And there are worker productivity issues to be dealt with as well. Because out of the 3 plus something hours taken up by this conclave only a relatively modest amount of progress was established. Which just goes to show that for some people an audience can be a dangerous distraction.
If 5 is company, is 9 a crowd?
But not to worry, things will probably lack for any level of real intensity until the GPUSC gets to the Land Use portion of the General Plan. Since the previous GP held out the possibility of accommodating 23,000 residents, and some current elected officials would not be averse to this City reaching this Calcutta level of density due to the implicit development possibilities, well, you can imagine the tension that will create. I personally can't wait.
Trust me, things will get very exciting then. But let's get back to the meeting just past.
The first big chunk of time was spent with each of the GPUSC members present sharing their impressions and reminisces of the Town Hall Forum held at the YAC a few weeks back. Here is a sampling of what the attending Committee members had to communicate on the matter:
Ed Miller/Land Use Table: A "great" event, he was surprised at the turnout and the enthusiasm of the civilians attending. Ed took notes of some of the comments made by those attending and here is what the people suggested:
1) Trees in the Canyon need trimming to reduce fire hazard.
2) Leaf blowers make too much noise.
3) The demise of the KFC chicken shack is a painful tragedy for our community.
4) Montecito area should be set aside for low income.
5) Orange Grove resident complained about ruck and motorcycle noise after 10 pm.
6) Empty lot of Sierra Madre Place should be used for community garden or senior housing.
7) We need an outreach program to attract businesses.
8) Encourage mixed-use downtown.
9) In new construction square footage should not include the basement.
10) Encourage solar power.
11) No high density in residential neighborhoods.
12) Should not reopen examination of One Carter or Stonehouse.
13) Farmers Market should be out in the open.
Leslee Hinton/Community Services, Recreation & Parks, Library: Leslee noted that that "several people came up and wanted to see the new General Plan." People didn't understand that this was still a work in progress being developed with residents' concerns and input. Here are the attendee comments she jotted down at the Forum:
1) Some wanted more parks.
2) Some wanted fewer parks.
3) Someone wanted a "pocket park" ripped out.
4) More adult recreation.
5) Solar panels on pumps to cut down on the cost of water.
6) Many comments from residents who liked the Library the way it is now.
7) More community gardens.
8) One person wanted an ordinance to keep cats indoors.
John Hutt found the Forum to be "fantastic." He liked seeing new and different people and found the interactive peripatetic format to be to his liking. What he heard:
1) Concern and caring, diversity of solutions offered.
2) Not having so much development that would cause more traffic.
3) No stop light.
4) More parking, no in lieu parking or parking meters.
5) Economic development in downtown.
6) Lingering anger over Measure V and DSP.
7) Encourage business friendly environment.
8) A "little hotel" would encourage economic development downtown.
9) A neighborhood versus a real town.
Ken Anhalt/Public Safety thought that the "interest was very good, very satisfying." People made these comments to him:
1) Downtown crosswalks are dangerous.
2) If cars are parked on the street above Windsor Lane emergency and trash vehicles can't navigate.
3) Approximately a dozen people complained about water issues.
4) Overall people seemed very positive about Sierra Madre.
5) There were so many people in attendance table signs could not be seen.
Colin Braudrick regretted missing the Forum and he has received a steady stream of communication from those residents who attended.
Teryl Willis/Treasures, Seniors, Dark Sky was pleasantly shocked at the turnout. The people she spoke with said the following:
1) Congratulated the Outreach Team for getting the word out.
2) Residents spoke about creating historic districts.
3) Complaints about St. Rita's bright lights at night.
4) People were very glad to have a chance to have their voices actually heard.
A subcommittee was formed that would include Denise Delmar, Ken Anhalt, Wendy Davis and Anita Delmer that would use the comments and suggestions received at the Town Hall Forum (along with e-mails and items from the City Hall suggestion box), to begin work on the guiding document. This would be known as the Visioning Principles Report (or Viper). This subcommittee will begin meeting in the next few weeks.
The big challenge that was put out is how best to create the next Town Hall Forum. The bar is now set high and this presents a certain creativity challenge in designing. April or May would be the likely time for this next event, with a venue to be chosen in January. Ed Miller, John Hutt and Colin Braudrick will work as a subcommittee and come back with the theme.
Community Outreach Program - The Committee reviewed information and came up with the following:
A) Stakeholder have been identified and Communications Team outreach will be performed by Team Liaisons. Much more will be heard about the "Stakeholder Ambassador Program"when unveiled at the next Town Hall Forum.
B) Local artists will be challenged with creating a logo design which would complement a yet to be identified slogan for the GPUSC. An honorarium of $2,500 will go to Friends of the Arts on behalf of the artist whose design was selected. Logo will be presented at the next meeting.
Work Program: At this time the Committee reviewed Chapter 3 of the 1996 GP, which covers Hazard Prevention. In particular Fire Safety along with Floods and Landslides. Procedural issues were also discussed at some length. Seismic Safety and Noise being identified as the next to be discussed.
Auto Aid versus Mutual Aid was discussed by Mayor Mosca and Chief Heydorf. Heydorf wanted more equipment, Mosca talked about more training. Nothing was resolved, though the discussion lingered.
Brief remarks were made by Public Works Director Bruce Inman about floods and landslides especially in light of the current situation with the debris removal at Santa Anita Dam.
Later concerns about the slowness of the Work Program's progress were heard. In the future this portion of GPUSC meetings will be moved to the beginning of the meeting so that efficient progress can be made in what is basically the nuts and bolts of the operation. The need for more frequent gatherings was agreed upon, with Sunday "Special Meetings" being agreed upon as a good solution. The first one would be held on Sunday, February 13 from starting at 1 o'clock.
The issue on scheduling again seems to be the requirement of having time-challenged and meeting-rich City Staff present to carefully monitor the nine committee members. Which seems rather paternal to this observer. I honestly don't see any of the people on this Committee as potential pencil thieves. They all seem like good and upstanding citizens capable of bearing this great burden without professional supervision.
In One Sentence: Three hours and 10 minutes of the peoples' business was conducted at a most stately and convivial pace.
Bonus Coverage - Interesting article over on The Patch this morning. "Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association to Investigate Sierra Madre Prop 218 Process." Looks like Mosca's mismanagement is starting to draw a crowd. And is anyone surprised that Sandi Levin is saying that everything was done correctly? What is she going to do, come out and say she screwed up? Click here to read more.