Wednesday, July 9, 2014

When the People of Sierra Madre Lead, This City Wins

OK, you can put Mr. Goss's picture back up now.
I've been at this Sierra Madre politics game for a while now, and I have to level with you, we don't win very often. Not when we're always up against the kinds of folks we have to continually challenge. And we certainly don't win as big as we did last night almost, well, ever. The last time I can recall feeling as vindicated as I do right now was the night Measure V's little ragged band of community activists beat back about $180,000 in BIA and CAR money and shut down one of the most regressive and frankly grotesque downtown development schemes ever.

Measure V won by 93 votes (link), or just about the same margin that put Denise Delmar on our City Council. Measure UUT was kicked to the curb by less than a hundred ballots. Each and every time Sierra Madre is saved, it is by just a very few votes. We constantly teeter on the edge of disaster, yet each time somehow manage to yank victory from the bloody jaws of defeat, and by the very smallest of margins. It is almost enough to make you believe in miracles.

There is a sleeping giant in Sierra Madre, but last night it was wide awake. And that sleeping giant is its people. I don't know what it is about this town, but it attracts some of the smartest people you can find anywhere. And in surprisingly robust quantities. This is one high IQ burg. All packed into three unlikely square miles.

Speaker after speaker strode up to the podium and delivered incredibly effective talks about why there should be a moratorium on development, and why there should be a moratorium on enabling development with our limited water resources, and why the people of Sierra Madre should not be fined after having endured a two part 100% water rate jack up on stuff that turned the color of well ripened bananas along the way.

And they the people won on each and every one of those demands last night. And by a unanimous vote of the City Council. Talk about outcome over process.

Even the two members who apparently opposed development moratoriums at the previous City Council meeting climbed on board last night. And let's face it, what real choice were they given? They either got right with the sleeping giant or faced the very real prospect of being swept away. And in perhaps the most politically unpleasant of ways.

Sleeping giants can be dangerous if ignored. Especially when they're on a roll.

However, and to use the all too familiar maxim, the devil remains to be found in the details. There is a lot here that is still unfinished. Process lurks. The General Plan remains suspended in time and space. The finer points of exactly how a building and water use moratorium is to be implemented remain to be defined. And the City Council still believes that there will be a good time to fine people for even less than exuberant water use. Water that will soon be double the price it was less than five years ago.

The Mater Dolorosa, Stonehouse and One Carter McMansion developers are still out there. They may now be delayed, but they are hardly defeated. They still have lawyers who can look you in the eye and tell you that there are no water shortages. And could care less whether or not you laugh when they say it.

Trust me, there are still some meetings that will need your attention. Because last night's surprise City Council heroes may not be as true to what you care about as you think. You never really know. Sure they are capable of doing good things. But that might only be when the room is full. Will they revert to kind once that room is back to being empty?

Do you feel lucky? Well, do you?

Two people who have impressed me far too much. Especially after last night. Denise Delmar, whose courageous and visionary leadership on the dual moratoriums made what happened last night possible. And Matt Bryant. The guy is a gifted leader. More than anyone else he filled that room, and in the most earnest and positive way possible. The people of this town would be damn foolish if they didn't drag him kicking and screaming to a seat on the City Council in 2016.

Hopefully what we and all of the members of the City Council won last night holds.

An entire way of life is riding on it.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

184 comments:

  1. It took a whole village, we did It!
    When push comes to shove, we can.
    Good job to all who made this happen.

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    1. Now the devil will be in the details of the ordinances. Every comma, word, and period must be checked and rechecked to ensure that there are no loopholes that a developer can challenge. Our City attorney has not been the best person to write legal documents. Many times her prepositional phrases are incorrect and change the entire meaning of the intent. This document must be checked and double checked. Do we have any attorney types that can review this for us?

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    2. The goal is sustainability. I don't want to rely on others for our survival. . By the way, where did that organic farmer named Augilar come from who spoke up at the meeting. He was tremendous. We could use him in the future. Anybody know where to find him?

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  2. As usual, the Tattler has summarized what happened last night about as well as can be done. Certainly the citizens must stay vigilant if they want to put themselves on a sustainable path when it comes to water, development and anything else. Cities like Stockton and Detroit failed to do that and consequently were driven into a ditch. Last night just validates why I moved here. There is soemthing special and unique about Sierra Madre - maybe its something in the water.

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    1. Can any words express what it means to have Denise Delmar on the City Council. She brought these issues to the Council and is as responsible as anybody for the results last night. While we still have to be vigilant, don't we all sleep a little bit better at night knowing that we have someone on the City Council who will always be looking out for the folks.

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    2. Delmar is a shining star!

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    3. Denise is still holding staff's feet to the fire about city hall hours. She has accomplished more in two months that anyone before her.

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    4. Wait'll the topic of those obscenely high health care plans comes up. Denise agendized that one as well.

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    5. Denise wants to make a difference and what a difference she is making. You get 'em girl!

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    6. Ditto with Arizmendi. The girls rule!

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    7. It was apparent that all the City Council Members took their job very seriously last night and came to the right conclusion. Huge victory for how a city government is supposed to work.

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  3. Ah yes, the skin of our teeth. The last UUT increase was defeated by 76 votes.

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  4. Thanks to Mrs Mod and family for sharing the Mod with us last night. We appreciate the Tattler and know what an impact it has on this community. We also know that when the Council meeting is over, it now takes more than 5 minutes for the Mod to drive home. :) Thank you John!

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    1. That's right. We all drive home in 5 minutes and John now has a long drive to get home. I've said this before and I'll say it again, tell me the name of anyone who moves away from this town and yet still cares enough to stay involved. I can't think of anyone. Yet, here's John Crawford still fighting the good fight on behalf of Sierra Madre. The result last night was as much due to the Tattler as to anybody.

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    2. Thanks John for all your efforts. The people of Siera Madre appreciate it more than you can know.

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    3. There is one other one.
      Former Sierra Madre attorney, Linda Thornton. Who was monitoring our council meeting last night from the other side of the planet.

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    4. Yes, Crawford's Tattler is the true voice for the people,

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    5. Credit goes out to alot of people. The chambers were over-flowing last night. The Fire Marshall had his hands full. It even spilled out of the building. That's small-town Americana at its best.

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    6. Its hard to exaggerate the magnitude of what happened last night. I don't think anyone could have imagined a unanimous vote on all three issues. It sends a powerful message to the developers of what we want to protect here in Sierra Madre. I would also venture to say that the reasons that each of the City Council Members gave for why they voted the way they did, make it almost impossible for the Mater Dolorosa project to happen. Building a large housing project at Mater Dolorosa or anywhere else is simply not compatible with putting Sierra Madre on a sustainable path.

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    7. If I was the developer for Mater Dolorosa I might not be inclined to invest too much money into that project. Developers have good PR people and good lawyers but I don't think this developer knew what they were up against when they came to Sierra Madre. Sierra Madre will be like no other community they've encountered before. That's why I live here.

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    8. Good point. One Carter was cleared for take off by a bad city council almost ten years ago. Nothing has ever been built there. That should tell people what Sierra Madre is all about.

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    9. The fact is that if the people mobilize we can determine our future. We are allowed to determine what our city is going to look like, we are allowed to make sure that we have enough water and infrastructure, and police and whatever.

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  5. I want to commend Gene Goss. He's taken some hits some perhaps justified but some unjustified. But he came of age last night. He mentioned in his remarks that he had refused to meet with Cameron Thornton of Mater Dolorosa for one of those "secret" meetings we all complained about because Gene felt it would be "inappropriate to do so". He also read that letter from the MWD in which even the MWD, our curent lifeline, was concerned enough about the ability to deliver water to us that they urged us to take conservation measures. I have to admire any politician who is willing to gather up the facts, listen to the citizens they represent and then make the best decision for what is best for Sierra Madre. Gene Goss did that last night and we should applaud him for it.

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    1. "Trust, but verify." - Ronald Reagan

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    2. And few of our councilman are "authoritarians "
      We need true Authorities!!!
      There is a big difference!

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    3. Councilman Goss and Mayor Harabedian were excellent last night. Mayor Harabedian certainly runs a good meeting. He is not heavy-handed in any way and gives people a chance to speak even if they go over their 3 minutes. Thanks Mayor!

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    4. Thank you to members of the Harabedian fan club for that update. Many of us are more likely to characterize the "Mayor" as more chamelon like, changing his color to suit the situation.

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    5. Those are well manicured feet that need to be held to the fire.

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    6. I remember as a kid watching Roller Derby with the Thunderbirds and Ralphy Valledares. There was a coach who every body didn't like. Then as part of the script (it was staged like pro wrestling) the coach changed his spots and became a good guy. People cheered him even more because of his swtich from the dark side to the light side. Its kind of like with Goss and Harabedian. They came around last night and because the change appeared so dramatic from what was expected of them, it makes them stand out a bit. They derserve our accolades. If they continue along this path maybe they will become true Tattlerites.

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    7. Why didn't Tom Lowe know about the MWD letter? It made him look like a fool.

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    8. 8:47' you are so right!

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    9. isn't that akin to the parable about the two sons and how they had a party for the one son who "was lost and now he is found again." That's why I'll be happy to kill the fatted calf for Goss and Harabedian for what they did last night.

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    10. Goss and Harabedian did their homework, listened to the people and came to the right decision. We can't ask for any more than that.

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    11. A lot of people gave up a lot of their time and energy to get Goss and Harabedian to make the right decision. It shouldn't have been this hard.

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    12. Well 4:19, whatever it takes. We'll never know if they would have arrived at the same conclusions on their own. I'd like to think so but I'm glad we didn't take any chances.

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  6. So what excuse does Gene use for the fact that his photo is not on the wall? This man has more excuses than there are grains of sand on the beach. I loved his "I didn't get all my phone messages because my IPhone is old" excuse last night. really?

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    1. My iphone does some strange things too. The important thing is that Gene did his homework and listened to the people. I always felt Gene would surprise people and he certainly did last night. I voted for you Gene. Thanks for keeping your campaign promises.

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    2. You mean finally meeting his campaign promises!

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    3. After last night, I am still able to tell people I voted for Gene Goss. If he keeps this up, I'll suport him for re-elction if he decides to run again.

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  7. credit for last night's victory can be attributed to many. thanks to the sign wavers who stood in the heat at Kersting court, to the Tattler for keeping up the heat, to Matt Bryant for organizing folks, and to the July Fourth holiday. I think this timely event forced the council members out into the public and the public took the opportunity to bend their ears. Now, stay vigilant as they work put the details.

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    1. Good point

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    2. Sierra Madre's finest rose to the occasion. It was something to behold. I understand that not only were the chambers packed, it flowed from the vestibul all the way to the outside. That was some turnout.

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  8. One thing that really struck me last night as someone who was in those chambers watching very carefully. The very first speaker from the audience was someone named Mr. Love if I remember correctly who represented himself as some water expert. I hate to be a conspiracy theorist, but where did that guy materialize from? He temporarily managed to take some of the air out of the sails of those who feel there is a water crisis with his overly optimistic "presentation" about the state of our water supply. After listening to him, we shouldn't have even needed to conserve water at all.. Then the moment came. Council Member Arizmendi basically said the emperor has no clothes. Then as various Council Members asked probing questions, Mr. Love's rosy picture gradually became less rosy and succumbed to reality. One of the lawyers who spoke on behalf of the developers was quick to quote from Mr. Love's presentation. Again, I don't want to be a conspiracy theorist, but I was suspicious about this person.

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    1. Rachelle called him out on this. It was a good moment for her.

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    2. I like the "emperor has no clothes" analogy. I didn't like the looks of that Mr. Love. I think he was a plant by the developes and/or lawyers.

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    3. Love has been around for eons. He's a so called "water expert" but for the life of me I can't remember from whence he oozes up - maybe MWD, or the City of Pasadena. He's appeared before the Council before. Thinks of himself as above all the fray.

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    4. You are correct, 7:43 - Mr. Love spoke over and over in favor of the Assisted Living Facility. His rationale was that our Sierra Madre elderly would be able to still live in town. Yeah, right!

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    5. Does Mr. Love even live in our city. I'd like someone to please let me know. If he doesn't than he loses whatever credbility he has with me. He wants us to be depenant upon outside agencies for our water. That agency can jack us arond and raise our rates on a whim. We need to be self-sustaining and rely on our own wells.

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    6. Love is right out of the Doyle-Buchanan old school. An era that needs to be put well behind us if this city is to survive.

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    7. Tom Love and his family have lived in this town for a very long time. They have been active participants in the community, including Sierra Madre Little League. Instead of criticizing Love, why not schedule a meeting with him? We are fortunate to have him as a San Gabriel Valley Water District representative. It's amazing what can happen when we actually reach out to our elected officials. Besides, you never know who you're going to get on that water board if you work against electing Love.

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    8. I've met Mr. Love while in the SM Little League and found him to be a good guy but when I found out he was buddies with John Buchanan I feel I have to distrust him.

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    9. Love is also chair of the SGVWD Board so he has a lot of sway one way or another. He does look out for Sierra Madre and was only presenting facts. We shouldn't malign him because you think he doesn't agree with us. It would have been good if he had given the Council a copy of his presentation since listening to his figures made it hard to analyze. Yes, Rachelle rightfully called him out on such a positive report and the council then understood that sometimes facts can be interpreted differently depending on how you look at them. We should also thank Capoccia who clarified some of the facts for us.

      As Love said, he has been in the water business for over 30 years so he know from whence he speaks.

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    10. Absolutely, Mr. Love is not the enemy; in fact, because of his time and knowledge about water and water boards etc., he can go to bat for the city of Sierra Madre. Best to make him an ally and not an adversary.

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    11. Love is also a friend of Bart Doyle.

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    12. Love's "presentation" was indefensible. There is too much riding on this. A whole community needs a reliable water source. He clearly had an agenda. He's alligned with all the pro-development people and he was willing to throw Sierra Madre under the bus to further that agenda. Governor Brown declared a state of emergency over the water crisis. Every city is having problems. The drought is most likely going to get worse. For him to get up there and paint that rosy picture was disgraceful. Thank goodness the Council called him out on it and he started to backpedal pretty rapidly. He spoke first to try to influence the tone of the meeting. I'm glad no one listened to him. Various water boards have become very corrupt. Without further evidence, I won't tar him with that brush yet but I still think his presentation was a disgrace.

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    13. Love's basically said everything is fine and we have plenty of water. He was even worse than that One Carter lawyer who spoke up at the June 24th meeting. . I'd like to know who placed the phone call to get him out to that meeting and try to change its direction?

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    14. Love looked like a complete idiot. He came there at someone's request to put the brakes on the building moratorium. Councilwoman Arizmendi expressed what everybody felt. The question is what made him go against all the data of whee Sierra Madre and this state are heading. I think we know the answer to that question.

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    15. I wonder what Mr. Love has to say about today's announcement: "The State Water Resources Control Board meets next week to consider draft emergency regulations. 'We are in a drought of historic proportions,' Board Chairwoman Felicia Marcus said in a telephone interview with Associated Press. " The public meeting will be held July 15 in Sacramento. If the board adopts the regulations they would take effect immediately and remain in force for 9 months.

      Full story: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/jul/09/california-board-considers-fines-for-wasting-water/

      Seems like Mr. Love would have known all this, being on the SGV Board? It's not like it all happened overnight. So it's puzzling, why he would present such a rosy interpretation of these very dire circumstances.

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    16. That was Rachelle's finest hour.so far. It was the "wait a minute" moment that stopped Love in his tracks. Granted he can rifle off some facts but anyone can skew the data to fit the result they want. Love did that and I too lost all respect for him.

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    17. I just want to thank Love for speaking up the way he did. If one reader is correct that he spoke up repeatedly in favor of the assisted living facility and after what he did last night, we now know him for what he is. He has an agenda and he is in the pro-development camp. If he speaks at any future meetings, he will have no credibility or influence whatsoever. Thanks again for getting up there and letting us know we have plenty of water.

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    18. A lot of us are a friend of Bart Doyle. That doesn't mean I agree with his politics and that doesn't mean he has any sway over how I think or what I believe. One can be friends and still have intelligent discussions about a lot of things -- politics, religion, development. I've worked on the elections of MaryAnn, Don Watts, John Capoccia, Chris Koerber. But I'll still say hi to Bart when I see him.

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    19. Bart has done a lot of harm to this town. There is no getting around that.

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    20. I don't particularly care about his friendship with Bart Doyle. He got up there and spoke first and deliberately painted a very rosy picture about the status of our water. I think it was Matt Bryant who pointed out that if he had sat down right after he finished, he would have left the wrong impression. Only because the council asked a few questions, did he get flushed out. This is too important for him to be playing games with this issue. I'm with the other comments. It was disgraceful. Even the lawyer was quoting him when the lawyer got up to speak. That just about says it all. In light of that article mentioned by 10:28, I'm even more furious.

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    21. I don't want to be a sore winner since last night was a big accomplishment. But Tom Love tried his best to derail that effort and it was deliberate on his part. He was prepared. He knew what he wantd to do and he wanted to be the first speaker to take the wind out of everyone's sails. I don't carry how involved he is with the Little League, it was dispicable.

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    22. As the old saying goes, with friends like Love who needs enemies.

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    23. Tom Love is evidently back up for election. Let's find a good candidate to run for that office. He's been there too long. He is looking out for the developers who want to turn Sierra Madre into Arcadia not the residents of Sierra Madre. Now is the time to get rid of that guy.

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  9. Did any former Mayors, besides Clem and MaryAnn speak on behalf of the residents?
    Don't think so.
    Speaks volumes as to the integrity and class of former Mayor Clem Bartolai and former 3 time Mayor MaryAnn MacGillivray.

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    1. I think John Buchanan, Enid Joffe, Nancy Walsh and Josh Moran had a meeting of their poker club.

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    2. That's a very good point. I don't see Nancy Walsh out there taking a stand. Clem and Mary Ann are about as good as it gets. None of us have the time for this kind of stuff, but we make the time. Clem and Mary Ann have been there every step of the way. Talk about caring about our city. Thank God they still live in this city.

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    3. Glenn Lambden was telling people in the canyon last night:
      "there is no water shortage, this is all about people who want to stop development "
      Spoken like the true idiot he is!!!

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    4. You have to love the passion in the community. Where do these people come from? How do you find people that care enough about the city they live in to come out and stay late into the night for a City Council meeting? Its astounding.

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    5. Lambdin belongs to a very special club called the Drought Deniers. They meet in a shower stall and complain about all the rain.

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    6. Let's not forget about Capoccia. He was on his game last night. He knows his stuff and asks great questions.

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    7. I would not want to be n the cross-hairs of Capoccia's questions when he looks over his glasses at you. He really is very informed and made some good points that popped the bubble of Mr. Love.

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    8. Somebody send Lambdin an umbrella. It appears to be raining on his planet.

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    9. Glenn owns a small construction company, of course he is for developement.

      I remember him telling me he served in Vietnam and then I heard from others that he didn't.

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    10. Glenn Lambdin!
      LOL LOL LOL
      What a joke.

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    11. Its hard to fathom who certain people like Mr. Lambdin and Mr. Love are willing to sell out the whole town to developers who don't care about our water situation. They don't care if we dirnk yellow water for the rest of our lives. They don't care if we have to pay higher rates from these outside sources. All they care about is their own self-interest. I have no respect for people like that.

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    12. Mr. Love is a lot worse than Mr. Lambdin. Mr. Love tried to use his credentials and experience to sell us a false bill of goods. We have plenty of water according to Mr. Love. Ya right. The old Bucannon crowd will not go down quietly. People like Mr. Love will pop up every now and evn though that crowd is in their last gasp. On one of the biggest and most important issues in Sierra Madre, not one of them got up to speak. Not Bucannon and not Walsh. That says it all.

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    13. I agree about Love. He tried to sabotage the whole effort. Clearly, he talked to some people and came prepared to perform that task. I'm glad the City Council saw right through him. He should be ashamed of himself. He also should not be Sierra Madre's representative on that San Gabirel Valley Board or whatever he's on.

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  10. Where was John Buchanan?
    Biggest phony in town.
    He needs to leave and take evil Doyle and Lambdin with him.

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    1. Buchanan is a marketing dude for SoCal Edision.

      Where was the former Mayor and commercial banker Rob Stockley?

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    2. One speaker talked about the revenue we will be losing from development fees. So its all about the money for that guy. Let's ruin the town and turn it into Arcadia so that we can bring more revenue into City Hall. Let's let developes use all of our water so that we can never rely on our own wells ever again. If that's the best argument, they have then they are in serious trouble.

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    3. How much money will the city loose?

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    4. All that they can.

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    5. Something is wrong if the city needs the money from development fees in order to continue in business. The City needs to be able to sustain itself and not rely on further taxes, development fees or anything else.

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    6. If the city can't rely on taxes, fees, "or anything else" how is it supposed to raise revenue?

      My question now is just how many dollars are we loosing? We know the amount right? The City Counsel did not just shut down a revenue source without even knowing how much it is. I'm sure thy did the right thing, but we need to know how much money we are loosing so we can pan and budget right?

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    7. "Loosing?" The city isn't "loosing" anything. It never belonged to them in the first place.

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    8. I'm willing to do without the extra money if it means preserving our town and putting it on a sustainable path. For people like 1:37, its alwaya about the money. Let's put parking meters in, let's raise the taxes, let's pay higher water rates - its never enough for some people. Regular folks are forced to live within their means. Only government is able to avoid that.

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    9. Listen 1:37 and hear me now. I don't care how much money we are losing. I also know that if we turn Sierra Madre into Arcadia, we can make some more money. If we don't allow McMansions, we wil lose some money. We all agree on that. Get it through your thick skull, its not about the money. Its about keeping our town unique and special so it remains different from all the cities around us. In the end, I suspect all of our property values go up if were not just like any other town. So if you want to focus only on the money, focus on that.

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    10. How much money are we talking about here?

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    11. I was not at the meeting. I saw an excerpt from the agenda report here on the website that makes reverence to lost revenue, but does not have a total. Is there anyone on this forum who was actually at the meeting? What was the monthly building fee revenue that will be affected by the moratorium?

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    12. Next to nothing. This does not affect someone adding a room to their house or other similar home improvements. New houses in this town are very rare since the place is built out. The city will lose very little money over this.

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    13. Forget about the money we are losing. Focus on what we have. That is the revenue we have to work with. Its like asking how much money are we losing by not having red light cameras or parking meters? How much money are we losing by not making our parking tickets $100 rather than $50. I don't care. How much money are you losing if you don't win the lottery tomorrow. How much money are you losing if you don't get a raise tomorow.. Focus on what you make right now and budget accordingly.

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  11. My favorite moment was the panic on Cameron Thornton's face and the quaver in his voice as he protested the moratoriums.

    The guy definitely gets a commission if the project goes through and he saw it disappearing in a puff of steam.

    On another note, Lake Mead is at its lowest level since the Hoover damn was built. It's time to require that at least front yard lawns be removed and replaced with less water intensive landscaping. I grew up in a California coastal town where we have had water shortages for decades. Most people don't have lawns.

    So the next ordinance we need should be called the "Sierra Madre Water Friendly Yard Ordinance". A citizens committee should be immediately established that includes arborists and landscapers etc and a set of regulations developed. Sierra Madre must change to protect its water.

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    1. Our front yard is the last haven for a grass play area our kids have. Our backyard is a wasteland. Even our ficus tree is not raining down the berries this year. Some of us have chosen to keep a front lawn instead of a back lawn for now.

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    2. 9:43 we think alike. My back yard is a dust bowl and my front yard is nice.

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    3. Such a pity that all lawns have to go. I know I miss mine.

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    4. Mater Dolorsa had Cameron Thorton there and two of the Passionist Fathers present . Jerry Pierson was also lurking around somewhere. Why are those guys so motivated to sell this property. Do they get a percentage of the sale price or something?

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    5. I think Passionate Fathers want to sell the land so that they can provide retirement benefits to monks and priests who have dedicated their lives to the church,

      This of course is ridiculous. Who are they to think they can sell or build on that land? Sure they have owned it for nearly century and during that time maintained it and even used to benefit the public good, but so what?

      I don’t want houses built on that land. I’m not willing to pay for the land myself, so I want my city to use regulations to keep the passion fathers from using their property the way they think best. That way I get to control what other people do with their property and it does not cost me a cent! Isn’t democracy great?

      As for the retired priests and monks, to heck with ‘em. I only care about one thing – using my city government to control land that I am too cheap to pay for. If a few retired clergy end up on the streets, so be it!

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    6. But how do the measures that were passed last night address what we need to be doing to conserve water? They don't. Water conservation for everyone is what we need to focus on; not just protecting Sierra Madre from development! The bigger issue is what we're doing (or not doing) in our own homes and yards.

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    7. 2:23 I trust you're being sarcastic. If not, you are most selfish. Can I have your house for free?

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    8. 2:23 is a bit of an arse. Eminent domain was outlawed by the voters of Sierra Madre, btw. So that makes this sad individual a bit of an arse that is wasting everybody's time with nonsensical arguments that have no basis in reality and go nowhere.

      Begone, troll.

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    9. I vote that 2:23 is just being sarcastic. Point taken.

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    10. 2;23 is being sarcastic. The fact is that Mater Dolorosa can apply to re-zone their property. We can oppose that re-zoning. The Passionists need to be compassionate and realize that while they want to make money, why do they want the neighbors to lose money. If the neighbors felt it was such a good idea, why are they all opposing it so vehemently. I have the right to think that Mater Dolorsa is making a bad and selfish and short-sighted decision. The Huntington Library could have sold off their "excess" land when they faced some financial challenges but because they didn't do it, we now have the beautiful Chinese Garden being built. People who have taken retreats up there and consider it sacred land oppose it because they realize that land is what makes that place special. Go to the Coalition to Preserve Mater Dolorosa's website at www.stopmonasteryhousingproject.com and click on the Testimonial tab to see how people feel about that property. Its rather surprising that religious people like the Passionist's see it only as "excess" land. That's not the way others see it. Have they become so blinded by greed and the "30 pieces of silver" they hope to get that they can't see that this is sacred land. Have they fallen so far from the spiritual path that they can't appreciate God's creation - the deer and hawks and coyotes that enjoy that property. Didn't they see how many people made the annual pilgrimmage for the Stations of the Cross this past April? How far have the Priests strayed from their Mission. All this carnage to pay for the retirements of 63 Priests. Something is seriously wrong and its not with the people who want to preserve the property they way it has been since 1924.

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  12. It is hard to keep up with the details of all the city business as residents are busy with their everyday lives but living in Sierra Madre gives us a better than average chance at this. At the end of a busy workday you can drive to city hall and attend an important meeting and share you well formed thoughts with your elected officials. Bravo to every new voice I heard last night and to some of the best of the best of the long-time standard bearers. As one of the latter I stood in appreciation outside ( as per the fire marshal keeping the safety of the assembled in mind) as listened! Good on Rachel for her question to our appointed water board representative, Mr. Love, to cull out the answer his presentation had obscured. Good on Denise for her insights and persistence. And good on Goss, Capoccia and Harabedian for their support. But to the citizens ... Keep coming! The opposition counts on you not showing up! See what happens when you do "just show up!"

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    1. Harabedian casts one vote and while I'm appreciative, he jumped on the bandwagon.

      I still see him as the guy who violated ethics and appointed himself to committees for maximum personal exposure so I assume that he voted our way cause it benefits his image.

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    2. I agree on everything Caroline Brown said. If the people come out, if we elect great Council Members like all the ones last night and if we hold their feet to the fire if they start to go sideways as elected officials are inclined to do at times, than Sierra Madre remains Sierra Madre. The formula for success is actually very simple.

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    3. Harabedian deserves some credit for what he did last night and the way he ran the meeting. He's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. Let's applaud him and Goss when they do something great for the community. If they make the wrong call on something, than I'll be the first person to rake them over the coals. I wanted to give them a standing ovation last night and they deserved it.

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    4. We had to move an army to get Harabedian and Goss to do the right thing.

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    5. I have never seen politicians do the right thing without an army being moved.

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    6. As long as they voted right, I wil take it. Maybe they have seen the light. For the good of Siera Madre, let's all hope so.

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  13. Tom Love the Water sellout is up for re-election in November. He needs to be replaced. I think the filing period opens July 14 through August 8.

    Tom, you have been there since 2002 and your stammering excuses and appeals to your own authority aren't going to cut it anymore.

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    Replies
    1. Tom did refer to himself as an expert didn't he and didn't come across that way

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    2. He appealed to his authority in a naked attempt to deceive that residents about a very important issue. If I didin't know better I would have thought that one of the worst droughts in California history never existed. I would have thought that we have plenty of water and so we can all just move on to something else. He reminds me of what you see in court cases where you have a defendant who is apprehended at the scene of the crime with blood all over him, two dead bodies at his feet and a knife in his hand. Then at trial the defense attorney is able to find that one expert witness who will say anything that the lawyer needs him to say to get his client off. Tom Love was just such an expert witness for the developers last night.

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    3. Thanks for that info 7:53. Tom Love has disqualified himself from serving as the representative for Sierra Madre for anything. I would like to see the Tattler focus on how to get rid of this guy. I will gladly support that effort and support another candidate.

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    4. I'm with 7:53, we need to get rid of that Love character and replace him with someone who is truly lookng out for Sierra Madre. I don't need to try to get into his head and figure out why he did what he did last night. The fact is he came prepared and he came to paint a very rosy picture of our water situation. At a time of one of the worst droughts in California history, I don't think he's the best guy to be lookng out for us. Imagine, he calls himself a water expert and doesn't even recognize the serverity of what we are facing. He was trying to futher the development agenda plain and simple. He doesn't care about the residents that he supposed to be representing.

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    5. Love--who has years of experience, degrees, and training to back up his expertise--is being called out as needing to be disqualified and not recognizing "the serverity [sic] of of what we are facing." But what makes us experts instead? What makes us qualified to declare the situation "severe"? Some article we read of the ever-authoritative Internet? Or something we saw on TV? Seems to me Love is stating facts instead of just buying in to our small-town hype. Perhaps we ought to consider our arm-chair expertise a bit more self-critically.

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    6. You could not be more wrong. We are concerned with outcomes here, not facts. Love told the City Counsel that there is a drought, but there is no risk that the taps will run dry anytime soon. His statements were accurate, but they did not lead to the outcome that we all wanted.

      Love is bad not because he is wrong, but because he said things that might undermine our shared goal of stopping all development. People who state facts we don't like are enemies, not experts.

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    7. Rubbish. Pure and simple.

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    8. People are allowed to disagree here, 2:35. Don't be a scold.

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    9. @ 2:35pm

      Are you saying that everyone that reads and comments on the Tattler has the shared goal of stopping all development?

      If so, then I think you are a raging moron. Furthermore, where does an anonymous sock puppet get off on representing the opinions of everyone else?

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    10. Love lied pure and simple. He came to that meeting with a purpose. It was to use his credentials to downplay the drought that every other expert seems to think is an emergency. He did this deliberately. He only back-pedaled once the Council called him out on it. If the City Council would have listened to him, it would have been a a disaster that would have had far-reaching consequences for every resident in Sierra Madre. He put a happy face on one of the worst droughts in the history of California. He knew what he was doing and why he was doing it. He spoke first so that his "presentation"would have the most impact. It was pre-planned. Fortunately, he failed miserably and the the people and City Council saw it for what it was.

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  14. Next very important item:
    We have to approve the GENERAL PLAN.
    If you all want to thank Denise Delmar for spearheading this important vote last night?
    Denise has been the chair of the people's GENERAL PLAN COMMITTEE for the past 5years. Pro over development councils have held her up.
    We need to support this!

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    Replies
    1. I think we can count on Maryann for this one. As Mayor in 1995 she put the committee in place to write the current 1996 plan. Then as Mayor in 2009 she pushed to put the committee in place and select Denise as chair. If the civility crowd were not so jealous of Maryann's intelligence the Plan would have been approved already. Instead they sabotaged the committee and slandered Maryann. She will be there to share her knowledge when necessary.

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    2. Right, 11:19, but we need everyone to show up again. MaryAnn, for all her intelligence, is easily ignored, as we've seen over and over.

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    3. Don't underestimate Mary Ann, she wil not be ignored. There are a lot of people out there who will make sure of that.

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  15. I think certain authorities in this town fear that the residents will use the UUT ballot question coming up in November to punish them over any perceived capitulation to the McMansion developers. The power is in the hands of the residents right now. We can win it all if we stay smart.

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    Replies
    1. We do have to be smart here. The next few steps in this process are as important as what happened last night.

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  16. I would like to commend the women ( I was outside and could not hear her name ) who stated that rather then write her own speech she would borrow from the promises written by our own council members at election time. She was one smart cookie!Council members all promised to protect our hillsides , reminding them of their own words was golden..

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    Replies
    1. That would be Heather Allen. And yes, it was brilliant.

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    2. Heather is so smart and so dedicated to preserving this community. She has done some heavy lifting on getting us to where we are now. Anybody know how to clone her?

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    3. Thanks Heather once again!!!

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    4. Isn't this an issue about water conservation? Seems everyone is up in arms over development and protecting our hillside rather than focusing on the true issue of water. What are YOU doing to cut your water usage dramatically?

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    5. 2:13, water issues and development issues are one and the same.

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    6. 2:13 can't be serious. You don't see the relationship between the water crisis and further development. To keep it simple fo you, the water crisis exists because the exisitng residents don't have enough water and are being asked to conserve what limited water we do have. McMansions and Housing projects will consume more of the limited water we have which leaves less water available for the existing residents. I hope that helps.

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  17. I love reading this! Thanks Tattler and all who showed up! I'm out of town, or would have been there too. This its such an amazing town! But...please now email City Council and the Planning Commissioners to make sure the General Plan Update gets passed asap.

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    Replies
    1. I'm all for passing the General Plan but as Council Member Capoccia pointed out, no one could have imagined the development pressures that would come to Sierra Madre as a result of the improving economy and with neighboring cities getting built out. Most of the great work has been done, but we need to take another look at it to make sure that it is absolutely air tight. There won't be another chance.

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  18. Heather Allen is absolutely brilliant. Always. We all smile when we see her come up to the podium.....but if you look at old videos, not all the councilmembers smile when Heather unleashes the truth at them. You lie and Heather Allen will call you out, and in the strongest of messages. Love it.

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    Replies
    1. Heather, Mary Ann and other fine ladies (too many to mention them all) are the true treasures of Sierra Madre!
      they won't put up with any of the Buffalo Bagels the BIA, Realtors and Developers try to serve us.

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    2. We should be very grateful for some of the ladies we have in this town. They are the backbone of this town.

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  19. Tom Love is a civil engineer. Civil engineers make money by designing streets, sewer and water lines for new developments. Of course civil engineers are pro-development. Tom Love was elected to represent the views of Sierra Madre residents but it looks like Tom Love is really representing himself and his own views and interests. My favorite moment was when Tom Love claimed he had a secret conversation with unnamed MWD senior management who told Love that they would never cut us off and therefore Tommy said we didn't need any moratoriums. Yeah ok Tom. If you are stupid enough to rely on a verbal promise from a government bureaucrat then you don't belong in office. Tom Love is up for re-election in November. We need to elect someone to replace Tom Love. Someone that will aggressively represent Sierra Madre.

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    1. I couldn't agree more with that comment. Take a look at the video if anyone wants to see for themselves what Tom Love did last night. There should be a movement to get rid of him.

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    2. I can understand the developers saying we don't have a water crisis. I can undestand the lawyers like McDonald and his associate who spoke last night saying that we don't have a water crises. I don't like it but I can understand it. What I don't understand is how a neighbor of ours, a fellow resident of Sierra Madre, could do what Love did last night.

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    3. Tom Love was appointed by a former (you can guess "development" focused CC) and if he is up for reappointment someone in town (JPL/NASA-water specialist/natural resources specialists) can be found to run for the position. That CC voted for Love over a past member of the CC who went on to be on the board of the Mountain Conservancy. Many, many previous city councils have been prodevelopment. We can figure out who was mayor and the make up of the CC at the time he was appointed and it won't be too hard to understand why Love is such a
      blatant water for the developers kind of guy.

      Not only here, but all around the southland, these water board guys are empire builders and very self-impressed. Love is joined on the SGVMWD board by John Leung, yes that John Leung of the disgraced El Monte Transit Village fame/shame. The John Leung who was the business partner of Our Very Own Bart Doyle and how both skipped out on this I will never figure out. Then the honoralbe Mr. Leung turned around and filed a $15,000,000,000 law suit against the City of El Monte. One old-timer I talked to during their 100th year city anniversary two years ago just laughed!

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    4. See LA Times opinion piece onf page A3 by Jay Famiglietti. Heard him being interviewed on KPCC today on this topic as well.

      ...." better management of the state's groundwater supply...the major source of irrigation water...being depleted...

      Learned years ago that Palm Springs is pumping pleistocene water and a recent internet search came up with a JPL study showing that 100 years ago Pasadena reported that they were overdrafting their wells.

      Imagine that you had to go to the town well and fill up buckets and make the trek home. It could be sooner than you think!

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    5. Thanks for that post 2:17. Love has got to go.

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  20. What with all it's potenial for natural diaster let's strive to give One Carter back to mother nature. When I was visiting my friend in Colorado this month was pleased to see that the state has deemed much if it' s land as ' open space' for all to enjoy. Cement can be dug up, trees can be replanted.. Make One Carter an eventual open space..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a wonderful idea.

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    2. Yes! Excellent idea. Replanting the area is a pro-active way to conserve resources. Much smarter than chasing the entire hillside down the street. The news vans that hang out waiting for the Big Slide won't be happy, but most will appreciate the good sense of doing this.

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    3. Got several million dollars? I'm sure CETT would sell out if you've got the money. They you can sign it into conservatorship.

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    4. How much did CETT pay? Yeah, not all that much. Hu Rui Han aka CETT is a gal who specializes in buying distressed real estate. That means she gets bargain prices, and is a gambler.

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    5. Too bad she loses.

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  21. Why pay for the land? Can't we just take it from them? We have told them they can't use their land to build on, so what is the difference if we just take it outright? The city would get a great open space and the owners would not be any worse off than they are now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Communist much?

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    2. Eminent domain is outlawed in Sierra Madre, 12:24. The voters passed a ballot initiative overwhelmingly stating that. Stop making up dumb stuff. You're making me sleepy.

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    3. I'm sure 12:24 was being poignantly sarcastic by highlighting the underlying message from many of us here about One Carter and the Monastery development projects. 12:24 and 2:12 are spot on. Communist much? Pretty close! But I don't think that we see ourselves that way. We just want to protect our town. We need to be careful to balance our strong feelings with reasoned logic and implement appropriate measures to regulate development.

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  22. can't wait to see how our local media guru Susan Henderson covers this

    she's been in the camp that there is no water issue and development is a done deal cause she said so

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  23. with the vote, what does our Director of Development Services has to do with his time now?

    jeez, maybe the city manager will actually have to serve the residents of SM instead of some yahoo developer

    how much you want to bet that the city manager will be working to undo this?

    now the city council has to vote not to change the zoning for Mater Dolorsoa, but we can expect a lawsuit from them anyday now

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  24. Director of Development Services was one of the jobs funded by the permit fees right? So I assume we lay him off now? Did the staff report on how many jobs would be lost from this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Um, credulity check here, cap'n. Why would the city have to lay off employees because they won't get money they have never had?

      Take your time.

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    2. Every year the city gets revenue from building permit fees right? it uses that money to pay staff wages. Now we won't be getting that revenue because we won't be issuing any more permits. So how to we pay the wages that we used to pay with the permit fees?

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    3. What is being delayed until the rains return is new development. That is, things that have never existed before. Which also means the revenue from fees and other costs have never existed before as well.

      Would it help you if I typed more slowly?

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    4. Can anyone help this person understand? Until now, the city accepted permit applications and charged a fee for each application. The city made money every time someone filed a permit application. Now there will be no more applications so no new fee will be collected. We made money from permit fees last month and used that money to pay staff salary. This month we won't make any money from permit fees.

      Does everyone other than @6:26 understand this?

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    5. You seem to be confusing the permits that people take out to do home repairs and additions to their already existing homes with the permits needed for whole new homes. Sierra Madre is a completely built out community, and therefore fees for entirely new homes are nearly nonexistent.

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    6. If the permits affected by the moratorium are "nearly nonexistent" why did we need the moratorium?

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    7. I am sorry, but this one is so stupid it just has to be answered. It is because of the new developments at One Carter, Stone House and Mater Dolorosa.

      Damn.

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  25. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HXJRrbcLPM

    In this video posted 3 years ago when the drought was far less serious Tom Love says we need to focus on "maximizing and managing the use of our local water supplies so that we're not relying on the less dependable imported water supplies". This is the exact opposite of what he claimed last night as he tried and failed to derail the water moratorium.

    This guy is a liar, plain and simple. Also, as Sierra Madre's elected representative to the San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District he is required to file a Form 700, Statement of Economic Interest to disclose his conflicts. Where is it?

    Finally, Tom Love works for D R Consultants & Designers, Inc. http://www.drcdinc.com they disclose that they are the company drafting the EIR for the 710 Freeway Project....something Sierra Madre is spending money to oppose. God knows how many other conflicts this sellout has. We need a candidate to run against him this November.

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  26. the city can make up the loss in permit fees by billing excessive staff hours to special events in the city like it did to the Mt Wilson Trail Race by charging the event 200 staff hours for event preplanning

    ReplyDelete
  27. You know, if the good Fathers had planned for their retirement like everyone else, then maybe they wouldn't have to be such an awful burden on the rest of us now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I still don't think its about the retirements. its about the legal judgments against the Priests. I read an article about what has happened to the Church in Ireland because of all these scandals. 80% of Catholics went to Mass in 1984 and now its down to 18%. Most of these guys need to hand their heads in shame for what they did to the Catholic Church and religion in general. Now they want to sell off Mater Dolorosa to fund their own retirements. They've lost their way.

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  28. Wow. Did someone just suggest that a priest was "an awful burden on the rest of us" because his order wants to sell land in order to provide for retirement?

    Did that really just happen?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. I did. The cost of their retirement is years of construction, noise, dust, congestion and pollution. That plus a draw on resources we no longer have. That is a burden that we are being asked to bear. All because they couldn't be bothered to make the kinds of plans the rest of us have to make.

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    2. Churches are exempt from filing IRS forms. However, in Illinois they have to file a disclosure with the Illinois Attorney General. Mater Dolorosa is owned by the THE CONGREGATION OF THE PASSION, HOLY CROSS PROVINCE in Chicago. Total Assets? Over $23 million.

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    3. Given that a lot of their land has a very low book value the true amount of assets they control is probably more like $400 million. Go ahead and sell your land for what it is zoned for Cameron (institutional use) because you will NEVER get a zoning change to residential. Not for at least the next 4 years.

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    4. If Mater Dolorosa would have been open and transparent 7 years ago when they acknowledge that they made their decision to sell the property, they could have asked for donations to help fund their retirements. People would have stepped to the plate to help. In fact, they had a 5 million dollar campaign on their website for this very purpose. In Nov. of 2013, when it was still on their website they had reached 4 million of their 5 million dollar goal. What happened to that money? If they had needed more, why wasn't it a 10 million dollar campaign. No one at Mater Dolorosa has ever responded to this. I'm waiting for an answer.

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    5. As a catholic I do resent that the Vatican does little or nothing for their employees or parishes. It is up to the church to see to the needs of their employees. Gees, maybe they could sell some of their vast art works to help the fathers.

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    6. They took a vow of poverty. A vow, freely made. They mostly run retreats to make money and spend little time actually serving the poor. You can't have my water to pay for the retirement of some "priests" in Chicago who basically are innkeepers.

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    7. I don't think 6:25 understands what is going on here. Why would we care about people who so obviously don't give a damn about us?

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    8. I thought that we were supposed to care for people who don't care about us. Its easy to care for people who are nice to us. Caring about people who are indifferent or treat us badly is kind of the point of the whole Christen thing - at least for me.

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    9. So if I kick you in the head you'll care about me?

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    10. you might want to learn how to spell "Christian" Cameron. I'll keep my water and you can keep your guilt-trip nonsense about caring for old men working for a religious sect I don't believe in and care nothing about. Old men who took a vow of poverty but suddenly don't want to be poor anymore.

      My water and my quality of life belong to me. You can't steal it and sell it.

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    11. i urge anyone who is not on the email list of the Coalition to Preserve Mater Dolorosa to please email savemonastery@gmail.com Your email address is kept confidential. This group sends out some great News Alerts about development and water issues in general and Mater Dolorosa in particular. Its all tied together. Send them an email and ask to be on their email list. Its the best way we can all communicate about these important issues and alert each other about important meetings.

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