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.