Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, January 22, 2022

MVNews this week:  Page 3

Mountain Views-News Saturday, January 22, 2022 


We at Preserve Sierra Madre have tried to 
keep you up to date on what is happening 
in town, not only on the potential sale and 
building of 42 large homes on the Retreat 
Center property (a/k/a The Meadows), but 
also what is happening around town, at 
City Hall, and with our elected City Council 
members. Our last column was about 
the misinformation the City Managers 
(first Gabe Engeland, then Jose Reynoso) 
and Director of Planning and Development Vincent Gonzalez passed on to us – once the Meadows 
Environmental Impact Report comes out, that by State law there will be a limit of only five meetings 
for residents to learn the facts as they see it, and state our opinions. 
One of our Steering Committee members asked when a Town Hall type meeting could be scheduled. 
She got the response from Director Gonzales, “We are working on coordinating with City 
Council.” That was over two weeks ago. Another Steering Committee member requested new 
Mayor Gene Goss put discussion of said Town Hall meeting on the Agenda during City Council’s 
first meeting, January 11 so discussion can take place about its timing in the review process. We 
believe that a Town Hall meeting after the EIR is released is a critical part of this process. We 
learned on Tuesday, the 18, that the EIR has just been released – the EIR that was according to Staff 
would come out mid February. We were informed that the EIR is listed on the City website under 
“Transparency,” an oxymoron if there ever was one! Where in the world is the Transparency heading 
on the website?
Not a word from Mayor Goss until the release of the EIR on Tuesday afternoon. He responded that 
he saw no reason why we need any more public meetings other than those that have already been 
scheduled. Really, Mayor Goss? When, pray tell, are those public meetings to be? 
With Covid cases increasing, we were not in attendance (as well as one Council member) to ask 
for this. Now City Hall is closed because of the surging pandemic. Even worse, at the first City 
Council meeting of the year, City Clerk Laura Aguilar announced that ‘emails sent to the Council 
will no longer be read. Instead they will be posted on the City website’. That is the difficult to 
navigate website. In other words, once again the residents’ voices are, if not silenced, then muted. 
Gary Hood, the only resident in attendance, eloquently stated what a mistake this will be. We are 
older as a town, many residents don’t even have computers and rely on the old fashioned method 
of watching City Council and Planning Commission meetings on TV to stay informed as to what 
is going on in town, especially during Covid. 
Another Steering Committee member emailed each Council member separately to inform them of 
how distressing this is, and what are they thinking? 
Reviewing what has happened in the last year and a half to stifle resident participation in the middle 
of a never-ending pandemic:

1. July, 2020 – City Council reduced the number of Planning Commissioners from 7 to 5. 
2. October, 2020 – City Council stripped the design review duties from the Planning Commission 
and gave it to staff-- thereby ensuring no transparency during review of “remodels” and 
new housing projects would be couched in secrecy.
3. May, 2020 – It was brought to Council’s attention by a resident that there were two remodels 
to be discussed within 300 feet of her residence, and she had no way to discover what was happening, 
except by requesting information from staff over and over – transparency was gone.
4. August, 2021 – Supplemental Environmental Impact Report for the change in the General 
Plan and the Draft Environmental Report for the Meadows project came out simultaneously 
–4331 pages for non-professional residents to read, digest, and submit our concerns, rebuttals and 
5. October, November, December, 2021, January, 2022 – Request for a Town Hall type meeting 
ignored or denied. We are still held to only three minutes on the dot of speaking before City 
Council. We wonder if the Council members actually read the Draft Environmental Impact Report 
and our comments. Preserve Sierra Madre’s comments were 24 pages, compiled over three months 
of hard work. There were another 90 or so emails sent in. 
6. January, 2022 - Our voices via emails during a surging Omicron pandemic, stifled. 
If you are concerned about the stifling of our resident voices, please contact your elected City 
Council members: 

Mayor Gene Goss: ggoss@cityofsierramadre.comMayor Pro Tem Ed Garcia: egarcia@cityofsierramadre.comCouncilmember Rachelle Arizmendi: 
Councilmember Kelly Kriebs: kkriebs@cityofsierramadre.comCouncilmember Robert Parkhurst: rparkhurst@cityofsierramadre.comAt this writing we don’t know what form the January 25th City Council meeting will be – hybrid or 
totally via zoom. Please watch even if your voice has been silenced. 


Dear Editor: 

The City staff of Sierra Madre and the City Council have promised transparency in our local 
government. Mistrust of government at all levels has increased exponentially the last 
several years, and our fair City of Sierra Madre has added to this. Sierra Madre has failed to 
inform us of SB 9 and SB 10 and took no action. Now we feel the City is not being forthright 
about the zone change request from the Monastery/Retreat Center. 
The Fathers of Mater Dolorosa, in far off Chicago, have instructed it necessary for our local 
priests at the Monastery, in the northwest corner of town sell off 20 acres of their property 
to a Santa Monica based development company, New Urban West, which plans on building 
42 large homes (4000 sq ft). If you live in Sierra Madre, you have undoubtedly received 
several post cards touting all the wonderful enhancements that will happen in our city once 
it is built. 

What has prompted me to write today is the appearance of complicity by the City. First, the 
Draft Environmental Impact Report came out in August, at the same time as the Supplemental 
Impact Report to change parts of our General Plan (the “Constitution of the City”). 
4331 pages in all! Many people studied both, came up with reservations and rebuttals to 
both, but the EIR for the change to the General Plan did not address these issues in any 
meaningful way. 

Residents were told over and over once the EIR was published for the Monastery property, 
there would be only five meetings allowed to discuss it (2 before the Planning Commission, 
two before City Council, and one additional). City Staff said at the last City Council 
meeting emails to City Hall would no longer be read, but would be put on the website. If 
you’ve tried to navigate the website, you know how difficult it is. Mayor Goss said this was 
to shorten the meetings. Shorten the meetings? During the surge of a deadly disease? 
Now the EIR is out – an entire month before residents were assured it would be mid February. 
Omicron is raging, and expected to lessen in a month. To add insult to injury, it is 
published on the website under “Transparency.” Try to find it! 

Deb Sheridan. Sierra Madre Resident 


January 9-15, 2022 During this period, the Sierra Madre Police Department 
responded to approximately 140 calls for service. This list is not intended to be 
considered exclusive or all-inclusive. 

Sunday, January 9, Vandalism / Hate Crime 

In the 00 block of W. Carter Ave, SMPD responded to a report of an unknown suspect(s) sprayed 
painted a swastika on a garage door. The Detectives' Bureau is investigating this incident. 

Monday, January 10, Suspicious Circumstances Officers responded to the 500 block of Mt. Wilson 
Trail regarding mail that was left scattered on the hiking trail. Officers took the mail for safekeeping 
and notified the owners. The Detectives' Bureau is following up on this incident. 

Thursday, January 13, Vandalism From January 2, 2022, at 11:00 am to January 13, 2022, at 11:00 
am, in the 500 block of Woodland Dr, SMPD responded to a call regarding unknown suspect(s) 
having illegally slashed both driver’s side tires of a vehicle. The damage is estimated at approximately 
$400.00. The Detectives' Bureau is following up on this incident. 

Friday, January 14, Vandalism Arrest 
Officers responded to the 00 block of W. Sierra Madre Blvd regarding a subject that matched the 
description of the suspect seen on security surveillance video vandalizing the victim’s property in 
the 00 block of W. Carter Ave on January 8, 2022. The subject admitted to damaging the victim’s 
property and was arrested for vandalism. The subject was eventually booked at the Pasadena PD jail. 

Friday, January 14, Grant Theft / Forgery 
In the 00 block of W. Sierra Madre Blvd, the victim reported that an unknown suspect(s) illegally 
made fraudulent business checks and cashed the checks for $3,500.00. 
The Detectives' Bureau is following up on this incident. 


by Deanne Davis 

“Christmas: The only time of year you 
can sit in front of a dead tree and 
eat candy out of a sock!” 

“Why are pine trees bad at sewing? They 
always drop their needles!” 

“All Christmas trees are beautiful…until 
it’s the end of January.
And then they’re not.” 

No, dear friends and neighbors, I’ve not 
gone completely ‘round the bend just yet. 
All my Christmas stuff is put away and I’m 
sure yours is, too; but I came across this 
fantastic article about recycling Christmas 
trees and needed to share it with you. 
We all sort of hate to see our tree that was 
so gorgeous when we bought it a couple 
of weeks before Christmas…kicked to 
the curb waiting for the Athens truck to 
come by, pick it up and leave only a pile of 
dry needles in the gutter. Especially when 
these gorgeous things are now costing as 
much as a really good prime rib dinner 
for four! 
However, Arizona and, I hope, lots of other places, have come up with a solution. These 
discarded Christmas trees will become much-needed fish habitat for the Saguaro Lake reservoir. 
Trees were dropped in six locations where the lake floor was barren. Cement cinder 
blocks tied to the base of each tree ensured they would sink to the bottom of the lake. 
Spruce, fir and pine will create nooks and crevices for the many fish that live in the reservoir, 
adding structure to their environment. The trees will also create a refuge for smaller fish and 
plankton, creating an entirely new ecosystem. Isn’t this great! 

For fish to thrive, they need structural habitat throughout the lake. These trees will help 
maintain an environment that fosters growth. Reading about this recycling project to protect 
and encourage a strong fish habitat brought to mind one of my best friends ever, Roger 
Larocque, who is now doing his fishing in heaven. Roger loved fishing for bass. Was a 
tournament and championship winner and had the most beautiful bass boat ever seen by 
anyone. Roger fished all the Southern California lakes and had a special catch and release 
technique to ensure that the enormous beauties he caught were fine when they were back in 
the water. Roger would walk the fish in the water to be sure they were functioning properly 
again before he let them go. I think the fish knew it was Roger in the boat and didn’t mind 
being caught as they got the equivalent of a massage and a facial before he left them. 

As I looked further into recycling Christmas trees, I discovered that there are all sorts of 

good things that can happen to them. 

You can leave your tree as is for a bird feeder. Put it out in your garden and string orange 

slices or popcorn on it and birds will be attracted and sit in the branches for shelter. 

You can start a new compost pile. A thin layer of evergreen branches makes a sound base 

for a new compost pile as the branches allow for air flow. 

Some communities use Christmas trees to make effective sand and soil erosion barriers, 

especially for lake and river shoreline stabilization. 

Sunk into fish ponds, trees make an excellent protective nursery where smaller fish can take 

refuge, as we mentioned above. 

Some areas use shredded trees as free, renewable and natural path materials that help the 

environment and meet the needs of hikers. Who knew!! 

The New York City Parks Department has an annual event dedicated to “tree-cycling” 

Christmas trees. This program offers 74 drop-off points across the city and they typically 

welcome 25,000 to 30,000 trees each season, which are ground into mulch!! 

I feel like the Mountain Views News’ own Christopher Nyerges, talking about improving 
the environment. If you haven’t read his column in last week’s News, btw, about his custom 
of birthday runs, take a minute and read it. If you haven’t kept your paper, it’s online: www. on Page 8. Good use of the time. His views on money and relationships 
are well worth thinking about. 

I’ve ordered “The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig, Sierra Madre’s One Book, One City se

lection for February. After reading the following how could I not!! 

“Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite 
number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, 
along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different 
choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if 
you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives 
truly be better?” 

Can’t wait to get started! Have a great week, friends and neighbors, and keep posting those 

amazing pictures of the sunrises and sunsets that have been such a joy to see the last week 

or so. 

“At the end of the day, all you need is hope and strength. 

Hope that it will get better, and strength to hold on until it does.” 

“Hope is the only thing stronger than fear.”

 My book page: Deanne Davis 
I know Christmas is over, but just in case you forgot someone, my book:
“Sunrises and Sunflowers Speak Hope” 
Would be a really nice gift.
You can find it on and they’ll even send it for you! 


As part of the Sierra Madre Cares effort, the City Council recently 
approved the COVID-19 Nonprofit Grant Program. Utilizing 
$200,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, 
Sierra Madre nonprofit organizations will be able to apply for 
up to $50,000 in grant funding. The purpose of this program is 
to provide immediate financial support to organi-zations that 
have experienced financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic 
and to implement COVID-19 prevention or mitigation 

Grant applications and guidelines will be available online Monday, 
January 10 at 12pm. Visit 
cares for more information. 

Catch breaking news at:
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