Thursday, November 13, 2014

Possibly the Worst City Council Agenda Item This Year

Are we not men?
One of the great unexplained mysteries in Sierra Madre this week is whatever happened to the "Special City Council Meeting Regarding the General Plan." It was supposed to go down last night but for reasons that have yet to be explained it was canceled. Or at least nobody told me why they did it.

At tonight's City Council meeting the illusion that there still is a "special meeting" on the General Plan will be maintained. Or at least they will attempt to do it. After all, there have been so many General Plan meetings canceled over the last nearly five years that it has become kind of a community joke. That is, if you don't regard it as a community disgrace instead. One that has left Sierra Madre vulnerable to the kinds of predatory McMansion development we are being threatened with at One Carter, Stone House and Mater Dolorosa. Not to mention the various lot splitting operations that allow developers to sell single properties more than once.

But maybe that was the point all along. Here is how these meetings are currently listed on the City of Sierra Madre website portal page.


A couple of questions do arise. Tonight's 6:30 Special City Council Meeting is pretty much along the lines of our usual Tuesday evening affairs. Which this one was supposed to be until somebody remembered that Tuesday was Veteran's Day and pushed it along 48 hours. And with three presentations, six Consent Calendar items, plus five of the usual time consuming regular topics, it is hardly going to get done in the one hour they're claiming above. 

All of which means that the General Plan Special Meeting won't really be all that special. Rather it will not get started until 9:30pm or so, which is usually when City Council meetings start to wrap up. Making the chances of the original intent for this event, moving the GP along at something faster than the snail's pace it has been going at for the last half decade, near impossible. 

In other words, this General Plan Review is now no longer much more than a last City Council meeting agenda item. One tacked on right at the end, and at the last possible moment. 

This had to have been done by design. There is no other logical for explanation for it. City Hall does not want the General Plan to go through. Or at least not until after the three big McMansion projects, plus all of that lot splitting action, are safely under way. They want that money.

This so-called "General Plan Process" has been going on for almost half a decade so far, with the distinct possibility of several more years of futility to come. This kind of thing does not just happen. The constant series of cancelations and delays, like the one we will witness tonight, had to have been done deliberately. 

Let me give it to you as straight as I possibly can. If your hopes are to preserve Sierra Madre pretty much as it is, and you believe any development here should be reflective of the historic character of this place, and that as a property owner you have the right to decide how the community where you've invested your blood, sweat and tears should look, then you have been horribly sold out. By both your city government and a majority of your elected officials.

That's the plain truth. It is time some people pulled their heads out of the sand and started admitting it.

Possibly the Worst City Council Agenda Item This Year 

It is called "Consideration of a Property Sale Inspection Program," and here is how it has been laid out for us in one incredibly offensive Staff Report:


Let me ask you this. Do you want the City of Sierra Madre involved this intimately in the selling of your home? I certainly wouldn't. The prospect of some nosy low echelon bureaucrat rooting around my home, and backed up by an unchecked and mercenary city government, is not something I would particularly enjoy. 

Here is another question. Is the home resale market really a city government function? People have been buying and selling houses in Sierra Madre for more than a century without this kind of incredibly intrusive City Hall involvement. Why the sudden rush for that sort of thing now? 

The answer is, of course, obvious. And despite all of the self-serving malarkey about "environmental sustainability," the real reason is money. A whole lot of it.


In other words, you are going to pay out the nose for months to these people, and if you don't live up to their cooked up standards (or, more likely, they feel you haven't paid them enough), they'll hit you with a misdemeanor charge as well. Just so the City Attorney can get a taste of the action as well.

Is this the Sierra Madre you have always known and loved? I don't think so. To me it sounds a lot more like an organized crime extortion racket. 

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

88 comments:

  1. Yes, this is just another excuse for a revenue stream for the city. and what a waste. We know that all the home sold in town now are slated to be demolished and replaced with a McMansion, so this "inspection" is just another money grab.

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  2. Visible street numbers? really? If it's that important to the city then they should pay to have it done. Of course, two thoughts occur: one, this is a small town and those who work emergency services know where each house is and second, if they don't their trusty GPS will guide them to the exact spot.

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    1. Visible street numbers? Hah. PD & FD have GPS, give me a freaking break!

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  3. so at the meeting when they ask for approval of the agenda, one of the council members needs to ask if the item number for the General Plan discussion can be moved to the top of the agenda, after payment of the bills, etc. And then, let's see who votes for that.

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    1. I am not sure they could do that. The General Plan discussion is an entirely different special meeting. One schedued to come after the first one with all of the presentations and 11 items.

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    2. why not? Back in the day when they had Thr Redevelopment Commission, they would close the council meeting, open up the Redevelopment meeting, handle that business, close that meeting, and then reopen the regular council meeting. it can be done.

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    3. Well then they should. It is ridiculous that the General Plan has been pushed to the back of the bus. Again.

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    4. They might conclude the first meeting at 7:30, to follow what the public announcement says, and push unfinished matters from the first meeting off for a couple of weeks.

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    5. That would be nice. Are you taking odds?

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  4. Whaaaa? "Three year goal: Make Sierra Madre an environmentally sustainable community, especially regarding water"? So, mandatory house inspections will result in water savings? That is a ridiculous disconnect. Especially since we can't "sustain" our community with a water source that apparently no longer exists, unless a serious amount of rain falls in the future. This silly Inspection Program needs to go away fast.

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    1. Gee whizzers. So what's wrong with government forcing its way into your house, searching through everything it possibly can, and then handing you a big fat bill on the way out? Along with the threat of arresting you? C'mon. It worked in the Soviet Union. Besides, its Green!

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    2. Better send emails. Obviously staff has lost its mind.

      JHarabedian@cityofsirerramadre.com
      JCapoccia@cityofsierramadre.com
      RArizmendi@cityofsierramadre.com
      DDelmar@cityofsierramadre.com
      GGoss@cityofsierramadre.com

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    3. It really is a Big Brother move.

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    4. Stay out of my business you JACKALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  5. What makes you think Sierra Madre thought this up all by them selves (a sample):

    A Septic Inspection is almost always mandatory for property sales in San Dimas having septic. Septic Inspection's help ensure there won't be any late-breaking ...

    Hawaiian Gardens, CA 90716. (562) 420-2641, x208 ... sale inspection program, in accordance with Ordinance No. 513 and ... property within the City of Hawaiian Gardens against undisclosed restrictions on the use of ...

    The Occupancy Inspection Program is designed to ensure the quality and maintenance of the City's single family homes, duplexes, and condominiums. This is achieved by conducting inspections of these dwelling units at the time of sale or ...

    and the issuance of a Pre-Sale Real Property Report for the property described as: , El Monte, CA ... El Monte, CA 91731. (626) 580-2050 ... City of El Monte, E.M.M.C., Chapter 17.16 (Occupancy Inspection Program). Section 17.16.040,H: In ...

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    1. Great! Let's become like El Monte!

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    2. How did they used to do it in Bell?

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    3. You should ask Bart Doyle about El Monte, 6:59. He has had some interesting experiences there.

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    4. Septic inspection is always required by the buyer

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    5. You all carefully ignored the fact that beloved San Dimas has something along these lines...

      Google California Cities regarding this and you will see it all over, not just in "detested" El Monte or the constantly referred to straw horse city of Bell.

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    6. But mawmeee! All the other kids are doing it!

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    7. "But mommy" arguments are just so troll.

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  6. There is no fee schedule for this home inspection proposal attached to the staff agenda report. Wouldn't the costs associated be considered a part of properly notifying the public about this discussion?

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  7. This type of inspection program in the city of Pasadena has been inconsistent, depending on which inspector you get coming to your home. In many cases, city inspectors have not made a finding on a condition that has been present for decades, and then the owner goes to sell the house, and a finding is made that can cost the owner or the potential buyer, thousands of dollars, and a delay in selling the property. I agree that it is a money grab for the city. And it would mean hiring several new employees. Sierra Madre is a funky town with some quirky homes that would never pass a city occupancy inspection.

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    1. The tear down crowd will love this one. Heck, maybe it was their idea!

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    2. I bet every house has a least 1 violation. Ca Ching

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  8. This is a new tax on homeowners.

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    1. With the UUT sunsetting you're going to have to pay for those platinum pensions somehow.

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    2. If you don't approve this new tax, the library will close. I really mean it this time.

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    3. Thanks Councilmember. Hostage taking is always appreciated.

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  9. The city is trying to correct their past failures of not properly driving the streets for any construction. It would be easy for Police or Fire to note where there are no addresses. Plain and simple, a money grab at a tremendous inconvenience and cost to a home owner at a very stressful time in ones life. Death, divorce and moving, all very stressful times in ones lives and the city wants in on that action, BAD CITY.

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  10. A kick in the wallet from city hall as a good by gift. And how much pension and salary will this new inspector cost the city?

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    1. The new inspector would be a contractor from WillDan. That way WillDan gets a split of the $$$. Conflict of interest? You bet.

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    2. Feedtime at the trough. WillDan, Michael Colantuono, CalPers, everybody is going to get a piece of this. Residents get treated like chumps.

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    3. Where are the residents' Platinum Pensions?

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  11. Maybe it should be called the Widow Tax. Often when a husband or wife dies the surviving member needs to sell the house and move to less expensive place.

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  12. A home inspection tax from the city, ridiculous, we need a new city manager who is for the community, one who can cut costs not create new positions.

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  13. Great. So you're trying to leave town and in the middle of a big money transaction. What better time for a shake down? It's not like you'll be voting here anymore.

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  14. Believe me...there is also monkey business that goes on. Some of the Pasadena inspectors have been bought off to look the other way. Then the next owner inherits the "code violations" when they go to sell the property. This bad idea needs to be shot down quickly.

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  15. I understand that when you buy a house, you have the right to a expect not to find major problems after you've moved in. That's why you get an inspection. Or you make the conscious decision to tke the house as is. The city will only out source the inspector with the company it always does any inspection. The city tells you we have a bldg. inspector but they don't tell you he is also an employee of the company who does all their inspections. There is no end to the possibilities the city can come up: handicap appliances-just in case, that includes soooo much stuff, then there is changing out any concrete that doesn't percolate, certain windows, the list could go on and on. So the house you've lived in many years, raised your kids, survived earthquakes, floods, etc. no longer is an investment for you, but an albatross. Why bother to have a house? The government has already proven that they want to do away with the si gle dwelling hous. The bullet train? All along its ridiculous route are plans for major developers to build apartments and condos so that we all can be close to transportation and our future jobs. Our government has caved to foreign investors from the White House on down. Welcome to the new world order, folks!

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  16. This is outrageously intrusive and stupid.
    Since when has the City been competent at anything? Why would they be competent at this? Answer it isn't about the "sustainability" of our water. It is about the sustainability of their employee benefits.
    If a home buyer wants an inspection ,use the free market to hire an inspector. That has worked for many years. Why change it now? Because they want to coerce more money from homeowners. It is just a callous money grab.
    This has to be stopped!

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    1. If you want to sell something in California, just tell people it is going to save the world. City home inspections are green and sustainable. And pigs fly, too. I don't believe anything these people say anymore. I just assume they're making it up.

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  17. "Anyone?...Anyone?..."November 13, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    When will the residents wake up??

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  18. If Mother Teresa wanted to put in an garage conversion without following the proper health and safety codes would it still be wrong?

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  19. What the City of Pasadena has done and the City of Sierra Madre is attempting to do, is illegal. It's called "racketeering" and several municipal governments have already been found guilty of violating RICO laws in Federal Courts.

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    1. It is OK. We have a city attorney that is paid for out of our taxes who will defend city hall's right to take more of our money.

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  20. I think Nancy Walsh has lost her mind. Comparing City Hall reform to child predators? And what is withnthe potty mouth?

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    1. Was Walsh comparing Delmar to a child molester? Was Walsh also dissing her BFF, the City Mgr? Did the water dept really declare BK in June? Even after the water rate increases? (18% and 19% in the last six months?). what is in this "secret" document?

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    2. I missed this, so I sure hope that the Tattler will run the video.

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    3. Working on it. Going to need a couple of days.

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  21. Geeze, what was that?

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  22. Somebody get the butterfly nets.

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  23. I can see they're rushing through this stuff to get to the General Plan.

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  24. Walsh never stays after her stupid rants. She doesn't want to hear anyone bash her. She is vile. As far as the wildlife presentation, God just asked some really stupid questions as did coop chia. Harabedian was the only smart asker of questions. I have the feeling we're gonna be here a long time tonight!

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    1. I get the feeling Nancy spends a lot of time alone.

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  25. God and coop chia? 'esplain that pleeeeeze!

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    1. Goss and Capoccia. Sometimes a smart phone makes interesting spelling corrections.

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    2. I can't believe I made Goss a God. Sorry, my typing is bad tonight.

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  26. I wonder how many Mayors have gone from running a city to being the craziest resident at public comment? We might have something very unique here.

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    1. Nancy is nuts.

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    2. Nancy Walsh may make the Mayor re-institute the 3 min. time limit.

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  27. At least Josh Moran has had the good manners to fade into the woodwork

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  28. Elaine must have been empowered. She's chipper tonight.

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  29. Yea! It's time to listen to how they're gonna stick it to us some more! It's now an hour and twenty minutes in.

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  30. Property sale inspection beaurocratic nightmare. It's a royal hose job!

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  31. Thanks Mr. Spears. Maybe you can wear one of the inspector propeller beanies they'll be handing out soon.

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  32. One real estate agent I like

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  33. Kim Clymer Kelly nailed city staff on this one. Wow. Who'd a thunk it. Called this inspection deal insanity. Right on!

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  34. Why is this home inspection madness being fast tracked? Because it will make the city money. It has nothing to do with water.

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  35. Even the Arcadia Realtors are against this.

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  36. Ok, you know this is a big issue when the CEO of the Arcadia Realtors Association shows up!

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  37. Barry Gold nailed it.

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  38. Regarding the resident who spoke a few minutes ago (she has red hair)...her story about the city's permit records being incomplete was very compelling. I am glad she shared her experience.

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  39. Kurt Vonnegut would have a field day with this nonsense

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  40. John Capoccia has just told us that city staff didn't mean it. Maybe he thinks they were kidding?

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    1. Right! (And they will be kidding about the fees, too!)

      NOT.

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    2. My guess is a lot of city hall types caught hell today.

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  41. So which city councilmember put this inspection boondoggle on the agenda?

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  42. So who does capoccia think put this plan together? Duh! Mr. Spears with help of Elaine? I am soooooo tired of Inman! Noe 2 hours and 15 minutes in. Gotta run, goss is speaking.

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  43. This "Property Sale Inspection Program" was a test balloon. They wanted to see what they could get away with. Once they saw how much it was pissing people off they ran away. We'll probably never know who put it on the agenda.

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  44. The special meeting on the General Plan was supposed to begin an hour and a half ago.

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  45. By the way.... Mr. Harabedian is doing very well tonight. Kudos to him.

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    1. The mayor is like sailboat. He rides with the wind.

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  46. Who is this Harris guy? He's good.

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  47. A realtor, I think. The man who spoke twice? I think he said in the beginning that he belonged to the biggest realtor in the world.

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  48. Oh that silly city council. If they Putin more radio read water meters, they can pretty soon save lots and lots of money by eliminating a meter reader and billing person. so instead they opt for the feel good "educational" signs, (as if folks don't know by now that we need to conserve water) and a grass removal project. iCal governmen, do what feels good but accomplishes little.

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