Wednesday, July 12, 2017

So Will the City Council Sell the Library to Bill Kefalas?

Which one?
The old Sierra Madre power structure was very much on display at last evening's City Council meeting. Bill Kefalas, who in the opinion of many in Sierra Madre very much violated a few key city ordinances when he razed the Henry A. Darling house, was given a free pass. Despite what the Planning Commission had found.

Not just that, the City Council then actually apologized for the inconvenience he had been caused by the people hired to enforce city ordinances, and actually had done just that when they red-tagged his sorely abused property. As we have often seen in the past, it certainly does pay to have some sympathetic connections at City Hall.

Let's be honest. If the City Council won't stand up and defend Sierra Madre's laws, no matter what the potential legal inconveniences, or whose special downtown toes are being stepped on, then there really is little reason for them to be there. Might as well just close City Hall down and send everyone home. It would save folks a lot of money and aggravation.

So what does this say about the City Council's resolve to keep McMansions out of whatever the developer is calling One Carter these days? Or the Monastery property? What will they do about anyone else who decides they have enough influence at City Hall to get away with tearing down a historic property?

Denise Delmar stated that the City Council has already tightened up the demolition ordinance, so this will never happen again. But isn't it always about the next time, and never now?

The suddenly communicative Library Friends, who have apparently been very busy in relative secrecy, and over a fairly long period of time, revealed their rather startling plan to sell off the property the current Library sits on to whoever has the cash to buy it. No matter what the intentions of the buyer, or the potential harm it could cause the community.

The overall plan to turn the YAC into a library sounds interesting enough, and there could be certain positive benefits. But I am not sure that is the point right now.

The Library Friends plan was cooked up behind the scenes, the community was excluded from sharing its thoughts on the matter, and obviously none of them have given a moment's thought to any possible unintended consequences. The whole thing was just unleashed on the public. Ready or not.

The often offbeat Gene Goss took the opportunity to launch into one of his signature patters. This time it was about how reaching out to the community had helped pass Measure UUT last year. And that when city government tries real hard, and communicates to people in what he actually claimed was an honest and forthright way, even a utility tax increase can be passed.

Gene wasn't tracking well last night. The reason Measure UUT was finally passed in 2016, and by a large margin, was because the voters were told it would save the Library.

So that Library, the very one Measure UUT was approved by the voters to save, is now going to be sold to any random developer with the necessary scratch, and then quickly turned into rubble?

Not all is lost, however. The City Council did give you permission to grow up to six pot plants in your backyard. I guess they figure if you're kept stoned and stupid, maybe you won't go getting in their way.

Not a very good meeting. You can only imagine what could be coming next.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

93 comments:

  1. Might as well just shut the heck up and send everyone on the Planning Commission along with the whining goats home. It would save the City a lot of none sense BS and aggravation, and make this city great place to live peacefully again.

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    1. Your love for your fellow Sierra Madreans is noted.

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    2. The best of Sierra Madre is represented by the Planning Commission. They are intelligent, serious people who understand their responsibilities. Clearly 6:38 lacks the capacity to recognize that.

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    3. Last night proved that the City has no need for commissions. The recommendations of The Planning Commission, Library Board of Trustees, and the Community Services Commission were completely ignored. The City Council did not care to learn what was involved in the recommendations. I have No respect for the entire City Council. Bet the Kafalas decision was based on the threat of a lawsuit since there was a closed council meeting. At least the Planning Commission does not rubber stamp Staff's recommendations.

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    4. I agree on the Kefalas cave. It def had the feel of a settlement. Complete with public apology from two councilmembers.

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  2. Once again, Capoccia rattled on and on. I hope the CC enjoys eating their free meals at the only vomitorium in town! To listen to these guys last night Kefalas was just a great guy who did nothing wrong. I like the Librarian and at least his plan to move forward to save the library are more heartening than anything the CC has done. And then we have the Watts guy who wants to save the old library building! Wow! It never ceases to amaze me how things turn in this city. The citizens made their choices-UUT tax that has gone where? Same old same old CC people-well ya get what ya ask for, huh?

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    1. We should apologize to Mr Kefalas as the City Council did. What a joke. The decision to cave was made prior to the meeting.

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    2. The Watts guy is one of our City's finest. He has served on the Planning Comission and the City Council. He has a vast knowledge of architecture and always protects the RIGHTS of the residents. You show your ignorance by attacking a man who has given years of service to our community!

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    3. Don Watts is the conscience of Sierra Madre. Hopefully he is back on the city council or planning commission some day soon.

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    4. Don Watts needs to run for something. He's the best of the best. You can bet he would make good decisions. Get rid of Goss.

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    5. I agree, Don Watts is the conscience of Sierra Madre. One could say he is a TREASURE of SIERRA MADRE.

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  3. Once again the voters of Sierra Madre got short changed and robbed all in one fell swoop, you finally get to see what you voted for and let in the front door like a bunch of thieves in the night. Throw the bums out and vote in a new set of council peoples, Make Sierra madre Great Again.

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  4. Which Library do you love?

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  5. So Measure UUT money isn't going to go to save the Library? Where is it going?

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    1. Everyone knows that money paid to the city goes first of all to keep the city employees in a lifestyle better than most residents, and then, maybe, to repair old infrastructure.

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    2. The UUT was for operating expenses, not to rebuild the library to current standards.

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    3. Uh oh, a parser. Can you tell me on which postcard that was explained?

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    4. "I Love My Library's Operating Expenses."

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    5. If the library moves to the rec center then it isn't going away, it is just going "over there". And if the UUT raises $1 million a year, and that money is spread proportionally across the budget items it supports (Police, Fire/Paramedic, Library, Public Works, Recreation and Community Service) then the library would see about $100,000 a year. In what world would the UUT be able to support a $3 million library rebuild? The UUT was always proposed as a means of restoring service hours at the library. Here's one of numerous "postcards": "Many would like to see our Library service hours expanded." - John Capoccia's "Measure UUT: Your City, Your Choice - Part II"

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    6. Most people believed the "Save the Library" talk. Obviously the UUT didn't do that. I think you are going to have some credibility issues.

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  6. I wouldn't disagree with the need to move ahead on the Mira Monte mess, but to thank that belligerent guy? Did none of the council members watch the Planning Commission meetings, and catch just what a jerk he was being?

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    1. He was a jerk. He comes to the City Council and all is forgotten. Heck they apologized to him and thanked him for taking on the "restoration". They bought his act hook, line and sinker.

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    2. They didn't buy his act, they coward at his threat of a lawsuit.

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    3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    4. Sorry. Last thing I feel like doing today is taking the blame for your ethnic intolerance.

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  7. The library is in an R3 zone, and so will become another big apartment/condo structure. There won't need to be any Measure V vote for that.
    Wonder whose pal is already lined up to buy it. Who has Rob Stockly been hanging around with lately?

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    1. Mmmm, you're wrong.

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    2. R3 zone means an apartment house is permitted. Why would Measure V get involved in that?

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    3. Measure V does not include the library. The protected area stops just short of it.
      http://www.cityofsierramadre.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_212309/File/Business/Maps/downtown_area_map_20090202.pdf

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    4. To prevent unwanted development downtown. Especially in a park-like setting like the Library.

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    5. I believe the library and the vacant lot behind it are currently zoned "city".

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    6. Wonder whose pal is correct. You're spot on 7:44.

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    7. The library is under RP (Residential Professional) zoning and the lot behind it is R3. The R3 zoning standards generally apply to the RP zone.

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  8. Let them smoke grass.

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  9. Arizmendi at least got in a bit of reality when she said, "If you just hadn't taken off that roof, we wouldn't be here."

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    1. City law doesn't apply to special people.

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    2. City Council did not take the time to understand what Kefalas had done and why good people like Bob Spears and John Hutt were so angry.

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    3. City Council did not take the time to understand what Kefalas had done and why good people like Bob Spears and John Hutt were so angry.

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    4. The City Atty makrs these calls. The elected officials do as they are told.

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    5. City Council did not take the time to understand what Kefalas had done and why good people like Bob Spears and John Hutt were so angry.

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    6. John and Bob need to run for City Council.

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    7. they have my vote!

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    8. I'd vote for Spears and Hutt anytime. They are honorable men who care about Sierra Madre.

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  10. At least one library volunteer had no idea this plan was in the works. The Library Friends main players really have been sneaking around.

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    1. That is why the (Heart) Library people were so quiet. They didn't know. They are only informed about what is going on when it suits the purposes of the old boys. Hayes, Stockley, that bunch. This was all carefully planned.

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    2. This topic was on the publicly available Library Board of Trustees agenda for the June 28th meeting, and the meeting was open to the public. That is hardly sneaking around.

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    3. Big turnout for those meetings? Community outreach bring 'em in? Wrap up in the Village View?

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    4. If you want to tell a secret in a place where you can guarantee nobody will ever hear it, go to a Library Board of Trustees meeting. Tbere is rarely anyone there.

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    5. That's hardly the library's fault.

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  11. This is a sorry state of affairs on all counts. We get to be overtaxed on our way to insolvency. Tell me I am wrong.

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  12. we have short memories in town, and perhaps the city prefers it that way. the town is not that big and there aren't that many construction/destruction jobs going at any one time. and yet, when the development department was informed by citizens that the darling house was down to the studs, their response was, "the owner has the proper permits." yes, the owner had permits. he exceeded the scope of the permit and because nobody in the planning department was keeping an eye on the work, this is where we end up.

    So, before we forget AGAIN....What was the legal ruling regarding the Hildreth's house/underground wine-bar on montecito?

    What has happened regarding the Shahanian (spelling?) compound on highland where the owner built an additional structure (house? gym?) without one single permit or electrical or fire inspection on a lot that already has 3 or 4 houses and not enough parking for the tenants?

    Enquiring minds would love to know.

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    1. The city doesn't discuss business with just anyone, you know.

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    2. 8:26A You need to ask Harabedian. And the CC should own up to the fact that Vincent just may be over his head!

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    3. Vincent can be a bit overly ingratiating to those he feels are important. He obviously saw Kefalas that way.

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    4. It looks like the city won since there is this filing: 05/01/2017 Order (GRANTING PLAINTIFF, CITY OF SIERRA MADRE'S MOTION FOR ATTORNEY FEES)

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    5. Hmm. You are describing a very small world.

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    6. 12:00 - do you have a link for that?

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    7. Go here: http://www.lacourt.org/casesummary/ui/index.aspx?casetype=familylaw

      And search for case: GC046442

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    8. Did the Hildreths fill the hole they dug or are we all just supposed to forget about that...like the darling demo and the highland avenue compound?

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    9. 8:57, that case number on that site produces "No matches found"

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  13. The library lots are not protected by measure V and they are in the R3 zone, so that's pretty much done.
    The part I don't get is that the Friends figured they'll get 2 million for the lots, the new place will cost 3 million, and that sounded good to them.

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    1. The library land is worth a lot more than that! Where they plucked that figure from is anyone's guess! And the cost will be far more than 3 mil. The Friends of the library have 100,000.00 to help with the move. How much else do they have and how do they spend it?

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    2. The fact that they were quoting so low a price is worrisome.

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    3. It's going to be very interesting to see who ends up buying that property.

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  14. This town used to remind me of Mayberry. But now, Mayberry seems like a far more professionally run town. Opie....where are you?

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  15. Years of kicking the Library can down the road has led us to a bad place. The irony is those Councilmen who bellowed the loudest about how much the love the Library (Doyle, Hayes, Stockley, Buchanan) are those who were kicking that can the hardest. Funny old world, right?

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  16. Peter Tarup, a Planning Commissioner from the 1960s gave the city two donations of $23,000 each--one earmarked for the Canyon (he lived on Woodland) at the time of his death, that went into the planting of Sycamore trees and the retro style fencing and lighting AND to the library. The city used this generous donation for the library to repair the roof! So, there you go, a donation to the city (to be bulldozed and sent to the landfill) that cannot go forward to the good citizens of Sierra Madre in the way of LIbrary services (except you could say it kept the books, etc., dry for all these years).

    I know of these donations because I located them in the Pasadena hall of records when Richard Trader (former Cultural Heritage Commissioner) learned of them and asked me to locate the information. The city had received the donations, deposited into an unspecified account, collected interest on the money for some few years and then had to allocate the money to two citizen groups that joined forces to get the money to Peter Tarup's desired projects.

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    1. Interesting story. Thanks for posting it.

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    2. Dang, that is very interesting information. Sounds like the City has been covering up for a very long time.

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  17. What year was that?

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  18. It's on!

    Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) on Wednesday formally filed articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

    According to a statement, Sherman and Rep. Al Green (D-TX) are filing for impeachment over what they believe is obstruction of justice in the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, as well as revelations from the ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia.

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    1. Idiots both...now stay on topic...

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    2. No topic policing is needed on the Tattler. People can post whatever they wish.

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  19. 7:56pm. Your wrong. Measure V extends to Sunnyside Ave., unless I am misreading all this Legal paper work stuff with with maps included.

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    1. Thank you. That is my understanding as well. Whatever is proposed for the library site, vote NO.

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    2. Look again at the list of APN's and the map. It's quite clear.
      The library is not in the Measure V area.

      https://library.municode.com/ca/sierra_madre/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT17ZO_CH17.35VOEM#TIT17ZO_CH17.35VOEM_17.35.040COARDELI

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    3. 7:56 2:34 http://cityofsierramadre.com/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=1852656
      I am a member of the Planning Commission. Please see the above link to the "The Voter's Empowerment Measure" commonly referred to as Measure V. The western boundary south side on SMB is two lots west of Lima. The library property is shown on the map as green (city owned). This property is surrounded by multi family zoning. There would be NO vote for a multi family development project.

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    4. 2:28, what map are you looking at? Post a link?

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    5. It never went as far as Sunnyside.

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    6. The library parcel is designated municipal use in an R-3 zone. So does the city just declare the land surplus and sell to the highest bidder?

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    7. Too bad. Lines on the map. Measure V would have fulfilled its preservationist intent and saved the Library.

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    8. Thank you Ms. Hinton for your words of clarification. I'm sorry that the City Council threw the Planning Commission under the bus. One wonders if they even viewed the Planning Commission meetings and conclusions.

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  20. Why is it that the Preserve Sierra Madre group does not understand what was written from the Planning Commission, re: the Kefalas property?

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    1. Ok, I'll play. What was it?

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    2. 2:51, you mean the planning commission's rejection of the demolition permit?

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  21. 12:41PM. Doesn't Al Green play Trumpet?

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  22. This city is going to hell...

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  23. Bringing up APN's, what did the Kensington buy? There was some interest in a lot; no follow uo info.

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  24. I'm going to continue my personal boycott of that horrible restaurant which thankfully is not The Only Place in Town.

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    1. I'm going to boycott Long Beach Community College.

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  25. I want to thank the Planning Commission for all their labors on the Darling project. I'm disgusted with the City Council for throwing your efforts to the wind. I feel they caved at the sound of a lawsuit. I hope the members of the Planning Commission run for City Council. I'll be voting for you!

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  26. It's not the first time a council has ignored a planning commission.
    Foolish thing to do.

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