Thursday, August 20, 2015

Planning Commission Main Event: The Return of CETT

Adele Chang
Tonight the CETT Circus is back in town with yet another of its proposed hillside homes. There is already quite a history in town with CETT, and this does have the feel of a rematch. Here is how Preserve Sierra Madre describes this evening's proceedings in its latest e-mail:

On Thursday, August 20th at 7:00 pm, the Sierra Madre Planning Commission will be discussing the design for the second home proposed for One Carter/Stonegate by CETT Development.

As many of you will remember, the first house proposed by CETT and their architect Adele Chang was rejected on appeal by our City Council.  At that time, Preserve Sierra Madre submitted a 6-page "legal brief" detailing how that first home's design violated the General Plan, Municipal Code, Hillside Management Zone Ordinance, and the Stonegate Design Guidelines.

Our preliminary assessment of this second home's design reveals that CETT has submitted another home that is similarly in violation of the relevant legal documents making Preserve Sierra Madre's "legal brief" equally applicable to this second home as well.

"The Toaster"
We have every confidence that our newly constituted Planning Commission will make the appropriate suggestions to improve the design so that it is compatible with that sensitive canyon area.   However, we still need people to voice their concerns during the public comment section of Thursday's meeting.


On another note, Mater Dolorosa continues to have their wine and cheese get-togethers for various constituencies to garner support for one of the largest housing projects Sierra Madre has seen in decades.   We understand that meeting will also take place on August 20th at 6:00 pm.  The purpose of these meetings is to identify those people who will sign a "commitment" letter acknowledging that they recognize the "…. potential benefits to Sierra Madre..." of such a project.

While much has been accomplished in Sierra Madre in regards to controlling over-development, as you can see, we must continue to remain vigilant as there is more work to be done.

This is how tonight's main event is teed up in the Staff Report:


In what must be one of the more strange mood setters for any Planning Commission meeting, the company employing the applicant for this evening's festivities, CETT, is also the topic of the following "closed session" notice.


I am not certain how you can sue the City of Sierra Madre and its Planning Commission on the one hand, and then expect to have your next proposed project dispassionately reviewed and considered by the very same people you're suing. Then again, I am not a member of the CETT Circus. You have to wonder what charm school these people were expelled from.

As we pointed out on Saturday (link), this project is literally shelled in the Staff Report. Personally I can't recall any similar project getting criticism quite this pointed before. Here it is again:


I am sure that the individual who is both the applicant for this project and its celebrated architect, Adele Chang, will attempt to convince the Planning Commission that the above is not quite true. Adele does have quite a record in town for colorfully defending her difficult to defend projects, and at considerable length I might add, so this shouldn't be a completely new experience for anybody tuning in.

One question that is on the minds of many is should she fail to achieve her goal, which supposedly is getting this project approved, will CETT sue the City of Sierra Madre once again if they don't get their way? And might that actually be the real agenda driving their efforts tonight?

I personally would not put such a thing beyond them.

It should be quite an evening. Bring plenty of popcorn.

sierramadretattler.com

94 comments:

  1. There are no rules for these people. You would think they would have learned a lesson from the last time. There are areas of the city where this house, with an adjustment for bulk and size might be okay. But not here. The historical preservationist she hired feels it fits in. How? The older structure is a rectangle and so is Adele's? Should be fun tonight!

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    1. I agree 5:16 that the house would be fine in a different location. Maybe the beach?

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    2. The first human settlement on Mars perhaps.

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    3. I think it looks like something you could buy at IKEA

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    4. Maybe it is a kit home.

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  2. CETT is just trying to make a fast buck and they will try anything to get one of their monsters built once that happens the flood gate will be spread wide open.

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  3. So the Planning Commission will first meet with the City Atty in private about a lawsuit brought by CETT, and after that they will be asked by CETT to approve the plans for yet another inappropriately designed house. You just can't beat the timing.

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    1. That's why I really think it's intentional.
      Here's our next effort, and you're going to shoot it down, because you shoot everything we do down....

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    2. I agree, 8:18. I think that they're going use this rejection as fodder for the lawsuit - "Well, look (lookie here to quote Nancy Walsh). This design is totally different, and we can't get that one passed either.

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  4. This woman Adele has a very unfortunate personality!
    She always has a mean look on her face.
    She reminds me of Nancy Walsh !

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, but the Mod gets to use his classic picture of her again.

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    2. Wonderful stink eye.

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  5. Which lot is it?

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  6. 2 nd lot from the top. The story sticks are up. You can't miss it.

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  7. "I am not certain how you can sue the City of Sierra Madre and its Planning Commission on the one hand, and then expect to have your next proposed project dispassionately reviewed and considered by the very same people you're suing."
    The planning commissioners will be able to do this with absolute fairness. It's all about following the rules.

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  8. I have looked at the 3D drawings, and it's the same old thing - whoever puts together those slides hasn't got a clue about what the land is like around here.
    All those pretty green gently rolling hills are from some other part of the world.

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    1. They've got to use every trick in the book to make something look better than it will. Cover stuff up with trees that couldn't be there for 20 years, tinker with color palettes, give the impression of endless space between lots. It's sales.

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    2. You won't fool many people in this town with that stuff.

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    3. Here's the design playbook
      From John Burns Consulting

      http://realestateconsulting.com/our-value/designlens/

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  9. CETT does not own Lot 6

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    1. How's that lawsuit going?

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    2. Depends on what papares you look at.

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    3. You mean someone other than CETT saw Chang's disastrous work for CETT and thought, "Hey she's lost every time, let's hire her." ?

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    4. If it's not CETT, then be prepared for one of these:
      We love the village...community...want....love...dream...heart....village...dream....village....

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    5. All about money. Nothing else.

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    6. Nu-uh 9:04. It's love for neighbors and Sierra Madre that brings them here.

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  10. Why is Adele the applicant and not the property owner?

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    1. She's a full service architect.

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    2. Because her development company will build it.

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    3. Chang supplies very necessary translation skills.
      In previous meetings, she was speaking Chinese with applicants.
      It was clear that the applicants did not speak English, and that Chang was responsible both for speaking for them, and for telling them what our city officials and commissioners had said.

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    4. Latest e-digest, Betting on Chinese Home Buyers in the US

      http://realestateconsulting.hs-sites.com/betting-on-chinese-home-buyers-in-the-us

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  11. Hey, Mod...Great photo of Adele! ;-)

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    1. Actually I didn't take it. I think it was someone from the New York Times.

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    2. Well, whomever it is, he (or she) has superb timing. Good job!

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    3. Looks like we are attracting national interest.

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  12. It looks more like a microwave than a toaster, Mod.

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    1. I think this is a trick. There is no way this project adheres to the provisions and spirit of the settlement agreement. Anything built on the ridges can not stick out like a sore thumb. The applicant would be well advised to design the same home as a single story. I bet they would sail through the process. This isn't Arcadia or Glendale.

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    2. It is a lawsuit gambit designed to look like it is coming from someone other than CETT. All the same bunch.

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    3. The settlement agreement has expired. Poof. They didn't get their acts together in the five years of it's efficacy to take advantage of the benefits they got from it. Exceptions and special concessions all gone.

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  13. Light and glare from those windows are addressed somewhere, somehow in the Hillside Ordinance as far as animal welfare. There is to be no light shining off site to a neighboring property if I remember correctly and it should not shine from the site to the view from the city below so as to blend in with the natural surroundings. I am in Canada and need you folks to be sure this is addressed.

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    1. Commissioner Hinton was just great on this. She said that it would be a lighthouse on the mountain.

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  14. I will be at the meeting and I want to see if this couple that sat through the last Adele charade are there. They have something to do with ownership. Maybe the people for this new one. They were very angry at those meetings and gave the stink eye to everyone they looked at. Maybe more shennanigans are on the way from Adele and her consorts.

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    1. You misunderstood 5:48. They love us. They long to be a part of our community.

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  15. ADELE IS IN THE HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  16. NOTHING DECIDED IN CLOSED MEETING. Change of chair. 2 members missing. new chair but no vice chair yet.

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  17. wait-new vice-chair is Gina Freirman-Hunt. Mr. De Sai steps down. approval of agenda. approval of minutes. not enough votes for approval. gina is now in charge. audience address not on agenda. kevin pascal-went ny Kraft estate. seems to be rebuilt. gonzalez has no idea. letiticia-CUP-on Highland. Extensive interior remodel. staff noticed that it seemed to be a larger demolish but upon check it's okay. Pascal thought house was historical. it's not

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  18. 229 n. baldwin-cert. of appropriatness-william deutsch house-historical-want ductless heating and A/C. Need permission as it is a historical home. upgrade electrical panel.

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  19. My certificate of appropriateness lapsed years ago.

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  20. staff recommends approval not many people attending this meeting. mr. & mrs. ziff are present. they are not doing the whole house. are aware of historical implications. wife is head of historical society. no other speakers. leslee went to see house. conquers with staff findings as does Mr. Hutt. Tells the Ziff's they have done a superb job maintaining the house. mr. hutt said rules were changed about charging for variances for historical homes. should be changed back to give options. DeSai took a peek, condensors hidden behind shrubs. no issues. Gina has no problems, wants to nake a condition that plants will always remain as they are at present. adopted

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  21. leticia is once again giving report. Gina welcomes Mr. Hutt and Ms. Hinton.IT'S ADELE TIME. rendering shows it with plants. 5 lots are owned by others not cett. applicants are lorenzo & ms. Yi. one carter settlement not applicable as plans were not in by deadline.YEA!!!!!! lot has 2500 flood easement. complys with hillside ordinance. 4 bdrms up, 1 down. they have photo simulations that show as you go up, from the side, all sides. slope survey- huge easement. has a black walnut tree on site.

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  22. Well the monastery presentation was no crowd either ! Outrageous and slimy and filled with holes.

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    1. Where was the outrage against this tonight?

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    2. Ah there's plenty of outrage. And I'm sure there was at least one spy.
      I'm hoping the Tattler will tell us how it went.

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  23. drought plants as recommended in rules. has a a reflecting pool. wants trash enclosure. story poles are on site. there will be retaining walls. 6 ft retaining, 2ft below, 4ft. above. more than 100 ft from ridgelie. staff is concerned with bulk and mass and boxy structures. has a looming effect. massing overwhelms natyral setting. concrete use looks heavy. design does take characteristics of hillside. staff can not approve, continue so applicant can address problems. hinton-purpose of wall that is 10 ft? applicant need to answer. cett was talking to county to use driveway for lot 7 that belongs to the city of l.a.

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  24. hutt-so west side balcony are glass- is glass reflective. that was Spears. in 2012, the yi's approached adele to build a house for them. they had many pictures of what they wanted. they want linear and white. this is a custom home and the clients travel so much, hard to get together. client wanted to hold off, no hurry. Playing the retirement card. there is an elevator a caretaker suite. sure the citizens will have comments. she's here to listen. adele is being so soft spoken. any of the walls are really not needed. Hutt-concept of the driveway. 4 curb cuts. lot next door, lot 7, debris basin, lot 5. for lot 6. only 9ft. between a a pole. needs better access. adele, lot 7 owns the property, easement to county, still in hands of the city, not transferred to county yet. again getting ready to retire, let's keep it simple, blah, blah, blah. Hutt if he has a senior moment he wouldn't want to pull into the driveway. reflecting pool??water feature? yes-flat, no fountain.

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    1. If somebody has the stomach for it, they ought to watch the playbcak and count how many times Adele used the word "retire."

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  25. comments: marguerite Shuster-thanks to staff for report . Baffling insensitivity to natural area. Not the modern structure that is wrong. should be in an industrial area. looks like a dentention center. over and over don't want a two strey block. after we have been through, the applicants couldn't possibly want this.

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    1. Thank you marguerite ! You are a true gem of humanity! X

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    2. Marguerite Shuster has the ability to say what matters with powerful eloquence. We are beyond lucky that she participates.

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    3. This is true Marguerite Shuater -model
      Citizen and human for all!

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  26. barry Gold-design of house is as far away as hillside ordinance, general plan. these are successful people. have done many buildings. can't tweak this bldg enough to make it fit. they know what the city wants not PC job to design for them. teryl -wildlife issues- reflecting pool is a problem with mountain lions and bears. if you are looking at some kind of infirmity you don't want snakes, lions and bears. need to be safe in house. need to understand-living with wild animals. need to provide them room to get away. these animals have had full access to this area. changing habitat. have signs up where people cand see them. Camera with flashing blue lights should be shielded. Judy webb-martin, lives on miramonte has hadbears in her spa, mountain lions. they go away but come back. thought 2 stories had to be below not at the top. too industrial. doesn't reflect village of sierra madre. wants project denied. public hearing closed

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  27. hutt-is this under the new general plan-current one according to atty. Spears-project needs to match hillside. 2 storey box that doesn't conture to the hillside. present form doesn't comply with guidelines. couldn't give approval. Hutt- agrees with staff. has hope that they can reach a good ending. likes concrete and glass. likes plant pallet. design is too boxey. needs to be broken yp into smaller pieces. loves the view on this lot. far enough away from the barn not to matter. what Hutt doesn't like, bulk and mass. it looms. 2 sf porch with summer kitchen, not part of sf. the concrete is not the problem, it's how it's being used. this is not a flat retangular lot. firebreak and storm drain easement takes half the sf of lot. the plant plan does not help. not well done. property line fence and retaining wall is to change another lot. water feature, huge mistake. he lives in hillside-gets a bear every week. more permeable hardscape. show us how it drains. I feel there is hope. can't help the lots, they are what they are. come back with a project with the changes. reduce bulk and mass, so and e side need 1 story sections.

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    1. He also very clearly said, more than once, that the changes had to be significant. Little tinkerings around the edges would mean denial.

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  28. we need significant revisions. if you come back with very little done, i will deny te project. De Sai- views at the site are incredible. design doesn't match that. Likes the style, has potential, looks like a tilt-up box. flat roof not good. look at the height of the ceilings? no use for it. the decks are fine. the pallette makes it wrong, no warmth.needs more warmth. use of glass is fine, like to see more of an open house. plan looks like it was pulled out of a magazine. significant improvements need to be done. apply it to how they make changes. Hinton-i was there when poles were put up, from the lower lot can't see mountain. instead of concrete use stone. lighting inside, would look like a lighthouse or a beacon. saturday, in her pool was a bear. could not approve with the water feature.where is water coming from? height of the house, 2 story box, redesign more building on 1st floor, less on 2nd. architect knows what she needs to do and I wish her good luck

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    1. Desai was gving out grades:
      site A+
      design D

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    2. I wonder how oh-so-famous architect Chang feels when our commissioners say thihgs like the design was plucked out of some magazine?

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    3. She has got an intense game face. Often looks like she could kill anyone without moving.

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    4. Still reminds me of Nancy Walsh

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  29. Gina-staff report covers everythinng. the looming effect-needs to be part of the natural environment. should be built with sensitivity. bldg looks like a large box with some accourements tacked on. Hutt-talk a lot about fitting into hillside. not how the house fits on the bldg pad. house is just a big box. not just on the pad. how it fits in the whole mountainside. Gina-house looks like house is bigger than it is. Spears agrees. 2nd floor has more sf than 1st floor. Desai-what's on paper now is contemporary-it's like a weight lifter-it's heavy- Interesting, the head of the bldg department hasn't spoken since he took roll call. He has been writing copious amount of notes. Is he taking minutes? Is that his job? Back to DeSai-dining room is maybe 20 ft high-empty space. a void-opportunities to help soften and lighten it. Gina-issues of views. look at the stonegate design guidelines addresses all these issues. Hutt-house has to fit in. Gina-project will not be approved today. Attorney_ask developer to consider what has been suggested. the concerns have been consistent. redesign and come back. If applcant is willing to do that then meeting will be put of. Spears-wants staff to enumerate what has been said here. Gina-include staff report in that.

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  30. Adele- sure if you're open to another meeting date open as he clients who are retiring and have had this house in mind in case they are disabled, are traveling and adele doesn't know when they'll be back. Almost everyone is gone now. Mr. Gonzales is speaking-dedication ceremony for the new garden at city hall-but doesn't seem to be complete. those are his comments.

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  31. Continued to a date uncertain.

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  32. Kudo's to the PC!

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    1. Smart, ethical. They'll do.

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    2. Yeah, but this architect has cement in her ears. Or her bosses do. Somebody does not listen, really, to a damn thing the public or the commissioners say.

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  33. And that is numero cinco - the fifth house that Adele Chang has presented to the Sierra Madre Planning Commission. 5th.

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    1. The very first one was for Capital Source Bank, then three for CETT, and this one for the Yihs.
      Practice makes...the need for more practice?

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  34. I'm surprised there is not more city public outrage ! We are all busy people . We want to enjoy this town then that means atkeast show up to show your revolution against ugly pigs that only have $ and development in store. Wake up people of sierra Madre and join the fight! Show up!

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  35. Adele Chang strikes again!

    A Wallace Neff classic home at 1040 Oak Grove Ave in San Marino has just been given the OK for demolition. In its place, Chang has designed a massive 9-bedroom house in spite of the fact that she was advised of its historic significance. The new owner wants the McMansion style she came up with.

    http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1040-Oak-Grove-Ave-San-Marino-CA-91108/20700932_zpid/

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    1. This is an architect who destroys beauty and replaces it with bulk. Shameful.

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  36. What happened at the monastery meeting?

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    1. It was so slimy and sad. 2 who knows who stood up and talked thier nonsense how it's in the best interest of neighbors and all. It was haunting and sad. Im surprised that the city was not there to boo this! Where is everyone' !? We
      Are all busy !

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    2. 10:29, did you organize a gathering and people didn't show up? Did you make calls, send emails, distribute flyers?

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    3. I don't know who the spokespeople were at the monastery but it was all so creepy. Pop and peanuts was served and the priest sat there speechless and numb.

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    4. They sent out their special neighbor invites I did not

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    5. Huh. Was it the same priest who got up a few weeks ago and accused the city of hiding things about the general plan? Maybe he's watching what he says a bit more.

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    6. Yes same guy . Disgraceful and disgusting beyond words.

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    7. I feel very humiliated for him. What has he come to.

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    8. An elder priest as a shill.

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    9. Not what God has in mind for sure ! On all counts ! Plain gross.

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    10. we need to stop
      This

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  37. One of the best moments of the night came from Judy Webb Martin, when Ms. Chang said that her clients just wanted something "simple." Webb Martin burst out laughing. It was great.

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  38. This is only a suggestion for Ms.Chang :
    Try looking into the background of Fallingwater and Taliesen and try to understand the thought and feeling that went into these masterpieces then step back and look at your cross between a cargo container and the drive-thru Starbucks on Rosemead Blvd.
    it's imposing,unimpressive,soulless ,and lacks heart.
    Get back to the drawing table Adele and find some heart and soul .

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