Monday, October 25, 2010

Sierra Madre in 2015: Population 23,212?

There is a lot of concern about the possible direction our new General Plan is taking here in town. Particularly now that the City Council has wedged a couple of concerned attorneys onto the General Plan Update Steering Committee. These new members, whose personal and professional interests are decidedly on the large development side of things, have an obvious agenda. Which is hardly surprising. If you were a real estate development executive, or a highly compensated employee at one of the most powerful utilities in the United States, wouldn't you be pushing the economic interests of the outfits you work for? I'm sure the people they answer to wouldn't have it any other way.

In this regard these folks are strikingly similar to our Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem, both of whom are employed by cash hungry uber-utilities that see local control on development issues as an impediment to commerce. Something that puts these companies and their well-placed employees in direct opposition to the desires of a many of the folks living here.

So anyway, today I have a bit of irony to share with you. And we love irony here at The Tattler, no matter what Jedidiah Purdy says about it.

What if this coup from above at the General Plan Update Steering Committee wasn't all about shoving new priorities into the General Plan? Such as the land use ingredients necessary for large scale development in Sierra Madre? What if the intention was actually to keep things that have been in there all along from being taken out?

Follow along here, it is worth the trip.

When the 1996 General Plan (which is still our current General Plan) was being slapped together, there were three people on the Committee who later rose to political prominence here in town. Those being its Chairman, Doug Hayes, along with Enid Joffe and Bart Doyle. All of whom were to later serve as Mayors of this fair city. None of whom turned out to be what you might call mainstays of the Sierra Madre "slow growth" majority.

In our hands today we have a copy of the Environmental Impact Report on the 1996 General Plan Update. Something that was prepared by Impact Sciences of Thousand Oaks, CA. Environmental Impact Reports of this kind are tasked with alerting concerned parties to the potential impacts of a General Plan on its community. Or, more succinctly, how things would play out once its decrees were actually put into play. And we're not just talking about air and water quality here, but the entire rainbow colored arc of livability issues as well.

In this particular EIR's Impact and Mitigation Summary Table the following potential consequences of the 1996 General Plan are spelled out:

Impact 5.7-1: By the year 2015, the population could increase by 12,450 from the 1990 estimate of 10,732 residents to a theoretical capacity of 23,212. Using effective capacity of 11,978 residents, the population would increase by 782 residents. This would be considered a significant impact under the theoretical capacity, however, not considered a significant impact under effective capacity.

Quite an interesting theoretical population increase (as opposed to the "effective capacity" increase) projected here in this EIR. You can only wonder what it is they found in the 1996 General Plan that would indicate such a population boom for Sierra Madre. Is there gold in them thar foothills? Or perhaps a development rich Downtown Specific Plan?

Of course, in the eyes of the Downtown Investors Club, even in its 1996 neonate stage, that gold has always been development. Something spelled out in the next passage.

Impact 5.7-2: By the year 2015, up to 5,224 dwelling units could be added to the City's housing stock under the theoretical capacity and 340 additional dwelling units under effective capacity. This is considered a significant impact under the theoretical capacity, however, is not considered significant under effective capacity.

And the wheel of somebody else's fortune spins on:

Impact 5.7.3: By the year 2015, it is projected that land uses generating employment in the city could increase by up to 3,528,360 square feet under theoretical capacity and 2,082,168 square feet under effective capacity. It is estimated that these land uses would provide additional employment opportunities in the City for up to 357 jobs for a total of 3,747 by 2015. According to SCAG, additional employment opportunities in an area that is housing rich is thought to be beneficial. A such, additional employment in the City would not be considered a significant impact.

This was back during those storied days when the bureaucratic SCAG (Southern California Association of Governments) was predicting that a colossal wave of new immigrants was heading to Southern California, and therefore we had some sort of moral obligation to build vast new tracts of housing to accommodate these latter day pioneers. Something we can all laugh about now since these waves of new arrivals never showed up.

Of course, that imperative is inoperative today and SCAG, along with its Sacramento enablers, have now replaced it with the notion that we still need to build condos for as far as the eye can see, but this time in order to save the world from global warming. Something that would be equally hilarious except that a lot of befuddled idiots apparently believe it.

All that said, it is important to note that Ms. Joffe, along with Mr. Hayes and Mr. Doyle, were laying building blocks for the Downtown Specific Plan all the way back in 1996. Three folks who were working very hard to make that "theoretical capacity" of 5,000 or so new dwellings a reality. Their subsequent political careers apparently being born out of the need to make those kinds of things happen.

There is a certain logical progression to all of this. And you can see why the current heirs to those bold folks, Joe Mosca and John Buchanan (along with the Bobbleheads, I suppose), could be concerned about slow growthers on the General Plan Update Advisory Committee possibly deciding to lance this 14 year old boil when that moment in the process arrives. It is pretty much the land use crown jewel as far as Joe and John (and their patrons) are concerned, and losing it would set their plans back considerably.

There are several directions we can go with this. One, the Water Rate Hike, which is either necessary to repair pipes or service bond debt depending on which day of the week it is, can now be seen as being a part of the DIC development scheme as well. If our water rates go up our deflated bond rating could improve, something that would make the selling of additional bonds (also known as the "Joe Mosca Solution to Everything") far more practicable.

With our existing General Plan calling for an explosive population increase to 23,200 souls, along with the additional 5,224 "dwelling units" needed to accommodate them, building that $17 million dollar San Gabriel Valley Metropolitan Water District pipeline into our little town now has a certain crazy logic to it as well. Despite Bruce Inman's brisk assurances that this has nothing to do with development, you certainly can't increase the population of this town that much without piping in a lot of outside water. It being highly doubtful that our current wells and water infrastructure are up to that kind of demand.

There are a lot of other insights in the 1996 General Plan Environmental Impact Report as well. And I will have to spend a lot more time with it. But one other nugget from this EIR Report that we need to discuss today involves our Police Department. Check this out:

5.8.2 Police Protection

Impact 5.8.2-1: Anticipated population growth, as estimated by the land use policy of the General Plan Update, would increase the need for law enforcement, requiring additional personnel and support facilities. This (is) considered a potentially significant impact.

Certainly there can be little doubt about that. With the kind of high density development and population increases called for in our current (albeit 1996) General Plan a veritable crime wave would probably ensue. If it hasn't already.

Residential development is anticipated to increase the population within the City from 10,762 in 1990 to 23,212 by 2015. To maintain existing levels of service estimated at 1.39 officers per 1,000 population, approximately 9 additional sworn officers would need to be added to the police force to support the projected 2015 population. This increase in population could have a significant impact on police services, thereby creating a need for additional sworn officers and equipment due to the anticipated increase in crime rate that often accompanies increases in population.

Impact Sciences, Inc., the authors of this EIR (as noted above), was not exactly accurate in its projections as the head count here has actually decreased since 1996. But the Sierra Madre Police Department, oddly enough, has undergone something of a population explosion.

Using the Impact Sciences mathematical formula, we can see that 1.39 officers per 1,000 residents comes to just under 14 for a town of 10,000. Today, however, we have 31 sworn Police Officers. Something which, according to this EIR report, means we now have the necessary amount of cops to accommodate a city of 28,000.

Now I wonder whose idea that might have been?

Bonus Coverage: The Looney Views News Insults Chief Diaz

In this week's Looney Views News the paper's obituary writer, in a front page article on last Tuesday's City Council "special meeting" on the water rate hike, made the following fallacious claim:

Several residents who support the council's proposed actions also spoke, encouraging personal responsibility for conserving water resources as a way to ease the 'pinch' should a rate increase be implemented. At least one such speaker, however, was subjected to interruptions from the back of the room by opponents.

Since Susan Henderson was only at this meeting for fewer than 5 minutes, and then only to take a couple of pictures, it escapes me how she might have known of any interruptions.

But had she actually walked into the room instead of standing in the doorway Susan might have noticed that this meeting was being carefully watched over by Police Chief Marilyn Diaz, someone who takes a very dim view of rudeness at City Council functions. Henderson's assertion that Diaz did not do her job last Tuesday evening is not only untrue, but a gratuitous insult to the professionalism of this career Police Officer as well.


  1. Years and years of deception. And they are
    still at it.

  2. What an economics lesson. Theoretical versus effective. Now I can trade in the old Honda for a new Corvette. I estimate my theoretical salary at $23,000,000 a year by 2015.

  3. With the population doubling every 20 years or so, the Mrs and I will see the town hit 100,000. Dickin's village, er, city, er, empire.

  4. Can you imagine the poor fools who thought they were in on something good, and invested their retirement on the big payoff Joffe etc were going to bring home with the DSP? 23,000 residents! Water piped in from the Colorado River! Shopping centers! Movie stars! Sierra Madre the envy of the world!

    Buncha dumb gullible rubes.

  5. Based on the results of our last city council election:

    Common sense isn't all that common.

  6. And for that we paid moneyOctober 25, 2010 at 9:05 AM

    Shows you just how much sense pricey consultants make. Nobody knows. Look at any study 25 years out and you'll get similar results.

    Consultants who predict the future are nothing more than crystal ball gazers. And who can prove them wrong? Until 25 years later...

  7. Last week, Terry Miller over at the Sierra Madre Weekly, wrote an article about the special City Council meeting regarding the proposed water rate hike. An excerpt follows:

    "Tues Oct 19 at 6:30 at City Council Chambers will be devoted to water operations and rates. The meeting is NOT about the bond issue.
    The city will ask for additional input post Oct 19th meeting."

    In point of fact, a large portion of the meeting was devoted to the bond issue. Karin Schnaider, the City's Administrative Services Director, spoke at length about the bond issue detailing the interest and principal due on the 1998 and 2003 water bonds. Kurt Zimmerman, our former Mayor, read from a letter City Staff sent to a resident in which the City explained that the proposed rate increase would not be enough for capital improvements (i.e, the rate increase was intended to service bond obligations).

  8. Bart Doyle,Bart Doyle,Bart Doyle.............................Bart Doyle. He is in the center of all this stuff!All the time!

  9. I have a question. Why is Buchanan/Mosca keeping this stuff alive? Nobody wants it, nobody is selling mixed use crap, condo projects are a glut on the market, and the one thing that distinguishes Sierra madre is it doesn't look like the kinds of things they want. So what is in it for these guys? Why do they keep pushing for this stuff? Its been 14 years since 1996, and they're still at it.

  10. Weren't they talking about hiring another cop at the YAC recently? Wouldn't that make us a town of 30,000?

  11. The EIR consultants were not predicting the future they were saying what the 1996 General Plan allows. If the current General Plan was fully impleminted it allows for that many houses and a 23,000+ population.

    Joffe, Doyle, and Hayes were three of five the authors. Joffe went to the Planning Commission then the City Council and the DSP. Hayes and Doyle went straight to the City Council and DSP. Those three individules knew exactly what the build out could be because they are they people who wrote the document. They knew what was possible and were prepared to carry out the plan until WATTS and ZIMMERMAN and DUNN threw a monkey wrench into their plans.
    The plan was 2-30-13 or Measure V.

  12. I believe, 9:50 am, the EIR consultants were not "saying" they were "defining".

  13. Neither saying or defining is my take,

    "Shucking and Jiving" is much more like

  14. "Why do they keep pushing for this stuff?"
    Because it's their religion -- the religion of Green. Green grass, green money.

  15. Henderson just makes up stories, quotes and situations for her articles.

    As long as she can slant her article for her viewpoint, she wont' hesitate to lie about her sources or antedotes.

    What more can we expect from an known embellezer and resume fabricator?

  16. they
    say, frauds of a feather flock together.

  17. Henderson doesn't care what the facts are, she is gonna write whatever she wants as it pleases her, damn the facts.

    It is hilariously inept how she always paints those who are opposed to her agenda as hooligans and uncivil.

    Especially when she wasn't even in the room.

    Woman if bona fide nuts.

  18. Frank Girardot and the SGV Tribune's "Crime Scene Blog" has picked up on the "Happy Hunting Ground" post from Friday. It is drawing some traffic, so welcome Girardot readers!

  19. So what kind of rules 'n regulations about writing a GP called for a "theoretical" component?
    Do all GPs have 'em? State mandated?

  20. The relevance of Henderson's operation has never been as low as it is now. If she's getting 200 readers a week that is a lot.

  21. Well damn, John, you've hit fame by being robbed.

  22. Let's see, hit and run accident with a car while riding a bike. House robbed. Just a coincidence, I'm sure of it.

  23. You've all heard of the Tea Party, right? Those folks over at Henderson's belong to the Kool Aid Party.

  24. from your neighbor

    were can we easily get a copy of this EIR can there be a link to this document
    sorry hard for me to find on city page
    thanks to all

  25. Hi neighbor.
    The library will have one & so will city hall & so will council members past & present, & so will old timers who worked on it.

  26. neighbor

    to bad there is no PDF file so we can easily
    down load and read

    P.S last week i came into the meeting late when i
    looked on the city page for the video of it they seemed to have the keep the fear alive ( there home page
    there was a picture of large fire then an explanation to for this being needing more water dept and money from us
    when i got home from my vacation up the coast today
    it did not seem to be there did anyone else see it?
    and i still can not get the video to play for that meeting all other played may be it is me
    thanks again

  27. The city should put everything on the city website so that people can access inofrmation more easily. If the city council wants to make everything transparent, this would be the very best way to accomplish that.

    Thank you.

  28. Denim suits are so gaucheOctober 25, 2010 at 1:11 PM

    I got to the meeting early enough to do the pledge of allegience, Susan Henderson was there like 7 minutes, I don't think she heard more than the first two speakers and I don't remember anyone being interrupted, the most childish thing I saw or felt was when Mosca Mommy said no clapping. That woman is an out and out liar.

    But it was unusual for the chamber of commerce to schedule their little do, at the Buccaneer when such an important meeting was going on at city hall. Probably a lot was swashed buckling, gonna on.

  29. Maybe she was awash in the swash. That
    kind of thing happens at the Buc.

  30. Back to the futureOctober 25, 2010 at 1:37 PM

    The charts lied, Scag lied, People are fleeing from Califoria. It will take 10 to 15 years if California ever recovers. My lawn after the 121 degree day is burned black. Most people only dream of retiring with half the money they used to make. We are topheavy with 100 percent retirements, that should never have been granted over 40 years ago. Solar system in another state 8 thousand, solar system in CA over 25 thousand, a book I read says we are at our heaviest population of seniors at any time in US history, it states in 2030 we will have the greatest number of 18 year olds, how many 18 years old these days can afford a car let alone a home or condo? Time to leave CA.

  31. The theoretical build-out would have to mean plenty of homes on the hillsides.
    Sorry wildlife, we're gonna banish you.
    Maybe a mountain lion will banish one or two of us, but we all know what the end result will be.
    The Glendalization of the hillsides.

  32. Is there a developer anywhere with a sense of accountability? If so, please raise your hand.

  33. Sir Eric, surely you misunderstand the members of the general plan comm. They all, to a person, want to 'preserve' sierra madre. They said so.

  34. 11:19, good question.
    Are all General Plans required to have these worse case population scenarios? Towns taken beyond the breaking point?
    I tried to google that but couldn't get far.

  35. The theoretical buildout would also have meant 6 story Pasadena style condos on Sierra Madre Boulevard from Michillinda all the way to Arcadia. Only Measure V stopped that kind of destruction happening to our town.

  36. If there was enough citizen interest (big catch there, what?) the 1996 General Plan could stand AS IT IS with 2 areas to be modified. Only 2, and one is done. At least that is so according tho the Tattlers last incisive article about the GP. If the citizens wanted to say LEAVE IT ALONE, except for those 2 required areas?

  37. If they figured they were going to put those 12,000 theoretical new people into just two areas, maybe they'd have to change the name of those special places to Calcutta. As it is we're talking 7,737 people per square mile. That would make Sierra Madre denser than Joe Mosca.

  38. Tattler, I know that Jaded, Huffy and Boyle do not want to see Sierra Madre continue as the modest hick town that it has always been, but are you sure this was their plot and not Sacramento's for everybody - smells like a Sacramento formula to this old hick.
    I'll give it to you - it's a nightmare to read.

  39. Take a look at the article again 2:14.
    We need to get that killing population figure out of the plan!

  40. "Several residents who support the council's proposed actions also spoke,"
    "Several" Dirts and D.I.C.s don't show up at meetings - except when one of their own is being made mayor, then they show up to gloat and glare, ya know, practicing their civility.
    There were not several pro water rate hike speakers. There were a few.
    There were several water rate hike protesters.
    Maybe Henderson got confused.

  41. Maybe she was Buc'd up from the party
    down the street...

  42. Everybody's too hard on Mosca and the clapping ban.
    He was just following the usual procedure for a, for an, for the....
    OK, for an awards show.
    He actually said "Please hold your applause until the end" as though the residents were performers, and not speaking on different sides of the issue.
    One of those times when Mosca tripped on his own tongue and said the opposite of what a genuine leader would say.
    It's going to be a long time til he's off the council, but hopefully being de-mayored will make him quiet down.

  43. The Downtown Investors thought this would be their own personal bonanza.....and that is why they got very busy spreading the lies about Zero growth and homophobia.
    Financial frustration and panic make people do some very nasty things. And under the cloak of civility no less.

  44. Mosca was upset about clapping because he knew his supporters wouldn't get more. He's a control freak.

  45. Clapping is a form of public expression. Last time I checked, it was protected by our First Amendment.

  46. 3:16. So is addressing the City Council. Mosca's been trying to curtail that form of public expression too with his 3-minutes-or-I'll-cut-you-off rule.

  47. Good article over on the Sierra Madre Pumpkin Patch about Tim Donnelly. Quotes Donnelly as saying, "I'm going there to reach across the aisle to the enemies of freedom and annihilate them and pund them into the ground and take back our power."

    I don't agree with very much Tim Donnelly has to say, but I'm going to vote for him anyway. Turning him loose on those fat slugs in Sacramento will be great political theater. If there was a ever a state capitol that needed the Biblical wrath of an angry God turned on it, it's Sacramento. But since God probably won't do the deed, we'll just have to send Tim instead.

  48. "One TEAPAC supporter in Sierra Madre has turned her home into a precinct office with a large map of the 59th District. She plots areas the movement must target to ensure a Donnelly win in November. "

  49. Oh dear, the election intrudes.

  50. Tim Donnelly is a KING!
    A KING. He's another Crawford and Zimmerman!

    TIM deserves your vote if you love slow growth and are against Sacramento corruption.

    Lots of TIM DONNELLY SIGNS in Sierra Madre, maybe the residents are waking up? Hope so.

  51. It's been a long while since I read the general plan, but I don't recall that 23,212. Is it in the EIR and not the GP? If it's in the GP, anyone know where?

  52. EIR. Which this article spelled out fairly clearly. At least
    it seemed that way to me.

  53. Donnelley is King?
    You HAVE to be kidding!

  54. 7:26, I agree that it's very clear that it's in the EIR.
    My question didn't come across right. Is that number also in the GP, and where?

  55. I'm sure the 31 sworn officer figure includes command and support staff (Chief, Captain, Lieutenant, desk officers) who aren't assigned to patrol duties. Last I heard there are about 6-8 officers that are actually assigned to patrol the streets

  56. Tea Party People here - confess your true ID's, don't be shy!

  57. I confess that I would rather not bring the contentious and divisive wider political scene into our local discussions.

  58. For some people politics is something you
    pick up from watching too much cable news.

  59. I'm with confession. We have all the intensity we can handle in our own little place here.
    It's people who want to get rich off Sierra Madre versus people who want to live here.

  60. This City Council doesn't trust the people of Sierra Madre.