Thursday, August 20, 2009

Joe Mosca Sees A Light At The End Of The Tunnel

In this morning's Pasadena Star News, Joe Mosca, a man who can always find the bright side to any situation where a developer is about to get their way in Sierra Madre, made the following statement regarding possible settlements in the case of One Carter and Stonehouse:

"These new owners have given us a lot of hope to believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel."

He then went on to add the following:

"We don't want to be able to look up and see big mansions on the side of the hill. The values of our community are encapsulated in the Hillside Management Zone."

I thought that the real values of the community would have been in keeping One Carter as it had always been, one of the most beautiful wooded places to be found in Sierra Madre. Apparently in Mr. Mosca's mind a barren tract of scraped dirt in one of the most visible parts of our landscape is more to what we're all about. That even a pro-development party such as Judy Webb-Martin would refer to what has happened there as "the raping of our founding father's property" gives you an idea of how unfortunate and inappropriate the comments Joe made for this article really are.

Now here is where the math doesn't quite add up. The 27 lots at One Carter are currently up for sale at around $800,000 to $1 million a pop. Is this the kind of price a prospective home builder is going to pay for a lot to construct what they will likely regard as being small house? While these lots are not, as one realtor confided to me under an oath of blood secrecy, selling very well, nor are they going to move briskly for the huge prices being asked, the point is that they are not designed for the "values of our community" no matter what kind of happy face is put on the situation. These are McMansion lots going at McMansion prices, plain and simple. And if they can't be sold to buyers desirous of building large monuments to the great role they play in life, how are they going to sell when these folks are informed that they cannot build what they want?

And that, of course, is the catch. While some of the lawsuits have been settled, and to our favor, the most important questions still remain. And the biggest one of all for One Carter is the HMZ question. While Sierra Madre wants potential builders to adhere to our new HMZ, that property was originally chopped up after the original One Carter Map had already been approved. So, in the minds of the interested parties, their deal (albeit once removed ) was made under the law as it was understood then. What they would appear to believe is that we are now trying to change the rules after the game is over. And what the current One Carter people are holding out for now is that their needs be recognized by the City as an exception, which would allow for the building of those "big mansions on the side of the hill."

And how can One Carter not push for this? To agree to adhere to the new HMZ would mean accepting that they have property that will not sell. What kind of business people would accept something like that?

And while there is a momentary truce in the war, the threat of a resumption of lawsuits is the catalyst One Carter hopes will drive us towards making the concessions they want.

In other words, the situation may have been tactically altered a bit, but nothing has really changed from the Dorn Platz strategy.

Now it has been reported that the City is currently in the process of possibly purchasing Lot 3 for the price of $1,080,000. Something which would keep that site from being the home to any highly visible structure that would fly in the face of "our values." But if there is really any confidence that structures like that will not be built up there, why would we need to spend all that money for a lot?

So anyway, what does all this have to do with Joe Mosca's sunny statements in today's Pasadena Star News? What is the real agenda here? In my opinion, he's just setting us up for the fall. We've lost the war, so let's just declare victory and run away as fast as we can. After all, hasn't the fear of lawsuits been the message for settling all along?

Better to just say that we've won and hope the consequences don't become apparent until after next April's elections.


  1. The One Carter Charm Offensive is in full effect. And now Joe
    is pitching in to help? How piquant.

    Declare victory and run away. Wasn't that our strategy in Viet

  2. I don't understand. We can spend a million dollars for a lot, but we can't afford to fight to defend our HMZ? Somebody please explain this to me.

  3. we've got a couple wimpy lawyers (not real attorney's) on our council - no fight in them and all they can do is concede and blab

  4. so, when the next fire or flood wipes out 1 Carter, are we supposed to feel sorry for the millionaires?

    as long as nobody gets hurt, I'll smile when their homes burn down or get plowed under by mud

  5. Hey Joe, The light at the end of the tunnel is a freight train. How dumb can you be???????????

  6. Will a fire fighter's life be lost trying to save the Mc Mansions? I hope not.

  7. 8:15

    You forgot about earthquakes....I believe a fault runs through that land?
    It's too bad John Buchanan got re-elected....he didn't deserve your votes, Sierra Madre.
    Neither does Joe Mosca, should he be foolish enough to try to get re-elected.

  8. Dragon Slayer - How dumb can Joe be? Now there's a philosophical absolute.

  9. Help: My thoughts exactly. The city should require that the developer donate that lot to the city as part of the Settlement Agreement. You know that the future owner will sue the city if they can't build as B I G as they want. 6,500 square foot houses on the hillside. Yeah Joe that is a bright light.

  10. Just say "NO TO JOE" in 2010.

  11. $1,080,000? and they said we can't afford an audit!Oh,and don't forget the Citizens who were flimflamed into voting a tax hike!

  12. sure joe...i'll vote for you...wink wink nudge nudgeAugust 20, 2009 at 9:40 AM

    8:33 - say no to joe on the ballot but tell him yes to his face, that way he'll run and actually believe that he is respected and then get humilated by the voters, which he deserves

    i know i'm telling him to his face that he has my support (but no yard sign) and then vote against him, just like he lied directly to my face

    john b wouldn't had been relected if another viable candidate had been on the ballot

    and if joe doesn't run, watch out for shirtless pete as a candidate, a snake oil salesman if there ever was one, of the same ilk as john b.

  13. Look, Sierra Madre
    We are in difficult times, and there will be difficult times ahead, since this SB375.....we need people on the council who can give it their best thinking. We don't need to elect some dangerous fraud like Mosca or some lightweight in the upper stories like "shirtless" Pete.
    Most all the dirts are lacking in the upper stories, or they are in league with corrupt forces like the BIA and SCAG and the dangerous politicians in Sacramento who voted in SB375.
    We must elect qualified thinkers and those who wish to serve the PEOPLE of Sierra Madre, not outside special interests who do not have our best interests in mind, only their own.
    We are fortunate to have the quality and integrity of Mayor MaryAnn MacGillivray on our council, looking out for the folks, and gives it her best thinking and most of her energy.
    Please, Sierra Madre, vote I said, there will be difficult times ahead of us, and we need the best people for the job, not the most popular with the dirt crowd and/or the ones with the most BIA and CAR money behind them.
    I have faith in you, Sierra Madre. You'll do the right thing.
    Kurt Zimmerman and Don Watts have kept their promises and served you, the people. We have others in town who have your best interests in mind as well....please support them when you vote next year.

  14. You want to allow a house on a lot, below an earthen debris basin, in a reocurring fire storm zone, on a major sizemic fault, in a "v" shaped valley, where 20 inches of rain in three days are possible, that creates an environmental disaster, and a monumental eyesore brought to you by a "trusted LLC", soon to leave town? What a deal Sierra Madre!

  15. how is this effort to placate a developer at the crater any different than any of the others? looks pretty much the same old song and dance to me.

  16. Ok Dorn Platz got the Once Crater mess approved then we changed our bylaws so this wouldn't happen again ...Dorn Platz goes owners come in ...and you know what? I think they should be held to the new standards...THAT property is the reason we needed it changed! So, if the new owners can't make money on the deal ...well that's business now isn't it? Sierra Madre needs to stand by it's laws! Let em sue!

  17. Sierra Madre business ownerAugust 20, 2009 at 10:52 AM

    Joe's negligence knows no bounds. He obviously hasn't read the settlement papers, especially the little item called the One Carter Floor Area Analysis, found on the city website.
    What a dope.
    There will be huge homes on the hillsides.

  18. Good memory skillsAugust 20, 2009 at 10:54 AM

    The discussion about buying the infamous Lot 3 was opened up to the community to come up with ideas. The city never said anything about buying it itself. It's kind of like a "put your money where your mouth is" challenge.

  19. Capital Source is a publicly held company. I suggest we each buy 1 share of stock and go to their stockholders meetings and tell them what we think.

  20. Capital Source are just the suckers left holding the bag after Galletly's ponzy scheme imploded.
    That whole are up there has become so unstable we should take bets on how long those hillsides will be there at all, or when Baldwin will turn into a river of mud.

  21. I was walking Spot along Carter a few nights ago, late for our town, about 10. Some kids came running down off the site, whooping and jumping into 2 cars and took off.
    So if kids are going to be running around that site at night, who's watching to make sure there are no cigarettes or other burning materials around?

  22. 11:13, that's a scary thing. Did you call the cops?

  23. I hear the cops were unavailable due to a previously scheduled meeting with their lawyers. No word yet if it was taped.

  24. Speaking of lawyers, I sure hope the city's lawyers have got the papers all together about how the city is not responsible for the Crater or any who are foolish enough to build there....

  25. I heard the chief was busy, she had a photo shoot to attend.

  26. I have an idea for Lot 3. Lets erect a bronze statue of John Buchanan, Rob Stockly, Tonya Torres and Enid Joffe handing a bouquet of roses to Greg Galletly. The roses would be symbolic of that City Council turning paradise over to its despoiler. We could call the little park there "Pigeon' Roost."

  27. I didn't call the cops, because I didn't see a license plate clearly, I was about 1/2 a block north. But I know a teen party when I see one.
    I have found the police to be responsive, and would have called when I got back home if I had license plate numbers to give them. Otherwise I'd be wasting their time.

  28. 12:09, brilliant.

  29. I recall the candidate debates/forum during the '08 local election.
    Both John Buchanan and Enid Joffe were asked:
    "do you think it was a mistake to approve the houses at One Carter"?
    Both answered NO, it was NOT a MISTAKE.
    Unbelievable that the naive residents voted this Buchanan back in office!
    Enid never had a chance.....first of all, she wasn't going to beat far superior candidate, MacGillivray and second, her "campaign managers" Susan Henderson ran the dirtiest campaign ever,
    slandering, defaming, MaryAnn MacGillivray and Nancy Shollenberger.

  30. Good memory for details, Anon@12:36.
    None of the Gang of 4 has ever apologized for a damn thing - not the missing audits, the misplaced million, the loss of the hillsides, the enormous fees in legal bills, not a damn thing.
    It's that bad tude, just bs your way through everything.
    Such a disappointment when you thin Sierra Madre will be smarter than that.

  31. 12:40, remember the TWO Sierra Madres, the one people want to think exists, and the one that really exists.

  32. Not to be critical, Sir Eric, but what lawsuits were settled in our favor? The one I specifically remember was the one that allowed this whole travesty to go forward with greater density than originally permitted and passed an ordinance to allow it.

  33. Residents' Research Team participantAugust 20, 2009 at 1:37 PM

    If anyone had the intestinal fortitude for it, it sure would be interesting to get a summary of just what the lawsuits have been and just how much they've cost us.
    But I guess all that is classified. It's only our money and our hillsides. Oops, it WAS our money and they WERE our hillsides.

  34. I wonder why people like Joe don't just level with us. Everything is just 24/7 spin. Does he really think we're incapable of dealing with the truth? Or is it he's just incapable of telling it...

  35. Crazy conspiracy theoristAugust 20, 2009 at 3:46 PM

    Seems to me that when you are in a negotiation, you don't really want to give out information that might give the opposition an advantage. So whose side do we think Mr. Mosca is on anyway?

  36. While your looking in the rear view mirror at the train wreck "1 Carter" keep in mind, and on the front burner "Stonehouse" where an alluvial plain with denser plans on the board will produce a disaster far beyond 1 Carter. Again the LLC will fold its tent and leave Sierra Madre holding the bag.

  37. OK, it's a throw-down: which disaster area will be worse? My money is on Carter, because flood is there too, and the whole hillside will end up in Kersting Court. On the other hand, Stonehouse could end up in Arcadia. We probably won't have to wait too long to see which site burns, quakes and/or floods first or the most.
    Thanks Gang of Four. What a heritage.

  38. One neighbor spoke at the CC meeting and said when Stonehouse flooded last winter, fish from Mrs. Hefflin's pond were floating down the street.

  39. El Nino is back I've heard. What was the rainy season like the last time that was around?

  40. the canyon has a much more perilous future in store if we get full blown el nino, people actually live their, but just look for the flag, all will be well

  41. What flag is that?

  42. Am I wrong but i thought any structure over 4,000 sq ft had to have a CUP or condtional use permit and go through the planning commission and the city council for approval...also giving the opportunity for the public to way in and don't forget any neighbor within 500 sq ft needs to be notiefied by mail by the Planning dept. They can't side step out building codes can they?
    Who is watching the store...oh Sandra Levin our BIA Attorney, Community Development Director Danny Castro who was involved at one time in Mixed use development...hmmm why do you think this is going down the toilet....????


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