City Council Elections will be held on April 8th in which three out of the four city council candidates will be elected. We invited each of the four candidates to submit a statement about the mission of our coalition and we appreciate each candidate taking the time out of their busy campaign schedule to respond. Our coalition is not a political organization and so we will not be making an endorsement of any candidate. Their unedited response is as follows:
Rachelle Pastor Arizmendi
I am running for office to represent the people. I have fully walked the neighborhood and intend to represent the people's views.
I will always give priority to the quality of life in our neighborhoods and best represent the voice of our residents. This will include my efforts to limit and control development. I will advocate for ordinances, zoning codes and building regulations that will prevent our neighborhoods from being overrun with homes oversized for their parcels or homes not in harmony with their neighborhoods. I will also protect our hillsides and canyons from development and strictly enforce our Hillside Management Zone Ordinance.
Please refer to my website for additional information and/or contact me anytime.
I became aware of The Preservation of Mater Dolorosa Open Space Coalition early on in their formation. As the Chair of the recent Sierra Madre General Plan Update Steering Committee, I spent many hours with the residents of Sierra Madre, and like myself they were very concerned about preserving our natural resources as evidenced by the third Community Vision and Guiding Principles which states:
"Protect and be responsible stewards of the neighboring San Gabriel Mountain foothills’ wildlife, forest, open space, watershed and all other natural resources."
The General Plan calls for the preservation of open space. Mater Dolorosa is the last large undeveloped open space in Sierra Madre. Once that open space is lost, it is gone forever. People who come to Mater Dolorosa simply to walk the grounds and enjoy the tranquility and peace that Mater Dolorosa provides will also be adversely impacted. Mater Dolorosa is situated next to the Bailey Canyon Park and Wilderness area. The wide array of wildlife that graces its grounds, such as deer, coyotes, hawks and many other species, will be permanently displaced.
I understand the Passionist Fathers monetary needs and would never advocate prohibiting them from selling part of their land to meet those needs. However, I do believe there are alternatives to a large housing development that would provide the Passionist Fathers revenue at the same time protecting our natural resources and open space. I am committed to finding a win-win situation for all.
My family lived on Sierra Keys Drive for 14 years before we moved to Ramona Avenue. We were literally five houses below the big field owned by the Monastery. I wish I had a nickel for every time we went for hikes on that property. When my son was about 3, eight years ago, a year before any of the other candidates for City Council had moved into town, I would take him on walks in that field several mornings a week before I went to work. That field, that whole retreat, is deeply embedded in my heart.
To this day I have friends living on Edgeview Drive, Sierra Keys Drive, North Sunnyside, North Grove, Crestvale Drive, and on other streets in the immediate vicinity. I am fully aware of what the potential negative impact of a large residential housing development on the Monastery property would be.
Our community needs to find a way to protect this precious resource while respecting the prerogatives of the property owners. I will do anything I can to support these efforts and to create a win – win outcome for all parties involved.
Please contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. My campaign web site is www.GeneGoss.com.
I fell in love with Sierra Madre and moved here because it is a quiet, green, and uncrowded place. If elected, I will do everything in my power to control development and keep Sierra Madre the way it is.
However, I do not want to pre-judge any proposals regarding re-zoning of the monastery as I believe it would be unfair to the parties to make a decision before hearing all of the arguments and evidence.
That being said, I am keenly aware of the broad support that the Stop the Monastery Housing Project has received in the community and will take that support into account and give it great weight if asked to vote on any proposals.