It appears that Larry will be crowned El Presidente de SCAG at a big shindig taking place in La Quinta on May 5-7. My bet is that the ceremony will take place in a generously sized hotel assembly hall as the lucky attendees enjoy a really tasty chicken lunch with a nice glass of wine. Perhaps two. And this really is going to be a gala and star-studded affair. Scheduled to speak will be Senator Barbara Boxer, Speaker of the State Assembly John Perez, and the new State Senate Minority Leader, Bob Dutton. It really doesn't get much more exciting than that. A true powercore of California political might concentrated in one place, all with the purpose of anointing a new SCAG President while at the same time paying homage to an industry that can be so very generous when it is time to raise re-election money.
Here is what Larry had to say when the announcement of his elevation to this office was revealed to the world:
"I appreciate and am very humbled by the confidence my colleagues around the region have placed in me. I look forward to working with each of the jurisdictions, transportation commissions, and sub regions, and all of our partners, as we continue to plan the future of this region. California is the key to America's economic vitality and future, and Southern California is the State's economic engine. Working together we can grow our economy and ensure sustainable healthy communities for our citizens."
All very boilerplate and sustainability correct, of course. I mean, this is the kind of job that goes to consummate organization men, and you would hardly expect to hear anything with even a ripple of controversy to it from such a gentleman. Predictability, constancy, and an unquestioning adherence to recognized authority is what is called for in a job like that, and I'd bet in Larry McCallon that is exactly what they're going to get.
Or is it? Now as we have discussed before, SCAG is all about state control over regions and cities, serving in particular as an enforcer for the centralized planning mandates of Sacramento and Washington. And as such it truly is the ultimate manifestation of intrusive big government. So how do you explain the following statement, which Larry presented to the world and history in 2009 upon his acceptance of a seat on the State GOP Board of Directors?
"As a lifelong Republican, and candidate for the Vice Chair Inland Region of the California Republican Party (CRP) in February 2009, I believe that government is the best when it is limited in scope, that economic growth comes through free enterprise and lower taxes, that individuals and their families need to be responsible for themselves, and that our country's security is assured by only a strong national defense."
All well and good I suppose, but how can you reconcile the contradictions between these two statements? On the one hand Larry is about to become president of one of the most prototypical big centralized government entities of all, SCAG, while at relatively the same time professing to believe that government is at its best when it is "limited in scope?"
But then again, perhaps I am reading way too much into these speeches. After all, I suspect that Larry really is just another organization man, and he just gives the kinds of speeches that best reflect the office he is about to assume. He does and says what is expected of him. Looking for authenticity in politicians is a sketchy quest at best.
Larry McCallon currently serves as a City Councilman for the City of Highland. And while Highland is nowhere nearly as impoverished as Jon Edney's El Centro, it is no Sierra Madre, either. According to City Data.com median yearly income there is approximately $6,000 lower than the California average of $61,000. While at the same time the "living index" in Highland is 121, which is considerably higher than the U.S. average of 100. Home values there are around $150,000 less than the state average as well.
One particularly disturbing statistic about Highland that City Data.com reveals for us is its high percentage of registered sex offenders. In May of 2009 there were 77 living there, or 1 for every 664 residents. Sierra Madre, on the other hand, has only 2 registered sex offenders living within its borders, which is a ratio of 1 to every 5,417 residents.
On the Flash Report we can see that Larry McCallon has been on a career path that has quite logically led to his current success at the area's preeminent planning and development bureaucracy.
The County Board of Supervisors appointed McCallon to the County Indian Gaming Local Community Benefit Committee where he serves as the Vice Chair. He is President of the League of California Cities Inland Empire Division, is a member of the League's Board of Directors, serves on the League's Admin Services Policy Committee, and is a graduate of the League's Mayors and Council Members Leadership in Action Program. He has been awarded a Leadership Fellow Certificate in the National League of Cities (NLC) Leadership program and is a graduate of the SCAG Leadership Academy at USC.
For a guy who claims to be the advocate of small government he sure spends a lot of time hanging around in big government circles.
The Google Ratings are in, and who has the #1 blog in Sierra Madre?
If you go to a Google site called "Check My Page Rank," you can track how websites stack up traffic-wise with their rivals. Google ranks blogs on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 naturally being the lowest, and 10 the highest. As examples, yahoo.com ranks a big #9/10, while the Pasadena Star News site clocks in at #6/10. Each higher level representing an exponential increase in page views.
Here are the current Google blog rankings for Sierra Madre:
The Tattler - #4/10
Mary Forney's Blog - #4/10 (a great horse racing site)
Mountain Views News.com -#3/10
Sierra Madre News.net - #3/10
Beacon Media News.com - #3/10 (Beacon is the home of the Sierra Madre Weekly, plus 6 or so other masthead names.)
So it sure looks like all that publicity we've been getting lately has been paying off. And let's face it, after you've spent some time with The Tattler, why in God's name would you ever want to go back to the other news sites? Especially since we're practically all they talk about these days?
Living With Bears
An organization called the Lake Tahoe Bear League will be putting on a presentation this Sunday on how to co-exist with those darn bears. You know, the big fuzzy dudes who knock over garbage cans and take up lots and lots of print space in the Pasadena Star News every time one of them shows their fuzzy face in the human habitat? Unfortunately bears can be very controversial in our area. As the Bear League so aptly puts it:
"Why: Because Education Always precedes Respect + Responsibility. It's up to all of us to respect the lives and nature of the animals in our midst and to accept the responsibility of keeping them wild and our environment safe for our families. What we do not understand, we fear. Come and find out what you can do to make your space safer and save the Bears at the same time!
The presentation takes place this Sunday, May 2nd, at 1:00 pm. The location is Sierra Madre Middle School, located at scenic 141 W Highland. No word yet if any bears are planning to attend.
The Man from Carlsbad
Looks like we were just a little bit incorrect when discussing the Man from Carlsbad in our article on the colorful reorganization meeting at City Hall Tuesday evening. You might recall that this was the irate gentleman who spoke forcefully from the podium about controlling people who speak forcefully from the podium during the public comments portion of City Council meetings. In particular those folks who advocate the slow growth perspective on development issues here in Sierra Madre. Which on the surface of it seems odd since the new City Council is also supposed to be all about slow growth. But you know how that one goes.
Turns out this dude's name is Larry David, and while he at one time did hail from Carlsbad, he has been a resident of our quaint foothill village for the last 6 years. And wouldn't you know it, he is not just an attorney, but also one that specializes in real estate. Which I guess puts his brief talk Tuesday evening into a more realistic setting. Catch up with Larry by reading about him on his NOLO page. NOLO ("Legal Solutions for You, Your Family, and Your Business") being something like 1-800 Dentist, except it's for attorneys.