Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, June 4, 2022

MVNews this week:  Page A:3

3 Mountain Views-News Saturday, June 4, 2022 CONVERSATIONS.......THE MEADOWS 3 Mountain Views-News Saturday, June 4, 2022 CONVERSATIONS.......THE MEADOWS 


Author Barton Swaim discussing the recent proposal for a Disinformation Governance 
Board* brought to my mind the issue of the Meadows project. What if 
disagreement about the proposed project became the Stop the Housing Project 
(STOP) group’s drive of disinformation? As Mr. Swaim wrote in one part of his 
op-ed, “Sound policy … was a matter of gathering enough data and following 
it. But of course, you can’t follow data…” “Data just sits there and waits to be 

The STOP group writes that “the MOU should have never been approved during 
the onset of the global pandemic because there was no opportunity for residents 
to be appraised and provide input.” But that’s not the case. City Manager Engeland 
and two councilmembers met with Matt Bryant, the organizer of Preserve 
Sierra Madre (PSM), and me, then PSM Steering Committee Chairman, in late 
January of 2020 advising of the Monastery’s intent to file for a zoning change 
for a development project. Another meeting was held with Bryant, myself, and 
Engeland on February 6, 2020, advising us of the intent to negotiate an MOU. 
PSM sent out letters advising their group of the process and also sent to the then 
City Manager Engeland a series of questions about the project. Those questions 
and answers were published in the Mountain Views News, unedited. 

The City Council reviewed the MOU at their March 24, 2020 meeting, which 
included time for the public to comment. They also jointly held meetings with 
New Urban West for the public, with opportunities for questions and answers, 
on March 10 and April 20, 2020, so even during the pandemic opportunity was 
given to get information. 

Now, Stop and PSM have looked at the data in the Final EIR and proclaimed 
that the report was “faulty.” They say the “experts” who wrote the report were 
biased. The EIR, in their view, was not fact and their interpretation of data followed 
their logic. For example, the traffic study which reported the impact as 
“less than significant” by the experts became STOP’s interpretation that traffic 
would double. Really? Is that what the Traffic Study indicates? That “traffic in 
Sierra Madre will more than double with this development.” Again, disinformation 
follows their interpretation.

 In the two groups’ zeal to stall and stop the development, they claim the Initiative 
to change the zoning from Institutional to Hillside Residential would save 
water, protect wildlife, and preserve the “last open space available in town.” This 
is also a false narrative since under the Initiative houses can still be built in that 
space and wildlife as it is now will be disrupted by a new subdivision. Those larger 
lots with fewer houses would use as much or more water than the 42 planned 
homes due to the additional landscaping, larger houses, and not to mention the 
State’s recent mandates to allow ADUs and lot splits that could quadruple the 
number of homes allowed in the Hillside Residential zone. 

In circulating STOP’s Initiative to change the zoning of the Mater Dolorosa 
property, the individuals circulating the petition told prospective signers that 
the Initiative would change the zoning of the 20 acres proposed for housing. 
PSM reiterated that fact in an email to their list of supporters. They neglected 
to tell the signers and in their emails that the Initiative would change the entire 
property owned by the Passionists. In fact, the Retreat Center would be included 
in Hillside Zoning and would be frozen in its form and prohibited from 
any change of use or future Institutional development. Disagreeing with the 
proposed project turned into disinformation. 

Pat Alcorn, Sierra Madre Neighbors for Fairness*WSJ May 14, 2022 





If you’ve been following the Meadows project discussions 
then you might start to feel that the hyperbole 
is getting old. 

Consider the often repeated catch-phrase used by 
Protect Sierra Madre (PSM): “Destroyed Meadows 
at Bailey Canyon.” Is their concern really that the 
“meadow” will be destroyed when their own initiative’s 
zoning change will allow 32 homes to be 
built on the property, plus there will be no three 
acre park for public use? They obviously are not 
concerned about open space and public enjoyment 
of the property. 

Or how about the claim that the developer wants 
to “override and circumvent” our General Plan 
and ordinances. The applicant is using the process 
they were told to use by the City Council in 2015 
to amend the General Plan and City’s ordinances. 
Whatever the City Council approves will be in 
conformance with the City’s General Plan and 
codes because it will be a part of them. 

Then there is the accusation that the Planning 
Commission is “silencing” the public for closing 
public comments at subsequent meetings on the 
continued agenda item. According to Chaffee v. 
San Francisco Library, public bodies are under 
no obligation to reopen public comments because 
doing so would cause a “surplusage.” Yet Planning 
Commissioner Pevsner still gets disrespected and 
derided before every meeting over this issue. Now 
the “opposition” groups are overtly planning on 
co-opting the Community Input time to use as a 
proxy for commenting on an agenda item when 
the agenda clearly states that this time is for items 
NOT on the agenda. 

The project applicant is constantly under fire for 
following the standard process for a development 
project. An applicant gets as much time as they 
reasonably need to present their project. The PSM 
group seems to think the applicant should only 

have three minutes of speaking time! This is absurd 
and they must know they are being unreasonable 
yet they continue to push this ridiculous 
narrative. PSM also seems to think the applicant 
is deliberating with the public. They are not. The 
Planning Commission is the legislative body making 
the decisions. The public gets to comment and 
not argue specific points. 

It is also claimed that the applicant is “pushing 
through a flawed EIR.” The EIR serves one main 
purpose which is to identify impacts from a project. 
It is ultimately up to the City Council to decide 
how to address any impacts. Public comments are 
allowed after the draft EIR to make sure the final 
EIR addresses all the impacts. It doesn’t matter if a 
few minor items were added between the draft and 
final EIR as long as they are in the final version. 

Lastly, there are the lies about our group, Sierra 
Madre Neighbors for Fairness, and how we are a 
“mouthpiece” for the applicant. It should be noted 
that we are not promoting the Meadows project. 
We are fighting the misinformation that is being 
spread to try and convince people to pass an initiative 
which will strip the existing property rights 
of the Passionists. We will use whatever resources 
are available to us in our fight. Our steering committee 
(our website lists the members) is made up 
of residents that represent well over 500 years of 
living in Sierra Madre. We are just as much a part 
of this city as the Preserve/Protect Sierra Madre 
groups and they know this. 

We clearly point out lies and misinformation 
when we see them, but notice that the accusations 
against us are vague references. This is just another 
example of how the P/PSM groups are being unreasonable 
in the discussions. We know that lies 
are often more compelling in the short term, but 
we will move forward with the facts. We invite anyone 
who thinks we are spreading misinformation 
to provide specific quotes so that we can properly 
address them. What is asserted without evidence 
gets dismissed without evidence.
Jim and Martha Walsworth www.sierramadreneighborsforfairness.


Preserve Sierra Madre is an advocacy coalition of Sierra 
Madre residents dedicated to preserving the unique and 
eclectic character of our little village in the Foothills. 

First formed in 1977 as the Homeowners & Residents Association, 
members were called Friends of Sierra Madre 
in 1998 with a name change in 2001 to Residents for 
Preservation of Sierra Madre. For many years now we 
have been known as Preserve Sierra Madre. We still have 

members who were part of the original group back in 1977. 

Preserve Sierra Madre is not anti-development; in fact, we encourage and support responsible development 
that complies with the goals of the City’s General Plan and building codes. Sierra Madre is also 
a Tree City USA and a Wildlife Sanctuary City, and both groups need support from the community. 

Preserve Sierra Madre welcomes residents who are interested in receiving our newsletters. We seek the 
facts and transparency with what affects our little community. Your input regarding our newsletters are 
important to preserving our little village in the Foothills. 
Please visit us @ 

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