You can always tell when there is something controversial happening that Josh Moran feels particularly strong about. He gets a little mean. And judging by his over the top performance last night, it is clearly evident that he cares quite a lot about the Green Committee. Or Green Commission should anyone so prefer. You certainly could see the signs. And you could hear them, too.
Josh's episode of decorum deficiency at this meeting became obvious to all when he bizarrely proclaimed that anyone opposed to prolonging the existence of the Green Committee must be doing so because they are rightwing ideologues addicted to global warming denial theories. He then compounded that attack by suggesting that those who don't agree with him were doing so because they listen to too much "rightwing radio."
This, of course, almost directly after telling his colleagues on the City Council "not to politicize this."
John Cappocia, who doesn't feel that much of anything the Green Committee has done merits their promotion to a full Commission, countered by saying that he doesn't listen to rightwing radio, rather he tunes in to NPR. And Chris Koerber, equally upset with Josh's low blow performance, repeated the pledge he made to the voters when he ran for City Council that he would always happily participate in honorable debate with anyone no matter what the topic, but would never stoop to personal attacks.
Both addressed their comments directly to the Mayor, who chose not to acknowledge anything they said with more than a grunt. No apologies were offered. And any hopes of constructive conversation on this topic were further smothered beneath Moran's need to rudely talk over whoever happened to be speaking at the time. It was as if he feels that leadership is filling the air with the sound of his voice, probably to make up for his lack of having anything constructive to say.
What could have been quite an interesting conversation last night was instead dragged down to the level of its lowest common denominator. That being the Mayor of Sierra Madre.
So why does Josh Moran feel so strongly about prolonging the Green Committee's existence by turning it into a Commission? Development, of course. As anyone who has read the Green Committee's Environmental Accords in their original form can tell you, it is a heavily pro-development document. One that advocates high density SB 375 stack and pack transit village-style development in our downtown. All prettied up with a thick layer of lavishly applied greenwash.
If you click here you will be taken to these Accords. And if you go to "Action Item 21" you will read the Green Committee's call for development most unbecoming to Sierra Madre. The first passage is its original form, the second is the revised version.
(Original) Adopt urban planning principles and practices that advance higher density, mixed use, walkable, bikeable, and disabled-accessible neighborhoods, which coordinate land-use and transportation with open space systems for recreation and restoration.
(Revised) Adopt urban planning principles and practices that promote appropriate density and land use for walkable, bikeable, and disabled accessible neighborhoods; and transportation is coordinated with land use to provide access to open space and recreation and ecological restoration by 2013.
(Followed by) Staff believes this to be a critical consideration in the General Plan Update. It is also subject to AB32 and SB375 considerations.
The "urban planning principles and practices" referred to here are the ones mandated in state law SB 375, a draconian legal event that calls for the dense transit village-style redevelopment advocated in the Green Committee's Environmental Accords. Which, should this ever actually be adhered to, would involve planning for the rebuilding of downtown Sierra Madre to accommodate mixed-use high density living units. The very thing that most living here do not want.
I don't see how a committee obviously dedicated to the advocacy of this kind of highly unpopular and unwanted development should be rewarded with a promotion. Beyond the financially interested parties that make up Josh Moran's political base (mostly Realtors), people here just don't care for it.
I am going to assume here that Nancy Walsh has not actually read the Green Committee's Environmental Accords, and she was speaking from notes somebody else had prepared for her when she claimed that there is nothing about high-density development to be found in this document. Obviously it is there.
One other thing before I wrap this up. Listening to Josh Moran boorishly lecture the people of Sierra Madre about the need to pay more for water was not a very pleasant experience. Rather than speaking his piece and allowing others to give their opinions, Josh instead repeated the same couple of points several times over. His berating of one resident who spoke from the podium was, in particular, especially uncalled for.
The message? If Josh Moran and Nancy Walsh have their way, this City is going to raise its water rates again.
This was not a very good City Council meeting. And a sign that this fall will be a very contentious time for our City. We can only hope that the political center holds and the kinds of behavioral extremism displayed by Mayor Moran last night does not prevail.