After much discussion it appeared that this One Carter development project as proposed by CETT was a mere single step away from its quite justified oblivion, and finally, after all of these long and painful years, a City Council was going to stand up to a developer and give the people what it is they really want.
All that needed to happen was just one City Council member to make a movement to deny the project. Just formally vote and see who really loves Sierra Madre as much as they have all said. Make the developer start over from scratch. Which, given their statements earlier in the evening, should have gotten the votes of all four of the eligible Councilmembers. With brio.
So what happened?
Mayor Harabedian suddenly pulled defeat from the happy jaws of victory and asked for a continuance. The City Council even formed a subcommittee so they can help Adele Chang tweak and trim her current two tiered slanty shanty to conform with what our suddenly architectural elected legislative body believes to be an acceptable structure for that downbeat mad pad at 610 Baldwin Court.
All of which means that the people who came down to City Hall, poured their hearts out about what Sierra Madre, as exemplified by the hillsides at One Carter, means to them, received what was at the very best a small incremental victory for their pains. That and the distinct possibility of months, or even years, of additional meetings just like the one last night. With no guarantee that anything good will actually come of it.
It was as if someone had designed the ultimate in passive aggressive public relations ploys, one designed to lure in the populace, allow them to believe that their participation and care means something, and once all of that energy and purpose had been spent, snap everything back to where things were when the meeting first began. All the while telling the assembled how much their words have meant and how truly wonderful it is that they care as much as they do.
So now we'll have another meeting in a few weeks and do it all over again? All so there will be one more chance for CETT to "significantly reduce the second story mass," and then it will be good to go?
And once CETT has done this one last thing we'll have what John Capoccia unhappily referred to as a "less bad" development in the hillsides?
I have no idea of who she was, I didn't catch her name and did not recognize her face. But at the very very end of this discussion, long after public comment had ended, a woman who described herself as a 91 year old lifelong California resident decided she'd heard just about enough and, with the aide of her attendant, walked up to the podium and spoke. And what she said was both profound and to the point.
She said that she'd lived all of her life in the foothills of the San Gabriel Valley, and how in our portion of it there is only one place left where things have yet to be destroyed. That being Sierra Madre. And with an eloquence that will forever escape me told the room full of people hanging on to her every word just why it is so vitally important that such destruction not happen here.
In this one last place.
Compare that to the distinct possibility of "less bad development." Then take a deep breathe, clear your mind of all disappointment and anger, and prepare yourself to fight again.