|~ Alfington ~|
This from today's Pasadena Star News (click here):
The Kensington assisted living facility scored an emphatic victory Tuesday, as voters approved the 75-room, two-story development across the street from City Hall. Measure ALF, as expected, passed by a wide margin. In the final total, 3,668 residents, or 77 percent, voted yes on the project.
A last-minute campaign against the project, driven by a project rendering few people had seen, stood little chance of changing the outcome. Only 23 percent voted no on the project, a total of 1,092.
Construction is expected to begin next spring, lasting just over a year. The Kensington would house up to 96 seniors and disabled residents in a key section of Sierra Madre's downtown and includes sidewalk-level retail space. It replaces a vacant building previously used as a nursing facility.
"It's very pleasing that we got the support that we did from the community," said Billy Shields of developer Fountain Square Development West.
However, Fountain Square surprised many Sierra Madre residents when it distributed updated project renderings in postcards and a newspaper ad in the weeks ahead of the election. The renderings show a Santa Barbara mission style building next to the sidewalk on Sierra Madre Boulevard at different angles, much different than earlier depictions of a Craftsman-style building set back from the sidewalk.
It is estimated that well over 1,000 mail-in votes were cast before the far larger appearing "Santa Barbara" ALF design got out to the general public. That rather late-arriving post card, along with the now infamous Mountain Views News ad, would have been far better timed had they been put in front of the residents before any of the vote had actually taken place.
I was contacted by James Figueroa of the Star News for this article. His call was made late Tuesday afternoon, so at that time I had no idea what the exact vote results would be. And, to be perfectly frank, I would never have guessed that well over 1,000 people would vote against Measure ALF.
Much of the late opposition reflected concerns that the Kensington is too big and would require too much water in a city recently warned that available water sources were dwindling. The criticism emerged on the Sierra Madre Tattler blog and in fliers distributed to homes. "I don't think they were quite as transparent as they should have been," blogger John Crawford said.
Fountain Square won over voters early in the year by supporting public calls to put the project on the ballot, in accordance with Sierra Madre's Measure V, which limits the size of developments.
It seems obvious to me that Measure ALF was going to carry anyway, so why exactly would the City feel the need to get shady this time? Old habits die hard?
For a last minute attempt that 1,092 number is actually a pretty good one. This represents the core vote of the slow growth community here in Sierra Madre. The entire "No on Measure ALF" effort consisting of one flyer put out by people I personally never spoke with, plus a few blog posts here. Being a presidential year, the turnout in this election was well over twice the usual amount, which to me explains much of that 3,668 "Yes" number. A lot of the more casual voting public, people who only vote once every four years and rarely if ever in our municipal elections, obviously went for Measure ALF.
In a regular city election here that 1,092 would be a pretty substantial number. Particularly when you consider that much of this particular effort developed very late in the process. The slow growth community in Sierra Madre remains alive and well. People need to keep that in mind the next time something like this comes up. I'm sure it won't be quite so much about Measure V.
Measure J: Metro gets a well-deserved comeuppance
Measure J, the ballot initiative that would have extended Measure R out until a time when few of us will still number amongst the living, failed to get the two-thirds vote it needed to pass. This from the Beverly Hills Courier (click here):
Measure J Defeated; Voters Void Metro's"Blank Check" -“It’s a good day to be a transit rider in Los Angeles,” Damien Goodmon, of the Crenshaw Subway Coalition.
Measure J was defeated this week in Los Angeles County. The proposed 30-year extension of the Measure R half-cent sales tax needed a 2/3 majority to win and instead got 64.7 percent of the votes.
“Four years ago…voters approved Measure R,” Goodmon said. “We were fooled… they told us they were going to improve transit service, they cut one million bus hours. They told us it was going to improve communities and they provided destruction plans for our communities.”
Goodmon credits the No On Measure J coalition with getting the word out against Measure J. The coalition included members of the Bus Riders Union, the Crenshaw Subway Coalition, No On 710 Action Committee and Beverly Hills Board of Education.
“This was an amazingly diverse coalition of community groups that came together from Boyle Heights to Park Mesa Heights,” Goodmon said. “From MacArthur Park to Liemert Park from Highland Park to Beverly Hills and with the leadership of the bus riders union we were able to tell the truth about this fraudulent, disrespectful, regressive sales tax that would have been taxing me until I was 87 years old.”
Metro, which is the so-called "lead agency" pushing hard for the 710 Tunnel here, took a huge blow Tuesday. It is estimated that the defeat of Measure J is going to cost them in excess of $60 billion (with a "b") dollars. Thanks to the hard work of organizations like the No On 710 Action Committee (click here), their message obviously resonated with a lot of voters in the directly affected communities.
And since Measure J lost by less than 1.8% of the vote, it seems pretty obvious to me that much of this financially crippling blow to Metro was delivered right here in the San Gabriel Valley.
What goes around comes around, as they say.