Wednesday, April 18, 2018

What Is Up With Sierra Madre's Kersting Court Now?

The topic of renovating Kersting Court is once again rising from its shallow cobwebbed resting place and is beginning to work its way through the Community Services Commission. This isn't the first time such a thing has occurred, which is why some folks have been keeping a wary eye on these latest Kersting developments.

Just to give you the bare bones of what has only just begun this time, to the left is a document put together this week by the Community Services Commission detailing how this could all break down. Again, it is just a start, so there is plenty of time to get things done properly. But there is also the potential for other things to occur as well, which is why I've decided to bring it up now. Because the last time this puppy got out of the pen things got a little wild, with the end result being the entire project was unceremoniously jettisoned, and Sierra Madre's rather tiny version of a Central Park remained untouched for a while. Somehow the town survived.

The Last Time This Happened

Here is how a City Hall document (link) created in July of 2016 described what was to become of Kersting Court. Trust me, it was not as well received as its creators probably hoped.


"Permanent Holiday Tree" indeed. I think what probably skewed the imaginations of a concerned portion of Sierra Madre's residents was the accompanying art. In what became derisively known as "Starbucks Park Modern," these illustrations were soon rather famous, but not in the good way.


Using my best "Art Talk" prose, here is how I described this at the time.

But what fascinates me today is the actual art involved. No, not that rather commonplace stuff they're talking about planting in Kersting Court. What I find quite remarkable are the graphic depictions of that once happy place found at the bottom of the staff report. They are really something.

The adult figures shown in these pictures are all sitting up straight, and in the most painfully erect postures imaginable. Their collective gaze, true thousand mile stares, are firmly fixed upon matters both internal and far away. Beyond the park is a vast encircling landscape that is featureless, empty, spiritually vacant, and uniformly gray.

All of which makes Kersting Court appear like an island having no visible exits.

With the possible exception of some well-mannered children, and the obligatory dog of course, nobody seated there is looking at the person next to them. As I said, some there have Starbucks beverages in their hands and, elbows held high, their only concern is consuming those drinks.

Obviously most of those so depicted have contributed to the well-being of the downtown economy by purchasing and ingesting mass manufactured drink products, and paid a little sales tax to do it. Perhaps it is their one true purpose in life?

So is this a new art genre? If so, I would call it Future Kersting. A brave new world populated by people dedicated to both good posture and drinking liquids from cups. All while apparently oblivious to an ominous world that has now consumed them.

I guess we'll have to wait and see how it all rolls out this time. I'm sure we'll have fun.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

78 comments:

  1. That's the problem with arts money. It has to be spent on art.

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    1. What is art?

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    2. It is in the eye of the beholder.

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    3. Art is when a self-appointed authority declared it Art. Very similar to the The Emperor's New Clothes metaphor.

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  2. The Dirts have won.
    Kersting Court is not historical in the eyes of this or any past city council.
    The love of a central hub with drought tolerant plantings along with katcy signage, toss in a few bike racks and chairs and you have Sierra Madres own dump site centrally located.
    There are already signs of a tiny tune quality eracted atop the city poles on the boulvard.
    One has to strain and look upward when walking, if you are in a passing car you won't notice.
    The Disney qualities of signage are afixed ornamentally with arrows pointing in all directions, this art installation acts as a compus for the central hub.
    Artist who call this town home, thankfully are not represented in this eyesore of misspent funds.

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    1. Should set up nicely for a new homeless encampment.

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    2. Looking at the Community Service Commissioners who are involved in various phases of this plan, I failed to see the Jose "Andy" Bescome who is the chairperson of the commission. Perhaps the Arcadia Board of Realtors would finance this debacle.

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    3. In a nutshell, Lowbrow Culture is what 6:19am is describing.

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  3. With all our money problems we should not be spending on anything that is not a necessity. This is certainly not one.

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    1. Yeah! We need to stamp out all the fun and joy of living.

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    2. I'm with you, 6:41. An absurd activity for some bored commission members.

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    3. Sometimes things that have been fun and a source of joy for 100 years need to be left alone.

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    4. Completely agree. This seems like the product of boredom. Isn't there an empty lot in a less conspicuous part of town they can play with? Maybe plant some basil at One Carter?

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    5. 7:31,
      I think the Indians would have loved your insight 150 years ago.

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    6. Kersting Court looks little like it did 100 years ago. Sonet Mrs a little investment leads to greater return. That said, nothing particularly inspiring about this design

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  4. Councilman John Capoccia has already given his support for this RE-DO.
    After bricks are replaced and reconfigured the Sierra Madre Rose Float wiuld have an assigned parking space that would have ADA compatibility during the rest of the year.
    The Saturday morning bike club will have more space for assembly.
    Parents driving their kids to and from school will have more ease when pulling up to the curb for pick up.

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    Replies
    1. Do you know if some of the seasonal displays, like the Christmas creche, will still have a space? It is at the heart of a lot of community traditions, like the Candlelight Walk.

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    2. Protect yo crèche!

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  5. This Arts Funding money was from the Keninston settlement with the city and was stolen from all Artists, this City Council decided to give the funds to Community Services.
    There was never any community notice or public awareness notices sent out from city hall acknowledging the funds being aailable for local Artists to submitt renderings of art installations.

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    Replies
    1. You all are ahead of yourselves. This current plan will have a call for artists, a callfor volunteer funding, and care will be taken to incorporate current icons such as the bell tower, etc.

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  6. Thank you Ostie family for years of volunteering and stringing twinkling lights in the Pepper Trees during the Christmas and holiday season.

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  7. Christmas Creche among the drought tolerant plants with the fake $10,000 tree beside.

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    Replies
    1. The fake tree is gone.

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  8. Sierra Madre's central dump.

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  9. Crèche Test Dummies - Nativity scenes on public lands are illegal, rules the Supreme Court. Except when they're not.
    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2001/12/crche_test_dummies.html

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    Replies
    1. Several churches around the corner.. crèche it up over there instead

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    2. Why? So you can drink a secular latte' ?

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  10. I never saw any official notice about the 2016 version of Starbucks Court going away. It just disappeared. Was there anything issued by city hall?

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  11. 7:22am wants to add a slip n slide or a farris wheel maybe a dance floor for a community hoe down.

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    1. There should be three different levels on the ferris wheel. Grande, Venti and Trenta.

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  12. 7:37am look closely it is still there only on steroids of driught plantings and without the theme park approach of destinations around town, example:YOU ARE HERE!

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  13. Needs a Festivus Pole.

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    1. Would it be a year round Holiday Festivus Pole, or a more traditional one?

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  14. Better name for the central area, the catch basin.
    It serves as a central theme area of who is sitting around and sipping coffee all day long, the teens have community supervision so that mom and dad can shop outside the city.
    When entering the city a visitor will relize this is a supersized community meet and greet.
    Nothing special to take away from, nothing that speaks to what Sierra Madre is all about.

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  15. The addition of a public toilet would make it a great rest stop.

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    Replies
    1. That's what Starbucks is for.

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    2. Errrr.! Public toilets in the park....

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  16. Just make a bigger Rose Parade float and leave it in Kersting Court for the entire year. That way you get a new Kersting Court every year. Maybe Arnolds will supply the spray lacquer that will keep the flowers fresh looking.

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  17. All of the surrounding cities have art in the Community. Why not Sierra Madre?

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    Replies
    1. The money is needed for the get Jesus out of public places initiative.

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  18. 8:53am. Stop joking, Starbucks is receiving sensitivity training in the area of ethnicity. Then again you may have a point.

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  19. Perfect place for a medicinal products kiosk. Call the triangular shape location, ode to the 60's.

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  20. Sorry to go off topic, but I wanted to let people know about an important item to be discussed at tomorrow's Planning Commission meeting. The other day a Tattler reader posted that Sierra Madre's “next challenge to fill our empty shops.” We're on it.

    Tomorrow the Planning Commission will hold its second discussion regarding revisions to the downtown commercial zoning code. One of the main goals is to facilitate reuse of existing buildings so businesses can fill empty storefronts. The proposed revisions are also Measure V compliant and impose new FAR and design review requirements.

    For more information, you can find the staff report for tomorrow's meeting here:
    http://cityofsierramadre.hosted.civiclive.com/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=12715636

    And the staff report for our prior meeting (which has helpful introductory information) can be found here: http://cityofsierramadre.hosted.civiclive.com/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=12537390

    You're input is appreciated. Please attend and comment at the meeting, or email city hall and ask them to forward your comments to the Planning Commission.

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  21. Beware of Greeks Bearing what appear to be gifts?

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  22. The money should be used for a reward to bring back the metal sculpture of the Violin Spider.
    That would put the town back on the map!

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  23. Olive Trees are drought tolerant and would support the Chanukah decorations along with the Creche.
    Bring back the twinkling lights.

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  24. Where did they hire the minority people portrayed in the illustrated pictures? Seriously I've never seen so many minority people in Sierra Madre especially sitting side-by-side with white folks.

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    1. Your hyper-sensitivity to Sierra Madre's demographic make up has led you to make some unfortunate assumptions. Either that or you're just bigoted yourself.

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    2. Maybe minority people see things differently then the white folks. Most of us don't buy into that made the white folks feel good genre portrayed in movies/TV programs like "Guest Who's Coming to Dinner", "Pocahontas", etc. Though I liked the Archie Bunker sitcom.

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    3. Publicity materials such as the pictures above are fully integrated.

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    4. 11:02,
      Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't see any Asian faces in the pictures. Perhaps they are studying inside the libraries.

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    5. They might have been at work.

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    6. 10:09 you are a fossil!

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    7. What time is it?

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    8. It's 2:39pm, Thursday, April 18, 2018, and racism in the US is still much alive.

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    9. It is alive everywhere.

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  25. Great more FAR senior stack and pack to fill the downtown area, the rental fees are too high and cannot be reduced, so might as well convert everything in town to bedrooms or suites.
    The signage for parking in the back lot can be highlighted in Kersting Court.

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    1. Thanks for your comment 9:24, but let me clarify. The proposed zoning code revisions do not allow for larger buildings, just the opposite. They limit the size of new buildings by imposing a floor area ratio (also known by its acronym "FAR"). The new FAR is set forth in the updated General Plan.

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  26. Tree selection will have to be those not subjected to the Polyphageous Shot Hole Borer. Olive trees would be problematic. While there is no perfect tree, the "California" pepper tree that is there now should not be on the plant list. All in all, the design of the court will continue to use the stepped areas and freshen up the 1960s weariness. The graphics used a very rigid but that is no doubt due to the low bid (or volunteer) designer chosed for the project. This was in front of the Tree Commission, then maybe in front of the EENR Commission before finally landing at the Community Services Commission (this triangle is considered at Park), so there maybe, finally, a plan, a budget and a result.

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    Replies
    1. Maybe don’t plant trees? Cacti are nice.

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  27. The original communications warning system could be relocated on an art instillation and at the correct height down in Kersting Court.

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  28. Why isn't preservation of space for the Nativity Crèche listed as one of the core goals?

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    1. That is the big question. Last time they were just going to fill Kersting full of stuff so there would be no room.

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  29. The Guiding Principles lists "preservation of the pepper tree". There are TWO pepper trees in Kersting Court. Does this mean they want to destroy one of them?

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    1. No, they’ve kept the cuttings of the one that fell in the windstorm in 2011

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  30. I believe the Pepper Tree 9:44 was referring to was in reference to not planting any more. One was removed a few years back that was nearly hollow. This is probably a response to pepper tree failures around southern California in San Gabriel Valley cities in the recent past.

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  31. Pave paradise....put up a parking lot...

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  32. 9:44am obviously you spear head the commission on teardown the town, why would you require more money/budget?
    The Community Service Commission stole the money for the arts, the group has made it clear the Sierra Madredies not supportthe Arts, unless it is the overpriced Art Fair fund raiser for the $800,000 a year plus change Library that is up for bid.

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  33. Has there been any public input about design, cost, and changes?
    How about another survey like the one for the library?
    Does it really need to be changed and at what cost?
    City Hall has taken over the jobs that the Community Services used to oversee. Now this unnecessary project is just simply busy work. By the way, it has been several years and nothing has been done with the property where the workman's house used to be.

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  34. 10:12am. The Sierra Madre Historical Society said the pepper trees have been there since the triangle was built, shouldn't that count for something
    May as well chop down "the" Wistaria Vine, that takes more water than the pepper trees and the city does not give the home owners a break in their billing.

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    Replies
    1. That was lame

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    2. It also made very little sense.

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  35. Where's all the movie money going? The city is fast becoming a back lot.

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  36. 2:47pm. We understood that the workman's house was considered green space.

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  37. Does that loud fire horn still go off daily ? I thought it was cool, but then again, I don’t live in SM. Took my kids to hear it once.

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  38. Love the Fire Horn

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    1. It goes great with my rotary phone

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  39. That fire horn is perfect example of a city with some nostalgia and character. Too bad Arcadia has nothing really other than large hideous mansions.

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