Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, April 18, 2020

MVNews this week:  Page 3


Mountain Views-News Saturday, April 18, 2020 


 by Deanne Davis



SIERRA MADRE —The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has approved a $4.9 million construction 
project to enhance the long-term flood protection capabilities of Sierra Madre Dam, Supervisor 
Kathryn Barger announced today.


“Capturing, cleaning, and storing water is our region’s best defense against the increasingly difficult 
challenges of water supply and water quality,” said Supervisor Barger. “Los Angeles County and its 
public and private sector partners are investing in projects, such as the Sierra Madre Dam, to do just 


Sierra Madre Dam is a critical piece of stormwater infrastructure that protects the downstream communities 
of Sierra Madre and Arcadia. It is part of a broad network of County-operated dams and 
debris basins that contribute to regional flood protection and water resiliency. Stormwater passing 
through the dam is diverted into the Sierra Madre Spreading Grounds, which are owned and operated 
by the City of Sierra Madre to refresh underground aquifers.


Project improvements include the construction of a new concrete access road, upgrades to existing 
access roads, installation of a rockfall protection barrier, repairs to concrete slopes and other minor 
facility upgrades.


With today’s approval by the Board of Supervisors, Los Angeles County Department of Public Works 
expects construction to begin in September and be completed by November 2021.

“Plan: Update resume, search for new career, clean the garage, purge 
hall closet, join an on-line live exercise class, sign up for an on-line 
class in philosophy,

 send out thank you notes for Christmas gifts.

Reality: Eat third bowl of Captain Crunch, binge watch Guy’s 
Grocery Games on Food Network, take nap, notice it’s only 1:30 and 
scroll through all Amazon’s Deals of the Day. 

Decline invitation to join on-line poker club.”

Reading our Mountain Views News, the first thing I saw was the ad 
for Case Del Rey and I was overwhelmed with longing for chips, salsa 
and guacamole, followed by a chile relleno, one cheese enchilada and 
rice and beans. Yes, I know I can get all that for takeout, but what I 
really really want is to sit outside and look at the mountains, have a 
margarita and enjoy that meal with some dear friends. I guess it’s not 
the food, it’s the fellowship. 

Things I never thought I’d be doing: 

1. Watching an Easter sunrise service on my computer wearing my pajamas.
2. Praying for my granddaughter, Ashley’s safety. She is a labor and delivery nurse at St. Joseph’s 
Hospital in Orange County. So proud of what she does and so concerned for her and her family.
3. Opening my refrigerator every time I walk by it as though something magical is going to 
happen in the five minutes since I opened it last and there will be a honey-baked ham, a loaf of 
really good rye bread and a jar of champagne mustard in there, instead of the sliced turkey I know 
has seen its best days and should go to the garbage disposal.
4. Wondering if 7:30 is too early to go to bed.
5. Considering a trip to Target as a major life event, filled with more danger than a Bruce 
Willis movie.
6. Ordering a new jigsaw puzzle from Amazon and being really peeved that they won’t deliver 
it for a week.
7. Praying for all the children in our world who can’t go to school and who haven’t really 
adapted to on-line school, like our own Jessie and Emily. 
8. Being happy to be pulling weeds in my garden and admiring everything out there. It’s never 
looked better. Plants, like people, like to be admired. My lemon tree has little baby lemons sprouting 
all over it and, even though lemons are probably months away, I’m already planning lemon bars. As 
you probably have enough time to make some and if you have access to a lemon, here’s my recipe:

Lemon Bars

1/3 cup butter, softened 

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup flour

In a medium mixing bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. 
Add 1/4 cup sugar; beat until combined. Beat in 1 cup flour until crumbly. Press mixture into the 
bottom of an ungreased 8-inch square baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until 
just golden.

Meanwhile, for filling:

2 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

2 tb. Flour

2 tb. Finely shredded lemon zest (more is good, lots more is better)

3 tb. Lemon juice

1/4 tsp. Baking powder

Whip eggs in same bowl you used for the crust. Add 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tb. Flour, lemon zest, lemon 
juice and baking powder. Beat 2 minutes or until combined. Pour filling over baked layer. Bake 
20 minutes more or until lightly browned around edges and center is set. Sprinkle powdered sugar 
over top after it has cooled.

Try not to eat them all yourself as soon as they are out of the oven.

Stay Healthy! Stay Safe! Stay Home!

Yes, I know that’s our mantra now, but this won’t last forever and we will all be, once again, hugging 
each other, going shopping and actually finding TP in quantity on the shelves, along with bread, 
paper towels, sanitizer wipes and all the other stuff we can’t seem to get. Meanwhile, encourage 
wherever you can, send a text, make a call, and be amazed at all the good things we see people doing 
all around us. My friend, Rich Johnson of JJ Jukebox fame, sent me the beginning line to a beloved 
old hymn: Near To The Heart of God..

“There is a place of quiet rest,

Near to the heart of God.”

My book page: Deanne Davis 

Check out “The Crown” Easter is just a few days past but the memory lingers on.

If you’ve ever wondered what happened to that crown of thorns, 

“The Crown” is perfect for you!


Follow me on Twitter, too! 


Dear Editor:

I write as a homeowner and member of Preserve Sierra Madre to urge City Manager and City 
Council to postpone any action on the Monastery development project until the state and 
Federal COVID restrictions have been lifted. 

 Although the City Manager has outlined various mechanisms for input by citizens before and 
during the upcoming Council meeting, I feel the general public has been incompletely and 
insufficiently informed about the development controversy. 

 Even if notifications have met minimal standards of informing citizens, this is a singularly 
volatile topic that demands some guarantee that every taxpayer can hold, on paper, a mailing 
that outlines the impact of any approved project on:

 1. Our tax base. We pay dearly for the privilege of owning homes in Sierra Madre, and 
many folks would like to know in more detail what the true revenue boost would be should 
the development project achieve its planned build-out size. 

 No specific homes have been proposed so determining a specific and accurate estimate at 
this point would be premature. However, in general, the City receives about $0.0021 cents of 
every $1.00 in tax that is levied on a property. If we assume 40 homes are built at a value of 
$1,000,000 the City can expect an increase in sales tax of about $84,000. This pays for 2/3 of 
one officer at current salary and benefit rates. The idea that there is a “windfall” of property 
tax and ongoing revenue to the City is a misnomer. As you know, Sierra Madre is one of the 
few cities that does not levy any additional municipal property taxes. 

 With regards to one time revenues, the City collects impact fees for every house that is approved 
and built. These impact fees go to the expansion of sewer and water systems and the 
maintenance and upkeep of parks and recreation facilities city-wide. These funds are tightly 
regulated by the State and can only be spent on the restrictive elements as I just described. 
The City will collect a significant amount in one time fees, but will retain very little as the fees 
are used to offset the impacts of the new development. The saying “growth pays for growth” 
is applicable here.

 The other give-backs outlined by the City Manager, like the small park and traffic improvements 
may be nice and needed, but what will be the net projected enhancement of revenue to 
the City?

 The proposed 3.5 acre park will be provided to the City if the project is ultimately completed 
as a “developed” or “turnkey” park. This means it will include playground equipment, pavilions, 
landscaping, and other facilities as determined by the Community. As part of the MOU, 
the new homes will pay for the maintenance and upkeep of this park in perpetuity. The City 
will not have to spend general funds on this park ever. In addition to this, the development 
will also pay for select improvements to Bailey Canyon Park. The care and upkeep of parks as a 
routine matter is not terrible expensive, approximately $50,000/year, however, purchasing and 
replacing equipment is very expensive. As an example, replacing the small playground equipment 
at Sierra Vista Park is projected to cost $150,000 and has a short useable life. The ADA 
coverings we installed at Memorial Park and Sierra Vista Park cost approximately $50,000 and 
will need to be maintained and replaced. These costs do not include bathrooms, water, electricity, 
etc. These costs will be paid directly by the home owners of the new development, but 
the benefits will be enjoyed by all of our residents and visitors.

 And, what will the cash prize be for the Passionists of Chicago? Have they been paying the 
City of Sierra Madre PILT monies (Payments in lieu of taxes) over the years of their presence? 
How much? Most of us wouldn't know. And I think we should know.

 No. The Monastery does not pay the City PILT taxes or property taxes. 

 There is not sufficient transparency for the people who elected our officials if a MOU is passed 
while we all are fighting for the lives of our families and friends. The Manager and Council 
need to take up a more pro-active and layered approach to informing all of the citizens of the 
City in this situation. And, again, delay any moving forward.

 I stated the reasons the MOU is being proposed above. In addition to what was described 
there, the MOU, if approved, would require the developer to hold more public hearings, not 
fewer, than what is currently allowed under State law. The MOU will require the developer 
to hold these meetings prior to the filing a plan with the Planning Commission for consideration. 
The first meeting is tentatively proposed at the end of July which provides adequate 
time for people to prepare for the town hall.

 The proposed MOU is not required for the property owner to develop the property. If approved, 
the MOU does reduce the density and avoid the worst potential outcomes with regards 
to the type of development that ultimately proceeds. This is an extra layer of transparency, 
and is being done proactively.

2. Our environmental quality of life. Beyond the environmental and ecological disruption 
and potential permanent damage caused by construction work itself, how would a full build-
out impact continuing air and water quality to the entire City? What are the impact projections 
in terms of at-risk citizens with compromised health conditions, not just those abutters, 
but most of us in this small 3 square mile municipality? 

 The project will be required to complete all CEQA regulations, including the completion of 
an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The review of the EIR will include, but not be limited 
to, a Historical Resources Technical Report, an Arborist Report and Tree Inventory Summary, 
a Traffic Impact Study, a Hydrology and Water Quality Study, a Utilities and Services System 
Study, and Greenhouse Gas Study.

3. Water. Water. Water. We will have significant drought again, soon, then again. Even after 
our lifting of the water moratorium, new development is unwarranted, especially given the 
fragile nature of our water and sewer infrastructure, with issues of deferred maintenance and 
questionable water quality (it may be legal, but our water is not good municipal water for taste, 
dissolved minerals, corrosive effects on household plumbing and appliances).

 The City of Sierra Madre does not have a water moratorium. The City Council, as required 
by State law, must work to supplement or augment a water supply should the conditions for 
a moratorium on water exist. The City Council signed two agreements recently that provide 
a reliable, perpetual source of water for Sierra Madre residents. The water supply of the City 
exceeds the current and projected demand of Sierra Madre residents, including the belief that 
drought conditions will be persistent. 

 In addition to this, the proposed MOU requires all homes to have a “netzero” impact on water. 
This will be completed through strict application of water standards as well as offsetting current 
use in Sierra Madre. The total water demand will not increase due to this development.

4. Monastery as Dangerous Precedent. Water exceptions will be sought by every existing and 
potential developer, who will point to any Monastery deal as precedent. Can we be sued again 
by the Stonegate (1 Carter) people and others who were blocked from beginning or finishing 
their projects? Will this Monastery MOU be a precursor to other approvals that erode safety 
and quality of life for all of us? 

 The monastery developer is not receiving any water exceptions or any exemptions. The property 
owner has a legal right to develop their privately owned property.

 That is all I have to say right now, but I'd hate to feel that the City somehow used the cover of 
COVID to advance such a controversial project with minimal likely citizen input.


Dan Golden, PhD

(Note: Mr. Golden has informed the paper that he did recieve a timely response to his letter from 
the City Manager).

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: