|It's good to be the King|
Without the matter being pulled out for special treatment (or endless lawyeristic jabbering if you prefer to view it that way), all Gene Goss and John Harabedian had left was to cast rather meaningless protest votes. There was little else for the second story men to do but say nay and try to save face. So the whole matter ended not with a bang, but a whimper.
All hail the new Mayor. He is off to a good start.
The end result of this being the Planning Commission's R1 Modifications are now on the books. All that is left for us to do is figure out exactly what the heck John Harabedian had been up to all of this time. One of the wackier episodes in recent City Council history if you ask me. And yes, we're working on it. Stay tuned to this page for further developments.
Before I try and figure out what happened at the City Council meeting last night, I thought I would share with you my take on a recent event at the Kiwanis Club. A place that, while not noted for its sense of humor per se, does have its moments of unintentional hilarity. Just don't go boot scootin' on any spilled chili.
The occasion was the City Budget presentation held at the Kiwanis Club, and after John Capoccia and Rachelle Arizmendi had given their informative perspectives on this matter, none other than Father Mike Higgins of Mater Dolorosa fame suddenly emerged from the shadows. He then proceeded to give those left in attendance a mini-presentation on the development doings up on yonder hillside.
Interestingly enough erstwhile Mater Dolorosa development advocates Cam Thornton and Jerry Pearson also popped out from behind the curtains for this somewhat inappropriate invasion of the City's budgetary road show. I suspect they had to have been invited by Kiwanis boss lady H. Susan Henderson. Otherwise how would they have even gotten through the door?
Ms. Henderson-Poole-Carter's recently published front page olive branch to the Preserve Sierra Madre folks notwithstanding, of course.
The kind of desperate thrust of their presentation is that Sierra Madre's budgetary problems could be solved by the development impact fee revenue generated by that now at-risk 50 strong big bungalow housing project at Mater Dolorosa. Father Mike was left to make the sales pitch, probably because unlike Cam Shenanigan (Burbank), and Jerry Thorn-In-Our-Side (Arcadia), he lives in Sierra Madre.
Evidently Father Mike is now spending his time pitching housing development projects rather than ministering to the flock on more transcendent issues such as heaven and hell. Proving once again that in our little slice of paradise almost everyone eventually ends up in Real Estate. Whether they wanted to or not. We all have retirements to fund.
These guys are really pressing hard now that their faithless developer, New Urban West, ran screaming down the I-5 Freeway for the safety of San Diego County recently. Apparently they have seen enough of us to last them a lifetime.
The concern some have is that the Mater Men are trying to appeal to resident pocketbooks as well as fill the City's coffers. The scheme being to entice the City Council and City Staff to act against the wishes of the majority of Sierra Madre residents and turn the monastery's grounds into a bumping warren of indentikit California generic so-called "modern family" barns.
As a part of that pitch, the good Father was also pushing the entirely discredited "zero net water use" canard. The current rumor out there being that City Hall would, with a little help from an interested party, "sod" the local athletic fields with technicolor green artificial turf to save water equal to the demand of those 50 new homes.
Have you ever smelled fresh astroturf on a hot summer day? It gives off a quite dizzying polyvinyl chloride odor. PVC, as the stuff is widely known, is the third-most widely produced synthetic plastic polymer available today. And not so great for young baseball players to be breathing, no matter what the cause.
Remember, the development impact fees the city could realize from this development would be in the neighborhood of $3 million dollars. And you know how City Hall can get about money. Especially now that the UUTax is just now beginning its glorious sunset back to 6%. Those folks are getting a little hairy and desperate over there.
Which brings us to last night's City Council meeting.
If you stayed awake long enough to listen to the budget discussion at last night's meeting, you would have been able to sense the next big drama unfolding right before your eyes. The talk was all about closing down entire City Hall departments by July 1st. We're talking about such institutions as Community Services, and perhaps even the Planning Department.
Something that must have been interesting news to newly hired Planning & Community Preservation Director Vincent Gonzalez. Perhaps he might want to get on the phone to Metro and see if his old mouthpiece gig is still open. It is much easier to get a job while you still have one, you know.
In case you were wondering, apparently they can't shut down the Library because of some state law, but they can fire almost everyone working there should they so choose. Except for maybe one or two part-timers to keep it open a couple of hours a day.
Denise Delmar pointed out that the City Council shouldn't be too hasty about closing departments because the city does have ample cash reserves. They really do need to spend a few months making good plans rather than just going bananas and coming up with something that nobody can stomach.
Which, of course, is when the never much fun MPT Gene Goss got his Cotton Mather on and pronounced something along the lines of "they voted down the UUT and still wanted a balanced budget." So, quoth he further, we must do what we need to do by July 1st.
That date does seem a little arbitrary, right? So what's the big rush, Gene? Is there some kind of a point you're trying to make here?
Just a hunch, but expect the Mater Dolorosa $3 million dollar development impact fee circus to show up in Council Chambers very soon. Certainly the table is being set to make that a possibility.
Other things happened at the City Council last night. I particularly want to get into that ill considered move to make Sierra Madre's water supply 100% chloramine forever.
And I will in a day or two. As yes, things are still getting wild in town.