Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Who Won?

So I was out this evening at a late dinner with a bunch of folks from work, and didn't get home until around 11. It wasn't my intention to post anything tonight, I was just going to let what I put up yesterday ride for another day. But there in my email box was the following Google Alert, originating from the Pasadena Star News:

Sierra Madre City Clerk says not enough protests to defeat proposed water hike

Reversing an announcement she made last week, City Clerk Nancy Sue Shollenberger said Monday not enough valid protests were submitted by water customers to defeat a proposed water rate hike.

A total of 1,719 valid protests were received against the hike - 129 short of the 1,848 needed for a majority to defeat the proposal, Shollenberger said.

Now there will be those who will claim that by coming up 129 water rate payer signatures short that somehow those who invested some serious sweat equity into protesting this nearly 40% water rate hike lost. That City Hall got their pound of flesh, and the incredible wave of democratic fervor that swept Sierra Madre a few weeks back was all for naught. The powers that be had prevailed as they always do, and honestly, what was it you people were thinking?

But if the people of Sierra Madre had not flooded City Hall with hundreds upon hundreds of protests, if the Council Chambers had not been filled with people passionate in their belief that they are the ones who call the real shots in this community, would we have ever been able to read paragraphs like the ones that follow?

Mosca says he plans to propose at least five more community meetings where residents will have an opportunity to get more information and ask questions about the proposal.

The city could develop a new proposal, based on residents' concerns, he said, or "at the end of the day, maybe they will feel that the proposal we put on the table is a good one," he said.

"The upside of what has gone on so far is we have a lot of people paying attention to this and really wanting more information," Mosca said. "So now is the time to get out there and go on a listening tour, understand what their concerns are and address those concerns."

After that, the council can "come back in a couple of months with a proposal that makes sense to people," Mosca said.

Had we not gone out into the streets and spoken to people about this draconian water rate hike, had we not gone door to door and talked to our friends and neighbors about what was really going on (because it was obvious that no one else was going to do it, including our so-called adjudicated weekly newspaper), what we are hearing now from Mosca would never have been said. He'd just have taken the money and run.

This rate hike, which was dumped on the public with such small warning, would now be the law. And our water bills would already be reflecting this. The only thing that stopped this City Council from immediately passing this rate hike was Proposition 218 and the backbreaking work of 30 or so incredible people who refused to be treated like subjects in somebody's realm.

We won. We did something nobody thought we could do. The political will of the people of Sierra Madre stopped a nearly 40% water rate hike. And unless this City Council comes back with something realistic, and explains it in a way that is both timely and credible, we will stop it again.

Even if we have to go to the ballot next time to do it.

77 comments:

  1. I give up! Is this a gag or what? If there weren't enough signatures, why are they talking about another proposal? If there were enough signatures, what's this talk of reversal? I'm up for an initiative. I'm betting we've got the names and addresses of enough people to force a special election

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  2. why is it ,I'm not surprised!Now the Games can Really Begin..Folks,it's your money.You can be Suckers or you can show them once and for all who is really in charge!See you Tonight!

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  3. 12:12Great Idea..Let's go...Where can we sign up!

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  4. The article didn't mention whether or not the City shared it's assessor's list with the City Clerk so that she could verify the names of the protesters against it. Oh wait a minute! It started out as water rate payers, not parcel owners, then it morphed into assessor's list from water customers. This isn't about which list was used but ALL about an illegal water rate increase. My guess is that the City Attorney slapped the Council's and City Manager's collective hands and said something like, "You can't claim victory because you did it all wrong you idiots." So to save face Mosca announces, "We've listened to you and we're going to give you a do over so our failing infrastructure will be addressed. See how committed to the people we are?"

    The good doctor is right! Initiative now!

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  5. Somehow I think that Mayor Mosca is going to get quite an earful on his "listening tour." Sierra Madre has serious buyer's remorse right now.

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  6. So this time Joe is going to ask politely for our money rather than
    just saying it is his right to take it?

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  7. Look up the bright sideJuly 27, 2010 at 7:00 AM

    So we lost again. Look up the bright side now. Hold Mosca to his word. Let's all get together, perform a colonoscopy on the Water Department till Hell won't have it!.

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  8. If we had lost the water rate would now be in effect. It isn't. There is more coming down the pike from the Go4, and they know they can't burn the town out on Step 1. Expect a charm offensive from the charmless. They're taking the long view.

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  9. Did the city contact every person whose Protest letter they throw out to verify it was not good? People may have married and records not changed. The list of invalid signatures must be published in all newspapers and the city web site so people can check to see if they are on the klist. How do I know if my signature was tossed? This is 100% bogus.

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  10. First water next Joe's bond to pay for streets, lighting, and landscaping. Oh yeah don't forget the free parking the city is giving out.

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  11. Well the people are getting what they deserve. Only a handful of people really tried. The rest of the city was too busy with their "important to do list" such as sitting in their hot tubs and watching the tube. So what the he!!. Let them pay and pay and pay.

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  12. So much for Representative Government!If the good Citizens accept this decision as it stands,then we can no longer claim to be Citizens but only compliant impotent Serfs!

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  13. A Repaeat to get people out to the city council meeting tonite..Subject:Illegal Water Rate Notice

    Again the original water rate notice sent out did not spell out how the protest would be tabulated ours just referred to a city website for that information and that is not a legal notice-- must be in writing (seniors do not always have access to internet) Other cities put in writing how the protest would be tabulated ( only one prostest counts per parcel- whic means even if you have 4 units on one lot only one protest will count). So you see how hard it would be to get 50 percent plus 1 of all the water paying customers when you can only count one vote per parcel(lot). but if the public had been rightfully noticed don't you think they would have at least had the opportunity to work harder to gather signatures or signaturews that would count????

    tomorrow night at the city council meeting demand that they renotice or cancel the water rate hike the Fortune teller is right they will go forward this city council group (the 4) does not care what the community thinks because there is a dollar sign waiting for them buried in the LLC's of Howie's Market , Skilled Nursing Facility and whatever other hidden properties that will be part of this build-out (including Dr. Sami's & the Steamers property) . District Attorney anyone????

    Attending the Tuesday 7/27/10 city council meeting is imperative if you want to save our Mayberry ...not Joe Mosca's or Buchanan's but the residents of this special town!!! A last Oasis in the tangle of mix-used, smart growth high rise communities!!!!

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  14. Damn Straights you won!! You stopped a tsunami, at high wave. The manipulators are caught with unethical blowback on their hidden faces. Honestly Tatts, you are taking all the fun out of politics for the now disillusioned players in town. The high tea cookie election nibblers, the wine & brie set, the beer and stick figure on napkins guys, all are having heartburn as their heretofore wrong intent, money backed selfish interest puppets are being seen in the light of day.

    Plus what 6:06 said, for a minute I thought I wrote that !!!

    Tonights meeting will be like observing the gang of 4 plus, be as comfortable as cats on a hot tin roof.

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  15. I don't think I can go back Louise..July 27, 2010 at 9:57 AM

    Thelma to Hugo, should I bring a lawn chair?

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  16. I have no issue with those who wish to enrich others on their own dime.I do ,however,take a very dim view of corrupt City Hacks and Council Persons grabbing my pocket book on behalf of themselves and large Corporate Interests.The time is NOW to put an end to the racketeers by putting an end to the Water Rate Scam!

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  17. The one per parcel rule, whether there was one meter or three, is what sunk us, plus the fact that the City counters didn't make any attempt to verify any records of the discarded votes. We won a moral victory over the rate hike, but let's hope that Nancy's reputation wasn't besmirched by the few at city hall and the so-called media who chanted that somehow Nancy was not doing her job. Nancy is the most ethical and honest person I know, and we should thank her for fighting to keep the count honest despite the best efforts of the City.

    Most of us who gathered letters believe there should be a water rate hike. Not as large, not as fast as proposed. Let's hope they have gotten the message and will go back to the drawing board on this one.

    On a more important note: those of you who are coming to the city council meeting for the water issue should instead pay attention to the discussion re: General Plan update and the effort of the City Council to handcuff the current committee with added members. Tell the council you want the current committee to do their job, and when the time comes, you as well as the "technical experts" will have a say on how the update will proceed.

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  18. Sick of the gamesJuly 27, 2010 at 10:44 AM

    The true colors of Mosca and Buchanan have show through. They do not listen. They were already told before. Who says they will listen now. We will hear a blah blah blah from both joe and john that mean nothing but they want to hear themselves talk.

    They only care about building and developing THEIR WAY.

    IF THEY CARED ABOUT THE CITIZENS THEY WOULD HAVE TREATED US BETTER IN THE BEGINNING.

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  19. Take a bet it will take 30 -45 minutes of having to listen to joe and john go on and on about NOTHING before the people can speak.

    Time for you to LISTEN to the people. We are sick of listening to what you do not say.

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  20. I strongly urge loving soul in this town who cares, please attend this meeting tonight!
    MaryAnn MacGillivray, Nancy Shollenberger and the General Plan Committee are hanging in there for you all. The least we can do is get up off our arses and show up in support of these brave souls.

    Bring lawn chairs, hopefully, there will be standing room only.

    BE THERE!

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  21. The best way to stop development in Sierra Madre is shut down the $18M water infrastructure scam. Without that their hands are tied.

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  22. Anonymous at 10:35 a.m.,

    What a statement, (Most of us who gathered letters believe there should be a water rate hike). Speak only for yourself. Whose side are you on?

    I say to the city, show me how you spent the funds previously collected over the past few years. Explain to me how the BOND recently came to light and why aren't there funds to pay for it.

    I don't believe the city should get one more red cent until there is an accounting for the past collected funds. SHOW ME THE MONEY and or how it was spent before I pay you one more penny!

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  23. Handcuffs? Maybe SoonJuly 27, 2010 at 11:41 AM

    10:35 At the very least, you must ask what the grounds for disqualification are.
    No physical documents can be discarded. Nancy made a stand, and in spite of support from a lot of tatts, she fell victim to the other brainwashed repeatspeak parrots at city hall. The unethical harpie, "they will never get the votes" aquilar deserves to see the distain on your faces.

    Frankly if you as you say gathered letters against it, but in your hearts actually believed a price hike was needed, you defeated yourself by a half hearted effort.

    Tatts are not half hearted.

    Misdirection, instead of, and tell them this or that. Hum? Move along, never mind, but worried about more committee members of the existing committee?

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  24. Don't you all find it interesting:

    The City of Bell "crisis"?

    Chickens are coming home to roost, all you bureaucratic scoundrels are in for a "depression".

    I used to tolerate Elaine Aguilar, until I heard that Bart Doyle said to her on election night last April...."congratulations" What is that all about Elaine? You think the dirts are going to give you a big raise?

    We'll have your head on a stick on John and Ken before that happens. We won't need "enough" or "not enough" of your damn signatures to do it, either.

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  25. Don't Patronize MeJuly 27, 2010 at 12:37 PM

    Let's see. According to Joe almost 2,000 people signed a water protest form because they didn't know anything. But after Joe patiently explains everything to his children all will be just the way it should be.

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  26. Unimpressed by ignoranceJuly 27, 2010 at 12:50 PM

    11:37 am, the City gives everyone an accounting at each Council meeting of how the dollars are spent. It's called Adoption of Resolution No. XX-XX of the City of Sierra Madre Approving Certain Demands, more commonly referred to as approval of the warrants.

    Nancy didn't fall victim to anything. Process was followed. In Nancy's original announcement she indicated that when/if she was provided with the parcel list she would compare the protest letters to that list as well as the water customers' list. The reasons for which a protest letter might be disqualified include not having an original signature, duplicate protest letters were signed, or a renter who did not receive a bill returned a protest letter, as well as other valid reasons. Nancy Shollenberger is an experienced City Clerk and is above reproach. She does not need you telling her how to run a protest count.

    And finally, not all who signed the protest letters were Tattlers, nor were all Tattlers against a reasonable rate hike. It is after all still America.

    I suggest in your next post you offer up your apology to Mrs. Shollenberger.

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  27. Well, while we're carrying Initiative petitions, I suggest that we have a recall petition or two along just to make it worth our while.

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  28. Yepper, it is America, save your suggestions, COMRADE 12:50July 27, 2010 at 1:37 PM

    Hey 12:50, I think your comment was meant for 11:41 not 10:37. You just proved my point, you posted with the wrong time, you are giving out advice posing, you pretended to get signatures, and now here you are barking and chiding and suggesting apologies and this is America, and I will counsel the tattlers but blah, blah, blah,
    Process was followed?? When what part before they changed the rules? Which part of the process, you pathetic parrot? I suggest your talents are wasted here, perhaps your obvious multiple personalities would be more effective preaching to the readers of the Pasadena Star News. They portray Ms. Nancy as positively chirpy with acceptance. Go Figure!!

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  29. From the pages of "There's Nothing New Under The Sun"July 27, 2010 at 1:41 PM

    BROCKTON, MA -- The city of Brockton is launching an investigation into the water department's billing practices after homeowners were slapped with huge water bills, some as high as $100,000.

    Many of the customers were demanding a break, taking their concerns to the City Council Monday.

    They were encouraged to learn that the council has voted to take a closer look at the books over at the water department.

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  30. 12:50 pm,

    Obviously you have not viewed the vague warrant listings. Also note that the City Treasurer just signs the checks but never views the books. No check and balance there! Hummm?

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  31. Nancy Shollenberger was never supplied by the city with the Parcel list . Elaine Aguilar the city mananger refused to give one to her and she had to go to an outside source to check the parcels. If the city is helping Nancy count correctly whe were they refusing to supply her with a parcel list anad lnly gave her a water paying customer list. I don't think it is too hard to figure out the councils and Elaine Aguilars agenda. It is certainly not the will of the people who voted them in...

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  32. City Hall sandbagged the water protest every chance they got. To say otherwise is to be, at the very best, clueless.

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  33. Remember too that Ms Aguilar would not allow the City Clerk to leave blank protest forms on the counter at City Hall even when water customers requested forms from the City Clerk. Whose agenda was Ms. Aguiliar following?

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  34. And will you be speaking at the podium tonight 1:37?

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  35. Who's agenda is Aguilar following? The BIA's of course. Seems very clear to me.

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  36. The warrants are available to the public and can be copied. Salvatore Tesoro III in his Sierra Madre News used to publish them.

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  37. The City Clerk is under no obligation to follow any procedures, or "results", provided by the City staff. It is her duty to certify the results and she can follow any method she sees fit. She should have, and still can, simply dismiss the City findings and certify the protest.

    I assume she came under heavy pressure from the City, Council and possibly the City attorney...would love to know what was said behind closed doors.

    In the meantime, I think it makes sense to challenge those protests that were deemed invalid.

    Lastly, since we do live here in a "democracy", I think a real protest is warranted. Since 1/2 of the folks in town are opposed to the increase, I would organize a boycott of paying the water bill period. What is the city going to do....turn off the water for half the city?

    Good luck and don't roll over on this one....

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  38. Yes, 2:05, and that is what I'm worried about. All those assurances that the water hike "as it stands" is not going through. Is that for real? Or was it designed to make the protest numbers seem irrelevant, and therefore not worth fighting for. We'll find out tonight. But I for one do not see a doublecross of the first order being out of the question.

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  39. I saw two words which I found very appealing in all of the blogging above: RECALL and INITIATIVE. Time to do both.

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  40. Beware of Seniors bearing rotten fruit gifts..July 27, 2010 at 2:40 PM

    Don't roll me over like in the clover, don't roll me over in the clover and do it again..

    I would ask if they disqualified customers. Customers that pay for water, but don't own property. There has been a whole lot of making the possession of LA county Alpha Situs lists seem like only for the political gods, this is not true, I bought a new set every year from the LA county Tax Assessor, a close count like that not done by a neutral third party, or at very least a committee of the protesters should be able to check the disputed documents themselves. I am thinking recount... I am thinking if they can run off and retreat each other, the city should do it's duty and pay to have a recount done and be reminded that they put in public print the terms of the protests, and now they are in breach of the original guidelines.

    If that fails, I predict like Robin Williams, in one of his roles as a nanny. "It was an anonymous fruiting" Cha Cha Cha!!!
    I am liking you a lot Gilman.

    I looked at the agenda, water and scaggies, what fun.

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  41. Let's give the bums a chance!July 27, 2010 at 2:46 PM

    Time out. Even if "only" 1700 signed, does anyone really believe that Mayor Medvedev and his boss council person John Putin would go back on their solemn word to conduct a preaching/listening tour before acting further on a water rate hike?

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  42. Joe is building a political career - now he's learning to be gracious in victory.

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  43. The City Council is trying to put the genie back in the bottle. They need a sleepy and complacent Sierra Madre to pull off the kinds of things they want to make happen. This water mess took them entirely by surprise, and we're going to see a lot of attempts at damage control tonight. Expect Joe to lift his upper lip and show his teeth a lot tonight. But don't believe it. Deep down inside he is enraged.

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  44. Any pipes rupture in the last two weeks?

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  45. Joe went to charm school in between the time he cut Heather Allen off at the podium and the night of the water rate tax hike protests.
    You have to hand it to him, that the more he dislikes someone, the more he is speaking to someone who has exposed him as a liar for years, the more warm and upbeat his "Thank you" is after their comments. The only real strength Mosca has is in meets and greets, and making people perceive him as a victim. He's honing that skill.

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  46. As far as Joe Mosca goes it doesn't matter if you blue, pink or purple, Catholic , Protestant or whatever. A liar ia a liar, a cheat is a cheat and a betrayer is a betrayer. So some people had empathy for a turn coat. Fool me once shame on you , fool me twice shame on me!!!

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  47. bears looking intoJuly 27, 2010 at 4:36 PM

    Just how flawed were these proceedings?
    How many errors were made each step of the way, and how much misinformation was churned out by the council.

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  48. Joe is also on meds. A tiger never changes his stripes. The effectiveness of charm school takes much longer, plus he fears too many well spoken ghosts of the past who so well remember his turning on him.

    Just remember tho, that the bobbling bobbleheads will also smile and agree, because they have the direction of Czar Doyle.

    Joe could not do anything without John and Bart. He is not that good at independent thinking nor critical thinking. Plus, he does love playing the victim. It will always be everyone else's fault, and Americans fall prey to that scenerio very well.

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  49. I'm with you 4:23, but enough of our fellow citizens bought his persecution act so that he is actually our mayor.
    A liar is our mayor.
    That was a pretty slick, well engineered election.

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  50. It is hard to play the poor abused victim when you're the town's mayor. And I don't care how much you play the victim card, when it comes to people having to shell out more money nobody gives a damn.

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  51. transparency pleaseJuly 27, 2010 at 4:42 PM

    So is the city council going to post the unaccepted signatures somewhere for the residents to examine?

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  52. I doubt it, 4:42. I think if people want to check them out, they'll have to look under the rug they were swept under.

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  53. Liars who play victim are classic sociopath

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  54. 4:42, I wish.
    I think it goes something like this:

    Poor persecuted boyish fellow cruelly treated by mean people.
    Boyish fellow perseveres. and despite a bunch of old bigots, wins.
    Why?
    The enlightened people of Sierra Madre defended boyish fellow.

    It's the righteousness hook and it's might powerful.

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  55. we already know that Joe, John, Josh and Nancy were lying or being highly deceptive about the tax increase and the reasoning behind it, so now they are going to educate us that the new lies are more acceptable than the old lies?

    Joe must get off on seing his name in print.

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  56. so, what Joe is saying is that for the FIRST time he's going to listen to the people because he hasn't done it so for

    John Buchanan has become a blight on Sierra Madre, he is in this because he really loves himself, (gotta get some more me of me) and he pushes the water tax and developer agenda because it benefits his employer

    Moran, with more development available because the water tax hike pays for the infrastructure for developers, Moran can peddle more home loans, keep his real estate license ready to go, help manipulate decisions and meanwhile his Mommy and friends at Webb Martin are poised ready for new developement

    Poor Ms. Waslh, her head must be ready to explode because I've yet to hear her utter one word that makes sense or rational analysis of anything she was elected for, unless she was elected to represent the city in old foggie dance contests.

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  57. Isn't it truly ammazing that since the NO protest letters have been turned in that there have been no broke pipes and sink holes on the Blvd, helicopters have not been needed in the middle of the night to find leaks, and no major problems in the Canyon with water lines.

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  58. Meeting is on.Anybody got sound?

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  59. I won't ever believe Buchanan and Mosca againJuly 27, 2010 at 6:37 PM

    Mosca, Moran, Buchanan and Walsh's so-called education water hike program starts off at a disadvantage, over 1,700 verified signatures already don't believe them and distrust their originally hidden agenda.

    I hoping this "education" process backfires on them and even more people step forward and tell Mosca and Buchanan that enough is enough and to stop wasting our time.

    Leave it too a couple hack corporate attorneys to want to meet and meet and meet and meet and meet and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk - they turn a 20 minute meeting into a 4 hour drone fest.

    Their plan is to bore us to death and present convulted explanations and "dire circumstances"...remembers Buchanan's claim that the city was bankrupt and the library was closing?

    I'll take their "education" as it's first draft, a LIE - a plan that was crying that the city water pipes were exploding left and right...but the actual tax increase was about matching funds to build an infrastructure that benefited developers.

    Bascially, we are going to pay new taxes to held fund new development.

    Meet the new bullship, same as the old bullship!

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  60. yeah Mosca right, the new proposal is a "good one" for your legacy, name recognition and benefits your and Buchanan's employer and new development in Sierra Madre, if that's what you call "good"

    not to forget that it's also "good" for Josh Moran who sells home loans, has a real estate license and his Mom is a realtor and Moran used to work for Webb-Martin and Moran said the he was going to use his council position to appoint his friends to committees.

    "good" for the developer business - "BAD" for us.

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  61. Did Joe actually suggest that the Blight Law is up for review by the City Council?

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  62. In Susan Henderson we DISTRUSTJuly 27, 2010 at 7:13 PM

    part of the city's marketing sales campaign...I mean "education" will be trumpted by the Looney Views News every week and there will be nothing but city spin reported word for word by Henderson and she'll make Mary Ann and the 1,700+ freeloaders as uneducated and hateful people because we aren't falling for Buchanan's and Mosca's snake oil spiel about the tax hike

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  63. All the assets of the city are going to be used to sell the water rate hike? Is this an "educational outreach," or a political campaign? Who will the consultant for this one be? Joe Goebbels?

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  64. So did the City certify the results and declare pass the water rate increase? Missed the meeting.....so I need to know?

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  65. Anybody else watching the meeting on the live feed right now?

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  66. Kurt's back. Yeah

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  67. How about asking the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, or the Public Integrity Unit of the District Attorney's office (which is responsible for "investigating and prosecuting allegations of voter fraud, illegal voter registration practices. . .") to come and investigate this issue? Circumventing the Proposition 218 process is undermining our confidence of a fair election.

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  68. Talk about sucker punched.
    Any resident who thinks that they gave a damn about our letters of protest wasn't paying attention.
    THEY ARE GOING TO CONTINUE AS THEY PLANNED

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  69. The city council announced tonight through the city attorney that they won the proposed increase.

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  70. Nonsense. The City Council continued to fall all over itself in hopes of placating the public will without really giving up their development agenda.
    It is quite a tightrope act.

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  71. Leave it to Kurt to demand that the council formalize its commitment to not raise rates without the residents' approval. Leave it to the council to refuse to make such a commitment.

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  72. Popular democracy is back in style in Sierra Madre. The Four Fools are an intellectual void, and because of that the ballot initiatives are on the way. It might be a small city, but it is way to big for the Four Fools to govern.

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  73. What happened tonight reminds me of Buchanan's strategy during the DSP.

    If you want 3 stories in the downtown, ask for 4 and then announce that you have bowed to the will of the public and will limit development to 3.

    The City Council will come back with a rate hike that is less than they were proposing, but what Buchanan really wanted.

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  74. 1:53 I am speaking now, I just watched the council meeting, the only person who used process and committees was Mary Mac. I refer you to 12:50 who defended the "process" or also was 10:35.

    Enough said, to those who have ears let them hear.

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  75. Ears don't mean anything if they are not connected to a mind.

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  76. Why was there so much explanation from Denise and the comments from the people about the General Plan?

    The 4 people on the Council were refusing her common sense approach and her fabulous idea to reach out to all of Sierra Madre.

    They do not seem to understand the will of the people. The only one who gets it is Mac Gill. What a frustration it must be for her to be with a group of 4 who work againist the citizens and any common sense approach to almost every issue.

    Thank you Kurt for coming in. Thank you MaryAnn once again for being there to represent all of us.

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  77. The large number of signatures amounts to "moral authority" that the council can't ignore. Residents need to be overseeing their elected and appointed officials' decisions at all times.
    http://sunroomdesk.com/2010/08/04/wireless-siting-and-the-political-process-holding-local-officials-accountable-to-residents/

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