Monday, June 11, 2012

Alfington Planning Commission Meeting Pt. 2: A Unique Monday Evening Special Gathering

You may recall from last Thursday that each member of the Planning Commission was handed one of those signature white loose leaf binders filled with all sorts of new information regarding the Kensington (or "Alfington" if you are "one of them") a mere two hours before the meeting began. And then towards the end of that evening's get together there was considerable pressure placed upon our Planning Commission to sign off on all of these fine new documents, despite the fact that none of the commissioners had been given much of a chance to read any of what had been written there.

Quite rightly, the Planning Commission then refused to sign off on anything they hadn't actually read, despite assurances from Lawyer Jenkins that we happen to have something called a "City Manager form of government." A line that has caused me to burst out in laughter at several completely inappropriate moments over the last couple of days. Given some of the bizarre shenanigans of these last few years, the water rate increase being a fine example, can you imagine granting Queen of England kinds of influence to Elaine Aguilar? To the point where commissioners are expected to automatically sign off on any documents that emerge from her office? Simply because they have her autograph on them?

Lawyer Jenkins and his arguments didn't get very far with the Planning Commission, something that appeared to cause the developer, Billy Shields, considerable anxiety. His concern being that if the Alfington question is to get on the ballot this November, then time may be running out. After all, once the Planning Commission gets done with their deliberations, the matter then passes over to the City Council, which for all intents and purposes is the main bout. So in order to bring some peace to Billy's troubled heart, a special meeting was called, and it takes place this evening.

Now I have received several e-mails reporting that possible skulduggery is afoot this evening. And I have little doubt that there is more than some truth to what is written there. These were sent by people who are genuinely concerned about the Kensington project and the ways it could be used to change how development downtown is to be done in Sierra Madre. That cynically conceived contrivances could be at work here to undercut Measure V is a given. Why else would all of those absurd canards have been trotted out by the City Attorney's office at previous Planning Commission meetings? It was always quite obvious what was going on.

The CUP process for the Kensington has been under way for a while now, and frankly it should have been wrapped up weeks ago. But there has always been an underlying narrative to all we've seen here. This would be first time a Measure V vote will take place, and there are those who literally hate the fact that this could happen. These folks have tried a lot of different ways to stop a vote from going forward, with the Kensington playing more of a hostage role in the drama than anything else.

Billy Shields, the Kensington developer, figured this dynamic out months ago, which is why he came down on the side of a vote. He did so because he understands that this has always been about Sierra Madre politics. Billy and his partners stand to make a lot of money here should their project actually get built, and he figured this was the best way of getting around a very difficult political situation here in town. It was a gamble, and one that he could still lose.

The Planning Commission has rejected all of the nonsense that's been thrown at them so far, and they will continue to do so tonight. These are smart and pragmatic people clearly attuned to what has actually been going on all throughout this process. In the end they will deliver to the City Council a product that will both reflect what is right for Sierra Madre planning-wise, and in accordance with all of the laws, including Measure V. All despite the mountains of malarkey they have been forced to endure.

In the end, what will this all mean? Not very much, I'm afraid. This all falls upon the City Council to decide. In Sierra Madre they are the ones that hold all of the power. And should noted Measure V haters Josh Moran and Nancy Walsh convince John Harabedian that they should not allow a fully legitimate vote of the people to take place on this project, then there would not be one.

In which case we will have to raise a lot of money and hire the kinds of lawyers needed to defend our Constitutional rights. Because that is what this issue will then be about. Measure V is a law that was enacted through a vote of the people, and therefore under the Constitution of the State of California it falls into a very special category. One that comes with considerable protections.

However, it would take a lawsuit to trigger these protections. A step that I would certainly fully support. The thought of such people taking away my rights, and in this way, is intolerable. We have the right to decide how our town is to be planned, how it is to look and who gets to build what in it. It is our law, one that came about as the result of a direct vote of the people.

If we don't take that step, and we don't defend our rights, then we would stand to lose everything.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

59 comments:

  1. The Kensington at Knob hill school site in Redondo Beach is under discussion at the same time the very same Billy Sullivan is proposing this project for little ole' special us. He out bid another group that wanted to rent the site for continued school use. Saw on one link that it was going to take 20 months of planning and a vote of the residents. Link around and see that this is a carbon copy of our "special" Alfington and see that we are part of his cloning plan for ALFs everywhere.

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  2. Redondo Beach Measure DD passed in 2010 requires a city vote if zoning change is required for project, which would be the case for the Kensington of Redondo Beach on the Knob Hill school site.

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  3. Google RBUSD Awards Bid and you will see the Spanish colonial building style the Billy "changed for us" to be more in keeping with Sierra Madre's look. Not on you life is any of this different from this developer's plan to push through a project to make his biggest profit possible.

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  4. It looks like we are being played with, and it is starting to stink.

    If we are to be entertained by this charade, and be forced to undertake yet another law suit, let us consider killing two birds with one stone, and petition for a recall of those C.C. members who vote against the people's Measure V.
    We will then see who's "ego" in the city wanting to fight a recall.

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  5. I think we now see who's horse the city attorney is backing.

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  6. Expect a whole lot of double talk from the Col & Levin crew tonight. They need to give Josh and Nancy something to hang onto when they try to kill Measure V.

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  7. Chief Black KettleJune 11, 2012 at 7:38 AM

    Your blog this morining, Johnny C, is spot on. I think we good citizens must bear in mind that there is no such thing in city government as unused power. The City Manager form of government is designed to take a lot of the legal burden off the shoulders of the city councilmen and to see that the desires of the city council are turned into holy writ. This gives the manager and staff tremendous amounts of raw power so in my view it's not so much the citizenry yammering at the city council but bringing inadvertent pressure to bear on the city manager. That is, make it quite clear to the city government in general that the voters in this town mean what they say and that to use our own city legal department against the wishes of the people is unacceptable. I say its time to take it to the streets.

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    1. The Chief, as usual, is spot on. What we have seen during the Planning Commission meetings is a deliberate attempt to create something that would be easier for the City Council to reject. Unfortunately for them the Planning Commission has dug in and done their jobs. There will be more shenanigans tonight I am sure. A last ditch attempt.

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  8. Just say NO to any more talk of recall. It is not useful and sets us up for a bag distraction. You have to use the powers of persuasion and then a law suit if that fails. I am sure another will blog just say NO to any more talk of law suits.

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    1. Have a look at how the citizens of Fullerton did with their recall efforts. It can be done.

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    2. All it takes is a few zealous co-leaders and lots of foot soldiers.
      It's not easy.
      Whoever is calling for recall needs to be prepared to lead, organize, and finance it.

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  9. The prospect of shelling out big bucks to defend our Constitutional Rights is appalling.What is it that our shameful City Establishment doesn't get.You know,like representing the will of the Citizens as opposed to serving the goals of special interest.The deranged and despicable performance over the years by the City,s" elites" to ravage and plunder this community from the Hillsides to the freeway has to be challenged if we wish to save our community from the urban blight which has been imposed upon our surrounding San Gabriel communities.

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  10. The observation has been made before and now again we get to discuss the appalling fact that we get to pay twice, once for the city legal council that the city hires (our taxes for Coluntuano and Levin et al)
    and
    then for our attorney for fight the city when they don't follow the law the citizens voted on to protect ourselves from overdevelopment--Measure V.

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  11. See below next paragraph wasn't the palnning commission last thursday a special meeting ?
    (Hey did not have proper time to notice. Meeting it is a violation of the sunshine act. They are up to no good pushing this so fast. The overlay will put all projects on hold this is the DSP all over . Have to renotice. At least two weeks and a special meeting must have. Very sprcific guidelines for them this does not fit. The vote on overlay is not legal if only given a. Few days before. Totally illegal read sushine act notice of meetings. Desperate now!!! Written notice of violation must go to Elaine Aguilar with confirmation of receipt Danny Castro today

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    1. Why is a site-specific overlay zone, one that is confined to this site only, like the DSP?

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    2. The Planning Commission meets on the first and third Thursdays of every month, so last Thursday was a regular meeting.

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  12. Notice For A Special Meeting
    Special meetings must be noticed under the Sunshine Ordinance by:
    1) posting a copy of the agenda in a location freely available to the public at least 48 hours before the stated time of the meeting (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays).
    2) delivering to each member of the local body, news media, and any person who has previously requested notice in writing (See "Agenda Subscribers", below) a copy of the agenda at least 48 hours before the stated time of the meeting (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays). The agendas may be delivered in person, mailed, faxed or e-mailed.
    3) filing a copy of the agenda and all agenda-related materials in the Office of the City Clerk at least 48 hours before the stated time of the meeting (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays).
    If the special meeting is held in a location other than the regular meeting place, then the above special meeting notice requirements must be met at least ten (10) days before the meeting date. This ten-day requirement does not apply if the meeting is held in the same building as the local body's regular meetings.


    * NOTE:
    * Special meetings are subject to more extensive noticing requirements than regular meetings because of the short amount of time involved in providing public notice and the fact that the meeting may entail a change in the eeting time or location. NOTE:
    It is not permissible to schedule a special meeting simply to correct a mistake or defect that may have occurred in noticing a regular meeting. For example, if the agenda for a regular meeting was not posted in time to meet the 72-hour posting requirement, the Sunshine Ordinance prohibits the local body from calling a special meeting (with its 48-hour notice requirement) on the same day to consider the same issues.

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    1. They just made it time-wise. I get it that there is a well-deserved mistrust for all things city hall, but this is something they know about as well as those of us who are watching them do.

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  13. Bagley-Keene act
    The Bagley-Keene act requires public bodies to provide 10 days notice for all meetings, both in writing and online. The notice must include contact information for someone who can provide more information for the meeting, as well as the time, date and location of the meeting. Both open meetings and executive sessions must be posted with a list of what will be discussed at the meetings, and provides a limit to the topics that can be discussed at the meeting. However, the act does permit emergency issues to be addressed without being included in the agenda, if 2/3rds of the board votes that it is imperative. The act does allow special meetings to be called without giving a ten day notice when the public interest is in favor of action and the topic of the meeting meets one of the following criteria:

    * to consider pending litigation
    * to consider proposed legislation
    * to consider a new legal opinion
    * disciplinary action of a state employee
    * purchase or sale of real estate
    * license examinations
    * to consider actions on a loan or grant
    * to respond to final draft audits
    * to replace a resigned or deceased state officer [4]

    The state is however obligated to deliver notice of special meetings to media outlets and any individuals who had requested notice 2 days prior to the meeting. Emergency meetings can be called with only an hour warning, if the emergency "severely impairs public health or safety" [4]. The act requires that the public agency notify news media who had requested notification of emergency meetings one hour prior to the meeting. They must also post the minutes of emergency meetings within ten days.


    --

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  14. Lets do everything we can to stall and delay this project so the developer loses money and it doesnt pencil out for them. We don't want such a project and I know they are trying to screw us. Id rather see the SNF dilapidated as it is.

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    1. I disagree 10:17. The planning commisioners have hammered it into being a close to good project, the developer is for sending it to the public for their approval - so far, it looks like a reasonable use of that site. So far. The council, as the Tattler points out, has the final say, and it's the council we have to worry about.

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    2. Let's do everything we can to see that this project is a benefit to Sierra Madre. And that it is the only facility o its kind in town.

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    3. I agree. We are not at DefCon anything right now. The Planning Commission has done a great job and will do the same this evening. Peace out, OK?

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  15. Finally took a look at the new elevations. The new "mission" style is hideous. It looks like so much of the crap architecture that has gone up in San Gabriel. The Craftsman style was much more "Sierra Madre" in character. Although I like the work the planning commission has done, the change in style is horrible.

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    1. I disagree. The Mediterranean style is much imporved over the "Disneyland-style" Mission look. The scale was too grand for Mission style.

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  16. Wheeeeee! Wheeeeee! Wheeeeee!!!

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    1. I'd watch out for those pigs if I were you. They're tactical bombers.

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    2. Flying helps them keep trim.

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    3. Ticket firing drones.

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  17. When did Elaine certify the porcine aviators?

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    1. These flying pigs are without any of the proper permits. And there are also some serious CEQA issues at play. LAPD choppers are on the way.

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    2. I've been trying to figure out what prompts the pig flying illustration - so many possibilities.

      Here's a good fit:
      Pigs will fly when the planning commissioners vote on something they were not able to read first.

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  18. Mod-century Mission, lah!

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  19. City Hall is playing chicken with the residents. It is going to take a law suit to beat them.

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    1. Unfortunately for the concerned citizen,you are correct.The City may fool some but their actions are transparent to many.The use of a well- favored
      project as a decoy to ensnare the voters to approve a project whose real purpose is to invalidate Measure V is the Issue!Overturning Measure V has prevented the destruction of this community by unprincipled demolition of our community for the benefit of an unprincipled few.

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    2. Please connect the dots for me, and I admit I am often slow-witted.
      The developer has asked the council to put this to a publiuc vote. The citizens will vote yes, or no.
      How does that invalidate Measure V?

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  20. Article up on Patch. Measure A lost in Sierra Madre. 55% voted No. Measure A carries in the 'Denas by about that same 10% margin.

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    1. Wow. 45% of Sierra Madre voted against their own interests. I guess that explains Josh.

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  21. There was not enough parking and now that they are adding 2,0 0 0 sq ft to the building the parking issues really need to be addressed.

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    1. Easy to fix. Get rid of the retail space. That would make it a smaller building with less parking needed.

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    2. And turn it into an institutional wall for us to scurry by a la Brave New World.

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  22. So the developers want microwave ovens, but these are not, repeat not, dwelling units.

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  23. I don't get it. Why is it they can't be units, but Billy still wants you to vote on it?

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    1. Maybe they thought 96 dwelling units would automatically be voted down - overestimating the awareness of the average Sierra Madre voter.

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  24. I've had it with all Kensington Krap. They must abide by Measure V. (Period!) I don't care what they come up with, I'll vote against. They can take their dog and pony show elsewhere....

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    1. Amen. This has been going on forever, and the only thing the city cares about is getting around the law. What a disgraceful bunch of idiots.

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    2. Chairman Paschall is on the right track. Call it a kitchen and vote on it for Measure A.

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    3. Measure A? You meant Measure V, right?

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  25. Whatever. It's late.

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  26. Better late than never. As they say.

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  27. Approved on a 4 to 1 vote. While I understand Paschall's concerns over Measure V, that topic is really up to the City Council. The Planning Commission did a fantastic job beating the project into shape. Now it is up to the Council to do the right thing and approve the project subject to a Measure V vote.

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  28. Somebody needs to define for me what a "conjugal care unit" is. And why the Planning Commission believes that makes the ALF Measure V compliant. The project was beaten alright. But what shape it is in now is anyone's guess. I thoink this whole process was a mess, and the final product a joke.

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    1. I'm sure Billy and his buds are dreaming of sugar plums tonight.

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    2. I think Billy is actually quite frustrated. He knows the whole PC process was a mess, and now he goes into the City Council part of this with very little to hang his hat on.

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    3. Disagree 12:44. Now it's just a walk down the aisle with a council majority, followed by a generally uninformed public voting yes because everyone is so sick of the crumbling SNF.

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    4. Billy has had Moran and Walsh from the first day he rolled into town, and Harabedian will follow suit. We're lucky the planning commission could accomplish what it did.

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  29. Billy got everything he wanted and more. Where was everyone at the meeting? Are the Kings more important than our City? Only the usual suspects were there and even some of those didn't speak. Is everyone waiting to speak at the City Council Meeting or what. I can understand the lack of enthusiasm since it was a foregone conclusion that there would be no Measure V vote. But, there were many things to speak to that the planning commission didn't address such as: 2100 added square feet and no extra parking; about 3000 less excavation; no reduction in the overall density. Shields played us for saps, and we lost. He was arguing about the microwave ovens to detract on the other obvious things the planning commission should have picked up. Please, please all of you read what the Commission passed tonight and come to the City Council Meeting and speak up.

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