A Planning Commission decision allowing Cingular Wireless to install a cell phone tower on a pristine, undeveloped Pasadena hillside has one City Council member listening to a lot of angry neighbors.
On Oct. 18, planning commissioners voted unanimously that the Hillsides Home for Children, located at 940 Ave. 60, could rent a very visible part of its property to Cingular for the tower at a cost of $30,000 per year.
That decision prompted Joan Dooley, a homeowner living on nearby Romney Drive, to write an angry letter to Councilman Steve Madison, who did not attend the Planning Commission meeting and had not agreed to meet with concerned residents.
The letter also criticized members of the Planning Commission — including Commissioner Diana Peterson-More, who according to state records accepted $500 in campaign contributions from Hillsides Executive Director John Hitchcock for her failed bid for Assembly last year — as condescending, “Kafkaesque bureaucrats.”
In a diplomatic response sent to Dooley and area news reporters, Madison announced he would be calling the issue up for review by the City Council and meeting with residents next Thursday.
“I could actually be disqualified from participating in any City Council hearing regarding the case if it were determined that I had been improperly influenced by matters outside the record or had pre-judged the case before the council heard testimony and other evidence at the public hearing,” Madison wrote of his actions.
Dooley praised Madison’s response.
“I think he listened to the wake-up call and he’s doing now what he should have before,” said Dooley, an LAUSD teacher.
The location proposed for the tower, she said, “is an extremely prominent hill that is central to the whole character of the neighborhood. It’s something we all feel is rather sacred, that little pure piece of nature.”