So do you know what Measure ALF is? It is going to be on Sierra Madre's ballot this November, along with some other issues and candidacies, most of which are of only marginal relevance to us living here behind the Michillinda Curtain. Ballot measures in this town are usually a burning issue, and in the past folks have gotten pretty wound up about some of them. Not so much with Measure ALF, however. It has been pretty quiet, especially over the last couple of months.
If you were to look Measure ALF up on the internet you would find the pickings especially sparse. I was unable to find a website advocating either a "Yes" or "No" vote on this question. There is some verbiage about it on the usually dependable Ballot*Pedia site, though even they admit that what is presented there is not in any way complete. Here is what they have to offer us:
A Sierra Madre Amendment of the Kensington Project, Measure ALF ballot question is on the November 6, 2012 ballot for voters in the City of Sierra Madre in Los Angeles County.
If Measure N (?) is approved, the City of Sierra Madre's municipal code will be amended to permit development of "an assisted living facility consistent with the Kensington Living Facility Specific Plan not exceeding two stories, thirty feet in height and seventy-five assisted living suites, for the parcels located at 33 North Hermosa Avenue (at) 245 West Sierra Madre Boulevard."
The development company Fountain Square Development West wants to develop the proposed assisted living facility.
Not that long ago there was some focus on this issue, much of it stemming from anxiety felt by certain concerned residents over the fate of Measure V, aka the "People's Empowerment Act." It was felt, and not without some justification, that certain City Councilmembers were in the tank for the developer (they almost always are), and were working to undercut Measure V in what is its first true ballot test. And as you can see in the wording of the actual ballot question, they did manage to foul things up a little bit. Again, from Ballot*Pedia:
Measure ALF: "Shall an Ordinance be adopted to amend Sierra Madre Municipal Code Section 17.35.040 (Core Density Limit") of the People's Empowerment Act (aka Measure V) to permit development of an assisted living facility consistent with the Kensington Assisted Living Facility Specific Plan not exceeding two stories, thirty feet in height and seventy-five assisted living suites, for the parcels located at 33 North Hermosa Avenue an (sic) 245 West Sierra Madre Boulevard?"
I bolded the term "assisted living suites" because it is what some would cite as the fly in the ointment here. There is nothing in Sierra Madre's elegantly constructed and time-tested Municipal Codes about "assisted living suites." Had this been termed "assisted living units," then we might have been able to assume that there is a complete legal validity to this statement. The "suites" verbiage was coerced by certain individuals for what is suspected of being $10s of thousands of dollars in misallocated City Attorney fees. The question here being one of intent. Was this an attempt to create a new category of development in Sierra Madre, and should this precedent be enabled by the electorate would it cripple Measure V in any future similar such development questions?
That is a big question, though one that does not seem to be setting anyone on fire. At least not lately. Of course, if you were curious to find out what the truth of the matter might be, you could likely do so if you had around $60,000 and Chris Sutton's phone number. I have the phone number, but I am a little short on the $60,000 thing. Though I can tell you that while I do avoid any involvement with Scratchers, I am playing California's Super Lotto twice a week.
Beyond the small group of folks who care about this issue, however, which is probably fully understood by about 40 of Sierra Madre's nearly 11,000 residents, there hasn't been too much activity on the Measure ALF front. There was a "Lunch and Learn" held at the Park Hart House this week. It wasn't completely a free lunch as those attending were expected to listen carefully to the presentation. Plus it was given by the Kensington's developer, Billy Shields, so I don't expect there was much in the way of "point/counterpoint," as they used to say.
There was also some kind of discussion on the matter held at the Kiwanis Club recently. These Kiwanis sessions are not often noted for being a hotbed of intellectual activity, but again there was food involved. Another indication that for some in town the preferred route to winning their votes is through the stomach.
And yesterday I received a report from a local resident who neither attends "Lunch and Learns" or Kiwanis confabs that the Kensington's Billy Shields has been spotted hanging out at the taxpayer supported Bottle Shop Wine Tasting Room, apparently quizzing the bibulous oenophiles there about how they plan to vote on Measure ALF. I am not sure those being questioned about their voting preference knew that much about the topic, and probably viewed Mr. Shields as being something of a buzz kill.
So I don't know. Pretty quiet if you ask me. However, Measure ALF is strongly supported by every City Councilmember, civic organization and business collective in town, so perhaps it is the near unanimity of support here that has made much conversation about Measure ALF seem unnecessary.
Of course, it is when this entire glittering constellation of local worthiness is so unequivocally on board with something that The Tattler becomes a little uncomfortable.
(Note: Pictured at the the top of this article is a room from the other Kensington. The one called "Palace." I've been told that the suites there are far more exclusive.)