Saturday, December 13, 2014

Arcadia Highlands Fighting Back Against McMansions (plus) Judy Chu Rung Up On An Ethics Violation


Residents of the Arcadia Highlands area of our McMansion afflicted neighbor down the hill are getting organized in hopes of preventing the destruction of what is really one of the nicest places in that town to live. They have established a Facebook page called "Save The Highlands" to help create public awareness for their efforts, which you can access by clicking here.

You may also recall that this was the neighborhood in Arcadia providing much of the opposition to the razing of the Arcadia Woodlands by various grim LA County bureaucracies back in 2010. A cause many of us here in Sierra Madre supported.

Unfortunately, this was something that our so-called "green" Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem at that time failed to get behind when called upon by residents to do so. They didn't even bother themselves to comment about it, actually (link). Though both of them did support something they liked to call "green building standards," which always struck me as being something of an oxymoron. Perhaps Edison had made some investments in boutique building supply companies, or something.

There are a number of articles from major news outlets cited on this Facebook page dealing with the current bizarre situation in Arcadia, all of which we have discussed here on The Tattler. You do get the sense that many Arcadia Highlands residents feel that they have been sold out to powerful outside economic interests by their City government, and feel betrayed by this. Which is certainly something that residents living here can understand.

The Arcadia Highlands group currently has the following petition going, and they have already gotten quite a lot of support for it. This is how they pitch it:

Highlanders, please help set a precedent in the Highlands against mansionization! Download and sign the petition by following the link above or at the bottom of this post. More info can be found in the expanded "About" on the left.

This petition has been signed by over 330 homeowners representing over 250 homes in the Highlands. We urge you to join us in our efforts to get the opinions of Highlanders heard by our city council.

If you would like to help by signing the petition, please send an email to: ArcadiaHighlanders@gmail.com. Our goal is to have signatures representing over 400 homes in the Highlands. We still need signatures from about 150 homes. Please help spread the word!

Here is a screen shot of that petition. If you know anyone who owns a home in the Arcadia Highlands area, please forward this to them along with some encouragement to sign it.


Judy Chu busted on an ethics violation

Our treasured and esteemed Congresswoman Judy Chu (link), who through her support for the 710 Tunnel is no stranger to selling out residents of the San Gabriel Valley for the longterm benefit of certain hostile foreign economic interests, got popped this week by the House Ethics Committee. Apparently Judy was cited for interfering in an official investigation of her office over the use of government salaried employees for personal political gain. This from KPCC (link):

House Ethics Committee scolds Congresswoman Judy Chu El Monte Democrat Judy Chu was publicly scolded Thursday for using her Congressional staffers for campaign work and then interfering with an ethics investigation that sought to get to the bottom of it.

The House Ethics Committee has issued a letter of reproval, a punishment that carries no fine.

Chu was accused of requiring office staff to perform campaign-related work in her House office, during regular working hours. There's an ethical firewall between work done on the taxpayer's dime and that done on a political campaign.  

After an investigation, the Committee found that Chu's staff performed "limited campaign-related work while in House offices and on official time, and that some of this work was not voluntary," but the Committee also concluded that Chu didn't know about it.

The reproval was for interfering with the investigation by "communicating with a member of your staff who expressed concerns about improper campaign work." Chu says she spoke to the staffer "one time simply to confirm facts based on the official calendar." She told the committee she regrets her actions.

The Ethics Committee called Chu's expression of regret commendable, but not good enough. By giving her own version of events to a material witness she violated a House rule. "You impeded the Committee's work and exhibited very poor judgment," the letter said.

The Capitol Hill news source Roll Call also let Ms. Chu have it (link):

Chu Chastised for Interfering in House Ethics Investigation Concluding a probe it launched in March 2012 into allegations that Rep. Judy Chu tasked her official staff with campaign work while they were on the clock, the House Ethics Committee rebuked the California Democrat Thursday for interfering with its investigation.

Investigators learned a staffer had drafted a memo for an August 2011 fundraising lunch at the direction of Chu’s legislative director. They also discovered a second staffer spent several hours sifting through emails to Chu’s campaign account that were sent in response to a “military hazing” email.

The committee later determined Chu didn’t know about the improper work, and therefore had not violated House rules. But investigators learned over the course of the probe that the three-term congresswoman talked to her staff about the probe, violating House rules related to conduct.

In a 17-page report, the committee details a “troubling” series of conversations and email that took place on March 19, 2012, the day after the Ethics Committee notified Chu’s office of the investigation. After a staffer expressed concerns to Chu’s chief of staff about the probe, Chu tried to offer reassurance. Additionally, it appears Chu tried to cover up the March 20 email exchange.

She later apologized for the inappropriate contact with her staffers, but it wasn’t enough to keep Ethics Chairman K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, and ranking member Linda T. Sanchez, D-Calif., from publicly rebuking her actions. Their two-page letter was posted Thursday.

Here is my question. Who actually votes for people like Judy Chu? And why don't they know how bad that is?

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

35 comments:

  1. Democrats vote for her .
    I know Democrats that would vote for anything with a blue D behind its name

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    Replies
    1. The blue team versus the red team. Anyway you look at it you lose.

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  2. Democrat or Republican they all do and act the same. No concern for John Q Public. When in office they do the same thing. They both impede any progress the other may bring forward, especially if its going to make the other party look good and with total disregard if it's good for the public or not. And we pay their salaries.

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    1. There is nothing about the Judy Chu ethics bust in any of the local papers. Neither the LA Times or Pasadena Star News has covered it. The only locals picking up on this are KPCC and The Tattler.

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    2. It's not what they do, 8:34. Their strength is weather coverage.

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    3. Nothing in the Mountain Views News about Judy Chu's ethics bust, either. I guess that is how it works in political machine controlled areas. News about the crimes of disgraced politicians gets suppressed.

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  3. Couldn't happen to a nicer communist.

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  4. Maybe the Arcadia Highlands should leave Arcadia and join Sierra Madre.

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    Replies
    1. They should. Hopefully our new General Plan will attract them.

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    2. Geographically it makes sense. They are in a foothill location after all. But I doubt our local governments have the wit to handle such a thing. The city attorneys alone would talk it to death.

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  5. Wow, I'm surprised and delighted about the Save the Highlands movement. You can see the MacMansion plague creeping up towards them, infecting the lower parts of the Highlands. The petition says it very well - it's the size of the castle compared to its neighbors that makes it so rotten for the neighbors.

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    1. What alternatives do neighboring property owners have but to sell and let another macmansion be put up, to match the big ugly that mushroomed next to it?

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  6. Gosh, they're just starting. There's a pretty steep learning curve in fighting city hall. Hope they have some lawyers in the neighborhood.

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    1. Whoever wrote the petition is familiar with Municipalese.

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    2. Municipalese is kind of like pig latin.

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  7. Arcadia is run by the Arcadia Association of Realtors. The City Council there doesn't even think of breathing before asking them for permission. A kind of fascism by property value.

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  8. They already have more than enough starter castles in those streets - unpleasant surprises every way you go through the area. But it's not as out of control as it is on lower Santa Anita, where clearly the planning department of Arcadia doesn't give a damn about neighbors' rights.

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    1. In the Oaks I've watched 4 oversized squeezed in monster houses being built in the last year, and there are probably plenty more. I've also seen many of the older houses being sold but not torn down, yet. They have a big hard fight on their hands.

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  9. Arcadia has some controls on development?!
    Something called Resolution 6770 that protects neighbors?
    Who knew.

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    Replies
    1. Just like in Sierra Madre, it looks like rules and regulations can be set aside if the mood strikes.

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    2. Money changes everything.

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  10. Preserve Sierra Madre has a Facebook page. Like us and keep informed.

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    1. I followed the Tatter link to the Highlands Group and saw Preserve SM there, and some other ones that give a person hope. Groups like No ManMansions in Beverly Hills, in Los Angeles...good news.
      However, because I'm not on FB, my likes don't count.

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  11. There's a MacMansh going up just a few houses to the north of that 1600 address, with one story houses on either side.

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  12. Judy Chu
    Who new
    She stepped in poo
    She needs a loo

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    Replies
    1. Throw Chu in jail.

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    2. Sorry, Carol Liu is retiring.

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    3. No Lookie Liu?
      What will we do?
      Get us a lawyer
      And sue! Sue! Sue!

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  13. Here's the problem. When you allowing building to go lot line to lot line you end up with 8000 sq ft. of house. That's a lot of house if your not the Dugger's. Not only are they imposing to the neighbors but what about your children? Do you think your kids will be able to afford to live in Highland Oaks? I don't know many people that can afford a multi-million dollar home. Not to mention the carbon footprint these people take up. We are slowly and surely selling ourselves and our children out. I'm all for people making money on their property but this isn't just making money. It's turning over whole neighborhood to make them unaccessible to the generations that preceeded them. The sellers used to care about who their buyers were. Now all they see are $$$. It's really a shame. We have done this to ourselves.

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  14. Finally some in Arcadia are waking up and smelling something rotten in their neighborhoods. Heartbreaking to see the likes of those going up along Santa Anita. Those motel-looking homes ruin Arcadia for many people.. The architect/contractor for my parents home in Altadena lovingly designed and built his home on Santa Anita in the '50's which is now torn down and an ugly mansion is going up in it's place. A shame.

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  15. Arcadian Highland Oaks Homeowners Association had some clout in the past so it was a wonder that there wasn't this effort sooner. The sat on stand-by two times recently: 1) the coyote fiasco when the City Council was goaded into spending $35,000.00 to hire a trapper (kill and remove) for the "coyote problem" with the result of eliminating 18 coyote and 'making room for 18 new coyote to show up' according to the wildlife experts and 2) when they did not appreciate the stupidity of removing oaks and sycamore trees for LA County debris basin clean out (the area has still not been used for this sand/silt/ rock storage)! I do hope they have woken up from their sleep on those issues to face this one!

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  16. if I had one these rude ugly obnoxious homes built next to me and dwarf my view I would make a mirror garden in my yard and reflect sunlight back onto the house and windows

    people who build homes like this are complete jerks and SM already has enough jerks in it already

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  17. Where were these so called concerned citizens when it started in south Arcadia 35 years ago? Oh! I know. They were either not caring because McMansions weren't being built near them, thought south of Foothill was for the "poor" and needed to change or made money as an Arcadia realtor. No, south Arcadia doesn't have an HOA with an ARB. That is how and why Arcadia is now a totally different city. The city permitted the change and gave it their stamp of approval. If you look at where Arcadia City Councilman lived for the last 35 years, only a small handful lived south of Arcadia's dividing line Foothill Boulevard.

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    1. I agree with you 1:36, and have felt the same way here about the great number of uninvolved and disinterested residents. One of my favorites was one woman when I was walking for V, or water, or elections - don't remember which one. She said "Oh I never get involved in local politics". It's like just a few of us have fought to maintain a town that everyone likes to be in. But! We have to welcome any new activists when they come. The more aboard the better and we just have to forget past negligence. If that woman walked into a slow growth meeting, I'd say "Thanks for coming. It's great to see you. Grab an oar."

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    2. It is never too late to see the light.

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