Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Results of Our Open Records Request Regarding Any Meetings Between the City of Sierra Madre and Mater Dolorosa About Development

Mod: So you know, I requested this information Tuesday, and got my reply the same day. 

Sierra Madre Tattler: Gabe - There is this observation from Preserve Sierra Madre:

"It has also come to our attention that Mater Dolorosa has invited city officials to their property to line up support for another attempt at developing that property into one of the biggest housing projects Sierra Madre has seen in decades. We are monitoring this latest threat to the Monastery property very closely and we will alert our supporters of any news in that regard."

Can you send me any information on how these meetings were set up, invitations issued, and any other email or letters that were sent and received to make what is described above happen? Both to and from Mater Delarosa? Plus any information on what was discussed in telephone conversations or by texting, along with a review of what happened, and was said, at the property itself. That plus anything else related that may have occurred that I did not request here.


Gabe Engeland: Here is the official response under the open records act, with a brief explanation, from our Assistant City Clerk: “There are no records responsive to Mr. Crawford’s request.  The invitation was made by telephone. Mr. (Jerry) Pearson (link for additional information) did not disclose the topics for discussion prior to the meeting.”

Here is the response to the items you requested in addition to the Open Records request. The Mater Dolorosa is zoned Institutional.  It cannot be developed for housing or any non-institutional use without a change to the zoning and an amendment to the General Plan.

When Preserve Sierra Madre writes “It has also come to our attention that Mater Dolorosa has invited city officials to their property….”, this is true.  More specifically, I am the one that brought it to the attention of Preserve Sierra Madre.  I met with Matt Bryant of Preserve Sierra Madre and we discussed several topics regarding development in Sierra Madre in general--and on the topic of Mater Dolorosa and development of the property specifically, including the invitation to Mater Dolorosa from Mr. Pearson.

I relayed to Preserve Sierra Madre, the same thing I told Mater Dolorosa when we met, the Institutional Zoning prohibits residential development on the site. Any changes to zoning and the General Plan would have to be public and heard before the Planning Commission. City Staff does not control the zoning or the General Plan.  Further, I explained City Staff are not advocates for the pro- or anti-development groups in Sierra Madre, and we will not take sides. Our job is to apply the City Code and other applicable laws and regulations to any proposed development or plan without bias and in an impartial manner.

In this case, residential development is prohibited in Institutional Zoning. If the Mater Dolorosa wants to develop they must do it in a way that is compatible with zoning and the General Plan, which they have a right to do, or they need to seek a change in zoning and an amendment to the General Plan in front of the Planning Commission.

Please let me know if you need any additional information.

Mod: The take away here? Watch out who you elect to the City Council next April.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

130 comments:

  1. If I recall correctly, Jerry Pearson is the same person who was leading the charge for development at Mater Dolorosa before. He also lives in Arcadia and probably wouldn't mind seeing the same level of development in Sierra Madre as their has been in Arcadia.

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    1. Jerry is also a landscape architect by trade and probably stands to make his own pot of gold if the property gets developed and he gets the contract for the landscaping.

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    2. It's really a sad state of affairs that with all the problems in the Catholic Church, they continue to push a big development up there that nobody wants. But if course, we all know why they need the money.

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    3. Looks like we have to gear up for another epic battle. Why don't they just leave the property the way it has been since about 1924 when they bought it and be a good neighbor again. They stopped the annual fiesta and put up the big gates and really removed themselves from being a part of the community at large. Clearly this was done to try to make it easier to develop the property.

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    4. Father Michael Higgins replaced Father Pat and he is in charge of the Monastery property and charged with selling it off. The Catholic Church has managed to turn a Priest into a developer. And they wonder why they have problems.

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    5. Did anyone ask Gabe if he knows whether any other city officials have met with Jerry Pearson?

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    6. God only knows what they are scheming about up their at the Monastery. They should just leave the property alone and get involved with the community again. That's how you atone for your sins. Not ramming a big development down everyone's throat.

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    7. Sure wish Father Pat came back. There's no way they would be pushing this development if he were still in charge.

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    8. Father Pat loved Mater Dolorosa. That's why he got shipped off to Siberia.

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    9. The Fathers really need to focus on repairing the church and not land deals.

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    10. Ask ask if he is aware of any other city official has met with them particularly our Director of Planning and Community Preservation Vincent Gonzales.

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    11. Stack & Pack Vinny. He had a hand in a lot of the bad development in Pasadena.

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    12. That Pearson fellow should focus on big projects in his Arcadia neighborhood and stay out of Sierra Madre.

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    13. 7:18 - Here is Gabe's answer:

      "Hey John, sorry for the delayed reply, it’s been a busy day today. There have been no formal contacts with the City staff, meaning we have not reviewed any submissions or plans, etc. To my knowledge there have been no meetings with City staff either."

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  2. At least the City Manager is transparent. Evidently Mater Dolorosa didn't get the message the last time they made the attempt.

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    1. This is the most transparent City Manager that Sierra Madre has ever had. A far cry from Elaine.

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    2. Elaine's temp gig in So. Pasadena is now over. I wonder where Her Excellency will show up next?

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    3. Gabe is a decent guy who really knows his job. He's too smart to allow Jerry Pearson and the other folks at the monastery to pull him into their spider web.

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    4. OK. But he is not the boss. He does what the City Council tells him to. That is where the problem may be after next April's election.

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    5. The April election is crucial. All the good that has been done by this City Council can go south really quick.

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  3. They should just sell off the entire property including their retreat center so that the property stays intact for someone that truly appreciates the property. All they care about up their is getting their hands on the money.

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    1. So make them an offer

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    2. Turn it into a place like Esalen in Big Sur or a wellness center. Let the Self Realization Fellowship buy the whole thing. They would certainly recognize that you keep the property together and value the solitude and the buffer from civilization.

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    3. They should do something bold up there. The problem is that they are limited in their thinking because they only care about getting as much money as they can. Kinda weird when that thinking is coming from the Priests.

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    4. Turn it into a park. Once you lose that open space in a city you never get it back.

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    5. Offers were made - and refused.

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    6. Lacma outdoor sculpture park

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    7. Greed got in the way.

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    8. I would like to purchase the property, and then put a teepee in the middle of it (or near that grand old tree) and live there. I would use the property to raise a small bison herd. Does anyone know if the monastery is in a Zone B area?

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    9. Lije that idea 8:04!

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    10. I would like to conduct what I call the Sierra Madre Bison Walk every Thanksgiving. The Bison would be walked across Carter and then down Baldwin to graze at Kersting Court for a few hours. Families would be invited to have their pictures taken with these friendly bison before heading home for their Thanksgiving feasts.

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    11. How about a vineyard?

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    12. Those Priests up there need to be working and not scheming about land deals. They have too much time on their hands. How about a working monastery that supports itself. Sell some jam or honey or wine. Do something for crying out loud.

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    13. Why do you feel the need to tell them what to do? What do you do all day that affords you the time to comment on a blog. I call bullshit on your point of view.

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    14. The Passionists are purposely keeping the land unmanicured, dry and barren so that no one becomes too attached to it. I like the open space and also the buffer for the retreat center.

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    15. What 4:24 doesn't recognize is that the Priests are pushing this development that very few people want. I can question what they are doing that suddenly makes it necessary to sell this beautiful property.

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    16. That’s a deflection from your original comment. You said they need to spend their time Making jam.
      And how do you know very few want it. There are over 11 thousand residents in this town. You surely don’t speak for me, what makes you think you are in the majority? This blog has been on he wrong side of many issues.

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    17. Then why are you here? Making jam? What the hell does that mean?

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    18. The comment said that the monastery should make jam or honey or wine. Your eyes dont work after dark?

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    19. Right. Almost 7 hours ago. Again, why would you spend an entire day haunting a blog you don't like?

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    20. The enemy you know...

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    21. I suspect you must know a lot of people.

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  4. Once again the Tattler is the first one to report a significant news event. So Mater Dolorosa officials met with the City Manager to try to line up support for their project. I wonder if they have reached out to any City Council members? The only people in the dark about their newest plans are the residents of Sierra Madre.

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  5. How can a property that is entirely paid for, and is not taxed, be suffering from financial difficulties?

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    1. The financial difficulties have nothing to do with the property. It comes as a result of reprehensible behavior and nothing else.

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    2. The lawyers are demanding to be paid.

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    3. The Priests need to create some good will with a community that has been good neighbors to them all these years. Why return the favor with a big housing project that no one in the community wants.

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    4. The Passionists are becoming a bad neighbor.

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    5. They are a dying breed. They don't care about preserving the land for future generations. They want a cushy retirement and get what they think is owed to them. It's sick and contrary to their vows. But that's the least of their problems.

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  6. This might be a good time to strip any and all powers concerning contracts etc. from ALL city employees just to preserve Sierra Madre from ALL those backroom deals that take place from the public and vet these projects in PUBLIC only? The citizens of Sierra Madre have given away the KEYS to the city by allowing City Hall to dictate the future the way they see it and not the citizens who live there?

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  7. The consequences to the NW corner of Sierra Madre should this disaster ever go through would be immense. Think years of trucks, dust, construction and noise. What for?

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    1. So the priests could retire in greater comfort.

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    2. What for? About 20 Million. Judas sold out Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. What do you expect?

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    3. The monastery is becoming a for profit venture. They should lose their tax exempt status. They are developers and not a religious organization.

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  8. Get out your pitchforks and fireballs, the "preserve group" is all about taking away YOUR private property rights.
    It is laughable enough that the lead person of this group, Mr. Bryant, is a Realtor; just like his dad, and with the same reputation.
    Sometimes one needs to look no further than what is in front of them. What is Matt Bryant hidding?

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    1. What about the property rights of people who actually live here? And have for some time? Can I build a sewage processing plant next door to you? Cut the crap, idiot.

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    2. Attack the messenger attack his family,how Christian of you. MAGA?

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    3. Fireballs? Are you an arsonist?

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    4. Fireballs, hurled from on high, are often a clear sign of the Divinity's wrath.

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    5. Fireball XL5 my favorite cartoon in the 60's

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    6. That long with the unexplained power outage last night are definitely a clear sign of God's hatred towards his creation

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    7. I disagree. Edison is most likely a part of Satan's domain.

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    8. Last I heard when you live in a community you don't have absolute private property rights. I can't monetize my little lot and build a 6-story hotel. Sure I may make a lot of money but for a lot of reasons including consideration of the neighbors I am not allowed to do it.

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    9. In the twisted logic of 7:50 a community defending its property rights from predatory out of town stack and pack developers represents some form of tyranny. Obviously he is a crackpot.

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    10. 7:50 likes to smear people with personal attacks. There are many people who want to save the Monastery property from development including staff members who work up there. Has 7:50 even been to the property and walked the grounds?

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    11. I worked alongside Matt Bryant when he helped found the Save the Monastery coalition which later morphed into Preserve Sierra Madre. Let's see now. He volunteered his time to try to stop the development at the Monastery, save the Darling house over on Mira Monte from demolition, advocate for improving the General Plan and Municipal code, pushed for a demolition ordinance to save potentially historic homes and pushed to reduce the floor area ratios thereby limiting construction of the same kind of McMansions you see all over Arcadia. Almost all of those things were eventually enacted by the Planning Commission and City Council. Now tell us 7:50 what you've done for Sierra Madre.

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    12. I would bet a sack of potatoes that if the entire city had the chance to vote on half the nonsense that preserve Sierra Madre has pushed through the “planning commission” and then city council, none of it would have passed.
      If the people want to limit individual property rights they should be the ones to decide this collectively, not a commission or council, that is bombarded by activists.

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    13. You seriously believe that the people of this town would not vote to keep the monastery property as it is now if they were ever actually given that chance? Damn. You're nuttier than I thought.

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    14. 10:45 - get thee to a rubber room.

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    15. I did not mention the monastery I was referring to all the zoning changes enacted in the past few years. For example, you couldn’t so much as put up a gazebo in your back yard without a CUP if your house is over 3500’ ft. That’s $6k and a public hearing. Have a house built before 1947 and need to change your windows? Fork over 6k and wait for your public beating and an arbitrary commission to tell you that you have to use the $50k windows, not the $10k. Because what once was affordable housing “tract homes” are now called “mid century moderns” and apparently treated as historic because of their fancy new name.

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    16. Matt has done a good job for Preserve. The naysayers on this blog must be attached to the monastery. I think most of the people in this town bought their homes because of the eclectic atmosphere of the city. It sits encircled by the dismal look of overdeveloped hillsides! You think it’s a property right to allow the priests to develop the land? The Vatican has billions and do nothing for their flock! Talk about greed. As far as Matt “hiding” anything, he is not. He’s not wrong to want to sit in his backyard and enjoy the peace and quiet, watch the occasional deer and look at the mountains. The entire Preserve group helped map out the future of this community. They protected your rights as well. Get over yourselves. Move elsewhere!

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    17. 4:22 is obviously a developer frustrated that Sierra Madre is a bit different from Atcadia when it comes to tearing everything down and building a big McMansion that blocks the views of your neighbors, eliminates the privacy of your neighbors and reduces the value of the neighbors homes. But in your view, everyone has the right to do whatever they want and the neighbors be damned. You probably talk in movie theaters too.

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    18. The only property rights 4:22 cares about are those of big developers. Everyone else in his view should just get run over by their dump trucks.

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    19. You obviously can’t look beyond your own neurosis. Square footage has nothing to do with your view and I would be the first to agree with responsible development. However, apart from established setbacks and height restrictions, why do you need to regulate square footage? I’m even ok with architectural breaks to avoid big boxes. What I dont like is over regulating because a few people think that whoever wants to build a house wants nothing more than to kill off Sierra Madres puppies and close the Bucc.

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    20. Sierra Madre property values are through the roof. People are getting rich here for doing nothing more than living in their house. Thank God people like you have been marginalized, 6:30. You'd ruin a very good thing for a lot of people.

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    21. I support Matt Bryant. It saddens me to see such nasty remarks said about him. He is an asset to our community!

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    22. @6:36 What in the name of zeus’s Flowing white beard does your comment have to do with what I posted. Marginalized? How so. I don’t inhabit your Feeble brain so I couldn’t possibly understand where that flim flam originated from.

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    23. I think the poster meant to infer that you are a nut and are not taken seriously by the community.

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  9. What is the significance of tiki tourches?

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    1. They can be bought with a VISA card at Home Depot. That appeals to suburban wannabe baby nazis.

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    2. Because nothing demonstrates white pride like multicultural kitch

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    3. I don't think it is quite complex. I believe the Khaki Klad Klan wanted to have a torch light parade, but they didn't know how to make torches. So they bought them at Home Depot.

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  10. Why doesn't the city sit down with the church and work with them to provide a facility that includes rehab treatment and medical services? Use the existing buildings, construct a mirror-image facility just opposite them, and expand into a full-fledged treatment center and medical clinic? The rest of the site remains as is. That way the church gets its needed revenue without taxation, and the city has access to higher level mental & physical health services. Yoga retreats and meditation would also fit into this model; open the facilities up to secular programs under the oversight of the church. This gives Sierra Madre more health options that are in an expanding industry with part-time and ambulatory services in a retreat environment.

    Turning everything into housing is just pandering to the lowest-common denominator investment vehicle for developers.

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    1. Rehab centers make way to much money to be satisfied with whatever investment they'd have to put in to make a go of it at the Monastery. Heck, you can rent a box anywhere and set up that kind of business. Rehab = ka-ching.

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    2. How did they get all the money to buy that much land in the first place?

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    3. It's not up to the city to provide medical and exercise facilities.

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  11. I agree, Edison as it increases rates on all, is very Sadistic and evil.
    The Preserve Sierra Madre group is more Frankenstein in their approach of creation; good vs evil.

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    1. Please explain and give factual examples to back your comment.

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  12. With new state laws a treatment center is now acceptable to be located anywhere in cities and towns, your neighbors empty home may now be leased or rented as a rehab.

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  13. Polynesian's and Hawaiian's use tiki torches; President Obama is Hawaiian and a suburban wannabe now that he's out of the White House.

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    1. Good to see you have finally given up on the Kenya thing, Comrade.

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    2. Grammar, kid, grammat

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    3. Grammat? People in glass houses, etc.

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  14. Do they have tiki torches in Kenya? Comrade.

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    1. No, but that have them at the luxury ski resort where white-trash Richard Spencer lives.

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    2. Nazi's Write Rubber ChecksNovember 9, 2017 at 11:23 AM

      Emails Show Richard Spencer Bounced A $10,565 Check For Florida Event
      Spencer wants a white ethno-state, but he can barely pull off a campus speech.
      https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/richard-spencer-university-florida-bounced-check_us_5a0380b9e4b0f76b05c33438

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    3. These goons get amplified out of proportion to their significance, just like Trump

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  15. Blue collar vs white trash... trolls trumped again!

    President Donald Trump last year struck a deal with the Carrier Corporation last year that was supposed to save American manufacturing jobs at the company and prevent it from moving them overseas.

    Since then, however, Carrier has laid off hundreds of employees — and Fox News reports that the company is planning to lay off hundreds more workers early next year.

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  16. 10:47am. Looking forward to you and that dont build in my backyard bunch, to start up a go fund me page for those priests.
    If you get the backing from residents, then problem solved.
    The "Preserve Sierra Madre" through their communications appear to be complainers and do not give any indication of understanding that city laws protect all residents and property owners.

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    1. For people who supposedly don't understand city laws they sure stopped your mess dead in its tracks. Nice threat you make, though. Pay for my retirement or I'll launch a years long development project next door to your house. Why don't you just go and stick a gun to peoples' heads?

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    2. Priests should not retire they should serve the Lord 'till they die then receive their rewards...

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    3. Why is it one of the wealthiest organizations in the world cannot take care of its elderly?

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    4. The Passionists have a 'retirement home' on Sierra Madre Blvd.and Orange Grove behind Assumption it is where they send "Priests" that are non convicted in earthly courts of their crimes,amongst others, but must be separated from the public.
      That needs to be researched and made public....

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    5. I take no joy in saying this, but I think that retirement story is a cover.

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    6. Assumption Elementary school? They made it to Heaven......

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    7. I think the retirement story is a cover too. Who wants to say that we need to sell of this property that was part of the community for a hundred years because we molested a bunch of kids.

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    8. If that is the case, then they should just move on.

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  17. Maybe Maranatha High School is looking for some more land?

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  18. Hey, I just commented!


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    1. It's pretty easy once you get the hang of it.

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  19. 2:19 pm. Oh that's right, the preserve Sierra Madre phonies are all about taking property rights.

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    1. I just let my dog take a crap on your lawn. Your property rights have been taken.

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    2. As there is no water I have no lawn,lest we forget our wells are still dry.

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  20. 2:19pm. I dunno, I'd pay for your mental health check up and help you move into one of those mental serenity elder care homes.

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    1. 2:19 made a very good point. If this is what you call your comeback, then perhaps you need to seek the kind of help you're talking about.

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  21. 9:45am. you and Matt Bryant saved the Monastery? What a joke.
    It's you people that require saving.
    What you do with your own property is the business of the owner and city zoning codes.
    A city can change codes; just not up or down zoning, which the city may have been guilty of doing with that particular property.
    Now that the state is mandating larger RHNA numbers for all cities, we may all see these safeguards change in the future.

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    1. You're upset. And why not? Matt beat you like a tom tom.

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    2. Do you live at Orange Grove and S.M Blvd by any chance?

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  22. Mr Mod- I believe this post has set a new Tattler record in terms of replies. Even more that some of the (well deserved) Trump bashings. Great to see how people care about the fine city of Sierra Madre.

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    1. Here ya go.
      Jared Yates Sexton‏Verified account
      @JYSexton
      Follow Follow @JYSexton
      More
      Breitbart is saying Roy Moore only kissed and was romantic with an underage girl. And arguing it’s okay. And...my god I hope we’ve hit rock bottom but am certain we haven’t.

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  23. 5:22 - It is a pretty good turnout, but not a record. That would belong to the day we broke the news about Joe and Matt's 4th of July parade elephant. Close to 300 comments if I recall correctly.

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  24. When you own the biggest piece of open land in Sierra Madre, what you do with it can impact on the community forever. For that reason the community is allowed to have a day in what happens. Just to make my point, let's say they could build 5000 homes up there and double the population of Sierra Madre. 5:01 thinks we should have no say in the fact that we would then have no water, parking meters and meter maids downtown, stop lights, horrible traffic. etc. etc. But some. think we should have no say. Sorry but I will have a say when my quality of life gets destroyed all because the big land owner wants to maximize his profit.

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    1. Largest landowners and they pay no tax- just like medieval royalty.

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  25. I've said it before about the monetary property and I'll say it again: build a dog track + a small casino + grow marijuana and bye bye UUT.

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    1. So long Bedford Falls hello Pottersville

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  26. I truly wish this was over because ever since this started the Monastery has rang their bells which they didn't for decades. It's like they want to be as annoying as heck, morning, noon and night. Yes, we can look at our own clocks to determine if it's noon. Enough already.
    If you are looking to additional building with the city hands being greased by outsiders, look no further than Alverno and the bifurcated Villa projects. They have increased filming ten-fold to the annoyance of the neighbors who see not one dime but get to put up with the noise, traffic, truck exhaust, set building, rude film crews, lighting glare as well as the joy of watching crews hose down the parking lot for their outdoor scenes. The city welcomes every film Alverno can bring in with open arms and little to no restrictions. Alverno has destroyed many trees on their grounds and are working on another building even though their enrollment continues to dwindle. Enrollment which houses international students and a majority of students coming from outside of Sierra Madre. Just another city revenue sucking religious and "historic" not for profit entity benefitting an organization that has only their own outside interests at heart. The backs of Sierra Madre residents and neighbors fund this dying institution.
    Now we have the Monastery following their example of outside interests going for the city coffers.

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