Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Great Sierra Madre Legacy Crusader

I'm beginning to believe that the Redevel-opment advocates among us (be they of native origin or specially imported), really do wish that their good friend Glenn Lambdin wouldn't talk quite as much as he does. Because no matter how hard the guy might try to be cautious and not give away the big secrets, he is about as subtle as a beer ad on a Yolo County billboard.

Case in point. Glenn has now launched a whole new series of opinion pieces, published as always on the excellently designed Sierra Madre News Net site. However, this time he's not denouncing religion, or proclaiming himself to be the Roy Hobbs of kickboxing. No, this month he is on a personal crusade to save "a part of our forgotten history." And woe to anyone who gets in the big lug's way.

"Last October I went before the City Council with a nomination application in hopes of adding the City owned property at 186 W. Highland to our register of local historical landmarks. Built in 1921, this property originally was a Christian Scientist Church but sat vacant for many years, with the exception of a few years when the City used the old church as a temporary Youth Activity Center (YAC). The City bought the property about 12 years ago and now intends on turning the property into multiple affording (sic) units."

Not to be too much of a buzzkill, but there are currently around 1,600 Christian Science Congregations in the U.S. these days, and 1,900 or so Christian Science Reading Rooms worldwide. We're not exactly talking about an endangered species here, or a movement in need of being put in a museum. And as appealing as it might seem to a few, I really can't see too many people taking the bus to Sierra Madre and lining up for the tour of a long defunct tabernacle and former gym.

No, the real problem for our lone crusader is the City's intention of turning 186 W. Highland into low income housing. Currently Sierra Madre is attempting to retire its Sacramento imposed "new housing" number, and is doing so in an incremental and piecemeal sort of way. Our overall RHNA (SCAG) number was originally 138, with 58 of those housing units being at the low and very low income level. Today that number has been pared to 72 units, with only 12 remaining in the "very low income" category. Obviously Sierra Madre has done an admirable job of creating housing for that economic sector of our community. And did so with absolutely no dislocations or high density-style construction.

But for those favoring redevelopment here, this is actually some pretty awful news. Because should the City satisfy its state imposed "new housing" requirements in this way, there will be no need for the financially rewarding condominium complexes they and their patrons so desperately want to build. And if we whittle away that number to zero, which is now a very distinct possibility, the last remaining major redevelopment cause in Sierra Madre will be, to use Dracula terminology, soundly staked.

So anyway, here we have Glenn with his specious call to turn this boarded up old church into a historical shrine, something that would in effect disqualify it from becoming low income housing. Housing that we are legally required by Sacramento to create. And at the cost of severe financial penalties to this cash-strapped city should we fail to do so.

And really, as one of the leaders in the fight to defeat Measure V, something that, had be been successful, could have led to the leveling of a goodly portion of our (sort of) historic downtown area in favor of the looming concrete menaces that now darken the streets of Glendale and Pasadena, isn't former Mayor Lambdin kind of a suspect party to be leading the cause of preserving Sierra Madre's historic legacy? 

No, it's time to call this for what it really is. What Lambdin has cooked up here is nothing more than a rather obvious ploy. And a pretty ridiculous one at that.


  1. So let's see, one week Glenn is ranting about evil religions, and the next he wants to rescue a church? Wow.

  2. In Mr. Lambdin's presentation to the Council, he made an erroneous connection between women's rights and Mary Baker Eddy.

  3. Is this awful Lambdin creature is planning on running for public office again?
    If so, I urge all citizens who have been victims of his, either public or private....to please come forward. We already have a long damning list of offenses.
    We will make sure every single voter in Sierra Madre is aware of this man's past and current activities.....NOTHING he does is ever in the interest of Sierra Madre, only his self serving narcissitic agenda.

  4. May Glenn has found God on Highland Ave in Sierra Madre?

  5. Mr Lambdin knows that the city purchased that property for low income housing.

  6. Well, if Lambdin is planning on running for office, I hope he's not basing his campaign on what is stated in Susan Henderson's "Energywise" column today. According to her, "In April we will have three city council seats up for grabs."

    Is she the only one who knows this?

  7. NEWS FLASH for the soon to be remamed
    Mount Wilson Observer and H Susan Henderson.....

    The election is in 2010 not this year.

    Can't believe anything she writes.