Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A Too Direct Question For Tonight's City Council Meeting

Here is a question that ought to be put to the City Council at tonight's get together. Not that very many people choose to talk to them these days. I'll ask it here in two parts.

Why is it the City of Sierra Madre no longer has the financial wherewithal to fight mansionization within its borders ...

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... yet apparently does have the budgetary resources needed to continue financing city employee raises?

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That seems to me to be to be a fair question. A larger one might be what are the actual current priorities of this City Council. Anybody know?

Do these Councilmembers really want to stop Arcadia style mass mansionization? Something that, through their de facto capitulation on One Carter two weeks ago, they have now paved the way for? And by inference the monastery property as well?

Or would they simply prefer to continue handing taxpayer swag over to organizations like the CEA and SMPOA? This despite the now questionable claim that they are running a much tighter financial ship than any of their recent predecessors?

Perhaps they're only doing so in certain select cases.

Or maybe for this City Council it is just simpler that way. Residents being far easier to push aside than the employee associations that seem to get most of their financial attention.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

107 comments:

  1. Our city council is failing us.

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  2. The council says it brought civility back, well no, this council just keeps those seats warm.

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  3. Sierra Madre is the new focus for developers now as they see us as an easy obstacle to overcome.

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    1. The message is clear that if you have the money to support an aggressive legal fight, you can get what you want.

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    2. Passive aggression is not civility.

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  4. Let's face the facts. Chinese money - and there's a lot of it - has found a new place to be parked. Here's what is going to happen and not all at once but gradually just like happened in Arcadia. Every one story home will be torn down and replaced with a gaudy 2-story McMansion the size of an aircraft carrier and the sign on the local businesses will have Chinese characters as happened on Valley Blvd, then Main Street and then Huntington Drive. It's just the changing demographics that's all and with that comes new priorities.

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    1. City governments always follow the money. It's like a carrot in front of a jackass.

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    2. Don’t be paranoid.

      Besides, Sierra Andrea zip code ends in a ‘4’. Bad luck among superstitious Asians.

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    3. Here's your carrot.

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    4. 7:55, there will be an Asian area in the hillsides, but whether that will have much to do with the rest of town remains to be seen. It might end up a lot like La Vina in Altadena, where the people who live in the mansions just drive through the rest of town but live in a bubble.

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  5. So we kept the three. And now?

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    1. There wasn't an alternative.

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    2. The Futility Five.

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    3. How come it's only the public employee unions that get rewarded for helping people get elected?

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  6. Keeping the three wasn't a ruse, it just seemed like a good idea given the unknown of the realtor candidate. So? The entire City Council, acting on terrifying information "we are going to be sued," capitulated. As individuals, nice people and as a collective body, too much responsibility for which they are sorely unprepared.

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    1. They're smug, remote and dismissive.

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  7. Let me guess:
    We made the Carter decision because we figured we were going to lose, just like the previous council was told in 2004.
    We are increasing staff salaries to hold on to qualified staff, and to allow them to buy a house in Sierra Madre.

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    1. How do you know you are going to lose if you never even try? Mansionization in Sierra Madre should be a big enough threat in everyone's minds to make fighting back worth the effort. If not this, what?

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    2. "It's for your own good. You just don't understand."

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    3. Long time residentJune 26, 2018 at 8:51 AM

      7:44 makes a good point. If you don't fight, you have ALREADY lost.

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  8. This council only fights to raise taxes, that is the only effort they ALL put fourth.

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  9. The City Council discussion and decisions go like this "one for all and all for one"

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  10. Supreme Court, 5-4 vote; Travel Ban 3.0 upheld.

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    1. Trade war fears spread to tech and Dow sheds 328 points
      Tech stocks suffered their worst day in more than two months on Monday after reports that President Donald Trump plans to crack down on Chinese investment in major technologies in the United States.
      http://money.cnn.com/2018/06/25/investing/dow-jones-stock-market-trade-war/index.html

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    2. Ah... progress

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    3. What does the Dred Scott decision have to do with a crazy brains trade war that could crash the economy?

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    4. Mr. Scott was responding to the Supreme Court topic

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    5. U.S. cruises toward record-breaking debt on Trump's watch
      https://www.politico.com/story/2018/06/26/cbo-federal-deficit-break-records-651929

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  11. Advice to City Council - Get a better and more cost effective lawyer.

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    1. When we last pushed this point, it came down to a competition between 2 firms. The firm that lost specialized in water issues, and they were passed over in preference for the current crew.

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  12. The following email just went out from Preserve Sierra Madre:

    Dear Supporters: When the "alarm bells are sounded", it can be done too soon or too late. Usually though, they are sounded too late and then nothing can be done and the damage becomes irreversible. In the case of Sierra Madre and over-development, we are starting to see indications of a trend - and it's not good news for those who want to preserve the charm and character of our "village of the foothills". So we are going to "sound the alarm bells" now because nothing is more irreversible and permanent than demolishing homes or replacing our open space with housing projects.

    First, we lost the battle to save the Henry A. Darling House at 126 E. Mira Monte - that 1926 Craftsman home with the exquisite architectural details. We then started to see green fences around so many homes in our city and an uptick in the number of demolitions. Most recently, our City Council overturned their prior denial of the first inappropriate house at One Carter evidently because it wasn't worth the cost to stand our ground in the fact of a persistent developer with a good lawyer.

    Meanwhile, our existing rules are being exploited by determined developers. Our demolition ordinance is weak as pointed out in our last email and our City Council has not made any progress on conducting an historic survey of Sierra Madre's inventory of historic properties.

    We face a difficult task because the changes we have pointed out don't happen all at once. They happen one house or project at at time just like the way over-development in Arcadia started. By the time the residents wake up, we have lost the eclectic nature of our community. It's kind of like the 210 freeway. Some of us can remember when that was wide open with no traffic. Then as more cars hit the road, it started to change and the changes happened one extra car at at time until we now have a freeway as crowded as the 405.

    The Sierra Madre Tattler has an interesting post today that is relevant to the challenges outlined above the link to which is:
    http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com/2018/06/a-far-too-direct-question-for-tonights.html

    We don't want to sugarcoat things. Sierra Madre is now the new focus for developers and flippers and right now we are unable to stop it and our City Council seems impotent as well.

    Thank you for your continued support.
    Steering Committee

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    1. This is a complete lie by Preserve Sierra Madre and if they do this again everyone in Sierra Madre is going to be told that Preserve Sierra Madre routinely sends out false information. If you do not cease your alliance with this disgusting blog you will see that in politics for every action...there is a reaction.

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    2. Is that you Mayor Walsh?

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    3. 12:24, getting his/her threat on.

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    4. My guess is Kefalas, or a Kefalas supporter.

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    5. Don't make fun of 12:24. The threat is real. They could do something you won't like. Like run Andy Bencosme for City Council. How would you feel then?

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    6. My guess is it is one of the crazier Realtor ladies in town. The one that sends out all the Tweets, and sat in her car guarding Robert Matheson's house during the candlelight vigil against child porn there a few years back..

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    7. I agree on the Realtor theory. One who has already counted up all the commission money they'll make at Stone Fake.

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    8. "There is a reaction."

      I think 12:24 is threatening to break wind during Sunday brunch at the Only Place In Town.

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    9. Tattler comment of the year, 1:34. Thanks for a great laugh.

      The pro-development faction is feeling feisty. New reborn confidence?

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    10. 1:34, what are you talking about? Why bring up the Only Place In Town?

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    11. 2:10 - the food there is very gassy.

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    12. Arcadia Board of Realtors will be in our parade. Wonder if Andy will be with them. Preserve Sierra Madre saved us from the Monastery being developed.

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    13. So far. All bets are off now.

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    14. Bring rotten eggs.

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  13. The council does not take advice, besides, they are all best buds, it has always been about the money.
    Who gets the money is top on the agenda for their approval, wouldn't be surprised if Coluntino team submits new legal fees for counsel approval, again a unanimous resounding yes.

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  14. The Market has fluctuated for three months, a slight correction, no big deal.

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    1. OK Mr. Hoover.

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    2. Haha
      Troll eatin’ Crow

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    3. Seriously, this is an unsolicited Russian bot post.

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    4. I don't know. It is getting awfully hard to tell the difference between the Russians and the Tea Party guys. Of course, they're all working for Putin. Just like the Orange Madman.

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    5. 12:24 should point out the lies. Was losing the house on Mira Monte a lie? Was the city council changing their mind on One Carter a lie? Are green fences in Sierra Made a lie? I guess the pro-development interests want us to stay asleep at the wheel as they ruin Sierra Madre just like Arcadia was ruined.

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    6. Saw a homemade sign coming off the freeway - Vote for Putin-Trump!

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    7. They already won.

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  15. CETT a persistent developer, not such a great lawyer, his only claim can be the good timing coming from this city councils reluctacy to fight one of the cities most important battles.
    The new question should be, why are we paying so much for our city attorney?

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    1. You're right, but even the dumbest developer lawyer now knows Sierra Madre has folded.

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    2. "The new question should be, why are we paying so much for our city attorney?"

      Amen. For the kind of dough she gets miracles should be expected, and often.

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    3. You can get a surrender monkey at a fifth of the price.

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    4. I don't think that any developer can come & get away with murder; it has to be a rich developer, or at least someone who can afford the litigation.

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    5. The council of 2018 has announced our price tag - $200,001. If you've got enough to last through $200,000, you're good.

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    6. That amount of money is required every time so we lose every time. At least we never have to spend the money because our city council and city attorney always blink first.

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    7. The city is not fighting development at One Carter not because they cannot afford to do so, they are caving in because they really want to. The city is facing some financial challenges and the last best resort they have to raise any significant amounts of additional tax money (etc.) are those few remaining scraps of undeveloped land. The city is being cannibalized in order to fund its local government agencies and cover its many past financial blunders.

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  16. Thanks John & Ken - enough signatures were gathered to put the STOP the GAS TAX up for vote.
    Now a vote of the people, not politicians making law about how we should just hand over our paychecks without any input or questions, will be decided on the November ballot.

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  17. This is being done very close to the 4th of July. They must know they're being bad.

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  18. 10:38 - Whattt?

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    1. Not up on the latest Dred Scott news?

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    2. I can see the mountains even though I live north of Grand View. When I moved here, I couldn't. Gee, Mr/Ms gas tax person (and John and Ken, who I used to listen to until they became Trumpies) - how do you think we cleaned up our air?

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  19. The council wants to make early appearances at the beer garden.
    The city employees can give them a toast; great job pulling the wool over the eyes of the residents!!! more money in our pockets, Sierra Madre is a cash cow.

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    1. Maybe another "save the library" tax hike is in order. Which, by the way, has become a quiet topic all of a sudden. Now that they can't sell the library property for $3 million, suddenly city hall is not interested?

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    2. I have no doubt that plans are moving along. We just don't know what they are.

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    3. Under the current regime developers are stakeholders, residents are a public relations problem.

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    4. Well said 12:19. And don't forget that our public servants have become our masters.

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  20. Is there a plan for a new library at the old site? Who can find out? Sorry to palm this off on someone else but I am not in a position to look into that.

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    1. Not your fault. Nobody from downtown is saying a peep on this topic anymore. Maybe it really was all about the property sale.

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  21. The council is using mansionization as an opportunity. They will be "cheap" mansions that they can point to as "affordable housing."

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  22. Mansionization is tearing down a small or medium house and building a giant house in its place that is out of scale to the neighborhood. Building a large home on an isolated empty lot that is completely in compliance with the zoning code is not "mansionization".

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    1. That is very creative. Did you make this up yourself?

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    2. 12:27 can I have some of what you're smoking>

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    3. True enough, 12:27, but the house for the cramped buildable space lot on Carter violates 3 or 4 conditions it was supposed to adhere to. What good is the Hillside Management Zone Ordinance anyway?

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    4. With a little thought, that image of an "isolated empty lot" becomes what it will be in reality - rows of shoehorned macmannies.

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    5. Macmannies reproduce faster than rabbits. All the children look like clones. They even dress alike.

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    6. It won't be isolated for long. The one involved in a lawsuit in Arcadia looks like 2 HUGE industrial buildings lined up butt to butt. Does it even have a front door as a focal point? Guess they want to avoid trick or treaters.

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  23. Have you driven on the lovely repaved Michillinda yet?
    The way has been made straight and smooth for any kind of increase in traffic - as in construction vehicles.
    Probably just coincidence, but that street repair straight up Baldwin proceeded the Carter development.

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  24. No worries 12:24pm, anyone with an ounce of knowledge about the town takes this particular "in name only" Preserve group seriously.
    The intentions maybe commendable but the combined lack of knowledge of city ordinances and zoning regulations only add to their comic relief when sending out their "alerts".

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    1. Oh look. You've taken off your "tea-nut tax fighter" hat and put on your "property rights" one. Too bad you can't think any better with that on your head.

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  25. Interesting 12:32pm,you know the last deelopment council we had did agree to having the water tanks rebuilt and a large water connector replaced on Carter ave.

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    1. Yes. And damn fools that they were we have been stuck making interest only payments on all of that tin for nearly 20 years. $6 million in uneccessary debt service payments.

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  26. St Petersburg- Argentina 2/ Nigeria 1.

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    1. Dang. I would so hoping for Iceland, too.

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  27. Preserve Sierra Madre would be laughable if they didn’t do so much unwarranted damage to the community. Same goes for this blog. They avoid things like facts and reality, and stick to emotion and singular perspective. You all love bringing up the Darling house. Have you been by it lately? Looks to me like the best case scenario for a group that wants to “preserve Sierra Madre”. It has been rebuilt and looks exactly the same to me. How does that not fit your purpose of preserving Sierra madres character. By the way, I’m not sure where you came up with the arbitrary date of 1926, but zillow shows it as built in 1907.

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    1. The fact that you don't like Preserve Sierra Madre is good enough for me. Where do I sign up?

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    2. I have also seen the particle board wonder going up in that fine old house's place. It's going to be a shiny place. I get it the some people like shiny. But the real problems arose because of the way that was handled, or would it be more accurate to say, the way Kefales hustled the Council?

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    3. Great idea 2:03. Let's also tear down the Gamble House and build a Disneyland replica.

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    4. Kefalas is doing a wonderful job. OK, maybe he isn't. Actually the place looks like it is going to suck.

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  28. The way Goss kissed up to that arrogant disrespectful man turned my stomach.

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    1. Gene is impressed by assertive, reckless men.

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    2. Ouch, I think you're right, 4:45. Creepier and creepier.

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  29. The council is defending the salary increases. Nothing new, keep in competition with the jobs elsewhere, staff overworked, busy phones...and a hundred thousand dollars is "minimal."

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  30. Hundred thousand dollars for staff?
    Two hundred thousand dollars to sell out the empty land and make way for garbage heaps on the hillside.
    And this is the best we can do for a council?

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  31. 8:19pm i recomed that you study an issue/ GasTax; before you open your yap.

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    1. I will not vote for anything that is supported by Trump Traitors.

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  32. Hillside Development Standards for the Carter lots were lost at the point the track map was approved in 2005. It was approved under the threat of law suit. To get out from under that threat the city allowed for the most lots that could be squeezed in. The number of lots equated to a bigger profit. They were created without real understanding of the hillside geography. And now we have a developer trying to maximize houses on those poorly designed lots. The blame goes a long ways back.

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    1. Then why has the City Council surrendered? Why are they doing the same things that Doyle did?

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  33. 9:16pm USEFUL IDIOT.

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