Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Two Guys, Two Issues, Four Smiling Faces

These are two issues so good that Joe Mosca and John Buchanan couldn't possibly allow themselves to be seen opposing them. Of course, their records as public officials would seem to point towards them not wanting either a commercial blight law or putting eminent domain on the ballot, but what other choice did they have than to pay lip service to both?

I suspect they must have discussed these political considerations with their constituency prior to the meeting. No need to offend the people they really care about. After all, this is business.

There is a certain unhealthy fascination in watching two slick lawyers engaged in what they do best, creating a false impression designed to befuddle the gullible. And Joe and John's disingenuous support for putting the question of Eminent Domain on the ballot in April was just such a performance. Because as heartfelt and honest as the move to outlaw Eminent Domain in Sierra Madre might be for many concerned residents, for these 2 individuals it is quite obvious that any local law on this matter would hardly be enough to stand up to the kind of overwhelming state power they represent. If Sacramento should decide to use SB 375 to redevelop a city like ours, any Eminent Domain law we might vote into existence would be effortlessly swept aside in the Courts. And they certainly know that.

Joe and John gave away nothing on this issue last night. They had privileged lawyerly knowledge, but rather than explain to the people they are supposed to represent what the limitations of a Sierra Madre Eminent Domain law might be, they cynically used it as an opportunity to score some cheap and gratuitous political points. It was about as oily a performance as I've seen come out of a City Council meeting in quite some time. I swear the unquiet ghost of Richard Nixon was in the room, stopping by to smile for a moment at his two proteges.

I don't know if you noticed, because he did it kind of quietly, but Don Watts delivered quite a body blow to John Buchanan's pretensions of opposing Eminent Domain. The reference was to a time when the Downtown Specific Plan appeared to be unstoppable, and how certain homeowners on Montecito Avenue, fearful of an Eminent Domain seizure of their houses, panicked and sold them. They didn't want to sell, and they had no idea that they weren't in any imminent danger, but they did so because they were afraid of their own city. And the question has to be asked, where was John Buchanan and his concern about Eminent Domain then? Did he, a City Councilman then as well, stop by these peoples' homes and reassure them that there was no danger, and they shouldn't feel the need to sell? The answer to that question is pretty obvious.

There was one comical moment. So eager was Joe to appear to be opposed to eminent domain that he practically begged MaryAnn to let him help write the paperwork. Or, failing that, letting John Buchanan do the deed. Not much of a poker player, our Joe. Of course, the sad irony here is that Councilman Mosca serves on the very SCAG committee (CEHD) that will generate the anticipated massive SB 375 RHNA numbers that helped cause this concern in the first place. Joe Mosca is very much a part of the process that could put Sierra Madre into jeopardy for Eminent Domain use by the state in a few years. Something that made his grandstanding here very much in poor taste.

I fully support the Sierra Madre Eminent Domain Law that will be up for voter consideration next April. And as I have said all along, it is a great first step. Something akin to a protest vote. But it really isn't much more than that. There will still be a long ways to go before Sierra Madre is fully protected from SB 375, the biggest private interest redevelopment scheme in California history. And let's face it, separating Joe Mosca from his City Council seat would be an even bigger step to getting that done. After all, it is pretty obvious whose interests he really represents here.

The other issue Joe and John couldn't risk appearing to oppose is the "Establishment Of Commercial Property Maintenance Standards," aka The Downtown Blight Ordinance. But this time there was no comforting insider knowledge for them to fall back on. Nothing that would ensure there would be no real consequences to those whose interests they truly represent. Which in this case is apparently the LLC members who own the Skilled Nursing Facility, the blighted property that would be the true target should this ordinance pass.

And this time Joe and John were not quite so eager to support the matter at hand. Both were cagy, evasive, and parsed out quite a school of red herring to boot. "What if it was both a business and apartments?" "What if it was mixed use?" "What if it was a big building but one guy was in it?" On and on it went. The need to obfuscate was evident, but in the end nothing seemed to stick. Staff was given guidance, and there should be something for the City Council to vote on in the not too distant future. And I suspect that is when the gloves will come off. I don't think Joe and John can really afford to let this one pass without a fight. After all, it might just take some money out of the pockets of the Downtown Investment Club, and what could possibly be worse than that?

And what's up with John Buchanan praising a book that advocates preservation here in Sierra Madre? Isn't that a little bit like Kim Il Jong becoming a spokesman for free speech?

More on this meeting tomorrow. There is another topic that we need to discuss.


  1. Good post, nice blog. Thanks for share good post.

  2. Thanks, MaryAnn and Don.
    Buchanan and Mosca sure wanted to take control of that ballot measure wording. They would have sabotaged it for sure. Mayor MacGillivray stopped them cold.

    Congratulations to Don Watts.....I know how this issue of eminent domain is a real and constant concern of yours. It was one of the reasons you ran for city council, to protect others from what happened to your family,the heartbreak of eminent domain is personal to you.

  3. The fight against eminent domain is an important one. And if Buchanan
    and Mosca are sincere in their opposition to it, then they should explain
    just how the state's development demands on places like our little
    town are going to be achieved without it. Because you can't support
    both SB 375 and fighting eminent domain. They are two of the same

  4. Isn't it great to be such a rich town?
    Love spending half a million at a pop.
    Love having a city manager that makes more than most of the citizens do in a year.
    Of course we don't have enough FOR AN INDEPENDENT AUDIT.
    Whenever that comes up, hey presto, like magic, we're oh-so poor.

  5. Good point, 8:33. I guess you could call it situational finances.

  6. I guess somebody has to say this, so I'll be the sucker. If next April we find ourselves watching the selection by the City Council of a Mayor Joe Mosca, how will you feel? This vindictive little man will then have the power he has always craved, and do you trust him to use it fairly? Or will it be used to settle scores and reward his supporters...

    Eyes on the prize, people.

  7. Great article Sir. Best description of J & J ever.
    Mosca and Buchanan are fools about many things, especially if anyone with money threatens them, but they knew damn well they couldn't argue for EM. It was no surprise. It was kind of funny as you pint out when Joe gave it his most persistent effort to get the Mayor to let him in on writing the ballot. Gotta love her brevity and decisiveness.

  8. If that happens, Ed. Sierra Madre will be in the hands of lobbyists who will surrender our sovereignty to Sacramento crooks and the BIA crooks.
    JOE MOSCA is a LOBBYIST for SACRAMENTO and their DEVELOPMENT/CONTROL agendas. So is Buchanan.

    Kurt Zimmerman, Don Watts and MaryAnn MacGillivray serve Sierra Madre with service hearts.......they work and defend us, for now and for the future.

    Please support these servants of the people, Sierra Madre.
    The home, liberty and money you save will be your own.

  9. Joe wanted to see his name on a page with a popular ballot issue.
    He could make that his left hand activity, while calculating big density numbers for SM with his right hand.
    The boy is heading for the state politics arena. Always has been.

  10. Sam, yeah. That is unless we stop him. His patrons will have no use for him if he can't get re-elected. They'll drop him like a bad habit.

  11. Always grateful to our MayorDecember 9, 2009 at 8:56 AM

    Mary Ann was wonderful last nite keeping Joe from getting involved in getting his grimey little two faced hands involed in writing anything that would sabotage eminent domain. Joe and John pretend to support it. Mary Ann you are wonderful the way you handle Joe and his childish begging. Thank you for your very professional handling of your support for a very important step towards this important protection for all of us.

  12. Great remark 8:56!
    She is something to watch, isn't she? Joe should just shut up and figure out that our Mayor has true authority, born of intelligence, personal integrity (whether you agree with her position on things or not) and experience. It is not the fake kind of authority Joe and Buchanan bluster around with.

  13. not to be believed..December 9, 2009 at 9:03 AM

    Keep Joe as far away from any control. He is not able todo anything but announce his Kersting Court hours, and what was that baloney about having been home and see blight and joblesness in the North East. Is he trying to make us believe he has compassion for others when he does not give a rats arse about over building and eminent domain here in lovely Sierra Madre. Lets get eminent domain here and have his house be taken down first as we all stand and cheer. AH!!
    Jest sayin.....

  14. 8:55, I think Joe is a true ignoramus, meaning that he will continue his quest for state politics. He'll just start again some place else, first step, foolin' the folks.

  15. Thanks to public speakers, Barbara Leigh, Carol Parker and De Alcorn, as usual you were sticking up for the folks of Sierra Madre.

    Carol Parker's rendition of King Midas was sure apropro to the subject.
    The greed of politicians who will eventually just desolve into their own butts!

  16. Hey not to be believed, I noticed Joe doing that too, but what I got from it was that he had done some homework, a little research, you know, act a like a lawyer and look up some case histories. He probably heard about such a thing in law school. How did he ever get through the course of study to be a lawyer?

  17. 9:13, I've wondered the same thing.
    Can you buy a degree, and then just take a test prep class for the Bar?

  18. Joe Mosca and John Buchanan coudn't make it in the world of real attorneys, so they became lobbyists for the energy companies, Sacramento development interests.

    They do NOT belong on Sierra Madre's city council.

  19. How long do we tolerate Joe Mosca.
    This man hates Sierra Madre. He holds all of us in contempt!

  20. Did anyone notice how uncomfortable, Sandy Levin, our City Attorney was when she was making the staff presentation for Eminent Domain. She did not like her task in the least. Everyone needs to remember her agenda…, build, build. The ballot measure needs to be scrutinized very carefully before the next city council meeting. I guarantee there will be some sort of “out” in it. Remember the UUT ballot measure that was passed. How many of you missed that the 12% increase for 4 years at the very end of the measure???

  21. Thanks for bringing that up Pasta. And I for one am very mad about that UUT increase, especially since we seem to be rolling in dough.

  22. off topic but: at 8:33

    Hey, friend, the forensic audit is NOT OFF THE TABLE. Repeat: NOT OFF THE TABLE.

    They can't do everything at once and timing is crucial.

    Again,'s gonna happen, not off the table, so let's get on board and work for the election of our candidates.

  23. An Audit,along with some changes in the staff and attorneys might provide our elected representatives(3) with the support needed to rescue this community from decades of corruption!

  24. Amen Rose!
    How about if we have a reasonably sized city hall staff, and see that the people who work there are fairly compensated for the small tasks they have in this small town?
    And bring back vigorous volunteer participation. We can do a lot by ourselves.

  25. Returning Zimmerman and Watts to the city council will guarantee the end of the dirt era of corruption.
    It sure would be nice to get rid of Mosca in the process.
    Please support Don and Kurt. They sure have earned it. They saved Sierra Madre. Against all odds, they saved Sierra Madre.
    Let's keep moving forward in the right direction, Sierra Madre. Good things will happen.
    That's a promise.

  26. 8:37, situational finances!
    Poor mouthing fits too.
    Situational poor mouthing.
    A couple of people in city hall are getting rich on our taxes.

  27. I think the term should be Situational Financial Management, or SFM. Which uses the new Alternative Reality Software, or ARS. This particular software features a program that allows you to adjust any possible perceptions of the information available to suit any Manager's Current Operating Agenda, or MCOA.

  28. Now that post deserves some kind of award.
    Hey Sir Eric, whatcha got to give Malcom?

  29. No recognition needed, Faithful Reader. Just happy to be living the good life in Sierra Madre. As they say.

  30. I see that Susan's rag finally came out. I wonder if she has to rebate money to advertisers because her printing is so eratic.

    She had a long fluff piece on Shirtless Pete - the next dirt to probably seek office. He was heard once proclaiming that he wants to be Mayor of Sierra Madre. What type of person seeks out to be President of Little League? He's close buddies with John Buchanan.

  31. 3:04, Why is he known as shirtless?

  32. Hmmmm Shirtless Pete.....I'll be Sir Eric has a few "fluff" pieces about him.

    I hope that's their candidate. Mosca and Shirtless Pete, what a combo.

    Shirtless Pete is also a good friend of Glenn Lambdin, Rob Stockley, Bart Doyle, all the worst dirts in town.

  33. I heard Pete's not into it. The dirt ticket looks to be Joe and the Little Joes. I hear they'll be wearing identical suits.

  34. Poster 10:32, last time I checked, only Council Member Zimmerman was pushing for the forensic audit. And, he raised that issue several months ago!!!!!!

    Sadly, his well-intentioned proposal lacks support from the other Council Members including the Mayor and Council Member Watts.

  35. Have Watts and Zimmerman decided to stand for re-election?

  36. Patience, 4:11. Like any well orchestrated campaign, everything will become clear at the most opportune time. You'll know when it's happening by the sound of Joe Mosca's knees knocking like a Rosa Parade drum roll.

  37. 3:18

    Shirtless Pete always runs around town in little plaid jogging shorts and no shirt.
    He's a lightweight candidate for anything.
    A minor league racetrack employee.
    He's also a dyed in the wool dirt.
    Not exactly a good candidate by any standards.

  38. Texting every meetingDecember 9, 2009 at 4:50 PM

    Poked my head into the meeting for a moment last nite and noticed that our City Attorney once again was texting away as others spoke. She is a sneaky one that one, and we all know she is working with Collatuano. Guess the City Council Majority believes to keep your enemies close.....but what about just manners. She was sure uncomfortable when the speech was delivered about Midas, wiggilin and squirmin...

  39. Texting and surfing online during council meetings is required by all who work for the city. That's why we pay them to sit there.

  40. Simple As A PimpleDecember 9, 2009 at 4:59 PM

    I've heard many have become tic tac toe addicts. It is a very sad story, actually.

  41. 4:38, if Pete does run somebody should speak with a couple of the women who served on the Little League board with him during his first term, he ignored them and basically treated them like cr@p. He was known to become quite condesending to women he felt threatened by.

    3:18, he's known as "Shirtless Pete" because he jogs throughout town without a shirt (he's over 50 and must crave attention) - he used to show up to the Little League field in those 1970- style disco dolphin shorts without a shirt and parade around so all could see him. Nothing more disgusting than a middle age man shirtless, sweaty and hanging out at a Little League field. He was clueless to how he ruined diner sales when he was at the field without his shirt.

    I heard from a very reliable source that he actually said at a Little League board meeting several years ago that he wanted to be Mayor and that he actually said that's why he volunteers for the recognition.

    He also ignored 49 years of Little League tradition of how the SMLL fields the A level Major post season tournament team and selectively stacked his own son's B level team with A team talent and when SMLL won a B level tournament. Basically, he screwed over dozens of kids, years of tradition and Little League values to win a $ 6 dollar trophy for his own kid.

  42. why doesn't the Mayor simply ask the Attorney if she is conducting City business while texting or on the internet at the Council Meetings - the same for Staff.

    or, when the attorney answers a question, maybe the Mayor, Kurt and Don should pick up their phones and pretend to text

  43. 5:02.....I can belive this. This guy is a real creep.
    He has always championed the worst of dirt causes.
    Is a total puppet of the infamous dirt ex-mayor gang, you remember the guys on the SMRRD postcard standing in front of Webb-Martin?
    The ones people nailed to telephone polls on Sierra Madre Blvd, like wanted posters.
    Funny stuff.

  44. Somewhere in betweenDecember 9, 2009 at 5:37 PM

    the description of shirtless pete fits a male who is:
    arrogant, narcissistic, mysoginist, twisting facts around to fit his own perception/power! gee....does that remind anyone of someone else on the CC?

  45. why doesn't the Mayor just say no texting during meetings. Have to wait til we are finished. Thank you. Done at a lot of other public meetings. Called COURTESY!!

  46. How much money do we pay Levin?
    Who is she texting, Colantuono?

  47. We pay Levin enough for her to pay an assistant to sit there and text for her, that's how much we pay Levin.

  48. don't take a breath.December 9, 2009 at 6:38 PM


    AND WHY IN THE HELL DOES THE CITY ATTORNEY AND ELAINE AGLAIGURE SERVE LONGER THAN THE MAYOR?????????????????????? (ok, they are not elected officials, they don't care about us, but this is all arse this calif law, or what?).

    We now have an intelligent, aggressive, quick thinking, with it, not going to be stepped on Mayor who works for US, the people. WAKE UP!! She knows how to manage people and knows how to clean up the poop!! Kurt was great, but Mary Ann does not let any garbage go on and all the blabber and pluff, pfuff on.

    How do we extend the office of the Mayor for more than a YEAR. Goodness knows that you-know-who-thinks-he-deserves-to-be-BMOC.

    How in the hell do we change the length of time the mayor serves. You all realize that we have to keep up our momentum.......we will never be able to relax............

  49. I'm really impressed with MaryAnn and Don's committment to fighting for us at the SCAG meetings!
    I think we should get them T-shirts that say:

    What a concept.......fighting for the people instead of special interests!

  50. Make sure Midas gets permits for the addition.

  51. Sir Eric,
    50 comments today......everyone must have done their Christmas shopping, either that or they watched the council meeting last night.