Tonight the Planning Commission will be presented with a series of less than artful dodges from the Colantuono and Levin Attorney assigned to do whatever it takes at this particular meeting to help and deny the public its vote. And this Attorney will do just about anything it takes to make the Measure V process seem as difficult and abstruse as possible. All done in hopes that the Planning Commission will grow frustrated, or weary, and declare itself at some sort of impasse. If that is the word. Legal hair splitting just not being what they do. And in effect punting and throwing it all on the City Council.
Getting the Planning Commission to take itself out of the process is apparently the goal the Colantuono and Levin attorney has been challenged with. Thereby putting much of the decision making power into the hands of now Mayor Josh Moran, which is the best result that can be hoped for by those who oppose the direct participation of the people of Sierra Madre in the planning process. Josh having pretty much made an entire political career out of trying to undo the people's vote that created Measure V.
If you go to the Agenda Reports for the Kensington portion of tomorrow night's meeting you will see something that at first is called a "Decision Tree," and later the Kensington Flow Chart. Most of it is fairly standard stuff, but there are two things that do stand out. Here is the first:
Is the project compliant with Measure V? Is the project within the two-story limit? Is the project within the 30 foot height limit? Are the proposed suites dwelling units? In not, an amendment to Measure V shall be placed on the November ballot, or the project must be denied.
This really should be pretty much a dead issue as the Planning Commission has already decided that the rooms at the Kensington are dwelling units. Why this is being brought back for the 3rd or 4th time is a topic for debate.
And then, at the very bottom of the Kensington Flow Chart, there is this:
The City Council will make its own independent determination of whether the project should be approved, whether the project complies with Measure V, and which legislative enactments, if any, should go to a vote of the people.
Which is, of course, nonsense. The Kensington is not Measure V compliant because it has more than 13 units per acre. Despite all the cooked up nonsense about suites. And when the people voted themselves the right to make determinations such as this themselves, and to do so through the power of the ballot, it was never to be at the pleasure of any City Council. Measure V effectively removed that power from the City Council and placed it in the hands of the residents of Sierra Madre. That was its purpose from the start. The only thing legal here is a vote of the people.
What we are really witnessing here is an attempt to undo Measure V and take away that right of the people to make the call on a development project. It does involve the Kensington, of course. But only as an opportunity to settle an old grudge. One that has been nursed in certain precincts of this town ever since Measure V prevailed at the ballot box.
The sad thing here is that the law firm Colantuono and Levin is paid out of our tax money. And that money is being used as part of an attempt to take away our rights to vote on downtown development. This is about as bad as government can get.
A Planning Commission Special Hearing on the Kensington will be taking place on May 10 as well.