Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Your Rather Matter-Of-Fact City Council Meeting Report

"They are working on guiding principles, which are principles that guide." - Yogi Berra initiate Joe Mosca speaking about the General Plan Update Steering Committee

The audio was not working on the KGEM computer feed, which means that all I got out of Josh Moran's inspirational talk was a moment of silence. Which I assume was followed by another moment of silence. However, I found no real peace in this.

After angrily shaking my fist in the direction of Monrovia, I called the Gemsters (several times) and asked them what's up. They assured me that their finest technicians were working on the problem. The sound never did show up. Something which led to my kids losing their evening's X-Box session after I moved my operation over to the TV set. It was a lesson in life's vagaries for the boys, I'm afraid. I can only hope that they were not emotionally scarred by this loss.

MaryAnn MacGillivray spoke about how the General Plan Steering Committee is looking for volunteers to participate in gathering data to support a vision for the City. The data they gather would go to the consultants as they write the Technical Background Report, or TBR in acronymic. Photos of cityscapes, landscapes, tree shapes, historical landmarks, whatever it is that you as a volunteer might love about this town could then be included. Things that you would hope will last and be shared with those who follow us to this slice of paradise upside the foothills. Plus noise censors are going to be used, with devices to be placed in the yards of volunteers hoping to monitor their noisy neighbors.

(Debbie Sheridan later spoke from the podium about next Monday's General Plan volunteers' meeting, to be held at City Hall. There will be pizza served, which is how they get you for these things. The stuff is like the bait in a mouse trap. After Debbie finished discussing that meeting, Joe Mosca said, "Good job, Deb!")

MaryAnn also spoke about the COG Executive Committee meeting about RHNA. She noted that we are not the only City faced with a RHNA impossibility. But all is not lost as there are cities that might actually want our low/mod income housing numbers. MaryAnn is hoping The COG will step up here and help cities like ours engineer RHNA swaps that would allow other cities to assume our numbers. Who knows, The COG might actually do something useful.

Nancy Walsh named 8 different meetings (we counted) that she attended over the last couple of weeks. However, outside of attending these meetings, she had little to say about what went on at them. Beyond the fact that she was there, which I guess was plenty in her mind. Nancy did note that the COG meeting she went to lasted from 8AM to 1PM. Hopefully she brought a seat cushion and an iTouch.

Joe Mosca made the startling announcement that his office hours will be whenever you want them to be. This was a follow-up to his previous announcement regarding the many phone calls and emails he had received about the inconvenience of his previous office hours. Maybe his long and lonely hours spent feeding the pigeons in Kersting Court are over, and with new hours someone will want to stop by and talk to him. Anybody know any Jehovah's Witnesses we can send his way?

Josh Moran noted that events in the park are a lot of fun. He also pointed out that one should not bring explosives, ammunition or radioactive materials to the E-Waste Collection event coming up soon.

John Buchanan attended the Mayor's breakfast, which he liked. He also said nice things about Fire and Policemen, thanking them for keeping us safe. No word leaked out anywhere from the secret negotiations taking place between the Police Officers Association and the City.

Public Comment was next, which, as Joe might put it, is where the public comments.

Bill Coburn stepped up first to give the cheery news that the Gourmet (don't call them roach coaches) Truck Rally will take place Saturday somewhere around Memorial Park. I see half a dozen of these things parked in front of my office everyday, so obviously I haven't been feeling the frenzy over this one. However, if the idea of eating off a lunch truck on a hot August afternoon appeals to you, then have at it. After all, it was your tax money that helped subsidize this event. Local restaurants will be there to hand out coupons, which properly boiled can be eaten. But unlike these out-of-town lunch wagons, they will not be permitted to sell any real food.

Chuck Taper (Tapir?) is a Monrovian that used to live here in Sierra Madre. And now he wants to buy a building. Which is good for him I suppose, except for the problems with parking. He was hoping to somehow get the same "in lieu" deal that Dr. Sami and the Congregational Church got for being there first. Which obviously he isn't going to get. That chicken has already crossed the road. Besides, Chuck doesn't look special enough.

A woman from the Air Quality Management District stepped up to the podium. The most notable part of her appearance being that her name is Rainbow. There was no pot of gold.

Someone whose name I didn't catch, but lives in the at-risk neighborhood near Stonehouse, stepped up to let the community know that Capital Source, the latest developer to not build a house at One Carter, has been slacking off on its brush abatement duties in the area. This denizen had complained to the Fire Department about the matter, who suggested it be taken to the City Council. After this was effectively relayed, Mayor Buchanan said, "Hunh." No word yet if Joe will cite this as yet another reason to cut developer fees.

The 4th of July Parade Committee then marched to the podium to receive its award certificates for giving this blog some of its best reader traffic ever. If it wasn't for the 4JPC and Tai the Elephant the month of July probably wouldn't have been anything special for The Tattler. But because of them we set a new record for "hits," and for the first time ever received national attention for our reporting. Oh, and the whole unfortunate mishegas over the picking of the Grand Marshall? We probably shouldn't forget that, either. What a God awful mess they made of things this year. But they certainly did have some value as many people in town got to learn some important lessons about elephants and animal cruelty.

The price for repairing the City Hall roof came down $50,000. Josh Moran was exceedingly pleased about this, proudly noting that the new price was "not to exceed" $200,000. Or $50,000 less than in the previous round of bidding. Which he apparently hoped would be taken by a grateful populace as an indication that he is tough about holding the line on spending. MaryAnn and the Mayor, who know lots of things that Josh does not, were far less sanguine. Both noting that we are talking about a roofer here, and things could easily change. To which MaryAnn also added, "You have to wonder about how much these bids dropped from the first time."

Danny Castro, also known locally as the "Hero of the Canyon" by some, stepped up to give his views on our lofty solar panel fees. In particular those that grace the rooftops of businesses. Or at least some hope they will someday. Our local instance of the AOL Patch world empire had been attempting to whip this up into an issue of some controversy in town, and only stopped doing so when it became apparent that their readership prefers articles dealing with nail salons.

The Sierra Club had stuck its nose in our business about commercial solar panel fees, and it was revealed that our fees in this case were apparently higher than those in other cities. Which means that we must hate the planet. They have a different rubric for assessing these fees, and to cut this accounting mercifully short the City Council began the process of adopting it.

Joe Mosca, however, who was truly on a linguistic roll last evening, asked that if we used the Sierra Club's "fee calculator" for assessing commercial solar panel charges, "aren't we adopting somebody else's regime?" Not sure if there is an answer to that one. While Danny was attempting to make sense of Joe's new wisdom on the matter the SMTV3 camera remained on Joe, which was unfortunate. It became obvious that Joe was unaware that he was still the sole focus of TV attention.

We covered the SCAG & RHNA "12 Factors" story last Saturday, and if you wish to read some in depth and exceedingly wise reporting on the matter, I suggest you visit with the issue there. You might note that we had identified this as 13 Factors, which is because of the catch-all one that SCAG had added at the end of the related documents on their site. Which is there just in case any crafty city comes up with something SCAG didn't anticipate. That one was not included in last evening's discussion as it was somehow left off by City Staff. Maybe Staff didn't anticipate any craftiness, or had decided that if any was displayed they wouldn't stand for it.

MaryAnn MacGillivray, who is far more comfortable with complex issues than most of her colleagues, noted that SCAG (which is basically a Sacramento planning sock puppet tasked with doing the dirty work of forcing cities such as ours to incorporate lousy development we don't want), spoke up and said that it is, "impossible what they are asking us to do." That being to incorporate huge amounts of high density development. Joe Mosca then oddly noted that "Sierra Madre was never a target for TODs (Transit Oriented Design)." Odd because that is precisely what SCAG has in mind for us. Sierra Madre being well within the Gold Line "transit corridor" parameters set by SCAG as the standard for potential TOD victimhood. MaryAnn responded that we should make sure that SCAG knows that we aren't a target.

Joe then went into the longest spate of uh-ing we've heard from him in quite some time. After he had finally pulled himself together he proclaimed that we should "link our protests to the housing they would ask of us." What did that mean? My guess is he was a little irked over the possibility that a Transit Oriented Design discussion might be included in our answers to the 12 (or 13) Factors, and that he didn't want any of that sort of thing in there. For what obscure reasons we can only guess. Fortunately nobody appeared to be listening to him.

MaryAnn then pointed out some of the punitive damages that could be visited upon our little City should we displease Sacramento in our willingness to surrender our birthright to them. In particular is something known as the "Builder's Remedy." Which means that any Bob the Builder with a burning desire to erect crap development in Sierra Madre could drag the City to Court and demand that we rezone within 60 days. And every site the builder would identify as the apple of its eye could then be claimed as a place to be built upon, and would then be rezoned by the Court (not us) to suit his needs. And at our cost. This development version of an old Wild West "Hanging Court" is now California law. More proof that millions of dollars in development and Realty lobby money bought them some real sweet percs from our corrupt corporatist state government.

The meeting wrapped up with the City Manager then discussing the next City Council "retreat." I'm not certain anyone was listening to her. But if you care, then wave your arms in the air.

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50 comments:

  1. But it was so civil.

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  2. Uh, um, uh uh, um, uh uh uh, well. um, uh I uh, I would like to, uh ...

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  3. FYI Joe - The General Plan Steering Committee has NOT finished with L A N D use. They are reviewing the R2 and multi family sections of the plan. At the next meeting, one of the members will be presenting a proposal of increasing the density in the area west of the downtown on Sierra Madre Blvd to twenty (20) units per acre from thirteen (13) units per acre. Also the General Plan Steering Committee is reviewing all the zoning in the city.

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  4. If Nancy Walsh just spent half as much time talking as she does adjusting her cape we might know what she is thinking. She is in way over her head and very uncomfortable if you ask me.

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  5. Does her cape help her fly? Does she believe she can touch the sky?

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  6. No, it is her cape of invisibility.

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  7. When Nancy is not talking she is thinking about adjusting her cape. She is the epitome of transparency.

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  8. And the GPU committee member presenting the proposal to increase density would be? Let me guess. One of the Buchanan appointments to "aid" the original members in their work?

    We see the "plants" beginning their ascendency. So much for popcorn and balloons.

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  9. To be charitable to Joe, I'm not sure that he is all that focused on Sierra Madre business anymore. His run for the Assembly consuming most of his time and energy right now.

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  10. Be fair to Joe??? Have you lost your mind?
    He was elected to represent us and he doesn't.

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  11. I found the discussion Mosca initiated about Sierra Madre not being considered for transit oriented development odd indeed. What was the purpose of that? I agree with Buchanan (miraculously enough) that because of Lucky Baldwin's decisions, we do not have a freeway in our backyard so it is not handy, not easy, to make us a 'corridor', but that doesn't seem to have mattered to the RHNA gods before.
    Where was Mosca headed with that? No place good for Sierra Madre.

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  12. Remember that $670,000? Invest it in a legal defense fund to fight any Bob the Builder who wants to sue. These tools like Buchanan and Mosca always play the fear card. If they were advocates for the citizens instead of the builders, we;d have nothing to fear.

    They spend all our money on candy, and then say we have no food.

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  13. That money is gone, 8:18, to buy us back into the CRA.
    But you're sure right about the candy buying = food shortage

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  14. Mosca Explains HIs CommentAugust 10, 2011 at 8:24 AM

    "When I say we're not going to do it, I mean we are going to do it. I say we're not going to do it, so you have no reason to think you should try to stop us from doing it.

    For example, when I said I was for preservation, you believed me and elected me and then I sold you out. You are, uhm, so stupid. Thank you."

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  15. That Builders Remedy sounds like a nightmare come to life.

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  16. I agree, somethings upAugust 10, 2011 at 8:25 AM

    Mosca's and Buchanan's jabber didn't jive with their past actions.

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  17. I don't think 8:18 supposed the right thing would be done; I think she meant that's the kind of thing that could be done.

    If someone said you could be sued for causing a traffic accident, would you stop driving, or would you buy insurance.

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  18. Ma wants to know if it's all right for her to cook while the roach coaches are in town, or do I just get coupons?

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  19. Buchanan, Mosca and their puppets, have NEVER,
    EVER supported or done anything for the people of this community, unless they were downtown investors, realtors, or developers.
    The only thing they do for us, is cost us money, our security.
    The people who support Mosca and Buchanan are either fools or crooks.

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  20. Joe Mosca and John Buchanan.

    "Trust us. We've never lied to you before!"

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  21. I think we need a Sacramento Remedy.

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  22. Sacramento remedy is for them all to resignAugust 10, 2011 at 9:50 AM

    Sacramento remedy is for them all to resign said...
    Just heard the new Calif. budget Brown signed is no good. They counted on projected funds that weren't there.
    There's that damn BASE LINE ACCOUNTING AGAIN.
    It doesn't work, it never works and in this economy it's a disaster.
    ZERO LINE ACCOUNTING ONLY! Do you hear me, Sierra Madre?

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  23. Someone should tell the Hildreth’s about the Builders Remedy. They don’t have to take anyone to court they are already there.
    It does make me wonder, why is the City not working with them if all they have to do is claim that they are Bob the Builder?
    It only shows we are about to lose more money for nothing but the ego of our City Manager, bad advice from our City Attorneys and the non-involvement of the City Council
    Who wins the Hildreths and the hired gun law firm.
    What a waste of Tax Payers money.

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  24. Ma,

    You just get the coupons, cook them and serve them up!

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  25. Patch is claiming credit for the reduction of solar fees on their site today. No comments or congratulations so far.

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  26. Ah, so AOL is stepping up to be a voice of conscience for the Green Movement.
    Doesn't bode well for the Green Movement.

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  27. Mr. Coburn stressed that it was going to be 95 degrees on Saturday, and that there would be ice cream and ice trucks, but 95 degrees is really a don't go outside type of temperature. Kinda figures that could happen in August. In the San Gabriel Valley.

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  28. There will be a gourmet truck here Saturday called The Boiled Coupon. It is amazing what they do with them!

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  29. Hope the paramedics are standing by to help heat stroke victims....

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  30. Will the ice cream truck qualify to park amongst the gourmet vehicles?

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  31. MaryAnn MacGillivray is far more comfortable with complex issues because she reads the materials, she attends the meetings and she is able to analyze the information and put it in terms we, the citizens, understand. None of the others are even close. I doubt Nancy understands what goes on in the meetings she attends and that is why she never tells us what went on.

    Oh please, please MaryAnn, run again to get us through the GPU and the SCAG/RHNA era.

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  32. Can you imagine how bad things will get when Buchanan leaves and the city falls under the control of Moran, Mosca and Walsh? As bad as Buchanan is on the issues, at least he isn't a fool. Those 3 will be some of the easiest prey the development and realty crowd will ever see.

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  33. Of course we need MaryAnn to run again, 11:00 am.
    However....MaryAnn has been a faithful and honest servant of this city for decades.
    Do we really want to see her slandered by the likes of the Michael Bamberger and Matt Bosse and their pals.
    Look what they did to MaryAnn in the last election, and she wasn't even running!
    The dumbed down voters didn't see through the dirty campaign and voted in the worst possible candidates, Mosca, Moron and Walsh.

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  34. What MaryAnn discussed last night is real. And the G4 doesn't give a damn, despite the crocodile tears. If MaryAnn doesn't lead the opposition in the next election, who? Of course the scum will hurl hatred at her. It is what they do. There is money to be made here and there is nothing they will do to get it. Measure V is something they never want to see again.

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  35. Joe Mosca won't be running in Sierra Madre's City Council, but you can bet your bippy he'll be running for the Assembly spot. Wearing out shoe leather, kissing old ladies, and taking credit for every good thing that's happened in the San Gabriel Valley since he moved here. And on the surface he's an attractive candidate... Now that we've had five years of his incompetency, backstabbing, and lying he's not attractive to us but there's still a group of locals unable to see through the subterfuge.

    Take every opportunity to tell your friends just how dishonest and downright untrustworthy Joe Mosca has proved he is in his five years and a City Council Member in Sierra Madre.

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  36. I wonder what kind of slime Joe is going to try and paint Chris Holden with. As a scion of both the Holden and Hahn organizations, I can't imagine there is much that they haven't seen before.

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  37. Funny how most of the 4th of July Committee was not available for their awards. You'd a thought the City would have postponed this great recognition until these great Sierra Madreans were able attend in order to be recognized. Guess they did not want to show their Dumbo faces.

    Paul and Janet are two of the nicest people I know. Can't say that about the others.

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  38. There's always a mix of the innocent in with the not-so-innocent, 12:51. That's one of the reasons to avoid the blanket accusations we sometimes have on our blog.

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  39. It was strange that the head of the Fourth of July comm. didn't make it, and let the blonde lady take on the job of all the thanking and soliciting donations. Three of the committee came, the others were no shows. Which makes me think the 3 who came were set up, and the ones who stayed away were the ones who were responsible for the awful mess.

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  40. It was odd. Especially when you consider that the absent parties are all people noted for their sociability.

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  41. Did anyone ask the blonde lady the state of the Fourth of July Committee's finances this year? If they still owed for the 2010 parade and didn't collect enough to cover 2011, that would be how much, Mr. Bossypants?

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  42. Were there Speros in the audience serving dollar tacos? I hear they're short $5,000 for the no show elephant...

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  43. I think it's a safe bet that the folks who caused Sierra Madre to become known nationally as a place that supports animal cruelty were not in attendance last night.

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  44. Just goes to show, for those properly connected there is always an award. No matter how badly you screw things up.

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  45. it's like Little League

    even the losers get participation trophys

    the dumbing down and whimpification of America

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  46. The real reason Patchy's Patrick Lee and John Stephens are at AOL (from Today's Huffingtonpost.com:

    "Are you interested in making money? Journalism might not be right for you.

    The University of Georgia released its Annual Survey of Journalism and Mass Communication Graduates on Wednesday. According to the study, the median starting salary for journalism grads is just $30,000. In 2006, starting salary for journalism grads was also $30,000. This was the last year that starting salary ever improved."

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  47. Seeking out the truth and sharing it with those who need it the most is not something society values very highly it seems. Of course, neither do many of the places that actually hire journalism grads.

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  48. People at the farmers market just walk out into Sierra Madre Boulevard and expect every car to come to a screeching halt for them. One hippy practically ran under my wheels. Is there some kind of psychoactive fungus on the asparagus or something?

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  49. Seeings how it was the Farmers Market, I'd say that your guy was probably a Beetnik.

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  50. Coburn....Weather Channel forecast for Saturday..84degrees....you own a computer...USE IT!

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