Sunday, August 24, 2014

Argument: You can’t hide the size of McMansions, regardless of the design

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(Mod: Apparently our little debate over McMansions is resonating in faraway lands. Or at least in Illinois. The author of the piece below is "Dr. Brian Miller, assistant professor of sociology at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. Brian teaches classes such as American Suburbanization, Urban Sociology, Culture, Media, & Society, Statistics, and Research Methods. His published work includes studies of suburban growth and development, McMansions, immigrants in the American suburbs, the redevelopment of the Cabrini-Green housing project in Chicago, and social network site use among emerging adults." Or that is what they're saying. The blog is called "Legally Sociable" and is linked here. The quoted Tattler passages are from here.) 

Argument: You can’t hide the size of McMansions, regardless of the design
A local debate over McMansions draws this claim about whether the size of the homes can be overlooked:

However, I do feel that we need to bring the elephant in the room out into the open so everyone can appreciate it properly. If you strip away all of the polite planning jargon about massing, square footage, curb cuts, along with most everything else gets said in those circles, and then boil it all down to its core essence, the view becomes much clearer. What we are talking about here are some very large and quite ostentatiously designed houses.

I call it Adele Chang’s Dilemma. How do you build McMansions that don’t look like McMansions? You can’t. No matter what the design style, or where you place the garage, or how you reconfigure the roof, or bedeck the place with curlicues and cornices, or shuffle the massing, or even bring in a small gaggle of winged gargoyles and lawn gnomes, the result is still going to be one heck of a big barn.

In other words, some will argue that McMansions are just too big, even if are designed well or maybe even fit local architectural traditions. Underneath those design elements will always be too many square feet. And why is this square footage so important?

We are talking about a clash between two differing cultures here. On the one hand you have the traditional version of Sierra Madre. A place where people are comfortable with what they have and don’t view house size as a measure of their personal or spiritual worth.

The culture Adele Chang and her CETT bosses cater to, on the other hand, is a nouveau riche arriviste’ sort crowd who somehow believe that building a vanity castle on the side of an open hillside will be recognized by all of those living below as a sign of an innate personal superiority. It is a form of unchecked clodhopper consumerism that most people living here today do not respect or care to live beside.

The size matters because it (1) suggests something vain about the owner and (2) is resented by others because it is a blatant status symbol. A big new home in a community that does not want it is tied to an owner who is seen as a jerk.

(Mod: Amen.)

Do you know anyone in San Francisco? (Mod: This from the L.A. Times - link)
6.0 quake jolts Bay Area; outages, injuries reported - A long rolling temblor pegged at 6.0 by the U.S. Geological Survey shook a wide swath of the Bay Area awake early Sunday.

Centered about nine miles south of wine country's Napa at 3:20 a.m., the quake was felt as far south as Santa Cruz and into Sonoma County. It was the largest earthquake to strike the Bay Area since the Loma Prieta temblor of 1989, the USGS said.

Residents reported power outages in Napa, and fire departments in several counties, along with the California Highway Patrol, were on the lookout for damage to bridges.

Reports were beginning to stream in of gas leaks, downed power lines and at least one fire.

California is rising - Literally (Gizmodo link)
California's Drought Is So Bad, Its Mountains Rose Half An Inch - Water is heavy — ask anyone who screwed up the Ice Bucket Challenge. And California and the rest of the West Coast have precious little of it. The water is so depleted, it’s not weighing down the earth’s surface — and geologists have measured a rise of up to 15 millimeters at GPS stations across the West.

Poring over data from the GPS stations that monitor earthquake activity throughout California, researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at U.C. San Diego found that the land across the west has experienced an average “uplift” of four millimeters, or 0.15 inches, in the past eighteen months. Stations located in California’s mountains show the greatest uplift, topping out at 15 millimeters or just over half an inch.

You and I might think of the ground beneath our feet as rigid and non-pliable, but that’s not really the case. “Think of the Earth as a big rubber ball,” Scripps geophysics professor Duncan Agnew explained to Popular Science. “It’s made of material that is elastic, and if you push on it, it goes in a little bit. If that push is taken away, by water evaporating, there’s less weight on that part of the earth, and it goes up.”

http://sierramadretattler.blogpsot.com

42 comments:

  1. Yesterday I was driving up Camillo and saw the most horrific new homes being built onlots that, I am told, recently held two normal homes. Each is a modern concrete bunker, built nearly to the curb and consuming the entire narrow lot. Each is two massive stories with no set back. The structures are north of Grand view where I thought this crap was prohibited by the Hillside Management Zone law.

    You must drive by and see what is happening to our town. Someone on the council needs to push in fill development standards now or we will become south Arcadia.

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    Replies
    1. Maybe they're bomb shelters.

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    2. You're almost correct 6:47 - there was only one house on that lot. Everyone, please go look at this abomonation. The lot is the second one up from Grand View on the west side of Camillo. I can't imagine living next door to them!

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    3. The Arcadia Contagion.

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    4. How did those houses on Camillo get past the Planning Commission? Where were the neighbors? Somebody wa asleep at the wheel or didn't care, in which case, we get what we deserve.

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  2. Congrats Tatt. Nice to see your excellent work be cited!

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  3. What a great cartoon.
    2,000 square foot lot with 12,000 square foot of indoor paradise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They must have dug down to the water table. The one below the bedrock.

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  4. The "sad loser neighbors" to the sides of the monster house - that happened to so many people in Arcadia. Imagine having one of those things next door.

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    Replies
    1. They the neighbors should have protested to the Planning Commission. They get what they deserve.

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    2. When the council and the commissions are loaded up with pro-over development types, the neighbors don't have a chance.

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  5. What's really been going on up the hill at the Saint Rita's and Passionist Monastery and Retreat
    House Sierra Madre:
    Truth hurts sometimes ..but do not be afraid that is how they have been molesting kids for years.
    Each entry represents an allegation of
    molestation of one plaintiff at the location.
    Some plaintiffs have accused a priest of sexual
    misconduct in more than one parish or other
    location.
    http://www.bishop-accountability.org/ca_la/LA_Times_Assignments_2.htm

    FATHER JOSEPH FRANCIS RYAN
    1953-53 St. Rita Catholic Church Sierra Madre

    BROTHER JOSEPH STADTFELD, C.P.
    1958-62 Passionist Monastery and Retreat
    House Sierra Madre
    1961-66 Passionist Monastery and Retreat
    House Sierra Madre

    FATHER HENRY XAVIER VETTER, C.P.
    Assignments
    1956-77 Passionist Monastery and Retreat
    House Sierra Madre
    Lawsuits
    Each entry represents an allegation of
    molestation of one plaintiff at the location.
    Some plaintiffs have accused a priest of sexual
    misconduct in more than one parish or other
    location.
    1953-59 Unspecified Location
    1953-59 Unspecified Location
    1956-58 Unspecified Location
    1956-58 Unspecified Location
    1959-62 Passionist Monastery and Retreat
    House Sierra Madre
    1965 Saint John Vianney Rancho Cordova
    1967-68 St. Rita Catholic Church Sierra Madre
    1967-68 Passionist Monastery and Retreat
    House Sierra Madre
    1967 Or 1968 St. Philip the Apostle Catholic
    Church Pasadena
    1973 St. Philomena Catholic Church Carson
    1973 St. Philomena Catholic Church Carson

    FATHER JAMES JOSEPH WALSH
    1957-63 St. Rita Catholic Church Sierra Madre

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. God I hope those allegations have not been proven and hope they are untrue but based on the extent of the problem everywhere else you have to wonder. The problem is the damage these people did to the Catholic Church and religion in general. All of us pay the price. I suspect one of the reasons Mater Dolorosa needs to sell off the land is to pay legal off legal judgments.

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  6. Adele gets mad when her creations are called "McMansions." I wonder what she thinks we should call them.

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  7. Henderson really scooped your assistance on A. WEST story, you don't care about children in Sierra Madre, what a shame, you seemed like such a nice fella, what are you hiding?

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    Replies
    1. So where is her editorial calling for Matheson to be registered as a sex offender? Oh, that's right, He was a friend of you guys.

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    2. http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-hwrsCzFt_q0/Uc0a8t77UQI/AAAAAAAAKRU/LR8llnfOZVU/s320/joemoscaforcitycouncil31.jpg

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    3. Bob Matheson Reply
      April 28, 2010 at 5:44 pm
      CIVILITY IS A TWO-WAY STREET
      The election of Joe Mosca at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting was the culmination of a contentious City Council election, a milestone in local politics, and the high point of the meeting.
      Unfortunately, the meeting was not without its low points. Yes, it was disappointing that MaryAnn MacGillivray missed the world’s lowest hanging olive branch by immediately voting Nay on the long overdue election of Joe Mosca as Mayor. What a shame she couldn’t move herself to welcome the inevitable. But for me, and perhaps others regardless of their political siding, the lowest low point was the shameful and unbridled vitriolic attack on MacGillivray by a resident during the public comments. Civility is a two way street, and while some past actions of the City Council deserved the reactions of voters, this verbal barrage was embarrassing and inappropriate for a public forum. Perhaps our City Council needs a Seargent at Arms to maintain the decorum that Council chamber deserves, which all citizens should respect!

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

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    5. Whatever happened to the Civility Party anyway? Joe ran away to various corners of the globe, Nancy and Josh couldn't face a reelection campaign (I wonder why), and Happy Hail Hamilton moved off to, well, hopefully someplace really hot. Of course, Noah Green did try to carry on with their traditions. Hopefully he has learned how to put his clothes back on by now.

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  8. Yeah right, let's fund retirement for these abominations.

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  9. Jefferson on the 6.1 QuakeAugust 24, 2014 at 9:09 AM

    Watching local Bay Area news: damage in North Bay in Napa County. No reported fatalities, only three major injuries, but upwards of 80 ER visits by injured folks. A lot of damage to older public building in old town NAPA, buckled highways, Hwy 121 and 12 are open with detours and cautions. Incredible photos of displaced roadways. Some fires; water lines broken; gas lines broken. Wine train cancelled; ACE train to the new Levi Statidum cancelled (49ers game today). Much damage tto residences in the affected area: fireplaces down, interiors trashed, retail stores' shelves collapsed. Out on the coast, no affect. Felt in Sacramento. Reports of damage coming in from surrounding Napa communities.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Brother Joe never molested anyone.These are unfounded allegations by money hungry lawyers. My brothers and sisters hung out with him for years and he was a friend of my family. Fr. Henry well yea!
    I accuse you of molesting children.No evidence just feel like i. You are a not a good person.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What was the outcome of that case?

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    2. Child predators are expert liars.

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    3. OOPS should my brothers sisters and I...........

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  11. We do have to be careful about mere "allegations" because anybody can make them and somebody's reputation can be ruined. Most or all of these Priests aren't around to defend themselves. That being said, no one can deny it's been a huge problem around the world that has done incalculable damage to the Church but as important to the innocent victims. I do think that if there are multiple allegations against the same person and some other facts to back them up, you have to give them some credence. But if you have only one allegation against a priest with no other evidence, then we need to be very careful about assuming the worst. Because the Catholic Church did not take aggressive action once they learned about the problem, they exacerbated it and caused even more problems for themselves.

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  12. God! I hope Sierra Madre Residents amd certainly our Planning Commision and City Council take note of the cartoon which says more about lack of taste and consideration being foisted off on us by Ms Chang and deep pocketed Developers. As already noted by a poster, the rediculous monstrosity on Camello between two one story homes (East side just off Grandview) should be met with a lawsuit for destroying view and causing a reduction of property values. It is so bad it defies description. It would be interesting who on the Planning Commision approved or disaproved the lot filling Ploped in this location, Danny Castro should be fired over this flagrant violation of Code and HMZ Requirments. Obviously our City Administration is not getting the message.

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    1. I too am amazed that the Camillo things ever got past the developer servicing department, or the pc. It must have been a lot split, and that means the pc had to approve it, right?
      I agree that if you had enough money you could sue the city over violating so many of its policies.

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    2. The houses on Camillo did not go before the planning commission because they were less that 4000 square. Feet. That is the. Size it takes to get before the commission. The commission is in the process of lowering that number.

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    3. The size should be lowered to 2500 square feet for the threshold of when it needs to go before the planning commission.

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  14. Those houses are obviously for the McMansion market.

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  15. In addition to losing his job, Danny Castro should be made to sleep in a "Pup Tent" between his approved fiasco and the homes he just rendered awful. On second thought perhaps he shold remain as a solid voice for what mediocracy
    stands for.

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  16. Wonder who the architect was on the Camillo follies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. His license show be revolked becasue of ugly designs.

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  17. I you can stand it, you can go to google maps and see what used to be at 334 Camillo.

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  18. I thought you only went to th Planning Commission if you needed a variance. Once the Camillo barbarian had his lot split, if he needed no variance and stayed within code he was/is free to build whatever suits his fancy. Right?

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    Replies
    1. That is right. If it is less than 4000 sq ft. Approval is over the counter. No Planning Commission. Those structures are monstrocities.

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    2. Who was on the other side of the counter that allowed those monstrosities? Those people should be fired.

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