SM Tattler: Any news on Library 2?
City Manager Engeland: Our library manager met with the firm who will do the drawings for the move last week. I should get a report back this week and we can plot out a timeline from there. I'm not sure how long it will take for them to complete the drawings, but once we know we will get out a tentative schedule.
SM Tattler: I am beginning to believe the non-binding vote of the people on the question of the Library's various fates is a dead issue as far as the City Council goes. Am I wrong?
City Manager Engeland: At the last meeting the Council agreed to move forward with the survey. Currently we are planning to survey 75% of the households in Sierra Madre, but we are working with the company to determine if we can survey 100% of the households. With regards to the non-binding vote Council asked us to bring back a draft of what the question would look like along with more information. They will decide if we are proceeding with a non-binding ballot initiative, in addition to the survey, at the meeting on Tuesday the 24th.
SM Tattler: Why go to the expense and bother of both a survey and a vote? Shouldn't the vote provide all the answers needed?
City Manager Engeland: The ballot question is a “yes or no” only and it is limited to one question. The benefit is it goes to everyone, but the drawback is it provides no information on any other Library related topics. The survey is 5 questions which are much more in depth than the ballot. The benefit is the amount of information provided, but the drawback is, currently, it doesn’t go to everyone (though it is statistically significant). I think there are good arguments that can be made for doing both. Doing the “vote option” only will give us information on if people want to move the Library location or not, but won’t discuss library services in general. The Library Board will be drafting the questions to send out and there are areas outside of the move they have interest in.
Mod: Good and thoughtful answers that I, obviously, cannot agree with. Any such city survey, with 5 questions that have yet to be determined, will likely end up becoming a marketing tool used to push forward whatever agenda the City Council wants. It will give them the ability to tell you, the concerned resident, what you think. Meaning you will then be told that you think the Library property needs to be sold, the building itself razed, and all of those books moved inside the YAC. A vote, even a non-binding one, will take that power away from the City Council and give it to unpredictable you. No creative interpretations required. Trust me, it ain't gonna happen.
From poinsettias to pot? Voters to decide what grows in Encinitas (The San Diego Union Tribune link): Encinitas voters, instead of the City Council, will be the ones deciding whether to allow commercial marijuana growing operations on the city's few agriculturally zoned lands. And for now, until that likely November 2018 ballot measure, the city's current bans on marijuana will remain in place, the council decided late Wednesday night.
Cities across California have been grappling with the issue of marijuana regulations ever since voters approved the marijuana legalization initiative Proposition 64 last year. The intensity of the debate has only increased in recent months as the January 2018 state deadline for putting regulations in place approaches.
Mod: The final vote there was 4 to 1 to punt it to the voters. And which side did Councilmember Mosca come down on? Both, of course.
Mayor Catherine Blakespear, who held off on voicing a position in the past, and Councilwoman Tasha Boerner Horvath, who has supported commercial growing, agreed. "This is truly one of the most difficult issues I have faced since I have been on the council," Boerner Horvath said, adding that months ago she had thought that this wouldn't be the case.
Councilman Joe Mosca, who opposed the proposed ordinance, said he wouldn't "stand in the way" of putting the issue on the ballot, but said he felt marijuana growing businesses were not compatible with the city.
Mod: Rule of thumb about what gets on a city's ballot. If an issue is controversial, but if approved will bring significant revenue to that city? It's happening. And if a vote might possibly interfere with the acquisition of needed revenue, such as with the sale of the Sierra Madre Library property? No vote for you.
Charred Body Found on Mt. Wilson (Pasadena Now link): Authorities are still trying to identify a male body found Wednesday night on Mt. Wilson as firefighters continue to attempt to control a smoldering wildfire. An Associated Press report Thursday, quoting a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sergeant, said the charred body has been recovered by the coroner’s office, which will try to make an identification.
The fire has so far burned about 50 acres of the Angeles National Forest and was 35 percent contained as of Wednesday night, the report said. An RMG News report meanwhile said family members were searching for a Sylmar teen who has been missing since Tuesday morning.
Matthew Huerta, the report said, left his home at around 4:30 to 5 a.m. to jog but has not returned since. Using the mobile Find My Friends app, his friends placed Huerta’s phone in the Mt. Wilson area about the same time the brush fire started early Tuesday in the area.
Mod: The foothills, though undoubtedly beautiful, are not without their sinister aspects.