Monday, March 1, 2010

Has The Mountain Views News Come Down On The Side Of Eminent Domain?

Well, we certainly knew that the Looney Views News would function as a kind of fanzine for the Big Development Slate once the election got close. Any pretense of evenhanded coverage having gone out the window long ago with that rag. And with yesterday's edition the MVN sure did get its crazy cap on. But disparaging the peoples' vote on an Eminent Domain ballot measure was certainly random. Isn't that a little bit like kissing a rattlesnake?

There are distant rumbles of dissatisfaction from within the big development and realty trades over the Sierra Madre Eminent Domain Measure that is on our April 13th ballot. And even if Johnny B and Joe Mosca voted to put it on there, we can never be too certain about their motives. My guess is they didn't want to appear to be politically on the wrong side of an issue that is about as popular as cancer.

But there certainly is an odd switchback in H. Susan Henderson's convoluted examination of this measure. Talking to both sides of an issue has certainly been her trademark for years now, but given that she completely airbrushed out the two most important aspects of our eminent domain ballot measure, refusing to even acknowledge them, can we assume that Susan was doing her usual political grunt work on behalf of the development and realty trades? And that includes an only lightly veiled opposition to outlawing the possible use of eminent domain by any City of Sierra Madre government or its agencies, now and forever?

Here is what Susan states in her front page article entitled Eminent Domain Measure - Yes Or No?

It would appear then, given the lack of teeth in the state's Constitutional change that even if the local measure passes, it would be for naught ... Why the Sierra Madre measure is even on the ballot is widely debated in town, many suggesting that putting it on the ballot amounts to political positioning and grandstanding by Mayor MaryAnn MacGillivray who brought the matter before the council, especially since there is already a Sierra Madre Redevelopment Agency prohibition against it ...

Houston, we have a problem. There is no "Sierra Madre Redevelopment Agency." That appears to be nothing more than another all too common malapropism from the MVN's publisher. As most residents are aware, we do have something called a Community Redevelopment Agency. And while this CRA has been restricted in the use of eminent domain, that curb only applies within the small geographical area where the agency has some relevance. And then only on those items under its purview. The CRA zone covers the downtown area alone, which means the rest of the city remains virtually unprotected. Something the Eminent Domain Measure would remedy if passed.

Additionally, the measure also prohibits our City government from ever participating in any use of Eminent Domain. These two important points are what is at the very heart of this ballot initiative. It protects all of Sierra Madre, and not just the downtown strip. Here is how this ballot measure is described in the upcoming voter informational handout for the April 13th election:

(This) measure will permanently eliminate eminent domain for private economic development in the entire City of Sierra Madre. And it will go a step further by prohibiting the City from facilitating, funding or consenting to the use of City property or resources in connection with the exercise of the power of eminent domain by any other agency without the owner's consent when the purpose is to convey property to a private party or developer.

This measure deals with Sierra Madre's possible use of Eminent Domain within City limits. It doesn't have much if anything to do with the only marginally relevant state and national issues Susan dredged up for this article. If passed, the Eminent Domain Measure prohibits the City government from ever participating in the use of property seizure for private gain. This measure takes our extremely limited CRA restrictions and expands them to cover the entire City, while additionally preventing any future Sierra Madre government from even thinking about using it.

So those are the issues that make this Eminent Domain Measure so important for Sierra Madre. And that, unfortunately, is the very material Henderson left out of an article that claimed to analyze this issue. Rather we get a lot of kitchen sink journalism about stuff like Prop 99, a rather sketchy analysis of various Court decisions, and then a couple of contradictory statements about how a State Constitutional Amendment might affect us. But since this is to be a citywide vote on an Eminent Domain law that will apply exclusively to Sierra Madre, it can only be assumed that Ms. Henderson was merely sandbagging an issue she saw as being troublesome for those whose interests she represents.

Of course, all of this does beg the following question. If MaryAnn is grandstanding on the issue of eliminating Eminent Domain in Sierra Madre as Susan suggests, why does Joe Mosca take inappropriate credit for it on his recent postcard? Despite the fact that this law won't even exist until it is voted upon - and hopefully approved - on April 13th?

On a melancholy note, it was very difficult for me to read Hail Hamilton's column this week. Hail was a staunch ally and close friend during the Measure V campaign. To me he embodied not only the spirit of Sierra Madre's independence, but also those things that made it what it is today, an independent city fully in charge of its own destiny. To read an op-ed piece from him now using the language of the "No on V" campaign, and doing so in support of the big development crowd that he once so vehemently opposed, was sad.

73 comments:

  1. A GREAT cartoon..Private property being grabbed by Special Interest for the enrichment of others.I believe another word for it is piracy.
    Hooray for our champions..Mary Ann,Don and Kurt.At least someone stands up for the citizen's rights!

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  2. The only time Susan Henderson tells the truth is when
    she makes a mistake. Like she did when she wrote her
    strange eminent domain editorial. The truth in this case
    being her bad attitude on this awful practice of taking
    peoples property.

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  3. So what else is new!You are speaking about Susan Henderson!!

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  4. I wonder how many of her 200 readers actually believe her? Or
    even read her articles? Maybe 20?

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  5. I wonder how many read her article, are ignorant, and believe her, and will support Joe and Nancy. So many un-informed voters. Keeping America dumb......twisting the facts in the name of propaganda......she is another one of our American "journalists" on the fringe who the public buys....pathetic

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  6. It's the sad state of print today. No longer are newspapers the only game available, and because of that advertising revenues have suffered. Internet competition is basically killing them. In order to survive they have to accept the patronage of special interests in order to survive.

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  7. The development scoundrels want eminent domain!

    Bart Doyle disclosed that in a comment to one of their groups.

    They were all for eminent domain to build their horrible Transit Village.

    I was pleased to see Bart/Titan employee Karma Bell's front yard was touting Mosca and Walsh.

    The dirts need to get those two elected so they can get back to Bart's main objective-overbuilding and selling out Sierra Madre.

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  8. Poor Hail. Remember when he used to stand for something?

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  9. What a sell-out Hail Hamilton is!

    From his column "I have one question for John, "What are you going to do for Sierra Madre if elected to the City Council?"

    Clean up the town, Hail, like he has been doing for a long time now. Resist developers who want to destroy its character, restore clean politics to Sierra Madre.

    Not enough for you?

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  10. I noticed that Susan wanted to show Mayor MacGillivray as wrong on how Sierra Madre got their RHNA numbers adjusted so she only "interviewed" people to bolster her bias! This was the height of poor, deceitful newspaper reporting to not ask Mayor MacGillivray for a clarification.
    You will get this clarification from the Mayor in due time.

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  11. Of more interest is the article "Claims of Unique Sierra Madre Victory Misstated". Serious attempt to cover over and repudiate what happens when the right people fight SCAG.

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  12. One other answer for Hail. John will tell the truth. Something that poor Mr. Hamilton has apparently forgotten how to do.

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  13. Hail, if you're reading this post, please realize that your article looks an awful lot like the dingbat flyers I got from the No on V crowd during the campaign leading up to Measure V.

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  14. Can we assume that Ms. Henderson is now being funded by a source other than the estate of the late Dr. Nieby? The man who forbade her paper to comment negatively? Perhaps Mr. Doyle's organization the BIA has coughed up her printing costs? It has been sort of on time for three weeks... It would be so like her write for the pocketbook - hers.

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  15. I daresay that certain current and potential future City Council Memebers would like very much to repeal Measure V. After all, they were staunch opponents of the Measure and pushed for the construction of multi-story condo complexes in the downtown.

    That being the case, there is nothing fear-mongering about the statements made by John Crawford in his postcard that our downtown is at risk again.

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  16. Hail, the blue stuff Susan keeps getting you to drink is called kool aid.

    Stop drinking it.

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  17. What a poetic name for a D.I.C. spokesperson. I think I hear the ringing of the Karma bell now. It is ringing in the law of moral causation. How appropriate.

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  18. That weasel Hail has the nerve to say John Crawford is using "fear tactics", he then writes,

    "Voters are supposed to be afraid that if they don't elect Mary Ann MacGillivray and John Crawford Sierra Madre is doomed to massive uncontrolled development"

    Yes, Hail, we are afraid of that, for good reason! We have watched our elected official Joe Mosca sell-out right before our eyes and support development interests. This is not called "fear" though, this is called being informed.

    We are informed and for that reason, we know a development-dupe like yourself when we see one.

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  19. If you aren't afraid, you aren't paying attention. Or, as one poster put it, "drinking the blue stuff."

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  20. Susan really botched up her eminent domain "analysis." Of course, given her track record for deep thinking I doubt anybody is really that surprised.

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  21. Stap eminent domain with steely knives, kill the beastMarch 1, 2010 at 10:09 AM

    Several El Monte officials claimed that they did not use eminent domain to get the properties for the Santa Fe Trail Plaza and The
    Transit Center, they said they only threatened to use it! Said properties now lie in disrepair, boarded up, for almost 9 years now.

    Coercion, expensive attorney fees, kangaroo city courts, (a table in city hall, deemed a court) a subcontracted law firm, with heavy hitting partners, a municipality gone berserk with greed, stroked by developers, who have investors interested only on money return versus a simple hardworking person or family who wants to keep their home/property with all it's dreams, memories, safety, nesting not to mention they bought it, they paid for it. But municipalities usually have more money..

    Now look at the recent stories, in El Monte because of its share cost with the development agencies, properties are intermingled and the people are praying for a Walmart.

    I applaud your ballot to eliminate the slaughter hammer tool known as eminent domain, please even if you laugh at El Monte, use it as a measure to judge and wisely discern, how important your ballot is.

    Other cities will follow suit and if nothing else SCAGS will not be able to promulgate with ease the gluttony of greed that got our countless cities across the nation in this most catastrophic devaluating crippling recession.
    God Bless you and good luck.

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  22. Don't worry, be happyMarch 1, 2010 at 10:59 AM

    So the Mountain Views News is telling us that eminent domain is an empty threat and that Mayor MaryAnn was pulling a Mosca by claiming credit for reducing SCAG/RHNA numbers when that kindly Russian planner was our friend all along. Buchahahahan is supporting a tap dancer and a failed realtor turned loan shark for City Council. Mosca has been outed with delusions of poltical grandeur. Truly, has my morning tea been spiked with a bit of the Irish?

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  23. Tattlers, re-read the Monday, July 13, 2009, post entitled "The East Montecito Specific Plan" for a chilling discussion of eminent domain.

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  24. And they said it couldn't happen here...

    The "Sierra Madre Redevelopment Agency" would never permit it!

    Sure. I believe everything I hear.

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  25. A bit off topic, but I just witnessed a gross waste of funds. Why does Richard Temple our unqualified building inspector need police escort to take a photograph?

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  26. Maybe the bears are after him.

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  27. They were on East Montecito, what are they up to?

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  28. Well I guess I'd want to know which property Mr. Temple was photographing. I can think of some sites where the building inspector could be at some risk if half-mad unqualified project manager(s) encountered him unescorted.

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  29. half-mad? Wow that sounds a bit personal....sorry to bring up a sore spot.

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  30. As in mad as a wet hen.

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  31. I have always loved that phrase!
    "mad as a wet hen"
    I can picture it although I've never actualy seen one!...lol

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  32. Susan at a City Council meeting would be a good comparison.

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  33. 11;08 Memories are short..Thank you for reminding us about that night mare in the wings.Too bad the community is unable to view all the little gems Sierra Madre's "Fifth Column" have up their sleeves to "enhance" our community.Rather,I think,to enhance their pocketbooks!

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  34. You know what is disappointing about this election? The dirts haven't come up with anything new or even remotely interesting. It is just the same old same old. They used to at least be interesting. Now they're just boring.

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  35. Speaking of Measure V, I noticed that Susan's voluteer of the week was Jackie Knowles. How interesting. A few years ago Susan wrote an article blasting Knowles when the latter encouraged the Pasadena League of Women Voters to write an editorial against Measure V.

    The League determined not to interview members of SMMRD like Kurt Zimmerman or Kevin Dunn before publishing the editorial. The League had always held itself out as non-partisan and unbiased and lost much of its credibility after the editorial was published.

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  36. Typical Susan. First she's criticizing Knowles for potentially subverting the non-partisan mission of the League, and now she's enshrining her as one of the town's wonderful "volunteers."

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  37. Just like Joe, Susan did a 180 degree turn. Something that can lead to authenticity issues.

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  38. John Crawford, aka Eric Maundry. I don't know what good deeds Sierra Madre has done to deserve your intelligent, perceptive and articulate presence, but, man, am I grateful. Your accuracy in detail is pretty damn important, too. Thanks for holding the light.

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  39. Is there any doubt that Joe Mosca and John Buchana are ghostwriting for that paper?
    C'mon, the SCAG absurdities were straight from Joe's "You don't understand, it's complicated" schtick.
    Puleese.
    Can an outraged public demand an IQ test?

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  40. Fed Up - Good point. How many times have we heard Buchanan deliver that CRA line?

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  41. This is what happens when the politics have been too corrupt for too long. The ability to discern who is telling the truth and who is not becomes challenged. Thank goodness we have people like Fay Angus to get up at councils and tell the community what is really going on (or the small number of people who actually follow council business, anyway.) And thank goodness we have the Tattler to set the records straight, again and again and again.
    If whoever wrote the SCAG article had actually watched or attended the meetings where SCAG's reps did their song and dance, things wouldn't seem quite so "complicated."

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  42. If it is true, that all cities who requested a reduction and justified it (the allocation) according to the new guidelines submitted by SCAG was granted a reduction, why oh why didn't our representatine Joe Mosca submit it long time ago? I'm also surprised he didn't take credit for it on his postcard.

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  43. You are right 476. I remember President Edney and SuperPresident Ihkrata, and they were adamant that the numbers were what they were, that we had no alternative but to swallow them, that if we tried to resist, SVAG was powerless to help us, that we'd be sued here there and everywhere.
    Yep, it went something like that.

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  44. Wait a minute - the guy who was trying to whip up hysteria about day laborers is accusing the clear-eyed John Crawford of fear mongering?

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  45. Always AnonymousMarch 1, 2010 at 1:31 PM

    OK, so Hail Hamilton is inconsistent. Who isn't?
    What offends me is that he totally missed the point on John Crawford's card, got the wrong ideas from somewhere, and then extrapolated from that. Plus he likes to quibble about the word "new" for legislation. Call the definition referee. As if that is a significant point.
    Mr. Hamilton! Read the card again. Find out what is really going on with SB375. Wake up to the fact that without strong leadership like Zimmerman/MacGillivray/yesWatts, the DSP will be back and One Carter will be just the beginning of developed hillsides.
    Jeez, where have you been living?

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  46. Hail apparently takes the opinions of whoever he writes for. When he was writing for Katina, he was all about Measure V and slow growth. But now he's writing for Susan and whoever she answers to, and he is over on the opposite side. It would be one thing if he was getting paid for his efforts, but he is not. So I guess you can;t accuse him of selling out. Or at least selling out for anything worth it.

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  47. The threat of overdevelopment, of forcing housing in places where the resources will not be sufficient, is one of the biggest problems we all face, not just in this town. Once the Building Industry Association and the California Association of Realtors and like organizations became the premier lobbyists in political centers of power, the citizens were screwed.
    Hail Hamilton is telling people not to worry about unfunded state mandates that are a boon to the building industry and a curse to the people.

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  48. Still read the papers, but not that oneMarch 1, 2010 at 1:43 PM

    Who is financing Susan?
    She said at the last council that she didn't pubis a week in January because she thought the court would be happier with her for not declaring bankruptcy.
    So who is keeping her out of bankruptcy?
    How's this for a prediction - if Buchanan's protégées and Mosca lose, the paper goes under in a day.

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  49. The operative word is "justified." SCAG exercises tremendous discretion when it determnines whether a City has "justified" its population growth and jobs numbers.

    I predict that the number of cities that actually "justified" such reductions is pretty small.

    That having been said, what MacGiilivray, Watts and Zimmerman accomplished is a real boon to the City. To me, it's irrelevant that other cities (few or many)received reductions.

    Susan should have written a celebratory article and not the mean-spirited editorial she actually printed.

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  50. Her articles serve only one thing, the candidates she sees herself as managing. The taxpayers in this town are being forced to subsidize campaign material. There has got to be a lawsuit in their somewhere.

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  51. Anonymous at 2:09, you bring up a good point! That's what the Looney Views News was going for this week! The Moscateers are unable to discuss SB375, eminent domain, or SCAG/RHNA numbers because they haven't yet been told what to say. Susan is covering up their ignorance with a scatter shot pattern! We aren't discussing what Mosca or Walsh or Moran has said on the issue today - we're talking about what Hail Hamilton said about John Crawford. If the Looney Views can keep it up for six weeks the opposition can go through the entire campaign without ever responding to a single direct question.

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  52. It's all about the debate on 3/8. Suzie's Looney Views News is just the freak show out in back of the big top.

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  53. You got it 1:51.
    Classic Dirt technique.
    Keep off the topic and on personal insult.

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  54. What's Henderson doing? Sending her columnists out one by one to joust with the Tattler? Good old Rich Johnson took a drubbing last month, now it's Hail Hamilton. Who'll be next? Chris Bertrand?

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  55. It sure makes for fun blogging.

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  56. I have the feeling that Susan and her helpers have not been following the issues, except to hear the titles. So SB375 is a benign greening, and indeed at one point in time it was. Then it was mugged, raped, and put in a cellar by the building industry, so how could Susan and her pals miss the second part of the story?
    They only skim the materials and take them at face value.
    How else could they miss the fact that the Mayor and the Mayor Pro Tem MADE SCAG BACK DOWN? Mosca's efforts were only for his own political apple polishing, and he never made any kind of impact for Sierra Madre at all, except to send out the compliance and capitulation signal.

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  57. good memory skillsMarch 1, 2010 at 2:13 PM

    Yes 2:10!
    Bart Doyle sent out the "Come on developetrs for some ripe pickings" signal
    The council of 2004 sent out the "Come on and ravage the hillsides" signal, and then "Come on and make our downtown into something the hillsides millionaires want to drive through"
    and Mosca sent out the "We're helpless in our dealings with the state" signal.

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  58. I can't believe that any candidates want their signs up on Mr. Doyle's yard!
    Kind the kiss of death, isn't it?

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  59. OMG! I just saw Alcorn-Crawford-Watts yard signs! Let the games begin!

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  60. Sprouting like mushrooms I've been told.

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  61. They look very patriotic

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  62. Mosca's looks like a "For Rent" sign.

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  63. Well, I don't know if Mosca is for rent, but I sure think he's for sale -- to the highest bidder.

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  64. Thank you 2:10 you hit the nail on the head!! If only this wonderful Tattler could be published.

    And, Hail, shame on you for stooping so low. You know John/Sir Eric and you should be ashamed. Susan's lack of conscience seems to have infected her staff.....or well, maybe you need a new pair of glasses.

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  65. There is always the possibility that Hail didn't write it... maybe it was written for him in some small or large part...

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  66. People make their choices, and then get busy defending them, regardless of the facts. Hail made some very bad choices - and now he's stuck with turning a sow's ear in to a silk purse.
    Susan Henderson has a shameful record, but her financial backers just ignore it - or maybe it inspires them????

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  67. The MVN doesn't care about whether their stories are accurate or not because it is not a newspaper. It is a political advocacy sheet designed to promote the minority point of view. That it is dependent on our tax money for survival only adds insult to injury.-

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  68. A small group of people heavily invested in realty/development in this small town, got into political power and started what we now call the Shenanigan Years. One, but by no means the only, legacy from those dark days, is the loss of hillsides known as the Carter or Stonegate development. Another of the legacies that smells to high heaven is the missing audits and funny money. After we had all had enough of that terrible leadership, another small group of people with integrity and love for Sierra Madre stepped up to take back control. Things have been getting better ever since. Keep the slow growth majority in control, and we can keep our town.

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  69. Great post,
    5:36.
    You spelled it out, perfectly!

    Thanks for posting. You represent the good people in town, who happen to be in the majority!

    Thanks to all the posters who don't live in town but care about us, wishing us luck. We won't let you all down.

    DON WATTS, JOHN CRAWFORD and PAT ALCORN will continue the platform of success the MacGillivray administration and the Zimmerman administration has miraculously achieved in 4 short years. DON WATTS.......is a proud member of that administration and the right hand man of Mayor MacGillivray.

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  70. Where's my signs? OTHER PEOPLE HAVE THEM, BUT I DIDN'T GET MINE YET!

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  71. We put signs up on the East side of town, we will be getting them to you shortly.
    We had to quit work at dusk, as one of our people had a meeting tonight.

    Please be paitent, you'll get the signs.

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  72. Old K @6:57, right back at you.

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  73. CRAWFORD......WATTS........ALCORN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    KEEP SIERRA MADRE UNDER LOCAL CONTROL!!!!!!!!!!!

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