Friday, April 22, 2016

A Development Dirty Money Trick That Failed In Arcadia

Money can't buy you love.

At long last the final results are in and, despite the thousands of dollars in secretive outside development campaign money that flooded into Arcadia during the last few weeks of the campaign, the leading voice for community preservation there prevailed.

In an article in today's Pasadena Star News titled "What Arcadia’s election results mean for the future of the City Council" (link), here is how all of that is described:


I think it is fairly safe to say that the effort backfired. Rather than turning the voters against the intended target of all that money, April Verlato, the injection of so much outside secretive developer cash into that campaign shocked the residents of Arcadia and in the end could have been what drove so many of them to the polls. The result being the election of Verlato and the defeat of Bob Harbicht

Funny how things work out sometimes, right? As another untended consequence, the presence of all of that funny finance created the kinds of press that money just can't buy, and in the end it could have also helped push April Verlato over the finish line. 


You can read the rest here.

Money can in itself become an issue, and in the end could have the opposite effect of what those giving it originally intended. As Tattler readers will certainly recall, in Sierra Madre a similar situation developed during the Measure V imbroglio a few years back. 

Nearly $180,000 was pumped into that election by the BIA, CAR and, of all things, the Arcadia Realtors group. Approximately $18 for every person living in town, including little infants, and all from the usual big development interests. But rather than fueling voter opposition to Measure V, that money became an issue in itself. One that likely won the election for those hoping to preserve Sierra Madre's downtown from the wrecking ball.

Some people just never learn. 

Here is an example of what the so-called "California Homeowner Association" and its suspect money bought for the Harbicht campaign.


Sometimes a candidate just deserves to lose. Obviously Bob Harbicht was one of those candidates. And no matter how much money outside developers spent to prop this undeserving fellow up, the right man lost.

Money can't buy you love. Or brains.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

37 comments:

  1. Wonder how much the tax me crowd spend to keep the Arcadia UUT?

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    Replies
    1. It would be interesting to compare what they spent as opposed to what the Sierra Madre city council and spent here.

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    2. Good point. That needs looking into.

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    3. I would like to see an accounting of that expensive campaign that the city staff/council put on. The mailings alone must have been very pricey. So was all the money from donations?

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    4. Most of it was. The Yes on A crowd cut their own throats trying to take all $7 million. They cried about compromise but never gave the council other options. Bottom line, Papp and Tallarico failed and failed bad. They were the wrong choice to lead this campaign. Poorly informed, with the worst misinformation. Fail!

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  2. I think not being able to buy elections confuses some developers. After all, they can buy everything else.

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    Replies
    1. They buy a lot of elections, too.
      Don't know what went so wrong for them in this one.

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    2. An effective anti-mansionization candidate and a smart, disciplined campaign. A lot rides on the person running.

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    3. I'm surprised that the preservation candidates overcame that tsunami of spin.
      I don't think smart and disciplined is enough, because I've seen smart & disciplined lose.
      Maybe it's up to the gods.

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  3. I am not surprisrd that the big contribution came from this one developer. His hilliside property is adjacent to Sierra Madre's open space and the Sierra Madre Mountain Conservancy has been following the EIR changes, commenting on the plan which is slated to take out dozens of oak trees and create downhill/cross lot flow to lower elevation homes.

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    Replies
    1. Build in the hillsides?
      Such a bad idea.

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    2. Great position paper about that: Let Malibu Burn. http://la.indymedia.org/news/2007/10/208946.php

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    3. Build and Bolt.

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  4. Nice email went out from Preserve Sierra Madre today. In case you haven't seen it, here is what it says.

    "Dear Supporters: It's finally official: the two anti-mansionization candidates, April Verlato and Peter Amundson, win seats to the Arcadia City Council. This represents a huge victory for preservationists in Arcadia. Just recently, the Arcadia City Council also enacted floor area limits for the first time in Arcadia which adjusts the size of the home that can be built based on the size of the lot.

    There is a great article in today's Sierra Madre Tattler that describes what went on behind the scenes in that election as the battle for the soul of Arcadia was being fought - namely, how developers tried and failed to get their pro-development candidates elected. That post can be found at:

    http://www.sierramadretattler.blogspot.com/

    The Pasadena Star News also has an article in today's edition by Courtney Tompkins titled: "Anti-mansionization candidates snag seats on council" for further details about that election. There is a link to that article in the Tattler post.

    This really represents a titanic shift in Arcadia that quite frankly surprised us here at Preserve Sierra Madre. I guess it just goes to show you that we can't underestimate the power of the people wanting to preserve their neighborhoods from the pernicious consequences of over-development."

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    1. Pernicious consequences, indeed.
      However, I am not convinced that Arcadia will be able to reverse course in time.
      There are, at this moment, MacMansions going up all over Arcadia, including in the northern areas.
      It's going to take a while for new standards to be put in place. In the meantime, anything that has been torn down or is slotted for tearing down is lost.
      The Arcadians are going to have to do what we did, and commit to the long, exhausting rounds of participation in the political process.

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  5. Sierra Madre is one election away from a development free for all, and sadly, it seems like it will always be that way. We are beyond fortunate right now, in a preservation oriented council and an honest planning commission, but those balances can be upset in one election.

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    1. We just saw a successful mis-information campaign here. The uut yes win was bought.

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    2. Currently, the pro-over-development faction is in the background in Sierra Madre.
      Let's keep them there.

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    3. I hope we can. Lot's of money in development and you know how city hall loves cash.

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    4. Sierra Madre is unique, as we all know, and one of its strengths is the current, hard-won balance between developers' rights and residents' rights. Should a council like the ones with Bart Doyle, ex-Building Industry Association lawyer, or John Buchanan, or Rob Stockily, try to reverse the will of the residents as expressed in the General Plan, one would like to think that they could not succeed. We have learned what they are capable of.

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    5. The city has a lot of debt. It is not inconceivable that they would try and parlay Sierra Madre's last open lands into pension checks.

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  6. I had a conversation with a new Arcadia resident, very nice person from Taiwan, who has been in Arcadia about 4 years. He said that the issues in the election were whether you could sell your house or not, and that older houses were more costly than newer ones because of repairs.
    I figured I was listening to something passed around on Chinese websites...

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  7. On that postcard the Bob campaign spelled "againt" wrong.

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    Replies
    1. Maybe Susan Henderson was running the Harbicht campaign.

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    2. Susan invented politics.

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    3. Good point, 1:31 - the written word is most definitely a Henderson foible.

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    4. Her previous candidate got caught with his pants down. Literally.

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  8. Anybody can post a link or list of boundaries or a map of the Arcadia Precincts? It would interesting to know the areas Bob the Bulldozer won and lost

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  9. If you can find your way through this maze, here they are...

    http://rrcc.lacounty.gov/PRECINCT_MAP_NEW/MapBook/INCORPORATED%20CITIES/CITY%20OF%20ARCADIA.pdf

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  10. One of the more dishonest claims on that obnoxious postcard is the line about "lower property values." Anyone who wants to can read Zillow and see how property values in Arcadia have been in a tailspin for a while now. The biggest reason for this being the McMansions Harbicht and Sho Tay love so much.

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    1. Sho Tay has done a lot of damage.

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    2. Sho can smile all he wants. I don't think he will be reelected.

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    3. I hope so, 4:15. I'm worried about Chinese speaking residents trusting him, like he's some kind of guide to politics in the new country.

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    4. Right, just like the GemCoins guys.

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    5. Harbicht's loss was richly earned.

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    6. "Bulldozer Bob" and "Two Faced Tay" are peas in a pod buddies. Both of them will run again for re-election in 2018 and won't be happy until every house in Arcadia is a boxy looking Taiwanese looking mansion.

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