Monday, February 15, 2010

We've All Heard Rumors About Tap Dancing Politicians, and Apparently They're True!

Of course we've all heard about tap dancing politicians. Somewhat less than credible folks who prance up a storm in order to duck accusations of some troublesome malfeasance that they are suspected of having committed. John Buchanan's rather Fred Astaire-esque attempt last Tuesday evening to hoof his way around the inability of the City to properly get its audits done during his watch being a fine example of this phenomenon in action. That it had only cost Sierra Madre $25,000 in Sacramento levied fines being no sweat off the brow of this swift footed politician. As far as he knew, all he ever really needed to do was dance.

But can it be that Johnny B has grown tired of dancing with Joe Mosca only, and has now recruited to the well-trod boards of Sierra Madre City Hall someone of a more Ginger Rogers flair? Are we about to go from that terribly overexposed "Two Top Hats, Two Tails" routine for something in a more Tallulah Bankhead vein? Someone who will attempt to literally dance her way into the hearts of Sierra Madre? Or at least the cold and small versions of that vital organ possessed by our highly self-esteemed downtown socialite set?

But first, let's dig into that politician/tap dancing connection. Because it is a traditional one, and certainly we here at The Tattler respect all the finest political traditions. Or at least the ones we don't find hilarious. Which are pretty much in the distinct minority now that I think about it.

Probably the most enlightening stuff I could find to illustrate where we're going with this comes from a Los Angeles Times article dated March 27th, 1993. Apparently a politician of less than the hoped for dose of honor had gotten himself into a world of legal woe. Which, when you consider that we'd vectored in from the lowest possible standards already, made his predicament all the worse.

Tap Dancing on an Ethics Tightrope: Politicians should steer clear of close calls - The yearlong ethics investigation of Orange County Supervisor Don R. Roth came to a fitting close with his guilty plea to seven misdemeanor counts and agreement to pay $50,000 in fines. While it forgoes the drama of a public trial, the plea bargain is an appropriate end to one of the sorrier episodes in Orange County's checkered political history.

Of course, that was a number of years ago, and the players today are distinctively different. But the tap dancing metaphor remains with us even now. And this Times article concludes with a humorous observation on tap dancing political history:

The late state Treasurer Jesse M. Unruh, an irreverent man who operated under the old rules of political ethics, was fond of saying that if a politician couldn't take lobbyists' money, drink their booze, love their women and still vote against them, then they didn't belong in politics. The new ethical sensibility holds that politicians should no longer have the choice of trying to walk that line.

I'm not sure Sacramento is living up to Jesse's standards these days. And not to suggest that John and Joe have anything in common with that Roth dude, because they don't. But have we here in California gone from the Unruh Era to the Tap Dancing Era? Was it always that way? I'm not sure that I can answer that question right now. But I can tell you there is one party that is definitely not amused. And that is the actual tap dancers themselves. This from the February 5th edition of The Beach Reporter, out of Manhattan Beach:

It is ironic that "tap dancing" is often used as a derogatory term for obfuscation of the truth. Politicians are said to be "tap dancing" around a subject when they talk without saying anything ... In my brief experience, tap dancing is an exacting activity that is tough to fake. Sure, when you first put on the shoes you can shuffle and stomp about, but it's all sound and fury signifying nothing. When you actually learn a step and try to replicate it, it quickly becomes apparent if you do it incorrectly ...

Which all brings us to our current dilemma. While we all know of politicians who became nothing more than tap dancers, has there ever been a case where a tap dancer became a politician? Before they became a tap dancer again? Can this be considered special career training, or even an unfair advantage? Particularly when that tap dancer politician came with a nominating petition that featured the signatures of our veritable Fred and Ginger of Sierra Madre politics, Joe Mosca and John Buchanan?

The mind whirls and swirls beneath such heady burdens.

Now we have received here at Tattler HQ, thanks to the vast network of merry informants who funnel such things to us, the invitation to the "Campaign Kick-off" for John and Joe's hoped for new dancing partner, Nancy Walsh. And this shindig will feature, you got it, tap dancing! And not just any tap dancers, but Nancy's very own dance troupe, the Tap Chicks! Here is how this invitation reads:

Nancy Walsh "Leadership for our Future" ... Please join us at her "Campaign Kick-off For Sierra Madre City Council" ... Sunday, February 21, 2010 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. ... Sierra Madre Playhouse at 87 West Sierra Madre Blvd. Sierra Madre, CA ... Entertainment: The Tap Chicks.

Just what our City Council needs, another mega-development tap dancer. The last time we had that many tap dancers the audits didn't get done, the city nearly went broke, Joe Mosca suddenly decided he didn't have to deliver on his promises, and hundreds of thousands of dollars were flushed down a black hole called the Downtown Specific Plan. All of which caused the city to go through four of the most contentious years in its entire history.

So please. A Conga, or a Soft Shoe. The Cha Cha Cha, Freddy, or a sedate Madison. Jig, Twist, Waltz, Watusi, Bunny Hop? Yes indeed. The Robot, Para Para, Morris, Frug, Metropolitan, or even the Peewee Herman Big Shoe Dance. Yes! Anything but another tap dance. We've had much too much of that sort of thing already.

Bonus Coverage: The Tap Chicks!


  1. Magillicuddy the ShoeFebruary 15, 2010 at 6:52 AM

    Big Pasadena Star News article on the Sierra Madre election in today's edition. Check it out, it's pretty darn good.

  2. I just read the PSN article.

    Good article. The PSN is getting more "fair and balanced". In the past certain candidates wouldn't even give them statements because they were so biased in favor of the "BART DOYLE" agenda. Time's are changing.

    This is a very serious election, we need capable people who will be effective moving our city in the right direction that the residents want.
    This means QUALIFIED and LOYAL TO THE VOTERS candidates who will be electing them.
    We need intelligent, honest people on our city council.

    I am very pleased with the progress at cleaning up after the "shenanigan year's" gangs of pro-development-Bart Doyle(infamous TITAN/BIA) councilmember's.

    We have 2 left on our council. Let's make sure we get rid of Joe Mosca, then there will only be one.

    Nancy Walsh and Josh Moran are NOT qualified to be on the city council, nor are they preferable, due to the fact that Joe Mosca, John Buchanan want them to be elected so they can erase all the work Kurt Zimmerman, Don Watts and MaryAnn MacGillivray have accomplished for the people and the future of this city!

    A Joe Mosca, John Buchanan + either of these two unqualified candidates (who are puppets of Buchanan and Mosca) will destroy this town.

    Vote for CRAWFORD, WATTS and ALCORN.
    They will work for you, not Sacramento politicians and big fat cat developers.
    They will preserve our town for us all, and our future generations. They will make Sierra Madre the pride of the San Gabriel Valley!

    Times are changing in Sierra Madre and MacGillivray's majority council will keep them going in the POSITIVE direction.

    Crawford, Watts and Alcorn.

  3. I think the Pasadena Star News knows they cannot afford to alienate readers any more. Not in this newspaper business environment. That was a fair article, and based on what we saw in the past, that is quite a victory. And I'm sorry, but the Moscateers come off as being a bit sour and entitled.

  4. I heard John Buchanan and Joe Mosca signed Nancy Walsh's campaign filing papers.

    Josh Moran moved to Sierra Madre only days before he picked up his papers to run for council.
    He has way, way too close connections to NO on V campaign, Downtown Dirt and Cumquat now defunct websites and pro-NO on V realtor Judy Webb Martin's office.
    Kind of a conflict of interest, eh, Josh?

    Nancy Walsh spoke on behalf of John Buchanan a few meetings back at City Council podium.
    She is nothing more than a rubber stamp for Buchanan, it sounded as if John B. wrote the script for her, and she still couldn't get it read straight so it made

    Joe Mosca is a liar and a lobbyist for development. His flyer he is passing out has his "bullet points" on it, and they are ALL TOTAL LIES.....there he goes again!
    While the other two candidates are lightweights, Joe is dangerous, way to dangerous to serve another term on our City Council.

  5. Which of the ladies pictured is Virginia?

  6. As far a Josh the "moron" Moran living in Sierra Madre...that bag of sheat. He became a legal resident the day before he took out papers to run for the council. HE is a Real Estate agent who is only interseted in lining his, his family's, and friend's pockets at the expense of the community.

    Joe Mosca agenda is use Sierra Madre as a political stepping stone. He doesn't give a rat's arse about the city or the people who live here. He arrived about 5 months before he ran for office. He was and is a plant.

    Nancy Walsh is a puppet for Joe and John and will do as she is told. Defintely a flourecent bulb.

    Measure V has not kept business from coming to town: Taylor's has expanded, there is a new bike shop, a new day spa, and a couple of nice eating places. What we don't have is 72 empty unsold condos with 9,000 sq ft of retail at the corner of Baldwin and Sierra Madre Blvd, and 32 more unsold units and retail at the site of the Skilled Nursing home. We also do not have the debt in the Millions of $$$$ the city would have incured to upgrade the infrastructure had the DSP gone through because Joe Mosca flipped an refused to let the people vote.

  7. I take back every mean thing I've ever thought, said or posted about the Pasadena Star News!

    Didn't Joe Mosca sound "snarky".

    Wait till his lies get exposed on that outrageously bogus flyer he is passing around town.


    Fool us once Joe, Shame on YOU , fool us twice , Shame on US!

    We won't fall for your bs again! Go find another little town to attack!

  8. 8:42 - great point on all those unsold condo and buildings. They have become the new blight in California, and the banks will end getting our tax money to bail them out of those bad investments. Most of those towns that succumbed to that stuff would sell their first born for a downtown like ours.

    My question: Why are the Moscateers bashing Sierra Madre on the front page of the Pasadena Star News??

  9. 8:42 - you said it perfectly....we don't have any vacant condos -- take a drive through Pasadena...or any community for that matter...there are so many empty units!! HELLO - real estate BUST .... thank Goodness measure V PASSED...and kept out the developers....the only reason they didn't develop was because they wanted height and density which would = BIG PROFITS for them! Who holds the notes on all those empty buildings in Pasadena?? THE BANK DOES....we all pay for it... SAY NO TO SACRAMENTO...NO TO MOSCA,WALSH & MORAN...YES TO CRAWFORD, ALCORN & WATTS...Keep Sierra Madre the City we all know and love...

  10. Thank you DON WATTS for bringing the DSP fraud to the peole's attention. Because of your experience as an architect and being on the Planning COmmission,you were the first one who saw the RED FLAGS. You were the FIRST one who saw all the unseemingly unrelated pieces being put into place getting ready for the DSP. Others came along and helped with Measure V and thanks to everyone's hard work our downtown was not condoized. VOTE WATTS IN 2010

  11. 11:41. Don gets the credit for raising the red flags, but it was Don, Zimmerman and Dunn that put the pieces into place.

  12. 11:56. Then it was people like Katina Dunn and her columinsts like John Crawford that got the message out about the DSP.

  13. Questions for Council Candidates and City Administration. Today's LA Times 2/15 "Fire, Flood, Quake: Who Pays? "Developers who choose to build and homeowners who choose to buy in the state's most likely hazard areas should not expect to be fully subsidized by property owners with perhaps less picturesque but more prudently situated homes and businesses" In other words THE DEVELOPERS AND NEW HOME OWNERS SHOULD PAY!

    Addiitional taxes on all of us and sur charges on homes in fire prone zones are in the wings and will be a part of all building in places like Stonehouse because fighting forrest fires is becoming a huge expense and the state is losing its will to take on firefighting as a state responsibility.

    Buchanan and Mosca along with past council members and 1 Carter and Stonehouse LLC's have put an albatross around Sierra Madre's neck. If we could not stop the Developer from starting this foolhardy process our City Council can certainly put a sur charge on any prospective home owner's plans to build on our hillsides and turn over the proceeds to the SMFD for future disasters.

  14. It is at this time that we miss you Katina Dunn. Your paper was the only paper that told the truth.And, it was told with literary grace and wisdom. Your ethics was superlative and what you Kevin Dunn and Kurt Zimmerman did for Measure V will go down in the San Gabriel Valley History as the best decision to keep a jewel in Southern California.

    Even tho Justice has been slow time shows "what goes around comes around." We miss you, the Dunns. Thank you for your example of true courage and citizenship.

  15. Why can't we put a sur charge on hillsides in unsafe fire areas for SMFD future disasters? Can you already see the firetrucks all speeding up Baldwin? Great idea!

    Who can agendize this?

  16. So much for the "Village atmosphere" if measure V is ever overturned.Think Eminent Domain to clear out some existing homes to make room for Multi-story mixed use Condo eye sores,Big Box stores,Low Income Housing.Now envision the traffic(larger streets)increased water useage,sewage and Protective Services.I dont think this is what most of us want to see for our community.Remember,Greed has no pity!It will show no mercy!
    Keep the Vision..Elect DON,PAT,JOHN

  17. Don, Pat and John, where are your yard signs? Where are your campaign flyers?

    Enid waited unitl the last minute to campaign and it really cost her.

  18. 11:56 & 11:57

    Without Salvatore Tesoro, the Dunns and Zimmerman would have never figured it out on their own. It was the Sierra Madre News that first exposed the DSP, Bart Doyle & the Dirts.

    If you're going to write history, write it completely and accurately.

  19. Does anyone know how much it costs to hire the Tap Chicks?

  20. Measure V supporterFebruary 15, 2010 at 2:23 PM

    While everyone is busy handing out credit to the people who have been so important in preserving Sierra Madre (really preserving, not the developer-preserving), don't forget the street warriors, the people who walked from door to door getting signatures. You can have great ideas all you want, but they won't go far if you don't have foot soldiers. It's a collaborative effort, and I for one will always be grateful for Diane Shear who gathered more signatures than anyone else.
    If you want to figure out the winning side, look & see where Mrs. Shear is.

  21. There is an absolutely ClockworkOrange/1984/BraveNewWorld bit of rhetoric in the Star News article:

    "Mosca, Senior Commissioner Nancy Walsh and real estate agent Josh Moran also describe themselves as slow-growth candidates, but are less supportive of Measure V..."

    Mosca, Moran and Walsh have got to be kidding. So now the words "slow-growth" are meaningless! "Preservationist" is absurdly corrupt....we're gonna need some linguistic help here....

    And "less supportive of Measure V"?????Does that mean "less supportive" are the words for actively campaigned against? It's true that at one time Ms. Walsh was for Measure V, but Joe and Josh took active and leading roles in the opposition - don't need to believe me, it's all in the public record, all easily viewable on old council discs.

    What is happening to the meaning of words?

  22. Diane Shear? She was out with me going door to door to talk with the voters of Sierra Madre today. And we're just getting started.

  23. To annonymous at 12:45--Good that you should ask. Pat Alcorn has been tirelessly working at one of her most important volunteer activities: The Friends of Sierra Madre LIbrary's 40th Wine and Cuisine Tasting fund raiser which is being held this Friday at the Alverno Villa. Ticket sales, as always, have been brisk and I have no idea if any are still available at this late date. In the meanwhile, the campaign to elect Pat Alcorn to City Council is organized and underway. Your best bet at this time is to take a look at the website: I know you will like what you see.

  24. Great website. Like Pat herself - direct, forthright and very clear.

  25. If Nancy, Joe and Josh are slow-growth, I'm young & rich.

  26. The only thing slow growth about those three is their capacity to comprehend the truth. They're just useful fools and messengers for the developers. This town is going to chew them up and spit them out. Nobody believes that crap anymore.

  27. Their not "slow growth" they are slow witted and change their color to blend with the present.

  28. labels, lables everywhereFebruary 15, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    I want to preserve Sierra Madre through slow-growth development, and preserve local control through regional planning organizations.
    That makes me a slow-growth preservationistic developer.

  29. Thank you Alfred Lee.
    You're the first Star News reporter in a long, long time that has actually listened at councils and tried to understand more than one side of an issue.

  30. if somehow Josh was elected, wouldn't he have to recluse himself from anything having to do with commercial development because he's a realtor and could profit from inside knowledge and able to influence decisions that best serve his own financial interests?

    just wondering?

    and if the dude loves the city so much, why did he move?

    anybody John Buchanan supports, I'm against.

  31. Still read the papersFebruary 15, 2010 at 5:08 PM

    I agree 5:04. Finally, someone who has taken the time & thought to get what is going on here. Check it out: "the field can be divided into two camps that differ primarily on what role the city should play in regional organizations and how strictly development should be regulated." That's neatly put. And true.

  32. So Walsh thinks the town is paralyzed?
    And it was the citizens' who did it by protecting themselves against the over-development known as the Downtown Specific Plan, by voting for Measure V?
    Yeah, that would fit with a regional advocate who doesn't like local control.

  33. Hey comments on the pasadena star news is cheap free advertising..get over there and say something.. all you tatts

  34. I feel bad for Nancy Walsh. She is the person John Buchanan could talk into running. Can't you just see all the fake seriousness, the veiled threats and manipulation of fears as he convinces her that Measure V is killing the town, and that the DSP would have saved it, that Carter is a good thing, money yum yum, and that Stonehouse will bring more money, yum yum, or else we'll all have to light our hair on fire.
    I am heartily sick of John Buchanan's forecast of the imminent demise of Sierra Madre, but he may have converted Nancy Walsh.

  35. Amen 8:42!
    We also still have water.
    The DSP could have "exceeded" our water supplies.
    Let's support Watt's idea about a moratorium on new water hook ups - or some kind of tight control on water & development.
    Can't wait to see what happens to our water supplies once the Craterstonegate Mansions are up & running.

  36. C'mon, give the bankers who own the hillsides a break, They're trying to change their luck by changing names. No more One Carter, Sierra Madre's Luxury Death Trap. Now it's Stonegate, Sierra Madre's Luxury Death Trap. LLC's as LDT's.
    And Stonegate and Stonehouse sound like good, solid neighborhoods, brought to you by a good,solid bank. From Maryland.
    Better than Dubai?

  37. at least it's american

  38. 8:42......nice john, you gonna let that one slide by? No, we won't smear, BLAHBLAHBLAHBLAH ataboy!

  39. Diane Shear and Barbara Cline: Citizens of the Year!

    Thank you, stand up and take a bow. You two women deserve it! You do so much for the people of Sierra Madre and we are all the more enriched for you.

  40. @4:59, you must be joking, local control through regional planning organizations? Like SCAG? That's local RAPE.

    Everyone please understand that SB 375 and the latest crop of proposed legislative "exemptions" from CEQA will allow uncontrolled development of huge projects that totally ignore water allocations. That's because CEQA exemptions disconnect the General Plan requirement to balance development and infrastructure, like power and water needs. Local ordinances won't stop this, it has to be stopped now at the legislative level.

  41. The Moscateers are given to Orwellian Inversions.

  42. 7:55 - just curious. So the entire Mosca-Moran-Welch campaign tactics are going to be based on whining? I've never seen a tactic quite like that one before. Do you plan on holding rallies where all of your supporters wear diapers? Will there be crying in unison? Very strange stuff.

  43. Laurie Barlow, I was kidding, and that is exactly the kind of twisted logic and fouled language we have to deal with in Sierra Madre, or as one poster put it, the Orwellian Inversion. Past councils, especially the Stockly/Joffe/Buchanan/Torres, but before them, too, have ruined the use of some words here. I think of it as doublespeakdoublethink, and I hate it because it corrupts the message so much!
    If I say i am a preservationist, I have to put all kinds of qualifiers in, like
    I am a preservationist, but not the kind of preservationist that the RPSM leadership had when they sold out the hillsides for development; or not the kind preservationist that argued we'd preserve 'the village' by developing it as dictated by the DSP; or not the kind of preservationist who wants to fulfill the State mandated SCAG implemented transportation corridor dream of uberdensity to keep some dying industries alive.

  44. I hope all you no growth new council people put the kibosh on the Alverno "multipurpose building". 13,000 square feet is larger than any other building in the whole city! What would a "gym" or "theatre" need warming ovens for? A huge dance hall and catering venue that's what for. The neighbors are being held hostage. We cannot sell because no one will buy thinking that building and soccer field will be rented out non stop. Please, all you candidates please, put your actions where your mouths are. Stand up to whatever the Alverno folks have over you and stop the madness. Alverno says they need the event money to restore the Villa. What have they been doing with the money for the past 20 years? They cannot run the school, they need it for operationg money. The neighbors have been subsidizing the school by suffering every weekend so they can get their money. They are at home relaxing while we endure the torture.

  45. 12:57, I hear you - but there aren't any "No Growth" candidates, and if you call them that, you're giving ammo to the pro-development side.
    I am a slow-growth supporter, and Watts, Alcorn and Crawford have my vote.
    I also agree with you about Alverno, but I do not know what the slow-growth candidates think about it.
    Come to a neighborhood coffee & ask them.

  46. Tap Chicks YouTube Video:

    Pretty funny stuff. Got to give those old gals credit.
    Nancy Walsh is the girthy gal in the front line.
    Very cute stuff, but doesn't qualify you to be on the city council

  47. It's good exercise and they are to be commended.
    But I agree that it is completely irrelevant to the matter at hand.

  48. As Brian Ferry put it so well,
    "Dance away the heartache,
    dance away the pain."

    Soon the Walsh campaign will
    be playing "Taps."

  49.'s hell living in Sierra Madre!

  50. I take it you've never recovered from the closing of Cold Stone...

  51. Depends on where you live in SM, 7:12....