Saturday, October 6, 2012

ALF: A Little Foolish?

What's it all about, Alfie?
I am really struggling with this one. A lot of people I respect are adamantly in favor of casting a "yes" vote on Measure ALF. I mean, just about everyone is for this thing, which should send up a red flag right there. It has always been my experience that when something is this widely supported, then something has got to be wrong. What that might be has largely eluded me so far, but I have not given up. I do enjoy a challenge, and so far that is what the ALF has provided for me. Our best minds are working on this day and night.

I understand why these folks are in favor of this thing being built. It provides a solution to the blighted structure currently occupying that site, plus when the dirt starts to fly it will employ a lot of construction people here in town. Once completed it will be a major source of tax revenue, which I am sure the City will find some way to use. I don't think City Hall has ever met a dime they couldn't spend, and quickly. It will also bring lots of business into town. The amount of people employed at the ALF alone will fill help shift large amounts of the two major products produced here in Sierra Madre, lattes' and tacos.

And then, of course, there are all of those people who will dutifully troop into town every so often to visit the facility's 96 inmates. Since any beloved parents and relatives will need to be rather wealthy in order to live at the ALF, they will be popular. Face it, who in their right mind would ever want to neglect a rich family member once they have been checked into God's Waiting Room?

These are all powerful arguments for supporting Measure ALF, and I'd be less than honest if I told you that I wasn't feeling them. But there are a couple of things that have been bothering me. Issues involving the ALF that just do not quite pencil out. Two of them to be exact. And I can't shake them.

So here is the deal. I will cast a "yes" vote on Measure ALF if someone can satisfactorily answer the following two questions. Set my mind at ease on these matters and I will gladly lend my support to this enterprise. Otherwise? No big deal. It is likely to pass no matter what I say.

Question #1 - Water: At our most recent City Council meeting in-house wise man on all things infrastructure, Bruce Inman, stood before God and Nancy Walsh to proclaim that the City of Sierra Madre is just a year away from completely running out of water. Shocking news, and had anyone been paying attention it could have sent shock waves through the community. As it was even the Looney Views News didn't pick up on it.

Ask yourself this. How is it that during a time of what should be considered a severe emergency for this City (which is what the prospect of running out of water should be), how can we actually be contemplating the building of something that would become by far the largest water user in town?

If this City should ever actually run out of water you will find yourself kissing around half the value of your home goodbye. Nobody would even consider buying here. This is very serious stuff. Do you realize how many sheets and other assorted bedding alone will have to be washed daily to keep up with the needs of 96 very old people? That is just the start.

The question here is how does The Kensington plan on guaranteeing itself the water it needs without putting a further burden on what for us is a very challenging situation? Why would Fountain Square invest so much of its new development money here when the City of Sierra Madre has for all intents and purposes proclaimed that it will have run out of water by this time next year?

Question #2 - Ballot Language: Another question that needs to be asked is why does this ballot measure identify the rooms at the ALF as "assisted living suites" rather than what City of Sierra Madre municipal code calls them, which are units. Measure V, which is based on City law as it currently stands, permits 13 units per acre. This is to prevent the over-develoment of our downtown area through excessive density. Yet Measure ALF identifies this project as being made up of "suites." My question here is why was this done? What exactly was the legal point? And if this Measure passes, does it create a legally binding precedent of some sort? One having considerably more weight because it was approved by the voters?

What is worrisome here is that during the Planning Commission and City Council run-up to this item being placed on the ballot, there was an awful lot of discussion on the "units" versus "suites" question. With the City Attorney involved racking up vast chunks of billable hours discussing just these two words. Yet I do not recall anyone involved at that time explaining exactly why this distinction was so important. Despite all of the oxygen that was burned up in this long and involved discussion about these two words, that part was never cleared up.

I don't know about you, but I could not vote for Measure ALF if there was even a suspicion that it might in anyway change how City codes are interpreted on the matter of downtown density. And I would hate to think that the purpose of this ballot language swap was to undercut Measure V by setting some sort of voter precedent.

So that's it. Answer these two questions, clear the air a little bit, and I think we'll be fine. I'm sure it can be done.

Is the Cop Union Gearing Up to Sue Us Again?

One week we get a mailer from these guys offering Mother Moo coupons and a free movie, the next week they're suing us again. I'm beginning to think that the SMPOA (or is it SMPA?) must suffer from some pretty radical mood swings.

This from the agenda for next Tuesday's City Council meeting:

Anticipated Litigation Pursuant to California Code Section 54956.9b(3)(C) 
A point has been reached where, in the opinion of the City Council/Agency on the advice of it (sic) legal counsel, based on the below-described existing facts and circumstances, there is a significant exposure to litigation against the City Council/Agency.

Receipt of Claim pursuant to Tort Claims Act or other written communication from Sierra Madre Police Officer's Association threatening litigation (copy available for public inspection in the City Manager's Office).

I think the applicable metaphor here would be "digging your own grave."

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

69 comments:

  1. Vote NO! Where are the Story Poles that will really tell you the truth of the size of this project. The neighbors to the north need to know how they will be shadowed by the building from the low angled winter sun and the citizens at large need to see what looms to the north as they walk along the opposite side of the street in front of city hall.
    Vote NO! There is a better project out there!

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    1. Who needs story poles? Go stand immediately in front of the Dr. Sami expansion property, and look north. Then imagine a structure 5 times as long. Hey Presto, that's what it'll be like.

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    2. Uh, ya, it's called an elevation view..WOW!

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  2. #1 Why do you believe anything Bruce Inman says?
    #2 "suites" vs. "units" is off the point. The point is, as you yourself, dear moderator have stated "respecting the vote". When projects like this arise in the future, we will have had a precedent setting vote and thus all future projects that do not meet the 2-30-13 requirement will go to a vote of the citizens.

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    1. But will there be other votes? Once the voters have approved something as "suites," we won't ever have to bother with voting again. A new precedent would be set, and by the people themselves. After all, Measure V only applies to units.

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    2. "Suites" is just so Colantuono and Levin.

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    3. This suite stuff can only apply to those 2 parcels.
      There is nothing in the vote that says it applies anywhere else.
      I'm voting NO anyway because of the water, but I don't think the precedent is a problem - any variation has to go with APNs. If I've got that wrong, somebody explain please.

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    4. But why did it have to be suites on these two parcels? What was the point?

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    5. the Ins always get the sweets, jeez. that's how they roll.

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    6. The precedence that would be set is that the category of suites as opposed to units has been established. The application to any other property in the Measure V area would still have to be voted on.

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    7. How about outside the Measure V area?

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    8. The law, Measure V, only applies to units. That was the point that Colantuono and Levin hammered home. Ask yourself this, why was it so important to them? This is the snake in the chicken coop.

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    9. that;s how they jelly roll. zing!

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    10. There is little trust, 9:16. There are very good reasons for it.

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  3. The city seems to want it both ways. They want to build a Goliath of a building with a lot of residents and staff, but they also want us to think we're running out of water. It doesn't make a lot of sense.

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  4. Yep.

    1) Where's the water?

    2) Why call thm "suites"?

    3) What revenue?

    4) Who wants more traffic in town?

    Vote No.

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  5. The city seems to be saying that sustainability does not apply to developers. Only residents.

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  6. This is an excellent column today John Crawford.

    You express my concerns very well.

    I understand why people are in favor of this project, but I also have serious concerns....you spelled them out.


    When City, State and Federal government want more taxes from us, it's always troubling.

    Until they start spending our money efficiently, I will continue to vote no on all tax increases.
    When City, State and Federal government want more taxes from us, it's always troubling.

    Until they start spending our money efficiently, I will continue to vote no on all tax increases.

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  7. This is a hands down no vote for me on the ALF. During the painful vetting process for this project (and the almost unendurable, calculated to circumvent a vote, discussion regarding suites versus units), we all participated in order to push for the required by law vote. Now we've got it, but I will not support this project, primarily because we don't have the resources to feed it (WATER). If Inman has the balls to stand up at the podium and wax doom and gloom on us about our impending crash, why did he not stand up there during the discussion of this project and say the same, indicating that such a project would be most unwise given our lack of water resources to support it????! Maybe the combination of the two will effectively open the door for outside funding of water infrastructure improvements (i.e., the large marge water pipe discussed for installation right down the middle of Baldwin Ave so that water can be delivered from other locales), but that would spark further increases in the cost of water delivery to all residents in town. I smell a big farting rat...(and farting was not my first word choice)

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    1. Maybe doing some research on the water issue itself is a good idea. I'm sure a lot of people would be shocked to find out that the Doyle gang gave our water away years ago. Track down our water director, Tom Love, and ask him about our water supply.

      Just kidding! You'd never get a straight answer out of any of them.

      I hope everyone likes recycled Colorado River water.

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  8. The only way I'd vote for the ALF is with a guarantee that Doyle, Buchanan, Walsh, Moran, and Inman would be sharing a suite there from opening day on.

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  9. i know how dumb this sounds, but think of the average voter. anything catchy and slogan-ish always benefits over the cold, hard facts. ALF is that cute puppet thing. it just is. there ya go. it is the nemonic that wins. this election topic will not net based on any reality except for the television kind. it will win because ALF is a beloved sock puppet, and it will only lose if there are more people in sierra madre who hate ALF more than there are people who love him. mark my words.

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  10. The only character I dislike more than ALF is ET.

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    1. What the hell is wrong with ET?...you have a definite character flaw.

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    2. If you ever met ET in person you'd know that the smell is overpowering.

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  11. I am biased.I have a relative for whom the ALF would be ideal.
    Despite this I am adamantly AGAINST Kensington. The way they lied and cheated in the process so far makes it impossible to trust them. So why would I trust them to care for my family member? Trust has to be the first issue.Absent trust, everything else is just irrelevant.
    I am very much in favor of having an Assisted Living Facility in my hometown -but not run by untrustworthy people.

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    1. I encourage you to look for a facility that has assisted AND skilled nursing in combination. That way your relative won't be evicted if he or she gets sicker in advanced age, as they would be in the Kensington system.

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    2. The untrustworthy people are the City. The developers did everything the city asked them to do, including shops that Shields said would be a drag on the market and difficult to fill. Also, the City could have asked for water conservation, such as off site laundry, and water collection on the building. They didn't. If not this project, what? No one else would come in with a plan smaller or different because it would not pencil out.

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  12. Vote No on this project. Id rather see Sierra Madre look like a slum.

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    1. Right, so a yes vote on the ALF saves us from our slumhood.
      Instead, how about requiring the property owner to clean it up?

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    2. The current property owner is a special person in the eyes of the city. He doesn't have to do anything he doesn't want. The eyesore that is the SNF is the product of corruption. Plain and simple.

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    3. 9:33 that one property looking derelict translates in your mind as making the whole town look like a slum? Somehow I doubt your sincerity.

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    4. I drive down Sierra Madre Blvd all the time and hardly ever notice the old skilled nursing facility. Anyone who suggests that Sierra Madre is blighted because of that one property is selling something.....or on something.

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    5. You don't notice the building anymore because it has been there so long. But I guarantee you that new people driving in town do notice the SNF and the Steamers which has taken forever to convert and wonder what is going on in Sierra Madre to cause such blight.

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    6. If it encourages them to keep moving on I'm fine with it.

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    7. 3:07

      You're ridiculous. There is NO BLIGHT in Sierra Madre, just development interests trying to convince everyone there is.

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    8. Joe Mosca went on TV and said there was blight. And that we had to spend a lot of CRA money to fix it. Of course, Joe Mosca doesn't tell the truth as often as he should.

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    9. I beg to differ. Doyle's hovel on Baldwin is about as blighted as a property can be and still hold up its second story.

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  13. A 60,000 square foot water hog. Congratulations dummies, you got your precious vote. Hope you like the price.

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    1. That is only the beginning of this nightmare.Sell Now..Get out when you can!!

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    2. While everyone was talking about Measure V, Billy and his gang snuck through the most massive structure this town has ever seen. I think we have been played. At least we still have the vote necessary to kill this thing.

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    3. Don't be so sure 11:19 am

      Given that Fountain Square refused to indemnify the vote strongly suggests that they plan on suing the City if the majority vote NO. These people ARE NOT honest brokers. They will use the same tactics as the Police to get what they want.

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  14. I'm voting for the ALF. I reckon the 60K sq foot Kensington Palace is going to be our biggest asset in the fight for water. With their multimillion dollar investment they're going to be watching this issue very closely and not just packing their bags and moving on. Frankly I'd rather have Billy Shields arguing before the water agencies than some of the old bats that rail on about mountain views for a block or two along Sierra Madre. They're supposed to be watching the road not comtemplating the Mother Mountain. In fact, I'm skeptical about anyone with less than 4 or 5 years left on this planet throwing up obstacles to any development or lack thereof.

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    1. Your hatred of older residents helps to explain your support for the ALF.

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    2. Little Stevie WonderOctober 6, 2012 at 10:22 AM

      You nasty boy!

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    3. Steve is full of venom this morning. Has he been eating genetically modified foods?

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    4. Inaccurate 10:18.
      The elder stateswomen of Sierra Madre, to whom we owe so much, have not been in this fight.
      The chief advocate for the mountain views, in fact, has yet to see 40.
      Might want to catch a council meeting or a planning commission meeting or two before you put forth your personal insults.

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    5. I'm an old bat and I support the ALF. Couldn't ever afford to stay there, but I agree that I'd rather Shields be a spokesperson for continuing water supply. Let him help in the campaign to limit the amount of water Arcadia can draw out of our water supply. They have an option to draw from the Pasadena area supply.

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  15. Water is not an issue!Water rates can always be increased.This is not the first time the lowly taxpaying homeowners were required to subsidize the shady alliance between corporations and their government henchmen.This a "Pie in the Sky boondoggle!NO to subsidizing Corporate Greed!

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  16. One Unit Short of a SuiteOctober 6, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    I got it! ALf: A L-ittle F-oolish.

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  17. A Litigated Fraud.

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  18. Unless the Kensington Developers are skilled at Rain Dancing, I don't see what they can bring into town that will help the water situation.

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    1. Money. They have buckets of money.

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    2. So did the DSP supporters.

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    3. Do you think so 2:09? Seemed like they had dreams of money rather than the real thing.
      Billy and the 2 or 3 other owners of these places have the real thing.

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    4. They spent $160,000 to defeat Measure V. How'd that work our for them?

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  19. That's the great thing about Measure V.
    The people who live here, and who care enough to vote, will be the ones to decide whether or not to build this.

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    1. We still have the right to make the final decision. After all that weirdness at city hall in the end it is what we want.

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  20. I feel sorry for any businesses around that site. They might as well relocate for a year, or two. The congestion and pollution of the air & noise levels will be bad. Plus traffic snarl-ups, especially in that 4-6 p.m. line o'traffic from Lima to Baldwin.

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    1. Our paramedics are going to get a work out. Good luck getting help if you need it. They'll be at the ALF.

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    2. Commissioner Spears said that 50 times during the Planning Commission discussions.

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  21. About time we get hooked up to that pipe..and when did you start listening to any body but your own ego...you're a clown Crawford..build the freaking thing!!

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    1. My guess is you've been hooked up to a pipe since about 9 o'clock this morning.

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    2. Mr 2:52, we cannot legally hook up to the pipeline you think we can.

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    3. Are we discussing the Grandview pipe, that Bart Doyle fought long and hard for? It was supposed to be for emergencies only, and I guess we're approaching that - opponents of ending our 75 year history of water independence said Doyle and his pals wanted it to support the pools, landscaping and other water foolishness of the mansions at Stonehouse and Carter. Is there a pipe along Grandview for this hook-up,, or does it have to be built?

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  22. California DreamerOctober 6, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    Water? we have lots of water, I know, because it comes out of my pipes.
    Besides, if we have to, we can print "heres more water" on pieces of paper and send it to old Brucey. That will work!
    End of problem...

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  23. So I guess a "Plan B" for water is a pretty stupid idea, what fools!

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  24. What is the city's Plan B for water, backup plan in case primary source is not available?

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