Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Some People Are Just Going To Have To Face It - The Water Rate Protest Won

There are certain individuals within our storied city governmental apparatus who seem to think that the rules can be changed after the game has already begun. Or even after the game is completely over. We can see that now as our Mayor and his brain, the Mayor Pro Tem, attempt to weasel people who share their corporatist philosophy into the General Plan Committee mix. The flood of trendy and colorfully named subcommittees they've been busy concocting will burst upon our collective consciousness at next Tuesday's City Council meeting. All of them a day late, a dollar short, and expensive consultant dependent.

Now with the earnest souls at City Hall scurrying around from Rate Payer Lists to Assessor Plots to the Yellow Pages (depending on which works best for them), we can see another abrupt after the fact attempt at rule change taking place. Rather than dealing with the fact that tabulating results of everything from elections to water protests is traditionally the job of an elected official known as City Clerk, these hirelings seem to believe that this is something they are eligible to do. You can only wonder what exactly it is they're cracking on.

Oh, and in case you are unaware, a City Clerk is an elected official. This being part of a government system that has evolved over the centuries, and for some very good reasons. Voter sanction differentiating them from functionaries, flunkies, lickspittles, toadies, yes men, messenger boys, apple polishers, nincompoops, and bureaucrats. In other words, they hold the distinguished office of City Clerk at the pleasure of the voters, and not just because some locally influential big-a-shots gave it to them. Which is why we have City Clerks count the votes, and not Three Fingered Louie.

But even if none of this traditional form of democratic government existed, there is something else that renders the current protest counting pretensions of City Staff entirely moot. And that is the May 11th City Council Meeting Agenda. In particular that part referred to as:

GUIDELINES FOR THE SUBMISSION AND TABULATION OF PROTESTS.

Now this part of the May 11th City Council agenda, which was approved and set in place unanimously by the City Council, details how the Protest Forms from the water rate hike controversy are to be tabulated. These are the rules that were set down on that lovely spring evening, and nothing since has ever in any way legally altered them. No matter what Joe Mosca might have said later on. And just because paid employees such as the City Manager and City Attorney aren't grooving on the results still doesn't mean the rules can be changed after the fact.

Here are the City Council approved rules for the Tabulation of Protests:

1. The City Clerk shall determine the validity of all protests. The City Clerk shall not accept as valid any protest if the City Clerk determines that any of the following conditions exist:

a. The protest does not identify a property served by the City.

b. The protest does not bear an original signature of a record owner of the parcel identifies on the protest.

c. The protest does not state its opposition to the proposed fees.

d. The protest was not received by the City Clerk before the close of the public hearing on the proposed fees.

e. A request to withdraw the protest is received prior to the close of the public hearing on the proposed fees.

3. (Ed: they skipped a number) The City Clerk's decision that a protest is not valid or does not apply to a specific fee shall constitute a final action of the City and shall not be subject to any internal appeal.

4. A majority protest exists if written protests are timely submitted and not withdrawn by the record owners of a majority of the properties subject to the proposed fee.

5. At the conclusion of the public hearing, the City Clerk shall complete the tabulation of all protests received, including those received during the public hearing and shall report the results of the tabulation to the City Council upon completion.

And that is pretty much it. Does anybody see anything in there about the City Manager conducting her own on the side counting operation? No, I don't think you do. The only person who was authorized to tabulate the results and report the outcome is the City Clerk. Nobody else.

Now I guess that there are those who would like to engage in some sort of political myth making by cooking up numbers of their own. Rooster Coburn has laid a couple of eggs to that effect over on his News.Net site. And I guess that the City Manager might see some similar career advantage in this as well. Certainly it will give Susan Henderson something to get her rant on about whenever the new issue of her Looney Views News emerges. But will Sierra Madre residents become enraged because now they won't get to pay higher water rates? Mmm, no. I don't think so.

And does any of that have validity in the real world where actual laws apply? No, none whatsoever.

This is now over. The 40% Water Rate Hike is dead in the water. The residents of Sierra Madre have spoken. It is time for City Hall to stop annoying people and move on.

67 comments:

  1. Is Sierra Madre's worst now gathering at The Only Place In Town so they can nuzzle up against Michael "The Developer's Pal" Antonovich? The sound of puckering is almost deafening, and I live on the other side of tiwn.

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  2. Come to the July 27th City Council Meeting for the resurrection - a kinder gentler version complete with prioritized infrastructure projects and a contrite City staff. Mayor Mosca will make nice and claim to have heard the residents; Mayor Pro Tem Buchanan will speak to the gathering storm clouds if the town can't fix its pipes; and the bobbleheads? Well will they actually attend? Stay tuned...

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  3. Time to move on is right, and now we really have to pay attention to the proposed Council take over of the General Plan Committee. I urge everyone reading the Tattler to attend the next Council meeting and let them know that this committee is the most talented group of people around, they are working together to get the ball rolling, and will give plenty of time for the citizens (and experts) to give their input. This is a document for the people, and we cannot let the City Council impose THEIR will over the wishes of the people. Stop their attempt to steamroll this committee with a "sub-Committee" of people of their choosing. Remember, three of the council members voted for this committee. Joe and John should not go against their own votes to undermine what work has been done.

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  4. I have a question. What happens to the bobbleheads in the unlikely case John and Joe disagree on something? Do their heads go sideways?

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  5. Live report from downtwon. Michael Antonovich is emerging from his car. Joe Mosca has fallen to his knees and is now crying, "I am not worthy! I am not worthy!"

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  6. Really ugly it is 7:50. Something out of The Exorcist it is.

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  7. Are you suggesting their heads might start spinning, 7:53?

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  8. Someone needs to be outside the door when the J's leave to hand them some tissue to wipe the brown off their noses.

    If 3 are there and they talk business is that a "BRown Act" violation.

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  9. Time for the City Staff to get back to their real work of planning parties. I believe "A Taste of Sierra Madre" is next on their social events calendar that we the tax payers help underwrite.

    Party On Dude! and I'll Drink TO That!

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  10. Well, I'm heaving a huge sigh of relief. Unfortunately, we have a few more years to suffer under this government by-the-developers; this did not succeed, so what will they try next? Their actions on this matter make it most urgent for the voting residents to elect someone in two years who will watch out for OUR interests, even though we cannot hope for a majority vote on council until April 2014.

    I'd like to suggest that the city put together concrete project costs to repair/upgrade the city's water infrastructure, submit those to the residents for review and then issue municipal bonds to cover only the cost of those repairs. Maybe that would keep them honest because the city could only raise the funds truly needed for the water system and it would be legally obligated to repay the bondholders at the end of the bond term, plus interest. If it did not or could not redeem said bonds, then the participating residents would literally own city hall (ideally, only residents of Sierra Madre would be allowed to participate in purchasing bonds and some limit would be set on how much any one resident could purchase)!

    Just a thought.

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  11. Josh Moran can't be there this morning at the Only Place, it's gotta be happy hour somewhere and we all know Josh, it's party party party.

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  12. What manual are these Characters reading from.Something between the "Quotations From Chairman Mao" and the "Meditations" and musings offered by the Chairman of Scag an alum of the UofM(Moscow)that is.I suggest we donate a copy of the US Constitution for beginners to remind them of their positions and place on these issues.The People Rule but "They" appear to forget it.

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  13. I heard a rumor that Josh attended the Free Lindsay Lohan protest yesterday morning in Los Angeles.
    He was there with the rest of the lunatics.
    I think he was the guy in the pink shirt with a "Party On, Lindsay" sign.

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  14. would Henderson please put out some copies of her paper so I can pick up a half dozen and throw away as a public service?

    since the election is over, is she back to printing the paper ever 16 days?

    it's no surprise that the new council isn't questioning the value of publishing legal notices and if we are complying with the law because of her erratic and suspect printing schedule

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  15. Antonovich is packing the local governments with SCAG-sanctioned officials, in an ongoing regional takeover on the lines of the Compass Blueprint developed in 2000. SCAG events are heavily sponsored by builders, SCE, AQMD, etc. to promote more and more build out, resource demand, shell games with traffic impacts. Thus your local government is brought to you by SCAG and LA County.

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  16. Ahhhh Tattler, that listed number 2 that you didn't see was:
    2)The mayor and his brain can play fast and easy with the rules if things go a way they don't like.
    It wasn't skipped, it was hidden.

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  17. I think the term for Joe's Mayoral style is "mood swing management." He just goes with his feelings. That includes the occasional tantrum.

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  18. Whatever the city tries to do to raise the water fees they know they have to do this honestly and ethically.

    They are dealing with intelligent and well informed people who will not put up with shennigans.

    Many citizens recognize that Mary Ann stood up for the people and against the water hike. She was the only person against the insanity on the CC. The other 4 made it quite clear that they supported the 40%.

    Seems more people supported the protest than voted for JOE, Josh and Nancy. Hmmmmm

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  19. As someone who walked to get signatures, I can tell you that if all registered voters had been permitted to sign, there would have been over 3,000. City Hall needs to understand that we can put this question on the ballot if need be. In a heartbeat.

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  20. 8:35!

    I wonder if the SCAG CZAR is at the meeting this morning?

    The regime of Mosca, Buchanan, Moran and Walsh, Doyle, Aguilar, and Levin all need to be sent a copy of the U.S. Constitution.

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  21. We've already given them one lesson in Democracy, 9:53. I'm sure we'll be teaching them more.

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  22. Are you sure Elaine is trying to make up her own protest count? To me it looks like she's just doing some deckchair feng shui.

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  23. The city manager serves at the will of the council.
    The city attorneys serve at the will of the council.
    Who's calling the shots?
    The council.

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  24. Thank you 9:13..you confirmed my sickest dreams!I always felt nausea coming on when I read about the "doings "by our treacherous City Council and the wretched Toadies lurking about the corners of the Cit Hall.

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  25. Sierra Madreans for Sane Financial PracticesJuly 21, 2010 at 10:48 AM

    No more money spent on cnsultants except in cases where there are no other alternatives.

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  26. The city council and city staff are now playing politics with the protest count. They were blindsided by the massive community outrage, and this pathetic quibbling over numbers is apparently the best they can do.

    They're trying to save face.

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  27. SMSFP, also cut legal costs- use lawyers sparingly.

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  28. (Very) Concerned CitizenJuly 21, 2010 at 10:54 AM

    While we're on the topic of ballot initiatives, how about one that will
    force the City Council to go to the
    voters on any big spending increases?
    Bonds, rates, fees, taxes, consultants,
    anything.

    These characters will spend this town
    into oblivion. This would help save
    Sierra Madre.

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  29. The "treacherous City Council" was elected by Sierra Madre voters, plain and simple. And, according to all that is known, they were neither paid for their vote or tricked (although perhaps being wined and dined by local civic organizations and parties at the Villa counts as trickery). Here little voter, I've got a nice Brie...

    You can roar all you want about SCAG, BIA, the realtors, etc. but in the end many who advocate on their behalf and belong to their associations are in fact "us".

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  30. Okay, breakfast is over! Anybody got any insight into who was at The Only Place In Town, what was said, and who paid?

    Don't let us who must work for a living (which doesn't apparently include Mosca and Buchanan) be left out on City doings.

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  31. It is true that Maryann spoke out against the rate increase but didn't she vote in favor of the moving forward with the Prop 218 process? While I am glad she spoke up, if all the walkers and talkers hadn't been out there doing the hard work, the rate increase would have gone through. This was a people's victory. It had nothing to do with anyone on the council. Thanks to everyone who signed a letter or passed them out, We the People won.

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  32. Worker Bee don't cha know Joe will wax rhapsodic about his breakfast with "Michael" at the next CC meeting. Kind of like a lower echelon party member in North Korea talking about the "Great Leader."

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  33. Okay, the fat lady has sung. The Official Count is over; City Clerk Nancy Shollenberger's count - whatever that may be - is the final word. What the City now has, and more than likely what staff worked over the weekend and into the night to accomplish, is a list of all protesting residents - water rate payers and parcel owners alike. Matter of public record. Nothing wrong with that. At least they won't need a consultant to decide who to target with the "information" campaign. They know exactly who needs to be invited to the "water infrastructure summer camp" courtesy of Bruce Inman.

    Did you sign? Look for your invitation soon...

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  34. Joe likes to be seen and drop names just as another mayor from the '90s did who also represented the building industry.
    Same MO just a younger face.

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  35. Shenanigans a-plenty at City Hall today. The List Shifter and the Looney Views wrapped up like worms in a fishbait can.

    Deets tomorrow.

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  36. Very concerned, excellent idea.
    The people who have been in charge of our money for the last 15 years have proven themselves incompetent.
    If we have an extra dime to spend, I vote for an audit, damn the missing records, and let's see why we are spending more than a million dollars a year on clerical staff, lawyers and administrators.
    More than a million, right?

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  37. When did it become legal for a city council have their staff issue a list before a "vote" and then issue a different standard after the "vote"
    It is NOT LEGAL

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  38. Guito from the "Tatt"July 21, 2010 at 12:06 PM

    The fat lady sings...

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  39. "Class, your assignment is to read War and Peace for next Monday."

    That next Monday:
    "Surprise! I meant Crime and Punishment, and here's the test"

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  40. 12:06 - LOL!!!!

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  41. Does the city council actually think they can get away with having their administrator throw out signatures?
    Yeah, freedom of information act, let's see those signatures, you jerks. You had better contact each and every signer you are doubtful about and clear this up. Put the throw outs on the city web site.
    Be transparent for once in this water rate trickery.

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  42. They are going to smile and lie their way through this, and not fess up to the laws they are breaking - changing the procedure, carrying out a suspect count, using what amounts to a false list - and all misdeeds will be hidden and supported by a morally bankrupt local paper owner.

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  43. Joe Mosca is driving this city over the brink.

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  44. Still nothing new on the city web site news.

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  45. A bouguet of green onions goes toJuly 21, 2010 at 1:51 PM

    Hi Kidos, looks like the fran and ollie inman web site, guide to who should get first shyster rights, to new Sierra Madre lookyloos has got a new edge, a leg up the ladder. Did you see the SGV story, she has become a mistress of transportation, of course she will help her cuz
    Brucie.

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  46. What 1:51 pm? Local Dachshunds Sprint For Title in Weiner Nationals? Is that what you're referring to? Don't see the significance...

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  47. From Sierra Madre News Net, posted on 7/18:
    Mosca says " It is my understanding that the process is still going on and that the final results were due to be released on Tuesday of this week."
    That would have been yesterday.
    And posted yesterday, 7/20, the following attributed to the city manager:
    "She also stated that per Council action at the last meeting, the Council would be receiving the final protest validation report at their July 27th Council meeting"
    Maybe the mayor and the city manager should confer.

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  48. Speaking again regarding this city water bond supposedly due...Wouldn't that be the public works director's (Bruce Inman)job to alert all (coucil especially) that the bond is coming due and to make sure the city is paying as we go. Oh mighty one who has an adminstrative degree...

    So who is doing City of Sierra Madre's Commercial engineering since Bruce Inman does not have an engineering degree (by the by Sierra Madre did have two Public Works directors right before Bruce Inman who had engineering degrees,Oliver Dablo and Kev Tcharktian) How much are we paying this outside engineering firm for such a small city??? Is the commerical contracted out to Wildan (formerly part of Muni-financial)who during the devious Downtown Specific Plan period (2003-2007) was reviewing all the commericial build-out plans like Howies & the the Skilled Nursing Facility-otherwise known as Wisteria Village, when we had a perfectly capable city engineer Hong Tam who has been with the city for over 20 years, who now has been delegated to residential. Wildan has quite a history with City of Rosmead (for over billing)and isn't it interesting that City of Arcadia is contracting out with Wildan for a citywide street and Lighting assessment.Gee isn't that something Joe MOsca wants to put in place here???

    Unfortunately every item on the council agenda will have to be carefully watched!!

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  49. sick of shenanigansJuly 21, 2010 at 6:15 PM

    What is this redunculus city council doing, with the statements that the water rate hike is dead, but we're burning the midnight oil counting. They're gonna say, see we listen to you so sincerely that even though you were a thousand short we're stopping the hike until we educate you better.
    Then we'll take a whole lot more of your money.
    redunculus.

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  50. Just saw the Looney Views blowing by on the street so I picked it up.
    If S. Henderson kisses up to Buchanan and Mosca any harder, she might damage herself.
    Best part - opponents of the water rate hike spread "misinfomation." Perfect sleaze - call out misinformation, and back it up with nothing.
    Watch how a pro spreads "misinformation."

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  51. Bobby Ray Inman asked me to join the CIA himselfJuly 21, 2010 at 6:39 PM

    Fran Inman has been appointed to the Calfornia Transportation Board. Fran works for majestic and roski, she has been running the majestic foundation part of majestic realty, we found out earlier when looking for water company information, you can search it, she has a site called Fran and Rowena, it is mentioned in the tattler story May 19, 2010 "Prop 218 and the water hike." The story was in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune today, she is related to Bruce. Arnold Swartz gave her a position. Now what about the weiner dogs? Now what do we dislike most about the dept of transportation? RHNA numbers... Meanie...

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  52. Told him no thanksJuly 21, 2010 at 6:50 PM

    Dear 2:17, they moved the story, it is dated 7/20/2010 Titled "Majestic Realty executive appointed to commission" Use the search engine, I just used Fran Inman and it came up guess we had a misunderstanding. It got seven very bad comments, mine had pet and master in it.

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  53. Good question. What about the weiner dogs?

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  54. Why was Susan Henderson in City Hall today?

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  55. I predict Elaine Aguilar will count the protests and come up with a number just below the number required to defeat the tax rate hike.

    She'll announce it in Susan's paper on Sunday in an attempt to make the City Clerk look bad before the council meeting at the end of the month.

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  56. Mosca is a whining weiner dog,July 21, 2010 at 8:26 PM

    Mitzi, 1:51 and 2:17, wiener dogs.. I am afraid to mention the story in the pasadena star news right now about Sierra madre and the still counting and 265 possible invalid signatures.

    That bleeping aguilar, better throw a city of bell on her.

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  57. I would agree with the posting at 8:23pm, take a look at the article that just popped up over at the Pasadena Star News......smells to me like the city staff is going to attempt to ram the rate increase forward?

    Somebody reach out to Timothy Bittle over at the HJTA....I suspect a fight is coming.

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  58. Gilman, do you think everybody who signed the protest letters has a right to verify or dispute the validity of being a disqualified signer? It seems to me that the fox is counting the chickens in the hen house by not having a neutral third party count and verify. How about the time limitation, does not a date end at midnight, was it 26? they stated were not turned in at the right time even though it was during the meeting?

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  59. Anybody spoke to Kurt Zimmerman and Kevin Dunn lately? I think they need to organize another Measure V-type campaign.

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  60. Seems pretty simple to me. The Council gave the City Clerk and only the City Clerk the authority to tabulate and validate the results. Until Nancy Shollenberger says otherwise, there are a sufficient number of written protests to defeat a water rate hike.

    Ms. Aguilar, you can tabulate and validate until the cows come home, but your tabulation and validation don't mean squat.

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  61. Kurt's no longer on the City Council and has lots of free time.

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  62. City Clerk has final sayJuly 21, 2010 at 11:43 PM

    The Pasdena Star News is reporting LIES but let them do it. The people who signed and the City Clerk has the last word. She was NEVER given a
    parcel list. And she wrote that, now didn't she???

    Keep up your fight Ms. Aguilar. You are peeling yourself away, layer by layer by layer. Along with the people who use you....

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  63. Broken Trust...

    Yes folks have a right to verify their signatures, under the CPRA they should be able to obtain copies.
    My understanding is that the Council "approved" a verification process which was to be conducted and certified by the Clerk....no one else should have a say. Regardless of staff's calculations, it is up to the Clerk.
    Since the Clerk has issued a press release stating that the protests reached the threshold needed to prevent an increase, if the city attempts to circumvent that determination I would think a variety of legal options are available.
    It will be interesting to see how the city handles this issue....can't wait.

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  64. Thank you, Gilman

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  65. Sierra Madreans are a bunch of wining pussies

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  66. Merlot or Chablis?

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