Friday, September 24, 2010

So Do YOU Believe In Coincidence?

"Coincidence is the word we use when we can't see the levers and pulleys." - Emma Bull

Sierra Madre Community Redevelopment Agency signs began sprouting up like toadstools on a freshly fertilized lawn yesterday. Downtown, in the so-called "Montecito Shopping & Arts District" (beware for the safety of your home any time your neighborhood is hung with a moniker that has the word "arts" in it), and just about the entire area that is covered by Measure V. Something that evoked in the minds of many area residents memories of not too long ago when this very same redevelopment agency was being employed in possible eminent domain seizures of private homes so that the Downtown Investors Club could make a little extra dough selling condos.

Now on the surface of it this rash of CRA signage wasn't as bad as it seemed. Apparently the State of California requires an update and review of local Community Redevelopment Agencies every 5 years. And Sierra Madre's CRA hasn't undergone such an update since back in the 1990s. What those cryptic looking signs were saying is that there's going to be a "study session" taking place on October 12, and this was the way the City wanted to invite you to the party. Helpful information regarding this confab will be available on the City's website next week. People should plan on attending because Sierra Madre's CRA goals over the next 5 years will be up for discussion.

Hopefully getting rid of the CRA will be one of the options being offered. After all, the CRA is just another City of Sierra Madre money pit serving no useful purpose whatsoever. And as we all know, the less money this City's government has to spend, the better off we'll be.

But is this where the conversation should end? I am not so sure. Because there seems to be a certain pattern developing here, one that now looks to be crossing from mere coincidence to a distinct and carefully planned purpose.

Any changes to the CRA cannot be accomplished without 4 out of 5 City Council votes. Those are the rules. Kind of like when John Buchanan tried to sell the city parking lot behind Howie's to the Downtown Investors Club and couldn't because he didn't have the 4 votes necessary to do it. If the CRA needs to be somehow changed from whatever it is now, that is the only way it can be done.

So if this CRA deal needs to be rejiggered every 5 years, why hasn't it been done since the 1990s? And why now? Was there something special about this moment that seemed appealing to some folks?

Which also brings to mind the Water Rate Hike. The now largely discredited notion that rates needed to be raised nearly 40% because suddenly everything is falling apart was, at first, the intended driving force. On May 17th, which is the day the legally required notices were sent out, it was those old 1920s pipes that took the brunt of the blame. And not the somehow unmentioned $23 million in accumulated water bond debt.

Of course, those pipes have always been from the 1920s, which means they have been old for quite some time now. So why the burning need to levy higher rates in order to spend millions to replace them today? Especially since the water bond sale of 2003 had raised $6.75 million, a tidy sum that should have been used to repair a whole lot of these problematic pipes already?

The Skilled Nursing Facility. It has been in pretty rugged shape for quite some time now. And it has also been the subject of some considerable controversy, with the usual suspects attempting to fix the blame for its condition on their political foes. But after 5 or so years of entertaining offers from people that would have turned the place into a needed Urgent Care Center, now all of a sudden one of Southern California's top home developers shows up wanting to turn the property into tract housing. Does anyone really believe this is a coincidence? That they just showed up without having had any prior discussions whatsoever with Joe or John?

All of this just seems rather ... sudden. So were these matters squirreled away for a City Council having certain viewpoints on these matters? Or is it all just a coincidence.

The Sierra Madre Police Officers Association Vs. Our Tough As Nails Negotiator

The Police Officers Association, an amalgam of about 100 local Police Departments from throughout the Southern California area, is recognized as being one of the toughest and most ruthless negotiators in the public employee union racket. Their coercive and hard nosed tactics have been discussed on this site before, and they ain't beanbag. The last time they roared through town we ended up getting stuck with a 100% Utility User Tax increase in order to pay for the wretchedly negotiated outcome. Now that deal is up and the POA is back for even more of our money.

So who has been sent in to negotiate on behalf of the taxpayers? Is it a consultant who specializes in difficult labor negotiations? Are the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem rolling up their sleeves and getting down to the nitty gritty of banging out a fair deal with so ruthless an opponent? I mean, it has got to be someone pretty tough, right?

Not exactly.

It turns out that the person who is handling these negotiations for us is Elisa Weaver, our Director of Community & Personnel Services.

I mean, Elisa is a nice lady and all, and certainly goes about her business with both purpose and panache. But as our negotiator with the POA? So why isn't the Mayor or his brain John Buchanan involved in this? Are they distancing themselves from what they see as a certain loser, and instead setting up City Staff to take the fall?

I am just a little astonished. You also have to wonder, how will they be peddling the tax hike this time?

Trouble On The Water Walk?

My fifth grader informed me at dinner last evening that all the students in his school have been invited to accompany Mayor Joe Mosca on the Water Walk taking place this Saturday. Now the last time I checked he wasn't a rate payer, and therefore his presence on this journey of discovery wouldn't really mean that much to him. He is pitching this Saturday for his Fall Ball Little League team, so he wouldn't be able to attend anyway. Baseball being a far higher priority in this household than hanging out in some funky old pump house with Uncle Joe Mosca.

I asked my son if his not going would be a problem, and he said I needn't worry. This water walk is in no way mandatory at his school, and if you have something better to do you're free to pass it up. And apparently almost everyone does since only three kids in his class are planning on attending.

I guess it is pretty bad when you can't get adults to show up for these things. But when even elementary school kids are dissing you, then you know things really have reached the end of
their proverbial rope.

Pasadena Star News article on the Amos/Jensen shooting settlement linked here.

(Photo courtesy of Neuroblast Films.)

52 comments:

  1. ....and here we go.....you who voted for your Joey....are you havin fun yet?

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  2. Why would a school be taking sides in a political controversy like the water rate increases?

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  3. I feel so sorry for MaryAnn MacGillivray, having to sit on that council, with these awful people.

    Same goes for our city clerk, Nancy Sue Shollenberger.

    What Buchanan and Mosca and the bobbleheads are doing to Sierra Madre is tragic.

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  4. Like so many cities in California, Sierra Madre is just another CULTURE OF CORRUPTION.

    Seems like only the Tattler people are telling us the truth.

    Thank you, John Crawford and Tattlers for exposing these criminals.

    I only pray the citizens will wake up and do something about this before it's too late.

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  5. So is the city now working on those road and sewer bonds already?
    If so, when will it be made public? Or will that be yet another thing
    we'll find out about on The Tattler first?

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  6. If we do find out, 7:48, it will be because the Tattler exposed their latest and most horrendous SCAM, yet.

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  7. The Gooden School which is an excellent school for very talented kids is closely associated with the Church of the Acession. That is why the children were invited for the water walk. Remember Bamburger lying about Maryann? The church is a hornet's nest of Joe, Josh, and John supporters. It is a shame they are trying to use the kids to get to the parents. Kids have better things to do on Saturdays than hear some old wind bags lie about a water system. Play Ball!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  8. The Gooden School is an excellent school for children who's families can afford to send them to an excellent school. PERIOD. It should be a model for schools everywhere. Now, about kids learning where their water comes from... if MaryAnn MacGillivray were taking the kids on a water walk would it be interpreted as some sort of subversive learning experience?

    Is it necessary to politicize Sierra Madre's children? I thought kids and families were off limits on the Tattler.

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  9. Mosca going to schools asking for bodies to fill out a photo op for the Mountain Views Skews is an act of desperation. Nobody is going to his dog and pony shows, so now he's dragooning kids. Ridiculous.

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  10. Hmmmmm,
    I noticed that sign yesterday while walking the pups. It raised my hackles instantly when I saw the acronym CRA and noted that the geographical area it included was quite large. What exactly are they up to, and to what end?
    Oh, and did anyone notice that the Pasadena Star News had an article about the officer involved shooting here in Sierra Madre? It appears, surprise, that the city insurer settled for an undisclosed sum. A sum that does not have to be approved by anyone in our city government. Wonder how much that will cost us?

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  11. Jokes of the Sierra Madre Honors Dinner last night

    Nancy did not show up....

    John was also a no show....

    Joe Mosca mispronounced all of the famous jockey and trainers that the MC had worked with. It appeared he had not even read the information beforehand. So insulting to a wonder lady.

    "Police Chief's Special Award presented to an individual who has demonstated outstanding dedication to DUTY in resolving a community law enforecement-related issue" ....went to an officer who rearranged the detective department. (LOL)So much for criminal activites, life threatening, and dangerous duties.

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  12. Anonymous and proud of itSeptember 24, 2010 at 8:20 AM

    Saw many of you at last night's Awards Dinner at the Villa. It felt good to be among a group Tattlers working so hard for positive change in Sierra Madre. Sure, there were those from "the other side" but overwhelmingly hard working Tattler volunteers fighting against over development and pointless expenditures of taxpayer dollars.

    Hope to see even more of you next year! Join something this week. Put your voice where your money may be spent.

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  13. FYI, another city event which was not attended by Sierra Madre City Councilmember Dancin' Nancy Pants. The invitations were in the main six weeks ahead of time, so what's her excuse this time?

    Oh, I know. Buchanan wasn't there either! No one to give her clues. Oh I mean cues.

    Can a resignation be far off?

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  14. Watching Nancy's Pants is a big job.

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  15. Too much poppin' at once... are we the intended victims of an attempt to distract us? We're interested in what happened to the bond money in 1998 and 2003, are we not? CRA? Warmington-Fuzzy Estates? Montecito Artsy Fartsy Work-Live High End Development? General Plan Update? We're going to have to divide into focus groups, Tattlers!

    Keep your eye on the dollars...

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  16. So many shenanigans, so little time.

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  17. Amos discovered a Nissan Murano that was reported stolen and had it towed to a police garage at the city's police station. When officers began inventory of the SUV's contents, they were surprised by movement in the cargo area and Amos fired a shot through the rear hatch, according to the district attorney's review.
    Less than a minute later, Amos opened the hatch and Jensen fell out of the car on to the floor, unarmed, the review stated.


    Now that the record is out there for everybody to read. Do you feel that a police officer should shoot through a rear window at movement he can not distinguish what it may be?
    It turns out that may be Sierra Madre Police Policy, they (SMPD) are suggesting they would like to have fought it in court, all the while letting their city's agreement giving the JPIA final authority in how cases are handled

    They (SMPD)like talking out of both sides of their mouth.
    Neuroblast Films

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  18. Sierra Madre's gang of 4 and their grandiose plans are all part of the big plot by developers/crooked pols and other lunatics in this State.

    Anyone catch the John and Ken show yesterday, KFI 640?

    They are on a crusade now against SB 375. It's even worse than we thought it was!

    Anyone who gets the real facts on this and the implications? You are a LUNATIC if you still are in favor of this BS. A LUNATIC!

    Even your "green" pals on the San Francisco planning commission, have exposed SB375, they did a study, it will destroy the economy of California. Groups like the California State Legislature and SCAG and other destructive organizations like the gang of 4 on our city council support this nonsense. The goal is to get everyone out of their cars, into 9 story high rise "condos" and the tax will be so high to buy gas or use our roads, plus they want us all out of our homes, so we don't have to drive anywhere to work.
    If these LUNATICS get their way? Life as we know it will cease to exist, and it won't be because California used too much "green house gases".

    The Tattler has exposed this ages ago, long before the mainstream press got a hold of it.
    I even heard the San Francisco planning commission's report on a local TV newscast.
    Hopefully, this will get out everywhere, and it will be stopped.
    Hopefully.

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  19. more baffle mints pleaseSeptember 24, 2010 at 9:04 AM

    Wait a minute.
    We're required to update the CRA's Goals and Objectives, its Visions as it were, every 5 years, and we have not?
    Can we start with the fact that the CRA was a hustle from the get-go, that it was a federal handout Sierra Madre got in line for, probably under false pretenses?

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  20. To answer the Tattler question of the day:

    No, Crawford, I do NOT believe in coincidences.

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  21. Yahoo 8:59! The economy of California has already been destroyed! Wake up. Who do you have to thank? Why those who voted for Arnold, of course.

    Gas or road taxes? Thank those who support big oil! 9-Story condos? The BIA, the redevelopers and the realtors.

    Don't want to play? Don't live in a condo. Don't sell your car. Vote down every tax and bond issue.

    Now if you really are against all of the condos, high taxes, and "green" there are some really great deals on real estate in Georgia and a lot of folks who think much as you do.

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  22. The Mayor and his Brain are not going to be in the negotiating hot seat.
    They didn't get where they are, or stay there, by being dimwits about PR.
    In fact its safe to say that PR is their greatest strength.
    A city attorney should be handling the negotiations. Oh no, maybe not.

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  23. It's hard to get a handle on the CRA's goals and objectives when all of their negotiations are done in secret with no minutes of their closed-door shenanigans.

    We could ask for a list of their real estate holdings in Sierra Madre for starters, and what they've sold off as an encore.

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  24. well maybe the 5th graders will make sense of what Joe says, he certainly acts that age at Council meetings

    what a sleeze bag, using kids to push his political agenda and we all know Henderson will be there to take a picture for her toilet paper paper

    what's next? is he going to borrow a dog for a photo op?

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  25. 8:10. You're completely missing the point. I didn't read anything in John's article that was disrespectful of the children who attended Gooden or Gooden itself. On the other hand, Joe using children for a photo op is politicizing them!

    P.S. Maryanne wouldn't ask fifth graders to walk with her for a photo op on a Saturday morning.

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  26. For those of you new to this blog... Joe Mosca borrowed a friend's dog and took a picture of the mutt for the cover of his campaign flyer.

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  27. Is there any hope? Any hope that the residents of Sierra Madre will see the truth about this Mosca and the rest of the gang of over development, money gouging wonks.

    People who voted for Mosca, Buchanan,et all, do not want to admit they were wrong.
    I voted for Gov. Arnold, and it was painful to admit that I had been so mistaken.
    I feel others in this town feel the same way about Mosca et all, after reading the truth exposed.

    It's hard to admit we were wrong...but we need to get over it and move on in the right direction.

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  28. In only five months of the current council's reign, we have had: an outrageous water rate proposal, a request by the mayor for a "study" by public works to come up with city-wide road assessment districts, the SNF sold to a housing developer to build dense housing in our commercial district, an upheavel of the General Plan Update Committee, two council members openly accusing volunteer committee members of favoritism and bias, a city council that is micromanaging the whole process of the General Plan update, and now -- before the public has a chance to voice their vision as to what they want for Sierra Madre during the General Plan Update meetings, there is a call to review the CRA district. Coincidence? I don't think so.
    This is a well-planned effort with experts behind the scene who have been waiting to get the majority on the council who will be working for them. The voters who so avidly supported the gang of 4 were duped, plain and simple.

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  29. I have an idea. How about we get volunteers
    to negotiate with the SMPOA? That was nobody
    but the residents will be to blame. The
    resulting tax increase will then be our own
    damn fault.

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  30. ANONYMOUS at 9:45

    This is the best post of the day!
    Tattlers! Please copy this, print it and pass it out to everyone you know.

    Brilliant, 9:45
    You speak for us all. Thanks!

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  31. neuroblast, where is the info on the Amos shooting?

    should make for interesting reading about the incompetence of out PD or at lease Amos

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  32. for those that voted for Josh Moran, sorry but that was a very stupid vote. unless you are a realtor or can benefit from the construction of downtown

    Moran publically stated that he wants to appoint his friends to committees

    He is a loan seller and is in real estate, as is his Mom.

    He's pushing to build as much as he can so he can flip houses for sales commissions.

    We've elected a gang of sleeze bags.

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  33. I'm sure there are some who know they made a bad mistake, 10:07.
    I hope if anyone who voted for the "moron" or Joe or Nancy or Buchanan and feels they may have made a mistake, please post on the board, join the Tattlers and let's right the wrong.
    Hey, we all make mistakes, just move on-in the right direction now.

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  34. Joe is on a mission to screw over Sierra Madre so he can pad his resume with big city experience.

    I sort of wish he'd never moved here.

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  35. I ran across a quote today that is relevant to today's blog.

    "Eighty percent of success is showing up."
    - Woody Allen

    So, everyone show up at the CRA study session on Thursday, September 30th at City Hall 6:30.
    Be prepared to voice your opinion on what you want to see for our downtown's future.

    The meeting is on Thursday because it was on the agenda last council meeting but at 11:00 there was no one there to participate. So, it was continued to a study session. They will be formally considering it at the Council Meeting on October 12th. You need to show up and get involved before the 12th.

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  36. Crawford is 100% correct. There are too many important things suddenly all happening at once.
    Are all of these just smoke screens to hide the water mess and the POA negoitations? Focus groups and committees are indeed needed. Pick your issue and become the expert and share your knowledge will all.

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  37. It is cruel to make council people, sit on redevelopment agency chairsSeptember 24, 2010 at 11:29 AM

    Gird your loins, and grab your farm implements because, Ms. Levin is the lawyer for Sierra Madre Community Development and she has not been real forthright in the recent past. I just looked at the law firm website and they are attorneys for a lot of cities, perhaps you need an attorney closer and less pro development. Less "constitutional meeting" minded as in the water rape heist. But the city attorney is always the cities attorney. It is a shame, as the citizens are the heart. Remember you are concensus voting units, I believe from the jarvis website, the citizens can eliminate the redvelopment agency with a petition recall. So many recalls so little time.

    Onward into the trenches brave tatts.

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  38. About the children's participation in the Water Walking and Talking:
    It could be a valuable field trip if incorporated into the study going on in the classroom, and if conducted by a certified teacher. It could fit in science class, and social studies or government. The idea that Mayor Mosca is qualified in any way to conduct this feld trip?
    Nah.

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  39. Wish I could say yippee 11:29, but when the idea of dissolving the CRA has come up in the past, there have been nagging little details, like we'll have to give back the city hall building, the police department building, the fire station - I am not sure about this, so we need to hear from some of the old timers who were around when SM said "hell yes" to the CRA, an organization that was created to correct community blight.
    Anyway, it's not just a petition - its a petition and millions of dollars.

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  40. 11:38 am, you're correct! However, we're not obligated to take any more CRA money and we need to stop immediately! We don't need any more bond debt - not for infrastructure, not for road paving, not for nothing! We need to pay as we go! We need to downsize the SMPD; if we're going to pay the SMVFD, we need to outsource to a competent fire organization; and we need to stop hiring employees!

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  41. @ 10:03
    You can click on the "neuroblast Films" name in the comment section, or The Tattler has provided a link at the end of todays article.
    Thank you for your intrest.
    Neuroblats Films

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  42. In the four short months since becoming Mayor, Mosca has done everything in his power to advance the "big development agenda."

    Case in point: Mosca's focus has been on financing or refinancing -- through actual or proposed utility taxes, water fee increases, sewer bonds and other assessments -- the infrastructure necessary to support development.

    If Mosca has his way, the City's already enormous debt will grow at an accelerated rate. And, we the taxpayers will be responsible for the onerous debt service.

    We will not be paying 10 or 20 dollars more per month for utilities and other City Services, but several hundred dollars more!

    I can't afford to subsidize development to advance Joe Mosca's political career. Can you?

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  43. Let's ask that Sr. Citizen who addressed the City Council and proclaimed she trusted the Council Members "explicitly" to service the debt.

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  44. No, I can't 1:40, I guess some of us will have to move out of town.
    I guess that's the idea?

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  45. No other city requires its citizens to pay "several hundred dollars more" for utilities. Who's going to move into Sierra Madre to pay more in utilities than where from where they have just come? And when Sierra Madre declares bankruptcy? Who will then want to move here when the state takes over? It's crazy, that's what it is...

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  46. Well, before you stop considering the coincidences you might be noticing, remember that it's general plan time and that the CRA is not exempt from the General Plan. In fact, I suspect the Gang will use the CRA as an excuse/reason to tweak the general plan. And the CRA will never be "lost" by this particular Gang of Four because it is such a convenient method for them to spend City money on development projects. Or should that be "re-development" projects. It's not going away. In fact a Public Records Act request to the Community Redevelopment Agency about its money and spending, etc. might be revealing. You'd think.

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  47. Read the last sentence on the sign announcing the CRA considerations. The "study session" is on the 30th. There is also A mistake in blog 10:26. The study session for the CRA is on Thursday, Sept. 30 at 6:00.

    That's the 30th at 6:00. Be there!

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  48. You are so right Dr. Staccato. Nothing should be done with the CRA plan until the General Plan Update Committee has heard from the public and can incorporate the Citizen's views about what they want to see in Downtown.

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  49. next council meeting on the 28thSeptember 24, 2010 at 5:07 PM

    Can't wait for the unveiling of the new GP members, the trusted individuals who will carry the burden of implementing the vision of the CC-1.

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  50. Council agenda is online.

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  51. The one thing I look at in our local newspaper rags is the police blotter. If one thinks we need to "downsize" the PD, read about what crime takes place in our town. A woman was just robbed and KIDNAPPED. We are being overrun by criminals coming to Sierra Madre. I've lived here my whole life. Each day I hate what Sierra Madre is becoming thanks to the people who voted in our brilliant city council. To not have our PD would almost make me want to up and move. Wake up. Sierra Madre is a perfect target and it will only get worse. I don't want a Sheriff. I want a Police Department.

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