It seems like this water rate increase debacle has been going on for about half of my adult life. It just never seems to end. On and on and on it goes, wherever it stops, who could possibly live long enough to know?
Is this what "the process" is? An endless series of non-events and time wasting fiddle-faddle that only leads to further inertia fueled futility, all the while going absolutely nowhere? All designed to wear down the opposition to the point where they scream out in agony and despair, "No Mas! No Mas!?"
Has it all become the ultimate match of The Last Man Living Wins?
For a guy who wanted to become Mayor as badly as he did, you'd think Joe might have actually spent at least a little time figuring out what exactly it is he wanted to do once he actually got the gig.
I mean, it can't possibly be that the reason he needed the job is so he gets to sit in front of the SMTV3 cameras and talk about whatever comes into his head all night, can it? And that it somehow never once occurred to him that he might actually have to get something finished?
So here is what the Agenda for tonight's City Council meeting says. Or at least that small portion of the Agenda that you can find on-line:
Recommendation that the City Council hold a Public Hearing regarding the proposed water rate increase, approve the rates listed therein, read Ordinance No. 1312 by title only, and direct staff to place Ordinance No. 1312 on the agenda for a second reading December 14, 2010.
Honestly, I doubt the first reading will be all that interesting. So why should they want to drag us through all that again on December 14? Are they saving this water rate hike until they can give it to us as a Christmas present? Will they drop it down our chimneys along with some helpful pamphlets on drought resistant plants and how best to care for your new remote read City supplied water meter?
I don't know how much more of this I can take. Raise the damn rates already. Run roughshod over our rights. Declare that you have done all this to pay down the bond debt even though at first you said it was to fix the pipes. I mean, for God's sake, do something, man! Almost an entire year and all the Gang of 4 can manage to do is raise water rates ten bucks a month? That is, if they ever actually get around to doing it?
I'm telling you, I am pretty underwhelmed. If this is all they are capable of doing, then maybe the City is safe from whack-o predatory development after all. If talk were buildings, we'd be living in a Brave New Manhattan by now. Or at least Pasadena.
Someone somewhere defined Hell as the absence of all interest, the death of all possibility and an addiction to nothingness. If when I die I find myself in a place that looks a lot like City Hall, and seated before me are creatures that appear strikingly similar to the Gang of 4, it is then that I will know that I truly am a sinner, and that I am in for an eternity of sorrow, regret and soul crushing futility.
There is one other event scheduled for this evening. And that is:
Proposed Canyon Zone: Joint Special Study Session of the City Council and Planning Commission, November 23, 2010 - - - A Brief History of a Long "Process"
The City Council and Planning Commission will hold a special joint study session on the proposed new Canyon Zone. The study session will be held this evening, November 23, 2010, at 6:00 PM in the City Hall Council Chambers. The meeting is open to the public and there will be an opportunity for any and all to comment.
Regulations pertaining to the development of a Canyon Zone have been discussed and studied in the past, but never seem to get finalized. The difficulties inherent in applying the current R-1 residential zoning standards to the Canyon area prompts the need to adopt new, separate zoning standards that allow reasonable development of properties there while preserving the unique character and natural environment that typifies the place. The proposed zoning would establish standards for dwelling size, building height, massing and setbacks, parking, lot coverage, permitted uses, construction sites, and other equally important standards. The proposed zoning would apply to new construction and building additions.
You might wonder why this item is before the City Council as a Joint Special Study Session of the City Council and Planning Commission. The Canyon Zone Committee -- made up of Canyon residents John Herrmann, Caroline Brown, Michael Howard, Jim Monacchino and Sherry Robison met regularly for a full year; held Community Outreach meetings; and conducted a well-attended Canyon walkabout. This committee gave serious and informed deliberation to prior Canyon Residential Zone findings, and submitted their revised plan to the City Planning Department. Danny Castro, Director of the Planning Department, guided the committee at every step of their deliberations. MaryAnn MacGillivray acted as City Council Liaison to this very important Committee.
A previous Canyon Residential Zone Committee led by Kurt Christiansen, then Planning and Development Director, made up of Tom Pendleberry (architect), Michael Howard (educator), and Kathy Orth (Realtor) had embarked upon the identical task, taking their work up to the point of submitting a version to the Planning Commission.
Mr. Christiansen resigned from the City and the Canyon Residential Zone Plan languished as just another chapter in the 27-year old saga of creating a zone consistent with the unique challenges inherent in building in Sierra Madre Canyon.
Canyon residents had for years asked for a zone that spoke specifically to the small lots, lack of parking, unusual easements, narrow streets, and fire safety issues endangering residents but frequently overlooked by developers.
As the Canyon Residential Zone Committee neared the end of its task, a group of local contractors, realtors, and residents, claiming to speak for an unidentified majority, challenged the Committee as having been illegally constituted because there hadn't been any professionals knowledgeable about building and zoning codes chosen by the City Council to sit on the committee.
It is quite clear from the earlier Committee made up of Pendleberry, Henderson, Clemmons, Shifs, Howard, and Orth that the group challenging the most recent committee was just plain wrong. Nonetheless, the City Council has chosen to allow their questions to be brought to the Joint Meeting tonight.
Quite simply, if the Residential Zone is enacted it will protect the homes of current residents from the overbuilding and inappropriate building styles of opportunistic developers. In its simplicity it established the minimum size of a home at 500 square feet - not the maximum as its detractors incorrectly state. Square footage will be proportional to the lot size with adequate set backs to maintain fire safety access. Parking will be established at two parking pads per lot. Garages and covered parking will not be required. The current trend of building large multistory houses encroaching into setbacks and obscuring neighbor privacy and views contribute to the erosion pr the property values of existing homes.
The Canyon Residential Zone agreement is exactly what the Canyon needs to protect it from predatory development.