Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Week Of Agendas: The Tattler Previews Tonight's City Council Confab

Meeting No. 2 this week just happens to be the second City Council gathering for March. There are only two of them every month, and unless my math is off late April is when Joe Mosca will have to hang up his golden crown and move out of the middle seat. So this could be his next to last meeting as Mayor. How quickly the days have flown by.

Whether he willingly goes back to being a regular old City Council member, or demands to become Mayor Pro Tem once again, remains to be seen. That this would be a break with the whole succession tradition thing he flogged so hard when he wanted to be Mayor previously is obvious. But I don't see that stopping the ambitious Mr. Mosca should he determine that just being a Councilman no longer suits him. And look at it this way, should he step down and then abide by tradition, Joe will have finished his only turn as Mayor in his 8 years on the Council. Which, coupled with a paucity of sustainable accomplishment during his one term, won't look so good on his resume.

This also means John Buchanan will soon become Mayor for the last time. Unless, of course, he too breaks with all Sierra Madre tradition and runs for a third term. Which, given the low caliber replacements he would be leaving behind, must nag at his conscience at least a little bit. Look at it this way, would you want to live out the rest of your days knowing that you left almost 11,000 people in such a lurch?

But so much for The Restoration and its consequences. We do have to deal with the issues facing the City Council this evening. From the Consent Calendar $535,000 will be spent on many fine things. City Warrants, the Library, employee salaries and, of course, the Community Redevelopment Agency will get its inevitable cut as well. Hopefully for one of the last times ever.

Also on the Consent Calendar is what will hopefully be a final vote - and approval - for the Canyon Zone Ordinance. I cannot think of any possible way that the Angry Handymen can stop this one from being approved. Their moment of opportunity has passed, and despite the energetic arguments put forth by these hardy gentlemen of sweat and toil, history has now moved on and left them in its dusty wake. City Staff has requested that the Council wrap this one up and move on. But you just never know. Stranger things have happened in Sierra Madre.

The Sierra Madre Room is completed, and the City Council has been asked to say it is so. They should all be able to handle the task. The world's most complicated utility pole raising will also be considered once again. Apparently it is going to take a little longer to put it into the ground than it did to grow it. And then a Congregational Church request for a fee waiver is going to be shot down. Or so City Staff recommends. Which means the Downtown Specific Church is on a bit of losing streak this week. Should we all be worried about lightning?

Item #2 is some lobbyist driven Southern California Edison initiative designed to promote the money making propositions that they want us all to fall for. Entitled the "Long-Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan," this is where they hope to force us to pay out the nose to make our town and homes energy efficient and green. All done with the selfless assistance of City Hall. This is a kind of first pass on this stuff, but you know it will be back. With an Edison employee about to become Mayor, you have to figure that they got this thing (pardon the pun) wired.

Item #3 is where Fiscal Year 2011-2013 budget priorities will be identified and discussed. The is all part of the run up to May 4th when the full budget will be put before the City Council. Which will probably be right around the time Mayor John Buchanan announces that we have fallen into truly dire economic circumstances and the only thing that will save us from an imminent and final destruction is to sell millions of dollars in new bonds.

Item #4 is obliquely entitled Request For Proposal For General Plan Update Technical Support. If you're as dumb as a post (or write for Patch) you probably find this sort of language to be very impressive. But what this really is all about is identifying just how much cash needs to be handed over to some consultant to do the Environmental Impact Report for the new General Plan. City Staff's assumption being that the General Plan Update Steering Committee would never be able to do this all by themselves, and therefore we'll need to spend God knows how much treasure to get someone to paste one together for us. An atrocious waste of our tax money, and one the G4 Council will gladly shell out vast quantities of City treasure to enable.

Item #5 has something to do with a Public Safety Report. I'm not certain but I think that this report will state that running with scissors, or driving your car with your feet, is dangerous and people should be strongly discouraged from doing that sort of thing. But I could be wrong.

Item #6 will see to the resurrection of the Frankenstein's monster of City initiatives, the Farmers Market. This mythological creature died from neglect the last time we had one around, and there is absolutely no reason to bring it back now. If people really wanted a Farmers Market then the one we had last year would still be in business. The Community Services Commission tried to kill it, but since the big spenders on the City Council desperately need a place to plow some of their at risk CRA funds into, it is back. This is a classic example of how the G4 Council can't help spending more money on the same old bad ideas.

One more thought. Were those guys you saw at our old Farmers Market really farmers? Or were they just dudes hired by some guy who bought a bunch of vegetables at a downtown food distributor and then had them sell the stuff here, and at vastly higher prices? You can get the exact same stuff at Albertsons, and at half the cost. So how does paying almost double for the same cabbage from some fellow wearing overalls in a parking lot enrich your life?

And you do know how much we'd be forced to pay off duty SMPD to guard these vegetables, right? Who don't work cheap I'll have you know.

Item #7 is all about SCAG and the Community Economic and Human Development (CEHD) Committee. The CEHD being where they cook up the RHNA numbers that result in things like the demand that we build so-called low income housing on Highland, or flophouses for the homeless on Montecito.

Interesting fact: Do you know where the head of SCAG, Hasan Ikhrata, originally got his career start in the planning game? Would you believe the Soviet Union? I kid you not. He studied at a Soviet engineering school and then worked for Moscow Metro where hopefully he made the trains run on time. Welcome to the exciting world of Eastern European SSR inspired central planning, California style.

Last Night's Community Service's Commission Scorecard

The 4th of July Committee financial investigation was put off until a future date. Though Elisa Weaver did say that The Committee is meeting very soon to figure out how to raise some more money. Which they are going to need to do. Last year's total parade expenses came to a whopping $12,872, while only $8,251 was taken in. With over $5,000 of it being spent for live music. Not exactly the best fiscal management, though I'm sure the bands enjoyed having a paying gig.

There will be no Memorial Park bandshell amplification for the Congregational Church this Easter, which means the rest of us will be able to sleep off our chocolate bunny hangovers in peace. A prefab restroom was approved for behind City Hall, but this was pretty much an exercise in desperation. The Gang of 4 is aching to spend a bunch of CRA money on Memorial Park restrooms, and they will do it no matter what anyone else says. Otherwise Jerry Brown would just abscond with all that cash and squander it on schools, universities, and taking care of the sick and the aged. All things that experienced medieval budget cuts in Sacramento last week.

And we certainly can't let that happen, right?

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

56 comments:

  1. Thank you for the preview.It appears that the cabal has decided to dispatch the trivia and push the "Real Agenda"..Downtown Redevelopment including low income and flop housing.They feel the pressure ..it should be entertaining..

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  2. One good thing about housing homeless people on Montecito is that it will improve attendance at some of the Chamber of Commerce downtown events. Friday Night Live will never be the same.

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  3. Did you say,aching to spend money on restrooms in the Park?Is this not,perhaps,to accommodate the increased number of laborers who will be looking for work when the anticipated Redevelopment project begins!

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  4. Somewhat scepticalMarch 22, 2011 at 7:22 AM

    Whether the GangO4 passes the Canyon Ordinance tonight is up for considerable debate. Their readiness to rework the Advisory Committee's recommendations seems all too apparent. Their knuckling under to bogus arguments put forth by a small knot of people who make their money through selling, developing, and building real estate in the Canyon is all too obvious. We will see if 28 years of trying to get some protection for the Canyon will be realized.

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  5. I think the only thing certain about the passing of the crown is that it won't be going to MaryAnn.

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  6. You are right 7:22. Canyon real estate has been hustled by Josh Moran and his mom as well as Greg Prout for a long long time. If people in the Canyon think that those of their ilk are going to give up the gravy train they're dreaming. They don't care about the environment. They don't care about health and safety. They care about squeezing money out of "land".

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  7. Josh seems to be the lone ranger on the canyon question. His arguments were so idiotic even Joe declined to discuss them. My guess is this gets passed tonight and the G4 Wind Farm uses it to buttress their claim of caring about preservation. A distraction that they hope will serve them well as they gut Montecito and Highland.

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  8. Item #2 - could it be that Edison was behind the Mountain West push poll?

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  9. I love the good old fashioned hometown celebration where the volunteers come out to help their city have a good time -- looks like it didn't happen in Sierra Madre though with over $12,000 in expenses. We should do without three days of celebration and have a 4th of July to remember. Maybe not, I'm probably dreaming the "Music Man" mentality again.

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  10. Good point. It might be that the push poll is being conducted by a few corporate parties to support the work of their lobbyists on the city council.

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  11. There was no response yesterday to a question about the documents that regulate the city council. Does that mean that no one knows, or that no one cares?

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  12. Herbal - I think they're called laws.

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  13. Herbal, I for one am appalled at the reach of the council.
    There are necessary functions: water dept., plan checks, receiving reports from the commissions (and then doing what the commissions recommend), providing fire and safety services, taking care of the small details - but where did all this intense involvement in developing the town come from? The 'branding', spending money on consultants to tell town what to be. Needs to be eliminated from the council's 'to do' list.
    They can evaluate projects brought before them, but they should not be soliciting them, or in any other way encouraging them. Stick to the guidelines the citizens provide.

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  14. What is happening with the Hildreth's situation on East Montecito? Is it their place that is slated for the homeless shelter? How come we never hear about them?

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  15. 7:36, I see you are familiar with the way Sierra Madre politics have been played for the last few decades. The Canyon Zone absolutely will be used as "See how much we love to preserve?"

    Well good anyway. That zone has been needed for a long time. And anyone can still build a monument to themselves up there - they just need to buy enough land to do it and stop trying to squeeze those big houses on small plots that ruin their neighbors views and property values.

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  16. 9:08, could you by any chance do some investigating and then post what you find out?

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  17. channel 3 watcherMarch 22, 2011 at 9:27 AM

    Tattler, you got it. This is the role Buchanan has been warming up for these last seven years, practicing and memorizing his lines, rehearsing at every council meeting:
    "Mayor John Buchanan announces that we have fallen into truly dire economic circumstances and the only thing that will save us from an imminent and final destruction is to sell millions of dollars in new bonds."

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  18. HTP @8:33, yes there are papers. There are charters and encumbrances and legal protections and pledges and requirements and writs and rights and codifications up the wazoo. This is government.

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  19. Wonder if the Edison item is a easing into greater emphasis nuclear. After all, some questions have arisen recently regarding the safety of the CA nuclear plants on the coast. But no worry.

    "A spokeswoman for Southern California Edison told lawmakers that its nuclear plant at San Onofre is similarly invulnerable to quakes and tsunami waves of up to 30 feet."

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  20. All right, all you folks in grump-grump land--I want you to imagine back to a time when there was no Sierra Madre, no County of Los Angeles, no state of California and see the native inhabitants being enslaved by the missions, the land barrons cutting our forests for their own fun and profit, water stollen upstream from downstream users long before the likes of Mulholand, the vigilantes hanging cattle and horse thieves without proof or mercy while the so called law abiding folks took in the sight for an afternoon or mirth. What a foreboding of legalized more-of-the-same-to-come.

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  21. On the other hand.looking forward in the not so distant future;Baldwin Ave and Sierra Madre Blvd looking so very much like Fair Oaks Ave.

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  22. 7:54 You may be right because one of the questions I was asked was, Should the City require City inspections on all rentals and sales to make sure all units are up to current codes for energy and water efficiency. Also asked was raising city fees.

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  23. The City has just enacted a hiring freeze. Can you believe it?

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  24. 9:24,

    I can try but that is why I posted. I don't know the Hildreth's, only heard about their problem with the city.

    Or, Why else would the city want their property?

    If the city needs a homeless shelter, I would think that it would have to be a large facility. In this city, with all the egos it would have to be big. Of course it will be billed as the "new" model of homeless shelters.

    The city and state planners could use the block of East Montecito as a testing area. To show what adding a homeless shelter does to a community without a homeless problem.

    The only hope is Jerry and no more CRA.

    Is it still one vote away?

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  25. 10:16 A hiring freeze? Now?! Amazing!
    The word has leaked out that there is an economic crisis in the country!

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  26. I would like to congratulate Mayor Mosca on completing a year highlighted by the following accomplishments: (i) requiring children to sign a July 4 parade waiver and removing the last bit of fun from the parade by outlawing waterplay and candy throwing; (ii) botching a routine water fee notice and assuring that the city will be embroiled in yet another round of litigation it can't afford, all the while tying up the increased fee in Court; (iii) botching the Highland future slum project and immediately angering every resident within 1000 yards of the quaint and historic church he is committed to destroying; and (iv) bringing the wrath of God down in the form of a Biblical flood on the date of our great City event, the Wisteria Festival.
    Joe proves what I have believed for years - liberals are just no fun. Via con Dios pe#$\%jo!

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  27. A hiring freeze is a step. But now the lay offs have to start.

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  28. The housing element is online.City web site.
    But its gobbledeegook to me.
    Is there a specific plot of land in the crosshairs?

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  29. A hiring freeze? But I thought we were ready to hire four new firemen? How will that work?

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  30. 11:11, Joe is only situationally liberal. Watch, in a month he could pull a Henderson and voila, snuggy up to the GOP.

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  31. 11:18, they may have made it in under the wire.

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  32. am i mistaken but isn't there a 4th of July Committee meeting tonight during the city council meeting and will this be open to the public

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  33. How many members are on that July 4th committe?
    $4,621 divided by the number of committee members.
    That's what they are on the hook for.

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  34. What happened at City Hall?

    Up to this point the city workers have been hell bent on spending as much as possible at every opportunity.

    Do you think that they figured out that if they didn't stop all the waste, their jobs could be in jeopardy?

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  35. hey may be if some who likes beer ran the beer garden they could make some money ,last year it was undrinkable

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  36. 11:54, they could sell Americana balloons.

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  37. It is public relations, 12:02. Nothing more than that.

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  38. just a thought but if we are using more volunteers to help with the police
    maybe we can bring back the fun and the squirt guns
    all we have to do is move those who can use deadly force to the side lines so they won't melt if hit by
    water
    that is what happens when you are made of sugar and spices and everything made nice
    plus there uniforms and asserice are not set up for water

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  39. The 4th of July Committee meeting is at 7:00 tonight at the Hart Park House (Senior Center) A couple of you might want to go and ask them to scale down the events so we can live within our means.

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  40. Maybe the 4th of July people could sell bonds. Then we could have
    a really big party! But no candy throwing. Or water fights. That would
    be bad.

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  41. Developers can pay for any parking assessments
    that is needed to be made
    that is a part of the developments cost

    so no to 50,000 being spent on parking consultants,
    if I say no to street lights and to retail chains

    why would I say yes to parking structures

    John if you do not like it here leave
    I am sure there is some urban sprawl with your name on it

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  42. Crawford, what a blow!
    The days left in Mosca's term had to be adjusted upwards?
    Argh.

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  43. Yeah, the crowning takes place on the 4th Tuesday of the month, not the second. 2 additional weeks of nothing much.

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  44. In my 24 hour poll of Tattlers the underwhelming response is that no one knows or cares what documents empower the city. Therefore, nothing will change. On the other hand, when people do know the law, they can make amendments.

    Now, yell at me for asking the question without knowing the answer. Sleep tight.

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  45. Saving the yelling for laterMarch 22, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    Looks like someone needs his or her own blog.

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  46. I thought the changing of the diapers takes place on April 1st, Fools Day

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  47. It's hard to get a clear answer when nobody has the foggiest notion of what you're talking about.

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  48. There are 6 paid city employment positions being advertised on the city website, and two volunteer. What's this about a hiring freeze?

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  49. Maybe they'll be working in unheated offices.

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  50. I never thought of Joe Mosca as being a liberal. I've found him to be much more of a corporatist, and therefore a creature of the right. His alliances are not with the people, but with big money, corporate power and government. Which is the unholy alliance that now governs California. Remember, political correctness is corporate virtue. In a world where everyone is a customer, what difference does sexual or racial identity make? Just as long as you buy something.

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  51. Hey I'm a liberal Democrat (a lot of fun), very ethical and I dispise Joe Mosca. His being registered Democrat has absolutely nothing to do with his credibility or ethics. Zilch, nada, kosong!

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  52. There are a lot of different kinds of Democrats. We have the bad ones.

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  53. So far, the Tattler preview has proven to be far more interesting than anything that has been said tonight.

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  54. When Mosca claims he gets calls about a matter, how can anyone believe him?

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  55. A lot of people are very upset because they can't buy carrots outdoors.

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  56. Just the facts mam...April 1, 2011 at 8:09 AM

    I love April Fools day.

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