Wednesday, March 27, 2013

City Council Meeting: Recycled Jargon and a Whole Lot of the Same Old Nonsense

It's low impact development if you throw in a tree
(Mod: The first 95 comments here are from last night's City Council "live blogging." I figured I'd keep everything in one place for convenience.)

I don't know if you noticed last night, but there were several times that John Harabedian appeared to be a little fatigued. I guess they're driving him pretty hard down at that top billing law firm he works for, because the guy certainly did not appear to be quite as on top of it as he normally is. But whatever the reasons, he was on point at the appropriate times to deliver his "I don't have a problem with much of this, actually none of it, really" line. Something he delivered more than once last night as it seems to be his standard going through the motions patter. He at least still recognized his cues and, of course, stayed on script.

John's got quite a political future ahead of him, just as long as he keeps doing as he's been told. Stick to that and the rest won't matter a bit.

It was funny to hear a special piece of old Joe Mosca jargon being tossed about last night. "Low impact development." It's kind of like clean coal, you know? An oxymoron, but certainly a comforting one. Sort of like when Metro tells people they need to widen the 710 and build that tunnel because it will help make the air clean. Or that those trucks coming out of the ports are new ones propelled by "green diesel." That way they can bring us all of the imported construction materials necessary for our low impact development. 

The big scrape of the night was between those who believe in the more traditional forms of what it means to be green, and the new kind that apparently has a lot to do with low impact development. The lazy daisies at City Hall have been putting in some long hard hours trying to convince people that they are way too overworked and understaffed to have the time to deal with all of these committees and commissions. Such a terrible bother they are. Always wanting something.

Of course, it could have been about all of the cutbacks at City Hall. However, beyond some strategic body shuffling, there never really was much of that. Though they do exist as talking points from the City Manager's post-reality playbook.

Apparently the one commission that really taxes their patience and limited remaining mental resources the most is the Tree Commission. So much so that they want to mulch the TC and turn its titles over to the gentle mercies of Los Angeles solid waste uberbureaucrat and Green Committee potentate Paul Alva. Which to anyone with a three digit IQ and any modicum of pride whatsoever would have to be a fate worse than death by gumming. 

The Tree Commission deals with the noble struggle of keeping trees alive. Pretty much what all of us were raised to believe being green was all about. The Green Committee, on the other hand, is all about serving as local policy enforcer for such atrocious things as SB 375, the Arnold Schwarzenegger spawned monstrosity that claims if you pack lots of so-called low impact development into places like Sierra Madre, the world will somehow be saved from global warming. Condos will save the world.

Which really is a far out thought, man.

Sierra Madre, thanks to things like the Tree Commission, always has been a pretty low impact kind of place. But that is really not the point.

The Green Committee is, of course, typical of how you sell crap like so-called low impact development in California. You tell people it will save the world. Just ask Paul Alva. Or dial up John Harabedian and ask him. He'll be sure to tell you he doesn't have a problem with it.

The highlight of the evening had to be the presence of MaryAnn MacGillivray. She brought with her a speech, which she delivered with all of her usual aplomb. I managed to get a copy of it so that I could post it here.

This is what she had to say:

Consideration of consolidating certain committees and commissions into a "New Commission" is premature and not on point. While such a discussion may address the issues of reducing staff time and freeing meeting dates, it cannot be productive unless the "New Commission" is clearly defined as to purpose, function and benefit to the community. 

Specifically, one of the committees being review for absorption into a "New Commission" is the Green Committee, the very continuance of which is yet to be determined. In an effort to make that determination, over 6 months ago, the Green Committee was asked to prepare a SMART assessment and cost/benefit analysis of the 25 items they believed guided their group. At the November 13, 2012 Council meeting they had failed to complete the assignment and this were not properly prepared to present their findings to the Council.

The Council then painstakingly went through each item, eliminated some and then, for a second time, asked the Green Committee to prepare a SMART assessment and cost/benefit analysis of the remaining items. As of this date, the Green Committee still has not provided the information to the Council.

I attended a Green Committee meeting subsequent to the Council's request in which there was a discussion of the SMART analysis. It seemed that the committee did not know how to develop the analysis; one committee member said that she had "no idea how to do it" and another said it was "way over her head." Probably why, after 2 requests and 6 months, the analysis still does not exist. What then is the value of their self-proclaimed expertise?

The validity and necessity of a Green Committee should be established in a public and transparent process. The community should understand the costs associated with the goals of such a commission in the event that a SMART analysis should ever be completed. And the City Council and City Staff should not propose to make the Green Committee a "fait accompli" without the self-identified "experts" on the committee doing the required work to convince the very community that will bear the costs, that they are needed.

If this is a process to obfuscate that nature of this committee and its impact on the community, it is deceitful. A vote to proceed without proper and thorough process illustrates a lack of integrity.

This discussion should be tabled until a full public vetting has taken place, and the committee and commission considered for absorption are individually evaluated as to purpose, function and benefit to the community.

So I guess we're expected to applaud the gutting of the venerable Tree Commission. Done so that the Green Committee can swipe their commission honors and get all the staff love they want. 

But here is my question. For what? Nobody is sharing that part.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

138 comments:

  1. A lecture, health exam and romance after 50. The next mayor has spoken.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Vintage Walsh. Council member report,
    I went to SCAG but there's nothing to report, and the Wisteria Festival was wonderful, Mother Moo's, restaurants, blah de blah.
    Governmental business like SCAG, not a peep.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A taste of things to come.....

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    2. But everything was wonderful.

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    3. Do you think she enters into a waking unconsciousness when she goes into the SCAG and COG gatherings?
      It produces a kind of amnesia.

      Delete
    4. 90% of life is showing up. Nancy has that part down.

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    5. I'm glad to hear that the Wistaria Festival will be better planned next year because it was extremely last minute this year!

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    6. typical - nothing to report and don't you dare question me.

      did her paycheck from the City bounce?

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    7. who wants to volunteer for anything in this city anymore?

      I don't.

      when you have Councilmembers insulting volunteers, saying that "volunteers serve at their discretion" or the constant dismissal of the value of volunteers by City staff (unless it's the pro development volunteers or those "high profile" volunteers that show up to be "management" and photo ops.

      When the City Hall and Councilmembers are lying to us about taxes, spreading misinformation about issues etc, why volunteer for city related events? No thanks.

      Not with Walsh a Mayor. Every volunteer in the city should quit as long as Walsh is Mayor because if the Mayor thinks volunteers are beneath her, she should learn the lesson.

      Delete
  3. Oh Lord, another consultant. This one is for the library.

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    Replies
    1. What can't the library staff figure out??

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    2. doesn't the Head Librarian make like 90 grand a year plus benefits and pension and she needs a consultant?

      in Sierra Madre?

      what we need to do is replace the Librarian like we'd do in the real business world

      Delete
  4. The room is packed for Patches Doyle. The Chief steps up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to see her with her patches on for a change.

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    2. The place is emptying out. Probably be 5 people in the room outside of those at the dais.

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    3. sorry but will always be Officer Doyle - do we promote to the same standards as the Sheriff's department?

      If Doyle can't step up and discuss with the media why she was photographed and allowed her likeness to be used in a campaign photo and be in/out of uniform with her gun? what?

      and she's gonna write tickets? I guess the SMPD gets to decide what laws it wants to enforce

      what were the reasons for the promotion?

      Delete
  5. Lovely ceremony, but I've never understood why these take place at council meetings, instead of at a separate event. A once a month honors celebration or something. All that Rose Parade Float stuff could happen then too. Would make for more efficient meetings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's an efficiency repellent in city hall.

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    2. it's the continuation of high school for adults

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  6. They sent Fredo.

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  7. Almost 6 years after Measure TT they are placing bid ads.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Maybe they could turn those 7 Upper Campus modulars into Dutyman Housing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like they are so desirable that they are all already spoken for.

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    2. Go Koerber! Way to ask PUSD for modular buildings for the library. I like that "getting ahead" of the curve" idea.

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  9. That's it? Fredo, we expected so much.

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  10. If the zone changes really do address bulk and massing (meaning houses that are too damn big) it'll be great.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You trust them? I don't see the usual culprits missing out on this one.

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    2. Double volume counting for floor area won't make the folks developing one carter very happy. Too bad.

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    3. 7:12, don't think any changes made now will apply. That mess in the hillsides was decided through court fights and settlements, and is probably governed by whatever was applicable when the dirt settled.

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    4. Double volume floor counting is anti-asian.

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    5. You're right 7:15, but that doesn't mean it's anything goes up there. There are still requirements that mention massing and boxiness and bulkiness and all the other words that mean humungous.

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  11. Is Danny like this all the time?

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  12. Nancy knows about this because she has heard it before.

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  13. Harabedian once again shows his complete ignorance of the political history of Sierra Madre, and asks where the 45 degree angle calculation came from. As if the Canyon Code committee didn't wrestle that to the ground with the whole community alerted. Jeez.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought all lawyers were supposed to be smart at everything

      John Harabuchanan

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  14. Low impact development? Where have we heard that one before? Oh, that's right! Joe Mosca!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. good old Joe Mosca. He certainly made us look like fools didn't he.

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  15. Moran thinks 5 people are watching this meeting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He's seeing double.

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    2. no that's the 5 voices in his head

      Buchanan is one of the voices

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  16. Johnny is going to take another stab at the parking question. He has been reading.

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  17. Harabedian may have a remodel project in the near future.

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  18. Parking area or parking space. Is this the news suites vs. units question? A very Harabedian concern.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Johnny is trying to appear on top of things.

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    2. Harabedian obviously has some kind of plans that he will want to implement. Sounds like a dirt driveway is part of his dream.

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    3. Huge underpinning consequences?

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    4. He sweats the small stuff.

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    5. That is what Harabedian took away from the three paragraphs he bothered to read for this week's meeting.

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    6. Oh so now it's great job guys, thorough in all kinds of ways.
      What?

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    7. Flippity floppity

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  19. The Mayor is getting sloppy. He just made an sarcastic remark to one of the few citizens who regularly shows up and comments. "You never ramble."
    The punkishness is getting off the leash.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've heard that Josh likes to get on the leash.

      Delete
  20. Moran is more on the ball than Harabedian.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Johnny is good with the way it is. $1,200 to park your RV. I guess there is always a way for the City to get its cut.

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  21. Harabedian is dead wrong about no big deal to have a 3 car garage if you're building 5 bedrooms, 2 would be ok.
    Wrong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He lives in a house like that. His parents' place.

      Delete
    2. He's campaigning for State Senate in a couple of years. Going to need the asian vote.

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    3. It's sort of funny to hear the political aspirations but you gotta wonder about those who run for Council and all of a sudden are players in Sierra Madre

      but like Mosca and Buchanan, if you want to use Sierra Madre as a political springboard, well good luck with that.

      Delete
  22. Thank God for Kevin Paschall.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank God for the Planning Commission.

      Delete
  23. Koerber just made a great case for the 3 car garage.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Walsh is like a little chihuahua with a bone. The bone are the words 'permeable surface' and she will not let it go. No matter that it's all taken care of already.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She thinks it makes her sound smart. Like a new hat with roses would make her look pretty.

      Delete
  25. Does the so-called workforce housing have to be developed? Can't we just sell it and pay down the water bonds? In the post-redevelopment era?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sell. That's the option to go for. Sell it.

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    2. Devil's advocate. The best way to keep this property from being developed is to leave it in the hands of the city.

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  26. Yes, walk away from the housing responsibilities!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Government should not be in the development business.

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    2. Post redevelopment debris.

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    3. Sell it. Use the money to pay down the water bond debt.

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  27. "Redevelopment was supposed to clear up blight, not create it."


    ReplyDelete
  28. Redevelopment is supposed to solve blight, not create it. Good one from John Capoccia.

    ReplyDelete
  29. There is an echo in here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One is more precise than the other.

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  30. These properties will stay in the hands of the city, and nothing will be done.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Nancy is happy with the directions things went.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Teachers, police - the great underpaid class. Walsh is all for giving them a home they can afford. However, the devil doesn't pop up for a while on this one. It's called a covenant, and a developer has to agree to ii - how long will the units stay at reasonable prices? One year?

      Delete
  32. Can't we just find a buyer that will promise to build a single family house?

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  33. What city staff cutbacks?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did she say cutbacks? She meant shuffling. Reshuffling and reconfiguring and moving around.

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    2. They didn't cut back anything. What is she going on about?

      Delete
  34. Sounds like the end of the Tree Commission.
    Too bad.

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  35. Skip the thanks Mayor. Let's just get to the evisceration of the tree committee and the elevation of the green committee.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They can lie in such a dry way.

      Delete
  36. Nancy says "there were soooo many conflicts."

    ReplyDelete
  37. Arms were twisted. Yes, it was disconcerting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diminished and dispersed. Yep.

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    2. Maybe we should get rid of city staff and let the commissions run the city.

      Delete
  38. Chair Blanchard doesn't think the trees would be protected as they are now. I guess that is what Elaine would call green.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Blanchard is excellent.
      And it could be done - meet every other month, have a volunteer make the agenda and post it.

      Delete
  39. This is collusion between the green politicians and the we-have-so-much-work staff. It's a win/win for them; the greenies get their commission, and the staff gets more time.

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  40. Define its" purpose, function and benefit to the community."
    It's good to hear MacGillivrey again.

    ReplyDelete
  41. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  42. The Green Commission has very clear goals, whether they can do a SMART analysis or not. They are for high density development and for getting billions of dollars, which were predicted to be arriving any day now.

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  43. Harabedian is getting very good at saying two contradictory things at one, I'm for the change because it will save staff time, but I'm not sure it will save staff time.

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  44. What does Elaine mean everything Green wants to do?
    What does Green want to do, besides philosophizing? and Developing?

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  45. This was a done deal the night the Green Committee first was discussed as a commission.
    As a side effect, God help the trees.

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  46. Even with a full tree commission we have lost way too many trees to development. I can only imagine what it will be like now.

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  47. In the Orwellian world of Buchanan/Moran/Haribedian trees are an impediment to green development.

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  48. The hot potato has been tossed.

    Josh wants it at the next meeting because after that he will no longer be mayor.

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  49. Who is going to implement the Grant for tree replacement for the wind storm damage. Green committee most certainly doesn't know where to begin on that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe the sub committee that will be made up of tree commissioners. That's a hard position to be in - they'll be the only ones who really know what is going on.

      Delete
  50. Harbedian was napping? Poor guy must be bored. He's got to pay his dues here in order to get to other, more interesting places to doze off.

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  51. The city manager said the the Tree Commission and the Green Committee took up 50% of the staff time. So I guess she means Inman's and Carlson's time. The Green Committee is just that, a volunteer committee - why is there staff involved at all? End of problem - the Green Committee continues without staff, and Carlson helps Inman with the Tree Commission.

    ReplyDelete
  52. gotta love that Mary Ann cuts right to the heart of the matter. the three stooges on the council can't wait to elevate and forever establish this green committee. nancy probably has dreams every night about all the "flow through" money she thinks we'll get, Josh is thinking about all the real estate sales and Harabedian is thinking that such a noble act of creating a green committee will help boost him up the ladder do political success. No thought of course, about the actual people who live here in town.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If Harabuchanan has future political dreams he's certainly do a nightmarish job for us.

      Delete
  53. Nothing new happened at last night city hall meeting, the staff and city council member's just fed you the public the same USED, bull they feed you all the time.

    ReplyDelete
  54. MaryAnn MacGillivray:
    Still standing up for the people of Sierra Madre.
    Best councilmember Sierra Madre, ever had.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. of course Josh Moran didn't like her at all - obvious disdain

      wonder why?

      Delete
  55. Can't we disband the Green Committee and keep the Tree Commission? Obviously the Trees make a far more valuable contribution to this community. We don't need a Green Police.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are 3 reasons that won't work, 9:57:
      Moran, Walsh and Harabedian.

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    2. Boozey, Woozie and Snoozey.

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    3. Elaine admitted to Koerber that Public Works can handle it if there weren't a Green Committee. Not that it mattered to the UUT 3.

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    4. What exactly does the Green Committee do?

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    5. Download the United Nations Accords.

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    6. Wow. They lifted an entire finger.

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  56. The unofficial "vote" was three to two to have a Green Commission, and nobody was going to change their minds. I guess that's why staff felt entitled to go ahead and elevate the Green Comm to a Green Commish.

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    Replies
    1. But why do they have to kill the Tree Commission to do it?

      Delete
    2. They have to kill the Tree Commission because they are:


      HONEST. The tree commission people are committed to Sierra Madre and it's residents, not special interests.

      It's really a shame this town has come down to this.

      Delete
    3. The Tree Commission bases their work on facts, not process. The Greenies hate that.

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    4. The Greenies will be the downfall of this town.

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    5. Get ready for a City Council meeting in the not too distant future where Green Commission Chair Paul Alva patiently explains to the residents of Sierra Madre that DSP style development downtown must be built because it has been dictated to us by state law. There is really nothing he can do except guarantee us that it will be constructed with green building practices in mind.

      Of course, it really is all about money and corruption.

      Delete
    6. They work for the Edison Mafia.

      Delete
  57. I am sure I saw members of the Tree Commission on my street, one of them talked to my neighbor, after the wind storm. They were doing damage assessment for the city. I would venture to guess that this represented tens of thousands of dollars saved the city (you and me, the taxpayers) in helping with the aftermath of the storm. Didn't someone earlier refer to a grant? Can we know more about this replanting grant...is it for areas that were decimated by the wind storm?

    ReplyDelete
  58. Recycled Bull Chips that are ground up and poured over the smoothies drinks (jim jones Kool-Aid) for the Sierra Madre masses.

    ReplyDelete
  59. The TREE COMMISSION VOLUNTEERS HAVE ONE AGENDA! One agenda ONLY.
    THEY LOVE TREES!!!!!

    Can't say the same for the "greenies".

    ReplyDelete
  60. Here is another decision that is too big, with far-reaching impacts, to be decided by a few people on the city council.
    Put it to a vote: Continue the Tree Commission, or establish The Green Commission.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hardly what the rulers of Moranistan are looking for. Their aim is to get the people as far away from the decision making process as possible. Then when the big shoe drops the poor dumb taxpayers won't have any effective way to fight back.

      Delete
  61. wow.
    we have elected a series of corporate mouthpieces and the most outspoken supporters of "low impact development" are the same who said we should believe them when they lied to us about the water pipes bursting and emergency tax hikes but not the truth

    I'd much rather shelve downtown development for a dozen years and let the next generation decide - what's the rush?

    me, I could care less if the Nursing Facility sets vacant as long as the enforces upkeep - it's like they try to make it ugly and whine about why we need to approve whatever they want because it cost them money not to build - like I care about some corporation in San Diego or wherever they are from -

    this group is trying to build out Sierra Madre to max capacity because it benefits them in some way if you just look at the obvious like Buchanan serving two terms pushing development and he worked for....insert drumroll....SoCal Edision...nah no coflict of interest there is there?

    or a Councilman who sells home mortgages saying he can be unbiased with his decisions but has done everything to spin pro development issues into his tenure and even argued the logic of why he and handful of special interest lobbyists (Doyle, Buchanan, Mosca) were anti Measure V and dismissed a landslide voter decision regarding tax hikes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't forget, Josh's Mama is in Real Estate sales. Gotta figure that's one of the reasons the Mayor loves density & development.

      Delete
  62. The city hall clown are leading the people around like a Judas to the slaughter.

    Those clowns running Sierra Madre, California city hall and local government don't know a hill of beans of how to run an honest "open government" lies and cover up's are the norm.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Just in case some missed the discussion of SMART by the council when the Green Committee first came seeking commission status, the acronym stands for:
    specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well now I see why it was beyond their capabilities, or rather, out of their areas of expertise.

      Delete
    2. All that measurement stuff does is mess up feeling good because we're green.

      Delete
  64. If the shoes fits, than wear it!

    The Bell, California corruption is as American as apple pie.

    It is quintessential politics in low economic communities in Southeast Los Angeles and in cities like Sierra Madre, California with wealthy, highly educated populations.

    The commonality is lack of citizen oversight.

    Elected officials limit public engagement and fail to see their role as servants, resulting in public apathy.

    Sierra Madre, California residents can only claim, "We're no worse than Los Angeles" in both cities, a low percentage of registered voters turned out on election day.

    We must remember that in delegating authority to legislators, we don't give up our right to decide what is good for the people

    ReplyDelete

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