Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sierra Madre Stands Up To SCAG

I should probably point out the odd thing first, and then get into the more important stuff. All during last night's debate about whether or not to pay that $1,000 in dues to SCAG, Joe Mosca said nothing. Not a peep. Instead the City Council's resident bloviant John Buchanan wailed on and on about how the money should be paid, in the process spitting out enough red herring to fill an ocean. But Joe did something very uncharacteristic for him, he kept his mouth shut the entire time. And since very little that John and Joe do at our City Council meetings isn't by prearranged design, what could the purpose have been? My take is it has finally dawned on Joe just how disliked SCAG is in this town. And as a politician in serious danger of losing his Council seat next April, Joe is now attempting to distance himself from an organization that he has been part and parcel to for the last 3 years.

Can it be that the chameleon-like Mr. Mosca is changing his colors yet again?

One of the benefits of having MaryAnn MacGillivray and Don Watts representing us at the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments is that we actually get to hear about what is going on there. When Joe Mosca was our liaison that was not the case. Probably because he never bothered to show up at the meetings. And something that MaryAnn and Don learned at the last COG confab is that SCAG has been trying to pull a power play in regards to SB 375. In particular strong arming COG into being the designated subregion for the administration of what has become known as the "Destroy Small Cities Act." In the process doing nothing to indemnify COG from some highly probable lawsuits. In other words, SCAG would set the whole thing up and then protect itself by turning the dirty work over to COG, who would have to bear the brunt of the legal challenges certain to emerge in reaction to this hideous and oppressive law. Something also meaning that cities like Sierra Madre would have to help pay for COG's legal costs.

Naturally the member cities of the San Gabriel Council of Governments turned that honor down.

The lesson that was taken away here is that SCAG, who is currently on a charm offensive in hopes of being seen as a collaborative organization on these matters, is in reality anything but. And by attempting to force the nastier aspects of enabling SB 375 upon COG, they were dictating rather than cooperating. Something that has reinforced their image of being Sacramento's enforcer and willing bully.

And apparently many of the member cities at SGVCOG are as unhappy about these developments as we are. After all, SB 375 will do harm their cities, too. But will they fight it? Here is where Sierra Madre is taking the lead.

Our City Council is doing something very courageous, and it needs to be talked about. What Sierra Madre is attempting to do is to lead a symbolic rebellion against a bureaucratic bully. That bully being SCAG. Unchallenged, SCAG could go on to dictate just how we should plan our city, how many houses we should build, whether those houses should be condos, or low income, or even places to park the region's homeless and addicted. That along with the kind of transportation we should be expected to use, how we should commute to work, an entire range of decisions that we'd always made for ourselves. But because of SB 375, these things have now become the purview of the central planners in Sacramento. A usurpation of local planning power on a scale never before seen in an American state.

And what exactly is this symbolic rebellion? Sierra Madre is not going to make payment on its $1,000 in dues to SCAG until that organization lives up to its claim of being a collaborative organization. With the litmus test being SCAG's reply to our letter contesting the unfair housing and employment projections they'd been attempting to cram down our throats. Something that could, should they get away with it, enable a massive development campaign here that would all but destroy the character of this town.

Kurt Zimmerman explained it to a visibly flustered John Buchanan this way. SCAG is antithetical to the preservation of Sierra Madre as a small town. And its apparent mission has been to break down the defenses towns such as ours have erected against over-development, opening them up to their client developers who so desperately want in. We need to send a message to SCAG that we mean to preserve of Sierra Madre as a small town. And that by holding back our $1,000 in dues we are saying that we won't be dictated to about how to run our town. And we certainly won't pay SCAG to help destroy it.

Now John Buchanan had a lot of wild claims to make about SCAG. Perhaps the most misleading being that it is a collaborative (that word again) organization made up of member cities defending their rights in Sacramento. But, and as Kurt so clearly explained, SCAG has never listened to us. And there is no better example of that than the outlandish RHNA number they hung on us a couple years back. We went before them, contested their unfair demands, only to have our point of view dismissed in an abrupt and summary fashion. They weren't there to listen to us, they were there to tell us what to do. And when they'd finished doing just that we were sent on our way.

Our paying that $1,000 would be, as Kurt put it, like the state making a condemned prisoner pay for his lethal injection. We just don't need to turn a thousand dollars over to SCAG so they can dictate the destruction of our City.

It was a very good night. And as was predicted on this site a week ago, it looks like we could have some Eminent Domain options on the ballot next April. Something not entirely separate from our SB 375 discussions. I'll have information on that, plus more about tonight's meeting, right after the holiday.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. Incredible!Have we indeed crossed the Rubicon? Impressive performance by the heroic three!Maybe it is the spark that may lead to a ,should I dare say,a counter revolution!Can David still take down Goiliath?

  2. I think Joe knew better than to sit and LIE (again) knowing well that MaryAnn and Don have been attending meetings. MaryAnn and Don are attending SCAG meetings on behalf of the people of Sierra Madre, not the special interests in Sacramento.
    Joe knew he would be today's "star" on Neuroblast, had he done his usual SCAG promotion.
    However, thank you, John Buchanan for filling in for Mosca.
    I laughed while John was pontificating as usual about the benefits of SCAG to Sierra Madre, stood up in my living room and cheered when Kurt Zimmerman CORRECTED BUCHANAN'S usual.
    Nope, Joe wasn't going there.
    John Buchanan, if you are reading this, take note that the people of Sierra Madre are sick of your "lobbying" for the Sacramento crooks and bums! You too, Joe Mosca, and we won't forget.
    If you are not reading this, you damn well should be.

    Thank you, Don, Kurt and MaryAnn for sticking up for us, again.
    Thank you MaryAnn for calling for the Eminent Domain issue to be on next meetings ballot.

    After the council meeting, I was watching a cable news show, and AGAIN, eminent domain has reared it's ugly head, this time in NY. New Jersey has a basketball team they want to build a new stadium NEW YORK!
    The people whose homes were going to be taken from them, in violation of the United States Constitution, sued them, and another NY court decision came down AGAINST the folks.
    What the hell is New Jersey's right to take people's New York?
    So they can build a BASKETBALL STADIUM!!!
    This is just an outrage.
    Anyone who doesn't think this could happen here in Sierra Madre with the gang of crooks we have in Sacramento? Think again.
    BRAVO, Mayor MacGillivray.
    Everyone please, please support this.
    The home you save, could very well be your own.

  3. Best performance MaryAnn, Kurt, and Don have put on in months.

    Standing O!

  4. Yeah, they were pretty awesome.

    Chalk up one for the good guys!

  5. Nice to see a city stand up against the soulless bureaucrats
    and the greedy developers who control them. Sierra Madre
    is worth saving. And speaking of the soulless, goodbye Joe,
    we don't need you here. Go back to Sherman Oaks, carpet

  6. Who was that poor thing John Buchanan trotted out last night to speak at the podium? Hearing her trying to remember what John told her was painful. Can somebody call the poor dear up and invite her over for tea or something? Obviously she needs a real friend to set her straight on a couple of things..

  7. John "GREEN" Buchanan.....LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL

  8. That frequent council speaker with the red hair tried to do just that, to set the woman protesting "no change" straight.
    I got the feeing that the woman did not follow what the SCAG letter was.
    The speaker after her suggested people go to the library and read city materials to help anyone who is confused.

  9. Any truth to the rumor that Commissar Ikhrata is opening a
    gulag for SB 375 dissidents? I hear it was funded through
    Homeland Security.

  10. Where's the independent audit?November 25, 2009 at 8:50 AM

    Sir Eric, I sure hope you're planning an article on the one & only Faye Angus' speech about the use of consultants.
    Neuroblast, can you get that video up?
    She was brilliant and that speech should form city policy.
    Enough with the ridiculously inflated work load descriptions of city staff.
    If they don't want to do their jobs, it's a very good time to hire others.
    Lots of good people looking for work.
    Let's get the city back on track financially.

  11. Anybody who starts off with "I voted for Measure V" and then defends SCAG has got to be either clueless or a plant.

  12. 8:50, Fay Angus also had a great response to John Buchanan. He was saying why try to save a measly one thousand, and Faye told him it wouldn't matter if it were a nickel, or a hundred, or a thousand, it was the message that was important. John could not spin that away with everybody watching. She is very good at instructing him.

  13. 8:52, I think it was more like that antinochange speaker was only marginally informed - the speaker seemed well-intentioned enough and does have a lot of volunteer experience. That's not easy to do. However!!!!!! She must have only heard John. Never thought of that - in my household we hit mute when John & Joe start. Maybe in her household they turn up the volume to hear John & Joe better!!

  14. Perish the thought!
    How can a sane person listen carefully to John and Joe?
    Must have some kind of automatic pause in the brain to let the fluff stream by.

  15. Fay Angus We need people like you, please run for Joe Mosca's seat on city council.

  16. Tai kwan do vs. SumoNovember 25, 2009 at 9:21 AM

    Great picture Tattler.
    See, the little kid can actually get the big guy.
    Make him tired, get him off balance.
    Or wait until the big guy's disregard of physical reality overwhelms the systems of his body, and he has a heart attack.
    Don't you think Sacramento, and SCAG, are due for reality wake-up calls?

  17. 8:52 I'm with you. What that woman said was absolutely absurd.

    How can you claim to have been a supporter of Measure V and at the same time recommend that we send SCAG a message that we are growing (i.e., invite the association to saddle Sierra Madre with more housing).

  18. The lady who spoke at public comment did vote for Measure V....I got her signature on my petitions.
    She's a nice lady, who obviously has only heard one side of the story....the wrong side, John Buchanan's.

  19. Now that we are nearing election time, I suspect Joe Mosca will be temporarily
    "changing his tune" on the issues. Be sure to tell your friends and neighbors (particularly those who do not read the Tattler) not be fooled...DO NOT vote for Joe in April!

  20. I volunteer to attend the candidates forum next spring, and when Joe starts spinning his bs, I'll be the one who stands up and shouts:

    YOU LIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. We only have about 4 1/2 months left of Joe.
    His house will probably be up for sale by June.

  22. I think the woman who stood up and was upset about the S.N.C., may have been a little uninformed about Measure V, thinking the purpose is no growth, and somehow it is the city council's desire to stop any new building.
    It was to stop over building to a density that I am sure if it had been allowed, she would not have liked the outcome. Infact, if Measure V had not put the the brakes on the DSP , the city would be currently carrying the debt for millions of dollars of unfinished infrastructure required to service the buildout.
    The city would have had to find away to tax us all, or carry the debt service for 50 years.
    The DSP scheme developed by Doyle (Titen Corp).,
    Rob Stockly, Buchanan and those insiders who invested in this, may have gambled away their money, but thanks to Mr. Zimmermann and others, we are only stuck with the financial commitments that were made by the CRA. Hopefully someday we will own our City Hall again, (they had secured loans using them for collateral to finance the DSP study.)
    Measure V merely enforced what had traditionally
    been the zoning. Nothing stops the investors from building to that standard. They are not doing anything because they are waiting to manipulate a more sympathetic council to push the DSP again.

  23. Thank you for your insightful post 3:01.
    You are absolutely right.
    We must all get the truth out about this situation.
    If naive people who don't bother to gather the facts, vote for people like Mosca, they will inadvertently destroy this town, we'll become just another built up part of Pasadena.
    There are some well known dirts who have big investments in the DSP, and would sacrifice this town to make money.
    We can and will stop them.

  24. Great post 3:01.
    So that was how that wasteful DSP was financed, using those consultants who rode into town with the complete package ready to shove down our throats, after the dog and pony show of "Community Immersion Workshops". Psych the Town 101.

    Did you hear Buchanan talk about how all the members of regional government organizations LOVE their towns, they truly LOVE them? Yeah, reminded me of the kind of LOVE for our town that the Downtown Investors Club has. Like the Let's Preserve Sierra Madre by changing it out of all recognition because we want to get rich and prosperous out of LOVE for our town.

  25. Happy Thanksgiving Sierra Madre Tattler! The two worst things that ever happened to turkeys.

  26. Happy Thanksgiving to all the Tattler readers, even you dirts.
    I am very thankful we live in Sierra Madre.
    I am very thankful we have three honest representives in Kurt, Don and MaryAnn.
    I am very thankful for the Tattler.
    I am very thankful we have an excellent research team who will spot any "undercover" dirts who attempt to run for city council next Spring.
    I pray all you dirts will become enlightened.
    I pray all you good people of Sierra Madre will continue to protect our little town.
    God Bless us all.

  27. Thank you for this beautiful day. In this beautiful town. And thank you to all who work so hard to keep Sierra Madre what it is, an independent town that is not afraid to stand up and be heard.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  28. If it was 1852, we'd see John Buchanan rolling into to town with a wagon selling magic potion elixr guaranteed to cure all that ails ya.

    If he had any initial integrity 8 years ago about sincerely caring about Sierra Madre, that's long gone.

    Now I just see him as a slick mouthpiece with an elitest condesending attitude who doesn't listen to a person because he's too busy thinking about what he is going to say next.

    Joe's been a scam artist since day one.

  29. If John is the medicine man, then Joe is the guy who drinks the magic elixir, throws down his crutches, and runs through the crowd screaming "I'm cured! I'm cured!"

    All of which takes place in the parking in back of The Buck every Wednesday from 3 to 7:30pm.

  30. Thank you Sir Eric for your intelligence, your class and your integrity. You really must be nominated and win the man of the YEAR as you have unified Sierra Madre by bringing us the truth, which,when people chose to listen, does set them free. Thank you.

  31. The chances of the Chamber of Commerce giving that award to Sir Eric is about as probable as Susan Henderson receiving the Pulitzer Prize for Integrity in Journalism. The Chamber only rewards those who serve its needs. And publishing the truth about what is going on in Sierra Madre definitely is not something that interests them.