Monday, May 7, 2012

Colantuono & Levin's Shenanigans are Statewide

"This sort of thinly veiled, political attack has no place in modern society." - Alameda District Attorney Nancy O'Malley to M. Colantuono

As the details of the suddenly emergent and somewhat suspicious "Kensington Specific Plan" are being closely examined by residents of Sierra Madre intent on saving their community from the usual development and realty interests (more on that Thursday morning), it is important to remain aware of the high cost and low quality legal representation City Hall buys for us with our money. Not to say that the attorneys of C&L are unskilled at their profession, because perhaps they actually are. But it is fairly apparent that their agenda is quite different from what most Sierra Madreans want to see here in town. Apparently we are paying this law firm a lot of dough to work against our interests.

The Tattler has readers all over the state, and when word got around that the City of Sierra Madre is about to start looking for more cost effective legal representation, we did get e-mail. In particular two highly interesting items came in. The first was a video from La Habra Heights, the second a series of documents and articles dealing with a very unfortunate series of events from the Bay Area city of Alameda. None of which puts the two reigning alpha partners at Colantuono & Levin in a particularly complimentary light.

The video comes to us from our friend George Edwardz, who runs the excellent and Tattleresque blog The Avocado Express. La Habra Heights is a Colantuono & Levin represented city, and like many cities who sign with these characters there are problems. George is an independent producer of TV films and news footage, and he put together the 11 minute video we are linking to here for you to check out.

In it you will see former Sierra Madre "doyenne of the dais" Sandra Levin conducting what appears to be a secret meeting with various La Habra Heights City Councilmembers, officials, with an odd law enforcement type or two thrown in. The way these people surreptitiously enter this secretive conclave you'd think we were looking at a sketchy back alley after hours club with a rather tough door policy.

George's video is entitled "Caught on Tape: Backroom Meeting of the La Habra Heights City Council," and you can access this quality news report by clicking here. It is also very funny watching some obviously nervous City officials squirm for the cameras.

The other item we have today involves Michael Colantuono and a rather seedy matter that occurred in the East Bay city of Alameda. Apparently Michael had a problem there with Councilmember Lena Tam, ostensibly on a Brown Act matter. We will let the blog East Bay for Open Government blog (click here) set this one up. It ain't pretty.

Tam Exonerated by Alameda ... Again - Money talks, and in Alameda City Councilmember Lena Tam's case, it says it all.

In what I like to call "the dark ages of Alameda," former Alameda legal counsel Michael Colantuono, hired by former Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant, tried to get Councilmember Tam kicked out of her city council seat. Mr. Colantuono stooped to absolutely ridiculous tactics, including racist remarks (according to the Alameda DA) and unfounded defamation.

Now, the City of Alameda has released a statement declaring that: "...the City Council voted unanimously on May 19, 2011 to approve the claim filed by Alameda Councilmember Lena Tam to obtain reimbursement of attorneys fees she paid to defend herself when the City's former outside counsel Michael Colantuono filed a request with the Alameda County District Attorney ("DA") on behalf of the City of Alameda ...

The amount of money Alameda had to fork over to Councilmember Tam for Colantuono's misguided legal assault upon her? $44,000. Do you actually think the City would have picked up her legal fees had they believed she actually was guilty of violating the Brown Act? Of course not. As it was she likely had them dead to rights on a wailing lawsuit, and considered this the cheapest way out of their Colantuono spawned legal debacle.

The next report comes from the San Francisco Chronicle's "Alameda Blog" (click here). Besides Michael Colantuono, also note here the appearance of our current C&L City Attorney, Teresa Highsmith. Both of whom the District Attorney for Alameda County literally scorches with a legal blowtorch. This is a long cite, but well worth it.

District Attorney to City's Attorney: your letters are disturbingly biased - In the ongoing issue relating to Alameda's City Management's behavior and allegations surrounding City Councilmember Lena Tam. Alameda District Attorney Nancy O'Malley chastises Michael Colantuono, the City's "independent attorney," for waging a less than fact based political campaign against Councilmember Tam and highlights the singling out of Ms. O'Malley's Asian supporters as proof of her bias towards Councilmember Tam. From the letter:

"I am even more disturbed to find you making allegations that because certain of Ms. Tam's political supporters, a number of them Asian-American, also supported me in the recent election, in which I ran unopposed, I have a personal bias. Nothing is further from the truth and I find it offensive that you have singled out Asian-American leaders."

The District Attorney also clears up the willful misrepresentation by Alameda's Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant and City Attorney Teresa Highsmith, who sent out a press release stating that the DA had left the case open and encouraged the City to pursue it. Statements that have been reiterated by mayor Beverly Johnson, and were further made by hired-gun, Michael Colantuono at the Kangaroo Court. She writes:

"Your efforts to assign a nefarious motive to the actions of the three senior lawyers on my staff involved in this review, Senior Deputy District Attorneys Larry Blazer, Ann Diem and Jeff Stark is misplaced. All three enjoy sterling reputations and their work is highly regarded. All three invested substantial time in evaluating the evidence you submitted, and the relevant legal authorities, including those you submitted and those you chose to ignore."

And just in case there is any question about what kind of fraud was perpetrated on the people of Alameda and Councilmember Tam in the filing made to the D.A. by Ann Marie Gallant, Teresa Highsmith and Michael Colantuono, the District Attorney writes:

"Frankly, having reviewed your investigation personally, I am not surprised you would make wild and completely unsupported allegations like these. Whatever your motives in making these false claims I remain mindful of our role in this process: to objectively and dispassionately evaluate the facts and the law so that a just decision can be reached. We have done so in this case.

So how do you explain Michael Colantuono's Ahab-like persistence for doing in Alameda Councilmember Tam? Knowing Michael as we do, we'd have to assume that it has something to do with development. That is what keeps him relevant to The League of California Cities, which is Michael's great cause in life. And in a KTVU.com report on this situation called "Alameda DA Declines To Investigate Councilwoman" (click here), we just might have found our smoking gun.

Before her election to the council four years ago, Tam served on the Alameda Hospital board and as an Alameda County planning commissioner. She works as a manager in the water resources planning department of the East Bay Municipal Utility District. Tam also has served as head of the League of Woman Voters chapters in both the city of Alameda and Alameda County.

In February, more than 85 percent of Alameda voters rejected a proposal from SunCal to build about 4,500 new housing units and make other changes at the former naval air station, now known as Alameda Point. SunCal's exclusive negotiating deal with the city expired on July 20.

The Kensington Specific Plan is a featured subject of the big Public Hearing with the Planning Commission this Thursday. We will get into that in depth later this week. But for today here is the thing you need to keep in mind. The documents produced for that meeting bear the marks of our two City Attorneys and their firm, Colantuono and Levin.

Based on all that we know about this law firm, new and old, do you really expect them to be on the side of the people of Sierra Madre and Measure V? Would it really be beneath them to attempt to take away our hard won rights to vote on downtown development issues?

Would you trust them as far as you can throw them?

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

83 comments:

  1. Well what do you know,C&L with a history of pushing meetings in violation of the Brown Act. How arragont of our assitant city attorney when asked if the closed meeting the P C headed into was a violation he laughed it off.

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    1. There seems to be a pattern here. Of course, when something they don't like such as this Alameda situation occurs, they run bawling to the DA with all kinds of Brown accusations. And invariably get slapped down.

      Delete
  2. Wow, this is why we all read the Tattler every morning!
    We have Tattler-type watchdogs all over the State now, that are watching out for these shenanigans. I hope these videos taping these "smoking guns" continues!
    The private citizen activists along with smart phones and video cameras are very powerful!
    This is very encouraging. Thanks to all who contributed to this.

    Our dear friend TommyAnn Miller is having a birthday today, TommyAnn is a big fan of the Tattler. She will be delighted to read this column this morning.
    Happy Birthday TommyAnn Miller, a great lady, baker of wonderful pastries, hiker of the Grand Canyon and all around wonderful person!

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  3. C and L have been suspicious of twisting of the facts for a long time. They have been under scrutiny and it is obvious they are unethical and try to hide their behavior with slick rhetoric. It is great to know it is not just us! Time to bid them farewell. We have had enough of their ilk and need no more. There are much better firms in Calif who will work for the good of the people of Sierra Madre, and would be willing to charge less. C and L owe us $$$$ since they never worked for us, but worked against us.

    We have asked them to go for a long time. Is this not enough evidence to say OUT!

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    1. 7:01

      I should hope so! If our city council doesn't move to rid ourselves of these C&L shenaniganeers, we will continue to be fleeced.

      Delete
  4. You can't say that sheriff in the video came across as professional. You have to wonder what it is they all have to hide.

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    1. I like the way the media stood their ground. They knew their rights and faced the sheriff down.

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    2. I loved it when the camera zoomed into the "forbidden zone" without the camera-man having to take a step.

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  5. In the search for a new city attorney, we need to find one who has, in the past, defended citizens in land use disputes, like Zimmerman or the attorney who crafted measure V.
    Not the land use attorneys like Doyle, and C.&L who are affiliated with the development interests.

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    1. My preference would be for someone who actually lives here in Sierra Madre. As it is powerful outside law firms see us as something to sell out to the highest bidders.

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  6. Brilliant work again, Crawford. Godspeed.

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  7. I'd like to think that Mssrs. Capoccia and Koerber would not have walked into that non-agendized closed meeting. But I can picture Harabedian walking in hand-in-hand with the sheriffs (or should I say the gentlemen in the matching green pants and jackets).

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  8. Bring back Charlie Martin!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Send in Charlie Sheen.

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    2. resurrect Charles Nelson Riley!

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  9. 1) Brown Act violations are misdemeanors.

    2) Deliberation without the taking of some action will not trigger a criminal penalty.

    3) Sorry, these thugs are going to get away with their shenanigans.

    Criminal Penalties
    The Act provides criminal misdemeanor penalties for certain violations. Specifically, the Act punishes attendance by a member of a body at a meeting where action is taken in violation of the Act, and where the member intends to deprive the public of information to which the member knows or has reason to know the public is entitled. (§ 54959.) The term “action taken” as defined by section 54952.6 includes a collective decision, commitment or promise by a majority of the members of a body. The fact that the decision is tentative rather than final does not shield participants from criminal liability; whether “action”within the meaning of the statute was taken would be a factual question in each case. (61 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 283, 292293 (1978).) Mere deliberation without the taking of some action will not trigger a criminal penalty.

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    1. 8:21 writes:
      "Mere deliberation without the taking of some action will not trigger a criminal penalty".


      What makes us think there will not be "some action taken"?????
      If no action is planned, why the closed door meeting?????

      It's naive to think NO ACTION will be taken.

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    2. Then all you have to do is prove in court that the action stemmed from the meeting in question. Look out, kid, they keep it all hid.

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    3. Such are the high standards by which we have chosen our city attorney.

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    4. 10:16 I love a Dylan "

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  10. Hey, go green! Put Mosca and Coluntuono together and start a worm farm.

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  11. Wow. Just wow. How did we fall into the hands of such people? Who put us there, and for what purpose?

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    1. From what I've heard, naive people were frightened of increasing litigation and thought we needed a high powered law firm. Too bad they forgot the ethics check, or the idea of serving the people.

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    2. A high powered law firm to help ram through the DSP. Just like they're trying to ram through a whole new DSP plan now. Complete with an amended General Plan. Screw 'em. I am sick of being lied to by these people.

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  12. Chief Black KettleMay 7, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    Just reviewed an hour of UTube videos of the La Habra Heights participatory democracy in action. I urge all of you to watch all those videos and see what can happen to a small town government run amok and in the hands of totally unscrupulous legal counsel. C&L attorneys at law are more than happy to do the bidding of avaricious power hungry cliques who turn small towns into medieval fiefdoms. We should work hard to keep Sierra Madre from turning into another La Habra Heights. It is an absolute disgrace. See you at City Hall.

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  13. "Knowing Michael as we do, we'd have to assume that it has something to do with development. That is what keeps him relevant to The League of California Cities, which is Michael's great cause in life."
    And that is why Michael bent over backwards to get development in our hillsides and Sandy bent over backwards to skewer our Proposition 218 success.

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  14. Now we know what the Hildreths are going though. The more I read about the City's hired attorneys and the corruption, the more thankful I am not to be in a fight with the City of "Win or Lie" no matter the Costs. Fight on Hildreths. Please do not give in. Teach the City their Lawyers a lesson. This is America, the City and its attorneys work for the people.

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  15. Sierra Madre is already there. It wasnt to long ago that the people of SM were all pretty much in agreement and proud of our council. Greed changed that.

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    1. Beware! This is a false Steve posting, a double agent troll. How do I know? It doesn't follow the pattern of the one true Steve troll.

      Perhaps "Steve" will replace anonymous...

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    2. And just when would that have been, 9:18 am? I can't think of a single Council since I've been watching - about 20 years - that wasn't contentious. Not one. It has been Council after Council pitting the developers and contractors against the voters and preservationists for years.

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    3. I disagree with you 9:25. Steve has consistently led with "I'm with you" and other bits of bait. Also, there is always an element of complete ignorance about the history of Sierra Madre politics. Just pay him/her no mind.

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    4. The majority city council of 2008 to 2010 was an honest majority.
      It consisted of those fine people, MaryAnn MacGillivray, Kurt Zimmerman and Don Watts.
      That was an honest majority....in spite of two rotten apples(Mosca and Buchanan) sitting there, three counting Sandi Levin.
      That was a good council majority,9:35. We would have had another good council majority had we elected MaryAnn along with Capoccia and Koerber, now it's just those two to fight.
      But we have a good chance anyway, just like when Don and Kurt were the minority council in 2006.....look what those two great men did.....MEASURE V.
      Look what the lone councilmember, MacGillivray just did last year, with the help of a large activist constituency and Mr. John Crawford.....we defeated the TAX INCREASE SCAM 12-1 and 12-2. We also had 2000 people sign a water rate hike petition, which the city stole away from us!
      Support Chris Koerber and John Capoccia. We can fight for the people and win!

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  16. Shades of the closed session at the Planning Commission last Thursday. Scott said "no reportable action" was taken for their 1hour, 20 minute meeting. So, what was so important that they couldn't have discussed this in public?

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    1. That phrase 'no reportable action' is standard fare. If it weren't said, then a report would be required. And my limited understanding is that they are allowed closed sessions because if the potential opposition heard what they were saying, they have an unfair advantage in court. Also, aren't there serious consequences for saying anything from a closed session in public? Jail time, and tens of thousands of dollars in fines?

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    2. What if there is no lawsuit, or nothing to do with court? In this instance I believe there was no such thing noticed. And that is a requirement. A reason must be given for a closed session. And as you can see from the video, there were people going into that room who had no idea why they were called.

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    3. When the City Council goes into closed session it is stated on the agenda, somewhat generalized: personnel or pending litigation (sometimes listing what the law suit is about).

      Nothing of the sort at the last Planning Commission meeting? So? Can an individual Planning Commissioner be sued for a ungarded comment while sitting on the dias or get the whole commission is hot water where an current or upcoming project proponent wants to prove bias or prejudice against the project?

      Was the Planning Commission given a legal scolding? Reigned into the legal parameters that C and L, the pro-Development city's law firm, want them to follow. That is my guess!

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  17. In the link to Almeda Blog the 10th comment includes a reference to SunCal. Go to their web site and you will find an Irvine based mega development company.

    This IS what it is all about with Levin and Colantuono, DEVELOPMENT!

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  18. The La Habra City Council seems to have only one objective - to hide.

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  19. SunCal web site --checking out its long list of planned community developments is as grandiose as it gets.

    One, in Lincoln City, north of Sacramento. It you google Lincoln Crossing, Sacramento you will find a local news story where it shows the homeowners have been paying $4,000 a year impact fees to have schools and parks built. Not built.

    Dozens more, among them: in Victorville, Fullerton, this company even says it bought a defaulted project from the bank on the eastern seaboard. This is what we are up against.

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    1. Maybe they'll take over Stonehouse and Carter.

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  20. Great article, but I suspect that Mr. Crawford is only scratching the surface. I think diligent research will reveal that C&L have a history of prosecuting and persecuting Council Members that find themselves in the minority.

    Newly elected Council Members in Sierra Madre take note.

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    1. Judging by what happened in Alameda it would be like being attacked by circus clowns.

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    2. Mr. Chris Koerber and Mr. John Capoccia will never be intimidated. They are not the cut and run types. They are not the Bart Doyle/Joe Mosca/John Buchanan worshipers.

      Delete
  21. 10:38. I agree, The article is just the beginning. I'm sure that there are other Coucnil Members in the minority, who are being victimized by C&L

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  22. I have read through some of the links and I don't get it...how on earth can a city attorney go after an elected city council member?

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    Replies
    1. I think the DA had the same question.

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  23. It's all about DEVELOPMENT!

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  24. Go on the web site for Colantuono and Levin and see all the stuff they do, the attorneys they hire (and their expertise) and the gazillion cites, counties and agencies that they represent. Boggled the mind. And we pay a big sum, as do the others, these guys are rolling in citizen tax payers dough.

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  25. Poster 11:27, It's simple. The majority on the Council want to silence the minority. So the majority instructs a City Attorney to write a letter to the DA seeking prosecution. The majority can also request that a special city prosecutor be appointed instead.

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  26. Note to John Harabedian. When you're thinking about retaining C&L, just remember that you could be on the receiving end if you end up siding with the minority.

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  27. Hello Everyone, This was not my first run in with Ms. Levin. A few years ago, she attempted to stop me from reading an email written by a councilman during public comments at regular council meeting. The email, which was posted on the Internet, was a request by the councilman to have an agenda item “crafted” to deny public comment on the matter. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office later investigated the matter and sent a letter reminding the embattled councilman what open government should look like.

    In this case, at least Ms. Levin knew when to quit.

    Read letter here: http://bit.ly/IyKD7z

    You can view the drama on YouTube here: http://bit.ly/IUew49


    This is how bad government works!


    EOM

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    1. George, thanks for your work.

      Delete
    2. Mr. Edwardz, like Mr. Crawford, should really be made citizen of the year of his town.

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  28. I read the letter and it made me go back to something someone blogged not too long ago about the water protest signatures/number required which was verified by the city clerk. Then, Joe Mosca as Mayor singly directed they be recounted (was it directed to Sandi Levin to do so?) so obvious that he wanted to see that the signatures/number required would not be adequate.

    I may have missed a sequence here but can't we go back and look just at this one event and unearth the corruption in this process? Maybe this was already laid to rest with the legal matter brought forward by Zimmerman and others. I don't recall.

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    1. There was most definitely some monkey business about the signatures - what was required, what qualified, the shape of the city's list of water users - but with a will to defeat the public, the irregularities were pushed around to our detriment. And then yes, there was some funny business with Joe as the spokesman - certainly not the guy who had an idea, I'm sure. The whole process stank.

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  29. The same process is going on with the ALF and our right to vote on amending Measure V. C&L are doing everything they can to push through changes in the municipal code, and general plan so no vote will be taken on Measure V. If you watch the Planning Commission sessions, you can see how the commissioners are confused because of the double talk that Scott and Danny are giving them.

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  30. I would not be surprised if it turns out Steve is actually a C&L attorney monitoring the Tattler and attempting to manipulate the Tattler readers. It's just too, too clever all this socially and politically correct maneuvering and don't forget that Steve said he isn't a Sierra Madre resident. The C&L nest of deceit and treachery is capable of just about anything.

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  31. I read the staff report for item 2 of the 5-3-12 Planning Commission meeting. From page 5..."Staff requested the Commission to complete its review and submit its recommendations to the Council by the June 21, 2012 Commission meeting at the latest. This will provide the City Council its consideration of the project in July in order to make the August 10, 2012 deadline.

    Does this mean that there will only be one or two City Council meetings regarding the ALF? That doesn't seem like nearly enough time for the council and residents to discuss the issue. (And it's all happening in July, when many residents are on VACATION.) Sound the alarm!

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    1. The August 10th deadline is to get the ALF on the ballot in November. The City Council needs to decide if they are going to let us vote on Measure V, or just vote on the project itself. If it is just the project itself, it would only be an "advisory" vote.

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  32. Yes, in many cities the public hearings held in July and August are called "stealth meetings" since everyone's off on travels and vacation.

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  33. I heard a rumor that the Kensington Plan has somehow been modified to encompass the entire downtown core. If it passes, it will trump Measure V.
    Does anyone know more about this?

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  34. What is (was) La Habra Heights City Attorney Sandra Levin – Colantuono & Levin, PC, thinking? You can find out in Indian Wells on May 18th at 11:30AM.

    View link: http://bit.ly/LyXlYt

    "Bad Leadership, Bad Government"

    EOM

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    Replies
    1. All those LA county/city big wigs heading to Indian Wells for a conference on the desert. They should have held the conference in LA, downtown, spend the coin locally, save on GAS! Egad!

      Delete
    2. They're engaging in suburban sprawl.

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  35. Here's a summary of what transpired regarding the tally of water rate protest votes. The Council passed a resolution authorizing the City Clerk and only the City Clerk to tally the water rate protests. The City Clerk tallied the protests and determined that there was a sufficient number of protests to defeat the rate increase. Then, Mayor Mosca at a Council meeting directed City Staff to conduct a recount. This conflicted with the Council's resolution authorizing only the Clerk to conduct the tally, but our C&L attorney remained silent when Mosca demanded the recount. The recount was conducted by James Carlson and a Planning Department Intern. (There was a picture posted online of the two recounting the protests). If you google Mr. Carlson, you will find that he is either an "Analyst" employed with the City or the City's Chief Information Officer. He also operates audio-visual equipment during certain Council meetings. The Planning Department intern was subsequently hired by the Planning Department. Mr. Carlson and the intern "disqualified" a number of written protests and the City subsequently announced that there were an insufficent number of protests to defeat the rate increase. To this day, I have never heard an explanation for why Mr. Carlson and the intern were tasked with re-counting the protests. A photographer was invited to snap a picture of the recount in progress, but the public was not given notice of the recount.

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    1. It seems that this is so highly irregular as to constitute voter fraud. The signatures were a type of vote. Only authorized personnel, ie the city clerk, should have access to the "ballots" in this case the signatures.

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    2. Wow, 4:21! This is really shocking!

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  36. At the original Kensington Presentation much was made of the CEQA identified components that would need mitigation remedies. CEQA the California Environmental Quality Act requires that legitimate concerns be identified by the residents and City and mitigations established. A blackboard was put up in front of the residents and concerns from the audience solicited. And that was about it! Haven't heard a peep since then. (lots of ALF sponsored opinions with Consultant canned forms) but no CEQA mitigations.

    Nothing formal or point by point discussion of all those Environmental Inpact issues has been presented, and there were many valid issues raised, well before yiou get to the issue of Measure V complience.

    I did raise the issue twice about inadequate parking between Arnolds and the proposed ALF facility. (a CEQA requirement) The concern was dismissed with a "these old people do not drive and don,t need parking spaces". Popycock!

    Some residents will drive as well as friends and family members, Doctors, Nurses, Delivery Vehicles, Taxis. Postal Service, Front Entry Traffic, Front Entry Entrance and Exit, Traffic Flow in the Lot, Handicapped Parking at least 9' X 18 with increased needs. Researching a little it becomes apparent that parking spaces need sizes to fit all kind of vehhicles; small cars, large cars, SUV's, trucks, anad vans. There are major concern about the Parking Facility to support a major activity like this. Why not address it now?

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    1. You're still ASSUMING that the Kensington project will actually be an assisted living facility once construction has been completed and in perpetuity there after. It could be used for a host of things, from a dormitory for the Congregational Church to a hotel.

      No matter what, it's a bad project and it's bad for Sierra Madre.

      Delete
  37. So THAT'S where that creepy Sandy Levin went...up to her old tricks, though, I see. Same song, different town. We've known for years, since Colantuano was sitting at the dais, that C&L was not here to support resident/voter interests but to promote development, Development, DEVELOPMENT. The nature and depth of corruption within our city government is greatly disturbing, but it sure is interesting to see that many other municipalities follow suit with the same legal representation.

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  38. Looking back at this whole mess in retrospect is really a bigger mess,the further away we get with the way it grows into that tangled web. the water signatures really won and Joe did not like it and used power to count instead of admitting the truth. He recounted and no one could do anything about it. bully's have a way of intimidating and overwhelming us.

    Now the Kenningston issue is doing the same thing with their own rusty water pipe pony show that is just a tad bit too much shoving it down our throat again.

    To answer "these old people do not drive...." showed immense contempt for the very people who are paying to keep the Kensington well and running. Proving they are greedy and disgusting and care nothing about anyone only their pockets.

    this just gets worse and worse, and predictable.

    This lovely town does not want or need the greediness now which seems to have invaded too much of the government which feels like it can do whatever it wants.

    Yes, time to address all of this now and rid ourselves of the POISON of C and L and everyone in development. They will continue to ruin Southern California and our lifestyle and children's future.

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  39. I don't remember the exact acreage of the Kensington site: more than one acre. less than 2 acres?

    So, figure that a unit (13 per acre in the Measure V zone) in a reasonably sized condo, appartment complex, would have three rooms, and a bath per unit, multiply that time the 13 per acre and you have the build out that would be acceptable for the site.

    Each unit gets 1 or two car parking.

    All of this would fit on a second floor (only two floors in the Measure V zone, and I would even bet the folks around there would like to see all the parking underground and sidewalk level business/offices/retail.

    Go ahead and make this into an ALF which would extend the coverage with central dining, recreation room, library, therapy room, nurses lounge. Open up a little in the center to allow for a real common outdoor area that the community could enjoy, too (somewhat like the new library garden) and you would have a nice project.

    Not 93 units! There is not enough water if the mandates for sustainability require large new construction to show water resources for times of drought. Are the rest of us to suffer dehydration just so the ALF can build too much, too big, too intensive.

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  40. Yes the Kensington Assisted living Facility Plan (which was only suppose to address the individual assisted living project) metamorphised into the Kensington Specific Plan (which is adding policies for the downtown) which now opens up all of the downtown core for Development... per the city staff report allows the following:

    Policy L3.1: Allow for new developments or the expansion of existing developments or uses integrated or reciprocal projects or projects with a common scheme of development which cumulatively comprise over one acre of loand or one or more parcels only when a comprehensive plan (master plan, specific plan,planned unit development (Howies???)or other such mechanism) is reviewed by the planning commission and approved by the City council of the City of Sierra Madre.

    Policy L#.2 Allow for flexiblity in development standards for master plans, specific plans, planeed unit developments which provide uses which are considered to be of significant importance to the City such as revenue, historical use, socially valued use, etc when they a)provide an extraordinary
    benefit such as improved public facilities, community centers, streetscape improvements, park facilities, social services, affordable housing(Scagg raises it's ugly head again), preservation of historic structures, etc. and , b) they feature architectural deaign which compensates for the flexiblity and mitigates negative aesthetic impacts of the project along the sidewalk, Street, and adjacent properties.

    Per Measure V (states) : in no event may the city staff of city council approve any policy or take action which directly or indirectly undermines or is inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter except through the voter approval mechanism set forth in Section 17.35.140 below.

    So if this Kensington Specific plan is added as an amendment to Measure V it will allow as set forth in the above policies flexiblity in development standards for master and specific and planned units developments which could and would be allowed to undermine measure V that protects the density, height,& number of dwelling units so Sierra Madre does not become a Pasadena or Glendale.The city council should not be setting or voting on policy which goes against Measure V. This Kensington Specific Plan as worded will open the door to developing other projects (that again don't conform to Measure V standards) in the downtown in other words this is a sneaky way to put in a mini Downtown Specific Plan.
    The Assisted living facility should be considered as an individual project and not as a master plan for all similar (or not so similar such as mixed use,
    planned units etc) projects downtown.
    This should not be approved as it is written and added as an amendment to measure V because it overide Measure V's purpose and intention.

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  41. Why was there a closed session before the planning commission meeting on Thursday May 3, 2012 , the planning commission meeting which was addressing " The Kesington Specific Plan"...?????
    Could it be like in 2006 in another planning commission closed session (before a hearing on two mixed use projects) the city attorney Sandra Levin of the Firm Colantuono & Levin was using fear mongering tactics alluding the city would be sued by the developer if they did not let the Howies Mkt project (172 units mixed use) and the Wisteria Village project( 72 units location the skilled nursing facility site)get approved. The city never was sued and Measure V was set in place by the people. Do you think Colantuono Firm is up to their old tricks again ...who knows......

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  42. I suppose I'm late to the party tonight, but leaving aside for the moment all of the details about asserted C&L machinations, I have a question with a couple of premises:

    Given that we have a relatively democratic form of government and given that we the People voted in those that hired C&L, then isn't it the will of the People that C&L is representing in the manner the People, through their elected representatives, wish?

    Isn't that how democracy works?

    Now don't get me wrong (and don't call me Steve -- I'm not), isn't the remedy in the the ballot box? And isn't the alternative and more immediate remedy -- the one particularly geared toward challenging the tyranny of the majority -- the judicial process? Or have I (and ten or more generations before me) misread Marbury v. Madison?

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    1. Not Steve, so if a person is elected who makes very bad decisions, hey that's ok?
      And the only thing to do is sue?
      Are you a lawyer?

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    2. It's a lot of work but there's always RECALL if the timing is right.

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    3. Reread my post, flip it around, turn it inside out. Nowhere does it even remotely say that if an elected official makes bad decisions, "hey that's ok." 11:14 doth paraphrase too much, methinks.

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    4. It was a conclusion from your premise, Steve.

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  43. Poster 9:55. The next election is two years from now. So, your first remedy for removing C&L is not avaialble now. Your second remedy -- litigation -- is too time-consuming and expensive.

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  44. Poster 10:47. Ms. Tam's defense against the "Circus Clowns" cost her $44k. I shudder to think how much C and L charged the City of Alameda to attack that poor woman.

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  45. The firm is now known as Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley.

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