’s about what happened just a few years back.
Remember, the City issued an order to stop all festivals and functions in Azusa Temple.
Terrible tragedy, then!
Friend: Yes, remember even Azusa Police cars came into the Temple grounds. The Police started counting the number of attendees.
Friend: I also remember. The City inspector red tagged the incomplete Dhamma Hall. It was being stealthily used. Monk lost face and then allegedly started blaming and bad mouthing others but himself.
Friend: Yes, short memory.
Yes, painful memories! Sad!
A wise saying goes “those who don’t learn from history are sure to repeat them” (the horrible mistakes!).
They are in for a rude awakening.
Friend: Let’s learn from Azusa Temple’s past history, then!
Friend: Some lay people may not know. But the monk knows. He has a selective memory. Here it goes!
***Very important fact:***
In US, churches are assigned to commercial zones, not to residential areas.
To set up a church or temple in a residential area, you have to obtain a special exemption or favor. This special permit is called a Conditional Use Permit (CUP). It has certain conditions or restrictions for its use as a Church or Temple.
Friend: Well!, It is extremely difficult to obtain a CUP. All residents within 300 feet are invited to public hearings. Neighbors have a right to object.
Generally, these residents don’t like extra traffic or noise due to a church or its expansion. “Not in my backyard”!
Since neighbors have the votes, the City council has to listen to them. Like it or not, it’s “Democracy at work!”
Invariably, the City rejects a church’s application. No reason need be given.
Friend: Also as a consequence, resident neighbors started to gang up on Azusa Temple. Often, they videoed the Temple attendees and complained to the City.
In fact, Azusa City has a thick file on Azusa Temple. It’s bulging with complaints and photos. Formerly, City called up and castigated trustees quite a few times. Go take a look at the City file!
Friend: Public hearings for permits at other Cities or counties fared no better, sooner or later. Hiring an attorney went nowhere. Just a huge waste! I heard the total costs, including attorney fees, came to around $ 50,000 for the prospective Chino Temple permit application alone!
A costly lesson indeed!
But strange to say. Some people never learn!
Friend: Maybe they don’t have to work hard for the money.