Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Decision Tree

Would you believe that there are people in this City who do not wish to see a Measure V vote on the Kensington? No, I'm serious. Their problem isn't with the ALF, of course. The Downtown Investors Club just doesn't want the people of this City to be involved in the planning process on projects such as this. That is something these very concerned folks do not wish to share with just anyone. And since development is one of the crown jewels of economic accomplishment in Sierra Madre, they are adamantly opposed to allowing mere residents butting in on that action as well. There wouldn't be anything for them in something like that. Better that everything be left in their hands. It is much safer that way.

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.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

51 comments:

  1. The entire development of the downtown will be determined tonight.

    The entire future of Measure V will be determined tonight.

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    1. Nah it won't. Important? Sure. But hardly the last word.

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    2. Tonight may open the floodgates. What is decided this evening will set a precedent for future interpretation of Measure V.

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  2. Measure V will not be taken out of the people's hands. It was voted on and even Josh and the Buck will not take it away. This time we have a Governor who will follow the letter of the law and not a person who wants to change the law for their own ego.

    It is obvious the process to keep Measure V has begun.

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  3. I'm confident the good members of the Planning Commission will stand up for Measure V and the people of Sierra Madre who voted it into law!
    I know good people will stand up and speak out tonight.
    Most people in Sierra Madre do not want to relinquish their rights to the likes of Josh Moran and a few greedy investors in downtown development.

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    1. I am also confident that the Planning Commissioners will take their responsibilities seriously. It is always good to watch them work, whether I agree with their final decisions or not. As a decision making body they should have more power.

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    2. The fear the dirt crowd has is once an actual Measure V vote takes place, it is forever. This is really their last opportunity to stop it.

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  4. Here's the decision tree as I understand it. The Planning Commission does a regular review of this project and then they send it to the City Council stating that they recommend approval of the project SUBJECT TO A VOTE OF MEASURE V. The Council does the same, the people vote, and voila- either we have a Kensington project or we don't. And- Measure V removes only these two parcels involved in this project from the Measure V restrictions. It does not open the flood gates to dirt development. SB375 and AB32 and the Green Committee ideas open these flood gates.

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    1. 8:07 that's how I understand it too, though the more the city attorneys talk, the less clear it becomes. I'd add one thing though - Highsmith kept saying if its not complaint, it must be denied, a number of times - so maybe the PC gets it into the shape of a project it likes, then has to formally deny it, and then conditional approval if the people vote for it?
      I think the Tattler is right and they are making this a lot harder than it needs to be.

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    2. Yes, it seems so, and we need to keep protesting this bs.

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    3. The letter from the city announcing the special meeting on May 10 indicates that a General Plan amendment is required to allow this use. I don't think that is true. A Measure V vote of the people allows the size, in excess of Measure V limitations, if passed and the Conditional Use Permit allows the use - there should be no General Plan amendment required for this, right?

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    4. I thought Measure V itself was an amendment to the General Plan.

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    5. That makes sense to me 12:12, but I'm not on the council.

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  5. Ah, sweet Jesus, there is never an end to the uphill battle for the preservation of Sierra Madre from this predatory thinking.

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    1. Yes, you enter a skirmish for preservation, and find out it's a decades long war.

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  6. Hope that request for proposal for a new city law firm is ready for the next council meeting.

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    Replies
    1. Doesn't shopping for a new city attorney sound like fun?

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    2. Fun, necessary, and way overdue.

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  7. There is also an earlier meeting at 6:30 for the Commission to discuss a potential lawsuit. Anyone know who's threatening?

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    1. This "potential lawsuit" is most likely the same one that had the Planning Commission in a secret meeting a few months ago. The City is trying to steamroll the Commission into submission again tonight by this secret meeting. At the first one, De Alcorn wrote a formal letter protesting a violation of the Brown Act by having the Commission discuss an item that was on the agenda (dwelling units)that night. The answer by Elaine was, it was not in violation. Subsequent word leaked was that it was about dwelling units. Are they going to violate the Brown Act again tonight?

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    2. I don't think it's about Measure V. I would suspect Meaglia McMansion more.

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    3. Maybe Colontuono and Levin are getting ready to sue the residents of Sierra Madre.

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  8. "The City Council will make its own independent determination of whether the project should be...." is nothing new or different. It's just that same old stupid petty declaration of who is calling the shots.
    It would be much better for Sierra Madre if the city council has less control over what happens here.
    More Measure Vs about more subjects.

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    1. A little bit of denial on the CC's part. Measure V took things like this out of their hands years ago.

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    2. The Downtown Investor's group just can't let go of their lost gamble....GAMBLE.....you all gambled and you lost!
      Turn the page and move on, because there are plenty of people in this town who will fight you and keep fighting you if you try to cheat the people of Sierra Madre out of their vote and in the process, destroy the town!
      You are all bad people. You are losers and bad people.

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    3. More Measure Vs yes! Great idea, and it could work - one of the many advantages of truly being a small town - I trust the average Sierra Madre homeowner to show more common sense about their own prosperity and love for the town than any elected group.

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  9. We definitely need to push more ballot measures which will remove ever more power from the hands of the City Council; they have proven repeatedly that they can be bought by the highest bidder, so we should remove the temptation on all levels.

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    1. The answer to you is that we elect people who are not bought by the highest bidder, not ballot measures. Not easy to do in this uninformed city. Case in point, April's election. They only needed one winner to make a triad, and they got it.

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    2. They did triage to get that triad. They put everything into Harabedian at the end and pulled the plug on the other two.

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    3. Are you saying 12:53 pm that Harabedian wasn't bought by the $20K+ in outside campaign contributions and the SMPD looking the other way while he exploited two sworn officers? Goss and Braudrick were questionable on the ballot measures just couldn't raise enough money to be competitive. Where is your brain? Or maybe it's Steve in disguise...

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    4. where is your brain 1:30. Goss was a ringer to take the votes away from the others, Braudrick was supposed to be the chosen one, but when Harabedian's campaign took off with money and deception, the other two were thrown under the bus.

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  10. Ignoring the confusing exchange after12:15's excellent point, 12:15, I totally agree. If the council's duties could be curtailed, limited to the most basic of administrative procedures, it would be a lot better.

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    1. Remember, the USofA is a Representative Republic, not a democracy.

      That's why its so important to vote for the right representative(s) and not just someone who grew up in town and may or may not be interested in preserving it.

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  11. The staff report says:
    "Although the matter was raised, the Commission did not determine whether the project complies with Measure V."
    I remember that the Commission decided that dwelling units were dwelling units. But I don't remember that they voted on anything then, like so that means the project can't comply with Measure V, but clearly it can't. Is that the lawyerly distinction here? They need to say A equals B, and all they did was say A equals?

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  12. I am for this project, but I hate the height.
    I'd rather be able to see the mountains when I walk out of city hall after paying my gigantic water bill.

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    1. Couple more projects like the Alf and we won't have any water left. Think of all the money you'll save!

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    2. I thought that the height of building meant from the street up. Never occurred to me that it would be 30 feet built on top of a built up piece of land.

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  13. Was there any resolution to the problem of the demand on emergency services? Didn't it go something like the one ambulance will always be busy with a resident of the Assisted Living Facility, and won't be available for non-assisted living residents?

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    1. Good question. According to John Buchananwe had to raise the UUT to 12% to save that ambulance. Maybe now it will be a wooden cart and a horse.

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    2. So unless you're supporting Billy Shields and pals with a monthly payment of around $6,000, you might not have an ambulance when you need one?

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    3. Buchananwe, Buchananwas.

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  14. Off the topic, but it's The Tattler and we don't care. Does anyone know what the hovering helicopters are about? I saw them around noon, four of them, over the mountains closer to Altadena, and now it sounds like they're above Sierra Madre.

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    1. Don't know, but I hope it is something good. Probably costing us about $30,000.

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    2. From the PSN on-line:

      A mother bear and her two young cubs climbed a tree in an Altadena neighborhood and then walked the neighborhood for hours on Thursday, drawing the attention of locals and media outlets.

      That would account for the helos in Altadena; no idea on Sierra Madre's airspace.

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  15. Someone with savy and concern please get the helicopters out of our foothills everytime a bear wanders through. Bear management is "leave them alone stay clear and they will go their own way instead of being frightened up a tree by whirly bird idiots with nothing more important to report on".

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  16. Damnit, when are they going to figure out how dangerous they make the bears? Or is it that they just want to kill them all?

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  17. Noise abatementMay 3, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    When the kids got home from school they said they could hardly hear the teacher talk over the sound of the helicopters. There should be a law about disrupting the neighborhood for news media purposes.

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  18. The citizens should not have a vote right for Measure V. Design standards should be established and developers need to adhere to them. We vote in council members to make the decision and pass or not pass a project. If citizens are the ones to decide if they want a project, it just slows the process down and nothing gets built. Of course thats probably what everyone on this blog wants is nothing to be built anywhere, anyplace at anytime in town. They would rather just drive by that dilapidated SNF and leave it the way it is. Typically a dwelling unit is defined as having a kitchenette and a restroom. If the ALF units are just rooms that share a kitchen, then each room is not considered a dwelling unit. That was the definition established in Norwalk where I developed a 110 room assisted living facility. Anyway this group needs to trust our elected members to do the right thing as well as staff members. No one wants to "destroy" this town.

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    1. You seem to have forgotten that Measure V was the solution to a City Council that had decided to work for a small group of real estate investors rather than the people who elected them. The DSP would have destroyed this town.

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    2. I have learned the hard way not trust the council. I am in favor of the Kensington, and I am a strong supporter of Measure V. I read the Tattler. To 6:27, that must come as a revelation.

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  19. 6:27, you're a complete imbecile, or don't actually live in Sierra Madre. Trusting the council got us a draft DSP with its 325 condos in the downtown. In fact, before the DSP was even completed plans were submitted to build 72 condos at our busiest intersection and another 55 at the skilled nursing home site. The DSP also called for the construction of aboveground parking garages and the citizens would have had to foot the bill for the infrastructure -- impact fees were grossly inadequate at the time.

    The same Council that created the DSP also cut the One Carter deal that cost the City millions in attorney's fees and will eventually destroy our hillsides. Trust the Council? Yeah right.

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