|Yes sir, I believe you heard that right. Video link here.|
City Council meetings seem so scripted these days, and if you didn't know any better you might actually believe they've been rehearsed. There is rarely any real conversation or spontaneity, just statements of complete agreement followed by a unanimous vote.
Of course, that would be illegal and you know Sierra Madre's seemingly eternal partners in legal propriety, the Colantuono Crew, would never allow such things to happen. Or at least let the likes of you know if they did.
Last night was no different, of course. And that the Councilmembers could go from not being able to afford the legal expenses involved with fighting mansionization two weeks ago, to giving city employees a raise at the very next meeting, and with no apparent sense of embarrassment whatsoever, really is quite a feat.
Maybe they really should be checked out for a pod infestation. Humans normally can't do that sort of thing.
There was a comment last night that I thought summed up the coming development explosion in Sierra Madre quite well. All done to current up-to-date planning standards, of course. In my opinion it is the way things are going, though you'd never know that from watching The Pod Show.
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 the few remaining scraps of undeveloped land. The city is being cannibalized in order to fund its local government agency and cover for its many past financial blunders.
I think lot of people understand that. It isn't about the City Council not being able to fund a legal fight to stop mansionization in Sierra Madre. The just don't see it as being in the city's interest. It's not a priority. Despite the strange empathy show put on by Madame City Attorney a couple of weeks back.
Preserve Sierra Madre's take on these shoddy affairs
Thank God at least some people get it. This went out yesterday.
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 1907 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.
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
My only real quibble here would be the "our City Council seems impotent" part. They're not. They just don't want to fight mansionization. Their priority is strictly all about the numbers. That is what they care about the most. Everything is now on the table and ready to be taxed, fee'd, permitted and billed. One Carter, the Monastery, Stone Fake, you name it.
Ironically, the two most potent forces for mansionization in Sierra Madre right now are this City Council and the Tea Party "property owners' rights" wing nuts. Both of whom are now working towards a similar end.
That is quite a remarkable coalition if you think about it.