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March 11th, 2010 by Temple City Tribune
The League of Women Voters in conjunction with the Sierra Madre Chamber of Commerce hosted a well-attended, almost overflow candidate forum on Monday at City Hall. The room seemed evenly divided, much like the council itself.
Each of the Candidates: Pat Alcorn, John Crawford, Joe Mosca, Bill Tice, Nancy Walsh and Don Watts made brief opening statements before delving in to the usual round of questions from the audience.
The forum, though well attended, was scarcely a stimulating experience for many of the voters in attendance as many of the questions lead directly into canned responses from the well-prepared candidates.
One such candidate was local blogger John Crawford (a.k.a. Eric Maundry) who, in response to each question read quotations from archived posts from his
blog, which on his campaign mailer he proclaims to be the number one news source for Sierra Madre.
Pat Alcorn appeared somewhat nervous but spoke directly to the voter and Josh Moran was passionate about getting the civility back into local government, referring to a city council that has been passionately divided over a number of issues in recent years. He was adamant that the all the candidates felt that Sierra Madre’s small town charm should remain intact, saying he didn’t believe any candidate would wish the city to become another giant metropolis as some have suggested.
There were numerous references to the importance or otherwise of the city’s SCAG membership. And there were the occasional snickers of disapproval from various more outspoken citizens in council chambers when the idea of restoring “civility” was mentioned over and again.
Candidate Joe Mosca, who has faced colossal criticism from blogger/candidate John Crawford held his head high and stuck to the issues while pointing out his many contributions to the city since he’s been on council.
The always fascinating, amusing and deeply religious “Eagle” Bill Tice soared to new heights with some of his comments on Monday giving everyone in the council chambers pause to laugh and not take themselves too seriously while still caring for the city enough to participate in the process. While Bill Tice has perhaps little chance of getting elected, he insists on running each election. Some say it wouldn’t be an election without Bill running.
Candidate Nancy Walsh spoke concisely and eloquently about her platform which is obviously in stark contrast to others seeking a seat on council. Walsh argued, among other things, that the hysteria over the city’s involvement with organizations like SCAG and the SGV Council of Governments was overblown.
Meanwhile Don Watts, who many simply could not hear, said he wanted to continue the good work he and his colleagues have done in the past four years. Watts repeatedly apologized for speaking with such a low volume as many complained they could not hear his responses to the questions.
The candidates are clearly not all on the same page. It seems fairly obvious, at least to the casual observer, that Alcorn, Crawford and Watts maintain a vastly different viewpoint on city politics and future planning than those of Mosca, Moran and Walsh. Just one drive around the small city for a look at the placement of yard signs and other campaign materials tells that story in no uncertain terms.
Issues such as Stonehouse (Formerly One Carter) and the “blight” of the abandoned Skilled Nursing Facility and street repairs were high on the agenda. The new council will face many challenges but the primary one facing voters seems to be, as in many cities across California, how to properly fund the city’s future without mortgaging it entirely.
I am a thirty-seven year resident of the City of Sierra Madre who chose to raise my two daughters here. My girls attended St Rita School, and their three daughters follow in those footsteps today. We love the small town atmosphere that allows children the freedom and safety that we experienced as young people.
I believe in progress made through managed change. It is incumbent upon our city council to demonstrate leadership, transparency and management skills to take us into the future. I know that I am up to the task, and my experience speaks to it.
I was an employee of the Los Angeles County (LACO) Health and Mental Health Departments for twenty-nine years. I have experience in budgeting contracts and grants administration. I managed the Coastal Health Centers that included supervising over two hundred employees, managing a budget of about $30 million, working with community based agencies, and successfully responding to the Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Hospitals Organization. I worked directly with the offices of the County Board of Supervisors. I have worked with local, state and federal agencies. I am currently the Chair of the City of Sierra Madre Senior Community Commission, and was the Chair of the LACO Commission on HIV/AIDs. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University at Los Angeles and graduate courses in administration and management.
I will strive to strengthen our city fiscally through improved revenue generation. I will work to bring new business to the city, and manage change within the parameters of our common vision for Sierra Madre. I will represent all of our citizens, and promise to support expanded services from the very young to the senior citizens.
I have the time, the knowledge and the skills to work for the betterment of the citizens of Sierra Madre. It will be an honor to serve.
Being raised in Sierra Madre, I felt the beauty of what it means to be
part of a safe and caring community. With this foundation, I have
spent my adult years giving back, starting with a 12-year career as an
English teacher. I have served as a member of the Community Services
Commission, the Youth Master Plan, the All-America City Committee,
Sierra Madre Rotary, and the Trail Race Committee. These years of
service familiarized me with the municipal planning process, and the
work involved in achieving a positive sustainable future.
I stand for: re-igniting our sense of community; providing the quality
public services that this town has provided since I was a kid, from
the swimming program, to the library, to the fourth of July parade;
managing our budget, amid the economic crisis our state is going
through; fostering business, encouraging people to shop and eat
locally; communicating respectfully, knowing that even though there
are going to be differing opinions, they all matter in creating the
policies that govern our city; and lastly preserving our great sense
of history and character, while continuing to progress in a controlled
and appropriate way.
Within our community and City staff, we have a wealth of experience,
knowledge and creativity to meet the fiscal and ideological challenges
that face our City. Divisiveness and mistrust have been an
unnecessary distraction recently, and my goal is to be a leader in
re-opening the lines of communication, and mediating the disagreements
that may arise in order to find the common ground that will lead our
community to a more vibrant and prosperous future.
It has been an honor and privilege to have served on the Sierra Madre City Council for the past four years.
I am proud of what we worked hard to accomplish. I successfully fought to establish a paramedic program and implement major changes in public safety, which have made us safer. We worked to balance our budget and put away more money in reserves; updated and repaired our water system; created the first city park since the 1970s; protected our hillsides against unreasonable development; lobbied and successfully received significant grant funding for Sierra Madre.
There are many challenges that lie ahead. With your support, I will use my experience and passion for Sierra Madre to ensure that our police and fire departments are fully equipped and trained to meet any emergency; maintain the level of services in this period of economic downturn and state budget cuts; implement our plan to re-pave and maintain our roads; balance our budget by finding ways to be more efficient and creative; and, most importantly, preserve the amazing qualities that make Sierra Madre a very special place to call home.
Thank you and I would be honored by your vote.
The progress Sierra Madre has made in the past two years under the leadership of Mayors Kurt Zimmerman and MaryAnn MacGillivray has been extraordinary. No longer are we enduring a City Hall that is incapable of getting its audits done, maintaining a balanced budget, or leveling with the public. It is this spirit of competence and loyalty to our small city ideal that encouraged me to run for City Council. Here are some of my goals:
– A continued monitoring of the UUT tax. Hikes to the 12% limit are legally possible, and in tough economic times we need to find ways to decrease that tax load.
– A Library is the heart of any town, and I pledge my support to continue funding for this vital resource.
– The Senior Center and Sierra Madre Community Room renovations are now funded. We must make sure that work is quickly completed and the needs of our residents met.
– Public Safety is our greatest responsibility. Adequate resources must continue to be allocated for our Police, Paramedics, and Firefighters.
– The Canyon Zone and General Plan Committees must be allowed to complete the work of protecting one of the most unique and fascinating cities in California. Resident control over their own living environment is an ideal I believe in, and nowhere has that worked better than with these citizen – not consultant – run committees.
– I strongly support the Eminent Domain Initiative. But it must be remembered that the fight against government confiscation of private property doesn’t stop there.
– Measure V has been vital in preserving the small town life we enjoy in Sierra Madre. But Sacramento edicts such as SB 375 now threaten our ability to control development in our own community. We must develop strong ties with the many other cities concerned about the right to control their own planning. Sacramento mandated development – mostly unfunded – can only result in a kind of generic “could be anywhere” architecture so alien to our lives here in Sierra Madre.
I have been endorsed by both Mayor MaryAnn MacGillivray and Mayor Kurt Zimmerman. Their hard work brought Sierra Madre back from the “shenanigan years.” It is my hope to continue the responsible governance they returned to our town.
Our family moved to Sierra Madre in 1964 and we immediately became involved in volunteer activities as our two sons joined local sports activities. I became active in Civic Club, and was a member of the Commission on Aging, the Parks and Recreation Commission, and planned and worked on many civic activities.
In 1994, my husband and I embarked on a sailing trip around the world, returning home to Sierra Madre in 2001. We immediately became involved in civic activities. There were many changes to our village, some were enhancements, some were not.
The majority of the residents were unhappy with a series of housing and downtown development plans that would drastically change the character of our town. When the City Council would not listen to them, they initiated Measure V to limit the height and area of downtown buildings and elected a city council who would listen to their voice. Owners of property should be able to develop their properties, but in a manner consistent with the nature of the city. I fully support what the people have chosen for their town and want to become part of the majority on the Council to insure a continued voice.
Fiscal responsibility and development have long been the issues of each council election. We are facing a series of attempts by regional and state agencies to usurp local control of finances and housing regulations that could irrevocably change the face of Sierra Madre. Our Council must maintain local control of our city housing, land use and revenues by forcefully presenting our case in regional and state mandates. We must also maintain responsible development within the parameters of our current local zoning, hillside and General Plan ordinances. And lastly, we need to maintain vigilance to ensure continued balanced budgets for our public safety as well as our library, parks and recreation.
I ran for City Council four years ago because I saw that
the overly ambitious plans for the downtown area would
bankrupt our City. Had this plan gone forward Sierra Madre,
would have been saddled with millions of dollars in debt, and
the way the economy went, much of what could have been
built there would be empty today, as is the case with so
many similar projects in California. To me the signs of the
worst economic downturn since the depression seemed clear,
and to go forward with the Downtown Specific Plan would have
been a terrible mistake . Unfortunately, time has proven my assessment to be
Today our City is the picture of fiscal health. Our budgets
are balanced, a paramedic service is in place, and much
needed emergency equipment has been purchased, and while
there is always more to be accomplished, I have consistently
voted in this town’s interests. The welfare of our
citizens is my priority, and my pledge is to continue with
that important work going into my second term on your City
I feel it is always important to put Sierra Madre first.
While nobody can predict what the challenges will be
over the next 4 years, I know for a fact that I will continue to fight
the constant and intrusive unfunded mandates thrust upon us
by the special interests that run Sacramento. That is my
pledge, to continue to put the peoples’ interests,
and Sierra Madre first.
No Comment from Bill!