Monday, May 12, 2014

A Draft Guideline for Community Preservation

(Mod: Caroline Brown forwarded the  following to me over the weekend. Caroline, if you don't know her, has some of the most amazing archives in town and, even more importantly, knows where everything is to be found. She had located the following 2009 document in her files and, while neither of us are quite certain as to its origin, with a little earnest tweaking and updating it does take on some relevance to the very serious problems facing our community today. Restoring resident control over this community is now key to its preservation, and as we saw with the defeat of Measure UUT, it is possible. But there is a lot more that needs to be done. Here are some of those goals.) 

DRAFT: Sierra Madre Citizens for Community Preservation
Too often residents of this City find themselves left on their own to fight against seemingly insurmountable odds in small groups against pro-development moneyed interests. Often it seems that our City staff supports the pro-development interests instead of protecting the interests of the folks that live in our City. Oftentimes paying for things that work against their own interests.

Sierra Madreans have made it clear that:

1. They want the town to remain the same: charming, small and not overdeveloped.

2. They are worried about scarce resources, i.e. water.

3. They are not happy about outside interests telling them how to run their town and
what kind of development is built in their neighborhoods.

4. They are tired of City Staff colluding with outside interests to bring unwanted development to town.

5. They are sickened by elected officials who claim they are for community and tax control, yet become advocates for things that are entirely different once elected.

Mission
Assemble a group of Sierra Madre residents from all parts of town to band together and say no to more unreasonable, unsustainable development.

Guiding Principles
Since Sierra Madreans are a diverse group with differing local concerns, the group must adhere to one guiding principle: Support local Sierra Madreans fighting to limit unreasonable development (whether large or small).

For example:

1. Support the residents around the Congregational Church to limit further expansion into their neighborhood and review the upcoming master plan.

2. Support the new Residential Canyon Zone’s reasonable and sensible limitations of development that preserve the unique Canyon, a true Treasure of Sierra Madre.

3. Support the residents around the Alverno High School as they address Alverno’s CUP violations and the proposed master plan expansion and adaptive reuse of the Villa.

4. Support the residents around the 1 Carter, Stonehouse and Mater Dolorosa development projects to address protections of the HMZ ordinance and other conditions of development.

5. Support the ongoing goals of Measure V against over-development.

Key Goals
1. Eliminate the Department of Development Services. Why does Sierra Madre, a 3- square mile town of primarily built out space, need a full time Director of Development Services? Why are residents tax dollars being spent to pay the salaries of staff that help developers cook up ways to bring unwanted development to Sierra Madre?

The Director of Development Services position has been routinely used by staff holding the position to build a resume' and move on to another town and a higher paying job. In order to build a resume, new Directors launch disastrous projects such as the infamous proposed Downtown Specific Plan. The needs and goals of the majority of Sierra Madreans do not seem to matter. The directors move on leaving a legacy of time-consuming, divisive community fights in their wake. We should eliminate Development Services in favor of sensible planning and a solid building department.

2. Work For A Moratorium On Water Hook Ups. If you believe in sustainable growth that will not outpace our resources, then we must act to eliminate new construction that will over tax our scarce water resources. Don Watts stated at the September 22, 2009 City Council meeting that another 200 housing units in Sierra Madre would overtax our dwindling water supply. New housing and institutional uses must be controlled through a moratorium on water hook ups and development that significantly increases water usage in our town.

3. Work To Elect Slow And No Growth City Council Candidates Who Will Commit To This Platform.

(Mod: That is what we got. It is a draft after all. Add whatever you like.)

Another point that I would like to share with you today

Redfin recently identified the hottest real estate markets in Los Angeles County for 2014. And in the Top 5 of that list is Sierra Madre's Canyon area. This is, of course, the neighborhood that was recently saved from the developer wrecking crew by the Canyon Zone Committee. This despite a torrent of wailing from the usual ingrates, most of whom now stand to personally profit from the efforts of that Committee.

Wouldn't it be great if we did something like that for the rest of the town? Everyone would get to share in the prosperity.

Congratulations to Pat and De Alcorn! -This from Pat and De's Facebook page:

I guess the word is out. De and I have been chosen to be the Grand Marshalls of the 4th of July Parade this year. I am truly excited. This is a great honor. We expect some of our family will join us in the parade, what fun.

Well, the word is now out everywhere. Certainly there have never been two people more deserving of this honor than Pat and De Alcorn. Dedication to the ideal of community has never had two more hard working and selfless advocates.

Congratulations to the 4th of July Committee as well. They just hit one out of the park.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

91 comments:

  1. As a 40 pluse year canyon dweller that is a very decieving stat. the canyon took the most loss in value in Sierra Madre during the last 10 years so it is only natural that it has now recovered the most and has nothing to do with the zoneing committe

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    1. Really? And here I thought it might have been the wood nymphs.

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    2. Property values went down everywhere. Even in the Canyon. A 158% increase in buyer interest, no matter how you try and explain it, is very impressive. That the neighborhood is now properly zoned and protected had to have played a role. People can now buy there knowing some knuckleheads with an entitlement complex won't destroy the place.

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    3. We need these same kinds of protections every where in the city. Its really to guard against that person who usually lives outside the city and buys a home to tear down and turn into a McMansion. That person needs to maximize their profit in order for the project to "pencil out" and they don't care a rip about the adjacent neighbors who lost their views and their sunlight and have to look through their windows at a two-story wall of concrete.

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    4. The first poster's spelling makes you wonder if he ever left the canyon in 40 years.

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    5. Without knowing any details, I can say that anything associated with Caroline Brown is going to be a good thing for the community. She has been in the trenches speaking out for preserving this town of ours.

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    6. There is unquestionably an increase in value to existing resident homes when you have the security of knowing that a developer can't come in and destroy the value of your home by blocking your view or creating further traffic and congestion. These kind of controls are a good thing for existing owners and a bad thing for developers wanting to make a quick buck at the expense of those already living in an area.

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  2. Love this column today!!!!!!
    Thank you, Caroline Brown and John Crawford!!!!!

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  3. beware AB2170 could take away all of Sierra Madre's independence. check it out.

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  4. I know of three recent canyon sales and all of them are parcels with new owners who will be glad that the Canyon Zone is in place. It makes it clear what they can do to improve the dwelling if they chose to do so and it severely limits what someone might have thought they could get away with previously.

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    1. we kept getting brats buying in the Canyon and demanding to build whatever they want or they'll sue you and act all snotty

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    2. Back in the old bohemian days in the canyon, it was a certain breed of people. That is going to change a bit but not much as long as we maintain the architecture. That's where strict building codes that limit and contain development. Can you imagine having the Canyon with some of those behomeths like in Arcadia.

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    3. We're all in this together folks. If you think these projects or McMansion can't happen near you, think again. We need everyone's support.

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  5. That is one of the best posts that I have seen in a long time. There is no need to re-invent the wheel, people have already thought this out but its exactly right and with the recent spate of development projects on the horizon, more relevant and needed now more than ever. We have to all band together and not let a few neighbors be rolled over by a deep pocket developer with City Hall facilitating the destruction.

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    1. if we all agree the city doesn't need a dierctor of developmental services, why do we still have the postion?

      at our city, you get in line behind developers and real estate agents

      the worst thing about SM is the realtor clan - overpaid for what they do and always anti residents unless they can make a buck off you

      we keep electing yahoos like Goss and Harabedain and those directly tied to the development or building industry, we get skewed over by them, like utility company lawyers

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    2. The real estate folks have no compunction about selling us down the river. As long as they get their commission, they don't care what happens to the neighbors around a property they are selling.

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  6. I bet the folks at the Coalition to Preserve Mater Dolorsa and Stop the Housing Project would be more than willing to be part of a larger effort. Those goals outlined in the Sierra Madre Citizens for Community Preservation manifesto are right on. And even more important today.

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    1. well I know of at least 4 families directly affected by the Mater Dolorsa project that were anti Measure V and pro UUT so....don't feel too much sympathy for their plight when I live a block away from downtown and the 4 families I knew of thought it was a great idea to put 100 condos downtown cause they lived up Michillinda - payback karma

      plus I know of at least a dozen realtors that are always meddling in city agendas and heck we even elected a mortgage salesman so we'll elect anybody in this city

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    2. I hear what 4:42 is saying. People have to be consistent and not for all development except when it comes to their own backyard. That's why if we band together, we'll see who is with us on all of these projects. As satisfying as it may be to see people get their comuppance, it is short-sighted because Mater Dolorosa and other developments will affect all of us in the end.

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    3. I didn't realize that back in 2009 these same concerns existed. Fast forward to now and we should move foward from it just being a "draft".

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  7. That's exactly right about the Director of Development Services. While Danny Castro is a nice guy, their is an impetus to expand your resume by pointing to development projects that you helped to facilitate. People need to wake up about this. We, the residents and taxpayers, are literally paying someone to implement policies and facilitate projects that the vast majority of residents do not want. Once he's reached the limit of what he can do in this town and has enough projects on his resume, he then gets hired by a new town to do the same thing. You can't make up this kind of irony.

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    1. Danny's goal is to get the General Plan on his resume. With that feather in his cap he will be off. Driving from West Hollywood every day for a poor paying job can't be any fun. LOL

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    2. Danny's base pay is $94,055. total pay and benefits is $159,876. I don't think the drive from west Hollywood is much of a problem for him, does he have a city furnished car too?

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    3. So we are paying this guy who lives in Hollywood almost $160,000 per year to over-develop our town so that he can pad his resume with his "accomplishments" and we are left with the noise, traffic, pollution, and other pernicious impacts. He'll tout this "accomplishments" to get his next job when he lives Sierra Madre for greener pastures. Sierra Madre will be alot less green by the time he's done.

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    4. The Canyon would be ripe for development. Tear down some of those older homes and put up some monstrosity that blocks everyone's views.

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    5. I'll do Danny's job for half that amount and do it better than him.

      plenty of options for us - every company reevalutates it's needs and we don't need him doing what he's doing

      serve us the residents instead of developers and real estate agents

      change his job description, can't be that difficult

      he doesnt like - tought luck - we can replace him and the city manager with more qualified senior city exectives who aren't looking as us as a meal ticket to the next gig

      Danny is way way way way overpaid

      so is our librarian

      for a city our size

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    6. I must say if those salary figures are correct, that seems awfully high. Does he also get to retire at 50 with a lifetime pension? I don't begrudge him making it. More power to him. I just wonder why we are paying that kind of money for someone to promote and facilitate development in a community that doesn't seem to want that.

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    7. I can guarantee you that if Danny's position became available, and you cut the salary and benefits in half, you would have a line around the block with qualified candidates.

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    8. Its amazing that city employees paid by us think they can promote policies that are contrary to the residents who pay them. Maybe they don't understand that they work for us. But it all starts at the head with Elaine. She sets the tone. The City Council needs to force their will upon her assuming, of course, that the City Council is also following the will of the people who elected them.

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  8. Can you imagine buying a property in the Canyon with beautiful views of nature and then get sandwiched by a couple of much larger homes that get built on either side of you putting you effectively in a tunnel.

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  9. While it is nice that the canyon has become a kind of petting zoo for development control, that doesn't mean the rest of the town should be left without similar protections. It worked in the canyon, now it must be put in place for the rest of the community.

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  10. The city council will never pass any of this. All most of them care about is taxes. It will take a ballot initiative put into place by the residents to make this happen.

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    1. they will if they hear it enough

      me, I dont' care one iota what Goss or Harabedian think they know or what they want to accomplish

      they all should be doing what we want, not what they think

      it's not that complicated


      Noah Green can help the Council fire or reassign staff, reduce payroll and maybe he'll be respected next election

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    2. There are good people in the Canyon who support this cause. Of all places you don't want to see runined by development, the Canyon would be right there at the top of the list. But if we don't draw a line in the sand in other areas like Mater Dolorosa, it will just be a matter of time before the tenticles of over-development reach into every area of this city.

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    3. I think Harabedian is going to find himself isolated on this City Council. This could be one of the best Councils we've ever had.

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  11. Anonymous May 12, 2014 at 8:21 AM: Property values went down everywhere. Even in the Canyon. A 158% increase in buyer interest, no matter how you try and explain it, is very impressive. That the neighborhood is now properly zoned and protected had to have played a role. People can now buy there knowing some knuckleheads with an entitlement complex won't destroy the place.

    The irony of this being, of course, that Noah Pants was pro-building everywhere else. Good thing y'all put the kabosh on him.

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    1. Noah was a victim of mannequinophobia.

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    2. Noah was a nimcompoop - he wanted to move the Farmer's Market to Kersting Court and his other idea was for the city to do something to promote Halloween and bring in out of town visitiors, he hadn't heard of anything or had a clue

      we don't need clueless Councilmembers who try to shine us with their "lawyer" degree

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  12. WE NEED A LEADER!! Alas I'm a follower albeit a good one. Someone step up and help us save ourselves. PLEASE

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    1. I think we need a lot of people to spearhead this effort. Ten chiefs and the rest Indians will be fine. No one person has the time to do it all.

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    2. There are good people, who will work hard. People like Caroline Brown for one. Mrs. Koerber is also a good leader. So is Pat Alcorn.

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    3. I think you put together a strong group of the old guard like has been mentioned and some of the young Turks who also don't want to see irresponsible development. What about Chris Koerber too. There are some new people too trying to preserve Mater Dolorosa. Have a meeting once a month at different people's houses. Mix a little business with pleasure and you can get alot done. Set up the infrastructure with a website, email database and even a little fundraising. Buy some teeshirts too.

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    4. I think Matt Bryant has already demonstrated that he can make things happen. I think he should be asked.

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    5. Add MaryAnn MacGillivray to that list.

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    6. tell all the realtors to shut up

      if I see another soccer Mom being the latest realtor who never volunteered before but now are all over the place cause it's networking - I think I'll puke

      I can pick up the local real estate ads and see several Moms who never volunteered at Little League or the Chamber or anything civic until they became real estate agents

      anybody know of a "sell it yourself" real estate agency in the area?


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    7. I think there are some good people who will serve on this and help to coordinate this effort. We just need to bring them together.

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    8. We need a combination of people from the old guard that know the city, to energetic younger people who also care about this place.

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    9. We need to pull Chris Koerber out of retirement.

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  13. Scarce resources, ex water. You think? And this was drafted in 2009! People have been expressing their concern about water since the earliest stages of the 1 Carter fiasco: 700 plus students, swimming pool, athletic fields (needed reminder for Tattler readers who were not here in 2000-2005), the high school plan that preceeded the housing development. It really doesn't matter that we are on MWD life line water. It is always cheaper to have your own percolate down the hillsides into the settling basins into the wells. None of that is happening anytime soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All the points made in the draft from 2009 are even more urgent today. Aracadia, South Pas, San Marino, Pasadena have been so over-developed, that there are few opportunities. Sierra Madre seems to be in the cross-hairs of developers now.

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    2. who were the Councilmembers in 2009?

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  14. We need another Kevin Dunn.

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    Replies
    1. City Council candidates always sound like Kevin Dunn when they are running for office. After they are elected all but a few start sounding like Joe Mosca.

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    2. I'd like to see what John Capoccia's position is on all this. Harabedian's a lost cause. The three new members seem to have listened to the people at least during their campaigns.

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    3. Revise that to two of the three new members and I might agree with you 2:55

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    4. John Capoccia is a lost cause. He makes Joe Mosca look like Nathan Hale.

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    5. You've all forgotten how Capoccia hung in there with Koerber on several important issues - like, a new City Attorney for one. The other three rejected the idea because Koerber asked for it to be agendized.

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    6. How's that Measure UUT working out for you?

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    7. 10:35 you are way off base. Kevin was consistent and put up his own money with Measure V. He organized a solid clear visioned group and just put the real estate crybabies in their place.

      3:41, the three that voted to table the search for a new city attorney are lightweights and we still don't have the votes to make changes but that can be fixed

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  15. Isn't it a shame that the city doesn't work for us? We always have to go outside for leadership.

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    Replies
    1. That's the nature of city government. Most of the employees don't live in the city. They are after more revenues to fund their salary increases and lifetime pensions. They can be bought and sold to the highest bidder and that's why they go from city to city. There is no loyalty to Sierra Madre. As soon as someone offers them more money, they are gone.

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    2. been going on for years, we are turnstile of ineptness or resume padders

      just hire senior aged city managers and they'll appreciate the job

      we don't need a Director of Development - totally contrary to what the people want

      if Elaine doesn't like it, the Council can fire her - how difficult would it really be to replace her but look at who gets to make the hiring decision and I don't want Goss or Harabedian doing that - dont' trust them at all for one tiny second

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    3. We need some people who live in the city, are experienced and not so ambitious they will leave as soon as they get a better offer.

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  16. This post is right on. Danny Castro is motivated to enhance his resume by these various development projects and the more the better. Think about it. When he sits for a job intereview at some other city, the interviewer is going to ask him what he has done in Sierra Madre. The answer will not be that he worked every day to preserve the town. The answer will be to list all the development projects that he had a hand in. We should not have a position called the Director of Development Services. Unless I'm missing something, Sierra Madre residents see a different future for their city.

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    Replies
    1. That's why Danny got his "You Rock" award recently. It was obvious that he was going to start taking some big heat over the McMansion explosion.

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    2. I had a friend do a garage remodel - took him over a year of city BS and got harrassed but the developers got carte blanche valet service and the Congregational Church blatantly ignored city requirements and built whatever they wanted and got approved after the fact, but my friend made a tiny error with his garage and they city made him spend thousands and thousands of dollars to adhere to their plans

      residents get shafted in SM developers get applauded

      screw the developers - stand inline behind residents and wait your turn and maybe we'll get to you in a few months

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    3. I heard that if your house is under 4,000 square feet, you can avoid planning commission and neighbor review. If that's the case, that standard needs to be lowered to 3,000 square feet. Developers are now building homes that are 3,999 to avoid scrutiny.

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  17. Everyone should join forces against all development in this city whether its the big projects like One Carter, Stonehouse, Kenningston and Mater Dolorosa or even the small project like a developer who proposes a McMansion next door to a 30 year resident who bought their home because of the views or the sunlight or whatever.

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    Replies
    1. There is power in numbers. Its about preserving this whole town and not just a area here or there. Development is like a snowball. Once it gets away from you like what happened in Arcadia and other cities, it achieves a momentum of its own.

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  18. Danny isn't out to help his resume, he is out to keep his job. Why do you think he threw the General Plan Update Committee under the bus at the Council Meetings? Elaine has her orders too. The developers rock in this town.

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    1. its not the developers, it's the real estate agents

      you got Cantebury and Webb Martin agents, Prudential and the Arcadia/Pasadena agents all up in the city business and in the ear of the city manager

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    2. Real Estate Agents just want to make their commission. They don't care about the end result. If the people who get the listings on some of these projects are local, they should be blackballed for selling out the town.

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    3. It began with Judy Webb Martin. Greedy Green Jaguar.

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  19. The residents have to take back this town. Danny and Elaine work for us. They should be implementing the people's vision for the community

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    1. It may be our money that pays their checks, but they do not work for us.

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    2. We pay their salaries. They should implement our vision. We and the City Council have to make sure that happens.

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    3. they work for the real estate agents and companies

      and when we elect commerical bankers, utility company lawyers and their protege's (Harbedian and Goss) we get what we deserve

      till we make changes

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  20. Our tax money is being used to buy the rope City Hall will hang the town with.

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    1. That's right. We are idiots if we allow our tax dollars to be used to destroy the town we all love. But we deserve our fate if we don't do something about it.

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  21. Danny works for Elaine. Elaine works on behalf of herself. Elaine only listens to the Troll

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  22. No matter what they say, or what you hear, it is always about money. Everything else is just a sales pitch.

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    Replies
    1. hence the realtors

      how about they volunteer and NOT tell us that they are realtors?

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  23. The staff report for the Stonehouse subdivision to be discussed this Thursday at the planning commission is online.
    http://docs.cityofsierramadre.com/tylercm/eagleweb/downloads/Pre_Application_Review____Stonehouse_Residential_Subdivision____1935_Stonehouse_Rd..pdf?id=DOC155S5.A0&parent=DOC155S5

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  24. It seems like this issue has really struck a nerve in this town. I think too that as people see where there own eyes what is happening, people's concerns will only accelerate.

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    1. It isn't the individual projects, though they are bad enough. It is just the immensity of One Carter, Stonehouse and Mater Dolorosa happening all at once. Throw in the assorted BS happening around town with lot splitting, high density infill slum housing and the Kensington atrocity (who the hell voted for THAT??) and the whole town is on the verge of going to hell. This is sheer madness.

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    2. I thought we had a water crises. Why all the building now?

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    3. I've lived here almost 50 years. First foreign investment money that offers me 5 million, I'm outta here!
      I've had enough of this bullsheeet !

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  25. with regards to the 4th of July parade, can the organizers stop with the advertisers especially out of town realtors, I'd rather the parade be half the size than to see a realtor or a plumber promoting themselves at our parade

    it's slow moving Nascar marketing at it's worst

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  26. It seems like the city is at a major crossroads right now. It will either go the way of Arcadia or we will preserve this little jewel of a town.

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