Monday, November 7, 2011

City Hall Will Be Pushing For An Advisory Only Vote On The ALF Tomorrow Night

I'm getting a sense that the latest public relations spin coming out of City Hall is to have folks refer to the ALF (Assisted Living Facility) as The Kensington instead. This being the moniker Billy Shield's outfit has carefully hung upon it, and a grand sounding one it is, too. There being other Kensington projects just like it scattered about the country.

I kind of prefer ALF. It certainly does have a sort of situation comedy kind of feel to it. But doesn't this sudden change also go along with an ongoing theme of renaming everything involved with this project? "ALF" becomes "The Kensington." "Units" become "Suites." "Parking Lots" become "Bus Stops." And so forth. Perceptions being very important when you are trying to sell something.

Speaking of those afflicted with public relations tone deafness, did you know City Hall is actually proposing that the City Council authorize an "advisory only vote" on the ALF? I am not kidding. Having trundled on down to the library to read the Agenda Report on this matter for tomorrow night's meeting, I can now say without any fear of contradiction that City Hall believes that such an advisory vote only on the ALF (in place of an authentic and binding Measure V vote, which is what the law demands) is just fine and dandy. Which makes you wonder if anyone working there understands what the term "advisory vote" actually suggests to a lot of people in this town. Trust me, it is hardly anything pretty.

As those of us who lived through it all know, "advisory vote" is the term that Joe Mosca used when he broke his major campaign promise made to those who first elected him to the City Council in 2006. Joe ran on a slow growth platform, and repeatedly professed his undying opposition to the Downtown Specific Plan, a highly unpopular development scheme that, had it happened, would have turned our unique city center into ersatz generic and property value killing crap.

This DSP had created such an uproar in town that it swept Joe, along with Don Watts and Kurt Zimmerman, into office. With the old regime being quite unceremoniously tossed out on their highly indignant keisters. And one of the things that Joe Mosca had promised his supporters was that he would strongly support a call for a citywide vote on the DSP. Which, given the mood of Sierra Madre at the time, would have then gone down to a resounding defeat.

However, when Councilman Joe Mosca was asked in an official City Council setting whether he would open up the DSP question to a binding referendum for all the people of Sierra Madre to vote upon, as he had promised so many times when campaigning for that office, he flipped. He said he would not. What Joe did say is that he would instead support an "advisory vote." Which is a vote that would hold no legal sway over the City Council, instead being something very much like an opinion poll. A beauty contest that could be easily ignored should the Council decide to do so.

The outrage over Joe's treason was so great that Measure V was created, put on the ballot, and voted into existence by the voters of this town. Something that cost this City huge sums of money in legal and associated costs, created divisions within the town that still exist today, and led to an attempt to recall this profoundly faithless Councilman. None of which would have happened had Joe just kept his campaign promises.

There is a video of Joe's betrayal available on the Neuroblast Films site, and you can access it by clicking here. It is a classic clip of Mosca at his double-talking worst. That the term "advisory vote" will be used on the same evening that Joe Mosca is bidding Sierra Madre a much needed adieu is quite a remarkable irony. His career is ending just like it began.

Measure V is a voter approved initiative that gives the citizens of this town control over much of what can and cannot be built downtown. And if a project is too large, under Measure V the residents have the right to vote on it. It is the law, and as such it must be followed. And yes, by law that vote would need to be a binding vote. Not one of Joe Mosca's watered down and useless "advisory votes."

So it is with a sense of awe at the sheer unadulterated gall of it all that I am posting the language contained within the City Council Agenda Report actually suggesting that a Measure V vote on the ALF should be a non-binding "advisory vote." Their reasoning being that a real and binding vote would just be entirely too complicated and time consuming for them to execute. Better to just put on a show vote and tell people to get over themselves.

The City Council could submit the proposed Kensington Project Specific Plan to an advisory vote of the electorate at the April 10, 2012 election because an advisory vote does not require prior compliance with CEQA. Accordingly, there is sufficient time to prepare a ballot measure in compliance with the process described above, by the January 13, 2012 deadline.

Such an advisory ballot measure could read: "Should the City of Sierra Madre approve the Specific Plan regarding the former Skilled Nursing Facility property in the Central Core Area, available for public review at cityofsierramadre.com. Another example of an acceptable advisory measure would be: "Should the City of Sierra Madre complete the public review process and thereafter take the legally required steps to authorize the demolition of the former Skilled Nursing Facility, and allow the construction of a new assisted living facility in its place?"

While an advisory measure is not legally binding on the decision of the City Council, an advisory vote of the electorate constitutes strong public opinion - in addition to the public participation and comment offered at City Council meetings - on the desirability of a given policy decision.

This is, of course, a lot of nonsense. Measure V is the law, and because of this the true decision making power in this matter lies with the people of Sierra Madre. What is described above is being done in hopes that this power can somehow be taken away from the voters and handed over to the City Council instead. In effect stealing from the people of this town their right to vote on downtown development issues, and in elections that actually mean something.

And look at it this way. How can the electorate vote on something when the plans are not finished, it hasn't gone before the Planning Commission, or the CEQA review has yet to be created? Should people be compelled to give their vote to something when there is very little of substance that actually describes what it is they are approving? And who is to guarantee that once tacit voter approval is given that the actual plans, when completed after the fact, won't depict something that nobody would actually want to see in this town?

The thing is should the ALF be put to a proper Measure V vote, it will most likely pass. People want to see something viable built in place of the dilapidated Skilled Nursing Facility. But somehow City Hall just can't stand the notion of people exercising their rights to vote on this matter. And instead would rather issue a lot of divisive and potentially destructive extralegal nonsense such as calling for a meaningless "advisory vote." When the law specifically says otherwise.

All of which once again shows that this regime, as it is currently constituted, is anti-democratic in its instincts and actions, and will attempt just about anything to limit public participation in the important decision making processes affecting this town. Even when it is the law.

You really do have to wonder who it is these people work for. It certainly isn't the taxpayers.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

70 comments:

  1. Eye on the cc.....November 7, 2011 at 7:12 AM

    Remember in school we folded paper hats and colored them? What if everyone concerned about Measure V showed up with such a hat with a V on it? Would this be a way to show council what the people want without saying a word? I hate carrying a sign and you can't take them into a building, a hat works for me.

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  2. So what this all really means is that we absoloutely must elect three "Measure V" advocates to the next council.

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  3. So what is worse? No vote or a useless vote?

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  4. That is assuming the Gang doesn't handpick Joe's replacement, 7:44 the 1st.

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  5. Joe Mosca filp flops in 4 minutes was the catalyst that spurred the creation of Neuroblast Films, thanks Joe!
    Here is the link
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ib6Y3BbPqxQ

    Neuroblast Films

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  6. Watching Joe flip and flop his way out of Council Chambers for the last time will be a big moment for a lot of people. Trust me, he isn't coming back. Now that his political career is finished, we won't be hearing much from him anymore. He no longer has any use for Sierra Madre.

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  7. Years from now when people want to remember what Joe Mosca was like, the flip flop video will be where people will turn. Thanks for making it available, Neuroblast. It is an important piece of Sierra Madre history.

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  8. What I advise is less and less decision making power for the city council.

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  9. Typical city hall think. We have to have an advisory vote because to do a real Measure V one would just be too much work. And staff is overloaded as it is.
    Like that matters.

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  10. Hey Bucky, A Fake Vote!?November 7, 2011 at 7:47 AM

    Gov'nuh, lookie here! That's so you! A fake, useless vote, from a fake, useless, petty politician. What a legacy! What an example!

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  11. That does it. I'm talking my ball and going to England.

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  12. This is interesting. A City Council that repeatedly breaks the law, and flat out lies to the residents.

    Why are these people still in office?

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  13. They are protected by a law firm that specializes in screwing residents on development issues, 8:03. And we pay their substantial legal bills.

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  14. This is an outrage. BY LAW a Specific Plan is suppose to have public input and participation like a General Plan. There has been NO public participation and no public input into this plan. The developer made a presentation to the public. We had no input and the plans are the same today as when we were shown their inaccurate drawing that were not even complete. Billy's presentations to the Rotary and Kiwanis Club do not count as public participation. They were not publicly noticed as required by law.

    The Specific Plan is the DEVELOPER"S PLAN. It was developed after their building plans were drawn up. The DEVELOPER'S SPECIFIC PLAN allows 12 foot buildings in the set backs, parking in the set backs, lighting on 12 ft polls, allows the property to be used for uses other than Assisted Living, has insufficient parking, and the list goes on and on.

    This plan should only be voted on after the project has been through the public process and approved by the Planning Commission.

    Most of the voters will not read the DEVELOPER'S Specific Plan and will not understand that if they vote yes on it, a huge building with insufficient parking will be allowed to be built in the city.

    To vote yes on the Developer's Specific Plan will give them the go ahead to build what ever they want without further input.

    The DEVELOPER'S SPECIFIC PLAN will trump The GENERAL PLAN and all of our ZONING laws.

    There should be NO ADVISORY VOTE ON THIS PLAN.
    This is City Hall's way around Measure V.

    We can't vote on something that is not complete.

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  15. We have a city government that refuses to enforce city law. Where do we turn?

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  16. Tomorrow night tell the Council any vote is premature. Once the plans are complete a Measure V vote should happen at the next scheduled election or if the developer wants it sooner they can pay for it.

    It is too early to vote.

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  17. You sure we have a city attorney? I kind of thought she might be a consigliere.

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  18. The only decision that they council should make Tuesday night is to tell people that a Measure V vote will happen once there is a complete project on which to vote.

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  19. An advisory vote would be a disaster.

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  20. That is what they should do, 8:41. But what they want is for people to vote on a whether they want to replace the SNF with something new or not. Nice and simple so even Mtn Views News readers can understand it. Allowing them to get around such messy things as bulk, height and density.

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  21. Not only would it be a disaster, it would be a crime.

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  22. Why should the City Council bother to follow the laws? Buchanan can't be recalled, and the 2 duffusses find our laws too tiresome and inconvenient.
    They only obey laws that they like.

    The next election cycle can't come too soon.

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  23. We know that this idea is from our City Manager, Elaine, no one else is bright enough to think of it. She always comments that she is just following the will of the City Council. The problem is Elaine is the one with all of the ideas, government recommendations, and knows how to avoid the law. She is known as a lair and the main source of Sierra Madre's misinformation. In order for the City Council to follow the law and the will of the people, we need a City Manager that works for us not for she next job. A manager that gives honest direction, not her personal agenda or bias opinions that she offers in the name of "I am just doing as the Council directs me to do" What a much of BULL! Elaine needs to be fired plain and simple.

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  24. The law says a binding vote not an advisory vote.
    Follow the law.

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  25. City Hall is playing legal chicken. They think that if no one hires a lawyer they've won.

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  26. But of course we'll hire a lawyer, if we have to.
    Chris Sutton.

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  27. I'm thinking if the City Council refuses to follow the law and allow a vote by the people, we don't need a lawyer... the District Attorney should do just fine.

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  28. Great. So then we spend a lot of money twice. Some for our lawyer, some for theirs. What a wonderful situation.

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  29. I like that, 9:41. That should straighten them up.

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  30. Measure V supporterNovember 7, 2011 at 9:54 AM

    NO ADVISORY VOTE ON THIS PLAN.
    Follow the law.
    District attorney and/or Measure V attorney Chris Sutton and Kurt Zimmerman are options we WILL USE.
    Please do the right thing, City Council, and City Manager.

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  31. Here we go again . . .November 7, 2011 at 10:33 AM

    Who is advising these Bozos?

    An advisory vote "helps" the council under only one scenario: the ALF is disapproved and they elect to go forward with the project anyway.

    Now, let's imagine what would happen if the council approves the ALF after losing the advisory vote. I fear that we will not be talking recall, but looking to purchase some rope - very heavy rope given the size of the likely victims.

    This advisory vote will never happen. I hope the binding Measure V vote will.

    And John, you know as well as I do that the crazies in twon would vote down the ALF even if the developer promised Christmas meat to each and every voter.

    And J

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  32. I'm not sure this would get voted down. I think most people would vote for it. But it must be done legally. It looks to me like the city is trying to avoid the law.

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  33. Will Kensington and Billy Boy Shields stick around and go through the process, have their project possibly scaled back, and then be subjected to a vote? Maybe maybe not. Remember they were told units were not units and this thing was Measure V compliant. They do not own the land so if they walk away they have only spent some money on drawings. Rolling Hills Estates has not told them yes either.

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  34. It's not Measure V compiant, but if the residents want it, they can vote it in, as is.
    That's what Measure V was all about.....the residents deciding on an issue, not the politicians who may have other agendas than the good of Sierra Madre.
    Measure V has saved out property values here in Sierra Madre, and every last home owner who votes should RESPECT THAT FACT.
    DEMAND TO VOTE ON ANYTHING THAT DOESN'T COMPLY WITH MEASURE V. It's our legal right to do so.

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  35. It would be very shortsighted of the City Council asking for any kind of vote before the Planning Commission has taken a look at "the Kensington". And extremely unsophisticated of the voters to vote prior to a Planning Commission decision. Billy Shields and the project aren't going anywhere anytime soon. What's the hurry?

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  36. I think they want a beauty contest vote so they can tell the world that enthusiasm is very high for the Kensington. I am sure the ballot question will be a very rosy appraisal of the situation.

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  37. Joe Mosca has resigned and is moving.

    He should have no vote on anything.

    He should abstain from all votes and in fact, keep his mouth shut the entire council meeting.

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  38. obviously, law degrees are a dime a dozen and have limited value

    look at Mosca and Buchanan, went to law school to become PR reps and never practice law

    and when on the Council, they as "lawyers" instruct our City Attorney to dabble in the gray areas of the law and as "lawyers" they lie to us about the water pipes

    their law degrees are as worthless as the two or three Susan Henderson claims

    I volunteer to help Mosca pack if it'll get him out of town sooner

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  39. Tattler Office Pool: How many months before a "For Sale" sign will be seen in the front yard of the Bosca house?

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  40. This council has become used to breaking the law.
    I imagine they feel like it's the cost of doing business.

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  41. Right you are 2:54, what's another lie? The preserve-Sierra-Madre-through-development crowd has accepted Mosca as a frontman for years, and the guy couldn't tell the truth even if he wanted to. That plus the fact that the developer/realtor consortium has to hide its real intentions from most people living in these ruined by development times.

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  42. Is there a model of the ALF somewhere, like the library, for us to look at?

    I think I'm for it, but not until I see how much it impacts the mountain views.

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  43. Kensington, pip pip, an affluent and densely-populated area in west and central London, cheerio.

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  44. I remember a childrens book with a large gray poodle named Kensington as one of the characters. It had a monocle and didn't think very highly of the other dogs.

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  45. Kensington the snooty poodle versus Alf the blue collar alien. Of such things great prime time TV is made.

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  46. Did you know that just as the City Council meeting begins a asteroid named 2005YU55 will come within 200,000 miles of Earth? 6:35pm will be its closest point. Closer than the moon.

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  47. Why not the Sierra Madre Assisted Living Center?
    We don't really need a British name in order to make us desirable.
    In fact, the sustained and committed effort of the slow growth majority of residents here have kept Sierra Madre desirable.

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  48. Maybe it is coming to pick up Joe.

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  49. Maybe one of the readers has seen more material about the Assisted Living Facility, can answer this - is there a covenant, an obligation to keep that property as a medically oriented facility? Or will it be 'whatever the market will bear?'

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  50. You kidding, 5:03? The way our city does business? That building could end up being anything.

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  51. Maybe the asteroid is bringing Joe's replacement.

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  52. The Kensington: overblown name, overblown project!

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  53. Why are Anglophone names considered to be synonymous with sophistication?

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  54. I want that damn place built, and I want it to be a good service for the wealthy people who need it. But I also want a law abiding city government. Are these really mutually exclusive things?

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  55. City Hall thinks it can't play by the rules because the people of this town are against them.

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  56. Youhoo, out there in "Sierra Madre is a nice little foothill village" land: do you vaguely remember when I ENJOY BAGELS wanted to have a drive-through operation??????

    That company was in the process of being bought out by the outfit that owned Boston Markets who was shortly thereafter bought up by the folks that own (owned?) Pizza Hut.

    Can't count on the LLC of one, Mr. Billy Shields, to be the owner/operator/developer in a few months now can we? Some other bunch will show up no doubt.

    We have been witness to this before and still are at One Carter Ave: Maranatha High School,
    Dorn-Platz,
    Capitol One Bank,
    Robert Ho Realtor, who by the way bought two of the four lots that have "sold" for himself,
    Century 21.
    Gag!

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  57. Hmm. Wouldn't it be something if the Skilled Nurshing Facility becomes the Kensington, but about a year after that a Motel 6? Be a good place for wives to send husbands they are not pleased with. I guess it will become known as the "Dog House."

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  58. Poster @ 5:03--what a good question?! It didn't happen exactly the way any body would have forseen when Arcadia Methodist Hospital finally bought out Foothill Presbeterian Hospital who bought the communty hospital after the board of directors voted to let the Community Hospital they had been tasked to direct and facilitate for this community cease to exist. Language in the deal was simply stated that the community should continue to have a medical facility somewhere within reach--so, go ahead, reach on down past the 210 Foothill freeway, why doncha, especially after the freeways are congested or underpasses are collapsed in the real earthquake that will beset us one day.

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  59. You think things are bad now? Wait'll they get the 710 Tunnel built!

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  60. I have heard old time residents say that the property the SNF was on once belonged to a doctor, and he wanted it to stay in medical use, and he had a will that said so. There was a daughter (?) who also wanted that, but somehow all this got lost.

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  61. I find it funny that Joe's on the way to England and something called Kensington wants to come to Sierra Madre. I almost think Mosca is involved some how. I think we need to make the ALF into a new and improved Jail for the Troll the minions that he will roll over on, inclunding the City Manager.

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  62. Why call it The Kensington? How about Heaven's Gate?

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  63. Maybe we should put something on the ballot to change the G4 (or 3) into an Advisory City Council. That way they can talk until they're blue in the face, and we can just shine them off.

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  64. 5:03 All of you questions and concerns are addressed in the Specific Plan that the Developer wrote. The plan says it is for assisted living and Alzheimer/memory. BUT in the next paragraph it state it could also be used for interim care. The reason for this is two fold. 1. It would make it easier to flip the property to another owner. 2. Medicare and health insurance will not pay for assisted living but they will pay for interim care. So if Billy and group can't rent up all the space for assisted living, they can have short term patients whose insurance will pick up the tab. Everyone needs to go buy a copy of the plan and read it. Please don't sit back and let a few people do all the heavy lifting.

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  65. Healthcare ProfessionalNovember 7, 2011 at 6:52 PM

    Just to clarify to some folks, an Assisted Living Facility is in no way the same as a Skilled Nursing Facility. Geriatric/Special Needs patients are primarily what you will find in an ALF. And in no way does that mean that a vast array of medical supplies and emergency patient care/services will be available to the public in the event of an earthquake/freeway collapse. Please do not confuse the two and let your vote ride on the fact that an ALF will provide medical support. Again, ALF is NOT a medical facility. Is does not meet OSHPOD standards, not is it subsidized by the government. The "Kenzington" ALF is privately owned, therefore is limited in skilled care and medical services.

    However, if the facility were a Skilled Nursing Facility or even an Urgent Care Facility (which I think it better suited for Sierra Madre than an ALF), the facility and the staff would be more equipped to provide emergency patient care.

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  66. Uh..hate to be the bearer of bad news but...the gig matt has in England is for two years folks..not selling house....figure it out.

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  67. Don't for one minute think a private for profit quasi medical facility will save sierra madre in a disaster. Plan to save yourself and your loved ones because you will be on your own. Base you vote on how the project fits into the community and all the impacts it will have on its neighbors.

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  68. I'm sure you also believed that Joe was going to support a binding vote on the DSP, 7:39.

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  69. 2 years? I thought it was supposed to be 3 years.

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