"Did you know that in the official City issued 3 ring binder with all the rules and regulations for council members, commissioners, etc, there is something of particular relevance to last week's Mayor selection? Under Tab #2 is 'Riggins Rules.' As you know, they are the suggested do's and don'ts for the conduct of public hearings and the deportment of boards, commissions, and other bodies. The concluding one, #39, says the following: 'Don't select a chairman on a seniority basis alone and don't pass an office along from member to member as a reward and honor.'"
Riggins Rules, of course, being a tradition for City Councils and similar organizations all over America. I wonder if Joe Mosca ever read them when he got his official Sierra Madre 3 ring binder? He being a fellow most mindful of tradition ...
So anyway, the young ladies of Sierra Madre apparently have an admirer. And it is a gentleman of some importance in the local journalism world, one most noted for the carte blanche contributor rights he enjoys at the Pasadena Star News. And Larry Wilson apparently likes spending his idle hours here in beautiful downtown Sierra Madre. And what does he do while he's kicking back and taking in the sights? Apparently he does a lot of watching. This from his "Sticking to their story column" printed in yesterday's PSN:
"... I did think it a bit odd the other morning not to hear a greeting called out as two stroller-pushing moms approached each other, one heading downhill on the Baldwin Avenue sidewalk, the other up towards the mountains. And both pushing wide-body jobs holding identical twins! Clearly there was not going to be enough room for both to pass. One would have to pull over. it was the downhill mom, with the boys, who did so. I watched, expecting smiles and chitchat as the mom heading north with the cute little girls of almost exactly the same age passed by. Nothing! Not a word exchanged, nor a smile, not a lamentation about double-diapering nor a bit of encouragement about the day to come."
Obviously Larry is a guy with a lot of time on his hands. But since it does look like he is inexorably taking us towards a point, maybe we should hurry and get to it?
"Weird. I could only imagine three things: That they're moms who are too simply familiar with each other; that they are old enemies, pre-twins; that both are congenitally shy."
Kind of disappointing. Now I wasn't there to witness this event, so this is guesswork on my part. But there are a couple of conclusions that seem far more likely than what Larry speaks of here. The first is that Mr. Wilson might never have raised any children of his own. As anyone who has will tell you, there is nothing more stressful than spending most of your waking hours alone with a demanding, bawling infant. And twins? Phoo! That will certainly harsh your mellow and make you forget your manners. If Larry did have kids, he certainly never listened to his wife when he rolled home from work.
But there is another possible conclusion. Perhaps both of these young women were aware that they were being this closely watched, it made them feel uncomfortable, and both wanted to get on their way just as quickly as they could? Sierra Madre is not without crime, and who could be more vulnerable than young women alone with twins? Of course, it is also possible that they were nannies. We do have them here.
So did you know that the intent of Larry's column (which is called "Public Editor" on the internet, an obviously too liberal borrowing from Wm. S. Burroughs' "Public Eye"), was to gripe about Joe Mosca being passed over for the Mayor's job? Really bringing up the end of the parade with that one, isn't he? Well, somebody has to follow the elephant.
And somehow this little anecdote about stressed out stroller moms was supposed to be related to Joe getting the bum's rush for the second time. You know, that somehow we're just not nice enough to present him with the job he's so patiently waited for? And wouldn't you know it, when Larry finally gets around to dealing, it's the same old crap we saw all last week.
"And once again, a council majority passed over Councilman Joe Mosca for the honorary position of mayor, breaking with age-old tradition that he should rotate into the job by virtue of seniority."
As has been discussed before, there is no "age-old tradition" for picking Mayors here in Sierra Madre. And as far as time served goes, Joe is senior to no one on our City Council. As we all heard 50 or more times last week when this story was new, our City's history is littered with instances of City Council folks being passed over because their policies did not jibe with those of the majority. And isn't that how politics works everywhere? Did Al Gore become President in 2000 because it was his turn? Have we now just seen the first 100 days of the Cheney administration? Of course not. In the adult world those who have the voting power get to pick the people they work with.
And this bit about the Mayor's job here being merely "honorary" is bunk. Picking the members of the General Plan Commission ain't beanbag, it is the most important job any Mayor does here. And setting City Council agendas is almost as important. Plus the opportunities for bloviation are endless. Mayors in this town have certain powers that are not shared with the other members of our City Council. And if that was not the case, why would Joe want the job so badly? So he can carry a big shiny baton at the Fourth of July parade?
And then Larry cuts loose with a whopper so large Pinocchio himself would not attempt it.
"The council majority decision is not only petty - it's mean, and it's perverse. The supposed logic behind it - that Mosca is somehow less-dedicated to historic preservation in the essentially one-issue city than the other council worthies - is nonsense."
The issues involved here have precious little to do with "historic preservation." Larry's sources should have hipped him to that one before he attempted to write his column. Of course, blunders as bad as this are what happens when journalists write about events that they did not attend, or things they know absolutely nothing about.
The issue that Larry was groping for here is high-density overdevelopment. You know, that thing that turned Pasadena into the sad mess it is today? Which is perhaps why Larry now hangs out in Sierra Madre. And Joe, who ran as a slow growth preservationist candidate, went on to advocate and vote for things that were the exact antithesis to everything he had promised his supporters. Those being:
1) Reneging on his promise to support a city-wide vote on the Downtown Specific Plan.
2) Not only joining SCAG, the pro-development uber-bureaucracy that is the bane of every small town attempting to preserve its traditional way of life here, but also becoming a member of the committee that assigned RHNA numbers that, should they become City policy, could enable cramming into Sierra Madre a wave of unwanted development.
3) Politically aligning himself with pro-development proponents, many of whom stand to make large sums of cash should Joe prevail in his betrayal of those who helped him get elected. You do know that in the end it's always about money, right?
And would it be a Larry Wilson column without at least a little bit of smarmy condescension?
"There's something in the council dynamic, as in the stroller moms' dynamic, that is strictly something the rest of us will never understand."
Two answers to that one. First, leave our stroller moms alone, Larry. Some of them are actually pretty tough and could kick your pale fanny from here to Azusa. And secondly, if you don't understand something, what in God's name are you doing writing a column about it? You owe it to your readers to actually know something first.