Thursday, November 18, 2010

Is Sierra Madre's Post Office Closing?

I don't have all the answers. A lot of what is posted here are questions because, let's face it, much of what goes on in the world of local government, or government in general, isn't exactly transparent. And often the real answers come out in the comments, which makes what I do a whole lot easier. A great example of this was what people dug on the Sierra Madre Police Association fund raising letter. I have to tell you, that was very impressive and I will never look at such things the same way again.

One of the real joys of doing this blog - which is why I enjoy it as much as I do - is that I get to post about things that concern me about our town, and then some of the smartest people around talk about them. I find that to be a pretty good deal.

So here are two matters that need your kind consideration today. I do not have the answers, but questions raised by these concerns are troubling. These are topics that are in the development stage, but require a lot more research. So I am throwing them open to the best research team around, you guys.

1) The Sierra Madre Post Office is going to close. I have been hearing about this from a number of people. Recently I received an e-mail on the topic from someone I hold in very high regard, and the questions raised need to finally be aired out.

According to employees at the Sierra Madre Post Office, their place of work is on a future list of closings. Our research shows that it isn't on any 2010 list, so it isn't happening tomorrow. But this would, if true, be a real loss for our community. Obviously the concerns raised by such a possibility should be heard. We do need, and deserve, to have a post office here.

But there are also ramifications on the over development front as well. As anyone who has followed the situation at the Howie's property will tell you, one of the reasons the fine LLC that owns the place has yet to be able to build a towering monument to their greatness there is the parking issue. Under the current legal rhythm there just isn't enough of that attached to the property as it now exists.

But! If they could get their mitts on the properties that now are attached to and affected by the existence of our Post Office (a renter, it seems), that dynamic could change considerably. Here are some things to ponder:

a) The Postal Service leases the space on the CRA property behind Mr. Taylor's place for its drive up mail boxes. The owner of the post Office property owns the empty lot south of the Post Office. Once the Post Office moves what will the owner of the two properties do with that most strategically located land?

b) Are those properties protected by Measure V?

c) Also: will the City sell the CRA property behind Howie's to the current owner and enable them to build big. remember, this would take a 4 to 1 vote, and Gang of 4 would sell us out on that one in a heartbeat. It's pretty much why they're here.

d) Will the CRA try and buy the postal property for parking with the funds from the sale of the current lot as a way to offset the loss of parking across the street?

e) Would a bigger lot allow new buildings on the Boulevard to have additional floor space because there would now be more parking available? remember, the City Council rescinded in lieu parking fees, but for the right project they would have the desired flexibility to require the developer pay considerable fee.

2) Our Water Department Spreading Basin is an EPA Protected Wetland. This revelation owes its life to some recent off the cuff remarks from Bruce Inman. Don't get me wrong here, I respect Bruce. I think he has some impressive command of the issues that concern him professionally. But we also appreciate him because he has the artless manner of the true wonk. And sometimes he lets loose with things that he probably shouldn't have. Which makes for rewarding blogging.

So here's the skinny on this one. Bruce recently let loose that the spreading basin (where our water gathers) was declared a protected wetland by some Federal agency back in the 90s. I wasn't there when this was said, but others have born witness. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would be the culprit is my guess. What it all means is that this area cannot be touched. No Huck Finn Fishing Derby, no dredging and re-dredging, no nothing. That water belongs to the ducks, marshland greenery, and other wild things. And not your front lawn.

Bruce Inman is reported as saying that he only became aware of this unfortunate situation recently, and is working to make sure it doesn't effect our current water operations there. Obviously we haven't been following the requirements of any such edict, and if it were to be enforced it would be disastrous for everyone in Sierra Madre who enjoys receiving water at their homes. No matter how rusty the pipes.

Now if you are into conspiracies (I love them myself and consider such speculation to be a perfectly respectable and enjoyable pastime), I got one for you. Did a Shenanigan Council back in the final decade of the previous millennium request an EPA intervention so that access to our water would become tenuous, requiring us to connect to an outside water system? The Metropolitan Water District would be the likely suspect to step in and supply us with enough water not just for what we need today, but also in the future when the crooks would have radically developed this place beyond all recognition.

After all, that vastly expensive water pipeline to other places that has been speculated upon so much recently would be just the ticket to make this happen. And didn't Bruce say we needn't worry ourselves about it because it the costs would be handled by Federal grants? The kind that become available when the needs of things like an EPA designated wetland area is being considered?

So many questions today.


  1. Bean Town & Post OfficeNovember 18, 2010 at 6:39 AM

    we will cease to be a village when the post office is taken away. we will not be able to walk and do all our chores. G4 cannot be allowed to ruin our every day life. tell the next general plan shindig. NO more parking lots and skyscrapers.

  2. RALLY YO KEEP POST OFFICENovember 18, 2010 at 6:41 AM

    Can the Post Office be relocated ?

    What about Kentucky Fry?
    On Montecito at empty building?

    NOT LEAVE US. Heavens no.....

  3. Green Is The New RedNovember 18, 2010 at 7:05 AM

    The loss of a post office would be bad for this town. What would follow would be devastating.

  4. I've never quite understand this village and small townish claims of Sierra Madre. We are in an area of 15 million people so it is sort of hard to claim being a small town. Yeah, we have a volunteer fire department but that is a death trap waiting to happen.

    When the housing bubble hit us, we had a new breed of Santa Moncia wannabees and South Pas rejects move into Sierra Madre and they are so desperate for status that they want to change Sierra Madre into a uptopia of their misguided vision and desire to be "somebody" of social significance, mainly because these same people would be "nobody" in the cities they couldn't afford or would never be accepted in the social elite of those cities. So they try to create it in Sierra Madre and slam their way into every event or social gathering in the city, especially for political purposes or in the case of Buchanan and Mosca, to create a lame look look look at me legacy, serve their obnoxious egos and also benefit their employers.

    So, we get a series of Council's that lie to us and create completely false doomsday scenerios such as the implosion of our water pipes to hide projects like Buchanan's 7 million dollar library or a remodel of city hall?

    The next Council election, if anybody running has a laundry list of "civic" accomplishments that started upon moving into town or was created in a few years before running for Council, such as "Little League President Dynasty", I'm not voting for them.

    It's time we had character back on the council like Zimmerman or Watts and not candiates who lie to us and only want to benefit themsevles or their friends...ala Josh Moran.

  5. Buchanan will whimper and cry about losing the Post Office and make a long winded boring speech about the demise of tradition, but secretly he will be happy because he can move forward with the same slop he has been puking for the last six years of catering to multi use complexes, parking garages and whatever else he can get a photo op with and benefit his employer.


  6. Anonymous at 7:08!

    What a great post! You called it perfectly!
    Thanks for posting!

  7. 7:10 - yep. the crocodile tears will flow. Better get a mop and bucket.

  8. It always come back to water and development.

  9. SBOC is an initiative "Station/Branch Optimization Consolidation Intiative, briefly from 2009, The Postal Regulatory Commission on its website boldly boasts a "strategic plan"
    click on that button and you will see the post office on the federal level has joined the UN's happy go not so lucky for us march into budget cutting, you have to see it for yourself.

    I never mess with the Postmaster General, it is out of your hands, no rally will help. It is federal and frankly like the little city woman in the duster and curlers with a broom says to Danny Glover when he shows her his badge tells her he is a policeman and the predator monster has fled the apartment, She replies "I don't think he gives a shite"; they won't listen if the decision has been made.

    If the CRA owns one piece of property they basically own the other. Through eminent domain
    or closed session negociations.

  10. Read between the pipes! When the list of projects for our water needs emerged I thought the need for a million $ pipe line from the San Gabriel Water District to Sierra Madre sounded like something of a scam. When explainations were offered it was reported that the large pipe line was to "replenish water to our settling ponds".

    Pooey. There are scheemers out there that realize that water is becoming a major revenue source if you can control the way it is moved around and set the price for those receiving it you can achieve a rewarding return on your borrowed investment. It will be a short step to extend the large pipe line to our resevoirs up the hill and what a money maker for someone. Who do you think that will that be?

    If a bond issue is a must then it would be better spent developing and creating our own water capacity for present and future needs. Perhaps we can then sell some to Arcadia and the San Gabriel Water District, and reverse the scam.

    Someone is doing a lot of scheeming to capture our water supply and make a lot of money in the process.

  11. Mayberry's movers and shakers have been busy behind the scenes. Or is that under the rocks with the rest of the crawly things. So much that goes on in town that never seems to get aired out in City Council meetings. The peoples business seems to be a closely held secret. Do we change our name to Brown Town?

  12. The new name of the Tattler should be "The Only Place in Town" becasue it is the only place we find out what is happening. I bet some council members are also kept in the dark about many matters. Just look back at the bond mess.

  13. No water. No post office. No 91024.

  14. All the other news sources in town seem to believe it is their job to keep John and Joe's dirty secrets. If we're going to change some names Henderson's paper needs to be called The Mountains Views News Suppressor.

  15. I just read between the lines and what I saw ius we're losing our post office so that the Montecito Development whatevers can build at Howie's.

  16. I think the chances of Montecito Development bringing pressure on the USPS/Federal Government to close a Post Office may be a stretch, but then you never know, do you?

  17. Sierra Madre has no say in whether we keep our post office or not. But, IF the post office closes there will be lots to say about the land it is on and the building it occupies. We should keep a close watch on what is happening. It will be vitally important to elect TWO council members in 2012 to keep a massive development from being built in that area. From what I understand it takes 4 council members to vote on selling city property.

  18. From the Star News today: Arcadia approved their General Plan Update to include an increased downtown mixed use zone. It will allow buildings to be built to 45 feet from 40 and allowable commercial square footage has doubled in the area designated for mixed use.

    "Henry Nunez, a developer and former Arcadia resident whose office is located in the city, believes the plan doesn't go far enough to support growth in the city." "Nunez, who was part of the General Plan Advisory Committee involved in the update process, said he plans to challenge the revised General Plan in court."

    Is this what we have to look forward to if our GPU does not go far enough for the builders and developers?

  19. Water Search, still looking wetlandsNovember 18, 2010 at 1:00 PM

    HR 1495, It is a big document..

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of
    the United States of America in Congress assembled,
    (a) SHORT TITLE.—This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Water
    Resources Development Act of 2007’’.
    (b) TABLE OF CONTENTS.—The table of contents for this Act

    go to Section 5050

    (a) COMPREHENSIVE PLAN.—The Secretary, in consultation and
    coordination with appropriate Federal, State, and local entities,
    shall develop a comprehensive plan for the management of water
    resources in the Raymond Basin, Six Basins, Chino Basin, and
    San Gabriel Basin, California. The Secretary may carry out activities
    identified in the comprehensive plan to demonstrate practicable
    alternatives for water resources management.
    (b) OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE.—The non-Federal share of
    the cost of operation and maintenance of any measures constructed
    under this section shall be 100 percent.
    (c) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.—There is authorized
    to be appropriated to carry out this section $5,000,000.
    (a) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary, in cooperation with the Port

  20. Who owns the property the post office is on now?

  21. The post office is sitting on land that is covered by Measure V.
    The boundary does a kind of jigjag, but that land is clearly included.


  22. deja vu all over againNovember 18, 2010 at 1:48 PM

    12:39, Henry Nunez has come up on this blog before.
    This is from true/slant:

    "...take a look at 51-year-old real estate developer Henry Nunez. Following in the tradition of civil rights leaders like Gandhi and King, Nunez has gone on a hunger strike. For the better part of a week, in advance of a city council election in his home city of Arcadia, California, Nunez claims to not have eaten a thing.
    “I’m not a freak,” he told the Pasadena News-Star. “I’m an educated man. I’m not a radical. I’m a conservative.”
    He’s also absolutely shameless. What is Nunez fighting for, you may wonder?
    To put his chosen candidates on the city council — so they can change the city density code to allow for five-story buildings instead of the current three. Yes, this man is hunger striking over the zoning code.
    As you could probably guess, Nunez isn’t some kind of eccentric architectural advocate — he stands to make a killing from such a zoning change."

  23. We residents have to watch everything.
    The councils for the last decade have been, with a brief respite of sanity for a couple of years, untrustworthy.
    We know that the mayor is a liar, and that a pro-development majority is in power.
    We have to respond accordingly.

  24. 12:25 makes a great point. We can make sure Measure V is enforced, and if we have to organize a citizens' protest to block big parking lot changes and/or structures, we can do that too.

  25. Don't you think that Arcadia had a consultant for their GP update? They are in much better financial shape that Sierra Madre is because they have had a series of responsible councils, so they probably hired the best. And that best consultant gets extra special gold stars in Sacramento for those five additional feet of height, and double square foot area in mixed use.

  26. 1:24 If you go to the L A County Assessors' site, you can request that information. The Assessor's Office will get back to you in a couple of days with the property owners contact information. I suggest that you ask for the post office location 65 S Baldwin #5767-024-039 and the empty lot next door #5767-024-030. The lot is listed as vacant land and the post office is commercial. The post office is on a double lot. The total sq footage for all three lots is 22,500 sq ft.- just over a half aacare. (6 condos per Measure V.

    Let us know what you find out.

  27. Sir Eric, I think it may be wackadoodle to suggest that end of the last century councils maneuvered the EPA in order to one day ease us into the MWD pipe on Grandview, mostly because we have to ask:
    Were they really that clever?

    OK so maybe.

    This is after all the town where somebody poisoned Gutzon Borglum's dogs.

  28. The night that the council approved the MWD hook up, the guy who has become the symbol of all things bad in our government, Mr. Doyle, was the speaker for the hook-up. The newly seated Mosca voted yes. It may not be apparent now, but that decision ended Joe's career.

  29. sick of shenanigansNovember 18, 2010 at 2:22 PM

    The larger economic collapse stopped many terrible ideas, the MWD hook-up among them. For a while.

  30. Something else to watch: tonight the Planning Commission will hear the application for a home on Camillo in the Hillside Management Zone. There's a Variance request also. This is the return of this project after the PC turned it down. It has gone from 3,948 square feet to 3,648. Also, maybe the applicant and or applicant's lawyer and or architect have learned not to say there is no ridge.
    The applicant is Dexter Camillo LLC, 11819 Goldring Road #C, Arcadia and or Charles Huang.
    Staff is recommending approval.

  31. omg, google Dexter Corporation Arcadia CA and look at past projects.

  32. The settling basins have not collected water to be "settled" from Little Santa Anita in the last two and a half months. The grass at the bottom is growing nice and green. In the past there was water being collected in the top two settling ponds and now they have reeds and plants growing in the silt making them less affective as settling basins. The lower ponds are cleaned out. Water is an issue and these resources, these ponds, need to be maintained.

  33. At the first hearing about the Camillo mansion the applicant slipped up and say something like This home is just for us, for our family, and then a little later, We always try to build the homes as large as possible, for our family. I couldn't tell if he is building to flip or for himself.

  34. 3:20 the project came to the commission lawyer first.
    What does that tell you?

  35. On the Dexter Corporation website, under current projects, single family homes are listed - but the first one has a "sold out" on it, like it would for condos or other larger developments. The Sierra Madre house is down the list a ways with Summer 2011 next to it. Available then? Building then?
    Pretty confident about tonights outcome.

  36. Thanks for the heads up. It will be very interesting to see just how effective the new and improved Hillside Management Zone Ordinance is.

  37. The square footage of some of the Dexter houses:
    The Camillo one doesn't have the square footage listed. Maybe because it is in process - maybe because it is embarrassingly small for them.

  38. Hillside mansions are good for Sierra Madre.
    Just ask John Buchanan.

  39. Don't forget that the Planning Commission can only do what the rules say. If that big honking house fits in the rules, they'll have to approve it.

  40. With tears in my eyesNovember 18, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    Good bye and good luck. "Zenyatta heading to her old, Kentucky home."

  41. Whatever happens with that house on Camillo will happen with all the houses at Stonehouse and Carter.

  42. I loved to watch Z race.

  43. Closing our post office, and forcing the entire town to drive out of town to mail a letter is not very green

  44. Yes indeed 4:16. Anything Dexter development gets away with will become the precedent

  45. Good Memory Skills at 2:19
    I remember that meeting well. It was such a disappointment to find out Joe Mosca was a liar and a traitor to many of us who worked for him.
    There were only 2 residents that I remember giving brilliant arguments against Bart Doyle's master water pipe plan:

    Attorney Linda Thornton and former Mayor MaryAnn MacGillivray, who was then a private citizen. Linda and MaryAnn are truly friends of the residents of Sierra Madre. Always were and always will be.
    Sure can't say the same for Joe Mosca.

  46. I've heard that the Shenanigan Shuttle will now be taking people to the Gold Line where they can then ride two stops to the Pasadena Post Office. The future looks bright!

  47. The Sierra Madre Planning Commission rocks.

  48. SM dodged another bullet - so farNovember 18, 2010 at 9:13 PM

    The planning commissioners are good stewards, and the HMZ ordinance and the HMZ design guidelines give them good support.

  49. For many decades Sierra Madre had the reputation of being committed to preserving the character of the town, and so the developers of the 4,000 square foot single family homes stayed away. They filled the rest of the San Gabriel Valley where they could. With the invention of Stonegate and Stonehouse, they've come to the Sierra Madre hillsides.

    Well that was not a slam dunk for developers tonight. If you want to build here, there are certain rules you must follow.

    So Sir Eric, a few more questions to add to your article today:
    What will the Dexter Corporation be putting up on their website about the Camillo house now?
    Who actually IS the applicant?
    Wonder what Capital Source thinks about the principled Planning Commission?