By The Sierra Madre Tattler
The real Sierra Madre two party system has little to do with Republicans and Democrats. National issues do concern us all, of course. Especially now that we’ve fallen into the hands of an unhinged nut who functions very much like a second tier mob boss.
But none of that national nonsense has much to do with Sierra Madre politics.
The real parties within the happy confines of Sierra Madre are the Development Party, and the Preservation Party. One would like to cash the place in and make some big bank, the other would prefer that things stay just as they’ve always been. Each has its own candidates, and they usually have very little in common.
Both sides accuse each other of incivility and rudeness, of course. Which is pretty much politics at its most tedious. Some people will do anything to avoid talking about the real issues in town.
But there is no denying that the differences are profound, and these things do play a role in everything involved in selecting local leadership.
The Library move is a fine example. Many Preservationists would like to keep that place pretty much as it is. There is little denying the Library is in need of a makeover, and it would cost the city dearly to do that. But the thought of the place being reduced to rubble and its property sold off is not a happy one for them.
The Development Party, on the other hand, apparently feels no such attachment. In their minds that property could be used for far more interesting things, such as a highly profitable condominium project. They might express a deep love for the Library, but that would hardly stop them from plowing the place under and selling off property that the city has owned since Lucky Baldwin times.
Here’s another. A downtown development scam, known by the acronym DSP, led to a grassroots uprising and a stunning defeat at the polls for the Development Party. An interest only water bond scheme, which was very much a part of the overall DSP plan, saddled Sierra Madre residents with millions of dollars in debt, despite that vote. Payments on this disaster are still being made, and will be well into the 2030s.
The irony is it’s the Preservation Party that has been the most beneficial economically for this community. The myth for years has long been that if the city didn’t allow for large scale development, it would perish financially. Yet somehow it never did. Quite the contrary.
Have you looked at what houses here are going for lately? Sierra Madre has become one of the most desirable places to live on this side of Los Angeles County. That happened because nothing here changed very much, while other towns got suckered in and sank.
Funny how things work, right? Sometimes the best changes are the ones that were never made.