Monday, February 22, 2010

The Return Of Agenda Man!

Tuesday night's City Council meeting should be an entertaining one because there are several interesting and possibly contentious issues on the agenda. And three in particular could send the minority faction into fits of lawyerly obfuscation and pettifogging parsing. I mean, how do you take the side of the downtown investor who allowed the Skilled Nursing Facility to sink into a state of infamous disrepair without giving the appearance of being in favor of property blight? It should be interesting to see how they try and wiggle off that hook. But all this comes towards the end of what could be a long meeting, so be sure to have the coffee pot perking and the popcorn popper hard at work.

It all kicks off with the Consent Calendar. Approvals, comments, spending, and presentations will all take place per usual. In there is another hefty spend for our Community Redevelopment Agency, this time for $17,046.48. The CRA being the gift that just keeps on taking. The Chamber of Commerce will be looking for us to pick up some of the costs for the Wistaria Festival, something that could get interesting. But the highlight here is going to be a presentation recognizing our Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3208 for 75 years of service to Sierra Madre. Our VFW is one of the most monetarily generous organizations in town, and modest about it as well. And isn't that the true heart of charity, giving without any podium grandstanding? Since we won't be hearing from them about how much they've done, that duty now falls upon us. Is it too early to start campaigning for their selection as Grand Marshall at this year's Fourth of July parade? These guys are heroes on many levels, and deserve our accolades.

Did you know that when the VFW was passed over for this honor in 2009 it cost us Congressman David Dreier's offer to assist in getting parade performances from bands representing the four branches of our Armed Forces? I still can't figure how those in charge of picking last year's Grand Marshall screwed that one up as badly as they did. What a great patriotic sight it could have been!

Next up are a series of discussions on nine different items. Funding for the Emergency AM Radio Station begins the action, and certainly this is a worthy effort that we should all support. Sierra Madre is subject to the big four of floods, fires, landslides, and earthquakes, and getting information to the residents as quickly as possible should disaster strike seems imperative to me.

This is followed by discussions about streaming public meetings on the Internet (a good thing in my opinion, particularly for those who travel on business), emergency and mandatory evacuations, and "The Local Taxpayer, Public Safety and Transportation Protection Act of 2010." Which on the surface seems like a good thing, but its League of California Cities affiliation makes the skeptic in me wonder what the small print might be all about. This is something that is sorely needed though, and it will be interesting to hear what at least some have to say. I expect the council will support it unanimously.

And then, with the preliminary bouts out of the way, the heavyweight topics step up for their moment of SMTV3 glory. You'll want to get your popcorn ready now.

During the "shenanigan era" developers and real estate investors were given a pass on the quality of life effects their projects might cause here in town. One thing these parties got a free ride on was with construction generated dust. Ask anyone who lives near One Carter and you will find out just how serious an issue this is. And after much consideration and discussion by City Staff and concerned volunteer committees, the City Council will be talking about a Dust Control Ordinance. Something that many other cities in California already have in place. Here is some wording on what Fugitive Dust is, per the Coachella Valley Model Dust Control Ordinance:

Fugitive Dust is any solid particulate matter that becomes airborne, other than that emitted from an exhaust stack, directly or indirectly as a result of human activities. PM10 is a subset of fugitive dust and is defined as particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of 10 microns or less.

I don't know exactly how you measure a dust particle to see if it qualifies, but with another hot summer of seemingly endless work at One Carter ahead, with a similar grim and noisy process possible soon at Stonehouse, something needs to be put in place to protect young children and seniors from the debilitating effects of particulate dust inhalation. It is a serious health matter and needs to be treated that way.

Now the next item, Consideration Of Ordinance NO. 1306 Requiring Maintenance Of Vacant Commerical Property, is near and dear to my heart because it began all the way back in May of 2009 with an article on this blog. Kurt Zimmerman picked up on it and had the matter agendized. And now, a mere nine months later, it is coming up for discussion. Not the quickest process in city history, but I have to admit the timing isn't too bad. Here's how the original Tattler article opened it up:

Glendale Deals With A Major Cause Of Blight: Real Estate Speculators - One of the major causes of blight is real estate speculation. Banks and investors buy up foreclosed homes and buildings and then allow them to sit. Their hope being that when the market eventually improves the value of their holdings will increase as well and they can make some dough. But until that time comes they allow these properties to fall into disrepair. Why bother fixing them up until the time comes to sell them? It's just cheaper that way.

The classic example of this phenomenon here is the Skilled Nursing Facility, that boarded up eyesore on Sierra Madre Boulevard. This all came about because the City of Glendale, seeing similar problems in their community, initiated a Blight Law to combat what was becoming an all too common practice. And we're just following their lead. As I said at the beginning of this post, it could be a contentious issue. Watch closely as Johnny B and Joe wrestle with the possible political fallout for siding with blight versus their loyalty to the LLC that owns the decrepit Nursing Facility.

The last item is entitled Discussion - Newspaper Adjudication. This involves the City's contract with the Mountain Views News, which entitles this publication to carry our legal advertising. There are several important issues involved here, the most obvious being the paper's seeming refusal to supply that most necessary element in maintaining an adjudicated status, proof of circulation. An adjudicated paper is required to be distributed to a large swath of residents within the City it has contracted with. And despite requests from the City Manager to supply subscription lists and other proof of adequate dispersal, the paper's publisher, H. Susan Henderson, has yet to find it in herself to provide that information. With the matter now becoming something of a test of wills between the contending parties.

What takes this particular situation to an even higher level is that Ms. Henderson was expected to make an appearance before the City Council 2 weeks ago to discuss this issue. A discussion that didn't take place because she apparently blew it off. So the City is taking yet another pass at it tomorrow night. And outside of a handful of rusting racks downtown (most now minus their signage due to sketchy upkeep), nobody really knows what kind of distribution our tax dollars are getting for us with the MVN. City Council patience is wearing thin. I have a couple of bets out on this one, with my money on Henderson not showing up this time as well.

Bonus Coverage: In the new issue of the Mountain Views News there is a front page article about the upcoming City Council election. The idea behind this piece was to name all the candidates, and then identify an issue date when each would hopefully answer the two high school style essay questions the MVN is asking. The article begins with this sentence:

On April 13, 2010, voters in Sierra Madre will go to the polls and select three people from a field of six to sit on the City Council.

The article then goes on to name these six candidates the author believes make up the roster. Don Watts, Joe Mosca, myself, Nancy Walsh, with Josh Moran and Bill Tice bringing up the rear.

There is only one problem here. The field of candidates is actually seven, not six. Susan Henderson somehow managed to leave out Pat Alcorn.

Then Henderson, who is both publisher and editor of this paper, declared that the MVN will "do whatever we can to help you make an informed decision." You can only wonder how since she doesn't seem to know who is actually running.

62 comments:

  1. City Council!

    Please vote to establish a dust control ordinance.

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  2. Susan Henderson thinks there are SIX candidates running for
    City Council? Never has the contrast between attitude and
    competence been as clearly drawn as it is with this person.

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  3. I'm surprised she didn't leave out you, Crawford.
    Maybe she doesn't read the Tattler? LOL

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  4. Let's hope Henderson makes a FRONT PAGE apology for leaving out Pat Alcorn in her list of candidates.

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  5. Hard to imagine why Pat Alcorn was left out when she was in the spotlight for weeks and weeks organizing and publicizing the then upcoming and now successfully passed Friends of the Library Wine and Cuisine Tasting Fund Raiser. What would it have taken for Ms. Henderson to have left out Pat Alcorn as a candidate for City Council 2010? Oversight, nah! Poor newspapering?! Support for the candadacy of another grouping, hum??

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  6. www.alcornpat.com

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  7. Susan should apologize to Pat during Public Comment for the ommission in the paper. She should praise the wonderful job she and De did as co chairs of the Friends of the Library. There also need to be a BIG FRONT PAGE article in the next edition apologizing for the big mistake that was made. This is no time for an "oops my bad". The public has the right to know who is running for City Council. The MVN coverage better be fair and equal when opinion pieces and Letters to the Editor are published. All the candidates deserve equal space. For everytime Mosca's name is mentioned Watt's name better appear in print.

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  8. This is reminiscent of Susan's article a little more than a year ago where she discussed the big City Council election coming up in 2009. The problem being that the election was actually in 2010. Ms. Henderson needs to pass the torch onto somebody else. Obviously her "sell by" date has expired.

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  9. Nice campaign website, Pat!

    What are the websites for the other candidates? Us out-of-towners don't get the mailings

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  10. Avid Agenda FollowerFebruary 22, 2010 at 8:59 AM

    I like the new Annotated City Council Agenda page! It would be great if it becomes a regular feature. This is much easier to read and understand than the dry document on CityofSierramadre.com!

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  11. There's a little ad in Susan's paper requesting subscriptions. As best I can tell, this is the only time Susan has ever asked for subscribers. Is she trying to create a subscription list before the next council meeting?

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  12. Great Face

    1306 is a good ordinance.

    Blight is a double edged sword and I watched code officers force expensive get beautified repairs on senior or middle class homes, in my city, it is a real revenue bringer in er. Check the wording on your blight law. Requiring real estate investors to keep up their land, yards and structures is for the public safety, don't you think?
    Really good face!

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  13. Wooded Area - the good thing about this ordinance is its limitation to vacant commercial property. We love our slanty shanties with the droop stoops here in Sierra Madre, and this will in no way apply to or threaten such rugged individualism.

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  14. Oh damn! I thought we were going to get Bart Doyle to do a little mowing, pruning and even, my heart goes pitty pat, painting. So Barty is a rugged individualist and here I thought he was just waiting for urban renewal grants.

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  15. I think he wants to be Pappy Yokum, and is hoping the town becomes a bitt more like Dogpatch.

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  16. After reading & hearing things regarding a person known as Susan Henderson, it seems amazing how a person of such challenged capacity for detail & truth is able to even have a newspaper which she uses to further prove over & again she is indeed an oxymoron. Could someone please tell this "poor child of God cleverly disguised as an idiot" that she should go away. She's embarrassing herself. Or..is she not able to grasp the concept? It's a wonder. Life is a mystery!

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  17. In reference to the "Fugiitve Dust & the Dust Control. I can only say "yeah!!!!!!! & not soon enough...cough, gasp.... I feel like we are the Zorros of masked marauders, fightihg this overbuilding plight side effects. The only difference is that the masks we'll be wearing are surgical face masks & clutching 02 tanks to breathe until we can control this pesky plague. It's a real problem. Ask anyone who has to dust their almost daily. This is the air we breathe. The sun looks even oranger from my window as I gaze through the polluted air I'm breathing in my own house. (I am exaggerating to get my point acrossed.)

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  18. I have a question on the possibility of getting military marching bands at our 4th of July parade in support of our Grand Marshal WW2, Korean, and Vietnam War vets in the VFW. Shouldn't we be locking this down now? I know the demand for such bands is very high on the 4th. We don't have much time to delay. Who makes the call on this?

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  19. I'm with Sir Eric. Susan Henderson will not show up to face questioning by Councilman Zimmerman.

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  20. I missed the earlier posts on Henderson. Why won't she give the City a copy of her subscription list?

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  21. That is the big question, 12:53. My guess is it is a personal issue with her. As so many things are. She has a vast capacity for feeling offended when all people are really doing is their jobs.

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  22. I feel another neuroblast Youtube moment coming on. Zimmerman asking Henderson questions and Henderson refusing to answer them.

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  23. Go Dave "Neuroblast"!

    check out his videos, they are priceless.
    Anyone who thinks Mosca and/or Buchanan are nice guys........Dave shows you the truth.

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  24. They sure do seem to be able to dish it out. But take it? Then the rules change a little.

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  25. Yep, I hear Mosca is telling people MaryAnn is "mean" to him??????

    What bs!!!!!!! Joe is impudent and rude to Mayor MacGillivray, just as he has been rude to Kurt Zimmerman when he was the Mayor.
    Joe is NOT a nice man. Why do people buy into his phony act. He's a ruthless, selfish politician, who works as a lobbyist for special interests.
    He does NOTHING for Sierra Madre, nothing.
    The reason the Sierra Madre WWII vets didn't get to be the parade marshals is because Matt Bosse, Joe's domestic partner did not choose them, even though Mayor MacGillivray requested it, she had it all set up to have the military bands.
    Joe and Matt refused because they are not nice guys.

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  26. Puts a new spin on "nice guys finish last'" If they consider themselves nice that is...either way, they'll still finish last. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice Shame on me. 3 srtikes & you're OUT. How many is it for that good ol' Joe?

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  27. I think it's a dodge. If Joe is made to run on his record, he's done. He's been forced to turn this into a spat over personailty issues. His squabbling with MaryAnn seems very transparent to me. I expect he will attempt to bait her again tomorrow night. The last thing he wants people think about is stuff like his betrayal on the DSP vote. So he's running a soap opera strategy.

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  28. Joe Mosca should apologize to Mayor MacGillivray for his rude behavior at the dais.

    I remember a heated discussion about the appointment of a certain man who was associated with the Cumquat (porn/slander website)and one of the Cumquat victims, Kurt Zimmerman made a sharp remark to then Mayor, Enid Joffe,telling her she may have been "lampooned" but he was defamed! Kurt Zimmerman apologized immediately. That's the difference between a man of class and manners and Joe Mosca.

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  29. Soap opera strategy! LOL!!

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  30. Anyone going to the Canyon Zoning Committee's special event tonight at City Hall?

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  31. What time is it going on?

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  32. Yes, remember it's at the Recreation Center at Sierra Vista Park.

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  33. Monday, February 22nd at 7:00 pm at the Recreation Center 611 E Sierra Madre Blvd in the Sierra Madre Room

    Public Invited and Encouraged

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  34. Canyon residents can help create a Canyon Code.

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  35. Not sure if you need a code. Many dirts can't read.

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  36. You need the code to resist the Dirtian demands.

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  37. I always wear a smile. It confounds some, and causes others to envy me.

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  38. Looks like there's been a quick (and clumsy) fix on the online edition of the Mountan Views News. Anybody seen a hard copy?

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  39. I got one. The attitudinal pomposity of Henderson crossed with her abysmal reporting skills is in delightful contrast. This is a person who has spent her entire life claiming to be things that she is not. A list that includes "journalist."

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  40. 5:41 and anyone else,
    What is it about members of the Peoples Republic of the Canyon that makes them so special in their minds? (I separate the non-dirt canyon residents by thinking of them as "Lowland Expatriates").
    This mentality was around long before dirtdom became an issue and has long bothered me.

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  41. Seems like I read somewhere a statement that was way before there even was a canyon. It went something like..let's see..oh yeah! "We the people, for the people & by the people" Isn't that what our Founding Father's brought to America, Land of the free. Freedom of speech is what we all practice. In God we trust. In other words...if stop signs & red lights are for our safety, then canyon zones have their place for the safety & preservation of everyone's rights. A guide, so to speak. So who's protesting too much???? Obviously someone's got something up their sleeve. Thank God for John Muir. Otherwise, we'd be seeing McDonalds alog the mountain trails in the San Gabriel MTN. Just a rambling thought.

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

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  43. Thank you 10:24
    Thank you for reminding us!
    Great post!

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  44. It has come to my attention that DVD's of our Sierra Madre City Hall Meetings from Oct-09' on are no longer availible for check out. This fact is disturbing to me. It offends me as a citizen of the United States. Who made this decision and why? I must know. Many citizens of our town do not get cable, and are unable to make the meetings, and for years have been able to view the meetings at their home via check out. Has someone (fill in the blank) reached out to our Local Library and put the kibosh on check out of current City Council Mettings in and effort to silence Neuroblast Films!!!!
    And sway the upcoming VOTE!!!!!!
    Oh what long tentacles the Troll has through his minions.

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  45. You'd think that if people didn't want to look foolish on the internet, they'd behave themselves in public meetings. Instead of telling people to "get a life" or claiming to be "distraught" because a decision didn't go their way. Somebody needs to make this known at the podium tonight. This is censorship, plain and simple.

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  46. Josh Moran asked the canyon committee last night how you 'balance' the two sides who want the canyon 'preserved' and those who want 'no government' which must have meant no zoning at all in his mind. The Canyon Zoning Committee's answer--there already is government in the canyon in the form of the R-1-15,000 zone which is being ammended to reflect the unique circumstances of the canyon. Such a poorly formed attempt to seem balanced and perfect as a candidate for City Council does not bode well. Watch for more of the same.

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  47. Josh is a loose cannon. The geniuses are going to regret having moved him here from Monrovia.

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  48. Bad Karma,

    Of course that would be Joe "distraught, get a life" Mosca you are talkin' about.

    Someone post those Neuroblast YouTube clips!

    Thank you team Neuroblast for all your hard work and damn it anyway, if these key tapes are missing from the library, we need to know who and why this has happened. I smell a rat, or should I say a "FLY" or a domestic partner of a "FLY" or maybe even an ex-mayor, supporter of the Cumquat.

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  49. Of far more concern is the unholy alliance of the so called "builders" responsible for the last four building debacles: Prout and Hayden. Prout sold 88 Vista Circle as a package with approved plans (that never came before the Planning Commission)after a major excavation project on Woodland that forever alienated most of the neighbors; Hayden is the "project manager" at 679 Brookside Lane and the owner/de-constructionist of his Holly Trail hillside debacle which is still threatening to move into its Woodland neighbors' basements. Josh Moran is a failed realtor going toward a failed City Council candidate.

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  50. P.S. to the Unholy AllianceFebruary 23, 2010 at 8:39 AM

    I was referring to the Canyon Zone Committee Hearing last night, not the missing Library tapes. We must get to the bottom of that today! Toni Buckner has sided with the D.I.C. in the past...

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  51. It's not a conspiracyFebruary 23, 2010 at 9:12 AM

    There was a procedural error in making copies of the DVD's for the library. Something about a new staff member, or a staff member with new responsibilities, and there is a backlog to October. All discs before that, and I think all Planning Commission discs, are available for check out as always.
    Ms. Buckner is on it, and the council discs will all be up to date and available soon.
    Call the library and ask for them, so they know about your interest. 355-7186

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  52. Thank you It's not a conspiracy said... I vote we put you in charge of updates on the City of Sierra Madre site. There is nothing like immediate trustworthy answers to a Tattler post!

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  53. The problem should have been announced. There are few dependable sources for information in this town, and being cut off from the meeting DVDs would be something rather serious for some.

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  54. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzF_rUiq_gA&feature=related

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  55. Did Susan Henderson confirm that she would be at the meeting tonight?

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  56. If she doesn't show it will be "just a human error."

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  57. 1:13!

    Harriet Susan Henderson, IS a "human error". LOL

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  58. Man oh man did you hear that?
    The RHNA SCAG STATE force fed development backed down to MacGillivray & Watts!!!
    Awesome MaryAnn & Don. Awesome.

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  59. After all that doom and gloom preached by Buchanan and Mosca, the big bad wolf just blinked.
    Makes you wonder what else could have been accomplished in the decade before with intelligent, brave leadership.

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  60. I agree 7:37. Zimmerman and Watts started to bring the house in order, MacGilvray is continuing that great direction. Got to keep the smart people as the majority.

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  61. trying to watch channel 3February 23, 2010 at 7:50 PM

    What the hell happened to the channel 3 broadcast????
    Sound off, picture off

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