What a trainwreck. If this is the way Josh Moran is going to run his meetings, we should have no fear of his turning our City government into a rubber stamp mill for unwanted development. He'll never get to the agenda items necessary for making that happen. Most members of the Downtown Investors Club will have died of old age by the time Josh finally gets things going.
I also am beginning to believe that Josh has a bit of a chip on his shoulder over speculation that the tools in his intellectual shed just aren't quite sharp enough. And because of this he is apt to do over-compensatory things like read from Book 7 of Plato's Republic during the moment of inspiration. According to Mayor Moran our little Sierra Madre is one of Plato's "essential forms of goodness." So why does he want to change it?
Nancy Walsh took her SGVCOG reports to new heights by informing her colleagues on the City Council that she will be supplying them with written memos from now on. However, what will be written on these notes was not shared with the residents of Sierra Madre. I guess as far as nancy is concerned COG matters need to be kept a secret.
Josh Moran noted his presence at the most recent General Plan Steering Committee meeting. He reported Chairwoman Delmar as saying that the final General Plan draft would be ready for City Council review in 2 months. Josh, however, said it wouldn't be ready until August. No reason was given for his belief that Denise's version was untrue, or why he felt it was necessary to correct the Chairwoman on a fairly trivial timing matter.
It was interesting that during a moment when Josh struggled a bit finding the correct word to complete a thought Nancy Walsh jumped in and supplied it to him. Perhaps the Mayor Pro Tem sympathized with his plight.
The new City Council seating arrangements were revealing. Nancy Walsh and John Harabedian are on the inside next to Mayor Moran, with John Cappocia and Chris Koerber in the outer seats. What initially appears to be a contrivance to keep these two City Councilmembers on the far edges of the action could in time lead the Mayor to believe he is surrounded.
During the meeting Josh Moran appeared to be doing everything he could to please John Harabedian. To the point where it almost seemed as if he has some kind of man crush on the young Councilman. Harabedian, however, did not appear to acknowledge the Mayor's earnest blandishments, preferring instead to stare out into the audience.
Earl Richey spoke to the Council about his letter on the water rate increases. It is his opinion that the entire matter should be agendized and certain matters pertaining to the price hike be reexamined, then put on the ballot so the people can decide. He rightly pointed out that this increase in water costs flew into the face of what the community wanted, and that City Hall's rationale for raising these rates had changed from month to month during the process. A lot of what they said being untrue.
Paulie Goosebumps got up and made a perfect ass of himself. Nothing at all new there.
Per questions that were asked during Public Comment it was established that an RFP ("Request For Proposal") on the matter of getting better value for our City Attorney buck had been put on the agenda for the second City Council meeting in June. That Josh had to ask the City Manager about when (or if) this was going to happen revealed some of the inside working dynamics at City Hall right now. In the early going Elaine Aguilar appears to be carrying the Mayor.
I have got to say I was really heartened by the way John Capoccia and Chris Koerber went after all the financial questions with a bulldog intensity. City Hall's natural predilection for constant increased spending, and the demands for more taxes that accompanies it, have now met an immovable object in these two new Councilmen.
During Public Comment Heather Allen spoke about her concerns regarding fee increases on just about everything with the exception of the ALF. Her point being that any policy changes on fees and how much folks are to be charged should be done on a level playing field. There is no reason why someone should need to pay more for having a yard sale while the Kensington folks are being given generous breaks. She also raised the point many are making that the law firm getting much of our City legal business, Colantuono and Levin, works very hard for developers, but does little on behalf of the taxpayers who cover their bills.
Pat Alcorn expressed her fears that the closed session meeting the concerned City Attorney held with the Planning Commission last Thursday evening violated the Brown Act. It was her point that meetings held out of the view of the public on topics already on the agenda was a violation of this law.
Shirley Moore stated that City Hall needs to learn to live within our means, and that this is an obligation government has to this community. She said that one way we could save money would be to withdraw from the SGVCOG and SCAG. Two organizations who have shown time and again that they do not have our best interests at heart. So why should they receive our money? Another obligation Shirley discussed would be for the City to follow the wishes of the people who live here, and not the needs of outside economic interests. A theme that many in this community are embracing.
Caroline Brown asked for Crime Report information availability during Public Comment. Criminal activity such as home robberies seems to many in town to be on the increase, yet no statistics are being given on a regular basis that would substantiate - or gainsay - this impression. This matter will be put on a future agenda.
On the question of spending $18,000 to move the Library's computing systems, Chris Koerber and John Capoccia asked if any consideration of using the Cloud and 3rd party offsite computing systems had been considered. In the private sector such arrangements are saving companies thousands of dollars in computing costs. City Staff has done some research, but felt the risks outweighed the benefits.
During the very long discussion about the Pinney House becoming a bed and breakfast the question of what kinds of events will be held there came up. The suspicion being that we could be looking at another Alverno situation where loud parties with hundreds of guests could become an unwelcome part life on Lima. No answer was forthcoming.
An interesting moment arose during the discussion about a fee waiver for the Midge Morash Memorial at Bailey Canyon Park. Josh noted that the City could send two men from Public Works to move boulders that would become a part of the Memorial. "It is not a monetary cost, it is staff time," he noted. "It's not like we're taking any money out of our coffers." But isn't the use of staff time and the supposed expenses involved the rationale City Hall gives for charging fees in the first place?
Liaisons were chosen. The COG and California League of Cities were placed into the hands of John Harabedian and the Mayor, with Nancy Walsh serving as the alternate for both. Safely out of the hands of Koerber and Capoccia, I suppose. SCAG went to John Capoccia and Chris Koerber.
That's what I have for the moment. Please feel free to fill in the blanks.