Friday, June 15, 2018

If All Three Sierra Madre Housing Projects Were Built, How Much Money Would The City Get?

McMansion Hell - link
Mod: I assumed that the folks down at City Hall would have a pretty good idea by now of the complete dollar value to them of all the undeveloped properties in town. We're talking fees, rates, taxes and whatever else can be applied to a new home project. Here were my questions to Gabe Engeland.

Gabe - Quite a few people were stunned by the outcome of the One Carter portion of last Tuesday night's City Council meeting. The notion that the city has become vulnerable to predatory mansionization due to its money problems is not a pretty one. I imagine the barbarians must be rushing the gates as we type.

Also the thought that the city is no longer willing to pay for attorneys to hold off developers like CETT, or cannot pay for them, is troubling.

But I've digressed. Here is the request for information. I am assuming that it must exist because who wouldn't want to know? It involves future financial planning, and what else does Sierra Madre have that is potentially worth as much as unbuilt property?

- All of the revenue the city would receive should all of the available properties at the Passionist Monastery be developed. From fees to water hookups to permits to taxes, plus anything else.

- All of the revenue the city would receive should all of the available properties at Stonegate (AKA One Carter) be developed. Same categories and any that I may have forgotten to mention.

- Same deal with Stonehouse. All that cash.

Thanks for this. I think it is information people would like to know.

John

Mod: Gabe, however, was having none of it. Rather than coughing up any large and interesting numbers, he states here that City Hall has done no such math. 

Hi John - The City is not a partner or party to any development taking place or any proposed developments. The type of information you are seeking is typically created by a developer or owner of a property to show economic benefits to the community. The City has not engaged in any type of financial development scenarios for the properties you have listed.

The Monastery property is zoned institutional. The types of development allowed, either by right or with conditions, in this zone vary greatly, but could range from a hospital to an assisted living facility.

The City currently has a water tap moratorium in place, and because no water taps existed on the property when the moratorium was adopted, no development can take place. The Stonehouse properties have no water taps available and the property cannot be developed. However, Stonehouse is zoned residential, and a residential subdivision development could take place if the water moratorium is ended.

Because we have not seen any submissions for properties this year for the One Carter development we have not calculated the cost of the building or permit fees. We charge for service (plan check, permit, inspection) etc., based on plan submission, but the charges for service equal the cost of the service provided and should not create revenue to the city which is not offset by the expense of the service.

Similarly, because no homes have been constructed, we have not calculated the potential property taxes based on assessed value or any potential impact fees. The City collects property taxes at a rate of 0.0021% of taxable value. A home valued at $1,000,000 will pay $2,100 in property taxes to the City.

Thanks, Gabe

Mod - I have no reason to believe that Gabe is not being on the level here, but you know what? If I was running the show downtown I would have known.

Marguerite Shuster's Tuesday City Council Talk

Mod: Marguerite spoke before the City Council Tuesday evening. She tried to get four of them to see beyond the narrow legal restraints of Madame City Attorney and block CETT's designs on the One Carter hillside. It was probably one of the finest speeches ever delivered in Council Chambers, but unfortunately fell upon some very cold and unsympathetic ears.

Madame Mayor and members of the city council, you will not be surprised to hear that I earnestly hope you will reject this proposed house. Quite simply, it fails the eyeball test, as the City Council rightly determined in its previous ruling. That this eyeball test is legitimate is presupposed even by this proposal, which strictly limits the paint color for the house.

The Hillside Ordinance in its relevant drawings implicitly uses it, and not just bare objective numbers, to demonstrate required conformity of proposed dwellings to the contour of the environment. That the previous owners used an unwise grading plan making such conformity more difficult, at least for houses of the desired size, really is not our fault and shouldn’t figure in the decision.

I would suggest that this is not a decision for one house alone in the larger scheme of things. I believe that it is delusional to suppose that this decision will not set a binding precedent for all future construction in this development. And if you want to see what this location will look like 15 years from now, I refer you to the La Vina development in Altadena: sterile, unimaginative, depressing, fully unfitted to its setting. Its earth tone paint doesn’t fix it.

I’m glad for your noticing how the proposed house and landscaping encroaches on one of the very few fine old oaks remaining on the property, but that you needed to note that a new tree can’t quite be planted right under the current one, is all the evidence one could want that no attention has been paid whatsoever to the environment, doing which is required by the Hillside Ordinance.

Furthermore, mitigation hardly suffices when its fruition could not, at best, be enjoyed by anyone now living on the planet. We mutilate the old and the priceless for what we count immediate gain and salve our consciences with mitigation.

Perhaps you’ve heard the fable of the hungry crow He was tempted with a good meal in exchange for a single feather. He hesitated, being rather attached to his feathers, and initially refused, even as you did with respect to this plan. But he got hungrier, and when the tempter came back, he agreed, and felt much relieved after the fact to discover that he could still fly just fine. You know how it went; he got hungry again, and again, and it was easier and easier to give up feathers. One day, not so very far off, he could no longer fly at all, no longer be what a crow is supposed to be.

Yes there are genuine risks and uncertainties in resisting, but the losses produced by not resisting are clear and certain. There has been something unique about Sierra Madre that we have loved and have wanted to protect, but anyone who has been paying attention knows that that uniqueness is under relentless pressure and is visibly fading away, green fence by green fence.

Please vote no on this one.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

106 comments:

  1. I feel so betrayed by this City Council, that I thought was so good. Can we get Marguerite to run?

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  2. Sierra Madre was deeply harmed when Kurt Zimmerman's call for a forensic audit died. The residents would have known everything about what went on in the 2002-2004 era, when is when many of the bad things started. Like One Carter. That was the high water mark of citizen involvement and transparency. Then we blew it.

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    1. The look on John Buchanan's face when Kurt proposed that was priceless. He looked like he'd been tased.

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    2. John Buchanan recovered well, because he talked the council into not calling for the audit.

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    3. Imagine his relief.

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  3. It’s all very depressing. Just look around us. Everyone talks about Arcadia but look at Pasadena. We are surrounded by money grubbers. Someone mentioned yesterday that Sierra Madre is not just a conclave for the rich. We have a very mixed community. It should be a model for others. But we aren’t. The city employs a high priced lawyer who leads us down the wrong path. Our CC never questions her the way they should. We can still fight and we should. But can we win?

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    1. It's taken me a long time to realize just how many myths there are about the town, and what a real gulf lies between some of the supposed principles and actions. The only reason there are any natural environments left here at all is because no one wanted to develop them, not because the majority of residents wanted to protect them. The majority of residents don't even vote.
      Agreed, 6:45, it's all very depressing.

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  4. The owner/s of the property at One Carter are here to make a killing, and that's it.
    It's tough when the bad guys win.

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  5. Something about Tuesday's meeting that puzzled me. Several of the folks sitting up front made the point that what they were considering only had to do with the one particular house, and anything else remained unaffected by whatever the decision would be. Did they take pains to make that point because obviously it just isn't true?

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    1. I noticed that, too, 7:11. Very weird, given everything the city has been through with this applicant.
      It's obvious that if the planning commission tries to get the houses to be anything smaller than this one, the applicant will whine loudly right into court.

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    2. What puzzled me was the attitude that this house met the conditions of the hillsides requirements.

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  6. Ditto 6:59am., unless it is NIMBY, few residents become involved, but isn't that life? Twice depressing.

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    1. I always found the term "NIMBY" to be kind of pejorative. It is a planner term used to describe the victims of whatever bad projects a city or other governmental jurisdiction might be working on. I much prefer the term LULU, which stands for Locally Unwanted Land User. CETT is a LULU. The City Council might end up being a LULU as well.

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    2. I think NIMBY was made up by politicians, in an effort to shame anyone who didn't like policies that the politicians were proposing which would have a bad impact on others, but not the politicians themselves.

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  7. 7:11am it is true, what part puzzles you? Maybe that is why so many residents do not attend meetings, they only require a quick study of the issue inorder to determine their decision.
    The Moderators post this morning is an example of being involved in City happenings yet totally clueless after all these years inorder to ask the type of questions he passed onto the City Manager.

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    Replies
    1. Clueless how? Please explain.

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    2. Disagree, 7:26. The new city manager is a smart guy, unlike so many we've had before. He must have some approximate numbers in his head. Certainly his right not to share them.
      One of the great strengths of the Tattler is persistent seeking of information.

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    3. Ironically one of the most effective ways of being non-transparent is freely giving out lots of information. Just not the information you don't want out there.

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    4. 7:26, quick study?
      15 years.

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  8. The forensic audit would have answered so many questions, we did not blow it, that particular City Council really blew it. I believe The reasoning of some on Counsel was to save money for the City!

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    Replies
    1. I heard they were threatened by the lawyers, bankrupt the city or something. Nothing new has happened since then.

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  9. Funny Moderator, that you should ask the question of the possible amount of revenue this city would have generated if all open property were to be developed. The retired City Manager Elaine had Ms Schneider do just that!
    The calculation of the counting chickens before they hatched, was figured into the budget.
    I call that padding, but words sometimes have various meanings in this town. This was at the height of possible development and various projects for the city were in for bids or "pesky words", in for Goverment applications for finance.
    The City of Sierra Madre now has a real Manager, along with his educational background in City Planning. It is such a shame that Mr. Engeland was not saught after sooner, around the time of the request of the forensic audit; although he may have been in school completing his degree!
    The town got screw by the inexperienced being in charge and continues to get screwed by paying for ???

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    Replies
    1. Maybe Gabe wasn't aware of that. There is a lot to do running a city. Do you have a copy? Or know where it might be found?

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    2. 7:56, the director of planning at the time of Dorn Platz was Kurt Christenson, a true friend of developers.

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    3. Dorn Platz cut down a lot of very large trees, but shortly after that ran out of money and never built anything. He was more of a lumberjack than a developer.

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  10. 7:43am. Which lawyers? The ones seated at Council?

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  11. Hi Mod. Thanks, you gave me a smile. Iam sure Mr. England is aware of the information. Unless the City has destroyed all information reguarding budgets over these many years...and then again Elaine did request the "old records" down in the basement be properly disposed of.
    No really,the information should all be recorded and on file. This all took place during the Dorn Platt Developers short and destructive year in the city.

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  12. The council members are to be applauded for keeping their faces straight and acting seriously when they took the position that CETT's first house in the hillsides was "designed to be sensitive to the environmental nature of the foothills" and was "sensitive to the unique characteristics of the site and surrounding context."

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  13. Your ridiculous conspiracy theory about money to the city is false. Fees from developers offset extra city costs for approving and inspecting the project. The county and schools get 80 percent of real estate taxes. The city only gets 20 percent. All you do is spread misinformation.

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    Replies
    1. The salaries of the employees working on a project are already paid. Fees and other money brought in are additional.

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    2. That "cover the cost" argument always seemed bogus to me. When residents pay taxes they are entitled to services. Having to pay twice is wrong.

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  14. At first glance based on the name, date and stock pic, I thought it was an obit for Marguerite. Damn, Mod, please don't scare me like that. This town needs her, and I'm sure her family and friends need her even more.

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    Replies
    1. Reports of her demise were greatly exaggerated.

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  15. I know, stopped me in my tracks. Marguerite, thank you.

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  16. I sent an e-mail to the CC stating much the same as Ms Shuster regarding keeping their decision in place as per the findings of the Hillside Ordinance. I got one reply from one of the five City Councilmembers saying "Thank you for your input." So sorry for their failure to make developers follow the city ordinances that are the will (and hard work) of the people.

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  17. Would not call bulldozing Carter One without a permit over a weekend just a Lumber Jack, those Dorn Platz brothers were very destructive creatures.

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    Replies
    1. It went on a lot longer than a weekend.

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  18. Federal judge orders Paul Manafort jailed pending trial.

    MAGA: Maghats Are Getting Arrested

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  19. The current CETT owner has extremely poor taste when it comes to choosing a designs for housing, he is not out to have his name recognized or accolauds into the future, it is only about the cash. The owner us just another cut and run "Lumber Jack"! Lack of creativity and aesthetically pleasing to one's eye, is strong with this bunch.

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    Replies
    1. The listed president of CETT is a woman, Hui Ru Han. But since she has never spoken before any of the meetings, who knows who really owns the place.

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  20. 7:16am the house did meet the Hillside Ordinance. It was the section towards the back of the home, the area that can be seen from the street or eye level that proved difficult to defend.
    It could have been defended, i suppose that the consensus was that this Developer just doesn't get it.
    The Dorn Platts development in Glendale would have looked the same here.
    CETT bought the land at auction. Sierra Madre's residents were not able to create a fund raiser inorder to purchase the hacked up, but open space.
    The entire Carter One property has had a sadness or a dark cloud over the "mouth of the Santa Anita River" for years.
    I would not discount the Native American curse on the land, it will follow any homes built.

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    Replies
    1. The house could stand as an illustration of the "Not This" examples in the Hillside Management Zone Ordinance.

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  21. Trump’s campaign manager goes to jail!!!

    Same goon advised Ford, Regan and Bush.

    Drain that swamp.

    Trolls get trumped again!

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    Replies
    1. He's still your President...

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    2. If he’s not your President,
      Please go to where your President is.

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    3. Manafort is not president of anything

      Foo

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    4. 11:52's purported president is nothing more than Putin's puppet.

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  22. We're the men that murdered the guy on Carter One ever found? Bad voodoo on that land.

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    1. Last I heard, the detectives knew who the ringleader of that group was, but don't know if they put him in jail or not.

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    2. There are consequences when diminishing habitat is wiped out.

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    3. Never happened
      No Indian burial ground either


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    4. 12:16, not only did it happen, but the dead man, and another man with him who was wounded, were discovered there on Chief Diaz's first day.
      Welcome to Sierra Madre, Chief.

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    5. Oh wow, a murder in Sierra Madre? I just googled it but didn’t find a
      nything. Did it make the paper?

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    6. Stop trying to say it didn't happen.
      Call Chief Diaz.
      Go down to the police department.
      Do some real research.
      It was a tragedy and you are trying to use it for some purpose of your own.
      Jackass.

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    7. Chief Diaz hasn't worked here for years.

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    8. She's still a resident.

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  23. 19:37am. Bail was revoked, not the same
    Paul Manafort "allegedly" asks for silence from peers in pending court testimony.
    Hillary was exonerated before anyone was aware there were problems in her campaign, and then she order the bleachbit and hammers to her secret government basement dwelling.
    Not guilty?

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    Replies
    1. Hillary was investigated and nothing was found. Let go of your obsession.

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    2. Bail revoked means he’s in jail

      Poor troll drunk on his own swamp water

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    3. Creepy Hillary stalker is back...

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    4. I heard she even took hammers to destroy he guilty hammers! Oh, the hammernity!

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  24. Some of the greediest people in our society are nestled into the development community, and it is quite funny how often they will accuse people who protest against their plans as being NIMBYs. Those utterly selfish people are attacking others for having self-interest when their own neighborhoods are on the chopping block.

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    1. Isn't the pr*sident a developer?

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    2. Yep. Acts like one, too.

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  25. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  26. You can always spot a Realitor on this site; 12:16pm yes, there was a murder on Carter One, the Police Department is a good source to check.
    Are you outting M. Bryant local Realitor , blogger 12:15pm?

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    Replies
    1. No.
      There are always exceptions. There are realtors and developers and brokers who are ethical.
      Not a lot, but they do exist.

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  27. It is about time. Approximately $50 billion dollars worth of Tariffs slapped on China.
    China is retaliated by new taxes on 500 products.
    I try not to purchase the inferior made in China products.
    Here's hoping the stronger USA can begin buying back the Chinese owned US Treasury notes.

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    Replies
    1. Did you learn about the tariffs from your computer that was manufactured in China, your TV that was manufactured in China, or your cell phone that was manufactured in China?

      You and everyone else has been enjoying cheap Chinese goods for years (bet you shop at Walmart), and now you want to give more CASH to China by buying back Treasuries? Slept through econ, huh?

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    2. Moving manufacturing to China for cheap prices...motivated by the greed of Free Enterprise. Then manufacturing went to Malaysia, Indonesia and parts of Africa. Some items labeled American made could actually be from territories in the Pacific. Will manufacturing come back to the US? Hum?

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  28. Whether someone lives close to the construction sites or not, there is another consideration: the wildlife do.

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  29. Trump today re Cohen: "I've always liked Michael."

    Tessio in The Godfather: "Tell Michael it was strictly business. I always liked him."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hahahahahaha
      so good

      laughed out loud

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  30. The City Council and the Law Firm Coluntno do not recognize the legal settlement from Carter One.
    There were to be no fences on the separate lots.
    The concept of green fencing or natural barriers are as foreign to them as was the introduction of night sky, translation, lighting.
    There was to be natural landscaping matching the topography, the plans for the house in lot 17 showed many new variety of trees that would hide the over build near the Hillside.
    Apparently we citizens pay for a law firm and do not challenge the Council members on contracts.
    My guess, "they also lead very busy lives and cannot find the time to be involved".

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  31. So who was murdered at One Carter?

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    Replies
    1. Young man, mixed up with bad people.

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    2. Was he trying to buy a lot?

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    3. His body was dumped there.
      Another man who was wounded made his way to the house where the Galletlys were living, and they called the police.

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  32. Thank you. Candidate Andy Biscome ran for a Council seat, his background is Reality, yet he was dragged through the coals on this site.

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    Replies
    1. Hi name is Bencosme, and he spent all of his time hiding the fact that he was a realtor.

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    2. Also, that he is in tight with the Arcadia lumberjacks.

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  33. 12:04pm. CETT/ that is the owners daughter.

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    1. It's too bad that whoever the people really are never spoke at a meeting. They just hid behind the lawyer and architect.

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    2. They knew the fix was in.

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  34. I don't know about hiding unless it is in plain sight! Mr. Bencosme serves on the Community Commission.

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    Replies
    1. In his campaign materials, he never mentioned his profession, not once, or his policy plans - except the one against moving the library, which as the chief of the commission you mention, he had promoted.
      We are well rid of him.

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    2. Arcadia Andy and his buddies just go underground and mutate.

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    3. Like the flu.

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  35. LA Times headline:

    Trump rejects report's conclusion that FBI wasn't biased in Clinton probe, falsely says it 'exonerates' him

    Can't wait for the indictments of Cohen, Don Jr, and Jared to exonerate them and the pr*sident.

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  36. The LA Times still puts out a paper?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you need to get out from under your sheet more

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    2. You may have seen it quoted on Drudge from time to time.

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    3. Drudge is still alive?

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  37. If the real reason for the development is money, why all the hypocrisy? Why doesn't the city just say we are doing it for the money, and it doesn't matter that there is a zone and guidelines and codes - to pretend these hellish houses having anything to do with the environment is adding insult to injury.

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  38. No Collusion, total bais, the two FBI love birds will tweet their heads off.
    Text between the two leading investigators shows BAIS.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dude is in prison! Trump abandoned his longtime personal attorney.

      You got trumped, sucker

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    2. Not sure what mist has to do with it, but OK Comrade.

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  39. Hey all you Dump minions- what you think of Manafort now in jail ? Totally innocent eh ? Keep taking those mind altering drugs.

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  40. Ah yea, totally innocent and will be pardoned!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Butt Trumpet blasts again.

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  41. That single ugly house that will be built on Carter One did meet all zoning ,codes and guidelines. Only a 5% of the roof line did not meet standards and must not have been $200,000 worth of legal arguing.
    As for the design, no one can realistically fight ugly.

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    Replies
    1. If that house fit the codes, the codes are wrong.

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    2. Not only the codes but the design standards.

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  42. Interest rates are going up by 2%.
    The Feds could have done a better job.
    The 4% GDP growth s fantastic.
    All will balance out.

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    Replies
    1. You don't have a clue.

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    2. Same guy who was sleeping through econ. He wakes up every so often, pontificates gibberish, and slumbers off again. Member of the pseudo-billionaire Trump cult.

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