Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Arcadia Association of Realtors Has Some Questions for the Candidates!

Well here's a fine howdy do. The Arcadia Association of Realtors has had their questionnaire for City Council candidates in Arcadia, Bradbury, and Sierra Madre out for a few weeks now, and I only found out about it because somebody just forwarded it to me. Which is puzzling because, according to the following statement, I was supposed to have received this inquiry into matters deemed to be important for the residents of our town from them.

As always, the Arcadia Association of REALTORS (sic) has sent questionnaires to the candidates to find their views on key issues in the area.

Hmm, I am a candidate for a seat on the Sierra Madre City Council, and I never received this questionnaire. Do I feel slighted? Am I upset? Am I holding my sides and shaking with laughter? Well, one for three is good enough for baseball, and that works in this particular situation as well.

Of course, it does beg the question of why an organization such as this conclave of mostly out of town fellows would presume to need to know what candidates in Sierra Madre might think about their issues. But the AAR does certainly seem to care about what goes on here. So much so that they are rumored to have contributed thousands of dollars to the "No on V" folks a few years back. Which in my mind puts them more than a little on the buttinski side of things.

It also reveals a lot about what their current agenda might be. I would hate to think that similar out of town money might be coming in to influence this election as well. I mean, all these guys really want is continuous Pasadena-style overdevelopment here, and they don't like anyone getting in their way. Even when it's not in their town.

However, since they didn't care to ask me, I guess I will just have to answer their questions here. It is pretty obvious what they're getting at, and we might as well have some fun with it. I can't imagine that there is really much else you can do with these guys. And never let it be said that I am not kind to tourists. Then there is this:

Arcadia will have a contest between 6 candidates for 3 seats, Sierra Madre will see 7 candidates vie for the 3 open seats. Due to a lack of interest, the Bradbury election has been canceled. Congratulations to Councilman Barakat for returning to the council, and for Richard Pycz for volunteering to serve the community.

I wonder what's up with Bradbury that nobody wants to run for their City Council? I mean, things can occasionally get a little out of hand at Sierra Madre City Council meetings, but not to the point where all the candidates get scared and run away. Things must be pretty rough over there in Bradbury. Either that or they're just not made of the sterner stock that so distinguishes candidates here.

Well, OK. Let's answer the Arcadia Association of Realtor's questions.

1) What role does local government have in regulating private property rights? A whole lot less than it used to, unfortunately. Under the new Sacramento guidelines as spelled out by AB 32 and SB 375 much of the control over planning decisions that used to be the purview of individual cities has been somewhat confiscated and concentrated under the hoary wing of Sacramento. Particularly if the city in question happens to exist within something considered by the central planning authorities to be in a "transportation corridor." Which, because of our proximity to the Gold Line (or 210 Trolly as we like to call it), includes Sierra Madre. So my answer here would be that cities of like mind should band together to wrest back our right to control all development within our borders. Which would help us in the fight to hold off the kind of massive high-density development certain concerned persons want so badly.

(As an aside, there is an Arcadia only question here that reads: "What efforts need to be done in order to prepare Arcadia for the expansion of the Gold Line?" Now this seems to me to be a direct contradiction to the spirit of the question I just answered. Because since Transportation Oriented Development is now something pretty much under the thumb of Sacramento and its compliant regional organizations such as SCAG, wouldn't that seem to indicate that the AAR advocates state control over regulating private property rights? Personally, and considering what a godawful mess Sacramento has made of this state, I'd prefer local control every time.)

2) Under what circumstances would you support enacting new or increasing existing assessments, taxes or fees? Sierra Madre, as many of us who live here are aware, is currently among those select few cities in the area that is currently running budget surpluses. Our bills are being paid, the checks don't bounce, and our parades and downtown holiday celebrations are at least partially subsidized out of taxpayer money. So the question of raising taxes or fees is moot. This is a well run City that has learned in the past couple of years to live within its means. And if fiscally challenged towns like Arcadia would like to stop by and pick up some pointers, they certainly are free to do so.

3) What would your vision be for the future of the downtown community of Sierra Madre? (Including but not limited to ideas for underutilized properties & business development.) It is my fervent hope that the downtown area of Sierra Madre will remain the beloved and unique shopping area it has been for as long as this town has been in existence. I would be disheartened to think that there might be those who would even consider changing that small town atmosphere we revere into the kind of generic and overdone "could be anywhere" look we now see developing in places like Arcadia. Business development is always a fine thing, but it must be remembered that Sierra Madre is overwhelmingly a residential community. The vast majority of people living here don't do so for the industrial opportunities. And as far as the "underutilized" thing goes, please remember that one man's unsatisfactory consumer experience is another man's precious jewel of a community. You can't please everyone.

4) What is your position on the Eminent Domain Initiative? I fully support it. It was a topic that first came up on this blog, and I took considerable pride in seeing something that started here going on to receive unanimous approval from our City Council. Watching John Buchanan enthusiastically cast his vote for this Tattler initiative was a cause of great joy for me. But that said, it must be pointed out that as important as this Eminent Domain Initiative is, it isn't in any way the last word on the scourge of property confiscation by government. The State of California, should it decide that such a thing might be standing in the way of the kinds of "Transit Oriented Development" called for by SB 375, could swat our little Eminent Domain ordinance away like a fly. Obviously this fight has only just begun.

Thank you for the questions, AAR! Can I leave you one of my brochures?


  1. LOL
    Somehow I don't think they will acknowledge you, John.
    Although, they might?

    I remember when we first started to walk our petitions for Measure V.

    The Arcadia Realtors sent out URGENT LETTERS to all realtors and probably several ex-mayors and their DIC (Downtown Investor's Club) friends.

    I forget the actual text but it was something like:

    "They are out their with petitions....stop them at all costs"!

    Wouldn't be surprised if they sent out URGENT LETTERS......"John Crawford and Don Watts are running for City Council....STOP THEM AT ALL COSTS"!

    Pretty funny stuff, except they will be financing Joe (friend of Sacramento and development), Josh( former Webb Martin REALTOR, and Nancy (friend of John Buchanan), no doubt about that.

    I do remember showing the letter they wrote to people while I went door to door, their reaction was to immediately sign my petition.

    Stick with these winners, they are for the residents of Sierra Madre.

  2. The questions asked by AARB really are the wrong questions, being asked. It shows they are not in touch with the goings on and issues we are being challenged with by SCAG. An organization charged with pushing through unfunded and unpopular mandates. As I have heard, they genuninely feel the general public does not know what is good for itself, and as in the words of the Blues Brothers, "they are on a mission from g-d", and don't care if you like it or not. The ability of passing the "Fiscalization" of our property and sales taxes, we might as well close town our local government, they will have the "stick" to enforce these mandates.

  3. Might be a good idea, Sir Eric, to re-post that part of the CAR (California Association of Realtors) handbook, section on how to infiltrate a small slow growth town to promote development?

    It's a real eye opener.

  4. The Arcadia Realtors need to butt out of Sierra Madre politics.

  5. Sierra Madre voter for Watts, Alcorn, and CrawfordFebruary 11, 2010 at 7:54 AM

    Did you notice the order of the candidates?

    Their order spells out their agenda.
    Nancy Walsh
    Josh Moron -not a typo
    Joseph Mosca
    "Eagle" Bill Tice
    Don Watts
    Pat Alocrn
    John Crawford

  6. I appreciated the straight answer on the Eminent Domain question. No wonder John Buchanan and Joe Mosca supported it. They know the state can overrule it.

  7. Don't be so sure, 8:09.
    Things are "changing" in Calif.
    A citizen vote against eminent domain sends a strong message to Sacramento crooks, we are going to fight.

    I urge every last voter in this town to vote against eminent domain in Sierra Madre.
    Contrary to what people like 8:09 poster would like you to believe....eminent domain is a real threat to us, developers and their political friends will use it to develop every square inch of this town, if they gain control.
    Good news is....they are going to lose control.

  8. Sierra Madre Voter @ 7:54

    That order is the same order as the candidates appear on the list when you request it from the city clerk.

  9. To the poster who commented about the spelling on the realtor site...

    On the site they have the names spelled right. And you have Pat Alcorn's name spelled wrong.

  10. John Crawford, the Realtors don't care about your answers because they've already compiled the results based on what they wanted to hear. My guess is that only Joe Mosca, Ms. Walsh and the Moron, will have their answers published and gain the support of the AAR.

  11. There are only two things people need to consider in the next city council election.

    1. John Crawford, Don Watts and Pat Alcorn represent and will protect the residents of Sierra Madre.

    2. Joe Mosca, Josh Moran and Nancy Walsh represent Sacramento and development and will not.

    Pretty simple.

  12. It is pretty simple.

    The lines been drawn in the sand, Sierra Madre.

    Those who want to preserve and save Sierra Madre for ourselves and future generations....step over the line and vote for Crawford, Watts and Alcorn.

  13. I think an endorsement from the Arcadia Association of Realtors will do Joe Mosca about as much good as an endorsement from the Pasadena Star News. In fact, such endorsements will probably hurt him.

  14. Like the Dutch lad who placed his finger in the dike,holding back the North Sea which would have destroyed his community;you have brought attention to a horrific attack by a malicious and malignant plot motivated by greed to destroy forever what the "Majority" of communities cherish,their homes and communities as well as the RIGHT to managed their local affairs.Keep up the great work..others are now aware locally as well as State wide!

  15. 9:47. Councilman Zimmerman pointed out a few years ago that the Pasadena Stars News was very good at endorsing candidates that lost and voter initiatives that failed.

  16. The so-called "power structure" in the SGV is not very well respected...

  17. Crawford for GovernorFebruary 11, 2010 at 10:59 AM

    John, thank you for sharing your responses to the inappropriate and highly unethical questionaire from the Arcadia Association of Realtors. It was wong to leave you out of their mailing. It is wong of them to ask any political candidates these questions.

    I say lets wok them and let god pour on the soy sauce.
    By the way I found a video on you tube,
    titled tyloon 2 or just search tyloon, and there was bart doyle, it was a trade show and tyloon was one of the three companies involved in the surrendered grant money of 2 million you might have seen in the paper recently. Tyloon, Pacific Access and Titan, were partnering up with el monte on an eco-bio building.

    I hope you peruse the san bernardino sun and the corruption of the board of supervisors by alledgedly colonies partners, of diversified pacific, it seems the papers locally even though owned by the same group aren't covering it yet.

  18. Hey What,

    I spelled the MORON's name that way on purpose becaust hat is what he is and everyone knew who I meant.

    moron+fly=disease for Sierra Madre

  19. The issue is, Sierra Madre is in danger of losing all the ground we have made up, since Zimmerman, Watts and MacGillivray have been fighting for us, rather than Sacramento special interesrts

    The majority of people agree with Kurt, Don and MaryAnn's platform. John Crawford is totally committed to this platform!

    It matters not whether or not you like so and so, or so and so is a nice person. If they are sycophants for big development agenda of Sacramento, we simply can't afford to elect them to public office.

  20. John, thank you for your interest in our website, and for responding to the questionnaire.

    You can look for our letter, and the questionnaire for Sierra Madre, in the mail. They are being mailed out to all of the candidates in Arcadia and Sierra Madre today.

    As you are aware, the Arcadia Association of REALTORS serves the communities of Arcadia, Bradbury, Duarte, Monrovia and Sierra Madre. We look forward to the thoughtful answers to these questions, as well any additional information you care to provide.

    Thanks again for your interest.

  21. Appreciate the reply. I think that you will find that once questions are posted to the internet, as yours have been, people will naturally consider them to be public and therefore open to discussion. I know of one candidate - besides myself - that has already replied. Hopefully the next time questions to the candidates are sent out, it will be the candidates who will see them first. That should cut down on any unecessary confusion going forward.


  22. Looks like the Tattler sent the Arcadia Realtors scampering off to the post offcie today.

  23. Arcadia Realtors?

    Why did you send out memos to all Sierra Madre realtors to "stop the petition carriers by any means".
    That was pretty mean, not neighborly at all.

    Nearly 2000 Sierra Madre residents signed those petitions!

  24. I notice the gentleman said something about "serving communities." Outside of working to improve their economic position within those communities through attempts
    to influence elections, what exactly do
    they serve?

  25. There was another appearance in town not too long ago of someone who has spent a career in Arcadia real estate circles. It was a gentleman who had applied to be on the Sierra Madre General Plan Update Committee. Anybody else remember that? A Sierra Madre resident who works as an Arcadia realtor, trying to help shape the General Plan.
    In other words, sound out the word, Boys, Sierra Madre is wide open for development.

  26. That's right 2:23.

    That's the same message Bart Doyle sent out, about 20 years ago.

    Look at the hillsides & you'll see the result.

  27. They serve buyers and sellers of property in this area, if you are a Realtor in this area you should be a member of AAR, as opposed to being a real estate agent, there is a difference. Please do not put all Realtors in the same basket, just as in any profession there are good ones and bad ones. you can buy and sell property yourself with no representation, but don't screw-up, it could cost you thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars. I am not, nor have I ever been a Realtor, just informed from past experiences which cost me dearly.When you join the AAR you can sell property anywhere in this area, there is no such thing as a Arcadia or Sierra Madre or Bradbury Realtor.

  28. Hey Sir Eric, what do you think those questions really are? You'll come up with better insights, but....
    Realtorspeak: "What role does local government have in regulating private property rights?"
    Plainspeak: would you promise to keep your hands off of any property shenanigans I got up to or helped my clients get up to?

    Realtorspeak:"Under what circumstances would you support enacting new or increasing existing assessments, taxes or fees?"
    Plainspeak: how much are you going to help me make sales by keeping all that extra taxing low?

    Realtorspeak:"What would your vision be for the future of the downtown community of Sierra Madre?"
    Plainspeak: how are we going to dump Measure V & bring back the DSP?

    Realtorspeak:"What is your position on the Eminent Domain Initiative?"
    Plainspeak: how flexible will you be on using eminent domain for my clients who want them some big chunks of land?

  29. Does that mean you CAN'T sell property in the area without being a member of AAR? Seems like quite a monopoly if that is the case,

  30. 2:37 ........ that was just awesome. Thanks!

  31. 2:38, that would involve a standard of ethics, so that can't be it.
    I sold a house last year, and during the process learned a lot about realtors. Man they were ready to slit each other's throats. I got letter after letter soliciting my business and saying what a bad job the realtor I had hired was doing (not too bad - the house was sold and I'm happy with the transaction.)
    Seems like realtors became more and more corrupt as the housing prices got more and more ridiculous.

  32. Realtors like developers are a dying industry.
    All you need is an escrow company who specializes in sell your own/buy your own transactions.
    Red Fin is kicking traditional realtor companies to the curb, and it's a change the realtors have brought on themselves.
    You can't get away with gouging people for money forever,

  33. Bad Karma, how can you say that? Refresh your memory with the California Association of Realtors Defeat Slow Growth Initiatives handbook!
    Realtors serve ion any committee or commission that will have them, volunteer lefty and right out of the goodness of their hearts, participate in all parades and festivities, go to every mixer and wine taster and what not that goes on in a city.
    They ARE the community Bad Karma!

  34. It's that way for a lot of businesses now. The web is kicking their butts. Newspapers, movie DVDs, music, magazines, network TV, all going the way of the dodo.

    Speaking of dodos, have you heard that Joe and the Little Joes are recycling the rumors about the library closing down?

    They're ABUTTs - "Anything But The Truth."

  35. John Buchanan has a few hard line supporters in certain circles because he's seen as the sole champion of the library.
    These people have probably willed themselves not to see what is really going on because they are so committed to the library.
    Of course Joe's camp will push that for all it's worth.
    They ain't got much else.
    Time to highlight Fay's speech again, about how horrible it was to misuse those kids in the 4th of July parade, alarming them that the library would close,
    It's kinda like the threats and fears that Buchanan and his pals threw around to try to get Measure F passed.

  36. I heard the mountains are going away. Save our mountains!!

  37. So your "eminent domain" law was an anti? Sorry to be slow on this, gotta link? Does the concept of "commercial blight" have any cross pollination here? Would a commercial blight statute give acquisition powers to the civic entity and could that not be abused as well?

    Thanks for any enlightenment on these seemingly related thingies.

  38. That somebody would use the false rumors about the library closing, and using it as
    a political tool, shows just how deeply cynical
    these people are. What low regard they must have for the intellect of Sierra Madreans.

  39. A realtor in Monrovia area (one of the good guys), told me to watch the Sierra Madre realtors/developers/downtown investors.
    They will try to overturn Measure V, sell us all down the river and the big mixed use 3/4 story buildings will be built. No matter they may or may not be finished let alone sold, it will happen and this same realtor told me "make no mistake about it, they will use eminent domain to do it"

  40. Joe Mosca was in favor of the DSP development nightmare for Sierra Madre.

    He had NO on V signs on his lawn. All his votes were always for development.

    We will prove this, we have his record and it doesn't just speak for itself, it SWEARS.

    This man's vision for Sierra Madre is not what ours is. His commitment to big Sacramento style development will destroy this town.

    We can stop him. Do not vote for him. It isn't personal Joe, it's your "vision" for our town we can't possibly tolerate.

  41. Realtorspeak: "What would your vision be for the downtown community of Sierra Madre?"

    Plainspeak: "How closely will you align yourself with our interests? How quickly can we build the next condo?"

  42. They're legends in their own minds.

  43. They are desperate, just like developers are, according to one who testified during the One Carter, oops I mean Stonegate, hearings.
    "All developers in California are desperate for land."
    Desperation does not bring out the best in people.

  44. Crawford for City Council!

  45. Rifleman Flatz, when the Sierra Madre City Council discussed eminent domain some years back, Councilman Zimmerman made a remark that eminent domain could be a necessary tool for law enforcement in instances such as crack houses - criminal blight guess - but that Sierra Madre would not be faced with such a situation, and thus it was not applicable to us. Still makes good sense to me, and I hope Sierra Madreans overwhelmingly vote to remove eminent domain as a choice for the city government. Other areas are not so fortunate, and they may indeed need to use blight/eminent domain for responsible law enforcement.

  46. Great picture. Do you know where I can get a nifty jacket like that? I want to wear it when I go to pick up women at Lucky Baldwins.