|You got mail!|
The Tattler believes that the people of Sierra Madre have a right to know who exactly these folks might be. Under California state law most communication between elected officials and constituents is property of the public, and all are entitled to share in what might have been discussed. Government in our democracy truly is the peoples' business, and in that spirit we filed (to use Elaine Aguilar's quite precise wording), a "Request for Public Records, pursuant to the California Public Records Act, Government Code Section 6250 et. seq." Whatever that is, I did it.
In other words, I wanted copies of any e-mails that Councilman Goss may have either received or sent dealing with the R1 Zoning controversy. It was The Tattler's assumption that, given Councilman Goss's official public statements, there must be a lot of these e-mails. I wanted to see who sent them, and what their issues might be.
Yesterday I went to Sierra Madre City Hall to pick up 107 pages of correspondence that had Councilman Goss's city email address on them. And after careful examination of each of these documents I can now report with complete confidence the following results.
1) None of these emails were sent to Councilman Goss alone. Virtually all of them bore the City of Sierra Madre email addresses of all five Councilmembers.
2) Out of the 107 pages of emails I was given while visiting with the efficient and attentive staff working the front counter at City Hall, almost all of these messages strongly favored the Planning Commission's wise decisions on the R1 "One Family Residential Zone" question.
3) Only two persons out of all those who sent in emails actually took the side of whatever it is Councilmen Harabedian and Goss have been going on about these last few weeks.
What this could mean is that Councilman Goss exclusively conducts his business with the residents over the phone, or instead prefers to employ alternative means of communication. Like carrier pigeons, or microfiche hidden Whittaker Chambers style under the rocks in Memorial Park.
There are those possibilities, though I have my doubts.
Our thorough examination of each of these e-mails (which is the widely preferred form of communication for most residents these days), turned up almost nothing that would support Gene Goss's contention that he has been contacted by a substantial amount of concerned residents fearful that they will not be allowed to build McMansion style houses in Sierra Madre.
That said, there are two e-mails in particular that I thought I'd share with you today. They are both from the same individual, and each is a bit edgy. I would hope that this is not who Mr. Goss was citing when he spoke about communicating with the public. I would also hate to think that what you will be reading below in any way influenced Gene's decisions on the R1 question.
Here is the first:
Here is a second email from this gentleman.
Like I said, since Mr. Mysza is one of only two persons out of that big heap of emails I was handed yesterday who sided with Gene Goss, it would be sad to think that this is what the Councilman was referring to when he spoke about constituents who had influenced his decision on the R1 One Family Residential Zone question.
An important e-mail from Barry Gold
Mod: This made the rounds yesterday, and as usual Barry nails it.
May 11, 2015
Mayor John Capoccia
Mayor Pro-Tem Gene Goss
Council Member Rachelle Arizmendi
Council Member Denise Delmar
Council Member John Harabedian
City of Sierra Madre
232 W. Sierra Madre Blvd.
Sierra Madre, CA 91024
Dear Mayor and Council Members,
The house that will be built at 1145 E. Grandview, after the existing home is torn down, does not require a CUP and a public hearing before the planning commission because it is under the current CUP threshold. The current threshold is projects over 4,000 S.F. This house is exactly 4,000 S.F., not over 4,000 S.F.
Consequently the decision as to whether the design, bulk, or mass infringes on the neighbors rights to privacy etc. is left to the Planning Director. This is a lot to ask of one person and has not worked well in the past. The two Camillo houses are evidence of that.
Today I looked over the plans for the new house at 1145 E. Grandview and the only way I can describe the design is “Camillo on Steroids”.
If this is not an overwhelming reason for the council to pass the R-1 changes so the seven member Planning Commission can review such projects I do not know what would be.
Ordinance 1364 is by far our best protection yet when it comes to preserving the unique character of our city.
Any more changes, to achieve unanimity, will require another second reading and then you may find you still need to make even more changes and during this time the door remains open for more Camillo style houses to be built. The damage will be irreversible.
If you pass the ordinance, as is, the seven members of the planning commission will review two story houses to make sure they conform to the goals of the General Plan and the chances of getting it right are seven times better.
You can make future changes if you want, and no irreversible damage will have been done.
Passing the ordinance tomorrow night and monitoring its use is certainly the more prudent and safer way of preserving Sierra Madre, and that would truly be in the best interest of the people who live here.
Respectfully, Barry Gold
As you can see, the stakes are real and quite imminent for this community. It is time for Councilmen Goss and Harabedian to end their pointless campaign of obstruction and get this ordinance passed.
Tonight would be as good a time as any.