Monday, January 22, 2018

The Real Sierra Madre Two Party System

For people who have been reading this blog for awhile now, this will be a familiar theme. But those who have come upon this site recently (and apparently there are more than a few), you might not have heard this before. It bears repeating once in a while, and I for one have never been afraid of repetition. Familiar rhythms often make for the best music, and like most everything else in life such resources are scarce.

The real Sierra Madre two party system has little to do with Republicans and Democrats. National issues do concern us all of course, especially now that we have fallen into the hands of someone I personally believe functions very much like a mob boss. One that is working for a foreign mob boss who doesn't have the best interests of the American people at heart. Neither of them do, for that matter.

You might not agree with this assessment, and that's fine with me. Lately I have left plenty of room here for people to talk about that topic. I didn't always do that, but since I have there are a lot more people reading this site. And who am I to deny people what they want? I am grateful for the conversation, and it does get me through the tedious work days. This blog and a smart phone are often my lifelines to a more interesting world.

But none of that national stuff has much to do with Sierra Madre politics. Sierra Madre does remain the main focus of this blog, and always will even if I move to a desert somewhere. Or back east, which is always a possibility. And we do need to clear the air once in a while about how things really work around here. Nobody else seems to care enough to do it.

The two actual parties within the happy confines of Sierra Madre are the Real Estate-Development Party, and the Preservation Party. One would like to cash the place in and make some big bank, the other would prefer that things stay just the way they've always been. Each has its candidates, and they usually have very little in common. Both sides accuse each other of inappropriate behavior and at times even incivility, which is pretty much politics at its mediocre worst. Some people would do anything to avoid talking about the real issues in town. Just like they avoid talking about the real issues in their messed up personal lives.

But there is no denying that the differences are profound, and these things do play a role in most everything involved in selecting local leadership. The Library move would be a current example. Many Preservationists would like to keep the place pretty much as it is. There is little denying that the Library is in need of a makeover, and that it would cost the city a lot to do that. But the thought of the place being reduced to rubble and the property sold off is not a happy one for them.

The Real Estate-Development Party, on the other hand, apparently feels no such attachment. In their minds that property could be used for far more interesting things, such as a large and highly profitable condominium project. They might express a deep devotion to the Library (and according to them nobody loves Sierra Madre quite so much as they do), but that would hardly stop them from plowing the place under, selling off property that the city has owned for over a century, and moving all of those books into a gymnasium located on the other side of town. Something that would also cost a lot.

The RE-DP has experienced a series of profound failures as well. The One Carter development boondoggle never led to anything but millions of dollars in lawsuits, with even more on the way. We're fifteen years into that debacle and not one single house has ever been built there.

A downtown development scam, known by the acronym DSP, led to a grassroots uprising and its stunning defeat at the polls. An interest only water bond scheme, that despite what some will tell you was very much a part of the overall DSP plan, saddled Sierra Madre residents with millions of dollars in malignant debt. Payments on that mess are still being made, and will be well into the 2030s.

Just so you know, these are the very same people who now want to move the Library and sell the property. Apparently they still have a lot of time on their hands, and plenty of City Hall access.

Would you like to talk about the Passionist Monastery? We could do that as well. You ready to live through five long years of construction, dust and pollution, and the sounds of heavy trucks rumbling all through the town? Trust me, that could easily be arranged.

The irony is it's the Preservation Party that has been the most beneficial economically to this community. The myth for years has long been that if the city didn't allow for large scale development, it would perish financially. Yet somehow it never did. And have you looked at what houses here are going for are here lately? Sierra Madre has become one of the most desirable places to live on this side of Los Angeles County. That happened because nothing changed very much.

Funny how things work, right? Sometimes the best changes are the ones that were never made.

Keep all that in mind when you vote this April.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

31 comments:

  1. Sierra Madre can not support itself without growth. Our water bills are insane because they use that income to run this place. We have more empty store fronts and failing businesses because our no growth town can’t support them. You can’t just point to high property values (which every city in the San Gabriel valley experienced, not just us) and say we are succeeding. The reality is, we are in a dangerous place and it will get worse. I’m not advocating large scale development, but we need some growth. And don’t give me that BS that Preserve Sierra Madre isn’t against growth, because they have been against every project that has come down the pipes.

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    1. A very good example of the Real Estate-Development Party position. No specifics about what "some development" might be, of course.

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    2. Whose fault is it that Sierra Madre is going broke? Those water bonds perhaps? The increased CalPERS exposure that John Buchanan and Joe Mosca just couldn't resist?

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    3. are you refuting my comment or making my point, that there is no project that won’t be vilified by you. I don’t have a project in mind, but there is a need for some growth. If you can’t even agree to that, then by all means keep complaining how expensive everything is and why we have to pay our city officials so much of our budget. You can’t live in LA and pretend the realities and costs don’t apply to Sierra Madre, because we should be living amongst orange groves and pot farms.

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    4. Actually I'm laughing at you. Your argument is the same one that was made to promote the Downtown Specific Plan a decade ago. Somehow the city survived its disappearance.

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    5. 7:01 - Sierra Madre's greatest asset is that it isn't like everywhere else. It is a unique place that people are willing to pay a lot of money to be a part of. How do you propose to protect that?

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    6. Where will the water come from to support your growth? Just wondering if you have a secret source.

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    7. Neither of those statements address the current fiscal issues our city faces and will continue to face. Cutting costs alone will put us in the grave.

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    8. Store fronts and business fail in Sierra Madre because the rent is very high and the locals are not as supportive as they should be. And where is the chamber of commerce? They should be promoting the city more than they do,

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    9. Preservationists supported the biggest development project that the town has seen it a long time, the Kensington.
      If you continue to pretend that preservation means no growth, you'll never understand and really should move on.

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  2. Please come to the Library Forum WEDNESDAY night at 7 pm to ask any questions you have about moving the library to the YAK. Also (and I repeat myself), if you believe what you read here, and I do about our upcoming election, tell your friends and neighbors to vote, and to vote responsibly. It was just a few years ago that Karma Bell spread half truths about our City Clerk of thirty years, and Nancy only won the election by 12 votes.

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  3. I think it's a three party system now. Used to be just the Buc and Lucky B's but Rt brewing just opened up on Montecito, so in fact we now have a three party system. That there is growth for you. And their new IPA ain't all that bad!

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    1. Sierra Madre is leaving a lot of money on the table by not allowing pot retail downtown. Besides the tax revenue, think of what a boon that would be for our many restaurants.

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  4. Yeah, 7:01, think of all the revenue the cops would get catching all those driving under the influence, and the break ins. I spoke against Maranantha building a high school at One Carter because I was worried about the drivers on Baldwin. Can't imagine having a bunch of potheads driving around downtown. Go support RT Brewing instead!

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    1. Maybe we could make them park their cars in Arcadia.

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    2. One shops at a recreational Marijuana much like one shops at a liquor store. people don't stumble out of the shop and use their purchase like a crack addict.
      "break ins"?? Laughable. We go home or to a friends home and relax. Got it Jeff Bo? It's not 1968......
      BTW one beer and you are impaired why don't you try drinking Alcohol in a safe manner -at home..........

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  5. and have a Sierra Madre shuttle service to make some dough.

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  6. Have any of you who thing Sierra Madre should have more money from downtown business every started a business here in town. I did my market research and decided what I wanted to do would not succeed. I went to south Pasadena for a while and then to a facility on York Dr and worked at it as long as I wanted and then went on to something else. I spoke with some guys who opened a woman's accessory shop in the little arcade across from Kersting Ct. Their hours were 10 am to 4 pm and I asked how they came up with that idea. They said that was what their neighboring businesses suggested. I observed they accidentally eliminated most every working woman from shopping there. They extended their hours, were very successful and then expanded, moved to another location and collapsed. The woman who wanted to open the coffee speciality shop where T-Neer was never got off the ground. Here idea was wrong for Sierra Madre and she was facing lots of upgrades and regulations necessary (maybe why T-Neer closed when they said they were just at the end of their business plan). Then there was the donut shop guy who always wanted a donut shop but so underfinanced that he sold his truck to pay the second month's rent. Produce store that walked away not paying electric bill and not throwing away produce to let the owner come to a mess of rotted food and fruit flies! My understanding from some downtown businesses of 40 years ago was that the businesses were hobbies, not the real source of anyone's income. Not much of real need and then the mall opened up and even these shops faced such competition they collapsed. Two recent bicycle shops didn't last--very high end and (where were the customers) steep rents. Don't blame it on Measure V, City Regulations, or the Preservationists. Small business has always faced these problems, right fit, rent hikes, overhead, etc. are the major problems they face.

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    1. Small business, The Craft Cellar was around for a long time! Is Eastwick Village still open?

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  7. Surf's & Lords or the haves and the have not's, Sound familiar? Each town in SoCal are connected to the same social networks 'organized gang network' where the future of all the members towns and cities are decided by a 'small group' or party member's.

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  8. Thank you Tattler for your good memory and accurate reporting. It's great to have this information for the residents who are new or who haven't been paying attention.

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  9. Adaptive re-use of the Monastery for a retirement community using the existing buildings and retaining most of the landscaping and its relics for community use would be a solution that brings in the needed tax revenue. A couple of added structures for skilled nursing/assisted care with a decent cafeteria wouldn't be a huge construction impact. It needs to start being taken care of before the place falls apart and you lose it.

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    1. Do you know if the Passionists would be willing to vacate the place? I think they have their eye on the immense profits building 50 three thousand square foot homes there would bring.

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    2. Who says the place is falling apart?
      Fake crisis

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    3. Everything is an emergency in the development world.

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    4. The Monastery is not falling apart!

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    5. Developers like to be seen as saviors. The current president is also a developer, and sees himself the same way.

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  10. Sierra Madre has no stores, because the city won't support their businesses. The turn over of restaurants and stores is no joke.

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  11. There are no Passionists that live there. The order is nearly absent of all priests and that is why it is up for sale for a LARGE housing development. The existing dwelling did not collapse in the earthquake that resulted in the demolition of the Monastery that did receive over $5 million in damage. The retreat center is what is left not a monastery. And since Sierra Madre needs all the water it can capture for its wells, how about the whole lower part as swales for groundwater capture. Oh, wait, scrap that idea as the division between the East and West Raymond basin for groundwater capture is as Lima. Maybe Pasadena can step in and spend some serious coin to build swales for water for their use. They have been overdrawn since 1914 as per a report done by Cal Tech back then.

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  12. How is it, that many of my Arcadia neighbors, the ones that couldn’t name one person on existing City Council, now have Chandler signs in their yards? You don’t suppose ol Sholan Tay is behind this, no?

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    1. The Empire is striking back.

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