Call To Order/Roll Call: Chair Denise Delmar, Vice Chair Kenneth Anhalt, Leslee Hinton, Deborah Sheridan, Teryl Willis - All Present.
Elaine Aguilar, Danny Castro, and Leticia representing the City, and Scott Porter, Assistant City Attorney, at the dais.
Brown Out: The Mayor and City Councilmembers were all in attendance as well. City Manager Elaine Aguilar (sans rusty pipe) reminded the Committee and the Public that not only could the Council not comment or speak, but that they were not allowed, under The Brown Act, to even sit near each other. Something that many hope could set a precedent and become common practice in future City Council meetings.
Additionally two members of the Canyon Zone Committee were present - John Herrmann and Caroline Brown - as well as about two dozen residents keenly intent on coming to grasps with the General Plan process.
The Minutes were approved. Other things happened. Then the next thing happened as well. Life is sequential, like an amusement park ride.
Follow Up Items From Committee Members: Here the Committee members were invited by Chair Denise Delmar to report on their tasks as assigned at their previous meeting, which took place way (way) back on March 2, 2010. Leslee Hinton reported that she had met with Caroline Brown of the Sierra Madre Conservancy to learn more about land that the Conservancy had acquired. Teryl Willis reported that she was very pleased following her meeting with the Sierra Madre Elementary School's Curriculum Director. Teryl described a state mandated writing assignment, taking place throughout 2010, of 4th and 7th grade students. The Director is investigating making the Sierra Madre General Plan Update a part of the writing program assessment. Ken Anhalt and Denise Delmar had made contact with the Historical Society Board of Directors who are awaiting the opportunity to participate. A liaison has been assigned and more information will be available in the very near future.
No reports of dancing contests or prizes won were reported on by any of the Committee members.
The next item up for consideration was the Identification Of Subcommittees To Assist the GPSC. After discussion amongst the Committee and input from the public five subcommittees will initially be recommended to the City Council for establishment. Those being:
- Outreach and Communication
- Environmental (green house gases, sustainability, water resources, and a history of doorknobs.)
- Downtown and Montecito commercial and retail businesses
- Wildlife Protection, Open Space, and Dark Skies (aka "night")
Chair Delmar will present these committees to the City on July 13th and request approval for their establishment and that they be populated with an endangered species known as volunteers.
A separate conversation about qualifications and the way committee members would be selected ensued. City Manager Aguilar reminded the Steering Committee that the City Council would solicit applications and make the appointments. Nobody seemed surprised by this. A Public Comment speaker (Anita Delmer) questioned the need for professionals (aka "experts," "specialists," "consultants"), reminding the Steering Committee that in a strict sense none of the five were qualified by virtue of education or licensing. It was again stated that the need is for a "People's Committee" and applicants of all backgrounds should be included in the Subcommittees - not just experts. Hopefully the volunteer nature of these subcommittee positions will keep the usual tax devouring predators away.
This was followed by the rather hard core portion of the meeting called Review/Evaluation Of Current General Plan. The Committee reviewed the current General Plan, with an emphasis on Chapter One - Land Use, Section One - Land Use Designations. Pretty much the holiest of holys in these Orwellian times we're a-living in.
And then the Committee started a line-by-line deadly dull review ...
After a few false starts it was determined that Danny Castro would annotate Chapter One as to which items were still outstanding and which items had been incorporated into existing zoning, current ordinances, and otherwise had become settled since inclusion in the 1996 General Plan. The Committee agreed on this approach.
Chair Delmar suggested a half-day workshop during hours accessible to those residents who might otherwise not be available. All to continue the process of pushing the review forward. City Manager Aguilar commented that such a plan was feasible and that City Staff could be made available for such a meeting. The Committee agreed to participate.
At this point in time the Committee returned to the business of comparing their individual assessment of Chapter One - Land Use, Section One - Land Use Designation.
No further reporting was deemed necessary until an annotated copy of the recommended changes can be obtained from the development staff. Reporting concluded and your witness left the City Council Chambers and out into the cool night air.
Odds, Ends, and Random Observations
1) The attendance of all five Councilmembers was unprecedented. And their serious countenances were rather remarkable as well. Perhaps it was because they were forbidden to speak that caused them to look so serious. If scowls were howls, the room would have been deafened. Only MaryAnn broke the silence with whispered entreaties to the City Manager - she's irrepressible.
2) Anita Delmer, Barbara Lee, De Alcorn, John Capoccia, and John Hermann were the only public speakers.
3) John Capoccia stressed the need for a published "plan to address the plan" because people didn't understand how it was going to work.
4) This was a VERY good meeting. If it was any indication of what is to come I will not want to miss the July 13th meeting.
5) I will not go again without a copy of the 1996 General Plan! No one should go without a copy because the line-by-line review is predicated on what is contained there.
One more thing. Today is Save Hahamongna Day. A ton of Pasadena blogs are expressing their support today for this park. They are urging all to contact Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard and their City Councilmembers to preserve this historic and natural setting from being turned into soccer fields and parking lots. You can read more at Save Hahamongna.org. There is also a Pasadena Star News article on this matter that you can access here.