Joe Mosca has just mailed a postcard that pretty much puts him into that category. Passed over twice for Mayor, and with probably the most meagre record of achivement for any City Councilmember lately, Joe has now begun to employ a very risky tactic in his desperate bid for reelection. That being he is he's taking credit for the work of others.
In this postcard Joe claims that almost everything of consequence accomplished by the Sierra Madre City Council, volunteer committees, and City Staff over the last few years are his personal "achievements." Ironically, a lot of the things he claims for his own on the card came about within the last 2 years, a time when he was in the minority faction on the Council and had little ability to get much of anything done. And a lot of those whose work he takes credit for are starting to complain. Most people do not have an appetite for self-aggrandizement as great as the one Joe seems to have, but on the other hand nobody enjoys having somebody else take credit for their hard work.
Oddly enough, the last sitting City Councilmember who attempted this "it's all about me" strategy here in Sierra Madre was Tonja Torres. She went on to lose her bid for reelection by a greater than two to one margin.
Many here are taking this as a sign of desperation by the candidate. Dogged by accusations that he betrayed his supporters when he broke his promise on the centerpiece of his campaign in the 2006 election - a citywide vote on the huge downtown redevelopment project then in its final planning stages - Joe has now begun to portray himself as a kind of uber councilman, one who has single handedly done more than anyone ever has ever done before. The contrast with his actual record couldn't be more stark.
Here are a few of the things described on this card as "Councilmember Mosca's Achievements," and why he shouldn't be doing that.
Implemented Essential Paramedic Services and Adopted Firefighter Auxiliary Program: Joe's claim to have been responsible for creating Sierra Madre's Paramedic Service is a stretch. While it was voted into existence by the City Council in the early days of his first term in office, it took an Ad Hoc Finance Committee to assure its survival in what was at the time a cash strapped city. This Committee consisted of a group of residents, and also included then Mayor John Buchanan and City Councilmember Kurt Zimmerman. But nobody named Mosca. So while technically Joe can claim to have cast his vote as a member of the City Councilin in favor of our having paramedics, but to say that he "Implemented Paramedic Services" is a rather large embellishment. At best he was a bit player, with the heavy lifting having been done by others.
Completed the Mire Monte (sic) Reservoir Project: The fact that Joe can't seem to spell Mira Monte correctly aside (he is still new here after all), I'm not sure how one completes a nearly $6 million dollar project all by himself. The reality is this project's funding was arranged for by Congressman David Dreier, which is why he was there at the ribbon cutting. And unless Joe was doing some spade work there at the project's end, he completed nothing.
Adopted Hillside Management Zone: Joe displays a little ignorance about the nuances of the Hillside Management Ordinance here. The Hillside Management Zone is simply a definition of a boundary area within the Hillside Management Ordinance, something designed by a Committee made up of citizens from Sierra Madre. The Council didn't have anything to do with this outside of passing it once the job was completed. Here Joe is taking credit for the work of volunteers, which is kind of low if you think about it.
Balanced City Budget Without Program Cuts; $3 Million Set Aside In Budget Reserves: If Joe had balanced the budget, I guess I'd be a bit of an ingrate to knock him for it. But I am just not sure his job pays him quite that much. Much of this work was accomplished by City Manager Elaine Aguilar, and Director of Administrative Services Karen Schnieder, and City Staff. Despite Joe's assurances, things were cut. And as I think even the most casually informed resident will be able to tell you, what balanced Sierra Madre's budget are the people who pay taxes here. Folks who felt that they had to vote themselves a robust 100% Utility User Tax (UUT) hike to do it. This is something every single taxpayer in Sierra Madre did, and it was not just Joe.
Lobbied Federal Government for Funds for the City: The City of Sierra Madre employs a lobbyist firm called the Ferguson Group, whose services cost us around $65,000 a year. Something that is well worth it because they get us about $2.5 million a year in benefits from Uncle Sam. They are situated in Washington DC and work for us on a continuing basis. And unless Joe has an office on Capitol Hill, he just didn't do what he is claiming here.
Created Goldberg Park Recreation Area, Newest City Park in 30 Years: Whether Goldberg Park qualifies as being much of a park or not is debatable. It doesn't have any swings, or a baseball field, and you rarely if ever see any people in it. I've come to think of it as an empty bushy lot with a nicely painted sign on one end. There just isn't much rhyme or reason to the place. Besides, if anything this park was the creation of then Mayor Enid Joffe and some family friends. Friends who made out quite well on the deal, I might add.
There are other things here that could be discussed, but I think you get the picture. "Regime change begins at home," indeed.