Thursday, April 19, 2007

Measuring V-ictory

Surprising Centinel and myself, despite being outspent by the opposition by a fairly large margin, and in the face of their online enemies, Measure V won by (thus far) 93 votes. The city's website has the all-but-offical breakdown.

About half of Sierra Madre's voters came out to ensure that, in the words of Molly R. Okeon's SGVT article, "any proposed downtown development that is taller than two stories or 30 feet, and greater than 13 units per acre" will need to be voted on by the whole city. And as Valerie Reitman of the LAT says: "Any sale, lease or development of parking lots, streets or other publicly owned land in the central district would also require voter approval."

So out of the swirling cloud of downtown dirt, dust, mud, fur, claws, blood, dead moles, broken windows, and dirty blogs that is Sierra Madre, the Sierra Madre Residents For Responsible Development (SMRRD), as they proclaim on their Yes on V website, have emerged victorious. Fair enough.

Normally I am against such initiatives, as the solution to policy questions in most cases in a representative government such as ours is to simply vote against your elected official, not to take power away from them. Requiring elections to decide policy questions instead of making your elected official do their job is usually a bad idea that has bad (and in almost every case unintended) consequences.

But, there is a bit of a difference between initiative based politics on the state level as compared to the local—for one thing, the stakes are lower. If Sierra Madreans as a whole think that desperate measures are called for to prevent downtown development, and that recall attempts and city council elections aren't enough, so be it. Given the seemingly inevitable drift towards ever growing development projects in the San Gabriel Valley, this isn't a completely indefensible fear. And it won't hurt much else in the grand scheme of things—in fact, it will make for some damn interesting politics in the future.

Forget about American Idol, I can't wait to watch the next city council meeting, can you?

Now that it is all over, I just found the old Sierra Madre Radicals and Assorted Characters blog, as well as a brand new one: Sierra Madre, A view from the Canyon.

Of blogs and websites in Sierra Madre there is no end...


jane said...

Does every dim Sierra Madre-ean of their own bloody blog?

Anonymous said...

No, I'm a Sierra Madrean without a blog. I also voted No so don't lump me in with Yes folks. Some of the yes folks thought that the League of Women Voters made a mistake when they urged a No vote. The LWV doesn't make mistakes. Let's see what happens when things start to go wrong after the faulty Measure V is in place.

jane said...

The "yes" folks will get what they deserve - the LWV made the right call...Kurt is an idiot

Paddy O'Shea said...

Jane? Why do the Nosies always call people mean names? Looking for a new home now that Beth Buck has closed your Downtown Litterbox?

The lesson here is that big developer money and the specious arguments of highly paid political consultants and advertising agencies were not enough to crack the independent spirit of Sierra Madre.

What we saw last Tuesday was something to be proud of. Generic development and generic groupthink have no place in our town.

Paddy O'Shea said...

anonymous - The League of Women Voters don't make mistakes? C'mon, dude. The only perfect individual who ever walked the dirtball was Jesus, and He was a man.

The LWV is just another establishment organization dependent upon the handouts of city hall and big money contributors for its existence. Of course they would come out against Measure V. That level of democracy is a bit too frightening for old school political organizations such as those folks.

Tell me, are you one of those who always 'snaps to' whenever the voice of authority speaks? Ever attempt to find out what it is you think about issues?

Anonymous said...

Paddy--I'm sure that you read that about the LWV in the Mt Wilson Observer. We can agree to disagree. I know that a lot of folks who voted Yes were afraid of a sinister plot by the realtors and building industry. It doesn't make sense that so many well known citizens and organizations were against Measure V. It's hard to understand why SM couldn't continue to work on the Downtown Specific Plan and put it to a community vote in November as originally planned. That would have been a better choice. Zimmerman wants to turn Sierra Madre into San Marino or LaCanada. Those communities do not have Measure V. All their requirements are detailed within their General Plans.

Paddy said...

Let me clue you in on something. Most of our "well known citizens" are just pompous old fools who deserved the beating they took on the 17th.

But, and just for laughs, let me ask you this: If these fellows are of such incredible importance to Sierra Madre, why did the town turn its back on them?

Could it be they're really not all that respected? And that the old guard took it in the teeth because their time has passed and Sierra Madre is leaving them behind? Could it possibly be that rather than lower themselves to talk to the people of this town, their neighbors, they decided to hire outsiders to do what they deigned not to do themselves? Sure explains their inability to show up to debate.

It's called arrogance, 'Nonny. And they got what they deserved.

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