The meeting starts off with a Closed Session. During sessions just like this one members of the Sierra Madre Police Department will often see their lucrative lawsuits against the City move forward. Ironically, later during this very closed session, the Sierra Madre Police Officers Association will begin their negotiations for another pay increase. One that will also require a tax hike to fund. It's how things work in this town.
The Consent Calendar will consist mostly of the reading of the City Warrants. This time the spend is a double duty sum of $1,897,617 (and 32 cents.) This is because one City Council meeting was skipped over because it was vacation time. Yet the march of our dimes went on. We should probably also include in this sum $85,000 for our helpful Axontech consultant. Which leavens the total haul to nearly $2 million big ones. The Sierra Madre Spend Watch has been updated.
Item #2 ("Congestion Management Program") involves some State and County nuisance report about development and traffic congestion. This is basically an outgrowth of the vast bureaucratic car hater culture which would prefer us all to live in small stacked boxes and take the Metro to our green jobs at the solar panel manufacturing plant. That is, if that plant hadn't already left California for Tennessee where businesses are not subjected to the idiocy of bureaucracies like the ones that require cities to do reports like this. Joe will probably tell us how important this is to "the process." Without, per usual, quite telling us what "the process" actually is. A complete and utter waste of time.
Item #3 ("City Wide User Fee") is all about the fees we pay for everything. You know, like $80 to reserve a City picnic table for your kid's birthday. Or a dog license. The last time this was done was in 2005, so it has been a while. The notebook that accompanies so important a matter is around 3 inches thick, and since this is to be the first 2010 City Council look into the situation it will likely be tabled for a little bit. Public hearings will be held, all that rhythm. Remember, fees must cover our costs yet never turn a profit. So naturally an increase in fees will need to be mirrored by an increase in costs. Which shouldn't be a problem.
Item #4 ("Appointment to the Community Services Commission") They need somebody because a person left to concentrate a bit more on their day job. 2 people applied.
Item #5 ("Tree Advisory Commission") 3 vacancies, 4 applicants, many trees. Local celebrity Tim Hayden is among the hopefuls.
Item #6 ("Senior Community Commission") 3 vacancies, 4 applications. Another round of musical chairs could be called.
Item #7 ("Canyon Zone and Moratorium") The Gang of 4 is adamantly opposed to any of our local communities maintaining control over the development practices used in their area, so naturally their need to do in the Canyon Zoning Committee and its work is great. The interests of their cronies must be protected. And finally the kind of opportunity that appeals to their craving for passive-aggressive solutions has arrived. And all it involves is timing. The Canyon Building Moratorium ends on October 9th. The Planning Commission, which will finalize their approval for the Canyon Zoning Committee's work, meets much earlier than that. But the City Council, which has the final say here, cannot meet on this matter until 10/12 due to noticing requirements. So unless the City Council extends the Building Moratorium a little bit tonight, the Canyon will revert back to the R1 Single Family Residential area it was before this all started. At which time all the usual characters can go back to happily wrecking the place. And all the Go4 has to do to make this happen is absolutely nothing. Something they are eminently equipped to do.
Item #8 ("General Plan Update - Timelines and Milestones") Another fine exercise in passive aggressive management is sure to be displayed in this little vignette. Denise Delmar will rise to the occasion and valiantly explain to the four sourpusses both her on-going plans and how she can get them done in something like two years. "Two Years" being the key here as once again Joe Mosca, with his usual parrot-like intensity, will repeat those words over and over again. Joe has somehow tied the General Plan updaters to this phony timeline because if they don't meet it, he can then hire the six figure consultants he knows will give him the big development General Plan that he and his patrons require. Of course, the more this "two years" straw man becomes the topic for discussion at meetings like this, the less work will get done. Which is the point, I'm sure.
Item #9 ("Public Facilities Fees") Developers pay us money for costs incurred by the City through their building. Water pipes and sewers being examples. The Houses Of Ho being built up at One Carter are the kinds of development that cause such checks to be sent to City Hall. Our fees are high, however, and some people would like to see them lowered. Not every developer is building the Taj Mahal, after all. This impacts the little guys as well. The matter is way up in the air, and I doubt anything will be resolved. Staff has asked for some direction, and the City Council will say "South."