Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The City Council Met, And Some Important Things Were Decided

Well, there was one big disappointment for me. The $300,000 General Plan consultant was neither proposed or debated last night. I was so looking forward to that one. If there is one topic that I really enjoy writing about, it's how the Old Guard members of the City Council love to propose spending mad money on consultants, and for just about anything imaginable. And this consultant, as far as I can tell, could possibly have even exceeded the cost of that once upon a time Top Secret document known as the DSP. To put it acronymically. Which isn't a real word, but it should be.

Of course, now that we know the names of the new members of the General Plan Committee, there will be a renewed urgency on the part of the O.G. to get a consultant in there pronto. Because as we all know, neither one of these esteemed gents will go a single step further in politics here in the uni-party State of California should a new General Plan emerge from Sierra Madre that does not meet the goals set by their patrons in the BIA, CAR, SCAG, SGVCOG, LCC, LAMSGVGC, and the rest of the alphabet soup of deranged city wreckers.

Just the way things go around in these parts. Produce or perish.

Now it is the theory of many here that the reason Joe Mosca made his quixotic quest for the Mayor's seat several months back is because of the General Plan Committee. And that the prospect of a committee staffed by people who would not be happily pushing the agenda that Joe subscribes to (can we say BIACARSCAGSGVCOGLCCLAMSGVGC?) was something not only horrifying to the tad, but also equally distressing to those whose favor he so desperately desires. You see, it's not just that Joe wants to see lots of condos built here. It is also that Sierra Madre was supposed to be an early stepping stone on the path to bigger and better things for him. And if you watch closely enough, you will see in Joe's face a man whose dreams are dying. One City Council meeting at a time. And now the only thing standing between Joe Mosca and career disaster is next April's election. Because if the Old Guard fails to recapture the City Council in 2010, Joe is politically a dead issue. Those people will drop him like a bad habit.

So congratulations to Ken Anholt, Denise Delmar, Leslee Hinton, Debbie Sheridan, and Teryl Willis on being selected for the General Plan Committee! Can we say Dream Team?

Couple of other things happened that caught my eye. The White Elephant known as One Crater was trotted out for yet another shampooing. What is this, the 28th time? The project that just keeps on taking apparently has more lives than all the cats in the valley. This ecological disaster zone obviously is in desperate need of work, so what else can we do but allow the current dirt pushers their chance at making it into something more than a latent mudslide? Particularly with the rainy season not all that far away? And while it is good that CS One Carter was put under what appears to be a tight 5 (or was it 6) month schedule, who is to say they won't come back and ask for yet more time in January? After all, our other bad dates did.

Nice to see that original Gang of Four member John Buchanan has grown weary of all the One Carter delays. And watching him attempt to ham up some indignation over the whole sad affair was the source of some comedy here at the Maundry Compound last night. But wouldn't it have been nice if perhaps he hadn't voted to turn the entire mountain over to the vastly inept Dorn Platz in the first place? It was all kind of like listening to Mrs. O'Leary and her cow complaining about the poor quality of Chicago's Fire Department.

One other observation on One Carter. Let's say the current owners get all that infrastructure work done, put the storm sewers in place, and meet all the requirements that they are obliged to fulfill. And sitting there a-shining in the beautiful Sierra Madre sun would be perfectly laid out lots with nicely paved roads connecting them. Is anybody really going to plunk down the $800,000 needed to buy one? Maybe I'm just out of touch with the whole McMansion thing, but doesn't that seem just a little bit pricey to you? Usually when you drop that kind of money you get a house with that lot.

Who knows, after this whole thing finally collapses under the weight of its own absurdity, perhaps One Carter will finally find some peace as something useful. Maybe as a vineyard?

Chateau Buchanan they could call it. Home of the world famous Two Buch Chuck.

Oh, and on that Hart Park House/Sierra Madre Room tip. Maybe it's because I work in an entirely different kind of business, but couldn't we just go to a bunch of contractors and see if any of them might want to take on the whole project for, let's say, $300,000? Times are tough out there right now, particularly for contractors. And that really is a serious sum. Just ask the question. Can't hurt, and right now you just never know what people might be willing to do.

If I was the Mayor I'd make Donald Trump's "The Art of the Deal" required reading for all City staff. From my perspective they really could use a little toughening up. Seriously. Not going back to the same contractors for a second bid after your boss decided the first one stunk? Because they might not like it?

You wouldn't last very long on The Apprentice saying stuff like that. No-Sir-Ree-Bob.


  1. Well can't the decision for a general plan consulting fee or whether we need one be put on the next agenda? Bye the bye what about the fee for the housing element by Karen Warner who also worked on the last housing element paving the way for the Downtown Specific Plan. What kind of money have we shelled out for that and with a consultant that has mixed use high rises in her eyes? Shouldn't the city be getting some new blood as far as consultants, architects(Fred Wesleys PBWS for example) and not the same group who are smart growth advocates?

    August 11th is the Scag council meeting . Giving the residents a say in throwing out SCAG and finding a solution for those low income units that are supposedly required at this point. We should have enough solutions available without eminent domain or building up and out...

  2. I was pleased with the new General Plan Committee.
    I was even more pleased when Mayor MacGillivray appointed herself as their committee liaison.
    I don't believe we will be needing expensive "consultants". Most of the current GP is good. Any additional help the committee needs they can get, no big consultant contracts.
    For anyone reading this who does not know, Teryl Willis, Leslee Hinton, Debbie Sheridan and Ken Anhalt.....they are some of the sharpest people in town.
    The new gal, Denise, seems a very qualified applicant as well, and I know the other 4 are looking forward to her input and expertise.
    Our new General Plan is in good hands.

  3. I was shocked at the paltry number of General Plan Committee
    applicants from Dirtsville. You think they would have floated
    out some of their finest development enthusiasts for this one. It
    being, after all, the big enchilada. Leads me to believe they either
    knew it was futile and therefore they couldn't be bothered to
    support their boys, or they're completely demoralized.

  4. No ex-mayor that supported the BIA/CAR, Calif. pols NO on V. would have been selected.
    The only EX-Mayor I would have chosen to be on the GPC is Kurt Zimmerman, and he's on the City Council....thank GOD!

  5. I think some props are in line for Mayor MacGillivray. She handled this thing flawlessly. I wonder how many people aware of how big this all is? It would have been unimaginable 2 years ago.

  6. Had Joe been the mayor, the applicant pool would have been top heavy with his people. The entire 4th of July comittee would have been represented plus the Kiwanis Club and the "old guard" The dirts are smart enough to know they did not have a chance and did not bother to waste their time.

  7. Channel 3 WatcherJuly 29, 2009 at 8:13 AM

    Sources from the 1 Carter development have said that many sites are in the process of being sold.

  8. Enjoyed watching Council Member Kurt Zimmerman last night.

    One minute the bank was opposed to all of the City's conditions. At the conclusion of Kurt's speech, the bank was agreeing to ALL of those conditions.

    Good work Kurt!!!!!

  9. Surely the Dirts haven't given up. They must be regrouping, or reworking their strategy...perhaps they are putting their faith in the state of CA, or as Eric put it in his own inimitable style, the BIACARSCAGSGVCOGLCCLAMSGVGC consortium. The state can sue over a General Plan it doesn't find sufficiently malleable, right?

  10. I can assure you the GP Committee will be creative in meeting the letter of the law. These folks were chosen because they are very smart.

  11. The extension of the ongoing destruction project at Cartercrater was the inevitable consequence of the terrible decision the Gang of Four made. They lost the the opportunity to stand up to the legal bullying, and require sane development, years ago. StockTorJofBuch thought they could just capitulate and wouldn't have to spend all that money spent on legal defense. oops. They certainly didn't care what happened to the hillsides, or that the town went into an agreement with a sleazy developer who had multiple bankruptcies and lawsuits before he even got here.

  12. 8:13 - I'm sure they would.

  13. Eric, glad to see you noticed Buch's indignation, like he wasn't fully aware he agreed to a plan with a company that he had been totally warned about. Remember the lady who brought the big aluminum foil key into the Carter hearings, and said we were giving the city to the scoundrel developer Galletly? She had the goods on him, too, and read out his court cases. Remember the call our Mayor got from the Mayor in Beaverton, Oregon, warning us not to agree with Galletly, and George Maurer saying it would be a black day for Sierra Madre to go into this agreement?
    This ain't hind sight. They were so warned.

  14. The Committees are in good hands!
    Both the new General Plan Committee and the current Canyon Zoning Committee consist of people with very high IQs.
    A qualified ATTORNEY attends all these meetings to advise committee members of the legal issues.
    Additionally, Mayor MacGillivray and City Manager Elaine Aguilar attend these meetings, they do not direct the meetings, nor do they sit at the table, but they are there to observe and answer questions.

  15. John was at his very best last night during the 1 Carter time extension. I guess he forgot he voted for the disaster after the community pleaded to vote no.

    CS 1 Carter has some nerve saying they did not agree with the conditions especially since they have sued the city over the HMZ. They are not our friends and will do anything to screw the city. They are complying with the conditions such as noise, start time, and dust control. They can da** well post their own bond.

  16. They are complying with conditions?
    I guess you haven't been by the site.
    I walk by it every morning, and there is no way they are complying with dust control.
    When it's bad, I pick up Fido & jog.
    What do the neighbors say?

  17. They have been much better about start times, no more 18 wheelers at 5 a.m., at least so far. The noise levels have improved too, but that depends on what they want to do, I suppose.
    The dust is bad. People are reporting increased allergies in their kids, and houses are covered with dirt. We've been living close to open dirt fields for a couple of years now.

  18. Hopefully the city will enact a strong dust ordinance. It is on the 10/13/2009 agenda. All the neighbors near 1 Carter and Stonehouse should attend that meeting and speak up.
    Stonehouse you are next. Cap Source has you in their sites.

  19. Stonehouse, you are next. Don't underestimate the rapers & scrapers.

  20. my nightmare fear for the next council election is that only joe and shirtless pete run for council - that's a worst case situation for the city, both have their own agendas of self induced glory

    you know the downtown condo crowd are already developing candidates

    anybody backed by a realtor out of webb martin will never get my vote or endorsed by lambin, doyle or john buchanan

  21. Don't worry about Mosca or that lightweight, Shirtless Pete.
    Not only will be retain our two council seats, we will win Mosca's chair as well.
    Neither one of these lightweights can compete effectively in the debates/candidate forums.
    It will be like Enid Joffe trying to compete in a debate with MacGillivray.

  22. Are Zimmerman and Watts going to run again? I sure hope so.

  23. 12:05, your mouth to God's ear.
    Where would we be without those intelligent, generous men?
    The SM council is bringing back the best things about SM - smarts, common sense, & appreciation.
    What a change.

  24. What about ONYX architects. Why do they keep getting the job? Weren't they the same ones for the Congs? Wasn't he defending the Kid Port building in front of the council, and did that whole denying thing about the "school"?
    This is from a blurb about Galletly's Ambassador West project:
    "Mr. Dale Brown, Onyx Architects, lead architect for the project"
    So let's clean house, huh, and get rid of the consultants, architects and RBF types who have been doing the work.
    The Tattler is right that there are lots of people who want work now. Let's see if we can get some good people who don't have expansionist connections.

  25. Good point, 3:29. The Old Guard has their Old Friends and those companies keep getting the jobs.
    Charge too much, too.

  26. Sierra Madre @7:54, you are so right. This slow growth majority was unimaginable two years ago. The council was still dominated by blustering fronts for overdevelopment, and those who care about the town had to fight for it. Never have understood why the church thought it was OK to grow to monster size, or why hometown realtors thought it was OK to plan to redo the whole downtown.

  27. Not just redo the downtown, Old Timer, wreck it. The Old Guard had dreams of making it someplace else entirely - a crowded, water strapped, poor quality of life, bad traffic, someplace else.
    Measure V & Mr. Zimmerman are great for Sierra Madre.

  28. Don't forget East Montecito! They'd have destroyed that very authentic neighborhood and turned it into something totally plastic and arty.

  29. petition carrierJuly 29, 2009 at 4:25 PM

    I think we can all agree that they would have ruined the whole town.

  30. Don't get overconfident. A while back somebody posted a time frame for Dirt & DIC investments holdings. We have to get through those.

  31. Let's remember the East Montecito Investor's group......rumored to consist of Rob Stockly, Kathy Childs and other dirts in town.
    They wanted to destroy the corner of Baldwin and Sierra Madre Blvd.....their Howie's project was stopped cold......stopped cold by KURT ZIMMERMAN, DON WATTS, and KEVIN DUNN, along with the hard working, dedicated TRUE volunteers (we have no agenda) the SMRRD.....the bi-partisan, group of ordinary citizens who took back Sierra Madre.
    We also had unseen help.....we can't disclose for security reasons. Thank you, we love you.
    Special Thanks to MaryAnn MacGillivray, who didn't want to run, didn't really want to even win, but has done one helluva job! Thanks Mayor.
    Our zoning committee members who had to be "pursuaded" to serve.....some kicking and screaming, but they too, stepped forward to save Sierra Madre. God Bless all of you!

  32. Don't forget the lady who told Sandy the council could not sell the public parking lot to the developer without 4 votes of the council. Sandy checked the law and their plan was stopped. Thank you kind lady.

  33. Yes, God has smiled on SMRRD. We have some very powerful friends, who operate from a position of personal agenda.
    One reason we won, in spite of all odds against us (BIA/CAR $$$$)is that our professional friends are much smarter than Bart Doyle or any of his dirt ex-mayors and cronies. Our volunteers are more dedicated and volunteer with a service heart, not according to the CAR handbook for realtors to infiltrate all the organizations to stop slow growth in Sierra Madre.
    Our city council is made up of one SUPER LAWYER, Kurt Zimmerman, one integrous architect, Don Watts and one brilliant scientist, MaryAnn.
    No wonder they out CLASS two shyster lawyers who work for development.

  34. Anon @5:30, what was that about? The parking lot next to Howies? Can you tell us what came down about that.

  35. channel 3 watcher 1stJuly 29, 2009 at 6:11 PM

    During the One Carter hearings I was blown away by how many smart people there are in Sierra Madre. Except for the people who were sitting on the council then.
    Now the majority on the council are as smart as those involved citizens. It's good.

  36. Did anyone hear the lady who got a IOU from the State of California?
    Tea party time?

  37. Speaking of Channel 3.....
    where is the replay that was suppose to be on at 5:30 pm?
    We pay for that! This happens so often, it isn't a coincidence.


  39. Glen Beck, please just roll right out of town. We're not much on national party politics around here. Too crazy even for us.
    And same thing goes for 6:56. The Rupert Murdoch fan clubs don't have a whole lot to offer Sierra Madre. Real change is more than a media saturated hustle.

  40. Too true. This is Sierra Madre. That stuff stops at the city line. We do things quite differently here.

  41. 6:01 The end of the Howies parking lot story is the city still owns the public parking the developer wanted. The developer needed it for their condo development project. Without the land they do not have enough property for parking. Yipee

  42. 10:09, well that's very good.
    I thought they were going for underground parking there, you know, under the first floor with the 72 condos on top of it. But maybe that was just the DSP stuff, and the developer who lost out on what you're talking about was a different developer, a post DSP developer. There's lots of them lurking.

  43. .....9:53 AMEN!!! We got rid of the crazies when we got our brilliant, slow growth, well educated and articulate 3 City Council Kurt, Don and Maryann to replace our last group who thought only of themselves....

    Please do not allow those GlenBeck types to cross into our territory. We are about LOCAL
    issues only.

    We already know what it is like to have those types in our town who create issues hoping to humuliate,bully and ramble on and on. All of them have managed to corner the market on a lack of intelligence and low-class and offer no solutions, only stir up problems to distract from real issues.


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