Wednesday, January 27, 2010

John Buchanan's Unfounded Hypotheticals

After months of trying to figure out exactly what it is that Councilmember Buchanan is doing while he's sucking up so much of the oxygen at our City Council meetings, I have finally deduced his technique. The approach is simple, yet diabolical. Hidden in plain sight, as it were. And it is done with some craft, which he couples with complete fearlessness in the face of appearing trite, obstructionist, or dull. And what exactly is the method he employs?

John Buchanan is a Choki Motobu level Black Belt Master of the Unfounded Hypothetical.

This moment of awareness came to me during his insistent questioning of Karin Schnaider during her moment of glory at the podium last night. She had brought in the audit on time, it was done accurately, and we are running a surplus. All of which stands in stark contrast to what went on during John Buchanan's first term on the City Council. And sensing that the energy in the room had flowed from him and to Karin, John pounced.

"What if people had sick time that they had used, but then there was sick time they didn't use? Isn't that an unfunded liability?" Karin patiently explained that this information is all contained in the handouts the Councilmembers had been provided with, and the matter is already handled. But that was hardly the point. Because by artfully employing an unfounded hypothetical, in this case a pointless feigned concern over the effect of employee sick pay on the City budget, John had recaptured his special place in the room.

Another recent example of John's artistry in the use of the unfounded hypothetical was in the matter of supplying SCAG with growth numbers. All part of some dubious exercise designed to help our regional planning organization issue some paper on the future transportation needs in the area. The rational portion of the City Council wanted to make these figures as small as possible out of a fear that SCAG would use them as a justification for inflating our RHNA numbers in a couple of years. And thus challenged, John stepped up with some truly momentous usage. "If we send in low numbers, it could be interpreted elsewhere that we're telling people Sierra Madre is in economic decline!" A masterful use of the unfounded hypothetical, here designed to prop up some absurdly inaccurate SCAG assumptions.

Of course, Johnny B's greatest unfounded hypothetical was used in justifying a vote to demolish the pristine woodlands at One Carter. "If we don't give in to these developers," said he, "we'll end up spending huge amounts of money defending ourselves in court!" As we all know, John and the rest of the Gang of Four City Council gave Dorn Platz everything they wanted at One Carter. And, of course, we ended up in court spending huge amounts of money.

The true highlight of this meeting for me came at the very end. Because it was then that the long delayed Big Four Agenda Items were called to attention and set in motion for City Council consideration in the very near future. It's been a long time coming. Let us savor them here together. Everybody hold hands and repeat after me:

#1) An Explanation of the History of the Blown Audits During the Shenanigan Era. Here John Buchanan, the last surviving elected official of that disastrous time, will be called upon to explain just how a City government could screw up as badly as it did on the audit issue. Amongst other things.

#2) The Blight Ordinance. Once this baby is up and running Downtown Investment Club members will think twice before they allow their properties to sink into the kind of wretched decay epitomized by the Skilled Nursing Facility. Fines a-plenty heading their way!

#3) Cop Shopping. Now we all want an Andy of Mayberry style police force here in Sierra Madre. Because that is just the kind of town we are. But the lawsuit happy grouches of the Sierra Madre Police Department don't always see things quite that way. So with our MOU (an acronym that basically means "deal") with the SMPD just about up, what better way to begin our negotiations with their Union than to show up with a couple of competitive bids? They didn't do that kind of thing back in the Shenanigan years, but shouldn't running Sierra Madre like a business be the approach we always take?

#4) Adjudication Issues and Our City Newspaper. I feel privileged to even be able to type this one. It looks like the erratic publishing schedule and mysterious circulation figures of the Mountain Views News are going to get some real hard-nosed scrutiny from the City of Sierra Madre. Can you hear it? Off there in the distance? It could very well be the sound of somebody's Karma bell a-ring a-ding dinging. Besides, it's the digital age now. Let's just spare the trees and put our legal notices on-line.

How sweet it is!

86 comments:

  1. At last,A light at the end of the tunnel?

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  2. I was very pleased to hear Mayor MacGillivray's demands for these agenda items.

    I'm sure Councilmember and former Mayor, Kurt Zimmerman was as well!

    Thanks, MaryAnn, thanks Kurt for your super service to Sierra Madre these past 4 years! You are indeed our hero.
    Thanks Don Watts for your service the past 4 years. I pray you will be re-elected. I pray Joe Mosca will be fired by the very people he betrayed.
    And of course, John Buchanan......you pompous phony. Sir Eric brilliantly has got your number!

    John Crawford and Don Watts for City Council in April, 2010!!!!

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  3. Why hasn't John Buchanan asked about the possibility of the moon breaking free of its orbit and heading towards planet earth? Wouldn't that be a public safety issue?

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  4. John Buchanan and Joe Mosca are lobbyists for development special interests. They are third rate "attorneys" who have a job for the energy companies they work for and also the special interests in Sacramento.

    John Buchanan is just trying to fulfill his obligations to these special interests.
    Joe Mosca is trying to save his narcissistic ego from the defeat he so richly has earned in the next election.

    Mayor MacGillivray, Councilman Don Watts and wonderful Kurt Zimmerman(we will miss you so much, Kurt) are working for us, the voters, the residents. They have no agenda other than serving the people. They have us going on the right direction, first time in years! BRAVO.

    John Crawford/Sir Eric has valiantly agreed to run for city council, he will continue in the same direction as Kurt Zimmerman, MaryAnn MacGillivray and Don Watts. We all need to vote for John Crawford.

    Don and MaryAnn are in the midst of some very important work, on behalf of us, the people of Sierra Madre. They are working statewide to contain horrible pro-development interests in Sacramento and the San Gabriel Valley.
    They will protect our city as they have been doing. We will win and be the pride of the San Gabriel Valley, if not the State of California.

    Return Don Watts, Vote for John Crawford. Let's all help MaryAnn to keep Sierra Madre moving forward.

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  5. Good report on the CC meeting last night!

    8:02,
    I agree, however there are three slots open.....so we all need to vote for Don, John Crawford and Pat Alcorn!

    Winning team!

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  6. Great post, Sir Eric....my favorite highlight last night was the Mayor telling everyone that "the will of the people needs to be done" with keeping the UTT tax at 10% ...way to go, Maryann....!!

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  7. WOW.
    The Tattler has managed to see through all that verbiage Buchanan spouts, and lay out for us precisely what is so maddening about it - unfounded hypotheticals.
    A big thanks to you for being able to parse that folksy, gruff, irrational and sanctimonious swill.

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  8. Great article Sir Eric. One of my favorite moments was when Mr. Mosca took credit for the audits!
    Can't say the guy isn't trying.

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  9. I hope the governer does change the way taxes are collected at the pump. It would cut back on public transportation dollars. One could see that John was very upset about that. Boo Hoo.

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  10. not so Crazy conspiracy theoristJanuary 27, 2010 at 9:02 AM

    THE BIG FOUR AGENDA ITEMS.

    It's about time.

    Thanks to Kurt Zimmerman, those agenda items exist.

    Let's see if they really make it to the meeting.

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  11. Great picture of Buchanan. That would be his grim, uber serious lecturing mode, as in "Now listen folks, we're all on the same page here, and you should be civil, and not mind a pornographic website or the loss of the hillsides, and be respectful, and understand that we as the big daddy leaders will decide everything, and God forbid you should worry your little brains with these weighty matters, do not look at any "drafts" that city employees have been working on, so just buck up and trust us. We all want the same thing."
    Yeah.

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  12. I have thought that Buchanan thinks he's fooling the villagers. He has a very big government mentality, and I'm not sure that is what people are looking for right now. Joe Mosca suffers from the same thing. Both of these gentlemen seem to believe that Sacramento has all the answers, and all we need to do is get into line and do what they tell us to do. Most people undertsand how bad that would be for Sierra Madre. Just look where that kind of thinking has got California!

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  13. the dude can blabber on and never make a point, he must be a gem at business meetings at Edison where he must be the butt of many jokes

    how many more council meetings until the king of pointless pontification is subject to three minute limits and Mr. Watts will have the pleasure of cutting him off?

    once Joe is gone, how much you want to bet that we'll never see him at council meetings as a citizen?

    we'll miss Kurt, he was the only real attorney we ever had on the Council, not pansy lightweights who never see the inside of a courtroom

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  14. actually, John is a "unfunded liability".....

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  15. Joe's house will be on sale within a week of the election and the carpet bags will be packed. He and his fellow traveler Susan will be off looking for a new town to "help."

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  16. Once Joe is not elected, how long do you think he will live in town?

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  17. Kudos to MaryAnn for setting a course and objectives for the next council! We can't pile on too much too soon; but for future consideration I would suggest an effort to make Stonehouse a conservency rather than a sub division and a cooperative effort between So Cal Edison, Time Warner, Phone Co, and Sierra Madre to put all "utilities" underground, with repaving of streets as a side benefit.

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  18. I won't vote for anybody endorsed by John but watch John throw us a curve ball and endorse John and Don. But this site doesn't have enough porn for John's taste in humor.

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  19. Our Town, I lived through the repaving and then repaving of Baldwin. Makes you wonder why so much money was spent paving, and repaving that street - surely it wasn't connected to the One Carter development.
    Anyway, if you want to go for a project like that, a word of advice: get the utilities to agree beforehand, before they rip up the streets each in their own separate ways - because that was a bad mess, and the in fighting got way out of hand, to the detriment of residents who had to deal with angry workers for way too long.
    And of course, it takes a lot of money - which it seems Sierra Madre has.

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  20. Bad Karma and Anonymous 10:29, what makes you think Joe will stop sitting on Council? Being removed by the Mayor doesn't keep him from going to SCAG.

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  21. Oh 10:38, I bet you Buchanan will endorse the slow growth candidates! Ya know, cuz we're all on the same page.

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  22. I think the posters were saying that Joe won't be reelected. His filmed DSP flippity flop pretty much seals that deal. And then if he wants to mook around SCAG as an affiliated tag-along, let him.

    Somebody has to get the coffee.

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  23. Joe will not keep coming because there is nothing in it for him. He'll need to find a new springboard into state politics.

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  24. Buchanan has to endorse Nancy Walsh, the only citizen who came to support him in his unfortunate plea for greater estimates for Sierra Madre growth numbers, so bigger RHNA numbers, and he must owe Mosca for all those "I agree with my colleague Councilman Buchanan"s

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  25. As a resident, I am irritated by the amount of time Councilman Joe Mosca and John Buchanan waste asking questions about agenda items. They should read the agenda reports before the Council meeting. And, if they have any questions about the agenda item or the agenda report get answers from the City staff before the meeting!

    Councilman Zimmerman does that and that's why he asks so few questions.

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  26. Who knows what he'll do. I'll just bet he won't be looking forward to MacGillivray's future council.
    Don Watts will get re-elected. John Crawford will win, and possibly Pat Alcorn. Not good news for Buchanan, but it will serve him right.
    He may as well start keeping his campaign statement he gave to residents with MaryAnn signs last election...."I'm on the same page as MaryAnn" By God, you better be, Buchanan, if you're lucky she may even let you speak for 3 minuets, maybe.
    Yeah for short council meetings! With Mosca gone, it will cut out at least 45 minuets.

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  27. Councilman Zimmerman is the gold standard.

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  28. I'm betting Joe will leave town if he is not elected.

    I agree with poster 10:43 he will have to find another springboard into state politics.

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  29. Has anybody attempted to do a political intervention with Nancy Walsh? To me she looks like someone crying out for help.

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  30. Sierra Madre will never be a springboard
    for Mr. Mosca. More like a pair of cement overshoes.

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  31. Buchanan sure kicked old Enid Joffe under the bus. What a guy!
    He probably had pollsters out and knew MacGillivray would win.

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  32. Councilman Zimmerman is the platinum standard!

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  33. 10:54 Your post makes me wonder if Buchanan will endorse Nancy Walsh and Josh Moran instead of Mosca, knowing that Mosca will probably lose his seat.

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  34. GOOD Council meeting last night. It's reassuring to know that Zimmerman will get to vote on some of the agenda items he requested before he steps down in April.

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  35. John, you've got three minutes and then you need to shut up!January 27, 2010 at 11:07 AM

    it's only a few more council meetings and we won't ever have to listen to Joe and John again - woo hoo!

    10:46, you're right, you'd think at least Joe and John could read the agenda while at their jobs since they don't seem to be so demanding of their time

    I couldn't make it on the Council, I'd cut John off and rip on him for his bombastic and wandering meanderings and ask him to read the agenda before the Council meetings and I'd ask Joe to please quit whining.

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  36. Sorry poster 11:07, Only Joe is up for re-election. We'll have to suffer through John's bombastic speeches for another two years.

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  37. oh no, 11:10, I thought John was gone, thanks for ruining my lunch

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  38. 11:00 ... Josh Moran, forgot about him. It seems like once the comedic value was over, there wasn't much left for anyone to say.

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  39. My foundest memory of John Buchanan is the night of the election of YES on Measure V.
    The Pasadena Star News snapped a picture of him at a "victory" party for No on V....when the first results came in No was in the lead.
    That fat fist of Buchanan's was raised in victory, only to see their No on V lead dwindle and when precinct 3 (canyon) came in.......YES ON V had WON!!!!
    It was just wonderful!

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  40. Josh lol - dude has zero merit as a candidate and if he gets more votes than Bill Tice it'd be a joke. Mr. Tice has more creditability, compassion and cares for the city more than Joshy Boy ever will.

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  41. Don't underestimate the opposition. They will be well funded and as a group have much to loose. Enid and Tonja thought they were shoe ins and look what happened. Donate your time and $$$$$$$$ not just your keystrokes on the blog..

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  42. And now, live from Mary's Market, it's Loan Boy!

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  43. Another long term residentJanuary 27, 2010 at 11:57 AM

    $$$$$ is right.
    Some big wallets may have us on their radar.
    Keep your ears open for new PR firms coming into town (don't think Schubert Flint will be hired again), and check the Realtors organizations.
    There's bound to be a big smear campaign in the works, based on the anti-smear switcheroo, so the pro-development folks can accuse the slow-growth folks of smearing.
    Professional hypocrisy costs a pretty penny.

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  44. In the old west it was hired guns.
    In the new west, it's hired hypocrites.

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  45. why I believe that John Buchanan's use of the Unfounded Hypothetical proves him to be a Nihilist, and a practitioner of Nihilism, an extreme form of skepticism that denies all existence and believes that nothing can be known or communicated.

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  46. Sir Eric, you missed another unfounded hypothetical John B was famous for --- THE DSP.

    John was heard to argue many times that it unless we approved a DSP that would promote development in the downtown, we would be saddled with even more development because of "holes" in our current zoning code and general plan.

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  47. Poster 1:59, Joe Mosca made the same (lame) argument over and over again.

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  48. 11:47

    Loan Boy!? Why, whatever do you mean? If Joshy couldn't sell real estate, how can he sell loans?

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  49. John's M.O. has always been to support any pro-development proposal claiming that to reject it would lead to even more development.

    .

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  50. Great reminder 1:59, the old "Let us develop so those bad old developers won't make us develop!!!!"
    Fear tactics. So destructive. And the pro-development side claims there's discord in the village but it's not their fault.

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  51. John and Joe are the guys George Orwell warned us about.

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  52. Better an unfounded hypothetical than an unfounded accusation............
    I always say

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  53. 9:09, after hillsides I would add "or the construction of multi-story condos and aboveground parking garages in the downtown."

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  54. 2:13, elaborate please. What's the unfounded accusation you are referring to?

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  55. 2:13's claim of an "unfounded accusation" could be an an unfounded hypothetical. Just so you know.

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  56. Unfounded accusation??????

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  57. C'mon Troll, we're waiting for you...

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  58. We need Glenn Lambdin and Doug Hayes back in office. They were without a doubt the best / honest council members we have ever had.

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  59. Thanks Troll. We didn't have to wait too long after all.
    A very droll post indeed!

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  60. I hear Glenn is counting on God to compel the voters to write in his name.

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  61. "Glenn Lambdin and Doug Hayes back in office. They were without a doubt the best / honest council members we have ever had."


    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha. Thanks Mr. Troll, I needed a good laugh.

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  62. Poster 3:24 Glenn thinks he is God.

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  63. Glenn is a thug and Doug is a wimpy house husband....it's an joke that they were ever on our city council.

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  64. Glenn has an amazing column on the Sierra Madre News.net site. It describes how he
    came to renounce God and now presumably
    walks in the darkness.

    I wonder why Glenn stopped writing his
    columns. They were really quite lively
    and entertaining. They were written in
    a precocious teenager kind of style.

    Very genuine and obviously heartfelt.

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  65. What's John B doing with his hands in the picture to the left of the article?

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  66. 4:45 He's trying to hypnotize the audience and everybody watching him on TV at home.

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  67. Judging by this picture it would appear that he suffers from the cruel affliction known as "hotdog fingers."

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  68. Buchanan is probably mid meaningful gesture as he ponders outloud every hypothetical he can think of, while directing a gaze of utmost seriousness to the listeners, to impress upon them the depth of his considerations, his gravitas, as it were.

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  69. In my household, when Buchanan takes off his glasses and heaves a big sigh, it's time to hit the mute button and do some chores.

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  70. That thoughtful pause (punctuated perhaps by a nose or forehead rub) before he launches into whatever merry road to nowhere he's about to go down is always a sign that it's time to head to the kitchen for a cold one.

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  71. John Buchanan is a pontificating windbag.
    Only one worse is Joe Mosca, he is an impudent annoying juvenile, 30+ going on 15 years old!

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  72. I certainly hope the new Council will get bids from Arcadia PD and other agencies. It's absurd to believe that our PD compares to other cities in professionalism and competence.

    By the way, does anybody know what the lastest on the lawsuit caused by Deadeye Shootem in the Back Amos?

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  73. I guess the Skilled Nursing owners believe they can ugly and bully the city into 75 condos. I say fine them into oblivion.

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  74. Absolutely 6:13!

    These "gamblers" deserve to lose out.
    Fine them. We need the money and they need to get the hell out of town!

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  75. Hey Cop Shopping # 3, wake up, you're dreamin!

    Read My Lips! We (Sierra Madreans) will NEVER lose our police department, because we could not afford Arcadia, Pasadena (God forbid) or even the Sheriffs Department. We have tried this several times in the past and the answer is always the same, dollars and cents.

    Wake up! The problem is not with the police department it is with the police chief and her captain.

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  76. 6:13.. what are we fining them for, under what statute?

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  77. 6:16 -- Heh heh. Sure, pal.

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  78. actually 6:16, from what I've heard a few years ago we got bids from the County and Arcadia and they were at or below our current costs and I doubt the city would be sued as often as we are night now with our current PD

    and I can't believe that some people actually believe that the SMPD is comparable, even in an extreme distorted view, that the SMPD is remotely as competent as Arcadia, Sheriff's or Pasadena. fact remains, I seriously doubt that 97% of our PD could get hired by major law enforecment agency

    when one department consumes a majority of the city budget and performs a service that can be contracted out at a lower cost, it makes financial sense to weigh the options

    me, I don't feel safer with our PD, especially when they pull out guns and blast an unarmed person sleeping in an SUV

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  79. Actually 12:11, your facts and knowledge of the any contract considerations are incorrect. Also, you should conduct further investigation of police misconduct, lawsuits, and officer involved shootings within other police agencies before you criticize the SMPD. As far a city budgets, if you check with any city, you'll find that public safety is always the greatest cost; a fact!

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  80. I dunno 12:30, I havent seen where a Arcadia, County or Pasadena police officer freak out and shoot an unarmed suspect in the back

    that's a lawsuit that may bankrupt our city

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  81. We have insurance for that. But you have to know our rates
    are going to go through the roof.

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  82. Can anyone provide us with an analysis of what the SMPD is authorized to do and deal with in an indicent? When must they bring in another police agency? (Pasadena Police, CHP, LA County Sherrif, ATF, FBI etc.) Is the SMPD able to deal with 100% of Incidents or are they required to call in another agency with that training and authority to leagally act? Example: A recent minor accident between a day school bus and a bicyclist required the investigation of a CHP officer. SMPD just waited around until the CHP arrived.

    An analysis should determine what level of authority do we get for our buck and that would determine whether it is preferable to contract for more authority or remain a "remanding police department"

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  83. our PD is authorized to issue parking tickets and harrass skateboarders...that's about it

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  84. Per 12517.1 (2)(b) states all accidents involving school buses must be investigated by the California Highway Patrol. SMPD makes sure that no one is hurt or needs medical attention, but the report is taken by CHP.

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  85. 4:18: The California Vehicle Code states that all accidents involving school buses must be investigated by the California Highway Patrol, regardless of what city the accident occurs in. Banks that are FDIC insured are investigated by the FBI. Generally, most cities ask the Sheriff's Department to handle homicide investigations because of their available resources (Homicide Bureau and Crime Lab). Also, in smaller cities, SWAT operations will be handled by the Sheriff's Department. SMPD is a full service department, and whether some choose to believe it, the city would never get a better overall level of service from an outside source.

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