Thursday, January 18, 2018

Election Musical Chairs: Sierra Madre Has Three Open City Council Seats and Four Candidates

Andy's Gang
It had all the looks of a rather uneventful election season in The Foothill Village, but apparently that is no longer the case. In addition to the three incumbents, Gene Goss, Denise Delmar and Rachelle Arizmendi, a newcomer to the political scene has arrived. His name is Andy Bencosme, and he sells homes for a living. He'd be pleased to meet you, I'm sure.

Among the achievements of Sierra Madre's current City Council are the restraints it put into place curbing aggressive mansionization here. While this development nuisance has been the bane of neighboring Arcadia, Sierra Madre has remained the village of small homes it always was. Paradoxically it is becoming quite prosperous because of this. Homes that only a decade ago would have set you back $250,000 are now pushing the million dollar mark once they are put on the market.

Slow growth, which was once wrongfully considered an impediment to increased property values, has become the engine that is driving Sierra Madre's stunning real estate success story. When you consider where things were during the market crash not too long ago, it is something of a miracle.

For that you would have to give at least some credit to this City Council and its commitment to the sensible development standards that helped to stave off a McMansion glut here. In that important way they saved Sierra Madre just by keeping it the place it always was.

Why anyone would want to go messing around with that kind of success is beyond me. While I personally am not crazy about everything this City Council has done, you would need to have on some pretty large blinders not to see just how well many people in Sierra Madre are doing these days. What used to be only a house has for some become the best investment they ever made.

From Andy's Linked In page.
So anyway, who is this new guy you are probably asking. He's been around the area, but only arrived in Sierra Madre just a relative short while ago. Around 2010 he was on the Library Board in Monrovia (link). And then in 2013 he was the president of the Arcadia Association of Realtors. A group that, at times, has been quite outspoken in its support of unrestricted development in Arcadia. Which, of course, contributed to the unfortunate mansionization blight there.

Below is an example of how the Arcadia Association of Realtors (AAR) contributed politically to that around the time Andy Bencosme was its president. A candidate they helped elect there was a big time mansionization supporter named John Wuo. Also a past president of the AAR. You probably remember Mr. Wuo as the former Mayor of Arcadia who was forced to resign in disgrace over his alleged role in the Gem Coin scandal. Something that brought such infamy (along with the FBI) to the town (link) in late 2015.

Here is the story of how the Arcadia Association of Realtors helped elect John Wuo.


I suspect they will try and do the same for Andy Benscosme. It should be an interesting election. Don't take any Gem Coins.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

79 comments:

  1. Public meeting on the Library placement, stay where it is or move to border of Arcadia, is next Wed. January 24 at the Recreation Center. Time?

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  2. Speaking of John Wuo, the disgraced former Arcadia city Council member who resigned, does anyone know what ever happened in the FBI investigation ? Can’t find anything on the disgraced former CC member.

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    1. They haven't done anything yet. Justice moves slowly, I guess. The FBI has instead concentrated its efforts on Wuo's former business partner and the inventor of the Gem Coin, Steve Chen.

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    2. Wuo drew papers to run for City Council but never turned them in. The theory is it was to scare off any potential Chinese opponent to his development buddy and district mate Roger Chandler.

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    3. Library Forum is Wednesday at 7 pm.

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  3. Andy is backed by amber mine.

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  4. Andy was the one that provided an appraisal to the library commission of what money the library could get by selling the library property. He’s running to make sure the property is sold.

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    1. That is interesting. Will Andy be the listing agent?

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    2. It appears that Mr. Benscosme got his ethics degree from Trump University.

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    3. I checked it out and the comment at 6:56 isn't true.

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    4. Oh it is true alright...they probably just denied it was an "appraisal" because that is a particular type of formal document to a Realtor. It was an "estimate".

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    5. Begs the question, is 6:56 trying to cause confusion, or is 10:01 on to something.
      Can't tell.

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    6. See the comment at 11:11. Very helpful information.

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  5. To understand Realtor Bencosme you need to follow the money. His money of course. Not yours. Like the $6 million in commission Realtor Bencosme will make from being the exclusive agent for Mater Dolorosa home sales afttwr it’s built with his help and he subsequently leaves the council.

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  6. Also if Realtor Bencosme pushes through the Mater Dolorosa development and then when his term is up Realtor Bencosme becomes their exclusive agent he stands to make $6 million. We need an anti corruption ordinance to prevent this type of behavior.

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  7. Follow the money. Realtor Bencosme’s money. Not yours.

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  8. Of course Realtor Bencosme could pledge never to represent properties that get construction approval while he is on the council. Of course his pledge would not be legally binding.

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  9. Wow. Facebook. However did they think of that?

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  10. Realtor Bencosme talked to my friend about running. Realtor Bencosme (and Bencosme's Realtor Wife...its all in the family) seemed very aggressive about it...like it wasn't public service...like it was a business deal. If Realtor Bencosme approves a condo development and his wife becomes the exclusive listing agent for it after it is built then we can all laugh and say "gee he tricked us...ha ha." Unless the council passes an anti-corruption ordinance to prevent it. I can hear Realtor Bencosme now "oh that's my wife's listing not mine".

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  11. Of course Realtor Bencosme could pledge never to represent properties that get construction approval while he is on the council. Of course his pledge would not be legally binding.

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  12. These people never go away, they just come back with more money for their interests not the community as a whole.

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  13. What a disappointment. I thought that for once, we were going to have a simple election cycle, keep a productive council in place, and have another 2 years before the over-development faction made another grab.

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  14. Bencosme is following the California Association of Realtors playbook:
    http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com/2009/05/california-association-of-realtors.html

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  15. Due to the targeted and vicious cycle of "untruths" commented here on this site, I now will cast my vote for this new canadaite.
    I now understand why Ole Joe received so many votes.
    Negative and unproven slurs against someone running for election only boosters their support from many voters.

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    1. Can you point out what you think are the "unproven slurs" directed against this "canadaite?" The article is fairly carefully sourced with actual cites. Something that you would need to do in order to prove your point.

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    2. Sometimes people feel threatened when the topic being discussed is beyond their comprehension.

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    3. 8:02 is our predictable troll, who comes here to cause dissension and drag the discussion down to the level of insults.

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    4. Same old signature misspellings

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  16. This council never had to worry about slow growth, the water moratorium kept anything from going before the Planning Commission or City Council.
    This Council has only dealt with the water debacle, look how thats turned out.

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    1. So you believe it was this City Council that caused the drought? Here I thought all along it was Nancy Walsh.

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  17. I am not aware of this City Council curbbing mansionization, what restraints and policies have they put into place?

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    1. The General Plan. Thanks especially to Delmar.

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    2. Rip Van Winkle awaketh at 8:35.

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  18. Maybe Andy is a nice guy. Hardworking family with high morals and ethics. Ole Joe seemed like a nice guy too. The problem is he has no track record in town to judge. Why risk putting an unknown on the council?

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  19. Imagine getting 6% of a million dollars just to walk people through a couple of rooms and fill out some prewritten forms. What a racket.

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  20. Of course Realtor Bencosme could pledge never to represent properties that get construction approval while he is on the council. Of course his pledge would not be legally binding.

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  21. 8:25am. Obtuse.
    I do believe that YOU were the individual who supplied the chemicals that this City Council dumped into the water system that then chewed holes into the existing pipes throughout this City.

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  22. "What used to be only a house has for some, become the best investment they ever made", in a town that's broke!

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  23. 8:42am. Oh dear, naive.
    The General Plan was fully in place when Carter One was bulldozed over a weekend.
    The General Plan is only a template that Counsels and Planning Departments use as a base to work from.
    Cities are required from the State of California to update their General Plan every twenty years.

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    1. The General Plan was updated, and improved, after 1 Carter was approved. Also, many zoning codes recently have been updated and improved. 9:16 is either uninformed or disingenuous -- or both.

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  24. 8:44am. None of the three Council members had a track record before they ran for office.

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    1. Really? They emerged full formed from the Godhead, pristine and new?

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    2. Wrong 9:19. Delmar was chair of the General Plan update committee. Arizmendi was on the parks commission. Goss was on the library board and did little league.

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    3. 9:19 is improvising from ignorance.

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    4. Delmar was Chairperson of the General Plan - her committee did amazing work.

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    5. Also, Arizmendi was on the Community Services Commission. What do you mean they didn't have a track record? Do your homework before you vote; if you (and enough people don't) then we'll end up with the likes of Joe Mosca and Nancy "lookie here" Walsh.

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    6. 8:44 12;10 and 1:26 are 110% correct. I was on the Community Services Commission with Rachael and on the General Plan Commission with Chairperson Denise Delmar. They both had excellent track records.

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  25. 8:49am. Becoming a Politician, State and or City employee or is a bigger bang for your buck.

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  26. Years ago the Planning Commission had a member that was legally challenged and finally resigned; he was a member of the Church located on the boulevard that continued to expanded and buy up business property in the downtown area.

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    1. He made many illegal decisions. I have a file on them.

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  27. Along the same lines as our local elections, has anyone seen the WH news? I don't need to be a veteran to feel like were under attack. Elections are very important as we have seen on the local level and the federal level. Look at who's running and vote for whats best for your city and you. Try not to let your emotions cloud good judgment based on the facts and that persons history, job and character. Just because they have a nice smile and talk kindly to you at gatherings doesn't mean they will do whats right for your city.

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    1. Ole Joe had a nice smile and was quite the talker.

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  28. Andy Bencosme is a member of the City of Sierra Madre Community Services Commission. Meredith Keith is also a member of the City of Sierra Madre Community Services Commission. Andy is telling people that his campaign manager is Meredith Keith. Meredith Keith is a rabid advocate for selling the library property and moving the library to the YAC. Bencosme and Keith were the people that convinced the commission to support selling the library property and Bencosme provided the valuation estimates to make the argument. It was all laid out at the June 28, 2017 joint meeting between the Library Board of Trustees and the Community Services Commission (the Bencosme-Keith Commission). Just get the minutes and see what Bencosme/Keith said. Get Ryan Baker's (he is the Director of Library and Community Service) emails with Bencosme/Keith.

    Click here for Bencosme/Keith meeting with Library Trustees

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    1. Thank you for that clear and documented information, 11:11.

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    2. So this is all about moving the library for Andy? I guess then he can sell the condos.

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  29. Also "Andy" is using a fake name. His real name is Jose Andres Bencosme. Jose filed candidate papers claiming his name was "Andy Bencosme" which isn't his legal name. On the ballot he will be listed as "Andy Bencosme" if it isn't changed. If even his name is inauthentic what about the rest of him?

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  30. 10:42am. You missed the point.

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  31. His campaign slogan should be "OK JOSE!"

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  32. Don't forget the write-in options!

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  33. Why would you write someone in when this is the best Council we've ever had? Just vote for those three to keep it together.

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    1. You have to assume that Andy is someone who has a very different agenda. His background is probably a good indication of what that agenda might be.

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  34. 12:13pm. Best council we ever had since when? What is your comparison?

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    1. Best Council since Nancy Walsh, Joe Mosca, Josh Moran, Tanya Torres, or the Bart Doyle, Rob Stockley, crew, who gave away One Carter, and are the reason for the lawsuits. How could you not agree if you were paying attention to what happens in Sierra Madre?

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  35. 11:32am. What's in a name?

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    1. Different results from google searches.

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  36. Does Mr. Bencosme own property in Sierra Madre? I know it's not required for council members, but they my take things more seriously if they or their families actually own homes here.

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  37. As an elected official you cannot vote on policy that will then reap financial benefit. Bart Doyle while on the City Council, paid a $5,000.00 fine for voting on the North Baldwin Lighting District and he benefited by getting one of the new street lights in front of his home. This is under the Fair Political Practices Commission.

    This rule applid to MaryAnn MacGillivray constraining her from voting on the Hillside Ordinance as she was within the distance to the project where it was determined she would "benefit" from the changes in the ordinance. This will apply to Arizmendi if there are items in front of the CC to do with development at One Carter.

    The restriction lasts for 12 months after an elected official leaves office. I would like someone to expand on this as it pertains to an elected official's spouse obtaining financial gain from that spouse's vote.

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    1. My guess is since California is a community property state...what's hers is his.

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  38. "... Bencosme provided the valuation estimates..." based on what? Comperables. He did this as a professional? He did this as a member of the Community Services Commission? I am beginning to this there is a violation of his real estate ethics code. Research is needed on this one.

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  39. I thought you had to be a resident of Sierra Madre to serve on council.

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    1. You have to be a resident to serve on the Community Services Commission, so he does live here.

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  40. Realtors are only in the game for the MONEY and nothing else, influencing a city council to change zoning laws and or allow larger& taller buildings to be built, a spy on the inside like d.j.t. is for Putin of Communist Russia.

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    1. Cold War guy reporting for duty

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  41. 1:32pm Bart Doyle was the councilmen that sold out Sierra Madre.
    Carter One destruction and Maranatha lawsuit which the city lost.
    Ole Bart thought he could change the cities General Plans to meet his standards of development, he convinced the rest of the council to go along.
    Thats when a few concerned citizens got together and formed the Homeowners Association along with Preservation of Sierra Madre

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  42. I’ve seen some nice new single family one-story homes in SM on Orange Grove. Maybe they were planned to be single story, or maybe SM building code prevented two story beasts, but it is amazing to see them, they fit in nicely UNLIKE THE MANSIONS IN ARCADIA ON SOUTH SIDE OF ORANGE GROVE.
    Too bad preservation in Arcadia is long gone. Vote Chandler OUT OF OFFICE. Vote for Beck.

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  43. Had to borrow this post from yesterday: "Anonymous ~ January 17, 2018 at 3:56 PM
    For those of you new to Sierra Madre and pro-preservation citizen group's long, hard-fought efforts: Measure V is something you must study. Pro-preservation citizens put this on the ballot when alarmed by the development pressures apparent from actions of former City Council members investments in downtown projects and the impending implementation of the Downtown Specific Plan. The Arcadia Board of Realtors funded the opposition with a huge amount of money, outspending the preservation group and yet they lost. Measure V passed and it is the law governing development in the downtown along wth the Canyon Development Zone, the Hillside Development Ordinance and other Residentail development constraints are in place due to work by the entire city during the update of the General Plan. The Planning Commission continues to fine tune these development issues. I don't know what Andy Bensecom's election platform will be but you can bet that the preservation group in town won't have any part of it."

    Just google "Bensecom+Mursol+Century 21". This guy will be more than happy to work with the development interests circling Sierra Madre. I'm sure these folks would love to get their hands on the Library property...develop and sell them units! Buy low, sell high. They already have plenty of experience...and friends, in town.
    Our CC is not perfect, but is the best we've had in quite a while. I say keep the three. Our new City Manager seems to be a straight shooter, has experience , and wants to serve our citizens (more than can be said of the previous group). The City needs to take a closer look at the shenanigans that go on in the Building Department...lots of cozy relationships between builders and staff...perhaps time to tidy up.
    Bensecom...dude, this isn't Arcadia.

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  44. Preserve Arcadia and Preserve Sierra Madre!! Fight back citizens! 🇺🇸 maga

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