Friday, March 27, 2015

All The Friday News That Will Fit Onto A Single Blog Page


(Mod: People send me newspaper and on-line website articles all the time, and some of them are very insightful and a good read. Others are shocking and need to be shared here as well. If I had the space I'd make them into their very own posts, but I don't have that right now. Someday I will. Today I am posting what I think are the very best of those sent to me over the last couple of weeks. Hopefully you will agree.)

City Council moves to stop construction of ‘McMansions’ in some Los Angeles neighborhoods (LA Daily News - link): Amid complaints about newly built oversize homes proliferating in areas such as Studio City and Larchmont, the City Council on Tuesday moved to stop the construction of so-called “McMansions.”

The council voted to enact immediate laws that would restrict the size of dwellings in 14 neighborhoods in Los Angeles. In the Valley, the law will apply to Old Granada Hills and Valley Village.

Community groups contend builders are using loopholes in the 2008 Baseline Mansionization Act to erect homes that are out of character with the size and scope of surrounding structures. The council’s action seeks to close those exemptions, which currently allow homeowners to build larger residences if, for example, green building elements are included.

City Councilman Paul Koretz, who pushed for the changes, complained at Tuesday’s meeting about the “explosion” of “out-of-scale development” in his district, which includes Encino, Beverlywood and Carthay Square.

“Neighborhoods are being overrun by speculators and developers with these mansions,” Koretz said

(Mod: Just in case anyone is under the misconception that what people are doing in Sierra Madre and Arcadia is so very much different than a lot of other places. People are standing up all over Los Angeles County.)

California RSOL Leads Successful Protest in Carson (CA RSOL - link): California RSOL led a successful protest in Carson, which included a diverse group of about 50 registered citizens, family members and supporters.  It is believed to be the first protest of registered citizens in the nation.

“We broke new ground in Carson on March 7, 2015, the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s march from Selma, Alabama,” stated CA RSOL president Janice Bellucci.  “The core issue in both protests was the violation of civil rights.”

The Carson protest focused upon a city law that prohibits registered citizens from loitering in or within 300 feet of public places such as libraries, parks and swimming pools as well as private places such as restaurants that have children’s playgrounds.

The City of Carson agreed to revise its ordinance in a settlement agreement reached on July 25, 2014, but the City Council later refused to honor the agreement.  The City Council recently considered revision of the ordinance during its meeting on March 4, 2015, but decided instead to indefinitely postpone any changes to that ordinance.

(Mod: The euphemism "registered citizens" is disturbing in a dark and unpleasant way. What we are talking about are child sexual predators that were convicted and jailed for their heinous crimes. Only in California can political correctness be taken to such absurd levels. And the gratuitous comparison of themselves to Martin Luther King Jr? Somehow I am not sure that the issues Dr. King was dealing with back in the 1960s in any way equate with whether or not a convicted sex offender should be allowed to hang around near a playground or elementary school.)

California has about one year of water stored. Will you ration now? (Los Angeles Times - link): Given the historic low temperatures and snowfalls that pummeled the eastern U.S. this winter, it might be easy to overlook how devastating California's winter was as well.

As our “wet” season draws to a close, it is clear that the paltry rain and snowfall have done almost nothing to alleviate epic drought conditions. January was the driest in California since record-keeping began in 1895. Groundwater and snowpack levels are at all-time lows. We're not just up a creek without a paddle in California, we're losing the creek too.

 Data from NASA satellites show that the total amount of water stored in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins — that is, all of the snow, river and reservoir water, water in soils and groundwater combined — was 34 million acre-feet below normal in 2014. That loss is nearly 1.5 times the capacity of Lake Mead, America's largest reservoir.

Right now the state has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and our strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing. California has no contingency plan for a persistent drought like this one (let alone a 20-plus-year mega-drought), except, apparently, staying in emergency mode and praying for rain.

(Mod: Can you imagine what kind of madness would overtake this state should it literally run out of water? I'm not sure that this is even comprehensible for most people. Great disasters have occurred throughout human history, are we in California on the verge of one of those?)

2 Illinois Veterans Force 102 Corrupt Officials to Resign, Place Entire Local Board Under Citizen’s Arrest (Ben Swann.com - link): With four former governors having served time behind bars, Illinois’ government is widely-viewed as being riddled with corruption. However, according to a recent expose by Forbes, two military veterans in Edgar County have begun to fight back and, in just under two years, have drastically cleaned up corruption in their community.

In an effort to take back their government from self-serving politicians and bureaucrats, John Kraft and Kirk Allen established a group called the Edgar County Watchdogs. Through a combination of public pressure, Freedom of Information filings, lawsuits, and media exposure, they have created a system that deeply threatens Illinois’ corrupt, entrenched political establishment.

They operate a blog called Illinois Leaks that exposes corruption at the state and local levels. Considering the fact that, according to Forbes, their home county’s government has racked up over $79 million in debt all on its own while serving only 18,000 residents, Kraft and Allen have their work cut out for them.

Despite an uphill battle, the anti-corruption twosome have been surprisingly successful. By doggedly pursuing justice for even the smallest infractions by bureaucrats and politicians, the Edgar County Watchdogs have driven 102 public officials to resign from their posts, including 33 officials in Edgar County alone. The pair busted the mayor of Redmond for attempting to hold office while living out of town. They represented themselves in court and beat Illinois Assistant Attorney General Emma Steimel in a lawsuit seeking access to state emails.

Officials who have resigned due to the Watchdogs’ efforts include a property tax assessor, the Edgar County board chairman, an entire airport board and its manager, the attorney for Kansas Township’s fire department, Shiloh’s superintendent of schools, and Effingham’s health department administrator, among others. After they exposed corrupt, illegal, and self-serving spending habits by the Ford-Iroquois County health department, the entire bureaucracy was dissolved. In some cases, federal agents have even stepped in to investigate and issue subpoenas to local officials after receiving tips from Kraft and Allen.

(Mod: This is probably one the coolest things I have read all year. Show this article to anyone who believes that motivated individuals cannot make a difference in this country. Where is the movie about these guys?)

Selling out Arcadia to the highest spec-house bidder: Editorial (Pasadena Star News - link): Arcadia seems determined to sell its ranch-house soul for an endless sprawl of McMansions bulging out of a fixed sea of concrete.

And it’s not just the single-story, wood-sided ranches, which have defined the overall look of the former “Community of Homes” for generations, that will soon all be razed to the ground.

Just as it allowed Elias “Lucky” Baldwin’s daughter Anita’s extraordinary estate Anoakia, with its stained-glass windows by Tiffany depicting the city’s iconic pea fowl, to be torn to the ground, so have the toothless powers that be now voted to get rid of one of Arcadia’s few Mid-Century Modern masterpieces by Miesian Pasadena architect John Galbraith.

Is there nothing, in the City Council’s and staff’s eyes, worth saving in what was once as attractive a suburban idyll as exists — the namesake of the Grecian “unspoiled harmonious wilderness”?

Apparently not.

Though it is just the latest example of an endless farce of serving mammon above all else, the Arcadia City Council majority once again this month voted to override the Arcadia Highlands Homeowners Association’s Architectural Review Board and the wishes of most of the neighboring homeowners by telling developers it’s OK to tear down appropriately scaled houses in favor of bloated monsters.

To his full credit, only Councilman Gary Kovacic dissented, twice; to his half-credit, Councilman Tom Beck voted to save what he termed the “historic treasure” that was the Galbraith. The rest of the council frankly don’t give a damn.

(Mod: Let's hope the lawsuit and recall election in Arcadia get traction fast.)

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

43 comments:

  1. Sorry, I prefer the terms "convicted sex offender" and "registered sex offender" instead of the bull crap term "registered citizen".

    When sex offenders and their wacko attorneys talk about "rights" they should be talking about the rights of innocent children and others to not be sexually attacked by these dirt bags.

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    2. Specific language would help all concerned. For instance, AWest is convicted child molester. That's clear. Robert W. Matheson is a child pornography owner. That's clear too. So if what that fraud of a woman, lawyer Bellucci, wants is clearer categorizations, than those words would do it.

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  2. Register sex offenders, not guns.

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  3. The best way to deal with the issue of where sex offenders can live and go is to give them life sentences. Solves a lot of problems.

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    1. Devil's Island.

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    2. Martian settlements.

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    3. I heard a report on the recent rulings that explained the child rapists should be distinguished from the guy who exposed himself or some other non-child related sexual offenses. Maybe so - we seem to be agreed as a society that child rapists ought to be put away for good. Until someone figures out how to make them better, they should at least be chemically castrated.

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    4. Bellucci is a false prophet, and her work is the kind of thing that comes at the end of a society.
      Rome, a little before 476 AD?

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    5. True, 7:58, but the Romans had those incredible aqueducts. We don't.

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    6. By the end nobody knew how to fix them. Kind of like Sierra Madre's water department.

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    7. Good point.

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    8. It was the public's vote that created these predator-free zones, but the courts are striking them down.

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    9. The people who put Jessica's Law on the ballot need to appeal the CA Supreme Court decision to the Supreme Court in Washington. Tens of millions of people all across the country will be watching.

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  4. I am so glad to read that Arcadia has one sane council person! Good for Mr. Kovacic.

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    1. Too little too late for the town.

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    2. The rest of them need to be recalled. Bunch of sellouts.

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    3. I agree 8:06, but maybe a part of it can survive. The Highlands is not overwhelmed yet. The cancerous macmansions are there, but not every lot. It still has a chance.

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    4. The Highlands need to secede and join Sierra Madre, the city that fights.

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    5. Hang in there Save the Highlands. Surprising results come about when you work together to defeat greed from taking over your neighborhood.

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    6. Arcadia has gotten a ton of negative publicity over the last few months. Hopefully those who run that city have begun to understand what a notorious reputation they have.

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  5. Our Arcadia friends need to read that Ben Swann article.

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  6. The more people who fight MacMansionization, the better. This is a remarkable time for exercising representative democracy; I just wish the backlash against these destructive monuments to conspicuous consumption could have started before there were so damn many of them.

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    1. There are too many of them. They should cluster together and build on top of each other, since they don't give a hoot about anything around them. Stack o'Macmansions.

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    2. There are streets in Arcadia that have mansions side by side as far as the eye can see. Brutal.

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    3. What did Arcadia do with all of those development impact fees?

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  7. I had posted the link to the "Only one year of water left" from JPL a week ago and it got little interest. Glad to read it again now. All this discussion of Mansions, Chinese mistress houses, bullet trains, 710 extension pales to insignificance if the faucets do not flow.
    What value does any mansion or any bungalow have in a land with no water ? The N.Califonians and Arizonans 'kindly' supply much of our water but will soon need it all for their own needs since they have a drought also.
    Meanwhile Sierra Madre looses one third of it's water through "leakers" and our City Manager, Director of Public Works and Council do nothing of substance.

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    1. I think that sometimes people don't think about things like this because the problem is too immense to deal with. It could end up that when they write the history of California in our time the drought will be the only thing discussed.

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    2. 9:45 am post... City hall provided earl Richey with city documents stating that the city charges residents for more water than the city pumped. There for city hall has lied regarding their multiple speeches stating that city hall has hundreds of water main leaks! We the residents need to terminate city hall employees and city council members!

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    3. I doubt very much that what you are saying is true. If it is why don;t you hire a lawyer and sue? You'd win a ton.

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    4. Bite your tongue 2:01 about the council. It's the first time in many, many years that we have a council who will actually choose what is best for the current residents rather than choosing what is best for developers.

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    5. Just imagine what would have happened in the Buchanan/Mosca/Moran crew had their way - downtown would be full of 4 story buildings (yes, the DSP consultant said the only way the plan would "pencil out" was to build 4 stories), the monastery would be scraped and water metered up, ready to go, and the Camillo style of architecture would be all over the place.
      We should all thank our lucky stars for this council!

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    6. Lesson learned: do not allow realtors or lawyers who work for utilities on the city council.

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    7. People vote against their own interests. Of course, maybe they wouldn't if they knew what their interests are.

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  8. Very incisive observation 11.25. I would prefer that they read how we Tattlers and similarly focused citizens forced the Pols to abandon all vanity projects and build reservoirs and aqueducts. Other issues are mere trivia without water.
    The historic and tree ring data indicate the last 200 years in California have been unusually wet.We are now reverting to normal weather for as long as the "RRR" is stationary.

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  9. I just drove through some off the beaten track areas of San Marino.
    Interesting to see a community that hasn't been told about the drought.

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    1. Water use is a privilege reserved for wealth.

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    2. How do they get away with that, dammit.

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  10. At the LA Co Arboretum this morning. They may have their own wells there, but nevertheless they were watering large sections of grass at 10:30 a.m. and the water in one rain bird was slappping over onto the asphalt drive way near the front pool. All the visitors, no doubt a large number from Arcadia will see that lux lawn and think, no problem. I will water with abandon, too.

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  11. 92 degrees in March. Care to guess what August will be like?

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    1. Exactly what I thought, 3:54. Walked out this morning & could have sworn it was 3 in the afternoon in late August. Ugh and then some.

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  12. Ah, water, the water of life, clear and, uh--and--eww, gold.

    For those who think the chloramine problem is over, remove the aerator from your faucet, crank the flow way up (to 11 if necessary), and, eureka!, there it still is--liquid gold.

    As for water conservation, I'm a believer. But part of me wonders whether it will take an absolute water crisis to change the existing order. Perhaps, we do indeed need to run out of water in order to stifle the virtual free flow to farming interests, who flood fields (rice growing in CA!) and spray precious H2O through the air in 90 degree plus heat.

    It may well be time to increase water charges to farmers, which will encourage changes in crop choices and watering methods. And maybe it will stimulate a movement to build a water pipeline to the eastern US and get some of that free, wonderful rainfall.

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  13. To add to the "do not grow in California please" list:
    Cotton
    Turf/sod
    lettuce
    water melons
    Alfalfa for export to China!
    Corn
    Cabbage
    Peas.
    Sugar Beets
    None of these crops that need huge amounts of water should be grown in California during an epic drought.
    It will be too late when the faucets run dry.Goodbye home equity! Who wants a house with inadequate water?

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