Poor Anthony and Theresa Byrne.
In case you don't know, the Byrnes are a West Covina couple with a family, much like a lot of us here in this fair city. They had spent thousands on their quaint Crumley Street home by converting their garage into a bedroom.
Now, I know what you single-family home purists are thinking: That is illegal! Well, it's against city ordinance, and that's why they sought a variance from our illustrious City Council.
But I think what should be said here is that this bedroom is definitely not one of those mattress-on-the-ground, light bulb-hanging-from-the-roof, milk-crate-as-a-table places. This job was done up rather nicely. And no, the Byrnes aren't looking to rent the place out -- they stay there themselves as it is their master bedroom. They built a closet, a bathroom, the works!
Unfortunately, that wasn't enough for the council, which voted 3-0-2 to strike down the Byrnes' appeal. And I got to thinking, "Why?" when I heard the news from a few of my readers.
I think I can tell you why: The Byrnes' probably haven't spent a dime in the 3's campaigns, unlike OTHERS who ask for variances and get them.
So, the Byrnes wanted ONE variance, right?
Back in May of 2007, the City Council was more than happy to not only approve a far more severe variance, but also an entire ZONE CHANGE for a 20-unit, 2-story condo complex to be built smack dab in the middle of some of West Covina's "beautiful homes."
So, the Council thinks it's OK to completely change the character of an entire neighborhood, but there's something fundamentally wrong about some regular Joe who wants to sleep in his pimped out garage? How does that make any kind of sense? (For the record, my girl, Shelley, and Roger were the two who abstained from the Byrne vote. They probably wanted to allow the variance, but didn't want to go on record as someone who 'ignores' city ordinances; also, Roger was the lone dissenting vote in the approval of the condos)
I'll tell you how: Bill McIntyre wanted to build those condos and he has poured thousands and thousands of dollars into the campaigns of those who approved the project, well except Councilman Mike "The Recuser" Touhey, who had to recuse himself from that vote because he is basically an employee of Good Ol' Bill's.
The Byrnes? I'd be surprised if they gave 50 bucks to any of those politicians for their campaigns.
Next up on "Pissing on the Little Guy: The West Covina Edition" Cell phone towers. About 3 or 4 parks have cell towers. Shadow Oak Park is the only one with two, and last night, a third carrier was added to that mix. Coincidentally (or not), the Shadow Oak Park issue is what united a bunch of residents who -- before they heard a portion of their park was likely to be sold to condo developers -- weren't even paying attention. They united, formed a group, and, somehow, helped to unite some homeowners who fought against that 20-unit condo project and beat it.
Payback, maybe? I'm just speculating. I may be "green behind the ears," but I know how to add, and the sum on this equation doesn't smell too good. (I love mixing metaphors in the morning)
What are your thoughts?