Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Two Meetings Only A Select Few People Will Attend

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(Mod: This morning at 8:30, while most of the good people of Sierra Madre will still be drinking their morning coffee and shoving off for just another day at work, the elected leadership of this town, along with senior City Staff, will gather at the YAC to discuss our future here in the Foothill Village. Nobody ever goes to these things except the people who are required to be there, but then again when do people here ever go to anything involving our local government agency? Plus the results of this get-together, which usually become discussion items placed at the very end of any City Council agenda, and therefore get little real attention, never really seem to come to much. However, beyond all of that, it is a glimpse into the thinking of those who are attempting to call the shots here in town. As thankless a task as that might be. Here is the agenda.)

AGENDA SPECIAL MEETING - CITY OF SIERRA MADRE AND SUCCESSOR AGENCY STRATEGIC PLANNING RETREAT TUESDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2013 8:30 A.M.
YOUTH ACTIVITY CENTER 611 E. SIERRA MADRE BLVD. SIERRA MADRE, CA 91024

Nancy Walsh, Mayor John Harabedian, Mayor Pro Tem John Capoccia, Council Member Chris Koerber, Council Member Josh Moran, Council Member Nancy Shollenberger, City Clerk Richard Mays, City Treasurer

1. Mayor Nancy Walsh
Welcome, purpose of the retreat, public comment, and introduction of the Facilitator and Recorder

2. Facilitator, Marilyn Snider, Snider and Associates
Role of the Facilitator, Recorder, group, and public; strategic planning elements; agenda

3. Introduction of the group

4. City of Sierra Madre:
- Mission/Purpose Statement

- Vision Statement

- Core Values

-Three-Year Goals (2012-2015)

5. What are the accomplishments of the City of Sierra Madre since the April 4, 2013 Strategic Planning Retreat?

6. What are the City’s current internal weaknesses/challenges?

7. What are the external factors/trends, (e.g., demographic, economic, political, environmental, technological, attitudinal) that will/might have an impact on the City of Sierra Madre in the coming year?:

• Positively (Opportunities)?

• Negatively (Threats)?

8. Review and revise, if needed, the three-year goals (What the City of Sierra Madre needs to accomplish).

9. Identify six-month strategic objectives (how the goals will be addressed initially – by when, who will be accountable, for what specific, measurable results) for each of the three-year goals

10. Oral communications, summary of the Retreat and closing remarks.

(Mod: The second meeting will take place at 6:30 this evening at City Hall and will involve an Environmental Impact Report for the City's soon to be officially updated General Plan. Despite the somewhat jargonistic approach to the presentation below, this meeting offers an opportunity for those who believe they have a stake in the results of this effort to get their 2 cents in. Here is how this meeting is noticed on the City's website.)

CITY OF SIERRA MADRE NOTICE OF PREPARATION AND SCOPING MEETING

The purpose of this notice is (1) to serve as a Notice of Preparation (NOP) of an EIR pursuant to the CEQA Guidelines Section 15082, (2) to advise and solicit comments and suggestions regarding the scope and content of the EIR to be prepared for the proposed project, and (3) to notice the public scoping meeting. The City, as Lead Agency, respectfully requests that any responsible or trustee agency responding to this notice respond in a manner consistent with State CEQA Guidelines Section 15082(b). We need to know the views of your agency as to the scope and content of the environmental information that is germane to your agency's statutory responsibilities in connection with the proposed project. Comments and suggestions should, at a minimum, identify the significant environmental issues, reasonable alternatives, and mitigation measures that should be explored in the EIR, in addition to whether the responding agency will be a responsible or trustee agency for the proposed project, and any related issues raised by interested parties other than potential responsible or trustee agencies, including interested or affected members of the public. The final scope of the EIR will be based in part on comments received on this NOP.

Project Location: The City of Sierra Madre is in Los Angeles County, within the San Gabriel Valley region. It is located approximately 17 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. The City is bounded by the cities of Arcadia to the east and south, Pasadena to the west, and the Angeles National Forest to the north. The City encompasses approximately 3.2 square miles.

Project Description: The proposed project is the update of the Sierra Madre General Plan. The General Plan Update is an opportunity to take a comprehensive look at the City as a system and in a regional context, to address contemporary conditions and laws, and to reflect the latest aspirations for the future of the community. As with the existing Sierra Madre General Plan, the General Plan Update will continue to serve as a long-range policy document that defines the framework by which the City’s physical, natural, cultural, social and economic resources are to be managed over time. Consistent with the adopted Vision and Guiding Principles, the updated General Plan will focus on preserving and sustaining the City’s distinctive character as a historic small-town; ensuring that adequate City services that match the needs of the community are provided; ensuring the City’s natural resources (e.g., San Gabriel Mountain foothills, wildlife, forest, open space, watershed, etc.) are adequately protected; promoting and developing a strong, diversified local economy; and ensuring that new development is harmonious with existing neighborhoods, maintains the small-town character of the City, and does not unduly burden existing City services and infrastructure or impact the environment.

The General Plan Update will guide the growth and development (e.g., infill development, redevelopment, and revitalization/restoration) of the City 20 years or more into the future. The General Plan Update involves a revision to the current land use map and all elements except Housing. It will guide growth and development within the City by designating land uses in the proposed land use map and through implementation of the goals and policies of the General Plan Update. Assuming a theoretical buildout (post-2035 scenario) of the land use plan, the City is projected to accommodate approximately 5,017 residential dwelling units (4,911 existing plus 106 new) and 8,808,401 square feet of non-residential square footage (8,757,035 existing plus 51,366 new), which includes commercial, manufacturing and institutional land uses. Additionally, approximately 544 acres will be dedicated to open space and hillside management.

The General Plan Update consists of the following elements: Land Use, Resource Management, Hazard Prevention, and Community Services, which are included as individual chapters in the General Plan Update. The Land Use chapter covers topics such as distribution and intensity of land use development, urban form, historic preservation, economic development, and circulation. The Resource Management chapter covers topics such as hillsides and open space, biological resources, dark sky, trees, water resources, waste management and recycling, greenhouse gas reduction and air quality. The Hazard Protection chapter addresses fire safety, flooding and landslides, seismic safety, and noise. Finally, the Community Services chapter covers topics such as law enforcement, recreation services, library services, community cultural and special events, transit, and public services.
Environmental Analysis: In accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) guidelines Section 15063(a), the City determined that an EIR would be required for this project.

Pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15060(d), "If the lead agency can determine that an EIR will be clearly required for a project, the agency may skip further initial review of the project and begin work directly on the EIR process. In the absence of an initial study, the lead agency shall still focus the EIR on the significant effects of the project and indicate briefly its reasons for determining that other effects would not be significant or potentially significant." Additionally, as stated in CEQA Guidelines Section 15063, if a lead agency can determine that an EIR will clearly be required for the project, an Initial Study is not required. In accordance with the aforementioned CEQA Guidelines sections, we have prepared an NOP for the proposed project without an accompanying Initial Study, since this is a full-scope EIR. Only Mineral Resources has been eliminated from further analysis since there are no mineral resources located within the City. The following topics will be analyzed in detail in their respective sections of the EIR:

Aesthetics

Agricultural and Forest Resources Air Quality

Biological Resources

Cultural Resources

Geology and Soils

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Hazards and Hazardous Materials Hydrology and Water Quality Land Use and Planning

Noise

Population and Housing

Public Services

Recreation

Transportation and Traffic Utilities and Service Systems

Scoping Meeting: As a part of the NOP process, the City will conduct a public scoping meeting in order to present the proposed project and the EIR process and to receive public comments and suggestions regarding the scope and content of the EIR. The meeting will be held on October 15, 2013 at 6:30 at the Sierra Madre Council Chambers.

(Mod: I won't be able to attend either one of these meetings because I will be working. But if you hear of anything be sure to let me know.)

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41 comments:

  1. Retreat is the operative word.

    Fallback and regroup and come up with another game plan to defeat all those nosy resident's who want to know what were are doing in city hall, late at night?

    These officials will huddle around he reflection pond and receive there marching order's telepathically from their puppet master's.

    It's a ploy since they have been caught red handed at being useless the next natural course of action is to come out with a new and better plan for the future of Sierra Madre, capped of with "Trust Us."

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    Replies
    1. A place to invent plausible sounding new tales for raising taxes and rates without actually having to tell the residents the real reasons for doing so.

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    2. Kinda cynical 7:33, especially when the reason these kinds of shin-digs have been so heartily embraced, bought and paid for, is "Transparency." See how transparent it all is?

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  2. I'm still confused about the wording for the general plan meeting - the EIR is done, right? Isn't that what the city paid a couple of hundred thousand to the consultant for?
    So what comments about the "scope" are needed, after the thing is done.

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    Replies
    1. A scoping meeting is held so concerned interests can get what they need into the EIR. Stakeholders being developers, Realtors, and folks of that ilk. You didn't think it was all about the taxpayer and homeowner, did you?

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    2. Hey, Tattlers. Take advantage of this opportunity and go to the scoping meeting to offer your 2 cents. If you remain silent, absolutely nothing will happen, if you speak up you stand a chance of getting something done. Your choice. If you choose to not participate, then you give up the right to complain.

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    3. The scoping meeting is really a come and see the final product meeting.

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    4. Was there input from "stakeholders" previously?

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    5. There was nothing but input from stakers, for years.

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    6. Not the money stakers.

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    7. As the old joke goes:

      Don't tell Mama I'm a consultant to the City. She thinks I'm a piano player in a whorehouse.

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    8. I'm pretty sure all this work was done a year or two ago.

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    9. Q) how many consultants does it take to change a lightbulb?
      A) nobody really knows.

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  3. The city staff and the city council can't figure out how to have a meeting without a consultant. That's pretty bad. How much does the consultant/facilitator cost us?

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    Replies
    1. The facilitator/consultant, Marilyn Snider, has been on board since the days of Enid Joffee. She's a regular staple at Sierra Madre city "retreats" and any other meeting requiring a "facilitator". We wonder whether an RFP or anything trying to masquerade as a fair process is ever sent out when these "consultants" are engaged.

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    2. So we pay city staff and they are not able to run a meeting.

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    3. They do get perky points.

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    4. 8:04, you're not suggesting tasks should be added on to staff! Their work load is unbearably heavy as is.

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    5. Our city staff is not like other staff - there are never, ever new responsibilities - just a farming out of old ones.

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    6. The ivy tower keeps growing higher.

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  4. I missed the announcement to attend.

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  5. It isn't that today's, yesterday's, the weekend's, and even prior weeks topics aren't incredibly important. It's just that I'm plum tuckered out. My brain is on overload and my mind is spinning at full tilt trying to figure out what I'll do if my pension and ssi gets cut off on the 1st. And that of my retired son and his wife who are both on military pensions. And my other son who is mentally impaired/disabled and received disability payments. I've got some savings, maybe even a couple of months, but I'd sure like it if the folks we sent to Congress were able to come up with a deal. I'm not pointing fingers or blaming either party, I just want to be able to concentrate on local politics. I've got another couple of months in the "donut hole" which translates to $1,000 in copayments for my meds monthly. I am just so focused on my entitlements - which, I might add, I worked for for more than 60 years, as did my family members (worked for that is)! I don't think I'm alone here in being too depressed to be chasing after the craziness that masquerades as City government. How about the rest of you?

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    Replies
    1. IMO there's no way SSI & Social Security doesn't go out on the First. The Gov can pay entitlements and debt service with money left over. Don't fall for the scare tactics.

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    2. Ever watch MTV's show Jackass? Congress is those guys roaring down the hill in a grocery cart. Don't evr assume reason has anything to do with it.

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    3. EBT goes down for 5 hrs. last Saturday and almost causes riots in a few Walmarts. What do you think happens if SSI & Social Sec. disability & retirement doesn't show up? Not a pretty picture. The checks will show up.

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    4. I am worried, too, but I think more than that, I am angry at these jackasses. Good call 3:12.

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    5. You should never assume that people are behaving rationally. If you do you'll be wrong 95% of the time.

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  6. All Politics are local. And you are falling in the trap they have set for you. Throw so many things at people that they finally retreat and ignore what is going on. That way, those in power can do whatever they want and you will be none the wiser until things like your "donut hole" crop up and it's too late to do something about it. You want to concentrate on local politics? Go to tonight's meeting and give your input.

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    Replies
    1. Huh? You mean, like, shut up?

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    2. Yes. the biggest threat to local political commitment is information. People are much better off knowing nothing.

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    3. The donut hole is a big problem? What about before Bush put through Soc. Security Part D drug plan. Oh, I forgot, W was evil.

      Before the donut hole? You paid 100% out of pocket. Doh!

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    4. All politics are loco.

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    5. Si, 5:21, es verdadero.

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    6. Something in the water. Whoops, did I say that?

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  7. Who from the city staff and the council is going to drag themselves to the council chambers tonight to watch the consultant's show? That's a long day with two too many meetings....

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    Replies
    1. I'd rather watch the Dodgers lose. Very painful, but not that bad.

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  8. Marilyn Snider of Snider and Associates.....hmmm. She is the very same gal that helped the COG members to find their inner selves. She has been running their retreats for years and we all know how that worked out.

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    Replies
    1. Well that's a choice tidbit. And it's enough to disqualify her, too. Damn conflict of interest.

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    2. No fix in there. Fair and balanced!

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