Friday, May 28, 2010

Your Friday Tattler Executive News Summary

(Ed. We've covered quite a few stories these last couple of weeks, and I thought that today might be a fine time to revisit a couple of them and see what has been going on. Plus The Tattler will be awarding its long awaited endorsement in the Democratic race for U.S. Senator today as well.)

Despite the strong support given to it by such local civic treasures as Susan Henderson, Bart Doyle, John Buchanan, and Hail Hamilton, Measure CC received its smallest percentage of support right here in Sierra Madre. Something that must be coupled with the fact that Sierra Madre also had the second highest percentage of people who actually voted in this election. Despite the legendary local figures supporting it, no area within the Pasadena Unified School District showed less enthusiasm for adopting a parcel tax than our little city. But Sierra Madre did turn out to vote in relatively good numbers. Or at least we went to the Post Office.

This is something that City Hall here might want to ruminate upon as they work to line up additional fees, rate increases, and new taxes for us to pay. It could very well be that Sierra Madre has pretty much had its fill of being nickel and dimed by government entities who never quite seem to be able to get enough.

Here is how the Measure CC numbers broke down:

District 1: 21.4% turnout - 61.6% voted yes
District 2: 28.4% turnout - 58.4% voted yes
District 3: 17.3% turnout - 73% voted yes
District 4: 34.6% turnout - 44.6% voted yes
District 5: 20.4% turnout - 68.2% voted yes
District 6: 33.5% turnout - 49.5% voted yes
District 7: 28.6% turnout - 54.1% voted yes
Sierra Madre: 33.94% turnout - 43.61% voted yes
Altadena: 27.66% turnout - 56.74% voted yes
Unincorporated Areas: 26.18% turnout - 44.69% voted yes

The 710 Tunnel Process Grinds On

You're hip to this whole "process" thing, right? Joe Mosca uses the word endlessly, so you know there must be something wrong with it. By "process" most compliant functionaries of the state bureaucracy that ran California into the ground are referring to a series of planning events leading up to a conclusion most people would consider awful. Here in Sierra Madre the "process" has now begun in the effort to turn large portions of our funky old town into the kind of generic "mixed use" development ghetto we can see in so many of our neighboring cities. The water rate hike being a necessary first step in funding the kind of infrastructure needed to support the 300 or so "units" SCAG will soon be demanding we build through the now SB 375 driven "RHNA process." And you know that when SCAG says jump, our Mayor Mosca straps on his jet pack. In his mind that's both "process" and an example of a positive attitude.

So the process on the 710 Tunnel moved briskly forward yesterday. And according to today's edition of the Los Angeles Times, this stage of the process involved the bold move of hiring a consultant. And apparently the MTA meeting where this all took place was something of a riot.

MTA board approves new studies of 710 extension - The measure calls for the MTA to hire a consultant to explore options for relieving congestion, improving safety and addressing community concerns in building the link from Alhambra to Pasadena.

After repeated disruptions by protesters from the Bus Riders Union and two arrests, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority unanimously approved a new round of studies for the proposed 710 Freeway extension, including an analysis of alternatives to a tunnel or highway.

(The Bus Riders Union, who apparently are people extremely dedicated to riding those beautiful Metro buses we see so much of through the windows of our cars, were very upset by a recent fare increase instituted by the very folks running this meeting. And they got their protest on so strong that it caused this august MTA panel to suffer a 3 hour delay as police struggled to get these bus loving knuckleheads out of that room and into the pokey. The Metro men then being forced to conduct their deliberations behind locked doors.)

The measure approved Thursday calls for the MTA to hire a consultant to study the project and explore "a full range of options" to relieve congestion, improve safety, address community concerns, and supplement future planning efforts.

What says process more than hiring consultants? Word is this passage in the process will cost the taxpayers of California around $60 million dollars, and in the end result in a report that will mean nothing to anyone living a full life. Why not just declare the issue a dead one, move on, and save this bankrupt state from having to spend even more money? There has got to be a better way to get colorful imported plasticware out of Long Beach and inland to Wal*Mart than digging a $20 billion dollar hole under South Pasadena.

California Versus Greece

Our good friends over at Pasadena Sub Rosa have reprinted a delightful article by Gary Shapiro of The Daily Caller. You might recall something we posted here a week or so back that celebrated California's entry into the list of Top 10 sovereign governments most likely to default and leave its creditors holding nothing but their stomachs. And you should also be aware that Greece, a European Common Market nation so deeply in debt that it nearly triggered a worldwide economic panic (and might still do so if things don't get straightened out and soon), also graces that Top 10 list. In this article Mr. Shapiro details the similarities between Greece and our own troubled state of economic mind.

California and Greece have roughly similar GDP output ($333 billion and $343 billion respectively), as well as similar debt levels ($500 billion and $552 billion respectively). But that only includes state debt for California. When you factor in California's 17 percent stake in the U.S. economy, which is saddled with $8 trillion in debt, the state's total liability is over $1 trillion.

In many ways California as a state has bigger problems than Greece as a country. The unemployment rate in California is higher than that of Greece. And California spends more on many government programs. For example, the 167,000 inmates in California prisons occupy 11 percent of the budget, or $8 billion. By comparison, Greece prisons hold only 12,300 prison inmates.

Both California and Greece suffer from a huge number of unionized government employees accustomed to large defined benefit packages, including annual salary increases and lifetime pensions. Much as been made of the ability of Greek government workers to retire at age 53. In California, government workers can retire at 55. As Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman has noted, the amount California spends on its pension programs has increased by 2,000 percent in the last decade to over $7 billion annually.

I always find that it is good to keep such things in mind when analyzing the performances and achievements of our state legislators. World class failure like this is nothing to be taken lightly. And if results are the true gauge of a worker's performance, then our elected officials in Sacramento must truly be among the worst human beings on the planet. Maybe we should send the Bus Riders Union north to visit with them?

And the Vaunted Tattler Endorsement for the Democratic Nomination for U.S. Senator Goes to ... Mickey Kaus!

You can check out my man Mickey in that photo at the top of this post. There you can see him in his attack dog debating posture, fiercely exposing the hypocrisy and fecklessness of his opponent. Now originally he had challenged Barbara Boxer to join him in this debate, but she knew that if she showed up her political days could be numbered. Besides, she had a fundraiser to attend. So in her absence Kaus chose to debate a box named Barbara. And let me tell you, by the time it was all over Barbara Box was dragged unconscious from the room and straight to recycling.

Why Mickey Kaus you ask? Well first of all I have been reading his stuff for about a decade now. Mickey was a blogger before it was cool, and he still is one now that it really isn't anymore. And not just any old blog, but the legendary Slate, which is still very much in existence, now as an appendage of the Washington Post news empire. He has also written for a raft of other places such as the New Republic and Harpers, as well as having authored a few books, included the acclaimed The End of Equality.

In what was perhaps Kaus's biggest victory to date in his race with Barbara Boxer, the Los Angeles Times decided to remain neutral and refused to endorse either candidate. Which, if you think about it, is kind of a big deal. Here is how The Times characterized both candidates:

We find that we're no fans of incumbent Barbara Boxer. She displays less intellectual firepower or leadership than she should.

We appreciate the challenge brought by Robert "Mickey" Kaus, even though he is not a realistic contender, because he asks pertinent questions about Boxer's "lockstep liberalism" on labor, immigration and other matters.

In an ensuing press release, Mickey Kaus discussed this almost endorsement of his candidacy:

But the Times said it doubted that Kaus would step away from his "Democratic-gadfly persona" were he elected.

"I can see where the Times would have that worry," he said today. "As a blogger, I've been a professional gadfly. But I understand that people need a Senator they can turn to for help -- and they need a Senator to stand up on issues, like the environment and Wall Street regulation, where the need may often be less to find new ideas than to defeat old interests."

"I've always admired the role Daniel Patrick Moynihan played in the Senate. I think there is a role for gadflies and for people who turn over ideas and question dogmas. That's what the Senate was supposed to be all about. But people want a leader too, and I would intend to be one. "They obviously don't think Boxer is one."

As far as who is a realistic contender: "That's for the voters to decide. The point is the paper got a look at both of us and decided not to endorse the three-term incumbent over the blogger."

Today The Tattler proudly endorses Mickey Kaus for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senator from the State of California. I hope you will join with us on June 8 and support this most worthy of candidates as well.


  1. As a registered independent, I'll have to decide which ballot I vote in the June primary.

    If I was asking for the Dem ballot, I would absolutely go with your candidate, Crawford.
    Barbara Boxer is a disgrace. Her head belongs on a stick, along with most politicians.

    I will probably ask for a Rep ballot, since some of their races are more important this time around.

  2. Executive readerMay 28, 2010 at 8:33 AM

    Why is government so slow to catch up? I think it might be because those who govern are suffering from inertia. They have the jobs and are just keeping on keeping on.
    Karen Warner at the first housing element in the Sierra Madre General Plan study session insisted that California's population was booming, with the state crumbling around us.
    The 710 Hole is obviously a terrible idea, but the wheels of government are having a hard time finding the brakes...

  3. Processed CheeseMay 28, 2010 at 8:43 AM

    Everything people like Mosca do is "process." There is no authentic give and take going on here. It is just standard technique designed to get you to go along with what he and his patrons want to do.

  4. It doesn't look like the residents in Sierra Madre are feeling
    too generous lately. Perhaps the Palace should consider
    delaying the purchase of that set of thrones they've been

  5. The "regime" will be in trouble if they try to push through the outrages they have in mind before the public catches on.

    No one is up for this bs.

    Do you miss Kurt and Don yet, Sierra Madre?

  6. Sierra Madre is a complicated place, but if it has a virtue, it is common sense, especially in the senior community. And common sense tells us it is a stupid idea to vote ourselves more property taxes for a school system that has trouble being financially responsible. It is also common sense that the new water rate hike proposal is poppycock, and if the water department needs more money, the city manager should fire some of the swollen staff at city hall.

  7. Can you give us Tats the location of the other districts in the CC election? District 1, 2 etc. It would be very interesting to see how the renters and those in the projects voted. Pretty sure the Yes folks got to certain areas with some sort of incentitives.

  8. Old Local?

    The seniors didn't show much good common sense when they voted in Joe Mosca, Josh Moran and Nancy Walsh.
    They fell, hook ,line and sinker for the fallacious "rumor" that MaryAnn and Don,Crawford and Pat Alcorn were going to do away with the volunteer fire Dept.

    Nothing will prove to be further from the truth.
    Truth is, Mosca, Moran, Buchanan and Walsh will sink us so badly, we will have to get rid of the voluneer fire dept, and our police dept.

    Just you wait.

  9. Go to the city webpage
    Click on "Water Rate Increase Fact Sheet"
    Open up that download

    It's empty!

    A blank sheet!

  10. 9:16 - now there's a metaphor for something.

  11. Observation..John is the "Acting Mayor"carrying the load for Joe, Joe on the other hand is the "Community Events Coordinator,Mary Ann represents the savvy not so "Loyal Opposition".This leaves the two remaining ciphers nodding on cue.What a show!

  12. Joe is more of a used car salesman, peddling a repainted old wreck that used to be called the Downtown Specific Plan.

  13. Actually 9:16, I just did as you suggested and it's there! Perhaps your technique is in need of updating.

  14. Sadly, politicians like Joe are in the majority, here in Sierra Madre, in the County of Los Angeles, in the State of California and in Washington, DC.

    They are what is destroying Sierra Madre, destroying the State of California, destroying the United States of America and destroying the entire world.

  15. Or....10:08

    Someone on the city staff read 9:16's post.

    Actually, 10:08, I'm betting YOU are on the CITY STAFF.

  16. Up early, aren't you 10:11? We know who you are.

  17. I'm not a tech wizard or anything. But at 9:16 that page was not there.

  18. In the last election, the seniors were lobbied hard and long by the scoundrels, in the guise of 'niceness.'
    Unfortunately, gullibility won out. ("He's such a sincere young man")
    They won't be so gullible when it comes to money.

  19. FYI: Keep an eye out for a possible trash collection rate hike as well. Which would also hit the UUT take nicely.

  20. My guess is that they're going to lose the water rate hike and then snuggy up to the damn 12% UUT
    Good thing we have the sunset clause, thanks to Kurt Zimmerman.

  21. Just tried to open the city's faq on the water rate hike, and got a blank pdf.

  22. The only way they can destroy this city is if we pay for it. Which is why we need to make sure the water rate hike is shot down, as well as the street bond issue. The UUT increase must never be renewed. Keep them poor and penniless and all they'll be able to do is talk amongst themselves at "green committee" meetings.

  23. 10:08, did you try to open the faq on the right side of the page, or just the water rate increase information in the center? It's the faq that's empty, even though it lists a pdf of 58 kb.

  24. Maybe they're trying to come up with a reason for raising the water rates that residents will find reasonable and fair. I think the term for that exercise would be "reality creation."

    Maybe that service is included in the agreement made with Bruce's consultants?

  25. middlin memory skillsMay 28, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    Remember during the DSP we found out about the courses given to planners called 'PSYCH THE TOWN"

  26. The timing here is just so strange. Why was this water cost increase only revealed after the new city council was seated? To read the city site you'd think it was an emergency situation of some sort. Yet we never heard anything about it before now.

  27. It's always an emergency! The UUT emergency was that we had no money, then after it passed we did have the money. This emergency? We may have an emergency...

    It's all part of the ploy. Don't fall for it and don't let your friends and neighbors fall for it either.

  28. The level of trust in this town is in freefall right now. This water thing was a real blow.

  29. I'm all for letting the Community Services staff go, closing the pool for a year, cutting the PD in half, and severely limiting all City spending and I'm not quite sure why we're spending a million on rehabing a "room" for seniors to eat lunch in and complain about the City not providing enough services.

    Let's restrict the City to critical life safety support issues for a year and give the City Manager a staff of volunteers to run City Hall. I'm sure the Council would forgo their $3K a year stipends as a donation.

    Give the residents a line item veto on the budget!

  30. Hey! You need the Community Services staff to administer all those grants that are buying the new fleet of vehicles to haul around the seniors and the kids during the summer so their folks don't have them hanging around the house. Don't forget the seniors have an entire staff person who arranges their outings and spends a third of her time on the subsidized lunches they get fed.

  31. Too many people DO NOT know about the rate increase. The City glossed over the letter part in the letter. I agree with Mrs. Sutcliff --they are sneaky and underhanded. The information about the increase and NO letters must be spread by word of mouth. Neighbor to neighbor and friend to friend.

    Ignore the Water Rate Increase table. Multiple your water bill times 20% and then multiple that amount by 110% to add the UUT for your new bill for the first year.

  32. Wait until you see the new fee schedule. It is a doozy.

  33. Sierra Madre does have its entitled population, 11:41. They're kind of
    like our pet ingrates.

  34. frugal is not the same as stingyMay 28, 2010 at 12:21 PM

    11:36, love your ideas. I'm for them - except the pool. There are too many oldsters who use that pool for their arthritis cure. Other than that, great ideas.
    It's called living within our means.

  35. I agree about the pool. Parents with young kids will tell you, it is a blessing.

  36. Fed up Taxpayer (11:36) should run on that platform in two years and see how it flies.

  37. I suspect keeping the pool open for the arthritic is a little like running the Gateway Coach to the Gold Line. We could buy the seniors a membership to Fortanace for physical therapy and pay for a taxi to take them to the office for a fraction of what it takes to maintain a heated pool for the dozen or so who swim there. The Gateway Coach? About $36 a head per trip if you factor in the cost of the coach. Oh but it's paid for with a grant! Sill me. Grant money is free.

  38. more and more i'm gettig the idea that sierra madre is an exclusive country club for real estate sales people and there city council.Dues?Join the civic clubs and the c of c,support the seniors and the kiddies and dress up for the library all egalitarian and eat pancakes with the volunteer firemen."retire" from your bank job in disgrace?start a foundation.associate with swindlers?"manage"a political campaign.

    great place,sierra madre.all american city.

  39. how much do we pay for water compared to other cities. Monrovia, Arcadia, Pasadena?

  40. Eyes wide open, you've got 20/20 vision, that's for sure.

  41. Can't the water hike protests be distributed form door to door and pay some school kids and divide up the city.Give them a number to call to have them picked up and delivered to the city clerk. Mail to apartment and condo associations who pay for their units water too!

  42. 3:30 You wanna pay for printing, addressing, envelopes, stamps, and the cost of paying the kids to go door to door? Go for it.

  43. Planning Commission agenda is out.
    Big old mansion wants to grow more at 510 west Laurel, and a restaurant wants more outside space - think it's Charcuterie.

  44. Oh, no 6:18 pm. Great post but 138-142 is Steamers! Come on down folks! Steamers didn't have enough parking before; it doesn't have any more parking now. What do you want to bet that the PC turns 'em down and the Moscateer led Council approved on appeal!

    They are wasting no time attracting new businesses and new business - just like they promised!

  45. The 710 article in the PSN states:
    "The board's action commits $59 million toward more environmental impact studies that will take three to five years to complete."
    So it is certain that the higher cancer and emphysema rates around the tunnel openings will be a part of those impact studies, right? Let me guess the language:
    There Will Be Significant Adverse Air Quality Impacts Before Mitigation, and After Mitigation, And People Will be Harmed, but the Doodads will get to WalMart.

  46. Who wants Steamers?????

  47. Let's hope it's not the Congs on the expansion march again.

  48. The Congregational Church was one of the forces behind the Downtown Specific Plot.

  49. Watching the re-emergence of the DSP, it's sort of like watching the zombies rising from swamp, all of these DIRTS and projects. They didn't die, they just receded into the background until the Moscateer Council could be elected.

  50. Boy do we need another coffee shop, yupMay 28, 2010 at 10:19 PM

    Didja hear the screamin and holleren' the nite the moscateers cheered in their big boy JOE. They got THEIR man!! (wink, wink)

    They been plannin' and the Church and the State are gonna roll down Sierra Madre Blvd with one big Steam Roller.....a la Cong City H.S. They're
    baaaaaackkkk!! (and the traffic jam will follow, folks, ya betcha).

  51. I Hate Larry WilsonMay 29, 2010 at 7:07 AM

    why now, after the election, does the star news decide to grow a pair?

    look at the parallels (sp?).

    mosca/boxer - not too bright, ineffective insider incumbent, holder of all the pc lefty views, loved by old ladies

    kaus/crawford - super bright, mid lefty outsider blogger with new ideas, scary to old ladies

    i wish they had got it right to first time.

  52. I'm not sure it is politically correct to refer to many of Joe's more ardent admirers as "old ladies." The accepted term is "post-prime platonic cougars."

  53. Go Mickey go! If Boxer isn't the poster girl for everything that is wrong with government in 2010, then I don't know what is.

  54. The Kaus for Senate site posted the Tattler endorsement this morning.

  55. Let's talk about waterMay 29, 2010 at 10:26 AM

    Just drove by Stonedcarter, and the sprinklers are on. After 10 am on a hot day.
    So make sure and conserve you peasants so the mansions on the hills can have splendid grounds.

  56. Did Stonedcarter get permission from the Palace?

  57. Can you doubt fakestonegate has a special exemption?

  58. The Royal Court does grant an occassional dispensation to its most favored subjects from time to time, yes.

  59. I made this prediction 5 years ago. The Cong Church was supporting the downtown development goals of the realtors etc because the elders of the church (including Brandley) knew that eventually their would be tons of vacant space at a bargin rate sitting on the market for expansion of the church into a mega church and school.

    When the church was a "information center" for DSP info and I saw the posters on the church retail spaces, I knew that the Church was expanding into government control and what? maybe 20% of the church actually lives here in Sierra Madre.

    I wouldn't doubt for a second that the church wants to expand downtown within distance from the Buc, just so they can shut it down.

    and you know the lying real estate salesmen won't tell the buyers at One Carter that they are buying in the middle of a extremely hazardous fire and flood zone, lying for the sake of a sales commmission

    hopefully when the mansions are buried or burned down, they owners of the properties sue the ever loving daylights out of the salesperson and the real estate agency

    but they'll sue the city and we'll all be paying for it

  60. we have a council of non-business people, basically mediocre lawyers/lobbyists, a failed real estate salesperson and a Mom...all stating that they will attract businesses to Sierra Madre and none of them have a clue about what it takes to run a retail business or restaurant

    jeez people, wake up and let's stop electing glad handers and grifters who move into the city, tout themselves as "attorney's", join every civic organization for face time and then want to inject themselves into city development

    we keep electing losers in the business world we'll end up with a city that is a shell of it's former self

    and please, get rid of the whiny dude running the 4th of July parade and stop allowing businesess from out of town and political candidates from appearing in the parade, it's gotten cheesy like Nascar

    or at least, a business (out of town) or anybody using the parade for business purposes have to pay a fee of $1,000.

    that will get rid of the realtors and political candidates hiding behind the 4th of July celebration and all they are doing are marketing themselves.

    if a realtor or candidate wants to be in the parade, don't put a sign on the car just be in the parade and be patriotic, not commercial

    Mary's Market in the past has done a good job of promoting itself without crossing the crass line of self promotion and marketing

  61. The only thing worse than building in a canyon on a major fault, in a brush fire zone, where debris basins MIGHT protect from all the stuff coming off Mt Wilson (STONECARTER), would be doing the above and placing in on an alluvial plain, "a widning of the canyon where all that stukff coming off Mt Wilson gets deposited", which is deceptivly flat (STONEHOUSE).

    Two outcomes. La Canada residents "up there" erected concret barriers and fencing to deflect the debris basin overflow onto houses below.
    That made some very unhappy. The other outcome comes later when the fires destroy, the shaking makes the hillside become jello, the insurance companies do not pay for mud flow damage or flooding (even if you have flood insurance). That leaves Sierra Madre who granted the building permits implying "its safe to build there" to sue. Where are Joe and John and their choir when you need them. They and the LLC left town leaving Sierra Madre holding the bag. Funny the administration pushing all of this left town too.

  62. The millions to be allocated for the 710 Tunnel EIR were specifically condemned by several speakers at the MTA meeting, as was the enormous environmental risk that no EIR can mitigate:

    The Bus Riders Union picked up on both condemnations, and at one point started chanting, "One less tunnel, a thousand more buses!"