Saturday, October 8, 2011

HUD Offers Small Cities Money to Turn Their Downtowns Into Low Income Housing

As inundated as cities like Sierra Madre are with Sacramento housing mandates and other developer friendly legislation packaged to look like social egalitarianism, sometimes we forget that the federal government is also in this game. There is something about bulldozing the character out of small cities that really appeals to the "make the trains run on time" crowd. The irony being that it is our tax money that empowers them to meddle in our affairs in ways we wish they wouldn't.

On the always informative Planetizen site a writer by the geographically intriguing name of Jess Zimbabwe sketches out for us what the Housing and Urban Development people in our nation's capital have in mind for small city downtown areas like ours. The article is entitled "A foray by HUD into telling small towns how best to use their land" (click here), and this is the point she makes:

In April 2009, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan spoke to the ULI Spring Council Forum in Atlanta; he stated that his administration's goal was "to put the UD back in HUD," and explained that HUD's over-reliance on housing solutions wasn't helping cities address their complex revitalization needs. Just over two years later, this small new funding program caught my eye on a list of new HUD announcements:

HUD HOPE VI - $0.5 million
Application Due: August 22, 2011
Eligible Entities: Local governments

HUD requests proposals for the HOPE VI Main Street Program. This program provides grants to small communities to assist in the rejuvenation of an historic or traditional central business district or "Main Street" area by replacing unused commercial space in buildings with affordable housing units. HUD encourages activities that actively promote sustainability through enhancing energy efficient measures.

(There is that word again. Sustainability. Has the Green Committee ever come up with a working definition yet? Have they issued a report? Last I heard they were kind of punting on the whole thing, and seemed content to just tell us how bad dirty air and cars can be. If anyone has seen an update on this matter please let me know. It does beg for discussion.)

Now the problem with a program like this is its irreversibility. In bad economic times such as those we are struggling through now, downtown areas are certain to suffer. And what in better times would be just fine now appears to be quite the opposite. But by replacing commercial space with low income housing (which can often turn out to be higher income condominiums once the paint dries), the make up of a downtown area would be changed forever. Permanently denying that city the positive economic contribution such a commercial district could have made once better times returned.

We all remember the often told tale of how one ambitious Sierra Madre City Councilman had journeyed to Washington DC a few years back in search of grant money that would "make a difference." The whole federal grant thing taking on a kind of mystical glow in the telling. A complex matter that only someone as suitably equipped as he to wheel and deal in the halls of power would be able to obtain for the good folks back home.

The truth, of course, is far more mundane. The federal government is awash with poorly conceived programs and offerings like this one, and any fool can get them. All you need to do is throw away a hundred or so years of community history and promise to build something most people living there would never want to see in their downtown.

Quite a trade off for just a little bit of cash.

Viral Internet John Shear Video

The actual Santa Anita security video of John Shear stepping in front of a rampaging race horse to save the life of a little girl was supposed to remain under wraps and out of the public view forever. The violence of that scene being deemed a little too much for most to stand. However, the video leaked and is now everywhere, so I thought it should be posted here as well. If you ever doubted the courage it took to do what John did, one look at this will change your mind forever. John, who has been around racehorses almost all of his life, knew exactly what this selfless act would mean to him. He did it anyway.

This footage can now be seen as part of a CBS News Los Angeles video, and is up on their website. Click here.

And now for something completely different

Some things just leave you speechless. And often one day's tragic event becomes trivialized beyond all recognition the next. This from The Times Of India:

Lady Gaga to eat Apples as tribute to Steve Jobs - Like many stars, Lady Gaga has taken to Twitter to express her sadness over the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. The 25-year-old 'you and I' singer said the thoughts of the technology pioneer's passing left her breathless.

"From his own invention I open my browser to it's homepage. Today it took my breath away. Thank You Steve. Going to eat Apples all day," Gossipcenter quoted her as saying.

There is an unfortunate irony to this. But I'm not going to go there.


  1. John Shear is truly a living embodiment of the greatest generation. I can only hope that I would have shown that level of courage and self sacrifice in an unexpected violent moment of peril. Hearing the story of Mr. Shear's noble actions is one thing, seeing the video of the moment is quite another. It brought tears to my eyes. I have no doubt that he saved her from great harm at his own expense.
    I'm so glad I led the cheers as he passed by in the Fourth of July Parade and then explained to everyone around me who he was. He sets an example that my generation can only aspire to. I would like to think that were I, or any of my peers, in his shoes we'd have done the same, but I'd only be flattering myself.
    Thank you John Shear from the bottom of my heart for your cool-headed heroism.

  2. Heroism is a lifetime habit for John Shear. From being wounded on the battlefields of Europe during WWII to saving a little girls life at Santa Anita 70 years later. A pretty extraordinary story.

  3. John Shear and Joe Mosca exist on opposite ends of the continuum of human decency. The problem is that some people don't know which end is up.

  4. HUD should start in Washington DC. Let them turn the White House and the Capitol Buildings into low income housing. The people the live and work in those buildings are nothing but political parasites that live off their host--the tax payers. We could do the same with our city hall.

  5. John Shear is embarrassed by all of this attention. Joe Mosca pitches fits when he isn't the center of attention.

  6. Sierra Madre is inappropriate for big development downtown.
    It would only destroy the town for everyone, including those who would live in these ghettos.
    Not a good idea, and the people promoting it know that. They don't care because it's all about the MONEY$$$$$$ they will make. Destroy Sierra Madre, who cares? The Buchanans, Moscas and Doyles will all move out and leave us holding with the dire results.

  7. Sell our soul for a measly $.5 million. They need to really up the anti.

    Come on guys "let's make a real deal"

  8. I think the half a million dollars is to buy the councilman.The actual development money itself comes from the taxpayers.

  9. As many of you have read in the papers and seen on the local TV news, mountain lions have been sighted in Sierra Madre and other hillside communities.
    We have seen more of these animals including bears in the last few years than I can remember, at least in our yards!
    We're wondering if the destruction of all the open space up at One Carter has contributed to this?
    Lots of wildlife lost their natural habitat up there.
    Another sad consequence of the pro-development city councils.
    MaryAnn MacGillivray seems to be the only councilmember in recent history to protect and defend our hillsides from over development.
    I hope you will run for re-election, MaryAnn.
    Even though you are out numbered by the gang of 4, you are our only voice on that council.
    Eventually all the naive voters will come to realize that.

  10. Is it just me, or do Joe Mosca and Lady Gaga look like they might be related?

  11. Sacrafice to the third paty cookie godOctober 8, 2011 at 11:51 AM

    Hey I found the nesting home of snakes, Community Redevelopment Agencies San Fancisco is district 12 on the Federal Reserve Web Site, some folks are occupying the wall street, some are ending the fed. This means on top of the top the Federal Reserve is developing our cities.

  12. I think Joe Mosca and Lady Gaga are from the same hometown. Hmmm

  13. 10:58 canyon resident, I think you are on to something. The Stonehouse and Stonegate land clearing have interrupted wildlife habits and paths that have been established forever. The enormous house going up on Auburn has done the same thing. Where are the animals supposed to go?

  14. Yeah John Shear! Yeah FBI in El Monte!October 8, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    Good Day, so many stories, and my comments would not post. If you have not been able to make comments it is because google has absorbed Blogger somehow and third party cookies have to be enabled. Go to Tools, internet options, then privacy, move your slider, down to enable third party or hit the advanced and it will ask you. Then I could post, these is very invasive and recent by google. It is not something Blogger has to fix.

  15. They're supposed to die out, 12:09. It's called Manifest Destiny.

  16. 12:09 The homeless shelter on Montecito???

  17. The new Looney Views News is out, and Susan's attempt to explain away the Moody's bond rating drop is hilarious. She claims the Pasadena Star News report that the rating went from AAA to A is erroneous. She then says that the rating went from A3 to A1. The poor dumb bunny doesn't realize that they are the same thing, just different ways of saying it.

  18. I disagree with you she is not a dumb bunny. Susan is just plain stupid.

  19. Please tell me that "Henderson" called for a retraction from the Pasadena Star News!

  20. I just read the article. It is a scream. We must thank her for bring this mess back up.

  21. Harriet Susan Poole Carpenter Henderson:

    Check bouncer
    Cheated the Calif Dems out of $$$$$ left San Francisco in a "cloud".
    Lied to anyone and everyone she comes in contact with.
    Cons seniors into "supporting" her paper. Actually, they are supporting her golf trips.
    Worst writer in Sierra Madre.
    She would be a joke, except she hurts people.
    No class. No integrity. Bad news.

  22. Susan states that City Staff warned the residents that if the water rates didn't go up we could lose our AAA (A3) rating. Well sure enough, the water rates went up and we lost our AAA (A3) rating!

  23. Bunnies are not stupid, 1:31. Apologize.

  24. how dare the Pasadena Star News write an article with actual quotes?

    Henderson makes up her sources and always has unnamed residents as her quotes

  25. Susan Henderson......LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL

  26. Lady Gaga was born in NYC, and Joe was NOT. Lady GAGA gives away her money to charities. She speaks out for social justice.

    Lady GAGA is an artist and controversial. She will be around for a long time making money and giving it away.

    Joe is a part time politician. He is controversial, is not charitable, is not artistic, and will be long forgotten when Lady GAGA is still donating her money.

    You do not have to like either. But, the lady doth not protest. She giveth. He taketh.

  27. Good point 5:48.
    It's very insulting to Lady Ga Ga to be compared to Mosca.

  28. After seeing Lady Ga Ga without her undies on, I'm glad that Mosca keeps his pants on when on parade.

  29. Joe and Lady Gaga have never been seen in the same place at the same time. That does raise questions. Plus Lady Gaga has worn a meat dress, but has Joe ever worn a meat tie? We need answers now.

  30. They are both manufactured products.

  31. Diane Shear on John's video clip:October 9, 2011 at 10:12 AM

    Thanks for all the nice comments about John from the Tattler readers. He read them all.
    John's video clip had been put back on the CBS sports website's most viewed.
    It has been put on several websites Yahoo, and the Firefighter's and Police magazine, ABC websites, and on YouTube.
    While this CBS video is graphic (when John got hit, his interview is very significant.
    John told me the same thing, when he was really struggling to get better, and I asked him if he wished he hadn't have jumped in the path of that horse; his answer was: "Diane, if I hadn't had done that, I could have never lived with myself, I would have wanted to die".
    That's one reason this video clip is so honest.
    It's the real John Shear.
    My family is so thankful that John is alive and still with us. Thankful for all the healing prayers he has received from thousands of people around the world.
    This video was even shown on TV in India.
    John is back at Santa Anita everyday, not working yet, but enjoying being in the paddock with friends.
    Thanks everyone for your well wishes.

  32. The Tattler broke the bond down grade on Thursday. The Star News got their scoop from John Crawford. Without the Tattler, Susan's rags would not have know a thing about the downgrade. She would have had to fill this weeks paper with the "senior twist competition" emceed by Walsh.

  33. I hope the Tattler will continue giving us up to date information on this bond issue.
    I was just speaking to a neighbor who is very concerned about it.
    The public needs to know these things.
    The days of government giving us bogus information or no information are over, thanks to bloggers like John Crawford!

  34. If the Tattler didn't break the Moody's bond rating cut story, nobody would have known about it. City Hall would have told nobody.

    Transparency my tookus.

  35. Hopefully the Tattler will have the scoop on the Redevelopment Agency Bonds. I understand that was the agency that lost its bond rating when the city failed to provide financial information to the bank.

  36. Ask yourselves about what the difference is between John Shear's old-world value system and the current modern corporate view that all lies to amp up profit are sanctioned. That politics is about deal-cutting for personal gain. That people don't matter.

    I'm just hoping that "Occupy Wall Street" brings the Arab Spring to the USA and ends the oppressive corporatism that's eroding the citizen rights embedded in our founding documents.

  37. And would that be the Arab Spring with thousands of young people killed in the streets and even more imprisoned? I'm wondering just how many Tattlers will be occupying Kersting Court...

  38. That's easy to

  39. Why would anyone occupy Kersting Court? Except to drink Starbucks frappacinos? That is ridiculous.

  40. I park my bike there once in a while. Does that count?

  41. Brooklynbadboy on DailyKos.comOctober 9, 2011 at 7:22 PM

    "What we are witnessing is the rebirth of the American Dream in a new generation. If they didn't believe in it, they wouldn't be fighting for it. For all those who ask "what do the protesters want" the answer is clear and obvious: They want life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They want The American Dream. The tide is turning. Sooner or later, they will have it. The times we are in, the crest of the dismal tide, is nothing new. Our ancestors, in one way or another have fought the tide before. This country is hard on people. Sometimes just a little bit too hard. When it gets too hard, a generation of young Americans will arise and give meaning to liberty, once again, in its own way, for its own time."

  42. As I recall from my rebellious youth, Brooklyn, when that generation of young Americans arose it ended up being used as an exciting new way to sell Coca Cola. I guess we'll see.