Monday, December 21, 2009

The Sierra Madre Tattler's First Year

"Critics? I love every bone in their heads." -Eugene O'Neill

Actually the first article we ever posted here was on December 13, 2008. Something that should have made the official Tattler 1st Anniversary a week or so ago. But who can keep track of such things? I certainly can't.

So in the course of the last year we've published over 330 articles, attracted thousands of comments, and have seen our readership go from zero to something that does fairly well on Google's blog ranking service. Which isn't bad for a site that is almost exclusively about the politics of a rather modestly sized town of around 11,000 people. Not exactly the venue or topic for instant mass media stardom.

I've been trying to figure out how to commemorate this event, and outside of maybe splurging on a doctor to get checked out for carpal tunnel syndrome, I was kind of stuck for ideas about how to accomplish this. But then, looking back to those earlier days, it occurred to me that there is a whole lot of material that people haven't really seen. It was just a few of us during those first several months, yet a lot of topics were covered. And a lot of these matters are with us months later, and still need to be resolved.

So I've picked out a number of articles to reprise. A kind of Whitman's Sampler from a very large pile of sweets. And for those of you who have been here from the beginning, there is no doubt that some notable items will seem to have been passed over. But for those who came to this blog a bit farther down the road? Here's some stuff you might want to check out. And let me tell you, the first year was the easy part. What's in store for the next will be far more risky and challenging.

Never let it be said we didn't work hard.

Ex-Sierra Madre Mayor Glenn Lambdin's Mighty Struggle With The Lord (Thursday, December 18, 2008 - 9 comments) Long time Sierra Madre figure and former Mayor the Lambster confesses on Bill Coburn's elegantly designed Sierra Madre site that his years of Christian fundamentalism are now behind him. In what was frankly a hilarious and sophomoric essay about his inquest into the existence of God, this home improvement professional and kung fu aficionado confesses to a new belief, this time in agnosticism.

The Astonishing H. Susan Henderson (Wednesday, January 7, 2009 - 11 comments) It turns out that the publisher of our adjudicated newspaper of record (then known as the Mountain Views Observer), has a rather notorious past. Would you believe that she was at one time the #2 ranking poobah in the California Democratic Party? And that she lost this rather posh gig for resume' padding (she claimed she had a law degree from Berkeley when apparently she's only a high school graduate), and misuse of the party's credit card? All information that came out during her crushing defeat at Court in the Deuxamis case.

Take The Last Train To SCAGsville (Monday, January 26, 2009 - 15 comments) SCAGsville, also known as the "billion dollar bus station," was in reality a very special SCAG project called "El Monte Transit Village." The brainchild of John Leung of the Titan Group, along with his trusted sidekick Bart Doyle, the dream came to a crashing halt a few months later in a storm of legal embarrassment. Did you know that buses are the answer to global warming? While that was what Leung was saying, it wasn't the fraud he was arrested for.

More Deception From The Mountain Views Observer (Friday, February 6, 2009 - 14 comments) In an article chock full of humbug and typos, the MVO's editor supplied a deceptively described photo designed to make the Skilled Nursing Facility appear to be a gathering point for "day laborers." Something which the article's author seemed to find appalling. It is rare to see such naked ethnic animosity in a California newspaper these days.

Now On Facebook: STOP the Sierra Madre Smoking Ban! (Thursday, February 19, 2009 - 75 comments) This was the beginning of what was to become a running battle with those wacky "smoker kids" over an ordinance designed to keep them and their foul smelling tobacco products away from our fine downtown eateries and small children. Their predictions of economic ruin and a fascist takeover of Sierra Madre have yet to come to pass, though I am sure at least a few of them continue to monitor the situation from their parents' basements.

Tattler Interview: Ana Ramirez (Saturday, February 21, 2009 - 25 comments) The publisher of the Mountain Views "Observer" hired Ms. Ramirez to clean her house and wait upon guests at a party. But when the time came to be paid for her hard work, the MVO's publisher turned out to be a deadbeat. The later humiliations Ms. Ramirez suffered at the hands of this woman are heartbreaking.

Did The Congregational Church Deliberately End Run Sierra Madre's City Council? (Thursday, February 26,2009 - 58 comments) Not expecting to get approval for its "New Life Center" (which despite their denials is actually a school), the Congregational Church just went out and built a seriously out of code building in the middle of downtown Sierra Madre. And for whatever reason no salaried employee at City Hall seemed to notice, even though it was built within earshot of the place. Maybe it was built during "summer hours?"

Sierra Madre Voted For A UUT Tax Hike Because We Were Supposedly Going Broke. It Now Turns Out That Might Not Have Been The Case. (Monday, March 9, 2009 - 40 comments) After years of hearing about how the city was going broke (and often from elected officials who couldn't be bothered to complete the audits necessary to actually prove their case), it turns out that the residents of Sierra Madre voted themselves a 100% utility tax hike based on math that was over $1 million dollars short. Someday I'll need to do a post on the storm of politically correct language used to explain this all away.

Susan Henderson Characterizes Sierra Madre As "Mississippi In 1959" (Thursday, March 19, 2009 - 51 comments) Speaking before a half empty room of mostly napping oldsters, Susan proclaimed Sierra Madre to be something akin to the deep south during the height of anti-civil rights terrorism as practiced by the Ku Klux Klan. There is no evidence that any of the slumbering members of her audience were awakened by this stunning revelation.

Put The Utility User Tax Back On The Ballot (Friday, March 27, 2009 - 86 comments) The article that caused many at City Hall to cry out to the heavens for mercy. But since the voters of Sierra Madre had basically been fibbed to when they went to the polls to approve the UUT hike, what other ethical solution is there? How City Hall wriggled off this hook remains a cause for much heated speculation to this day. In economic times as tough as these, news that Sierra Madre is running surpluses and handing out raises to "staff" might not be the cause for celebration some might believe.

Tattler Exclusive: The Marquez Letter (Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - 30 comments) When the Congregational Church went to City Hall to defend their building a structure without permits, and in the wrong zone, they did so by claiming they had a letter from the city fathers authorizing them to just that. Somehow the letter ended up in our hands, and it turned out to be about as legally binding as a three month old copy of The Pennysaver.

The Order of the Fly (Monday, April 20, 2009 - 63 comments) Now most of us know that "Mosca" in Italian means "The Fly." And when our buzzing buddy put out the word to his "followers who had been there from the beginning" to meet at Casa Fly and discuss his quixotic campaign to become Mayor of Sierra Madre, one of his original preservationist supporters did show up. Only to be turned away at the door and briskly escorted from his property.

A Susan Henderson Story Told In 3 Short Videos (Friday, May 8, 2009 - 30 comments) After having been crushed in Court and ordered to pay $40,000 to Katina Dunn, plus change the name of her publication due to "misappropriation," Susan Henderson was rudely chafed. And when Mayor Kurt Zimmerman made an ever so slight reference to her legal denouement, Susan stormed into a City Council meeting and gave a rather edgy performance that still stuns viewers. You see, it was all caught on video, and Neuroblast Films posted it. Check it out.

The California Association Of Realtors Channels Saul Alinsky (Monday, May 18, 2009 - 114 comments) Your fun loving pals at The Tattler drove some computer jockey of a suit nuts comparing the infiltration techniques employed by CAR to the organizing methods of famed '60s radical Saul Alinsky. We have a pretty good idea who the agitated commenter was, and remain grateful for his comical umbrage.

Meet The Owner Of The Sierra Madre Cumquat (Tuesday, May 19, 2009 - 45 comments) During the time Measure V was being debated, those who longed for its defeat launched a nasty pornographic website called The Cumquat in hopes of demoralizing and ridiculing the good hearted people working hard to save this town from the wrecking ball. But after Measure V passed, this website, along with its sock puppet host, perished. Imagine the excitement when The Tattler discovered that the current owner of the rights to The Cumquat brand turned out to be the President of the Sierra Madre Rotary Club.

Glendale Deals With A Major Cause Of Blight: Real Estate Speculators (Thursday, May 21, 2009 - 137 comments) The practice of buying up buildings during difficult economic times and just letting them rot until times improve is a practice some real estate speculators enjoy. And Glendale got sick of it and passed a law that allows them to fine the pants off the dirtbags. This article led to a similar ordinance being agendized here in Sierra Madre, with our City Council set to approve it very soon. Look for the Skilled Nursing Facility to get new windows any day now.

No Show Joe? (Tuesday, May 26, 2009 - 34 comments) Joe Mosca has always seemed most proud of his membership to SCAG. Despite the fact that this organization is basically out to turn Sierra Madre into something the residents here do not want, Joe can't brag enough about what a fine SCAG guy he is. But then, Sierra Madre interests were never Joe's real priority. So imagine the surprise many felt when The Tattler revealed that Joe couldn't be bothering to even show up at SCAG's meetings.

Anybody Getting The Impression That Larry Wilson Has A Serious Problem With Sierra Madre? (Thursday, May 28, 2009 - 33 comments) This post was in response to the 2nd Larry Wilson column within a three week period that made some rather bizarre accusations about this town and its residents. But what made this Larry Wilson column particularly amusing was the truly hilarious errors and factual absurdities contained within it. Something that had some speculating whether he was suffering from merlot poisoning when he filed it. Larry's column is reproduced within the cited article, so take a look for yourself. Then maybe you'll be able to tell us what an "American American" is?

Did Sierra Madre Weekly Photographer & Reporter Terry Miller Out Himself As Being A Cumquat Contributer Last Night? (Tuesday, June 16, 2009 - 23 comments) The self-promoting photographer for the stuffy Sierra Madre Weekly turns out to have had a kinky alternative life. That being as a part-time picture boy for the obscene website The Sierra Madre Cumquat. And how did we find out? The poor dear spilled the beans himself.

Tattler Breaking News: El Monte Developer Accused Of Fraud, Embezzlement (Monday, June 22, 2009 - 28 comments) Remember that Billion Dollar Bus Station? Well the developer, John Leung, was arrested for some dastardly doings. Of course, the real reason we cared as deeply as we did was because he was former Sierra Madre Mayor Bart Doyle's boss. The El Monte Transit Village, something that many so-called "smart growth" bus huggers had put so much faith in, may now never see the light of day.

The Most Clueless Headline Ever? (Saturday, June 27, 2009 - 35 comments) Considering the stiff competition they get from the Mountain Views "News," winning this celebrated cite from The Tattler for exceptional ineptitude is really quite a feat. But with their headline, "City Manager: Sierra Madre Has No Surplus," the gents at The Sierra Madre Weekly took the donkey tail in the pants. But hey, what else would you expect from a bunch of carpetbaggers from Monrovia?

The Pasadena Star News Doesn't Read Itself (Thursday, July 23, 2009 - 67 comments) In one editorial the Star News said Sierra Madre was going broke. And in another editorial a few weeks later they said we're running huge surpluses and need a tax cut. I swear you could get whiplash from reading this rag. But we read it everyday.

Mommy? Why Did That Man Say They're Taking away My Library? (Friday, July 24, 2009 - 60 comments) In one of the most inane ploys ever, a bunch of knuckleheads tried to make the case that they were the saviors of a Library that was in absolutely no jeopardy of closing. The attempt to manufacture a controversy where none actually existed went on to make them a laughingstock in town. But should they have lied to their own kids about it? No, I don't think so.

The Head Of SCAG Is A Former Soviet Planner? (Saturday, October 10, 2009 - 52 comments) Now they might act like some kind of totalitarian outfit backed up by the might of a powerful central government, but that the leader of SCAG should turn out to be an actual former Soviet Planner is just too good to be true. But there it was. So when will Commissar Ikhrata send in tanks to quell the uprising here in that dissident stronghold known as Sierra Madre? And will Joe Mosca run out into the streets to greet them as liberators?

Joe Mosca Fired (Wednesday, October 14, 2009- 68 comments) How deliciously ironic that the haughty Mr.Mosca should have been canned by the Mayor of Sierra Madre from his SGVCOG job because of a report in the Tattler. It happened. Once again Joe was caught not showing up to something he was supposed to. During the City Council meeting where the deed was done, John Buchanan asked if anyone knew how embarrassing this was. Indeed we did.

So that's our review of a portion of The Tattler's first year in existence. A lot of stuff is listed here, but it barely scratches the surface. Just a ton of information about all the scoundrels, deadbeats, lobbyists and dishonest politicians that bedevil us on a daily basis. But they are fun to write about, that's for sure. And there always seems to be plenty of material.

Christmas is here and we're going to a light publishing schedule for the next week or so. I'm sure there will be a couple of things to write about, so keep checking in. And there are always the comments. But it's family time, and you know we all have to do what's right. Family is always first.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, and thanks! I've made some of the best friends I've ever had doing this blog. Please accept my gratitude.


  1. Quite a trip down memory lane. Sir Eric you have given the residents of Sierra Madre a very special gift. I hope you will continue to make the residents aware of what is happening in their own backyard.

  2. Thank you Sir Eric for your invaluable service to the community.

  3. Put into this perspective it really was quite a year. A year in the
    history of Sierra Madre. Maybe Sierra Madre could have its second
    coffee table book soon? Or at least a coffee table magazine.

  4. Thank you Sir Eric!
    Your columns are a labor of love to preserve your community and speak the truth.I'm proud to call you a friend.
    I think I speak for all your many friends who enjoy this website in wishing you, you're wife and those two nice little sons:


  5. Congrats on a great year and may the turn of the decade at 2010 be the start of a new direction - for all of us in this State. We'll need to pull together when Humpty Dumpty comes apart.

  6. The image of Joe Mosca running out to greet the Commissar's tanks as liberators cost me a whole cup of coffee and a computer keyboard. Where do I send the bill?

  7. You have done a great service to the beautiful community of Sierra Madre. Thank you for taking the time and effort to create an open and honest forum for discussion. "We never know how high we are, until we are called to rise." E.D. And Merry Christmas!

  8. Everybody needs to think about this. Joe Mosca would become Mayor of Sierra Madre if he is re-elected and someone else like him gets in. He and John would unleash SCAG, enable the BIA and CAR, and ruthlessly enforce SB 375. Sierra Madre as we have always known it would come to an end. 2010 is a watershed year for this city. We've fought some big battles in the past, but none bigger than this one.

  9. Thank you, Sir Eric, for your running commentary!
    You are a gift to Sierra Madre.

    Here's to another great year!

  10. Sir Eric,
    You not only educate us, you entertain us with great information. The comments can often be exhlarating and filled with great rhetoric! Thank you and your family for the time you take to write your brilliant insights and political reality about the people and places. Our continual involvement is most definetly because of you and our 3 Fabulous City Council Members who have worked for the PEOPLE!!

    Indeed you are a WONDERFUL gift to California, not just Sierra Madre. Thank you!!

  11. Congratulations and thank you for providing Sierra Madre with hard-hitting, humorous and brutally honest reporting.

  12. Sir Eric, thanks for observing that the emperors -- I mean Councilmen Buchanan and Mosca -- have no clothes

  13. Second only to his family, the most important thing to Sir Eric is the truth.

    Congratulations, deserve the praise of your readers.

    Merry Christmas to all the posters on this board.

  14. News like you find on the Tattler just doesn't exist anywhere else. It's nice that there is a place where adults can go to get the real story.

  15. Been there done thatDecember 21, 2009 at 6:54 PM

    Gee, I miss the slugfest already...83 posts

  16. It's Christmas time. Even the political affairs of Sierra Madre get to rest.

  17. As a grown up, I have learned what it means to be a teen who is adicted to the internet thanks to The Tattler!! How quickly I scramble to my computer to read Sir Eric, mostly serious, often funny, always wise, and keeps all of us on our toes dancing around important issues.

    A toast to the NEW YEAR! A double to Sir Eric!

  18. Can we get Sir Eric to run for City Council? We could sure use him there.

  19. Absolutely awesome list of articles, Sir Eric!

    wow, what accomplishments and gains this blog has made, what an incredible run (and all in only one year? that doesn't seem possible).

    Fantastic work, Eric Maundry

  20. Congratulations on a great collection of local news and commentary. I enjoyed looking back through the highlights.

  21. I love this blog. Never stop.

  22. I believe he drew papers, and is running under the name of John Crawford

  23. I don't think anyone running for office "drew" their papers. They are printed on a Word processor, run off on copying machines, bound into a notebook, and presented to anyone willing to part with $250.

    To suggest that this is an artistic endeavor is to belittle the gravity of the occasion.

  24. 5:48 - Hey, at least he's already got a website. You know?