Thursday, September 30, 2010

We the People of Sierra Madre...

Today's blog is going to be brief, very brief. You, gentle readers, will do the heavy lifting as you post. Sir Eric can now grasp the handle of his 3/4 filled coffee cup and bring it to his lips but he's taken the day off from keying in a Tattler with one finger. So our exercise today calls for some two-handed, brain engaged typing. We're going to update our General Plan.

First a little background... the General Plan is the People's Document. In the next two years 11,500 or so residents of Sierra Madre will have an opportunity to tell our General Plan Committee, the People's Committee, what we like, don't like, want to keep, want to change, want to add new or simply eliminate. Surveys, little yellow sticky notes, white boards, markers on walls, you get the idea. Our committee will, well you know what committees do (gotta love 'em but ours is no different) and it'll take two years, give or take a Steering Committee member or two, and a milestone on the timeline readjusted to do it.

You are not limited to a single entry, not even to 25-words or less, but right here on the Tattler in your own unique voice, express your views on the actions you would take to make Sierra Madre a better community. Guaranteed! They'll be delivered to the our Committee and it won't take two years.

Just to give you an idea of the Tattler potential: if our regular daily correspondents each create 10 recommendations, by 6:00 pm tonight we could have hundreds of posts from the most engaged, intelligent and creative group of residents ever to call Sierra Madre our home!

Don't waiver! We The People of Sierra Madre were the authors of the 1996 Sierra Madre General Plan. And today we are updating our General Plan! We directed that a Steering Committee be formed to oversee the update and it has been formed. We directed that volunteers be recruited and they are being recruited. The process is engaged. Don't wait to be asked for your ideas. Make this your public outreach meeting.

Start now.


  1. Parks and athletic fields. I like real grass. Pasadena's installing synthetic grass and I just hate it. I think we should be able to walk and play on green grass in the parks - water shortage or not. If we can't have green grass at home, then let's make sure we have it in the park,

  2. Thanks John, no way to say, I didn't know that, hear that, see that. Now it is forever recorded in cyberspace. And everyone knows.

    Let the people speak.......great to know someone is listening instead of pretending to listen......

  3. Wow, I wonder what Pasadena's insurance rates are going to be. As the NFL discovered, nothing blows out knees and wrecks legs like artificial turf. Why do you think all those pro football and baseball teams got rid of the stuff?

  4. If the general plan is at a point of being"ripe",
    there is no harm in having it endorsed by the voters. Put it on a ballot either as a binding or non-binding vote of the people.
    If we the residence are in control of our destiny as a town, let it be approved by us riff-raff.

  5. Lower the threshhold for city council recalls. The best way to keep them honest and working for us is to set the temperature of their seats at the table all the way up to hot. Nothing like the prospect of being fired to focus your mind on the real boss's priorities.

  6. Our current GP has worked fairly well. It doesn't need much "change".

    I trust people like Teryl Willis, Denise Delmar, Ken Anhalt, Leslee Hinton and Deb Sheridan to make up good plan for us.

    If the "new" committee comes up with a contentious alternative, then maybe we need to all vote on it.

    Bottom line for me is that Sierra Madre remain a small town, without excessive over development that has ruined so many other cities in the area.
    That is why we bought property here.

  7. The key to a functioning town, in my opinion, is sustainability. Contrary to popular belief, sustainability is not a process of addition or subtraction, but the ability to live within our means and use what we have. Growth for developed communities like this is not a benefit but a cancer that gnaws away at the vitals of the community until the identity of the community is stolen.

  8. The key to understanding "sustainability" is that most of what the current city council says is sustainable actually isn't. It's just greenwash designed to enable developers to build high density mixed use stuff like in Pasadena or Glendale. True sustainability is what we have now.

  9. You got theat one right Sir Eric. It is We the People not Me Your Mayor.

  10. I like that! "It's all about me your Mayor. And I am so proud."

  11. I would like to see a dog poop gas lamp in a designated "dog-park" here is the link.
    you can also click on "dog-poop gas lamp"
    I would enjoy seeing less use of consultants.
    I ask all citizens to rally for the Sheriffs Dept. to replace our "trigger happy, un-armed sleeping citizen shooting, too many ticket giving, patroling outside our city, bike tourist hastling, business owner arresting for cleaning up dog-poop off his side walk, and generaly a crappy attitude having SMPD.
    I would LOVE to see a horse drawn carriage be the transport to and from the Wisteria vine, instead of the HUGE,LOUD, [disel gas fumes] cross country busses.
    I would like to see concerts in more of our parks, featuring NEW, YOUNG, talent, from our fair city.
    I would like any "chain" business,
    Subway. Go to city wide vote for aproval. to maintain what character, and curb appeal we have left.
    I would like to see us have a farmers market that blocks off Baldwin from Sierra Mdre blvd. to East Montecito with music and fresh veggies, and fruits. We should have it on Sat. so not to compete with Monrovia.
    Oh yeah.... one last thing. We should grab a rope a string up the first guy to mention "eminent domain" to the tree in Kersting Ct.
    Neuroblast Films

  12. I have a question for anyone who may know or wishes to research this.

    We all know Mosca, Torres, were plants by Bart Doyle.
    What about Buchanan. How long had he lived in that house on Grandview before he became involved in politics here? Where did he come from?
    I'm betting he was the first plant here in town by the BIA/Sacramento crook lobby.

    I seem to remember he was a new resident when he got himself hooked up with RPSM, the group leaders who cut a deal with Dorn Platz, betrayed their followers.
    Then he ran for CC with Torres and got elected on a "preservation platform".
    We all know now, him and Torres and Mosca were/are all third rate "lawyers" who were just puppets for development.

    Anyone want to get us some facts on Buchanan?

  13. I second Neuroblast's idea! Baldwin to Montecito for the Farmer's Market - on Saturday! I've never gone to the Wednesday afternoon Farmer's Market and I hate the congestion it adds to Sierra Madre Blvd on my way home. May to October, Saturday afternoon, Baldwin to Montecito. Great idea, Neuroblast.

  14. I checked the City's site, and there's a pdf file to download that's very clear that the element being updated in the General Plan is the Land Use element (General Plan Update Presentation). It's also clear that this must be done with community participation workshops specifically designed to get input from as many residents as can attend. Not in public hearing, that doesn't count. Not as written up by staff without documentation of input.

    The committee will have to do a lot of work to stage these workshops, the best thing folks can do is attend the workshops and also volunteer to help set up the facility and assist with the necessary tasks of distributing materials and then collecting them. I doubt if they have a budget to do a Pasadena-style outreach, which included community shuttle bus tours, a VERY VERY serious effort to gain public participation and engagement, which is difficult to do these days. But being a much smaller community lends itself to a more manageable workshop effort and possibly publishing self-tour maps that show examples of situations in the City that need to be addressed and commented on.

  15. Stop hillsides development. Make Carter & Stonehouse the last, ever. All remaining hillside land that does not have a house on it is open space, and any development that goes on those previously developed lots must conform to the HMZ. And oh yeah, actually monitor and enforce the HMZ.

  16. Faarmers markets in streets invite major accidents and lawsuits. Santa Monica is still dealing with the outcome of a driver who mistook an accelerator for a brake pedal. I doubt insurance is available on such an activity.

  17. Don't touch the general plan, except for 2 areas:

    housing (done - Consultant Warner)

    EIR (50,000 budget, already set aside)

    Leave the rest alone. The law requires just the 2.

  18. How about no lawyers and no developers allowed in the process?
    Otherwise they take over everything and manipulate the people to get what they want.

  19. Here's a big second for Neuroblasts suggestion for fewer consultants.
    Like maybe only by a public vote?
    That is one big parasitic industry that needs to be kaboshed.

  20. In many ways Hutt and the lawyer from Edison are consultants. These are high expertise development people with an agenda who will work to ram through Joe and John's agenda. That is the reason why they were selected.

  21. Conflict of interest laws need to be spelled out in the plan in detail.Maybe they already are.So conflict of interest laws need to have a watchdog group.

  22. When we worked on the '96 plan, we didn't have a lawyer at the meetings.

  23. It is common knowledge that Sierra Madre is in violation of the open space requirements - that would be parks, folks, and hillsides, and land. Let's follow the law on that!

  24. Can we put something like no bonds unless people vote for them in the general plan?
    Once burned, or soaked...

  25. I think we need to shut down city hall and start all over again.
    Focus on what is essential and forget all the frills.

  26. We need to seriously break down all city spending. I think the trust factor is now gone after the water rate hike screw ups. Hiding all that bond debt was wrong. So when did city hall become such a sacred cow that we can't question how they spend our money?

  27. The Canyon looks like it's going to be protected, Measure V will protect the downtown (and Montecito, that old rich-it-up target), the HMZ is supposed to protect the hillsides. Aren't we doing pretty good?

  28. 10:41, yayas indeed.
    There needs to be a whole new chapter in the General Plan called "Keeping Them Honest" that is all about the money. I don't trust 4 out of 5 people on the council, some because they have hidden agendas, some because they just can't follow the bouncing ball,and the staff follows their orders.
    Let's put in the Plan spending thresholds. beyond them, the public has to approve.

  29. We ought to give some teeth to the Tree Commission. Seems like they are just in the business of tree removal.If the general plan was amended to include more trees than the 4 that can be preserved, would that help them keep more alive?

  30. Shorter city council terms.

  31. It helps to know just what a General Plan is supposed to address. Sir Eric--if you would ammend today's blog to include the elements of a General Plan, a sort of beginning FAQ sheet--tattlers could better respond. I know the GP Steering Committee is setting up a series of community information sessions and they will be far more productive is people are educated beforhand.

  32. A primer on the General Plan! What a great idea! The Tattler will work to address your request with a FAQ sheet for early next week.

  33. Can't people just say what they like and what they don't like about town, and not have to 'educated' by the political types?

  34. The term "educating" is an interesting one. I take it to mean being talked into something you really don't want to see happen. "Con job" or "arm twisting" might be more accurate. Also, when gentle euphemisms are used to peddle unpopular concepts, the term "soft soaping" might be accurate as well.

  35. Jim Engle Foothill AveSeptember 30, 2010 at 12:39 PM

    The General Plan deals with five Chapters of Organization: Land Use, Historic Preservation, Housing, Economic Development and Parking and Traffic. Additionally: Resource Manaagement with (Hillside Preservation, Tree, Water, Waste Management, and Air Quality)as the sub interests.
    Hazard Prevention includes: (Fire, Flood & Landslide, Seismic, and Noise). And lastly is: Couminity Services that include:( Law Enforcement, Parks, Recreation, & Senior Services, Library, Community, Cultural & Special Events, Transit Services) Public Services wich include Water Sewer, Storm Drain, Solid Waste, Power, and Communications. And that is the organization of the General Plan

    My suggestions for the top ten priorities are:
    1. Ppreserve our Mt Wilson hillsides naturally as they are now forever.
    2. Approve home/commercial plans that compliment not dominate existing structures.
    3. A downtown business development that becomes destination friendly; ie. wider sidewalks, street level gas lighting, much more shade, lots of tables & moveable benches, an information kiosk with tenent advertising, all directed to "service businesses". including: restaurants, repair shops, realtors, doctors, dentists, liquor, speciality foods, and street access police office. Retail OK but wide range of categories.
    4. Water Supply protected for quality for: present and future needs. Bonding must be dedicated to and for this purpose only.
    5. Streets need resurfacing, lighting at appropriate intervals, transit plan developed by ad hock transportation committee implemented (stops, signing, advertising on buses, colored stops & curbs. And an eyecatching plan with SCE, Cable, and Phone Co to put all utilities under ground. A major opportunity.
    6. Hazards are waiting in the wings. With the addition of debris basins its a matter of time before parts of the City are inundated. Personal property or flood insusrance will not cover residents losses. City should prepare. A dot-dash-dot alarm system for our loud siren horn can be readied for emergency communicaion.
    7.Codes should be distilled to the 20 most agreed upon for compliance and enforced.
    8. City Council Meetings must be more prepared in advance with detailed outline of present and future needs identified. Current expenses should be detailed. Eliminate acronyms
    and jargon from all public discussion. Transparency should rule. Email to residents should be established for transparency of City Business.
    9. No two houses should be the same, imagination should be the guide. Downtown should become a village, not an eyesore of tenaments
    10. The City should be safe, secure, and friendly promoted by all public employees, and reciprocated by the residents.

    Its a wonderful City!!! and it can be Great!!!

  36. Jim Engle for city council.
    No, wait, I admire him too much to do that to him.
    Jim Engle for the "unofficial city council"

  37. I second the nomination! Jim Engle for The People's City Council.

  38. Historic Preservation? Mayor Lambdin back in the day dissolved the Historic Preservation Committee. Hutt was on that Committee. Can we not make an Historic Preservation Commission a part of the General Plan Update, thereby making it much harder to dissolve?

  39. Good suggestion 1:18.
    Fitting karma, too.

  40. Make Goldberg Park "green" by adding some green grass to it. It looks like an overgrown weed patch. What child would want to play there and who would want to sit on that hot rock stone bench? It's a farce to call that place a park.

  41. I suggest a Design Review Commission! Now that we're built out and every new structure is fitted to its lot I see no reason why we can't make recommendations about how it should look. The Planning Commission is hampered by its inability to actually enforce design recommendations. This is a complimentary commission and should be included in the General Plan Update.

  42. Design review, Yes yes yes!
    The PC absolutely needs that!

  43. I think we should use this opportunity to recreate government in Sierra Madre. It is obvious that things are not working very well now. My wish is for (much) more transparency and a public vote on any expenditure over $200,000. I do not think any city council or city adminitration should have the authority to spend large amounts of money without the direct say so of the people who are paying the taxes. We live in a country that now believes it has the right to borrow as much as it pleases so they can spend as much as they want. That is a recipe for disaster. We might not have great influence in Sacramento or Washington DC, but we do here. It is a good place to start.

  44. Great night to see your CRA in actionSeptember 30, 2010 at 2:00 PM

    Special Meeting of the Sierra Madre Community Redevelopment Agency Board tonight at 6:00 pm, City Hall Council Chambers.

    Action Items
    1. Discussion - Discussion of Goals and Objectives of the Sierra Madre Community Redevelopment Agency Five Year Implementation Plan

    Recommendation that the City Council provide staff with direction regarding goals and objectives of the Sierra Madre CRA five year implementation plan.

    Can we have a correspondent in the audience? Give us a brief tomorrow on the Tattler?

  45. Mr. Engle, this isn’t Disneyland, it’s our neighborhood. My wife and I often walk to dinner across Montecito, down Baldwin, and along Sierra Madre Blvd. What makes this town special is the people you see on the streets, doing similar things. It’s the reality of a community of people; we don’t need a manufactured “village,” we have a real village. You sound like just another guy eager to spend my money. Spend it on necessities, not on Hollywood props.

  46. 9:20

    State bar John

    John Douglas Buchanan - #119584
    Current Status: Active
    This member is active and may practice law in California.

    See below for more details.

    Profile Information
    Bar Number 119584
    Address Southern CA Edison/Law Dept
    2244 Walnut Grove #338
    Rosemead, CA 91770 Phone Number (626) 302-6875
    Fax Number (626) 302-1910
    e-mail jtnwqapy@qpudtg.nethyawk@nohbk.orgijokyti@kcpelfn.comkfdkfjkaq@untgyks.netqstu@
    District District 7 Undergraduate School California St Polytechnic Univ; Pomona CA
    County Los Angeles Law School UC Hastings COL; San Francisco CA
    Sections Labor & Employment

    Status History
    Effective Date Status Change
    Present Active
    12/10/1985 Admitted to The State Bar of California

    Explanation of member status

    Actions Affecting Eligibility to Practice Law
    Disciplinary and Related Actions
    This member has no public record of discipline.
    Administrative Actions
    This member has no public record of administrative actions.

    Start New Search >

  47. John Buchanan update
    Registered to vote: August 24, 1999
    House recorded with County Assessor: May 13, 1999
    He lived here about 4 1/2 years before running for City Council. Pretty fast if you ask me.

  48. Well, not as fast as Joe or Tonja or Harriet.

  49. I have two possibles with Middle intial D in 1992 one home on doray, in Monrovia. one on veloz in Tarzana, this is from CTA rolls 1992
    those are exact, there are a few plain johns and johns with other intials, his wifes name would help. Age? does 1958 born in CA as a birth date sound good? 3 John D.'s city movements on voters 1988 set, same birthdate, as Doray street Monrovia 12/11/1987 , 1982 West Covina, and 12/10/1987 Rowland heights. Also one other John D no year, born in RI, he was in Encino in 1988. There are just plain Johns, and Johns with other intials, this is checking LA only. Hints anyone?

  50. Hey the Supreme Court of CA rejected Glendoras redevelopment appeal. This is a great day,

  51. @anon 10:07-

    Preperations for the Saturday Farmers Market would entail placing removable barriers at either side of Baldwin.

  52. Isn't John D getting close to being term limited out? If so, then Wendy Davis makes a lot of sense to take his place during the next election. She is nice enough but obviously is a big supporter of John as evidenced by her sign during the last election. I would be willing to bet that she knows Bart Doyle as well. I do not trust anyone with a connection to the BIA.

    These people like to put unknowns into office so that they can hide their true colors until after they are in power.

  53. won't it be a great day when John Buchanan is limited to 3 minutes during public comment or will he even show up since he can no longer benefit his employer on the Council?

    I wonder if his employer will give him all the freet time in the world to attend City functions and conferences (on our dime) when he is off the Council?

    anybody he endorses for future Council positions should be looked at with wary eyes, of course the same can be said for Doyle, Lambin, Stockly, and the realtor coalition.

  54. What should be done in the GP to preserve the Heflin property so it doesn't become the next 1 Carter? There should be something that can be done to ensure that none of the remaining large plots of land (Passionist Retreat, Ward/Maarse Compounds, etc.) can be developed without creating a bunch of future law suits that cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

  55. The Heflin property already was the next One Carter.

    The then-HMZ was ignored and that battle was lost.

    The neighbors should demand that the city fulfill its monitoring and enforcing duties.

    You can thank John Buchanan, Tonya Torres, Rob Stockly and Enid Joffe for two horrible hillside developments.