Saturday, December 26, 2009

The "No Power To The People" Movement Gains Traction In California

Has Democracy become inconvenient in California? An unfortunate relic of another time? So much of what we have seen over the past couple of years would seem to indicate that it has become a burden for some. The removal of many of the development planning powers that used to belong to cities would be one of them. Too much undependable local control there. And CEQA reviews in the hands of local government could be bad for business as well. Sacramento has also thoughtfully removed those from us. After all, housing development is California's last great industry, and there is no need to allow small cities such as ours to interfere. Just bring in the wrecking ball and let the building begin! No questions asked.

You see, it just isn't any of our business anymore.

And while city development, planning powers, and CEQA reviews are now to be shared only at the pleasure of Sacramento, there is still that problem with voting. You just never know what those people are going to put on the ballot or, heavens forfend, vote for. The voters are entirely undependable and should never be trusted to make the right decisions. Or so the reasoning would appear to be these days. And no greater advocate of the "No Power To The People" movement than Larry Wilson himself is back with more important information about why YOU should be relieved that the California Voter Initiative process may soon be a thing of the past. You know, all those confusing questions that are always there on the ballot? Why should we bother our pretty little heads about that stuff? Better that you concentrate on more important things, like shopping. And Larry is here to help:

Larry Wilson: Voters brace for swarm of stinging initiatives: FOR your pleasure, there are 51 initiatives in circulation for placement on a 2010 California ballot. Thirty-eight more await titles and summaries. Three have already qualified - including one that would give voters open primaries in 2012 ... But that idea is boring and workaday, as are my favorites on an upcoming ballot, the issues that would lead to a California constitutional convention. That get-together would likely and happily restrict the propositions, initiatives and constitutional amendments with which we are plagues ... If God had intended us to be rules by this dubious form of direct democracy, he (sic) wouldn't have invented legislative bodies, through which other poor shlubs do the governing for us.

You see? There is our final solution. Give up all of your burdensome civic responsibilities like understanding the issues and voting on them to Sacramento. After all, hasn't Baghdad on the Sacramento River done such a wonderful job for us already? In addition to removing our city planning power and CEQA review rights, Sacramento has also given us record debt, local property tax confiscations, the nation's next-to-the-worst education system, and a business climate that has sent viable private enterprise and skilled workers fleeing for the borders. So why not reward them for all their hard work and dedication and make their control complete? Certainly you can't say they haven't earned it. And, as Larry points out, even God wants it that way.

Implicit in this line of thought is that unimpeded lobbyist legislative control is important for getting things done in California. After all, they really have become far more influential up there than the likes of you. So let's just make it official and have you butt out of it altogether, alright? Make your approval of the new "California Constitution" the last initiative vote you'll ever have to cast.

Now it would appear that Larry "The Surfing Solon of Sacramento Sycophancy" Wilson is hardly alone in this. Which, given the massive amounts of corporate money behind the "new constitution" concept of citizen abdication, should come as no surprise. And you do know that there was an instance of this messy "direct democracy" thing happening here in Sierra Madre, right? It was called Measure V, and apparently was some sort of citizens' revolt against a small group of people who believed that they alone had the right to decide what our town should look like. And that you really shouldn't have expected to have much say in the matter. After all, weren't those elected to our City Council at the time just smarter and more aware than everybody else?

Well, OK. I guess I'm taking sarcasm beyond its acceptable limits with that one. A bunch of greedy local real estate hustlers and their select moneyed cronies is more like it. But, wouldn't you know that the same kind of Wilsonian (Larry, not Woodrow) animosity to "direct democracy" has shown up here on The Tattler? Check out this comment to Friday's post:

Here's the bad thing about Measure V. On the face of it, it's not the kind of thing I'd vote for because its structure is not the stuff of "good government." It's clearly a reactionary measure that gives radical control via public opinion. It serves its purpose for local residents under the circumstances, but I wonder if it is something that can withstand legal and political challenges in the long run. So it's a little scary.

Sierra Madre needs to craft some governmental structures as part of its public policy that works to achieve the results that the residents want to keep future development in scale and character with the community. Unfortunately the way things stand now with general Plan revisions, the State would ramrod overdevelopment into the plan. Probably best to wait this one out until sanity is restored in Sacramento.

Hmm, so many targets, so little time. First of all, to refer to something as both reactionary and radical at the same time does seem to be a bit of a semantic challenge. Kind of like calling somebody a "rightwing leftwinger." But since when has citizens taking control of a situation and using the vote to redress an understandable problem with a faithless government become a form of political extremism? To me this is what being an American is all about. Fearlessly standing up to bad government and using the vote to redress grievances is at the very heart of the ideals this country was founded upon. In the case of Measure V the problem was that there was no "good government," and the people of this town did their civic duty and remedied the problem. And we should never want to lose that option should the need arise again.

And then there is the inevitable scare tactic. And my guess is the author of this Wilsonian (Larry, not Woodrow) statement is chafed because we haven't hired any consultants to work on our new General Plan. You know, where citizen government is apparently rearing its problematic head once again? And what is this threat? "Unfortunately, the State would ramrod overdevelopment into the plan."

I don't know where this dude has been napping or what, but the State is going to attempt to "ramrod overdevelopment into the plan" no matter what we do. The law, SB 375, has already been enacted, and people like "Sacramento Joe" Mosca and the rest of the SCAGgies are hard at work making sure those very things come to pass. To say that shelling out $300,000 for a consultant would somehow stop that process is absurd. Let's face it, all a consultant would be likely to do is recommend that we become compliant with Sacramento's development control. That is, roll over, stick our legs and paws into the air, and surrender any rights to controlling development in our town to the central planning apparatus up north.

Which, if I'm not mistaken, is exactly what the author of the above remarks is advocating here.


  1. Sir Eric again spells it out for us.
    Pay attention, Sierra Madre voters.

  2. The dirt's plan has always been like the old W.C. Fields comment "never give a sucker an even break or smarten up a chump" They thought they could execute their destructive plan on little Sierra Madre and get away with their windfall profits at our expense.

    Well, dirts, the suckers and chumps have smartened up, and turned the tables on you all.
    You are now the "suckers" and the chumps".

  3. "Sacramento Joe" Mosca ... so how much money have the taxpayers of Sierra Madre spent shuttling him up there and back? And couldn't he have just gotten his orders on the phone?

  4. I suspect part of his frequent flights north were for job interviews.
    And I was kind of hoping that some bureaucracy in Sacramento
    would have offered Joe his dream job by now and we'd be rid of
    the fellow. Anybody know why he's been passed over? It's not like
    he hasn't done all that was asked of him.

  5. Larry Wilson wants to do the governing for us poor "shlubs"


  6. Nothing like having a day off, you get that first cup of coffee and you read the paper. One thing about reading the paper is you can pick pleasant and fun head lines, kind of sets the tone of the day pending on what head lines you read. Reading the Tattler today sort of ruined that cup of coffee, some times you just don't want to read the truth. After cleaning the kitchen and another cup of coffee I thought about what the Tattler had said and realized something, we can not just sit ideally by while politicians and special interest money groups try to change our community and our way of life to suit there profits and way they think we should live, no sir. So what am I going to do about it, well, I'm going to thank Sir Eric and promise him that I will tell anyone who will listen to read the Sierra Madre Tattler and that we all should do what ever we can because, every little bit helps, period.

  7. What most people think is going on and what is really going on are so different. California has lost its way.

  8. Cost/Benefit analysisDecember 26, 2009 at 5:32 PM

    Sierra Madreans can see how well consultants protect them from overdevelopment by observing Karen Warner, the consultant hired for the housing element of the General Plan. Ms. Warner's position is to facilitate as much development as Sacramento desires. Maybe even where your house stands.
    Then there's always the blast fro the past, the RBFers on the DSP. The company that rolled into town, took some pictures, realized that the wisteria vine should be on every product for presentation, pretended to have citizen input, and then cashed their big, big checks.

  9. We have heard that "scary" before.
    We have learned never to trust anyone in politics who's operating from "scary."
    Fear makes bad decisions.

  10. Using Sacramento to scare people into doing what the Sacramento wants is just a form of logic that escapes me.

  11. Check it out:

    "But since when has citizens taking control of a situation and using the vote to redress an understandable problem with a faithless government become a form of political extremism? To me this is what being an American is all about. Fearlessly standing up to bad government and using the vote to redress grievances is at the very heart of the ideals this country was founded upon."

    Now that's power to the people.

  12. It is comin up Roses!December 26, 2009 at 6:31 PM

    Let us not forget that all around the dirty dishonest let me lie to you and rule with fear and blame everyone else politicians, there are wonderful people who are honest and they do give us BEAUTY and TRUTH! They are volunteers like Sir Eric, 3 Honest CC members, people in town who are preservationists and the great dedicated people at the float barn who are working on OUR Rose float.

    Try to stop by and give all of Sierra Madre your support. Everyone will be watching Jan 1, 2010.

  13. I hear Ed Roski, Darrell Steinberg, Dart Boyle, and Arnold have been spending some serious amounts of time poring over their copies of "Constitution Writing For Complete Idiots" I think they've agreed that the Paraguay version would serve them best.

  14. scarlett t is for tattlerDecember 26, 2009 at 7:31 PM

    Hi sir eric, well after reading your story, I looked at larry wilson, saw a story you did on september 8, 2009, (I was out of town) and saw the SGVEP, wilson, doyle, leung connection, so did a bit more searching and found a KPAM 12/10/2009 interview with the new beaverton oregon mayor, denny doyle..remember that there were financial problems with dorn platz in beaverton oregon, and sierra madre has dorn platz with financial problems and don barton doyle, coincedence?

    I was at the new el monte mayor swearing in and among the dignitaries, like antonovich to swear in j jueventino gomez, there was an andy doyle being sleapt around and introduced to the poor recently defrauded folks of el monte, image of his daddy..
    Probably going to help the new independent redevelopment of the dog and pony show el monte transit center...I don't think these politicians have the good sense that god gave a goose, but speaking of goose's larry wilson and the whole group of LA times papers are flocks of laughs.

    Thank god for you eric

  15. Keep the above post for the political campaign to Keep Joe out of Sierra Madre. Beautifully written
    scarlett t, and thank you!

  16. The best thing you guys can do to help is form a citizen committee, get behind your "heroes" and put some permanent, well-crafted local regs (good lawyering here) in place that are voted in by the community and upheld by the CC. Otherwise you'll burn out your good folks after a couple of election cycles, the development community can wait. After all, SB 375 started over 10 years ago as a means of undercutting CEQA, used by communities to stop development.

  17. Eric from Sierra MadreDecember 27, 2009 at 8:04 AM

    Check out the "New Geography" link on the Sites of Interest list this morning. Article to look for is called "The Decade of the South: The New State Population Estimates." They list all the states plus WDC, and California is #51. Yep, we're showing a population decrease.

    Or just click here

    So much for SCAG's vaunted projections of vast population increases. The error that launched a million empty condos.

  18. Who'd Move HereDecember 27, 2009 at 1:00 PM

    THANKS for the link! What does happen when Calif defaults? What happens if NO ONE BUYS Calif debts. What does happen when the State operations come to a Halt. It is chilling to think about it. But the bozos in Sacramento think about SB375. And we hear about hiring Karen Warner for???? And the UUT because of ?????And having an audit is a no-no because??

  19. Good point. $50,000 for a consultant who was wrong about a California population increase. We could have flipped a quarter and had 50% odds of getting that one right. As it was we paid a fortune for a predetermined incorrect answer.

  20. And who told us to hire KAREN?? Stop listening to the City
    Attorney , City Manager
    and City Everyone. They have never been on the side of the people, they are on the side of OVER DEVELOPMENT!!!

    Isn't this enough proof for everyone in town?

  21. You know what's really sad here? The RHNA numbers we're dealing with now are based on criteria SCAG no longer supports.