City Council was presented with an updated version of the Strategic Plan goals Tuesday, but approval did not come without a fight from Councilmember Chris Koerber, who greatly opposed elevating the Green Advisory Committee to Commission status.
Koerber and fellow Councilmember John Capoccia voiced concerns over costs of elevating the Green Committee status and suggested instead the city create a commission that focused more on water conservation, a need that has been expressed many times by the public in meetings past.
Koerber also had other concerns.
In February, the Green Committee submitted a list of Draft Sierra Madre Environmental Accords, which were taken directly from the United Nations Urban Environmental Accords. The committee’s goal was to make Sierra Madre a more sustainable community.
Koerber took several minutes Tuesday to quote from a Forbes.com article entitled “Agenda 21: The U.N.'s Earth Summit Has Its Head In The Clouds” which suggests that the United Nations ultimately decides what’s best when it come to issues of global sustainability.
Koeber’s main concern is that Sierra Madre could lose local control of its decision making ability over sustainability issues if the Green Committee gains commission status, stating that it eventually could be under the control of the U.N.
“If we’re going to buy into the green agenda as proposed by Agenda 21… I don’t think we’re looking at local control, I think were looking at someone else calling the shots,” Koerber stated. He then proposed that “Make Sierra Madre an Economically and Environmentally Sustainable Community” section be pulled from the Strategic Plan.
Mayor Josh Moran responded promptly to Koerber’s request.
“The U.N. is not calling the shots on this,” the Mayor said. “This is an item for consideration. I want to bring back the accords that the City came up with and let’s look at those things and let’s see if this is some big diabolical scheme to let the U.N. take over the United States of America… it’s not,” Moran said.
Mayor Moran noted that suggestions to “pull this item” should have came up during the Strategic Plan meeting.
Koerber fired back at the Mayor, “I brought up objections at the Strategic Plan meeting and I was talked over by you and it went on forward,” Koerber said, and then continued to repeat the oath he gave when he took his seat on the newly elected City Council in April.
“We are not adopting the U.N. Accords,” Mayor Moran said, “which is why I find this a little bit over the top.”
Councilmember John Harabedian felt “now” wasn’t the time to discuss this matter.
“I do think that it would be a mistake to take out the whole three-year goal. I do think what Chris is saying can be heard under the right circumstances,” Harabedian said. “I’m not prepared to have this conversation right now. All we are doing is adopting our Strategic Plan, which we and members of the community spent hours on… I think to try to individually tear this down during this meeting is not the right move.”
Details of Sierra Madre’s Strategic Plan
During a retreat on April 17, Strategic Planners, which included Council, the City Manager, department heads and members of the public, revised three-year goals and developed six-month goals.
All goals set must fall within the matrix guidelines which are:
- Maintain and Improve the City Infrastructure
- Maintain Financial Stability
- Attract, Develop, and Retain Quality Staff
- Preserve our Small Town Character with a Vibrant Downtown
- Make Sierra Madre an Economically and Environmentally Sustainable Community
Some of the short-term goals of the Strategic Plan include:
- Completing review of the Kensington Project for presentation to the City Council;
- Creating an electronic newsletter for staff to increase City-wide internal communications by July 1;
- Presenting City Council with funding considerations for infrastructure improvements by July 24;
- Completing the Redline Version of the General Plan Update by August 1, and
- Submitting a proposal to City Council to elevate the Green Advisory Committee to commission status with a defined role by August 14.
Once the smoke cleared, the Council approved the Strategic Plan Goals and Objectives as discussed with a 3-2 vote, with Capoccia and Koerber voting against.
It was noted that elevating the Green Advisory Committee’s status will be brought back for discussion at the end of the year, when the Strategic Plan Committee meets again.