Thursday, March 5, 2009

Every Picture Tells A Story

One of the polling stations for the April 11, 2006 City Council elections was the Congregational Church Reading Room on Sierra Madre Boulevard. Which is coincidentally right next door to the Congregational Church. I can remember driving past it on that momentous day and seeing quite a line of people waiting to get in.

But if you look closely at the signs in these windows, what do you see? Propaganda that promotes the kind of development in Downtown Sierra Madre that was part and parcel to what was later kicked to the curb with the passage of Measure V. Of course, this was an extremely big issue in the 2006 election, and it led to the voters selecting community preservationists like Don Watts and Kurt Zimmerman, along with some other guy who later revealed himself to be a candidate of the Manchurian persuasion.

City Clerk Nancy Shollenberger was notified, and the Church was ordered to take the offending signage down.

Now why would the Congregational Church be plugging downtown development at a voting station, something quite obviously a violation of California state election laws? Maybe they saw it as a way of helping the candidates they supported? And had their boys won couldn't they have later realized significant financial gains in the form of highly expanded properties all along our little boulevard of dreams? Certainly all of this seems possible to me.

These pictures were taken on April 11, 2006, by Salvatore F. Tesoro, III.


  1. This gets better and better..Is there any end to the Cong's depravity

  2. I remember this, I was poll watching that morning.......several of us reported this, including a local attorney, who worked on the elections. This was a huge violation, and to think those very store windows were suppose to have been converted to retail! Another blatant violation by the CONGS.
    Using up all that retail space for CONG propaganda. TAX FREE, I might add.
    Hammer and tong the Congs! Down with their illegal building!

  3. Don't you get it? They are THE CONG and the man's law does not apply to them.

  4. I think the IRS would be very interested in some of their business activites. There is something called "unrelated business income". Since the church does not file a tax return they are probably not claiming income from some of their business activities. They could be flying under the radar and the IRS would really like to be told about this organization.

  5. Pretty bizarre group of folks that's for sure. Obviously they see themselves as being far beyond mere laws.

  6. I saw the stuff in the window on that day and was shocked that somebody would do something so obviously contrary to the election laws. It was bad because it was not only a statement on an issue that was central to the election, but also because posting that stuff at a polling place only lends more weight to the hegemony that the DSP enjoyed -- but did not deserve.

  7. Can real estate be considered a form of religion? Do you have equity in heaven?

  8. City council needs to go after the city officials who permitted this "building without a permit" to be constructed.
    They need to go after whoever it was, no matter how high up.

  9. OK, have I got this straight?
    SMCC wanted to have an auditorium (turned down by the planning comm. because of parking problems), retail stores carrying missionary related wares, classrooms, dormitories, and their church(es?) as a part of the DSP. Once the DSP was shelved due to the blessing of Measure V, the SMCC went ahead and built that extension on Hermosa, anyway, without the legal zone changes and General Plan amendments. At one time, Steamers coffee shop was a part of their plan, too, because there was a city council meeting during which SMCC members talked about wanting a safe place for the children to go - implying that the YAC was dangerous. So is Steamers connected with SMCC or not?
    Is that how it went?
    Why wasn't that election law violation addressed on that day?

  10. Re election law violation, I mean other than just taking the posters promoting the DSP down - wasn't there a fine or citation or something?

  11. These are from the city website, planning comm. agendas:

    December 13, 2006

    2. Conditional Use Permit 06-14 & Variance 06-08
    170 West Sierra Madre Boulevard
    Applicant: Sierra Madre Congregational Church

    The Planning Commission will conduct a public hearing to consider a request to open a
    coffeehouse, and newsstand at 142 West Sierra Madre Boulevard. The proposed uses would
    take place within the existing structure’s first floor and pursuant to Section 17.37.020 of the
    City’s Municipal Code; approval of a Conditional Use Permit by the Planning Commission is
    required for the proposed uses. Also included in this request is Variance 06-08. The
    applicant is proposing a reduction in the required number of parking spaces pursuant to the
    Municipal Code, which necessitates the subject Variance request.

    March 2, 2006

    2. Conditional Use Permits 06-01 & 06-03 and Certificate of Appropriateness 06-02
    170 and 201 W. Sierra Madre Boulevard
    Applicant: Sierra Madre Congregational Church

    The Planning Commission will conduct a public hearing to consider a request to alter the
    interiors of the New Life Center, located on the northeast corner of Sierra Madre
    Boulevard and Hermosa Avenue and the Old North Church, located to the east of the
    New Life Center. The renovation will reduce the number of classrooms at the Old North
    Church location, and increase the number of classrooms at the New Life Center. Minor
    exterior alterations will result from the request. No additional square footage will be
    added to either structure.

  12. ahhhhh....remember the good old days when you could feed Christians to lions.....(just joking)

    I distinctly remember the posters and pro DSP info disseminated by the Church. It struck me as odd why a non-profit was so interested and was taking a political stance on something that was none of their business, especially because a majority of the attendees lived out of town.

    Before I was open minded about the discussion and after seeing the proDSP support and hearing about the massive plans to take over Sierra Madre by the Church, I became dead set against the DSP. It was obvious that they had an agenda.

    Then the realtors started chirping and I decided to never listen to the openly biased opinion of a straight commission real estate salesperson about why everybody against the DSP was evil and basically stupid. Follow the money.

    I was waiting for the Church to keep expanding and eventually be close enough to the Buc to argue that it should be shut down which spell the final doom of Sierra Madre.

    What we need in Sierra Madre is another tavern and for the Highlander to get it's liquor license back.

  13. Keep in mind that Mr. Brandley was on the Planning Commission at that time and he was a member of the Cong. His business was doing business with the Cong and yet he said he had no conflict of interest.

  14. Why was this church allowed to get so big in the first place?

  15. Brandley had plenty of conflicts of interest.
    So many, that a group of citizens compliled a list of evidence of the conflict.
    Brandley resignes rather than be investigated by the attorney general of Calif.
    I'm betting you haven't heard the last of this Cong issue. This current city council, with 3 members who had nothing to do with building industry agendas or real estate agendas will surely/finally bring us all the truth.
    I am confident of that.
    John Buchanan and Joe Mosca, you two DIRTS had better get your chickens in a row, they have come home to roost.

  16. Sir Eric, you seem to be saying that the church is motivated by financial gain - I'm afraid it's worse than that. They may be motivated by an expansionist, proselytizing ideology. Ouch!