|Not Stephen Colbert. Click here.|
"The contents of the email were unknown to this paper as of Wednesday night." Hmm.
|Not Richard McDonald.|
So, long story short, I sent an email to Sierra Madre City Manager Elaine Aguilar stating that she had just this second received a California Public Records Act request, and needed to send me the aforementioned Richard McDonald email as quickly as possible. Lo and behold, a half hour later I received a reply from Elaine stating I could pick up that very email at City Hall "at my earliest convenience." Talk about quick service! But there would be a .06c per page copying fee, or 12 cents total for the two of them. Everybody has their hand out these days.
So here is that big secret email. Please pay particular attention to the last paragraph. I have questions I need to ask about that part and I am hoping you might know something I don't.
From: Richard McDonald
Sent: Saturday, December 13, 2014 12:14 PM
To: Leticia Cardoso
Cc: Adele Chang; Elaine Aguilar
Subject: RE: 610 Baldwin Court - Meeting with City Council Subcommittee
Thank you for organizing our December 10 meeting with Councilmembers Del Mar (sic) and Goss, who were appointed by the City Council on November 25 to act as its subcommittee on the design of the residence on Lot 24. As stated on November 25, the City Council disagrees with the unanimous vote of its Planning Commission ("PC") approving the HDP application for Lot 24 because it believes that Design Guidelines 1.2 applies and the Planning Commission did not reduce the "massing" of the residence enough to comply with it. More specifically, as the Council stated on November 25, the second floor of the residence needs to be reduced "much more" to protect the view of the hillside from Carter Avenue and to "conform" it more to the "natural slopes of the hillside."
With that in mind, we met with Councilmembers Del Mar (sic) and Goss on December 10 to hear their proposal, which they said was as follows:
1. They want the applicant to eliminate the master bedroom above the garage rather than simply set it back as approved by the PC, which was an amount significantly greater than the setback in the HMZ.
2. They want the applicant to eliminate 14 feet of the second story from the back of the residence, in addition to the PC's changes to the front of the residence.
After reviewing the plans, I calculated that the elimination of the master bedroom would equal approximately 357 square feet, and that the elimination of 14 feet from the back of the residence would equal approximately 252 square feet, which would be a total reduction of approximately 609 square feet and which they said was "roughly" the number they had. Last, in response to my questions about the basis for their proposal, they stated they believe that each proposed change follows the "intent" of the Design Guidelines.
As promised, I have spoken to my client bout whether it will agree to the subcommittee's proposal and the answer is as follows:
First, please thank Councilmembers Del Mar (sic) and Goss for taking the time to serve on the subcommittee, which we acknowledged involved more of their time that the work they already do deserving on the Council.
Second, please let them, and the Council, know that the applicant will not agree to their proposal. Simply put, there is no basis for it under the governing documents. In fact, it is contrary to the express language of the governing documents.
Third, the applicant reiterates its request that the unanimously approved design by the PC be approved by the City Council at the continued hearing for this matter on January 13, 2015. As you will recall, we did not agree to the continuance from November 25, 2014 to January 13, 2015, and will not agree to any further continuances.
Fourth, and lastly, since we have repeatedly denied that we threatened any litigation over this matter at any time, and in fact have not done so, please inform them that we regard the closed sessions with the PC and Council on this matter under the rubric of such a threat as a violation of the Brown Act. we, therefore, request that such sessions cease immediately.
Thank you for your efforts. We look forward to seeing you on January 13, 2015. In the meantime, have a good holidays.
Richard A. McDonald, Esq.
Of Counsel, Varlson & Nicholas, LLP
140 South Lake Avenue, Suite No. 251
Pasadena, CA 91101
Mod: So that is pretty much it. As we saw on Jan. 13, the above letter and the points made therein were not discussed by Mr. McDonald at Tuesday's City Council meeting. Rather he somewhat obliquely referred to this e-mailed letter, which at that time neither you nor I, or just about any resident visitor to Council Chambers or watching at home on television that evening, had seen. Which is why I thought it was vitally important for The Tattler to get this for you and present it here.
It is critical that everyone in this community be made as aware as possible about all aspects of the One Carter debacle.
This leaves one question that I have, although you may have others of your own. What PC/CC closed sessions is Mr. McDonald referring to here? And since these sessions are held in secret per the City Attorney's recommendation, how is it that he apparently knows what was being discussed?