That's just the way, in the 'Dre (Pasadena Star News link): A hundred or so sign-waving Sierra Madreans gathered at the gate of the Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center recently to show concern over a proposed outsized housing development there. There is a lot to be concerned about. For them this wickiup wasteland would be a life-altering event, and not for the better.
Only 11 of these chariots of fire were counted, however. Not nearly as many as the Passionists had hoped. And judging by the grim expressions on the faces of those making the pilgrimage, the first questions at that meeting had to do with “those people and their signs.” It wasn’t what they’re accustomed to seeing at venture capitalist land use events.
One of the demonstration organizers figures that the time required to build 42 tract McMansions is almost five years. The modest neighborhood streets leading into Mater Dolorosa were not built to accommodate half a decade of heavy construction equipment and trucks. The potential for dust, diesel exhaust, particulate matter, enervating noise, sleeplessness, pinched property values, random traffic and mayhem in general seems obvious.
Concerned residents have hired Pasadena attorney Chris Sutton, architect of Sierra Madre’s landmark Measure V, who hopes to challenge the development scheme with a ballot initiative. The residents would then decide rather than city officials giddy over how they’ll spend all that money.
Recently some of the folks attempting to stop mass McMansionization sent a letter to City Hall requesting documents pertinent to the project under the California Public Records Act. They suspected improprieties and wanted to investigate. Then-City Manager Gabe Engeland, who often boasted of his dedication to transparency, replied that he needed to speak with the city attorney before complying.
Government that exists to benefit the government. Services that give more in value to the server than the served. That’s just the way in the ‘Dre.