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.