Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Significant Sierra Madre Victory @ One Carter?

"To escape criticism - do nothing, say nothing, be nothing." - Elbert Hubbard

In the end the City of Sierra Madre got a victory at One Carter, and it was a negotiated one. Yet it was a long series of defeats that brought us to that point. And can you believe it really came to this? Five long years down the road and only now have we reached the final act. But that was only after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on litigation, lawyers, their salaries, and court costs.

The irony here being that when the Gang of Four City Council did the original One Carter deal with Dorn Platz, they claimed it was to avoid lawsuits.

Probably the biggest victor in all of this was our City Attorney. With the money made from this debacle she could very well afford to buy a lot at One Carter, and maybe even a house to put on it. Paid for out of our tax dollars.

We will see at tonight's City Council meeting what it means to have elected officials who work for the people of Sierra Madre. Which is in stark contrast to the Stockley, Joffe, Buchanan and Torres "Gang of Four" council. After all, it was they who made the disastrous decisions at One Carter that cost us an extremely large chunk of our tax dollars over the years. You can only imagine what was (or most likely wasn't) going through their heads when they decided to hand One Carter over to a company that proved incapable of doing little more than cutting down trees and initiating lawsuits.

Thanks to the hard work of Don Watts, Kurt Zimmerman, and Mayor MaryAnn MacGillivray, we have now received some significant concessions from the unfortunate folks at the lender of consequence, Capitol Source Finance. And certainly the advantages were ours. This is a bank that was painfully aware that they had a distressed property on their hands, one that needed to be sold so they wouldn't have to continue throwing good money after bad. They were obviously not in a very good bargaining position, and that was something our guys understood from the start.

So what concessions did we get out of Capitol Source? There are six items in all, but these two below strike me as being the most significant:

1) The famous Lot 3. At one time it was rumored that the City of Sierra Madre was considering spending around a million bucks to purchase this piece of property. The reason being is that this is the most visible of all the lots at One Carter, and any McMansion built upon it would loom ominously over the city. A permanent reminder of the Gang of Four's disastrous mistakes. But thanks to this City Council's negotiated victory, that lot will not be built on. Rather it will be attached to another lot and sold with the legally enforceable proviso that it remain undeveloped.

2) Everything that is built at One Carter must be in compliance with our Hillside Management Zone Ordinance. Which means the developer won't be able to erect those huge monuments to bad taste up there that so many feared. Just homes that will blend in with the character of the rest of this town. And there was concern that Capitol Source might sue over this particular issue, and a feint in that direction was actually made. But this City Council called their bluff, and won.

And like I said, this isn't all of it. There are Stonehouse considerations as well. But you'll get all that when you tune in to tonight's City Council meeting. And while this settlement is a bit like putting a bow on the proverbial pig, it obviously is also the best that could be expected given the awful choices left to us by the solons of the Shenanigan Era.


  1. Congratulations Mayor MacGillivray, Councilman Zimmerman and Councilman Watts!

    Sierra Madre has been so blessed to have 3 councilmembers who work for the people in contrast to the two who LOBBY for Sacramento special interests.

    I pray you will maintain this productive majority
    forever. We must never return to the Bart Doyle inspired "Shenanigan Years"

  2. If MaryAnn, Don and Kurt hadn't been there who knows what would have been agreed to for One Carter. We wouldn't have gotten anything, that I am sure of.

  3. Voters need to be aware of who pushed for this. It was DON WATTS along with Kurt and Marrianne. Thank you John Crawford for continuing to keep us in the know.


  4. One would have to be invested in the demise of Sierra Madre to NOT vote for DON WATTS.
    He simply must be returned to our City Council at this time. Don and MaryAnn will be fighting for the people of Sierra Madre's right to govern ourselves and not take orders from Sacramento.
    JOHN CRAWFORD and PAT ALCORN will support this crucial platform.
    Lobbyist JOE MOSCA has brought more grief to this town in the past 4 years than we can tolerate.
    It is critical to vote this man out off our City Council. He does not represent the residents.

    They put Sierra Madre's residents FIRST.
    They will DEMAND fair negotiations with Sacramento and will not allow EMINENT DOMAIN in our town.
    Please plan to vote for these 3. The home and town you will be saving will be your own!

  5. Vote Don, Vote John, Vote Pat. Just sit back and enjoy the City Council after the election with four in place to undo as much as possible the backlog of the four Shenaniganers of the past City Council: Joffee, Buchanan, Doyle and Stockley. Watch out for who those mugs endorse. Ask everyone who comes to your doorstep with candidate literature if they are residents of Sierra Madre. Keep an eye out for the outside money such as flooded the failed effort to defeat Measure V. Campaign finance filing law allows for a final filing date after the election (expenses come in up to the very end, of course). You will not always see the money until it is too late so you have to ask up front who the people are who are trying to influence this local election. Ask, ask, ask!

  6. This is great news Tattler, and Zimmerman, MacGillivray and Watts have done an amazing good for the town.

    Too bad that the land up there was pulverized.

  7. Lot 3 as dedicated open space is a dream come true.

  8. I will tune in to see that settlement made, Sir Eric, so thanks for the notice. I looked at the rest of the agenda, and it seems pretty clear that we as a city have tons of money. 9 or 10 of the agenda items are spending lots of money.
    Where's the "we are broke" part?
    If we have so much money. lets buy the other lots on the West Ridge at Carter, so we can actually fulfill the HMZ that was so violated by the council of 2004, and their lawyer.

  9. I thought we couldn't afford an independent audit!!!!!!
    Looks like it's about where we spend the money, not that we don't have it.



  11. Great job driving a silver stake into the grandious plan at 1 Carter. Our former Council, (Stockley, Joffe, Buchanan, & Torres) should be so embarrased that they would actively support Watts, Crawford, and Alcorn to atone for their own stupidity and filure as Council Members. The lesson is obvious and the New Council and City Administration should march on the decimation of the Stonehouse Property with a new confidence.

  12. Great victories indeed, Sir Eric

  13. I never believed that Sierra Madre would ever be done with these people. That the town would move on and we'd be back to being the small town we always were with citizens in charge and no interference from those who work for the big lobbyists and corporations. But we might actually be at that point now. Wouldn't that be great?

  14. Speaking of other-directed agendas, still no Mountain Views News downtown this morning. The paper was supposed to come out last week on Saturday. Can we in good conscience continue to force our citizens to have their public notices in a paper that is just so unreliable?

  15. Anonymous 10:41 am, never again will we be the small town we always were. We must maintain vigilance! Remember that this band of brigands, thieves and scheming miscreants we've just exposed were respected City fathers and businessmen - the 6 Mayors, Chambers executives, realtors, little league and soccer supporters. We must continue to monitor the doings of the City lest we go through this again in two, or four, or six, or eight years!

  16. The MVN is in deep fiscal poo! Rumor has it that the publisher is soliciting loans from well heeled local seniors even going so far as to promise the loans will be paid back and that the paper won't go negative just to get the $$$$. That's why you're not seeing it! Money is so short it can't publish on schedule. If the City placed ads that didn't get published, it should be asking for a refund.

  17. Living proof that capitulation and settlement are not the same thing. Sticking to your objectives can pay off. Dorn Platz did not survive--the City did and we eventually got something out of this whole mess that we can live with. Had this attitude prevailed in the face of Maranatha's RLUIPA case, there would be no development at One Carter.

  18. The City Council needs to follow up on Zimmerman's demand that Susan Henderson turn over her subscription list.

  19. I'll bet we're about the only people in town who notice when Susan's paper is AWOL...

  20. You got that right, 1:38.
    That paper is a joke, but City Mouse is right.
    The city should cut her off....absolutely.
    Anyone who expects to be repaid a loan by this bad check phony, Henderson is crazy.
    Show me anyone she has ever played straight with?
    It never happened and never will.
    This woman, Henderson is a stone cold grifter.

  21. Except for Zimmerman, nobody on the City Council or in City Hall for that matter, wants to take Susan on. Go to Neuroblast to see Kurt's exchange with Susan.

  22. This is great news about making some progress with settling these damn developer lawsuits, but the cost has been terrible, and I don't mean the money. Plus, Stonehouse has just started....

  23. Looking at the agenda, it seems that our city will be throwing around millions of dollars tonight. Millions. Is that so?

  24. I hear they hit the lottery.

  25. To anyone reading this who lives outside of Sierra Madre, THIS is exactly how positive change happens.

    Go Tattler!!

  26. In this little tucked away time warp of a town democracy survives.

  27. I see three "papers" digitally online that serve Sierra Madre.


    Mountain Views News (fossilized as of Jan 2?)
    Sierra Madre Weekly
    Pasadena Star-News

    I also note that there are writeups about Sierra Madre occasionally in Pasadena Weekly.

    Pretty much hit-and-miss

  28. The night the City Council voted to approve the tract map for 1 Carter, the Sierra Madre Mountain Conservancy had a grant of $20,000.00 on the agenda of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy for a two- pronged study of what our original Hillside Ordinance would actually allow on the east and west ridges according to the slope/density analysis. Instead of voting to continue the discussion, with the threats of law suits and the legal advice of Colantuno, Sierra Madre hillside preservation was scuttled. Lot three is a victory of course--the possibility of a bigger victory was chucked out the window. Even the hillside development constraints of the 1996 General Plan was violated. Will the Carter Estates Homeowners Association members-to-be have a clue what they are getting with open space to maintain in their backyard? Just asking.

  29. Good evening Tattler readers!
    I was sure glad to see this posted tonight!

    Send This Blog to the City Council
    Please send your campaign donations to:

    John Crawford for Sierra Madre City Council
    PO Box 1411
    Sierra Madre CA 91024

    Please make checks out to the full name as typed
    above. Thank you!

    I'll be proud to send you a check, John Crawford.
    You're a stand up guy who has always told us the TRUTH here on the TATTLER. I know if elected you'll govern in the tradition of Kurt Zimmerman, MaryAnn MacGillivray and Don Watts.

    I hope you will still continue to write us these news stories that are so important.
    As others have mentioned, we have no decent press here in town. Besides that, you're a damn entertaining guy! This is a fun place to hang out.
    The TATTLER is the voice of TRUTH and the voice of the people. No Sacramento "spin" here on the Tattler.

    I urge all the folks who post and enjoy reading The Tattler to support John Crawford, support Don Watts and support Pat Alcorn. These candidates are real folks like us.
    They are honest and they won't betray our trust.
    They won't be financed by out of town special interests or political parties. What a concept!
    Honest people running for office, not financed by special interest!

  30. I'm an out of town special interest and I'll be mailing a check to John.

    So there.

  31. We are all specially interested in checks. I don't see what the problem here is.

  32. Now I see what all the fuss is about, I did not know that the reason The Mountain Views Newspaper and {Henderson} are making so many personal attacks on our {down home councilmember} Maryanne Magillvry, is because she is trying to preserve what is left of the quote, unquote "village" atmosphere.