Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tattler Fact Check

On February 2nd The Tattler published an article questioning some of the claims currently being made by the Joe Mosca Reelection Campaign. A concerned resident had forwarded to this blog a piece of campaign literature from that particular camp, and on it were some rather bold assertions made on behalf of their candidate. As one wag later commented, "If Joe had done half of the things he claimed to have accomplished on his flyer, he'd go down in history as the single most effective elected official ever seen in this part of the world." Of course, and as anyone who has observed Joe in action knows, that is quite simply not the case. The striking contrast between these mighty feats and the candidate hoping to politically benefit by claiming them for himself seemed crystal clear to this observer.

After that article was posted I received several phone calls from persons who were somewhat confounded by Joe's assertions. And the most poignant of these calls were from people who felt that Joe was taking sole credit for things that others had played an important role in bringing to fruition. People who ordinarily do not feel the need to publicly boast about their contributions, yet probably wouldn't take kindly to having others take credit for them, either. Or so my callers feared.

So as a public service I decided that I should investigate some of these claims. And today we're going to tackle one of them. That being the Mosca campaign's notion that among their candidate's most heroic and singular accomplishments is this:

"Successfully lobbied for $3 million to cover the costs of recent fires."

This seems like the best claim of accomplishment to start with because it is the one that is most obviously absurd.

To do this I sent an e-mail to Sierra Madre City Manager Elaine Aguilar inquiring about how exactly the expenses accrued in fighting the Santa Anita Fire were eventually accounted for. These costs were fairly massive for a small city, involving millions of dollars that had to be paid to many different fire fighting agencies. And if you take in all the costs of actually fighting the fire the entire package came to roughly $4 million dollars. Give or take a hundred or so grand. The "F-Mag" (Fire Management Assistance Grant) covered 75% of that cost, or $3 million.

Elaine generously invited me to stop by City Hall, and while there she showed me the records of all the money involved in this undertaking. And I carefully went through it all, noting each name and agency as we went. And nowhere did I see the name of Joe Mosca. Of course, government documents are never quite that simple, and honestly I never did expect to see a photo of a white canvas bag with a large dollar sign drawn on it and a tag that said, "To Joe." But still the math didn't quite add up to Joe raising that entire $3 million figure, nor did any of the identifiers on the documents look like Joe's name, either.

So I asked our gracious City Manager how exactly that money was raised. And she answered my question this way. It was a collaborative effort. Each member of the City Council got on the phone with any and everyone they knew in government, be it Federal, State, or County. And Bruce Inman, along with the City Staff, got deeply involved in this as well. It was an all hands to the middle kind of situation. Or, to use Elaine's phrase for it, an "overall team effort." The need to find that money was obviously great, and the job got done through the work of many different people.

Now if $3 million of that $4 million total figure was raised by the prodigious efforts of Mr. Mosca and the mighty F-Mag, it would mean that everyone else involved would have raised practically nothing. After all, the remaining $1 million in accumulated costs is something that we paid for. So this all becomes something that not only challenges our mathematical sense, but it also defies political and governmental logic as well.

In the May 1st edition of the Pasadena Star News, a Sierra Madre resident named Kevin Dunn penned a letter to that paper's editor expressing his gratitude for the efforts of then Mayor Kurt Zimmerman in the successful fight to save our city from the Santa Anita Fire. Here is a part of what Kevin had to say:

Just after midnight Kurt called a special meeting of the City Council to declare a state of emergency so that Sierra Madre would receive additional firefighting assistance and financial support ... He spoke to our other elected officials, including Rep. David Dreier, County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, State Sen. Bob Margett and a representative from Gov. Schwarzenegger's office, to update them on the progress of our efforts to put the fire out and ensure that we continue to receive local, state and national assistance.

You see, in a time of emergency like the one we faced during the Santa Anita Fire, county, state, and national elected officials would want to discuss matters of materiel and financial fire fighting assistance with the sitting Mayor of the afflicted city. They would not go around the highest ranking authority in that town to talk with a particular City Councilman, but deal with the person having the legal right and authority to make decisions and react in an effective way.

That is pretty much how things work in the real world. And that is how it happened here in Sierra Madre during the dangerous summer of 2008.


  1. Any comment from Mosca as to exactly what he did when asked to pick up the phone? I would imagine the local Dems pitched in somehow? All of the officials mentioned above are Republican.

  2. Joe Mosca is a habitual liar.
    I truly believe if the man ever told the truth, he'd choke himself.

    The fact that a small number of naive (or worse) residents believe this liar is incredible.

    He is dangerous and will continue to hurt this town, unless we all fire him in April.

  3. 8:24 I think Kurt Zimmerman is still a Dem, he was in '08, when he was our Mayor.

    Mayor Kurt Zimmerman sure pitched in, stepped up to the plate as usual, and was out there working for us from start to finish.
    Joe Mosca only works for Joe Mosca. He is the most narcissistic councilmember I've ever seen.

    The best thank you gift all your residents can give former Mayor Kurt Zimmerman is to vote for John Crawford, Don Watts and Pat Alcorn. Get rid of the narcissist, Sacramento Joe once and for all.
    It's also the best gift you can give Sierra Madre!

  4. And, as I recall, Mayor Zimmermann reached into his own pocket for burgers for the emergency crews that night! Joe Mosca is sounding more like Enid Joffee who took credit for everything that transpired during her reign of frivolity of fluffiness. Joe, we have brains and intellect! You are a disappointment. You lie.

  5. Anonymous at 8:58!!!!!!!!!!!

    This is the post of the month! I remember Kurt doing that, it's true.


  6. Joe seems to be taking credit for everything. Even though it seems very obvious that his role was, at best, as a bit player.

  7. Zimmerman is a Dem., but considering the shabby way his own party has treated him, he should be a Republican or an Independent.

  8. Now why should we believe Elaine when she says that all of the COuncil Members including Mosca picked up the phone?

    How does she know Mosca picked up the phone?

  9. 9:51, why wouldn't she know? It was a team effort, all together now.
    A team.

  10. The contrast between Zimmerman and Mosca is marked.

    When Kurt stepped down as our Mayor, he delivered a short speech detailing what we (emphasis on we) including the City Council, City Staff and residents had accomplished during his term.

    Mosca is taking credit for everything. What a liar.

  11. Even Bill Coburn, who is no fan of Kurt Zimmerman, praised the way Kurt handled things during the fire.

  12. 9:53. Nice try, but I'm not buying that.

  13. why is anybody surprised here? the guy lied in his campaign, lied about who he was, what he stood for and what he would do if elected.

    he's a self made liar, plain and simple. he moved to Sierra Madre for himself, not for the city or the nauseauting "love" he throws out as a campaign statement

    the only time he hasn't lied is when he showed his true character wheh he told an Sierra Madre senior citizen to "get a life" and when he backpedaled on his campaign platform

    joey is all about himself, always has and always will.

    if it were between him and Bill Tice, Mr. Tice would get my vote everyday of the week, at least he cares about the city

    joey is a fraud.

  14. We can all thank Kurt Zimmerman, Don Watts and MaryAnn MacGillivray for preserving Sierra Madre, for fighting for us.

    I concur with 8:42. We can all thank Kurt by re-electing Don Watts. Electing John Crawford and Pat Alcorn.

    We can thank Kurt by not supporting the infamous Harriet Susan Henderson (another liar).

    We can thank Kurt by continuing to do all we can to protect Measure V, that him, Don and Kevin and Katina Dunn fought so hard for, along with most of you reading this board....SMRRD/YES on V.

    Joe is despicable to take credit for anything except for maybe lying to several old gals in the downtown clubs, who think he is "a sweet boy".
    He is not a sweet boy, he is a lobbyist for Sacramento/the BIA/and dishonest town scoundrels like Bart Doyle.

    Kurt is respected and loved by many people in this town. We will sure miss his presence on the council.

    John Crawford, Don Watts and Pat Alcorn will help MaryAnn MacGillivray keep all he's worked for moving forward!

  15. I think he's handsome.

  16. Handsome is as "handsome" does.

    Joe is a failed public servant.

  17. Watch out, 10:26. As we all learned in 2007,
    he's just a gigolo.

  18. Looks like we may have a series here - the Tattler fact checks candidates' claims.
    Great idea - necessary too.

  19. Anyone know who has the unenviable task of being Joe Mosca's Reelection Campaign?

  20. Thank you for your good factual researched work and writing. Sir Eric.

  21. 11:14, the rumor I've heard is his campaign is being managed by the same person who ran Enid's unfortunate reelection effort.

  22. 11:34, and that would be (drum roll, please)...

  23. I thought Enid ran her own unfortunate campaign.

  24. 10:26. Like that's a good reason to vote for Joe.

  25. I hope Ms. Joffe scolded whoever it was that let her hang around the polling places, dressed in Wisteria Vine colors, and making the voters uncomfortable.
    I imagine Joe will do something similar. Or maybe a cardboard cut out of Joe, big smile, sincere eyes, standing the legal distance from the polls.

  26. Is somebody going to comment on yesterday's story about Joe's SCAG vote at tonight's City Council meeting? I think people should know that he voted to move forward with a process that could strip our town of its precious tax dollars.

  27. Should be a rather interesting meeting tonight.
    Maybe we should attend?

  28. Mr. Councilman Mosca appologized for his raspy voice--getting over a cold brought home from preschool by his son (and don't any one get in a twist over the my reference to the family member since Mr. Mosca used it himself for sympathy). His "cute" final statement about this agonizing condition as our agony at having to listen to the rasp and that we might want to turn the TV volumn down--ah, if that were the reason we were turning the volumn down.

  29. Joe offered his usual defense of SCAG - nobody understands the issues and it is very complex. But he'd be glad to talk about it. But he never really does.

  30. Did anyone like Nancy's cape? It definitely is one with the Zorro theme of the meeting.

  31. I'm sorry, 7:08, what is it that you don't want anyone to get in a twist over? That he has a son? I don't understand...

  32. I hope Joe doesn't try to shake anybody's hand tonight.

  33. Uh oh, no more police blotter. A mainstay of print newspapers is gone. Chief Diaz is now putting police reports on the internet? If we could only do that with our city legal ads.

  34. John Buchanan is a self inflated ass!
    I guess his "dog in the fight" is Mosca....he needs old Henderson's paper to promote the punk.

    I challenge Harriet to show up at the next council meeting and face Kurt's questions.

    Hey Barbara Leigh! We all laughed when you brought up the comment about "bad checks" while discussing Henderson. How appropriate!

    Thanks Teryl Willis, you always present a thoughtful comment.

    Please vote for Don Watts, John Crawford and Pat Alcorn......we need to fire Mosca.
    Fire the liar.

  35. I am not discussing it...I am explaining it.

  36. If the City ever decides to build a wind farm for the production of electricity, it should be named after john Buchanan.

  37. Hey, 10:22 - if such a thing happened, it could be run by JB. He could open his mouth and produce enough wind energy to power the whole town for, hmmm, 10 years...???!

    On Kurt Zimmerman: surely a trial by fire, since he had just ascended to the mayoral seat only a few days before the event. Can you imagine what would have happened if Mosca had won his miserable campaign for said seat. Zimmerman was a champion and proved MaryAnn's and the residents' confidence in his ability to lead, and he has continued to provide that amazing leadership over the course of his term. Kurt may not want to refute Joe's claims of heroic accomplishment, but the rest of the city sure can. Joe's truly pathological.