Aerial view of Lake Pointe project (right) and surrounding developments
  • Aerial view of Lake Pointe project (right) and surrounding developments
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High-density housing developments and master-plan changes often provoke a fuss from residents — but opposition usually evaporates once a city makes a decision. Opponents to the Lake Pointe development in eastern Chula Vista, however, don’t seem to be going away.

Lake Pointe opponents confronted a Lennar representative after the September 11 meeting.

Lake Pointe opponents confronted a Lennar representative after the September 11 meeting.

Lake Pointe is a proposed 284-unit condo/apartment development on 12.2 acres in the Otay Lakes area in eastern Chula Vista.

Even though the city council voted to change the master plan to accommodate this development in 2012, residents from the area turn up at public meetings to reiterate their concerns about fire safety, traffic hazards, lack of parking spaces, and overcrowded schools in the project area.

Located adjacent to the Olympic Training Center, the area was originally zoned for commercial use. A small portion, .6 of an acre, will still be commercially developed.

Opponents of the development say they believed the brochures about their Eastlake homes: “city close and country quiet…with retail and a restaurant row across from the Olympic Training Center.” Now they say they’re not sure there will even be an Olympic Training Center.

They also say they believed in the Chula Vista’s master plan.

According to a September 2012 U-T article, when approximately 40 residents went to protest the master-plan change, Chula Vista mayor Cheryl Cox “lambasted the residents” and stated “I think there’s a lot of fear of what we don’t understand…. That’s why kids are afraid of the monsters under the bed they don’t understand.”

Understanding the impacts of the many residential developments in the area has been a gradual process for residents in this southeast corner of Chula Vista.

There are four high-density developments in the proposed project area: Summer Hill, Greystone, Olympic Pointe, and Casa Lago. Residents point out that within this housing cluster the traffic is aggravated by the fact that there are four traffic lights and one stop sign in three-tenths of a mile.

Concerned residents have coalesced into the Eastlake Action Group. Although the group has been told Lake Pointe is a “done deal,” they continue to do battle in their homeowners associations, at Chula Vista’s Safety commission, and most recently at an administrative zoning hearing.

At the September 3 Safety Commission meeting, EastLake Action Group members reiterated their concerns about the overflow parking situation. Speakers asked the Safety Commission to paint red curbs around fire hydrants.

According to Barney Reed, many who attended the meeting were stunned when commissioners told them there was no money in the city budget to paint curbs red. Reed said many of the residents question where their Mello-Roos taxes go if the city can’t even afford red paint.

On September 11, the city held a hearing for a conditional use permit. The Lake Pointe developer, Lennar, made a request to put model homes and a sales trailer on the property in anticipation of the development.

EastLake Action activists showed up to speak against — not only the trailer and model-home proposal — but the project itself.

Opponent Carlos Alvarado stated that “the city walked all over the master plan, and as a result the residents in the southeast corner of the city are in imminent danger from fire.”

Alvarado, an electronics engineer for more than 30 years, likened the area to a poorly designed plane that could crash because of inadequate safety systems. “There are over 5000 people crowded in a narrow area with only two ways to get out, and there are not enough safety facilities to support the area.”

Chula Vista has a Growth Management Oversight Committee that monitors city services such as fire-department response times.

The 2014 oversight committee report states, “The Fire threshold standard has not been met for the third consecutive year…. The Fire department attributed the decline in response time to an increase in all volume (1,184 calls).”

Jason Rissman, another resident from the project area, told the zoning administrator at the September 11 meeting, “The density in that particular corner of the city is like someone said, ‘Hey, let’s build as much as we can, as close together as we can, and if we can’t go out we’re gonna go up.’ It seems like a complete travesty…. We’re here to plead our case because we care.”

Another member of the Eastlake Action Group brought up an issue she believed should invalidate the 2012 master-plan change. Kathleen Reed pointed to a city ordinance for setbacks for buildings along scenic drives. Lake Pointe is on a scenic road. The ordinance calls for a 75-foot setback, which the group asserts the project violates.

When the conditional use permit meeting adjourned, the zone administrator, Mary Ladiana, said she would render a decision in ten days about whether the sales trailer and model homes could occupy the project site.

After the meeting, Jim Neil told the Reader that although the project has changed hands (it was owned by Integral Communities), the design and density will stay the same.

On the steps of city hall, project opponents surrounded Neil and continued to press their case.

Gus Guzman, member of the Eastlake Action Group, said if issues are not addressed, the group will have no alternative but to picket the property.

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eastlaker Sept. 19, 2014 @ 3:26 p.m.

The Chula Vista City Plan, is like much "governance" in and around Chula Vista, "a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham" to quote a line from Bananas.

Or we could all start singing "Promises, Promises". Because there have been so many broken ones. Remember that we were supposed to get an aquatics complex around 2000? Until the city plan was changed. I have often wondered if all the funding for the aquatics complex was applied to the police station, by way of the ubiquitous polished stone.

Chula Vista really does put the sham in shame...from the secondary school district that has layers of corruption not yet plumbed, despite years of depositions and the city government, which has apparently sold completely out to developers.

Revolting, yes. Can we sign up for the revolt?


oldchulares Sept. 19, 2014 @ 6:56 p.m.

The mayor is on her way out and really could care less what anybody thinks about her bad decisions. She has a reputation for being heavy handed against anyone who disagrees with her. She has ridiculed more than one speaker at meetings. Her eye is now on being superintendent of the Sweetwater board and is endorsing those in the community that she believes will make that happen O'Neill for one. Feel bad for all those folks who bought homes out there they surely did not get what they were promised.


oskidoll Sept. 20, 2014 @ 11:54 a.m.

oldchulares: thanks for your insights about Mayor Cox's endorsement of O'Neill in the upcoming SUHSD board elections.

Their relationship might explain why Kevin O'Neill showed up on the South Bay Community Services Committee (which both Mr. and Mrs. Cox co-chaired) to support the South Bay Community Services recent "Change Their Lives Extravaganza" Soiree. So much better for him to rub elbows with south bay's moneyed movers and shakers, no doubt. Don't forget that SBSC is the recipient of more than $1 million in annual contracts from the very same SUHSD board!

A whole lot of the backscratchers in the same place at the same time.


Sjtorres Sept. 20, 2014 @ 2:15 p.m.

Keep in mind that Council member Pat Aguilar has been on board and pushing for more and more large apartment complexes in The Eastlake area. And she's up for re-election.


Woodchuck Sept. 20, 2014 @ 5:54 p.m.

Sjtorres, Pat Aguilar is a councilmember that will actually work with the community. She voted against the Lake Pointe project at first reading. The combination of the travesty of Olympic Pointe and Lake Pointe will be a black eye on Chula Vista. Look at Olympic Pointe. Once envisioned as a resort overlooking the Otay Lakes. Now a disgusting mess of much too high of density apartments. Where I grew up, that kind of development was low income and called "the projects" So much for what was called "The best vacant land available in Eastern Chula Vista" Now the Olympic Training Center is in trouble and looking for a bailout. I love Chula Vista but hate what was done at our Eastern Border!


anniej Sept. 20, 2014 @ 7:40 p.m.

Eastlake is a beautiful community with beautiful homes and all of the amenities (parks & rec) any family might wish for. The schools were presented as modern and state of the art - however, thanks to SUHSD's open boundaries they have been heavily impacted. The shopping, fantastic - as are all of the choices for restaurant dining.

Having said all of that, while I am not a resident there, I have friends who are and they have shared their disappointment with broken promises regarding planning. COMMUTER TRAFFIC IS HORRENDOUS!

I would caution the City to consider the importance of valuing the initial plan for this community - taxpaying homeowners did not spend the kind of money they spent to be elbow to elbow with more and more subdivisions. What about the College? then there are the other commitments that were made that have not materialized.


eastlaker Sept. 21, 2014 @ 6:44 a.m.

With Sweetwater UHSD now saying that we citizens and taxpayers will get more information regarding our Mello-Roos funds and how they are spent, it would be nice to actually learn what the city of Chula Vista is doing with our Mello-Roos funds.

I heard a month or so ago that Sweetwater's #1 Mello-Roos fund is at 180%, meaning that a couple of years prior to the 25 years that the plan draws funds, there has been almost twice as much money collected as the fund was designed to collect. Interesting. Must have something to do with that 2% increase that was voted on every year.

But I have not heard where the city of Chula Vista is with all their Mello-Roos funds. Are they split 50-50? If so, wouldn't the city of Chula Vista be in a similar position with regard to fund #1? How can we find out--because we certainly do need some benefit from those funds.

anniej points out that commuter traffic is highly impacted. The fairly recently upgraded interchange at 805 and Olympic is clogged for much of the day. The afternoon commute starts at around 3, and it stays clogged for hours. H Street/Proctor Valley is set up with timed lights that help, but it can still be problematic. L Street/Otay Lakes Road is under repair and/or construction so often that many people just don't want to take it, and even then, it is clogged.

So--our roads and infrastructure are supposed to be built with Mello-Roos funds. Where has the money gone? Where is the money going?

Why build high-density housing when that ruins the area? I have asked before, did the high-density "Project" go in with the understanding of the city fathers and mothers that it would be student housing for the hoped-for University? If so, even then, you need to allow for lots of cars.

Do not under plan here--plan well, not badly. Why trash Eastlake? Why trash Chula Vista?

Unless it is all about getting money from the developers for more campaign financing for further political positions.

But whoever you are--if you really do ruin what is left of the open space in Eastlake and Chula Vista--do you think that will reflect positively on your record? Do you really think that is what the voters and taxpayers want?

Or do you think there aren't enough of us paying attention, and that you will get away with it.

Because, after all, this is Chula Vista. People in Chula Vista aren't smart enough to figure it out, are they? Are they?


Susan Luzzaro Sept. 21, 2014 @ 8:17 a.m.

Eastlake Action Group,

I did hear your group speak about the park but didn't have room to include the material--or the EIR, or the CEQA noticing vs the city's noticing distance.

So the park got increased parking and Lennar's project got a bump up in density. Did the actual park get reduced in size? When I was out there trying to understand the lay of the land it was under construction.


Susan Luzzaro Sept. 21, 2014 @ 8:21 a.m.


Your raise very good questions as usual. I think it's time to tackle the city's Mello-Roos. I got their report once, but it was very generic. I'm curious, for example, if like Sweetwater, one or more of the Mello Roos districts is almost done paying. Where will the money come from to maintain the district at the standard that people bought into?


Susan Luzzaro Sept. 21, 2014 @ 8:27 a.m.

anniej, I believe you are a long-time CV resident too. If so, you will remember the slow meandering sage-scented ride out to the lakes. I remember that a kid could safely bicycle out to the lakes from western CV...

Anyway, some parts of Olympic Parkway do have lovely landscaping.


joepublic Sept. 21, 2014 @ 9:23 a.m.

Eastlake Action Group: Is there any specific action the city council could take to stop this? Are there any candidates who aren't in the developers' pockets that are willing to take a stand? I certainly hope so. Elections are right around the corner. Could there be time to rescue one of our city's gems?


oskidoll Sept. 21, 2014 @ 11:40 a.m.

According to the City of Chula Vista's website, there is currently one vacancy for a representative from the 'southeast' portion of the city on the Growth Management Oversight Commission. Has this commission weighed in on the proposed developments?

Other city commissions with some oversight of these matters might include the Park and Recreation Commission, the Planning Commission, and the Resource Conservation Commission.

Of course, there is also the Board of Ethics that might be interested as well.


eastlaker Sept. 21, 2014 @ 2:46 p.m.

Thanks, I had no idea these commissions existed. Does anyone know who is on these commissions, or how often they meet? Fascinating to learn this at this stage of the game.


oskidoll Sept. 21, 2014 @ 3:15 p.m.

Volunteer membership on the city commissions is by application, and then appointment, by the City Council. Most meet monthly, altho some less frequently or on 'as needed' basis (Such as Board of Ethics). You can learn more about the charge of each commission, when and where they meet, and which city staff members 'staff' their work on the City's website.

There are other commissions as well, such as the Safety Commission, the Youth Commission, etc. However, I listed those who might have some connection with the topic of this story and the comment stream.

I believe the recommendations of the Commissions are 'advisory' to the City Council but they should carry some meaningful weight in Council dialogue. One would hope so.


anniej Sept. 21, 2014 @ 4:18 p.m.

Ms. Luzzaro: ah yes, I remember way back when, though I can't say even back then I could have made it to the lakes on a bike. Beautiful, peaceful, fresh air - kinda think that is what the Eastlake folks were dreamin' of when they bought out there - surrounded by all of that nature. Now, if you ponder what you see are homes, upon homes, upon homes - and condos, upon condos, upon condos. The taxes, oh my the taxes - the Mello's, yes then there are those Mello's - the middle and high schools packed to the rafters ( thanks to Ed Brand and John McCann ( he brought Brand back ).

Politicians - who to trust? We have seen what republican John McCann has not done - we see what Democrat Arlie Ricasa and Pearl Quinines did with their offices, used them - then there is Jim Cartmill - most, including anniej believed he would retire from politics - take the lessons he learned that caused him to plead guilty and move on, alas he has chosen to run again - woe is me. These are not the only politicians who have failed us, unfortunately not - the list grows longer and longer.

Whatever happened to quaint Chula Vista? The City everyone wanted to call home - guess its gone by way of progress - well.......

SO MUCH FOR PROGRESS and QUAINT CHULA VISTA! Broken promises and corruption here we come - or, are we already there?


Susan Luzzaro Sept. 21, 2014 @ 7:40 p.m.

anniej, do you know what district Mr. cartmill is representing? Would it fall into the area at the the upper end of Olympic Parkway? One thing residents in this area mentioned was overcrowded schools -- elementary and secondary.


oskidoll Sept. 21, 2014 @ 8:14 p.m.

Cartmill does not represent any area at this time, as he is no longer on the board of trustees. He is running for the Board's new area 3.


Bvavsvavev Sept. 22, 2014 @ 7:41 a.m.

Susan and others, you mention Jim Cartmill. He is running in area 3. Take a look at his campaign web page and what he allegedly supports and endorses.


eastlaker Sept. 22, 2014 @ 9:58 a.m.

I think Jim should give out baskets, because he is so good at weaving in and out at the truth.


Sjtorres Sept. 21, 2014 @ 8:29 p.m.

Th members of the City commissions are usually political activists that get appointed because a council member knows they are loyal. But yes, we still need FULL accounting of each and every CFD within CV and SUHSD. They've managed to keep details on Mello-Roos spending secret for too long.


shirleyberan Sept. 22, 2014 @ 9:14 a.m.

Cartmill/Politicians and diapers have one thing in common. They both should be changed regularly for the same reason. - unknown


anniej Sept. 22, 2014 @ 9:16 a.m.

Ms. Luzzaro, Bvasbva - Jim Cartmill was/is one of Ed Brand's ( Sweetwater's X Superintendent, he was let go) BIGGEST FANS! Ed Brand who proceeded to open the boundaries of the middle/high school Distrcit which created the flood of west side students to attend the east side schools. Cartmill was there when Ed Brand was Super the first time back in 05 - why he did not caution John McCann from bringing Brand back is still a mystery. Perhaps that loan Brand gave Cartmill for Cartmill's bankruptcy had something to do with it. But then that is my opinion.

Voters, one thing for sure - it is time average folk take our District and our City back and bring about the much needed change that is needed.

Curious what Steve Padilla's thoughts are on this issue. I see Padilla as the voice of change, but then you all know my opinion on John McCann - VOTE NO FOR MCCANN FOR ANYTHING OTHER THAN LOVING FATHER AND HUSBAND.


erupting Sept. 22, 2014 @ 10:56 a.m.

It would be interesting to hear Padilla's thoughts on this matter. But unfortunately what a politician says before an election and what happens after the election seldom match. But I have to say I agree with you anniej "Just say no to McCan't " and Cartmill. Eastlake Action Group maybe going to the next City Council Mtg.with red paint donations and labor will embarrass them. Politicians are born with lies on their lips.


oldchulares Sept. 22, 2014 @ 2:12 p.m.

Oskidoll the big hullabaloo of SBCS was like a whose who of out of date politicians. Will tell you the SouthBay folks are not happy with the negative attention and questions being raised. O'Neill and Cox been friends since we were in high school together. He is descent fellow but could see him obliging her with the job.


oskidoll Sept. 22, 2014 @ 2:35 p.m.

That is exactly the point, oldchulares!

That is why I am calling it the 'backscratchers' club, and it does not bode well for the future, if we are to have any hope of a board of trustees not obligated to the superintendent or any other interests except the good of the public schools in the south county.

Sorry to learn that ONeill has seemingly been 'compromised' by the gliz and glam of the soiree an all those elbows to rub.... how would he be able to be critical of any aspects of any proposed contract between the SUHSD and the South Bay Community Services?


eastlaker Sept. 23, 2014 @ 7:53 a.m.

I would like to point out that it is possible for someone to act with integrity, even if they are acquainted with others who appear to be more deeply involved in "business as usual".

Of course, we haven't seen much of that in Sweetwater.

But can you let someone's record speak for them? What is Kevin O'Neill's record? He has been a determined, thorough and conscientious member of the Bond Oversight Committee.

Yes, the campaign season is upon us. But smear campaigns do little good.

Speaking the truth is a good idea. Getting the truth out in the open is a good idea.

Trying to make someone look bad to the public when that individual has only served the public honorably doesn't help any candidate, and I would hope that everyone would realize that.

This has been a tough enough battle. Let us at least conduct ourselves as honorable people.


bbq Sept. 23, 2014 @ 11:35 a.m.

It's here the political season, I am just waiting for all the signs to go up on every unincorporated fence and traffic island in town.

I have already started to recieve pollster calls and I realize that I may know the names in the South Bay Races, but I do not know squat about what these individuals stand for. If I listen to the proponents of each candidate they are better than sliced bread, if from the opponents of the candidates they are satin's spawn.

So, other than the few I have had personal contact with, or the professional politicians, or the overly connected, most of which I wouldn't vote into dog catcher, who do I vote for?

What do these people stand for, where and what experience do they have that may make me think they will correct the past and guide us to a healthy future?

I'm mad as hell and do not want to be a misinformed voter anymore! I want representation, not some smug politician protecting his cronies and slopping from the public trough. I expect there are a number of you that feel the same!

Candidates "WHERE'S THE BEEF?" in your campaigns? BBQ


oskidoll Sept. 23, 2014 @ 12:54 p.m.

Amen bbq: I for one think it important to know with whom candidates are aligned, and if said alignments are cause for worry, so be it. I think candidates who would ask for our votes need to demonstrate that at a minimum they can say NO to their friends, that they have critical thinking ability to recognize when an alliance might not be in the best interests of the public they seek to represent. Character does count! Experience also counts, if it demonstrates that the candidate has the acumen and backbone to call out wrong-doing as necessary and move the work of the organization forward in a competent and even-handed manner.

My concerns about a candidate's role and participation in the South Bay Community Services gala is about the questionable alliances to be found there...the potential for conflict of interest when SBSC contracts come before the SUHSD board, etc.

While such friendships might be harmless, candidates should have the understanding of the importance of perception and how it creates opinions. It is public knowledge that the SBCS CEO's salary (approximately 200K) has been termed 'excessive' by a group evaluating San Diego Area non-profits. Why would one align oneself with such a group when the perception is that it does not manage its funding (all of which comes from public sources including the SUHSD) responsibly? A bad judgment call, in my opinion.


eastlaker Sept. 24, 2014 @ 8:09 a.m.

I agree that South Bay Community Services is overdue for a thorough going-over in terms of how they spend their monies, the programs they are running, as well as the actual counts of children in all the programs. I have seen some of the numbers on the salaries of those at the top, and those are some very generous salaries.

However, we still have some well-meaning people in our community who really are there to support the programs for the kids--and I agree that we have been severely burned in the past--but that should not make us completely cynical about everyone and everything.

Kevin O'Neill is a quietly hardworking individual who has gone out of his way to make things better for the children of this area in ways that do not draw attention to himself. He has devoted time, effort and materials for various projects that would not have happened without him. He has done this very quietly, because he was not doing anything for personal acclaim.

This is the person you are doubting--and, of course, you are entitled to your doubts. But really, is it possible to find anything negative on Kevin O'Neill? Not that I know of.

If he did attend a splashy event for South Bay Community Services, what does it mean other than he may have wanted to see who else was going, to see who was active within that group? People, we need to know what is going on.

If we want to improve what is going on with South Bay Community Services, isn't it a good idea to find out about it? Again, as Freud said, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar!"

And Mr. O'Neill is always Mr. O'Neill, which is to say, honest, straightforward and thinking of the good of the community and the best way to use our resources.


oskidoll Sept. 24, 2014 @ 9:40 a.m.

Mr. O'Neill's name was listed on the invitation with those on the "Committee" for the SBCS Gala. Committee chairs were Greg and Cheryl Cox and National City Ron Morrison.

Again, it is my opinion that it was a serious error in judgment on his part to lend his name and efforts to the event which in fact raises money to support the work of SBCS, including the generous salaries give their CEO and others such as Shirley Horton, the Director of Develoment.... really lending tacit support and his endorsement to the organization's richly-compensated leadership. Individual tickets to the event were $225 each.

I think there might be other ways to 'find out what is going on with SBSC', such as going to board meetings and reading up on annual tax reports, instead of contributing to the perception of a troublesome alliance with those who will later come before the Sweetwater Union High School District Board seeking funding for their contracts.


anniej Sept. 24, 2014 @ 7:26 p.m.

Eastlaker - Oskidoll - well I replied to you both but for some reason after 10 tries my comment would not go thru. Will try again later


anniej Sept. 25, 2014 @ 9:38 a.m.

Eastlaker - Oskidoll

I had written a rather long response but alas, it disappeared into the outer sphere of the Internet. Hopefully you both know the deep respect I have for you - each of you has led me to consider other view points.

I support Kevin O'Neill. Not to say that I agree with him on all issues. Why?

Mr. O'Neill - whether you approve of those he rubs elbows with or some of his views he does have integrity. He is a very charitable man who donates his time and giveS thousands to worthy causes and unlike others we have seen in office does not go around beating on his chest 'see what I have done'. He has been attending the Board meetings for a very long time educating himself on the issues, introducing him to the players and the pretenders. O'Neill has put verbs in his sentences, he is a doer. He has brought a great deal of expertise to the BOC.

Now, he and I have butted his heads on some issues - but in truth I am not looking for a candidate that agrees with me on all topics - BUT, one thing for sure he would NEVER, EVER sick a PI on me or anyone simply because we vehemently disagreed with him. Having a Board member who listens is important.

No doubt if O'Neill wins, and I hope he does, I will be watching. And WHEN not IF an agenda item is brought forward that I do not agree with there I will stand at the podium making my point - and. I am quite confident he would never allow me or any community member to BE LIMITED TO A MERE 1 MINUTE TO PROVIDE SUPPORT DOCUMENTATION.

Like the guy or not this guy not only knows the 10 rules many live by, BUT HE FOLLOWS THEM -


oskidoll Sept. 25, 2014 @ 10:25 a.m.

Thanks to anniej and eastlaker for their opinions. No doubt Kevin O'Neill is a hard worker and has contributed much to the Bond Oversight Committee.

However, if he is successful in his bid for election to the SUHSD Board of Trustees, I do hope he is honorable enough to reveal his association with the South Bay Community Services and its richly-compensated leadership, and to perhaps recuse himself from the vote, when SBCS contracts are on the agenda. That organization has received huge funding each year from the District. His relationship with Cheryl Cox, who has been often mentioned as a potential superintendent candidate, is also troubling. Cox is one of the prime supporters of SBCS leadership too.

I wonder if O'Neill is honorable and perceptive enough to handle such a potential appointment at arms length? What we definitely do not need any more of are cozy alliances among the district's board members and the district's contractors.


eastlaker Sept. 26, 2014 @ 9:28 a.m.

It should be noted that through Mr. O'Neill's knowledge of how this system works, we have been able to see how things have been abused.

Without that, the BOC might never have had any teeth in it whatsoever.

Watchdogs are necessary, and Mr. O'Neill has been an excellent and painstaking one. I hope more such honorable people will keep working at all the problems in Sweetwater. We all know how entrenched the corruption is--it takes eyes on the situation 100% of the time and the willingness to speak up and report, or things won't get better.

Few people are eager to spend their time going line by line through all the district documents, figuring out what they mean, what they refer to, what they are trying to hide.

We truly owe a great deal to people like Mr. O'Neill who do this in their free time, of their own volition, so that there is a chance that Sweetwater can one day be run honestly, honorably and reasonably--and we are still far from that day.


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