Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Shmoos of Arcadia

"The Shmoo, as every literate person must know, was one of history's most brilliant Utopian satires." - The Baltimore Sun, 2002

The Shmoo, in case you are not aware, is a cartoon character Al Capp created way back there a ways for his comic strip Lil' Abner. They are the ultimate in selfless creatures, willing to do anything (and I mean anything) to bring happiness to their human masters. Here is a handy description from the always useful Wikipedia

"Shmoos are delicious to eat, and are eager to be eaten. If a human looks at one hungrily, it will happily immolate itself, either by jumping into a frying pan, after which they taste like chicken, or into a broiling pan, after which they taste like steak. When roasted they taste like pork, and when baked they taste like catfish. Raw, they taste like oysters on the half-shell ... They also produce eggs (neatly packaged), milk (bottled Grade A), and butter - no churning required."

Speaking of Shmoo-like behavior, we need to talk a little bit about what is going down in Arcadia these days.

There was a highly informative piece from the seemingly agenda-free Alfred Lee in yesterday's Pasadena Star News, a paper I am beginning to like more and more these days. The coverage offered is light years ahead of the crudely slanted rubbish we see in the two street rags that claim to cover events here in Sierra Madre. Here are a couple of paragraphs that will help set up where I'm going with this:

New land-use revisions call for increasing housing density: ARCADIADeep into the process of updating the city's General Plan, officials are trying to create land use concepts that meet new statewide density requirements and still preserve Arcadia as a "Community of Homes" ... Officials are making sure that the new land use guidelines meet the requirements of SB 375, the "anti-sprawl" legislation last year that aims to cut down on carbon emissions by requiring local agencies to minimize vehicle travel time through city planning ... "I think the update is just something that needed to be done to reflect the current conditions and goals and how we see ourselves grow, and it kind of dovetailed into SB 375," City Manager Don Penman said. "Cities are going to have to come up with plans to address that, but we're already in that process."

So I wonder what Arcadia will taste like after it has happily cooked itself Shmoo-style for the folks in Sacramento? My guess would be baloney.

One of the truly great things about the Pasadena Star News website is something called Topix. It is where you can go to talk about the article you have just read, and mix it up with other local news fanatics. I have been known to go there myself from time to time. 

Now there was a guy discussing this Arthur Lee article yesterday who just flat out kicked some major booty. He calls himself True Freedom, and he is one well-informed dude. I'm going to let his own words speak for him.

Post #4: Wiseman, you are not so wise. These policies are mandated by Sacramento. Here's how it works:
a) There is a govt group called SCAG (Southern California Association of Governments that magically comes up with population growth estimates for the region.
b) SCAG then divvies up the growth so that each city has their "fair share," called RHNA (Regional Housing Needs Assessment numbers .. pronounced "reena.")
c) The city must provide in it's General Plan, submitted to Sacramento, a land Use and Housing Element that shows how the city will accommodate all this growth that is being mandated by the state.
d) The city also must provide a plan for an adequate number of Very Low Income and Very Very Low Income (these are official terms: see for Sacko's stance on affordable housing.
e) If the city does not have a good enough plan to increase density and low income housing, the state will withhold some funds to the city as punishment. 
f) It gets worse with the newly enacted SB 375, which mandates more high density housing around transit hubs (bus stations, trains, etc) and has language that seems to suggest the state can actually sue a city if they don't comply.

Post #6: Arcadia, you must write or call your City Council members immediately to stop this. Your SCAG numbers show Arcadia has to grow from 55,000 residents to 65,000 residents. You will be stuffing 10,000 more people into your tiny city ... many of which will be very very low income as mandated by the state.

Affordable housing advocates and builders are pushing most of this growth. They are well organized powerful lobbies in Sacramento.

Single family residents are a disorganized, unrepresented group and WE ARE GETTING STEAMROLLED by the lobbies.

Arcadia has a great school system. Will it be the same after you add this new group of people?

Will your traffic be worse? Will pollution be worse? Will water usage, electricity usage, waste/trash generation be worse? Will parking be worse?

Post #8: No conspiracy theories here. This is all fact. You may want to visit the State of California's website and educate yourself.

First, try the Housing and Community Development website. They have an entire section on Affordable Housing and counteracting NIMBY (not in my backyard): (Tattler: if you thought the CAR book was bad, look at what our very own tax dollars have bought us here! It is ugly.)

Look at the rest of the State's HCD site:

Look at the SCAG estimate estimate RHNA numbers for yourself to check if my assertion that arcadia will have to grow from 55,000 to 65,000 people is true.

Google "SB375" and read up on what this bill passed last September is FORCING cities to do...

Post #13: Bills like SB 375 are simply a "greenwashing" tactic to build higher density housing in the name of the environment.

Now, in completely undeveloped areas of California, if you have a choice to preserve more open/green space by clumping people in higher density housing ... this bill makes a little sense.

But, this is not our situation in LA. We will not be preserving any green space ... we will only be adding more residents.

Any idiot can see that more people crammed into our cities will increase traffic, increase pollution, increase trash generation, increase water usage, increase daily frustration, increase school crowding, and decrease property values and decrease our quality of life. And hurt the environment.
 *   *     *     *         *            *                    *                            *

Man, I tell you, I got to get this guy over here and writing for The Tattler. Dude has definitely got the Holy Spirit. He is wrong about one thing, though. I am not sure that "any idiot can see" all of this. I mean, there are those two Shmoos on our City Council that I don't think will ever get it.  


  1. Shmoos! What a perfect description for these guys.

    "How would you like us to cook ourselves?"

  2. TRUE FREEDOM!!!!!

    I really like the way you think and write!
    Please come join us on the TATTLER??????

  3. Wow. Arcadia just can't wait to roll over. I wonder if the people
    living there even know what is going on. Shmoos have obviously
    taken over City Hall there.

  4. One thing he did not emphasize in the list of how higher density could damage a city: packing more people into a small area tends to increase TENSION, which leads to outbreaks of anger, crime, etc. There are a few well-documented studies using rats to illustrate this point, as noted below:

    Crowding and Social Behaviour
    In Calhoun’s rat study, overcrowding was
    associated with increased aggression,
    particularly in dominant rats. Studies of
    humans have suggested that social
    behaviour is adversely affected by higher
    population density.

    To read more, Google "rat crowding study" and/or check out this link:

    Also, the health repercussions of overcrowding are staggering. We, as a species, need to be discussing population control instead of how we can cram more people into our cities (so that, incidentally, developers can make a great profit while promoting the subsequent social misery associated with their actions).

  5. The Arcadia City Council is probably very excited because once the Gold Line goes through their city they will have not only the 210 Freeway to build their ant colonies next to but also the Gold Line which will cut across the city in a different location.
    See article in PSN 7/05/09 Valley gateway across the 210 Freeway moves closer to reality.

  6. TRUE FREEDOM WRITES in the PSN comments:

    "Any idiot can see that more people crammed into our cities will increase traffic, increase pollution, increase trash generation, increase water usage, increase daily frustration, increase school crowding, and decrease property values and decrease our quality of life. And hurt the environment".

    You nailed it, friend.
    The people of Sierra Madre are fighting back!
    We won Measure V a few years ago, in spite of massive amounts of money from out of town (BIA and CAR)flooded us with bs propaganda.
    We WON anyway. We then got MaryAnn MacGillivray, a slow growth preservationist on our City Council.
    People everywhere in California need to fight these greedy monsters who are trying to destroy our way of life.

    Anon. at 8:55:
    very good post!

  7. Too Much SunshineJuly 8, 2009 at 9:39 AM

    Pretty sad commentary on the awareness level of your average Arcadian. 10,000 new neighbors, many poor, are about to be shoe horned into their little well-manicured city, and where's the outrage? Here in Sierra Madre we know who the culprits are, and they can't make a move without us getting in their faces.


    Why is it so difficult for taxpayers in Arcadia and Pasadena to organize and fight these SCAGGIES?

    We are praying our Sierra Madre City Council votes us OUT OF SCAG, ASP. I'm confident they will. We pay them $1000 a year "fee" to be on their hit list of cities. They are bullies and politician types everyone can do without.
    All the cities in the San Gabriel Valley need to organize groups of taxpayer/residents to fight this outrage. We can do it! YES WE CAN! We DID do it in Sierra Madre, however, a coalition of residents for responsible development could be even more effective.
    We need thoughtful people like you, TRUE FREEDOM.

  9. Birds don't foul their nest but some humans are not so particular.I find it astonishing that the two Js seem hell bent to support any and every effort to undermine and destroy the very community where they both reside and are elected representatives Is there a name for this psychosis?

  10. Bubby,
    I think it's called narcissism. 90% of all politicians suffer from this disorder.
    Joe and John are no exceptions

  11. Pasta at 9:20 am

    RIP arcadia...........

  12. Steve: What are people saying about all this where you are?

  13. 10:00 AM,
    The problem of adding more and more density will not stop until residences of all local communities can banned together into enough of a voter block to go after those corrupt legislators taking campaign financing from the BIA and CAR.... (our "pay to play" leaders in Sacramento). Until that happens, we are doomed to fighting this stuff at the local level forever..It's time to organize.

  14. unless we get organized, pasta, we have no shot.

  15. ..Thank you 8:55 about your rat study...a perfect example going on daily and loudly at the Santa Anita Mall, which has been enlarged with less parking, more anger, more people, more children running around out of control, overpriced and high end shopping during a recession, and high rate of unemployment....dreams seems like a TRIPLE rat study to me: the rats who allowed the rats to build it......and the OVERCROWDING OF THE RATS IN A MAZE TO SPEND MONEY ON CREDIT CARDS ISSUED BY BANKS BAILED OUT..... more rats.....f***ing mind blowing, isn't it....
    And it won't stop happening until WE STOP IT!!

  16. Hello Tattlers! I must admit that I have lurked your blog before, and it has been a great source of information and inspiration to me.

    Revision of Pasadena's General Plan is underway. I have been attending a few of the public meetings and a few homeowners association meetings where the planners have presented. One thing sticks out: there is no mention of SB375, SCAG, or RHNA... and, when I talk to homeowners, they have no clue this is what is happening, and they are all ticked off when they hear about it.

    One thing is for sure, the other side is well organized and powerful. As JQPublic posted on Topix, they want us to continue to "talk among ourselves"... read: divide us and conquer us. From the sounds of it, y'all have been doing a bang-up job fighting in Sierra Madre. But, now is the time to take the fight regional, if not statewide.

    I've been trying to find slow/no growth groups here in SGV, but haven't found any (except PRIDE in Pasadena... but not the best name and there's no site). We need to organize, get a site together that has educational information, advertize this info to homeowners (cause once they find out they'll be mad). Perhaps filing suit against the state and/or cities for putting our health at risk with increased traffic/ pollution can slow things down.. I don't know.

    But, if there ever is a time to wrestle back local control from Wacko Sacko, now is the time. Sacramento will likely have less of financial spectre to hold over our heads for the forseeable future.

    Let's work together to proliferate the great work done in Sierra Madre to the rest of the valley!

  17. At the 4th of July parade here I shouted out to Assemblyman Anthony Adams "What are we going to do about SB375?" He immediately shouted back, "Kill it!" Anthony Adams might be a good place to start.

  18. Steve Johnson is always available in Adams officed to talk to. He will listen, give support and direction.

  19. Redevelopment is a Democrat addiction. I
    can't believe that the Republicans won't
    be using this as a club. I'd be sorely disappointed if they didn't. They could
    really use a good issue right now.

  20. Yahoo, True Freedom!

    A well known slow growth guy in town here says:

    "Instead of perennially fighting this stuff at the local level, is to organize regionally, similiar to the Prop 13 battle 30 years ago under Howard Jarvis.....
    We need to target the legislators who have voted for these bills, and expose them, or what ever is necessary to get them out of power. Perhaps the time is right.."?.
    Sir Eric has commented before about the likelyhood of our future leading elected representives leading this very movement. When the masses find out what these SCAGGIE types are up to, they will vote them out.
    Hopefully, these Scaggies will be on the wrong side of the history of California. We can and will do it.
    Welcome aboard, TF!

  21. South Pas neighborJuly 8, 2009 at 12:31 PM

    12:23 give it up. Trusting Republicans and/or Democrats gave us this mess.
    You have to totally forget parties and look for honesty & intelligence. Sounds like maybe Adams is ok?

  22. SPN - You see the article in today's PSN about the 710 Tunnel?

  23. True Freedom, thanks for the great post.
    In Sierra Madre we know all to well the divide & conquer strategy, the "It's Flawed" PR campaigns used against any grassroots ideas, the death grip the development/realty consortium has on communities.
    You are so right about getting the accurate information out - one of the reasons we are so grateful to Sir Eric. The Tattler is the only free press we have in our town, and we're working on wider educational efforts too.
    Thanks again, and please come back often.

  24. South Pas neighborJuly 8, 2009 at 12:39 PM

    Anonymous @ 12:34, read it & wept.

  25. It's like Sacramento is conducting a war against the small cities of California.

  26. So.Pas:
    Don't give up. It's true that 90% of the pols are under the influence (of special interest lobbies) but there are a few decent ones who will fight for what the people want.
    We have three of them elected to our city council....Mayor MacGillivray, Kurt Zimmerman and Mayor Pro-tem Watts......Zimmerman and Watts spent an agonizing 2 years as the minority on the council, but STILL managed to lead a group of local citizens Sierra Madre Residents for Responsible Development (SMRRD) to a stunning victory in 2007 winning with Measure V to stop the massive development plans for our tiny downtown. The Building Industry Association and the California Assoc. of Realtors pumped over $170,000 to defeat us. We only had less than $30K. We WON anyway.
    Then they pumped in money to keep MaryAnn MacGillivray from being elected, MaryAnn is a former Mayor and councilmember who is a well known supporter of slow growth and preservation of the hillsides. MaryAnn WON anyway.
    She defeated a sitting Mayor who was in with the developer crowd.
    Please keep posting here, contact Sir Eric, let us know what we can do to help.

  27. Bad Karma,

    Anthony Adams was opposed to Measure V. His name even appears on one of those misleading "NO on V" brochures.

    I think your faith in him is probably misplaced.

  28. Don't worry 12:46, we've all learned the hard way to vet these people very carefully before we put our money, energy and trust in them.
    We've been bs'd before. It hurts. It's also expensive. Better to find out if we have a wolf in sheep's clothing.
    I don't remember anything about Adams.
    All you have to do is see how he votes....check his record out.
    He may have been naively misled on Measure V....many were......I'll reserve judgement until I see what he votes.

  29. Oooooh 12:46, thanks. That tempered my enthusiam a bit. However, if he'll support the evisceration of SB375....

  30. True 12:58, many people were misled on Measure V. Heck, the often victorious public relations firm that was brought in to do the job had success with the "It's Flawed" before - and they're probably on a job today, somewhere in a small city, with "It's flawed" banners & mailings.

  31. We are so very thankful to have won Measure V.
    It truly saved this city.
    I would like to participate in a movement to save other communities before it's too late.
    All you people in Pasadena, Arcadia, Monrovia reading this, please don't give up. It may be too late to save some areas of your cities, but by getting good slow growth laws on the books and people being super aware of what is at stake...will prevent any future atrocities from being committed by these "build, build, build-no matter what" people.
    The stakes are very high folks! We need to organize and win.

  32. Bart's Empty BusesJuly 8, 2009 at 1:57 PM

    U.S. apartment vacancies near historic high:report

    Can we say condo glut yet?

  33. Just spoke to Adams office. He vote "aye" on SB 375...anti sprawl.
    Bad Karma to your post about his response to 375...kill it. He may have been refering to a new school facilities bill this year with the same number. Someone should actually talk to Adams to find out his actual position

  34. I've been doing a little more digging today... there may be other existing coalitions we can tap into for regional support. Y'all may have covered this previously, but there are a bunch of lawsuits regarding SB1818 "density bonus law" which mobilized these community groups. Some potentially friendly names have come up: Jane Usher (LA Planning Commish), Robert Silverstein (Pasadena Attorney), Doug Carstens (representing the coalition of community groups suing City Hall)... I'll let y'all know more as I find out.

    I still think we should have a SGV group. Come up with a catchy, meaningful name and I'll see about hosting a website which we can use to get the word out...

  35. Well Pasta, that's unfortunate. Maybe Adams just wanted to give me what he thought I wanted to hear.

    Disgusting state of events. They're all in the BIA's pocket.

  36. Thanks for checking up, Pasta. 90% of all elected officials are working for special interests, not for us. It's just a miracle we have THREE of the HONEST ones on OUR city council here in Sierra Madre. What are the odds of that?

    True Freedom:
    Thanks for the information. I hope you and Sir Eric will be able to get something rolling for us.
    Good idea to have a SGV group.

  37. Pasta?

    Can we get a list of all the pols who voted NO on SB375?

    That would be a good start for TF's and Sir Eric's search for friends of slow growth, better known as HONEST POLITICIANS!

    It would be great if we could publish all these pols who work only for special interests and against the people who elect them.

  38. OK: Good idea! We could call it The Tattler List.

  39. The Tattler's list of NEVER VOTE FOR:

  40. Here goes the list. It is best to use the links provided. The first link is to the bill itself with the proponnets and opponets at the bottom of the document.

    Final Bill: see bottom for supporters and opponets

    Final vote in the Senate: 25 to 14

    Alquist Calderon Cedillo Corbett
    Correa Ducheny Florez Kehoe
    Kuehl Lowenthal Machado Migden
    Negrete McLeod Oropeza Padilla Perata
    Ridley-Thomas Romero Scott Simitian
    Steinberg Torlakson Vincent Wiggins


    Aanestad Ackerman Ashburn Battin
    Cogdill Cox Denham Dutton
    Harman Hollingsworth Maldonado Margett
    McClintock Wyland



    Final Vote in Assembly 49 to 22

    MEASURE: SB 375
    AUTHOR: Steinberg
    TOPIC: Transportation planning: travel demand models
    DATE: 08/25/2008
    MOTION: SB 375 Steinberg Senate Third Reading By DE SAULNIER
    (AYES 49. NOES 22.) (PASS)


    Adams Aghazarian Arambula Beall
    Berg Berryhill Blakeslee Brownley
    Caballero Charles Calderon Carter Coto
    De La Torre DeSaulnier Dymally Eng
    Evans Feuer Fuentes Furutani
    Galgiani Hancock Hayashi Hernandez
    Horton Houston Huffman Jones
    Karnette Krekorian Leno Levine
    Lieber Lieu Mendoza Mullin
    Nava Nunez Parra Plescia
    Portantino Price Ruskin Salas
    Solorio Swanson Torrico Wolk


    Anderson Benoit Cook DeVore
    Duvall Emmerson Fuller Gaines
    Garrick Huff Jeffries Keene
    La Malfa Maze Nakanishi Niello
    Silva Smyth Spitzer Strickland
    Villines Walters


    Davis De Leon Garcia Laird
    Ma Sharon Runner Saldana Soto

  41. Thanks, Pasta
    How sad only 22 honest people! Representives of the people, not the special interests.

  42. Anderson Benoit Cook DeVore
    Duvall Emmerson Fuller Gaines
    Garrick Huff Jeffries Keene
    La Malfa Maze Nakanishi Niello
    Silva Smyth Spitzer Strickland
    Villines Walters

    All these Assmembly members have two things in common....they are all against overdevelopment and they are all belong to the same political party.....I dare not go there, but you all can check it for yourselves.

  43. The County has been "giving it away" for years, that's posted on my blog.

    But County has also got their General Plan all done in 2008 and ready for adoption, which means that it was not developed under SB 375, hence no mitigation of sprawl.

    SB 375 was signed into law as of Nov. 2008

  44. Sprawl, greenhouse gas emissions, global warming, that's just the sales pitch. The only real consideration here is redevelopment and the money it makes for the people our government really cares about. Everything else is just marketing.

  45. I have to urge caution with True Freedom, don't invite him over to the Tattler too quickly,

    I have written about some of his other comments on Topix where he called PUSD kids "vermin" and "dirtbags".

    Then again, with Sir Eric in charge, he won't be doing that here.

  46. Oh brother. Are you now going to pin our motives on opposing high density living as a racist position against the poor?

    What is your position on gov't jamming high density down our throats? On June 3, you wrote on your blog:

    "So for all of us apartment dwellers - by the way, we are over 50% of the city and therefore, a potent political force!"

    You and I may disagree about Pasadena's school system. You may throw false labels on me because of my opinions there... but the question is: What is your position on housing? Are you on the up-and-up or do you have a duplicitous agenda?

  47. OK, now I am officially going to vomit.
    I just read a PDF posted on the State's site entitled: "Housing Strategies to Improve Communities"

    The entire doc is about density.
    Some notable quotes:

    "Increase Height Limits and Flexible setbacks and lot coverage requirements"
    "Promote use of CEQA infill exemption"
    "Expand efforts to improve effective and timely use of local redevelopment funds (Spend, Spend, Spend)"
    "Redevelop/Recycle underutilized land to more intensive uses"
    "reward infill and higher density housing along transit corridors"

  48. TF,
    I can see why you wanted to vomit after reading that article.
    I couldn't even finish it, blood was squirting out my eyes!
    Look, Tattler readers and posters.....I know this information isn't comfortable to read.
    It's much easier to be in denial and see everything through rose colored glasses.
    However, we must know what is going on. We must at least try to combat it.
    I've read this same line as this article TF's their new mantra, mime,'s all bull sh*t!

  49. OK,
    I know it's painful. If this is the entirety of WackoSacko's idea of how to "Strengthen Communities", we are in really big trouble. The thing that is interesting is that Housing Dept is shameless about posting these docs (like the NIMBY docs) directly on their website. This makes me think that someone up there truly believes that density is the panacea.

  50. I'm not sure they really believe it, TF.
    These damned politicians are so beholding to special interests, they are on a one way road and can't turn around.
    By "special interests" I refer to people or political groups or corporations, both national and multinational who do not have OUR best interests in mind.