Mountain Views News, Combined edition

Combined Edition

Inside this Week:

F. Y. I. :

Preserve Sierra Madre
Citizens for Truth
Neighbors for Fairness
Letters to the Editor

Sierra Madre:
Walking SM … The Social Side

SM Community Calendar:
SM Calendar of Events

Pasadena – Altadena:

Local City News:
Monrovia News Briefs
Duarte News Briefs

Public Safety:
Sierra Madre Police Blotter
Arcadia Police Blotter
Monrovia Police Blotter
Duarte Police Blotter
Crime Safety Tips

Support Your Local Businesses:

Education & Youth:
Newspaper Fun!

Best Friends and More:
Christopher Nyerges
Sierra Madre Playhouse News
Katnip News!
Pet of the Week

The Good Life:
Family Matters
Out to Pastor
Senior Happenings

Rich & Famous
Tom Purcell
Stuart Tolchin On …
The Funnies

Legal Notices:


For Your Consideration:

Deanne Davis
Marc Garlett
Rich Johnson
Christopher Nyerges
Rev. James Snyder
Stuart Tolchin

Recent Issues:
Issue 30
Issue 29
Issue 28
Issue 27
Issue 26
Issue 25
Issue 24
Issue 23
Issue 22
Issue 21
Issue 20

MVNews Archive:  Page 1

MVNews this week:  Page 1


VOLUME 16 NO. 31VOLUME 16 NO. 31

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By Kevin McGuire

Aloha. Before heading out on their August vacation break, City Council 
met for one last meeting in their best Hawaiian apparel and flowered lays to 
tackle a few previous action items before the lava flows flow.

 One of those items was a very familiar—filming in Sierra Madre. The city's 
wonderful charm, as many know, draws the interest of both amateur and 
professional photographers and filmmakers. Locations often include the 
Kersting Court area and the 12 acres of Alverno Heights Academy.

 Over the years, residents have raised concerns regarding noise, bright 
lights, and extra traffic in the area. Events and filming are supposed to wrap 
up by 10 p.m. Still, there have been complaints from residents near Alverno 
that noise from filming and photo events extends past 10 p.m. Alverno attributes 
that to clean-up from vendors of glassware, trash, linens, and other 
items left over at the events, which must be attended to after the functions 
have ended.

 There are currently 11 listed insurance requirements for filming in Sierra 
Madre. Number 11 states that any variance of the other ten requirements 
“may be approved in writing by at least 75% of occupants within a 250-foot 
radius of the property for film and photography activities.”

 Earlier this year, Sierra Madre Police opened up an investigation into 
resident allegations of fraudulent signatures on a filming permit application 
when crews showed up “unannounced” to shoot an upcoming ministries 
series. (See related story below).

Amending the Ordinance

 Before the Council on Tuesday night on July 26, before a pretty empty 
room, was the consideration of Ordinance 1459 Amending Chapter 5.36 
(Commercial Photography and Motion Picture Filming) of Title 5 (Business 
Licenses and Regulations) of the Sierra Madre Municipal Code.

 Amendments for approval have been bounced around for over three 
months since the initial set of amendments was sent to the Planning Commission 
in April. The Community Services Commission then worked 
through revisions until June 20, when they voted for approval and sent it 
off to City Council. 

City Council made several amendments during their June 28 and July 12 

At its June 28th meeting, the City Council made the following amendments: 

• A clarification that this ordinance applies to “film or photography activity”; 

• An exemption for institutionally designated properties with a master plan
or conditional use permit that regulates filming;

• That notice of filming must be provided seven days before the film or
photography activity commences;

•That notice shall be provided to tenants “and” owners;

•An appeal may be heard by the city manager or their designee; and

•The appellant’s fee will be refunded if the appeal is successful.

At its July 12th meeting, the City Council made the following amendments: 

•The definition of film or photography activity was amended to include
base camp, preparation, filming, and strike days;

•The exemption for institutionally designated properties does not include
those properties that do not have a master plan or conditional use permit; 

•All references to “tenants and owners” were changed to “occupant”;

•The maximum number of film or photography activities per year in the
residential area was reduced from 60 days to 30 days; and

•A clarification regarding the signature requirement for film or photography 
activity in the non-residential area.

Despite these amendments, staff suggests that more needs to be added and 
subtracted. For example, the existing Commercial Photography and Motion 
Picture Filming ordinance does not adequately consider the differences 
that exist and the potential adverse impacts associated with commercial 
photography and filming activities in residential versus non-residential areas 
of the city, according to the staff report.

A handful of residents came to express their thoughts before the Council; 
the first was the President of Alverno, Ken Farfsing, who felt the Temporary 
Use Permit (TUP) they’ve had in place for 11 years works just fine. “I think 
this raises a more fundamental question. In your TUP ordinance, you have 
the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for institutional use, and we are grateful 
for that. But it raises the question of what type of facts and customization 
can occur within that CUP?” Farfsing inquired.

Farsing stated that closing the events at Alverno at 10 p.m. works fine and 
that all the clean-up is done inside. He noted that having to be done entirely 
by ten won’t work because that would mean that events such as weddings 
would have to be completed by 9. 

Leesa Puleo was one of the residents who claimed her signature was forged 
on a filming permit application. “The TUP that Mr. Farfsing is referring to 
is from 10 years ago, and their behavior has changed quite a bit since then,” 
Puleo said. “Partygoers continue staying there well after 10. We were hoping 
we had a hard close at 10’clock so we can make sure people are leaving,” 
she said.

Resident Kristin Stephens also claimed her signature was forged and stated 
on ABC 7 that all the signatures were in the same handwriting. “We haven’t 
made formal complaints about the violations of the TUP because it’s very 
time-consuming,” Stephens stated. Stephen also felt that the events are loud 
and should end at 10. “They now have dancing outside; I don’t know how 
that happened…dancing on the patio?”

Julia Fanara, Head of School at Alverno, claims they have been following 
the rules as far as closing but said they need from 10 -11 p.m. for the vendors 
to leave.

The Cutting Room Floor

City Council asked staff for revisions to the ordinance to reflect a variance 
of 75% if certain standards are not met for events, mirroring the filming 
ordinance. That’s a wrap. A sequel to come.

The Sierra Madre Police Department, after months of investigation, 
has filed for an arrest warrant to apprehend at least one person 
who may have been involved in forging signatures of local 
residents in order to ascertain a filming permit from the City of 
Sierra Madre.

As previously reported in the Mountian Views News in March, 
both the City of Sierra Madre and residents who live within 250 
feet of Alverno Heights Academy, were believed to be victims 
of "unscrupulous signature gatherers"(

At that time, former SMPD Chief Rodrick Armalin and then Captain 
HenryAmos made a visit to the home of one of the residents 
and determined that further investigation was warranted. SMPD 
Sgt. Charles Kamachamnian headed the effort and subsequently 
filed a complaint with the district attorney's office requesting a 
warrant for the arrest of one suspect.

 According to Kamachamnian, Paramount Studios, who was requesting 
the permit to film episodes of the mini-series "The Offer", 
about the making of "The Godfather". contracted with Stanley Production 
Services to gather the signatures/permission of 51% of the residents 
who live within the designated proximity of the school. Upon further 
investigation SMPD learned that Stanley Production subcontracted the 
signature gathering out and it is an individual connected to that companyr 
that is being charged with Misdemeanor Forgery.





REPEATING? By Scott Hood

Development Controversies Over The Years

Back in 2006 and 2007 Sierra Madre was faced by large developers seeking 
to profit from the quaintness and fruits of Sierra Madre’s historical 
battle for preservation. Ironically, and sadly, it is the homegrown efforts 
of our residents to preserve the town that becomes their greatest enemy. 
Every year we achieve some level of preservation, causing property values 
to increase at higher rates, thus making the spoils of Sierra Madre’s destruction 
that much more lucrative for excessive development.

But back to the mid 2000’s. The town insiders, despite the usual pre- and 
post-election proclamations of being “for preservation”, felt they knew 
best about how preservation should be defined. As residents began to recognize 
this conflict, they banded together to create Measure V, an initiative 
that put the power of exceeding our decades old building standards in 
our downtown back into the hands of our residents, by way of a majority 
vote on a project requesting to exceed our standards.

The city council at the time asked for an independent evaluation of the 
initiative. In this case, they hired an outside law firm. Imagine their dismay 
when the report from McDonough Holland & Allen (February 22, 
2007) came back supportive of the measure. Of course, a law firm will 
not “support”, but they found that the initiative did not conflict with the 
general plan or create inconsistencies and could be expected to perform 
as advertised and more. This sent the council of the time and others into a 
frenzy. Instead of supporting the initiative which this legal analysis would 
allow them to do, they set about trying to destroy it by either essentially 
lying about what was in the independent legal findings or simply making 
things up. It is usually a safe assumption that busy residents will not take 
the time to track down, read, and analyze a 13-page legal document. Fortunately, 
opponents were wrong about that.

There can come a time when citizens lose faith in their representatives to 
act in the interests of the citizens. The Meadows Project (cont. on page 3)



The Meadows at 
Bailey Canyon

Letters To The Editor

Page 3

Sierra Madre News

Pages 1,4,5


...................Page 2


Page 6

So. Pas./San Marino

Duarte News

Page 7

Education & Youth Page 10

Best Friends

Page 10

The Good Life

Page 12


Page 13

Legal Notices

 Page 14


Sierra Madre Girls 


Local Cities

Police Blotters

Safety Tips For The 

Page 8

Happy Birthday


Page 4

Christopher Nyerges

Page 11

Useful Reference Links

Mountain Views News 80 W. Sierra Madre Blvd. #327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.604.4548