So as you might or might not have heard, I had the opportunity to participate in an interesting bicycle accident last Friday evening. Somewhere down Sierra Madre Boulevard in Pasadena the world suddenly became quite bright for me, and then got very dark. A warm and fuzzy kind of dark, of course, a place where I was made to feel very comfortable even though I was sprawled out on the side of a busy thoroughfare. I don't have much of a recollection of the concrete details involved, or at least the concrete that I didn't land on, but I do recall a lot of light. Like walking a red carpet several yards behind some currently favored Hollywood darlings of the paparazzi.
But I remember very little else that went on.
The end result being I have a collar bone (or clavicle as med-speak has it) that has been broken into 3 rather ragged pieces. Something that a surgeon will somehow nail back together for me at around 7 AM this morning. The surgeon I was fortunate enough to interest in my predicament (thanks to the help of an amazing Doctor who watches out for me) is the Team Physician for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Teams, along with the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team. In other words, a gentleman highly skilled in the art of repairing broken bones. So the chances are pretty good that I am going to get past all this.
My eldest son put it into the best possible perspective. "If you have an accident like that and you walk away from it, it's the 'X-Games.' But if you don't? It's 'MTV's Jackass the Show.'" He makes me proud.
King John and Prince Joe?
This is a very sweet rumor that came my way earlier today. The very best rumors might not always be completely true of course, but they sure do sound like they could be. Apparently "the process" has now gotten underway to do away with those inconvenient "term limits" our City Council members have traditionally labored under. Which, unless I am mistaken, is two 4 year terms, or 8 years total. John Buchanan now being at the rear end of his second term.
So what this would seem to indicate is that John Buchanan and Joe Mosca, our very own teeny town tribunes of the develop until every bank in America drops dead cabal, would hope to assume a Mayor Richard Daley kind of permanence here in the Gem of the Foothills. Or Kim il Jong, depending on your perspective. After all, turning Sierra Madre into Pasadena Patio Adjacent (PPA) will not be accomplished in a single day, and their steady and guiding hand will need to remain on the wheel until our little City is transformed into the kind of generic BIA redevelopment boilerplate you can see practically everywhere else in California. These truly ARE men with lofty goals, you see.
There could be another purpose to all of this as well. Given the rather low calibre candidates the Downtown Investors Club was forced to run this go around (the lamentable "bobbleheads," as they are now known, being the result), it appears that the talent pool available to them is about as shallow as a Bruce Inman water well. The thought of a Mayor Josh Moran running this City without a Councilman John Buchanan there to mind his mittens must be keeping at least a couple of DICs awake late at night. After all, those investors won't be making much money if this place is run down into something approaching Dogpatch.
Are we putting just a little too much hope into the General Plan Update Steering Committee?
I was going to post something yesterday on the General Plan Steering Committee meeting that was held earlier this week. I had two of my best correspondents on the scene taking notes, and I was quite ready to post their observations. But do you know what? It was like they had been at completely different meetings. I just couldn't reconcile the two reports. So I left the page blank.
But there was an observation in particular that I took a bit of a shine to. This is what one Tattler correspondent pointed out:
Amidst all the shouting at Mosca it seemed that the message was that the Council should maintain a hands off policy regarding the GPUSC. But no one brought out that the GPUSC is only an ADVISORY to the City Council - clearly stated in their mission statement. The ADVISORY position is going to become a hot potato sometime down the line.
You see? There lies the problem at the heart of all this. The General Plan Update Steering Committee is kind of like our British House of Lords. They can sound off on their opinions, make plans, have meetings, do all the usual stuff committees do. But when it comes time to make the real decisions, the ones that actually account for something important, none of this will matter very much. The City Council could hire a ration of their favorite 6 figure consultants tomorrow, or enact a Nancy Walsh "4 or 6 new committee members" brain loofah any old time the spirit moves them. Or even toss out two years of hard committee work in 2012. And there would be nothing the GPUSC could do about it. The only reason it even exists now, in my opinion, is because John or Joe see some public relations advantages in keeping it around. Maybe they think it makes them seem nice.
The only things this City Council would really be concerned about are recall petitions, legal documents, and ballot initiatives. Their panicky reaction at the massive outpouring of opposition to the cynical and bond-driven water rate increases being the best possible example of what it is they actually worry about. As one poster put it yesterday: "If you work with them, you'll eventually end up working for them."
Watch out that it becomes all you do. There are no effective compromises to be made when those holding a monopoly on power are both essentially dishonest and don't really give a damn about your opinions. Their agenda is far different from yours, and to believe that carefully crafted common sense solutions will modify their behavior is not realistic. In the end this is really all about money, and in that equation most are nothing more than a marketing problem.
I will be back soon and let you know how everything went. Oh, and I will have a very nice surprise here for everyone next week. I personally think you've all earned it.
You won't see it in their yards, but you might notice it in their eyes.