While I was searching on the Google Blogs site, I stumbled upon something rather remarkable. It is called Sierra Madre Saga, and it was the blog of David S. Smith, a former columnist for the now sadly departed Mt. Wilson Observer. It was here that David reprinted the insightful columns he was writing for the MWO back in 2007. Many of which still hold up very well a full three years later. The truth usually does.
And with election season now upon us, it would be a good thing for us to revisit one of his columns in particular. It dealt with Joe Mosca's failure to honor the promises he made to the voters when he ran for our City Council back in 2006. His vote on the Downtown Specific Plan being the most flagrant example of that bad faith. This particular event has become a signature issue in the 2010 Sierra Madre City Council race. And what David S. Smith had to say on such matters is as relevant today as it was when residents took things into their own hands, overruled Joe, passed Measure V, and saved downtown Sierra Madre from the developer's wrecking ball.
Here is David's column:
Joe Mosca (February 17, 2007): One of the principal arguments the opponents of Measure V are using is that we should defer decisions about community planning to our elected officials. There's one major flaw in that argument. We tried that and failed.
In last year's election for City Council we had a broad slate of candidates. The three candidates that expressed reservations about the Downtown Specific Plan and who promised the people a referendum on the final draft won a landslide victory. The people had spoken, and their wish was clear.
We thought we were safe. Whatever decisions and compromises our City Council made, the residents would have a final say in the matter. When Joe Mosca broke his campaign promise and reversed his position on the DSP referendum, it registered a 12 on the community Richter scale. He terrified us. And his betrayal galvanized our community.
I've heard a lot of opinions about Joe Mosca, all the way from he's a mole the developers planted, to he's young, inexperienced, and politically naive. Whatever your choice, he's a disaster. Not just for the voters who trusted him, but also for the side he's gone over to.
Joe Mosca's betrayal took compromise off the table. He almost single handedly put Measure V on the ballot.
Compromise is what politics is all about. His removing the possibility of compromise has brought us to the degree of political polarization we currently face in Sierra Madre.
What was Joe Mosca thinking? What makes him think he has more experience, maturity, and wisdom than the residents who voted for him. Whatever he thinks, he's wrong.
Joe Mosca started off his tenure on the City Council a hero and became, in a few months, one of the most despised residents this community has ever seen. That takes real talent. The real tragedy is he'd still be everyone's hero if he just used his head.
There has been a major failure of Joe Mosca to grasp the political realities of Sierra Madre. Regardless of political affiliation, when it comes to Sierra Madre itself, the vast majority of residents are conservative. Sierra Madre is a family community. We have no desire to become another Old Town Pasadena. We want a town that is safe, secure, and prosperous. A place where our kids can congregate at Bean Town after school and in the evening without us having to worry about them.
The signs of a reversal in the real estate market were clear last Spring. Everyone saw it. We need to maintain the value of our homes. As long as the homeowners feel prosperous, the contractors and building tradesmen who do the additions, remodels, and maintenance on our homes will have work. And if we keep Sierra Madre a desirable place to live, the realtors will have a strong housing market and an income, however modest, to get them through to the next boom.
My greatest fear is that they'll kick out Taylor's Meats, bulldoze Howie's, and get a building started. Then, the crash will come and all work will cease, just like in 1990.
Given last April's election, the outcome of the vote on April 17th seems predictable. So Joe, if you want to be a hero again, here's my suggestion. Resign!
Get out of the way and let this community heal the gaping wound your poor judgement inflicted. Run again if you want to. Maybe we'll give you another chance. but, for the sake of everyone, end the nightmare your betrayal created. And the the City Council, once again, become the community forum it should be.
Of course, Joe never did resign, and it now remains the duty of the voters to evict him for not keeping the promise he made that originally got him elected. Because once a politician has betrayed his constituency in such an egregious and casual manner, and on something that incredibly important, how can he ever be trusted again?
The answer being he can't. Which is why Joe Mosca has finally got to go.