Open Session then follows, and after the salute, silence, chat and inspiration, the money starts getting spent. As it always does. Wouldn't it be nice to have one meeting where no money gets spent? It is just a dream, I know. Besides, what would the involved parties do with all that time?
On this fine evening Consent Items (a) and (b) combined involve the spending of $1,484,199.49 in taxpayer gold. This includes $949,422.50 for something identified as the "revolving note for the demands paid by the City on behalf of the Public Finance Authority." Whatever. It is still a way large sum of money.
Consent Item (c) is for a Temporary Use Permit (TUP) that will allow a lot of people from various churches to march in solemn procession down Baldwin Avenue singing Christmas carols while holding lit candles. The City seems to think that is a lot to ask of people. According to the City Staff report participants in this procession will be closely monitored by "Fire personnel with CO2 and H2O extinguishers ... in case a participant's clothing or hair should catch on fire." In addition the Police Department will be on hand to close off Baldwin so the procession can proceed down the hill. "The Department will provide maximum patrol staffing for the day and night team (1 sgt/cpl and 2 officers) as well as Reserve Officers to do the lead and rear car for the procession."
I don't know how you feel, but for me this all somehow detracts from the spiritual spontaneity of the event. The Staff Report goes on to note that burning numerous votive candles while singing Christmas carols is exempt from any CEQA considerations. Some good news there. A picture of the required dress for all young persons attending the Candlelight Walk Procession is provided above on the left. Stay safe!
Consent Item (d) is a second reading of "Ordinance No. 1333," which is designed to keep some slick future City Council types from appointing their relatives and cronies to elective positions. Required in case someone does a runner like Joe Mosca did last year. Joe, you may recall, resigned out of the blue and left the country so fast you'd almost think he'd done something wrong. Tuesday evening is the final ole' for this one as it has already been worked over in the past. It is one of the better things the City Council has done this year. Right up there with the RFP for a City Attorney.
Item #2 is grandly entitled "Consideration of Resolution 12-87: Adoption of the Parks and Facilities Master Plan." This was put together by the Community Services Commission, so it has a lot of logical good sense to it. It is also a rather challenging report because it deals with the future, a place that none of us have been yet. Fortunately nobody else has either, which is a good thing because it would give them an unfair advantage in the stock market.
The members of the Community Services Commission will be on hand to answer any questions that either the City Council or omnipresent staff might have. Their answers will be short and to the point, which will be refreshing. That shows a certain level of confidence, aplomb and a mastery of the prepared material. Something at times sorely lacking in a few of those seated at the dais.
Item # 3 is all about the Green Advisory Committee. Yes, again. I'm telling you, these guys get more face time than Justin Bieber. This little doggy with the waggly tail is called the "Green Advisory Committee to City Council: Review of Sierra Madre Environmental Accords Work Plan." Their work plan so far consisting of cutting and pasting documents akin to those originally produced by the United Nations, adding a few notes, and then putting it all in a handsome binder with their name on it.
We posted some shocking news about the Green Advisory Committee on Saturday. Apparently they no longer wish to call their work product "Accords," and are fishing around for a new marketing handle. In their world such things lose credibility with the public rather quickly, so fresh names are constantly required. Fortunately, and thanks to the work product of those who post comments on The Tattler, we can now provide a compendium of over 100 new names for the GAC to choose from. If we get the opportunity to compile them in time we'll pass the list out at this City Council meeting.
Sadly, while the Green Committee does see the need to sever themselves from their initial "Accords," what they are proposing as a replacement to them is strikingly similar to the stuff they'd originally cribbed from the UN. Including their controversial call for DSP-style so-called "transit village development" in our downtown area. Something that, no matter how much unsustainable greenwash you slap on it, will still be a very hard sell in Sierra Madre.
Item #4 deals with Parliamentary Procedures. Something that was deemed necessary for this City Council due to certain conceptual lapses shown by Mayor Moran. We do understand how needy Josh can be, and how badly he wants everyone to respect him. But City Council meetings are hardly a forum for chatting up the locals. It isn't Lucky Baldwin's. The sheer length of these meetings, along with the resulting lack of quality output versus time spent, has been widely noted in town. Hopefully this item will help the Mayor get his act together before he steps down in April.
Item #5 has gone missing from the on-line Agenda Reports. If anybody has seen this one wandering around their neighborhood, please phone City Hall and let them know where you are. It isn't a particularly attractive stray, and will most likely need some kibble and a bath.
What Item 5 apparently deals with is "Auburn Parking Lot Restrictions," which is an arcane topic I know little about. Why would anyone want to restrict parking in an area where there isn't all that much to begin with? This reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw a while back in Pasadena. It read, "Sorry Pasadena: No Parking, No Shopping." It seemed to work there as the move to limit parking as a way of boosting public transportation use ended rather abruptly. Hopefully we won't have to print any of those here in Sierra Madre anytime soon.
Item #6 is the finale. Let's see if Mayor Loquacious can dummy up long enough for this one to make it to the finish line. It is called "Strategic Plan From October 24, 2012." Apparently not much new happened at that meeting because this particular Strat-Plan reads an awful lot like the previous ones. Which also got jammed in at the end of City Council meetings and never got properly discussed.
However, there is one big difference! It is the very last of the five 3-year goals, and reads:
Make Sierra Madre an Economically and Environmentally Sustainable Community, especially regarding water.
Now these 3-year plans have been harping on that sustainable tip for a long time, and only a few really cared to hear about it. And since nobody has really figured out what "sustainable" means in regards to Sierra Madre anyway, nearly all pretty much forgot about it. Along with much of the other similar jargon we have seen from downtown.
But water is deeply reality based. If we run out of that stuff our homes will immediately lose half their value and we'll become a regional, and perhaps even national, laughing stock. Nice to see that someone thought it might be necessary to include this one in the Strategic Plan.
Hopefully it gets discussed.