Monday, September 20, 2010

Our Finest Journalists Speak Out On Sierra Madre's Prop 218 Notification Scandal! (Well, sort of ...)

Susan Henderson, Publisher and Obituary Writer for the Mountain Views News, put the issue into a fairly accurate perspective yesterday. Her paper, dated for Saturday and delivered per usual to the streets of Sierra Madre on Sunday (befitting its day late and a dollar short status here in town), had this to say in an article entitled Council Returns To Full Agenda:

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 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?


  1. Funny, huh? Restraint from Coburn and Henderson; craziness from Miller who just made up the facts for his article after reading the Tattler. No carefully placed denial from the City Manager or City Council. And from the SMVFD? Nothing.

    Swirly swirly eye of storm. S*** or go blind as they say. Powerful letter for our very own four.

  2. No official statements? How strange for these people!

  3. What could they say? Any spin they tried to come up with would be ripped to shreds on this blog, in fact it would be so ridiculous, even if Crawford and Co. didn't rip it, anyone with an IQ over room temperature who read their spin would know it was BS.

    Crawford doesn't react passively to BS. Neither do most readers of this blog.

  4. They're running for legal cover.

  5. And don't forget that it was Terry Miller who wrote a disgusting article about all the homophobics in Sierra Madre, you know, the article that came out just before our last election. These people will say anything to get there way, remember that Priest at Ascension Church that wrote a letter about something that happened 19 years ago, it was a lie to sway people in that same election. Let is not forget these people who are trying to ruin our town, could they be called "Hendersons Henchmen"?

  6. Miller is following in Henderson's writing style to the lowest common denominator.

    Just make up the facts and just write whatever you want regardless of the actual facts and always remember not to be balanced and never ever verify facts.

    What's next, is he going to have phantom sources and will he then be creating his own quotes to suit his storyline, also like Henderson at the Observer?

  7. 3 Cheers for the Letter...September 20, 2010 at 8:46 AM

    The Council, City Hall, and the newspapers are keeping it quiet becasue they know that most of the city's residents don't know a dam# thing about what is going on at City Hall. To write about it would give the Water Letter publicity and the people would ask questions during the "Walk and Talk" or was it "Lunch and Learn."So they are covering their ears and saying LALALA. I don't hear you.

  8. shhh, somebody's at the intellegince door....

    everybody HIDE......

    I never thought I see a day when John Buchanan would keep his mouth shut, it must be killing him because he knows that he knows more than we'll ever know and he is dying to tell us

    except we know too much now

    or a day when Joe Mosca wouldn't have some quip cliche' to toss out to us peasants

  9. Besides, Crawford, MacGillivray is the gang of 4 and their city hall pals worst nightmare.

    Honesty doesn't set well with the gang.
    Crawford and MacGillivray are honest and contrary to dumb Terry Miller's slander. John and MaryAnn are not only honest to a fault, they are TOLERANT as well.

    I'm really getting sick of the bs in these so called "papers" by these fake "journalists".
    Miller and Henderson.....I'm talking about you!

  10. No threats here, just promisesSeptember 20, 2010 at 9:23 AM

    John Buchanan isn't dying to tell us what he knows. He's working feverishly to keep us from knowing what he knows by lobbing big subterfuge bombs trying to turn the public in a different direction.

    Know what? It won't work this time. Will it mean there won't be a water rate increase. Sadly, no, the indebtedness needs to be paid. But will we know who is responsible and what the money was spent on? You bet. And so will some very interested law enforcement agencies.

  11. I was so surprised to see my likeness as one of The Proud Mob! Will the T-Shirts amd baseba;; caps be ready for the recall campaign?

  12. I want a tee shirt!! Will it say Sierra Madre on it too?

  13. The buses are running on Sierra Madre Blvd. The burning question is who is going to be tossed under them? Silence is the only protection afforded the co-conspiritors. Someone will talk, who? Is it a legal issue? Is it a Brown Act issue? Is it a corruption issue? Immunity for Implication is common where ethics are involved. Someone will talk, who? If Moran and Walsh are smart they will resign now before implicated any further. Water water everywhere excetp in Sierra Madre thanks to Levin's manipulations.

  14. Maybe there is a charity angle to this. The First Annual Sierra Madre Bus Toss.

    Could the Kiwanis Klub be the sponsor?

  15. My first choice would be Harriet(Susan Henderson) Poole Capenter. UNDER THE BUS, or at least KICK HER TO THE CURB!
    This woman is one of the most TOXIC people in this town.
    Absolutely disgusting how she is still even tolerated by some.

  16. What a great Tattler fund raiser! Send your nomination for The First Annual Sierra Madre Bus Toss along with a $10 donation to the Tattler. We're going to need it for oh, say, scholarships and filing fees...

  17. The people who be thrown under the bus will be the ones who no longer work for the city. Everyone else is blameless. Just ask them. Problems is they know where the bodies are but keep quiet.

  18. Angry Mob Forces City Staff an Employees to Don Horsehair ShirtsSeptember 20, 2010 at 10:57 AM

    Silence is Golden. What can they say? They knew about this from that 2009 report. They chose to manipulate the prop 218 rules. They choose to not inform properly. They choose to manipulate the protest count to lose and now they have been called on it. They might have ignored the citizens as an unruly uneducated mob, but not Zimmerman. He is juiced.

    I don't know what actually happens if you default on the bonds. Do they dig up your pipe and go home? Do they seize the water department? And I imagine they are quivering with fear now that their trusty inept City Attorney has advised them into a now exposed mainpulation of the worst kind of citizen trust and betrayal. Kind of like duck hunters in a boat, that are suprised when they find they are surrounded by thousands of armed locked and loaded ducks who know how to shoot. Now after the fact you are being forced to pay for the outreach, to be outreached how? I don't know about you but I prefer to be wined and dined before being outreached.

    Are the funds they already spent being checked?
    Or are the receivers of said funds packing their bags and heading out of town? I am interested in what the attorneys are saying.

    Thanks for the torches and farm implements, JC.
    T shirts can be easily made with a glue stick and some glittter or goth like with a brush and simple premixed acrylic for T shirts at Michaels.

    Offer them 5% and refuse to be outreached.

  19. If we default on our water bonds we'll all be sold into slavery. I read that in the Sierra Madre Weekly.

  20. Wait! If we default on our water bonds how will Joe be able to repave the roads with the new bonds he was planning on acquiring?

    This could seriously impact our laisse faire Public Works Department.

  21. There are also the bonds Joe wants to sell for sewers as well. The large scale growth he envisions, while green and sustainable of course, will still involve the pumping out of a lot of crap.

  22. Quackers in the MistSeptember 20, 2010 at 11:51 AM

    Quack, Quack, Quack quack quack.. Pass the ammo, quack quack...

  23. Definition of LOGORRHEA
    : excessive and often incoherent talkativeness or wordiness : example John Buchanan. If he's kept quiet much longer, he'll explode.

  24. If you're starting to think of Bell as a typical working class neighborhood, check out Vernon (LA Times, Sunday, 9/19/10, Front Page). The "process" in action. "An informed citizenry is the only true repository of the public will." Thomas Jefferson

  25. It is the indifference of people to their local government and politics that leads to situations like Bell. Or Sierra Madre, for that matter.

  26. If we default on our waterbill possibilities:
    We will have to return our water, (probably from the sewer system?)
    We will loose our bond rating, making it next to impossible to float more bonds to pay for more boondoggles ( is this good or bad?)
    Will the authors of the "water" bonds have to shell out the 23M?
    Since we would be able to fund the police department for the next 10 years for the bond amount, can we get a better deal buying bottle water from Smart and Final? (I like perrier water
    Perhaps Buchanan, since he was one of the enablers of the water bonds, could answer these?(Oh wait, he is nowhere to be seen)

  27. still read the papers, but not that oneSeptember 20, 2010 at 1:34 PM

    This quote from Henderson
    "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."
    just shows that she didn't read the letter.

    The very precise language of the letter makes it clear that the city did indeed try to fulfill the duties imposed on it by Prop 218, but it was too late, and in violation of the 45 day requirement.

    Jeez, how about reading the letter all the way through before commenting.

  28. An earlier poster referred to Henderson's Henchmen - nuh-uh.
    Henderson is not a leader of anything.
    Just a con looking for a buck.
    If anything, she's the henchwoman - for the right amount.

  29. John B and Joe M exercising verbal restraint?
    Harriet Henderson not ranting?
    City Manager not emailing?
    The world is upside down!

  30. Maybe they're all down in that emergency bunker under city hall.

  31. Very good day for Moran and Walsh to resign, doncha think? Who knows what the morrow will bring...

    There will be nothing for Henderson and Coburn to do, quite literally.

    Tee hee, ho ho, it's off to jail they go. Ha ha, tu lura lura li, tu lura lura la!

  32. So maybe City Attorney Levin is not quite as confident as the comment in the the Star News said.

  33. Thanks for the reminder Mr. Law. From the PSN: "City Attorney Sandra Levin said she was confident the city has complied with constitutional requirements. "The fact that the notice raised questions in people's minds indicates that it did exactly what a notice is supposed to do," she said. "It's not supposed to provide all the possible information. It's supposed to provide enough information that it causes people to want to find out more, and that's exactly what it did."
    Levin is not a flimsy thinker. Don't know how that malarky came out of her mouth. But she's right that the people want to know more. A lot more. And in detail.

  34. 2:02, I think that Walsh is probably dazed, wondering what all this is about, and what kind of tar baby she's put her hand on.
    Moran is likewise in a state of perpetual befuddlement, but surely from different root causes. And he has business goals to achieve.
    Don't forget, ahead is the remaking of the general plan in the council majority's image.

  35. Sandy had to say something. Besides, how can she lose? Even if her guidance and advice was useless and only got the people she works for in a lot a trouble, she'll still bill the city no matter what. The longer it goes on, the more she gets.

  36. A fellow cynic says, too cynical 2:27. Attorney Levin does not want to screw up. It's a very, very weird and uncharacteristically sloppy situation we got going on here, so there has to be something that has yet to be revealed.

  37. Unrevealed, but not unknown. The covered is about to be uncovered. Buchanan knows.

  38. I agree Boysen.
    Isn't this the first time since she "took over" the paper that Ms. Henderson has not rushed to defend city hall?

  39. 2:36, what? what?
    Are we aleready bankrupt?
    Has Doyle's dream come true?

  40. It would be FABULOUS if the Looney Views News gal tried to switch sides again.

  41. Susan goes to the green. Right now the Gang of Four still controls it. But should there be a regime change? Born again slow growther.

  42. Kind of funny, it could be said that the city is literally hiding behind a woman's skirt. Ms. Levin. Mr. Buchanan, remember how he squirmed when asked about some missing funds or was it the non audit? Neuroblast posted it. He just slippery talked & smiled did a little seat dance, got real vague, did a lot of looking left.

    Remember Sir Eric's story "the dirty little secret" about no water and the broken blades?

    Doyle was Mayor and Leung was on the Water Board
    about the same time the bonds were arranged. being "arranged".

  43. Councilmember Walsh is probably wondering what all this water tax hike and bonds have to do with her campaign platform of bring competitive square dancing to Sierra Madre.

  44. A once member of a great organizationSeptember 20, 2010 at 3:15 PM

    After how Kiwanis has been turned into a political mouthpiece with the likes of Susan Henderson, and loss of membership, it will be unfortunate to watch it's collapse. Perhaps they will start to throw each other under the bus.

  45. The Kiwanis has suffered from Henderson's affiliation, to be sure, but at heart it is a very good organization that has the best interests of the community in mind. Here's a to speedy recovery after Henderson and her ardent supporters depart.

  46. What makes this whole story worse than Bell is that the people who "ran" Sierra Madre really believed that the citizens were actually too stupid and could not figure it all out eventually.

    Arrogance is amazing.

  47. Henderson will now claim that the Kiwanis is a racist and bigoted organization.

    At least the Kiwanis can look at the bright side of Henderson's involvement, she didn't grab the Kiwanis corporate credit card and embezzle like she did with the Democratic party.

  48. So why is she leaving the Iguanas?

  49. Arrogance is amazingSeptember 20, 2010 at 7:11 PM

    Pride goeth before a fall

  50. Why is Susan leaving the Iguanas? Her rock got cold.

  51. If it is the job of the City Attorney to "raise questions" rather than give accurate advice and counsel, then the fees for questions should be 1/5 of that for advice and counsel. Questions are everywhere free for the most part.

  52. Susan tried to get her hands on the money that the Fire Safe Council was collecting to fund the emergency AM radio station. The local Kiwanis Club is not a 501 (c) (3) non-profit (their main Kiwanis headquarters is). So local folks who wanted their donation to be used for tax purposes could not given to the project via the local club. Seemed to frost Susan to no end. Lucky for the project that she could not control any of the financing of the project. Have you listened to AM 1630 on your radio dial. During a emergency there will be broadcasts to inform the public.

  53. Probably a good thing she didn't get control of the emergrncy radio station. I don't think the world was quite ready for her brand of talk radio.

  54. Anyone would have to be pretty light in the upper stories to ever let Henderson handle any money.

    This woman is a proven thief, swindler, con artist, she proved that in San Francisco when she abused her expense accounts with the California Democratic Party. I heard Bill Press had to pay her $25K to get out of the way. She probably threatened to pull the race card on the Dems up there.

    Then you have the issue of all the bounced checks she has passed right here in Sierra Madre, which I understand was one of the reasons Katina Dunn had to sever ties with her.

    Then you have the Superior Court judgment against her in Pasadena, where a judge repeatedly admonished her for lying, and lying and then lying. Awarded Katina Dunn a settlement of over $40K that she had cheated Dunn out of.

    Her most offensive move was refusing to pay her housekeeper the $700 she owed her, then mocking the woman's hispanic accent when the poor lady asked for her money. Really scabby, Henderson. You are a cheat and a racist.

    Those are just the crimes I've heard of. Now the poster at 8:47 tells us she tried to get her hands on the Fire Safety Council's money!

    What a crook! Again, anyone in this town that gives this woman money is crazy or another crook bribing her to write lies about decent people like John Crawford, Kurt Zimmerman, Don Watts and MaryAnn MacGillivray.

    Susan would fit well with the city of Bell crooks!
    Her kind of people for sure.