Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Will the City Council Approve Selling the Library Tonight?

On the auction block?
You knew that tonight was shaping up to be a big City Council meeting, right? There is the Henry A. Darling house debacle, which I think we covered quite thoroughly yesterday. Then there is the matter of whether the city will permit its weedier residents to grow up to six pot plants in either their houses or backyards. Think of the potentially booming hydroponics gear and grow light business they'll be doing out of Arnold's Hardware should this one break in their direction. The guys in the overalls will be driving Teslas in no time.

That we have covered here more than once as well. However, what has not been discussed yet on this blog, and for the life of me I cannot figure out why, is selling the current Library property and moving all of its books and authentically historic horseshoe nail collection into the YAC. Yes, I am as stunned as everybody else. Where is Rob Bob Stockley and all of the "I (Heart) My Library" sign people on this one? Is it really the end times yet?

Here is how the Agenda Report reads (link):


While I guess this is all a kind of reasonable solution to some very real problems, and would save the City of Sierra Madre a couple of million dollars it doesn't have, when did anything involving the Library ever actually make sense? Shouldn't there now be rioting at the Elementary School? A very emotional mob with torches descending upon City Hall demanding the scalps of all involved? Babies bawling over the potential loss of their rhyme time?

Wasn't Measure UUT supposed to make all of these Sierra Madre Library issues go away for ever and ever?

I am at a loss for words. That doesn't happen very often.

Message from Preserve Sierra Madre

Mod: This just showed up in my mailbox.

Dear Supporters:

While Preserve Sierra Madre is focused primarily on controlling development, there are other issues that come up in our city that are consistent with the mission called for in the first word of our name: "Preserve".  That takes our efforts beyond merely controlling development.

One of our coalition members brought to our attention that there is another item on the agenda at tonight's City Council Meeting beginning at 6:30 pm in addition to the Henry A. Darling House matter.  The City Council will discuss moving our Public Library to the recreation building and selling off the current building to a private party. I'm not sure that's what many of us had in mind when we contributed very recently to the "Save the Library" campaign by passing the UUT. We thought the library was "saved" when that tax was passed.

Many people in this city have spent many hours in that library.  Many people grew up going to that library and have great memories of it.  Sure, the books can be moved to a new location, but we don't think it will be quite the same.

We hope our City Council will come up with another option to address any problems at the library short of selling it off entirely.  At the very least, there should be more discussion about this issue.

Thank you for your support.

Steering Committee
Preserve Sierra Madre

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

104 comments:

  1. The library is just the latest casualty of the unfounded pension crises. As we pay our public employees more and more money, our services get less and less. The public employees get rich while the taxpayers who pay them end up with nothing.

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  2. There has to be more to this story. Where is everybody on this. Very weird.

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  3. There's something rotten in Demmark here. I can guarantee you something happened behind the scenes. Somebody stands to profit considerably by the sale of the library property and it ain't the taxpayer. Where are the Save the Library people on this? People grew up in this town and went to that library in that location. Leave it there.

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    1. Times have changed. There's another library just a mile away.

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  4. You can bet something nefarious is behind this. Never heard about it before this. We need a special prosecutor.

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  5. What in the 'wide world of sports' is going on here? Has or have the powers in charge lost their ever loving minds - AGAIN? This an other political actions of the past have resulted in one big TRAIN WRECK connected to Sierra Madre's financial stability. One of the best ideas were giving L.A.C.S.D. the safety contract and another is allowing the County of Los Angeles to take over the cities library then at least there will be one.

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  6. The Library Board of Trustees and Community Services did this? When?

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  7. This shall be interesting to see how we the tax payers fare on this one?

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  8. Is the library worth preserving? The town population is not that different from 20 years ago, what is going on here? Do we need to provide library services to other cities, if that is the case we should maintain and preserve what we have. Let's face it, we have a collectable here that may need preserving. LETS THINK ABOUT THIS.

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  9. The city of Sierra Madre like so many others in the state of California are backed into a corner with no way out, other than contracting more and more work out to get off the CalPERS gravy train - unfortunately the corrupt powers in charge of CalPERS have flown the coup and taken their ill gotten Billions with them so it's the tax payers who are left to put this mess back in working order - it only costs more and more tax payers money to do so! Unload top heavy costing personal at once and pay now while it's cheaper or wait it out until the 'baby huey' problem has grown to 400 lbs plus problem it's your backs will suffer then too! Stop kicking the can down the road, today is the first day of the rest of your life.

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  10. This is a ploy to scare us into agreeing to a BIG tax increase. The forever UUT tax was to help partially pay for Calpers.

    You can love your Library but you cannot have both books and unsustainable pensions.

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  11. This is a ploy to scare us into agreeing to a BIG tax increase. The forever UUT tax was to help partially pay for Calpers.

    You can love your Library but you cannot have both books and unsustainable pensions.

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  12. What is the bottom line on what the Library should provide our community? Do we want to continue status quo or keep the same structure and take our Library into the future? What are the tax law's that come into play here? Can the Library be designed to at least cover it's costs? Tonight should be interesting.

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  13. What the heck is going on here? I've been using this library since 1960 and knew nothing of it's possible sale? Keeping this information from the public shows skullduggery on the part of the City. How much is THIS transparency going to cost the residents of Sierra Madre?

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    1. Just because you are not informed doesn't mean this has not been discussed in public IT WAS.

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    2. Everybody is certainly informed now.

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    3. Was it in the Village View?

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  14. Interesting idea.
    It does make sense.
    As usual the parking would be an issue.
    The property where the library sits could be developed, as was on Esperanza ave., into low cost and senior living, if Section 8 is added, then the County would pick up expenses. The city would also meet future housing needs and mandates.
    Since the Kensington retirement was voted into the downtown business district; why not? Seems like a winning solution.
    The city might even find its way back to running their own programs and eventually stop contracting out.

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  15. It's only $1.3m to update the existing library building. $3.9m is needed for "community space". The issue is how badly does the city of Sierra Madre and its residents want "community space". It's a nice amenity to have community space, but if the money for it isn't there, then maybe it shouldn't be considered. To propose selling the library to raise money for community space after a heated campaign to increase the UUT to "save the library" seems to be a bait and switch. Why should Sierra Madre residents trust that the proceeds from the sale of the library will be used for the construction of the community space? What if someone comes up with a better use of the proceeds, like for raises?

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  16. You can only imagine the financial pressures that lead the city to this. Any doubt now over how broke Sierra Madre really is?

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  17. Tonight our new City Manager will be showing us what skills, knowledge and interest he brings to our tax paying community. We need to preserve our small part of the world here, hope he feels the same way.

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  18. Staff is desperate to find ways to fund their guaranteed lifetime pensions. The library cost too much. Maybe the staff should have wine tastings to fund the retirements.

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  19. Everything is on the auction block now because of CalPERS and water bond debt. Years of bad government and inside dealings have led to this.

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  20. The "Yes On UUT" campaign was not telling the truth. Garcia, Truitt and the City Council owe this city an apology. Then they can give us our money back.

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  21. Can the Green Space or the newest park space, located on Sunnyside be sold?

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  22. You combine the YAC and Library in one building and sell off the unneeded property. Where is the down side? Does this make too much sense for y'all?

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  23. Can the Green Space or the newest park space, located on Sunnyside be sold?

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  24. 6:32am. Why would Sierra Madre want to take on more CalPERS payout with the L.A.S.D.; at a much higher rate and why would the town aim to be run by the County? We are not bankrupt, yet.

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    1. The sheriff is not part of Calpers their pension program cost much less

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  25. Do we need a Cultural Center?

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    1. What would they do there?

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    2. No, we already have the Buc

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    3. Good point.

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    4. Cultural Center is at Bean Town in the daytime, the Buc at night.

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    5. What time is the shift change?

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    6. Depends what you're drinking

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    7. Depends if you stop at mother moo in between

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  26. If we increase Library traffic at it's present site or move it to the YAC where are we gaining as a neighborhood? Increased traffic and using up our vital water resources will be taking place. I know the law says the city can not make money of it's operations but the law should also say the city can't loose money either. Anxious to see what the new city manager has to say.

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  27. I certainly hope the residents attend and speak up at the meeting tonight. Public pressure (en masse) is the only thing that will stop the Council from voting to sell off our 60 year old treasure.

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    1. Hoping won't make it happen.
      It is no small feat to organize meeting attendance.

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    2. That building is no treasure
      Even the darling house better

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  28. One thing learned when looking into the water situation around the world. NEVER EVER, EVER sell off your water department. Cities have gone to great expenses getting control back from such sales. Water is our life's blood, lets preserve what we have.

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  29. There has long been an artificial barrier in town between those who want to preserve the Library, and those who want to preserve Sierra Madre's architectural treasures. Hopefully tonight these combined two issues will bring everyone together.

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  30. Just shut the whole thing down and take the money. If its a problem just go to the huge new Monrovia Library.

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    1. I absolutely don't go to that library because their main clientelle are homeless people. They use the facility for the AC during the day and sink/shower facilities in the bathroom. A total gross out.

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    2. But they're potentially better versed than you

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  31. I'm still upset that they moved city hall from 55 W. Sierra Madre Blvd. to 232 W. Sierra Madre Blvd.
    If we give in, The Hotel Shirley may never again be a hotel, and the city jail may become a B&B. Let's riot!!!

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    1. I think you should dress up like an Indian Brave and do the Comanche dance in Kersting Court.

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    2. Or a place no nativity cow- that will generate outrage

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  32. 9:33am. So, you are willing to pony up the necessary money to keep the treasured architectural Library as it is?
    What is 3.9 million ÷ by 11,000 residents? Toss in the UUT and necessary future increases.

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  33. Cultural Center? What Cultural Center? Does the City have an existing Cultural Center? My blood pressure is rising with every reread of this article !!!

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    1. When I first learned of the proposed Cultural Center I was immediately on guard. Here we are paying that UUT increase because most people thought it was a good idea to tax themselves some more. They bought in to the hype and believed that all of the fancy postcards that arrived in our mail boxes would solve all of our fiscal challenges. Now look at where we are. I attended the Special Meeting of the Library Board of Trustees on 6/28, and considered a few things. Firstly, this plan would displace all of the children who currently receive YMCA after school care. This would be tragic for all of these parents and children who rely on the great care this program provides. Also discussed, was the fact that the library NOT be heavy on books. The other problem I see is the parking. The consultant who presented the proposed project also stated that they would need funding from Measure A, but there is no guarantee we would receive it. It would seem wiser to concentrate our resources on retiring debt, and making a HUGE investment in our water infrastructure. As a resident of Sierra Madre since 1967, I am strongly opposed to this proposal. I hope all of you will come out tonight and speak out!

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  34. This town is in debt up to its hair follicles. City Hall just won't admit it. This is on the agenda because they have no choice.

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    1. They have NO CHOICE? Give me a break! Why don't the Friend$ of the Library assist in the necessary upgrade of the current building? Put the money there, not in the Rec. Center.

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    2. Sierra Madre owes about $60 million in water bond and CalPERS debt. This is a desperate act.

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  35. A desperate act should be followed by desperate actions, actions for the town's people not for the builders, real estate agents or pensioners.

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  36. Well said, 8:14!

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    1. Too bad it isn;t true. The city needs the money it would get from selling the library. Doyle, Stockley, Buchanan, Joffe, Mosca and the rest of the lying losers made economic blunders this city may survive, but not very well. Quite an irony that those responsible for creating the financial crisis that makes selling the library necessary have always claimed to be its biggest supporters.

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  37. I think it would be wise to email the council and request that this item be postponed for more public input. Otherwise, it simply isn't fair to the residents. Does anyone have their email addresses?

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    1. rarizmendi@cityofsierramadre.com,ddelmar@cityofsierramadre.com,jcapoccia@cityofsierramadre.com,jharabedian@cityofsierramadre.com,ggoss@cityofsierramadre.com

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  38. Friends of the Library should have been in charge, the board members have been dragging the Library down for years.
    We all now live in a tech world; sadly books are going in the same directions as newspapers.
    The outside group of Pasadena children attending the YMCA programs do not factor into Sierra Madre run programs; only a year or two ago.
    Parking may be an issue; possibly repave the east green lawn space, but with permeable pavers and drought tolerant plantings, it may still be considered "green space".
    There is also the Handy man's housing next to the Rose Float Barn, what is being done with that land?

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  39. he Library has been wanting to upgrade for years.
    The two story YAC, with an elevator, is ADA compliant.
    It makes sense, the kids are already playing baseball, swimming, attending programs at the YAC.
    There is also the Senior Center that is really being underutilized, that comes with a full chiefs kitchen that has never been used.

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    1. It's not a full chef's kitchen. Is there even a stove or oven in there?

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  40. Show me the factual numbers. Stating 1.3 million dollars...to...3.9 million dollars is rather vague with a big chunk of change (2.6 million) in the middle. I frankly don't trust any numbers coming from City Hall.

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  41. The Senior Center is walkable and a much safer journey from the Sierra Madre Elementary, so the kids could continue their afternoon outings.
    The Senior expansion could include a large coffee, dog friendly outdoor patio; similar to Pasadena's main branch.
    The children's play area is being renovated; the mommy and me classes could be held after the Seniors lunches and maybe include after care Snacks for the kids, while mom/dad sip coffee or smoothies.

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  42. If, at the Senior Center, full inclusion of the older volunteer generation reading story time for the younger generation, make new friends and life time memories.

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  43. In the small empty lot behind the library on the way out, to the west of the rear drive, there was a small cottage that the city owned and rented out. The CC of the time decided instead of upgrading it and continuing getting rental income, they should bulldoze it. Lost of important, consistent income. They had some grand notion that they would need this for parking when the library got a grant to expand. Grant not quaified for. Lost of important, consistent income...oh I ready said that!

    The Canyon Fire Station, "declared" surplus and sold for $550,000.00 in order to fund the Paramedic (or EMT?) knowing it would only last for a few years (3?).

    The declaration that the YAC needed to sprout a second story with Prop A funding so as to preserve open space (not build out on the ground level, declaired to the county that the city had enough youth to fully deserve this funding...not too long afterward they leased out the builiding to the Y. Sierra Madre Recreation depatment staffing and youth activities outsourced...

    Count on this to be a dog and pony show on how to keep the city finances afloat and blub, blub, blub sink into financial morass again in a few years.

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  44. A former mayor told me the following: You never, never, sell off a City asset (referring to land).

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  45. As a former librarian I can attest to the fact that one needs quiet for reading. At the Recreational Center, one would hear noise from the pool and the cheering of hey batter batter, from the baseball field. Add that to the parking problem and you'll have that dog and pony show mentioned in an earlier comment.

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    1. I was at the cemetery recently and found that there was a lot of pool and park noise echoing up to the cemetery. Not even quiet in ole Pioneer.

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    2. Soundproofing? I used to live in NYC- library quiet there

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  46. Was that former Mayor serving on counsel when the Nursery School that paid rent to the City, instead was offered a deal to buy the property? The counsel felt bad that the Nursey School was paying rent!
    You know the property, the one near the YAK Center!

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  47. 1:42pm. The city can test the noise level and Iam sure the walls would be constructed with sound barriers. It would promote more children getting fresh air after studying. They would see their peers outside involved in activities.
    That side of town could use more development, geared towards future growth of families.

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    1. Yes, Sound barriers for the inside but I'm thinking about the outdoors. I thought they wanted outdoor reading with a little food court. Maybe they could run up to Dapper to get a burger or two. Maybe Starbucks could have a little coffee kiosk.

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  48. SomeONE in the condo construction world has approached SomeONE in the city or City Council with a proposal. Just a guess.
    The last City Manager started this downhill roll with the combination of the Community Services Director and Librarian into one position to save money.

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

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  50. Ah, ya. Where ya been. The city is hurting BIG TIME FOR MONEY.
    Time to stop living in the past, move forward.
    This mess dud not happen over night.
    Most of the money grabbers have moved on with their CalPERS; City Hall finally is cleaning house.
    What is needed is community input on how do "we" move forward?
    SEE YOU ALL THERE TONIGHT at the Community meeting.

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  51. Ole Pioneers would not want quiet; nice to have the happy children's noise, I would suppose.

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  52. No amnesty for Aguilar

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  53. Meeting is on. The Kefalas hustle is just about to get going.

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    1. I was going to take one for the team and watch, but don't think I can stand to hear this all hashed over again. Hope somebody will post the decision.

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    2. Kefalas fatigue.

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  54. Kefalas gets away with it. Sierra Madre laws are a joke. Tear down anything you want, nobody will do anything.

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  55. The City Council actually thanked Kefales for what he did. Go figure. They caught off the legs of the Planning Commission and rewarded bad behavior. Too bad. All you need to do is break the rules and then hire a sleazy lawyer. You will win every time.

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    1. One point Delmar made - the council has already tightened up the demolition ordinance so this won't happen again.

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    2. Sure. There is always next time.

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  56. As the City Council said, we owe Mr Kefalas a debt of gratitude for the total demolition of the Henry A Darling House. In fact, we apologize for the delay we caused.

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  57. If the City Council doesn't stand up for Sierra Madre's laws then there really is no reason for them being there. Might as well just close City Hall and go home. Save everybody a lot of money.

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  58. Was it just a kind of "Well the damage has been done, so let's move forward"?

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    1. No. The City Council knuckled under because in their minds defending Sierra Madre's planning laws are not worth the money it would take to defend them.

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    2. Just watched some of the council members give their opinions - I'd say it was a complete cave. The thanks were a bit much, but they decided it's better to have a house there than to continue with what has been happening.

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  59. I have an idea. Let's sell the Library to Bill Kefalas!

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    1. The Only Library in Town.
      Just like his restaurant, the name would be a lie.

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    2. Good question. Who will the Library property be sold to?

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  60. These Library people are talking way too much.

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    1. Funny that they said nothing before this meeting. Now they're talking a lot.

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  61. Tonight's meeting is an insiders vs. outsiders meeting. Kefalas gets away with it because of his connections at City Hall. The Library Friends get to set up this Library plan in private, and only now reveal it to the public. Very little has changed in this town.

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  62. Ya, I was there, the CCouncil caved. Wonder if there was a lawsuit pending that helped Kefalas win. They were all high 5ing outdoors. Sad, sad.

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  63. So let me get this straight. The Library the UUT was passed to save, is now going to be sold to a developer and razed? Interesting.

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

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