Friday, July 24, 2009

Mommy? Why Did That Man Say They're Taking Away My Library?

I was looking through various websites at some of the pictures from our 4th of July parade, and came across a couple of shots depicting some young children standing in front of our city library waving their cards while their parents held signs begging the place be saved. I stared at these images for a couple of minutes, and just couldn't help wondering why someone would lie to their kids like that. It was all just so cheap a political stunt.

At our last City Council meeting some obviously perplexed residents stepped up to the podium to ask questions about this odd situation. I believe it was Fay Angus, a renowned writer and long time champion of our library, who expressed it best. "Why would anyone claim that our library is in danger of being taken away when it so obviously isn't?" Nobody really had an answer. Then the same question was directed at John Buchanan, an individual many suspect played a role in this canard. John, knowing a lost cause when he saw one, did the lawyerly thing and dummied up. It was then that Mayor MacGillivray spoke the words that were obvious to all. "This is a non-issue."

You might recall a few days back we discussed the East Montecito Specific Plan. And one of the points made was that if you want to tear down a neighborhood and replace it, you're going to have to work real hard to convince people that the place deserves destruction. And a way you might attempt to do this is launch a public relations campaign running the place down. And in the case of East Montecito, the language used to attempt the deed went like this:

"This customary type of single-use planning has yielded sprawl-type development, characterized by homogenous and monotonous buildings that ignore the street and have large curb-cuts, little interconnectivity with surrounding neighborhoods or urban fabric, and the kind of segregation of uses that would otherwise fit well together. This kind of undistinguished development is easily recognizable all over Southern California and, to some degree, in certain areas of Sierra Madre."

A rather cold and technocratic way of describing what is basically a pleasant tree-lined residential street, right? Of course, some of the jargon is funny. "Curb-cuts" being planner jabber for a driveway that leads to the front yard. And then there is: "... little interconnectivity with surrounding neighborhoods or urban fabric." I think that is what most of us would refer to as a community that offers privacy.

Now a few years back there was a move afoot to tear down our existing library and replace it with something far larger. It would have been very expensive, and it probably would have resulted in the razing of an existing structure or two to free up the necessary space. And there were some other problems as well. The biggest being that not a lot of people in Sierra Madre really saw any point in going to all that trouble.

A poll was conducted to see just how much support there would be for a new library facility. And the results were not very positive for those hoping to tear down our library and build a new one. You see, some people actually liked things the way they were.

- Asked if the were generally satisfied with the City's library services, 78% said yes, and 7% said no.
- When respondents were asked if they would support an assessment of $75 per household per year for 30 years (for a new library), 48% said they would support the assessment, 38% said they would not, and 14% did not know ... Clearly there is work to be done. In order to be successful, a local library bond must receive at least 66 2/3s% of the total votes cast.

So what did the advocates of a new library set out to do in order to freshen those polling numbers a bit? They used pretty much the same method as those who desired to plow under East Montecito, and started bad mouth the library. Here is some of the language they used in their attempt to accomplish that end:

- Rodent infestation.
- Nonexistent building sprinkler system/fire suppression system
- Access to restrooms is too steep
- Hallways to restrooms are too narrow
- Parking area and walkway entrances are too steep
- Solid walls are inadequate to withstand an earthquake
- Inefficient indoor lighting
- Noise levels are too high
- Acoustics are very poor, no buffers between any rooms so noise travels uninterrupted
- Restrooms: limited number
- No dedicated Young Adult area
- Trip & Fall exposure great due to crowding
- Earthquake could be severe (large retention falls upon City; EQ insurance not purchased)
- Fire, no fire suppression system could result in great loss to collection (a large city asset)

Sounds like you'd be taking your life into your hands just walking into a building like that, you know? If the earthquakes don't get you, the rats surely will. But did it occur to them that you don't put sprinklers in a library because of the unfortunate effect it could have on the books?

You know what the irony here is, right? The gentlefolk who organized the "Save the Library" demonstration a few weeks ago are pretty much the same people responsible for advocating its destruction back then.

Funny how things go around.

60 comments:

  1. These "downtown investor's club" people never give up.
    Thank you for exposing them, Sir Eric and others.
    They have an agenda that is selfish and just plain wrong for Sierra Madre.
    We must keep exposing them, for what they are....self serving greedy people who view people like Sir Eric and his readers with ANGER....because we speak the TRUTH.
    They are angry at TRUTH.
    That library trick was despicable, Rob Stockley and the rest of you dirts behind it. Shame on all of you!

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  2. I like the earthquake comments
    Solid walls are inadequate to withstand an earthquake. I believe our Library has withstood many earthquakes. One of them was on June 28, 1991, called the Sierra Madre. After that most of the city turned out for the 4th of July parade. Those were the days before the DIRTS and DICS.

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  3. That uncalled for email written by Stockley, was circulated around town by Pam Kelly using private email address lists belonging to service clubs in town. She also circulated the email trying to organize a protest and speakers at the reorganization meeting to rally support for Council Member Mosca for mayor.

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  4. Thanks, 8:18....we'll remember the name Pam Kelly.

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  5. Just about the wackiest scam we've seen in quite some time. And when you consider the source that is saying a lot.

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  6. Pam Kelly is NOT a registered voter in Sierra Madre, unless new....perhaps another "attorney" like Tonja Torres or Joe Mosca who were recruited by Bart Doyle to move into town and get on the city council??????
    Watch this one, people. Could be another "plant" by the dirts.

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  7. Pam Kelly is a business woman (owns Dollmakers) in Monrovia. She has no business in Sierra Madre, in my humble opinion. She was also listed as a supporter on the Downtown Dirt website. If she's so anxious to be a part of Sierra Madre, she should open a shop here, right?

    Write to Pam Kelly at Dollmakers and tell her to butt out of Sierra Madre!!!

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  8. been there, done thatJuly 24, 2009 at 8:48 AM

    Sir Eric, is it also true that the firm that was going to build the new library, PBWS Architects, has or had an architect from town who was also going to be involved in the 55 stuff-em-down-your-throat condos at the SNF?

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  9. Not only is it true, BT,DT 8:48 am, he's also on the PUSD project to re-build the upper campus (Sierra Vista). And of course, was listed as a supporter on the Downtown Dirt website.

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  10. What's hypocritical is Rob Stockley recently appeared at a City Council meeting arguing against putting a bond measure on the ballot that would support the library!

    What is this guy's agenda?

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  11. been there, done thatJuly 24, 2009 at 8:57 AM

    NSE
    Argh! Is he involved in the Cong expansion (planned, delayed, bound to resurrect)?

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  12. The Downtown Investors Club does have its favorites. Lawyers, architects, realtors,
    contractors, they like to keep it all in
    the family.

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  13. thanks, marierose...as usual you give us good information.
    I couldn't find an email for this place but here is their address and phone number.

    412 S. Myrtle Ave.

    Monrovia, CA 91016



    Toll Free: 1(877) 365-5744

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  14. BT,DT @ 8:57 AM, Onyx Architects was involved with the proposed megachurch expansion of the SMCC. Sure would like to know what's happening with that project. Apparently the debacle with Steamers and no legal building permit for it's school left the church's Board of Directors unsure as to how to proceed in a less supportive community.

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  15. Right, NSE, thanks for the reminder. ONYX was also associated with Galletly in some fashion.
    Why did Steamers fail? It seemed to be doing a fair to middling business most of the time, and if rumor is correct, the Simpsons were big backers.

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  16. Dear Tattler readers, I'm shocked!
    I remember the day when one only
    needed to demonize the books themselves
    to shut down a library!
    Yours Truly, Anthony Comstock.

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  17. My friends bought the "Steamers" building and as far as I know they.re not going to roll over for Joe or Jesus.
    Truly, Local Yokel

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  18. Local Yokel - tell them what this city really needs is a first rate barbeque joint. We got a lot of places to eat here, but that is the one thing that is really missing here. Eat in, take out, and no fat added. That's what we need around here.

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  19. Truly, Local Yokel @ 9:28 am, I love your friends! That building was a centerpiece of the SMCC expansion. The upstairs was to be the "gym"; the downstairs to be the coffee shop/Christian bookstore/El Pueblo-style ethnic art venue for their missionary work as well as a gathering spot for live music in the evening. Oh, let's not forget the Brandley's Leonora Moss flower shop. With a not friendly new owner, SMCC may need a new set of plans. And you're a pretty interesting person yourself, Local.

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  20. OH LORD!!! I could not stand the nonsense this time around and the need to keep my mouth SHUT!!! I hope someone called the Dollmakers and made a HUGE A$$ out of themselves. Talk about the Tattlers excellent "detective" work. Please. As far as I know Pam FITZPATRICK is the OWNER of the Dollmakers. Pam KELLY is someone else. I'll let you follow through and figure out who Pam Kelly really is.

    GEEZ!!!!

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  21. Maybe Pam would be kind enough to let us have a copy of the e-mail list, since it IS obviously being used in the public sector....

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  22. Mea culpa! I apologize to Pam Fitzpatrick and to the Tattler community. I resolve to buy that expensive Fancy Nancy doll this weekend as penance. However, the system works - I admit my mistake and you do the detective work. Thank you Anonymous @ 10:07 am. I regret that I only have one life to give in the service of research.

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  23. Fair enough marierose. I was just embarrassed for #1 the outcome if someone did actually call and hollar over the phone to the Dollmakers and mostly #2 at the immature responses that came after your post. It gets sickening at times of the ages of these posters and the crap that comes out of their fingertips.
    Have a good (hot hot hot) afternoon.

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  24. She made my email public so I am returning the favor.

    Pam Kelly
    2094 North Grand Oaks Ave
    Altadena, 91001
    798-1558 home, 305-3110 work, 590-1882 CELL
    pam.kelly@gmail.com

    Works for Verland Kelly. Tax prep. 140 E. WAlnut Suite A Monrovia,Ca

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  25. Today these posts and most posters are behaving RUTHLESS. You are no different now then the other (nasty) blogs everyone has commented on in the past.
    Nice pot calling the kettle black.

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  26. I think the internet will reduce the need for a library, just like e-mail has done to the post office. The young generation has embraced the computer and internet and we old folks need to think of that before we build an expensive library that we can't afford. Now if you will excuse me I am going to prepare to dodge the bricks that will be thrown at me....

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  27. 10:43 - you have examples to back this up? Or is this the usual ad hominem blanket assertion so typical of trolls..

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  28. 10:43, I'm sure you meant the adverb form of ruthless, as in ruthlessly.

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  29. Maybe he meant roofless? Like he has no home and he's posting from our endangered library?

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  30. 10:49, I don't disagree. The library has become a kind of white elephant for Sierra Madre. If it was just economics, perhaps it
    would be decided it really isn't all that necessary. LA County has lots of libraries, and most of them are better than ours. But we're talking politics here, and there are a lot of crocodile tears (another animal metaphor) being shed. And for the dirts it is one of the few safe issues they have.

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  31. Did you think "library" equalled "books"? The proponents of the new library building are asking for a computer lab, community rooms, specialized children and young adult sections, and areas set aside for seniors. I believe this is a case of "build it and they will come" as opposed to housing a collection of books in hard copy. Not that all of those things are bad -- it's just that about 11,000 people can't support and pay for the Taj Mahal of small town libraries with out encumbering it's residents for the next 30 years. And for what? To rehabilitate the six mayors' image so that Stockley can run for another term? I for one will not be supporting either the libary project or Bob Stockley.

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  32. A computer lab would be a waste of money, I'm sure anyone in Sierra Madre that wants, and knows how to use a computer, has one at home.

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  33. seen it many daysJuly 24, 2009 at 11:58 AM

    The library gets the most use after school. Parents have their kids go there for free child care under the disquise of doing their homework. La Salle and Alverno students wait there until their parents pick them up after work. Not necessarily bad.

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  34. HEy the computers in the library are a great place to view porn. The library supports this.

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  35. 10:43, it does get a little rough here once in a while, but nothing that anybody who watches news on FOX or MSNBC would be worried about. Politics ain't beanbag, peewee. Or, as Harry Truman put it, if you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen. My suggestion to you is run away.

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  36. Dear 11:59, Brilliant!
    Truly, Anthony Comstock

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  37. Pam Kelly and her husband did have a business in Sierra Madre in a storefront on SM Blvd. It was a financial firm of sopme sort. She was very active in the past in the Historical Society (with the 100 year anniversary book committee) and was at Lizzy's Trail Inn on many Saturdays in the past. BUT she never lived in town, all the while inserting herself into Sierra Madre activities where she hoped to have influence. There probably are many Pam Kellys in the DIRTs and DICs who need to be watched as well as those who 'live' here.

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  38. 10:43 The regular posters know their stuff or where to get it. After being drug through the mud by professionals, they have learned what needs to be done and how to do it.

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  39. One thing for sure, the Downtown Investors Club is hardly limited to just Sierra Madre residents. It's all about the dough, yo.

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  40. Sorry to see Dollmakers unjustly implicated here, but happy to see the error corrected. Great little shop, great music-making (go see the Katty-Wompus band some weekend night playing in front of the shop), nice family-owned enterprise.

    I do like our little library and did need, some years ago, the use of their computers, so it is helpful, but a big computer lab is not necessary. There are many bigger libraries in neighboring communities that can provide this, if necessary (Arcadia, Pasadena and the big new library in Monrovia). If we can maintain our little house, that would be sufficient. It's just the tip of the build-out iceberg promoted by Stockley, Doyle, Buchanan, Mosca and all the other development industry lackies trying to make a quick big buck off of Sierra Madre; they probably believe they can muster up great sympathy for a cause such as the library - they just need a starting point from which to launch their full-fledged attack on Sierra Madre. Surely, if we cannot afford to retain a PD and fire department, we cannot afford to dedicated a significant sum to rebuilding the library, so their efforts seem to be in vain, but...?

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  41. The "slow growth majority" must be maintained on the council. If it is not, you can say good bye to the downtown and the rest of the city for that matter as you now know it. The DICs can wait nine more months but they can't wait 4 more years. The monthly payments on those loans are killing them. Thank your Maryann, Don, and Kurt for all you do and all you have done.

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  42. what a waste of 1's

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  43. what is 1's? I am new to this?

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  44. AMEN, 1;07!

    Thanks so much to Kurt Zimmerman, Don Watts for absolutely saving Sierra Madre from disaster.
    Thanks so much to MaryAnn MacGillivray for stepping up to the plate and knocking the winning run in for our team! You made up for what Joe, John and Enid had done. They supported Bart Doyle's agenda, the people caught on for the most part, they tried their best to smear you, even had a major political party in on the smear, not to mention the disgraceful Harriet S. Henderson and her fallacious paper she stole from a woman who befriended her.
    I pray we will keep these MEAN SPIRITED people like Rob Stockly and this Pam Kelly and the rest of the DIRTS out of Sierra Madre's future. Their intentions are NOT GOOD.

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  45. 3:25 - I think by "1s" our little friend is referring to the process by which keyboard stokes become visible on computer screen. 1s and 0s being the two components of the binary code that comprises computer language. I think this poster is of the belief that he is referring to knowledge that is both arcane and exotic. Which is an indication of just how simple the thought processes of this individual are.

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  46. Sir Eric must be using a special kind of troll bait - pulling them in these last couple of days!
    What a Waste (WAW) has opined before...had the same thing to offer.

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  47. Where did you snarf that fabulous picture of the little girl who wants her library cookie?

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  48. WAW is also the troll we call Noonie. A lot his posts are right around lunchtime, which is probably the time he gets up. He's an amusing hater, and we keep him around for laughs.

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  49. Personally, I would like to have a run-down on the money spent on the "new" library design that was done under the Bart regime. As I recall, there was the plan to move the library and some architectural design work was put into it before it became apparent that there was inadequate public support for the debt that would have to be incurred in order to make it happen. I remember hearing $500K or even more, but I have never seen the pictures. Anyone want to find out what year this was happening and check the warrants? It could be fun.

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  50. Dr. Staccato - here's some info, plus pictures. $500K, eh? That Barton, no expense is ever too large - as long as the money is ours, that is.

    http://www.sierramadrenews.net/proposedlibrary/index.htm

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  51. Great link. A msut read this weekend for everyone.
    Be sure to read the "white paper" for their justification of the new library. The current library could easily gain space by discarding old outdated books. Some books have not been checked out in years.

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  52. Get used to calling OUR services, Los Angeles County Library, Los Angeles Counrt Sheriff's Department, and one can not forget, Los Angeles County Fire Department.

    We want it, and we a gonna get it! Good!

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  53. Hey 6:50 You are dreaming. Go back to sleep. You must have had a bad dream. No one said county fire or county library. Everthing is ok. The library and fire departments are safe.

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  54. IF WE'RE LOOKING TO SAVE MONEY, WHY WOULD WE WANT TO REPLACE A VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT?

    SOMEBODY ISN'T DOING THEIR BEST THINKING HERE.

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  55. The volunteer fire dept. is HARDLY FREE!

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  56. Nothing is free! Even in Sierra Madra!

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  57. Rahhht. So spending money to bring in LA County Fire Dept guys makes fiscal sense to you?

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  58. One of the Fire department biggest expenses is the overpaid Fire Cheif Heydorf ( over $90,000 a year) who has an interest(along with Kathy and Charile Childs) in 31 E. Montecito (Where the Historical Old Adode is )and has been proposed as one of the lower income unit sites by the consultant for the upcoming updated housing element.What does that man do ? Part of Sierra Madre's charm and ambience is the volunteer fire department the Playhouse and before that horrendous raise the police was fairly well loved.But we have Cheif Diaz not allowing any police that live in the city to be on staff and we also have 3 law suits the city is defending because of her.If anybody remembers John Gillison the city manager during the push for the DSP he taught classes on how to contract out city services. If we contract out Fire, Police etc the citizens lose the contact and connection to what is going on in the community which removes us from being informed so more wool can be pulled over the residents eyes. Maybe we need a new police chief without an agenda too. This is an uphill battle with a City Attorney who is a big supporter of the BIA (remember her partner Michael Coluntano ..look up his articles in League of Cities Magazine), a City manager, community development director, public works director who directive is not to keep Sierra Madre the quaint little village we all know and love because that does not bring big raises, job elevation and money in the back pocket. Protecting Sierra Madre is an uphill battle when from within we have "at will" management with their own agenda.

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  59. Only three law suits against Diaz? That is a conservative number. I wish it was only three. I don't know the number (lawsuits) but, I know more are a comin.

    Stay tuned Sierra Madre, I really don't think we will be able to afford her much longer. Just ask the city of Pasadena.

    Research team do your homework and look into this.

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  60. The thing to remember is that this is all about $ and the value we receive for it. We are not obliged to spend one more dime than we have to. And if the city can cut costs and pare back some of the recent tax increases, then we've succeeded.

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