To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Does Anybody Really Know What Steve Scauzillo Is Going On About?


July 29, 2014

 All we are saying ...

There is a Steve Scauzillo column up on the Pasadena Star News site (I think it originated over at the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, actually), that makes a rather odd reference to Sierra Madre. A little bit snarky actually, but in a Green kind of way. Which for some will make it OK. And never being able to stay out of anybody else's scrap, since I own my very own soapbox after all, I thought I should jump in. I mean, why not? I do have to write about something. This is a daily blog.

And for the record, I like the Pasadena Star News. There are some very dedicated people at that paper who fight the good fight, and against some rather daunting odds. So let's not get too crazy today just because they happened to print a column that you (or I for that matter) might not like very much.

Steve Scauzillo is the author of a seemingly endless series of newspaper columns called "The Green Way." And as you might guess, he is concerned about the environment and our sustainable future here on the dirt ball. As well he should be. After all, he is a stakeholder.

And look, I personally have no problem with the various Green theories about the endlessly destructive capacity of the human race. Nor do I doubt our ability to fatally trash the rather rare and beautiful place that we are dependent upon for the continued survival of our species.

Global warming, climate change, melting ice caps, rising oceans, and all the rest of that stuff, it certainly seems quite plausible to me. I buy into all of it. Science, or science fiction, who cares? We as a critter are literally hell on wheels. If the worst is possible, and we are involved, then that is what will happen. Invest now.

Where I obviously deviate from the "Green Way" is I don't really believe that fellows like Scauzillo have even remotely viable solutions for any of these really big issues. No matter how many trees they kill to explain it. The majority of so-called greens are entirely full of crap, and their endless trivial carping about the habits of those around them really aren't helping get anything done. Outside of annoying everyone else, of course.

When it comes to the question of human free will and our ability to save ourselves, I am all in with St. Augustine. The human race is a hopeless and impossible mess. There is no salvation on the planet floor.

Here's an example of what I mean. We live in the place that gave us SB 375, that rather twee state law that claims we can somehow build our way out of global warming by wedging working people into rat warrens of stacked and packed mini-condo housing situated atop bus stops and jumped up trolley lines. All of which is somehow going to make them want to stop driving their greenhouse gas emitting cars and ride the Metro.

And if that doesn't make you laugh, then perhaps you really shouldn't be reading this blog. Give somebody cheap housing in California and what is the first thing that person will do with the money he saves? Buy a car. As most Golden Staters will gladly tell you, only losers ride the bus. And does anyone here really believe condos will save the world?

I personally have been getting an earful from overweening green types since I was an impressionable lad back in the latter 1970s. And during the momentous 40 some odd years of fun and frivolity that followed I have not seen very much that indicates things are getting any better environmentally in this world.

Quite the contrary, actually. As any rain dancer will tell you, things are pretty much worse than ever.

But I have digressed. Here is the portion of Scauzillo's current column that got me agitated enough to write all of the above. This column is called "The Green Way: No drought of water-shortage emails from readers," and you can link directly to this entire Sierra Madre dissing conundrum by clicking here.

I got a flurry of electronic mail in my inbox and 140-character Twitter messages from people who wanted to comment on my stories on the severe drought in California and in particular, the one I wrote about a couple from Glendora who received a warning letter from the city for having a brown lawn.

Richard Wagoner and Jim Mihalka brought up the argument that says: Why should current homeowners have to conserve water and even be hit by fines, while cities approve new housing developments?

“We are supposed to save water ... so that the LA City Council can approve building projects including zone changes unwanted by the community,” Wagoner wrote. The rest of the email was about a proposed condominium project in San Pedro.

He suggests a $500 fine for every home added during the drought.

Mihalka wrote about a smaller townhome project in West Covina. He objected to West Covina, Covina, Glendora and Azusa approving “more than 3,000 new homes ... in the past three years” while the area faces a water shortage.

“They send me notices stating I must conserve water because there is a shortage, however the shortage must not be too bad because they continue to add homes,” wrote Mihalka, who once ran for supervisor of Los Angeles County.

These are smart readers who’ve hit on what may be the next topic in the drought: Should cities hold up development until a normal water supply is restored?

So far, holding off on new development is not part of the governor’s plan, nor is it part of the State Water Resources Control Board’s new regulations set to take effect Friday.

But having said that, there is one city nearby that has done what may make these two emailers jump for joy: Sierra Madre.

The City Council unanimously decided on July 8 to enact a mandatory 30 percent water conservation requirement for residents, and to enact building and water hookup moratoriums. The moratoriums will be reviewed on Aug. 12.

Sometimes people use the drought as a cudgel against development they don’t want. I think we need a solution, not a moratorium.

But that’s just me. I’m more solution-oriented than politically driven.

Two observations, and then I'll go.

1) Desperate people take whatever they can get. Preserving low density Sierra Madre from McMansionization is a worthy cause, and one that always seems on the verge of being lost. If the drought can be used to help in that, then why not? But you should also be able to recognize that a city living off of somebody else's water, and on a short contract no less, might want to be cautious about building a three development swathe of 6,000 square foot, 5.5 bathroom water hogs here. Cuss me out for saying this, but you might even say the impetus behind such a thing is, well, sustainability. And therefore Green. One is not necessarily separate from the other. Even for process driven stakeholders.

2) What solution, Steve? And why should yours necessarily have to involve us?