Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, May 7, 2022

MVNews this week:  Page 4

Mountain View News Saturday, May 7, 2022 



The anonymous writer from “Sierra Madre neighbors 
for fairness” (paid by New Urban West (NUW), 
the tract housing developers with a huge public relations 
budget hired by Mater Dolorosa) accuse me by 
name of falsehoods I must correct. 

They falsely accuse me of telling a half-truth by stating 
that “he is asking that the zoning for this entire 
property be changed from its current designation … 
to Hillside” and that “this is the will of the General 
Plan”. I did not ask that nor did I say this is the will 
of the GP. 

What I said: “The initiative asks that the citizens of 
Sierra Madre vote to require the developers to follow 
the current Hillside provisions in the city’s General 
Plan for buildings in similar parts of the city, if the 
project is approved. It does not prevent them from 
developing. It does prevent them from developing 
under a new ‘Specific Plan’ they drafted, full of 
special provisions just for those 42 homes and apart 
from and not approved for the rest of the city.” 

The other areas located at similar elevations to Mater 
Dolorosa in our city are zoned under the Hillside 
provisions, but Mater Dolorosa is currently zoned as 
Institutional and has been since 1996 when the General 
Plan was updated to reflect its use. They have 
the freedom now as they have since then to develop 
any religious or other institutional facilities as they 
want such as a chapel, a private school or a retirement 
center, consistent with the other provisions in 
City code and the General plan. They haven’t done 
so in the 30 years or so since they demolished the 
Monastery and reduced the only operation there to 
the Retreat Center and there is no plan under discussion 
to do so. 

But selling part of the land to a developer to build 
42 luxury tract homes is not an Institutional or religious 
activity. It is a financial venture designed to 
generate many millions of dollars for the developer, 
their investors, and the Chicago owners of Mater 

They also said my argument comparing building 42 
homes to building a slaughter house is “specious”. It 
is an obvious exaggeration, but the argument is valid. 
When property owners request a zone change to 
build something outside the current regulations, it 
becomes a city and community matter, and the city 
must weigh in on its impact. 

That’s why this big developer NUW has been sending 
out all those expensive slick mailers to everyone 
in town (it costs thousands of dollars to send each 
one, or to put a full page color ad in the paper). If it 
is something that goes against the city’s standards, or 
will negatively impact the community, the city has 
the right to deny it. 

Whatever our highly respected Passionist neighbors 
say their good intentions are for their huge profits, 
they have nothing to do with the people of Sierra 
Madre and the Meadows 42-home development’s 
impact on us. They have the right as property owners 
to develop it; what is upsetting are the many 
excesses to our community’s General Plan in their 
current proposal. 

Significantly: California State Law 65454 states: “No 
Specific Plan may be adopted or amended unless the 
proposed plan or amendment is consistent with the 
General Plan.” 

The proposed development’s unique Specific Plan 
goes against many of the policies and principles we 
the people of Sierra Madre developed and put in 
our General Plan. In addition, the increased traffic, 
parking, water usage, impact on nature and Bailey 
Canyon Wilderness Park will add long term costs to 
the city and its people that far exceed the one-time 
benefit in fees that the developers must pay. 

The initiative states: “It is the intent of the voters that 
any change of use of the Mater Dolorosa Property 
from its current use as the Mater Dolorosa Passionist 
Retreat Center must be consistent with the requirements 
of the Municipal Code governing the Hillside 
Residential Zone/Hillside Management Zone.” This 
does NOT prevent them from selling and/or building 
on it, it does require they do so according to the 
Hillside rules and the General Plan. 

Another Initiative sentence says: “The intent of this 
Initiative is to permit the continued operation of the 
Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center without 
expansion, significant physical alteration, or change 
in use, as a nonconforming use.” NUW and their 
mouthpieces are zeroing in on this sentence to oppose 
the Initiative. They claim it would infringe 
on the Passionists rights to build religious facilities; 
something they have no public plans to do and 
haven’t done for more than 30 years. In fact there are 
statements in their Specific Plan that infer this Plan 
would be used for building more homes on the remaining 
property in the future, as they’ve done with 
other properties across the country in the past few 
decades. Their only proposal on the table now is to 
build 42 luxury homes under this exclusive Special 

The developer NUW’s paid proxy group “neighbors 
for fairness” argument about religious discrimination 
is debatable. Frankly, I support their right to 
continue to modify the Retreat Center for religious 
purposes, and I think the community would support 
them in such efforts. 

But make no mistake, NUW is opposed to the initiative 
because it would prevent them from building 42 
luxury tract homes. I am so opposed to their proposal 
and their exclusive Specific Plan that I would 
vote for the Initiative as it stands if the City Council 
approved the development. It would be our only recourse; 
signing the initiative only means it will be 
put up to a city wide vote; it will give the community 
another option if the 5 people on the City Council 
decide to approve it. Signing the Initiative makes 
this possible. 

All new developments are supposed to follow the 
General Plan provisions we citizens so carefully developed 
over more than 5 years. The best outcome 
would be for the City Council to deny the current 
proposal and request that any further proposals for 
development adhere to the General Plan, the “constitution” 
of Sierra Madre. 

Ed Miller, Sierra Madre 

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

by Deanne Davis 

“Just curious if we can count my phoning you to bail me out of jail this 
Cinco de Mayo as my Mother’s Day call?” 

“Over the years I have learned that motherhood is much like an austere religious order, the 
joining of which obligates one to relinquish all claims to personal possessions.” 

“It is not until you become a mother that your judgment slowly turns to compassion 
and understanding.” Erma Bombeck 

“Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth!” Erma Bombeck 

So much to talk about this week! Cinco de Mayo was last Thursday, and I’m sure most of 
the world celebrated by ordering a large margarita…or two… and a big bowl of guacamole 
and chips. Of course, you all know that Cinco de Mayo is an annual celebration which commemorates 
the anniversary of Mexico's victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla 
in 1862. Led by General Ignacio Zaragoza, the victory of a smaller, poorly equipped Mexican 
force against the larger and better-armed French army was a morale boost for the Mexicans. 
I’m pretty sure they had margaritas to celebrate then, too. 

Mother’s Day is tomorrow and I still have my Mother’s Day cards from last year that say such 
wonderful things that I’m going to share them with you. These words are so encouraging, so 
loving, so worth repeating… 

“To my mother. We all need someone to believe in who we are and in all we can become. 
Someone to cheer, encourage, comfort and guide give us the confidence we need 
to believe in ourselves and in our potential to reach our dreams. Thank you for being my 
someone. May you know how much your love and support mean to me and always will.” 

“Family is love and laughter, strength and smiles, hope and happiness. Every Mother’s Day is 
a gift – a chance to go back through the memories of the heart and say thank you. For a home 
that was warm and welcoming and filled with life and laughter – where each day seemed to 
hold some small adventure and something new to learn. For a family that loves being together 

– that cares for each other and helps one another through all the big and little ups and downs 
of life...for a connection that gives meaning and purpose and joy to every day.” 
If you haven’t gotten your mother a card or some flowers, you’ve still got time. If your mom is 
now residing in heaven, like mine is, tell someone something about her that makes you smile. 
Your mom probably loved/loves you with unconditional love: 

“Unconditional love means accepting someone for who they are now,
not who you hope they will be one day.” DeVon Franklin 

“They carry us beneath their hearts,
That’s how every new life starts.
The beating of our mother’s heart,
The first sound that we hear. 
Love and peace surround us...
And very near.
Your mother, my mother,
And Mary....the mother of....God.” * 

*Lyrics from “Your Mother, My Mother” – Star of Wonder – A Christmas Musical 
Book & Lyrics by Deanne Davis, Music by David Wheatley. 

The picture today, courtesy of Lawrence Taylor, is of one of the neat old cars that graced our 
peaceful village last week as we were transformed into 1930’s San Francisco for the new movie, 
“Oppenheimer” – due for release in July of 2023. The film follows theoretical physicist J. Robert 
Oppenheimer, the director of the Los Alamos Laboratory during the Manhattan Project 
and his contributions that led to the creation of the atomic bomb. Lots of famous folk in it, 
including Robert Downey, Jr., Emily Blunt and Matt Damon. But the coolest part is what the 
movie folks did to recreate another time and another place. Signs on all the stores downtown, 
that cute grocery store, and, of course, the cars. We love it when the movies come to town 
to film. They spend money, bless their hearts, dining at our restaurants, buying stuff at our 
stores. We’ve had so many movies made here… 

Alfred Hitchcock’s “Family Plot” in Pioneer Cemetery

John Carpenter’s “The Fog”

John Carpenter’s “Halloween II”

“The Body Snatchers” – Our all time classic from 1956 with the pod people

“Sgt. Bilko” 

Just to name a few… 
Tomato plants are showing up all over the place. I’m going to get one this year as I am longing 
for a tomato right off my own personal vine. 
“There’s only two things that money can’t buy, and that’s true love and homegrown tomatoes!” 
Guy Clark“It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.” 
Lewis Grizzard 

My book page: Deanne Davis 
Where you’ll find “Sunrises and Sunflowers Speak Hope”
And “A Tablespoon of Love, A Tablespoon of Laughter”
Take a look at both of these books, stuffed with hope and some really good recipes.
And there are Kindle treasures galore you can send straight to your Kindle.
Check me out, friends and neighbors!