Saturday, March 27, 2010

The California Eminent Domain Report Writes About Sierra Madre's Eminent Domain Initiative ... and The Tattler?

So it looks like The Tattler got matched up against the Mountain Views "News" in the California Eminent Domain Report, and wouldn't you know it? We were declared the winner. Of course, I don't think that will come as much of a surprise to many as we generally concern ourselves with the facts, whereas Susan Henderson apparently allows her resentments and personal grudges to sometimes cloud her judgement, skewing what she claims is news reporting. But still it was a gratifying victory, and it also gives me something fun to write about for the weekend.

So who or what is the California Eminent Domain Report? Here is how they describe themselves on their site:

Nossaman's Eminent Domain and Valuation Group consists of leading California eminent domain lawyers. Our attorneys are experienced practitioners in all aspects of eminent domain and other valuation disputes, representing public agencies, landowners, and business owners.

Sounds impressive. And would you believe that they have now written about Sierra Madre on two different occasions? It looks like our Eminent Domain Initiative (identified by CEDR as "Ordinance 1304") is now getting some serious attention out there beyond the Michillinda Curtain. Here is how their first article (12/10/09) about our initiative reads:

Sierra Madre Lets Voters Decide Breadth of Eminent Domain Power - Sierra Madre will allow its citizens to decide whether the city can use the power of eminent domain for private purposes. According to a Pasadena Star News article, "Sierra Madre resident(s) will vote on eminent domain," the city council agreed to put a proposed measure on the April 2010 ballot which would prevent the city from (1) condemning property and turning it over to a private developer, and (2) funding or cooperating with any other city agency using eminent domain (such as the Redevelopment Agency.)

Wondering why the city does not simply pass an ordinance prohibiting the use of eminent domain for private purposes if the board members are against such use? The answer, apparently, is that the board considered doing so in reaction to Kelo, but ultimately determined such an ordinance could be overturned by future city councils. If the measure is passed by the voters, it would be much harder to overturn.

The California Eminent Domain Report stayed on this case, and returned on March 2nd to the always exciting political battlegrounds of our little foothill village for a follow up report. And in what they describe as "some colorful debate," they analyzed the MVN's take on the issue, and then compared it with the reporting of yours truly.

On February 27, Susan Henderson offered a Mountain Views News article "Eminent Domain Measure -- Yes or No?" She purports to analyze the measure in the broader context of recent eminent-domain-reform efforts, including California's Proposition 99, passed in 2008 in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's much maligned 2005 Kelo decision. She ultimately concludes that the measure is irrelevant, and amounts to mere political "grandstanding" by Sierra Madre's Mayor MaryAnn MacGillivray.

Now you might recall that we here at The Tattler took exception to Susan's politically motivated slap at our Eminent Domain Initiative, and the CEDR took note.

On March 1, "Eric Maundry," aka City Council candidate John Crawford, responded in a Sierra Madre Tattler piece called "Has The Mountain Views News Come Down On The Side Of Eminent Domain?" ... Mr. "Maundry" contends that the measure has real teeth, prohibiting the City from all eminent domain for redevelopment purposes --- i.e., eminent domain where the goal is to turn the condemned property over to another private owner for redevelopment.

So having compared the general thrust contained in each of these two Sierra Madre articles on the matter, how did this fine legal firm comprised of experts in the field of eminent domain law decide which argument had the greater merit?

As to eminent domain and the impact of Ordinance 1304, I have to side with Mr. "Maundry." The ordinance goes well beyond the limited restrictions Proposition 99 offers state-wide, and should, if approved, create a real barrier against eminent domain for redevelopment purposes. Especially with respect to businesses, no current federal or state prohibition exists on condemning property for redevelopment purposes, as long as the condemning agency makes proper blight findings. Ordinance 1304 would change that, at least in Sierra Madre.

I have given some further thought as to whether or not Susan Henderson actually is in favor of government seizure of peoples' homes so that somebody can make some money. And while some might find my new conclusion overly generous, I am of the opinion that she is not. Rather I now believe that when she wrote her report on this topic, she didn't really understand what she was talking about. Which is why the conclusions contained in her article are so absurdly wrong.


  1. Hooray for the California Eminent Domain Report!

    It's nice to know there are good guys out there protecting us.

    John Crawford vs. Harriet Susan Henderson?

    Let's see......Crawford is HONEST....Susan Henderson isn't.

  2. My friend Jeff Hildreth has been caught up in the proposed taking of private property under eminent domain for private purposes.

    Several years ago when Jeff started his project on East Montecito he did everything right including talking to a former council member and mayor. The mayor advised Jeff to drop his plans insinuating that redevelopment was afoot for the length and breadth of East Montecito.

    Continuing hurdles were placed in Jeff's way including the Planning Department losing his application more than once and his project being red-tagged.

    Now Jeff may have made some faulty assumptions and some of his trials and tribulation may be of his own doing but the important aspect of all of this is that Jeff was told, by a person with knowledge a priori of the City's plans and process for East Montecito, that the property was to be subject to development.

    Even as the dark architect of Sierra Madre's downtown district and its environs slinks around after the sun sets to mix and mingle with failed conspirators know that the grand scheme for East Montecito, Howie's Market, and the SNF is alive and well in the salons of the LLC'S.

  3. That Susan has been called out on a national legal site dealing with eminent domain issues is delicious. Her fame is now coast to coast!

  4. Walkers walking today, take note! The Sierra Madre Weakly and the Mountain Views Distorted News has a couple of editions left to attack the Tattler as well as our candidates. And of course, Larry Wilson and the PSN will lob puff pieces eastward. But there is nothing like a handshake and personal contact to influence a voter to get out on April 13th.

    Walk the walk! Talk the talk!

    Vote Watts, Alcorn and Crawford on April 13th!

  5. Don't forget Joe's out of town zombie army of the misinformed and misguided will be knocking on doors as well. They're not going to know anything except whatever fibs Joe has told them, and most residents will know a zombie when they see one. But they will be out this weekend!

  6. We have Joe's word - he's the only one walking...

  7. Joe's word and 50 cents still won't buy you a soda.

  8. Supports Alcorn, Crawford and WattsMarch 27, 2010 at 7:59 AM

    Vote Yes on the Eminent Domain ballot measure!
    Vote Alcorn!
    Vote Crawford!
    Vote Watts!
    (send this as an e-mail to all your friends)

    On ED On ED On ED

    Remember YES means you are protecting private property from eminent domain!


  10. So Henderson muffed it on the Eminent Domain discussion. Quelle surprise!

  11. It will be interesting to see how many Sierra Madre voters vote NO on the Measure ED.

    I hope it's a very, very small number.

  12. Don Watts has been pushing this ban on eminent domain for a long time.

    So has Crawford, Zimmerman and Mayor MacGillivray.

  13. If Susan gets something right, you should assume she'll think she made a mistake.

  14. Susan's opinions are about as authentic as her law degree.

  15. The Nossaman web site/blog is the portal for cities and regional agencies to access information and possible legal services for eminent domain actions. Interesting that they would note the struggle now going on in Sierra Madre and decide that there are actual real protections in the ordinance.

    I also read a few articles in their blog, and note that California utilities are trying to weaken the protections of Kelo in order to appropriate private land for "infrastructure improvement", but the Assembly Bill was sent back to committee. So those lobbyists for the utilities who are on the council and running for office are definitely gunning to get eminent domain loopholes into place, so there's no "paranoia" going on there. Eminent domain is the tool that will be used to capture Federal infrastructure dollars (their March 19 post).

  16. And, just for the record, "those lobbyists for the utilities who are on the council" would be Mosca (the gas company) and Buchanan (the electric company).

    Okay, all together now! Vote for Crawford, Alcorn and Watts on April 13th.

    Rid the Sierra Madre City Council of lobbyists and keep it free of loons!

  17. Utility companies make their money in transmission. Condeming private propety for transmission lines is right up their alley. Green Path North was defeated by the hard work of desert communities in the Coachella, Yucca and Morongo Valleys and out to the north along Old Woman Springs Road. LA Dept of Water and Power already had transmission corridors but they wanted to bring new 6 story high tension power lines through three pristine desert sanctuaries and ajoining communities. Low and behold, they remembered (after three years of being repeatedly reminded) that they ALREADY had transmission corridors.

  18. Speaking of loons, has Ms. Walsh filed the required FPPC docs yet?

  19. Feb. 25th post on this blog, "Engaging SCAG", pretty much lays it all out, has Mosca and Buchanan trying to discourage the Council from active participation in the SCAG process. Then you have Bart Doyle buttonholing the SCAG panelist at the AIA's presentation on SB 375 (comment in March 6 Tattler post). Connect the dots.

  20. I think it would be reasonable to ask anyone employed by Utility firms to resign immediately from the City Council..There is a serious conflict of interest!!!

  21. Good work Tattler. Nice to see that kind of recognition
    for this great news site.

  22. John Buchanan and Joe Mosca should resign from our city council. They are clearly violating conflict of interest, being lobbyists for their energy companies.

  23. Everyone Google Citizens Against Eminent Domain Abuse and you will discover that this is a NATIONAL movement against big development all over our country.

    Click onto California and see what is happening in small towns. It is galling. Between SB375 and ED, BEG BROTHER has arrived and if we do not fight back we only have ourselves to blame!

    This is very serious. The DEVELOPER has only one thing to gain. MONEY. They care nothing about us at all.

    Joe THE LIAR MONEY IN MY POCKETS MOSCA is behind it all and wants to tear down anyones house to build to the developers. His big baby tantrum came from his wallet.

    Vote for the interest of Sierra Madre: Watts, Alcorn and Crawford. They care about people not MONEY!!!

  24. Joe Mosca is the most dangerous man in Sierra Madre, he has surpassed Bart Doyle.

    Get rid of him before he does anymore damage.

    His goal is to change the face of this town, into something none of us want.

  25. Anyone needing yard signs for CRAWFORD, WATTS, ALCORN.....please place your order with:

    Diane or John at 355-4776

    Please leave your address and we will deliver.

    Thanks to all of you who have supported John Crawford, Don Watts and Pat Alcorn!

  26. I know this is late,but has anyone thought of putting Mosca's incredible performance on some CD's and use them s a Fund Raiser? It's great stuff,it would be a shame to allow this to go to waste.

  27. Someday a TV show will be created that will feature a Sierra Madre style town, and a character like Joe would definitely need to be included.

  28. Fund Raiser for what?

  29. How about a fund raiser and campaign to rename "Goldberg Park" to something more appropriate?

  30. That's an idea. Or how about a lottery? Everybody buys a few tickets at $10 a pop, and the winner of the drawing gets the park named after him/her.

  31. It's out. The news is out! Some of Sierra Madre's finest minds are tuning in to the Tattler. We're being picked up in the, the Sierra Madre Weakly, and the Mountain Views Distorted News.

    Smile! You've gotta love 'em. What with the woefully inadequate DIRT candidates running against the Tattler they can't tout their own campaigns. So instead they've chosen to demonize Old Kentucky. That's right. Our very own Old Kentucky. Focus on a half dozen posts out of more than 12,000 and presto! it's an editorial.

    Tattlers can't be intimidated. We're not afraid of threats and taunts, especially when they're made by shameless hustlers and photographers turned journalists.

    We can't wait for tomorrow! Christmas morning in March! Bring it on! We're armed with the truth and ready to talk!

    P.S. Bill, the term DIRTS was coined by the ingenue Beth Buck in that now defunct online publication, Downtown Dirt. Fair is fair and we won't take credit for that one. However we are very pleased to announce we coined the term D.I.C. as an appellation for the Downtown Investors Club.

  32. What's so special about tomorrow?

  33. So glad you asked. Tomorrow is the day the Looney Tunes News magically appears in 25 more or less (mostly less) rusty news racks all over the San Gabriel Valley. By 5:00 pm we'll get to see who Hail Hamilton and Susan are skewering this week online.

  34. Anonymous said...

    March 27, 2010 8:18 PM

    Why is the name Goldberg Park inappropriate?

  35. Where was Bill Coburn when the Cumquat was around? Didn't hear much complaining then.

  36. The people who Goldberg Park is named after got over $500,000 for the lot. Normally when people have some City entity named after them, it is because they donated that particular thing to the City, or performed some similar uncommon acts of civic generosity. Being so honored after being overpaid for property that was turned into a park whose design and foliage puzzles most is not common practice. It should really be named after the taxpayers since they are the ones whose money made the park possible. Or better yet, sold and the money used for better things.

  37. Just read the Sierra Madre news online. Do people really believe that stuff? There's no substantive news at all.

  38. In response to Billy Colburn’s “editorial” 3/28 on his occasionally updated web site. He takes to task not the accuracy of the blog but some of the comments posted. He does not attack the accuracy because what John Crawford expresses daily is based on truth that can be verified. If what John Crawford and posters wrote were really lies Joe Mosca and Susan Henderson would have sued him for liable. But you see no lies were printed. Everything can be verified by anyone wishing to spend a little time checking the blogs sources which are normally sited. Susan Henderson is not an attorney, Susan Henderson did not pay her maid, Susan Henderson did bounce checks, Henderson lost her job with the Democratic Party because she used the company credit card for personal use for purchases at places like Victoria’s Secret and the outrageous lies she stated on her resume, etc, etc. Joseph Mosca did not attend the SCAG meetings, and Joseph Mosca did lie to the voters. Again these are all verifiable facts. Billy is attacking John Crawford because John Crawford represents a huge threat to the Downtown Investors and their financial investments in the downtown.

  39. I suggest that no one should read those "papers".
    They are controlled by the development investors groups and the politically corrupt, sadly read by the naive, which fortunately their numbers are getting less and less, thanks to information like John Crawford and his research teams give you.

    Your time is much better spent on more educational reading, such as this blog.

    We have some of the best experts in the State of California and elsewhere blogging on this board.
    (of course this does not include your humble blogger, Old Kentucky, I'm just a concerned resident who wants the truth).

    John Crawford, Laurie Barlow and several brilliant attorneys post on this blog, along with other experts in matters which concern us all.

    Pay the likes of Henderson, Coburn, Terry Miller and downtown investors who write fallacious letters to these "editors", no mind.

  40. It seems to be that the opposition just realized their candidates have no substantive campaign. Ms. Walsh is not up to the task. Mr. Moran has morphed from caterpillar to oak tree moth. Mr. Mosca's entire platform has been, "I did it all myself and MaryAnn is mean."

    With two weeks to go the ONLY recourse is to attack the Tattler. Each of the three third string advertising forums has a bone to pick with Sir Eric Maundry and has turned the pot from simmer to full boil in an attempt to have impact against the campaign of first timer candidate John Crawford.

    Exactly which of these voices of fair play will sway you? A Cumquat contributor who believes pornography is parody? A disgraced Dem whose resume is unsubstantiated? A local picture taker who makes his nut selling advertising to his friends and neighbors?

    This campaign, the 2010 City Council Election, has three fine candidates dedicated to local issues and responsive to regional threats that loom on the horizon. Make Alcorn, Crawford and Watts your choice to continue fiscal conservatism and responsible City government.

  41. It's just so typical of those people. Look at the slime they threw at backers of Measure V. Or what they said about MaryAnn MacGillivray and Nancy Shollenberger in 2008. Same old dogs, same old tricks.

  42. Sierra Madre Anonymous ChorusMarch 28, 2010 at 9:28 AM

    16 Days to Election Day! Vote Alcorn, Crawford and Watts on Tuesday, April 13th!!

    Sierra Madre First!!!

  43. Have Moran and Walsh explained how they will bring new businesses to Sierra Madre or where the new businesses will locate?

    Or is it they will bring new business to Sierra Madre? In which case the inference to be made is they're talking new consumers.

    Either case involves development. Think about it. New businesses? DSP. Residential over retail. New business? Think the three and four story condos over retail, i.e., Howie's and SNF sites. More consumers? One Crater, Stonesomething, build out every last square foot of residential dirt.

    Moran + support local business = development.
    Walsh + bring in new businesses = development.

    Support slow growth. Think Sierra Madre first.

    Vote Alcorn, Crawford, and Watts on Election Day.

  44. We are heading into severe drought conditions and the developers want to build more and more consumption into the system? It takes millions of gallons of water on construction sites, and then of course the ongoing water demand created by all the new square footage.

    These people are out of their minds with greed.

  45. Same Anonymous from 12:55March 28, 2010 at 11:59 AM

    Anonymous at 5:29,
    Makes sense. I agree.

  46. Anon @ March 27, 8:22 pm

    Great Idea! Now all we need to do is agree on where the money raised will go. Most likely to erecting a new sign.

    In case anyone needs explanation, Goldberg park was named after friends of Enid Joffe. Enid convinced the City to sell the Fire Station in the Canyon and use the money to purchase the Golberg's bare land property for $500,000; at least 2 1/2 times its market value.

    Not only is naming the park after the Golberg's a slap in the face to taxpayers by Joffe and her grafting friends for reasons that should seem obvious, but the "park" is meant to justify building high density, low income buildings in the downtown area by supposedly providing additional "open space." It is one more piece of the DSP puzzle, laid in place, and waiting for the DIRTS to get back in control of the city council.

  47. Sorry for my ignorance, but where exactly IS Goldberg "Park"?

  48. Sunnyside Ave south of Sierra Madre Blvd.

    It looks like a big, weed infested piece of property, but in fact only about half of the area is the property that the city purchased to make into a "park", and the other part is property owned by another party.

    I think the city got 9,000 square feet for $500,000. And that is only one scam that Enid Joffe ran while on the council.

  49. Just a correction 1:23: Canyon Fire Station was sold for $350,000.00 to fund the start up of the Paramedic Program. It was known that that would not cover this budget item for long but that Paramedic service was a good thing. Shortly thereafter the new owner of the fire station tried to sell it for $550,000.00 but still owns it at this time. Goldberg park, closer to the selling price of $850,000.00 was financed from the transaction when the Sierra Madre Community Nursery School bought their school site from the city after years and years of having it for a small yearly sum in rent (?)--a fund rasing project that took considerable effort. Money from sale of park land--the nursery school site--could only be spent on more park land, hense the Goldberg Park. Mosca states it was the first park space purchased in the city in recent time--he does not consider acres of open space bought and received as donations by the Sierra Madre Mountain Conservancy.

  50. $850,000?

    Are you F****ing Kidding me? That's how much we paid for that rat trap known as Goldberg Park?

  51. 5:01

    I think you need to keep looking. Your "facts" regarding the nursery school and the so-called Mountain Conservancy is the same propaganda we got from the Dirts and the always duplicitous Caroline Brown, friend and business partner of Dirts everywhere.

    The Mountain Conservancy gave all its money away to the city to pay for the yet to be completed Youth Activity Center, years ago. As for the so-called open space your beloved Mountain Conservancy supposedly bought; it's just a bunch of fragmented pieces of land that developers couldn't develop on even if they wanted to. So, they gave it to the conservancy to get a tax credit. Then the "conservancy" signed all the land over to the city.

    The Sierra Madre Mountain Conservancy is a sham, just like the people using it to round out their curicula vite.

  52. English ProfessorMarch 28, 2010 at 5:55 PM

    Don't embarrass yourself 5:46. There is no such phrase as curicula vite.

    Try curriculum vitae.

  53. What 5:46pm? Mrs. Brown has credibility and you don't? One of your investments go bad?

    Play nice in the sandbox.

  54. So 5:46 is railing against the Dirts and yet making sleazy personal attacks.
    Will the real Dirt stand up?

  55. To the post about the Sierra Madre Mountain Conservancy: the transfer of the remainder of the Prop A money from the Open Space projects on acquisitons list of the Sierra Madre Mountain Conservancy (also on the work list of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy) to the Youth Activity Center--it came as a request by the City Council to the LA Co Board of Supervisors. The plan was orchestrated by the City Manager, the Director of Communty Serivces and a member of the City Council in 2002.

  56. Let the political dirty tricks begin. Caroline Brown a dirt? How weak is this?

  57. I work with Caroline Brown, there is no harder campaign worker for Crawford, Watts and Alcorn in Sierra Madre. The woman works 7 days a week.

    Some of us get tired, we are all working hard.
    Caroline, with her bouncless energy, sure keeps us moving forward to a victory April 13th.