Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tale of Two Meetings

There are two meetings taking place this evening. Each in their own way very much Tattler topics, yet also gatherings that are decidedly quite different. One that could result in a still rather large house being built by two very determined individuals, the other a big step towards the end of an organization that has held considerable sway at this end of the valley for quite some time. Which is also the work of a very determined individual. It only takes a few people to move things in this world. Even our smaller version of it.

It's our tale of two meetings. Here are the outlines of what is going down tonight. Tomorrow we'll let you know just how these things ended up. It's what we do. We're big on typing and staying up late.

Meaglia IV

The Meaglias, Richard and Soledad, are back for yet another round in front of the Planning Commission. Lord knows they have been there before. Hoping to build a large two story McMansion here in Sierra Madre, they have been very determined in their approach to make their big dream happen. And they have tried many different stratagems to make it all work for them. But each time the Planning Commission has informed them that they need to go back to the drawing board and come back with something that looks more like a house and less like a triumphant monument to lumber usage.

However, it now appears that after repeated rejections of their two story 6,000 square foot dream, they have reduced their plans to a single story, though still quite imposing, 5,675 square feet home. Which means the new wickiup is going to cover a lot of turf. Obviously there will be lots of walkability in this structure. Every time the phone rings somebody is going to have to sprint the distance of a couple football fields to answer it.

Here is how it is all described in the Executive Summary of the Planning Commission Staff Report:

The owners/applicants, Richard and Soledad Meaglia, are requesting that the Planning Commission consider a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to allow construction of a one-story, 5,675-square-foot single-family home on property located at 756 Auburn Avenue. Pursuant to Sierra Madre Municipal Code 17.20.025.C single-family residences that exceed 4,000 square feet of floor area require approval of a CUP.

Mr. Meaglia has since revised the design fro a two-story to a one-story residence, and reduced the total floor area from 5,963 to 5,675 square feet. Staff recommends that the Planning Commission approve Conditional Use Permit 11-05 (CUP 11-05) pursuant to Planning Commission Resolution 12-05, subject to conditions of approval.

The odds of this getting approved by the Planning Commission are fairly good. Or at least that is what the knowledgeable people are saying. The Meaglias having finally done something to make this structure less obtrusive than before. I guess we will have to wait and see.

SGVCOG Governing Board Meeting

This is the first COG Governing Board meeting since the D.A. raided the homes and offices of Executive Director Nick Conway. And judging by the agenda for tonight's get-together that event is on the minds of this august panel. Just the agenda items of the closed session is enough to make you believe mighty changes are about to happen.

8.0 Conference with legal counsel re: pending litigation pursuant to Government Code section 54956.9(a) - Gil Aguirre v. San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments, Los Angeles Superior Court, Case Number BS 132514.

9.0 Evaluation of performance of Executive Director pursuant to Government Code section 54957.

10.0 Conference with legal counsel re: anticipated litigation pursuant to Government Code section 54956.9(b)(3)(C) - claim or other written communication threatening RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) litigation received from Gil Aguirre.

That is quite a closed session. Something tells me the regular meeting won't be getting underway on time. Certainly there is a lot that needs to be discussed first.

How this will all end up tonight is anybody's guess. One unidentified poster yesterday did venture to go out on a limb and make a prediction of how it will go down tonight. Here it is:

A prediction: I talked to an individual who is not a public official. He did talk to a COG insider. I am curious to see if this is true. The COG will place Conway on PAID leave. he will sit at home and wait to see if he gets indicted. He is the sole owner of Arroyo. His employees will go to work and he will take in his almost $800,000 income. Then the COG will hire its own attorney to help Conway's personal attorney negotiate with the DA. That way he gets paid as long as possible. Conway has an insider attorney at the COG helping his defense team. This info came from a COG Board member who is "chatting" prior to the meeting. I do not have personal knowledge.

Like I said, we will have 3rd party reports on both meetings, and they will be posted for your viewing pleasure tomorrow morning.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

41 comments:

  1. A paid leave of $800.000. while our country has the highest rate of hungry children not to mention unemployment.

    Does Taylor's Market deliver his meats?

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  2. There's no grounds at all for the Meaglia McMansion to get a CUP approval. A Conditional Use Permit MUST make findings that no other solution to a specific site problem is do-able. There is no excuse for just plain over-sizing a house, that's what all zoning and design review committees are about. People have abused this for years, proposing an obviously ridiculous project, and then using that as a place to "negotiate" from in order to finally exceed the actual site guidelines as determined by the community. That is unacceptable special privilege, particularly since CUP's are not meant as a legal bargaining tool, they're a line in the sand.

    "I want my big house" is not a finding, it's just unsustainable greed.

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    1. It's also "I want my big house in a town where most people don't want it".
      When so many areas around us would lay out the red carpet for this enormity, you have to wonder about the drive to put it here.

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    2. Maybe he wants to bust the system.

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  3. Highest rate of hungry children? Really? Compared to what?

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    Replies
    1. Perhaps the writer meant something like highest rate since the Depression or something.

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    2. I agree that was a weird bit of hyperbole, but the point is valid - spending buckets of money keeping Conway flush, when that money would be better spent helping those in need. That doesn't include Nick.

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    3. Odd that all that money is being spent on this one person when one of the COG's stated goals is helping the homeless.

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  4. So one might think that with all of the problems facing the SGVCOG that the Governing Board members would focus on changing the cult like environment that has become the norm.

    After all of the important housekeeping issues are dealt with in tonight's meeting, the Board will then quietly adopt an important revision to the agency's by-laws. The change involves kicking former COG Presidents off of the secretive and powerful Executive Committee - not because it is good for the agency or the public which it serves, but instead to silence former outspoken Presidents who have been critical of Conway and the agency.

    For real change at the SGVCOG to happen each and every delegate should be replaced and new representatives should be brought in who can give a fresh perspective to the way the agency is run.

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    Replies
    1. Close it down altogether, have a cooling off period, and then start again.

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  5. Good one Tattler - McMansions as fitness facilities.

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  6. Will it have it's own atmosphere and weather systems?

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    Replies
    1. Of course. It will be it's own village in our village.

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    2. It is an enormous house.
      But if the guy meets the code - a big lot that a big house fits on - that's it.

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    3. If he's asking for a CUP, it doesn't meet code.

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    4. Thanks 12:50 & duh on my part - but the mansh meets something - the staff recommends approval.

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    5. Staff reports should be taken with a grain of salt; they're more susceptible to influence (public pressure or political payback) than the Commission members. Sometimes the City Council is a major influence as well, and the points of argument are treated like a negative dec done in place of the necessary EIR. It's subtle...

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  7. Hope the village within our village is green.

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    Replies
    1. I heard someone today saying it is going to be Sierra Madre's first mixed use house.

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  8. It's all semantics. Some think "green" means grass and trees, recycling plastic bags, and composting. Maybe you think "green" means escalating dollars spent to build high density vertical beehives adjacent to cute little trains busy buzzing throughout urban villages. Or you could be of the school that believes "green" is all a communist plot of corrupt climatologists. In the end it doesn't matter: we all die. In a hundred years life will either go on as we know it - or not.

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    1. There is a group of scientists now who believe that the damage is done and that anything we do know is too little, too late. The timeline to the destruction of all life as we know it being around 200 years. Fortunately none of us will live to see that. Plastic, please.

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    2. Are you saying that no one who reads the Tattler will be around in 100 years? How depressing 12:18 pm.

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    3. Yeah, but we might as well treat our surroundings with a little respect while we're here.

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    4. I fully plan to have moved out of Sierra Madre by at least 2175. I see no reason to stick around much longer than that.

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  9. Codes, and Zoning, lay out acceptable paramaters that encourage reasonable applications for use and variance. In this case size and height are brought into question. The home next door; or another in the block, or on the street set a measure to be considered and applied. More than a 10% variance might be the standard for allowing a change to the code or zoning, and then only when determined it will not cause a major disruption to the balance of codes or zoning that now exist, and then esthetic and taste levels have also been evaluated and considered.

    Arcadia Californnia stands as a monument to a City where random development has been left to seek its own zoning disaster. And there it sits, splattered over the hillsides and squashed into pint size lots spilling over the edges.
    A real "pudding town"!

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    Replies
    1. I am amazed by some of the streets in Arcadia, full of mansions, built cheek by jowl.

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  10. Ohhhh here is the code text and laws, gotta scroll down a bit and pick thru the nat pepper,

    GOVERNMENT CODE
    SECTION 54950-54963

    Possible criminal past and has been rehabilated enough? Ah say it ain't so...


    The wheels of justice turn slow, like a sausage grinder sometimes. Rico lo bye bye, Mr. Con Way, with the Rico statute lots of room for friends and asset seizing..

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    Replies
    1. Be nice if the DA decided to make an example of those guys. They certainly aren't the only ones out there.

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    2. sure would, hey looks like PCC fired Van Pelt, and Dave Perez of Industry resigned. Both stories in the SGV tribune..
      The valley is jumping.

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    3. Hopefully the broom doesn't stop sweeping. Lot's more to go!

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  11. Like it or not. Arcadia is a much prettier city than Sierra Madre. If I could afford it Id move down south to "Singing Woods" or the like in Highland Oaks over Sierra Madre. Sounds like people are just jealous of the Chinese people's success. I agree many of the McMansions look ridiculous but Id say they look a heck of alot better than Sierra Madres "post-war" production homes. 1200 sf 2bds 1 bath for $600K is a rip-off here in town. Especially when just down the road to Monrovia you get the same level for $100K less. Id loosen the rope in Sierra Madre and let the people build what they want within reason. Folks here on this blog claim process and property rights but really are just a bunch of NIMBY's

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  12. Any chance you'll be moving there soon? I know I certainly wouldn't want you in my backyard.

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  13. Paid leave??? Are you kidding? What a deal? Nick will be out having a good old time with his cronies Messina, Spence, lapdog Cano and Gonzales while still sucking up public money. While Nick's firm continues to profit and his staff will continue to get direction from him I'm sure - NOTHING WILL CHANGE WITH THE COG UNLESS AND UNTIL THEY GET RID OF THAT CROOK. Why can't the Board see that??? I heard Arroyo just got a contract with the port?? Can someone look into that

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  14. Unfortunately Anoyingous 4:14 I cant afford to move down to Arcadia if you would have read what I posted. But I can tell you this, if I find out where you live, Im going to buy the lot next door and build one of those McMansion so I can overlook you sun bathing in your back yard.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I did kind of figure you had a creepy side. But why is it you can afford a McMansion in Sierra Madre but not Arcadia?

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    2. My question is why stay in a town you disdain?

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    3. Why not sell the $600K rip off and go to Monrovia where you can buy 5?

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  15. A prediction that came true: I talked to an individual who is not a public official. He did talk to a COG insider. I am curious to see if this is true. The COG will place Conway on PAID leave. he will sit at home and wait to see if he gets indicted. He is the sole owner of Arroyo. His employees will go to work and he will take in his almost $800,000 income. Then the COG will hire its own attorney to help Conway's personal attorney negotiate with the DA. That way he gets paid as long as possible. Conway has an insider attorney at the COG helping his defense team. This info came from a COG Board member who is "chatting" prior to the meeting. I do not have personal knowledge.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ever get the feeling that people on this blog know things?

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  16. They kicked Conway critic Carol Herrera and Tom King from the executive board as predicted. No sense having the last two presidents there who questioned Conway's conflict of interest issues and Brown Act violations trying to stop wrongdoing.

    Then they paid Aguire's attorney fifty grand. That must put the Conway legal and conflict of interest bill at over eight hundred thosand dollars. And he still can go into the office at Arroyo Associates but cannot tell his employees what to do? I have a bridge to sell you. One Board member called the mess a train wreck and another complained about the buffet.

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  17. Lipstick on a Pig.

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