Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Letter from Ed Tracy

April 26, 2010

Mayor MaryAnn MacGillivray
City of Sierra Madre
232 West Sierra Madre Boulevard
Sierra Madre, California 91024

Dear Mayor MacGillivray:

I read with great interest the April 15, 2010 issue of the Sierra Madre Weekly and noted the comments relating to the June 28, 1991 Sierra Madre Earthquake.

The events of the Sierra Madre Earthquake were indeed tragic. Severe damage impacted numerous homes and businesses throughout the City. The efforts of the Sierra Madre Police Department and the Sierra Madre Fire Department were extremely professional and performed in a timely manner to help ensure the safety of the community’s citizens and the preservation of property. In accordance with the pre-designated Sierra Madre Fire Department’s Emergency Operations Plan, which included the activation of the Sierra Madre Fire Department’s Emergency Operations Center in Fire Station # 41, the members of the fire department were unselfish in their dedication to serve the community. While several members of the fire department experienced damage to their homes, they responded to the fire station and within minutes of the earthquake were on the fire department’s apparatus and responding to emergency calls in their pre-designated areas throughout the City, reporting the status of the incident to the Fire Chief and other Chief Officers assigned to the Sierra Madre Fire Department’s Emergency Operations Center. The information received from the units in the field, along with the information gathered from the news media were provided to the Sierra Madre Police Department and the City Administrator throughout the day and night of June 28, 1991 and the following day. As the Sierra Madre Fire Chief, I was extremely proud of the coordinated emergency response of both the Fire Department and the Police Department and the related communications with the City Administrator during this entire event.

I recall that at the time of the Sierra Madre Earthquake, the representatives of the City of Sierra Madre City Council were attending the ICA Conference in Rancho Bernardo, California. Upon being advised by the City Administrator of the earthquake, the members of the City Council (consisting of Roy Buchan, Clem Bartolai, Gary Adams, MaryAnn MacGillivary and George Mauer) immediately left the ICA Conference and returned to Sierra Madre. After checking their property for damage, of which you were hit the hardest, the members of the City Council met at the City Hall with the Fire Chief, Police Chief and Police Watch Commander, and the City Administrator to determine the extent of the earthquake’s damage, the impact to the City and the course of action to be taken for the subsequent 24 hour, 48 hour and 72 hour periods as it was anticipated that there could be serious “after shocks” which could cause additional damage throughout the City and the potential for serious injuries to its residents.

The City Council declared a state of emergency due referencing the entire City as an emergency/disaster area on June 28, 1991 (i.e., the same day as the Sierra Madre Earthquake!). In addition, Los Angeles County also declared a state of emergency on the same day as the Sierra Madre City Council due to the extensive damage throughout the County.

After the emergency declaration by the Sierra Madre City Council, numerous meetings were held with the surrounding cities and status updates relating to the City of Sierra Madre were provided by the Fire Chief and the Police Chief.

In reading the Article in the Sierra Madre Weekly, I was surprised of the comments made almost nineteen (19) years later by Michael Bamberger regarding the “fire department’s hands were tied with limited resources on hand.” The fire department had adequate personnel throughout the incident and responded well to the event, as noted above. At the time of the incident, and due to his position in the fire department, Michael Bamberger, was not involved in the command operations of the strategy and tactics associated with the incident and the updates provided to the City Council and the City Administrator. Therefore, his statements referenced in the Sierra Madre Weekly article are unfortunately not factual. Additionally, the statement that he and many others “lost respect for MacGillivray” is unfounded and did not exist in the fire department during my administration as you were always supportive of the fire department and appreciative of the services provided by its members.

In addition, the Sierra Madre Fire Department used to be viewed as an apolitical entity and its By-Laws prohibited a firefighter from getting involved with the politics of the City. As evidenced by the Sierra Madre Weekly, and its reference to Michael Bamberger being a “long-time Sierra Madre firefighter”, perhaps this By-Law no longer exists in the Sierra Madre Fire Department, or maybe it is just not enforced by the leadership of the Sierra Madre Fire Department and the Sierra Madre Firefighters’ Association.

In closing, I wish you continued success on the City Council and I congratulate the new members of the Sierra Madre City Council and wish them luck as you all go about the business of maintaining the wonderful quality of life in the City of Sierra Madre which I enjoyed for twenty-nine (29) years.


Edward D. Tracy
Sierra Madre Fire Chief (Ret.)


  1. Game...set...match.

  2. What have our politics come to when a man of such great integrity has to write a letter to defend our fire department and his colleague in integrity, Mayor MacGillivray?

  3. Just how deeply was the Fire Department involved in this election? That question now has to be asked.

  4. I hope anyone who was swayed by Bill Coburn's rant to vote "against MaryAnn" by voting for Mosca, Moran and Walsh is ashamed of themselves. This is egregious. I will never again refer to Michael Bamberger as "father" or respect him as a man of the cloth. I hope the SMVFD asks him to resign.

  5. Bamburger does not deserve any title whether it be Father, Mr, or man. He is a spineless snake that needs to slither away durning the night.

  6. Another letter that needs to be read tonight.

  7. This has to be regarded now as a full blown Sierra Madre scandal. An investigation must take place. And if it turns out certain politicians were using our fire fighters as political pawns, then all bets are off. Congratulations Tattler for breaking this story.

  8. in the real world, a writer would be fired for such mindless dribble as Terry Miller did when he puked and out came his story

    but, who then would the Weakly get to write for peanuts and a meaningless byline

    what's next for Miller, another step down in his "journalism" career and he'll start writing for the Mt Wilson rag?

  9. Can I get an Amen, Old Kentucky?April 27, 2010 at 10:04 AM

    Thank you Ed Tracy, I think Bamberger is as smelly as limberger, in a processed cheese sort of way.

    So there is a phony statement from Bamberger, a sudden uprising regrading the support of both fire and police, in the local journalistic arena and several churches not concerned with the separation of church and state obviously steering their flocks onto the road of the right political choice, for their own good, somebody isn't practicing what they preach.

  10. Ed Tracy!
    Thank you for writing this letter to Mayor MacGillivray.
    MaryAnn and her family took a very unfair and "uncivil" hit by the Weekly and Bamberger.

    I've never met you, Mr. Tracy, but I have heard you are a very honorable guy, I have heard this from everyone who knows you. I know people like MaryAnn MacGillivray, Kurt Zimmerman highly respect you.

    Thanks again for being a stand up guy for the TRUTH.
    Something Bamberger and his dirt friends don't know the meaning of.

  11. So where is Bill Colburn's outrage? Nothing on his "objective" news site.

    Why aren't Mosca, Walsh, and Moran screaming, "This isn't civility" "This isn't nice."

    Why? Because they were part of the lies during the election. That's why.

  12. I can hardly wait to see the retraction in the local media!

  13. Fiefdom is thiefdomApril 27, 2010 at 10:31 AM

    You do know that Coburn is vested in Bauman Engineering don't you? Structural Buildings among other services would give Mr. Coburn a more pro development stance. Somebody shook the union workers grass, Coburn is part of SGVEP, he is part of your chamber of commerce, Gary Hood must report to Mr. Coburn with his Fire Committee, and have you read the wording of yor participation in A FEMA experiment? It is on the Chambers web site. Consider the source, dear Tatts

  14. Perhaps a simple apology from the good rector (certainly not a priest) would bring this sad matter to a close? Nah. He's a politician in a frock (fire) coat.

  15. There's nothing "good", "civil" or truthful about Michael Bamberger. Nothing.
    The man is a disgrace to the church, he is a disgrace to the fire department and a disgrace to all decent people in Sierra Madre.

    The dirts won this last election with well planned and executed lies, defaming good people like MaryAnn, like John Crawford, Don Watts and Pat Alcorn.

    All you foolish people who bought into these vicious lies......hang your heads in shame. You will soon find out what you have done. MaryAnn MacGillivray may forgive you.....I won't.

    To all the greedy investors, crooks who work for Sacramento.....may you all experience some very, very, BAD KARMA. You will truly deserve what you get.

  16. Former SMVFD SupporterApril 27, 2010 at 11:29 AM

    Not only does this look bad for Bamberger, it reflects bady on the department as a whole. I believe I heard 54 members of the SMVFD, is that correct? All those residents who have supported the Fire Department should distance themselves from Bamberger and whoever colluded with him in this debacle. This is truly a black mark on the entire department.

  17. This isn't just about Bamberger. This is the tip of the iceberg representing the shadow City government that includes the "6 Former Mayors", the Chamber of Commerce, the Kiwanis and the rest of the civic organizations, and the BIA and the realtors/brokers. I suspect not one of these "volunteers" thought Ed Tracy would come to the support of Mayor MaryAnn. Don't think for a moment that the cabal of 2006 disbanded; they've only gone underground.

  18. Surprise! The All American City is made up of liars and hyprocrites. It is going to be lead by a Mayor who claims the residents are homophobes and a newspaper publisher who describes the town as racist. A Volunteer Fire Department who lies about the Mayor and makes a deal with the incoming Council to help them get elected.

    All American liars!

  19. When the dirts overturn Measure V, develop the town into mass destruction, the "volunteer" fire dept. will have to be disbanded.
    They have probably promised these naive idiots that they will be "hired" as real fireman.
    It will never happen.
    They will all be out. Pasadena or Arcadia will be taking over the fire department, they will have to.
    The police too, will be disbanded, and Pasadena or the Sheriffs dept. will take over.
    Sierra Madre will no longer be a small town.
    All the local business will be out of business.
    For Lease signs will be everywhere.
    Think it won't happen? Think again.
    Go look at Monrovia.
    Stick a fork in small town Sierra Madre, it's well done.

  20. Mary Ann is and has been the most competent and courageous Mayor our City has ever had.I commend her for leading the past Council against the continuous onslaught from malevolent Big Land Development now allied with corrupt State Government.The outrage against our community by greed has been an ongoing matter since I moved here 50 years ago.Little by little the community was being chewed up by land developers.Mary Ann was the first Mayor to expose the real face of the malignancy .It is no wonder she is a target..her price for being effective.

  21. It looks to me like Loose Cannon Terry inadvertently spilled the beans on the whispering campaign. Probably why Bill
    Coburn has been advising them to cool

  22. Well, I guess Michael Bamberger has been revealed to be the snake that he really is. Sounds like the Michael Bamberger I know.

  23. Sure looks like the Mosca slate was going big time on civility. Talk about two-faced.

  24. It is a basic tenet of journalism to check facts. So when facts are not checked and stories are written to push an agenda you have yellow journalism. If re-elected City Council candidate Mosca had a link on his election website to these articles as 'support' of his candidacy then you have elected an intentional liar a second time. He did not check the facts and neither did his campaign chair. Mosca's campaign gladly accepted and used these unsubstantiated articles in order to get elected.

  25. Doctor Staccato:
    This must be sweet for you to read.
    I know you know this snake well enough.
    Good that he has been found out, it's just what you have always known, maybe even worse!

  26. Bill Coburn asks, "Why did the election go the way it went?"

    Bill, it went the way it went because your side lied, that's why.

  27. Tattlers, I don't know about you but I'm very proud to have lost an election because our side didn't lie. In the beginning we agreed to run a campaign that stuck to the issues and didn't smear the opponents.

    2010 will be forever known as the election the SMVFD won for the DIRTS because they sold their souls to the devil.

    Nice move Bamberger. Great reporting Coburn. Proud of yourself, Terry Miller? Susan Henderson, it goes without saying you set a new low for reportage of Sierra Madre elections.

  28. I would like to thank Her HONOR, Mayor MaryAnn MacGillivray for her wonderful service on behalf of the people of Sierra Madre.
    MaryAnn, we are very proud of you. You've been an outstanding Mayor.

    Kurt, you too. And Don, thank you for all your service to Sierra Madre. Had it not been for you and Kurt, we would not have had Measure V.
    You will be both sorely missed. I hope you will stay in touch with MaryAnn and keep fighting Sacramento and SCAG scoundrels.

  29. This isn't the first time Bamberger lied about historical events. Some may recall the reorganization meeting in 2006 when the Council was to vote on a connection to the MWD pipeline along Grandview; Bamberger told us that many houses in Sierra Madre had burned down in the 1993 Kineloa fire, when in fact Not One building in Sierra Madre was touched.

    And let's be realistic, Bamberger isn't the only one of his kind in the fire department hierarchy.

  30. Pretty obvious the other side ran a very dirty campaign. All you have to do is pick up a fish wrapper to see that.

  31. 5:09 there was no other way for them to win.

  32. There's a book called People of the Lie by F. Scott Peck. It talks about people who cloak themselves in the veil of respectability and authority and then proceed to hide behind that veil while lying their way through life. It's happened more than once. Or twice.

  33. City Hall is packed - there's an overflow on to the courtyard.

  34. A new era in SM politics.
    Out with that boring old intelligence & integrity, & in with......
    we'll see.

  35. Anybody back from the meeting, the live video is not working,?

  36. Why is the city website basically a wasted space? It never loads and is difficult to manage through.

  37. For over 12 years I spent a lot of time talking and visiting with Chiefs from around the world. When I met Sierra Madre Fire chief Ed Tracy I was surprised, he was as competent a Chief as I've ever met. Tracy was very knowledgeable, cared about his members and the community. I watched him at incidents and at training, he was tough but he knew how important training was. In our training academy we had a saying that may cover why Tracy was so tough. Train as if your life depended on it, because, it does. After Tracy left I watched with concern some of the things that get Firefighters killed, lack of training and people promoted who weren't ready. Lately thought things have been getting better. When you drive by the station on any day you see certified Firefighters training. It has been a lot of work turning this department around but I think Chief Heydorff is doing it, we should feel proud of our department, the Chief just has a little more work to do. One fact sticks out, if past FD Chief Ed Tracy wrote that letter then it's a fact.

  38. Thanks for that comment Mr. Hood.
    Unfortunately, Ed Tracy will not be slandered/libeled for speaking out on behalf of Mayor MacGillivray.
    The Mosca camp is anti-facts.

  39. typo: not "not" - that word should be "now" as in
    Ed Tracy will now be slandered/libeled for his support of the honorable MaryAnn.

  40. to get promoted in the new or recent fire department you need be related to the Chief (as in his daughter)or work at the beer garden during the Wisteria Festival.

    I'm sorry, but I know a few of the firefighters in our city and while I like them, I don't want them showing up to fight a fire, I want professionals and we have them next door in Arcadia

    our fire department is a social club first and has been that since Tracy left.

  41. The PSN just reported that Kurt Zimmerman urged the Council to re-elect MaryAnn as Mayor.

    Did the Paper even send a reporter to the Reorganization?

    Kurt called upon the Council to appoint MaryAnn the Mayor Pro Tem -- big difference. He even acknowledged that Joe would be the next Mayor.

    Crappy reporting.

  42. I wish you'd read a little more carefully and not try to point out mistakes before making sure what you are reading. The reporter did quote Zimmerman correctly, saying MaryAnn should be Mayor Pro Tem. The reporter's complete story will be in the print news tomorrow, and yes, she was there with a notebook full of notes.