We had over 160 comments on this blog over the weekend. The topic on both days was preserving Sierra Madre and holding off what we have come to call "the barbarians at the gate." Which unfortunately is pretty much what we are being faced with. Unkind people whose limited understanding of what we have created and value here ranging from complete indifference to outright contempt, with their only real interest being how much they will make by selling it.
Out of the many great observations one in particular jumped out at me. It deals with last week's nine new permit applications to build McMansions at One Carter:
With an average size of 4500 SF, who are these developers trying to fool? Most older homes, which are very comfortable and livable, are in the neighborhood of 2000 - 2500 SF. It's all about the massive profits from the extra 2000 square feet of built real estate, which is not that much more in the construction phase, given the builder standard products and cheap construction framing on these things, particularly when the crews are all scheduled to grade, frame and build out at the SAME TIME using the excavation equipment all at once. This will destroy the hillside, period, and generate huge risks for fire and flood as its legacy after the money is pocketed. Pure rape, pillage and burn.
Tomorrow night we will see something that many of us might never have expected. And that is an end to the long running saga of the not so wonderful wickiup at 610 Baldwin Court. Or at least an end to this chapter in a drama that has been going on since November of 2012.
Tomorrow was supposed to be a kind of happy compromise night between our City Council and the developer CETT. But it now appears that what we are going to get is something entirely different.
Here is how a really finely written staff report reveals the big news:
I love that story. And what this tells me is Councilmembers Denise Delmar and Gene Goss told the mysterious individuals hidden behind the Veil of CETT (through Attorney MacDonald, of course) that they either build something more appropriately modest or go and take a nice long hike. Which leaves CETT and their professionally litigious attorney with these two rather simple options:
1) Pack up their carpet bag and crawl back into the deep valley from whence they came.
2) Take the City of Sierra Madre to L.A. County Superior Court and sue.
Of course, between the time the above was written and Tuesday evening things could change. The fate of all the other mini-mansions CETT hopes to build at One Carter hinges on getting at least something approved at 610 Baldwin Court first. The city's last best offer also serves to call their bluff, and at the final possible moment they might just take whatever they can get. But I have some of doubts they'll do that.
Now you might think that the lawsuit option isn't really the best one available. Over the years we have all been repeatedly told how such a thing is the equivalent of a zombie invasion with no National Guard whatsoever in sight, and therefore we will all have our brains eaten.
But do you know what? In this instance your brains are safe because CETT doesn't really have much of a legal leg to stand on. And so confident is City Hall in this assessment that they've actually filled much of that finely written staff report with bits and pieces of the case they will present in Court defending our hillside interests against CETT. That is, if it should ever actually come to that.
I'd post all of the City's case here but there really isn't much point in doing that. Not when you can click here and go check it out in its original setting all by yourself.
I have long been a moderately superstitious person. It makes for simpler explanations. And among the things I will freely admit to believing in is the One Carter Curse. I really do believe that the place had long been a burial ground for the indigenous peoples who lived here over the course of thousands of years. And that as discerning denizens of a true spiritual vortex those concerned spirits believe McMansions are the undesirable result of too much new money and not enough intellectual sophistication. As such they just aren't going to put up with any such gaucherie. After all, they were there first.
Not all that different from us in that way.
2015 is shaping up to be the 10th futile year since a pretty awful City Council flung open the doors to development at what had once been one of our most beautiful natural settings. Yet nothing has ever been built at One Carter. Not a single house has ever seen the light of day there.
It appears that once again the curse is holding.