Saturday, December 12, 2009

Is This The Most Powerful Person In Sierra Madre?

Some pretty disturbing news is contained in this on-line Pasadena Star News article. Despite the best intentions of the Sierra Madre City Council to put the matter of eminent domain before all the voters in town, the PSN has discovered something completely to the contrary. It now appears that this decision will be made by, as the headline so ominously states, a single "Sierra Madre resident."

Now I have to be completely upfront with you, we here at the Sierra Madre Tattler are horrified by this news. Not just by the fact that so much power has been placed into the hands of one individual, but also because nobody seems to even know who this fellow is. We've scoured the article and there is absolutely nothing about this person's identity. And nobody I've spoken to on the phone knows anything, either. And at Beantown last night? Nope, not a single solitary clue to be found there. So who is this guy, and where does he stand on the upcoming ballot initiative that only he will get to vote on?

Think about it. If this guy is against eminent domain, then the vote in favor of the City Council's position will be 100%. But if he thinks eminent domain is just fine, then the defeat of the City Council's position will be by a landslide. Obviously there is a lot at stake here.

But there are other important considerations as well. How are the people campaigning for (or against) this issue going to know where to send the voter awareness postcard? And how will the political consultants be able to conduct a poll? And what door will canvassers knock on? I really don't see how this can be legal.

If you have any information on the identity of this person, please contact The Tattler immediately. Most agree that we're dealing with an issue far too important to be laid at the feet of just one individual. But not even knowing who this guy is? Or where he might stand on this matter? Intolerable.

And if that isn't bad enough ...

An article in yesterday's on-line version of the Sacramento Bee contained the following disconcerting information:

Arcadia rated best Cal city for raising kids - The Los Angeles suburb of Arcadia is the best city in California for raising children, Business Week magazine says, "because of its low crime and excellent schools."

It was the second straight year that Arcadia won top marks among California cities of 50,000 or more in the Business Week rankings. "The population of Arcadia includes a number of peacocks that hang out in the neighborhood near the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden," the magazine said. Two other LA suburbs, Monterey Park and Diamond Bar, were California runners-up.

It's bad enough that Arcadia won this award and we didn't, but that they got it because they have peacocks walking around town makes it even worse. Where are Sierra Madre's peacocks? And I have to tell you, that "excellent schools" thing really rankles. Why is it we're stuck with those nincompoops who run the Pasadena Unified School District when some of the best schools in the state are in Arcadia? Who made that choice? It's not like Pasadena is any closer.

So what was the criteria for this obviously fixed selection?

"We then narrowed the list of towns using the following weighted criteria: school performance; number of schools; household expenditures; crime rates; air quality; job growth; family income; museums, parks, theaters, and other amenities; and diversity. We weighted school performance and safety most heavily, but also gave strong weight to amenities and affordability," Business Week said.

Air quality? They're a lot closer to the 210 than we are. And as far as amenities go, aren't these people aware that we have TWO Valero stations? Right next to each other?

Thank God it's the weekend. I'm not sure I could handle this kind of information on a work day.


  1. Arcadia has had 2 roberies recently, Sierra Madre 0.

  2. Are peacocks edible?

  3. They are delicious if properly cooked.

  4. Roast Peacock with Olive Stuffing
    The Way We Cooked: Vintage Gourmet
    January 1961

    Singe and draw a peacock and stuff with the following forcemeat: Hard-cook 1 egg and mash it immediately with a fork in a mixing bowl. Add 3/4 cup pork liver paste, 1/2 cup finely chopped black olives, the peacock liver, finely chopped, and 1/2 teaspoon aniseed. Bind the stuffing with raw egg and season it with cayenne, nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste. Stuff the cavity and sew or skewer the opening. Brush the bird with melted butter and tie thin slices of salt pork over the breasts. Roast the bird in a moderate oven (350º F.) for 20 minutes per pound, basting it frequently with melted butter. After 30 minutes, remove the slices of pork, add 1 cup orange juice to the pan drippings, and continue to cook the bird until it is brown and tender. Arrange the peacock on a heated platter and serve it hot with the pan juices over and around it.

  5. I think the answer to only one person voting on eminent domain is this. Somehow Joe Mosca talked his way into writing the ballot question after all, and the person chosen will be the same guy who picked our 4th of July Parade Grand Marshall.

  6. I was disappointed with Alfred Lee's report on this issue. Lee is usually a good reporter that gives us a fair shake.
    I hope the dirts haven't gotten to him.........
    Look for biased reporting from the PSN.
    I will not be buying this paper.
    It's really irrelevant, the PSN ALWAYS supports losing issues and candidates in Sierra Madre...90% of the time.

  7. That settles it, we're having peacock this Christmas.
    You can't beat that kind of amenity.

  8. Didn't see this on-line, but it is not the way it was headlined in the Pasadena Star Snooze hard copy the next day. Spell check yes, but syntax check, forgetaboutit. Resident, residents, resident's, residents' or residence, residences, residences'--did I miss one? Lots of fun over a missing 's.' Got out my big Webster for this one--don't count on the internet for grammar these days.

  9. Alright you guys, that does it, Old Kentucky is reporting you all to PETA.

  10. Years ago in the '80's, the day before Thanksgiving, some fools snagged a peacock in the parking lot of the Arboretum and sped away. Peacock is very tough meat.
    Real story. I was taking a docent class there when it happened.

  11. Damn. Now what am I going to do with this gamey looking peacock?

    What if you made kabobs?

  12. The fact of the matter of school districts is, when we were forced to align ourselves to a school district, Arcadia did not want us, Pasadena did. Pasadena at one time had one of the top school districts in the nation, how sad it is to see how far they have fallen.

  13. We should approach Arcadia and see if they'll take our dough. I spend a fortune on private school for my kids because I don't want money grubbing PUSD getting their mitts on them.

  14. Oh good Sir, what makes you presume that the powerful voter is a man?

  15. About 18 years ago a group of parents TRIED to get Sierra Madre out of the PUSD. We wanted to be in Arcadia for a better school district. Pasadena schools were not safe and did not educate our kids. The PSUD attorney who lived in the Pasadena district even had her kid at Westridge, an elite school for girls. We got to the State heatrings in Sacramento and were told that removing all of our private school children who had never attended PSUD school would upset the racial balance of the district and bad education which PSUD provided was not a criteria for changing districts. After 18 years the district is in a worse mess. The local school is ok but still not up to the level it should be and PHS is not a place you want your kids to go.

  16. Actually I did get an email this morning from the voter. She asked me not to divulge her identity.

  17. We got our tax bill. OUCH
    Some of the increase:
    $210.00 for Community College and the Unified School District.
    Was this a result of the TT ballot measure?
    I lived in Arcadia for years so I didn't have to send my children to Pasadena public schools.

  18. The Pasadena Schools have always had a difficult situation to deal with. The students come from the whole spectrum of possible backgrounds, from the worst to the best. The teachers have kids of hard core criminals sitting next to kids of CalTech professors and everything in between. Some of the children are encouraged at home, some are beaten up at home, and it is a very tough mix to address.
    Sierra Madre would be worlds better off if we were part of Arcadia's school system.

  19. Sierra Madre's crummy school district has kept the mansionization to a minimum. Not true in Arcadia.

  20. yes 12:09 our community would look very different (houses and population) if AUSD was our school district.

  21. A good school system would add a hundred thousand easy to the value of every existing house in town.

  22. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  23. Yep, there's a big downside and we all know what it is.
    No way would our homes be worth $100K more, though. Homes are cheaper in Arcadia than they are here, so are rents in most areas.

  24. Does Arcadia have any set back requirements at all?
    Those huge houses are built so close to each other.
    Kind of like it will be at One Carter.

  25. Arcadia just caved in to a bunch of SCAG building. Mostly tied in with their new 210 Trolly station.

  26. When the residents of Sierra Madre tried to change school districts, led by Sue Levoe, we were all so hopeful and actually Bart Doyle was on board and quite active in the movement. Probably the last good thing he ever did for Sierra Madre. As you can imagine, PUSD pulled out all of the stops and accused us of being rascist and brought in the NAACP. After major hearings with them it turned out that PUSD was not the biggest barrier, it was Arcadia and the AUSD. The homeowners all said they did not want the rif raf from Sierra Madre in their school system. They were extremely brutal in their comments and attitudes towards Sierra Madre. Judy Webb-Martin led the opposition to us along with most of the other realtors in town. At the time it was rumored, and rumored only, that the reason was to stop the Chinese immigration flow and take over of Sierra Madre. The real truth is speculation, but it did in fact halt mass Chinese speculators. The issue did go all of the way to Sacramento where as a previous poster has mentioned, we were told that since we made up a significant percentage of possible, operative word being" possible" attendees, the racial balance would be jeopardized and PUSD would suffer. End of battle. But it was also determined that AUSD would not accept us and played an important role in deciding the case. This was one of the biggest battles and challenges by Sierra Madre residents to the State of California. We were told to work within the system and become active in PUSD in an effort to create better conditions. A whole lot of us tried, but it is a monster of a system and it's tentacles to large.

  27. Wow. Thanks for that history 2:17.
    What a mixed blessing - controlled growth, but at the expense of a better education for our kids being easily accessible.
    Wonder how "riffraff" would sit with those Sierra Madreans who fancied themselves ripe for the Downtown Specific Plan?

  28. One reason Chinese do not move here, besides the schools is they don't care for the older homes.
    Also the Canyon is thought by many to be cursed, as is the One Carter property.
    For people, be they Chinese or other, who believe in such things, it's a good enough reason to look elsewhere.

  29. There is a great emphasis on quality education in the Chinese culture.

  30. Treelady - it would have been racist, and Anonymous 10:41, PUSD is not in a mess, it has more schools than ever on distinguished educational lists

  31. 4:20 - Right. Ever notice that the more troubled education becomes in California, the more awards are handed out? The only thing that distinguishes PUSD is the incompetence of those running it. You can hang as many medals around their necks as you want,but the product they put out is crap.

  32. I hate to say, Arcadia is a MUCH better city then old Sierra Madre. Even though I have lived in Sierra Madre, (East of Santa Anita) for over thirty years, I have to say, Arcadia is better. Arcadia takes better care of their residents, and their Police & Fire Departments are FAR SUPERIOR. Sorry folks. The Arcadia schools are FAR better then PUSD, and SAFER!

    As far as Sierra Madre having higher priced homes? Are you on crack, or do you live in a cracker box of a home! Hello, Wilderness Park area. Come on na! It is what it is

  33. I often found ironic that people who would fight to the death over paying an additional $2,000 a year in property taxes will happily send their kids to a private school costing them $12,000.

  34. If you live in Sierra Madre, east of Santa Anita, you live in the Arcadia school district--a fact the realtor's ads do not overlook on their listings for your area. Parents from Altadena did not want to lose Sierra Madre from their district as they were trying to keep the enrollment numbers from Sierra Madre as high as possible to add to their attendance in PSUD for their children's access to programs and educational opportunity. As for Doyle's last (or did the blogger mean "only"?) good thing he did for Sierra Madre--his children were enrolled in Webb School in La Verne, and would have been so even if Sierra Madre were suddendly annexed to Beverly Hills! Just imagine if tomorrow everyone woke and sent their kids to the local public school and there was a real 'neighborhood' again--what a miracle that would result in for life, family, community and the broad understanding education is supposed to represent.

  35. First, it was now 27 years ago that this happened, gee, how time flies when there are so many issues out there. Secondly, the Chinese do place a very high priority on education, however, no priority on Oak Trees, believing that they block their feng-shui which has led to their systematic and illegal removals. Perhaps this is why they shun the Canyon, but now that there are no Trees left at 1 Crater, only the school system seems to be an issue. And if anyone thinks for one moment that PUSD is a great place, I have true stories that will either curl or straighten your hair. Sierra Madre ele. is great as so many local parents have labored long and hard to make it a better place. Wilson on the other hand is every parents nightmare and no amount of reassurance from principle and or staff will ever change that fact. And there has been enough publicity about Pasadena High for you to all draw your own conclusions.Truly, the school system has been the great equalizer in Sierra Madre history. And yes, there have been serious, serious issues with the Chinese and the Oak Trees and has resulted in the loss of hundreds upon hundreds from the San Gabriel Valley.

  36. Arcadia students do attend college and are more successful!December 12, 2009 at 6:12 PM

    As a teacher who has worked in SF, Conn, Arizona and PUSD, PUSD was the worst, and I mean the worst district I have ever worked in. The worst management and the least caring for the STUDENTS. Yes, there are always quality students who will thrive and earn MEDALS in the worst conditions, and make horrible teachers/schools look great! BUT,LEADERSHIP at the top of PUSD cares only about how they look and not quality for each school site. PUSD is an embarrasment to public education. The Board was there as a political puppet for many people. They care nothing about the needs of teachers, parents, students. Except of course, in Sierra Madre, because it is a small, educated vocal group of powerful parents.

    The worst part is that PUSD reflects most of Calif education: a huge population of students with language, social, learning, economic and educational problems. It is overwhelming and will not get better because no one wants to invest more money into children. Calif will only invest money int roads, football fields, real estate deals.

    It seams that SM has jumped through all the hoops that Sacramento asked. Arcadia is an excellent school system. The Asian culture cares about education first at school and home and is surpassing American born children in HS and University grad rates. Is it not a wonder to Native Californias why this state is 2nd to the lowest of the 50 in the NATION!

    It is time now, we are looking for another policefire dept, we definetly need a huge improvement in our educational system. No one can call the race card on us anymore.

    Sir Eric, it is not a secret that PSN has not cared about us, they are in with the dirts, and the ONE person is the collective dirty dirts once again taking credit to pretend to KNOW that they are in power. It seems the cards have come crashing together and perhaps we can begin the process of joining in with Arcadia Schools. Hate to be trite, but our children, not our SB375 really is our future..........

  37. Ahh...Indian Peafowl. Pan seared then roasted slowly...a delectable main course reminiscent of roasted breast of Condor but less dark meat than roasted Spotted Owl. A winner at any holiday gathering, this bird serves best with a Tasmanian Chardonnay.

  38. 6:12:
    If SB375 is not overturned, our children will suffer the most.
    Do you think the developers and crooked pols in Sacramento give a damn about our kids?
    They want to create ant colony type ghettos, full of people on gov. aid, people they can control and vote for the politicians who wish to control us all.
    How about leaving the legacy of LIBERTY for our children, 6:12?
    There are two lobbyists for the energy companies and big development on our city council who work for special interests in Sacramento.
    We had all better worry about that.
    Support the lobbyists for the people of Sierra Madre, support the 2 guys who saved your town from the Bart Doyle types who would like to take away our homes, our money, and our liberty.
    Support Kurt Zimmerman and Don Watts.....they work for you, for me, for our kids and even for you misguided dirts out there.

  39. Arcadia students do attend college and are more successful!December 12, 2009 at 7:42 PM

    Old Kentucky you are totally correct!!! Our children will suffer the most, which is always the way it is!! Governement pretends that children come first.

    We must all overturn SB375! Kurt, Don and MaryAnn will change rather than take from special interests. They have proven that the people are more special.

  40. Wasn't California's public school system once one of the best? When was that? What happened? By what criteria is California second from the bottom? When will tax payers realize we do have a choice? We will pay one way or the other--schools or prison space. Invest in children even if all you want to avoid is having your t.v. stollen.

  41. 12:33 asks:
    When will the tax payers realize they have a choice?
    I know what happened, but you don't want to hear it.
    Your question about the tax payers is interesting.
    Yes, they damn well do have a choice, and they keep making the wrong choices....get rid of the people you keep electing who supposedly represent the people, you know, the ones in Sacramento that voted in SB375. That's the best choice for starters.

  42. We could start by getting rid of Huff and Adams. Oppose them
    in the primaries. Two of the biggest lobby whores ever.

  43. Very interesting article by Enid Joffe in this morning's (Sunday) Star-News about alternative fuel cars. She owns Clean Fuel Connection in Arcadia started in 1999 as a former manager for the Edison EV subsidiary. The company provides energy to utilities, MTA,SQMD, etc. She's about the most un-naive person on the Council.

  44. Enid Joffe, one of the infamous Gang of 4 City Council members who approved the One Carter disaster? Yeah, she's real green. Head on up Baldwin and check out the garden she left us. That is, if it didn't all wash away last night.

  45. Enid wouldn't be in favor of SB375 and AB32 now would she? Naw...........
    Hey, Enid, why don't you run for city council again? You and Mosca run against Kurt and Don....

  46. Maybe Enid could describe the shenanigan years and its colorful financial record keeping to us. After all, she was there. For some reason John Buchanan doesn't seem to want to talk about it.

  47. Remember this everyone......Enid Joffe was supported by the same special interest money during the election as Buchanan was.

    Enid is a rubber stamp for the same development interests as Mosca and Buchanan.

  48. Good Lord, a column where Enid talks about her cars. At least she didn't write about her cats. Enid's writing is a known cause of narcolepsy.

    Look it up, Joe...

  49. Most children in Sierra Madre attend one of the 4 private elementary schools in town. A very small percentage actually attend a PUSD school, which is why the school district busses kids into Sierra Madre from out of town. Overall, it doesn't seem to really matter which school district Sierra Madre is a part of.

    I do agree though, that being a part of Arcadia's School District would have a positive impact on our local property values, however. Over the years our City Council and staff have burned Arcadia in a number of ways, that will most likely make it even more difficult than ever to get Arcadia to take us seriously, now.

    As far as Chinese people cutting down Oak trees is concerned, I think it is just down right racist. I see local, caucasian residents cutting down protected trees all the time; usually on Saturday or Sunday afternoons when they are less likely to be caught.

    One great example is the property at the bottom of Lower Brookside Lane, in the Canyon. Just last month, on a Saturday, at around 5:00 pm, an out of town, tree trimming company showed up, and in less then 15 minutes, an entire Oak tree was cut down to the stump.

    It also wasn't Chinese people that were poisoning wildlife in the Canyon a couple of years ago, it was white trash. Most likely the same white trash that wants to keep out anyone that isn't like themselves.

    There are good and bad people of every demographic. As residents, current and future, it is our obligation to not only enforce our City's codes, but to follow them as well, no matter what our individual ethnic and/or religious backgrounds.

  50. 3:15 - Thanks for that post. The person who made that observation, "Treelady," also had some awful things to say about Don Watts awhile back that I found abhorrent. My understanding is that she is somehow who lived in Sierra Madre a long while ago, but now lives in Arkansas or some such place. I wish she'd go away.

  51. Arcadia students do attend college and are more successful!December 13, 2009 at 8:39 PM

    Arcadia students do attend....
    This has been a very informative 2 day blog!
    The cost of HS financially and emotionally is very expensive. It may be that most SM children do go to private schools, I (falsely) believed that children were bussed in because it was the law, but none the less, the parents here are still very involved with their children.

    High School is a very different educational experience and there is not a public choice in SM. The students have to go to PASADENA and not many parents WANT that for their child. PRIVATE Education is expensive and can be a terrible, instead of a wonderful experince for far too many teenagers.

    I wish there were a way to join with Arcadia. And, yes we all need to get rid of SB375 and the excuses people make to justify their own racism. Both Pasadena and Arcadia are lovely towns, but Arcadia has more to offer the future of our youth.

  52. Doesn't Arcadia have any open enrollment opportunities?
    Would SM'ers consider Temple City Scholls? They may have open enrollment, are thought to be pretty good, no?

  53. ...har har...schools...! (sorry).

  54. Temple City has great athletic programs for kids,and no matter where you live you can participate. And they don't belong to SCAG.

  55. Tree Lady = Marsha B. She was one of the ones involved in SMPBE. By the way Marsha, it was about 20 years ago not 27 as you remember. Peanuts was about 3 or 4 years old.