Thursday, January 21, 2010

What Is It About Mailboxes In This Town Anyway?

In many societies throughout the history of this weary old world, people have had differences of political opinion. And when they did they argued, got into bar fights, burned the neighbor's barn, or went to war with each other. But in more advanced societies such as ours citizens band together into like minded communities and hold elections. Which can be a lot like a war, but one where people leave their guns at home. Usually. And OK, I guess there have been some bar fights.

But here in Sierra Madre there is a special variation on the above themes. And it seems that for one side in particular mailboxes are what they go after to express a mad love for their points of view. An enthusiasm which more often than not has something to do with development.

With the political season now drawing close here in town, can a renewed assault on our innocent mailboxes be all that far behind? That question is of concern to some. And perhaps the festivities have already begun? This from yesterday's Pasadena Star News:

Resident reports strange device in her mail box in Sierra Madre - Police evacuated the 100 block of Santa Anita Court after a resident there reported finding a suspicious device in her mailbox ... A woman called the Sierra Madre Police at about 5 p.m. Monday, after she went out to check her mail and discovered the device ... "The officers went out there and found a device that had wires in it and was somewhat sophisticated," Sierra Madre Police Capt. Larry Gianonne said ... Police called in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department bomb squad, which used a robot to retrieve the device. Officers then destroyed it.

Now there is no proof that we have uncovered pointing conclusively to this particular act being some form of political expression. At least not yet. And while this does bear the trappings of the time honored traditions described above, it could also have been for other reasons as well. Walking one's dog on a beloved lawn might have triggered it. Perhaps a labor dispute, or maybe a reluctance to bring trash cans in on time. Did someone look cross-eyed at somebody else? People can be tetchy, you know. Your guess is as good as mine.

Many of us who supported Measure V have a vandalism story or two to share, or know someone who does. I personally lost two mailboxes in the Great Sierra Madre Condo War, both victims of bludgeoning by baseball bat. I can't begin to tell you how melancholy it made me feel when I spotted my little green mailboxes laying flat on the ground with huge rounded dents bashed into their sides, their proud red flags waving no more.

But it wasn't always just a matter of laughing these asinine attacks off and going down to Arnold's Hardware to buy yet another mailbox. For some during the days leading up to the Measure V election, things actually got dangerous. Here is a big chunk of an article written by Katina Dunn in April of 2007, published in the now regrettably departed Mt. Wilson Observer.

Explosion In Mailbox On Park Avenue - Police are investigating the mailbox blown to smithereens at the address of an electrician who grew up in the area, and who has worked on the homes and businesses of generations of families since 1958 ... "It was a big boom," said Ed Clare, who is waiting for results from arson investigators. "The Sierra Madre police department responded immediately," said Clare. "I appreciate their response. I appreciate their professionalism." ... Many heard the explosion Sunday night at 6 p.m. on Park Avenue, a quiet, pretty tree-lined street without sidewalks. Shrapnel from the exploded metal was found across the street and down the block, Clare said ... In the weeks prior to the election on Measure V, 13 mailboxes belonging to pro-Measure V residents were vandalized on Acacia Street. During the City Council meeting April 10, resident Leslee Hinton said she filed a report with the FBI. Two other residents who have spoken on behalf of Measure V at City Council meetings reported a shattered car window and a smashed car mirror to the police department.

Many at the time believed that Ed Clare had been singled out because he continued to place advertising in the decidedly pro-Measure V Mt. Wilson Observer. This during a time when businesses in town were being threatened with boycotts for doing just that. And this crime, like all the others, was never solved. No one was ever arrested, and far as I can tell all investigations were dropped long ago. Certainly there didn't seem to be too much official concern over these acts. This from the same MWO article:

Last Tuesday Police Chief Marilyn Diaz said that Captain Larry Giannone is investigating the bombing and incidents of vandalism. Diaz also acknowledged that the police blotters released to the local press this week were missing some information on vandalism committed on properties whose owners advocated for Measure V. "I think we have them trained now to be more inclusive," Diaz said of her staff.

While it certainly would be sad to think that this kind of violence is starting all over again, it is not like we haven't seen it before.

42 comments:

  1. Some look forward to debutante balls, others to football bowls. There are the luncheons at the Rotary and Kiwanis. Even the fundraising galas. In Sierra Madre we have the season of mailbox bashing! Always at the forefront of edgy political action we are. Lead, follow or get out of the way. Let the circus begin!

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  2. The Gabriellano Indians would never build a wikiup on geological features that could be swept away in a mud flow. Keep your ID papers on your person at all times!

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  4. wow, the phenomena of mailbox assault in Sierra Madre is very interesting (and scary). This is aggressive behavior, violence really, its a tool of manipulation to force someone to back down from their position, out of fear.

    And who wouldn't be afraid? it is not hard to imagine that someone who would blow up a mailbox, could take the next step of launching a grenade through someone's window.

    But the Sierra Madre attackers are not quite at the Klan level yet, they assault the mailbox because it is at a safe distance from the person's home and conveniently located near to the street, where they can easily run away. Cowardly hit and run is the kind of assault they are performing, on the lowly mailbox, but it remains assault none-the-less.

    That this brutish behavior is politically motivated makes it that much more scary. The unavoidable fact, is that the mailbox bat-waving neanderthals are hired hands, doing the "work" of someone who doesn't want to get his (or her) hands dirty. It reveals the dark side of Sierra Madre politics, the incredible depths of mafioso behavior they are capable of.

    That is why it is so great that the Tattler has done so much investigative work into outing these characters. People capable of manipulative violence, have no place in civil government.

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  5. "...and then one day a special mailbox is picked but the man didn't notice the little surveillance camera hiding in the tree." - that will be the next Pasadena Star News article with photograph.

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  6. We, who were fighting for the passage of Measure V, with less than $30,000 in small donations by RESIDENTS, against $170,000 that the NO on V people shamelessly accepted from out of town "special" interests, had to purchase a couple of hundred additional YES on V signs due to vandalism/theft.

    In the past city council election in '08, MaryAnn MacGillivray's campaign had to purchase 100 additional signs, mostly lost, AGAIN, to vandalism and/or theft.

    None of our campaign people ever stole or vandalized a sign or property of our opponents.
    That should speak for itself.

    Isn't it about time all you "dirts" started to run clean campaigns? No vandalism, terrorism, taking thousands of dollars from any political party or special development interest group!

    Virginia Hoge(7:15) is correct, and she doesn't even live in Sierra Madre. This is totally unacceptable tactics. Sierra Madre is better than that. Enough is enough.

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  7. Perhaps the victims ran afoul of a certain religion founded by L Ron Hubbard that has a history of mailbox vandalism.

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  8. The Dunns had their car windows smashed and Zimmerman had his tires slashed during the Measure V campaign.

    It could get really nasty for you if you were a prominent supporter of Measure V.

    Let's hope we don't have a repeat of that vandalism during the run up to the next election.

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  9. In one neighborhood everyone who had a Measure V sign had their mailbox smashed and the signs destroyed. Barney Phiffe and Company said it was just kids and had nothing to do the the election.
    13 houses targeted at random?? I don't think so.

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  10. It probably was just kids. 35 or 45 year old kids.

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  11. Yep, 9:44, even 50+ year old kids, some of them EX-MAYORS. One bald head comes to mind.

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  12. "Now there is no proof that we have uncovered pointing conclusively to this particular act being some form of political expression. At least not yet." Then, in good journalistic practices wait until facts are known, read your posters and see how the ditto heads are running with your story. This is exactly why we should all cringe overr the demise of the printed press, no accountability... atabaoy JC, knocked one out of the patk on this one!

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  13. 9:32

    I recall the area on Acacia/Valle Vista was hit pretty hard. Yes on V signs destroyed and thrown in the street, mailboxes destroyed, even the back window of one of the neighbors SUV was completely smashed out with a heavy brick or hammer. It looked as if a cyclone had hit up there.
    I drove up and saw it.
    One woman was out in her yard, where her mailbox had been destroyed, she was in tears talking to the police on her cell phone, holding two small babies.
    This was worse than vandalism, it was terrorism.

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  14. 10:01 -- So someone puts a bomb in a mailbox and nobody is allowed to talk about it? Perhaps you would rather people NOT talk about it? Hell, if all we can talk about are the topics you'd approve of, maybe we'd have nothing to chat about is the weather.

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  15. The Pasadena Star News isn't a printed press?

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  16. All topics must be cleared with the Mosca and Moran campaigns before they are discussed. Make sure you get your authorization sheet signed first.

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  17. 10:17. I'm sure Poster 10:01 doesn't want us to talk about the weather right now because it's raining cats and dogs.

    Let's do as he might suggest and pretend it's sunny.

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  18. I don't imagine there is much that has happened in the last 4 years that Joe would want people to talk about.

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  20. The only time Joe Mosca operated in the public eye was when he wanted citizens with certain reputations and connections to act as his window dressing when his office hours were conducted in Kirsting Court. Didn't take most of us too long to figure out this fraud.

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  21. Troll @10:01 is doing a good job at ignoring the facts, details from elections past, and masquerading as "impartial" in order to criticize posters. Earning his or her keep.

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  22. Can't rely on the police for any long-term support. Their loyalties lie elsewhere, i.e. development interests in town.

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  23. Did the "device" require AA batteries/

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  24. to the SMPD a watch could have looked sopisticated

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  25. 1:33 - only when you use it.

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  26. What are the police doing to protect our town from creepy people like this? Marilyn I want a response, what is your plan?

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  27. Maybe if we had a newspaper that functioned like a newspaper rather than a vanity sheet used to reward those who help finance it we wouldn't need a blog.

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  28. i know this is off topic, but i was just wondering how many more days do we have until John Buchanan is off the council and limited to three minute speeches?

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  29. Anon 10:01: "no accountability" is a description of our printed press in its current state

    (and I might add, of trolling)

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  30. When Buchanan is demoted to the "3 minute podium" he will be literally and metaphorically in the dark as that is what is provided for ordinary citizens.

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  31. Gotta love it. Blowing up mailboxes as a form of political free speech. Only in the USA

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  32. We like to call it the rage of the career house husband, 5:21. Some of them are actually quite pitiful.

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  33. 5:21 Free Speech. Funny how "SPEECH" has something to do with education and eloquence and being able to listen.

    On the CC right now listen to who really speaks well: Mayor MacGillavry, Kurt Zimmerman and Don Watts. And, people accuse them of being too quiet. Hmmmm Maybe they might be listening and taking in importnat information.

    Ya think?

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  34. Lipstick on a bulldog

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  35. We better triple our efforts to save small town America from big money, the Supreme Court today just struck the first blow to the nail on the coffin of free speech. We won't have to worry about the Joes and Johns, they'll be long gone,small pototoes, the game just changed folks. Thanks D-Bag Roberts!

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  36. Gotta love it. Supreme Court says corporations and unions can now spend all they want to buy elections. Only in the USA.

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  37. @ 4:13

    The super dreamy sir eric has managed to purge the trolls from the Tattler with a minimum of self pity or weeping. Good on You!

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  38. SM dodged a bullet - so farJanuary 22, 2010 at 8:47 AM

    The justices voted 5-4, to unleash the vote buyers. 100% wrong way to go.

    We see in our own small town how disinformation and slander can work, confusing people with PR tactics. Fortunately our size makes it possible to know the people running for council, and you can investigate for yourself, meet the people directly and ask questions - and try to find the liars, like Mr. Mosca, before the elections.

    But on a national level? Good luck America on telling who's truthful.

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  39. 10:01, your post so deliberately mischaracterizes the Tattler article that I concur with those posters who have labeled you a "troll."

    Your post begins with the suggestion that the acts of violence perpetrated against the proponents of Measure V are unsubstantiated and that Sir Eric has conceded as much by writing:

    "Now there is no proof that we have uncovered pointing conclusively to this particular act [i.e., vandalism} being some form of political expression. At least not yet."

    That statement, as the rest of the paragraph reveals, was intended as irony. Here is the entire paragraph:

    "Now there is no proof that we have uncovered pointing conclusively to this particular act being some form of political expression. At least not yet. And while this does bear the trappings of the time honored traditions described above, it could also have been for other reasons as well. Walking one's dog on a beloved lawn might have triggered it. Perhaps a labor dispute, or maybe a reluctance to bring trash cans in on time. Did someone look cross-eyed at somebody else? People can be tetchy, you know. Your guess is as good as mine."

    More importantly, your post ignores the evidence that Sir Eric has diligently marshalled to demonstrate that many of Measure V's proponents were the victims of this ugly vandalism campaign. He cites not only to a Mt. Wilson Observer article describing some of these acts shortly after they occurred, but relates his own experience as a vandalism victim

    Your suggestion that "ditto heads will run with the story" is similarly misplaced as well as hypocritcal.

    I have read the other posts and many of the posters were already aware of at least some of deplorable acts recounted by Sir Eric, or were even victims themselves. These posters were/are anything but "ditto heads," in contrast to the "ditto heads" your snide little, propaganda piece is meant to reach.

    And, since you concluded your post with a baseball analogy, let me conclude mine with one too:

    You're out!

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  40. Nicely done, 1:07.

    Of course these damn trolls want us to spend time and energy replying to them.

    They refuse to intake factual information, cuz it might interfere with the buzz they got going on.

    Old Kentucky once posted a good response to trolls: crickets.

    I think it means that we'd rather listen to crickets than a troll.

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  41. WOW! Our police officers are now trained to be more inclusive on the information on the local police blotter. That just goes to show ya, "don't believe everything you read". Thanks Diaz for clearing that up.

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