Think of this as a tout sheet, kind of like what you might buy at a race track if you were looking for some guidance on where to place your bets. Except in this case we're not
charging for the service, and we're not exactly at the track. No, it's the time that comes around every every second and fourth Tuesday of the month, the Sierra Madre City Council meetings!
Now we're not going to discuss all the events. But there are a few that we'd love to chat about. Let's dig in.
Action Item #2: Discussion Regarding The Southern California Association Of Governments (SCAG) - Now the funny little organization with the kooky name has pretty much worn out its welcome in this town. And as cut rate as the cost of belonging to this fusty old Eisenhower Era remnant might be, there are standards that must be held to. Now George Maurer, in a letter to the Mountain Views Abuse last week, takes a decidedly different point of view. Here is what he had to say on the matter of our getting out of SCAG:
I totally agree that we should not withdraw from SCAG. Totally a scare tactic on people who really don't understand the issue and are willing to bury their head in the sand, hoping the housing issue will go away ... Staying in SCAG gives us better representation. The 'head-in-the-sand' syndrome seems to be coming popular and a lot of people don't care to face reality.
Mayor Maurer will always get the benefit of the doubt on this site because of his courageous vote against allowing Dorn Platz to destroy One Carter. If only his 4 fellow councilmembers had been so principled. However, in this case George has missed the point. First of all, the person who is supposed to have been representing us at SCAG through COG, particularly on the committee actually responsible for cooking up development quotas (Regional Housing Need Assessments aka RHNA numbers), rarely shows up at CEHD meetings. This according to SCAG's own minutes. So as far as our getting better representation, well, we've all been severely let down by Joe Mosca before. And this case is no different. Of course, when you consider that his predecessors were folks such as Enid Joffe and Bart Doyle, you can see that we're talking about a long-standing tradition of indifference to the needs of this town. Our representatives at COG and SCAG have been far more likely to side with Sacramento and its patrons than the needs of the people of Sierra Madre.
Anyway, what George is apparently crediting SCAG with here is its being a deliberative body. One that can be convinced to accept our viewpoints. Yet if you look at SCAG's record on RHNA appeals, the changes are almost always very slight. That is if they change anything at all. And anyone familiar with the RHNA numbers assigned to Sierra Madre knows our appeals have gone nowhere. SCAG is, for all intents and purposes, a rubber stamp organization tasked by Sacramento with delivering to towns the bad news on RHNA numbers. This so the persons actually responsible for them, our beloved state legislature and its favored lobbies, don't have to dirty their hands. This is an organization completely without independence, and is therefore of little real value to us.
I have been an advocate for getting us out of SCAG for quite some time now. It might not make any real difference as far as our RHNA numbers go, we're stuck with them either way. But it would send a statement that Sierra Madre is not afraid to stand up for what it believes. Now I have to admit, there is another theory going around that deserves some attention. This one states that we would be better off using SCAG to further our own ends. Not out of any naive belief that SCAG will somehow stand up to Sacramento and give us a break on our RHNA numbers. That will never happen. No, this idea states that SCAG, properly infilitrated by right-minded people, might actually be a great place to meet other city government types who are also sick of seeing their towns forced to accept hyper-density redevelopment despite the wishes of those living there. If we are ever going to stop this kind of Sacramento sponsored abuse, it will take many cities banding together to fight it together. This might be an argument for staying in, if only for a little while. It will be interesting to see how this thing goes tonight.
Action Item #3: Consideration Of Filling Vacant Canyon Zone Committee Seat -This is pretty much, to use Joe's overcooked term, a no-brainer. The City Council needs to select an individual who wants to preserve the Canyon as the unique and priceless historic district that it is. Now John and Joe will attempt to force in somebody who doesn't give a damn about the Canyon or what it represents to the people living there. And you can probably count on Joe delivering one of his cloying "values" bromides. But in the end neither John nor Joe care a whit about the Canyon, its history, or the unique culture to be found there. To them it only represents an opportunity for their cronies in the redevelopment industry.
Action Item #4: Consideration Of A Request Of The Canyon Zone Committee To Implement A Temporary Moratorium On Development Within The Canyon Zone - The moratorium is needed to avoid any additional new projects in the Canyon until new rules can be created. Rules designed to maintain the history and culture of the Canyon. The R1 standards in place now are absurd, and totally out of place there. This organically created community needs standards that are as unique as the neighborhood itself. Now Joe Mosca will deliver an argument stating that since we're not doing a lot of construction there now, why have a moratorium at all? Turn that one on its head. Since there is little construction, why all the fuss over a moratorium?
There is another consideration as well. If people desirous of building new projects sense there is a danger of new codes being put into place, or even a moratorium, there will be a rush to build under the totally unsuitable R1 standards currently in place. We can't let that happen. The moratorium needs to be put in place now. For this to pass it will take a 4 to 1 vote. Watch John and Joe once again vote against the interests of the people of Sierra Madre.
Action Item #5: Resolution No. 09-62 Consideration Of A Temprary Use Permit (TUP 09-17) To Allow Private Rental Events To Occur In The Alverno "Villa" - This one has apparently gotten caught up in the webs and snares of lawyerland. It will probably be continued as our City Attorney will need more time to unravel the avalanche of findings requested by the homeowners' attorney at the last meeting.
The homeowners need to consider what they might end up with should they sucessfully choke off Alverno's one big cash raising enterprise. That property, graced with its historic Villa, is something the development community would love to get their hands on. And if they're not careful they could find themselves looking at a lot of fine SCAG housing, low income and all. I would urge the homeowners to instruct their attorney to sit down with Alverno and work things out. Because otherwise they could find themselves with a situation far worse than the one they're facing now.
Action Item #6: Mountain Views News Contract Review And Contract Renewal - Someday the geniuses in Sacramento will allow towns such as ours to post legal notices on their city websites rather than forcing them to squander valuable tax money on fish wrappers as addicted to bizarro reporting as this one. It will be a moment of liberation for all of us.
Should be quite a wild night!