|Are we not men?|
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.