|Is there such a thing as too much joy?|
Mayor Harabedian brought up a Pasadena Star News article (he characterized it as infamous for some reason) that highlighted Arcadia's gross indifference to the water woes of this part of the world (link). His otherwise happy contention being that in a relatively short period of time cities such as our graceless nouveau riche downhill neighbor will be forced by the county (or even the state) to do the kinds of things Sierra Madre is doing now, and on a voluntary and courageous basis. I personally can't wait for that to happen. Stupid peacocks and all.
Speaking of Arcadia, the topic of why they still have plenty of that fine mountain water in their wells while we, who used to get our stuff from the very same source, have very little, did arise. Bruce Inman, called upon to reply, brought up his bedrock theory again, something that has been met with skepticism in certain quarters of this community. Barbara Leigh, in one of those classic asides she is so famous for, quipped: "I am surprised to hear that Sierra Madre and Arcadia have different water tables."
Why two cities who draw their water from the same sources can have such decidedly different results has never been adequately explained in my opinion. Has Arcadia ever drilled through bedrock to discover more water for their wells? Do we know this?
And here's a question. If you haven't drilled all that deeply, how can you know what is there? Arcadia, by all accounts, has very deep wells. We do not.
I was poking around on-line and came up with the following information from the United States Geological Survey (link):
The rock below the Earth's surface is the bedrock. If all bedrock consisted of a dense material like solid granite, then even gravity would have a hard time pulling water downward. But Earth's bedrock consists of many types of rock, such as sandstone, granite, and limestone. Bedrocks have varying amounts of void spaces in them where groundwater accumulates. Bedrock can also become broken and fractured, creating spaces that can fill with water. And some bedrock, such as limestone, are dissolved by water -- which results in large cavities that fill with water.
In many places, if you looked at a vertical cross-section of the earth you would see that rock is laid down in layers, especially in areas of sedimentary rocks. Some layers have rocks that are more porous than others, and here water moves more freely (in a horizontal manner) through the earth. Sometimes when building a road, the layers are revealed by road cuts, and water can be seen seeping out through the exposed layers.
Not to belabor this issue (I would never do that), but I think that if we could find out just how deeply Arcadia has dug their wells, and if they did manage to penetrate that troublesome bedrock we've all heard so much about, we'd be a long ways towards answering these kinds of questions.
Besides, how could you ever know if there is any water down there if you don't drill far enough to check? Given that ours is a city that has done very little to maintain water infrastructure over the years, and still does not have the financial wherewithal to get much badly needed repair work done, it is possible to ask these kinds of questions.
Maybe we should hire a dowser or something. A bedrock one.
The comedic highlight of the evening came courtesy of a developer by the name of Todd Boden. Like many who are attempting to make some major bank in real estate insane Sierra Madre, he wishes to take a single lot and magically double his pleasure by splitting it into two. Kind of like an amoeba. Much to his chagrin, Mr. Boden has lately discovered that he will not be able to get a water hook up for one of his reproductive plots. Or maybe both. I can't exactly remember those details at this moment.
But where Todd really rocked the planet was with his claim that by pulling down old homes and replacing each with a couple of new ones, it would actually save water. Kind of a version of the old "development is green" canard that John Buchanan and Joe Mosca used to try and endlessly shove down our throats a few years ago.
Naturally his proposal that we should tear down the 20+ (20?!) year old houses to put up new ones in order to save us all was greeted with a bemused silence. I guess we'll need to pull a video for this one.
Earl Richey rose to speak about his Public Records Requests and the belief that they have not been honored to the full spirit of the law by City Hall. While I have to admit that Earl has an unfortunate tendency for going off half-cocked at times, I too have had a similar experience with these kinds of City Hall records requests.
Elaine Aguilar replied to Mayor Harabedian's questions about Earl's accusations by stating he was given the option of coming down to City Hall and picking up copies (at .06 cents a pop) of the applicable documents. Sounds reasonable, right? However, what this actually means is that when you get down there you will be shown into a room largely filled with boxes of documents, the vast majority of which having nothing to do with your request. Or perhaps even all of them. Who can tell?
Faced with the burden of spending 8 hours at City Hall searching through a lot of inconsequential stuff for something that might not have even been made available to you, most would just pack it in and give up. Earl should just bite the bullet and hire a lawyer. Nobody deserves to be treated like this.
John Hutt had a lot of great common sense solutions for some of this city's more vexing water related problems. Somebody needs to put this guy back on the Planning Commission. My fear is without that outlet John could hurt himself by thinking too hard about things he cannot otherwise influence.
We really must protect so valuable a human resource.
John's most excellent suggestion of all was about having development fees calculated by the square foot, and not per building units. Otherwise we are encouraging the McMansion contagion. Also known as the "ebola of housing development."
The idea being that building sanely sized housing could end up being far more affordable to the developer than those 6,000 square foot water hogs that Adele Chang and the CETT Set want to visit upon an already ravaged One Carter.
A lot of other good things happened as well. Some very fine speeches were made, and sound suggestions poured forth from those in attendance. Who knew that Susan Henderson's moment of public notice dottiness would lead to so much goodness? Given all of that extra time to think of new ways to restrict the availability of water to Susan's developer cronies, both the City Council and attending residents got really creative and came up with some remarkable ideas.
And then there is this moment of double happiness. Who'd have thought that something as simple as talking about a water moratorium, initially a product of the inquisitive minds of Sierra Madre's small but persistently thoughtful group of slow growth advocates, could have led to all of this?
Even, hear me now, to the possibility of finishing the General Plan.
It sure is funny how things can turn out.