Monday, June 28, 2010

Did the Gang Of Four Violate the Brown Act?

As you can see by the remarkable amount of commenting to our post on Friday, there is some considerable community outrage regarding last Thursday evening's performance by what have become widely known as the "Gang Of Four." And one of the many themes developed there is the growing conviction that what Sierra Madre witnessed were politicians collaborating during a City Council meeting. Done in order to pay off some political debts owed to cronies wishing seats on the already up and running General Plan Steering Committee.

In other words, this is being widely seen as an obvious violation of the Brown Act by Mayor Pro Tem John Buchanan, Mayor Joe Mosca, and Councilmembers Nancy Walsh and Josh Moran.

Rather than repeat my opinions on the matter (which I shared on this blog at the end of Friday's post), I thought the issue would be better served by listing some of what I thought were the better reader posts on the matter. The Tattler is blessed with a very astute and highly informed readership, and they are perfectly capable of speaking for themselves.

June 25 - 9:00 AM: It was a planned ambush of the General Plan Committee. Joe, John, Josh, and Nancy all knew what was going to happen. A clear Brown Act violation if there ever was one. This also was not on the published agenda.

June 25 - 9:31 AM: How do we request a Brown Act investigation into the probable collusion of the 4 City Council members who wanted to do in the GPSC?

June 25 - 9:31 AM: It was obvious to us watching the meeting on TV that the 4 Barts were in violation of the Brown Act....Bart Mosca didn't pick it up, but Buchanan did, and that is why they backed off....The 4 Barts will be VERY, VERY closely watched, any violation of the Brown Act....the public can sue....The two new Barts were so inept last night it was pathetic, it was painfully obvious that Buchanan had "schooled them" on exactly what to say. Bart Nancy doesn't even use those words in her limited vocabulary, and Bart Josh, well, he totally messed it up - (how could his mother have allowed him to run for Council?)....Continued congratulations to the apathetic public who voted (or didn't bother to vote) allowing these morons to be on our Council....At least Mayor MacGillivray is still on the Council to fight for the people of Sierra Madre! Thank you Mayor MacGillivray. You are truly a gift, a gifted gift!

June 25 - 9:42 AM: 9:31, contact the California the California Fair Political Practices Commission and file a complaint. You can call 800-561-1861. 9 am to noon and 1 pm to 4 pm. It is their toll free tip line. How about all readers and attendees of last night's sham of a meeting call in?

June 25 - 10:23 AM: I caught the constant whispering between the "3 Minute Mayor" and Councilman Buchanan also. The one that stood out in my mind was when Joe seemed intent on making his motion to expand the Planning Committee, with tensions running high in the chamber Buchanan must have whispered, "you're about to step on a land mine ... back off!

June 25 - 10:35 AM: 9:31 My thoughts exactly. Obviously a lot of behind the scenes strategy had taken place. The silly parroting of 3 Minute Joe and Pontificating John by Waltzing Walsh and Josh Realtor-Spawn made it obvious that the Brown Act was being assaulted.

June 25 - 1:19 PM: The Brown Act requires under section 54954.2, subdivision (a), the legislative body must post an agenda containing a "brief general description of each item at the meeting, including items to be discussed in closed session," and no action or discussion shall be undertaken on any item not appearing on the posted agenda.... Shapiro v. San Diego City Council, supra, 96 Cal. App. 4th 904, 923.... The Brown Act requires under section 54954-3. (a) Every agenda for regular meetings shall provide an opportunity for members of the public to directly address the legislative body on any item of interest to the public, before or during the legislative body's consideration of the item, that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body.... This discussion should never have happened or ever been voted on.... Please everyone take the time to report this to the above phone number. It is Friday so they may not answer. If no answer, call Monday. Their behavior must be stopped. They think they are above the law.

June 25 - 2:23 PM: gilman said ... Just wondering, what is the specific claim that a violation of the FPPC's rules were broken? And what is the specific violation of the Brown Act?

June 25 - 2:47 PM: gilman, my take on the Brown Act violation was a serial violation - so 4 out of the 5 council members were prepared to argue for the same idea, and it was an idea that seemed to come out of the blue ... I don't think any of this can be proven, so at this point I personally will not be lodging a complaint. But if you had seen the dovetailing that took place after our "Mayor" clumsily introduced his suggestion to increase an active committee from 5 to 9, your suspicions would have been aroused, too.

June 25 - 2:55 PM: The discussion about increasing the number of members on the General Plan committee was not an agendized item. According to the law it could not be discussed, a motion made or voted on without public notice. Also Joe Mosca did not open up the illegal hearing for public comment. Another violation.

June 25 - 3:11 PM: gilman said...anonymous @ 2:47 - Based on what I have been reading, I would agree that members of the Council are deliberating on issues outside the mandates set forth under the Brown Act. Your contention that serial meetings are taking place makes perfect sense ... Unfortunately, as you suggest, without specific proof it will be tough to do anything about it. This type of behavior is all too prevalent in many local cities and often runs unchecked. The good news is that you now understand how this Council is prepared to operate which gives you an opportunity to try and collect the evidence needed to prove a violation. It would be interesting to know what records exist showing that Council members are meeting with staff under a serial format, also would be interesting to view phone records (if they exist and/or would be provided) for the Council ... On a side note, it would be interesting to know why public comment rules were changed and when a mute button was installed at at who's request. The Mayor does not have the unilateral authority to direct staff to make such changes...such changes should have been on the Agenda and voted on by the entire Council?

June 25 - 3:18 PM: Gilman, are you suggesting that Joe's "I Can't Hear You! La! La! La!" button might be illegal?

June 25 - 3:27 PM: gilman said ... Not every outcome or action must be listed on an agenda. As a "study session" a discussion related to the overall issue is fine as well as possible actions to take. The Tattler article indicates that members of the public, such as Fay Angus, were allowed to comment, so I am not sure about the claim no public comment was allowed. Do not get me wrong, Mosca and his cohorts are the worst kind of politicians and seem fully prepared to rule vs. represent the citizens. However, if you are going to take action to stop him, make sure you have a dead bang winner of a case. If you start filing Brown Act complaints with the DA and can not provide full and complete evidence of a violation, the DA may ignore valid complaints you may have in the future.

June 25 - 3:42 PM: Is our City Attorney guilty as an accessory to Brown Act violations? Is the remote cut off of public comment a violation of the brown Act? Is the resulting "rubber stamp" of the two new Council Members a violation of the Brown Act? After all, Mosca publicly said the two new members were "being trained" on Council issues. Is that a violation of the Brown Act? Is the flagrant whispering and obvious collusion prior to and after Council meetings a violation of the Brown Act? Are the many omissions of information about non-agendized and agendized items and posting requirements, flagrant violations of the Brown Act?

June 26 - 9:54 AM: Is whispering (off mike communications) legal during a public meeting? Is that some sort of violation?

June 26 - 8:52 AM: I'm not a lawyer, here's the link to the Brown Act, it's long. The penalty for violating this section is described near the end, which is a misdemeanor conviction that can result in up to a year in jail, or fines, or both.

June 26 - 10:37 PM: Many people got up and reported that there was an ulterior motive. The audience was well aware from the get go that this was not in accord with the Brown Act plus it was not agendized. Josh and Nancy just went along with Joe. It was all too obvious. They had NOTHING to offer for the TOWN ... The one thing John will never be able to get the other 3 new members to do is to speak well. The 4 of them talk in circles and are an overwhelming embarrassment. They are a horrible representation of SM residents.

There are many additional comments that I could add here, but I think it's time to bring this one to a close. It seems fairly obvious to me that a lot of people believe that what they saw last Thursday evening was the unlawful and open collaboration of four elected officials on the Sierra Madre City Council. I count myself among them. This, of course, in violation of the state law designed to prevent government from behaving that way.

So will there be an investigation? Can we expect some kind of official recognition that what so many witnessed actually did occur, and that is was wrong? I'm not holding my breath. Our money, not justice, is what they are really concerned about right now. Anything beyond that is a distraction.


  1. I'd like to re-direct the Tattler's attention to an event which is going to occur on the 8th of July at 6:30 pm in the City Yards. The City has seen fit to I believe this is the first time give us the legendary walking tour of our unique and precious water supply system. I urge anyone and everyone who has working knowledge of the history of this unique delivery system to come and help keep the waters clear. And remember the equation: u add more flushed toilets to a community, you need more H20.

  2. The City will do anything except inform us just exactly they are going to spend $10 million in EPA matching funds. Dogs and ponies galore, of course. But an actual accounting? None of your busines.

  3. I did not have Joe, Josh, or Nancy's signs in my yard so I propose that we enlarge the City Council to nine so that my friends can be on the council. After all we want all views represented. Not just those with one agenda as John B said. Also I would like the public to have a three minute button to cut John and Joe off when they exceed 3 minutes. We also need a small zapper in Nancy's seat so we can wake her up when she visits LA LA land

  4. Since we are bringing in an out of towner to be on the Green Committee, perhaps we should consider that for the City Council as well. After all, we are all working together to solve our problems. I say we up the quantity of people on the City Council to 12. And before every meeting they joins hands to do a regional cheer.

  5. I too would like my friends to be on the council. Why not start taking applications so we can choose four who think like I do. If they can change the rules, so can we. And I thought a City Council member was supposed to represent all the people, not just those who voted for them.

  6. A Person Who CaresJune 28, 2010 at 9:45 AM

    I should think that if our friends don't get to be on the City Council, that would be unfair. I also think that their feelings could be hurt as well. The new City Council promised us civility. Keeping people from reaching for their dreams is not civil.

  7. Josh insulted Deb and other members of the General Plan Committee. He says they don't know him. Well they do know him. They know he was against Measure V. They know he supported the DSP that would have given the keys to the city; to him and his family(he was in real estate at the time), others in the city that wanted to over develop their property like the Childs,owners of Howies and the SNF, and to the Building Industry. They know while living in Monvroia he spoke against the Smoking restrictions in outdoor dining that protects our health. Yeah, Josh they know you. That is why they did not support his election.
    My question is: Have you made an effort to get to know any members of the General Plan Committee that put in their applications two years ago and were appointed last year when you did not even live in Sierra Madre? Did you attend the meetings of the GP committee which happened in Feb and Mar '10 when you were "running" for council. No you do not know the GP committee but they know more about you than you would like to have public.

  8. All of us would have known more about Josh Moran if he would have campaigned during the 2010 election. He made very guarded appearances at two forums and sent out holy cards. His mother lied about his suspicious absence in the final weeks of the campaign claiming he was hospitalized.

    I believe I know enough about Josh Moran. His statements at the General Plan mind meld left me thinking he believes the City's GP to be some sort of sporting event in which one side wins or loses - not one in which all of the residents win. Catch that? Residents. Not realtors or contractors, not building industry executives or attorneys. Residents.

  9. Conserve water.. then get screwed by rate increaseJune 28, 2010 at 10:40 AM

    The City wants us to conserve water so here is the plan.
    1. Empty the city swimming pool.
    2. Stop watering all city landscaping.
    Baseball fields
    Plants in bump outs and City Hall
    3. Turn off water in City vegetable gardens by the tennis courts.
    4. Turn off all dog and people drining fountains..
    5. Wistaria vine owner needs to stop watering the vine..let it die.
    6. The Green Committee needs to be renamed the "Brown" committee.
    7. No fires are to be put out with water.
    8. No hosing down the little league infield for dust control.
    9. Property owners in the hillsides are to let their hillsides die.
    10. Water is not to be served at council meetings. Wastes water drinking and washing the glasses.
    11. No washing of any city vehicles.
    12. Close all city owned restrooms. Let them hold it or bring a bottle and take it home with them.
    Feel free to add to the plan.

  10. Look, we all knew Josh was very bad, but he is even WORSE than we thought.

    We all knew Nancy was a joke, she is even a bigger joke than we thought.

    We all knew, all knew to well, that Mosca is a Bart Doyle operative, hates Sierra Madre and the very residents who live here, is only in this for personal ego political ego, narcissist, democrat party wonk. But Joe is even WORSE than we thought he would be as "mayor".
    MaryAnn is still my Mayor.

    I have a theory, Bart and Buchanan and the "emoscaulated" one are planning to get rid of the Moron or Walsh, one will resign, or Josh will "disappear". Then the remaining majority will appoint someone, maybe even Bart himself, or someone equally as offensive and dangerous such as Glenn Lambdin or Rob Stockley or Doug Hayes.
    Why else would they have run such unqualified, inept people for council.

    Anyone miss Kurt and Don yet????

  11. I think it is even stranger than you've said here, 10:25. I think Josh views his election to the City Council as a kind of personal redemption for the kinds of slights he has suffered throughout his life. And that he must now be given the honor and respect that he has always wanted but never got. His speech proclaiming that "you've never known me, the real me!" was revealing. This is all very personal for him.

  12. You said it all 10:13 and 10:25. Thank you.

    Josh knew deep down he did not know what he was getting into. He was promised a rose garden and now he knows the thorns are all there is. His apology to Debbie Sheridan will never be enough. He let his true character show.

  13. 9:27. Commendable recommendation. More specifically, let's add Don Watts, Kurt Zimmerman and John Crawford to the Council.

  14. Is there any reason why we only have one City Manager? I know a couple of people who think they might enjoy doing that job. Can we have three?

  15. I hope when I reach a "certain age" that no one asks me to be on the City Council and I say yes, because I think I can do it and live out my Golden Years, and offer my services to my town.

    I feel sorry for Nancy. She really is clueless. Someone tell her to leave before she continues to embarass herself any more.Poor woman, she does not know anything that is happening. And, she is not brave and smart enought to ask MaryAnn a question, even tho she knows that is the right thing to do......

  16. 11:12 Yikes Three more over paid inept people in City Hall. Let's go back to the old way. No City Manager. Did you know that our City Manager is to live in town unless they are given special permission not to live in Sierra Madre. Guess who has special permission? She makes our rules and fees but does not have to live by them or pay them. I say what's good to the goose is good for the gander.

  17. 11:22, I think that in economic times as trying as these we need to use a little imigination and compassion. I propose that we raise the UUT rate 500%, and then use the money to offer anybody who wants one the job of their choice at City Hall. I think this would not only help people to feel good about themselves, but also make them feel their opinions truly count.

  18. 10:40
    13. Home toilet training. If its yellow let it mellow. If its brown flush it down.

  19. 11:44! Maybe we should consider a return to using the outhouse? This way the trees and other plants would be able to directly benefit from our rich Sierra Madre diet.

  20. Benjamin Franklin was quite a proponent of what he called the "air bath." Which consisted of stripping done to nothing more than the suit God gave you, then walking about the neighborhood taking in nature while at the same time being cleansed by the beneficial air and sunlight. Certainly this would save us a lot of water while also giving neighbors the chance to get to know each other a little better.

  21. 11:22, it is illegal to compel a City employee to live in the City in which they are employed, against the law, unconstitutional. End of story. Unless of course you are advocating buying the City Manager a home in Sierra Madre as Gillison wanted written into his contract.

  22. How about if we but them granny flats?

  23. If we were to go to an outhouse system, would they have to be approved by the Planning Commission? Do we know what the specifications would be, and how deep the hole must be dug? Would Mr. Temple be inspecting to make sure they are "tip proof?"

  24. Fine idea these "outhouses"! I nominate the Green Committee to inspect and approve the outhouse system after all they are organic. And of course the Stonegate estates could have brick s***houses.

    Good thinking!

  25. may be illegal but it's in the codeJune 28, 2010 at 12:22 PM


    City Code
    2.08.020 - Residence.

    Residence in the city at the time of appointment of a city manager shall not be required as a condition of the appointment, but within one hundred eighty days after reporting for work the city manager must become a resident of the city unless the city council approves his/her residence outside the city.

  26. Mr. Moran's demand that his friends be included in the General Plan Steering Committee was a shocking display of ignorance and confusion.
    I have it on good authority that Mr. Moran is intelligent, but he clearly never studied political science, or ethics, and has done no preparation for his responsibilities as a councilman.

  27. Josh is a perfect example that
    IQ ≠integity

  28. IQ ≠integrity

    I thought you were talking about the bankers in Washington, otherwise known as snakes in suits.

    It's always about money.

  29. Hey Neuroblast, any chance of Josh's pitch for his pals, his quid pro quo, being posted on your site?

  30. Did the gang of four violate the Brown Act? Probably. Can we prove it? No. Let's get over it and move on to more important things, like getting your neighbor to sign a water protest, attending council meetings, speaking up at every opportunity and doing your homework. The agenda package is usually at the library by Friday afternoon.

  31. We need to come out in force for the next Council meeting to ensure the Gang of Four don't come up with another numbskull scheme like packing the General Plan Committee with Josh's buddies.

  32. maybe if John and Joe start whispering again someone could politely ask Chief Diaz to shush them so they won't get the city sued for a Brown Act violation?

  33. Isn't everything in a meeting supposed to be for everyone to hear?

  34. This meeting was for one purpose: to bring other people on to the General Plan Steering Committee.
    The truly oddest thing about the maneuver is as Ms. MacGilivrey pointed out, the council had attended none of the meetings, so they hadn't a clue as to what the steering committee was actually doing.

  35. The Gang of Four operates in much the same way its followers do - never let facts get in the way of your rigidly held assumptions and opinions, and ride the righteous indignation of your emotions in reaction to a fantasized slight without ever stopping to think.

  36. They're quick to take offense, and slow to understand.

  37. If none of the council members attended the meetings, then who was it that raised the prospect of wanting to get J, J and J's realtor/developer friends on board?
    Could it have been city staff.

  38. 7:07 yes, but I'm not sure there is ever understanding. Some kinds of denial are just intensified in the face of reason.

  39. There is nobody in that building with a salary that wants the general plan committee to succeed. They want a consultant because they want development. It is good for their careers. Citizen participation is a modern government worker's worst nightmare.

  40. Something went terribly wrong in the course of our town's history, and city hall became interested only in itself.
    Residents have to be their own city hall.

  41. I heard that those intrepid water rate hike protesters were getting a lot more happy waves from "like-minded" citizens than any old stink eyes....

  42. Inquiring Minds Want To KnowJune 28, 2010 at 7:29 PM

    So who were those brave souls in Kersting Court who had to endure a nuclear level stink eye attack?

  43. I hear that 7:15.
    When I first moved to Sierra Madre I thought that City Hall would help residents.
    City Hall helps City Hall.
    That is NOT an organization that is interested in helping residents.

  44. Stinkeyes only see themselves.

  45. There is collusion between City Administrations. The purpose being to advance carrers, job security, pension benefits, strategies, salaries, and union objectives.
    Hopefully they will have over reached and put their own Pensions at risk with rediculous retirement benefits.

  46. It's a democrat city council. The democrats in this state always shovel money at government unions. They trade our tax money for union support. How do you think Sacramento got into the fiscal sewer its in now? By giving huge pensions to gold bricking government employees.

  47. MacGillivray ain't no Dem. Rest of 'em are.

  48. are Josh Moran's friends as big of idiots as he as shown himself to be?

    just how lacking in judgement is this clown when he insists that his friends be put on committees

    oh yeah, this is the same guy who rallied for a boycott of Sierra Madre businesses just because they advertised in a paper that he didn't like

    sorry Josh, I don't want to get to know you - the real you

    the one I see and hear already at Council meetingss is dumb enough for me

    I'd rather not hear more

    unless you are buying at Lucky Baldwins

  49. Kurt Zimmerman is a Democrat and so is Joe Mosca. Let us not look at the party, but the character of the person.

    In Sierra Madre it is not about party politics. It is about local politics and the special interests. Don, Kurt and MaryAnn had no special interests other than this town and the people of this town. For anyone with common sense, it is obvious that Joe and John have another agenda and Josh and Nancy have been swooped up and are trying to be a part of a collusion with the City and the new council.

    The big development, real estate and self-interest have interest in over-development in all California cities. Our Govenor is a Republican......he cares only about development!

  50. The Los Angeles County Dems turned their backs on Zimmerman and wrapped their fat arms around Mosca. The last thing they wanted was for a slow growth advocate to get elected in Sierra Madre. Hiw much money do you think they gave Joe this time? We'll find out in a couple of weeks.

  51. I have not lived here that long and I keep wondering why there are so many people employed at City Hall. Every other state employee is being furloughed.




  52. PSI Tech Trucks and Black HelicoptersJune 28, 2010 at 10:40 PM

    I am sure that Moscas emotional vendetta filled outbursts will prove to be the rule rather than the exception. Face it kids, he has the worst traits of both sexes. Not the hoped for balance of the best traits of both sexes, which perhaps his voters expected to see. I predict even his handling mentors will feed him to the wolves soon, if he cannot get a grip on his hysteric edged actions and reactions.

    Buchanan has got to go, he leaves a slime trail, and seems the most adept at dodging a question with his lawyers guile.

    Beware of sub committees, I believe each councilperson will be allowed to select a person of their own choosing for each committee. Little mini me's to do influencing on other levels.

  53. Glendora, California is trying to welch on an agreement for their past misdeeds in the legal field of California, court cases spell it out very plainly. Glendora lost so they had to pay the piper. - A Public Hearing to consider a Resolution amending the City of Glendora's Master Schedule of Fees for Service to clear up some ambiguity in the current text relating to AD-2 Document Reproduction and allow Glendora residents to receive per calendar year their first five (5) pages free. (CITY ACTION).