Friday, December 20, 2013

Last Night's Planning Commission Meeting Was Not One Of Their Finest Moments

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"Any commissioner who voted 'yes' after stating that they didn't have all of the facts should resign." - comment

Watching last night's Planning Commission meeting was an unfortunate and revealing experience. Not that the PC should be held up to any lofty and heroic standards in the political philosophy sort of way, that isn't why they are here. It's just that, well, they didn't really have to roll over quite so easily. They could have at least tried to serve the interests of the people they had all volunteered to represent. I don't see how it could have cost them much of anything. Yet with the notable exception of two courageous commissioners, they chose not to do that. Few fingers were lifted.

I don't want to overstate this, but have you ever stopped to think about how dead the concept of freedom is for so many people in this country? You know, standing up for what you think is right, and then letting the bad guys really have it? Doing so even in the face of something as harrowing and fearful as a state planning law?

Last night's deal was the Sacramento mandated forced imposition of homeless shelters into small communities such as ours. Pounded down our throats by one of the most corrupt and venal state legislatures in this country. It will seriously degrade the E. Montecito neighborhood selected by our city staff for sacrifice, add an entirely new and possibly dangerous population to the downtown area, and put some of our most vulnerable citizens, particularly the elderly and very young, at unnecessary risk.

Drugs and increased crime, and in a community where law enforcement has come up woefully short in the fight against such things, will be direct and possibly serious consequences.

So what was the Planning Commission's conclusion when presented with these unpleasant facts? They voted to approve what Development Services wanted not because it was right, or will make Sierra Madre a better or more safe place. They voted for it by a 4 to 2 margin to approve because it is state law, and they felt that they had no choice but to obey. And far be it for them to dare and stand up for what is right.

And that was it. They just knuckled under, and passed this mess on up to the City Council. All with barely a peep of resistance. Our city's planning guardians just didn't get it.

There were a couple of comedic moments, mostly offered up by a clearly embarrassed Commissioner Ken Goldstein. Apparently his widely rumored candidacy for a City Council seat was weighing heavily upon his storied brow because he was desperately working all sides of this question. Ken was against it, troubled by it, confused by it, upset about it, and then, when it finally counted, voted for it.

That in the end, and after much noisy posturing, he came down on the side of homeless shelters in Sierra Madre was hardly the stuff of inspired political leadership. This will not help Ken's cause next spring.

Homeless Housing Ken did go after Danny Castro for supposedly not properly preparing the Planning Commission with the information and insight they needed to deal with the homeless shelter controversy. His complaint being a very unpleasant matter had been dumped on them without much prior warning. That this topic has been out there for years seems to have escaped Ken, probably because for most of that period he was otherwise engaged and hadn't been following too closely.

Something that does beg the following question. If Ken, along with three other commissioners, were left so badly prepared by our at times sluggish Development Services department, why did they vote for this awful mess? Shouldn't each of them have taken the time to make certain they knew what was going on before voting to approve? I'm not sure blaming the help is what was called for here.

Commissioner Goldstein's other less than glorious moment was during the brief moment the PC wrestled with the idea of delaying their decision until next meeting so that the commissioners might be able to get a little more up to speed. Especially with information about how other cities are coping with similar demands, and their strategies for dealing with these destructive state mandated policies. The need for experts, legal and otherwise, was also discussed.

Ken's solution? Call Assemblyman Chris Holden's office. Which is hilarious if you think about it. Ken, who was Holden's preeminent campaign cash bundler during last year's elections, certainly couldn't have found a worse party to bring into this discussion if he'd tried. Holden is up to his ears in various so-called social equity redevelopment schemes of this kind, and there is no stronger proponent in Sacramento for such things.

On a side note, it was interesting to see Assistant City Attorney Holly "Go" Whatley at work last night. Her stern warnings about the possible draconian consequences of standing up to state planning laws obviously helped carry the night for Development Services.

Holly, as close readers of this blog are aware, was recently forced to resign her position as City Attorney in La Habra Heights, and under somewhat mysterious circumstances ("Colantuono & Levin Finds Itself Being Booted Out Of Yet Another City - This Time La Habra Heights" link). Whatever it is that happened there must have been pretty serious because the law firm she works for, Colantuono & Levin, was also pushed out the door as well.

As always, it is good to see we are in the finest legal hands that money can buy.

Here is another thought. Now that the homeless shelter question has been punted to the City Council, it will be interesting to see how Nancy Walsh and Josh Moran will vote on this matter. Adding E. Montecito homeless shelter advocacy to their already troubled records in office certainly won't make their chances for reelection any easier.

Two Million Hits

A milestone was reached by The Tattler last evening. Sometime around 7 PM we hit the two million mark for what Google refers to as "page views." And since they are the ones who count them for us, I will have to go with their wisdom.

It took five years to get here, but in a small city of less than 11,000 people that does show a certain level of engagement with what we do. Day in and day out.

Thanks for stopping by.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

96 comments:

  1. I think it would only be fair if each commissioner who voted to do this to East Montecito take a walk through the neighborhood and personally deliver the news to the people who live there.

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    1. It is really sad when the staff can't get their act together and get documents to commissioners in a timely basis.
      I am sorry that the vote was 4-2. If the residents, property owners, and businesses had shown up to voice their opinion, the vote would have probably been different. If you don't oppose something government can assume you are ok with it. (just like the Prop 218 process)

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    2. One of the most naive comments from the meeting was Gina's who said that if we pass this ordinance, there is "like zero chance" that anything would ever be built. Uh-huh.

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    3. I believe that is what you are supposed to believe. It is less stressful that way.

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    4. Except we live in Realville.

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    5. I think the City Council and Planning Commission members should have to raise their hands to vote "yes" or "no." Sometimes it is difficult to see their mouths moving when you watch online. For instance, who was the other nay last night?

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  2. The Civility Party has lined up some surefire issues. Higher warer rates, continuing the highest utility taxes in California and homeless downtown housing so our children get a chance to appreciate economic diversity. Go team!

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  3. Build it they will come. The State will give tax breaks. A 501 C that thinks and want to do good, will build it and we will have a homeless shelter right in the middle of our down town.
    Can the City do any more damage to the down town merchants? Having a mentally unstable individual is not good for promoting business. Many patrons will not want to go near our downtown, they will choose to shop else where. Dealing with our homeless is one thing, but encouraging the out-of-town homeless to come here....Really?

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  4. Can the city be sued for the drop in housing prices that will happen to anyone who has a home close to the area the shelter will be built?

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  5. Why not watch what San Marino does, and then see what happens?

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  6. When are the citizens of Sierra Madre going to step up and say enough is enough. The City Manager and the Development Department do not live in Sierra Madre. They don't care what goes on in our town. They are here to collect a paycheck until they find another city that will pay them a little more for their incompetence. The Planning Commission on the other hand is a different story. Shame on our representatives who voted yes. Do the homework and don't take someone's word at what the State is requiring.

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  7. Where's the transitional housing in Beverly Hills?

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  8. If the commissioners offered their own streets, I'd have no quarrel with it. But they offered other people's street.

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    1. It was done in a very ugly way. After stating that any neighborhood in town could become the location of a homeless shelter, they focused everyone's attention on E. Montecito. Why that area? The people there are not exactly rich, and would be hard pressed to defend themselves.

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    2. Your taxpayer dollars at work, East Montecito.

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    3. Maybe they should put the eligible area for a homeless area to be at 1 Carter. That way Goldstein could visit by walking across the street.

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    4. Goldstein is a buddy of John Buchanan and will NOT get my vote

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    5. Is Goldstein another Edison lawyer?

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    6. No, he is an internet entrepreneur. He made a lot of cash at Disney. He was also a campaign bag man for Chris Holden. Goldstein is as bad as they get.

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  9. This information iis invaluable. Where can I find out more?

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  10. Give us your homeless, your hungry, your wretched refuse, and put them in somebody else's neighborhood.

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    1. Didn't you know, every homeless person or family, is a drug dealer, rapist, robber, child molester, drug addict, and all around bad scum. Good God.

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    2. Steve is a little sensitive on this issue.

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    3. A lot of people worked very hard and spent a lot of money to give their families a safe place to live. This is what they moved here to get away from. Now the people we pay to watch out for our interests want to take that away. We need to change things in this town.

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    4. Hey, 8:32 is offereing his or her neighborhood - cool! Be sure and contact Developer Services.

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    5. Steve has a homeless shelter. It is called his parent's house.

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    6. 8:40 ~ hope you end up homeless.

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    7. Is that how we should be acting at Christmas?

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    8. 9:47 - That's exactly what I thought when I read Crawfords story this morning. Makes it sound like armies of homeless people are on their way to get our seniors and children. Pretty alarmist, sky is falling, kind of journalism

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    9. Can we send them to your neighborhood?

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    10. Good thinking, 9:56. Just because we build homeless shelters does not mean homeless people will come here to live in them. Are you on the City Council by any chance?

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    11. No not on the CC. Just a long time resident. All of Sierra Madre is my neighborhood. Nice to see I have so many compassionate neighbors.

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  11. Once again a proverb has rung true:

    "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics, is that you end up being governed by your inferiors."

    Deceitful, lazy politician's know this so they try and hide the facts from the voting populists as much as possible, they any upraising becomes mute since the law has already been passed and the tail is wagging the dog.

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  12. I'm engaged, I'm engaged! Took out five trees, 14 hours of installer's time, a $3,000K generator and a satellite orbiting in the southern sky, but I'm engaged!

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    1. Woo hoo! In case people are wondering, The Tattler now has a settlement of Sierra Madre expatriates living in the new state of Jefferson. Welcome pilgrims!

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    2. Send us a picture of your flag!

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  13. Somebody just called me a pendejo. I wasn't quite sure if it was a compliment or not, so I looked it up on Wiktionary. Here is what they said: "Although in some contexts sonso, bobo, tonto, menso, tarado, idiota, imbécil, estúpido and pendejo may be synonyms, in most contexts have a different degree, having sonso the mildest connotation, increasing its intensity in that rough order, to estúpido and pendejo, which have the most offensive sense."

    Hmm.

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    Replies
    1. Wasn't Tonto the Lone Ranger's trusty friend and guide?

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    2. Maybe its Migwell.

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    3. It was no doubt intended to mean the worst possible - a reflection of the person who used it.
      Check it on google translate.

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    4. Well, hopefully they will soon put aside their anger and embrace the Christmas spirit. Tis the season to be jolly, you know.

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    5. 9:24 seems anxious that we understand this word might have unsavory connotations. Classy.

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  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. You have to wonder what it is about this issue that has 'em so fired up this morning.

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  15. Does anyone know when the ballots about the water are due?

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    1. YES I DO....

      BY MY READING ALL CITY OF SIERRA MADRE PROTEST DOCUMENTS...

      FAILED TO INSERT A FINAL DATE AS TO BEING DUE.

      GET THEM IN ASAP AND VERIFY THAT YOUR ADDRESS WAS COUNTED!

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    2. 9:22 - for whatever reason the city failed to include an end date on their mailer. Best to get your ballot in right away.

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    3. January 28, 2014.

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  16. Two issues are at play here...Cowardice by surrendering to fascist corporate gangsters and sleazy opportunism by so called Civic leaders for personal gain! Farewell Sierra Madre..RIP !

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  17. Aw common, Mod, asking about what has them so fired up is like the innocent look on the face of the Junior High twit that asked you " who wants gum?" while holding out the Jucy Fruit, and after you said, I do, they pulled it out of reach. Ha, Ha, Ha. Some middle school stuff still in the air here.

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    1. Do you want gum?

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    2. Must be hard getting a computer at the library this morning.

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    3. I only want gum if it's gluten free with no animal testing and the maker has a LGBT friendly work environment. And smoke free.

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    4. Have you tried tree root yet?

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    5. As long as it's not from a protected tree!

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  18. There is a no notice special City Council meeting at 5PM today. It is to approve UUT ballot language.
    http://66.92.220.85:8090/tylercm/eagleweb/downloads/Special_Meeting_Agenda_Packet_12202013.pdf?id=DOC111S1.A1&parent=DOC111S1

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    1. Yikes, the Friday before Christmas, they have a meeting. O.K. who is going to hitch up their pants and attend? If it is a special meeting, it means someone doesn't like Nancy's version, and that's good enough reason for us to attend.

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  19. The reason why the Civility Party wants to build homeless shelters is after they raise our utility taxes, water rates and sewer rates, half the town is going to need one.

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  20. Maybe we are late in coming to this realization. Many internet sites cover this issue.

    In January 2010, the County adopted the “Orange County Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness”.

    The plan states that the number of emergency shelter beds in Orange County is “woefully inadequate” to meet its need and identifies permanent year-round emergency shelters among the County’s top priorities. Many of the County’s existing shelter beds serve a specialized population like single women, youth or victims of domestic violence. In addition, a large percentage of the County’s emergency shelter beds are seasonal. Examples include the Salvation Army’s Hospitality House in Santa Ana and the seasonal emergency shelters associated with the National Guard Armories in Fullerton and Santa Ana.

    In Orange, there are no permanent emergency shelters. However, there are 161 beds in eight “transitional” shelters in Orange. Transitional housing differs from an emergency shelter in that it typically involves tenant participation in a specific “program” where stays are from six months to two years, and tenants must meet specific criteria to participate. In addition, Orange has several homeless service organizations providing homeless support services such as Mary’s Kitchen and other programs operated by local churches. Based on a survey of homeless services providers, the 2010 General Plan Housing Element estimates that there are up to 500 homeless persons in Orange.

    Does our General Plan up date deal with this? It appears to be tied to the Housing Element.

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    1. Sierra madre has 5 homeless people. All of whom have chosen to live in a community with no homeless facilities. However, should we build homeless facilities here, we will have more homeless choosing to live here. And why wouldn't they?

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    2. Saw a homeless man on east Grandview this morning. He was dressed entirely in black and had a large black trash bag with him. He was bending over the residents fence. This is a situation that I don't like.
      Nothing good for our city can come from building a homeless shelter.

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  21. LA Times, today, A22: Glenda Flowers, who served mulitiple tours in Iraq, sits with her children...in the Salvation Army's transitional living facility. They were evicted from their home an dlived in a car as her struggle to get benefits [veteran's] dragged on.

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    1. But Barack Obama loves our Vets. How can this happen?

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    2. The suicide rate for veterans has never been higher than it is now. Lot's of broken promises.

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    3. Why hasn't Rep. Judy Chu helped our veterans?

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    4. She thinks of them as imperialists.

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  22. Since our developer servicing department exists as a handmaiden to the state, I'm sure anything and everything the state wants has been included in our Genera Plan.

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  23. Build the shelters, Montecitos!
    We're with you every day
    We'll be pulling for you Montecitos
    From up on Carter way

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  24. Homeless shelters need to be in urban areas where there are amenities within walking distance. Near transit would be best, since they're likely not to have a car.
    Here's what y'all are in for once it gets built: http://www.boyleheightsbeat.com/a-facility-for-the-mentally-ill-creates-discord-in-boyle-heights-3420

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  25. LETS BUILD THE HOMELESS SHELTERS IN CITY HALL.

    Since the city has no money. There will be no need for those city employees to come to work!

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  26. in my opinion...

    brack Obama is the worst president this country has had....

    what's your thoughts as to the present city staff and council members, excluding koeber...?

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    1. I think your opinions are wrong

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    2. I think your spelling is wrong. B-A-R-A-C-K.

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    3. Brack is a character in the Adult Swim TV show Space Ghost.

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  27. This is great for property values!

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  28. Elaine will make sure as she preps the councilmen to know it is a mandatory yes vote on the homeless section. I am less worried about the Montecito area since it would take new construction, as I am the rest of the city which will be able to have transitional housing in any area they want.

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    1. In this town providing cover stories for councilmembers is an important part of the City Manager's job.

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  29. There goes the Neighborhoods!!!!!

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  30. So we need to paper the Montecito neighborhood with a flyer about the council meeting dealing with this so that they can all show up and protest.

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  31. It seems to me that almost everybody that is posting today did not watch or attend the meeting . The CITY .is not and will not be building a homeless shelter on Montecito. I would be private money which is why one will never be build there
    a limit of 10 people and limited stay time makes this not economicaly possible. It is also not a homeless shelter which can now be built anywhere in the city now. This is Transitional Housing

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    1. Oh, ok. Sign me up, then.

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    2. Thank you 1:56. I believe everything you say. And yes, the city does enable development without building anything itself. And in the most passive aggressive way.

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    3. Silly 1:56. A buck is to be made, and there are developers lining up to make it.

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    4. This is all about money. Anyone who thinks differently is an ass.

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    5. it just takes a 501 C and a do gooder with a cause. It will be built. Might even be me, because I CAN

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    6. A threat from the village pariah.

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  32. I viewed last nights meeting and must compliment Kevin Paschall. He did an excellent job in protesting the last minute passage of this code. Thank you Commissioner Paschall for all your efforts.

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  33. There are many people who need help, who would be fine neighbors. And then there are some people who need help who would be disastrous neighbors. Since the state has thrown them all into the same category, and decreed that every residential area has to accommodate them, there's no way a city can control which kind of shelter it provides.
    In fact, in terms of development and planning, are there any rights left to the cities?

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    1. Great post. The state is assuming a lot of the responsibilities that used to belong to individual cities. Especially planning because that is where the money is. They're crooks.

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  34. Did anyone else notice that Channel 3 re-aired the wrong Planning Commission meeting this morning? They were supposed to air last night's meeting, but they aired another PC meeting instead. (It's bad enough that the residents with a dish can't see the meetings (in general)...But even the residents WITH CABLE couldn't see the rerun this morning!)

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  35. Great stuff city hall. Sierra Madre has between 4 and 6 burglaries a week and now the city wants to bring in more people with problems. Vote these poor excuses for running our city out. They must have been drinking the Kool Aid a lot longer than they say. Guess these pendejos are doing all they can before the elections.

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    1. Mas pendeja es tu abuela, cabron!

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    2. Your grandma must be sad that you would say such a thing.

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  36. I bet my grandmother is turning over in her grave, I know all who died for our freedom are.

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