How strange it must be for John Buchanan, Joe Mosca and Elaine Aguilar. To be working so very hard to make something happen, yet never being able to discuss it in an open and public way. The people of Sierra Madre overwhelmingly oppose the agenda that these people are quietly pushing. The Water Rate Protest proved that. And Buchanan and Mosca know that the only way they'll be able to pull this off is if they can keep their real goals under wraps. Something that is already becoming more and more difficult to do. The more they have to deny that development is driving such actions as the near 40% water rate hike, the less believable those denials become.
Items 2 & 3 are really the same. Item 2 (Discussion - Water Rate Protest Tabulation) is a topic that has degenerated into yet another politically motivated Swift Boat exercise during the last week, something along the lines of what we saw in the past election. It seems this is the only trick these folks know. Apparently set in motion by the Gang of Four with the assistance of City Staff, they've called out the same old war ponies used last April. But this time the attacks and misleading accusations from Susan Henderson and Bill Coburn have fallen upon deaf ears. Coburn's News.Net site is now the home to three long and deceptive articles on the tabulation process, but he has yet to receive a single reader comment to any of them. As of Sunday evening large stacks of Mountain Views News are sitting unclaimed in their racks. People just aren't buying into that garbage this time.
The target of this politically motivated attack is the City Clerk, someone charged with the huge task of tabulating the forms and petitions cranked out in unprecedented numbers by the water protest. An elected official, Nancy Shollenberger had been repeatedly, and inappropriately, stonewalled in her requests for information by the City Manager, a salaried employee. Ostensibly charged with cooperatively looking over the results of the water protest by Mayor Joe Mosca, the activities of the City Manager have been rather to set into motion a divisive and secretive recount in hopes of discrediting the water rate protest. Something the concerned enablers apparently hope to achieve through use of the narrowest of technicalities.
Which begs the question, why did the City Manager's office do the recount at all? Since Mosca has said the water rate hike as it now stands is not going forward, what was the point?
You'd have to assume that the purpose of the recount is to scapegoat Nancy Shollenburger in hopes of shifting the blame from where it really belongs, the ineptitude of Mosca's City Council. Rather than facing up to the real message of the water rate protest, it was decided that it is better to blame the tabulator. The City Manager can't possibly have been doing this without the sanction of certain elected officials.
Item #3 is called the Water System Outreach And Education Program. But it comes from that same bag of tired tricks. The wacky assumption we're being asked to make here is that nearly 2,000 Sierra Madreans filed water rate protests because they didn't know what they were doing. And now all it will take is a few rusty show pipes and Director Bruce Inman holding PowerPoint presentations to make it all good again. If there is a better indication of just how out of touch these people are with those actually living in this town, I don't know about it. They really should get out of their bubble more often and actually talk to people.
Item #4 (General Plan Update Identification Of Technical Committees / Areas Of Expertise) can be summed up in three words. Hiring expensive consultants. Stymied in their attempts to increase the number of members on the General Plan Committee from 5 to 9 in order to better influence its decisions, this City Council gambit is designed to enable consultant dependent subcommittees. These subcommittees would then attempt to plug key planning elements into the General Plan in order to facilitate the kinds of large scale SB 375 development called for by Sacramento through Federally funded strawman agencies such as SCAG. Done with the full and eager support of John Buchanan and Joe Mosca, of course.
The ideal of resident staffed volunteer committees taking care of the important business of Sierra Madre is obviously not something this City Council shares in. It has nothing to do with technical expertise or any of the other bogus justifications being ladled out. Rather it's that this City Council does not trust these all too independent citizen committees to give them what they so badly want. They'd much prefer to hire expensive out of town consulting outfits they know will give them results that are in compliance with the regional and state development mandates they support.
As an aside, I can't see how very many people will be wanting to volunteer for committees under this City Council. Part of the appeal of Committee work is getting involved with things that are of true importance to the community. But with much of that now being given to expensive consultants, who is going to want to volunteer? I can't see too many skilled persons really wanting to spend their evenings exploring the possibilities of basket weaving.
I hope everyone will be at Tuesday evening's City Council get together. The issues are huge, and your participation is more important than ever.