|The rather lush "Stonegate" waterworks|
Of course, they can call their patch of ongoing woe whatever they want, but its been 1 Carter for far longer than the current developer has been hanging around here. And it will likely be called that long after they've packed up their wobbly story poles and "for sale" signage and left. Which, if things go the way they are supposed to, shouldn't be too far in the future.
As I am certain you will recall, the 1 Carter developer currently taking a stab at building something there was recently shot down by the Planning Commission. CETT Investment Corporation, from Rosemead of all places, had attempted to build 3 rather immense McMansions on the site, complete with 5 bedrooms and, more tellingly, 5.5 bathrooms. Such uni-block Hummer Houses being not only out of character with most of our community, but also in direct conflict with such Sierra Madre ordinances as the Hillside Management Zone.
Plus there is also the matter of water and our lack of it. In a time when residents run the risk of incurring significant fines for usage deemed excessive by City Hall, approving the building of such water hogs here would have been quite difficult to justify. A double standard, as it were.
But the CETT Investment Corporation was not about to let our Planning Commission get in the way of their cashing in on Sierra Madre's birthright. According to the July 3rd City Manager Report, they have now decided to take their case before the City Council itself. Here is how Elaine Aguilar reports it:
Appeals Filed On Stonegate Projects: The applicant (CETT) for the three Stonegate projects, denied by the Planning Commission last month, has timely filed appeal applications early this week. The earliest that the appeal hearings can be scheduled for the City Council will be September (August is dark), depending on the schedule of items that are already planned for those meetings. The applicant bases their appeals "on grounds that the denial is contrary to the goals of the Stonegate Design Guidelines, the goals of the Sierra Madre Hillside Management Zone and the intent of the Settlement Agreement," and that "the Planning Commission's decision was not supported by substantial evidence."
All pretty much standard boilerplate for a developer that recently discovered you cannot just waltz into Sierra Madre and build whatever is going to make you the most money. This is a community of residents who have some pretty well-defined opinions about how they want things to look. And the generic cookie cutter McMansionized row-housing CETT is trying to jam into 1 Carter just won't make it here.
Which is where things have stood up until now. But according to this weekend's Mountain Views News, apparently the situation is far worse than even we had thought. And to be honest with you I am not certain that Susan Henderson didn't reveal more than was intended by whomever it was she's been talking with. Most likely the developer. Here is the interesting part of what she had to say:
CETT Investment Corporation owns 23 of the 28 lots in the development. Five are owned by individuals. To date, the most progress that has been made are the completion of access roads, utilities and for the three (houses) before the council, some basic layout ...
Certainly THAT is some news, and it is obvious the stakes have now been raised. CETT Investment might have the three original projects going before the City Council on appeal, but there are potentially 20 additional 5.5 bathroom water hogs in the pipeline as well? Oh my.
Obviously if the City Council overrules the Planning Commission on these original three Hummer Houses, there will be little that can be done to prevent the rest from getting built as well. The proverbial Pandora's Box would have then been thrown wide open.
You might also want to look at it this way. In a week when the City Council is about to finally confirm stiff financial penalties for an overly liberal use of water by some residents, should they then decide to overrule the Planning Commission and approve so much unsustainable development here in town, it would truly be an incredible act of hypocrisy on their part.
It would also confirm the widely held suspicion that when it comes to the requirements and priorities of developers, water conservation is actually a second class issue.
The Unicorn Extortionist gets an additional 2 years in prison
Regular readers of The Tattler are familiar with the Unicorn Extortionist. During the last City Council election cycle here in town certain local individuals decided to enlist the on-line support of this unstable individual in order to somehow curtail our blog's coverage of that election. An absurd attempt at intimidation that failed miserably. If you are not up to date with this story, you can catch up on all of the excitement by clicking here.
Last week the Unicorn Extortionist, who I am certain prefers to be known as Cyrus A. Sullivan, was sentenced to an additional two years in jail. This after a plea bargain he'd hoped would get him sprung from the pen. The website OregonLive.com (link) has some interesting coverage of Cy's sentencing, and I thought I should repost some of it here. It is quite a story.
Portland man who ran controversial website sentenced to two years for threats against woman: Sitting in court, Cyrus A. Sullivan muttered under his breath, warned a federal judge that he would not forgive his lack of "good judgment," and flipped off the woman whom he had been convicted of threatening.
Then, as U.S. Marshals came to lead the 30-year-old Portland man off to jail, he angrily swatted a cup of water across the table before being handcuffed and warned that he could be tased.
Sullivan, his attorney had told the judge just a few minutes prior, "has a way of expressing himself that gets him in trouble."
It also has landed him behind bars. U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez sentenced Sullivan to two years in prison for threatening a woman in a running dispute over his controversial stdcarriers.com website. The site allows people to post names of people who allegedly have a sexually transmitted disease, and the woman's name had been falsely added by an ex-boyfriend who had previously been convicted of telephonically harassing her.
Hernandez also ordered three years of supervised release after Sullivan completes his prison term. As part of that release, Hernandez said Sullivan may not use computers or similar devices without the written approval of his probation officer in hopes of ensuring that Sullivan doesn't revive the site, which has gained national notoriety, and was featured on CNN.
"I am taking it away," Hernandez said, of the website. Sullivan, however, maintained that "I will run it till the day I die."
The sentencing comes almost two years after the victim learned that her name had been added to the site in September 2011. She sought to have Sullivan remove it, but he did not for several months, according to his court-appointed attorney, Per Olson. Sullivan's policy was to remove postings only if people submitted medical records to him showing they did not have a sexually transmitted disease or if they paid him fees of up to $1,000, Olson wrote in court filings.
Sullivan's refusal to take down her name prompted the victim to fight back, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Hoar said.
She also took to the Internet in the escalating conflict, said Sullivan's attorney. The victim anonymously posted Sullivan's personal information including mental health diagnoses, which are believed to have been taken from court documents, he said.
She also anonymously put up taunting videos on YouTube that targeted Sullivan and anonymously sent him an email that included profanity, predictions that he would be abused by convicts in prison and a threat that "we can find you. We can find your family too."
The victim also contacted the state's consumer protection division, which had received numerous complaints about the website, for help in dealing with Sullivan.
But last June, Sullivan sent a series of threatening emails to the victim, Hoar said, including some on June 4 that triggered an arrest by police a few days later.
In one e-mail sent that day, Sullivan said "You just don't learn your lessons do you? Now I have no choice but to come to your house armed and put an end to you once and for all. The only way you can stop this is by removing your stalker site and paying me $10,000. You don't have a choice."
He also left a message on the consumer protection investigator's voicemail the next morning saying that he had "put in motions that will kill" the victim, whom he characterized as a "stalker," within 24 hours. He also warned him not to include the police or he too would be targeted.
It is still hard to believe that there are people here in town who actually got involved with this dangerous individual because they thought it would help them achieve certain political goals.
Yet they did.