Wednesday, July 11, 2012

We Won, But Why Now?

"OK, that City Attorney is a whole different person - and so is the Mayor. What the heck happened?" - late night posted question

Don't get me wrong, last night was a great victory. Measure V, first brought into existence through the power of the ballot and the wisdom of the voters, had laid dormant for 5 years. But now, with its inclusion on the November ballot as the vehicle for bringing the Kensington into existence, Measure V for the first time becomes a powerful component in our city's slow growth arsenal. By going though its first real electoral test, it emerges as a fully formed part of our government. This is both a great moment in our city's history and a victory for those of us who believe in something called democracy. We the people, and not city hall, now call the shots on what gets built downtown.

But this wouldn't be The Tattler if I couldn't find something that wasn't quite right. And as far as I could tell the psychological disconnect last evening was so huge that even Evel Knieval wouldn't be able to jump across it.

Why did the Planning Commission have to go through nearly six months of interminable and endless meetings discussing suites and microwaves and myriad other shifting variations of deception, only to have the City Council declare Measure V supreme in less than 30 minutes? Why now and not back in January when the whole idea of letting the vote happen was first proposed by Billy Shields? Or how about during the previous City Council when MaryAnn MacGillivray said exactly the same thing? Only to have John Buchanan, Josh Moran and Nancy Walsh give her stink eye?

And how much in Colantuono & Levin legal fees did all of those Planning Commission debacles cost us? Meetings where Scott Porter and Danny Castro floated strategy after absurd strategy designed to convince people that the Kensington project was in compliance with Measure V, and therefore no vote would need to be taken? And didn't City Attorney Highsmith say those exact same kinds of things to the City Council?

Six months of browbeating the Planning Commission over ridiculous cooked up nonsense like does a microwave turn a dwelling unit into a suite. For what? All things that Josh Moran, when they finally hit his desk, decided weren't even worth talking about. It just doesn't ring true. This whole process could have been finished last February, but instead City Hall spent a fortune in legal costs fighting Measure V, only to capitulate in less than an hour when it all got to the City Council.

So why now? I do have a theory. I was going to call it an educated guess, but I am not certain that my degree from Google University qualifies me.

The theory is that Josh Moran was made aware that he did not have the votes to defeat Measure V. He could count on Nancy Walsh to back him up, but somewhere during the last month or so I suspect John Harabedian hipped Josh to the fact that he was not going to commit an ugly political suicide and help him kill Measure V. Harabedian's family had alway supported resident voting rights for downtown planning, and that wasn't about to change.

So what we saw last night was a strategic political decision. An attempt to turn a significant political defeat for the Mayor into the appearance of victory. But one so contrived as to be unbelievable.

We finally got the Measure V vote we have always wanted. But this was our victory, and had precious little to do with Josh Moran. No matter how desperately he has tried to take the credit.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

97 comments:

  1. Dont forget, we got to hear Fay Angus chew out Josh for being rude to Koerber. Can't wait for the video.

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  2. Now get us out of the COG.

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  3. Wish I could feel all warm and fuzzy about this. Past history gives me the feeling that this is not over as much as I want to believe it is. Fellow neighbors and residents have fought long and hard to preserve what we have here only to have everything fall into place last night like it should have 7 months ago, who can figure politics? I know we can thank a lot of people for standing up to protecting our town and seeing that the laws are enforced. Thank you Tattler for keeping us informed, job well done by all.

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  4. He wasted incredible time. And time is money. And, what is worse is that he babbles endlessly on and on and on like his evil twin the great Buchanan. Exhausting anyone forced to pretend to listen.

    Sadly, he's not learned leadership from the sophisticated Kurt Zimmerman. nor has he learned that he tried but the people of Sierra Madre cannot be fooled by him. Ever.

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  5. I am glad the council majority decided to follow the law, but the reversal by the Mayor and the city attorney was indeed bizarre. All of that circuitous mangling of terms gone with a poof. There were one or two echoes of it in Moran's chatter, especially:
    "There's a strong possibility that these are units and a strong possibility that they aren't."

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  6. The point Moran made that I objected to was a claim, thrown out in that kind of stream of consciousness patter he does, that the council 'can put anything we want on the ballot'. Wrong. The council must abide by the law, and put the Measure V amendment on the ballot as Measure V dictates.

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  7. I can hardly wait until Nancy becomes our Mayor... going to be priceless. Sad to watch...

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    1. I was hoping that someone can reach across the aisle and talk to Walsh about passing over the mayorship.
      There is such an obvious disconnect, a strange, persistent silence on most matters with an obdurate facial expression - and the new councilmen are so very sharp and on point. The contrast must be clear to all sides, yes?

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    2. Nancy should not be on the council, let alone be the Mayor.
      I have a stronger word than "sad", it will be "pathetic" and as mean spirited as she is, I will not enjoy seeing her struggle in that position.

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  8. Harabedian's family may well be for Measure V, but the guy himself is a lawyer. I think he read Measure V and realized that the council would be doing an illegal act if they didn't give residents the vote exactly the way the law said they should.

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  9. Josh: Faye is correct.

    Now please listen and be silent.

    Billy Shields is even on board.

    Get it.

    Thank you.

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  10. I have no idea whether it was a "catharsis" or a "trojan horse". But it was a victory of sorts. And it will lead to a realization that here we sit not 20 minutes from the center of the LA Basin with everyone's financial resources stretchted so thin that real priorities will dictate how we make our village unique and different from the transportation hubs along the corridors envisioned for us by foggy thinkers and fast talkers. Sierra Madre has arrived with an Assisted Living Facility in hand to energize quality and original development that might just make us proud and still a great place to live. :)

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  11. Watching Josh Moran patter-chatter-babble is pure torture. Is there anything that can be done to teach this guy how the mayor is supposed to run a meeting?

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    1. I think he's going for the FM Radio DJ feel.
      Tag line?
      "Alriiiiiight"

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    2. Josh's show would be granular radio.

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  12. Glad to see Johnny H. Was smart enough to realize vote against the citizens in this case would follow him forever. Tough to try to be a man of the people starting with the wrong vote here! But great news, now on to getting a new law firm representing us. Let's look at not having them at every commisson metting also.we certainly should not have had to spend a dime on legal fees at two closed sessions of the planning comm.

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  13. If the council majority had indicated that it was going to break the law, there would have been serious consequences.
    They are the ones who dodged a bullet last night.

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    1. I agree. We called their bluff. They didn't have a legal wooden leg to stand on.

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  14. Face it, we crushed the bastids. So what's next? Ballot initiative rescinding the water rate increase perhaps?

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    1. There will certainly be a next fight. I suspect that it's the same in all towns now - the greedy grabbing, the slow growthers resisting.

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  15. Why so cynical? Perhaps Josh's Claremont educated mind was moved via careful analysis of the issue and his wandering heart by its love for the people.

    Let's applaud him for his good work. And if you get a chance stuff his hand with a red solo cop full of his beloved suds!

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    1. Dr. P. that could fly if it had come down that way in January.
      But seven months later? It took an educated mind seven months to figure out the law?
      If you read measure V, you'll find that it is neither long nor complicated.

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    2. They fought a very expensive (for the taxpayer) 6 month battle to defeat Measure V. They did everything they could to do it. It is only after they had exhausted every option available and defeat was inevitable that Josh stood up and proclaimed himself the hero of slow growth and citizen control of development. It was a world-class exercise in cynicism.

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    3. I'm not sure the beloved suds are in his best interests....

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  16. Is suds what was hurling his excessive verbiage on last night?

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    1. I think Moran misunderstands the role of leading a meeting. The goal is efficiency, speed, productivity - not so much the personally expressive chitter chatter. But then again, we had so many years of Buchanan, who always took the opportunity to deliver his exquisitely boring lectures at every point. A precedent was set.

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    2. Josh was dancing as fast as he could away from the statements he's been making for half a year or more. he had a lot of ground to cover.

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  17. Thanks to all the people who are fighting to preserve Measure V.
    We all fought hard for that and won, in spite of all odds.

    To remind everyone of just why were are fighting to preserve Sierra Madre:

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0711-san-bernardino-20120711,0,5646419.story

    These are the results of careless, corrupt, greedy over development.

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  18. Maybe it was the embaressment on July 4 parade. Riding with mommie and a big sign rite in your face! Must have pulled him out of beer induced stupor.

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  19. I do not like Nancy in any way, shape or form, she has been mean to me and a dear friend. But given that what about this possibility: she is holding her breath hoping that no one finds out how really dysfunctional the mayor is as that would thrust her forward into a leadership roll she knows she cannot handle, amid the scandal of Josh falling apart and who will come to her rescue?

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  20. How much money did the city pay Colantuono & Levin to push all that crap about suites etc in the Planning Commission meetings? That is the first question that needs to be answered.

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    1. THE QUESTION REMAINs...HOW MUCH OF THE RESIDENTS MONEY DID THE CITY COUNCOL AGAIN WASTE!

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  21. Thanks to all, especially The Tattler. We are still inclined to vote no on the Alf. Some on this blog seem to think there is some connection between quality of life here and new buildings. New buildings mean more people and more cars. Quality of life for us is low density and very light commerce. A small grocery at the Howie's site would be great. Other than that, we are content with a town that is predominantly residential.

    By the way, almost all sales tax and property tax goes to L.A. County, not to Sierra Madre. It would be nice to see the numbers from an accountant.

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    1. The part i find the most disturbing about all of this is the nutty idea that the alf is somehow a charity that will take care of old people. It is no charity. Staying there is outrageously expensive, and once all of your equity is gone off you go to the tender hands of the state.

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    2. For those in need, there are any number of senior living facilities in Arcadia, Monrovia, and Pasadena.

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    3. Yes 7:36! And the most emotional speech of the night, about the unfortunate woman who is dying, well she would not be accommodated in the Kensington! They are not a hospital and they are not skilled nursing. In fact if that woman had been living there and became that ill, she would be moved out!

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    4. I was thinking the same thing. The ALF will be able to service the 1% of this town. Doubt it will cost less than $6,000 per month. 7:36, 7:41 and 7:41.... you are all right in your assertions. They are a for profit operation, servicing the wealthy. We found a great assisted living in Temple City that costs half the price of what the ALF will.
      And for those of you that are young, and tend to make light of senior housing... you'll be there soon enough....

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    5. My family takes care of our own. Putting parents or grandparents in a "facility" is considered dishonorable.

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  22. John Harabedian's body language is very much the same as Nancy's. There is a stiffness in the way they sit there one to each sift of the blathering mayor. But Harabedian is also there to lean forward, contribute something and make a name for himself. He does contribute. He has a pleasant expression on his face. Nancy on the other hand is in decline so all she does is sit there, sad mean expression or expressionless, with nothing to offer.

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    1. What was Nancy talking about when she begged the City Atty and City Manager to talk about any "long term consequences" of Measure V? Nancy's was the one voice of opposition from the City Council last night, and it was little more than a plaintive bleat that was disposed of in 30 seconds.

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    2. On the contrary, Nancy didn't just sit there last night. She claimed victory for her part in bringing the Alfington to fruition as part of her "sponsorship for the seniors".

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    3. This is true, 7:45, she did say that!
      Proof positive she is delusional.
      She's no one's friend, especially seniors.

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    4. I find it disturbing that Walsh was our COG representative while the corruption in that organization was so rank everyone started to smell it. And she missed it entirely. Oblivious to what was going on.

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    5. Don't you know? Nancy said it was all a "distraction." Conway ripped the taxpayers off for $150,000, and Nancy thought that the people trying to get to the bottom of that were a distraction. From what? The buffets Nick slopped out for the cattle? This is corruption.

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    6. But Dancin' Nancy brought us the Hermosa Farmer's Market, and the Buxton survey, and the Hart House renovation! Now she's giving us the Alfington. The woman's unstoppable.

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    7. And she did a GREAT job of seconding the motion... knocked it out of the ballpark!

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    8. It was a real comedy that part where Josh thought it was the Mayor pro-tems right to second the motion. He is grooming her, too. So we have a grooming committee: Bart Doyle through to John Buchanan, through to Josh Moran, through to Nancy Walsh. I am going to gag if I don't stop.

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    9. Don't you think Nancy will be ever so much better by being Mayor and not speaking, than all the blather that we have heard from that seat for the past 2 years? At least she lets others talk, despite her flinging herself back in her chair and chortling in amusement when others talk.

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    10. Amusement? When I have been at council meetings and watched her, the word that best describes that backward movement and laugh is derision. She expresses her disfavor that way, until she figures out that she's not on the winning side of a question. Then it's all serious business and propriety.
      Derision and obedience. yikes.

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  23. "GRANULAR! GRANULAR! GRANULAR! Das Furher never said "granular"! It seems as though Josh is being tutored by Bart Doyle in vocabulary.

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  24. Thank you, 7:31, in all the excitement, the real majority opinion gets lost. The majority of residents are here for what Sierra Madre doesn't have, all those negatives that come with size and density.

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  25. Sierra Madre a Winner Last NightJuly 11, 2012 at 7:48 AM

    Last night was a night to remember. It was something to watch some council members seeing the light for the first time. It had been shining in their eyes for the last 7 months and they finally got it, with a little help from their friends.

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  26. So when does Bill Shields begin the delivery of gift baskets to the homes of the registered voters? The Heflins always sent gift baskets to the neighbors when they had a big event at Stonehouse. Maybe $25 gift certificates to Mother Moo's or Starbucks. I'm ready to be compensated for the inconvenience of all of these months of sitting through Planning Commission and City Council meetings. Bring on the swag!

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  27. Wow, in the Star News today, "Cities Considering Leaving COG", this is a must read. Walnut, El Monte, West Covina, Diamond Bar, La Puente are a few considering leaving. Cities are sweeping the dirt out of there communities, this is good news.

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    1. Call out the instigators
      Because there's something in the air
      We've got to get together sooner or later
      Because the revolution's here
      And you know its right...

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    2. The dirt empire is teetering.

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    3. From "considering" to "leaving" will be even better news.
      And we need to get into that parade.

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    4. This is very good news!

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    5. Thank you, Mr. King, once again! You are indeed leading the way - away from COG.

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    6. And did you see the other article in the PSN about San Bernardino filing for bankruptcy? "...the city has faced declining revenues and escalating retirement costs, with employee compensation accounting for about 75 percent of the city's general fund spending." Pension payments will not be invalidated. So where is that money going to come from, then?

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    7. Our world is changing. Everybody, keep the heat on high! The scoundrels are on the run!

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  28. The Urban Dictionary definition of granular can be found at http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=granular

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    1. Yes, but this means we have a mayor who uses vocabulary that is only defined in the way he means it, at Urban Dictionary.

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    2. JoMO is just thinking of the sugar used to coat the rim of his lemon drop martini... granular, man!

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  29. Was it Crawford's Iwo-Jima moment at Kersting Court as the Archduke's motor carriage passed that turned the tide of battle?

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    1. There can be no doubt it was the unrelenting light focused on Measure V and the Alfington that brought about the victory last night, and for that there is no one more responsible that John Crawford for leading a merry band of Tattlers to the podium week after week.

      Thank you to everyone.

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    2. Maybe Josh could picture the Villagers at his door at Midnight with torches and pitchforks.

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    3. Or filling a courtroom is more like it.

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  30. Yes, last night was a victory, and a huge thank you to all who showed up, and especially those who spoke, but BEWARE! We must all show up for the next CC meeting to demand the proper language go on the ballot. Mark July 24 on your calendars. Four people pointed out to Councilmember Harabedian that he spoke in favor of a Measure V vote before the Planning Commission in January, so I think he realized that it would be political suicide for him to reverse his stance.

    The best comment from the podium was that the rationale for this project not going to a vote is like "whack-a-mole." City Hall would come up with one silly reason, which would be shot down, then another would pop up.

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    1. Absolutely right, 9:00.
      Imprecise or excessively convoluted ballot language could drag us back to the contemplation of the "fine, muddy line," to use Moranese.

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  31. As I have said for years, Josh and Nancy are the best thing that ever happened to the cause of preservation in this town. The former is beer guzzling bozo. I still can't stop laughing at his parade pictures. Or that sausage casing of a suit he wore in his campaign pictures. I love Josh Moran! And Nancy is a sweet lady who is happy just to be on the council.

    Nothing bad will happen so long as the pro-condo wagon is hitched to these two. They should be council members for life.

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    1. Nancy? Sweet Lady? Viper, maybe. One of the nastiest examples of small town politics ever elected to Council. Sweet? And she didn't just happen, she was elected! A dark stain on the hands of Sierra Madre voters.

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    2. I think the development sharks who solicited her to run in the first place are cruel indeed. She was selected for her failings and propped up as someone who had something to contribute. If it comes to pass that she is mayor, the other 4 council members will have to spend most of their time guiding her and the meetings without seeming to.

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    3. They do not pick candidates for their ability to think for themselves. Goss and Broadrick are both government organization men who haven't had an original idea in years. Nancy is like that as well.

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  32. Kurt Zimmerman and Leslee Hinmann said it all. Thank you both.
    And, this was not the first time they spoke these words at the podium.

    In fact when Kurt Spoke and was not allowed to answer any questions, that was the
    piece de resistance. Of course Josh did not want to hear any clarification because
    Kurt knows more about fair government than Josh.

    How you revealed your ignorance, Josh.
    We all have so much to learn from Kurt and Leslee.

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    1. It's Leslee Hinton, and yes, they both did a great job at being to the point and above all, respectful - which is more than the mayor of our City was at his continual interruptions.

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    2. Josh feels that the only way he can control the conversation at City Council meetings is to either cut people off or talk over them. He lacks the intellectual equipment to do it the accepted way.

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  33. Maybe Josh could apply for a job with Rush.
    Perfect twist the facts blah, blah, blah, OMG pair.

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    1. Don't you have a class to teach or a union meeting to go to?
      10:46.

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    2. Seems like a good combo to me...both are pompous blowhards.

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    3. And so are you 4:52

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    4. 6:14~ Cool your jets dude, you don't even know me. I've listened to both Rush and Josh find them both to be crude, rude and pompous blowhards, that constantly interrupt people that don't agree with them. Always yelling and pontificating. Has nothing to do with their politics...

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  34. Maybe it was all a fabulous hustle, a feint within a feint within a feint, and the pro-development side never meant to win the Measure V stuff, but just wanted the Assisted Living place to go through!

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    1. OK, but I don't know how dragging this out for 6 months with endless conversations about what a unit and what a suite might be would help with that.

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    2. It took center stage.
      It wore everybody down to "Let's just get our vote as the law requires and then build it."

      I don't really think it was an elaborate set-up; just throwing it out there based on the non-jumping Evil Knieval aspect.

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  35. One thing it did was to enlarge it by about 2000sq.ft. so instead of us clammoring about its mass, we argued over density.

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  36. For many years, the Sheriff of Los Angeles County has issued badges to elected officials. This has become very problematic and embarassing as recent events in Cudahay have proven. A disgraced and corrupt city councilmember let a female pose with handguns wearing the badge in a local bar.

    The recent uptick of arrests of corrupt government officials has caused the Sheriff to recall the issuance of the badges. With the Public Integrity Unit and the FBI hard at work cleaning up local city councils, it will save the hassle of picking up more of the badges at the booking cages at local police stations. The California Attorney General has opined that the issuance of these badges is improper.

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    1. Tom, really sorry to hear about the horrific corruption in Cudahay!
      While these stories are upsetting, it is a good thing they are being exposed by people like you and like our John Crawford.
      It takes courage to stand up against this corruption.
      Thank you for being one of the good guys, Tom.

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    2. Years ago the Sherrif of LA County was Peter Pitches (sp?) Commentend that every third person in cudahy was wanted by the law! A few years later the city became news again because a trash company (western waste) had set up a warehouse used for area city councilmen as a party house. Ken Biancia and cousin Angelo Bouno were the go between and brought inthe strippers (call girls) these two remember went prison known as the hillside strangler.

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  37. The City of Sierra Madre has a beautiful senior living facility located on Esperanza ave and the British Home on Manzanita ave can be compaired to none. Both are located in residential areas; as well should be the Kensington.
    I heard all of the council say that they would just take measure V out of the equation. The height, density, commercial use (since the ALF is asking to be built in the downtown commercial area) the correct number of required parking spaces to meet the cities codes, any type of enviromental studies of impact on the infrastructor; will be met with all eyes closed and x marks the spot, where do I vote! Might as well throw in not collecting development fees and hand over the keys to the city.

    Thank you posters 7:31am thru 8:54am. I do like how far the ALF has come, but propose to build in the correct area of town; as for myself, I am also voting NO.

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    1. There are two parcels comprising the ALF - one is zoned residential, so I guess you could say that it is in a residential area.

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  38. If City Hall wants the Kensington to pass its ballot test, they should oppose it.

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  39. Even after this exhausting battle for the right to vote on this project, as dictated by Measure V but which most of city hall wanted to circumvent at any cost, I do have to say that I will still vote No on this project. It's still mighty large and the developer won't even consider scaling back the size of the project. I don't believe that the developer has made any concessions on the project design whatsoever and I'm dismayed that the Planning Commission did not require him to more appropriately size this behemoth. It could have been a good project, with more massaging, but the developer would not tolerate any changes to the original design...Although, once it does hit the ballot, I'm guessing that the majority of the voters will approve it.

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    1. The developer has always been adamant about the 96 resident number, so I figured it was a business decision - 96 to make the profits they want or they're walking. This is a rich man's game.

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  40. The only reason Josh voted to have a Measure V vote? So he has a chance of getting re-elected in 2014!

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    1. Moran getting re-elected? Grim thought.

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