Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Development @ the Skilled Nursing Facility: Will It Lead to Our First Measure V Vote?

I don't know how we missed this one. You'd think Measure V would be a core issue for The Tattler, and that it would be the first thing we'd think of. But nobody here did, and that will take a little soul searching on my part. Fortunately we have commenters here who call us out out when such a thing is needed. And obviously in this particular case it was needed.

The topic is the Skilled Nursing Facility, or, as the Fountain Square Development folks would prefer us to think, the Senior Assisted Living Facility. And there will be a neighborhood meeting (so-called) about this very topic on September 7th at 6:30 PM, held in the fabulous Sierra Madre Room. It is there that we are to gather and learn what it's all about, and then decide whether we like their what they're putting down. Or not.

And thanks to one aware reader who posted on this site yesterday, we now have a very important question to ask. Here is that comment:

Everyone seems to be missing the elephant in the room.

Measure V = 2-30-13

2 stories
30 feet high
13 units per acre

The "Assisted Living" project being proposed for the old Skilled Nursing Facility calls for 96 units for "residents" not including additional units for employees.

The property is 1.84 acres. At 13 units per acre, that works out to 24 units under Measure V limits. The developer therefore is asking for NO LESS THAN 400% ABOVE Measure V limits.

This project MUST go before the Voters to be approved!

Now I cannot vouch for all the numbers here, though judging from the photo I've posted above, this is a pretty immense project. And I have heard a few complaints about its potential height. You won't be getting any of our famed mountain views when you stand before so mighty a structure as this one.

So if what I have reposted here today is accurate (and I am trusting in The Tattler readership to put that to the test), I'd say we could very well be heading for our very first Measure V election.

And I have to ask. Did you ever think it would take this long?

Will Riots Inflame California?

Our friend Wayne Lusvardi, who runs the Pasadena Sub Rosa blog, is also one of the featured writers at the Cal Watchdog news site. Which, for my money, is one of the better California political blogs around. And the provocative title above, which I shamelessly liberated from that site, comes from an article Wayne posted on that site yesterday. Here is what he's laying down:

... an important discussion is needed about the sustainability of public housing in Pasadena. In the London riots, the "austerity" budget of new Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron has been blamed, though he denies it.

Those in the Democratic Party correctly perceive that what is forthcoming is the end or unraveling of the welfare state in the United States, not due to hate, but to a lack of money. This is why there is so much psychological reversing of animosity and scapegoating on to those in the Tea Party who, welfare recipients perceive, want to take away welfare benefits.

Just this past weekend, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, attacked the Tea Party. "This is a tough game," she said. "You can't be intimidated. You can't be frightened. And as far as I'm concerned - the Tea Party can go straight to hell."

But if the Tea Party were not there, the reality would not go away. California is stuck running annual $20 billion budget deficits and the federal government is arguably broke when balloon payments on future social entitlement programs are factored into the balance sheet.

If we're going to prevent London-style riots and property crimes aimed at capitalist businesses and increasing social class polarization, we're going to have brutally honest discussions about the viability of the welfare state. Symbolic extortion will not lead to saving the welfare state when there is no longer any money.

It is a good point. What exactly will the effects of the vast cutbacks in state and federal entitlements be once they hit? How will those most affected react? Things might get as wild here as they have in other parts of the world.

The Green Thing

(Ed: The e-mail I am posting below showed up in my mailbox yesterday. It was sent to me by a good friend, but you might have received this recently as well. It apparently has been getting around. The piece is called "The Green Thing.")

In the line at the store, the cashier told an older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.

The woman apologized to him and explained, "We didn't have the green thing back in my day."

The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment."

He was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 watts -- wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-downs from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that old lady is right; we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. Back then, we wrote with pencils. Back then we used our brains to figure out addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and even pi!

In the kitchen we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. Back then it was a quieter kitchen. One could talk and be heard over all that stirring by hand.

When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn and edge it. And we used clippers to shape our bushes. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she's right, we didn't have the green thing back then.

We drank water from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a styrofoam cup or plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing the whole razor away just because the blade got dull.

But we didn't have the green thing back then.

Back then people took a streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service.

We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?

Please forward this to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smart alec young person.



  1. The PowWay developers are trying to slip by a fast one on the city. They are claiming that the 58,000 sq ft development is 23 units with individual suits for almost 100 residents. By doing this they can claim 46 parking places instead of the 174 which they would need by code and 13 units per acre. Which is totally bogus. At the fist kiss up presentation they stated that each of the individual units would have a small kitchenette. By definition a cooking area makes it a living unit. So there will be many more living units than the 23 they are trying to sneak in. This group must really think the residents and Planning Commission are a bunch of fools. Staff admitted that many variances will be needed. Only a small part of the lot is residential (far back east and land locked)the rest is commercial.

  2. I think their strategy is that the City will be so glad that somebody has taken over the SNF property and turned it into something that everyone will turn a blind eye to the immensity of the project. You can already see the attempted white wash in the disinformation on Patch and in the Looney Views News.

  3. One only needs to look at the rendering to realize how big 58,000 square feet is. This building is the monster that ate Measure V. This projects dwarfs the Cong Church master plan and will make the Alverno gym look silly in comparison. The City is about to change forever. Welcome DSP.

  4. If they want to park under the 2 storey building, they will need a variance for a third storey.
    Units are determined by the legal definition. If they have a kitchen in a room, it is determined to be a self contained unit. If not, they are just rooms.

  5. Perhaps they can require units for elderly homeless people to do the project as a condition for approval?

  6. In this ecomony, they will go bankrupt shortly after they demolish the existing building, then we will have a 1 carter downtown.

  7. How do we know this won't be turned into condos if the owner decides it would be more profitable than housing the elderly of wealthy families?

  8. Assisted Care facilities are a booming business.

  9. What happened to the mountains, in that drawing?
    No more mountains?

  10. Huge-Property-Tax "Bill"August 23, 2011 at 8:16 AM

    Just a side-note: another school year starts with a vacant lot at Sierra Madre Middle School. Good planning, bureacrats!

    By the way, if the children can be accomodated for years in a few trailers, what is the rationale for the huge (if stalled) project?

    Can't wait to see what they have in mind for the SNF.

  11. 8:10 We don't. A possible solution is to require deed restrictions that can only be removed by a 2/3 vote of the people, not a simple majority. If the City places the deed restriction they can remove the restriction when ever they choose to do so. And that is a fact. This restriction must be prepared by someone like Chris Sutton, not City Staff or their attorneys.

  12. Are there papers to pour over on this big project, or are they in hiding until the 7th?
    The developers and the city government cannot ignore Measure V.
    Either the project complies, or the developer and the city government carry out a city wide vote.

  13. Thank you 8:24. Good advice.

  14. That picture is a hoot. The perspective is from the height of the roof of the structure, when in reality, we'll be seeing it from street level. Very misleading view.

  15. There is no nationally recognized definition of "assisted living." But, generally, "skilled nursing" is for those who require round-the-clock medical care, while "assisted living" is for the relatively able-bodied, who need minor assistance with daily life.


    (1) assisted living quarters could easily become condos, and,

    (2) for those thinking that an assisted living facility (or an expanded Dr. Sami) would be useful in an emergency, you're fooling yourselves.

    Dr. Sami is not going to come into work during an emergency, and there will be no M.D.'s or R.N.'s at the proposed assisted living facility in Sierra Madre.

  16. KURT ZIMMERMAN!!!!!!!!!!
    If you are reading this, please help us...AGAIN.
    I know you've been through a lot for Sierra Madre, but may we ask you again for help?

  17. Fear mongering. You guys define the term NINBY!
    Any reason to stop anything you don't like. What are you so afraid of????!!!

  18. The architect is playing games.August 23, 2011 at 9:15 AM

    I want a street level rendering. I don't care what the top of the roof looks like.

    How high above street grade is this monster?

  19. 9:09
    We are afraid of a 58,000 square foot building that blocks the view of the mountains and doesn't have enough parking that someday may be turned into 23 condominiums or office space that requires 174 parking spaces. We are afraid that this building will tax our resources.

  20. 9:09 - just curious. Do you have anything at all to offer besides mindless name calling?

  21. In the know, the emergency scenario was discussed both in the Planning Commission meetings and City Council meetings.
    It's not that Sami himself would be there in a catastrophe, but his facility would be. MDs & RNs who do live in Sierra Madre would be allowed to use the facility.

  22. NINBY?

    Not in Nana's Backyard?

    Our contrarian poster is stuck on yesterday's name calling.

  23. I'm afraid of my already depressed home value will slip even more than it has.
    People live in Sierra Madre because it's a small town......SMALL as in 10,000 population.
    West Sierra Madre Blvd is a narrow street.
    What the dirts and downtown investors in the DSP have in mind will absolutely destroy this place.........no question about it.
    I bought my home here because of what Sierra Madre represents, a small town, in the midst of large towns, that we can escape all the traffic, noise, crime, etc.
    Thank you John Crawford for bringing up this Measure V issue.
    To the DIRTS reading this post:
    We REJECTED your DSP, in spite of the $170,000+ money you had to defeat our Measure V.
    It didn't work, the smart people in town saw through it. They voted your out of town developer money down. We don't want the Bart Doyle's and the Joe Mosca's of this town who have very alterior motives dictating to us how our town should be.

  24. For the "larger community"August 23, 2011 at 9:48 AM

    Why not Indian Gaming and Lodging right at the old SNF? What could be more socially and environmentally correct? The indigenous peoples respect the land.

  25. Better fear mongering than Kool-Aid mongering.

  26. We need to get our name-calling friend's phone number. I hear there is a nuclear power plant looking for a backyard to set up in.

  27. So Dr. Sami is going to stock emergency supplies for . . . how many . . . ?

  28. So let me get this straight. What Fountain Square wants to build here doesn't have anything to do with an Urgent Care Center?

  29. Nobody, no city, no development in So Cal approves anything without parking provisions to code. If the previous poster is correct that would be 174 parking spaces for a facility this large. In reverse using the developer numbers "46 parking spaces" would equate to a total square foot project of around 15,000 sq ft. That would easily accomodate a one level project combined with parking spaces to code. They just started with the wrong square footage project. (My math is not an exact science)

  30. I really don't know what to think until I see the facts laid out in the project proposal.

  31. I just typed in 'skilled nursing facility' on the city website and got a 'no results found' reply.

  32. If you go to the Developer Servicing Department on the city web site, you'll find a Projects link. Go to that and you'll see Alverno and Stonehouse/gate. No Assisted anything, yet. That is where all the maps and other data should be. In advance of any public gathering.

  33. 10:43 The parking is where the developers are playing games. They are claiming it is 23 residential units so they will have 2 parking places per unit. They are ignoring the fact that this is a 58,000 sq ft commercial building that would require 3 parking spaces per 1,000 sq ft of space or 174 parking places. Also the parking that is proposed does not comply with the General Plan that say parking is behind the building, not next to it.

    The developers need to scale back the size of the project and build it at street level. A smaller project would require less parking but would cut into the all mighty bottom line.

  34. It doesn't appear that the city wants to share very much information in advance of the meeting. Which makes the neighborhood meeting seem more like a sales presentation than a community partnership.

  35. I support Dr. SamiAugust 23, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    Dr. Sami has promised city officials that in the event of an emergency he would walk to his facility, need be. He would be there for us.
    I trust this man, he has taken care of my family for years, he is always there for his patients if they need him.
    My husband had a medical emergency over Memorial Day weekend, we couldn't contact any of our his doctors, except Dr. Sami, he took care of the emergency and called several times to see if my husband was okay.
    He's a good doctor, and a man of integrity.
    He WILL be there for us, if we need him.

  36. Perhaps the crashing economy will stall the program.Suggest those of us who wish to save the community,throw as many road block as we can in their way.Their scandalous deception regarding the "Rusty Pipes" scenario was outed by citizens who were becoming increasing disgusted over the shabby efforts to change the character of our community in order to enhance corporate interest as well as some local small fry who expect some scrapes from the table.

  37. This property is not all zoned commercial, you know. The section in the back is either R1 or R2.

  38. The Dirts are SOOOOO clever. For years they've complained about how Sierra Madre's business district collects such paltry sales tax income.

    Now their ultimate solution to the problem is to eliminate commercial property and turn it all into residential.


    No wonder they're in charge.

  39. At the moment, if you go to the city site, there is a category for Ordinances, but it is empty. So should you want to peruse Measure V for yourselves, you'll have to go to the library, or city hall. Wouldn't ya think that ordinance posting would come before the party time stuff?

  40. You can find the municipal code online. Measure V is called Voters Empowerment, and it's number is 17.35


  41. It is the Sierra Madre City Hall Rule of Opposites. When they said that the new city website would be more accessible and transparent, what they were really saying is that they were going to scrub it of any hard information and replace it with toys in the attic fluff. Which they did.

  42. The rendering of this project is totally inadequate. Usually there are two or three renderings from important perspectives (not one)

    In addition to a generic portrail of the building a detail of size, relation to street, overall height, mountain site line, parking spaces (where and how wide), landscaping (including trees, shrubs, grass, utility easments with above or underground access. to name a few, as there are many to include. This rendering and detail should be exactly what the finished product will include and be.

    What variances will be proposed should be included in the proposal.

    All of this should be available before the public meeting to be reviewed by the residents so questions may be raised.

    This is a minimum requirment for the public meeting.

  43. Thanks for that link, 3:19.
    Odd that it doesn't come up on the Documents and then Ordinances menu, but I'm glad it's there at all!

  44. Obviously this project needs to go to a public vote. What in Measure V triggers that? Do we have to ask, or does the city follow the law?

  45. That's a great question 3:30, and you can bet your bottom dollar that we have to ask.

  46. Could be why the City is doing this the way they are. They are trying to keep everything on the down low so no one asks for a vote.

  47. What could possibly be more offensive to John Buchanan and Joe Mosca? The people casting votes on a development issue. That will certainly bring back some bad memories for those boys!

  48. Scrape it..rake it and stake it, lets get on with it already!

  49. Looks like it's free glue day at Arnolds.

  50. A facility that fits in the parameters set out in Measure V is welcome and will be a valuable addition to our town.

    A facility that does not fit in Measure V is not welcome.

  51. I am going to go out on a limb here...this project is being configured in such a manner as to avoid requiring voter approval outlined in Measure V. Just a guess on my part, but sure sounds like that is the way the project is headed.
    Someone should ask the question, in writing, of the City???

  52. 58,000 sq feet on 1.84 acres?

    Gonna take a vote.

  53. Just visiting here in la la landAugust 23, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    So Dr. Sami has a contract with the City to provide services? Come on . . .

  54. I believe the jist of the comment was that Dr. Sammi would provide services at his facility after an emergency under his own guidance and goodwill, good for him, no contract required, I hope and pray that the good doctor is not somehow incapacitated by whatever event occurs, rendering all of this a moot point.

  55. The understanding was that in the event of a catastrophe and no travel was possible, health care professionals who live in town and would not need to get over impassable freeways, etc., would be able to use the facility. Doesn't matter whether the staff who work there could be there or not.


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