|Chip points to the old block|
As anyone up on their Sierra Madre lore knows, our Measure V prevailed and the DSP (which was kind of the Monastery Development issue of its time) was consigned to the dustbin of local history. In many ways Chip Ahlswede's failure to rally the voters of Sierra Madre to the cause of what would have been one of the more grotesque development abominations in Sierra Madre history was a turning point for this town. Fortunately those living and voting here at that time proved themselves to be far too smart for the kinds of nonsense our man Ahlswede was pushing. No matter how much in other peoples' money he spent.
Here is how the Los Angeles Times reported the results (link):
Schubert Flint later went on to lead the campaign for Proposition 8, the 2009 ballot initiative that delayed same sex marriage in California for a few years. According to the blog Queers United, Schubert Flint Public Affairs went on to do far bigger things than merely screwing up the 'No on Measure V' campaign in Sierra Madre.
Here is what that blog has to say about Chip's once upon a time employer (link):
Schubert Flint Public Affairs is an advertising agency that created many of the ads that helped Proposition 8 pass in California, leading to same-sex marriage rights being taken away in the state ... The "National Organization for Marriage," an anti-gay think tank, is continuing their relationship with the ad agency in an attempt to further erode marriage rights for same sex couples.
I have always found it to be wryly amusing that the highly politically correct "Civility Party" proponents of massive blocks of high density overdevelopment in downtown Sierra Madre did business with an organization that later achieved such intense notoriety in certain quarters through its efforts to defeat gay marriage.
For the record, our man Ahlswede has claimed that he left Schubert Flint Public Affairs before 2009, and did not participate in the Prop 8 effort. Though, when asked, Chip never denounced them for that work, either. He just claimed he wasn't there at the time.
Chip later went on to become an advisor to the Josh Moran for City Council campaign, along with various other largely discredited Civility Party nonsense.
Which pretty much takes us up to today. Outside of whatever he does for the Arcadia Association of Realtors these days (an organization dedicated to defending the property rights of developers while ignoring your property rights), the area had been pretty much happily free of the political machinations of Mr. Ahlswede for awhile. Or at least it was until the following e-mail went out from the Pasadena-Foothills Association of Realtors (or PFAR - link) earlier this week.
Sent: Monday, July 27, 2015 12:23:53 PM
Subject: Special LGR Meeeting Tomorrow
Don’t forget our special, but quick, LGR Meeting tomorrow at 1:30 to meet new GAD Chip Ahlswede. This will be an informal gathering. Some of you have told me you will be out of town, but hope the others of you can join us tomorrow at 1:30.
Acting Association Executive and
Government Affairs Director
Pasadena-Foothills Association of REALTORS
A GAD (as opposed to a gadfly I suppose), is a Government Affairs Director. Which is a kind of Realtor special interest political advocacy gig. And what the GAD for the PFAR region is tasked to accomplish is represent the perceived interests of the Realtor community with various San Gabriel Valley governments. Including Sierra Madre City Hall.
You know, the kind of annoying guy who will show up at the public comment podium during City Council meetings unannounced and chatter on for too long about how great the organizations he represents are, and what wonderful things they are doing for all humankind.
All completely forgettable stuff I know, and a complete waste of time at any meeting. But people do that sort of thing. It is kind of the public speaking equivalent of nose picking.
So what did Chip Ahlswede say at this July 28 meeting of real-estate people? You know, the one where PFAR had to send out an e-mail practically begging people to show up?
According to those who attended this affair, Mr. Ahlswede went off on a particularly bizarre rant about Sierra Madre. He proclaimed this town to be some kind of enemy of development, in the hands of proven lunatics, and that the place is in danger of imminent collapse because the people he favors can't just waltz into town, throw up a lot of crap architecture, pocket the resulting loot, and then scram for the Bahamas. Or someplace.
And then Chip went off on what apparently in his mind is another true enemy of the human race, The Sierra Madre Tattler, along with my estimable self. Apparently there are few crimes this blog is not guilty of, or at least according to the quite talkative Mr. Ahlswede.
Now here is the kind of time warp Chip Ahlswede is living in. Back around 2009 that kind of happy talk probably could have flown in a roomful of Realtors. This blog had few friends in that community at the time, and Tattler bashing was very much in fashion. Things occasionally got rough for us back then.
However, this is 2015, and The Tattler is more accepted now. Or at least people are used to it. And it seems that the people in that room had no idea what Chip was going on about. So much so that two of them called me on their cell phones and asked what the deal was.
That and why was this guy saying such awful things about my kind and gentle self. In the process informing me of all the excitement of Chip's return. Imagine my surprise.
I told them it was just one of those "thin line between love and hate" situations, and that I would spell out the details here on the blog. Which I now have.
I guess the rather old school Chip didn't really know his audience, and made a few unfortunate assumptions about how they feel about Sierra Madre.
So anyway, a golden oldie pro-development political operative from back in the the days of the Downtown Specific Plan is now once again with us and working the area. A California Association of Realtors kind of guy who apparently believes he can convince everyone that slow growth is the work of evil doers, and that the only path to true municipal glory lies in building things like 3 or 4 story mixed use condo warrens next door to The Only Place In Town.
However, considering what has been going on lately in the largely successful fight here to preserve our local communities and hold off predatory mansionization, you do have to wonder about the timing of Mr. Ahlswede's sudden reemergence.