The Mountain Views News, in the opinion of people I've spoken with on this topic, has been skirting that distinction for a while now. Dated for Saturday delivery, it usually does not appear on the stands until at least the following Monday. Something that has been observed by quite a few people here in town. But this week has been different. For the first time in a while the paper never came out at all. And if you go to their website, you will see that as of this typing the MVN is still celebrating New Year's Eve. Complete with hats and horns. It must be quite some party.
The reason this would be of concern to a lot of people in Sierra Madre is that the MVN is our official paper of record, and therefore where the City places its legal advertising. In order to achieve this lofty level of public trust it needed to be adjudicated by the state. Which it was. But also of concern to the political majority here is that the editor of this paper, Susan Henderson, has been a fiercely partisan advocate for politicians who do not share the preservationist opinions of most living in this town. People who advocate the kinds of development more in line with Sacramento's agendas than ours. Even to the point of publishing scurrilous and misleading attacks against those who believe that this town should remain a small and independent city.
Now what most people in Sierra Madre are not aware of is that Susan Henderson has some rather interesting skeletons in her closet. As an example, at one time during her decidedly checkered career she held a position of great importance in the political establishment of the State of California. That is, until it was all suddenly taken away from her.
Here is how a San Francisco Examiner article, published on May 25 of 1995, describes those events. We are reprinting this article here in its entirety.
Demo leader resigns under fire - Questions over state party official's resume, credit card expenditures ... H. Susan Henderson, onetime Republican turned executive director of the California Democratic Party, has resigned her $78,000-per-year post amid controversy over alleged resume-pumping and questionable expenditures on a party credit card.
State party chair Bill Press announced Henderson's departure Wednesday, the same day the Examiner reported that she had registered to vote as a Republican barely two years before taking the $78,000-per-year Democratic Party post.
The Examiner also reported that the University of California had no record of awarding Henderson a law degree and an MBA, as she claimed on her resume, and that a Sunnyvale business executive said Henderson had failed to repay a $2,000 loan.
A confidential news source said that California Democrats, who face the crucial 1996 election with a deficit of $1 million, would pay Henderson $25,000 in exchange for her resignation.
In a press release, Press said he had ordered an audit of the state party's books, after receiving an anonymous letter contending that Henderson had improperly run up some $3,000 in spending on a party credit card for items including lingerie and a trip to Disneyland.
Press said the audit found no wrongdoing, but said the matter had become so emotionally draining for Henderson that she decided to resign. He said she would work as a consultant for the party for an unspecified period.
Henderson did not return phone calls. Press declined to respond to questions about whether he had known about Henderson's life as a Republican when he hired her or what steps he had taken to verify her resume. He also refused to comment on the reported $25,000 payment.
Republican glee ... If Press was mum, state Republicans were chatty about what they saw as financial disarray at the top of the Democratic organization.
"My take would be that Bill Clinton and Bill Press attended the same school of financial management," quipped Victoria Herrington, spokeswoman for the state GOP. Referring to Henderson, she said, "This is one case where we Republicans don't mind a defection."
San Francisco Supervisor Angela Alioto, a vice chair of the Democratic Party, said she was shocked to learn that Henderson had so recently been a member of the GOP.
"She never mentioned that - she has posed as a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat," Alioto said. "To me, it's much more shocking to find out she was a Republican than to find out (about the disputed resume.")
Henderson, a former Oakland business executive, was hired by Press in 1993 as a deputy executive director for Southern California, then was promoted to the top job last year.
She presented an impressive resume: regional coordinator for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, East Bay Field Director for Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer's successful 1992 campaign, former president of the East Bay Area Club of Negro Business and Professional Women.
Changing registration ... But other parts of the resume don't appear to check out. Henderson states that she holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Ohio State University, but a spokeswoman said Ohio State has never granted a degree to Harriet Susan Henderson or Harriet Poole, Henderson's maiden name.
Henderson's resume also says that she holds an "M.B.A / J.D." from the University of California, without specifying a campus. Spokesmen at UC-Berkeley, UCLA, and UC-Davis, the three UC campuses that have both law and business schools, said no such degrees had ever been issued to H. Susan Henderson or Harriet Poole.
Alameda County voter records show that in 1989, Henderson registered as a Republican at an Oakland residence, then registered again as a Republican in 1991 when she moved to another Oakland address.
In March 1992, when the Boxer campaign was getting under way, Henderson changed her registration to Democrat, records show.
As party executive director, Henderson sat in top-level strategy meetings and sensitive discussions about the Democrats' plans for winning California for President Clinton in 1996.
In his written statement, Press complained that the anonymous letter about Henderson was "disgusting character assassination," but gave no details about why he had concluded that she had spent party funds properly.
Party credit-card records show that in a three-month period in 1995 she ran up $12,000 in charges, including $74 at a Victoria's Secret lingerie shop in Washington, D.C., $220 at a golf course in Palm Springs, $137 at a Los Angeles beauty supply outlet and $26 at a laundry.
We will have more on the Susan Henderson story soon.