Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Three Years Ago

I've been digging around various obscure corners of the internet lately, looking for bits and pieces from Sierra Madre's recent past. So much has happened in the last several years to this community, and a little historical perspective can't hurt. After all, many of the things we are discussing now have their roots in an event that happened not all that long ago. And if we don't talk about it here, where will it be discussed?

While I was searching on the Google Blogs site, I stumbled upon something rather remarkable. It is called Sierra Madre Saga, and it was the blog of David S. Smith, a former columnist for the now sadly departed Mt. Wilson Observer. It was here that David reprinted the insightful columns he was writing for the MWO back in 2007. Many of which still hold up very well a full three years later. The truth usually does.

And with election season now upon us, it would be a good thing for us to revisit one of his columns in particular. It dealt with Joe Mosca's failure to honor the promises he made to the voters when he ran for our City Council back in 2006. His vote on the Downtown Specific Plan being the most flagrant example of that bad faith. This particular event has become a signature issue in the 2010 Sierra Madre City Council race. And what David S. Smith had to say on such matters is as relevant today as it was when residents took things into their own hands, overruled Joe, passed Measure V, and saved downtown Sierra Madre from the developer's wrecking ball.

Here is David's column:

Joe Mosca (February 17, 2007): One of the principal arguments the opponents of Measure V are using is that we should defer decisions about community planning to our elected officials. There's one major flaw in that argument. We tried that and failed.

In last year's election for City Council we had a broad slate of candidates. The three candidates that expressed reservations about the Downtown Specific Plan and who promised the people a referendum on the final draft won a landslide victory. The people had spoken, and their wish was clear.

We thought we were safe. Whatever decisions and compromises our City Council made, the residents would have a final say in the matter. When Joe Mosca broke his campaign promise and reversed his position on the DSP referendum, it registered a 12 on the community Richter scale. He terrified us. And his betrayal galvanized our community.

I've heard a lot of opinions about Joe Mosca, all the way from he's a mole the developers planted, to he's young, inexperienced, and politically naive. Whatever your choice, he's a disaster. Not just for the voters who trusted him, but also for the side he's gone over to.

Joe Mosca's betrayal took compromise off the table. He almost single handedly put Measure V on the ballot.

Compromise is what politics is all about. His removing the possibility of compromise has brought us to the degree of political polarization we currently face in Sierra Madre.

What was Joe Mosca thinking? What makes him think he has more experience, maturity, and wisdom than the residents who voted for him. Whatever he thinks, he's wrong.

Joe Mosca started off his tenure on the City Council a hero and became, in a few months, one of the most despised residents this community has ever seen. That takes real talent. The real tragedy is he'd still be everyone's hero if he just used his head.

There has been a major failure of Joe Mosca to grasp the political realities of Sierra Madre. Regardless of political affiliation, when it comes to Sierra Madre itself, the vast majority of residents are conservative. Sierra Madre is a family community. We have no desire to become another Old Town Pasadena. We want a town that is safe, secure, and prosperous. A place where our kids can congregate at Bean Town after school and in the evening without us having to worry about them.

The signs of a reversal in the real estate market were clear last Spring. Everyone saw it. We need to maintain the value of our homes. As long as the homeowners feel prosperous, the contractors and building tradesmen who do the additions, remodels, and maintenance on our homes will have work. And if we keep Sierra Madre a desirable place to live, the realtors will have a strong housing market and an income, however modest, to get them through to the next boom.

My greatest fear is that they'll kick out Taylor's Meats, bulldoze Howie's, and get a building started. Then, the crash will come and all work will cease, just like in 1990.

Given last April's election, the outcome of the vote on April 17th seems predictable. So Joe, if you want to be a hero again, here's my suggestion. Resign!

Get out of the way and let this community heal the gaping wound your poor judgement inflicted. Run again if you want to. Maybe we'll give you another chance. but, for the sake of everyone, end the nightmare your betrayal created. And the the City Council, once again, become the community forum it should be.

Of course, Joe never did resign, and it now remains the duty of the voters to evict him for not keeping the promise he made that originally got him elected. Because once a politician has betrayed his constituency in such an egregious and casual manner, and on something that incredibly important, how can he ever be trusted again?

The answer being he can't. Which is why Joe Mosca has finally got to go.


  1. I worked with David Smith on Yes on Measure V campaign.

    David is either a genius or a psychic, probably both. He is also a "forensic economist".

    He not only could see right through Joe Mosca, but he wrote another column in which he ACCURATELY predicted the real estate bubble, why it would happen and it's consequences.

    David Smith, if you're reading this friend.....I wish I would have listened to your predictions, they have all come to pass.

    I wouldn't have sold my home, but I sure would have sold a lot of my stock holdings, and I would be several hundred thousand dollars richer!
    You are a brilliant man, and like John Crawford and Don Watts, you have told us the TRUTH.
    The truth is often disruptive, but we NEED to know, if we are to move forward.

    Thanks, John for posting this column and thank you David for your insight!

  2. A vote for Joe Mosca is a vote to surrender our city to the control of Sacramento.

    The only hope now for California is to reject these Sacramento government control politicians like Mosca, they have destroyed out economy, and eventually will destroy our quality of life.

    Vote WATTS, ALCORN and CRAWFORD April 13th!

  3. No No No to MoWaMo (MoscaWalshMoran) Just Say No to MoWaMo!

  4. Mosca is a very dangerous man for Sierra Madre.
    He LIED to us before and he will LIE to us again, then, (GOD FORBID) if elected proceed to destroy our town.

    Nancy Walsh and Josh Moran are both highly
    UNQUALIFIED and both are supported and under the control of the downtown investors who wish to over-develop this town, every square inch of it.

  5. Repeat after me: Local control, local control, local control. Thank MaryAnn and Don Watts for attending meetings that soon to be defeated Councilman Mosca failed to attend. They got our housing numbers reduced. Mosca abandoned his duties. We know that Don did not abandon his duties--he stepped in when Joe abandoned his duties. Pat Alcorn and John Crawford would never say they would do something and then fail to show up. Pat Shows up all the time--heads of team of successful volunteers and raises a grand sum of money for the Friends of Sierra Madre Library to keep our library suported (which has never been threatened for closure--a lie the the opposition tried to attribute to Mayor MacGillivray). John Crawford shows up everyday at his computer and researches and writes and researches some more. This is the mind and committment that we want on the city council. All three of these dedicated people: Alcorn, Crawford and Watts!

  6. I'm repeatin' Eyes Wide Open:


    Old Kentucky strongly supports ALCORN, CRAWFORD and promise keeper, honest DON WATTS!!!

    I hope you all will join me, Sierra Madre in voting for these fine people.

  7. If anyone wants to hear David Smith at a city council, thanks to Neuroblast, check out on youtube:
    Mr. Smith Goes to Sierra Madre

  8. good memory skillsMarch 3, 2010 at 8:49 AM

    Great article Tattler.
    Nothing like the facts to clear things up.

  9. Thanks for all the kind words here is MR. SMITH just click the name above.
    Neuroblast Films
    P.S. I'm working on some Buchanan shorts, so please bear with me....they are ...long, so they will be in parts.

  10. Joe LIED to me, Shame on Me but not TwiceMarch 3, 2010 at 8:58 AM

    you know Susan Henderson would never allow such an editorial today, the only reason Mr. Smith was allowed to write the article was because of Katina Dunn, who would allow both sidss of an issue be printed and Katina actually invited Beth Buck to write an article (who of course declined because Buck had no journalistic backbone)

    just wait, Henderson, in all of her over inflated glory, will be allowing Mosca to write in her paper and Henderson, who hasn't a shread of journalistic creditability or ethics, will be writing glowing reviews of Mosca

    What we all should do is with Mosca's postcard is save them, write LIAR across the front and leave the postcard all over town, just leave on tables, post at Bean Town and where ever.

    I was thinking about asking for a Mosca sign and write "LIAR" on it and put in my yard, behind my fence where if somebody wanted to steal it, they'd have to face my dogs.

    at least I own a dog and didn't use one as a photo prop like Mosca, what a LIAR!

    One and Done for Joe.

    Ignore Moran.

  11. Fantastic clip of Smith. He was the voice of knowledge.Too bad we only had Zimmerman and Watts on the council then, cuz there was still a shenanigan majority, so Mr. Smith's words stand as a warning that was DISREGARDED, just like the council of 2004 DISREGARDED all the intelligent warnings they got from hundreds of residents about developing the hillsides.
    Put the shenanigans behind us, & keep the majority on the council that LISTENS to the citizens.

  12. Hey Neuroblast, are there more vids of David Smith floating around?

  13. Fair memory skillsMarch 3, 2010 at 9:19 AM

    Seems to me that David Smith spoke a few times at the city council in support of Measure V.

  14. 7:42, great. It's a tongue twister. How appropriate.
    NO Mo' MoWaMo

  15. Great post eyes wide open @7:54.
    You are a good historian!

  16. Yes a tongue twister is perfect for the Mosca/Walsh/Moran campaign because that side of city politics specializes in twisting the meaning of words around. As in "I'm in favor of giving the public the right to vote" and as in "Let's preserve Sierra Madre" by changing the downtown and pumping up the population until we break the water system and have gridlock on all the main streets. Some 'preservation' like Stonehouse and Carter.And if someone like S. Henderson's journalist Hail doesn't think that was in the works, all he has to stop by the public library and get a look at the Environmental Impact Report for the Downtown Specific Plan.
    By the way, Environmental Impact Reports are an endangered species now thanks to SB 375.

  17. The DSP and the CAR/BIA connection are like the houseguests that never leaves. Moran's website reads like an advertisement for the Chamber of Commerce and the Arcadia Association of Realtors! It's good to review these posts and articles from the Measure V election just to remind us what we avoided! Please readers, if you haven't contributed to Alcorn, Crawford, and Watts consider writing that check today! It takes money to fight the business interests that are aligned against our community!

  18. Right you are 10:43.
    Any information on who's funding the mowamo?

  19. When do we get to see some financial disclosure lists?
    I know there's a big old loophole that makes some of it come too late, but there could be some interesting revelations in that material anyway, before the election.

  20. It isn't the Measure V supporters and the SMMRD folks that are holding up development in town. It's the greedy D.I.C.'s who wanted three and four stories. Remember 2-30-13! Long live the slow growth proponents. Remember the Dunns, David Smith, Kurt Zimmerman, and Old Kentucky! Never forget Kathy Childs, Judy Webb-Martin, John Buchanan, Tonja Torres, Enid Joffee, the infamous Six Mayors, and all the rest -- most of whom still come out after dark. When was the last time you saw their ilk in broad daylight? Just look to the hills for their legacy.

  21. I'm still waiting for the Joshin' With Josh column. Think the paper will use the Facebook photo? Mr. Smith, a beautiful piece of writing.

  22. Should anyone doubt that Mr. Smith's fears of a torn up downtown were not justified, check out the Public Draft of the DSP. It's on the city web site. Here's the link, but my experience is that we can't post links successfully in the comments.
    If you're interested and that doesn't work, just go to the city website & search for dsp. Plenty comes up.
    On page 3-9 is a very interesting map of a "vision" for the area. Note the 'religious' use expansion vision. Also scary, the 'Howies' corner.
    Bad old days, and thank goodness for Measure V.

  23. Our downtown would now be filled with half empty buildings, just like all the towns that bought in 5 years ago.

  24. Thank you Moderator!!!!

  25. 1:12, I found the map of the visioned downtown. Shocking. What were they thinking?????

  26. They were thinking that they could gild a lily.

  27. I also took a look. Where was the money going to come from? This is multi millions in building/construction of private/public property. No wonder the Sierra Madre Congregational Church was so supportive of the DIRT Council. And we, the taxpayers, paid $300,000 for this airey fairey piece of fluff? It cost us, again the taxpayers, almost a million dollars -- including Mosca's airfare to Washington, D.C. to lobby for park funds, for Goldberg Park. What would the price tag have been if this boondoggle had been built?

  28. Wadda u mean to Washington to lobby? The city pays a DC lobbyist $65,000 a year. A phone call wudda been cheaper.

  29. Boggled, I'm with you. The money was a terrible waste, and then the council of the time, the crater creator dsp drivers, had the gall to put on a dog and pony show for us called Measure F. Wasted all that money and then came to us looking for more. What rotten leadership.
    Certainly a different place when people like Zimmerman and MacGillivray took charge.

  30. I never really believed the accusation at the time that the City Councils of the late 1990's early 2000's were trying to spend Sierra Madre into oblivion so it could be annexed by Arcadia, Pasadena, or LA County. But in hindsight methinks it's true. It was nothing more than unrestrained spending without regard for taxpayers and homeowners. They were feathering their own nests and investing with abandon because the good times they were a rolling. Truly it sickens me that these narcissistic yokels were able to gain any support let alone make the inroads into the hearts and minds of the good people who were tricked into believing the fairytale pap the dirts were serving up.

  31. I heard that too Disgusted. It's always hard for me to believe that people can be that organized, but on the other hand,,,,
    I think the phrase I heard was that the town was being sold off bit by bit over the years, with the intention that no one would notice until it was too late.
    Then we'd be at the mercy of any developer who wanted to develop anything.

  32. Josh Moran was a strong downtowndirt/cumquat/qunt supporter.

    Josh Moran was a strong NO on V supporter.

    He spoke out against the ordinance to restrict smoking where people sit to eat and drink in our little town.

    He doesn't deserve to be on our city council if he can't support the health of our community.

  33. Joe LIED to me, Shame on Me but not Twice said... at 8:58,

    I sure like the way you think!

  34. Mosca is so stupid. He goes on PR tours to Sacramento and Washington D.C., sponsored by development interests and then comes back to tell us that he was there for us.

  35. Watcher,

    You got it. And let's not forget, that no one came before the Dunns. It was all there doing and they figured it all out by themselves.

  36. We pay a lobbyist $60,000 a year to work for us in Washington DC. And apparently he does a pretty good job, which is why we keep rehiring him. And then Joe goes and takes credit for all the lobbying on his flyer. Like nobody would figure that out.

  37. Pretty, pretty front yard political sign uses one of the most egregious symbols of all to promote the candidacy of Josh Moran--the hillsides inside the O of his name. There was absolutely no participation from then-young-citizen Josh Moran for hillside protection. He is starting his theft-accomplishment-political career early. Much like Joe's postcard. Someone ought to excise all the accomplishments on that postcard that were the result of the team of all five City Council members or someone else entirely (several look like staff grant successes) and you would have a piece of card stock that would barely hold together.

  38. Why is Josh putting up all those signs on city property?

  39. 5:59 I noticed that as well.

    It is against the law for political signs to be placed on public property without a permit. Ask City Hall if Josh has a permit. If not, then the City needs to notify him to take them down, before the public works department gets rid of them.

  40. If you see a sign for any candidate on city owned property, is it appropriate to call the city manager?

  41. I drove past a beautiful array of Watts, Alcorn and Crawford signs on the way home. What a sight for sore eyes! This is an election to remember.

  42. There can be no signs of any kind including open house, garage sales or campaign signs on City property. It is not permitted and so you can not get a permit to have signs on the city walkway. So if Moran's signs on our city property they are there illegally and code enforcement should be called to pick them up!