Saturday, November 13, 2010

The General Plan Town Hall Forum Is Sunday

Sunday, being tomorrow since this Tattler entry won't post until Saturday, is the day. The location is the Youth Activity Center (aka The YAC - not to be confused with the large hairy herbivore found in the Himalayas) is out there at 611 E. Sierra Madre Boulevard. The time is from 2:00 to 4:00 PM. Interesting snacks and beverages will be served.

So what's the reason for this occasion?

The City of Sierra Madre and its residents are updating their General Plan. What is a General Plan, you might ask? It is the document that defines what our city will look like and how it will be financially managed and developed over a very long period of time. This General Plan guides the policy making of a city government. Plus it brings a city into sync with all those other government confabulations out there. As an example, in 1990 the California Supreme Court informed cities everywhere that property zoning in conflict with a General Plan has no legal validity, which upset quite a few apple carts. Obviously this is an important little document dealing with some serious matters.

There are six areas within a General Plan:

1) Public Safety;
2) Economic Development, Parking, Traffic and Transit;
3) Resources and Public Services
4) Treasure / Seniors, Hillsides, Historic Preservation, Trees;
5) Recreation, Parks, Library, Special Events; and
6) Land Use, City Council Approved Housing Element

Item # 6 being potentially the most contentious as it is where our City either decides to preserve what it currently has, or sells itself out to developers in order to either enrich key - and not necessarily local - players. Of course, there are those who claim a city can (supposedly) relieve itself of a difficult tax burden by increasing its taxable housing stock. Though the relationship between the two hasn't always worked out as planned. Just ask Pasadena, home of the empty condo.

Better just not putting the city into debt in the first place.

Other cities throughout California are also updating their General Plans. No two General Plans will be exactly alike because no two cities and their residents are exactly alike. As an example, Sierra Madre takes great pride in its Volunteer Fire department; the float that is hand built by volunteers and often win prestigious prizes in the annual Rose Parade; its Emergency radio Station; and the world class Sierra Madre Search and Rescue Team.

It turns out that the same independent spirit extends to Sierra Madre's General Plan. In 1996 the City of Sierra Madre adopted a General Plan that was written by the people with only the interests of its people in mind. While other California cities hire consultants to write their General Plans, the people of Sierra Madre writes their own. Oh sure, some parts (such as the EIR - Environmental Impact Report) are informed by the wisdom of hired experts, but the will of the people is clearly evident in all of the six General Plan areas.

While some cities focus on high density, residential and commercial development, shopping malls, highway access and sporting venues, here things are seen a little differently. In 1996 is was the vision of the community that Sierra Madre retain its village atmosphere, stay safe and friendly, and provide services that people want and need. That plan has served our town faithfully and well.

Now it is time for a legally mandated update of our plan, one that will serve our City for the next 20 years.

So you might be asking yourself: "Am I qualified to participate and give input on the future of our city?" The answer is yes - who better? Will everyone who participates in General Plan Update meetings agree? Absolutely not. Positions will be staked out and compromises will have to be made. Will "the City" ignore the people and just use the spirit of community involvement as justifications for its own agendas? Not if the General Plan is done correctly, because if it is this becomes a living embodiment of what it is the people living here really want for their community.

Public participation plays an important role in formulating the General Plan. As an example, the law requires local governments to "make a diligent effort to achieve the public participation of all economic segment of the community." So in order to make sure that lofty goal is reached, the General Plan Update Steering Committee is hosting its first Town Hall Forum at the Youth Activity Center (YAC) at 611 E. Sierra Madre Boulevard (2nd floor of the Community Recreation Center). Residents and community members - often the same thing - are encouraged to drop in between 2:00 and 4:00 pm to give your opinions on the future of our great little city.

Members of the General Plan Update Steering Committee will be hosting conversations at tables, each one focusing on one of the six areas of the General Plan. An opportunity will be available to participate in a survey that may be completed and returned to the "GPUSC" anonymously.

And, most importantly, refreshments will be served. Plus local businesses and individuals have donated highly desirable door prizes to be awarded at the end of the event. So you will be able to both contribute your vision to the future of this community, plus win valuable prizes. Only in Sierra Madre.

The meeting agenda is attached here.


  1. jeez, I wonder which way Josh Moran is leaning towards regarding free wheeling development?

    he'll do anything to help Mommy and his buddies earn some real estate sales commissions

  2. Susan Henderson will stop by for 3 minutes, peek in from the lobby snap a couple photos and then proceed to write a fictious story about disgruntled uncivil residents who were jeering and shouting down the Mayor and the exhaulted one John Buchanan and how Josh Moran made civil comments and thoughtful anaylsis regarding development and Nancy Walsh was very polite but those opposing the opinion of the 4 CouncilMembers are still freeloaders and anti-Sierra Madre

    of course, she'll just make up her story once again and will have no basis in facts and will quote unnamed residents, a majority of residents who support the Council, yet that will be her own opinions disguised as interviews.

    good old goofy Susan, always good for a laugh for reporting on events she doesn't attend or when she does, she makes up a storyline to fit her own enlighted opinion

  3. yeah, drop by and give your opinion and then have it systematically ignored by Joe and John

    they don't want your opinion, they know what is best for the city as far as development and what is best is what benefits their respective employers

  4. I heard one of the door prizes is that John Buchanan will come by your home three nights a week and bore you to sleep with his deeply insightful speeches

  5. Trolls. Trying to discourage residents from rightfully claiming their opportunity to provide input to the General Plan Update. If the trolls win, Sierra Madre loses.

  6. I look forward to coming by and learning more and meeting my neighbors. Hopefully, I will be able to relax and sit and listen and learn from other people very well informed.

    Sounds like a great idea to me!

    There are many good people in Sierra Madre.

  7. A Gentleman on fixed incomeNovember 13, 2010 at 8:47 AM

    After Church my wife and I will stop by. Sounnds informative. We are interested to know about how not to build.

  8. Damn right, 8:13

    Anyone read the story in the Washington Post this morning?
    County official in Md. arrested by FBI for taking big bribes, from developers.

    Show up at the Town GPC meeting!
    Remember, even though the gangster4 council is on the side of development and Sacramento corrupt officials...the tide is going to turn, even in California. Bell, and other cities are being nailed for corruption.
    The CRA is being exposed for what it is, a SCAM.
    We have (hopefully) 5 members of the GPC who have worked hard and are honest and will protect your city.
    SHOW UP, SIERRA MADRE. Don't let corrupt politicians destroy our town. PLEASE SHOW UP !

  9. Look, most of us aren't "joiners," and we don't want doorprizes. The cart is before the horse. If you want to know what the individual citizens want, draw up a questionaire and mail it out. Then if there is controversy in the opinions, have a "town hall" meeting to reach compromises.

    The number of residents who will attend tomorrow will be such a small fraction of the population as to be insignificant at best and misleading at worst.

    I am not criticising the hard work that it takes to organize something like this, I'm just trying to suggest a more efficient process, one that could be implemented after tomorrow's meeting.

  10. This meeting is what is best about Sierra Madre. The Committee is a great group of people who have put an immense amount of work into doing what is right for this city. The community needs to speak up and be heard to make those efforts even stronger. A city that does not show that it cares about where it is going will still have a future, but it will be what those with other agendas for the place will force upon you. If you are assuming that things will stay as they always have, that all of this comes out of some sort natural order in things that is with us forever, then you are living in a fantasy. When you wake up you will not like what you see.

  11. Hey, Sierra Madre!

    Free food! Prizes! Most important, a shot to save your city from over-development, with falling property values, let's protect what we have, the ambiance of a small town. If they over all goes, including the value of your homes.

    2:00 to 4:00 pm.
    BE THERE!!!!!

  12. Will soomeone be there to explain the ghastly water rates so that we can live within our means? The General Plan should include not having to fight for a higher cost of living and listening to City Council members think about themselves.

    Iam 82 and cannot move nor afford higher costs. Will the general plan talk about us seniors. my son told me he would go for us.

  13. You're right 8:13. Trolls and troglodytes. There are a few posters on this blog who are so filled with hate that Jesus Christ and the second coming would be seen as a City Council conspiracy.

    Some of the people I've talked with aren't necessarily readers of the blog but they've seen the announcements and are willing to put in their 2 cents worth tomorrow.

    Trolls and troglodytes!

  14. Thanks General Plan for doing this. The people must know!!

  15. There is a lot of cynicism about anything involving the government of Sierra Madre. Or government in general. Look at how many times people have been lied to by this City Council. The GPUSC has its hands full. They need to overcome a perception that is in no way their fault.

  16. Less is more, where were you when the GPUSC was planning the community involvement? If you've got such great ideas, why don't you come on down and share them with the committee tomorrow?

    Have you seen the survey? Do you know how it will be distributed? Instead of bloviating, why don't you try contributing?

  17. I don't think tomorrow is about efficiency. If it's efficiency you want hire a consultant. The General Plan Committee wants involvement. Tomorrow's Town Hall will not be the only Town Hall or the only opportunity for the residents' opinions. Nor will the results be tabulated by the city. The GPC will be tabulating the results and publishing them.

    Efficiency? The budget for efficiency was $250,000. The budget for resident involvement is considerably less.

  18. The most important thing that needs to be changed from the previous General Plan is the land use component. The EIR from that GP shows a city that under that plan could become one with 25,000 residents! That is density that rivals any urban core in the United States. It has to be changed.

  19. Aunt Barbara, the Town Hall is not a referendum on the water rate increase unfortunately. But it could be a lead up to a future measure limiting the City Council's ability to enter into bond indebtedness.

    Stay tuned to this column for true news of the water rate increase, not the mountain views news hogwash, that official propaganda rag for Buchanan and Mosca, and apparently the breakout bobblehead, the moron, and Walsh? bob, bob, bobbling along.

  20. Good Morning, 8:13, nobody is trying to discourage residents from rightfully doing anything. Somebodies are too free with the troll calling and regular posters have noticed it originates around this general plan update, like cheerleaders chirping troll troll. Little judas goats, blindfolded by temporary importance, not reciprociated by the interests
    of the sitting trolls that lied and manipulated the water issue.

    That said, I do hope that Tattlers especially show up to voice their concerns, opinions, and
    input-tance. Ask the tough questions, throw down the gauntlet, be salt of the earth Tatts who have not lost their savor. Politics is a great place to keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Have fun, take scalps, pictures tape recorders.

  21. General Plan outreach is really tough. Seen it with several cities, including Pasadena which does extreme outreach such as having staff visit neighborhood groups, bus shuttles to take residents around to key planning areas, flyers, meetings, and on and on. Even with that (expensive!) effort, you only get a portion of the community residents interested (business and special interests are a slam-dunk, they know what's at stake).

    I guess it's sort of like jury duty. Everyone should shoulder some participation in the system, but hardly anyone does it willingly. So there had to be rules made that forced people to do it. Voting is another means of participation that gets largely blown off, and then everyone complains, even when it's just not that hard.

    Community has taken a real back seat to the daily concerns of living and the passivity promoted by television watching and computer gaming, etc. A small community is an excellent place to reverse that trend, it just takes some time to talk to neighbors and fellow residents to get it down for the record, and document the quality of life that is desired for the residents.

  22. The time has come........November 13, 2010 at 9:49 AM

    Dear “Less is More”.... Sunday’s is event is one of several ways the General Plan Update Steering Committee will be gathering community suggestions, recommendations and opinions regarding the future of Sierra Madre. The purpose of the Town Hall Forum is to provide a welcoming setting for Sierra Madre to visit with each other and discuss the future of this community. There is nothing to join, there will be no speeches to sit through and no three minute speaker’s rule. The General Plan Update Steering Committee members are there to listen not to be heard.

    In the upcoming months, Sierra Madre residents will be asked to fill out questionnaires, attend smaller community input meetings, participate in other Town Hall Forums, and attend General Plan Update Steering Committee meetings. Which ever way you decide to participate is fine, as long as you participate. If you want Sierra Madre to retain it’s small village character, it is vital you participate.

    At the end of this update process the GPUSC has to have evidence their recommendations are based on community input. Even though, you believe the majority of people want to keep Sierra Madre the way it is, unless people come out and support that vision, there are those in this town who will use apathy and non-participation to further their own agenda.

  23. Dear 9:49,

    Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words. I can see that you are not only fighting the reckless developers, but also Josh Moran-like hot heads on your own team who enjoy name-calling.

    By the way, for what it's worth, the best endorsement so far for the meeting is the post by old kentucky, some one I have reason to trust.

    As the first 9:14 said,

    "There is a lot of cynicism about anything involving the government of Sierra Madre. Or government in general. Look at how many times people have been lied to by this City Council. The GPUSC has its hands full. They need to overcome a perception that is in no way their fault."

  24. I see by the agenda Mayor Stink Eye will be attending. Prepare yourself
    for glares of disapproval followed by squints of contempt.

  25. Mayor Stink Eye!! LOL!!!

  26. I would rather die than be processed or part of the process, I won't be a slave of bond debt, I don't like Townhalls. I civil myself. Ripping up and refusing surveys gives me childish glee.

    A municipality like a corporation is an artificial person created with many of the duties and powers of an individual. Artificial
    being the key word.

    I'll be the one in cheap sunglasses.

  27. The mayor cannot be kept away, darn it, but it is NOT HIS GIG.
    If he tries to give one of his absurd speeches, some big guy tackle him, ok?
    Thank you.

  28. Joe has a strong need to be loved. A strange mix of passive aggression and amoral cunning, all done with his little heart beating visibly on his sleeve. I think he takes the "Madre" part of this city's name very seriously and hopes this mother will give him the love he never got as a child. He can no more refrain from trying to take over this meeting than a cat can resist a fish head.

  29. It's a hard fact of life that the decisions that impact us all are made by the people in city hall, employed there and elected to go there.
    Very hard fact of life.
    If you want to have a part in those decisions, if you want a chance, slim though it may be, to influence those decision, you have to communicate with those people.
    In person is more powerful than by email or letter.
    It's hard, right?

  30. It's hard because our elected officials are working for something the people of this town do not want. A nice residential community like we have now is not something these people think we really deserve. There is considerable money to be made if they can open Sierra Madre up to development. That is their goal.

  31. I'm going because I have been told that it will not be the usual city stuff and that the politicians will be muzzled.
    If it turns out differently, my family and I will leave.

  32. These comments show a really good understanding of our situation:

    "business and special interests are a slam-dunk, they know what's at stake"

    "there are those in this town who will use apathy and non-participation to further their own agenda."

  33. Aunt Barbara, yes that damn water rate hike should come up!
    I hope everybody says Damn that damn water rate hike and puts that in the suggestion box.
    Or tells the committee member s who are there to talk about water.
    Damn that water rate hike.

  34. Don't forget the 2% UUT hike coming up for the SMPD raise Joe and John will hand them on a silver platter. Payoff for their support in the last election.

  35. Witness, a troll derails the conversation.

  36. On man's troll is another man's surprising source. Troll accusations can sometimes be as trollish as the posts cited for just that very thing.

  37. You can't call the development industry stupid; immoral, despicable, yes, but stupid, no.
    They don't just use non-participation, they count on it. It's a key ingredient in their many lamentable successes.
    If the slow growth community shows up, it will be very troubling to those who look at Sierra Madre and see dollar signs.

  38. The safe assumption is that at the core of almost everything that goes on with City Hall's involvement in this town has to do with development. Which of course means money. Everything else they do is just marketing and propaganda designed to make development possible.

  39. Thank you volunteers on the General Plan Update Steering Committee.
    Just remember, no good deed goes unpunished.

  40. If you do a really good job, Susan will write mean things about you
    in the Looney Views News.

  41. Harriet Henderson is Mosca's enforcer.

  42. Consituency of the Universal Declaration, not declaration of independenceNovember 13, 2010 at 3:53 PM

    A search of "Why Townhall Meetings" just the first two reasons:

    Town Hall Meetings offer people in every state an opportunity to participate publicly in dialogue and action that brings the Universal Declaration to life, illuminating both the Declaration’s meaning to their own communities and its power as a framework for international outcry.
    Town Hall Meetings provide both the impetus and the mechanism for collaboration among many voices to demonstrate the breadth, diversity and home-grown American character of the constituency supporting the Universal Declaration.

    Universal Declaration:
    The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948 at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris. The Declaration...​Declaration_of_Human_Rights - Cached

    F Y I to C Y A somehow human rights has morphed into sustainability, Agenda 21 and millenium building,

  43. It isn't the concept of the meetings that is important, though. It is
    who participates and what they accomplish that counts.

  44. Come to the meeting, support all the people who have been working hard on this project. The original 5 members.
    They want what's best for Sierra Madre.
    They want what the majority of people want.
    The people who voted in Measure V to protect our downtown from over-development, in spite of the fact that $170,000 in special interest- out of town special interest money that was spent to defeat Measure V,you folks need to show up and be counted!Measure V allows for appropriate growth in Sierra Madre, and preservation of our small town. It fit our General Plan in 2007 and it should remain intact for our new plan! No compromise !That's what keeps your property values and the reason you live here in Sierra Madre.
    Please come and show your support.
    Just let your preference be known.
    No SACRAMENTO CONTROL of our town, Sierra Madre.

  45. Priorities:
    1) Stop the crazy spending
    2) Stop the lying
    3) Stop developers

  46. 7:43! YES!

    That's it! Crazy spending in a bankrupt State.
    Lying to the residents about the
    water and about the bonds.
    Unscrupulous developers and


  47. Good turnout at GP meeting.
    200-300 people showed up for some great food!

  48. Thank you to Teryl Willis, TommyAnn Miller, Melissa Thew and Anita Delmer.
    Thank you for caring about Sierra Madre.