Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Where's Susan?

There were two issues that caught my otherwise drifting attention during last night's City Council meeting. One involved an AWOL newspaper publisher, the other equally absent City audits. Let's deal with the first issue first.

The notion of what exactly an adjudicated newspaper might be, and if the paper our town uses for its legal advertising fits the definition of a rather ancient state law regarding what such a thing might be, became an item of some contention at last night's City Council meeting. On the one hand we had the members of the Council concerned that it might not be a dependable venue for our City's paid legal advertising, while on the other we had the minority faction arguing on behalf of the paper's interests because it functions as a kind of fanzine for them and their friends.

Now this portion of the City Council meeting was predicated on the belief that Susan Henderson, the publisher of the occasionally seen Mountain Views News, would show up and explain a couple of things. One of them being why her paper isn't printed on anything resembling a schedule, and secondly, why it is she refuses city requests to show proof of another requirement for adjudication, widespread effective distribution including a bona fide paid subscription list. You'd think that this simple request from the folks that send her checks in exchange for running Sierra Madre's legal advertising would be both graciously honored and shown the courtesy of a visit. But apparently that wasn't to be the case.

There are two possible lapses on the MVN's part that could theoretically lead to a successful challenge in Court of the paper's adjudication. The first being that it doesn't come out regularly. Though the paper is dated for every Saturday, it rarely seems to make it to the racks until sometime the following week. And there was an entire week last month where it never came out at all. The other concern is if this paper is distributed at the level state adjudication law requires. Proof of a substantial paid subscription list would be a start. But also how the paper gets into the hands of other residents also being an important concern. 200 or so copies distributed from a handful of rusting racks downtown might not be what is required.

There was an interesting red herring tossed out by an obstreperous John Buchanan. His dodge was that by forcing Susan Henderson to make public a list of the subscribers to her paper, we could be embarrassing whoever it is that is on that roster. Which makes sense. I mean, who would want it to be known that they paid good money for something that can be found laying in small heaps downtown for free? That is, when it is actually published. According to the ad in the paper's most recent issue that yearly subscription cost is $60. Which seems like a lot to pay for something that is otherwise thrown onto street corners.

Anybody noticing that the paper is not living up to its obligations to Sierra Madre's taxpayers is requested to notify City Manager's office. Especially when the paper is late, or doesn't even show up at all.

A few months ago it was decided by the City Council that John Buchanan would speak about the missing City audits from the Shenanigan Era. John being the one remaining elected official from those years of slacker fiscal management still in the elective saddle. This was agendized in hopes that he could somehow shed some light on just how such negligence came to be. After all, this really is an important issue, especially when you consider that it led to the debacle over Measure U and our City levying a robust tax hike based on unaudited numbers. Numbers that turned out to be a million bucks light once the audits were actually completed a year or so later.

Delays on doing audits is, of course, inexcusable. After all, cities far less provident than ours always got their audits in. As City Councilmember Kurt Zimmerman pointed out, the only reason such a condition could exist at all was because this work was not a priority of those previous councils. They just didn't seem to care.

So a bigger man than John Buchanan might have seen this opportunity for what it was, a chance to educate the city about the consequences of not getting audits done. And he could have done this effectively if he had found it in him to admit that mistakes had happened, and that he would accept at least some of the responsibility.

But Johnny B. just mailed it in. He chose instead to blame everything on the planet for these audits having remained undone. Everything that is except the lack of proper oversight from City Councils that he served on. Seemingly no preparation was put into this testimony, he just basically rounded up his usual dodges and bromides, then strung them together like popcorn on a necklace. I kept a list of them for you.

- Software system antiquated.
- City Manager turnover.
- Complicated auditing standards.
- Errors made in 2005 on 2003 and 2004's audits.
- Certain things that only those not working here anymore would know.
- Organizational structure problems.
- Records weren't kept.
- Finance Department didn't fully understand the processes.
- Staffing and tools issues delayed the audits.
- Finance Director left in Feb of 2006.
- Records had been made inaccessible.
- Couldn't find a new Finance Director.
- Lemonade was made out of lemons.
- Took 9 months to replace the Finance Director.
- Sierra Madre pays poorly.
- A need to invest in fundamental change.
- Work was not done.
- Staff was not up to the task.
- There was direction, but you know, we could light our hair on fire.
- Needed the right tools to do the job.
- Can't go back into the '90s to compare old & new.
- Sometimes we need to bring in outside expertise.
- Challenges coming from monitoring good records as fixed assets.
- Wanted to get a fresh look, but the auditor was not helpful.
- When we have an auditor, we want a certain level of service.
- I could go on and on about this.
- As I'm sure you already know, we knew it.
- We never ran out of money even though we didn't get the audits done.
- Didn't have cushions in place.
- Back in the '90s ...
- We are on the right path now.
- Internal issues created other internal issues.
- Gasby.

Never were so many words used to effectively explain nothing. But that was probably the point.

56 comments:

  1. Oh, Johnny B, It looks like you've created more work for me. I will be working on transcribing all of his nonsense for all to see. This is a good one!
    Neuroblast Films

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  2. Amazing that even after all this time Johnny B still working to cover up this stuff. I guess like most party line politicians he doesn't think the taxpayers "need to know."

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  3. I'm really surprised that the SHENANIGAN YEAR'S city councils even bothered to have public meetings, as most of their real (DIRTY) work was behind locked closed doors!
    I'm sure according to that other self inflated ass, Bart Doyle, "the dumb public doesn't need to know".

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  4. So what was accomplished?We still have the "weekly dust bin" cluttering our streets as well as no insight into the warped Shenanigan years.It reminds me of a quote;"It is a tale told by a idiot.full of sound and fury signifying nothing."

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  5. Never underestimate the ability of the Johnny Joes to babble
    their way through any difficulty.

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  6. "Records had been made inaccessible." Why were these records made inaccessible and what were in these files?

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  7. 7:38

    ask DIRTY old Bart Doyle!

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  8. LMAO.....Ask Bill Tice where the records are. During the 2006 City Council race, Bill Tice told the audience at the Kiwanis Club debate, that he was a proud City volunteer; and especially proud of his volunteer work helping then City Manager John Gillison throw out "boxes and boxes of records from the City Hall basement."

    If you don't believe me, ask Kurt and Don.

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  9. Did anyone really think John would say anything different?

    Next council meeting I am putting a stop watch on him.

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  10. I'm sorry, but we need to put the UUT hike back on the ballot. The consequences of the "shenanigan era" should not be swept under the carpet like this. Measure U should never have been on the ballot without audits having been done first. But the same mentality that allowed audits to be ignored led to a public vote on something with no hard factual information to back it up. THAT is the real problem.

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  11. 8:16

    John Gillison had a sign on his office wall in City Hall that read "What Would Bart Do?"

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  12. Sacramento Joe MUST GO!
    Vote him down, and SAVE THE TOWN

    Joe and John purposely stalled that meeting last night.

    I think they call it a minority filibuster.

    Sacramento Joe MUST GO!
    Vote him down, and SAVE THE TOWN!

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  13. What would Bart do? Screw the City, sell it lock stock and barrel to the big development outfits, then take the money and run. Same thing as his faithful dog Joe Mosca.

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  14. Agreed 8:49..Bring it to the ballot!Enough of this nonsense.We know what the problem is...Stop the subterfuge.It's beginning to sound like the same'old boy network'..

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  15. Sierra Madre!

    Your faithful servants, Kurt Zimmerman, Don Watts and Mayor MacGillivray have worked tirelessly for all of you. They have brought back the town from the terrible path of disaster Bart Doyle led the dirts down.

    Please get the word out to everyone you know.
    Vote for CRAWFORD, WATTS AND ALCORN.

    MaryAnn MacGillivray needs your help to continue the progress we've made.

    Anyone who watched last night's city council meeting witnessed just how hideous John Buchanan and Joe Mosca can be.
    Be sure and watch a re-run of the first part of the meeting where Mosca tells the audience that Don and MaryAnn don't understand SCAG. Implying they are incapable of grasping what Sacramento is trying to accomplish, implying that Sacramento has our best interests at heart.
    BS
    Then watch the end of the meeting where Joe displays his now frequent "tantrums"....ignoring and speaking rudely to Mayor MacGillvray, again.

    Please Sierra Madre, get rid of this Mosca, he has done almost as much harm to this town as Bart Doyle has done.

    Hang in there, MaryAnn, Don and Kurt.

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  16. "Needed the right tools to do the job" - yes, a brain

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  17. Please contribute to John Crawford for City Council. All donations are appreciated, please give what you can afford.
    We need your help to get our message out!

    John Crawford for Sierra Madre City Council
    PO Box 1411
    Sierra Madre CA 91024

    Make checks out to the full name as typed
    above. Thank you!

    Diane Shear
    Treasurer for John Crawford for City Council

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  18. Mayor MacGillivray!

    Please declare Mosca out of order and have him ejected from the dais.
    His behavior was inexcusable!

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  19. GASB is the audit material required to put a dollar value on existing infrastructure, roads, buildings, vehicle, equipment, water and sewer systems, parks, etc. for the state.
    It isn't gasby, it should be gasbag, which are John and Joe.

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  20. Eric the guy with a blogFebruary 10, 2010 at 10:35 AM

    If you Google "Gasby" & "Audits" tons of stuff comes up under both spellings. GASB being the technically correct acronym, but "Gasby" seems to be the affectionate pet name amongst the initiated. And isn't that what we're looking for in government acronyms? More touchy feely?

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  21. John Buchanan's explanantion for why the audits were not completed in time while he was serving his first term on the Council will go down in history as his worst speech ever.

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  22. Why did Councilman Watts refer to the "alleged" irregular publication of Susan's paper.

    As Councilman Zimmerman pointed out, there's nothing "alleged" about Susan's irregular publication schedule. It's a fact.

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  23. I agree with 10:49. I'm voting for you Don Watts, but you need to stand up to Susan!

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  24. Sir Eric, actually the list of Susan Henderson's subscribers would be sent, as suggested by the Mayor, only to the City Attorney. The City Attorney would keep the names of the subscribers private.

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  25. john B. blamed everbody for the late audits but the people actually responsible -- the City Council Members including john b. who served during the shenanigan years. I agree with Councilman Zimmerman, the audits were not a priority back then.

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  26. Good point 10:55. So much for John B.'s privacy concerns.

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  27. I'm taking bets on whether Susan shows up to the next City Council meeting.


    The odds are 1000-1 that she won't show up to face Kurt Zimmerman's questions

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  28. Mtnviewsnews.com is up with the February 6th issue this morning. Note City Legal Notice for date of February 9th - yesterday. If the paper was out in hard copy yesterday it was in none of the sites I ususally find it. It definitely was not on-line yesterday. Did anyone see the Legal Notice in time to get to City Council?

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  29. 11:04 I think the odds are 5000-1.

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  30. Buchanan can't defend the "shenanigan years" with any pertinent facts, so all he could do was come up with a whirlwind of bs, much of it making no sense at all.

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  31. I disagree 11:06. I think the odds are good that Susan will show up, but refuse to answer questions.

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  32. 11:04

    I looked for the paper twice at the Sierra Madre post office.
    I haven't seen it there in months. I walk by there everyday.

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  33. Susan skipped court appearances in the case brought by Katina Dunn. I think she'll skip the next City Council meeting.

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  34. I'm new to this blog and Sierra Madre politics. If this Susan person does not publish her paper on a regular basis and she refuses to provide the City with a list of subscribers (reasonable request), than why was Councilman Buchanan defending her? Are they friends.

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  35. 11:12 am, that silly old Councilman Buchanan! He's just a pushover for underdogs everywhere, like Mosca, Henderson, Bart Doyle, Cumquat, SCAG, SGVCOG, just a regular old marshmallow.

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  36. By the way, I looked over each of the reasons cited for not completing the audit and even allowing for poetic license on the part of the Tattler I still find that all of the excuses can be laid at the foot of the dais. It is not the place of the Council to accept failure it is in fact to ensure compliance with directives. I'll never forget the sniveling Rob Stockly facing down Alma Mays and telling her the audits were complete. Liar liar pants on fire Stockly!

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  37. Impeach BuchahahahanFebruary 10, 2010 at 12:35 PM

    Right after we elect the Tattler to the City Council let's impeach Buchahahahan. I'd walk a petition to have him removed for any one of several reasons but mostly for stupidity.

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  38. Buchanan's claim that we never ran out of money and created reserves left me flabbergasted.

    This is the man who claimed during the Measure F campaign and the measure U (UUT) campaign that the City was essentially broke.

    Of course, if he and his fellow "shenanigan" council members had seen to it that the audits had been completed in time, he would have known that we were not broke.

    Thank God for Kurt, MaryAnn and Don.

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  39. 12:31...Alma Mays is definitely a forgotten hero. That sweet, little, old lady would not back down, and the more they insulted her, the more insistent she became.

    Just goes to show you, some little, old ladies can be pretty tough! ;-)

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  40. The "shenanign" councils knew much more than has ever been divulged. By not completing the audits they know it couldn't be proven we had excess funds. The only way to defeat Measure V and ensure plenty of money for the EMT program, police, SMVFD and the never ending conga line of BFF consultants was to scare the bejabbers out of the citizens. No no no. These shysters and rapscallions knew exactly what they were doing and didn't mind the cost of penalties as a way of funding their pet projects. Their downfall was in their own hubris and the lucre falling into their hands from the BIA and the realtors.

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  41. was at the city council meeting last night and had to endure Buchanan's filibuster nonsense.
    I was surprised to see city council candidate Nancy Walsh in the audience, smiling and nodding her head in approval of every word that came out of windbag Buchanan's mouth!
    She's a puppet of Buchanan and the dirts!
    Hey, Tattler readers, if you love John Buchanan, you'll love Nancy!
    Pathetic.

    CRAWFORD, WATTS and ALCORN for the people of Sierra Madre, not Sacramento special interests!

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  42. @ 2:01 pm

    http://facebook.com/photo.php?pid=148093&I=cd70e43176&id=171167743

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  43. Not a good link 3:22??????

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  44. Sir Eric, off the subject but I found a juicy story on your calitics link, bribe and indictments on a large scale, San Berdo county but involving Rancho Cucamunga, home of little Dieter of the POA law firm who is also a Rancho Cucamonga council person and James Troyer formerly of el monte building and planning rumored to have left because of the corruption being forced on him by developers in el monte at the time.????? My Bad???
    Apparently Burnam of Colonies Partners the briber, part of Diversified Pacific (lots of projects per Secretary of state records) paid off a county supervisor with money, trips and a lady of the night, who has been indicted. Have you seen it?

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  45. @3:27 it's supposed to show publicly but does not. Sort of off-topic, "When Grandma Goes to Court" in honor of Alma Mays:

    In a trial, a Southern small-town prosecuting attorney called his first witness, a grandmotherly, elderly woman to the stand. He approached her and asked, "Mrs. Jones, do you know me?" She responded, "Why, yes, I do know you Mr. Williams. I've known you since you were a boy, and frankly, you've been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, and you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you're a big shot when you haven't the brains to realize you'll never amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you."

    The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, "Mrs. Jones, do you know the defense attorney?"

    She again replied, "Why yes, I do. I've known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. He's lazy, bigoted, and he has a drinking problem. He can't build a normal relationship with anyone, and his law practice is one of the worst in the entire state. Not to mention he cheated on his wife with three different women. One of them was your wife. Yes, I know him."

    The defense attorney nearly died.

    The judge asked both counselors to approach the bench, and in a very quiet voice, said,

    "If either of you idiots asks her if she knows me, I'll send you both to the electric chair."

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  46. Okay, 5:17 pm, you win the prize for today's funniest comment! It made me laugh out loud. Thank you.

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  47. DTLC stands for developers taste like chickenFebruary 10, 2010 at 8:13 PM

    Hi 5:17, that is cracking me up too!!!

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  48. Thought you guys would get a kick out of it.

    L. Barlow

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  49. The night that Zimmerman, Watts and Mosca were sworn in the City Council agenda included two reports of fines for the City, one to be paid for by one councilman himself, Bart Doyle, and each fine was $5,000.00 for late reporting on matters of timely impotance of city business. The other was paid for by the city for finance office lateness. I saw the packet, I am not making this up. The day the previous city finance director was dismissed from her position (if she is still suing the city, I should keep the rest of the story for later) the city sent every one home and shut down the computers. Can this be where the story leads back to that the audit information cannot be reconstruced? When the city hired this previous finance director she was on and off the staff page of budgets (on administrative leave?) from her former city, yet our shinannigan council's city manager hired her any way. No city trying to get rid of an employee will tell you anything negative about them for fear of legal recourse, but there is always one question to ask and the body language to watch for.

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  50. I really don't Susan will ever show up to the City Council. I also don;t think she will ever supply the subscription lists. She will do what she always does, stall.

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  51. 8:03, you bring up the part of the history that confuses me the most - this incompetent and/or maybe malicious person was hired in 2000? 2001? and stayed until Feb, 2006?????? Does that mean that for all those years NO ONE WAS MINDING THE BOOKS? No one, not even the banker on the council, Mr. Stockly, noticed that there was a what, a criminal? a dunce? a saboteur? a fraud? in charge of the city's finances?
    Unbelievable.

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  52. I have noticed that the paper, when it is actually printed - no alleged about that y'all - does make it to the desks in city hall.
    The delivery route is probably verrrrrry carefully plotted out.
    So us bums on the street may or may not ever see the paper, but the city employees will.

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  53. My favorite Buchananistic bromide in his homily on Tuesday last was:
    "There is merit in planning."

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  54. Small pile of this, and last week's, Mt View News at Senior Housing when I went to visit a friend there on Tuesday night.

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  55. Yes 7:06 and 2:40, a few papers are strategically placed around the city.
    The locations must be the result of a consideration like "Who do we have to fool the most?"

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  56. I guess if the advertisers are happy with wasting their ad dollars, what should we care if the paper is printed hapazardly, appears to be operating on a shoestring and the owner is a documented liar of her background and she flipped the middle finger of intolerance at our court system.

    I know if I were operating a business and I had a publisher who argeed contractually for deadlines and print schedules and that publisher inconsistently met deadlines and realease dates, I'd refuse her invoices or reduce payments based on the ad loss.

    What the city manager needs is to seek an online remedy for publishing legal notices, it can't be that complicated and it's green.

    Instead of trying to save a tree, John B and Joe Mosca (the guy who used a dog as a photo prop), both the self appointed green mascots of Sierra Madre thwart any efforts to pull legal advertising from the MWO.

    They stall, stammer and ramble about minute issues regarding online legal ad placement, but neither make any business sense, which makes since because neither are businessmen.

    To pay thousands of dollars NOT to have something done on a timely and within the contractual manner of the agreement and on top of that....have a FREE option available...well that's just dumb business or city government thinking as it's usual.

    The publisher just ignores requests for circulation data or printer invoices, what happens if the state audits the city for expenditures of legal advertising and thanks to the publisher, the city can't document that it followed state guidelines?

    Isn't the publisher hanging the city out to dry and if the house of cards tumble, the publisher can just close shop, move on and would the city be legally screwed?

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