Sandra Siraganian for Pasadena Unified School Board - Short column this week but one of my most important. Your intrepid columnist had been slowly and steadily improving from the flu that many of us have been suffering from. That is until Friday, when like a folding chair at a WWE Smackdown wrestling event, the flu knocked me back into the ropes. I have been down for the count in my Batman jammies.
As strongly as I can endorse anyone, I recommend you cast your upcoming vote for Sandra Siraganian to be on the Pasadena School Board. Sandra is qualified for two very important reasons: First, she has experienced the Pasadena Schools as both a student through Pasadena elementary, middle and high school, and as an active parent of two children who went through the Pasadena Unified School System.
Secondly, and I really like this attribute, Sandra Siraganian comes out of the business community. She has vast experience and considerable skill negotiating successfully in a business to business environment.
I have known Sandra personally for close to ten years. She may be the hardest working professional woman I know. Actually she makes me think of another woman who makes things happen: the editor of this newspaper. Sandra is strong. She is thorough in doing her homework on every issue and endeavor she chooses to be involved in (hmmm, must be that PUSD education). Sandra then becomes confident and passionate about advocating for what she believes in.
Whether or not you agree with her on a particular issue, you know, because of Sandra, that issue will be considered from every conceivable angle. Of particular importance will be her perspective as a parent and a taxpayer.
Please cast your vote for Sandra Siraganian. And have a good week.
(Mod: Because Rich isn't too keen on being censored, he had this column forwarded to me for publication here. Apparently at The Mountain Views News the uninterrupted demonization of Sandra Siraganian that has typified the extremely negative Larry Torres campaign takes precedence over free speech. Of course, the MVN is Sierra Madre's adjudicated newspaper, and therefore receives taxpayer support. Meaning it is obliged to present all opinions in town, even those of a columnist who has written for that paper since before Susan took it. But let's not quibble. Besides, and as Rich put it best, "Why would you print balanced coverage of an election when you can run a corned beef recipe?")
Preserve Sierra Madre Report
(Mod: This went out to the Preserve Sierra Madre e-mail list yesterday afternoon. It catches everyone up on the important news from the Planning Commission last week.)
NEWS ALERT! Planning Commission Takes Major Steps Towards Preservation - There have been some significant steps made toward preservation by the Sierra Madre City Council and Planning Commission in the last year or so. And one of the biggest of these steps was made by the Planning Commission at their last meeting on March 5th in which they passed PC Resolution 15-01.
To give our supporters a taste of what our Planning Commission did on Thursday night, we will highlight some of the major improvements:
1. A new formula will be used to calculate the "maximum allowable floor area" (how big a home can be built on a given size lot). For those lots over 7,500 square feet, the maximum size home has been reasonably reduced to prevent the mansionization of Sierra Madre.
2. The CUP (conditional use permit) threshold for when a new home or addition will get additional scrutiny by the Planning Commission and surrounding neighbors has been reduced from 4,000 square feet to a 3-tiered formula that is now capped at a much lower 3,500 square feet.
3. In recognition that a 2-story new home or addition has the most potential to adversely impact on a neighbor's views, light and privacy, a CUP will now be required for all 2-story new homes and for all 2-story additions.
To be clear, Preserve Sierra Madre has never been against all development. The measures above are reasonable, balanced and fair to all parties concerned, and for that reason, they have our whole-hearted support.
The first three provisions of the new resolution reveal the purpose and spirit in which these new measures were done and so we will quote them in their entirety:
"WHEREAS, the R-1 One Family Residential Zoning Ordinance (Chapter 17.20 of the Municipal Code), was adopted to encourage development that preserves the small town character of the community and promotes architectural diversity while maintaining neighborhood consistency;
WHEREAS, the City is concerned with an increasing number of existing single-family homes being replaced with much larger, often 2-story homes that are inconsistent with the scale of the surrounding residential neighborhoods and the overall small village character of Sierra Madre;
WHEREAS, the City is concerned that some of the existing R-1 development standards are inconsistent with the City's community preservation goals and thereby wishes to amend the zoning ordinance;
The three provisions above state about as well as we ever could the goals and purposes of the Preserve Sierra Madre coalition. We commend the work and efforts of the Planning Commission as well as the City Staff towards this significant achievement. We also thank all of our supporters for your help in advancing the cause we hold so dear - preserving Sierra Madre for now and future generations.
Preserve Sierra Madre