Friday, January 15, 2010

The Mountain Views News Never Came Out This Week

If memory serves me well, and usually it does, it was Kurt Zimmerman who posed the question to Sandy Levin at a meeting not all that long ago. And what he wanted to hear from her is how exactly does a newspaper lose its adjudication. And Sandy's response was basically this, if a paper is not publishing regularly, and therefore not circulated to the public, that would make its adjudication null.

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.


  1. Maybe I'm being optimistic here, but doesn't it seem like the
    dirts are having a very hard time of it right now?

  2. Curly, I sure hope so!! let them all turn into mud and roll down the hillside!

  3. Mayor MacGillivray, Don Watts and Kurt Zimmerman-


  4. And, I heard the Sierra Madre Kiwanis Club made Susan their President. OMG!

  5. It is ironic. The people who would play the biggest role on the MVN adjudication question are all elected officials that paper has been extremely hostile to...

  6. I hear the "Former Members of Kiwanis Club" is
    now just about as big as the regular one.

  7. I recall how Council Member Buchanan accused Council Member Zimmerman of having some sort of hidden agenda when he raised questions about Susan Henderson's contract with the City. Sounds like Buchanan has a not so secret agenda -- protecting Susan Henderson.

  8. Anybody else fed up with this charade?
    If the owner of that paper does not publish regularly, the paper is NOT QUALIFIED as an adjudicated paper, right?
    Were the number of subscribers ever presented to the city management?
    Has the city management been tracking, making sure that notices have been published in the appropriate time frame?????
    How about all those DBA's, the "doing business as" notice that is a legal requirement of any business owners?
    Council & city staff, what is going on?

  9. Interesting point 9:05 about the DBA announcements. Those are to be published for three consecutive weeks as a matter of business license law...

  10. new business ownerJanuary 15, 2010 at 9:21 AM

    9:07, the requirement is for 4 weeks.

  11. What is the position then of a business owner who published the DBA as of the last week in December - so the 4 week requirement has been half met, and there is an allowable skip-a-week or two policy?

  12. One of Susan's sources is not longer able to give her money.

  13. Attention Kiwanis members and other mis-informed people:

    Please copy/paste this link to see this woman in action. Maybe Sir Eric can highlight this....people you need to watch this.

  14. In case you are hearing about Susan Henderson for the first time, I have reproduced below the Court's judgment in the civil lawsuit brought against Ms. Henderson and Deauxamis Publishing. Among other things, the judge found that Susan had:

    Breached her fiduciary duty,

    Failed to provide capital contributions to the publisher and

    Misappropriated the design, masthead and formatting of a paper (our local and former paper the Mountain Views Observer) she previously published with the plaintiff Katina Dunn.

    Ms. Dunn prevailed, but it's anybody guess if Susan ever satisfied the judgment ($41,994.74 against her).

    Judgment Follows

    Katina Dunn, Plaintiff,
    DEUXAMIS PUBLISHING, INC., a California corporation; SUSAN HENDERSON, an individual; and DOES 1 through 20, inclusive. Defendants.

    Case NO. GC039149

    This case came on regularly for Trial on December 8, 2008 through December 9, 2008 in Department R of the above-entitled Court, the Honorable Edward C. Simpson, judge presiding. Plaintiff, KATINA DUNN ("DUNN"), appeared by her attorney of record, LAURA V. FARBER of Hahn & Hahn. Defendant, H. SUSAN HENDERSON ("HENDERSON") appeared In Pro Per. Witnesses on the part of both Plaintiff and Defendant were sworn in open Court and examined and exhibits were admitted into evidence. After hearing the testimony, reviewing the evidence and the arguments of counsel, the Court rendered its decision as follows:

    Based on findings of fact and application of the law, the Court issued a Judgement for DUNN against HENDERSON on the shareholder derivative claims brought against HENDERSON for breach of fiduciary duty.

    WHEREFORE, by virtue of the law, IT IS ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that DEUXAMIS PUBLISHING, INC. ("DEUXAMIS") has a judgement against HENDERSON in the amount of $41,994.74 on the basis of HENDERSON's failure to provide capital contributions to DEUXAMIS.

    WHEREFORE, by virtue of the law, IT IS ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that DEUXAMIS be dissolved.

    WHEREFORE, by virtue of the law, IT IS ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that due to HENDERSON'S misappropriation of design, masthead and formatting of the Mount Wilson-Observer, that injunctive relief be granted against HENDERSON and that she be required to eliminate use of the word "OBSERVER" in all Mountain Views-Observer newspapers, published both in print and on website and on any other documents bearing the name, "Mountain Views-Observer."

    WHEREFORE, by virtue of the law, IT IS ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that DUNN as a shareholder having successfully brought a shareholder derivative claim on behalf of DEUXAMIS, is the prevailing party against HENDERSON.

    Dated: DEC 30 2008

    Edward C. Simpson
    Judge of the Superior Court

  15. Poster 9:49, I hear Susan attempted to seal the court files to keep this matter secret. Did that happen?

  16. This Henderson is a deadbeat, a grifter and is not loyal ,truthful or honest to anyone,as far as I've ever heard.

    The way she betrayed her trusting friend, Katina Dunn was just sickening.

    If the people ever knew all the truth about that, they would run Susan Henderson out of town.

    Harriet Susan Henderson is a sociopath.

    Woman has no conscience.

  17. Also on Neuroblast is Zimmerman asking about the publication schedules and subscription numbers, "Mountain Views News Fails to Meet Requirements," and the city attorney's response.

  18. Neuro fan, great video! The city attorney says, "The city could file a complaint in Superior Court to challenge the adjudication of the newspaper."
    Take action city!

  19. 9:51 -- did not. Apparently her attempt to do this was met with bemusement by the judge. Trial results are public record in democracies.

  20. So what is this about Josh Moran changing his voter registration from Monrovia to Sierra Madre the day before he drew papers? Like TWO DAYS AGO!!

    And you thought Joe Mosca was a carpetbagger...

  21. Yeah, but Joe was sneaky.
    Josh is leading the way for the realtors, the anti-measure V folks, loud and clear. He didn't pull any punches in his speeches before the council when he was campaigning against Measure V, so at least everyone knows where he stands: pro-realtors, pro-development, and no smoke & mirrors about it.
    Joe is all smoke & mirrors: sweet puppy dog looks, and values that we all hold near and dear.

  22. A carpetbagger is a carpetbagger. He lived in Monrovia until half an hour ago, so why is he coming here? What is his motive? Did Judy say it was part of his job?

  23. You sure?
    I heard he has homes in both towns.
    Realtor perk ya know.

  24. Positive. He had to reregister here. Apparently his Monrovia home is where he puts his little head down at night.

  25. Sacramento Joe and Monrovia Moran. Now there's a real dream team.

  26. Regarding Mr. Moran,

    I'm concerned that if he was elected he would be required to recuse himself from many important Council votes on development and zoning issues. After all, Mr. Moran and the real estate firm he works for sell property all over Sierra Madre.

  27. HELLO!!! Josh Moran was one of the biggest opponents of Measure V!. His name was plastered on those misleading flyers that stuffed our mailboxes in the run up to the election.

    Does he really think he has a snowball's chance in hell of ever being elected??????/

  28. 1:18 -- interesting point. When you consider just how much of what the City Council and Planning Commission has to do with the sale and development of real estate, that won't leave a whole lot for Mr. Moran to vote on. One good warning from the City Atty and the only thing he'll be rasing his hand for is dog ordinances, tree trimming, and cookie bakes.

  29. Don't forget that Josh's mother is Toni Moran, a long time Judy Webb-Martin agent. So, not only would he have to recuse himself on any issue he has a conflict (of interest) with, but also any issues his mother has a conflict with.

  30. Sacramento Joe Mosca
    Monrovia Josh
    Tap Dancin' Walsh

    LOL LOL LOL What a ticket!

  31. When you consider that the poor child isn't really all that bright, he probably won't know what he should and shouldn't recuse himself on. Poor dear could end up in the pokey in no time.

  32. 2:46
    Or at least in court!

  33. The Fair Political Practices Commission in Sacramento has issued a number of opinion letters arising out of realtors serving as city council members and voting on development-related issues.

    Needless to say, there are many situations where the realtor-councilmember will have to recuse themsleves.

  34. Having a realtor on the city council would be like having only 4 members when the most important issues are discussed.


    It's just a no brainer decision. To vote otherwise is not only foolish, it's dangerous.

  36. None of this is surprising to me. What I do enjoy is this forum. We always needed a place to discuss the comedy of Sierra Madre politics, and now we have it. Drink up! The weekend is here.

  37. I remember that one of the applicants for the General Plan Committee was a realtor.
    And that California Association of Realtors strategy handbook to defeat slow growth? Get on the local committees and councils as networking to defeat any slow growth, local control movements.

  38. That's right 5:04, it's written in the California Realtor's handbook, a chapter on getting in control of small towns who favor slow growth and defeating their efforts.
    Join all the clubs, volunteer, get on the City Council or the Planning Commission.

  39. @ Hoge
    Surely you are not advocating that an organ of Free speech be silenced? Shouldn't all points of view be heard.

  40. Anybody can get heard. The trick is finding someone to listen.

  41. I have a great camp site for sale in the low lands by a hefty river. Interested?

  42. No thanks. Your mud is your business.

  43. Just to clarify -

    Holding a real estate license does not automatically require someone to recuse themselves from a vote. Here is the FPPC 2009 explanation of the Political Reform Act -

    If you read through it, any council member that has a direct financial interest in an item up for vote, or has received financial consideration on a project within the last 12 months, they have to recuse themselves.

    The mere possibility that one day a councilmember with a license may, or did in the past (more than 12 months have) receive a commission from selling / leasing a property, does not make for a conflict of interest.

    The FPPC finding letters that support that assertion as well.

  44. Actually you have omitted quite a bit in your brief summation here, counselor. I can't help but wonder if your comment here was meant to comfort more than inform. Tomorrow's post will quote extensively from City of Artesia City Attorney Kevin G. Ennis. His "A Brief Conflict of Interest Guide for Real Estate Agents and Other Real Estate Professionals: Ethical and Legal Issues for Councilmembers Who are in the Real Estate Profession" is the rather widely distributed treatise many refer to when looking for answers in this matter. Tune in then.

  45. Sir Eric:

    I am familiar with this document, and it serves as a good guide especially in areas where there is significant undeveloped land, or the possibility of annexing county unincorporated areas.

    You are correct, there are instances where a real estate agent needs to recuse themselves. However the thresholds established by the FPPC for possible gain in business based off of market share are not likely to occur in Sierra Madre by the mere nature of its relatively developed status and inability to grow borders through annexation.

    Although its a moot point, I just looked up Josh Moran's real estate license #01494710(go to and it expired in August.

  46. Poster 9:31. Nobody said holding a realtor's license automatically disqualified you from becoming a council member. The point made by the other poster was that there was a potential for conflicts.

    That potential for conflict can be magnified when the realtor and his firm are doing business in a small town. Also, if you read the FPPC opinion letters you will see that potential conflicts can sometimes arise when the realtor- councilman is voting to approve or disapprove property sales he and/or his firm have an interest in, or when the realtor-council member is voting to approve disapprove general plan amendments, zoning ordinances etc...

    I'm not voting for any candidate if I think there's a chance that he will have to routinely recuse himself/herself if elected.

    Siera Madre is too important to me.

  47. Hmm, that would make his continued employment at Webb Martin problematic then, wouldn't it. He is still listed on their site's personnel page as an employee there.

  48. What you have in addition to realtors having had business deals all over town is the fact that they own property all over town. Many occassions a property never hits the market--it is bought and kept as a rental for income property--by well-placed realtors. What a racket! Much to recuse about! Not sure if this applys to would-be city council candidate Moran--yet?

  49. Is Josh still doing his realtor thing at Webb-Martin
    with an expired license?

  50. Well since Webb Martin was acquired by Dickson Podley some time ago, and the Dickson Podley website doesn't list him... My guess is the webb martin site is old...

  51. You dont need a Realtors License to work at an agency, depends on your capacity.

  52. I thought it was a real estate license, and then you became a realtor when you joined a board. is that incorrect?

  53. So if the real estate thing didn't work for Josh, what is he up to these days?

  54. The potential for conflicts and actual conflicts are two very different things.

    If his license expired in august, and the election isn't until april, which realistically wouldn't get certified and seated before... start of June maybe? we are talking about a maybe 3 month period of a 4 year term where there might be the potential for a conflict of interest.

    The likelihood of routinely needing to recuse himself doesn't sound to be too strong.

    Considering the state of the housing market, if he let his license expire, chances are he didnt have a deal for some time before that, so there may not even be a period of conflict at all...

  55. Sorry Conflict Clarification, but doesn't Josh have a close relative who is realtor in town? You can still run afoul of the conflicts rules if a member of your immediate family could benefit from a vote you cast while on the counsel?

    Don't you just hate those pesky conflicts rules?

    Also, how do you know he let his license lapse?

  56. OK Let me get this straight, this Moran guy registers to vote in Sierra Madre a day or so before he pulls his nomination papers.

    And, several residents have already raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest he might have as a current or former realtor in town.

    Why does this guy think he is going to get elected?

  57. I can't wait for the candidates debate, when the public can ask Mr. Moran about his last-minute registration.

    Or, why his name is plastered all over those misleading NO on Measure V flyers.

  58. I think Moran is only running because Zimmerman is stepping down. Can you imagine Josh in a debate against Kurt?

  59. Josh is going to get shredded in the debate whether Kurt is there or not.

  60. 12:19 - conflict of interest laws apply to the individual, the spouse, or the kids. Not your parents.

    Don't you hate when those pesky laws don't conform to what you think you know about them?

  61. So 8:10, are you arguing that it would be ok to have a realtor, or ex-realtor, on a governmental body making decisions that his or her parent gains from financially?