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”?
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.)