Thursday, May 29, 2014

Every Time We Write About Mater Dolorosa Our Traffic From China Jumps

We may be less popular back east.
The screen shot to the left comes from The Tattler dashboard. There aren't a lot of very complex things that can done with it, the set up is fairly basic and, more importantly, free. But we can track traffic from other countries. On rare occasions that is actually kind of interesting. To me, anyway.

This picture was taken during the one o'clock hour, and shows some of the hits we got at that time. We ended up with just under 2,800 pageviews for the day, so it was fairly typical. What I do find interesting about this is the amount of hits we got from China. During that hour it approached the total hits we were receiving from right here in the U.S.A. With the majority of that traffic coming from Sierra Madre, of course.

It seems that each time we post an article about Mater Dolorosa we get a surge in traffic from China. Does this mean that New Urban West has some Asian business partners who are following all that Mater Dolorosa rhythm here on The Tattler? Do they have some sort of web crawler that snaps up any stories dealing with this bewitched property and feeds them into somebody's daily executive summary?

I just don't know the answer to any of that. Do you?

New Urban West has a past fraught with controversy

If you hang around a Starbucks most of the evening looking for something to write about on your blog, which is what the WiFi crisis at my home caused me to do last night, you can find some fascinating things. The developer New Urban West, which apparently has its claws deep into the Mater Dolorosa site, has been pissing off community oriented folks all over the place, and for years.

The developer's modus operandi is apparently to find some beautiful natural settings where they are not wanted, and then fight like hell to build what they want. Which is usually California Generic Dense Pack, also known as McMansions. All done in the face of a lot of community opposition, and despite NUWI's claims of being creative, caring and very very special.

Here are four articles I thought I'd to share with you.

Higher-density housing plans spark debate (The Coast News - linkEarly development plans to build 362 new homes in Eden Valley have some residents concerned. 

“This has reinforced what we’ve always believed — development equals more development,” said JP Theberge, Board Member of the Elfin Forest and Harmony Grove Town Council.

Theberge has been a resident for two years and said people are worried about losing their way of life and community character to big developers. “Our motto is to keep it rural,” Theberge said. “This is one of the last few pockets of rural areas in San Diego and we want to keep it that way.”

The proposed project, known as Valiano, is a gated residential development that would occupy 209 acres of unincorporated land between the cities of San Marcos and Escondido. Construction of Harmony Grove Village, a 742-home-development adjacent to the property is already underway and would bring the total number of houses in the area to more than 1,000.

New Urban West, the original developer of Harmony Grove Village, opened communication lines and collaborated with residents to ensure the layout blended with the rural community.

Developer proposes upscale Escondido tract (UTSanDiego.com - linkDeveloper New Urban West has proposed an upscale 60-home subdivision on 43 acres of southern Escondido farmland just north of Felicita Park and west of Interstate 15. Neighborhood opposition killed a similar subdivision proposed 13 years ago in the same area. But city and New Urban West officials said the new plan does a better job of preserving the area’s rural charm.

“There would be a significant amount of open space and trees,” said Tom Zanic, senior vice president of New Urban West. “The character of the project would be tailored to the area.”

The proposal would create a small public park around the area’s popular duck pond, add hiking trails and avoid realigning Felicita Avenue, Hamilton Lane and other nearby roads. “The concept looks pretty attractive,” said Barbara Redlitz, the city’s planning chief. “It really has the potential for some great amenities for the public.”

It’s not looking attractive for at least one nearby resident, however. Yolanda Fleet was among several dozen people who helped defeat a similar subdivision in 2000, and she said she also plans to fight this one.

“So many people moved here for a quiet and rural atmosphere, but we’re trying too hard to turn Escondido into a city,” she said. “The people just want to be left alone.”

New Urban West Plans To Sell Burbank Rancho Development Site (San Fernando Business Journal - linkIn the face of continued neighborhood opposition to its residential project, New Urban West Inc. plans to sell the former General Motors training facility in Burbank’s Rancho neighborhood to a local school.

The Lycee International de Los Angeles has entered escrow on the Riverside Drive property and a deal is expected to close in 90 days, New Urban West Senior Vice President Tom Zanic said.

Representatives from the school could not immediately be reached for comment.

New Urban has faced stiff opposition in its plan to transform the former GM training site into a residential community. Because the site is zoned for commercial and office uses, New Urban West would need a zone change to build residential units.

In February, the Santa Monica-based developer trimmed its original plan for 120 condominiums to 50 single-family homes, but many residents—who once defeated a neighborhood Whole Foods--still opposed the project fearing it would still threaten the Rancho’s equestrian character.

Jay Geisenheimer--a member of the Rancho Review Board, which provides input on proposed developments in the equestrian neighborhood—said the neighborhood was ecstatic over the development.

Zanic said he expects the escrow to close, but that if it falls through, New Urban West will continue the entitlement process for its 50 single-family home proposal.

City Battles Developer's Temporary Use of Land (Los Angeles Times - linkDeveloper New Urban West Inc. built an illegal temporary staging area about half the size of a football field on land planned for a regional park near the Bolsa Chica wetlands, city officials said Thursday.

"What they will have to do is remove the trailer, the fence, the equipment and vacate the site and restore the site to its original condition," said Mike Strange, a senior planner with the city.

The developer built the 150-foot by 150-foot staging area at Palm and Seapoint avenues to serve as a field office and storage area for the completion of 53 homes nearby. The land will become part of the 106-acre Harriett M. Wieder Regional Park.

Jim Lockington, project manager with the Santa Monica-based developer, said the company received a permit for the project from the county. He referred further questions to Tom Zanic, vice president of New Urban West, who was unavailable Thursday.

However, Tim Miller, manager of the county's Department of Harbors, Beaches and Parks, said the permit requires the developer to get necessary city permits.

Strange said New Urban West never applied to the city for the coastal development permit it needed to build the staging area.

I think this will give you a good idea of what we have to look forward to with the New Urban West gang.

Oh, and one other thing. Here is their law firm, Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP (link). This outfit specializes in enabling the very things New Urban West does, and helps them cram densely packed locally unwanted land uses (LULUs) into places where people don't want any of that.

And like most lawyers, they do it with paper.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

103 comments:

  1. Please come home Fr. Pat!May 29, 2014 at 5:55 AM

    This is too depressing for am reading. And to think that my Catholic "brothers" have done this makes it more so. Our only hope is that Gene Goss will not want to be the most hated man at his beloved Heasley, which allowing this step toward Arcadiaization would make him.

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    1. Like one person said in one of the other towns New Urban West went after, we just want to be left alone. That's what the residents want. Why after almost 100 years, Mater Dolorosa has to do this now. What happened to Father Pat's recent campaign to raise 5 million for the Priest's retirement costs. Last I looked on the website, they had almost reached that mark. Now its not on there. I bet the people who made donations to that campagin and to Mater Dolorosa over the years really feel deceived.

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    2. It looks like New Urban West is not in the business of leaving people alone.

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    3. It is depressing that we have to do this....again. But either Sierra Madre is worth fighting for or not.

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    4. Where's Father Pat when we need him. Father Higgens is just an interim guy with no ties to the Monastery. His only role is facilitate the sale.

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    5. Wherever you are Father Pat, if you are following all this, try to help and use your influence. You loved Mater Dolorosa as much as anyone and you respected the community.

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    6. I'd like to know how the people at St. Rita's feel about this. They threatened to arrest one of the Coalition members who tried to put informative flyers on people's cars so I guess maybe they drank the Kool Aid.

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    7. We need to forgive our Catholic brothers.

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    8. I know for a fact that alot of people at St. Rita's are upset about this but tend to be obedient to higher authority in the Catholic Church.

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    9. I'm sure Father Pat was sent away because he would not have tolerated the carving up of this property that he loved so much.

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  2. What can you say after reading this short history of New Urban West. This developer goes around trolling for sites to build massive developments which the people who live there do not want. They try to muscle it through over the objections of the community and use their lawyers when needed to build their massive housing project. Then they pack their bags and go on to the next project. These guys get rich out of ruining communities and the residents are left with the consequences. That's a business model to be proud of.

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    1. But they do care. And they'll be the first to tell you that.

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    2. You would think that Mater Dolorosa would stop and question whether they want to inflict these guys and their team of lawyers on a community that has been a good neighbor to them since 1924.

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    3. This developer looks to be about as bad s they come in wrecking communities. They are also experts at public relations so that the communities they wreck don't realize it until its too late. I'd like to know which City Council members are meeting privately with these people to plan our demise. They will be hoodwinking the neighbors into agreeing with their plans. I'd love to sit in on the meeting between the Developer and one of our more geriatric neighbors. It would rise to the level of elder abuse.

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    4. You notice how almost all of their projects are a "battle" of some sort. If their projects are such a good idea, why do they always need to be forced down the mouths of the residents

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    5. Keep in mind when everybody hold these meetings with the developer so they can "introduce" themselves, ask the members of the developer's delegation if any of them actually live in Sierra Madre. Camerson Thorton and Jerry Pierson do not. The developer is based out of Santa Monica. And we should trust them to do what's best for the residents of Sierra Madre?

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    6. I wonder how these people sleep at night.

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    7. Horizontally, probably.

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    8. They're only chasing the money.

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    9. New Urban West specializes in this kind of stuff. Since I need to sleep at night, I'm glad I don't have their job no matter how much money they make.

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    10. New Urban West are experts on finding properties that haven't been developed because they shouldn't have been developed if that makes sense.

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  3. Change of subject . I went to the open house at the Kensington yesterday looking for a place for my mon . Lots of realtor and city folks there and lots of great food and drinks. Prices for a single start around $4,700 a month models open in acouple of months and they plan to be finished in November

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    1. $4,700 a month? That must be the "There Goes The Inheritance" plan.

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    2. Compassion Care.

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    3. That's about the going rate. And there are absolutely no controls on how much that price can be jacked up.
      Much better idea to find a facility that has the three levels of care - independent, assisted and skilled nursing. The Kensington follows the new model of keep 'em while you can make a profit, get rid of them when they start to really need services.

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    4. If you can't take it with you, why not give it to Billy?

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    5. I remember when the meetings about the ALF were going on at city hall, all those people who trooped up to the public comment podium and talked about how great it was that Sierra Madre would soon have a care center for our old and infirm. And that even those who are in their 50s and 60s should be glad because someday they would have a place to go. Like this was going to be acharity and the proprietors of this place were modern saints. And all I could think of at that time was, "What idiots."

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    6. Alot of people are having second thoughts about the Kensington. Many of those in favor of it didn't realize how big is was going to be in relation to the surrounding buildings. Likewise with a 40-60 McMonster housing project at Mater Dolorosa. Until the wildlife have been displaced, the framing goes up, the trucks are chugging up and down Sunnyside, and then the increased traffic, its hard to envision this at the get go.

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    7. Thank John The Hutt for the big *ss retail addition on the east. I especially like the gun turret.

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    8. It is frightening that the gun turret is on the dementia floor.

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    9. I do not think people are having second thought there were many seniors there talking to agents

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    10. Sorry to hear that, 1:29. They can do so much better for the long run. It can be a very difficult transition for many seniors, and in the best case scenario, they only have to move to one facility. I hope the seniors who seemed interested really shop around and compare. The Kensington is not a good choice for elders - unless end of life traumas are not a concern.

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    11. Why is it so close to the sidewalk. Hardly any setbacks. I think it now obliterates any mountain views from City Hall which serves to now diminish City Hall.

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    12. I like driving through a tunnel.

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    13. 8:01.... isn't that your objective....to diminish city hall? I think it's going to be an asset to the city, and pray I never have to use it.

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  4. No way it stays that cheap.... It will average 6K a month!!!!

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  5. After having a talk with Jerry Pierson the other day I found out the Passionist fathers have only 3 retreat centers, ours one in Portland OR and one in Houston TX. Selling off the properties will let there retired Fathers live in a more luxuriously manner. Also was told in 5 to 7 years the order will no longer have priests in their locations.

    What move toward a building moratorium was spoken of?

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    1. Why is Jerry Pierson working so hard to cram this project down our throats. I heard he has been going to every meeting for years. If he's spending all this time just so the Priests can retire in luxury or is there some other motive that has inspired him to spend this much time. Someone should look into his background and see what his motives are. Does Jerry Pierson even live in Sierra Madre?

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    2. Their is a reason that the Priests are disappearing and alot of it is self-inflicted. When they say screw the community and take the 30 pieces of silver for our own retirements, that's just another example.

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    3. I wish someone would step up at Mater Dolorosa and say Stop the Madness.

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    4. We need a building moratorium to catch our breath. Then let's make sure the General Plan is tight enough to prevent these assaults on our way of life and only then can we approve it. Let's also make sure our building standards and zoning requirements are sufficient. Then make sure we have enough water. If all that takes place, I would be ok with lifting a building moratorium.

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    5. City Council should tell that good for nothing water guy, Inman or whatever is name is, to prepare a report to tell us what we need to do to remove ourselves from our dependancy on the MWD and its yellow water. We can't even give our daughter a bath. We often have to run the water for a long time (wasting water and costing us more) to see if the yellow chunks will go away.

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    6. Time to repipe, 12:53

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    7. The Passionists are selling off alot of their holdings. They say the reason is for their retirements. I'd say they may have some judgments to pay off.

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    8. Nobody has worked harder than Jerry Pierson to push this project through and he doesn't live in Sierra Madre. I bet if he lived in Sierra Madre he would be singing a different tune.

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  6. We will see if enough people really care to make a difference.

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  7. This is all going to come down to raw power. You will have the power of the develper and their team of lawyers against the power of the people.

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  8. Why is everyone so obtuse about development? Buildings and tract housing are nothing but MONEY MACHINES, have always been that way, which is why developers are structured the way they are - real estate analysis, lawyers, bankers and a captive architect. That's where the money is, follow it. If you see a developer, kill it. Garlic may help, but a stake is necessary. There is no other point to its existence, it has to feed off of relatively undeveloped land in order to make a profit. Cities enable these things because of the tax flow it generates above the undeveloped land tax revenue, that's all folks.

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    1. True. It is money for the developer, and money for city hall. That is why they band together to fight the residents. Particularly if the people working at city hall are not residents themselves.

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    2. New Urban West is a machine. All they do is battle residents and attempt to bludgeon them into submission. I'm sure they have entire departments dealing with public relations, exploiting loopholes in the laws etc.. Most city with volunteers are often over-matched. We can try to make their life miserable and force them to spend money. If the outcry is loud enough and the opposition stands firm, they can be made to go away as happened in Burbank. The question is whether Sierra Madre residents are up to the challenge.

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    3. I don't think we should necessarily blame the developers. They are greedy SOB's and that's not going to change. They will do what they always do. We can blame residents for not being vigilant in closing the loopholes for something they don't want. And in the final analysis, you can blame our spiritual friends at Mater Dolorosa. How religious can those people be when they are willing to unleash all this divisiveness on our little town. I guess we could also ask how all those priests did to those kids what they did. That is a big problem and one of the reasons the Church is shrinking. They appear to be a bunch of greedy hypocrits just looking out for themselves and their own needs. Selling off Mater Dolorosa to ostensibly fund their own retirement is just one more sad example.

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    4. This is going to poison the relationship between Mater Dolorosa and the Community. How sad.

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    5. Its always about the money. Whether is was Judas taking the 30 pieces of silver 30 years ago to sell out Jesus himself or its newer manifestation where a supposedly religious organizaton takes the money for their own selfish benefit, its all the same thing.

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    6. Evangelicals are making huge inroads in Latin America. Part of the reason is they preach a more direct path to God. There is a weariness with all of the problems the Catholic Church has had over the last decade or so. The Church has become an unneeded middle man.

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

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    8. Same dumb trolls, day after day.

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    9. I've noticed the same thing, Mod. Almost as though someone not very swift has been assigned the task.

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    10. Could be an herbal lobotomy victim. That stuff lowers the IQ while elevating one's self-righteousness.

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    11. Yes, it could be Steve.

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    12. What Mater Dolorosa gains in money from the sale, they will lose in donations. Alot of people tell me they feel betrayed with this sale and will never set foot on the property again let alone donate any money.

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    13. All we can do is band together folks. There is power in numbers.

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    14. Go to www.stopmonasteryhousingproject.com if you want to help! Get on their email list.

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    15. We also need more speakers like Heather and Maryanne.

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  9. Regarding the unusual activity in China, we'll take the Tattlers word for it, that this is an observable and unusual statistical fact. The only explanation that I can come up with is that the entire San Gabriel Valley is targeted as the area to migrate to. I think that's kind of obvious based on the demographic changes in other cities. Someone has pointed out that it is considered a status symbol in Chinese culture to have a large new home or in other words the McMansions that we see in Arcadia. Based on this, it seems obvioius that any new homes in the San Gabriel Valley will be of interest to people in China. I don't think there is any mystery here. Entire cities are changing from a demographic standpoint and along with that often goes the architecture and the culteral heritage. You can google the concerns in Alhambra and other cities. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to state the facts.

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    1. Citydata.com now has san Marino at 53% Asian, 37% white. That took about 2 decades.
      Monterey Park is 65% Asian
      San Gabrial, 59% Asian
      Diamond Bar 53% Asian

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    3. Alhambra, 53%
      Arcadia, 57%
      Theres a cumulative effect.

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    4. "You don't need a Weatherman to know which way the wind blows!"

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    5. Those percentages are simply amazing. Those percentages just tell a part of the story. You can't expect them to appreciate our culteral heritage the way we do. They want signage in their own language that we can't read. They seem to like the big McMansions like you see in Arcadia where most of the current residents of Sierra Madre like the older, funky, smaller homes. The Native Americans just wanted to hunt buffalo and retain their way of life. It took only twenty years or so for their entire way of life to be upended. Nobody wants to change who is allowed to come into this town. However, we should try to control these related consequences if we still want to be able to recognize Sierra Madre in twenty years.

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    6. Now is the time to have an English only sign ordinance.

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    7. I agree about the English only sign ordiance. That should be a must and it should be put into place now. I think its Monterey Park, where the police were having trouble responsing to emergencies because they couldn't read the names of the businesses. It was actually dangerous to the public safety.

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    8. You can not have a English only sign ordiance ,

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    9. You can require an English sign for public safety. A business could put up any other kinds of signs it wants, but the police and firefighters have to be able to find them.

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    10. 为什么你需要在英文的标志?

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    11. So people will take your check.

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    12. I think you can hae an English only sign ordinance. You gotta love the Chinese character posting. I think that's a proposal for a new business sign. Doesn't that make you feel included. Hell, you can't even patronize alot of the businesses in Monterey Park because you don't know what they're selling.

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    13. The 2:43 comment shows why we need a sign ordinance.

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  10. I don't think there can be any other explanation than what 9:16 has provided. It means that Sierra Madre will divided up into these little enclaves when they create something like the Anokia or whatever its called over in Arcadia.

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    1. A hostile foreign economic power wants your birthright. Comes with all the US debt they hold.

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  11. Thanks to the Tattler for letting people know what we are dealing with. These developers literally scout around for the kinds of properties that would probably be the last thing that the residents who live nearby would want to see developed and, think about it, that's often why they weren't developed in the first place. The Developer comes in with their "team" of experts that manages to force a development upon an entire community that doesn't want it. The residents are then left ot pick up the pieces. Thanks Mater Dolorosa. That's very neighborly of you and very much in line with the gospel.

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  12. When are the residents of Sierra Madre going to wake up!

    The skirts (Elaine & Karin) got to go!

    The trousers (Bruce) gota go also!

    The trousers are hiding behind the women's skirts!

    These idiots have nearly bankrupted this dear city which we have loved to live in!

    The residents need to rebel and have an immediate change of guards!

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    1. Karen is a good guy. Be careful what you wish for, for you may get something worse. She knows her stuff and although she is beholden to Elaine for her job, she still can crunch the numbers.

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  13. We had a good turnout at the Planning Commission and the City Council. This will snowballl as more news about the details of their plans dribbles out.

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  14. I don't know how much longer this wealthy Chinese migration will go on for. Signs are appearing in China of a slowdown, and the global financial winds are starting to blow the other way. Then local culture can reassert itself because the money train isn't there any more.

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    1. I don't care if the winds change, once you've torn down older homes and built McMansions or destroyed our cultural heritage, it never comes back. Please come here from any country in the world but respect our culture and heritage. Is that too much too ask?

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    2. Respect the host country.

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  15. My guess is that they are keeping an eye on all Sierra Madre development since they are the ones that will be buying the town.

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    1. Including the Pinney House?

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    2. How much did they pay for city hall?

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  16. Money talks, BS walks

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    1. Have you tried the bus?

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  17. A realtor friend of mine brought up the fact that California has very stringent disclosure requirements regarding real estate sales, e.g. noise pollution and zoning changes. Anyone wanting to list their house for sale on any street in Sierra Madre that would be affected by massive development has to disclose this. Such as houses whose driveways front on N. Lima, N. Sunnyside, W. Carter (west of Lima), and those houses adjacent to the west side of the property, such as Park Vista and Edgeview. So your property might be devalued. How can we get the word out to those property owners? I’ve already contacted Save the Monastery at savemonastery@gmail.com. Linda McManus

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    1. Some realtors do not follow the law.

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    2. Did Joe Mosca's real estate agent disclose this? Probably not.

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    3. I think this will have an adverse impact on values.

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    4. Its not always about the "values" anyway. Its about preserving a way of life that cannot be found in any other city in the San Gabriel Valley.

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    5. If you want to have the highest values, don't dilute the supply with more homes. Simple economics: the more supply, the lower the value. There are alot of towns that are taking the look of Arcadia. Sierra Madre is like a rare jewel. If we can preserve the town as it is and be the only town like it in the San Gabriel Valley, values will skyrocket.

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  18. Don't forget Crestvale, and Grove where a possible street could be cut through.

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  19. Million dollar homes don't usually devalue property. So if you're ready to sell in a few years it may be a good thing?

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    1. Just stupid, 2:16. The reason why Sierra Madre is a Top 5 Redfin market right now is the place wasn't turned into another generic box house town. Do you ever come up for air?

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    2. That is not a real number it is high because alot of hight end houses have sold driving up the average a bunch of canyon house sell negt quarter and the average will fall

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    3. Its also about the quality of life. If we continue with the overdevleopment trend, pretty soon you have more traffic, perhaps traffic lights and then parking meters, pollution, losing open space. You could lose value if you ruin the town. But let's say you're right, properties go up a bit, I don't think its worth the trade-off.

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    4. We can say for sure that the neighbors will lose value and the people on Sunnyside where that street goes from what is essentially a cul-de-sac into a highway. Grove and perhaps Crestvale will really see a dramatic change in the complexion of their neighborhood.

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