Most notably was letter (sic) sent to the council by several members of the community alleging the city had not followed the law when it notified proposed water rate increase.
Of course, the City Council met last Tuesday, and will not be returning to anything this week except perhaps a couple of those delicious cheeseburgers at The Only Place In Town. And for the record, the letter was actually sent to the City Manager, Elaine Aguilar. But you get the picture. "The Prop 218 Letter," as it has become known here in town, is getting a bit of notice. Which brings me to the point of this first post of the week.
Where is all the screaming and yelling? Usually when we here at The Tattler attempt to launch so ambitious a narrative, the howling from both the official and unofficial voices of our friends at City Hall gets rather deafening. But this time? Not so much. There is no 4,000 word (small type) essay on the topic up on Rooster Coburn's News.net website. Nor is there one of those strange exercises in unhinged op-ed rage from Susan Henderson, either. And, equally telling in my estimation, we have heard absolutely nothing from John Buchanan. He doesn't seem to be talking to the press at all.
Now you'd think that for this rather brief MVN article there would at least be one quote from our man Johnny B on the matter. After all, when it comes to things like the reasons for the water rate hike, or the $23 million in water bond debt City Hall somehow neglected to mention when the water rate increase notification went out last May, who on that side of the City Council divide would be better equipped to deal with that? The Bobbleheads? I doubt it. They're the reason why Buchanan is rumored to be considering a run for a third term.
No, mysteriously John Buchanan has yet to say anything about this whatsoever. So has Susan not discussed the matter with him? And if she did, was that conversation "off the record?" There is nothing from Mayor Joe Mosca in the article, either. Certainly Joe is not bashful about speaking on things like "the process" or "proper procedures" when such matters of controversy emerge from the community. And since when has our City Manager, Elaine Aguilar, been unwilling to go on the record on a something like this? In the last few years Elaine has been cited as a source for information in the MVN more than anyone else that I can think of.
It's almost as if these folks are afraid to talk about it.
So do all the usual suspects see the unfortunate situation they find themselves in to be so fraught with peril that they have been struck uncharacteristically dumb? Certainly such a sudden silence could be taken as a more eloquent expression of what is actually going on than anything any of them may have said in the past. On any topic. And when you add the uncharacteristic reserve of our local media to the quietude from our usually chatty Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem, along with the City Manager, it almost seems orchestrated.
Which, I suspect, is what our highly compensated City Attorney has asked them for. To use the memorable phrase from The Godfather, they've "gone to the mattresses."
Susan Henderson did manage to venture the following opinion in Sunday's edition.
The allegations also suggest that the city failed to disclose the true reasons for the proposed rate increase. Information that was sent to residents and made public to the city suggest otherwise.
As is usually the case, no corroborating evidence supporting Ms. Henderson's claim was made available by her publication at press time.
Of course, there is one journalist who did speak out!
The crazy uncle of Sierra Madre journalism, who actually publishes his pronouncements out of a small office in Monrovia, is a gent named Terry Miller. Terry, recently anointed the head of all editorial at the Beacon Media family of papers (which includes the sadly diminished Sierra Madre Weekly), was previously renowned here in town for his contributions to something known as the Sierra Madre Cumquat. Which was an often obscene website noted for its abusive and scrofulous language, suggestive lewd allusions, all leavened with pictures of scantily clad women. So obviously Terry's recent elevation by his employer would make perfect sense.
Here is what Mr. Miller had to say about the Prop 218 Notification Scandal in Sierra Madre:
"A previous mayor of Sierra Madre, Kurt Zimmerman, plus blogger John Crawford, Anita Delmer, John Herrmann allege the city violated state law in the way it notified customers of a proposed water rate hike. At Tuesday night's council meeting the four residents argued that the city did not provide nearly enough information needed for parcel owners to comprehend complicated water rate increases 45 days before a public hearing, as Proposition 218 requires.
As one of the four signatories to this document, I can state categorically that I did not attend last Tuesday evening's meeting. I watched it on TV from the comfort of a couch located close to my kitchen. Nor, I believe, was Kurt Zimmerman, Anita Delmer, or John Herrmann at this meeting, either. The letter was read by a single brave soul at public comment, and not by any of those who had signed it. Rather than any arguing, the message was received by the City Council with stony silence.
Which I guess must mean that Terry, outre' journalist that he is, was pulling all of this out of his, er, cap. For hardly the first time, I might add.
It's no wonder City Hall forgot to call him. Given the choice, wouldn't you?