|View the entire mess here.|
It was obviously a throwback event at last night's City Council meeting. This most ancient of arguments re-emerged from a distant past, and was once again trotted out by a Michael Colantuono attorney. That being the city can't afford to pay them any more than it already has to defend the residents' interests in this case, and therefore surrender to a particularly aggressive McMansion developer was the only option left.
Meaning, I suppose, that the people of Sierra Madre got very little for the $200,000 in legal fees recently spent fighting mansionization at One Carter. And no, I don't think they'll be giving it back.
Is there anybody living who hasn't noticed that the Colantuono Law Firm has been with the city all throughout the One Carter disaster? All 14 years of it? And after all the city has gone through they've now declared that City Hall can no longer afford to pay them to help defend the interests of the community?
Perhaps a better solution might have been not to give in to CETT and sign off on a "process" that will now open the floodgates to mansionization throughout the last remaining undeveloped areas in Sierra Madre, but rather hire a better law firm. One that is both more effective and won't cost the taxpayers so much money, or declare that defending the city's interests is not affordable.
But that wasn't done of course, and now the word is out. Sierra Madre can be beaten. They will only fight up to a point. Wait them out, sue often, and in time this city's government will fold. It's a town on a fixed income, and once they've hit their budget limit you can get whatever you like.
Somewhere Andy Bencosme must be laughing.
So why can't the City of Sierra Madre, as represented by its governmental agency, afford to defend the interests of residents who pay some of the highest taxes in California? Because the money is spent mostly on the salary, benefits and pension costs of city employees.
Ironically, the expense of paying for the needs of employees whose job it is to protect the interests of the residents is now so great that defending the place from things like predatory developers is no longer financially feasible. Why? Because most of the money has gone to the employees. Folks who then do not have the budget to act on anything like this effectively because it has now become too expensive to do so.
Which I suppose makes this a government in appearance only.
Someone remarked last night that the City Council of 2018 has now finished what the Council of 2004 started. That is quite a lot to think about.