So I guess it is an occasion of sorts. 500 posts and thousands of comments later, we're here. At least for the moment. Time will invariably drag us along with it, because that is what it does. And in the twinkling of an eye we'll be at no. 1,000. Too bad we can't read the next 500 posts now, because then we'd know how this will have all turned out. Hopefully the news will be good and we'll be able to look back at where we are today and have a fine laugh.
Now when you hit a big milestone like being at a post number that is evenly divisible by 100, you want to deliver a truly important statement to properly honor the event. Unfortunately I can't really think of anything that would fill the bill at this moment.
However, there is someone who posted on Friday's entry (#499) who had something to say that might get the job done.
The key to understanding politics and government in Sierra Madre is knowing that most everything is connected to real estate and development, which means money. Be it the water rate hike, repaving the streets, or the City Council's burning need to dominate the General Plan, it is all pretty much the same. So if it seems that people are talking about different things here, it doesn't necessarily mean their conversations are off topic.
I have often thought that the motives of this City Council are best understood when reviewing the things they've said that are clearly different from what the evidence shows. Like with the nearly 40% water rate hike that they suddenly realized was politically untenable. The steady drum beat coming from City Hall is that the water rate hike has absolutely nothing to do with development. How they were going to institute an $18 million dollar water infrastructure project without it in any way impacting new building projects would have been quite a feat, both legally and technologically. And I for one cannot recall the agendizing of any ordinances that would have prevented new swaths of mixed income six unit housing being supplied from recently laid water mains located under Sierra Madre Boulevard.
Of course, by then they'd have gotten everything they wanted, and would be able to do pretty much as they please.
For those who prefer their evidence anecdotal, I recall an exchange between Kurt Zimmerman and John Buchanan at a City Council meeting last year on the topic of development and water. Kurt pointed out that obviously there just isn't enough water to sustain the kind of SB 375 enabled LULUs Johnny B was bloviating about. Something that caused Johnny to lower his brows, stick out his jaw, and growl:
"Oh, don't you worry. We'll find enough water alright."
Which to me is yet another arrow pointing from this water rate debate and straight towards development. Kurt was right, it is obvious the systems and supplies we have in place will never be enough to supply the DSP style stuff that the Gang of Four and their heavily invested friends still hope to build. In order to construct Sierra Madre Candyland Estates (or whatever) they'll need to both retrofit our water systems and dig new wells. Which indicates to me that the Go4's denials should be taken as further proof that it has been about development all along.
If a Rooster crows but nobody hears, is he talking out of his tailfeathers?
Rooster Coburn is ruminating again about water rate hike and City Council related issues over on his News.Net site, but as usual he is getting nothing in the way of comments. Which has got be a blow to his ego. As the self-anointed "man of reason" about town, the total lack of interest that his opinions are generating has got to mean either nobody is as reasoned as he, or the residents here have concluded he is a bit of a nincompoop. And Lord knows there is reason enough for thinking so.
However, I find Rooster's "editorials" to be important because they are as good an indicator of where the City Council and City Staff are going next as you can find. Since the powers that be can never openly discuss their true agendas, mainly because people here would then get out the tar, feathers and railroad ties, they have to rely on (to use a politically correct term) marketing. And since all they have to choose from to deliver their sales pitches are either the verbose Rooster or irrational Pitbull Poole, they're obviously forced to go with the chicken.
Here is Rooster's bell ringer (so to speak):
As much distrust as there has been of this Council, and as much anger as has been stirred up by this increase and the way it was handled, this Council should have stated collectively that they would allow the ratepayers and parcel owners of this town the opportunity to protest the proposal they come back with. It would have gone a long way toward opening up the lines of communication and toward helping to build up some trust. And after all, having already taken the extraordinary action of listening to the protestors (sic) even though they weren't legally required to do so, this would have just been an extension of that action.
I cannot see how a now supposedly humbler City Council acknowledging the opinions of the people of Sierra Madre is something to jump up and down with joy about. That is what they are supposed to be doing, coming down off their thrones and listening to the people who pay the bills around here. And please, the reason the City Council took what The Rooster has so tendentiously referred to here as an "extraordinary action" is because they are keenly aware that unless they get this situation under control and fast their next water rate proposal will end up on an election ballot quicker than you can say Dicken's Village.
Which, unless they can do better than they have been doing so far (and I include in this the absurd Public Relations ploy Rooster is flogging here), will happen. Because let's face it, had the protest not been limited by the difficult water rate payer protest restrictions of Prop 218, we could have easily turned in over 3,000 signatures. Which is more people than usually bother to vote in this town.
One more item
Former Sierra Madre Cumquat contributor Terry Miller has now become the editor of the Beacon Media family of newspapers, which includes the "Sierra Madre Weekly" masthead. The previous editor, John Stephens, is rumored to have been eased out for somehow managing to sink below that organization's already nearly non-existent journalistic standards.
In a long multi-page article celebrating this momentous occasion in his life, Terry uses words such as "I" "my" and "we" an incredible 63 times. Which leads this observer to conclude that never has someone been so incredibly impressed with himself through receiving so little. Besides, is the San Gabriel Valley really in need of a self-aggrandizing Terry Miller fanzine? I doubt it.
There you go, Post No. 500. Tomorrow will be 501.