But the real reason you shouldn't go to City Hall tomorrow night is they up and canceled the special General Plan review meeting. With no reason given, I might add. They just decided to dump it, I guess. Something that does send an unfortunate message. It also means that if you go there tomorrow you might be the only person in the place, which would be even less people than usual.
Instead they have now tagged the promised General Plan Review on at the end of Thursday's City Council meeting, which was moved from this evening because, as you certainly must know, it's Veteran's Day. Which means government employees everywhere will be off. And you do know how they feel about their days off. The term "like a bat out of hell" describes it pretty well.
If you work in the private sector? Well, at least your commute to work will be a little easier. It should also give you a pretty good idea of how many people work for the government these days.
Here is how this last minute meeting reshuffling is described in an "e-Blast" to the residents (link):
The City Council special meeting regarding the General Plan on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 has been rescheduled to 7:30 pm, or immediately following the City Council meeting, on Thursday, November 13, 2014.
As a reminder, the regular City Council meeting on Tuesday, November 11, 2014 has been canceled as the City is closed in observance of Veteran's Day. This meeting has been rescheduled to Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 6:30 pm.
A copy of the Agenda Packet for both meetings can be found on the City's website, under "Current City Documents" by entering "11/13/14" into the date range box.
One thing that does puzzle me about this is the claim that the Special General Plan Review Meeting, now "rescheduled" (euphemism alert!) for Thursday, will start at 7:30pm, "or immediately following the 6:30pm Special Council meeting at this same location."
When has a City Council meeting ever gotten over in one hour? Like maybe … never?
I mean, these are people who enjoy sharing their opinions in the most word-use inefficient ways possible. They're folks who just love to hear themselves talk. They can barely get through a Consent Calendar in an hour, much less an entire meeting agenda.
Which means that the promised full City Council review of the General Plan, the meeting that was supposed to help move this ridiculously delayed yet increasingly vital document along, instead now gets stuck at the very end of a meeting agenda. You know, after everything else gets done first.
In other words, the CC GP Review has become a dreaded "last item."
Here are some of the things the City Council will now discuss Thursday evening before they get around to their promised review of the General Plan:
PUBLIC HEARING METRO SENIOR 30-DAY PASS – FEE SCHEDULE
RECOMMENDATION TO REJECT BIDS FOR THE RE-PLASTERING OF THE MUNICIPAL POOL
NOTICE OF COMPLETION, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT ADA ACCESSIBLE RAMP PROJECT
GAS TAX ADJUSTMENTS
Do any of these sound like they should be prioritized over the City Council's review of the General Plan? The purported blue print of our community that has been delayed and pushed back so many times it seems as if it might never get completed? And the one thing that could put a halt to the grotesque McMansion-style development and lot splitting that threatens to devour all that is good about this town?
One more: Why didn't they just cancel the so-called "Strategic Planning Retreat" on Friday and slot the General Plan Review into that spot? Certainly finishing the General Plan should take precedence over this following invitation to eye glaze (link):
Identify six-month strategic objectives (how the goals will be addressed initially – by when, who will be accountable, for what specific, measurable results) for each of the three-year goals.
Ugh. Obviously the foot dragging and delays continue. You can only wonder why.
An unintended consequence of our recent very low voter turnout election
Check it out. The folks over at TeaPac in Pasadena are all excited because it appears that their efforts to get voter initiatives on the ballot that could abolish all municipal utility taxes just got a lot easier. Here is how they explain it:
To qualify an initiative, proponents of a statewide initiative must obtain valid signatures equal to 5% of the number of persons who voted for governor in the last election. (N.B. Initiatives amending the state constitution require 8%.) On Monday, that meant collecting approximately 500,000 valid signatures. In practice, this meant gathering 750,000 - 800,000 signatures because of the high number of bad signatures. All of this has to be done in a five month period. It is a daunting and expensive task.
All of that changed quite literally overnight. By Wednesday morning, the number of valid signatures required dropped by half from 508,000 to 269,000 (!). This means that the gross number of signatures proponents have to gather to allow for bad signatures dropped from 800,000 to 400,000. The number of signatures that have to be gathered over the five month qualification period dropped from 160,000 to 80,000 per month; from over 5,300 signatures per day to under 2,700. To paraphrase Joe Biden, the most eloquent man ever to be Vice President, this is a BFD!
The impact is not limited to statewide initiatives. The same 5% formula applies to local initiatives dealing with a tax, fee, charge or assessment. As you know, TEAPAC and CTLC have been very involved in in the local initiative process. We have developed a strategy for attacking taxes at the local level using the local initiative process. The number of required signatures was already low. It is now negligible.
The big question for us now is how many signatures will it take to get an initiative on the ballot here in Sierra Madre. That is, should the spirit so move you. Well, we have that answer, and it is a chart.
There you go. Let's say you want to make Neil the Pig's birthday an official City of Sierra Madre holiday. Complete with a parade and a speech by the Mayor in front of Neil's sty. Which, of course, would need to become this city's very first celebrity museum. All you'd need to do to get it on the ballot is gather 149 signatures!
How cool is that? Maybe we should try a couple. A little direct democracy never hurt anybody. Especially when the representative kind seems to be working a little too slowly.