Now as a public service to the community, the Maundry Institute for Paranormal Studies (MIPS) has been trying to piece together what happened at Tuesday evening's City Council meeting. And maybe it was the strange weather, or the wind driven clouds of ash from the Station Fire. Or perhaps even the lack of lighting properly powered by the soothing electronic coal-fired emanations of Southern California Edison. But there was something unsettling about this meeting. Probably because almost nobody except the actual participants have actually witnessed it. So what you will be reading here is based on phone calls, personal opinions, rumors, and hunches. And until the real thing comes along, I'm afraid that is the best I can do.
It started off innocuously enough. Apparently an Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy is all about abrasive toilet paper. In the metaphorical sense, of course. That being, if an item is made with recycled materials of a certain percentage, it then becomes "environmentally preferable," and that should be the reason we buy it. Now the quality might not be as high, and not unlike the toilet paper a now departed Eurasian megastate of note used to proffer, a bit abrasive. But it is kinder to the Earth, or so we've been assured. This passed by a 5 to 0 vote, which means that the next time you need to use public facilities, forgo Memorial Park and make your way on over to Starbucks.
The next item on the agenda had something to do with appointing a new person to the Library Board of Trustees. Now up until recently this was pretty much the place where those disappointed by the outcome of the last few elections went to find solace and renewed purpose in their lives. Which I suppose explains the lack of discussion on exactly who departed to create this opening. The DIC being a most secretive bunch these days. Fortunately 60% of the City Council settled on Lita Bushloper who, unlike some previous Library Board appointees, actually has library management credentials that extend beyond buying wine by the glass at fundraising socials. That plus two Masters degrees and a reputation for being tough on people who don't return books on time. Which is what you need to make a Library work in my opinion. Otherwise people will just never return those Jude Deveraux and Diana Galbaldon novels.
"The Appointment of Youth to the Community Services Commission" thing apparently got a bit heavy. Perhaps John Buchanan promised somebody that he'd give their boy a fine position on the CSC, and then felt he needed to deliver? Whatever the cause, it led to a rhubarb as some on the City Council felt that both of the available candidates were qualified to serve the great cause of Youth. This triggered a question about why one can't have the vote and the other still get to participate. Which is apparently what won out despite the mysterious motivations of Mr. Buchanan. You'd think that with all the important issues facing this City, spending that much time and energy to deny some kid the chance to experience Sierra Madre government up close would seem foolish and a bit ugly. Apparently for John that was not the case.
The Dapper Field tree removal question was approved over the objections of the Tree Commission. Ash trees have apparently been getting rowdy over there at Hal Dapper, tearing up the field and causing some of the walkways to buckle. Now as any fan of the game can tell you, wooden baseball bats are made out of ash. So perhaps after these trees are cut down they can be turned into bats and given out as momentos at the next big Little League bash? Or sold to raise money? We could call them Sierra Madre Sluggers. Or (forgive me) Dapper Whappers. Those trees being removed would be replaced per City law.
Next up was the SCAG Regional Transportation Plan insanity. SCAG, as you know from our previous insightful articles about this organization, seems to think it can predict the future. And so insidious is this mental conceit it has apparently convinced some on City Staff that they can do so as well. And we're not talking about what is going to happen in the next year. No, these enabled seers are talking about employment and population increases in Sierra Madre up through the year 2035! Like anybody 26 years from now is going to give a damn what people all the way back in 2009 thought.
But SCAG apparently is where the mad go to secure government paychecks and power, and since they are backed up by both the Feds along with those jokers in Sacramento, we have to spend a lot of time and money trying to figure out ways to bamboozle them. Because if we don't then they will tell us how many jobs will be created here over the next couple decades, and then how many new housing units we will need to plan for in order to board those people. People who won't actually be here to work jobs that only exist in the mind of some droll Soviet emigre' named Ikhrata. You see, when it comes to SCAG, it is always about demanding new development. And they never let logic or rational thinking get in the way.
Now our City Staff, who apparently seems to take this former Soviet planner and his crackpot organization seriously, went back to the year 2003 to try and deduce some sort of trend that will help them create a picture of what Sierra Madre will look like in the distant future. The old "past is prologue" shuck and jive that keeps so many planners employed. Unfortunately, if you only go back to the year 2003, what will emerge are numbers that are grossly inflated. Why? Because those were the superheated housing boom years, a time when banks apparently lost their minds and lent all their money at below cost. So why didn't City Staff go back a few years earlier than they did to get more realistic numbers? Because then you are into the Shenanigan Era, and that data doesn't exist. So absorbed were our elected officials with enabling stuff like One Carter and the DSP back then that they forgot all about keeping credible records.
The argument that apparently emerged at this City Council meeting was whether or not we should play SCAG's game. One school of thought says they're obviously off their rockers with their numbers, so why should we even entertain taking them seriously? Their outcome is predetermined and their math obviously suspect, so why not call them out on it and give them a realistic answer. Like zero. The other side stating that unless we throw them a statistical bone, they'll be mean to us and we'll end up having to plan for an additional 100 or so housing units instead of, maybe, 89. My take is that since we're talking years into the future, let's just do the right thing and tell SCAG that they're out of their minds and we have no time for their nonsense. Just weather the storm. After all, our population isn't growing, we're actually losing jobs and businesses, nobody is building anything anywhere in this town, and hardly anybody working here can afford to live in this town anyway.
Don Watts had a better solution, of course. We should tell them that we expect 150,000 new jobs here in the next decade or so. That way SCAG would immediately demand that the County of Los Angeles build us a subway. Kurt Zimmerman added that since we will then be larger than Burbank, we should also ask for an airport.
The discussion on Sierra Madre Strategic Plan Goals & Objectives was shelved for another time. Apparently the City Council's need for fantasy having been fulfilled by the previous item.
If you feel the need to check up on my improvisation, may I suggest you call City Hall at 355-7135 and inquire as to the exact time this City Council meeting will finally be broadcast? I recommend that you go straight to the source and ask for the City Manager. That way she'll be able to properly sense your concern. And when you do find out, please let the rest of us know?