Kathy Childs. In it Kathy expresses her strong support for Joe Mosca and his rather quixotic quest to get this City Council to vote him our next Mayor. Kathy, if you are not aware, became well known here in Sierra Madre during the Measure V election, and her staunch and rather pointed opposition to it is something many remember to this day.
And I've noticed that Kathy's well-circulated communique on the suitability of Joe Mosca to serve as the Mayor of this town has now been reprinted on the front page of Bill Coburn's finely crafted Sierra Madre News.net website. So since it has reached that level of exposure, perhaps it is time to see what this is really all about.
In case you haven't read it yet, I am going to reprint Kathy's entire e-mail here.
"Allow me to put on my "Citizen-Childs" hat for a moment. Next week at the Sierra Madre City Council Meeting a new mayor will be determined by decision of the collective council.
I am a firm believer in the tradition of the rotation method (sic) of assignment to the position of mayor. It has worked for years however, if you will recall, the last time this event took place, our newly elected officials took it upon themselves to change the rotation and appoint a mayor out of order. I was so irritated that I threw my hands up and quit watching the meetings or attending the meetings; it was so mean.
Well, it is time for me to follow the ~ if you don't like it ... do something about it or shut up ~ philosophy. I'm asking for your help.
Regardless of how you may feel, please join me at the City Council Meeting to support fairness and tradition. Joe Mosca has earned the right to be mayor. He attends City events, reports on the happenings around town; he cares about each and every citizen and is not afraid to voice his opinion. Let's put politics aside and remember our town is so sweet and so good, we don't need the City Council playing politics and being so divisive that it is making decisions that go against the wonderful tradition of our town and the fairness to our elected officials.
I have blind copied you so there is not a published list of e-mail addresses but my friends, don't be surprised if you get requests from others as well and phone calls (sic). This is important. Please join me in supporting our elected Councilman Joe Mosca by letting the Council know that tradition is important to a lot of us and we want Joe to be our Mayor!"
Now there are lots of traditions in this country that, while widely accepted at one time, were eventually passed over in favor of far better things. Slavery, polygamy and rooster fighting being three that come immediately to mind. Fortunately times change. And are we to believe Joe's only real qualification to be Mayor is that it's his turn? I don't see anything in Karen's e-mail about any record of accomplishment, or list of achievements, and not a single cited example of the kind of exceptional leadership qualities it will take to lead this City through the challenging times ahead. Rather all we've been given here is that it would be "so sweet and so good" to make Joe our Mayor.
This is a very weak argument on Mr. Mosca's behalf. Can it really be that after three years of serving on our City Council, the only argument one of his most notable supporters can make on his behalf is that it's his turn to be Mayor? Or that it would be "mean" to pass him over? Or that he supposedly cares about everybody? I'm sorry, but these are not the kind of credentials I look for in the person I would want to lead this City. In times as economically demanding as these the last thing we need is a Winnie the Pooh equivalent running Sierra Madre. Any so-called tradition that would put so undistinguished an individual into the Mayor's seat needs to go away.
But I have to level with you, I don't think that is what Kathy's real agenda is here. I believe that her stake in Joe Mosca becoming our next Mayor is far more economic than it is emotional.
In the Sierra Madre 2008-2014 Housing Element Community Workshop handout the properties being targeted for high-density development are listed. And these are places that Karen Warner Associates has determined to be suitable for multi-family low income condominiums. And on a page all to itself in this report (the only property so honored), is the structure currently standing @ 41 E. Montecito Avenue. It is on a 30,894 square foot lot, was built in 1947, and is now apparently a rental property. And who owns this joint? If you scroll back to the top of this article, you will see a "Multiple Building Card Property Summary" has been reproduced. If you click on this inset it will enlarge and you will be able to examine it more closely. And you will discover that the owner of this property is, you got it, Kathy Childs.
This kind of information is obtainable from any title company. It is public information, and anyone is entitled to see it.
Much of what I'm about to say is speculation on my part, but this is my take on what Kathy would expect from a Mayor Joe Mosca. Kathy is looking to develop her property at 41 E. Montecito in a high density manner. She wants her property to be identified by the City for an upgrade that would permit her to build multi-family high density structures on that property. It is in that part of town covered by Measure V, so anything built there now can only be up to 13 units per acre. And Kathy doesn't quite have an acre. But if her property is upgraded she could then build as many as 20 units. Something that would have to be approved by the people of this town through a vote.
Now here is what I have come to believe is at the very heart of the current redevelopment subterfuge being run on this town. The pitch will be that if the citizens of Sierra Madre should vote to allow Ms. Childs to build 20 so-called low income units on her property, therefore overriding Measure V, it would reduce the pressure to seize homes through eminent domain. These 20 units would pretty much take care of our SCAG imposed RHNA low income number. And that is the way this special election would be sold to the voters. By voting for an immense 3 story 20 unit building at 41 E. Montecito, you'd be saving others from having the City take their homes away from them.
Pretty much a variation on the old "you either give me what I want or I'll kill this puppy" routine.
But without Joe Mosca in the Mayor's seat, none of this could even come close to happening. Mayor MaryAnn MacGillivray, a supporter of Measure V, would hardly allow such a scheme to go forward. There would be no upgrade for 41 E. Montecito, no threats about bringing back the eminent domain statute, no RHNA blackmail, and none of the other coercive and deceptive elements necessary to bring this project to completion.
One other thing. You do know that there is no City or State law that requires high density low income housing to actually be just for low income people, right? And should something like this 41 E. Montecito boondoggle be built, there is nothing forcing those condos to be sold at a low price. They could actually be put on sale for whatever price the market will bear. Despite the claims we heard back on March 31st.
So much for "the wonderful tradition of our town" and "fairness."