I suppose we could assume that the intentions were the very best (thought they probably weren't), and somehow this was going to lead to a better result than what had happened before. Even though the previous results were just fine by most accounts. But whatever the motives of the players involved might be, it didn't happen.
It turns out the Planning Commission meant exactly what they had said on all of those previous occasions, still thought that their ideas on the matter were very good, and that if the developer (CETT) wished to have any further conversations on the matter they'd would have to talk with all of them. They weren't at all interested in dividing and conquering themselves.
From the meeting's beginning CETT's Attorney attempted to convince the Planning Commission to adopt the idea of a 3 member subcommittee as outlined by MPT* Harabedian at a recent City Council meeting. The Attorney even went so far as to claim that the idea was actually his, and that it was a good one. At least in his opinion. Whatever the intentions, the Planning Commission would have none of it.
The upshot to all of this is the Planning Commission decided that they would be available to the developer as a 7 member subcommittee. That is, all of them. They would be there to tell the developer what needs to be done, again, just like they did all of those other times.
They would not be doing any design work for the developer, either. Not as a subcommittee, a circus, a gymnastics club, or anything else. That is not what their job is. They aren't there to do volunteer architect work. Nor are they there to critique decisions that they themselves had come up with previously. No matter who decided that they didn't like them.
As one resident was heard to remark, CETT had deliberately ignored the Planning Commission before, and what they were looking for now was just another way to do that same thing. But this time with help from the people they had been ignoring.
Another resident had asked what many there had been thinking. Wouldn't a subcommittee be a non-Brown Act body, and therefore it could meet in private without anyone else but the concerned party? That being the developer?
Nobody dared to answer that one. Especially the salaried employees. Office politics, perhaps, got in the way. Though the City Attorney did take both sides of that question. The public could go, but maybe they could not. Obviously transparency issues were a definite concern for many of those attending last night.
CETT did not get what they wanted. And an effort that first begun way back in 2011, one that has always been about building immense structures here in town that are contrary to law and custom, once again failed to proceed.
You can only wonder what they will try next. Someday this does have to come to an end.
The PUSD continues to embarrass itself
An article in today's Pasadena Star News makes you wonder if anyone is in charge at the Pasadena Unified School District.
Pasadena Unified school board president halts consulting contract with former school board member (link): A former Pasadena Unified school board member stopped doing consulting work for the school district after the board’s president stepped in and determined the contract was invalid.
Former school board member Ramon Miramontes, who was a controversial figure on the board, worked for the district for two months and earned $8,500 for his work in establishing an English Learner Academy and a Chinese Student Exchange Program without Superintendent Jon R. Gundry’s authorization.
The majority of the school board approved the payment, but in a Feb. 3 letter from board President Renatta Cooper addressed to Miramontes, Cooper said the relationship between the district and Miramontes has ended.
Cooper said she felt the contract was invalid. The board does not have a policy regarding former board members doing work for the district. The state Fair Political Practices Commission does not prevent a former school board member from seeking a contract with the agency he or she represented, according to a statement from spokesman Jay Wierenga.
Cooper said the school board would develop a policy to deal with similar situations in the future.
“Things that are precedent setting are serious enough that they require real study and what would be established if this is to go forward,” Cooper said.
Miramontes blamed the controversy on board politics and a clash of personalities.
“I stopped the work because I know this board, all five of them are people I know and talk to,” he said. “The board president has a personal vendetta against me.”
“It’s not about offering 21st Century programs or finally offering international programs in this world-class environment,” he added.
Cooper argued invalidating the contract wasn’t personal.
“I don’t have a personal agenda in a relationship to him,” Cooper said. “I thought as someone as a former board member, I was kind of finished dealing with Mr. Miramontes and his issues, I was not looking forward to going back there, but no, this is about the kids. This is about the work.”
Yeah, issues. Like maybe who authorized this contract in the first place? Nobody there seemed to know. Or at least wanted to admit to it.
With a few notable exceptions, they are kinda cray-cray in that place, you know. It goes all the way to the top.
Tony Brandenburg covered a lot of the issues involved here in depth on Tuesday. You can read his insightful (and now apparently prescient) report by clicking here.