Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mayor MacGillivray's Message on the Recent SCAG (and GLUE?) Dog & Pony Show

At Tuesday evening's City Council meeting Mayor MaryAnn MacGillivray shared her impressions of a so-called "historic" SCAG meeting that she and Mayor Pro Tem Don Watts attended recently. Her statement offers a lot of insight into how SB 375 is being marketed to cities not only here in the Los Angeles area, but throughout California as well. To better help the public understand the intense pressures small cities like ours are under to accommodate Sacramento's demands for extremely high levels of new and undesirable development, something that would be a radical assault on our quality of life, we thought we should reprint much of what she had to say here.

Over the last four decades the Southern California Association of Governments has evolved as the largest of nearly 700 councils of government in the United States, functioning as the Metropolitan Planning Organization for six counties; Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura and Imperial. The region encompasses a population exceeding 18 million persons in an area of more than 38,000 square miles.

As the designated Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Associations of Governments is mandated by the Federal government to research and draw up plans for transportation, growth management, hazardous wasted management, and air quality. Additional mandates exist at the state level.

The underlying issue is, of course, development because without development there would be no need for transportation. In simple terms, a pro-development agenda is aided by transportation planning which is protected by Federal law, established with Federal funding and imposed on regions, counties and cities within the MPO.

Hence my report on the joint meeting of the Regional Council of SCAG, Southern California Leadership Council and GLUE, which is the Global Land Use and Economic Council. It was touted as an historic meeting and a forum for comments and discussion on the challenges of implementing SB 375 during recessionary times. In fact it was a dog and pony show with a list of impressive Who's Who folks from a variety of agencies and arenas including:

Dave Fleming - Co-chair of SCLC (Southern California Leadership Council)
Former Governor Pete Wilson
Former Governor Gray Davis
Greg Williams - GLUE Chair
Mary Nichols - ARB (Air Resources Board)
Assembly Speaker Karen Bass

With the exception of former governor Wilson, who advocated caution in the implementation of SB 375, the above, as expected, were cheerleaders for implementation.

Comments advocating caution were reinforced by several members of the LA and Orange County business communities. Supervisor Antonovich offered some short term, cost effective solutions for implementation to reduce greenhouse gases while the data surrounding the whole issue is evaluated and also suggested that caution be exercised before quality of life issues are significantly compromised.

A number of comments embraced prioritizing quality of life issues and the economy. lack of jobs and discretionary income make regional planning more of what Mayor Pro Tem Watts has termed "fantasy meeting absurdity."

A number of speakers called out the discrepancy in data framing the whole global warming agenda (which is the basis for the Air Resources Board to establish a methodology to reduce greenhouse gases and the underpinnings of SB 375.) They indicated that to craft legislation on faulty, incomplete or misinterpreted data is simply not smart and advocated deadline extensions and re-evaluation.

Having said all that, I will offer SCAG President Jon Edney's summary of the historic meeting. Paraphrased but accurate in sentiment: It's true that the data on global warming is under debate and that there are two opposing views. But no matter what side you sit on SB 375 is not a bad thing, SB 375 is a GOOD thing and we should move forward.

Public comment was limited to 15 minutes with 3 minutes per person, and speakers were selected from pre-submitted speaker cards. So do the math.

More evidence that SCAG doesn't really care about the opinions of those affected by its policies, and functions more as Sacramento's central planning policy enforcer rather than anything even remotely approaching an organization based on cooperative decision making. "SB 375 is not a bad thing, SB 375 is a good thing and we must move forward." About as dismissive a statement as I've heard in quite a while.

Mayor MacGillivray went on to discuss the CEHD (SCAG's Community, Economic & Human Development Committee) and a tax scheme they've cooked up to help implement certain aspects of SB 375. And again it involves the removal of traditional city powers (in this case certain kinds of taxation) and putting them into the hands of a central governing authority. Joe Mosca, who belongs to the CEHD but only shows up to its meetings when MaryAnn and Don do, has been aware of these developments for quite some time. Yet somehow he has never seen fit to share any of that information with the people of Sierra Madre. But all of this will be discussed in a future post.

One of the most controversial aspects of SB 375 is its claim that building high density condo developments in low density cities such as Sierra Madre will somehow save the world from global warming. A bizarre claim designed more to help the ailing California construction and redevelopment industries than anything else. And repeatedly throughout SB 375 literature it is claimed that automobiles are the primary source of greenhouse gases, and therefore must be replaced with public transportation and through the building so-called "transit village" style redevelopment. The tendentious oxymoron "smart growth" is often used as well.

But is this actually the case? Steve Burrows, writing for the publication Design Intelligence (which I came across on Laurie Barlow's very wise Greensward: Civitas site), contradicts this erroneous assumption.

It has been estimated that 70 percent of the average city's greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings, and the energy consumption of these buildings is projected to triple by 2050. It is also estimated that 70 percent of current buildings will still be in use in 2050.

So if buildings are the chief producers of greenhouse gas emissions in already densely populated city neighborhoods, with the electricity production to sustain them also a factor, how can a process that will squeeze additional buildings and people into already high density areas make the situation any better?

I don't suspect anyone with that question on their speaker card would ever get called on to talk at one of Jon Edney's meetings. We all know how he feels about opinions that are not in line with those of the people he really answers to.


  1. Anybody still think we should be paying dues to be part of this hideous organization?

    Joe Mosca mockingly laughed at Mayor MacGillivray when she was giving this report.
    It was more than rude, but that's Mosca.
    Mosca was suppose to be representing us, the people of Sierra Madre at these SCAG meetings.
    Here we find out he is part of a panel that is totally working against us?
    How dare this Mosca even think he deserves our support in any way shape or form.

    I campaigned in the 2006 for this man, Mosca, along with supporting and campaigning for Don Watts and Kurt Zimmerman. I believed Joe was a man of integrity. I was sadly mistaken. He betrayed us. I recall when it was becoming apparent that Mosca was a plant and working for development, I expressed my fear to Kurt Zimmerman, who replied "I voted for him, too".
    I think that was the saddest commentary I've heard Kurt utter. Kurt and Don both believed this man, they both voted for him, as I did.

    I collected signatures to recall him. I'm sorry I didn't succeed. I should have worked day and night, we fell a few hundred short of getting rid of this man, a man who seeks to ruin Sierra Madre. A man who lied to hundreds of us during his campaign. Looked us in the eye, and lied.

    I collected signatures to get Kurt Zimmerman and Don Watts' Measure V on the ballot. Thank God, we were saved this town, at least for the time being.
    I will work day and night to defeat this man, Mosca, who doesn't represent anyone but special interests, special interests who are working for this SCAG nightmare Sir Eric writes about today.
    Please join me, Sierra Madre. Let's fight these forces who wish to take away our liberty here in Sierra Madre.
    Thank you, Sir Eric, thank you MaryAnn, Don and Kurt for fighting for the people who believe in you, it appears you are our only hope to yet again, as we did with Measure V, stop this insane path of destruction, SCAG and SACRAMENTO'S plan for all of us.

    Times are tough, Sierra Madre, they will likely get tougher. In these tough times we need people who are working for us, people with the courage to tell us the truth. People with the courage to take a bold stand against unfair and disasterous plans of a government in Sacramento who wishes to change our little town into something we would no longer recongnize.

  2. The COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE is collapsing, and it's going to get much worse. Take a drive around Pasadena and Monrovia. Every block has buildings for lease.

    How can Sacramento even consider these plans?

  3. Sacramento has never been in touch with reality, when something does not make sense, a politician's fortune will be increasing.

  4. Will someone post the replays of Tuesday's council meeting? I would like to watch this meeting.

  5. The development lobbyists need to get their guys into those towns where they can still make some money. The ones that they haven't been able to crack yet, and are therefore still desirable. And Sierra Madre is one of them. They're in survival mode right now, and have called in all the IOUs they have in the legislature to make this happen.

  6. Because Council Member Joseph Mosca broke his promise to put the downtown specific plan on the ballot, the true preservationists in town --led principally by Kevin Dunn, Kurt Zimmerman and Don Watts -- successfully campaigned for the passage of the slow growth initiative Measure V.

    For their efforts, which literally saved our town, those three were vilified in the pro-development Downtown Dirt website and the quasi-pornographic Cumquat website. The assault in the press against Zimmemran was especially nasty.

    We should also remember that there were very real and significant fianancial costs associated with the passage of Measure V. Among other and significant expenditures, the Measure's proponents had to pay an attorney to defend against a frivolous legal challenge seeking to strike the ballot argument.

    Then too, the City spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to "study" Measure V and to conduct a special election. Of course, none of those expenditures would have been necessary had Mosca simply kept his promise to put the DSP on the ballot.

    To this day, Mosca has never apologized for his egregious breach of trust. It kills me that after all of the pain and suffering he has caused, that he will probably seek re-election.

  7. Time wounds all heels. Joe's act has
    gotten pretty stale, and because of
    that his faults are more apparent than
    ever. I doubt many will be fooled by
    his routine this go around.

  8. The defeat of Mosca will end a dark chapter in Sierra Madre's history. The cheap money real estate boom is over, and guys like Mosca have become an anachronism. His time has passed.

  9. Very well put, 9:45

    "Mosca has never apologized for his egregious breach of trust".

    Sierra Madre voters/residents- Most of you have no idea what this hideous campaign against Measure V did to three of the most honest and decent men in this town......Kurt Zimmerman, Kevin Dunn and Don Watts. It caused their families terrible grief due to the defaming of these men on those horrible websites, downtown dirt, Cumquat and Qunt. They gleefully printed unspeakable slander against these fine men.
    Town thug, Glenn Lambdin's BIA financed lawsuit against Kurt, Kevin and Don was unbelievable.
    The special interest development war chest of $170,000 they gave the dirts was used damn near 100% dishonestly by our fine neighbors-the dirts.
    They used it to brainwash, harass, frighten the voters, they used it with lies, lies and more lies.
    They used the money to hire private detective agencies to try to dig up some of their "downtowndirt" on Kurt Zimmerman.
    They found nothing must have shocked them that he is a decent and honest man, but then they decided to defame and slander him on their evil websites.
    They did the same thing to Don and to Kevin Dunn.
    Again, they were looking at two more honest and decent men.
    You can't hurt the dirts, even with the truth, because they are so LOW, they don't even care, they think we are stupid and they are elitists, above the laws of common decency. They have no shame and no ethics-zero.

    Kurt and Don and Kevin, if you're reading this....we, the citizens for the responsible development of Sierra Madre are very sorry you had to endure this. You don't know how grateful we all are for what you have done for us. We owe you, big time.
    God Bless all of you.

    To the dirts reading this:
    The people will not tolerate this to happen again in Sierra Madre.
    We are coming after you in 2010.

  10. sir eric's head must be spinning today, as the lead star news quotes re the eminent domain intiative are from buchanan and mosca. yikes!

    now a word about civility. yesterday personal attacks were launched against "shirtless pete." yes, he runs without a shirt and wore dolphin shorts in the 70s. so what? i do and did too. but pete seems like an great guy who loves his community as well as the intelligent and forceful woman he is married to. he also happens to be more pro-development than i. let's deal with that issue on the merits and treat him like the friend and neighbor he is.

    and yes, john buchanan is pompous. and no, it's not because being a lawyer with sempra or edison is a prestigious gig - it ain't. it's because he's pompous by nature. but, like him or not, he too seems to love his community.

    that leads us to the more difficult case - joe mosca. of the bunch he is the only one whose character seems to disqualify him for office. and i am not sure he loves the community or the opportunity it has to this point offered him. i have written him off as hopelessly immature and unformed.

    so, for the future, i vow to avoid all name calling and to argue solely on the merits - even if that mean ex-mayor with the shaved head provokes me.

  11. Actually the Star News article quotes Don Watts far more than the carpetbaggers. But the biggest concern about this article is the title. "Sierra Madre resident will vote on eminent domain." We are now feverishly trying to find that resident so we can find out exactly how he will be voting.

  12. 10:14,
    you are naive, if you think that any pro-development people belong on our council at this time.
    This is like playing Russian Roulette.
    Sierra Madre can't afford ANY development wonks on our council and we need to get rid of the ones that are they. Especially Mosca.
    Your pal, "shirtless" Pete is misguided and not qualified to serve on the council...And, yes, his wife Marianne is a nice lady, still doesn't qualify the "shirtless" one to be on the council.

  13. 10:27....
    The ONE who is voting NO will be the evil Bart "the Titan" Doyle.
    He has come out publicly for eminent domain.
    He favors it, thinks it's a good think, I'm sure Jon Edney favors eminent domain as well, but he lives in beautiful 40% unemployment El Centro.
    It'll only be Bart......everyone else will vote to stop eminent domain in Sierra Madre.
    hmmmmmm.....wonder if Bart drowns kittens as well.......

  14. I don't want to risk life and limb here, but while this site is informative and well written, some of the name calling comments turn people off. I have heard this from people who have told me that. Don't shoot the messenger, please.

  15. 10:34

    i am not in a business that allows me to be naive. so let me fact check your post.

    1. while i am a development moderate (for V only because i was against the dsp that joe mosca saved), i did not say or infer that pro-development people belong on the council. i said that we should treat those we disagree with as friends and neighbors.

    2. i did not infer or say that being married to an intelligent woman makes pete qualified to be on the council. i said that to rebut yesterday's argument that pete was dismissive of the women on the little league board.

    3. while i disagree with pete's development views as i understand them, that does not mean he is "not qualified" for city council any more than my disagreement with john mccain's stated tax policies leave him "not qualified" for the presidency. pete is an active citizen who loves the community. he is qualified to sit on the counsel, though i suspect i will not vote for him because of his views on development and opposition to measure v.

    which brings me back to my point. we need to stop demonizing one another and deal with the issues on the merits. why? so that we can responsibly manage changes to our town in a way that preserves its character. and so that we do not become repulsive to the folks in the middle as has our former mayor.

  16. 10:47,
    you need to understand that lots of people are frightened and angry at what's happening in the State right now.
    People don't want these unscrupulous politicians like Mosca and Buchanan in power anymore.
    The dirty campaign that the dirts ran in '07 (Measure V) and '08 (slander of MacGillivray)didn't set well with most people.

  17. Repulsive ex-Mayors

    1. Bart Doyle
    2. Glenn Lambdin
    3. Rob Stockley
    4. Doug Hayes

    DisHonorable mention:
    a. John Buchanan
    b. Enid Joffe

  18. Poster 10:14. You write that "John Buchanan seems to love his community"

    Oh really? Is that why he voiced support for a downtown specific plan that was proposing to destroy our downtown? Lest you think I'm engaging in hyperbole, let's recall that the draft DSP called for the construction of up to 325 new condos in our downtown area as well as aboveground parking garages.

    John also voted to approve a settlement with the developer of One Carter. This settlement led to the destruction of our hillsides and plunged the City into years of costly litigation.

    More recently, John voted against the City's measured estimate of population growth and job development. Briefly, he argued that the City should "send a message" to the agency that mandates construction of new housing that our town will be growing significantly over the next ten years. In short, he was inviting that agency to mandate more and more housing including low income housing in Sierra Madre.

    It would be more accurate for you to write that John Buchanan seems to love his "vision" of community, which is rabbit warren condos, denuded hillsides, "McMansions," traffic, air pollution and crowding.

  19. Not that I disagree here, but I'm not sure you can take the tabloid angle out of politics, here or anywheres else. If you consider the opposition's use of obscene websites like the Cumquat (complete with the endorsement of then Mayor John Buchanan), there is a strong precedent. And if name calling is so offensive to people who follow politics, then who in God's name is watching all those cable news shows?

  20. I guess any discussion of MaryAnn's SCAG speech is now impossible...

  21. Haven't read the comments, so sorry if this is out of any bloggish loop, but Wow.
    MaryAnn is a leader at regional gatherings that we can be proud of.
    Quite a change from Joe-who-can-I-schmooze-here Mosac.
    Great, great article Tattler.
    Great words Mayor.

  22. Lois @ 8:18, good luck catching a replay. I tried to watch it last night, and the meeting was on, WITH NO SOUND. Yes, it was mime night at the council. Watched Sandy Levin text a lot - it was all on the camera. But not a peep.
    SM TV 3 continues it's ridiculous incompetence.
    The people in charge of that should be replaced.

  23. SCAG is/will implode. You just cannot serve the functions it is supposed to serve at those numbers. This is not a defense of those idiots, but an attempt to get why they are failing so badly. If you give a good teacher a class of 20 students, he or she will do a good job. Same for 25. At 30 you're pushing at some people's capabilities to really know individuals. 35 presses everyone. 40, and someone will get lost in the cracks. Over 50? Won't happen
    18 million people under Edney's & Ikhrata's care?
    Forget about it.

  24. Messenger about name calling? Sir Eric has been abundantly clear. If you get obscene or cruel to people's children, or other bad things, your post will be pulled.
    Other than that, give it a rest. If you don't want to see Old K make a Dirt list, don't read the comments.You don't have to come on to critique others.
    Skip reading the comments. The articles are good enough on their own.

  25. I saw that on Channel 3. No sound whatsoever. Isn';t there another company that can handle this for us? They really are incompetent.

  26. Regarding scientific disputes, we're kind of stuck. I am not a scientist but know a few really good ones, and they do not agree. So. What's next?

    We want to be healthier, keep the systems of the earth healthy. We can take actions for that, without settling the debate. But not like El Centro's best, Mr. Edney. Our solutions have to actually be solutions - not things that just make the propblems worse. That information comparing buildings/cars has got to make a difference, doesn't it.

    Frankly, and this is an assessment, not name calling, I doubt that Mr. Edney can follow the logic.

  27. Edney and Ikhrata want to play God. Tell people where to live, how to live, and how they should get back and forth to work. They're two of the best political assets the GOP has right now. Dumb power mad bureaucrats. But what the rest of the SCAGS get out of this is a big mystery. Maybe nobody liked them in high school, and now they're getting revenge?

  28. Just saw the Star News article about EM, and was disappointed. Alfred Lee does a good job for the most part, covering our city meetings, but he dropped the ball on this one. It actually sounds like Buchanan and Mosca had something to do with bringing the ballot measure forth and fighting for it. Those of us who have been a round longer know that Mosca and Buchanan are just bending to what they see as the majority will in the matter. At least they won't be participating in writing the ballot.
    Neither of them would have gotten this to the voters.

    Thanks Mayor MaryAnn MacGillivray for giving us the chance for to vote on prohibiting Eminent.

  29. Joe and John could have put this Eminent Domain thing on the ballot years ago.

    This is pure politics for them.

  30. Mayor MacGillivray was the council member who called for putting the issue of eminent domain on the ballot next April.
    Don and Kurt have always been in favor of doing this, and now that SB 375 has reared it's ugly head, the urgency to do this is real. It's a real and present danger to Sierra Madre.
    Obviously Joe and John had to pretend to be in favor of it. The poster who asked why they hadn't brought it up before makes a good point.
    When Don Watts ran for council, at the first candidates debate, he expressed real concern over eminent domain, telling the same personal story he told Tuesday night. This is Don's number 1 issue. He is determined to save the people of Sierra Madre the pain his family went through.

  31. John and Joe know that a local anti-Eminent Domain law won't stand up against any Sacramento court challenges. The people they answer to can't be hurt by it, so what did they have to lose? They put on one sleazy show the other night.

  32. With all the exposes of eminent domain abuse showing up on the cable news shows....the dirts and their crooked politician friends may not want to go there.

  33. Will someone turn up the volume?December 10, 2009 at 3:52 PM

    They aired the replay of the meeting last night with NO AUDIO. I'm really ticked! How can we get this meeting online? Will Nueroblast post it? This meeting is really important! I want the residents to hear MaryAnn's speech about SCAG. I want them to see the council members discuss eminent domain!

    p.s. I don't think they ever aired the rest of the October 27th meeting, either. (That was the night of the bad winds...)

  34. Fan Farlo?

    If pro-over-development guys, Joe and John were so sure of a court overturn of eminent domain ban, why was Levin so upset about it?
    She was visibly uncomfortable discussing it.
    Then spent several minuets texting while the meeting was still in progress. The Mayor asked her a question and she didn't respond, she was distracted, the Mayor had to repeat the question.
    What was that all about, Sandy Levin?

  35. Maybe Sandy was upset because she knew John and Joe were pranking the proceedings? You never know, she just might have been offended. Just like a lot of other people.

  36. 3:52

    I share your outrage! Why is it that everytime Mosca acts badly, the replays strangely don't show up when they are suppose to?

  37. Has anyone called city hall and complained?

  38. Lone Star, you must be new. Everyone known staff is overworked and under paid. ;)

  39. I've called city hall and complained so much that my phone fell apart.
    The SM TV 3 people don't care whether the playbacks go on or not. If you cannot see a meeting the night it is going on, it's a gamble you'll ever see it at all.
    What you can do is go to the library and check out the disc.
    You would think that the people associated with SM TV 3 would be apologetic.....they're not.

  40. Isn't there a citizen's committee that handles channel 3 TV? Maybe they could do somethng.

  41. The city people read this blog, I know they do.
    Como on you guys, get those replays on for us.
    We don't want to have to start whining to MaryAnn about it.

  42. The lie keeps getting bigger.December 10, 2009 at 7:23 PM

    should we get the Attorney to text someone and find out why we cannot get channel 3. Come one everyone this is just another dirt manipulation. They want to stop the truth from being re-told. WHO really knows what we can do. This is just another added frustration.

  43. Scarlett T is for TattlerDecember 10, 2009 at 8:33 PM

    Hi Tatts, Sir Eric, first of all let me say all dogs and ponies I know have more morals and ethics in their hooves and paws than any politician I have ever met.

    That jon edney must think he is martha stewart, "its a good thing" what a puppet he is for his masters.

    I think things are going to get sticky for GLUE,the copenhagen talks have broken down, with another new document, "the danish text" now in the hands of the countries not privy to the wall street trading of cap and trade derivatives, as are some of their more affluent
    & highly capitalist treaty attendees, i.e. US UK who although heavily in debt to the red chinese government, are still finding ways to profit from Mid Air and have been lying to them. Tsk Tsk,

    By the way, I read that the most highly deadly percentage of CO2, is from the rebuilding of roads. And if you think about it, the last great road layings were after world war 2, 1945, so the federal government is protecting its assets, it's roads, it has to refit most of the major roads in the US. These guys that develop and need investors and have to deal with unions for materials, are also heavy into the new cap and trade frontier, I searched Leung on the SEC site and a cap and trade document came up. Poor doyle, immigration investment must be down at least around el monte, but I saw the el centro story eric did a few days ago and that is where howard ting and YK another i.i. regional manager, in el monte have been selling properties and businesses with a huge website as the new brand land of milk and honey to their immigration investor victims. Global Land Use? UN unsustainable building? Land Robber Barons and Carpetbaggers, is more like it.

    But putting eminent domain on the ballot, a wonderous act of matter of factness..if it passes they won't be able to sweep it away effortlessly. It is unconstitutional to force one persons idea of beauty onto another(blight), they know it. Once you pass it they have to take it or appeal it to the supreme court and they know it.

    Thank you Sir Eric..

  44. Double check something--the city meetings have to be recorded with sound (or not if the technician there that night messes up). Then the replay is cued up to rebroadcast as per the announced schedule. It is another person, presumably someone at City Hall and not TV3 staff that has to get it cued up properly, with the sound turned on. If the public saw it in real time with audio then the second scenario is where the replay is breaking down. There is some TV3 committee/ commission somewhere that has regularly scheduled meetings open to the public. Wouldn't they be having posted agendas as per the Brown Act?