Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Apparently It Was 2006 Throwback Night At The Sierra Madre City Council Meeting Last Night

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I don't know how many of you were around for the entire Downtown Specific Plan debacle. It certainly was a contentious era in the history of this town, but it ended with a very good result.

Despite all the hysteria and carrying on from certain investors who wanted to turn downtown Sierra Madre into the kinds of tightly packed generic and unappealing "mixed use"nonsense you can find today in places like Duarte and Azusa, reason carried the day and the voters of Sierra Madre wisely went with Measure V. You'd think certain people would have figured out why by now.

Last night we witnessed the same losing strategy, and wouldn't you just know? It was none other than the same career former Mayor himself on point, leading his misguided and sadly agitated sheep right off the cliff. And what tactics did they learn from their permanent loss leader? The same self-defeating over-the-top shenanigans as last time. Bitter, wildly inaccurate, accusatory, and incredibly rude, nonsense. All done to the soured musical accompaniment of emotional claims to victimhood.

Their message: “No one needs to worry about preserving Sierra Madre because we have all the protections we need, and no one here has anything but mad love for Sierra Madre. Now get the hell out of our way or we just might sue you!”

It was 2006 deja vu. All over again. Complete with yet another big loss for atrocious behavior.

Here is the most telling part of the obviously coached cookie cutter comments from the newbie McMansion crowd. They all said they simply love Sierra Madre. And that is why they moved here. Because they love it. So what exactly is it they want to do? Tear down classic Sierra Madre homes and replace them with starter castles that are utterly at odds with the rest of the community.

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You know, that place they love to pieces. Literally, I suppose. If they are ever given their way.

Again we go back to the Henry A. Darling house as our prime example. What the new people in town wish to do is tear down an historic Sierra Madre home, one that is in far better shape than certain individuals claimed, and then replace it with a two-story McMansion nearly twice the size. Why? Because they really REALLY love Sierra Madre?

Horse radish. IMO they want to make money. Period. This is classic mansionizing. And they don't give a damn about the consequences to this community.

Even the people who spoke up in support of the McMansioneers said they didn't want McMansions here. Quite a disconnect for certain, but still it spoke volumes about the confusion and lack of any clarity whatsoever from that crowd. You have to wonder what some of those people had been told. It was like they were reading off an entirely different script.

All of the members of the City Council conducted themselves with cool professionalism and courtesy. Many key questions were raised by this city's elected leadership. The most notable by John Capoccia and Gene Goss. This despite some of the bizarre behavior from the new kids in the block, and their throwback cheerleader.

The end result? Ordinance 1360-U passed. Unanimously. With reasonable tweaks included, the demolition moratorium is now in place.

Those kinds of tactics didn't work in 2006. And they did not work last night, either.

Some of these people have been their own worst enemies for years.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

144 comments:

  1. The City Council did their job. The moratorium passed and reasonable exceptions were carved out for those who should not be ensnared by the moratorium. Unfortunately, fust like with One Carter, decisions made in the past are still coming back to bite Sierra Madre. While alot of good folks, including this City Council, are trying to fix things, as you do so, there are people who are already in the pipeline who would be adversely affected by a rule (although the rule protects the community at large) and it is somewhat unfair to change the rules of the game on them. I have to say though as someone who has attended so many of the Planning Commission and City Council meetings over the past few years as efforts are being made to save our little village in the foothills, some of those people who professed to care about the town as they bulldoze their home, have not been seen at any of those meetings - not one. I get that they will be adversely impacted by some of these policies to preseve Sierra Madre but guess what? If everyone operates with pure self-interest in mind, Sierra Madre doesn't get preserved. It turns into something more like Arcadia. If they truly do not want that to happen, they will have alot more credibility if they were to be advocates for something beyond what will just benefit themselves.

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    1. Well said 6:03. The town that they "love so much" is here for them to love because of decades of efforts by preservationists.

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    2. 6:03, great point about their notable absence in all previous meetings!
      I can't figure out why the water moratorium did;t bring them out, or, even more, the building moratorium!
      It was postponing demolishing for 45 days that got them engaged.

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    3. I never saw any one of them at one meeting as all the efforts of preservation were going on. Doesn't mean they are bad people for perhaps not caring that Sierra Madre transforms into Arcadia. But maybe they should be open about it like that Vanderveld or whatever his name was who was very open about what he wants to see happen in Sierra Madre. Thank God he's not on the Planning Commission any more. He may also have not been a disinterested party if he's the architect for the Mira Monte owners and the one designing their new home. He also rather obnoxiously stayed at the podium for about 15 minutes despite people imploring him to sit down.

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    4. Why are they coming out of the woodwork only when they will be individually affected. If they cared so much about retaining the village character of Sierra Madre, they should be at a few other meetings and speaking just as passionately about that subject. Bring all the kids out for one of those meetings.

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    5. Suggest it is time for a little Divide and Conquer analysis.
      There are at least 2 pro-Development types.
      1.Out-of-town speculators building harmfully inappropriate structures(they are not homes!).This is our enemy.
      2.Local builders who muddle Development and Restoration/Preservation. Lambden are you listening ?These are the fools who could be our allies.
      A demo+McMansion job seldom yields much work for a local contractor(me). That work is given to the lowest(shoddiest?) bidder-invariably out-of-town.
      By contrast, Restoration/Preservation/Repair work usually goes local. That is the work I love. But it is(was?) way easier/profitable to just D9 it(contractor-speak for a demo with a Caterpillar bulldozer) and build the largest 'thing' you can on the lot and resell.
      Now which do you Tattlers want to encourage? 1. or 2.?
      Well, probably 2. ?
      Now try to get a Permit through our obstructive and insanely expensive Building Dept .& their Development Impact Fees. My clients just say "no -I'm not paying more in Fees that the materials+labor. They move (or rent out the old home) and the work goes to another town -which is where I now find plenty of work.Sadly Sierra Madre has no interest in Preservation if you jusge by the Development Impact Fees.It wants McMansions built by carpetbaggers. And that Sierra Madre is what you are getting until the "rule" change.

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    6. We should do whatever we can with financial incentives to encourage people to restore and renovate rather than demolish. If the city rules don't do that, than we need to change those rules.

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    7. I wish I would have seen some of those people at just one meeting in the last year that was focused on preserving this small town. Where was Glen Lambdin during all of this. Why does he appear now? He didn't sound off the charts unreasonable when he spoke but I do wonder why he hasn't been seen at all if he really cared about preserving the town. If he doesn't care, that's his perogative but don't pretend you care.

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    8. Glen Lambdin was never at any of the General Plan Update Steering Committee meetings, nor did he volunteer for any of the subcommittee meetings. Barry Gold, as usual, was right on point. It's not necessarily what gets torn down (although in the Darling house it is), but what goes up in its place. Falikians and Browns, why didn't you do your due diligence before you bought a house you WANTED to tear down? You love Sierra Madre? Where have you been? We're trying to undo the damage previous City Councils have done, including former mayor Lambdin. This Council is magnificent, trying to preserve our town!

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  2. If the updated General Plan hadn't been held up by four bad mayors none of this would be happening now.

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    1. The staff report was very clear about that. The updated policies need to be in place for the Planning Department to ensure that what is built is what the community has worked on delineating for so long. The moratorium on demolitions is a step toward accomplishing that.

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    2. We are still doing clean up from the past. If all of the good things that were trying to do were in place we wouldn't be having these issues. Whether its One Carter or some of this other stuff, unfortunately, we and this City Council are stuck with trying to mitigate the damage. It is hard to deal with people who are already in the pipeline playing by the old rules. We've got a great City Council right now but, as we all know, that wasn't always the case. Even bad decisions made ten years ago are still rearing their ugly head. We just have to do the best we can with a bad set of cards. I don't want to sound like a pessimist. There is light at the end of this tunnel and its getting brighter every day!

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    3. Yes, 5:08 - thank you City Council. Please, please think before you vote for City Council. We have five good people.

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  3. Does anyone know if ex-commissioners have special privileges when speaking? If not, why did that ex planning commissioner think he was entitled to speak as long as he wanted. What was it, 10 minutes?

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    1. Seemed like a lot longer than 10.

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    2. It was about 15 minutes. Whatever it was, it was about 10 minutes too long.

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    3. Maybe he drank to much coffee.

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    4. There is no special privilege for anyone who is on a commission. If they are invited by the council to give a presentation, that's a different matter. In public comment, they are members of the public like everyone else. Van de Veld is an architect and it's very offensive that he violated the rules of order for personal gain.

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    5. He certainly didn't help himself - he kept repeating his point - could have said it all in the obligatory three minutes. In my opinion, he was much better on the Planning Commission than Desai is.

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    6. While I have always appreciated the way the Mayor is pretty accomodating in allowing people to speak beyond the three minute rule, I think he went too far in that direction when he allowed Van de Veld to go on and on and on. Even Glen Lampkin was a little more neutral about things when he came up to the podium. Vad de Veld was simply an advocate for the Mira Monte owners and he should have gotten the hook much sooner than the 15 minute rambling speech he gave.

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    7. John is the architect for the Mira Monte house. He has always been bigger is better.

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    8. He did not announce that and he did not arrange to give a presentation on behalf of the applicant. What a sleazy thing to do.

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    9. 8:37, so far that's a pretty low bar.

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    10. He should have disclosed that right at the beginning. One person shouted let him speak because he's an "expert" like he was making some kind of independant presentation. He is what Adele Chang is to CETT and should have disclosed. Regardless, he was full of you know what.

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    11. Not only did the Henry A. Darling House get the wrong buyer, the buyer then gets the wrong architect - Vanderveldt. There are architects out there who could have done amazing things with this house. But as Vanderveldt displayed last night, he's no friend of preservation or 1907 Craftsman homes either.

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  4. That was a fascinating meeting last night. We saw for all to see a simple clash of philiosophy. As much of a believer as I am in private property rights, I am willing to sacrifice for the greater good of preserving this village town. In other words, when I advocate for floor area limits, that mean I am going against my own self-interest a bit because I won't be able to build as big a "dream home" as I would without the lower limits. But I'm willing to do that because preserving the character of this town for people like my daughter and others is very important to me. On the other side are those who want to do whatever they want with their land. They want to build the 2-story home so that they can get better views of the mountains and city lights but don't care whether they have now blocked the mountain and city light views of their neighbors. That's the clash in philosophy. It can manifest itself in the example just given or it can manifest itself in bulldozing a 1907 Craftsman like 126 E. Mira Monte with the owner shouting "Shame on You" because she is unable to understand why the community may not want to see a classic craftsman home like that turned into rubble.

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    1. I think the people who bought the Darling house might be able to sue their realtor for misrepresentation. The man who owns it said something about they had wanted to build 3 stories (?) but the planning department wouldn't let them? So maybe the realtor told them they'd be able to do whatever they wanted, including rip the house out, with no repercussions. Of course that means the buyers also did no research about building in Sierra Madre. Who was the realtor in that transaction?

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    2. Great point. Three stories? Damn.

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    3. I think their realtor was Rene Rose. Look if they wanted to go three stores or whatever, no foundation can sustain that. I ain't buying the idea that they bought that home intending to restore it. Even if they didn't intend to tear it down, you can propose such drastic modifications that its not feasible for any home to accomodate that no matter how well built.

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    4. Are disclosure statements public record?

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    5. The problem with most of the property rights people is they want their right, while infringing on their neighbors' rights - the right to privacy, to a view. We MUST get the General Plan Update passed asap. If you don't believe the newbies have done this, go up Camillo. My 10 year old granddaughter said that the two modern houses that are going up look like doctors' offices, not two houses for a "modern family," as Adele Chang would say. Then go see the house that is going up four houses away - goes right up to their neighbors' property on both sides.

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    6. The owner of the property showed her true colors when she tried to speak again at the end of public comment. She had already spoke for 7 minutes, her husband for 7 minutes, their friend about 5 minutes, and John V their architect for 12. She totally lost it when she started yelling about thet audience.

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    7. That kind of entitlement won't get you very far in Sierra Madre.

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    8. She became inhinged because people understandably are concerned about demolishing the 1907 Henry A. Darling House - a classic Craftsman. She just can't understand why anyone should care about something that she obviously doesn't care about herself.

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    9. I'd like to know what Renee Rose knows about how all this went down. I don't think she was at the meeting either. I'm sure she knows what inspections the buyer did and whether their intention was to tear the house down all along.

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    10. Who was the woman who spoke about termite damage? Hello, I've had my house treated twice for termites. So what? We live in Southern California.

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  5. I have to give Gene Goss credit for asking the Perry Mason question of the day to the owner of Mira Monte. It was basically a "what did you know and when did you know it" question because the more the husband talked the more it appeared that they knew going in the condition of that home and really were not suprised that they had to bulldoze it. Whether they knew that going in or whether they were trying to modify the home so much that the "bones" of the home just couldn't stand such significant changes, it doesn't matter. They just threw up their hands and said because we can't do exactly what we want to with this home, we'll just demolish it. They should not have bought that home if the intention was to level it. Before she shouted "Shame on You" to everyone in the audience concerned about the Henry A. Darling home being demolished, she even said she can't sell the home as if no one would buy it. That's simply not true. Put it back on the market and let a person who cares about Craftsman homes restore it. They would still make a tidy profit and the "Henry A. Darling House' gets spared the wrecking ball.

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    1. Gene got right to the heart of the matter with that question. From what the owners of Mira Monte said, the demolition option was always on the table for them whether they want to admit to that or not. They should not have bought that house. And the nerve of the wife to say "Shame on you" and looking out at the audience like we were out of line for wanting a stay of execution for a 1907 Craftsman known as the "Henry A. Darling House".

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    2. I've tried to figure out what all the raging victim stuff is about, why it's on such extravagant display in the public realm of the council chambers, and my guess is that it must be motivated by money.

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    3. She wasn't saying shame on you to the audience in the council chambers, she was talking about the Tattler blogger who called them a nut job and flippers.

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    4. Your time sequence is off. The unhappy woman got read off in the comments after she attacked the Tattler. You need to keep an eye out for things like that when inventing tall tales.

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    5. I was there 12:08. She was most definitely talking indiscriminately to the whole audience. It was a venomous attack, and 12:15 is right.
      Watch the replay.

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    6. Julie Brown's comments were directed at every member of the audience who spoke up in favor of the demolition moratorium. She was looking right at the audience as she engaged in her rant.

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    7. Obviously she needs to review her tactics a little.

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    8. The Brown's did not help their cause at all last night unlike some of the others who seemed like nice people wrongfully ensnared by the moratorium net. The Felikians were a bit over the top in their presentaton but ok. The Vance's were the ones who made the best presentation and the ones everybody really wanted to help.

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    9. Yup, I am watching the replay right now. Shame on you Julie Brown and I hope your mother reads this. You MUST get involved - not say you send your kids to school here. One of my friends watching on TV said, that Mrs Falikian made a point of saying, or implying, that they moved here after their kids did not have to attend our Pasadena School District schools.

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  6. I'd like to know who the owner of Mira Monte was directing her "Shame on You" comments to. Was it to the people who expressed some trepidation about the 1907 Henry A. Darling House being torn down? I was really offended by those comments. She seemed a little too agressive about all this. But sometimes when you catch people in a lie, that's how they react. No one tears down homes like that. And she can't understand why the City Council and the vast majority of the community may want to protect homes like that. She can't see beyond what only benefits her.

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    1. She was directing them to every member of the audience and everyone involved in the preservation movement. Maybe she had a bad day but she came off as just caring about her own needs and the sacrafice they will have to make to squeeze into a 4,000 square foot home.

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    2. I want, I want, I want...

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  7. Capaccia was pretty effective and Goss did ask the question that alot of people were thinking. The husband rambled on and had a hard time keeping his story straight. I'm sure they don't want to admit that perhaps at the get go, demolition was an option for them. If they did admit that, they would look pretty bad. But buy another home then. I'm not saying don't move into Sierra Madre. It used to be that people bought homes that fit their needs. If it didn't, then they didn't buy it. There are lots of other homes they can buy. Let someone who truly cares about the history and the historical significance of a Craftsman home buy it and do the restoration. They complain about financial straights. Come on. I hate to say it but if you can afford to bulldoze that existing home and build a brand new 3 700 square foot home, cash is probably not a problem for you. Likewise, the restoration of that home would certainly cost alot less then tearing it down and building one twice as big.

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    1. I agree with you, 6:50. I kept wondering why they didn't just buy a home they could move into. How about the husband's comment that 4000 square feet is a "small" house. As I said earlier, these comments sounded suspiciously like Adele Chang's. Thank you Donald Songster, for showing the Council what can be done with a craftsman that has gone into disrepair. In case you missed it, his home, on Sierra Madre Blvd, between two apartment complexes, "beyond repair" when he bought it 20 years ago was recently on the cover of a magazine (Bungalow Heaven, Craftsman Magazine? )

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    2. Mr. Songster had some powerful things to say about what you can do if you are committed to preservatioin. I really appreciated his comments.

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    3. 6.50 gets it.
      Of all the "7 deadly sins" the motivating issue is greed compounded by ignorance ,shame and wealth.
      Here's why :
      On an old Craftsman, the first inspection has to be the foundation. If it is an original river rock foundation -no inspection ,just assume it needs a total re-do. This step was ignored ?
      If the re-do is in the budget it is a reasonable incremental cost to lift the entire house up several feet to create a full basement. Perhaps they figured this out?
      BUT the value of that basement is only a fraction of the cost to build it -unless it is "habitable space". That is usually prohibitive. So the 'investment' turns sour before you even start,So you withdraw from the sale .Oh no, you already bought it ? Wow what a loss ! Unless of course you could rescue yourself by faking your way past the Building Dept(difficult w/o Danny Castro) to get a Demo Permit and building a McMansion to flip.
      But Tattler notices your deception, calls you on it, you whine to the Council but loose ,so go all angry and insult them.
      Now imagine how differently things could have gone if we were an openly & honestly pro-Preservation City. We would have more likely attracted a buyer who loved Craftsmans. And we know Love is blind (to expensive restoration).
      But Mr,Castro and our rules favor & attract Developers, not Preservationists.

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    4. 1:38, great comment. Thanks.

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    5. Dave Brown said he thinks he can "live with the 4,000 square foot house. Poor guy - what a sacrafice to live in Sierra Madre.

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    6. That was a good comment 1:38. They did all their inspections and you can bet they knew what they were getting into and they knew the cost. I guess they either intended to tear it down from the beginning or their great preservationist architect Vandeveld recommended so many modifications to the house that it ended up being easier to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

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    7. Dave can live with whatever he wants. But he wo 't get a demo permit and he won't be allowed to build a 4,000 square foot house.

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    8. River Rock foundations get replaced all the time.. The listing agent put in their marketing remarks that the Henry A. Darling House has extensive period architectural details that make it the perfect restoration project. That should have been the case. Unfortunately it got struck by lightning twice: The Brown's were the wrong buyer and Vanderveldt was the wrong architect - a fatal combination. If we didn't have as good a City Council as we have now, that house would be gone.

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    9. 3.50 -you are correct.
      But it is a task that is feared and rejected by many contractors. It is filthy ,horrible, arduous and tedious. You need a dedicated crew who do nothing else but such work. Architects in my experience have no clue about this work. Civil Engineers perhaps. But they get foundation rebuilding & foundation bolting confused. Bolting to a weak foundation may satisfy the Code Inspector but it is useless in an earthquake with a strong vertical motion.
      The people who do understand my grubby trade are Craftsman Lovers. Developers and flippers shun me for the mud groveling reptile I sometimes resemble after a few hours in a crawl-space preparing to 'lift' an old Craftsman. The cost of repairing foundations kills the Flippers profit with no improvement to curb appeal. So I ply my trade where there is a "Historic District" and an enthusiastic bunch of Preservationists ask for field trips to see my work. And the Building Dept charge reasonable Fees because we are helping the Community retain it's heritage. And when the new Craftsman-loving home owner suggests we add a deck as part of the foundation work or extend the footings for a 2nd bathroom -it is affordable. Imagine -there is acknowledgement by the City Fathers that such modest upgrades are a good thing to because it improves the town in subtle but significant ways. It makes residents want to stay in the same improved house. That City does not impose punitive taxes on Preservation by calling it 'development'. They get all the tax they want because the town becomes ever more attractive as neighboring cities obstruct preservation yet allow development to slide in.
      This isn't difficult nor intellectual stuff folks -otherwise I wouldn't understand it. Sierra Madre could be "That Shining (pro-preservation) City on the Hill. But it is almost too late to make the few simple changes necessary. If you listen to Vanderveldt and Lambden you are doomed. Perhaps more wisdom may be found by reflecting on my humble suggestion about preserving your lovely little town.

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  8. If any of these people had bothered to get involved in what most of us have spent years fighting, they would realize that no one wants them to live in unlivable conditions. If they had a proper inspection prior to buying this house, they knew going in what problems they faced. Along with accusations of wrong doing by The Tattler, that all the rules and regs are in place to protect Sierra Madre, That the word McMansion is anathema to them, that a so-called professional architect does not show respect for the Council and continues to rattle on, was more than annoying to me. Previous and Councils and Planning Commissions are what got us here in the first place. Two of those people showed up last night to recommend we follow their advice. Those two are responsible for what we are fighting. Not in total but in ideology. Part of being part of the community is more than coaching for AYSO and going to school board meetings. Ms. Brown, I think, even took credit for the "beautiful" middle school the Pasadena School District is building. It remains to be seen how that school will effect anyone. Pretty big school for the number of students living in Sierra Madre. The Felikian's, The Vances and the Riboux (sp?) deserve to be heard. Not so much the Brown's.

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    1. I would agree with everything from 7:19. Of all the characters last night, the Browns were the least sympathetic. Ms. Brown came off as selfish and aggressive and then came a bit unhinged with her "Shame on you" comments. I'd like to know who those comments were directed to but because she was looking out at the audience as she was shouting it out, it appears to be all the people who spoke up to preserve this small town. Somehow, I don't think her comments were directed at people like the guy who said that the term McMansions is so "nineties" or some such nonsense. Try looking at what's being built in every city including Sierra Madre. I mean where has he been? Who is that guy?

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    2. When in doubt blame the Tattler. Whole lot of good that will do you.

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    3. What horrible things did she see? Because the Tatt was pretty quiet during the meeting - no KGEM remember? No live blogging - just a couple of comments. Maybe she was looking at some old pro development blogs - and some of you know exactly which ones those would be.

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    4. Anyone who is not up on what 11:24 is saying here needs to check out this piece from Pulitzer Prize winning LA Times columnist Steve Lopez.
      http://articles.latimes.com/2007/apr/01/local/me-lopez1

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    5. Julie Brown picked the wrong fight with the Tattler. The fact is that no one has been more important to the preservation movement in Sierra Madre than John Crawford and the Tattler and he doesn't even live in this town any more. I don't know where this city would be without what the Tattler has done. So of all things to blame, Jule Brown picked the wrong dog.

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  9. My mother always told me that you catch more bees with honey than vinegar. The former mayor, the talkative architect and the rest of those interesting folks left City Hall last night with very few bees.

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  10. The shift in thinking what is suitable as a home for raising a family and cooking a family meal is what is different here. Many of us who have lived in Sierra Madre for fourty or so years were the age then that these Young Families are now. BUT we found an existing home that was to our liking, that we could afford, maybe we added on or remodeled the kitchen with in the exisitng four walls and went on with our lives to polish our career stars, take our kids to school and activites and involve ourselves with community preservation: hillside ordinance, 1996 general plan, canyon zoning, downtown protection, tree preservation, general plan update, etc. I hope that the folks with the "demolition is mine" glory ideas will read this and understand what the place represents and really love it as it is. Buy another house somewhere in town that is already suitable to your families needs with just a wee bit of suitable remodeling and expansion. Then sit back and say to yourself, I am part of this traditional, vintage community. Welcome.

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    1. People like 7:43 is what this town is all about. Why can't the new people coming in have that same mentality. Its really interesting but when I was growing up, tear downs were unheard of unless a house was literally falling down or had burned down. That's why you carefully choose a house that meets your needs always knowing that you can tinker with it here and there. Its this new mentality of just tearing things down and building something bigger, showier etc with no respect for what was there. We had to cut down a tree that was causing problems for our house. My wife literally cried about it. Don't the Brown's have any feelings towards that old house. I just don't understand it.

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    2. So true about tear-downs. We had a house fire on our street a number of years ago. Some pretty extensive damage. The house was not torn down, but was repaired and restored to what it had originally been. The new owners ended up adding on, but kept the character of the home and the front of the house original. They did a fantastic job, and have a house that fits their needs, without changing the character of the block.

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  11. At least 3/4 of their speakers said that same thing about restrictions in place being enough. Obviously unaware that we are in a development boom - or maybe quite aware and wanting it to continue.

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    1. Some of those folks who came out seem to be fine with the protections in place. All except for the Brown family were sympathetic characters. Some of the other people who came out were the problem. I heard one of those fellows just laughing after the meeting saying they can now get their permit and then get a bulldozer. Somehow I don't think that fellow understands and appreciates Sierra Madre the way an Anne Chesterman or Teryl Willis or Marguerite Shuster does. They just don't get it and I suspect they never will. But it was interesting to see it on display last night.

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    2. They all practiced the same line. Camillo Rd. is proof positive that the current restrictions are NOT enough. The LIE!

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    3. The architect for the Browns was saying that the loopholes that allowed the Camillo gargantuan are already fixed. So maybe that's so. He also suggested that the Camillo houses seemed to draw a lot of reaction - as though they are not that big a deal. Did he design them?
      C'mon, anyone can see what big, big mistakes those boxes are, and how they ruined the houses next door.

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  12. The Darling house sits at a very odd place if someone wanted a view of the mountains or a view of the city below. I think it gets neither. To the east if a small stucco 1940's/50's and to the west another older home. Carter deadends diagonally across from it. They will be annoyed Saturday and Sunday mornings by all the Mt Wilson Trail hikers who come from all over LA to hike and park and make good amounts of noise. What prompted their choice on this house (now we know it was not a "home" purchase) we will never know.

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    1. Well, 8:00, they'll probably try to stop the hikers or lobby the City for No Parking on weekends in front of their "dream house!"

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    2. Dream houses require special parking because of the potential for sleep walking.

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    3. LOL 11:35 - let's hope they dream about demolishing a house somewhere else, and I hope others are listening who want to move in and change our town.

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  13. The council sure came through. Thanks to all of them.

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    1. The Council did come through big time. They struck just the right balance and didn't succumb to personal sob stories and throw the city under the bus. I couldn't be happier with this council. I hope those up for re-election in June will serve again.

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    2. Me too, but it is next April. Be careful of who you vote for. Can you imagine if we would have had Pat Alcorn rather than Nancy Walsh on the previous council? We wouldn't have had to wait until last April to have a decent Council, not to mention we wouldn't have had to suffer through such a nutcase as a mayor ("We put you in and we can take you out" to our volunteers).

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  14. For those of us otherwise engaged (so sorry, life does go on), who is this former Mayor being talked about. I can figure out the former PC member is Vanderveldt, but who is the Mayor?

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    1. Glen Lambdin. Lots to catch up on with that one.

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    2. Is he going to be the contractor for the Mira Monte project? Makes a lot of sense if Lambdin and Vanderveldt have a personal stake in this mess, and if the owners thought they were sliding one by us by hiring local.

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    3. Former mayor mentioned by present mayor is Clem Bartoli. Also in attendance was Glen L.

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    4. Clem Bartoli was awesome last night. I'm glad he's on our team.

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    5. Harabedian mentioned both mayors. Bartoli was the reasonable one.

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    6. Clem Bartoli made one of the best speeches of the night. He reported that when people tell him how great the little town he, he tells them what an enormous amount of work has gone into keeping it that way.
      He's more of a gentleman than I; I say it looks so peaceful but in reality it it's been a fight tooth and nail for years.

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    7. I wish Clem was back on the City Council. He was at his best last night.

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    8. Julie Brown disses everyone in the preservation movement when she says "Shame on you" What the heck is she thinking. If not for the hard fought battles over many years by these people, Sierra Madre would be a different community. I give credit where credit is due. No other town has that kind of commitment from its citizenry.

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    9. I agree - thank you Clem for being on our side.

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  15. We all clearly understand that Vandeveld is the architect for the owners of the Henry A. Darling house, correct? It is an important detail.

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    1. That was not mentioned last night. That makes his behavior inexcusable.

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    2. Vandeveld should not have been allowed that kind of platform. I can understand 5 minutes or so but to have him up there explaining for 15 minutes why everyone on the City Council, the Planning Commission and the majority of the community are wrong about the need for additional protections made him look like a fool.

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    3. If my memory serves me correctly, Vadeveld also mentioned the possibility of "litigation". He's no better than that lawyer McDonald. If I also recall correctly Lambdin was also making these implied threats if we continue down this path. Its that attitude that got us to the place we are. Thank goodness, the City Council is courageous about getting us out of it.

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    4. The little architect got a bit carried away with himself last night.

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    5. He is a very busy boy.

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    6. No offense but Vandeveldt behaved like a jerk last night.

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    7. Take a look at the restoration that Vandeveldt did at 190 Adams. Beautiful inside and out. Have any of you seen the plans for a new house to go up on Mira Monte? Do you know what you are talking about when you talk about small lots and big houses? I understand the Darling house is on a large lot. Not that I'm in favor of demolishing the Darling house, I'm not. I think it should be restored however, we shouldn't rant about a McMansion if we don't know if the new plans are for a McMansion. i.e. a huge house on a small lot.

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  16. I think there's a clear difference between some of the people asking for exceptions, and I doubt anyone would argue with the Vance project. From 800 square feet they want to get to 1600, the lot has plenty of room for it, and the size of the structure will not overwhelm it.
    The Darling house owners on the other hand want to tear down an historic home and replace it with something modern and twice as big.

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    1. Absolutely right. The Vance family deserves the exception and that's the right thing to do. The Brown family is not in that category.

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  17. It's usually much more profitable to simply "flip" a property in a rising market than to go to all the work and major expense of tear-down and rebuild. So that's no longer an excuse for tearing down a home. But of course if the only options for existing homes are minor additions and remodels, the whole profit-seeking rationale evaporates, since the large square footage expansion has been taken off the table. It's the only thing that will save the character and scale of the community.

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  18. There is a similarity in stories here: Joe Mosca moved to town and quickly figured out who the so-called solid citizens were and curried their favor toward his messy tenure here. Then moved on. Before that the 1 Carter Maranatha High School bunch did the same thing, hired Lou Wantanabe as their front guy for all their community relations (tore out all the trees along the way), hired a couple of local archetects until they got the message that this was going to backfire on their reputations and they declined continued association. Now: Glenn Lambden (I really thought he was on the inactive list due to injuries and general aches and pains) and VandeVeld, who actually has a reputation for taking historic homes and demolishing any parts that didn't suit him (house 2nd or 3rd from corner of LIma and street that dead-end (name?) by the former Synagogue (now Christian church) on the south east corner. This historic home had a blue ceramic tile roof that had been applied without concept of the era of the house and Vanderveld used that to "prove" it was unworthy of preservation.

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  19. But when Lambdin didn't want the Church at the corner of Hermosa and Highland turned into Senior Housing he went to the CC and PC to argue for historic preseration. Situational ethics and/or situational historic conservation support.

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  20. It seemed like a lot of those people who were there last night think that Sierra Madre just happened without any effort on the part of its residents.
    They enjoy the amenities and quaintness, and don't have a clue about the long hard work that created them.

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  21. Dear Anon @ 8:53
    We are all so grateful to to you for writing anonymous comments on a blog. I guess you have done the long hard work for us people.Thank you for the amenities and quaintness you have provided us.

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    1. Why you are welcome, anonymous critic! Hopefully something nice will happen for you today that will turn your frown upside down.

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    2. There's the attitude from 9:36. That's the tear down attitude. That's the attitude that allows people who are personally affected by a demolition moratorium to stand up and tell us all how they appreciate this small town village and yet never once, not once, attended any meeting or lifted a finger to support that effort. 9:36 just doesn't get it and never will.

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    3. It's the money. A preserved and quaint village like Sierra Madre will invariably attract the greedy.

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    4. 9:36, your welcome.

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    5. Ah goodness, where does one start with 9:36?
      Maybe a trip to the library, to look through the archives.
      Or a tour through the planning commission records, picking a year here or there. Or city council minutes. City document-wise, start 40 years ago and take a look at what created this place.

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    6. Worrying about what 9:36 thinks would be an oxymoron.

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  22. 8:21 - Another one who got us into this pickle when he was on City Council.

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  23. Dear Anon 9:36 AM-Again, I will try to explain this to you. Last night you should have been prepared with all the reports you said you had about the poor foundation and the inability to repair your house. They should have been given to the Council members. I didn't see that done. I heard a lot of whining and telling us all the good you have done since you have been in Sierra Madre. I've never seen you at any city meeting before. We are against developers who want to put a too large house on a too small lot. We are about preserving what it is here, right now, today. You wanting to put in a three story house and expect the city to pass it is wrong! You feeling that we should be ashamed for things that weren't even said, is wrong! We, as property owners, have rights, too. We have the right not to have you look down on our yards, steal the breeze and sun, our views. It is all about you. What you want and to heck with anyone else. Such a hypocrite... I didn't see your name when you blogged.

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    1. Umm Judy: You're projecting ,never good, I am quite satisfied with my 3 bed, 1 1/2 bath, 1947 GI tract home I was born in 1953 in and hope to die in.

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    2. Further more "they" are preparing to build a tract of 60 homes in the Monastery next door. I don't have that right to" the breeze and sun, my view" as you my assume you do. Wish I did but I don't.
      I'm Venting sorry............

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    3. 11:47, 12:01, what?
      And yes, you do have those property rights.

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    4. Judy, Wow! I could not have said this any better. Let's not forget about the arrogance of the person who spoke for so many minutes after the mayor gave him extra time and then asked him to stop. He want right on as if we were all pieces of s**t. People who feel that they are above the rest of us and that the rules do not apply to them are not the kind of people I want as neighbors.

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    5. Judy, you and Barry are the best we've got in this town. Your comments are spot on. People come in here with no respect for our past, for our culture and for our architecture. If a 1907 Craftsman is not going to work for you don't buy it. If you want to build a McMansion, that's fine, do it in Arcadia. We don't want it here.

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    6. 11:47 and 12:01 who may be the same person can't hold a candle to Judy Gold. What rock did those people crawl out from. I thank God every day that the Golds moved here from Arcadia. They know first hand what can happen when a town loses control over its development. I would walk through a wall for the Golds. No one and I mean no one is doing more to protect this town than the Golds. They deserve our thanks and not nasty comments.

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  24. Listening to VandeVeld when he was on the planning commission, it was always clear that he was pro-development of any kind, but I thought he was essentially reasonable. That impression bit the dust last night. Now I think he was on the commission to become an expert at the loopholes that allow development like the Camillo things. He's the go-to guy if you want to sneak unwanted construction into Sierra Madre.

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    1. If that's true, Vandeveldt lived up to his billing last night. He was unmitigated and bigger development because he then makes more money His tenure on the Planning Commission was not done for altruistic reasons, I can assure you.

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  25. One of the weirdest things last night came from a Brown supporter who went on and on about how expensive it was to live here. What was the council supposed to do about that?
    And didn't any of his pals realize they were saying the property values were way too high, but our restrictions hurt those same property vales and made them too low?
    Huh?

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    1. Capoccia, Harabedian, Delmar, Arizmendi and Goss have big connections with the International Financial Powers.

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    2. Do you mean Starbucks?

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    3. They are secret agents of the World Bank.

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    4. The property values are too high when they want to buy, too low when they want to sell.

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    5. I think 1:31 might not be on to something.

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    6. Yup, what is so awful about what they were saying in their cluelessness is that Sierra Madre has held its values because of our preservation measures. So we're more expensive than the rest of the US? Why weren't you at our General Plan Update Steering Committee meetings? Shame on YOU!

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  26. The Henry A. Darling house is currently under City Council protection.

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    1. Thank you City Council! You all were truly at your best last night. You came up with just the right approach.

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    2. 3:49, what a great statement to be able to make.
      Thank you council members Harabedian, Capoccia, Delmar, Goss and Arizmendi. You rock.

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  27. You need be neither perceptive or suspeciious. A simple trip up Cammelo Rooad will disclosa one of the larger fiasco's in Sierra Madre. The lot spliting shows off jkust how bad development can be. This project screams "who cares?". Thank god were on the right track.

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    1. It was not a lot split . The house and garage were on two lots the garage on one the house on the other when they were removed there are still two lots , house still ugly and large BUT it was not a lot split

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    2. Huh? It was owned by one family.

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  28. OK here's the best presentation that I've ever seen about protecting local scale and character

    Best to start with the TEDx video (17 minutes) by Ed McMahon who spent 14 years as the Vice President and Director of Land Use Planning for The Conservation Fund in Arlington, Virginia where he helped to protect more than five million acres of land of historic or natural significance. Anecdotal framing of the need for unique place in community and why it's important.
    http://tedxjacksonville.com/speakers/ed-mcmahon/

    And the full article is here
    http://archplanbaltimore.blogspot.com/2015/01/design-review-hurdle-safeguard-or-step.html

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    1. Thanks for that 5:44, I plan on reading that. I also must say that Tattler readers are a great resource for information.
      Thank you

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  29. Channel 3 is airing the wrong meeting. The City Council meeting of January 13 is being aired, not last night's meeting. Why is the city afraid to air last night's meeting?

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    1. 5:47, it won't start the replay til tomorrow night. Business as usual - there's a lag between the meeting, it's airing on KGEM, and when it's on playbacks.

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    2. Thanks, 6:14. Maybe they should adhere to the old playback schedule. The City Council meetings were aired on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday. The new Tuesday meeting was always played on the following Wednesday. So, naturally I assumed it would be on tonight. I wasn't able to watch it at home last night, so I tried to catch it tonight. I will tune in tomorrow. Thanks.

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    3. It's on now (8 pm Thursday)

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  30. Correct, 5:11. The Camillo Monster Houses were done on two SMALL lots of record. What had been there before was a small house on the north lot and a garage on the south lot. It is the change between this former use and the developer build out that is the shock to the neighborhood.

    It could have been prevented if the Planning Commission had acted faster to impliment the building envelope that the Canyon Zone put into place four years ago. How this works is very simple and really protective:

    From a line at the property drawn 8 ft up, another line at a 45 degree angle is drawn toward the middle of the property. The second story is bult within that 45 degree second story set back building envelope.

    No more looming second story bullying of the neighboring lots. Will we see a few more of these monsters around town? Maybe if there were housing plans approved but not yet started that came in before the 45 deg building envelope took affect for the R-1 zones around town.

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  31. I'm guessing the "Me Me I set " doesn't do a lot of reading in regards to what's going on around them .... Arcadia,Pasadena,South Pasadena .and other city's are all on the same band wagon they're tired of their city's being manhandled by people that don't care or like to think of what they're doing is some form or regentrification ...Eagle Rock and Highland Park is to the west.
    Sierra Madre doesn't want,need,nor desire your vision .

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  32. I'm watching the rerun, up to Glen Lamdin, waiting for Julie's tirade. So far what I've heard from the people who want to demolish their houses (except the Vance family, who I think have a legitimate case), is "I want, I want, I want..."

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