Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Has Mayor Mosca Already Begun To Show His Hand?

There is an interesting quote on Bill Coburn's tangled skein of a website from newly minted Mayor Joe Mosca. I'm not quite sure what Bill's intention was in posting it, but it really is quite a revealing little tarradiddle of Mosca verbal gymnastics. I thought I'd reprise it here and then maybe we can deconstruct it a bit. Because no matter how they are used, or misused, words really do have meaning. And once committed to print they become fair game for all. No matter what the one-eyed Decorum Police might say.

Here is the quote:

"Another challenge that we will not shrink from is the obligation to continue planning for our future. Through planning, we will ensure the preservation of our community. And, planning for our community and working with and through our community partners will ensure that we and our children will continue to live in a community, and a region, that has a high quality of life."

One of the claims Mosca made during his run for reelection is that it is he who represents the authentic slow growth persuasion in Sierra Madre. Advocating a slow growth position being, of course, necessary in a town where most of the people living here do so to get away from what has happened to the rest of Los Angeles County. Slow growth meaning, for many, being very different from those other places. And let's face it, any candidate who would actually come out and say that they are in favor of SB 375 style transit oriented and mixed use development here would not get very many votes.

If you do desire those sorts of things for Sierra Madre, in order to make them happen you'd have to say you are against them. Otherwise you will never find yourself in a position to help create what you actually want. And the politically expedient way to do this is make a promise to the voters that you will do all you can to keep things the same. All the while knowing that if things go your way you'll never actually keep it.

What we need be on the lookout for now is exactly when Mosca will break his go slow on development promise for the second time. Most of us are, of course, keenly aware of the first time Joe broke such a pledge. As are many other people judging by the amount of unique views the video of him doing so has received on the Neuroblast site. That he will break it again can be of little doubt. But how exactly will he do the deed? And what will be his rationale for doing so? Based on the paragraph quoted above we can now begin to speculate about this.

If you are an elected official who ran on a slow growth platform, and actually intended to keep that promise, why would you be putting the planning process at the core of your mission statement? Why would you say that it is the planning process that ensures preservation, when often the two concepts are located at opposite ends of the spectrum? Planning for what? Change requires planning, but how exactly do you plan for not changing? What would be the purpose in that? Unless, of course, what you are planning for is to keep things the same. Which should be a simple process, and is what most of the people who voted for Mosca probably believe they are going to get.

Yet here Mosca says that he is somehow obligated to "continue planning for the future." And what is the officially sanctioned version of the future in today's California? From what we can see coming out of Sacramento lately, it is the rapid urbanization of any suburbs immediately surrounding core city centers like Los Angeles, predicated on a previously approved style of high density development designed to compliment recently created mass transportation corridors such as the Gold Line. The planning for these things being very much at the heart of SB 375, also known as the anti-sprawl bill.

Just in case you are not aware, communities made up of predominantly single family houses, which is the predominant lifestyle here in Sierra Madre, are referred to as "suburban sprawl" by those who support Sacramento's vision on this issue. It is a pejorative term designed to help create the perception that what we have here is inferior and even destructive. The whole quaint foothill village thing being lost on them, I guess.

Mosca is, of course, a dedicated advocate for SB 375. And, as a member of the Community, Economic, and Human Development (CEHD) committee of SCAG, is closely engaged in a state and regional planning process specifically designed to put an end to what is referred to there as suburban sprawl.

If Joe was planning to keep this town from sliding into that abyss, then perhaps his philosophy wouldn't seem quite so alien to the desires of those living in this town. But I am afraid that might not be the case. By "planning" he could very well be talking about the Sacramento mandated and regionally processed approach to developing transportation oriented communities. Closely interlinked cities redeveloped to reflect the newly perceived need for convincing people to get out of their cars and onto public transportation as the primary way to get to work. Work that, in a society where cars would become an exception rather than the rule, will necessarily be closely situated to where each of us live.

The notion of exclusively residential communities linked to distant urban work areas by private transportation is, in this viewpoint, something that needs to be put behind us. And in order to fold Sierra Madre into that concept you will not only need to build dense multi-family units throughout our downtown, you will also have to attract industry so that many of the people moving here will not just live locally, but work locally as well. Rather than people commuting from town to work in the city every day, in an SB 375 world you'll live and work in the same area.

Now in the second part of his statement Mosca claims that in order to ensure the continuance of prosperity for our town we will have to rely upon "community partners" to do so. This, I believe, is also at the heart of his philosophy on how to govern Sierra Madre. We are no longer to be an independent community that only relies upon itself to survive as a residential town. Rather we are to become part of an overall regional layout that will include many partner communities that will not only share planning and transportation requirements, but also property and sales taxes as well. The fiscalization of area tax resources also being a part of the process advocated by many at SCAG, an organization Joe seems likely to identify as one of our primary community partners.

If all of this sounds like a radical concept in centrally conceived and regionally implemented urban social planning, that is exactly what it is. No other state in the U.S. has gone nearly as far as California has in this regard. Thanks to SB 375 we are the only state out of 50 whose government has declared open war on transportation corridor suburban communities. All based on the disingenuously conceived notion that we will somehow be able to build our way out of global warming.

And it could very well be that what Sierra Madre has in its new Mayor is someone who supports all of this. I suspect we will be able to confirm that fairly soon.


  1. If Mosca and his regime are truely interested in "planning for the future of Sierra Madre", then the Canyon Zone should be passed by the City Council 5-0 and the General Plan Committee will be allowed to meet twice a month. The General Plan Committee should decide if and when a consultant is needed. Time will tell. There is a joint meeting of the City Council, Planning commission, and the General Plan Committee scheduled in late May.

  2. In order to sell all this to the residents, it will take some very careful salesmanship. Something this blog seems to want to monkeywrench.

  3. I think the City Council should pass a resolution supporting the Suspension of AB 32.
    AB 32, the birthmother of SB 375, will cost the state 1.1 million jobs and cost the average family $3,857 annually in increased expenses. I am sure Mosca and Buchannan would never vote for that.

  4. You can't support SB375 and then claim to be for "slow growth." The two are direct opposites.

  5. Unless we get SB375 and AB32 suspended and eliminated, California cities will be stripped of all their sovereignty. The "central government" in Sacramento will dictate to all.

    This is really the only issue every resident should be not only aware of, but in strong opposition to.
    Unless you are part of the BIA, the real estate industry or a politician of dubious integrity, this is NOT in your best interests.

  6. The local papers in the area do a disservice to their readers by not informing them of the issues, mandates, and proposed laws. But then again, the papers serve a different master.

    A well informed public is not in the best interest of government.

  7. Let's forget the "Grand Design" being pushed by Sacramento.The eight largest economy in the world (California)is tanking.Economic pundits state we are on par with Greece!DC appears to be either unable or unwilling to bail California out." Slow growth"!!! Maybe you should be planning for a long term decline instead!

  8. 8:40 am, of course you can! It's called "a lie"; then you deny you lied. This is the era of new speak.

    I'm afraid I'm a bit of a pragmatist; I say what I mean and mean what I say.

    Now as for the 1,500+ voters who voted for Joe Mosca and the Moscateers, I don't think you'll find very many who are really slow growth. Mostly you'll find seniors terrified their homes will go down in value, real estate industry and development folks who stand to make a bundle when the building begins, and the coy little group of Downtown Investors who looks out for all of us.

    But, Sir Eric, one thing is clear: there's a reason Joe didn't feel it necessary to attend all of those meetings -- he's okay with the whole SB375/AB32 concept.

  9. Sorry 8:40, but according to our newly elected councilman Moran, SB375 increases local control, and is something to be celebrated.

  10. Josh is, of course, correct. I hear SB 375 also freshens breath and irrigates the lawn. It also turns water into wine I've heard, which explains its popularity in certain society circles. Yes, they have tried it and it works.

  11. Wow, 9:29, your clear thinking is better than a cup of coffee!

  12. The Decorum NannyMay 11, 2010 at 10:15 AM

    I think this all falls into that category of things that you really shouldn't be talking about. It has nothing to do with you, and to continue to speak in this way means that you are not being positive and not giving the Mayor the courtesy of your civility.

  13. Borderline CivilMay 11, 2010 at 10:51 AM

    Well, I didn't call him anything that had to be bleeped... that's about as civil as I get.

  14. Truth is more important than civility.

  15. old man of the mountainMay 11, 2010 at 11:06 AM

    Don't worry, the great sleeping unwashed who follow or great new council leadership, will wake up at the end of next year, and wonder why the city is loosing money, and why they are going to be confronted with much higher taxes and a higher cost of living.

  16. The planning Mosca emphasizes is what the General Plan is all about.
    We have one.
    It is being updated, but we already have one and it was made by the residents.
    If the councils had the will, the General Plan would have protected us from the ruination of the hillsides and the dsp.
    It wasn't the plan that was at fault.

  17. Bite me, decorum nanny, I got your civil right her.May 11, 2010 at 11:11 AM

    That Urban habitat for Transportation group is for Metro, I don't think the chinese and Arnold are going to cut them in to the rail deal, the signs are a documentary showing how happy we were when we commuted by train to work as our grandfathers did, per them. A day or so ago, it claimed anyone living in a suburb is declared poor, on one of the yahoo lead stories.

    Joe has been "retreated" god knows how they manipulate those poor little politicians.

    There was a lot of stock sold on wall street betting on the profit of the global summit, which has failed, but before that, we were overbuilt ravaged by repective cities and a whole lot of dubious chinese money floating into the hands of Sierra Madres favorite son and ex mayor not to mention a bailout and discovery that we were in debt to the chinese and it is that pesky word "Secured" or that other one "Collateralized", that has my mips up,

    Moscas 360 degree turn around from 10 percent attendence at SCAG on record, I plan to plan, to plan, plan, plan, plan and more planning is a bit scripted.

    Besides don't you want to live in a disney condo of the future? Don't you want to live in the emerald city, surrounded by emerald necklaces, and only pay 900,000.00 for it?

    There is a video on you tube, I sent it to neuroblast, but if you search tyloon, you will see a tyloon training film and in it you will see Bart Doyle the size of gulliver in the midst of the wee asian people, a large group like going to dinner.

    Did I see Bart hug Mosca in a picture or was that his dad?

  18. fair memory skillsMay 11, 2010 at 11:12 AM

    Ah old man, the taxes will be couched in the "We're going to lose the library, the police, the fire dept.!!!!" alarmist BS that Buchanan and his ex-colleagues perfected.

  19. Oh, local historian, I don't think the General Plan is what Mosca is emphasizing... not with phrases like "community partners" and "regional partners". He's emphasizing "resume planning" and "lobbyist planning". He's only got four years left to dazzle the Dems and the King Makers in Sacramento. He must demonstrate his ability to lead the "great sleeping unwashed" (super description, by the way), and wow the civic organizations' chardonnay tipplers into sending him up the political ladder.

  20. civil is as civil doesMay 11, 2010 at 11:16 AM

    If up the ladder means outa here, let's assist him.

  21. Somebody give Sacramento Joe's phone numberMay 11, 2010 at 11:19 AM

    Yes, there has to be something Sacramento can give Joe to do. Minister of Stop Signs maybe?

  22. 11:11, Bart was roaming around his peops on the night of the reorganization, schmoozing right and left, hailing the city manager. He looked kind of Gulliverish then too.

  23. Maybe Mosca will pull a Palin & resign to go on to more lucrative endeavors.

  24. Anon 8:57 am: "The local papers in the area do a disservice to their readers by not informing them of the issues, mandates, and proposed laws. But then again, the papers serve a different master."

    Exactly, they do.

    "A well informed public is not in the best interest of government."

    It is! for ethical government. Corrupt government, no.

    "Justice is itself the great standing policy of civil society; and any eminent departure from it, under any circumstances, lies under the suspicion of being no policy at all." - Edmund Burke

  25. Beware of Doyles bearing giftsMay 11, 2010 at 12:11 PM

    11:21 Titan Doyle and Sedlic owe a lot to the E5 program people, Bart still trying to work it in Sierra Madre is like a dog returning to his vomit, Mosca is very pliable.

  26. "Another challenge that we will not shrink from is the obligation to continue planning for our future. Through planning, we will ensure the preservation of our community. And, planning for our community and working with and through our community partners will ensure that we and our children will continue to live in a community, and a region, that has a high quality of life."

    OMG he is history's greatest monster!

  27. Inquiring Minds InquireMay 11, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    That's the fun part of reading Joe's
    pronouncements. They got the banality
    thing down pat. Everything is going to
    be wonderful. We're going to make the
    world a better place. But then what is
    the end result? We look like Glendale.

  28. Cute 2:32. Use extremism to cover up his failings. Compared to a monster, Joe isn't so bad - but compared to a person who respects honesty & integrity? He's pretty bad.
    Joe hasn't got the goods to be a monster. He's just a liar and someone who goes where the strongest wind blows.

  29. I think, 3:10 pm, Joe wouldn't know hoesty and integrity if it slapped him up side his head. The man is a pathological liar saying whatever seems appropriate when he's saying it. That's the scary part. And, when confronted he will deny he ever said it and explain in great detail what he actually meant. When he's done you have to shake your head and wonder if it's you or him... but soon enough you understand it's him.

  30. Mosca has an SAG card, right? That's all this is.

  31. But wait! Aren't we going to win $2 million dollars?

  32. I fully expect his second term on Council (and especially his year as Mayor) to be documented both in biographical format and video. He'll need it for the documentary, and of course the political ads when he runs for higher office(s).

  33. channel 3 watcher when it's workingMay 11, 2010 at 5:10 PM

    Lord give us strength. It will be a looooooong year. Looking forward to the water rate hike discussion tonight.

  34. Aren't there people who are going to gerrymander an Assembly district for

  35. Poor Susan H, whoever is doing that layout should be schooled in placement. That front page is so placed that the "theives" story and the correction of the picture now correctly stating Buchanan seem for a subliminal moment seem to be of the same subject.

    Freudian Slip????

    Both of the other sites with Sierra Madre in their name are waving that glascow story around like it is going to make a difference.

    Isn't Susan herself on you tube, demonstrating a little get out of my face city council, uncivility? What if she could not talk?

    Just saying

  36. Glascow story?


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