Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Do Not Go To Tomorrow Night's Planned Special City Council Meeting On The General Plan

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Don't do it. You hear me? And it's not because anyone here doesn't think this is an important meeting, or that you shouldn't care about the General Plan. Which you ought to since it is just about the only thing standing between this community and a very special kind of McMansion-style development. You know, the sort that makes mausoleum row at Rose Hills look like a Baja California party village? If you don't believe me, go drive around Arcadia. A lot of those things really do look like mausoleums. You know, like where the Crypt Keeper lives (link). Scary as all get-out.

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.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

43 comments:

  1. Could we put a sex offender ordinance on the ballot?

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    Replies
    1. Nah. We have enough sex offenders already.

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    2. Have they taken a census? Is there a quota?

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    3. Isn't it amazing how community outrage is mollified and dies out?

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  2. Maybe council did there home work and took the GP home, marked items of question and then Thursday Special Meeting will be a breeze, yea right.

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    Replies
    1. It could happen!

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    2. Two things will probably happen. It will be late and this will be rushed through and have to be looked at again. Or it will be too late and they will push it to another time.

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  3. Here is the reason why City Hall keeps delaying the General Plan. They want to make certain that Mater Dolorosa, One Carter and Stone House, along with a tidal wave of lot splits, go through first. They don't want anything to get in the way of all that development because of the money it will pump into various city pension and benefit plans. To say otherwise is to be naive.

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  4. How about term limits for city managers?

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  5. I was told by someone at the Kensington across the street for city hall, that it cost $750,000 in permit fees of one kind or another. With this kind of money city hall can bring in we are going to be McMansion capitol of the world.

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    Replies
    1. That is their priority. Only an idiot would believe otherwise.

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    2. The City needs those Development Impact fees. If they don't have them, how will they get to pay back the "loan" of park money the City made to buy Goldberg Park?

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    3. Sierra Madre is being sold off piece by piece to pay off City Hall's bad debts. Don't for get the millions of dollars that are owed in interest only payments water bond debt. Years of bad government have come back to haunt us. Bodies are floating to the surface, and try as the city might they are getting hard to bury again.

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    4. Interest only water bonds? Nothing to see here. Keep moving!

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    5. I enjoy my services every day

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    6. It's part of the process. Ask Mayor Johnny.

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  6. Canceling GP meeting is nothing new. Elaine has been doing it for over half a decade. I would have been surprised if it happened.

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    Replies
    1. Staff has a lot on their plates right now. There is another Whoville coming up.

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    2. Isn't the Whoville a chamber thing? Oh that's right - the chamber loves it some staff hours.

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  7. I know a Dr. that moved out of Sierra Madre because she was having trouble getting permits on her old house. She said not only were they difficult to deal with but too expensive.

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  8. Most days recently, I feel like Don Quixote. Elaine has become my windmill. As city manager, one assumes she looks at a calendar to set meeting schedules. So canceling the meeting, when she knew full well that Veteran's Day was an employee holiday. She made an error, but will she be called on it? Nope! It's what the powers that be wanted. The cancelled meeting should go before the agenda for Thursday. Write the city council and tell them this. Tuesday's agenda should be first, not last on the agenda. How many of you will take the time to do this? The council has the ability to change the agenda. We have the power to make that happen.

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    Replies
    1. Elaine is the developers' linchpin at City Hall. She is essential to them as she works for their interests and undercuts ours. Get rid of her and things will improve. A lot.

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    2. Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and now Elaine, ALL have an agenda and know full well what they are doing!

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    3. Everyone has an agenda. Even the people you like.

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  9. Getting rid of Elaine will not be easy if justified but you can call her on every false step she makes. Write the councilmen as suggested. Let them know you won't tolerate this subversion.

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    1. if not explaining how or why she billed for 200 staff hours for the Mt Wilson Trail Race planning isn't a false or fraud step, i don't know what is.

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  10. Does Elaine have an employment contract and if so, when does it end?

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    Replies
    1. it will end when 3 of the City Council say "buh-bye."

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    2. We are one election away.

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    3. We are always one election away. Then our elected candidates change from butterflies to worms.

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    4. The city manager serves at the will of the council.
      The council hires 'em and could certainly fire 'em.

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    5. So I guess that means the city council approves of her activities.

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  11. We need a city manager who is committed to make do with what is available. Not one who believes problem solving means asking for more taxes.

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  12. Elaine's error was do to the fact that she had too much work to do. We all know how busy she is, especially since she has to keep track of everything her new assistant does.

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    Replies
    1. like billing the Mt Wilson Trail Race for $ 18,000 for 200 staff hours spent meeting and pre planning the annual event thats the same every year?

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  13. Replies
    1. Go get us 149 signatures, All Caps.

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  14. Aw yeah, the 'All Caps' cop is back in action.

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    Replies
    1. He is very demonstrative.

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  15. If you actually have a Tue meeting moved to Thursday and an added Wed. meeting, then posting everything by the normal Friday would be ahead of the game. This woman is incompetent.

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    Replies
    1. I thought the announcement from City Hall was unclear, and am glad the Tattler restated it!

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  16. A while ago someone posted that Aguilar was sending out resumes. Never heard anything more?

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