Thursday, November 1, 2012

Today's Star News Op-Ed: The ALF and a Bittersweet Tale of Development and Water

Those of you familiar with the complex workings of development planning in Sierra Madre know all about Measure V. Our quaint throwback of a community has long kept large and undesirable development out, and if your wish is to build such things here that is the club we will merrily beat you with. Nothing personal mind you, we just like things the way they are. That other towns in the area succumbed to California Generic Design (CGD - a subsidiary of SB 375) is not our problem.

As you can imagine there are certain forces in the area, mostly Realtors, builders and the de-evolutionary pols they control, who would dearly love to get rid of Measure V. The notion of sticking a wide swathe of highly dense condo sprawl with some CNG bus stops in the middle of town appeals to them, mostly in the monetary sense. Though thanks to Arnold Schwarzenegger and the vibe of Post-Cosmic California, along with the bejabbering of some very cynical greenwashers, they are instead telling us it will help to save the planet from global warming. Which would be hilarious except for the billions in quantitatively eased Federal dollars backing this Orwellian message up. And they're pushing this garbage everywhere.

Anyway, there is this 60,000 square foot water warthog of a behemoth on Sierra Madre's ballot this November. This in a town whose head engineer recently predicted we'll be out of water within the year. Up for a public vote because that is what Measure V demands. Called the Assisted Living Facility, or ALF, it is the product of a San Diego elder care corporation that builds these facilities all over the country. It is where wealthy aged folks can go to get relieved of their earthly equity before they pass on to that far better world. After all, they can't take it with them, so it might as well go to those owning the ALF. To heck with the damn kids.

Now there had been considerable anxiety amongst Measure V supporters in town about the ALF. And unfortunately that worry was mostly about the Measure and not the building itself. There was a fear that the big development forces and their attorneys would circumvent Measure V with a lawyerly guile, and then go and build the thing without voter approval. The theory being City Hall feared we'd turn it down just for the fun of it. They do have lots of fear.

However, and after long months of pointless City meetings on the topic, the developer of the ALF came up with what turned out to be a most brilliant ploy. Speaking before packed City Council chambers, this developer declared that he would support a Measure V vote on his project, and he would put up a lot of his own dough to make that vote happen. Hosannas of praise poured from every slow growth throat in town. The world (or at least the part we care about) was saved.

The only problem is some of the more demonstrative people in Sierra Madre spent so much time hyperventilating over Measure V that they forgot all about what this building will actually look like. And at 60,000 square feet the ALF will be our equivalent of the Great Pyramid of Giza, towering over its humble surroundings like some sort of malevolent aesthetic tyranny filled with very old people.

But here is the good news. Thanks in part to the ALF's generous developer we will have that Measure V vote, and we can still shut this big boy down. Which is what we need to do. We just do not have the water to sustain so large a thing.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

67 comments:

  1. I'm voting NO for sure. We need to sustain our town and this monster of a sponge will suck up every bit of water it can get. Our town is too small to allow something so big and demanding to ruin what we are holding on to.

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  2. Why are we mentioning this "Small" item now.A bit late I would say!Was the "tiny" matter of water availability ever discussed by the Planning Commission,City Council or City Staff?Sounds as if the citizens have been hoodwinked again through cunning and humbug.

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    1. The water was discussed, the parking was discussed, the massing and height were discussed....the decision was made to send this project to a public vote anyway, because inadequate parking, too much water consumption, and too great a mass for the city were all deemed to be _________________. You fill in the blank, because I don't get it.

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    2. Just minor details, 8:15 am
      Josh will surely take care of this, won't he?

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  3. Obviously Bruce Inman rolled out some development marketing product too early. I don't think the water panic was supposed to begin until after the election.

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    1. I don't think the City Manager briefed him on the message rollout. Bruce isn't a political.

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    2. Maybe, just maybe Bruce was trying to warn the community.
      I don't think Bruce is a crook. Can't say that for others, however.

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    3. At least he didn't bring that old piece of pipe to City Council chambers again.

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  4. i went to a single meeting on this (meetings here conflict with PUSD metings where my focus needs to be right now) and after listening to the pitch, and looking a the pictures of what the dream would be, i left, more sad than angry. i just thought , 'if this is the best that this city can do, then i guess it's what we deserve. i remember the last useless facility that went unused, and eventually abandoned, and wondered how long before the polish from this wears off, and then what will be left. a behemoth that, iike the last one, will have ample space for some better, more productive project unused and unknown because the facility is zoned for something pointless and too specific. the big selling point was that it would have street level shopping. that is nice, there are plenty of empty shops already on the boulevard of broken schemes, BUT THESE ARE SPECIAL SHOPS because they will house THERAPY that aren't owned by the facility. the catch, of course, is that the therapies are for the old folks so they don't need to go to arcadia or pasadena to get them. SO, not only are the old rich people going to be milked of the nest egg, so too shall their insurance companies. why was i sad? because i know that this is going to go through, and for all the best intentions of the people who believe in it for all the right reasons, they are going to be trumped and disillusioned when it is done because its being built for all the wrong reasons.

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    1. What "empty shops" are referring to specifically and where are they? I've been looking since the last time someone made that assertion, and I still can't find any empty shops in Sierra Madre.

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    2. Specifically, half of the old Howie's is empty, the former bookshop is empty, Steamers hasn't yet been filled, technically the SNF is empty, and isn't Frank's framing/art store unoccupied?

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    3. 5:31 pm

      That's what I call "clutching at straws." Sierra Madre is much more in demand then you would lead people to believe, which is why we don't need to sell out to the Kensington.

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    4. 456. what empty shops? really?

      this monster appeared to me to be a tiered structure beginning at street level and moving up. the upper structure landing was gated, i assume to keep people in. or out. who cares, it's not my new kitchenless apartment building so i didn't study it that carefully. there will be a nice couple of trash receptacles, and a big laundry area, and the discussion i listened to centered on the bathroom windows that seemingly opened into the courtyard. and on little plants....

      the shop fronts would be at the corners, which would be diagonal and adjacent from the bench. assumingly where the bus stop would be. don't want to neglect the bus stop. nor the new pants, which were a point of validation. got to remember the shrubbery or the knights who say "nee' will feel neglected. the "shops" were really just supposed to house therapists for the old folks, but maybe the towns people would utilize them

      the word i used was behemoth. the other words i used were vacant, and shops. i think i was pretty clear on that part, too.

      1238, being in demand means nothing if a room sits unused. it's like a shelved book that never gets read. if the point of a book is that it is to be read, then it should be tattered and dog eared, and coffee stained, and drawn on. if the point of a shop is that it be occupied,the the shops in this town are a flop, at best. i went to the frame shop with about 12 things and no shop. it's gone. i went to the comic/movie collectibles shop. it's gone. i shop specific, and that's it. i mean, i would like a nice ew shiny car, and it can be in demand all the manufacturer wants, but unless i buy it, it's just a nice shiny new car sitting on a lot waiting for the next newer car to replace it.

      for a town like this to be successful for shopping it needs shops that you can't find in the mall, and that are funky, quaint, and quirky. its what the people who come here look for- they want tea shops and novelty and middle america. y'all need to get out of this cell for a while and listen to what people outside of here say. they want to come here and step back in time to a place like main street disney. you want them to shop, lower your shop rents, keep your prices realistic, stop feeding them healthy microscopic cheap-ass portions for huge money........ and be a place of comfort, not of witch hunts against little autistic kids.......

      or build your behemoths.

      personally, i don't care. i feel bad for the chumps who are goig to lose everything they love about this workerbee factory to the same scumbags that have exploited every town surrounding it. but, ok, then. build an old folk's home. just keep in mind, that market dries up, too. they die.

      i don't hang out here anyway, and when i die, i pray it's as far away from here as possible.

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  5. It's reassuring to know that if this Boondoggle passes,we will be subsidizing a Corporate interest by paying higher water rates.A nice demonstration of Fascism! Fleece the people to support Corporations."Your Welcome"

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    1. The Doyle/Buchanan faction always favored using our tax money to work against our interests. Out of character development being only one instance of this sad situation.

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  6. Two Planning Comission member did ask question on water usage. The developer responed he did not know the figure! Development services and city attorney said to move on. This project was sold as a place for "our loved ones" to stay in Sierra Madre. The cost per month is set at $6000 so doing the math that comes out to a hefty $72,000 per year. So 72000 x 75 suites = 54,000,000 per year! So who is going to live here?

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    1. Shileds claimed that the water was no problem because:
      1) the elderly do not shower that often - their skin is too fragile.
      2) The laundry facilities will be state of the art.
      The first reason may be true, that less water is used in daily life as someone is in advanced age, but the second one? How much water would washing all those sheets, pillow cases, washcloths (for the spot baths), clothes and towels take?

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  7. you know who serves on lots water boards (unintentional pun)? one of your favorite property attorneys who served on the redistricting.

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  8. Sounds like it's time for an advertising campaign to inform the voters on what we are really dealing with. How about it, any supporters up to the task of educating us all to the problems if the ALF is passed. Where do I donate my meager amount of $, there is strength in numbers, lets go.

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    1. With the election next Tuesday, I think talking to your neighbors is the best thing you can do.

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    2. and to plant information on every blog between glendora and eagle rock, and from here to rosemead

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  9. I voted NO! Why ruin our downtown so a few fat cats can make a big profit, no one in Sierra Madre would be able to afford this.

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  10. 2 "NO" votes at my house. All the wrong people want this.

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  11. Im excited and cant wait for the ALF to be built. It will really ad to the downtown district creating a needed synergy between city hall and the new facility with the shops. I do think the site would be better suited for a new library location and shop space.

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    1. Exactly why it should NOT be built, Stevie.

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    2. Steve doesn't have a dog in this fight. He doesn't bathe and he doesn't drink water.

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    3. Careful replying to "Steve" - another aka for Lady Wistar. You may withdraw your mouse hand covered in glitter. Better to not engage. He/she will just adopt another pseudonym but we'll always be able to spot the troll.

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    4. I think Steve's boss should catch him/her wasting work time creating problems.

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    5. You're right, 9:18. It stinks of unicorn.

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    6. I think "Steve's" boss knows full well that he/she is posting to the tattler and is behind the posts 100%. Think City staff or Chamber of Commerce, maybe even Montecito LLC.

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    7. Shop at taylor's.

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    8. I'm with Steve. For the first time in history.

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    9. As long as you're happy.

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    10. If Steve's happy, I'm happy. No, really!

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    11. Just don't lend him money.

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  12. I was so glad to see in the promotional materials that the Kensington will be built at street level!

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    1. 8:16, are you joking?

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    2. 8:30, yes, and no. I am joking about the street level, unless there was a change in plans that I missed. The Kensington will completely block the views of the mountains because it will be built on the small hill that is there now, with only a few feet removed. And no, the promos really show it starting on street level, as though all of the hill will be excavated.
      It's a lie.

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    3. Will Switch if Lied TNovember 1, 2012 at 10:11 AM

      I, a tentative ALF supporter, was confused by the ALF advert. It depicts the entire structure at street level. That would make for a more walk friendly and attractive structure. Is this depiction false?

      If the depiction in the advert is false I will be changing to a "no" vote. I hate being lied to.

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    4. I want to know about this too.
      Anybody got the facts - is the structure going up at street level, or is it being built on the elevated land that is there?

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  13. If there is a need to help a relative or yourself find a support community to live in, AVOID this kind.
    When one of these people gets too sick, he or she will be given an eviction notice.
    Better to find a place that has the 3, or at least the last 2 - assisted and skilled nursing, levels of care.

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  14. Simple--every Tattler reader create their NO on ALF flyer and distrubute up and down one block east/west/north/south of where you live. Good for your exercise program and good for the downtown health of Sierra Madre.

    Three NO votes from this voting block.

    Also, your e-address book for Sierra Madre: NO on ALF, pass it on.

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  15. To continue on with one of yesterday's topics about people speeding through Sierra Madre - can you even imagine all those teenagers speeding up and down Baldwin at least twice a day had we not fought so hard to keep Maranatha from building their high school "that God wants," as one pro building speaker put it.

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    1. Considering all of the effort the SMPD puts into traffic enforcement, it mystifies me why we should still have a problem with speeding in Sierra Madre.

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  16. The same bunch who support this Blunder were in support of "Rusty Pipes."They lied to us then and they are misleading us again. It is hard to believe that we should give credence to anything they sponsor or recommend.

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    1. "Pig in a Poke" come to mind!

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  17. How do we get the word out to the voting community ???????????????

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  18. If you really want to know what this will look like, go check out an equivalent huge project built in a nearby area:

    Go to Google Maps and crank in the address: 8332 Huntington Drive San Gabriel, CA 91775

    Click on the picture in the upper left hand corner, it will give you the street view. You can navigate down Huntington Drive (arrows on the white street line) and turn the corner at Sunnyslope to get a better feel for what the massing would be like for ALF. Except this isn't elevated by 4 feet like the actual site is. It's actually smaller. You'll notice that there's no parking here, either. (Go down Sunnyslope and then turn and look into the driveway)

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  19. You're several days and more than a few dollars short, 12:00 pm. Where have you ben for the last couple of years? The best you can do at this late date is to run copies of the Tattler (not necessarily the comments) and hand them out to your neighbors and friends. Next monumental project? Start early attending meetings and speaking up. Four days before voting is an insult to all the folks who have been sitting in those gawd awful red and white Council Chamber seats through all those boring public meetings.

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  20. I looked on the city website to check on the building pad of the Kesington. Clear as mud.

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    1. City Hall is big on transparency, except when they are not.

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  21. Searching the negative mitigated declaration on the city site, for the word 'height' came across:

    "While the proposed structures would be one story taller than the existing structures onsite, proposed grading would lower the building pad by approximately 3.5 feet from current grade. The project would not substantially affect or alter views of the mountains. Impact would be less than significant."

    So I estimate the current grade at 7(?) feet; the structure will not be at street level.
    The drawings that the developers have mailed out are fraudulent.

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    1. Couldn't agree with you more. This building Is going to be monstrous.

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    2. Are these the same folks that did the report on mitigating factors on the middle school property?

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  22. Do you mean to say developers are presenting a false image in order to sway public opinion?
    Alert the media.

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    1. Developers would never bend the truth to push a job through.That would be unethical.

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  23. If this monster passes, the photo sent out on the flyer and those photos posted at the corner of the current building, showing the first story at sidewalk level must be used to force the developer to build as shown. Prepare to pony up some money to sue them for their fraud.

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  24. How about a recall as well for dereliction of Duty in not protecting in good faith the interest of Sierra Madre.Oh,that's right, we elected persons who believe bigger is better!

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  25. Unfortunately we pay a bunch of people some pretty decent money to work against our interests. It seems like one of the first qualifications of working for the City of Sierra Madre is you don't live in Sierra Madre.

    How the h*** did that ever happen?

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    1. Doyle and Buchanan made sure of chasing out any local residents from city hall...

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    2. Just remember, when they start complaining abot not having enough water, and want to ration and fine people for water use, this project will be one of the straws that will finally break the camels back.

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    3. The Code is..Bigger IS Better!!!!

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    4. The photos do not lie. The project is at street level---the shops are street level. The ALF is behind the shops and starting where the old SNF is located. And, the ALF is two stories, or 30 feet from the higher elevation.

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    5. "30 feet from the higher elevation" means how high altogether? Counting the elevation?

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  26. I believe that the majoriety of Measure V supporters always knew it was about 2/30/13 (Two stories/thirty feet high/thirteen units (or suites), and that it was written into the ordinance that all projects go up for a vote by the citizens of Sierra Madre, the developer must have read the ordinance finally.
    YES, we have been lied to, the photos and posters do no show the true project. It is 35 feet above the street level and then the two stories will be built using Sierra Madre water, not trucking in grey water (the council said that would be too much wear and tear on the streets!)
    This also takes any future development away from the commercial district on that plot of land that is privately owned, because if it passes that area will now be residential (basically except for the small store fronts/facade).
    I cant believe that city council gave the developers all and more than requested, I believe that if this was proposed to built on number one Carter the town would say are you kidding? But that area is residential (hillside...) why was it ok to change the zoning for the commercial area? (why have any zoning ordinances at all?) Thank you poster 8:15 am; and yes there are NO VOTE flyers being distributed (thank you....you know who you are) I am voting no, not the right place in town and not the right building for this village. Let's work together to keep Sierra Madre a place not like Los Angeles.

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  27. I was pleased to find a NO VOTE flyer when I got home last night. Many thanks to the wonderful person(s) behind this. It so clearly articulates all the concerns I have had regarding this project, and why I am voting no.

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