Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Sierra Madre Crime Council?

It really is one of the more amazing documents to come our way lately. When Billy Shields, the developer behind the Kensington project that has become such a topic for conversation in town, sent a letter to City Hall declaring that he was in favor of a Measure V vote on his project, it was pretty much unprecedented. I can't imagine that the recipients were overjoyed to receive it.

Usually in such cases City Hall would oppose something like Measure V on behalf of a developer. The developer likely demanding that they do just that. But here we have one who appears to be on something of a collision course with our City Hall because he is actually asking that a legitimate and binding vote of the people on his project take place. So when have we ever seen anything like that before? And why would Billy do it?

Here is the key passage from Billy Shields's letter asking that a Measure V vote be held on his very own Kensington project.

Early in the public review process we recognized this would be a critical question for many and for that reason requested, and the City Council agreed, to place the matter before the people of Sierra Madre for a public vote. In an effort to avoid a dispute over this definition, assuming the City Council is inclined to approve this project, we believe that it would be best for all concerned to characterize the matter before the voters in November as an amendment of Measure V.

The question that has to be asked is why would Billy come down on the side of a Measure V vote? I suppose you could say that Billy is a nice guy, and he really does want to do right by the people of Sierra Madre. The notion being that he respects the people's right to a vote on this matter, and would not in any way want to deprive them of such a thing.

Or you could take his letter at face value and accept that Billy's purpose for calling for this Measure V vote on the Kensington is that he believes it will lead to some truly cathartic conflict resolution. He just wants everyone to get along.

But you know, I don't think either one of those is completely accurate. Not to say that Billy isn't a nice guy, or that he doesn't have the best interests of Sierra Madre at heart. I'm sure he does, and when it makes sound business sense he would opt to do the right thing.

However, I believe the real reason is this. Should the Kensington go on the ballot this November as anything but a Measure V vote, it would be illegal. Billy's lawyers have looked into these matters very carefully, they spoke with the attorneys who actually wrote this law, and concluded that the only way to get this project done properly is to follow the legal requirements. Which is Measure V. To do otherwise would mean putting the Kensington in possible jeopardy later should an illegal vote be challenged in Court. Which they have wisely concluded could happen. And no smart businessman would ever want to take a risk as stupid as that, especially when there are millions of dollars in investor capital at stake.

It will be interesting to see if a majority on our City Council will decide to break the law and send the Kensington question to the November ballot as a meaningless advisory or vanity measure. The law clearly states that this vote has to comply with the requirements of Measure V. Yet there are some at City Hall who appear to believe that their various bluffs and shaggy dog stories will be enough, and in the end they'll be able to somehow steal the legal right to vote on downtown development from the residents and get away with it.

And by the way, the Courts in California take a very dim view of politicians who attempt to steal Constitutionally guaranteed citizen rights on such things as voting. Especially when they are the result of a citizen driven initiative process. No matter what the reason for trying to do so. After all, this isn't North Korea.

You really do need come down to City Hall tonight. Because if you do you could very well get to watch certain members of the City Council, with the assistance of City Staff and the always enabling City Attorney, engaging in behavior that would have to be considered criminal. That being deliberately attempting to violate a voter approved law. And there will be all manner of parsing, creative writing, word substitution games and even flat-out fibbing as they do it.

Sierra Madre's very first Crime Council. Bring the kids. It should be morally edifying.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

68 comments:

  1. The Cost Is Not An Issue,,,,July 10, 2012 at 7:09 AM

    Personally I'm hoping the council tries to circumvent the law. With over 40 years of raising a family here we have a lot of voters still living here. It is unanimous in our family, steal our Measure V vote and were going to court. This is a no-brainer, the council members that vote against the people will feel the wrath of the law and money is no object.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I have heard there is a group who is ready to put up the money to fight this in court.
      They already have two attorneys, both well known here in Sierra Madre.
      I will donate money to this.

      I know Chris Koerber and John Capoccia will protect Measure V.
      I would hope John Harabedian will as well. His family owns a very nice home on E. Sierra Madre Blvd. This family supported YES on MEASURE V.
      They want to protect their property value, and I'm sure everyone else's in town who likes to live in a small town.
      I pray John Harabedian will put his family and neighbors first before his pro-development stance.

      I have little hope josh moran and nancy walsh will do anything but what bart doyle tells them to do....which will be to break the law.

      Delete
  2. Who has the most to lose by not giving the people their legally guaranteed right to a vote? Josh or Nancy? Not really. They have nothing left to lose. Capoccia or Koerber? They'll say yes to a Measure V vote. That leaves the man in the middle, John Harabedian. What does he have to lose if he casts a vote to prop up all the bottom feeders in town who supported him during the election? A whole lot. One thing is for sure, if they do the wrong thing this all goes to Court. Stealing the vote is a very serious issue. And the votes our City Councilmembers cast will be looked at very very carefully.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mrs. Harabedian, John's mother is the principal at St.Rita's school.
      The former principal who was there in 2007, during Measure V was a very, very STRONG supporter of Yes on Measure V. So was the Bethany Christian School. Main reason, SAFETY OF THE CHILDREN WHO ATTEND THEIR SCHOOLS.
      If the pro-development people have their way, Sierra Madre's downtown will be a very treacherous place for children, seniors, handicapped people, especially the blind, to walk. This is a huge safety issue, which was one reason many voted for Measure V.

      Delete
  3. It will be interesting to see how John H., whose mother supported Measure V, will vote tonight. I do hope he will do the right thing.

    ReplyDelete
  4. If John H. comes out against a voter-enacted initiative, his political career is over.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would be the most remarkable flip flop since Joe Mosca stabbed the slow growthers in the back in 2006.

      Delete
    2. Maybe an overseas opportunity would arise.

      Delete
    3. We can only hope the exodus continues.

      Delete
  5. I have witnessed the Hildreths request at public comment to the Sierra Madre City Council on more than one occasion to have their project approved by a City Wide Vote. There was never one comment addressed to them by a Council Member, City Manager or City Attorney.

    What is going on with the Hildreth lawsuit?

    It has been what seems to be a couple of years now, the Hildreths are still in their house. The question that comes to mind is how much has the City been paying on Attorneys? How many law firms are representing the City? How much longer are we the City going to have to pay the Attorneys? Are the Hildreths going to prevail and cost the City even more money?
    How does the City determine what goes on the ballot? Is it the Council Members, the City Manager, or the City Attorney?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Hildreth project got its first (disputed?) approvals before Measure V was enacted.
      The timing means there is no requirement for the city to put it to a vote.

      Delete
  6. One thing to remind Councilman Harabedian (Walsh and Moran won't care--Koerber and Capoccia profoundly know this already)

    ...you were sworn in to your position on the City Council after winning the election last April to ". . . uphold the laws of the city and the state of California . . . " What more needs to be said?

    ReplyDelete
  7. If you voted for Measure V, please come to the meeting tonight and let the Council know that you want the ALF on the ballot.

    All you need to tell the Council is that the "Kensington project violate's Measure V's density limit. Accordingly, it must be placed on the ballot for the voter's approval or rejection. To do otherwise, violates the letter and spirit of Measure V and conflicts witth the intent of the voters."

    ReplyDelete
  8. john buchanan must be turning over in his political grave :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Its very simple. All we ask is for the Council to follow the letter of the law. Amend Measure V to allow the Kensington to be built. It should be a 5-0 vote to have the City Attorney write up a measure for the November Ballot using the wording that the developer has requested. As ironic as it seems, the slow growth people are siding with a developer and we hope the Kensington can be started asap.

    ReplyDelete
  10. If the Kensington is built at the site of the fomer skilled nursing facility the citizens, residents and visitors are going to be SHOCKED at how huge and awful it will look. Mark my words.

    Too bad we can't have Cristo come with some flowing silk yardage and story poles to show us what it will really look like. It is almot impossible for the regular bloke with an eye for shape and space to visualize this monster.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are correct 9:56, it will be a monster only becasue the Planning Commission insisted they put commercial shops along the street. (Following our General Plan by the way). So, I am willing to compromise in favor of the project as opposed to waiting another 5 years or so for another one to come along.

      Delete
    2. It sure beats the 50 or 60 condos the real estate termites want to put there. I will vote yes. It is the best deal we'll ever get.

      Delete
    3. 10:55 am

      Do you have an original thought? Or do you just parrot what you've heard someone else say?

      Sierra Madre would be better off without defeatist attitudes like yours.

      Delete
  11. Josh hates Measure V, and so does his mom. He might go to the mat on this. It is crazy Realtors versus the world time. even if the developer dumped them on sanity issues.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. of course Josh hates Measure V. he advocated a boycott of Sierra Madre businesses, JUST because they happened to advertise in a paper that provided a fair and balanced view of it.

      plus he sells mortages, he wants the business and it helps his Mom and his real estate sales buds

      and lest we forget, Josh said pubically (after he was elected) that he'd use his position as Councilmember to appoint his friends and supporters to city commissions and commitees

      Delete
  12. Well, if JH votes with Josh and Nancy, the only upside will be the lawsuits it will generate will shine a light on the shenanigans that have been going on at City Hall. The DA and AG offices will be interested in any criminal elements involved... just like in the cities of Bell and Vernon.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Replies
    1. He wasn't right for you. One morning you'd wake up and there he would be, lying half naked on your living room floor surrounded by empty Budweiser cans and Dominos pizza boxes. You need to move on.

      Delete
    2. Look at the Buc!

      Delete
    3. Steve would at least try to engage in actual thoughts.
      Not accurate ones, but thoughts.
      The newer troll(s) are the more reactive whiny kind.

      Delete
  14. I'd like to know how you got a copy of this letter? Was it publicaly circulated? Was it published? Were you copied on the letter? I'd also like to know how you were able to be in the meeting(s) between attorneys and their client and are privy to the actions performed on the client's behalf. If you heard this information regarding meetings with a client from an attorney he may be in violation of attorney-client privilege.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is posted on the City of Sierra Madre website along with all of the other information for tonight's City Council meeting. Welcome to the free world.

      Delete
    2. As to the 2nd part of your question, that information came from the developer's atty. He discussed it at a City Council meeting from the public address podium.

      Delete
    3. Thank you for for the clarification, in spite of the snarky response.

      Delete
    4. Feel free to stop by with your accusations any time you wish.

      Delete
    5. Looks like 11:02 is fact deprived. Perhaps s/he is another person who cannot navigate the city website for document searches.

      Delete
    6. 11:51, 11:02 also presumes The Mod is a dummy.

      Delete
    7. You must admit the misperception that attorneys would come to The Tattler to share their secrets was amusing.

      Delete
    8. The Mod is our test crash dummy... he takes it on the chin for all of us. Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, JC!

      Delete
    9. Snarkus EloquentusJuly 10, 2012 at 12:40 PM

      11:20 meant thank you for the eloquent and downright polite response to it's false accusations of impropriety.

      Delete
  15. When will this issue come up on the agenda tonight?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Item #2:
      http://66.92.220.85:8090/tylercm/eagleweb/downloads/7_10_2012_Agenda_2.pdf?id=DOC40S4.A1&parent=DOC40S4

      Delete
  16. The content may be lacking, but there's a nice, purposeful organization to the post at 11:02.

    I actually just have one question in all this:

    Why is the city staff blocking the Kensington development? Why?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is the big mystery. This whole thing should have been through the mill a long time ago. A real puzzle palace that city hall.

      Delete
    2. Somebody in City Hall doesn't like Billy?

      Delete
    3. Who is John Galt?

      Delete
    4. One of that wacked-out Ayn Rand's fictional characters.

      Delete
    5. 1:05 - I would say yes. If they're trying to deep 6 Measure V, and it sure looks like they are, Billy sending in that letter almost completely pulled the rug out from under their little feet. I'd say they're probably snorting with rage. Nothing upsets them more than someone standing up for resident rights.

      Delete
    6. John Galt is Ayn Rand's pay pal name.

      Delete
    7. Standing up for resident rights is rare in Sierra Madre, especially coming from a developer.

      Delete
  17. I hate john crawford

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why, 1:18? Gives you a headache? All that unaccustomed use of the gray matter just too stressful?

      Delete
    2. Please share, 1:18. You need to get your bad feelings out. We can help you!

      Delete
    3. You know, love is often hidden as hate. How long have you felt this way?

      Delete
  18. It's very Twilight Zone. The development faction in town is trying to defeat this development, and the slow growth advocates are promoting it. Where's Rod Serling? Could use his illuminating narration.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The DIC wants to build 130 condos on the SNF site. They would have one kitchen and one toilet between them. The City will claim this makes it a single apartment.

      Delete
    2. In their interpretation of Measure V, it's called a "eunuch"...

      Delete
  19. "Sierra Madre's very first Crime Council. "
    Good Lord man, they would hardly be the first.
    I gather you were not a witness to the Carter convolutions.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Aw I miss you too. But I may not be posting but Im reading. Your troll Steve

    ReplyDelete
  21. Y'all are too cranky 'round here. Now get off the chair and go watch the fake Elvis impersonator for the tenth time in a row.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He's fake??

      Delete
    2. Next thing you're going to tell us is there is no Santa Claus.

      Delete
  22. The project ALF does not conform to Measure V and you do not want the developer or the City's Attorney adding any amendment to Measure V thereby changing it forever. The ALF Project should only go as an up or down vote to the people if it does not conform to Measure V. Otherwise the city and developer need to conform their project to meet the guidelines of Measure V.

    ReplyDelete
  23. So amend measure V to make it fit the project...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly what Measure V allows for. The mechanism for amendment is in the measure itself.

      Delete
  24. It's a weird feeling to be able to relax about council business with the good stewardship of Capoccia and Koerber, and tonight, Harabedian. Weird experience.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Has Council member Walsh made a peep yet?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Too many visions of tap shoes in her head.

      Delete
  26. OK, that city attorney is a whole different person - and so is the Mayor.

    What the heck happened?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe they took LSD.

      Delete
    2. Be suspicious. Be VERY suspicious.

      Anyone who was around for the One Carter debacle knows how the worm can turn at the last minute.

      Delete
  27. I don't see the link from PSNews to vote ?

    ReplyDelete