Assemblyman Donnelly, who normally doesn't do the awards thing because it is just way too overdone by all the usual political suspects (example: think of the vast forests of trees that are felled annually to print the awards given out at our City Council meetings), sang John's praises before a very appreciative crowd of around 100 people. And then handed out a very handsome plaque commemorating John's bravery in saving the life of a child. The attached picture pretty much says it all. It was a great occasion with the best of company, and a good time was had by all.
The Happenings @ This Evening's City Council Meeting
The news is that Councilmember Josh Moran will not be in personal attendance this evening due to some important high level meetings he has been holding with Congressman David Dreier in Washington DC. Apparently Josh had been summoned to Washington by the Congressman, with Dreier perhaps hoping to improve his understanding of the important matters currently taking place in Sierra Madre. Air Force 6 & 1/2 picked the Councilman up at an undisclosed secure location out in the desert, and then whisked him off to Dulles Airport. From there a small fleet of black minivans hustled him straight into Washington's innermost circles of power.
Actually, very little of what I've just said above is even remotely true. Congressman Dreier, like most people holding elective office in Congress, occasionally conducts vanity cattle calls for minor elected officials from his home district, inviting them to his WDC offices for pictures to send back to the folks in Duckburg. Josh was apparently the only elected official from Sierra Madre to attend this year, though all could have gone had they chosen to do so. But I'm sure there were plenty of folks from other cities who went. Many finding such a brush with greatness irresistible.
I just hope we didn't have to pay any airfare.
The City Council meeting kicks off with the ancient rites, plus there will be a few presentations as well. The Mayor will lead in the pledge of allegiance, then inspire us with some deep thoughts on cosmic matters. Then all will be silent for a moment. Then they'll start talking again. Then a lot of presentations will be conducted and awards given out. Hands will be shaken and pictures taken.
After that a lot of money will be spent. Around $560,000 this time around, mostly in salaries. CRA, Library, City Warrants, all that rhythm will also feel the cool green rush of money. It's how they roll.
A couple of notable items from the Consent Calendar. Apparently we need to spend $91,000 on GAC. GAC, which de-euphemized means Granular Activated Carbon, is used to strain nasty things out of our drinking water. Something that takes place in those bulbous looking white Siemens tanks off to the side of Heasely Field. After two separate bidding processes this is the best price we could get for our precious GAC. The time has come for us to renew our supplies.
You will also be relieved to know that we are once again a part of the Regional Terrorism Information Integration System. Or at least we are being watched over by the participating agencies in said RTIIS. This is something run by the equally ominous sounding Los Angeles Regional Integrated Law and Justice Project. Vigilance truly is the price of Liberty. And then there are government agencies that attempt to duplicate that.
New playground equipment recently purchased for the regal sum of $73,000 in CRA funding is now ordered and on its merry way to Memorial Park. This equipment includes swings, a rock climbing wall, plus a not very long slide. But since this is for the enjoyment of the 2 to 5 year old set, maybe that is all we need.
Heritage Housing Partners, the folks who want to build all kinds of stylish low income housing at 186 W. Highland, now have an exclusive opportunity to present Sierra Madre with their plans for constructing just that sort of thing. During this period of time we will remain true to Heritage and not talk with any of the other developers. The problem facing Heritage is that they had wanted to build 16 units, while the local residents are only going to put up with 3 of them. How that will pencil out for Heritage is anybody's guess, but with only three units to build this matter might end up a victim of fiscal reflux.
Item 3 is reasonably interesting. Dr. Sami, who is not happy with the CRA paying for only 30% of the fees incurred by him through the expansion of his celebrated medical facilities on Sierra Madre Boulevard, is now asking for 70% of the fees to come out of our property taxes. Something that is not sitting very well with some, while others aren't quite so bothered. My take is Dr. Sami is probably a passing fair poker player who knows how to bluff the folks on the other side of the table.
Dr. Sami's contention is that since he is enhancing the promise of better medical care for Sierra Madre, plus hiring the skilled medical specialists to make this all happen, he shouldn't be forced to pay the astronomical public facility fees Sierra Madre charges people hoping to do that sort of thing here. There are many who go to Dr. Sami for medical care, and he is especially popular with parents and their kids. And apparently if he doesn't get his way on this he might pack up his tongue depressors and go build elsewhere.
Look at it this way. The City is spending huge sums of our tax money on Farmer's Market II, a consultant parking study, plus a study of people's shopping habits. How about we just cut out a couple of those and give Dr. Sami the break he is looking for? The City charges absurdly high "public facilities" fees and then partially subsides them with tax money, on the other hand it will squander absurd amounts of cash on something like a consultant report on how people park their cars. All in the name of helping the business people who have to pay those crazy fees. Things are just that out of whack here.
Item #4 is a discussion on redistricting. The success of two recent state propositions showed the discontent the voters have with gerrymandered Congressional Districts, along with equally bizarre State Senate and Assembly Districts as well. Oftentimes in California these are political safe havens specially designed by the political parties to guarantee their control over certain districts into perpetuity. In order to counteract this a special panel of civilian volunteers was chosen to redesign every such district in California, and big changes to the political landscape could be coming soon.
Some might find this topic dull, but look for Joe Mosca to show some intense interest. Rumor has it that our possible future Assembly district could be of some special concern to him, and tonight's discussion might offer some unintentionally given insight into his dreams of greater political glory.
SCAG and the general anarchy of California's planning regime will get another airing out this evening. As things now stand the state has empowered itself to the point where it can go into any town in California and tell their victims exactly where and how we need to build things. With SCAG, of course, the planning regime tasked with designing the end result of Sacramento's will. They could order us to build whatever they want on our hillsides, and could push aside Measure V and drop a nuclear bomb on our downtown. Planning authority that has traditionally rested with individual towns is now in the hands of central planners who couldn't care less about what people believe is right for their towns.
As an aside, does anyone remember where it is that SCAG head Hasan Ikhrata got his start in the central planning racket? The Soviet Union. According to his biography he helped to make the Moscow Metro run on time. I'm certain he is an ideal fit at SCAG.
And in a final flourish to this evening's proceedings, the City Council liaison appointments to a few commissions and organizations will take place. The L.A. Sanitation District, San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments (now under investigation for screwing up some contracts, by the way) and the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority are all up for grabs. Hopefully those given these positions will actually go to the meetings.