The Heart Of The Matter.

Years ago, probably in a moment of weakness, Mr. O’Donnell shared with me his favorite definition of leadership. He attributed it to Marty Linsky, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

“Leadership is disappointing your constituents in increments they can absorb.”

Is there any wonder how government policies in Brea have reached their current condition? Do you need a better reason to vote yes on Measures T and U?

Don’t let the old guard fool you.

We need open government and accountability now.

What Goes Around, Comes Around.

While heading to coffee this morning, an alert Brean gave me a heads-up on a new political sign that cropped up overnight.  I had to laugh, thinking how the “rough and tumble” politics of 2010 had come full circle.  Aren’t paybacks a b*tch.

No Connection To Brea Election.

Monika Koos is running for a trusteeship on the North Orange County Community College District.  Her campaign, other than to garner a few votes, has no nexus to either our race for Brea City Council or the ballot measures for accountability (Measure T) and open governance (Measure U). This handful of last minute signs smells sharply of revenge… nothing more, nothing less.

Gone In Sixty Seconds.

I’m glad I have one photo documenting this micro-event in the 2012 election season.  In less time than it took the Koos clan to (allegedly) pull down Ric Clough’s signs two years ago… voila… all but this one is gone.  It seems like these late night dirty tactics are becoming a standard part of Brea politics.

I’d be remiss not to include my personal opinion on the matter…

“No Koos Is Good News.”

An Oh So Blustery Day.

Thanks to the high winds today, the skies over Brea were uncommonly clear… except for the curious puffs of white smoke coming from just east of the 57 freeway. Eerily reminiscent of the first signs of the Triangle Fire, I hustled in that direction to see if another conflagration was starting.

Thankfully, the answer was no.

The smoke was coming from a couple of dozers up on the hillside in the new Blackstone development. However, as I stared at the scalped hillsides, I began having a few questions, none the least of which was, “I wonder why so few people around town have any clue what’s happening up here?”

So, I did a little surfing.

Here’s what I gleaned from a brief article on the City of Brea website.  Blackstone is a sanctioned County of Orange project.  All construction is being overseen by the County. As phase one (sold out) becomes occupied, Brea will work out some sort of annexation arrangement and begin the provision of public services to residents.

Where are we with this? What is the additional burden on city services and what is the projected property and sales tax increment from those living in these mini-mansions? Will we at least make a couple of bucks to help bolster our reserves?

Built in four phases, Blackstone (a joint effort between Shea Homes and Standard Pacific Homes) will feature 795 new homes.  Having skirted Brea’s hard-nosed Planning Department and, except for a dog and pony show on the hillside repair and enhancements, the Planning Commission, I wonder how many of these homes would have made it to the final development agreement?

If “La Floresta” and “Central Park Brea,” on the old hospital site, are any indication, Blackstone would still be about five years away from breaking ground and would be limited to less than 300 homes.

Digging a little deeper.

Blackstone’s website, pretty minimalist by developer standards, says that in addition to Blackstone’s big lot, über-stylish mini-mansions, the development will feature a robust recreation center with “wading pool, Junior Olympic pool, spa, outdoor fireplace, barbecue and children’s water activity center.

As if this weren’t plush enough, Blackstone will also incorporate walking trails, six pocket parks (one with a tot lot), and a 14-acre linear park (Wildcatter’s Park – will be turned over to the city), dog park, fancy schmancy gazebo and a variety of sports fields rivaling our new Birch Street Sports Park (20 acres).

Will we be competing with ourselves?

Didn’t I hear a lot of pushback when folks talked about having some of these amenities at the new Sports Park? Now it’s okay to put these things in a pseudo-private residential neighborhood? Will the HOA take on the costs? Or, like Central Park Brea, will these parks be open to all?  Answers… I think we deserve answers.

When the city “takes over” Blackstone, whatever that might mean, I’m feeling some big, on-going infrastructure maintenance expenses on the horizon and what do we know about them?  Precious little.

Folks used to trust Hills For Everyone to watchdog stuff like this but I found no mention of Blackstone anywhere on their website.

Their mission statement is, “To protect, preserve and restore the environmental resources and natural environs of the Puente-Chino Hills and surrounding areas for the enjoyment of current and succeeding generations and to initiate, sponsor, promote, organize and carry out plans, programs, and activities that will tend to further these ends.”

I guess Blackstone doesn’t fall under the “surrounding areas” provision. I checked out their “Current Projects & Threats” info and, though there are 14 items listed, not one says squat about Blackstone.

Hmmm, maybe a better name for the group might be Only Some Hills For A Few Of Us. Naw… that’s too long and difficult to remember. Besides, it’s not really that flattering either.

Still wonder why we need accountability and open governance?

Didn’t think so.