Saturday, March 7, 2009

Downtown Lowdown by City Mouse

(In May of 2006 one of my favorite Sierra Madre political writers City Mouse penned yet another column for the Sierra Madre News. But somehow it never made it into print. So we're publishing all of it here. It is quite a story, and what is said here brings clarity to issues that are once again painfully with us today. Think of this as a refresher course for Tuesday's City Council meeting. Sierra Madre political junkies, dig in. It's always a feast when The Mouse is in the house!)

Council Member Joe Carpetbagger: Do you feel as duped as City Mouse when Joe Mosca proclaims "I'm just one of you?" Turns out we're only a stop along the way on Joe's political track. San Fernando Young Democrats had settled on Sierra Madre as the perfect location for Joe and Matt to buy a home. Research showed three prospective seats on the City Council were on the 2006 ballot. Joe debuted as a candidate just a year after settling in. And who was that local Dem squiring him to "meet and greets," joining him at Bean Town, coaching Joe on the Village's VIPs, and which side to come down on in matters of controversy? Who indeed ... 

The Steering Committee: The group formerly calling itself "The Steering Committee" recently resurfaced in support of former council member Tonja Torres' unsuccessful bid for re-election to the Sierra Madre City Council. Torres was a proponent of the Downtown Specific Plan. Joe Mosca has declared that his controversial votes in favor on the Hillside Management Zone (HMZ) and Metropolitan Water Department (MWD) were influenced by at least one member of that group as well.

City Mouse is following the crumbs left by Maranatha's unsuccessful bid to build its high school on the 1 Carter site and the mysterious Galletly/Dorn Platz (G/DP) acquisition of that very same piece of land. Coincidentally, the Steering Committee was instrumental in whipping the villagers into a frenzy in order to oppose Maranatha's high school, but not so much G/DP's subdivision. You may remember the stunning defeat the City Council handed G/DP wherein only 29 homes could be built after obligingly down-sizing three lots to 9,000 square feet.

The City was widely reported to have reached an agreement with the Steering Committee to drop its opposition and allow 1 Carter Development to go forward after more than 204 conditions were appended to the Conditions of Approval for Tentative Tract Map No. 54016, Conditional Use Permit 03-09, and Variance 04-11, which was adopted August 8, 2005. Many residents were left with their thumbs up ... well, they were confused by the abrupt capitulation.

Some Years Before The C.E. God Got Chatty: Three things happened: 1) at about the time God spoke to Maranatha's headmistress and directed her to build a hillside high school, 2) the PUSD had also spoken to her about Tonja Torres' plan to site a middle school at Sierra Mesa, and 3) as it turns out, God also called upon the Sierra Madre Congregational Church (SMCC) to expand its ministry. A Capital Stewardship Campaign was organized. Personal Ministry Communication Team (PMCT) members visited with the congregation to pledge funds. Members were asked to fulfill their civic duty as well, and encouraged to run for City office. They submitted their names in the hopes of being appointed to the City's various committees and commissions. 

And way before (some say 13 years before), the August 2005 vote to approve the 1 Carter subdivision, SMCC had entered into discussions with the then Development Director about its expansion plan -- all very informal, very low-key. Coincidentally, as if directed from above, candidates favorable to a new direction for downtown Sierra Madre were elected to the Council.

Then wham! Bam! It looked like the goofy Maranatha headmistress was going to upset all the carefully laid plans and build a school on the Willis estate. Not even the PMCT would be able to sell two Evangelical campuses to the Villagers.

The Steering Committee quickened. Remember back to the well funded, well-run opposition against Maranatha's high school? Telephone trees, block parties, buttons, post cards, 4-color printed flyers, regular meetings and mailings ... e-mails? yes, e-mails if your name qualified you for the Steering Committee's closely guarded membership list.

Comes The Downtown Specific Plan: The Steering Committee met with members of the Planning Commission and the City Council, very quietly, very tentatively. And so it came to be that three years before anyone else in the Village learned of something called the Downtown Specific Plan, SMCC was confident God was looking favorable on their expansion program.

The 2006 City Council Race: Around the first week of March, it appeared Ms. Torres was to go down in local history as one of the few incumbent Sierra Madre City Council members not to be re-elected to a council seat. The Steering Committee quickly performed a shape-shifting maneuver. Ms Torres was their third vote for the DSP! Adamantly opposed to a referendum vote on the plan, determined that the 350 people immersed in the Downtown show and tell (coincidentally heavily represented by members of the "you know who"), she valiantly slogged away adjusting George Maurer's microphone, attending meet and greets, giving interviews to Molly Okeon, Staff Writer for the Pasadena Star News, and making decisions about what was good for older Sierra Madreans.

Church members were equally disappointed by the defeat of Ron Brandley, who ran a hard fought campaign to move into Tuesday night Adelphia primetime. But then, enough has already been said about Ron ...

The Shape Shifter's Rally: High ranking members of the Steering Committee, Rick and Margie Simpson, behaved like celebrities on the talk show circuit, appearing at the City Council open mic on alternate Tuesday night, working overtime to send off letters to the editors. Margie hit it on the head in the Pasadena Star News recently when she said, "there will always be those in the city who did not trust local lawmakers." "I think those are the standard people who feel that there is a conspiracy behind everything that happens, that everybody is lying," she said. "That's kind of standard fare."

Margie, when the locals are as conspiratorial and untruthful as members of the Steering Committee, it's truly "standard fare" - and self defense!

Credit where credit is due! The Simpsons are also members of the SMCC, where Rick manages the coffee house. And not to be overlooked, the Simpsons worked at light speed with Judy-Webb Martin and Clem Bartolai to organize George Maurer's sendoff.

Galletly/Dorn-Platz: Greg Galletly bullied the City on behalf of Maranatha with the threat of an RLUIPA lawsuit, allowing Dorn-Platz to develop 29 home sites at 1 Carter (which is estimated to result in gross profits to G/DP in excess of $75,000,000.) About the year 2004 G/DP moved forward to develop the Heflin property, which it had quietly bought. Residents on Liliano, Valley Vista, Grandview and Stonehouse were surprised to learn that an initial 35-home subdivision was already in the planning stage. It's widely rumored, among those in the know, that the approximately $1.4 million ($18,000,000 x 18% = $1,400,000) in additional property tax dollars available to the Village as a result of the sale will fund Executive and Management increases for the City Staff. 

Hillside Management Zone: All of which brings us back to the underlying presumption that may make Greg Galletly/Dorn-Platz believe the Stonehouse project will be welcome in Sierra Madre. The Ad Hoc Hillside Management Zone Committee is heavily populated with former Steering Committee members. Talk about conspiratorial and untruthful! How did these folks get on this committee you ask? They filled out the form which can be found on the City's web site and the City Council appointed them! Tonja Torres, Enid "I'm not smart enough to have thought of that" Joffe, John Buchanan, George Maurer (who incidentally endorsed both Joe Mosca and Kurt Zimmerman), and Rob Stockley appointed them.

20 comments:

  1. Anybody really think that Carpetbagger Joe will run for reelection? Looks like he's now sucked up to and carried coffee for every development bureaucracy from here to Sacramento, and back again. Surely he'll be able to weasel himself a job somewhere without attempting to force us to endure his miserable presence for another 4 years.

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  2. The only thing good about the depression we're in is that none of these projects will ever get built, not for many, many years, if ever.
    Just read local papers from other areas, everywhere, over-development has destroyed small and large cities. The over-development bubble based on greed and/or crooked city councils is one of the causes of the depression we are now sinking into.
    The world economy is in free-fall and Sierra Madre is part of the world, like it or not.

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  3. ....unfortunately, there will always be evil people in "Gods Name, clothing and bling" with a huge pocket, preaching and collecting and finding a way to build. And the depressed believing in the Ron, Joe, John, Judy and Enids (oh but is so fun to act so innocent) who will blindly give in God's name....
    Lawd have Mercy

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  4. You can't really blame old George Mauer, he was easily led or should I say misled by the dirts.
    George was on that evil council of Torres, Stockley, Buchanan and Joffe, but he didn't vote for houses at One Carter with them.
    I won't go after George for most of the actions of that council. He's not fair game.
    Stick to the real guilty ones.....John Buchanan, Enid Joffe, Rob Stockley and Tonja Torres.

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  5. Anybody besides me remember hearing Enid and John B talking
    about how the Measure V election was over and that it was
    time for the town to heal and move beyond all that? Well, as the
    Congregational Church episode has now taught us, that was nothing
    but the usual hot air from those two.

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  6. This is what we need - accurate memories, and somebody willing to pull it all together.
    Thanks to City Mouse for that effort, and to the Tattler for printing it.

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  7. how long will it take for Mosca to move on? I hope he runs again so he get a dose of reality and be defeated by a landslide

    all I know is he flat out lied to my face about his opinions and I always thought he was a little wormy with his sincerity

    I don't look at the Council as a real voice of the people, it's basically a home owner's association

    I get a little concerned with the closed door meetings and legal concessions made by Council Member.

    Being on the Council, it's like being Little League President, nobody wants to do it and if you'll volunteer, go right ahead.

    Sierra Madre is headed down the path of imploding because of the egos of a handful of people who actually believe that they are smarter than the rest of us and they aren't.

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  8. Anonymous @2:42, accurate comments about Mr. Mosca. Your description of the whole council though is a little outdated - that was absolutely true in the recent past (terrible big egos, big development plans) but the majority on the council now is like 100% better.

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  9. Anyone read Coburn's paper online today?
    Glenn Lambdin (town dirt thug) has a column...On My Mind. I wasn't aware this freak has a mind. Oh yeah, it's character he doesn't have, my mistake.

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  10. Anonymous the XIVMarch 7, 2009 at 6:42 PM

    Actually the correct name of Lambdum's column is "Out Of My Mind These Days." And certainly Glenn lives up to it. Teryl Willis wrote a letter to Coburn's site and it is printed there. Pretty much knocks the bald stooge's nonsense back into the crapper it crawled out of.

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  11. This is the result of a huge puzzle being put together one piece at a time with none of the pieces appearing to be connected until the final few pieces were left. Since most of the council members were dumb as dirt there had to be a few puppet masters carefully pulling all their strings.

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  12. 6:42
    Damn, my mistake again....thanks for reminding me the column is "Out of My Mind These Days"
    Just read Teryl Willis' letter to the editor.
    I share her outrage at more lies from Glenn Lambdin. I swear if that old bald thing ever told the truth, he'd choke himself to death!

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  13. Let's see, Lambdin threatens Don Watts not to run for city council. Don ran anyway, and won.
    He sues Kurt Zimmerman and Kevin Dunn, and lost in a bogus law suit over wording on the ballot of Measure V. Measure V won.
    He writes slanderous lies in that paper of ill repute about MaryAnn MacGillivray. She won the election anyway. He had 2 Karma Bell for city clerk signs in his yard prior to last election for city offices. Karma lost.
    He had 2 Enid Joffe signs in the yard as well, Enid lost.
    He comes into a city council meeting and makes a total fool of himself at the podium.
    Anyone see that? He was pleading "why, MaryAnn, why"? Sounding like a jilted boyfriend. (a teenage one at that)I forgot what it was about, some whine about Joe Mosca.
    Everyone laughed at you, Lambdin. You're a bad joke.
    His latest dumb rant or jealous snit, he writes a really stupid and I mean stupid comment about Mayor Zimmerman mowing a lawn!Claiming Mayor Kurt Zimmerman has the "Messiah complex" I hope you're not reading this website, Lambdin....you'll have the "Job Complex".
    What's even more amazing is Bill Coburn prints it, and of course Harriet will print it, if and when her "paper" comes out.

    DIRTS!!!!!! Get rid of this loser, Lambdin, he is bad luck to a good hunting dog!!!!!!

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  14. I understand why Glenn said that Kurt Zimmerman has a "Messiah" complex. When Glenn wrote his I'm peeved article he was facig a mirror and he unconciously wrote about himself.

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  15. Glenn obviously spends a lot of time alone stewing about
    this kind of stuff. Keeps going over and over the same old
    things, stoking his rage and bitterness. And yet he just
    keeps on coming back for defeat after defeat. Maybe he
    enjoys the humiliation?

    He's certainly a complex dirt

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  16. why is there always a "villain" a "bad guy" with you crazies? you deified, and then crucified george maurer; you deified, and then crucified susan henderson; you deified and then crucified joe mosca; who next?
    i think honestly, its easier to point the finger and judge someone else then to deal with your own problems. do everyone a favor and get therapy, asap.
    i have met people from all politicla views in sierra madre...democrats, republicans, undecided, green, you name it; NO ONE has ever wanted to over develop sierra madre; you are delusional to think otherwise; please get help, and try to see the good in sierra madre. stop villifying good people

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  17. His "band" is named THE VILLAGE IDIOTS!

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  18. 7:38 is laughable. Takes a crazy to know a crazy. Or, must be a webb martin realtor.

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  19. Susan and Joe needed to be put in their place. Both greatly misreprsented themselves and their credentials, immediately ingrated themselves into politics without even knowing the community, flat out lied to people in town about themselves, lied in print and their political positions and flipped flopped around with their positions. Whichever way the wind blew the loudest.

    Mr. Mauer just got duped like the rest of us. He did say the Council looked like "Barristers Row" and that very little city business would actually get done.

    Wrong again 7:38 - if you were paying attention, there were quite a few people leading the charge to develop downtown Sierra Madre, especially a few realtors who ripped "villians" as crazies who disagreed with their vision. You must have just moved into town because there was support for building 80 condos at Howies and 55+ at the Skilled Nursing Facility.

    As far as Glenn, he's been villifying good people from a pulpit for a number of years. It's ironic that the more enlightened and politically correct one touts him or her self, usually they are more in the closet with prejudice and hatred than those who don't put themselves on a pedestal.

    I probabaly could use some therapy 7:38, can you give me the number of your therapist?.....

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  20. You know, some people actually are villains. Let me guess, the enraged poster here is upset because it is politically incorrect to call people out for their misdeeds? How ordinary and gutless.

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