Saturday, September 20, 2014

San Marino's Effort To Recall Dennis "Poopgate" Kneier

Dennis "Mayor Poopgate" Kneier caught in the act. Videos here and here.

(Mod: The following article was put together by some residents of San Marino. They are facing the same kinds of wacko development pressures that a lot of other small cities are facing, and rather than let their little piece of the valley paradise descend into developer hell, they've decided to fight back. Sound at all familiar, friends? Of course, they have the additional burden of their very famous Mayor Poopgate, that adamantly developer forward fellow who attracted so much attention recently for a very inconsiderate act. Who could have known that this moment of doggy decrepitude would soon serve as a remarkable metaphor for so destructive a record in office?)

A Little Town Under Siege: If you drive through the town of San Marino these days, you'll see lots of new city construction work - street and sidewalks torn up, the ficus trees along Hungtington Drive ripped out and replaced with new trees, a center median irrigation water system replacement all throughout town on Huntington Drive, new and unneeded drives along Lorain Road, and lots of curious street reworking projects such as those at Monterey and Oak Knoll. Add to it the new bicycle lane striping on Del Mar Boulevard, also forced upon the city residents by City Hall, along with many other unwanted projects being rushed to the front of the construction pipeline, and things aren't looking so very good right now.

Additionally, streetlights are about to be "replaced" with entirely new lampposts, this even though they were relamped a few years ago. City Hall has also completed its very own building reconfiguration and remodel of its interior spaces, with a strange little "fountain" being built outside the place, embedded with the City's seal. As if that shiny civic badge somehow sanctifies their many bizarre activities.

And therein lies the tale. Tremendous numbers of proposed and mysterious new construction projects are being spawned from the dark heart of City Hall, then released upon the residents of this town as if they are Dorothy's flying winged monkeys. And just in time for Halloween, too.

All things that are neither needed nor wanted by the local folks. Tearing down the trees in Lacy Park to expand unnecessary parking lots being yet another if these travesties.

And oh, yes, there's that "parklet" in the middle of town, built for no particular reason except maybe to say there is now a parklet. They're all the planner rage these days, you know.

Or how about spending thousands of dollars on consultants to create a rationale for painting 30% of the streets with striping? Narrowing Huntington Drive down to two lanes in a vast bike lane scheme, and in a town with comparatively little such traffic.

Then there is the spending of $50,000 for public meetings designed to manipulate and manufacture public consent for tearing down one of the city's prime historic structures, Stoneman School (now owned by the city), done so that the actual program provider could maximize her personal profits. Oh, and City Hall will get more revenue, of course.

The cost? Upwards of $15 million dollars!

Where is the city getting the money for all of these misappropriations? The word coming from the City Manager and former Police Chief is that these folks plan on shifting some new bonds to pay for it all, done so that residents can pay out their collective nose for the destruction of a building on the historic register. One containing a mural that is both historic and irreplaceable.

Add to all this new olympic-sized pools, repaving and rebuilding the Huntington Drive interchange at the Civic Center, remodeling the Women's Club building, build underground parking structures, oh my!! The list is apparently endless.

But the city's coffers are nearly bare.

So where is all of this massively expensive wizardry coming from? From none other than former Mayor (and still Councilman) Dennis "Poopgate" Kneier. That very infamous gent has now inflicted upon us all a massive construction juggernaut, done by instigating projects that he himself puts on his own quite spurious "Make San Marino Better" list.

It's like handing out candy at the door to all the little goblins and ghosts that put in an appearance on Halloween night.

Those little hands-out-at-the-door have been clearly abundant in the last few years, and with outsourced construction and services going to all kinds of interested outside providers, these trick-o-treaters have now grown into a full mob of Poopgate entitled developers and contractors.

All of whom have found abundant candy love in their new happy home at City Hall.

So, as a result, a group of concerned local residents has recently emerged. Their purpose? To get rid the city of Profligate Poopgate once and for all. Their website, recallkneier.org (link), is now collecting signatures to recall Dennis Kneier, with a filing set for October 22.

Good information can also be found at https://www.facebook.com/recallkneier (link).

While he has resigned as San Marino's Mayor, Poopgate Kneier continues to insist that he will stay on as a member of the City Council. He has sought legal counsel in order to complete his doggy term, which ends in October 2015. Clearly, both he and the City Manager have a predatory development agenda that they keenly desire to further implement during his remaining time on the Council. Hence the urgent need to remove him.

But until that happens the development siege continues, and San Marino's seemingly endless Halloween night continues to cast a pall over the town.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

45 comments:

  1. lots of "free" money is available to add bike lanes to our streets. t's so green. Problem is, it snarls traffic and no one uses them. Just another enviro-government idea gone bad, and spending your money in the process.

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    1. politicians are very good at spending money (yours) but seldom have good ideas.

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    2. At one point in time I was a regular commuter along Huntington. I can't imagine a worse street to make more narrow.

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    3. About 15 or so years ago when we move to Sierra Madre the commute time on Huntington Dr. To Alhambra was about 15-20 minutes. In the last several years, traveling at the same time, the commute is now at least 30 minutes one way. And they think bike lanes are going to solve this problem?

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    4. If you want to know how cities accomplish such tragedy, read BEHIND THE GREEN MASK; AGENDA 21, by Rosa Koire. It's chapter and verse of how city officials and their crony contractors get to bankrupt their towns.



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  2. It is always much easier when you are spending other peoples money. And it also helps make your friends happy.

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  3. And here we thought those snooty San Marino residents wanted to spend their money on themselves, what a surprise

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    1. They want to spend it on you. What kind of soup do you like?

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    2. The residents don't trust City Hall. The new library was built mostly with local donations and some city money, no loans. But it turned out that the city had "adjusted" the management of the building to charge sizeable rental fees to the local community groups to get more revenue for itself. Lots of initial supporters just walked when word of that got out. And then when the rooms didn't rent out, the Tribune publishes an article about it, and Mitch Lehman scolds the residents, telling them they "didn't pony up". Bunch of thugs there and at the paper.

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    3. A lot of local governments in the area see their priority as funding themselves. And where else can they get the money they want except from the people they're paid to serve? All so they can load up their pension packages with goodies. It is corruption plain and simple. A recall once in a while is good for democracy. It also scares the goose crap out of the crooks who run these places. Every city should have one once in a while. Flush the pot on Poopgate.

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  4. Can't help but wonder if the camera that caught Poopgate's moment of shame was paid for by a COPS grant.

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  5. There is a Facebook Group where you can get more information: https://www.facebook.com/recallkneier

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  6. More serious than poopgate is the demolishing of so many older character homes in San Marino. You see it going on everywhere. There are also plans in South Pasadena to build 91 housing units on what was formerly a school site and there are more housing units planned for what used to be Abbot Laboratories on Mission Street. The traffic on Huntington Drive and Fair Oaks is already horrendous. Why do we want to keeping increasing density. Remember when the 210 freeway was always such a pleasant drive with very little traffic - and that was not that long ago. As each city gets ruined by over-development, California is not going to be even livable any more. Too many good people like the Koerbers of the world are moving out and leaving the traffic and pollution behind. Then we come to little Sierra Madre which is now facing those same development pressures. Its the only city left that hasn't become unrecognizable. The residents have a great opportunity to preserve it by putting in place rules and regulations that prevent McMansions, prevent the destruction of character homes and prevent over-development. That can be done through the new General Plan which is going to the City Council on October 7th. If we squander the opportunity, Sierra Madre will eventually succumb to the over-development trends and it will be through no fault but our own.

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    1. Great comments 8:13.
      The plague of McMansion is moving through San Marino at an alarming rate. Check out Monterey and Old Mill Road for instance - tear downs and hotelish structures going up in every direction. What used to be considered large houses on large lots becoming giganticos on every inch of land.
      Around Huntington and Fair Oaks? There was parking on the streets 5 or 6 years ago - never a space now. Snarly congestion, ill tempers from the frustration of no place to park.
      Friends who've moved out of Southern California said they realized people here were often in bad moods because they were just too crowded.

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    2. That's right 8:53. The San Gabriel Valley is changing and its happening faster than we think. The problem is that each project or McMansion in and of itself doesn't break the camel's back. Likewise, just a few more cars each day on the 210 is hardly noticable and we all adjust to it. But slowly and surely you get more and more housing projects and more and more traffic and then we all wake up one day and say "What happened?". Its becoming unsustainable with the water crisis being the most glaring example. I don't blame the developers who want to make their profit or those who want to build a McMansion that tells the world "I'm somebody." I don't blame City Hall and the public employees who want to maximize revenues to fund their ever-increasing salaries and pensions. I do blame the residents and taxpayers who who sit idly by and watch this happening right under their noses. I blame those people who can't take the time to come to a City Council meeting to say "Stop the Madness". The bottom line is the victory will belong to those who care the most. Developers and McMansion builders, while fairly small in number, are very motivated to make their profit and build their status symbol. If the silent majority can't muster up enough concern to be equally motivated about preserving what's best about their cities, then we lose and we deserve our fate.

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    3. My special anger is for the elected officials and city hall managers who did not tell us just how much of our money was being put into health plans and pensions. Instead telling us we had to pay the highest utility taxes in the state in order to "preserve services." They lied.

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    4. True, 2:09.
      I must say, though, that when I started my participation in these matters, I had no idea of the rampant dissembling that went on in the development community, the complete absence of ethics, the total manipulation of governmental bodies. While in the common world honesty is a virtue, in the development world it is seen as marking a sucker. I don't blame the uninitiated for not knowing the level of deceit that is being practiced on them, and the destruction it will lead to. It takes some experience to realize the degree of the moral vacuum that can be found in most developers, and their ancillary enablers.

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    5. I agree with the statement above ,that cities get away with doing many things because nobody pays attention. The people in San Marino have been asleep for years. Looks like someone finally shook the bed. Reminds me of the city of Bell fiasco. I guess the poop has hit the fan. The thing I dont want to see is the moment things get complicated people just up and leave the area. That just makes it easier for the trouble to take over. I went through this many years ago when a certain school district tried to do the right thing and all people thought to do is run away from the changes instead of trying to work with it or even fightit with a better idea. It destroyed the district . San Marino ,Sierra Madre or any other towns having leadership issues need to wake up ,stand your ground and fight back!

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    6. Your advice is well taken, and I think we're going to do just that.

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  7. So many Sacramento so-called green planning mandates are just direct payoffs to development and real estate lobbyists for all that campaign cash they feed to our crooked legislators. It's California. All they had to do was tell the chumps they did it to save the world.

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  8. The corruption runs so deep.
    San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments agrees to $250,000 settlement with Nicholas Conway
    http://www.sgvtribune.com/general-news/20140919/san-gabriel-valley-council-of-governments-agrees-to-250000-settlement-with-nicholas-conway

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    1. How did Mayor Johnny vote? Only one COGGIE voted against paying Conway off, and he wasn't from Sierra Madre.

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    2. COG is a Politburo. All the comrades vote as one.

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    3. Most COG representatives are brain dead and clueless.

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  9. The whackiest proposal to come from Kneier is to put an olympic pool in at Stoneman, on top of the proposed teardown of the historic facility. With underground parking at $5000 per space...boggles the mind. This in spite of the fact that the Rosebowl Aquatic Center nearly went under about 10 years ago because of the significant costs of running a public pool which costs a minimum of half a million dollars to build.

    More information on the pool issue is at www.tinyurl.com/mstlvbc

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  10. The world as we know it has gone mad. Everywhere you turn you are faced with agendas and corruption. That's why I try hard to make sierra madre my last stand. I'm too old to fight bigger battles. I look at my grandkids and know how much they will be missing in life as I knew it. I find myself showing and teaching them everyday how it used to be and should be and what they will be facing. I would love to leave california but it is not to be, so I'll fight my battle right hre.

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  11. And I will be right next to you and anyone else who cherishes Sierra Madre and is willing to fight to preserve it. Barry Gold

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    1. Thank you, Barry Gold!

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    2. I'm right there with you guys. Regardless of how things turn out, at the end of the day when I take my last breath, I want to have the peace of mind from knowing that I didn't roll over, I didn't stand idly by, but that I did my best and fought the good fight. I'll plant my flag and make Sierra Madre the last stand. Bring it on!

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  12. And here I thought that San Marino with its affluence and professionals would be better equipped than we "poor country cousins" to fight the ravages of real estate and developer predations! This is truly devastating news...

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    1. They're being kept barefoot and pregnant...

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  13. Time to perform an exorcism! Bring lots of garlic

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  14. So many people just don't want to get involved because they think it won't affect their home. They are usually the first to scream when a cell phone tower goes in too close to their proximity or a dog park is slated to go near their house. What affects one affects all the members of the community. When they come to this conclusion, things can happen. So listen to those who have genuine community issues. Ignorance is bliss until it affects you!

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  15. John and Diane ShearSeptember 20, 2014 at 2:39 PM

    Thanks, Barry Gold!

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  16. Barry Gold is slugging it out at every meeting. He needs help.

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  17. Stop the insanity! San Marino has always been a quiet town with volunteer groups handling the community activities. Now the city is going gangbusters with programs with big fees from the Recreation Department that are relying on bigger and bigger attendance from the larger region, resulting in major traffic problems that overwhelm the local scale. The residents have no need for a huge city government that engages in this kind of big overhead and salaries, especially for traffic and crowd control that would not exist otherwise. This is not OUR CITY!

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    1. Absolutely right, 4:31. Sierra Madre used to be run much more by volunteer groups, but then the city staff madness started here. You're right for fighting to stay low-key.

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  18. So what do you say that we split-roll Prop 13 so the income-producing commercial properties pay their fair share of property tax? Then the cities wouldn't have to play these games to get revenue, and they could kiss the developers good-bye.

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  19. Bike lanes? Bicycle advocacy groups are very powerful now. Advocacy. A fancy word for lobbying, influencing, and maybe strong arming the public and politicians. What's the connection to bike groups? National groups such as Complete Streets, Thunderhead Alliance, and others, have training programs teaching their members how to pressure for redevelopment, and training candidates for office. It's not just about bike lanes; it's about remaking cities and rural areas to the 'sustainable model'. High density urban development without parking for cars is the goal. They call them Transit Villages. This means that whole towns need to be demolished and rebuilt in the image of sustainable development. Bike groups are being used as the shock troops for this plan. The plan is to restrict your choices, limit your funds, narrow your freedoms, and take away your voice. This is the new Urbanism elected officials like Kneier have bought into. Why? It's profitable for the developers and their elected official cronies. Unfortunately, the tax payer is left holding the bag to pay off all the bond interest because these projects tend not to be successful in meeting property tax projections. Why? Mixed use Soviet style block house apartments aren't popular.

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  20. They're using the old sheep-herding techniques at these "public meetings":

    This is how it’s done. They control the narrative. What they call consensus really means neutralizing enemies. It’s called the Delphi Technique. Developed by the Rand Corporation as a cold war mind control technique. Delphi can be used on any group, from just one person to the entire world. Trained facilitators present a range of choices to a group but have tailored them to direct the outcome. This is most often done in public meetings, called visioning meetings, put on by your city or county to get your opinion about your town. The meetings are advertised as an opportunity for you to give your input to an exciting new plan for the redesign of your city center or in this case, Stoneman School. The organizers, i.e. Kneier, want to give the appearance that they have listened to community opinion and incorporated it into their plan. The key thing to know about this that of course you have no input. Only comments and observations that support the pre approved plan will be supported. All other comments and observations will be written on a big pad and discarded later. Sometimes, non profit groups will be brought in, such as in the bike lane discussion. Remember the San Gabriel Valley Cyclist speakers? They are called facilitators or consultants. This consultant has been hired by your city to fulfill the requirement that the project has been seen and supported by its citizens, and city employees to send members to seed the audience and outnumber potential opponents. This is war. On those few occasions when the majority of the attendees object to the planned outcome, the meeting will close and be rescheduled for another time and place . You are experiencing the new consensus. They have basically given you two choices about Stoneman. One tear it down, or two, renovate. They have already made up their decision. They will push the meeting to that agenda. Talk about a third option, of doing, nothing isn’t even on the table.

    The same applies for the "Survey Monkey" input that's being sent around to residents that limits responses to two options. The whole thing is just fabricated.

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  21. Please join the Recall Kneier Facebook Page!! Please share your options their too!!! https://www.facebook.com/recallkneier

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  22. You ARE your brother's keeper.
    Jerry Brown signs bill on car surcharge for bike lanes
    http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/government-and-politics/20140920/jerry-brown-signs-bill-on-car-surcharge-for-bike-lanes

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  23. Save our town from FORIEGN investors ... EAT A PANDA !

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  24. The Tattler covered all of that a couple of weeks ago

    http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com/2014/09/is-our-chinese-funded-housing-bubble.html

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