Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The 2003 Water Bond Debt Is Bad - But Our CRA Debt Is Even Worse

We've been talking a lot about the Water Bond Debt that became ours due to some insane investments made by Sierra Madre's political leadership back in 2003. Initially an interest only arrangement that, with the previously existing 1998 debt load included, accumulates to approximately $23 million in debt over the course of 30 years. With $6.75 million of that being the principle. A huge sum of money for a little town like ours.

But it has now come to our attention that this was not the only debt Sierra Madre foolishly took on back during the Shenanigan Era. There's more. A whole lot more. And there is a good chance that we still haven't found all of it.

But first, a story.

I have to admit to something. Until recently the only reason I kept my Los Angeles Times subscription alive was for the sports section and crossword puzzle. But when they broke the news about the Bell Scandal to the world, I found myself feeling quite appreciative. Because finally Los Angeles actually had a newspaper that was acting like ... a newspaper! That is digging into the rotted depths of what is laughably called government in this part of the world, then flipping it over so that all can observe the decay obscured beneath the false empathy of its corrupt politicians.

And this great newspaper didn't stop there.

Looking into Community Redevelopment Agencies throughout Southern California, the LA Times revealed in an article published over the weekend that hundreds of millions of dollars in public money that was supposed to go towards the building of affordable housing was not being spent on what it was intended for. Rather it was being used for, well, nothing much. Which means that what was uncovered here was a wholesale squandering of hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayers' money. Here is how The Times worded it:

Cities often give short shrift to affordable housing - At least 120 municipalities spent a combined $700 million in housing funds from 2000 to 2008 without constructing a single new unit, a Times analysis of state data shows. Nor did most of them add to the housing stock by rehabilitating existing units ... At least 120 municipalities - nearly one in three with active redevelopment agencies - spent a combined $700 million in housing funds from 2000 to 2008 without constructing a single new unit, the newspaper's analysis of state data shows.

However, as important as that story is, it is not the only issue we're posting about on The Tattler today. Rather it is also about something we found hidden within the on-line incarnation of this Times expose'. Because there inside the web version of this article is a database that details the individual CRA finances of hundreds of cities, including Sierra Madre. And the news is pretty devastating to anyone who cares about this place.

If you go to this link you will be taken to a page that details Sierra Madre's Community Redevelopment Agency finances. It shows an entire amount of $11,960,100. Out of that figure $10,402,975.00, or 86.98% of the total, is pure unadulterated debt. Throw in $1,354,000 in "planning and administration costs," and you can see that there isn't much left for us to do except make the payments.

And if you calculate that CRA debt out at an approximation of the going 30 year interest rates in 2003 or so, and then add both those numbers together, you will discover that our total CRA debt pencils out to approximately $31 million dollars.

Which, when added to our $23.2 million in water bond indebtedness, comes to around $54 million dollars. In other words, fiscal insanity initiated during the heart of the Shenanigan Era have put this City into a financial hole that it is going to be very hard for us to emerge from. Sierra Madre apparently is in some serious long range financial peril. The city was sold out from under us in the early 2000s by some extremely unethical people, and only now is the sheer scope of that financial disaster becoming clear.

I looked up a few other area cities to see if our predicament might be the rule rather than the exception. But apparently our neighboring cities did not opt for the kinds of financial suicide that Sierra Madre's false guardians committed back then.

Monrovia (link here) is carrying CRA debt in the range of $2,223,000, or a fairly low 15.32%. Arcadia (link here), our dear friends down the hill, have $0 in CRA debt obligations. That's right, not a cent of debt. Pasadena (link here), a city noted for its wacky redevelopment excesses, has debt payments on $11,675,000. Which, while pretty large, is only about half the CRA debt percentage that Sierra Madre is afflicted with. And Pasadena, being a much larger city, has greater resources to deal with it.

It is sad to think that all of this debt was run up, yet we got absolutely nothing out of it. $17 or so million dollars was raised, yet does anybody know exactly how it was spent? Or what it was spent on? Did we build a library? A school? Fix water infrastructure? Build an athletic center or retirement housing for our seniors? Affordable housing? A Mayor Bart Doyle copper memorial statue in the Turtle Park with accompanying water fountains generously populated with piping marble love nymphs?

Apparently not. My guess is that much of it was squandered on Downtown Specific Plan related matters. A dismal - though apparently extremely expensive - subprime era redevelopment scheme that later died a much deserved death at the hands of Measure V.

Here is an interesting observation someone shared with me this evening. Sierra Madre lost its bond rating in 2006 because previously City Hall had failed to file the financial information it was legally obliged to send up to Sacramento. In 2010 we finally did get a rating back, though we had fallen from a AAA to BBB ("junk bond") due to this gross malfeasance. Do you want to know exactly when our bond rating returned? About a week before the City Council first threw the prospect of a water rate increase at us. Quite a coincidence. Was the water rate hike part of a deal worked out to get us our bond rating back? And would doing so make issuing further bonds possible? As if enough damage hasn't been done already.

Now I'll be the first to admit that a lot of what is posted here is speculation on my part. But it is a good beginning, I think. And we will be filing a California Public Records Act Request with City Hall regarding the CRA debt disaster very soon. Just like we did with the Prop 218/Water Bond mess. Information that the City has around a week left to get to us.

The people of Sierra Madre deserve to finally know the truth about the damage that was done to their city during the Shenanigan Era. A time when the so-called political leadership of this town committed some of the most devastating financial blunders in Sierra Madre's history.

And it certainly doesn't look like we're going to get much of that kind of information from City Hall unless we use state law to pry it from their grasp.

Which we fully intend to do.



  1. When will the people of this city finally stand up and say "It all ends now" ?
    The people of Bell did. The people of San Diego are about to.
    How much more are you going to stand for, Sierra Madre, how much?
    It's criminal what these 2003 4 shenaniganeers have done to Sierra Madre. Are we going to allow the latest crop of 4 shenaniganeers to continue the devastation of Sierra Madre? I pray your answer is no.

  2. How do Buchanan and Mosca spin their way out of this one?

  3. Where was the Pasadena Star News on this one? Oh, that's right. They never print things that might embarrass their cronies.

  4. Did the BIA and the CAR really finance the campaign against Kurt Zimmerman, Don Watts, Kevin Dunn, Lee Cline's Measure V? Or did they just "launder" that money for the Downtown Investor's Club?
    Was that $170,000 dollars part of the bond dollars?
    Are we the taxpapers going to pick up the tab?
    You got it, we are.
    Only bright spot? The damn DIC's haven't realized their evil plans to make a fortune off of Sierra Madre development...yet.
    What was Bart Doyle, Glenn Lambdin, Rob Stockley and Doug Hayes role in the One Carter sale to MHS?
    Was the real plan to never allow the school, just develop big homes at that now demolished site and also the Heflin property at Stonehouse?
    Lots of questions in my mind, how about your's, readers?

  5. First of all,Thank you John for all your efforts in exposing the fruits of the sociopath rogues squatting on the City Council in '03.When one compares the amount of debt to the surrounding communities,it is beyond shock.So where do we go from here?This is certainly actionable and there is more to come,I fear.There is no limit, no crime and no outrage that sociopaths are not capable of....

  6. No wonder Buchanan's being so uncharacteristically quiet. Both shoes have now dropped - Bond Debt and CRA Debt. But the way I see it is each of the shenaniganeers have two shoes. Many more to drop.

  7. Can you imagine what these nitwits were thinking the night Measure V won? All that money borrowed and spent, and now they wouldn't be able to hide it. No wonder none of them ever ran for office again.

  8. $54,000,000 is a lot of per capita dollaroonies. As I'm seeing it to avoid my $5,000+ share for each of us, it's simply a matter of moving out (if you can find a buyer for your now encumbered plot of heaven on earth).

    We aren't even a candidate for annexation because what city in it's right political mind would want to take on 3 square miles with a $54,000,000 debt and no revenue source to speak of?

    Oh me oh my.

  9. Maybe we can make Bart and Stockley work it off? I think they should start by sweeping the library.

  10. I can still recall the photo on the front page of the Pasadena Star News, the morning after the Measure V election.
    The fist of Buchanan raised in triumph, as the early absentee votes came in (by the way, those are still questionable). Then to find out, the people of Sierra Madre had voted YES on Measure V.
    Mosca had No on V signs in his yard, Buchanan had No on V signs in his yard, Doyle had No on V signs in his yard, Stockley had No on V signs in his yard. Doug Hayes had No on V signs in his yard. Torres, Brandley also had No on V signs in their yards.
    Gosh, now we know why they were so committed to No on V, even though the majority of people in Sierra Madre did not want it.
    How many of you that voted No, now wish you could have changed your vote?
    I know several people who do, including me.

  11. Great idea 6:36 am.
    Also, we can give them a bunch of plastic bags and they can walk the town and pick up dog poop!
    Let's add Lambdin and Hayes to their "pooper scooper squad".

  12. Maybe the Kiwanis could have the boys over to staff a carwash.

  13. Don't worry, Nancy Walsh will hold square dancing contests to raise money to pay the debt off.

  14. Can we sell the Police Department?

  15. After the volunteer fire department in Sierra Madre spread all those lies to defeat the only candidates who were for the people, Crawford, Alcorn and Watts.....these volunteer fire dept people, led by the disgraceful Michael Bamberger, should definitely join the "pooper scooper squad" They qualify to be "honorary shenaniganeers".

  16. Rumor I heard is the poor fire guys were told if Mosca became Mayor they'd become salaried employees rather than volunteers.

    There's one born every minute...

  17. The volunteer fire department will go even before the police go. Mosca and Buchanan knew this as they lied to these chumps.
    We will be using Arcadia. Count on it.

  18. 2003 shenaniganeers?

    Why did you do this to Sierra Madre? How could you do this?

    You will all have bad luck, bad karma, and so will all your accomplices.

  19. Sounds like we're headed for bankruptcy and those who are criminally responsible for the financial ruin of Sierra Madre (Buchanan, Mosca, Lambdin, DOYLE, Stockley, Torres, Hayes and even our little George Maurer) should be arrested and liens placed on all of their assets to recover some of the city's monies they have squandered in their get-rich quick real estate development schemes.

  20. Thank God for the LA Times!! Thank God for the "Tattler"!! The sheer lunacy of developer and real estate malfeasance is laid bare. The tools; a conspiring press, monied investors, lawyers for hire, pro judges, legislators, and a City Administration painted into a corner. Nevermind the ethicacy. The result, money for a few and a City destroyed.

    The Sierra Madre Police must go. The Volunteer Fire Dept must go, The City Administration must be halved. We will have to "outsource" most of what goes on at City Hall

    Evventually the "Fat Lady" does sing

  21. OK,John has done the work..what are we going to do to follow up?Do you not believe the likely hood of further felonies are just around the corner.I truly shutter at the extent of this criminal act in terms of the cost to us and to the reputation of our community.Frankly,we look like idiots..How could we be so D... Dumb!

  22. Pitchforks and torches at the next City Council meeting!!

  23. All those that thought Watts and Zimmerman were joking. Doyle, Stockly, Lambdin, Buchanan and all the others using and abusing the city, can just walk away from what they have done. Some of these good citizens should be doing some hard time.
    As what has been hidden from the public is fully revealed, Watts said you will start to see the rats jump ship.

  24. Seriously, I don't get this post at all. If you look at our most recent audits of the CRA, there is debt of less than 4 million in that agency. All of it in the 1998 CRA bond. Absolutely no other debt. I mean, the whole point of you guys bringing in auditors, is so the auditors can look at the cities finances and tell you where the money was coming from and going to. Which they did.


    The city lost its bond rating because no one had looked at the finances and no one knew what was going on. Then auditors were hired and looked at the cities finances, and now we have 3 years of audits to tell us where we are currently.

    And currently, the CRA debt is below 4 million dollars.

  25. For John and Kurt, whom I have met, and the others I have not, our local heroes:

    It is
    Good to be brave — nothing is
    Better. Food tastes better. Wine
    Is more brilliant. Girls are more
    Beautiful. The sky is bluer
    For the brave — for the brave and
    Happy comrades . . .

    “They lived in
    The days of the good comrades.
    It must have been wonderful
    To have been alive then, though it
    Is very beautiful now.”

  26. Its going to be crowded "under the bus". As Benny Goodman said "Sing Sing Sing". Watch out Walsh and Moran. You are in a swamp. At least your crime is probably no deeper than the Brown Act.

  27. Perhaps we need to start asking politely for certain Council members resignations, and if they decide not to after a few months start a recall. I know this may not be politically correct for the DICs and certain supporters of this mess, but it is time for them to exit stage left.

  28. So then how do you explain the LA Times report, 8:11? The source for them was the California Redevelopment Association Website. Which is the state govt in Sacramento. How do you explain this discrepancy, that is if there really is one?

  29. Methinks we have an apologinista, 8:15.

  30. It is going to be crowded under the bus. As Benny Goodman said, "Sing Sing Sing" Watch out Walsh and Moran, you are in a swamp. At least your activity is likely to be limited to violations of the Brown Act. The others, past and present who knows? The State Attorney General needs to iniate an investigation.

  31. Hmm. 8:11 brings up a good reason for that forensic audit. Obviously when Sacramento and the City of Sierra Madre have such different numbers there must be some sort of a problem.

  32. 8:11? Is that you, Bart?

  33. Oh, right! We shouldn't worry over the difference between $54,000,000 and $$23,000,000. Probably not enough to even get excited about. Stockley's foundation will cover it doncha thing? The real reason Stockley started a foundation? Legal costs for the Shenaniganeers.

  34. Where's the money?Into a slush fund for the builders?The consultants,DSP,fighting MeasureV?In pockets?Where is it?We need an accounting for all these shenanigans by the development elite?
    We demand an accounting on everything.

  35. Leave George Maurer off your list. He was the only one who voted no on the Carter 1 project. He was treated hideously by the Stockley, Torres, Doyle bunch.

  36. Enid Joffee was in one of these City Council groups, too!

  37. How can we get the State of California, Justice Department or the County of Los Angeles Justice Department to audit all these books from Sierra Madre? We are likely to have to declare bankruptcy.
    Is there anyway we can incorporate into Arcadia?
    They can run our city, police, fire, everything.
    But first we have to get rid of the debt. Didn't Orange County declare bankruptcy years ago and survive?

  38. It is time to ask the Atty General and the state to get involve.We need an audit which has always been resisted except by Kurt Zimmerman.Lets,as private citizens,appeal to the State for an badly needed investigation!

  39. Sadly George will be tarred with the same brush. Something about laying down with dogs and getting fleas... Perhaps he will be given a deal to avoid prison...

  40. Did you know the City allocates some of each department's overhead to the CRA whenever possible? Are we borrowing money to pay the employees? Also the City continues to receive CRA money every year, except years when the State keeps it. Also, also some CRA money is now mandated to be given to public education.

  41. I'm just sickened by this latest outrage!
    Sir Eric? What are we to do?

  42. Rocco, help 8:11 find his checkbookOctober 5, 2010 at 9:49 AM

    8:11, you're up bright and early for someone who thinks everything is a-ok. Two suggestions, if the CRAp debt is "ONLY" four million dollars, why don't you just write a check, and then explain what exact bargain you got for your money.

  43. 6:14 a.m. yes those questions are bothering me too.
    What I really worry about is if there will ever be a true investigation of Sierra Madre government and the destructive role played by the pro-development politicos.
    Greedy jerks.

  44. 9:45 Lets bring in the Big Guns....Attorney General for starters!

  45. Spread the word about today's column, Tattlers.
    John C. would you please add the web address to this article? Some people may want to print it and circulate it to others.

  46. All the shenanigan era bodies are now rising to the surface. Zombie debt walks the streets of Sierra Madre.

  47. And we are left with the rape of our hillsides for Carter and Stone Gulch. One can only wonder what corruption preceeded the approval of this travesty. I hope Mosca, Buchanan, and the prior councilmen and women are proud of the desecration of our hillsides. What a legacy they have left us. Tared, feathered, and run out of town they should be.

  48. i'm from MissouriOctober 5, 2010 at 10:07 AM

    City government doesn't have to worry. Just produce the records. Show us you've been honest with all financial dealings.

  49. An earlier poster wrote:

    "Sounds like we're headed for bankruptcy and those who are criminally responsible for the financial ruin of Sierra Madre (Buchanan, Mosca, Lambdin, DOYLE, Stockley, Torres, Hayes and even our little George Maurer) should be arrested and liens placed on all of their assets to recover some of the city's monies they have squandered in their get-rich quick real estate development schemes."

    My limited understanding of these things is that any of the individuals listed, guilty or not, are protected from any kind of prosecution. Comes with being on the council. Somebody help me out there - isn't that so? Or the city attorney has to defend them using our money?

  50. does this mean Buchanan won't be running for a third term?

  51. Would 8:11 please explain the discrepancy in his/her less than 4 million and the LA Times information. 8:11, are you saying the LA Times got it wrong? Made up that number?

  52. hit the mute button fastOctober 5, 2010 at 10:17 AM

    Buchanan might be running all right.
    Can't wait to hear the ponderousness of his introductory remarks to his speech on this one.

  53. Hey wiser readers, is bankruptcy really inevitable for us now?

  54. There's 8:11 the first, and 8:11 the second - looks like 8:11 the first is getting all the responses, but I'd like to say something to 8:11 the second:
    Furthering the slow growth cause by celebrating 'days of the good comrades' - no troubling associations there.
    And since a large part of the positive activism in Sierra Madre is carried out by women, you might want to rethink the girls are more beautiful line too.

  55. 10:17, bet there'll be a "Now folks"

  56. Word out of City Hall is the City Council is going to schedule a "special meeting" on bonds and water. Funny that they would suddenly want to discuss that now. Shouldn't we have been hearing about that before the water rate hike notice went out last May?

  57. 10:47, Oh good.
    Another dog and pony show.
    Or is it a fan dance?
    A dog and pony fan dance show.

  58. A special meeting on bonds & water?
    We need a special meeting on bonds, period.

  59. Bad Karma is not just a nom de plume

  60. More like a greased pig race, 10:52.

  61. A special meeting on bonds & water? Who will be leading the discussion and what will they be discussing? Hard drive erasure and document shredding have left little evidence of just what went on from 1998 to 2003. Perhaps a little historic revisionism with actors portraying the "6 Mayors" each pointing their fingers at the others? Or perhaps five pointing fingers at George Mauer?

  62. The truth shall set you free is not just an empty phrase.
    The residents of this community deserve to know exactly what has happened to their money.
    With accurate information we can, as a community, make the decisions that will take us on better paths into the future.
    I for one do not want to be threatened by bankruptcy.
    My family and I do not conduct our personal affairs in such a risky manner and if the city government has actually imperiled the town this way, the guilty parties must be exposed.

  63. I'll take it a step further: if there is no guilt why do the "parties" not step forward now in a clear and transparent way? What's wrong with a press conference to publicly deny any co-mingling of funds and misuse of taxpayer dollars to fund the DSP? Set down with Elaine Aguilar and Karen Schnaider and recreate the transactions of those three or four years in question? Tell us just how the the DSP and Montecito SP were paid for. Tell us just how senior housing was paid for.

    Save the City a lot of time and a lot of money - just tell us what happened and why.

  64. So there was some kind of criminal who ruined the city records, but the city did not exist in a vacuum. The checks written and cashed, bills sent and paid - the papers of any enterprise - have to be in other places beside the city. If there is any money in the city's accounts, it should go to a forensic audit. Fire half of city hall, suspend all the frills, and put the house in order.

  65. The special meeting on bonds and water will be all about what people with positive attitudes and good decorum must believe about city finances and debt. Anyone not adhering to that line will be considered uncivil and turned over to the appropriate local journalist.

    Kool Aid will be served at the door. Bring a real big cup.

  66. 8:11 There is a newer budget it is dated June 2009, but the auditors official report was released/published on or about January 2010.

    Read it and weep

  67. Where were any of you on Thursday night at the CRA study session?

  68. Hey Durrrrr, got a link?

  69. What'd ya learn 11:21? Everything is fine?

  70. good memory skillsOctober 5, 2010 at 11:37 AM

    One young man who lived around the Carter Destruction site predicted the bankruptcy of the city. He asked the council of 2004 why they wanted to approve a multi-millionaire hillside neighborhood for a city that would be bankrupt.

  71. Let's see how our local rags, I mean Pulitzer Prize winning local papers investigate.

  72. 11:23 Link challanged, but did copy and paste

    Search Sierra Madre audit June 2009 I put in bernaker, because it was so much like bernake.

    Search Results[PDF] CITY OF SIERRA MADRE
    Adobe PDF - View as html
    CITY OF SIERRA MADRE, CALIFORNIA June 30, 2009 TABLE OF CONTENTS Independent Auditors' Report Management ... part of an audit performed in accordance with Government Auditing ...

  73. Good Memory Skills:

    I'm glad you mentioned the Carter destruction site.
    Yesterday's blog had a comment about the crimes going unpublished in Sierra Madre. Homes up on Carter being robbed.
    I wonder if the poor unsuspecting chumps who buy property on the One Carter site know the history.
    Murder on the destroyed property when Dorn Platz had it.
    Some believe a long time Indidan curse is there.
    And of course you have the fact that it is a triangle of death-earthquake-flood-fire
    I'm convinced anyone involved in the willful destruction of that land will have bad luck the rest of their lives. That would include you, Bart Doyle!

  74. Got it Drrrr. Thanks. From page 15:
    "At the end of the fiscal year, the City had total long-term debt outstanding of $3,320,000 for the CRA and $12,216,875 for the Water Fund. Additional information on the City's long-term debt can be found in Note 7 of the Notes to the Financial Statements (page 43 through 47).
    Off to page 43....

  75. Yes 11:57! Just look at what a trouble earlier life Drew Barrymore had after being involved in a development built on a former cemetery! Can't be too careful these days.

  76. 12:06 ain't no movie historian.

  77. Thank you John for this great investigative post. The time has come to tighten our belt as a City and cut back on the expensive "bouquet" style of living and services. Back to basics, until we can get our finances in order. Everyone must sacrifice...

  78. Page 17:
    ...pursuant to redevelopment law of the State of California, the CRA is subject to a separate Compliance Audit and Report that may be reviewed as supplement to this report.
    Is that where the LA Times got its information?

  79. It is time to wind down and dissolve the CRA. Their accomplishments to date are trivial, and for this, we get $4M or $8.5M in debt in addition to the forfeiture of property tax increases for the ENTIRE plan zone. The increase in property taxes above the baseline goes to the CRA, with a set-aside for low income housing (not one unit has been created by the CRA yet), to pay down the CRA's debt, fund its admistration fees, and with the rest, fund its trivial escapades. Here are the accomplishments to date from the draft plan that will be discussed on Oct 12:
    - Offered Facade Improvement Loans
    - Allocated funds to enhance image and function of downtown. Lighting, benches, WiFi in Memorial park
    - Purchased land for affordable housing
    - Purchased land for workforce housing
    - Collaborated with Chamber on civic events
    - Partnered with Farmers Market
    - Suspended commercial overlay zone
    - Adopted an ordinance for downtown property maintenance

    This agency is a drain on financial resources and is negatively affecting the health and well-being of Sierra Madre. We should restrict their activities to the minimum required by law, focus on paying down the debt and dissolving the agency as soon as possible. We don't need a CRA to help with awnings, partner with Farmers market, collaborate on civic events or interfering with the real estate market by purchasing land for subsidized uses.

  80. Durr, trying to helpOctober 5, 2010 at 1:04 PM

    This is the name of the story save it it is hard to find again It is titled Arrested Development as a two part series now. But if you search it, you come up with stories about a TV program. There are two parts and little sub branch stories to it.

    October 3, 2010 |Article
    Cities often give short shrift to affordable housing
    By Jessica Garrison, Kim Christensen and Doug Smith, Los Angeles Times

    There is a database chart next to the story, Sierra madre got a bad red square dot. The story is citing, the entity listed below

    Also, CA. Gov has the redevelopment agency laws under "California Housing and Community Development". Peruse that it is quite informative and states the law by code.

  81. 12:10..Knowing that the brigands are doing time for their misdeeds,will make me consider belt tightening but if our "friends" manage to weasel out,I will happily move away from this sad place.

  82. The L.A. Times and the California Redevelopment Association show Sierra Madre with $10,400,000 in debt. Links are in the Tattler post.

    Go fish.

  83. Two different figures, the auditor's report & the LA Times.
    Somebody splain?

  84. Concensus unit workforce housingOctober 5, 2010 at 1:57 PM

    California Department of Housing and Community Development
    Proposition 46 (Housing Bond)

    Workforce Housing Reward Program
    Total Funds Awarded
    Total Award Amount
    Total Incentive Units

    Los Angeles
    Sierra Madre

    Hey did you build any workforce homes in 2007?

    Workforce is the name for 250,000.00 homes/ condos, (my girlfriend married a big developer in the east coast, that is the new affordable housing watchword for the masses) cause you got an award to build 45 of them?

  85. Is the auditor's number the actual bond debt, the LA Times number the cost of the debt plus all the ineterst - the final cost being close to ten and a half million.

  86. Here is some information on the source of the LA Times- Sierra Madre redevelopment figures:

    "The California Redevelopment Association was established as a not-for-profit organization in 1979. Its name was changed to the California Redevelopment Association Foundation and an affiliated not-for-profit trade association called the California Redevelopment Association was formed in December, 2006. These two affiliated organizations represent redevelopment agencies and allied firms throughout the state of California in responding to legislative proposals and administrative regulations, providing member services, conducting training and professional development events, and providing public information regarding redevelopment law and activities. CRA is comprosed of over 350 redevelopment agencies. In addition, CRA's associate members include more than 300 private sector companies such as financial institutions, redevelopment consultants, developers, and law firms that are involved in the redevelopment process."

    California Redevelopment Association
    1400 K Street, Suite 204, Sacramento CA 95814

    Sounds pretty authoritative to me.


  87. 1:44 CRA is an association, Sierra madre is part of the California Community Redevelopment Agencies under the jurisdiction of CHRA, the state entity. It is the initials, confusing, but your question of the difference is very telling. Could it be the real figures are not being submitted?
    I read in Christopher Story Global Analysis, where he disclosed that Cheney and Bush were selling the computers used by intelligence agencies, right out of the white house with national security information still on the hard drives and intelligence officers were mourning the betrayal because in order to really erase information off the hard drives they have to be rewritten over at least 50 times.

  88. Usually if someone says there is $10 million in debt, that is the principle. If someone asks you what you paid for your house, you'd say $500,000. You wouldn't say you paid $1,500,000 for it even though that is the figure with interest.

  89. Bond Payment Tracking Report
    894 07-WFH-0240 Payment Sierra Madre 5/4/2010 5/12/2010 5/24/2010 6/3/2010 56227 $ 5 6,227.00

    From the California Housing and Redevelopment agency CA.Gov, Just search Sierra Madre

  90. Probably part of the whopping $542,943 payment authorized by City Council on 5-11-2010. Like to see a breakdown of that warrant.

  91. 2:10, did you mean "authoritative" or "bureaucratic BS"?

  92. Too bad the city doesn't have an elected Treasurer. That person could have unearthed all this stuff and shared it with us a long time ago.

  93. 12:58 has a really good plan: Wind down Sierra Madre's CRA

    This could be either the theme of the recall or April 2012 (a general theme of getting our financial house in order is good, but "winding down CRA" is something specific people can understand)

    According to the LA Times database a few other cities (LaCanada, Diamond Bar) have inactive CRAs. Perhaps they learned that having a big pot of money with very little accountability is just too tempting for grifters. Small time city council members are either an easy target or complicit (the LA Times describes both).

  94. 3:28 snark I assume? (I don't know much about George Enyedi -- will he step up or resign?)

  95. First of all we need bond counsel who was not part of the initial bond issuance to review the bonds and their details to verify that they were done correctly.

    Secondly, we need an accountant to trace expenditures of the funds. I'm betting that there was redevelopment money spent on the Youth center and some other stuff, but this should be traced. I think we all have a pretty good idea that much of this is untraceable.

    Thirdly, if the previous two investigations show that the money was generated and improperly used, the people responsible (I am thinking council members and possibly city officials) should be pursued for their role in the process. I'm not entirely sure that criminal prosecution will do. These people should have been bonded and if the city stands to lose money because of their conduct, we should thoroughly consider this. And if it takes special counsel (as in not the same lawyers reviewing their own work, please), it should be done.

    And lastly, watch the response of the current council. Anybody who goes into denial mode should be immediately suspect. We have to ask, what are they trying to protect?

    I do know that Bart Doyle stated in the late 90s and early 00s that the debt was not meant to be paid off, it was all just to be rolled over indefinitely. Leaving the mess to somebody else.

    You have to wonder if he didn't mean to get whatever he could for development out of this town and then leave it to the vultures.

  96. two little scorpionsOctober 5, 2010 at 3:42 PM

    Interesting time for the brains of the gang of 4.

    As the temperature starts to rise will Buchanan and Mosca continue to work hand in glove? The thing is, only one of them will make it to the big time (a tiny place like Sierra Madre can only launch the career of one politician).

    At this point it looks like Buchanan is the hand using Mosca as the leather glove of protection. But when the sh!t really hits the fan maybe their scorpion nature will take over -- that will be an ugly sight to see. Probably won't be in public, but who knows?

  97. I'm for following exactly the plan Dr. S. laid out.

  98. Doctor Staccato!
    Good advice as usual from you.
    They will be trying to spin damage control down at city hall, as I type this.
    Sure of that.
    This is very interesting, everyone stay tuned.

  99. George Enyedi is our elected treasurer, I understand he has not been allowed to do anything as far as finances go except sign the checks. Don't anyone ever cast a dark light on George who has more integrity and is more honest than most in the City government.

  100. Hear hear 4:21.
    Criticizing George is just sour grapes.

  101. If George was precluded from doing the job as he saw fit he should have resigned - at a press conference.

    Can we naot criticize an elected official who is not doing the job they were elected to do?

  102. 4:21

    Blind faith in politicians is what caused these problems. I don't care if they're your friends. How much more damage needs to be done before you realize that?

  103. Awesome thread today, Crawford and posters!

    I also cast a vote to follow Staccato plan. The Doc knows!

  104. 4:21 and 4:31, did we elect George to represent our interests or so he could win more awards? I have nothing personal against him but he could be far more helpful if he'd tell us what the City wouldn't let us do...

  105. Dr. Staccato is exactly where we need to be! However, the plan as outlined requires a considerable outlay of buckaroonies. Who's willing to step up and contribute a sizeable check to put the plan in action?

  106. Salvatore Tessoro III ran against George Enyedi for City Treasurer in the last election. I can assure that if Mr. Tessoro had won we'd know a lot more about the CRA funds and on that which our treasure was spent.

  107. In the last days of City Administrator Jim McRae's employment in Sierra Madre a group of three citizens, including George Enyedi, met with a state auditor to go over what they had discovered with the city administrator mingling funds and not following state law on filing city financial information. Later, George was volunteering his time to help the new city administrator get the city finances in order. Guess who, as mayor, dismissed George, saying the city did not need his volunteered services: BART DOYLE! That same major/councilman was instrumental in hiring the finance director from West Covina when she was on administrative leave who is now suspect in destroying city records when she was asked to leave the building. The suggestion that George Enyedi should resign his post as elected City Treasurer is premature.

  108. George Enyedi is a very good guy.
    He has always supported the good people on the city council, like MaryAnn MacGillivray, Don Watts, Kurt Zimmerman.
    He supported John Crawford and Pat Alcorn.
    George is honest, generous and decent.

    Any one who Bart Doyle doesn't like is a friend of mine, anyone who is a pal of Bart Doyle is suspect to say the least.

    To call for this fine gentleman to resign is petty at best and downright jealosy at worst.

    You make the call.