Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Councilmember Harabedian's Environmental Action Corvette

"An 8 cylinder green dream"
Last night was the third time we attempted our little experiment in live City Council meeting blogging, and it seems to have been the charm. 177 comments had been posted by the end of the evening, which was quite an increase from our previous two attempts. I'd like to thank everyone who participated in what was quite a lively conversation. And for those of you who didn't make it to our municipal chat? We'll be back at it again in two weeks. Hope to see you then!

Last night was also the first attempt at speeding our City Council meetings up a little. One of the key points made at the recent City Council Strategic Planning Retreat was that Mayor Moran did not seem to have any reasonable control over the pace of some previous confabs. Nor, apparently, the use of his mouth. With the required impartial outside observer at the Retreat recommending that the Mayor learn to trim his trap a bit so that the peoples' business might get done in a more timely manner. Of course, when Josh went on about it for a bit at this meeting, he attempted to create the impression that all the members of the City Council were responsible. That is not what came out at the Strategic Planning Retreat. There the onus was firmly affixed to Mayor Moran.

This also resulted in the return of the enforced 3 minute public comment. And wouldn't you know it, the very first speaker from the podium to run afoul of this reinvigorated rule was none other than Paulie Goosebumps himself! Paulie was even a little edgier than usual, and apparently was suffering the effects of a severe overexposure to cable news. He ranted wildly about the presidential election, even claiming that any "old white guy" who didn't vote for Obama did so out of racism. Paulie once again proving to all who watch these meetings that he is a couple of lamb chops short of a rack.

John Harabedian is sadly starting to show all the signs of having fallen into the same trap as Joe Mosca. That being he apparently has been informed by certain LA County political types that he truly is their golden child, and that as long as he plays ball with them a fabulous career in California politics awaits him. Which is, of course, how canny old pols procure the allegiance of naive young Councilmen. And it doesn't cost them a dime.

A telling example of John Harabedian's willingness to carry the political establishment's dirty water came up during a discussion of his attendance as our representative to a recent meeting of the eminently corrupt San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments. The topic at hand was ACE, or Alameda Corridor East. ACE is currently being funded to the tune of many millions of Federal dollars to build things like railroad crossings and underpasses. ACE is currently attempting to get itself out from under the SGVCOG, who it legally answers to for now. The reason being that the SGVCOG, due to the multiple felony arrest of its former Executive Director, Nick Conway, now has a terrible reputation in Washington DC. Which means that it stands little chance of getting funded by the Feds anymore. ACE fears being tainted by this association, and is desperately attempting to claw its way to freedom.

Harabedian's rather haughty take last night on this unfortunate situation was pure unfiltered SGVCOG. He and his colleagues have yet to make a decision if ACE should be allowed to go we were informed. Preferring instead to keep them locked up so that presumably the SGVCOG can continue leeching off of ACE's Federal funding. It is not certain if the SGVCOG would even survive the loss of the sadly captive ACE. Or at least its money. It is an exceedingly ugly situation, and neophyte pol John Harabedian apparently checked his ethics at the door on this one.

The main round last night was a lengthy discussion of the Green Advisory Committee (GAC) and its sadly underprepared Sierra Madre Environmental Accords Work Plan. The City Council had previously told the GAC folks that they needed to prepare a Cost Benefit Analysis and SMART Assessments to go along with their somewhat sophmoric Accords. Without that the material they had previously handed in was for all intents and purposes unworkable. It quickly became obvious last night that the GAC did not get their homework done, which was a pretty shoddy performance on their part.

These Accords, as some of you know, were essentially cut and pasted from the United Nations Environmental Accords, and once a few local notes were added was slapped into a notebook with the GAC's logo on it. So basically what the City Council wasted around 90 minutes talking about last night was some purloined climate propaganda from an international organization that only on occasion has our nation's interests at heart. Instead often preferring to serve as a convenient soapbox for such terrorist havens as South Yemen, Syria, North Korea and Iran.

And why would Nancy Walsh, Josh Moran and John Harabedian even care about the Green Advisory Committee's cribbed Accords? Because at the very core of the document itself is the call for the kind of Transit Village style downtown development that nobody in Sierra Madre wants built. Except developers, Realtors and those having investments there, of course.

Here is what the United Nations, and now three of our Sierra Madre City Councilmembers, is calling for. This from Action Item 21 from the Green Advisory Committee's Accords:

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 for recreation and ecological restoration by 2013.

This is basically a standard boilerplate description for Sacramento mandated Transit Village high density development. Which in turn is strikingly similar to the kind of Downtown Specific Plan (DSP) development that was happily rejected by the voters of Sierra Madre when they passed Measure V.

The practice of using ecological themes and symbols to market things that are basically the antithesis of sound environmental practice is called Greenwashing. Something the GAC is at the heart of here in Sierra Madre. This is also why the New Gang of 3 is attempting the elevate the Green Advisory Committee to full Commission status. They are in the pro-high density development community's tank, and this is the current strategy for getting that done.

To build this junk would be a bad thing to do, both economically and aesthetically. Within the decade no-emission personal transportation will become widely accessible to all. And the notion that you have to dramatically shorten commute lengths by building highly dense communities around public transportation hubs in order to cut greenhouse gas production will then be obsolete. People would instead choose to drive their pollution-free personal transportation to those far flung suburbs where single family homes remain the rule. What the GAC is pushing for here is a 1980s solution to a problem that is about a decade away from solving itself.

There were two comedic lowlights on this matter at last night's meeting. The first was the complete and utter absence of the Green Advisory Committee from the discussion. Though some of its members were in attendance, not a single one of them got up to speak. Which to me seems odd. If these are the people the New Gang of 3 wants to call the shots on so many important policy matters here, why is it that at this meeting they didn't utter a single word? And was Paul Alva, the erstwhile chair of this timid clutch, even in the building?

The other wryly amusing sidelight was the renaming of the GAC's "Accords." Apparently the Committee no longer wishes to use that word because of its association with the United Nations documents they borrowed so heavily from. Yet rather than change much of what is problematic in the document itself, they chose instead to merely change the name. This, according to Mayor Moran, was done in reaction to criticism from the community over the contents of the Accords.

In other words the solution here was to leave the document untouched and instead give it a new name. You can't make this stuff up.

The meeting pretty much ended with a discussion about the Auburn parking lot adjacent to our downtown. It seems that in 2008 a decision was made by the City Council to tow cars that were left there for too long. Apparently Josh had been hearing complaints about this practice from some of his acquaintances, and wanted a change. The decision was made to swap things up a bit, and citations will be issued in lieu of towing. Now when customers from some of our more bibulous establishments exit those bars at closing time, their cars will always be there.

I still haven't figured if this is entirely good news.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

58 comments:

  1. why would someone leave their car parked outside of a bar overnight. oh. maybe because they were SMART enough to NOT DRIVE HOME. this decision should be rewarded with towing, yes?

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    1. There is always the possibility that they couldn't find their car. It happens.

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    2. Search the bushes.

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    3. i'm sure i buried the keys in their someplace

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  2. I took the bus around town when it was called the RTD. I did this for 15 years. It sucked. I will never go back to that until I am unable to drive, at which point I will pay someone to drive one of my fuel inefficient cars. Yes, I know. I'm not a good team player.

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  3. Sorry I missed the city council fun, but it was "Honowitz is a Putz Night" at the PUSD Board Meeting. I can't miss an even like that. I think I will bring pizza and popcorn next time. I am going to work on splitting my time because, I for one, love to watch how the elite (city councils, city attorneys, board majorities) let the rest of us know why the rules are for our own good, and why it's up to them to wipe our butts

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  4. ..... and good morning JC, i am glad to see you are keeping my mornings interesting, even when I am the Walking Dread

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  5. I thought it quite interesting that the gang of three, especially dancing' Nancy were so intent on making certain that the populace is constrained by all these green rules they want to enforce, yet, when it came time to create a structure to run more efficient meetings, Nancy was all but running from the building. No sir, no Rosenberg Rules of Order for her! Why she must be one of the anointed. When she is mayor she should sit on an elevated chair. it will make it so much easier for her to look down upon us from there.

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  6. Changing the name of the UN Accords is a farce, and I can't see why the committee would do it. Are they that ashamed of their source material? If so, why did they work with it in the first place?

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    1. Like dating someone you never want your friends or family to see.

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    2. More like dating someone your parents won't approve of, and trying to sneak out.

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    3. Agreed 2:05. It was a very juvenile move. And I think they think we are stupid.

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    4. They're counting on it.

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  7. the thing that is incredible to me is that the gang of three actually feel that they have solved the problem with the green committee by changing the name of the UN Accords to Committments and Goals. Really? I think one of the best comments last night was when Koerber got the city manager to admit that even if there is no green commission (oops, Commission for Enviromental Committments and Goals) that the city will still comply with all the federal/state/and county mandate (Committments) that come down the road. So she just admitted that a green commission is superfluous.

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    1. GAC (or CECG) is there to push for all that state and federal crap. They're kind of like an in-town SCAG.

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    2. Can we fix Josh Moran by renaming him? How come we haven't throught of this before?

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    3. Agree 7:49. It is the staff's responsibility to keep the city plugged into the state - one of the primary reasons we have staff.

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    4. I like that idea, 8:07! Maybe the Tattler can have another contest!

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    5. The proposed Green Commission is meant to be the enforcement arm of the United Nations in Sierra Madre. It's for legal and financial harassment and oppression of local residents and property owners. The real goal is to make private property ownership so difficult that people give up on owning their own property so that banks and large corporate development interests can control not only all property, but all people on that property.

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  8. Very little of what the NG3 said about the GAC last night was true. They are attempting to find a plausible public role for a group that has a very private agenda.

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    1. It's for Magic Money. We are positioning ourselves to get Billions of Magic Dollars as it funnels through LA County, according to Walsh, who also pointed out that it was not tax money from the state. It was Fed money for LA County, she emphasized.
      I'm afraid she doesn't know that Federal money also comes from our taxes.

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    2. Nancy couldn't identify one source of cash for whatever it is she thinks we need it for. It was a bizarre and reality free moment.

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    3. Walsh and the Mayor both spent a lot of time and energy on how not everything is measurable, how there can be something that will generate value for the city, but that thing cannot be demonstrated to be measurable. They backed each other up on that one. It still doesn't make any sense.

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    4. If people think analytically about the GAC and what exactly they are doing, the cause might run into problems. Because obviously very little there makes sense. Josh and Nancy would rather that people just groove on the green thing.

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    5. I get it that in the Philosophical Society, measurability is just another item for discussion; in the business world, it's a reality based approach. Unless the city government is flush enough to indulge in philosophy, it better pay more attention to reality.

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    6. Something that never changes with city government. The things we don't hear are the important ones.

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  9. The parking lot in question is the one behind the Playhouse, and the reason cars will no longer be towed is.....drum roll please.....the man who complained originally about the parking is now complaining about how much noise the towing of the cars makes......Tada! Democracy ...ain't it great?

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    1. It seems to me that cars shouldn't be parked there indefinitely anyway. My family had to purchase a parking permit, which cost us quite a bit. Why should someone be able to simply park their car in that lot every day, and not be towed away?

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    2. Nope. The man who complained just agreed that towing was not an appropriate punishment, He was there to encourage that the council uphold the no overnight parking restriction.
      And it was a good thing they did. It may surprise some, but people coming out of bars after they close are not always on their best behavior.

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    3. With the Nanny State making such a ruckus right now, it's easy to throw out good regulations with the bad. Drunken public nuisances are still drunken public nuisances, and there is such a thing as disturbing the peace.

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    4. 9:13, couldn't catch the meeting?
      It was the Mayor who put this on the agenda, because he "received a couple of calls" from people who's cars had been towed. Maybe it was a shout from the bar at the Buc to the 'smoking area' back behind the Buc.

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    5. I just don't buy the "couple of calls" stuff anymore.
      If a council person wants to identify the sources of their requests, fine.
      If not, don't bring it up.

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    6. Dude! Where's my car?

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    7. Watching the meeting last night, I thought it was good to stop the towing. But then a late night post on the Tattler made me rethink it. Someone can't get it together to move the car out of the restricted lot before midnight - and that's potentially a person who shouldn't be driving.

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    8. I agree. But maybe towing isn't the only solution. Could the city invest in a few car boots? Those would work as well, and not cause such a ruckus.

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  10. You know, it just hit me. Paul H's rant last night. I think he must be one of those radical tea partiers

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    1. I think he wants to secede.

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    2. Certainly Mr. Hovasepian is akin to all radical party members from whichever group you want to choose.
      I think the real secession should be the reasonable people from the crazies.

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    3. I think Paul's mind was blown by the 3 minute rule. He figured he'd have as much time as he needed to read the long speech he'd prepared because Josh would agree with him. When he figured out that even he would have to stick to 3 minutes, he tried to read the whole thing as fast as he could. It was really very comical.

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    4. Paul has been a participant at council meetings off and on for as long as Joe Mosca was around - 6 years? 7 years? He knows the rules, so that was weird too (as well as what he was hysterical about).

      I think he probably thinks he has friends in the NG3

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    5. I don't think Paul's feet touch the same planet as the rest of us.

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    6. He does 1:38 pm, Kim Kelly. They are part of the same karass, which of course orbits around the local LGBT community.

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    7. But, it's OK to be a radical communist? I think we know your political leanings.

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    8. I am a Groucho Marxist. Whatever you got, whatever you want, I am against it.

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    9. What, 4:01?
      Whose leanings?

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  11. It is very ironic that the Green Committee members are shy. After all, the rules they want to force us to obey will impact everything in our lives. What they lack in courage they make up for in ambition.

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    1. Government bureaucracies empower the quiet and invisible.

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  12. Did the members of the Green Committee really think that they could change the name, leave the content the same, and that would fix any objections? That's baffling.

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    1. It is baffling. I guess since they can't change their preordained agenda, the best they can hope for is a shift in perception.

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  13. The United Nations IS the nascent Global Government that infiltrated the Federal government many decades ago, the State governments several decades ago, and now local governments.

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  14. Why was John Harabedian so quick to toss out #17 in the United Nations Green Pod Accords? Was it because of the Transit Village Style Downtown Development called the Kensington making a deal with this council not to dump any chemicals, soaps, hair dye's, gasoline hosed from the parking lot; into any of the drains in Sierra Madre? Who is going to care? who is going to check?

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    1. The amount of toxins that will flow into the drains from the Kensington will far outstrip any others in town.
      Why?
      The pharmaceuticals.

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    2. Maybe we can use the property tax we get from the alf to clean up the waste water the alf creates.

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    3. 5:05, didn't Bruce Inman include in one of his reports something about the need to clean up what Sierra Madre sends into storm drains, or into the lands to the south? I think there was some focus on that, with the usual threat of state punishments.

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    4. Unless the oldies are peeing outside during rainstorms there is little likelihood the toxins will flow into the storm drains. Can't imagine more toxins will flow down the sewer at the ALF than are discharged toward the same destination at the Buc. We've got plenty to point to without getting too nutty. Leave that to the Paulie Goosebumps.

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    5. It's the wastewater that will carry the contaminants into the sewers. Toilets, 6:51.

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  15. http://hosted.ap.org/specials/interactives/pharmawater_site/sept14a.html

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  16. Have to congratulate the Tattler for making City Council meetings the latest evening entertainment format. I can just picture a bunch of folks in the chambers quickly tapping away on their iPads and having a great old time.

    Who knew these meetings could be fun? Pass the popcorn

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