Friday, September 18, 2015

Mater Dolorosa Missive: Another Letter From Fr. Higgins

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Just when you thought it was safe to open your mailbox, what shows up but yet another letter from Father Michael Higgins, Retreat Director at Mater Dolorosa. Needless to say, this one also deals with their ongoing attempts to build a bumping big 50 home McNeighborhood on a majority of the monastery's current lands.

We should probably face it, that is pretty much all that is on their minds these days. Considerations of the kinds of long green to be made in a real estate deal such as this one may become an obsession, and for a lot of people. It could take over your life, actually. That is, if you were to allow it.

This particular letter deals with a community outreach meeting that was apparently held there recently. No date is given for the soiree, so it is hard to place this into any context that we know about. Just that it happened "recently," and perhaps nobody you know actually went to it.

But this is not to say I don't think it actually happened, it's just that there is no corroborating evidence from anybody that I have heard from. No news of that sort has been sent to The Tattler.


I guess the most surprising claim found in this letter is that 20 people showed up. Until now such gatherings had not attracted that many folks. There is also the claim that "many attending signed statements of support." Out of 20 attendees, what would constitute "many?" When you consider that Father Higgins also admits that many didn't sign, the exact breakdown becomes problematic.

Was it 12 against, 8 for? 10 versus 10? When you are talking so small a neighborhood sampling, exact breakdowns can seem meagre and a bit absurd.

However, getting names on paper does seem to be a thing of great importance for Father Higgins and those others. Folks who would like to realize a nice big payday by turning much of the monastery's grounds into a McDevelopment.

"Natural open spaces to serve wildlife" and other such diversionary happy talk included.

Also contained in this mailing is the following attempt to obtain more information about those living in the area and how they may feel about having so large and disruptive a project in the area.

Though, of course, the prospect of years of heavy truck traffic, deafening daily noise and constant dust was not discussed here. Probably because that would not help them in creating the illusion of an increasing community consensus favoring the McDevelopment they are attempting to build here.

All that plus the proverbial self-addressed stamped envelope. When is the last time you've seen one of those?


You might want to think twice before answering. That is, unless you actually support a 50 house development project at Mater Dolorosa and wouldn't mind seeing your name included on a list with those favoring such a thing.

After all, you never can tell how things such as this will be used.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

71 comments:

  1. Are you a resident of Sierra Madre that attended the Mater Dolorosa community outreach meeting? If so, what was the actual headcount of those that attended the meeting?

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    1. Maybe they included the wildlife.

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    2. I'm assuming it was the meeting for the N. Sunnyside neighborhood,as I was there and received the letter. There were 20-30 people in attendance.
      It was discussed here when the meeting happened.

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    3. The attendance was not 20-30 people - it was more like 20 but that includes multiple members of the same family. And from the tenor of the meeting, I would have to say that nobody supported a housing project up there. That letter is a lie when it says "many" did.

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    4. It seems they spend most of their time working on this housing project. They are fiddling while Rome is burning. Father Higgins has turned into Emperor Nero. Don't they have more important ie. godly things to do with their time.

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    5. a Priest who is misleading? say it ain't so

      God is Money

      Praise God

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  2. My friend attended with her husband plus a former Council member and spouse. That's four. They asked several hard questions, like "What have you done to check out the alternative to housing?" "How will building new houses help with our lack of water, as you claim?" No one signed anything. I think MD has hired the anti Measure V guy to spread the lies, make them sound credible. Shame on you Father Higgins!

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  3. So if they get 10 people to sign their piece of paper they think they've won something? And if they don't they just make stuff up?

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    1. It's part of the long range plan, to be able to say "We have the support of the community."
      They'll infer that the opposition is a small group of malcontents, but that the majority want their development.

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    2. The opposition to development at the monastery is pretty much universal. Maybe we need to hold another demonstration.

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    3. So easy to stop new development.
      It has been done elsewhere with total success.

      **No new water meter hook-ups.**
      That would end the issue.
      If the CC won't vote for it, recall them and put in a CC who will.

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    4. 8:55, way before that: zoning.
      It is zoned institutional.

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    5. You know this is a very sad state of affairs. In some ways, the world seems to be unraveling and yet here's Father Higgins spending all of his time on pushing a housing project that virtually no one in the city of Sierra Madre wants. He's a Priest for goodness sakes. Shouldn't he be spending time on ministering to the flock or helping people in some way. Instead, he's showing up at City Council meetings, sending out letters and trying to convince us all that another 40-50 homes is just what Sierra Madre needs right now. God help us. They have really come off the rails up there at Mater Dolorosa which is why I think they should sell the entire property to an entity that understands the value of keeping it intact.

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    6. If I were them, I would start over and explore other options for the property. They are so narrowly focused on a housing project that they are not open to any other alternatives. That's going to be their downfall.

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    7. Father HIggins has become nothing but a shill for a development

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  4. Higgins is a communist from the mainland

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    1. You must be a knucklehead of unknown origin.

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    2. Father Higgins is not a communist but he's a priest who values his retirement over holding onto a property that is among other things a mecca for believers all over the San Gabriel Valley. Its hard to swallow that a priest would have such a selfish mentality but I guess the priests have been surprising people in alot of way over the years.

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  5. So nothing has changed.

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    1. It is not easy to create an illusion of support where absolutely none exists.

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    2. Because the great majority of Sierra Madreans are uninvolved, don't know who's on the council, or even that there is a council, have never heard of a General Plan, have never, ever attended a Planning Commission or City Council meeting, since that's who the real majority is, the developers behind the Fathers' robes are setting them up to claim that those people will support a development. I know, sounds crazy, but it's a ruse that has worked before.

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    3. If you don't support them it's because you're an hysterical hater and will kill the town with a no growth attitude.

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    4. Yeah, that is pretty much the kind of nonsense they say. It never works, though.

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    5. I'd like to know how many neighbors actually signed a letter supporting that project up there. I hope the Priests aren't fibbing when they try to say it was "many". I highly doubt that. Keep in mind that Father Higgins is the same person who spoke at the City Council meeting that ratified the new General Plan and represented publicly to the City Council that their version of the updated General Plan did not contain certain language that changed Institutional Zoning. He then had to come back at the next City Council meeting and apologize because he was incorrect in that he had said before I don't want to say that he lied at that City Council meeting but maybe they are pushing to hard to get a housing project to fund their own retirements.

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    6. Father Higgins can't be happy about being the point man for a housing project that no one seems to want but the few priests that want a nice retirement. There's something wrong with this picture. Not only is the project a bad idea but it is also going to cause discord in the community, displace the wildlife, lead to more traffic and congestion in Sierra Madre at large but particularly on Sunnyside and Grove/Carter and excerbate a drought that will not be solved no matter how strong this El Nino weather pattern becomes. The fact that Mater Dolorosa is willing to press forward in spite of all that, she's you far they have fallen.

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  6. OK folks, it's time to write a letter to Pope Francis, he is totally 100% against this sort of thing and will set things straight. Not kidding, he would.

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    1. What do you base that on?

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    2. Gosh! You know what the Pope wants and he knows what God wants. Nice team.

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    3. The present pope is named after St. Francis who loved the animals. I don't know how this present crop of priests can drive by all the beautiful wildlife they see up there every day and want to replace that beauty with a big housing project. If anything, they should be fighting harder than we do to preserve and protect that land.

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  7. I'm calling the POPE.



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    1. This is a great idea I say it's time we call in the boss and put an end to this once and for all
      !!!

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  8. 8:28 it's in the news. I would guess that would be a good internet research. I will do that when I get done with work.

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    1. Looking foreard to it.

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    2. The Pope will be here next month let's "pencil him in" for a meeting? I'm sure he'd like to preserve open space rather than help those in need.

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  9. Higgins saat one of the early meetings when asked "Why so big a project?"

    "I am tired, I want to retire.""

    Why is he acting so greedy when he could be acting like a priest?

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    1. With all of the vast holdings of the Catholic Church, there's no vacant room, no monk's cell, no community where he can go and stay?

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    2. They is really all about 63 priests who want to retire in luxury. They already had a successful campaign to raise 5,000,000 for their retirements. Everyone who donated to that should get their money back. They are willing to destroy that land, displace the wildlife, divide the community - all so that they can get money for their retirements. I'd say they have their priorities a little mixed up.

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    3. That's about 80K in retirement funds per priest, which generates about 4K per year from investments. That's $330 per month. No social security, no pensions. Try living on that.

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    4. I believe the big money problem is health care for the Passionists as they age. They aren't covered by Medicare, for sure.

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    5. Hey 2:26, you live up there at Mater Dolorsa, tell us what happened to the 5 million dollar successful campaign to raise money for retiring priests that was on the Mater Dolorosa as recently as Nov. of 2013. And if that money wasn't enough, why not raise some more money? Why limit the campaign to 5 million if you needed more. How much do you need for each priest? Or is most of money from sale going to pay off legal judgments because of atrosities committed by selective priests. You want all of us to pay the price.

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    6. Hey 3:55 Umm what price are you paying? I'm confused.

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    7. If you are confused 5:45 maybe you should go post elsewhere. Seemed pretty clear to me.

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    8. They have already fessed up and said it's not all for retirement but also for their mission in India.

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  10. A good start to understanding the new pope.

    http://abc13.com/religion/religion-expert-weighs-in-on-pope-francis-polarizing-views/989499/

    http://www.usnews.com/news/the-report/articles/2015/09/18/what-pope-francis-can-teach-the-gop

    http://www.livescience.com/52218-pope-francis-us-visit.html

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  11. I was there also and made it clear that my family and I are opposed and their ideas are
    Ludicrous. I saw 6 of my neighbors and none of them including myself signed their nonsense. Nobody at the meeting was in favor other than the weasley developers and fr Michael who couldn't even turn his head and look at me when I spoke. Deep down I think he must know right from wrong. It's disgusting when men of the cloth are lured by the greed of the dollar and lies. Our town will not allow to be made fools of and robbed of precious land. Gods land given to us to be Kept and protected!

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    1. Thank you. We need to battle all of the misinformation. This is a great help.

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    2. I was there too and there is simply no way that "many" people signed that statement. They should tell us what their definition of "many" is and produce those statements of support. The neighbors I talk to are vehemently opposed to a project up there, some even going so far as to say they would be lying down in front of the bulldozers.

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    3. They are simply lying when they say "many" people signed it. In trying to push an unwanted housing project, Mater Dolorosa and the Father Higgins are losing their moral bearings.

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    4. so when the Father ministers us to be honest and God like

      it doesn't apply to the Church?

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  12. So the pope is against big corporation money grabbers and big salaries for the CEO's. He told the church they need to be helping the poor more than themselves. All sounds good.

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  13. The Catholic Church can no longer carry the retirement payouts to the priests who have served for a lifetime and have no other pension/savings. It's a primitive system that's basically unravelled:

    A review of 51 dioceses that provide detailed financial information showed a clergy pension funding gap of nearly $700 million — a figure that does not include other post-retirement benefits, or obligations to lay staff. If the remainder of the roughly 197 dioceses in the United States face similar funding issues, the total pension gap would be close to $2 billion.

    http://nypost.com/2015/09/08/as-pope-visit-nears-us-catholic-church-faces-financial-strain/

    The priests are basically up the creek without a paddle, so are forced to sell in order to be able to live out their years. I'm sure there's basic financial problems with the local org as well, since that's a big property to maintain and keep up with dwindling financial support. So the community should step up, locate an acceptable assisted living organization that would add to the existing facility and preserve the grounds. Ditch this current developer and get a decent deal going.

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    1. If they are up the creek, and that's a big if, its because they molested too many kids and had to pay out big financial judgements. I'm sure people will come to the table and help pay for reasonable retirements - just don't sell off that precious land. In fact, open it up again so the community can enjoy as they did for about 80 years.

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    2. For crying out loud, how many priest are there. You'd think you have a number equivalent to all the public employees that need big pensions. There used to be alot more priests and there was no problems with their retirement - maybe because those priests truly followed their calling all the way to the end. How was Mater Dolorosa able to stay intact during the Great Depresssion. Why didn't they sell of the property then? There are three things that have changed: 1. Lack of character amongst the priests today, 2. Massive legal judgments from the molestation of children - the most innocent among us by priest no less and 3. Decline of religious faith in the Catholic Church in particular but in religion in general in no small part due to the hypocracy of priests committed the most evil acts imaginable to the most innocent among us. The decline of Mater Dolorosa and the Catholic Church has been caused by their own ungodly behavior.

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  14. There are so few priests entering the priesthood in one province in eastern Canada that some have come out of retirement (at the age of 80 and 90) to serve their rural communities again.

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  15. The church sounds like local governments with pensions and social security. Tell them anything to get them to work, promise benefits when they retire and a good retirement but when it comes time to deliver tell them there is no money for that, we spent it. Once you've sucked their youth from them and they can't work anymore they will have to live on crumbs and live on the street. If you don't believe that look at the homeless numbers. How many in Sierra Madre are on fixed incomes and all the city wants to do is raise more money through taxes, the UUT, water you name it, tax, tax tax.

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    1. 11:18 sounds pretty resentful. Listen Mr. Priest. You chose the profession. Usually there is a vow of poverty. Live a godly life and forget your own selfish interests.

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  16. Come on you good Catholics, get involved for the church not the builders and local government.

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  17. 9:01, people have to eat and have a place to sleep, you cant eat a prayer.

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    1. Why should the community be asked to make such tremendous sacrifices because these people didn't plan properly for their retirement? You are talking years of heavy construction, truck traffic and pollution. Why should that be on us?

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    2. Money has been raised for their retirements and more can be raised. The problem is that the Mater Dolorosa Board has been hijacked by a bunch of developers who control the Board. The current President is Joe Sanders who works for a big developer.

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    3. It seems to me that with all that has happened in the Catholic Church, they should would to heal wounds and be on a public relations juggernaut to atone for the damage they have done in so many ways. I'm just not sure if trying to ruin one of the last large parcels of land in Sierra Madre in the face of almost univeral community oppostion is the best way to proceed.

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    4. So how much does it cost to have a shared room and food? Maybe we should ask some of the retired nuns how they manage.

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  18. What it all comes down to in the end it doesn't matter what any of us think. It is private property,it requires a zoning change,(if they decide on R1 housing) no zoning change if they stay institutional,and water hookups.Instead of demonizing the Catholic Church possibly we should work with them for a resolution as many of us already are.
    We have no more right to make them use their vacant property as we see fit than they have to make us attend Mass.
    If I were them I'd just sell it to a developer and be done with it. They are trying to work with Sierra Madre and do it properly. These wacky comments accomplish nothing except to rile up the Tattler base. The Catholic church has a much bigger and more devoted base btw...............

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    1. One of the Tattler base, I guessSeptember 18, 2015 at 6:24 PM

      Okay, I'll play.
      Father Higgins got up at a council meeting and announced that changes had been hidden from him, thus the General Plan had been done in a dishonest fashion. Someone slept through one too many meetings, so he accused the people on the council, on the planning commission, and all the other people who worked on the document as being sneaks.
      He and his colleagues are angling for far more than the donated $5,000,000 for the retirement costs of 63 priests, all in advanced age. Surely you must wonder at what kind of retirement these renunciate envision.
      As that order has been a steward of the last great open space in the Sierra Madre hillsides, and the wildlife that inhabit it, they have a moral responsibility to see that the land may survive the future. They might not have a legal obligation, but a moral one?
      They have enjoyed tax exempt status forever, and like the Scientologists, have benefitted enormously because of it.
      So they thank the town for providing their needs tax free for decades by cramming in an unwanted development that is an offense to the small bit of remaining nature?
      Their first relationship was with New Urban West, famous for steamrolling over citizen protest whenever and wherever they've done business. That was their first choice.

      That said, has anyone contacted Billy Shields to see if he wants to build Kensington North there, to particularly house the infirm clergy, and then later all comers? It could be a skilled nursing facility, complete with the state requirements that the current Kensington skates under. Then if someone were to be in hospice but not dead soon enough, they wouldn't have to move to die somewhere else.

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    2. 4:12. Or should I say Chip. Nobody wants another crappy Arcadia style development in the area. There is no support for 50 new mini-mansions in Sierra Madre. Please confine your idiotic name calling to wherever it is fools like you are tolerated.

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    3. They have said a retirement home on the property wouldn't pencil out. It isn't about the priest's retirement, it's about the money.

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  19. "What it all comes down to in the end (is) it doesn't matter what any of us think."

    Actually that is incorrect. Substitute the word "I" for "any of us" and you would be 100% correct.

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    1. You make my point exactly. Thanks

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    2. Have another drink.

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  20. No zoning change + no new water hook-ups= end of problem.
    Let's make sure the CC enforce this.

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