Saturday, October 24, 2015

Saving Arcadia: The Arcadia City Council Meeting Report

Mickey Segal: Not backed by an amber mine.
Tuesday’s City Council meeting saw a surprising and much needed shift in the alignment of power in Arcadia with the appointment of Mickey Segal to fill the spot of resigned John Wuo.

Saving Arcadia commends Mayor Kovacic, Councilmembers Beck and Segal for voting to conduct a study session on moratoriums for demolition permits. We applaud these 3 members of City Council for their careful consideration of what is the best option for Arcadia moving forward. More than just a developer based constituency is now being heard.

The City has set out a plan to move forward with the zoning code update and adoption of new codes.  Community meetings are set for November 4th at Foothills Middle School at 7pm and November 12th at Holly Avenue Elementary at 7pm.

A new “citizens committee” (not officially titled yet) will be formed made up of key “stakeholders” approximately 20 people to meet, maybe by December, but no later than January 2016 to discuss and propose recommendations for new zoning codes. The goal is to adopt new codes by March 2016.

The most disappointing news was the cost of the City Council’s suspension of the zoning code study.  There was a $16,000 “penalty” to restart the study with the consulting group and there is an additional $10,000 to $35,000 on top of the original $160,000 that is now needed to complete the zoning code study.

Saving Arcadia is still collecting signatures for the ballot initiative and we are on target for reaching our goal by November.  The ballot initiative will provide an option to the City’s update in March, just in case the City’s update does not exceed the development standards proposed in the initiative or the City is unable to reach a consensus and adopt a code update.

The 2 people who spoke against the Saving Arcadia group and the ballot initiative are a realtor (Joe Sira of Dilbeck Realtors) and a contractor whose house is on the market.

Mickey Segal said that he encourages Ms. Verlato to get 3,000 signatures in a 56,000 person community.  That some might debate whether that is the consensus of the community. Roger Chandler got just 3,575 votes of that 56,000 person community in 2014 and Sho Tay got 3,594 votes. So if the ballot initiative gets 3600 signatures, there is no debate.

The Special Edition newsletter for the public education on zoning codes has N/A for Arcadia on the FAR chart while all other cities have one.  No one pointed that out at City Council. Sho Tay pointed out that Temple City has a rear-yard set back of 15 feet while Arcadia has 25 feet. But Tay neglected to mention Temple City has a maximum house size of 4,000 sf. You know how he can be.

Thank you Chuck Greene, Richard Midgley, Carolynn Papp, Roy McMeen, Brett Mitulski and April Verlato for speaking in support of the ballot initiative. Thank you Brett Mitulski and April Verlato for suggesting the City Council adopt a moratorium on demolition permits. We are finally a part of the City Council conversation.

Two articles from the press that you might care to read. First the Pasadena Star News:


For the rest of the Pasadena Star News report click here. Next is the Arcadia Weekly:


For the rest of the Arcadia Weekly's report click here.

- SAVING ARCADIA TEAM

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

54 comments:

  1. I believe Arcadia city hall has gotten too cozy with developers and stopped listening to their voting constituents who they are suppose to really represent.

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    1. Exactly what happened here. A building Industry Association attorney named Bart Doyle got onto the city council, and the word went out that we were for sale. Took a couple of decades, a fair amount of damage, and lots of activist effort to get over it.

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  2. A lot of money came to town, and city hall forgot all about Arcadia's residents.

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  3. Arcadia has opoened a new chapter in their city. Its a lesson for all of us as to what can happen when a majority of City Council gets into power and subverts the will of the people. Huge change for the good people of Arcadia who don't want to see their town destroyed by over-development and Mansionization.

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  4. Keep fighting SAVE ARCADIA....Please sign their petition and if you can give them money to fight to save the city. These volunteers are working hard for us.

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  5. Thank you Diane. A victory for these people in Arcadia is also a victory for us. They are on the front lines in the fight against mansionization.

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    1. We are all on the frontlines.

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    2. Yes. The same people building McMansions in Arcadia are gunning for Sierra Madre.

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  6. The city of Sierra madre has gotten to cozy with its employees and continues handing out additional raises and benefits which the residents can no longer afford. Re first comment

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  7. They might make it. This is some good news.

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  8. Support SAVING ARCADIA and the ballot initiative!

    Resident-led action is bringing change to Arcadia. Whether and how far the City Council will go in tinkering with the zoning code remains to be seen. Any new "study" will lead to "recommendations" that are voted on by the Council. While there has been a minor change in membership, its the same Council that has done nothing for years.

    Real change, substantive change, change that will protect our neighborhoods and force a change in building practices, will only come through resident-led action.

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    1. Well said 11:39. In Sierra madre we have learned all too well that there are some powers you have to take away from representatives and leave in the hands of the residents through voting.

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  9. Off today's topic, but omnipresent on this site: City worker pensions, specifically costs.

    Face it, no amount of whining will eliminate the bargain struck between CA governmental entities and their unionized workers. Many of you may not like unions, but unions actually built the middle class in this country in the 20th Century. No doubt many of you could care less, because "you have yours." Yeah, yeah, yeah … I'm sure you're self-made at least in your own mind, but you forget that many who "have" either inherited a chunk of it and/or received the advantages of having union worker parents with middle class salaries.

    But such facts will never change the set-in-stone beliefs of the whining class, who would like to take away government workers' 1st Amendment right to assemble (while simultaneously engaging in outsized fantasies about their own 2nd Amendment rights.)

    Sorry folks, but CALPERS is here to stay.

    That is not to say that positive changes cannot be made to the system. For example, a typical government worker might have a CALPERS pension calling for 2% at 55. This means the worker at age 55 would receive 2% of his/her salary for each year of service. Example: A 20 year worker making $90,000 per year who retires at 55 would receive 40% (2% x 20) of $90,000, or $36,000 per year. Assuming a life expectancy of 75, this amounts to $720,000 (20 yrs x $36,000.)

    But law enforcement, firefighters, and other safety workers might have a CALPERS pension calling for 3% at 50, or a multiplier that is 50% more than other government workers, but at a younger age! Using the salary/service years from the above example, the safety worker who retires at 50 would receive 60% (3% x 20) of $90,000, or $54,000 per year. With a 75 year life expectancy, the safety worker receives a whopping $1,350,000 (25 yrs x $54,000.)

    Rather than receiving 50% more than the ordinary worker as suggested by the annual multiplier, the safety worker actually receive 87.5% more, or nearly double!

    It doesn't matter whether the safety officer spent his/her entire career at a desk or patrolled the mean streets here in Mayberry, or, in the case of paid firefighters, spent most of their careers working out, playing racket ball, watching TV, and clogging the streets outside of restaurants at lunch and dinner time with their shiny trucks.

    Perhaps the real government retirement plan savings may be made by changing safety worker retirement formulas. After all, they really don't have a much higher on the job death or injury rate (the risk of which is compensated for with other benefits) than many jobs. And most of the deaths/injuries probably are due to traffic accidents rather than criminals or fires.

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    1. The fact is 12:12 that the Calpers plans are unsustainable. They can not be funded as designed. They have to be changed. Period!

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    2. Studies have shown Public Safety employees (fire and police) actually have a shorter than average life expectancy. Average life expectancy after retirement is 12 years.

      Don't believe me, look it up. (Call CSFA, but you probably won't believe them because they are a "Union")

      Firefighters and Law Enforcement are skilled positions, which wear on the person much more than other common jobs. People saying a clerk at 7-11 has just as much risk don't take into account the amount of training, both prior to the job and continuing which have to completed. They are generally people who are able to hide their stress from others and keep their composure in situations where the average person would not.

      Is there a need to adjust how they are compensated for their service years in retirement, yes. Just remember communities need to be able to get the best, most educated, mature and trained people for a job which many would not be willing to take. If you talk to many firefighters and public safety personnel, you will find many of them have a skill set which would allow them to make much more. They choose to run into burning buildings, administer CPR and charge directly into gunfire to protect and help their fellow citizen. They knew the risks when they took the job, however the benefits promised to them when they agreed to take the job need to be fulfilled, and reforms applied to new hires.

      If you really feel they are spending most of their careers "working out, playing racket ball, watching TV, and clogging the streets outside of restaurants at lunch and dinner time with their shiny trucks", by all means that is your right. I just hope you or a loved one never need the assistance of one of your lazy public safety employees.

      Your level of distrust and hatred for public safety employees will then be personally and fully justified.

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    3. 4:46, however you want to put it, California wasn't/isn't/will never be handle the pensions we're saddled with.

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    4. "Studies have shown Public Safety employees (fire and police) actually have a shorter than average life expectancy. Average life expectancy after retirement is 12 years."

      Lay off the donuts.

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  10. You make some good points, 12:12. I only agree with part, but that's how we roll in Sierra madre!

    I agree we need to rework CalPERS retirement formulas. In the mean time, the fastest way a city can reduce CalPERS costs is to reduce headcount. Contracting out is one way.

    If we hire LA Sheriffs (LASD), they are not on CalPERS. We pay as you go, instead.

    If we contract out the library, that reduces CalPERS head count.

    If we contract out sewer, which is done by a ton of cities in LA County, we also reduce the number of CalPERS employees that we have to pay forever (which is what their pension plan really means).

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  11. Heh. Take away city hall's utility tax money and CalPERS will vanish in a puff of smoke. 12:12 sounds like Buchanan. Smug as they get.

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    1. Taking away UUT money will help the City to focus on spending less. Funny how that works.

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    2. There are cops in Sierra Madre who make $160,000 total compensation. This city spends money like drunken sailors.

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    3. Yeah 1:19 that's because Sierra Madre is the largest payer to CALPERS in CA. Yeah, sure.

      CALPERS will not vanish in a puff of smoke without SM any more than cutting down one tree levels a forest. If you pay taxes, you'll still be paying to CALPERS for thousands and thousands of state workers. CALPERS is not disappearing.

      I know it's a nice Saturday, but it's a bit early to be hitting the gin.

      (1:19: "Grumble, grumble ... Buchanan! [Shakes fist] BUCHANANNNN!!!! grumble, grumble....")

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    4. Sorry Johnny B. CalPERS is a ponzi scheme and is not (get ready for it) sustainable! It will collapse in a heap. And sooner than you think. Or don't think as the case may be b

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    5. At 10% Sierra Madre utility taxes will be the second highest in California. Only Culver City pays 11%. Not that I want to give anyone ideas. OK Gene?

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    6. Yeah, 3:11. Gadflies have been saying that for years. If it's a Ponzi scheme, why hasn't anyone successfully sued it as such; e.g. under RICO? Why haven't the feds raided it and shut it down?

      Gadflies have been saying the same about Social Security for decades, but it's never missed a payment.

      There's huge difference between being underfunded and being a Ponzi scheme. There are many ways to fund the former, whether by increased employer contributions (i.e. taxes), increased employee contributions, borrowing (bonds), etc.

      Current liabilities are often paid over time with future revenue, or were you a trust fund baby who paid cash for your house? If you borrowed to pay for your house, did you consider yourself insolvent because you could not pay the entire mortgage all at once? No, of course not.

      Look up--the sky is not falling.

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    7. Oh dear. Looks like we have a true believer.

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    8. Sorry, you don't like the prospect of paying for retirement benefits 4:26/3:11, but let me make it as simple as possible for you:

      Your state and local governments via majority rule contracted with their employees to provide retirement benefits (e.g. CALPERS). A contract is a contract. You honor your agreements, don't you?

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    9. It wasn't my agreement, knuckle head. It was done by the corrupt pols who took all that union political money in exchange for that fat CalPERS payoff. This is known as corruption.

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    10. 4:09 - from my gadfly point of view voting for tax hikes enable corruption. It seems obvious to me that is why you are here. To protect your honey pot. Can we have your name so we can look you up on Transparent California please?

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    11. Let me repeat it for you 7:08: "Your state and local governments via majority rule contracted with their employees to provide retirement benefits...."

      You're not a king. You don't get to pick and choose which laws to follow or which government contracts to honor. How arrogant.

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    12. It is a democracy, wing nut. We get to decide who runs the show and how much money they have to play with. If you don't like that move to North Korea. They have the kind of workers state you might like.

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    13. Ah, 7:54, my honey pot is well protected, that is unless of course the anti-tax anti-government spending crowd gets their way. Sure, shut down government spending--you'll destroy the economy faster and deeper than even George W did.

      Remember GDP=C+I+G. Get rid of G and watch GDP crash, banks and businesses collapse, and overwhelming unemployment. I don't think your 2nd Amendment rights will help you survive the resulting cataclysm for long.

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    14. Democracy is two wolves and one lamb voting on dinner.

      BTW, we're not a democracy, we're a representative republic. It's that Constitution thingie you keep trying to ignore.

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    15. 8:09 That's right WE have decided. The majority in our democracy HAS decided, which is why we things like government workers and CALPERS-- ya know the things YOU have been complaining about! It's you that has the North Korean mind-set. You want it YOUR way, not the way the MAJORITY has made it.

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    16. Good point. Let's put CalPERS on the ballot.

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    17. We're not talking about the US even though in common parlance we talk of it as a democracy even though it's a republic.

      We're talking about CALPERS retirement benefits, including those paid for by Sierra Madre 8:23. I don't think it's common parlance to refer to California and Sierra Madre as republics.

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    18. Putting CALPERS on the ballot won't affect vested rights. It will only hurt the new government workers, primarily the young.

      What do you have against young people 8:25? (Joking!!)

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    19. If Sierra Madre is a republic, perhaps we can ask the People's Republic of Santa Monica to be our Comrade City!

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  12. I will vote NO on both the UUT increase and whatever Earl Richy is doing.

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  13. What happens when Gary Kovacic is termed out 4/2016? Sure hope his replacement thinks like him with respect to the massive homes. Plus, I'm going to miss his shredding of Sho Tay!!

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    1. That's a very big problem, 5:43.

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    2. But what about Segal? Does he support stopping the mansions? Maybe we can get Kovacic, Beck and Segal to pass a new anti mansion code update before Kovacic and Segal are done come April 2016?

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  14. Is it just me, or have others noticed how Roger Chandler constanty mentions the moose lodge or maybe VFW? I can see that clown sitting at their bar having a few cold ones (then goes to the council meetings).

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  15. Can someone try to explain Arcadia Fire Chief salary (including benefits) of $292k and Lazzaretto of $267 ?
    http://transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/arcadia/
    Are these inline with surrounding cities?

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    1. Lazzaretto gets $2.5 MILLION for 10 years? What a sweet gig. All this and CalPERS too.

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    2. All the corruption money can buy. Laser Beam still hasn't said anything about the GemCoin scandal.

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  16. Once the developer and finance people get their hooks in to a city council person or city manager then it's all over, they are bought and paid for until the scheme is discovered.

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    1. City employees in both Sierra Madre and Arcadia are way overpaid for what they do. They have jobs for life and then they retire with benefits that most can only dream of. Of course city employees bow down to the big money boys and development. They get some of the take.

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    2. A 6% UUT in Sierra Madre going into effect on 7/1/2016 is gonna be fun to watch.

      My money's on either 6% or 0% after the April 2016 election. Woo hoo!!

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    3. As long as we don't end up paying 10% I'm good.

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  17. I support a 10% UUT. I want to buy Officer Potato Salad a new fishing pole.

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  18. We must all remember to sign Earl's petition. End the UUT. The petitions should be ready next week.

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  19. OMG Arcadia police offers make $100k???? Is that normal??????

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