Monday, March 30, 2009

The Mountain Views "Observer" Skews The News Once Again

Now the more conspiratorially minded among us have claimed that the "Observer's" Susan Henderson is being somehow encouraged by certain concerned parties to skew her so-called news reporting to fit their personal agendas. Be it promises of political influence, ego stroking, or other considerations, there must be something there.

And I can understand this belief. It certainly does defy reason why Ms. Henderson would consistently publish material that is so obviously slanted towards the interests of a very small and well-heeled portion of the community. Unless, that is, she was being somehow rewarded. But there is one large gaping hole in this argument. One so big that you could drive a truck through it. Why would anybody give up anything in exchange for the consistently poor quality and patently ridiculous nonsense we read in the Mountain Views "Observer?"

As an example, in the latest issue of the "Observer" (03/28/09) there is an article entitled "No Resolution Yet For Congregational Church." It discusses something that has become a matter of some interest in town, the Congregational Church's construction of a "Kid Port" (read: school) without first obtaining the proper City of Sierra Madre approvals. And contained within the article is obviously skewed material such as this:

"According to the minutes adopted by the council, on March 10th Mayor Zimmerman states, 'We are told the property is not to be used as a school but you have desks.' Mayor Pro Tem MacGillivray stated, according to the minutes, 'most churches don't have classes, gyms, etc.' And yet, almost every Church in Sierra Madre has classrooms for Sunday School and other educational purposes. SMCC Church (sic) representatives have denied any plans to build a school."

Now if by "almost every Church" the "Observer" is talking about Bethany, St. Rita's, and the Church of the Ascension, yes, they all do control classrooms and other such educational facilities common to schools. Why? Because they actually do run schools. Real full time day in day and day out schools. So what makes them different than what the Congregational Church is up to? Their schools were built on land legally zoned institutional in the City of Sierra Madre's General Plan, whereas the SMCC merely has an illegally constructed and out-of-zone building that looks like a school.

Here's another shady statement from our so-called paper of record.

According to Mr. Pete Zimmerman (no relation to the Mayor), Chairman of the Trustee's of SMCC, 'We have done everything that the city has required us to do. We submitted our application for a General Plan Amendment (GPA) in 2007. We were given written authorization to proceed with the construction once the application for the GPA was submitted. We submitted it within the 60 day timeline. We were advised, in writing, that we could proceed without the "prior" approval of the amendment.'"

Now this transparent fallacy is, of course, designed to shift blame for their activities back upon the City. The SMCC was clearly informed by the Planning Commission that their approval to build was dependent upon them first getting a General Plan Amendment from the only place you can get one, the City Council. And did the SMCC go to the City Council to get this done? Apparently not. Rather the SMCC went behind the City Council's back, only later claiming that they were the innocent victims of City Hall confusion. If I was a member of the Planning Commission I would be highly offended by Mr. Zimmermann's attempt to shift the blame to them and those they work with when it is so obvious that the instructions they gave were clear and undeniable. And let's face it, Mr. Zimmermann is basically inferring here that both the Planning Commission and the City is staffed by incompetents, or worse.

By not getting proper City Council approval for an amendment change to the General Plan (from commercial to institutional), the Congregational Church did the following. They built an
illegal structure in the Downtown area, and they apparently did so without caring to get the approval of the duly elected officials of Sierra Madre. No matter how much the "Observer" attempts to fudge the evidence, the case here is ironclad and irrefutable.

Besides, doesn't all of this nonsense about "written authorizations" obviously beg a question we have yet to hear an answer to? That being, who exactly is it that signed this mysterious written authorization? If it wasn't the City Council, and it wasn't the Planning Commission or anyone associated with it, who then put their signature to this specious document? Somehow the SMCC's Mr. Zimmermann, nor anybody else for that matter, ever seems to want to identify that person. All they will say is that it was signed. And where exactly is this "written authorization" anyway? Has Mr. Zimmermann or any of the other SMCC people ever actually produced it?

Another place where the "Observer" goes off the deep end is here:

"... an extraordinary amount of concern has been expressed by MacGillivray, K. Zimmerman and Don Watts regarding the Church's Master Plan. Master Plans are documents which assist with 'the orderly development of your community' said Peter Zimmermann on Friday. They are a work in progress. That statement echoes similar Master Plan descriptions made by the City Manager and Development Director regarding other plans."

This statement is obviously a laughably weak attempt to sweep the matters at the very core of this lamentable situation under the rug. The SMCC submitted an original Master Plan on its "Kid Port" (read: school) building design in 2007. Along with other buildings such as a gymnasium capable of seating 450 people. A Master Plan that clearly identified that what they were building was a lot more than a Sunday School. It was filed and forgotten about after Measure V was passed and the Downtown Specific Plan (DSP) staked. It contained plans that are in strict violation of the 2-13-30 parameters of the measure, which made this 2007 Master Plan out of code.

And if I was either of the individuals cited here I might resent having the words "echoes similar Master Plan descriptions made by the City Manager and Development Director" put into my mouth in quite that way. The City Manager and Development Director were not talking about this specific case, and to breezily imply that their words apply here is rather disingenuous.

Now the thing that the "Observer" howls about the loudest is the fact that the City Council is reconsidering the General Plan amendment first passed on this matter on February 24th. As the paper put it:

"What happened next has left many in the church and the community perplexed. At the March 10th meeting of the council, Mayor Pro Tem Mary Ann (sic) MacGillivray asked for a reconsideration of the February vote. Mayor Kurt Zimmerman, responding to inquiries from other council members as to why a reconsideration was necessary, indicated that he had "new information." One of the items that was of particular interest to the Mayor was the church's use of the term 'Jr. High Building' in their draft Master Plan."

Again, by the use of the term "draft Master Plan," we see the same evasion in action. The Master Plan being referred to here was the original Master Plan as submitted by the Congregational Church. It wasn't a draft, or a work in progress, or the passing fancy of some whimsical architect, it was the SMCC's Master Plan as submitted to the City of Sierra Madre in regard to their plans to build what they specifically identified as being a school. Designs committed to paper and filed by the City in 2007 as an officially received document. It even contains staff comment.

This, of course, is the new evidence Kurt Zimmerman spoke of. The rediscovery of the SMCC's original Master Plan has revealed crucial information that directly contradicts what spokespersons for the Congregational Church had only recently told our City Council in regard to their illegal construction project.

It is our opinion that a City Council must defend the integrity of the General Plan. This isn't the backwoods, and no matter how influential or connected the concerned party may be, nobody can just build things without first getting the full authorization of those responsible for maintaining the integrity of our town. And if the City Council did not pull this one back for reconsideration, they would be neglecting one of their most important duties.

It really is a shame that the only newspaper actually headquartered in Sierra Madre seems to despise our City government and many of the people working there. It is becoming obvious that the increasingly divisive Mountain Views "Observer" has serious problems with Sierra Madre. How nice it would be to have a paper in town that doesn't feel obliged to repeatedly trash people elected by the citizens of the very town it claims to serve ... but we don't have that.


  1. Henderson needs to be shut down.
    How can anyone in this town with any decency support this woman?
    She'll be back in court on April 15th, Pasadena Superior Court...Judge Simpson.
    The judge will be giving her the penalty phase for not complying to court orders, which include changing the name of her paper she stole from Katina Dunn, and not paying the money she owes to Kevin and Katina Dunn, who regretfully got involved with this grifter.
    Her "journalism" is obviously for sale to the highest bidder. Disgusting.

  2. I think that those whose contributions keep this paper afloat are
    deluding themselves. When the "Observer" had credibility it did
    help stop the efforts to defeat Measure V. But its political value
    in its current discredited state? I doubt it could deliver 50 votes.

  3. It's a matter of time. Everytime I open the paper I see numerous errors on their so-called "reporting". I was at that meeting regarding the church. Reading her article one has to wonder if she ever attends anything she writes about. Cream rises to the top -- the others sink ...she has no creditability.

  4. She is living in her own world. The truth doesn't matter. It is the world according to Susan.

  5. Hilltop HillbillyMarch 30, 2009 at 9:05 AM

    I do believe Dean Lee believes he has special powers. As he states in his article, "it was reasonable to say that the city council had made up their mind Tuesday night to restrict smoking ...even before they heard two hours of public comment... This article is to be a factual account of an event not some wanna be reporter's opinion. This is just another example of the dribble Susan prints in her rag.

  6. Curly,
    When The Mount Wilson Observer defended the efforts of the people fighting to pass Measure V......Katina and Kevin were paying the bills to print and distribute the paper, it cost the Dunns thousands of dollars to win that election for us. Susan was just along for the ride, to promote herself.
    It doesn't surprise me that certain political opponents of Mayor Zimmerman, Mayor Pro-Tem MacGillivray and Councilman Don Watts want to try to keep Susan's misinformation in print.
    Susan ran the campaign for Enid Joffe and Karma Bell, her paper defamed their opponents, MaryAnn MacGillivray and Nancy Shollenberger.
    Since the paper was still somewhat running on the previous reputation for responsible journalism when Katina Dunn was in charge,at that time and nearly cost Nancy Shollenberger the election.
    Her opponent? Karma Bell, an unqualified employee of Bart Doyle's BIA.
    In my opinion? Nancy Shollenberger should have sued Henderson and Bell for slander, but Nancy is too classy a lady to bother. Henderson's paper cost MacGillivray, far a superior candidate a lot of votes.....due to the slander Susan and her pals printed about MaryAnn, even though MaryAnn proved it false at her debate at Kiwanis last April. MaryAnn won that debate hands down, over a struggling Enid Joffe and a pontificating John Buchanan.
    You are correct, Curly that the current political value of the Mountain Views "Observer" (Observer soon to be removed via COURT ORDER) is currently in a discredited state ....however, the dirts will be desperate.
    They have two major problems, if this "paper" is still in existence, it will not be able to compete with Sir Eric Maundry's Tattler of Truth and Justice! (Sir Eric needs to be in a Superman cape) LOL
    Also, the dirts will be waging a losing battle against superior candidates of ours who will be running and winning the election.
    Sir Eric! Please keep reporting this important information for the people. I do believe your integrity will win over even the most sceptable of folks!

  7. Hilltop Hillbilly....

    Great point ...too bad he didn't point out the obvious, that there were 5 supports of the restriction for every one in opposition ...oh, but that would mean Dean would have to do the math ....

  8. The MVO is becoming a lot like Pravda in the old Soviet Union. People don't read it for what it attempts to communciate, but to look between the lines in search of the true story. It has become a lot like a funhouse mirror. Everything it shows is skewed and, unintentionally of course, kind of amusing.

  9. The probelm with ALL the news outlets in this town, including Sir Eric is that they don't always have their facts straight. I've seen terrible errors in MVO and likewise terrible errors in the stuff on this blog. Everyone needs to do better in that regard.

  10. I admit this is a naive statment, but when did opinion start to be acceptable off the opinion page. News articles are supposed to state the facts.

  11. 9:47 - Curious. Can you give an example of a "terrible error" that has appeared on this site?

  12. As RIGHT as we believe WE are, there will always be EVIL and IGNORANCE in the world. Even good people who go to church and belive they are acting in the will of THIER LORD. We cannot stop the fight just because we know we are rational and logical and they are NOT. In spite of the FACTS, people are willing to twist the TRUTH into their own perceptions and blame anyone to get what they want!!There are a million other Susan's in the world and we must be villigant and not let ourselves believe that once she is "punished" by the Law that IT will be over. She still has a following. We must protect Zimmerman, Watts and MacGillivary and find two other people to defeat Joe and John. The biggest problem we have is that the majority of Sierra Madreans do NOT go online to this Blog and hear 99% of the TRUTH and that this is not hardcopy. Our Senior Citizens do not have the internet and many people have Directv, therefore, only a few citizens really KNOW what is happening. The Congs will probaly get their way because they will fight and appear as "good Christians." The victims. Isn't that Susan's platform?

  13. Susan, the Cong, and the smokers seem to have a lot in common.

  14. Canyon Mama, there is a lot to what you say. I think Henderson sees herself as Joe Mosca's campaign manager, and her paper the way to get him reelected. That's why we must be careful and make sure that while we're questioning the Congregational Church on its shenanigans we do not offend the rank and file folks that worship there. I've spoken with several and they are very confused about this issue. Attack them and they're lost to us forever.

  15. Funny typo in today's Pasadena Star News. Article is about a tour the "Congressional Church" took of Arlington Garden.

  16. Great article, Sir Eric.
    The residents need factual information in order to make the best choices. we need to know, "who exactly is it that signed this mysterious written authorization?" Who relegated the General Plan to a "housekeeping" detail? Both council members Mosca and Buchanan have said that we do not need to investigate this little "clean up."
    Continue to investigate, please!!!
    This is exactly the kind of shenanigans that we don't want in our city government.

  17. Sir Eric, where on Earth did you find burning underpants?

  18. I agree with Day, let's find out who did this and why.
    I don't buy the fact that over a million dollars of our general fund was just put in the wrong drawer by mistake.
    It's naive to buy into that.....Joe and John.

  19. Canyon Mama, I agree that SMCC will probably get it's way, because they have so much money - they can tie up the city in unfounded lawsuits for years. RLUIPA anyone?
    Check out their website & the Education & Ministry menus.
    That Adult Education can be very intensive - a lot more than Sunday School & one weeknight.
    And don't forget that creepy alliance with Onyx/Maranatha/DornPlatz/AmbassadorWest.
    That's why we need The taller SO much - it is only The Tattler that will write honestly about what is going on. The more it is reprinted in the Weekly, the better. The Weekly probably gets seen more than anything else.

  20. I doubt that the Baldwin Hillbillies (John and Joe) will like any such investigating one bit ..

  21. Old Kentucky, I see why you brought up the mystery million - it is another example of the kind of shenanigans we do not want in our city government anymore.
    Let's find out who signed what for the SMCC, and also, who put what money in which drawer, so we can have some clarity and accountability, for goodness sake!
    Enough of this, "Oops. Just a little housecleaning, folks."

  22. Mr. Zimmermann (two n's) said, when he handed the documents to the City Clerk at the City Council Meeting of March 24th, that Matt Marquez signed the letter giving the SMCC the go-ahead to build prior to the zoning change. Review your recording. It's there for every one to hear.

  23. Sierra Madre business ownerMarch 30, 2009 at 1:06 PM

    Great Info, Marie Rose. Mr. Marquez will no doubt be coming to the council to explain.
    Any idea on who misplaced the mystery million?

    Also Anon @10:31, you are so right - the members of the church are not aware of the appetites of some of the church leadership.

  24. SMBO, Mr. Marquez left the City a couple of years ago and was replaced by Danny Castro. I don't believe we can compel Mr. Marquez to come back and explain himself any more than we can compel Kurt Christianson, Tammy Gates, John Gillison, or any of the others who regularly rotated through our town looting and pillaging to stand up to scrutiny.

  25. Anonymous As WellMarch 30, 2009 at 1:11 PM

    Anybody spoken to Matt Marquez about this? Anybody seen the actual document? Being identified as the person who signed something he shouldn't have can't be comfortable for him.

  26. if joethro bodine or john b clampett say we don't need to investigate or state we should take their word for anything, the alarms should go off

  27. Sierra Madre GirlMarch 30, 2009 at 1:18 PM

    I heard that, 1:11

  28. I find it hard to believe that the Congs went ahead with an illegal building ONLY on the signature of Matt Marquez?
    Someone higher up, must have gave assurances...just as they gave assurances on the DSP, to all the "unknown" investors in Howies and/or SNF and all the mass purchase of downtown property???????
    Could they have been.....the dirts in charge???
    Such as Bart Doyle, Tonja Torres, John Buchanan and Enid Joffe, along with Rob Stockley and Glenn Lambdin?????
    Perhaps, we can add Ron Brandley, Michelle Keith, Bamberger, Gillison????
    Oops! They didn't count on Kurt Zimmerman, Don Watts and Kevin Dunn and SMRRD + the majority of outraged voters in Sierra Madre.

  29. I'm with Creepin' Charlie.
    Who trained Matt?
    I know he had been in the office for a while, and then stepped up to fill the empty top spot.
    I doubt he thought the General Plan was a minor detail.

  30. Matt Marquez came highly recommended by Kurt Christianson who spoke at Council recommending him as being ready in a couple of years (as I recollect). John Gillison, stepping up the timeline, promoted Marquez to a not quite planning director postion but one I'm sure John controlled with a tight rein. Remember Gillison was a big proponent of the DSP. Marquez showed good sense by taking the earliest opportunity to resign from Sierra Madre's Planning Department, for which he truly was not qualified even though enthusiastic.

  31. Looks like we now have our fall guy.

  32. Matt works in the planning department in the City of Commerce.

  33. Interesting to see that you bullies use the same tactics -- ad hominem attacks, veiled anonymous threats and schoolyard taunts -- and bring the same absurd level of righteous indignation to whatever issue ruffles your plumage. Quite a pit of snakes.

    It makes me feel better to know that you only represent and embarrass yourselves this way, rather than America writ large. At least that's what I've been telling myself.

    You're some sad, sorry little cowards.

  34. As can now be predicted, Mr. Strike is ignoring the point at hand, in order to have an emotional tantrum - a pollutant of a different kind.
    One trick pony.

  35. @Josh-We simply disagree.

  36. Looks like Joshie is now stalking us. Better bring in the trash cans.


  38. all this anger and contempt for Susan H doesnt surprise me...she still owes me over $1400 bucks from when i worked for fault i guess...some people (like me) will apparently believe anyone when they tell you a couple dozen times that the check is going out "tomorrow".


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