Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Statement Joe Mosca Wouldn't Let Jim Engle Finish

You might recall that under the steady hand of Mayor MaryAnn MacGillivray people were allowed to address the City Council from the podium until they had pretty much spoken their minds. And under the previous Mayor, Kurt Zimmerman, that was the case as well. The opinions of all Sierra Madre residents were respected, even those coming from folks a little light in the coherence department.

All of which serves as quite a contrast to the edgy and heavy-handed behavior we saw last evening from the current Mayor of Sierra Madre, Joe Mosca.

The occasion was a discussion on the impending water rate hike currently being marketed by City Hall. The City Council and staff spoke in their usual abstract and legalistic fashion about why they believe they need more money to get business done. We heard this kind of thing in the run up to the doubling of the UUT rate, and also when the time came to defend that tax increase when that "misfiled" million dollars was found in a shoebox under somebody's desk. What we were treated to last night has now become an old familiar refrain. Unless we agree to allow the city to collect even more of our money, the sky will fall. We're in Chicken Little country now. Expect more appeals like this in the future as well. It is pretty much what they do these days.

In private industry when things go south, you have a fire sale. In City government when the bad times come around you apparently agendize the topic, speak in hushed tones of the horrors to come, and then delve deeply into the Big Golden Book of Acronyms.

Which brought us to public comment. Now you'd think our new Mayor, that outspoken advocate of the "New Civility," would have at least allowed those he expects to come up with that extra money the City supposedly needs to speak their minds a little. It is a courtesy you might want to extend to those paying the bills. But when Jim Engle stood up to deliver his thoughtful and obviously heartfelt statement on what this water rate hike means to a retired person living on a fixed income, he was abruptly cut off before he could finish. And when Heather Allen stood up to Joe for this rather heavy handed way of dealing with unhappy rate payers such as herself, he shut off the microphone. And within a minute or two the Police arrived.

It was an astonishing performance. Apparently in a Joe Mosca run City Hall those who go beyond the 3 minutes allotted during public comment now face possible arrest.

Here is Jim Engle's statement:

Background: The State of California's unemployment rate is over 12%. It's economy is now being compared to that of Greece and Uzbekistan. The County of Los Angeles is laying off many employees and eliminating services. The County Sheriff isn't immune, either. The City of Los Angeles is facing huge deficits and is eliminating hundreds of jobs and getting rid of overtime. School boards all over Los Angeles are cutting back on teachers and services. Libraries are facing severe employee and service cuts. You get the "Big Picture."

What About Sierra Madre? The three new members of the City Council that were just elected, were not elected by a majority of Sierra Madre residents, but by a majority of residents who came out to vote. Voter apathy has created a pool of non-voting residents, a fact that has been pounced upon by the creators of Prop 218. And now Sierra Madre is on that bandwagon.

Rate Increase & Information: For purposes of comparison in a letter to our City Manager I attached a copy of the notification and information process most recently used by San Diego to inform and solicit water customer attendance at a hearing. Attached was an easily understood protest form in case the customer was not happy with the proposed rate increase. None of the "No response means Yes," and the unclear projection of a water rate increase for as much as 40% or perhaps more in the next five years. Then Sierra Madre added insult to injury by calling for a resident hearing on the rate hearing at the same time as the protest forms must be completed and filed with the City Clerk. A rate (tax) increase of this size should require a monitored legal vote of the City residents.

What Now & What For: I have read and reread the justification for a 10% increase escalating to a 40% or perhaps 75% or more in the coming 5 years, and I can find no logic or reason to put such a burden on our residents. The explanations wander over technical terms, fears of tainted wells, polluted aquifers, rusting infrastructure, and the monetary needs of our city in justifying this tax increase. I just don't buy that. Perhaps a half or one percent to fix rusting pipes. But a 10% to 40% hike? No way.

Could there be other reasons in the wings? We have 1 Carter underway. There is Stonehouse waiting for water. And the resurrection of downtown projects will certainly need new utilities. Of course, there is Alverno and the Monastery, both of which could become development projects. Would these needs be the reason for more money to fund new infrastructure?

However, if the reason for this additional tax on our utilities is to attract and fund developing the above projects, I strongly object. Those costs should be borne by the individual projects and not by the residents of Sierra Madre. This should be agendized and become a fixed policy. The developer should pay.

I am a senior citizen on a fixed income. I suspect many in Sierra Madre would have similar stories. I will not get a cost of living adjustment on my Social Security this year, and I will certainly not get a 10% increase this year or a 40% increase over the next 5 years. The water rate should be restricted to no more than 1%. No more, perhaps less. They're using Prop 218 as just another way to skin Sierra Madre residents.

The time allotted by the city for ratepayers to protest this very large water rate hike is the bare minimum permitted under the law. And the public hearing on this matter is on the very last day of this 45 day period. Since this will be the only full public airing of these matters, how exactly does the city expect ratepayers to make an informed decision on this hit to their pocketbooks? While I am certain this is all quite legal, it is not a very thoughtful or caring way of dealing with those who are expected to dig deep and shell out even more for their water. It leaves the impression that the ratepayers of Sierra Madre are being given a kind of bum's rush.

Like speakers at the podium in a Joe Mosca run City Council meeting.

The City Council voted 4 to 1 to keep to the July 13 decision date. Rather than taking the time to adequately make their case to the residents of Sierra Madre, they're gambling it all on the cynical notion that enough people won't catch on in time.

Let's make sure that this is a gamble they won't win.


  1. Did the button that shuts off the podium microphone
    even exist before? Did Joe have it installed?

  2. Those of you out there that have been attending CC meetings for years--has this ever happened before? I can't recall the mike ever being shut off! Ever! Simple, repeated requests have usually brought an overly long winded speaker to finally relinquish, but shutting the mike off? This is a low first brought to you by the throughly incompetent Mayor Mr. Joe Mosca. What a lack of civility!

  3. Good for you Jim Engle and Heather Allen!

    Bad on you, apathetic voters of Sierra Madre.

    You all have heard the TV commercial "I could have had a V8" while the guy knocks himself on top of head.
    Well, Sierra Madre, you could have had Don Watts, John Crawford and Pat Alcorn.

    You'll feel it in your wallets. Sadly, so will the rest of us who voted for Don Watts, John Crawford and Pat Alcorn.

    Now we're all stuck with unfair taxation, Bart Buchanan, Bart Mosca, Bart Moron, Bart Walsh.

    If you think this is an outrage.....just wait.
    Wait until they start demolishing the property at SNF and Howie's. Wait until Bart Buchanan or Bart Mosca gleefully break the news to us, we have to build build and over build.

    Thanks all you idiots who voted for all the BARTS.

  4. So Joe Mosca has installed a button that cuts off people that he doesn't agree with? Welcome to the Peoples Republic of Joe.

  5. In close to 40 years of my living in Sierra Madre under various Mayors and City Councils, NEVER have I witnessed the arrogant rudeness of an elected official as I did at last night's city council meeting.

    Mosca is obviously more intent on watching the clock than listening to what the residents have to say.

    Under his control, public comment has become nothing but a cosmetic farce.
    His self aggrandizing "I am in control, damn it" attitude reflects his political posturing as that of a pompous ass!

  6. The incivility of the thin-skinned Mr. Mosca continues unabated.


    How can you have the General Plan Community Meeting on Thursday night without official input from the appointed General Plan Committee?

    Thank you, Heather Allen for requiring this.

  8. That was a vintage Buchanan performance last night. Fork over the huge water rate increase, or else.....
    Reminiscent of the fork over the taxes for Measure F, or else the library will close, the police will be gone....
    or the nights he argued for the DSP, you better go along with the development or else...
    or you cannot see the EIR for the DSP or else....
    or you better not pass Measure V or else....
    One Trick pony.

  9. Thank God, for MaryAnn MacGillivray!
    The one member of the city council who truly represents the best interests of the residents of Sierra Madre.

    No self promoting political agenda, only integrity, truth and class.

  10. Another Buchananism: you better let that unscrupulous developer Galletly do what he wants at Stonehouse and Carter or else.
    All those impassioned speeches, all that lecturing to the community, and the man has been wrong again and again.

  11. Thank you Jim and Heather for showing what a
    dic(tator) Joe is.

    Thank you Mr. Crawford for not limiting the number of words we can use on the blog.

  12. We could still hear you Heather.

  13. I wish past mayors had used the cut off button on Joe and John when they went on and on and on.

  14. Mosca has changed the time for Public Comment from 7 pm to whatever he wants, but he does not miss his 9 pm break. Is it a break for the bathroom, or to call in for direction from higher ups, or maybe to take his meds on time?

  15. Joe Mosca is a bully brat without a back bone, plain and simple.

    And this is what a bunch of residents were clammering for? A whiny boy who stomps his foot and demands that we all play his way?

  16. 7:51, oh yeah people have been cut off before, with dead mikes and police both.
    It's the mayor's prerogative.
    Most famously happened when John Buchanan (soon to be mayor again) had police come down to remove Joe Scalzo, and Joe said "You want a piece of me?" and the camera went dead.

  17. sick of joe and johnJune 23, 2010 at 9:00 AM

    so, this is the new civil council????

    what a crock.

    Joe is such a baby boy masquerading as a man, how soon befoe he tells a senior citizen to "get a life"

    He's such a tough guy.

  18. SHUT UP - your 3 minutes is up JOEJune 23, 2010 at 9:07 AM

    We need to make simple and fact filled flyers about the water rate increase and add a few comments or quotes of how it affects people like Mr. Engle.

    When we talk excessively about massive development most mistakenly believe that it can't or won't happen here, but raising taxes for no obvious reason is pause for alarm, just why the tax increase, why now and what for?

    I think if 8,000 residents all stood up and loudly told Joe and John that we dont' want the water rate hike, they'd still vote it in because they are smarter and more knowing and more enlightened than us minions.

  19. Don't forget that the majority of the city staff does not live here and they will not have to pay these new bills, but they will have very comfortable retirements on our dime.
    Seems like sometimes the whole structure is about giving them good retirements.

  20. The lack of communication, the distored explanation and half truths of the rate increase as explained in the city communications just reeks of sleeze and slimeball tactics.

    This is just self preservation and career manuvering by those in positions of control. We all know that the city manager (based on the last half dozen we had) all take on and push for projects that are suited to a larger city, which looks good on a resume.

    If the City Manager didn't have any experience with big development projects, she has less of a chance of securing the next gig. This water rate crapola is her way of bamboozling the public at our expense for her benefit, otherwise why would she publish such gibberish and call a non response a "yes".

  21. Hey, Joe is in the "cat-bird" seat and will be in office for 4 looooong years. This is just the beginning. As always, it's all about Joe. He has nothing to stop him, he doesn't need to be nice, he'll be ours until he terms out.
    These people will end up being the most hated council in Sierra Madre history.

  22. The only way we will take back some control is for people to send in their cards, letters, with their printed names +signatures, if you pay a water bill and have any respect for your town or your neighbors and don't want to pay an addition 40%. Send it in, take it to Nancy Shollenberger's home office, or mail it to her personally.
    We can stop these criminals. Please Sierra Madre residents, do the right thing for once.

    REMEMBER, you signed letter to Nancy is a NO WATER HIKE VOTE, your silence is a YES to the BART'S on the city council- Bart Mosca, Bart Buchanan, Bart Moron, and Bart Walsh.

    Send in the letter or card you will be delivered.
    Your future here depends on it.

  23. I don't think there can be any doubt that the swiftboat campaign in the recent city council election was orchestrated by Joe Mosca. Particularly the wave of hatred directed at MaryAnn.

    This is one mean spirited hateful little SOB.

  24. Peabrain Mosca doesn't have the smarts to orchestrate a sandbox takeover. He is but one of the spokespersons for the Shadow Council led by the Dark Mayor himself, Bart Doyle. Ever notice the winks and nods they exchange at the DIRT confabs? I don't disagree with the "mean spirited hateful little SOB" characterization, however.

  25. You sure got that right, 9:32.

    We can also sign petitions. They are started to circulate petitions......sign them!

    Hey, Heather Allen and Jim Engel....Thanks!

  26. Mosca has a bureaucrat's contempt for democracy. He doesnt listen to what anyone from the public says. He just stares at his little clock so he can put an end to whatever the person currently annoying him is saying.

  27. Thanks also to the two men who got up to ask questions and point out contradictions.

  28. Thanks Heather for your very thoughtful comments during open comments. I was looking forward to what you had to say about the water rate hike. Too bad the new civility has taken over. I wonder if the policeman who was called was on overtime.

  29. Anyone miss Kurt and Don (besides, MaryAnn)yet?

    If not, you soon enough will.

  30. Maybe that's why they want to hire part time cops. So they can silence Joe's critics at city council meetings.

  31. well the little man finally got to us the big gun. this is the civility the little man was promoting, shame you little man.

  32. Scared poopie-lessJune 23, 2010 at 11:52 AM

    Let me see if I understand this... it was despicable when MaryAnn was forced to silence Joe by threatening to have the Sergeant at Arms oust him from a Council Meeting after his rude and boorish behavior, but when tiny little Heather Allen goes over her three minutes at the podium Joe cuts off the microphone and calls in the gendarmes. Where were the outraged citizens? Were there catcalls and booing? Will there be a three strikes law? If a resident at the podium gets cut off three times will they be banned from speaking at Community Communications?

  33. Heather challenged the Mayor's time limit, going for 5 minutes instead of 3, but that doesn't do anything except give him the right to
    silence the mike
    or call the police
    or shut off the cameras.
    It's the Mayor's choice.
    Jeez, remember when the Carter protesters had 2 (two) minutes?

  34. Where are Mosca's and buchanans supporters? I mean other than Moran and Walsh, where are the residents who cared so much about Joe being Mayor? They don't come to council meetings.
    There might be some confusion about what place public participation has in a democracy.

  35. The point is that the previous two mayors allowed people to share their thoughts without shutting off microphones, interupting them while they spoke, or had the PD hustle over looking for a riot. It is called respect. It is how those who serve us can learn what it is the people want. They are there to listen as well as share their thoughts. To say that Joe has the right to call the cops because someone has run over a minute or two in their time allotment is an odd viewpoint in my opinion.

  36. Bart Mosca better be careful, he may end up on the John and Ken Show. They love to expose these a-hole politicians.

  37. doncha know? all those 254 folks at Joe's inaguration were invited. yip. they received invitations on city of sierra madre stationery inviting them to the ceremonies. probably included a coupon for a favor if they would just show up. no invitation-no show up for city council.

  38. I know I should be completely consumed with Joe Mosca's bad behavior right now, but I'm more concerned about what just happened to the City of Maywood. Some of the issues are eerily similar to Sierra Madre's.

  39. You have a fine day with your LA Times, 12:16. Have you tried the crossword puzzle yet?

  40. Somewhere there's a finishing school for mediocre lawyers who's only recourse to fame is to run for local office. At graduation they are given a play book so that they are all on the same page: residents are scum and only stand in the way of progress. Only those who donate to their campaigns should be listened to, and only as long as the money flows.

    In that respect Bart Joe and Bart John have matriculated into Mediocre Lawyers Graduate School.

    Watch for more pop and sizzle over the summer - they're just warming up!

  41. petition carrierJune 23, 2010 at 1:26 PM

    There are two forms of protest available now, a petition that can hold 4 signatures at once (printed/signed/address), or a form that can be filled out (print name/sign/address) and given to a walker or sent to the city clerk.
    Let's walk our talk.

  42. Ms. Walsh, I care not a fig about your prowess as a dancer unless it takes you away from City Council meetings. I care even less about any blah blah you are putting forth about disaster preparedness if you have put as much time into understanding that subject as you have understanding the water rate increase or which color notice should be posted on buildings after a disaster.

    You have evidenced your inability to understand a budget or make a meaningful contribution to the discussions before council.

    Do us all a favor and resign before you further embarrass yourself, on behalf of all blondes and seniors.

  43. It just infuriates me that Jim Ingle was treated so shabbily by Joe Mosca. Jim is a fine man, a knowledgeable and involved resident, and came as a senior on a fixed income to make his views heard before the City Council of the community in which he resides and pays taxes.

    Reminds me of the way Rob Stockly treated the seniors who challenged his inability to get the audits done.

    Actually, it reminds me of the hatefulness brought to the city by that hariden Beth Buck and her Downtown Dirt squad of goons; we're still suffering from the uncivility she perpetrated at the behest of the local real estate coven and that master of manipulation Bart Doyle.

  44. This council needs to give a blanket "Thank you" and have it be understood that at any moment Mosca, Moran and Walsh will say "Thank you". The blanket cover-all "Thank you" will make the meetings shorter. So just one big "Thank you" for the years to come, and get down to the real business.

  45. 1:42

    "local real estate coven"
    I love it.

    You posters are really on your game today!

    Thanks everyone.

  46. Ms. Walsh is giving the phrase "bimbo" a whole new meaning.

    She's becoming an embarassment with her lack of understanding and inability to provide positive and an indepth understanding of the issues before the council.

    Poor gal is way over her head.

  47. fed up with your discretionJune 23, 2010 at 2:39 PM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  48. Walsh and Moran are there to rubber stamp not think. Thats becoming increasingly obvious, and when they talk its obvious they can't think.

  49. So, have you heard that there's going to be a new reality show? SMTV3 presents Real City Council Meetings of Sierra Madre. Starring Bart Mosca, Bart Buchanan, and Bart Bobbleheads.

  50. Being prepared for a meeting requires some effort. A strong sense of committment helps, too. Intelligence--ah, yes let's have some of that. So, of the five people sitting on the City Council dias last night we had one person prepared, committed, intelligent--MaryAnn MacGillivray.

  51. An Ex Friend of JoeJune 23, 2010 at 4:55 PM

    City Hall needs to get out the list of Friends of Joe Mosca, who LOVE and HONOR him soooooo and invite them to the REAL Let's Tell the TRUTH MOSCA. Let them see why they hooted and howlered for their idol thier savior, thier Narcissus, their Midas.

    Could they collectively pay the new water rate hike? They LOVE him so and feel he is THE ONE!

    They will not be bowing down to their god. They will discover he is Gorgon, the snake-haired horror..........and those who follow him will be swallowed up into the same evil twisted energy.

  52. 4:01, John Buchanan is intelligent and was prepared and committed.
    The question is committed to what.

  53. So many agendas up there on the City Council dais. Sad to think that only one member actually puts the people of Sierra Madre first.

  54. poster at 4:01--I am sure you did not mean to leave out the formidable quality also possessed by MaryAnn Macgillivray: articulate. It is quite a study in desperate abilities of getting a clear sentence formulated and expressed between the five different members on the City Council.

  55. MaryAnn is the ONLY one on that council competent to be our Mayor.

  56. 4:55, your right.

    Buchanan is committed, he's committed to protect his employer who gives him unlimited hours off as a Councilman who is prepared to say, mislead and do anything to promote the interests of his employer.

    Buchanan's narcissistic image of himself and his bombastic meanderings of goobly gook double talk doesn't make him intelligent, it's just lawyer yakky yak.

    We all know that Joe, once he's off the Council will never appear before the Council as a citizen, because he really doesn't care about the city or it's citizens.

    Can we set a 3 minute limit on Buchanan? He can't make a point in less than 10 minutes and even then, it seems convoluted.

    You'd think that my neighbor who was so pro Joe and whined because Joe wasn't Mayor before and whined about being "fair", would step before the Council NOW and tell us why Joe Boy is right and this tax is best for the city.

  57. WOW, this description nails both Joe and John for what they are. No wonder they failed in other cities as "leaders" and seized the opportunity for a Google legacy immediately upon moving to Sierra Madre.

    Narcissistic personality disorder is a condition characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, need for admiration, extreme self-involvement, and lack of empathy for others. Individuals with this disorder are usually arrogantly self-assured and confident. They expect to be noticed as superior. Many highly successful individuals might be considered narcissistic. However, this disorder is only diagnosed when these behaviors become persistent and very disabling or distressing.

    Vulnerability in self-esteem makes individuals with this disorder very sensitive to criticism or defeat. Although they may not show it outwardly, criticism may haunt these individuals these individuals and may leave them feeling humiliated, degraded, hollow, and empty. They may react with disdain, rage, or defiant counterattack. Their social life is often impaired due to problems derived from entitlement, the need for admiration, and the relative disregard for the sensitivities of others. Though their excessive ambition and confidence may lead to high achievement; performance may be disrupted due to intolerance of criticism or defeat. Sometimes vocational functioning can be very low, reflecting an unwillingness to take a risk in competitive or other situations in which defeat is possible

  58. take that rate increaseJune 23, 2010 at 6:24 PM

    Ask eeryone you see if they know about the water rate increase. Then have them sign the form. Keep a supply of forms with you and ask everyone. The public doesn't know about it but when told they will sign.

  59. Don't underestimate Buchanan. Yes he's a blusterer, but it's a mistake to think he's not clever.
    He got himself re-elected didn't he?
    He's our next mayor.

  60. Sierra Madre Occupation Government

  61. It used to be that the council members would report on what MEETINGS and other relevant functions they attended that would be of interest to the fellow councilmembers or the citizens. Now it's reporting on one's social calendar. Nancy, no one gives a fig about your ballroom dancing. You are no longer on the Sr. Commission. How many SCAG meetings have you attended. How many General Plan meetings?

  62. Last night Buchanan said "we are here to govern, I am comfortable with taxing seniors the 10% 45% or whatever." Then Ms Walsh said " I am comfortable taxing seniors. I am a senior". And the third Moran said, " I am comfortable taxing seniors 10% 45% or more"+. Where are these marching orders coming from, and why does our new City Council sound like a choir? All of these people are incompetent and basically dumb!

  63. You are an American! Know your rights!June 23, 2010 at 8:31 PM

    It is so obvious that the Bart Council thinks it can discourage residents from objecting to their high handed governance tactics by making it unpleasant to stand at the podium and be ridiculed, dismissed, and ultimately expunged. Don't fall victim to thugs. Never give up your right to be heard! Object! Follow the lead of Ms. Allen: say what you came to say. Let the Chief escort you from the Council Chamber if necessary. The PD must do as the Mayor dictates - make him dictate in a truly dictatorial sense. There was another "Joe" who governed with an iron fist. You are not in Stalinist Russia. Electing Joe doesn't give him powers beyond the law.

  64. Who needs to read Greek tragedies when you can just flip on the local CC channel and get an education? Needs better advertising, though. How about running the feed at the local watering hole on HDTV big screen? Replays on Friday night...

  65. Having suffered the humiliation of trying to contribute to our City Council's understanding of its citizens and their needs, and been rebkuked and belittled and shown the door, I would offer this.

    Leadership in a city government setting is an ability to bring together differing ideas and opinions, sort through the variences and provide a common platform for action that the "group" can support.

    The lack of leadership and ability to build a concenus demonsstrated by our Mayor, the inability of two council members to contribute anything of importance, and the pontificating of the Mayor Pro Tem (who should be limited to 3 minutes), is unfolding before us as a comedy of errors. Shakespear could not have written a better play.