Friday, September 26, 2014

A Very Big Announcement From Preserve Sierra Madre

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(Mod: I received this announcement yesterday from Preserve Sierra Madre, formerly known as the Coalition to Preserve Mater Dolorosa and Stop the Housing Project. It is some very big news for those interested in saving Sierra Madre from exploitative overdevelopment.)

Dear Supporters:​
The Coalition to Preserve Mater Dolorosa and Stop the Housing Project was formed shortly after the Mountain Views News broke the story on November 16, 2013 that the Passionists from Chicago were planning to sell off a significant portion of the Monastery land. Since that time, our Coalition has grown rapidly from just a few people to a large group of concerned citizens committed to the preservation of one of the last large open spaces left in Sierra Madre.

During the time of our growth, we came to realize that the pressures of over-development had come not just to Mater Dolorosa but to the entire city of Sierra Madre. In other words, Mater Dolorosa was only a small part of a larger problem.

In an effort to protect this beautiful "Village in the Foothills" from the relentless pressure of outside developers, we have decided to form a new organization with a larger focus. The name of our organization says it all:  Preserve Sierra Madre.

In furtherance of our new efforts, we now can be found on Facebook and we are constructing a new website with the domain: www.PreserveSierraMadre.com. Our new email address is PreserveSierraMadreNow@gmail.com. 

Our new logo is:


We will have two principles that will guide our efforts:

1. We want to protect Sierra Madre from over-development in which Arcadia-like McMansions and lot splits appears to be the primary threat at the moment.

2. While we believe in private property rights, we also believe that a developer should not be allowed to build a property that causes a reduction in value to neighboring properties.  In other words, the developer's gain in value by building the biggest house possible should not be at the expense of the neighbors who see a loss in value because their views, light, or privacy are adversely impacted.

The Coalition to Preserve Mater Dolorosa and Stop the Housing Project will still exist but only as an arm of the larger Preserve Sierra Madre organization.  Because of the moratoriums,  it will be somewhat dormant for the time being with Preserve Sierra Madre being at the vanguard of our new expanded efforts.

Finally, we want to thank each of our supporters.  Much has been accomplished in the ten months of our existence. Those accomplishments are due to the efforts, commitment and passion of the members of our Coalition. We will undoubtedly face an array of challenges in the future including from deep-pocket developers and their lawyers.

However, we will not be silenced or intimidated. Its all going to come down to whether we care more about preserving our city than the developers care about preserving their profits.  If everyone does a small part, we can prevail and preserve the Sierra Madre we know and love for future generations.

Thank you for your support.
Steering Committee
Coalition to Preserve Mater Dolorosa and Stop the Housing Project 

(Mod: If I can throw in my two cents. The Preserve Mater Dolorosa group has been the most effective and professionally run new organization dedicated to curbing predatory and exploitative development here to emerge in Sierra Madre in quite some time. That they are now taking their efforts citywide is incredibly good news for everyone concerned about this important issue. We here at The Tattler fully support their efforts and hope you will as well.)

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com 

95 comments:

  1. The timing could not be better for an organization like this. It seems like everywhere I go in Sierra Madre, there is some new construction going on. One "principle" of this new group caught my eye: They have basically said that people should be able to do what they want with their own property within reasonable guidelines, but one person's gain should not be another person's loss. You drive down into Arcadia and you see how some developer built this huge 2-story McMansion between two 1-story homes which completely changed the character of the neighborhood and damaged the value of those neighbors' homes. Unfortunately, this kind of thing is happening all over the place which is why similar organizations are starting to spring up in cities all over the country.

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    1. Agreed, 6:44!
      Too many lots are being bought and tear downs are going on, that are replaced by Big.

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    2. The General Plan has to be completed and it has to protect this town before its too late.

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    3. That's the scary thing. The big obvious ones are terrible, like Carter and Mater Dolorosa, but it's also rot that spreads one lot at a time.

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    4. If we could go back in time to when the first few McMansions appeared in Arcadia, nobody probably thought anything of it. Then its 10 then 20 and then hundreds. Everybody slowly adjust to the change because you can't fast foward immdiately to what it eventually will look like. If we could have done that in Arcadia back when the first couple we're built and shown people a snapshot of where it will all end up in about 20 years, the people would have been horrified and shown up at City Hall with shovels and pitchforks.

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    5. This is the best news to hit Sierra Madre in a while. This may be our last best hope to save Sierra Madre from high-density over-development. We succeeded with Measure V and now we have to continue thier work.

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    6. Of all cities, Sierra Madre should be able to stop over-development in its tracks. That god for Barry Gold, Marguerite Shuster, Caroline Brown and some others who are consistently speaking up at the Planning Commission and City Council meetings.

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    7. People are starting to wake up to this new McMansion trend. Even Los Angeles has some groups springing up to preserve thier communities.

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    8. I still don't understand why people want to tear down a reasonably sized home. Do they have more kids or what.

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    9. 9:25 is right that the big developments hit us like a ton of bricks. But don't underestimate the cumulative effect of the Camillo projects that over a few years change the whole character of a community.

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    10. As bad as the big developments are, its the single home teardown that do the most damage in the end.

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    11. That property on Santa Anita near Arco is awful. I guess its contamination the nearer you get to Arcadia.

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  2. It seems like every city in the San Gabriel Valley is seeing older character homes razed to the gound only to be replaced by homes the size of aircraft carriers. In the green age we live in and with California's acute water shortage, it seems pretty irreponsible to build homes of such a size not to mention although the other impacts it has on a community. Certain cities are already past the point of no return with so much increased density and traffic, that you don't even want to drive thru them. That's Sierra Madre's future unless we do something now.

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    1. They are "resource hogs."

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    2. Some people want to build the McMansion only as a status symbol. Show everybody that they have money and are important. Its seems to me to be also an insecurity problem.

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    3. This will also help to preserve our property values. The more "unique" Sierra Madre remains, the more desireable our homes will be. Buyers will have alot of nearby alternatives if we become just like any other city.

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    4. 11:21, so right. It has always driven me crazy the way the Pro-Over-Development types claim that slow growth hurts us economically. Phooey! Slow growth keeps our value high and increasing.

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    5. Have people seen how bad Huntington Drive is now or trying to punch thru Pasadena to get to another side of town or the 210 freeway. Because other cities seem to be continuing to increase density, the problems will only get worse. All the more reason, Sierra Madre needs to be preserved.

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    6. Thiings do get a little screwball sometimes. You seem to have alot of so-called liberals in favor of big development when they should be jumping on this bandwagon.

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    7. There is a simple law of economics. If you increase the supply, prices go down. LIkewise, if you allow unbridled development in Sierra Madre. In addition, left in the wake is further traffic, congestion, and pollution which also eventually drive down prices.

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    8. Keeping Sierra Madre Sierra Madre is what will keep our properties value high not to mention the existing residents being able to still enjoy it.

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    9. You can also look at the cumulative effect of things that ultimately drove good people like the Koerbers to Tennessee. If things continue the way they are, we may be joining them.

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    10. California is going downhill fast. Sierra Madre may be "the last man standing" with developers trying to break down the gates. Sierra Madre can be preseved but its going to take alot more effort than has been shown so far. Money and lawyers usually talks the loudest.

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    11. If this drought continues, it will be impossible to eliminate the moratoriums. Articles have said this could be a 100 year or so cycle that has occured in the past. Let these developers spend their time and money - it ain't going to get built.

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  3. Have you ever noticed that the same people who support ugly development also support higher utility taxes and an overstaffed City Hall?

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    1. That is because it is all about money. Look at it this way. Your town is being sold off to fund city hall employee pensions and their sky high benefits. Does that sound like a wonderful trade off to you?

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    2. You can't preserve Sierra Madre without taking back city hall. They might as well just start renting out space to developers there. That way they won't have to travel so far for their meetings.

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    3. 7:52 is somewhat correct. You need good people at City Hall who support the residents. But there are always going to be certain tendencies among the public employees and their unions to seek more revenue to fund their salaires and pensions. What we can do is make the General Plan and Muncipal Codes air tight because we lose when they have the discretion to allow certain things. Let's remove that discretion and then make sure that an organization like Preserve Sierra Madre stays vigilant.

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    4. Everything the city is doing right now is to raise money. It is happening in cities all over California. The pension mandates of the corrupt regime in Sacramento are immense, and that money is supposed to come out of our pockets. The Mayor and the Mayor Pro Tem, as well as Councilman Knucklehead, have no trouble enabling this. To the point where they are trying to delay the General Plan until the Mater Dolorosa development is in place. This is not a hobby. This is a huge fight. The people we pay to take care of our town are spending our taxes for things that are not in our interest. They have no trouble selling us out so some useless idiots can retire at 50. That is what we are up against.

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    5. Its always about the money. As that letter from the Coaliton said, it all comes down to whether we care about the Sierra Madre lifestyle as much or more than the developers care about their profit. Most communities have not and that's why the developes have found they are ripe for the picking. I hope Sierra Madre is better than that because its going to take quite an effort to preserve our way of life here.

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    6. Money is not always the bottom line. There is also something called quality of life and that's priceless. At least in Sierra Madre that derives from not having parking meters, traffic lights, too much traffic on the road, open space and wildlife. That's worth more than gold.

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    7. City Hall is in the pocket of the developers. That's the problem. Then you expect the City Council to be on your side when often times they are elected because of the public employee union and developer money. And then we wonder why so many cities are going to hell in a handbasket. Beause so many residents have made a fuss, Sierra Madre hasn't reached that point yet thank god.

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    8. Its hard to figure why some residents want to ruin the town with over-development, higher taxes and a bloated city staff. You have to figure that is not their intention but it certainly is the result of their policies.

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  4. The BIA, Developers and Realtors only want to make money, they don't care if there is no water, freeways are gridlocked,
    and people are packed into places like the Stuart. So they give huge amounts of money to Politicians to get their way, and the Taxpayer be Dammed!

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    1. We do have to keep an eye on the Realtors because they usually don't care what happens as long as they get their commission.

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    2. We also need to avoid stupid thinking. Keep that in mind as well. Smart people do not attack their own.

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    3. What's wrong 10:07 with pointing out what interests here in town support more development?

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    4. If you do not enjoy the services this blog provides please feel free to start your own. Of course, in order to attract any kind of readership for your blog you will need to find more than one thing to say. Something you do not seem capable of quite yet. Personally, I am getting kind of weary from your saying the same thing over and over again on my blog. Do not get upset if I start deleting your posts. Otherwise I might have to throw up.

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    5. I'd love to see some realtors or a real estate office jump on the preservationist bandwagon. I think it would be good for business. I think they are afraid to alienate their clients when in reality they would probably be even more successful. Sign up realtors!

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    6. The realtors are like the developers - they are doing what they are supposed to be doing. Its up to the residents and the City Council to put in place laws to preserve the town.

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    7. I don't blame the realtors either. They are bottom dwellers like the lawyers. They will do anything to make a buck even ruining the town that some of them may happen to live in.

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  5. After years of hard work preserving and making Sierra Madre a wonderful little town, I want to turn it all over to some out of town developer of cookie cutter McMansion crap so he can make a few quick bucks and never set foot here again. How could anyone feel any different? It wouldn't be civil!

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  6. Thank you to the Coalition for being willing to take on the larger fight! Great!

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    1. Hope you are going to join the fight.

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    2. Actually I've been in the fight for a long time. Nice of you to join in.

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    3. If enough people do a little bit, this town can be preserved. Sierra Madre does seem unique in that respect. In other towns the people are too apathetic to get involved even though a large enough percentage feels the same way we do.

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    4. If I was New Urban West right now, I would tell Mater Dolorosa that we want our money back. This dog won't hunt.

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    5. Its good that people have finally woken up to what's happening in all the neighboring cities. Hopefully this organization has some staying power and will not be like the meteorites we've seen in the past.

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  7. This group has told me that they want to create an organization that will last in perpetuity to deal with development eruptions throughout the city. They also want to help individuals who often have to face City Hall and the deep pockets of a developer alone without any support. Preserve Sierra Madre is going to be our last and best hope to preserve our town. The more people they have the better. We all need to get on their email database.

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  8. Like us on Facebook at Preserve SierraMadre
    Follow us on Facebook.

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  9. It takes a village to save a village.

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    1. I like that 9:54. This may be the only time I like the expression, "It takes a village"

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    2. It takes a village with pitchforks and torches.

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    3. Thank goodness we have a strong City Council. What an improvement Mayor Harabeidan is to Nancy Walsh.

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    4. I'm attributing this comment to a member of the Harabedian clan...

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    5. Nope. We may not always agree with the Mayor but in terms of trying to be fair to the people in attendance at the City Council meeting and listening to their input, he is a far cry from Nancy Walsh. Nancy Walsh was mean and nasty. Mayor Harabeidan is actually a nice guy and that counts for something.

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    6. Right. It makes him a more effective salesman for high employee pensions and the few million dollars in development impact fees he needs to fund them.

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    7. Harabedian came around on the Moratoriums so I wouldn't give up on him yet.

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    8. It was no sweat off his brow. It will take more than two years to get the Mater Dolorosa disaster up and running anyway. Harabedian is selling this town out in exchange for a Sacramento political career. If you don't think he's capable of it, ask yourself this. How did his family make its money? In the garbage business.

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    9. It would be a shame if the Mayors decision are also influenced by what gain him better standing with the Democratic party for future public office. I hate to be that cynical and hope its not true.

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  10. People gripe about developers and realtors and whoever else they can think of to blame. But the real player, the most effective player, is our city government. If unwanted development is happening in this town, you do not have to look any farther than city hall for your answer. That is where the buck stops. Your buck. Is it being spent for things you want? I do not think so.

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    1. The developers and their lawyers are going to exploit every loophole in the code to build what they want. We should expect that and not really blame them. Why should they care? Most of the time they don't live in the town. Do you expect New Urban West the developer at Mater Dolorosa to care about anything other than maximizing their profit? Of course not. The community has to put the rules and regulation in place to protect their community if it means enough to them. If not, then don't complain about what the developers will do.

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    2. We can literally design the kind of community we want. If we don't like McMansions, prevent them in the General Plan and the Municipal code. Its that simple.

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  11. Please show up Thursday night 7 pm and let the planning commission know we do not want cookie cutter Mac Mansion at one carter.

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    1. The Last Stand of Adele Chang. What could be more entertaining?

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    2. Its always been an unequal fight when some poor resident is faced with something like the development on Camillo. Unfortunately, alot of people will drive by something like that and say "Whew, glad its not next door to me" not realizing that you may be next. This organization allows us to band together to so that its at least a fair fight. So far, its too often one resident or two going up against City Hall and the big developer. Preserve Sierra Madre will be there to help and level the playing field. The Canyon is taken care of by the Canyon Zone. Measure V took care of downtown. Now we need to focus on where the latest development threats are coming from.

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    3. Welcome to the fray. There has been a couple handfuls of us in the past 10 years that are getting really tired of being watchdogs for the whole community. We welcome any/all help we can get. We must get Capoccia, Goss and Harabedian to understand the reorg that Delmar and Arizamendi put forth in order to get the general plan and building moratorium squared away. It will only be done if Elaine has no excuses. To give her an assistant manager will only increase her intensity to rule over the staff. Her excuse? I have to "train" the assistant. Elisa is more than capable of directing the three managers that would be under her, thus giving Elaine "more time" to concentrate on what she needs to be doing. Harabedian was right on Tuesday night that Elaine is a micromanager, but not right in that she knows when/how to delegate if she had an assistant. She will never delegate.

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    4. The reality is that if, out of our entire community of what is it 10,000 people, if we have 20 committed individuals we can win. If we have 30 or 40 people its guaranteed. There is a vast silent majority that is usually on your side but they are too busy to get involved. Apathy is the hardest thing to overcome. Most people won't get involved until its right in their backyard - not realizing that what happens at the other side of town ultimately will affect them in the end.

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    5. We do need to show up for the next Planning Commission meeting. If the One Carter developer gets their way and the Planning Commissin knuckles under to threats of a lawsuit, every other developer will be emboldened to try the same strategy. CETT or whatever they are called and their surrogate McDonald should be grabbed by the scruff of their shirt and thrown out the door - with a kick in the behind to boot.

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    6. I don't like that lawyer McDonald or Adele Chang for that matter. They just don't seem like nice people who want to work with the neighbors. They want us to bail them out of a bad investment that was bad from the get go.

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  12. Zillow says my home values are declining already:Zestimate What's this?
    $807,982
    -$16,028 Last 30 days
    $751K$889K
    Zestimate range

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    1. One of the consequences of living in a town that is being run into the ground by greedy incompetents.

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    2. Where's that property?
      The chances are better than good that it was overpriced to begin with.

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    3. Chances are pretty good you are talking out of your fat fanny, 1:25.

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    4. It's next to the Monastery :( Zillow is never correct in Sierra Madre though

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    5. Somebody trying to get out of the range of the monastery development....

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    6. There is a feeding frenzy in the Sierra Madre real estate market just now, with everything selling at top dollar. If someone lowered their price, it must be because they need to move fast.

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    7. 1:35, don't actually have a fat fanny.

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    8. Sierra Madre is certainly in the cross-hairs of the developers right now because South Pas, San Marino, LaCanada and Arcadia are built out and the competition is too tough. Sierra Madre has alot of little homes on big lots and alot of potential for lot splits which really increase the profit for a developer but also increases the density for the community.

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  13. Ms Agiular has no clue what a general manageer does. They always always take carre of their customers first and In this case the customers are the residents of SM. As I have said before I tried once to bring a rather serious matter to her attentiion and was not so promptly shuffeled off to the Police Dept. Someone answered my post... here with "the City Manager has more importand things to do than meet with residents.......Manager Agiular does not understand the first thing about customers and how important they are to her success. It will eventually come back to bite her.

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  14. Be sure and see the "train station" masquerading as a family home going up on Santa Anita, 2 doors up from the Arco Staton. What an ediface. Arcadia is a mess of poor taste and an insult to the larger community.

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  15. Oh, a train station? I thought it was a hotel.

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    1. Hmmm........... maybe a funeral home, or an Arcadia Hacienda (those out buildings must be stables)

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  16. What do you expect from people one generation from raising pigs?

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  17. Arcadia reached the tipping point with over-development a number of years ago. The funny thing is that it used to be confined to the Southern part and now the scourge of over-development is moving to the Highlands. Let's see if those people have the will to fight back. Who owns the company Murisol Development? They are the ones doing alot of it right now. Any know who those folks are?

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    1. MuirSol is local.

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    2. Just out of curiosity who are they and where are they located? They are the biggest builder of McMansions around.

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    3. Yes they're local. A few years (not so many) the whole family, adults and children, appeared before the Planning Commission trying to get a lot split so they could turn a single family house on a large lot into a triple hitter! They built the condos on Sierra Madre Blvd after tearing down the home that had occupied the space for years. They've made a huge amount of money out of our little town.

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    4. The thing is, they are experts at exploiting the loopholes. We have to be equally savvy about closing them.

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  18. Measure V, 2-3-13 was a response to the threat of overdevelopment in our downtown. Is it time to do a double flank on overdevelopement in the rest of the town. I can imagine there would be a big support for something similar. The white elephant at the north end of the Montecito Parking lot, across from the Lunch Hair salon and next to Shabby Dog was a tipping point for many in Sierra Madre a few years ago. It is a wonder that the Canyon Zone was adopted as there was a lot of push back against that group, but they prevailed and it is working. I can cite two addresses of single story houses that would have followed the 2 1/2 story monster at 88 Vista Circle that would have multiplied aross the canyon if the second story building plane angle of 45 degrees up from an 8 ft point at the property line had not been adopted. The uglies on Camillo and N. Lima would not have happened if the rest of the city had been so protected earlier.

    And for newcomers to the Measure V 2-30-13 that represents 2 stories, 30 ft maximum height, 13 units per acre. Yet, we got a sucker punch when the Kensington was "voted on as per Measure V" as many citizens took a back seat and didn't for a minute imagine it was going to be so large. Guess it could have been larger. That was another battle: what is a unit?
    as per the 13 units per acre.

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    1. I was talking to an Altadena friend today, who said he had driven by the Kensington and was shocked. "I didn't think Sierra Madre would allow anything so big. You can't see the mountains."

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    2. The only upside is it blocks the mountain views for those working at city hall.

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  19. That logo should be of a jackal! Yes, a jackal for all you JACKALS!!!!!!!!! Leave them be you jackals!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. I think he wants people to leave the jackasses alone.

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