Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Oddest Re-Election Campaign Tactic Ever

I guess when you are a politician desperate to be reelected, and you don't have a particularly appealing record to run on, you might find yourself hoping that people won't talk about it too much. And if you are Joe Mosca, then you would likely wish that the last 4 years don't come up at all. Because there really isn't a whole lot there that is going to help your political ambitions. The widely held perception that you'd broken some very important promises to the voters, or the carpetbagger reputation, or even the time you told some seniors disappointed with you to "get a life" (and on video no less!), certainly won't help. No, none of this is going to do your cause the least little bit of good.

Now most politicians in such a predicament might attempt to put together some kind of distraction. Visits from celebrities, maybe. Or a parade. Or perhaps a candidate in jeopardy might actually come up with some kind of appealing new message, something that will get people looking forward, all the while praying that they'll forget the past. But never in my life of following politics have I ever witnessed a campaign that has actually come out and expressly forbidden any discussion of their candidate's record. And apparently Joe's supporters are prepared to back this up with accusations that those doing so are "being negative" or "stirring up hate and division in the community." Which, if you think about it, pretty much precludes any discussion of Mr. Mosca's time in office at all. Because there isn't much he's done that hasn't pissed at least some people off.

With Monday's post I apparently committed just such a crime. I discussed Mr. Mosca's decision to deny the citizens of Sierra Madre a vote on the Downtown Specific Plan, something that could have resulted in undesirable development way out of kilter with the character of our community had Measure V not remedied that breach. Joe had vowed to deliver such a vote when he was running for City Council, yet broke that promise within a few months of assuming the post. And I provided both a document and video showing this betrayal of trust in pretty unmistakable terms.

An irate reader calling herself (?) "sm citizen" took the time to send me an email on this very topic. And after a couple of lively sentences calling me all sorts of colorful and predictably uncomplimentary things, she went on to try and explain Joe's flip flop on the DSP vote. Here is the heart of this individual's explanation:

" ... what Mr. Mosca's vote was responding to was a discussion that came from him questioning if the proposal was in its final form and what process it had to go through to get there. It was explained to him that it was NOT in its final form and that it still had a process to go through before it would be ... a process during which it would be put to the scrutiny of the public and discussed (and) modified as they suggested. Some or all of the objections that the public had could be addressed and resolved during this process. At one point when one of the others at this meeting mentioned something you could see a realization come over Mr. Mosca and he dug deeper to have an understanding of it. When he got a true and complete picture of the situation and what still needed to be done before it would be time to vote on it, he decided that it was not the time that this was to be dine (sic). No one else at the meeting cared about that ... they were just all fired up and reactive. All anyone heard was Mr. Mosca's 'NO' vote and not what he said."

Of course, for some it is always about the process, and never the actual result. So I guess this is as good an explanation as any of why Joe might not want his DSP vote being discussed. Because if all someone can find to say in his defense is that people were distracted from the depth and caring of Joe's thought processes by his vote to deny the public a ballot that he had explicitly promised the voters when running for office, well, then that cause is as good as lost.

But being a reasonable person, I decided to try and share some perspective with "sm citizen." Here is what I had to say in response:

"When the voters in this city judge a candidate, and particularly an incumbent candidate, they look to his record. And an important part of his record is whether or not he kept his promises. And when it came to the vote on the DSP, perhaps the most important issue this city has faced in a decade, Joe broke that promise. And by not keeping faith with the voters he caused a lot of the grief you've described here. He must and will be judged on this ... This has nothing to do with "dividing the community" or "making people hateful towards one another." It is how adults make decisions in this world. Decisions based on a rational understanding of the facts and how they relate to the performance of an elected official. People believe their eyes, and know what they've heard. And to say an incumbent's record in office should not be discussed because it might make some people upset is absurd."

Now I must have made something of an impression on my new pen pal, because when the response arrived it was without any of the invective or unkind observations about my person that so distinguished her first email. And what it reveals is an attitude that so typifies the government uber alles viewpoint prevalent in California these days. Check this out:

"What was clear to me was that he was voting not AGAINST the voters' desire to vote on the subject, he was NOT trying to deprive them of what he promised them he would give them ... he was simply saying that it was not yet the time for that vote. The others, caught up in the fervor of the issue, were not looking at the whole picture, they did not listen to the advice of experts at meeting when they answered Joe's inquiries about whether the DSP was in its final form and thus did not consider what was the best way to approach the vote. They were just committed to an agenda and wanted to push it through even though it would have been wiser financially if they waited as Joe voted to do. Joe weighed the economic and practical side of it and said that when it was time, and if the people still felt it was necessary, he would give the people the right to have their voices heard."

How magnanimous of him. Now I need to reveal something to you, dear reader. It wasn't just two people who were a part of our email exchange. There were quite a few others CC'd to this as well. Many of them past or current contributers to the Mountain Views News. You see, I actually initiated this exchange, using an old e-mail list from my MVO days to do it. All in hopes of getting just the kind of reaction you're seeing here. And apparently one of those looking in decided she'd heard quite enough from my detractor. Here is what an annoyed Sierra Madre resident had to say in response to "sm citizen's" observations:

"Just for the record: Using the words in your statement -- especially the ones in bold -- 'Joe weighed the economic and practical side of it and said that when it was time, and if the people still felt it was necessary, he would give the people the right to have their voices heard ...' is a totally inappropriate statement, and denigrating to the folks in our community, and a political tactic that creates 'time' for loopholes to be developed (and hope people 'forget') which would confuse matters even more. Joe Mosca wasn't elected to dictate what the people in S.M. have the right to do. This is the United States. Why do some of 'our' politicians treat matters (and citizens) as if they're trying to steer the city government here towards a fascist regime?"

I couldn't have said it any better if I had a decade to do it. And, not completely surprising, "sm citizen" did not reply. And there the exchange ended.


  1. Sir Eric, HONEST JOE was right.

    We nettlesome members of the the public were not ready to vote on the DSP.

    Nope, the wise decision was to throw thousands of additional dollars into the pie holes of the tax sucking consultants who were working on the plan. Then, once they sucked all the dollars off the table and finished the plan - which as published by the City consisted of a stucco jungle comprised of hundreds of new condos, parking lots, and "work/live" units - we dumb dumbs would be allowed to vote.

    and that nice SM Citizen is right too. It is bad form to note that HONEST JOE was, all by his lonesome, responsible for the continuation of the DSP farce, that HONEST JOE broke his promise to allow a vote on the DSP, and that HONEST JOE more than any other person is SM is responsible for the discord of which she complains.

    While HONEST JOE would like to erase history and present himself as a blank slate - just as he did four years ago - he cannot.

    I am confident that once HONEST JOE is removed civility will be restored.

  2. Get A Life Old PeopleJanuary 28, 2010 at 7:50 AM

    let' see if get this, Joe's comments taken in context are "inappropriate" and are "denigrating to the folks in our community"


    I guess it's time for Joe supporters to "get a life"

  3. Joe Mosca will be held ACCOUNTABLE for his TREACHEROUS actions and BETRAYAL of the people of Sierra Madre.

    The lady Joe insulted on the video is Barbara Cline, one of the sweetest souls and the finest VOLUNTEER in Sierra Madre.
    Barbara believed in Joe, she had him in her home for dinner. She had a big fundraiser for him. A fundraiser where he stood on a platform with Kurt Zimmerman and Don Watts promising to fight the DSP.

    How dare this impudent narcissist, Mosca, tell Barbara and her husband, former councilman Lee Cline to "get a life".
    How dare him!

    By the way Sierra Madre, Joe had a NO on V sign proudly displayed on the lawn at his home.
    Joe was a promoter of the DSP from the get go.

    I'll be damned if I'll take the "high road" and not mention his horrible record!

  4. By the way,



  5. Yes, 7:57 Kurt and Don did keep their promises and continue to do so to this day.

    Kurt and Don both fought for Sierra Madre, at a terrible personal expense, I might add.
    They were defamed, sued (bogus law suits), investigated by private investigators, but they fought on. They fought for the people of Sierra Madre.

    Even after we close to 2000 signatures to put Measure V to a vote of the people, Mosca refused to go along with Don and Kurt and thereby cost the city tens of thousands of dollars of our tax money.

    I strongly urge every decent citizen in Sierra Madre to REJECT Mosca's bid for re-election.
    He does not deserve your vote. His record is clear and it is disgusting!

  6. This tactic of the Mosca campaign is actually pretty sad if you
    think about it. The only way they think that he can win is if they
    somehow suppress discussion of his record while serving on the
    City Council.

    That is quite a confession for them to make.

  7. Sick of carpetbaggersJanuary 28, 2010 at 8:29 AM

    I think I'm gonna get out my old copy of "Animal Farm" and settle in for a good read.

  8. Our RHNA numbers were outrageous, thanks to Joe Mosca and John Buchanan....who do NOT fight for us.

    It was absolutely the right thing for Mayor MacGillivray to fire Joe from SCAG. The Mayor and Mayor Pro-tem Watts are attending these meeting (something Mosca rarely did). They are gathering state-wide support for standing up to development interests in the San Gabriel Valley and Sacramento. MaryAnn and Don are fighting for us all!
    Please return Don to our City Council and fire Sacramento Joe Mosca. You will be doing the right thing.

  9. When Rick Warner ran for Congress in the last election, he told a lady in the canyon that Mosca had contacted him and wanted to canvass door to door with him.
    Warner, who found out about the recall attempt against Mosca and the general disgust of the residents for his betrayal of their trust, turned him down. Didn't want to be associated with Mosca.

  10. 8:30 --- actually our Mayor was forced to relieve Joe of his duties at SGVCOG for nonattendance. At SCAG, even though he shined off most of those meetings for about a year as well, he is insulated. Unfortunately Joe will be there to help enable the massive RHNA numbers we'll be hit with in a couple of years due to SB375. Sacramento's priorities being far more important to him than ours.

  11. Animal Farm! how appropriate:

    "No one believes more firmly than Comrade [Mosca] that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?"

  12. Four legs good two legs better!

    Throw out farmer Mosca so that we animals can make the farm a paradise!

  13. "Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear." - George Orwell

  14. Councilman Joe Mosca and his supporters have tried to muddy the waters hoping that the voters would be so confused as to believe that he actually supported a vote on the downtown specific plan.

    Unfortunately, for Mosca and his supporters, there are eyewitnesses and earwitnesses, videotapes, minutes of City Council meetings and other irrefutable evidence that attest to Mosca's actual and despicable conduct.

    Mosca told dozens of Sierra Madre residents and then Council candidates Kurt Zimmerman and Don Watts that he favored giving the residents the right to vote on whether the downtown specific (development) plan should be adopted or rejected. (For those of you new to this blog, the DSP would have expedited the destruction of Sierra Madre's downtown and encouraged the construction of multi-story condo-complexes and aboveground parking garages).

    In fact, Mr. Mosca unequivocally stated his approval for such a vote during the televised candidates debate prior to his election to the Council in 2006.

    After the City Council election in 2006, newly elected Council Member Kurt Zimmerman moved to adopt a resolution to place the DSP on the ballot for the voters' approval or rejection.

    As the neuroblast video shows, Council Member Mosca broke his promise stating that he would not vote to put the DSP on the ballot until it was in final form and HE APPROVED OF IT FIRST.

    Of course, while he was running for election, Mr. Mosca never promised the voters that they would have an opportunity to vote on the DSP, but with the caveat that he would have to approve of the DSP first.

    In letters to the editors of local newspapers, and in response to a recent article on this website, some of Mr. Mosca's supporters would later argue that it was untimely or improper to vote on the DSP until it was in its final form. As the poster quoted above states: Mosca "was simply saying that it was not yet the time for that vote." That argument, however, was/is the proverbial red herring. Council Member Zimmerman's motion was for the vote to come after the DSP had been finalized. Morevoer, as discussed above, what Mosca actually said was that he would wait for the DSP to be finalized so that HE WOULD HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO APPROVE OR REJECT IT FIRST. Only after Mosca approved of the DSP would he vote to place it on the ballot.

    As if breaking the campaign promise which got him elected was not bad enough already, Mosca then attempted to dupe the residents of Sierra Madre a second time. He made a motion to put the DSP on the ballot after its completion but with another and significant caveat: This time the residents could cast a vote in favor of or against the DSP, but their votes would be "advisory only."

    In other words, Mr. Mosca was calling for "survey results," which he and the other Council Members were free to ignore when the Council (and not Sierra Madre's voters) voted to approve or reject the DSP. The videotape of the City Council meeting where Mosca moved for an advisory vote shows Council member Zimmerman pressing Mosca to amend the motion to require a binding vote. It also shows Mosca rejecting that call for an amendment.

  15. The quote from SM resident --

    "if the people still felt it was necessary, he (i.e., Mosca) would give the people the right to have their voices heard ...

    -- is a bold-faced lie.

    As poster 10:37 describes, Mosca stated that he would give the voters the right to vote on the DSP if Mosca felt it was necessary.

  16. Mosca wanted to be the one deciding whether or not the DSP would be voted on. And the reason for that is he didn't want it to go up for a vote until he was assured it would be passed by the residents.

  17. Sorry I meant SM citizen.

  18. 10:49

    He didn't want it to go to a vote, because he knew it would be rejected. Of course you know that.


    I strongly urge all Don Watts, John Crawford and Pat Alcorn supporters to print this brilliant post out and use it as a reference.

    To all you that post, look in the mirror and ask youself..."am I really supporting what's right for this little town and my neighbors in it"?

  19. Went to most all the DSP meetings on request of then City Development Services Director Kurt Christensen. This program for Sierra Maere and the use of RBF Consulting firm, was typical of what was going on all over So. Cal. at the time. Another unsuspecting community that was almost flimflammed like we were by RBF was Yucca Valley. Plan is gone into the dustbin there, too. Now, where is Kurt Christenson you ask?Off to Yorba Linda, following our former City Manager Tammy Gates, to work over that city. However, Ms. Gates has been dismissed--something to do with promising a developer in their downtown something she shouldn't have. People in Claremont, where Ms Gates served before coming to Sierra Madre posted this--their concerns were still stong after watching her actions in that fair city.

  20. Considering that the BIA and the rest spent over $170,000 to defeat Measure V, isn't it conceivable that Joe was working with them all along? They certainly had resources.

  21. It sure is conceivable, 11:13.

    I would bet on it.

  22. My favorite part of the Mosca flip-flop comes towards the end, when he's getting his political slip & slide on, and he says "...look at other ways we can actually take the pulse of the people," "there's just a thousand questions."
    There's just one question - how dare he deny the citizens the right to vote when he promised them, unconditionally, that he would support their right to vote?
    I don't want you to take my pulse any other way, Joe.

  23. a thousand questionsJanuary 28, 2010 at 12:30 PM

    Why did Joe ever come to SM?

    Why did the Dems walk the town to get the vote for him?

    Why did he think he could betray the voters and get away with it?

    Why didn't the recall work?

    Why are so many citizens uninformed?

    What can we do to weed out betrayers?

  24. Trust me, by the time the election gets here there won't be a breathing being in town that won't know that Joe Mosca broke his promise to the people of Sierra Madre. He can tap dance from here to Taiwan, but it won't matter beciuse nobody likes a politician that can't keep his word.

  25. Anonymous 12:35, let me add to your brilliant observation, "that can't keep his word and tries to convince you he has".

  26. I like the way you think, 12:35!
    I think you're right!
    So long, Mosca!

  27. Thank you 10:37 for your post which spells out very clearly what Joe did.

  28. Send you donations to
    Don Watts
    Pat alcorn
    John Crawford
    They talk the talk and walk the walk.

    Joe and John just SLITHER

  29. Possible Mosca campaign slogan: "Pity me because I am too good for this world, and everyone is wrong except me."

  30. Anonymous at 1:21

    Aren't you describing a classic sociopath?

    Come to think of it, that's Joe Mosca.

  31. Looks like "sm citizen" is one of Mosca's "San Fernando Valley Young Democrats."

  32. 2:00 -- yes, the author of that email does seem intimately involved with the internal thought processes of the guy from that video.

  33. "The power of the people on the top depends on the obedience of the people on the bottom."

    Howard Zinn

    Rest in Peace

  34. Howard? The people on the bottom around here are grouchy and fed up.

  35. The great historian Zinn would be glad to hear that 3:28.

  36. Bwahahahahahaha!!!

    Oh, brother.

  37. In Case you thought only SM was victim of chicanery in politics, consider the following from beleaguered Pasadena.

  38. RIP Howard, after I read "A Peoples History of the United States" things in this country made a little more sense to me as to why things are the way they are. We lost one of the good guys.

  39. 5:38

    That article in the Star-News doesn't mention the fact that in contrast to the two-thirds "yes" vote required for balloted bond issues, etc., the mail-in ballot for local parcel taxes or assessments can pass with a simple majority of over 50 percent approval.

  40. Anon 7:23

    Professor Zinn was a great influence on millions of people over the decades. He may have passed away, but his legacy lives on.

  41. Understanding Prop 281

  42. "The power of the people on top depends on the obedience of the people on the bottom."

    Something to remember the next time some politico tells me not to be critical, or not tell the truth, because it may be inconvenient.

    My question is, inconvenient for who?

  43. You folks are reaching too far! If you stir the pot the scum will rise to the top. The pot has been stirred in Sierra Madre. and guess who is on top?

  44. 8:35 Nice attempt at damage control....NOT!

    Let's see....The Dirts control the Library Board of Trustees, the Fire Department, City Hall, the Chamber of Commerce, the Kiwanis Club and the local newspaper....and you mean to imply that somehow, we, the good people are on top?

    As far as I'm concerned, the scum is on top and has been on top for a long time. The pot still needs to be stirred.....Now More Than Ever!

  45. 8:35, who's "you folks"
    And where has this thread wandered off to?

  46. It's moseying, 9:13. Like a steer following grass.

  47. Poster 8:35 huh? Who are the scum you think will rise to the top?

  48. So how did the high altitude High IQ SM hillside bushwazee get flim-flammed by this would-be townwrecker Mosca character anyhoo? Huh? Answer me that.

    Are you gonna be able to organize an energetic curb kicking effort? Can you handicap your chances yet?

    And, and and, how many sentences should you start with the word "and" in one 'graph? Just askin. BTW where do I send my donation for the new candidate slate? Seriously.

  49. Dreams are your brain taking out the garbage.

  50. 2:43 - The place to send donations is the address in the space just below the Sir Eric head on the right. Send this blog to the City Council and make Johnny B's last two years there something truly meaningful.

  51. Please support John Crawford, Don Watts and Pat Alcorn. They are not financed by "special interests" and are campaigning on donations from Sierra Madre residents!
    They need your generous support and your votes.
    Thanks to all who care to join our campaign drive to elect 3 people who care more about us than they do Sacramento!

  52. Anonymous 8:29: you quoted Howard Zinn! he was so incredible!

    "I think this sums up what it is that has kept the Bill of Rights alive. Not the President or Congress, or the Supreme Court, or the wealthy media. But all those people who have refuesed to quit, who have insisted on their rights and the rights of others, the rights of all human beings everywhere." - Howard Zinn

  53. Cold friday night, Nothing better for the lonely to do than sit at home and curl up with tattler.

  54. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  55. Tch! Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?

  56. Whew. Obviously the flip flop issue
    has the Moscateers worried.

  57. The Mosca Campaign has handed out the following rules of conduct for this year's campaign:

    1) If you cite Joe's record in anything approaching an uncomplimentary way, you are engaging in dirty politics.

    2) A clean campaign is where you talk about how nice Joe is, and that everything he did was right.

    Please write this down and conduct your campaigns accordingly.

  58. Joe's campaign is scared to death
    right now. They know that the only
    way they can win is if people don't
    talk about his DSP flip. Fat chance
    of that!