|Not a good night for Johnny Process.|
The City Council was prepared to cast its collective vote for the Planning Commission's McMansion busting recommendations on such things as lowering the CUP (Conditional Use Permit) threshold, lowering the Floor Area Limits (how big a home you can build on a given sized lot) and making a CUP mandatory for all new 2-story homes or additions. All Planning Commission approved changes to the R-1 building regulations for the City of Sierra Madre. Things seemed properly set up and ready to roll. After a lot of time and hard work it was all about to come together. The fight to stop any additional mansionization in Sierra Madre was about to take a big step forward.
That was until John Harabedian began a seemingly endless stream of completely unabashed lawyering on the behalf of, well, somebody. Which, when you consider all of the resistance he was receiving from the three more competent members of the City Council, two folks from the Planning Commission, the City Attorney and almost everyone else in the room, came off as being a little bizarre.
What exactly was Harabedian fighting so hard for? Who were these mysterious people he kept referring to? Who exactly was he lawyering for? Was there even a point to any of this?
That John Harabedian (along with his sidekick Gene Goss) lost their big house gambit by a 3 to 2 vote is fortunate. Because Johnny worked very hard to stop it.
One particularly unfortunate moment from (thankfully) outgoing Mayor Harabedian was his gratuitous claim that if you oppose mansionization in Sierra Madre, it's because you are paranoid and delusional.
Why the insults, Mayor? After all the glad handing and grinning assurances about the need to save this town from Arcadia's troubling fate over the last year, is this how you really feel about the fight to preserve Sierra Madre? That it is the product of people suffering from paranoia and delusional behavior? Is that what you really think?
We haven't heard that kind of insulting talk from a sitting Mayor in quite some time. It is like we are back in the DSP - Measure V days all over again.
What's next, the resurrection of the Cumquat?
It is important to point out that this discussion has been going on for 9 years now, back when Arcadia was still a quaint ranch home community. Paranoia and delusional behavior would need to have been mixed with clairvoyance for Mayor Harabedian's unfortunate aspersions to have any validity.
One of the strangest moments of the night came about when Harabedian and Goss refused to identify the people who are supposedly upset with these planning code reforms. Apparently they are people who don't go to meetings, won't speak up in public, only talk to two City Councilmembers and don't want anyone to know who they are.
A very mysterious constituency. Yet these are the people Harabedian and Goss put it all on the line for last night? Something just is not right about that. It does make you wonder.
Thank you Councilmembers Arizmendi and Delmar, and Mayor Pro Tem Capoccia, for hanging tough for the preservation of Sierra Madre.
Personally, I think that 3 to 2 vote was great. It got a little exciting there for a while, but it was also a reminder of how quickly things can go south at City Hall. Especially when certain elected officials somehow decide to work against the interests of the people who put them there.
It certainly wouldn't be the first time that has happened.