Friday, November 12, 2010

Adam Schiff Wants to Bring In the Feds ... and Other News

There is an interesting Frank Girardot article up on the San Gabriel Valley Tribune site today. Apparently newly re-elected U.S. Representative Adam Schiff is a little concerned about the level of corruption that has been seen in some of the Los Angeles County area city governments, and he thinks it might be time to bring in some Federal Prosecutors to help straighten things out around here.

Here is how the article reveals its essence:

U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Pasadena, Thursday called on federal prosecutors to examine political corruption in Los Angeles County.

Schiff, himself a former federal prosecutor, said the U.S. Attorney's Office has a variety of tools to use against local governments engaging in fraud.

"A much more rigorous focus is obviously merited by events," Schiff said, pointing to statutes that target ripoffs of taxpayer dollars. "Some of these cases are difficult to prosecute (at the local level) and where the U.S. Attorney does very well is chasing it down."

No word from Los Angeles District Attorney Steve "Hero of Bell" Cooley's office on whether or not they have been particularly lax on these matters, therefore requiring the help of the U.S. Department of Justice. Though things certainly have gone south in this regard during Mr. Cooley's tenure.

I wonder, would deliberately misrepresenting the reasons for a water rate increase to a certain city's rate payers be seen as something requiring the attention of the Feds?

Jerry Brown takes an inappropriate vacation

The local ABC News affiliate in Sacramento, News 10 - KXTV, is reporting that newly elected California Governor Jerry Brown has antagonized many of his Latino supporters by taking a post-election week of R&R in a place where they believe he probably should not have gone.

After a long, hard-fought campaign, Governor-elect Jerry Brown said he would take a vacation before tackling the enormous job of fixing the state's problems. Brown said he would take a week off, Sunday to Sunday, then return to Sacramento.

The Sacramento Bee is reporting Brown took his vacation in Arizona, the state that passed a controversial immigration law seen by many, especially Latinos, as racist. In protest, numerous California communities voted to boycott Arizona until it rescinds the law.

Brown said throughout the campaign he opposes Arizona's law.

At a Mexican-American Veterans Day celebration near the Capitol Thursday, there were many Brown supporters. Some thought it was a slap in the face for the new governor to choose Arizona, since Latinos overwhelmingly supported Brown this election.

"Traditionally, the Hispanic voters have supported Jerry Brown and they certainly helped put him over the top this time," said Daved Pacheco, who voted for Brown. "It's offensive. I wouldn't go to Arizona now for anything."

No word if Governor Brown, a man celebrated by his supporters for his fiscal frugality, got a good rate in that tourism starved state.

Following up on the news from El Monte

We would certainly be remiss in our obligations to The Tattler's loyal readers in El Monte if we didn't cover this one.

You might recall that a while back we took considerable joy in covering the demise of something called the El Monte Transit Village. Also known as the Billion Dollar Bus Station, it had all the looks of a vastly expensive example of the kinds of "Transit Oriented Development" that is spoken of with such breathless regard by the likes of our Mayor, Joe Mosca. Apparently it his dream that we - not him - give up our cars and enjoy the subtle commuting ambiance of Metro buses.

Only there was a situation. It turns out that the project's then developer, Transit Village LLC/Titan Development, had a problem with its executive leadership. It appears that two of key figures there were being investigated for such unpleasant behavior as fraud, embezzlement and theft. A minor difficulty that caused the entire project to sink back into the primordial ooze from whence it came.

What made this notable for the Sierra Madre reader is that a former mayor of this town, Bart Doyle (a gentleman now celebrated for his role in the 2003 Water Bond mess), was an executive at Titan Development, and served in many ways as that project's spokesman. Mr. Doyle, a nagging voice here in the relentless movement to redevelop Sierra Madre into something chintzy, crass and overcrowded, was not among those fingered in the probe, however.

Things are never quite perfect in life.

However, it appears that this fabulous bus station and mixed-use condo array has once again risen from its ashes. And it is being done at some considerable expense to the taxpayers of El Monte, of course. A city not noted for its budgetary providence.

This from sgvtribune.com:

El Monte takes on $22M in debt to advance transit village - The City Council took a $22 million leap into debt Tuesday to advance a long-promised development project that could one day surround the El Monte Transit Center.

The council voted unanimously to allow El Monte to issue $21.8 million in bonds to fund the relocation of the city's public works yard from its current site by the transit center at santa Anita Avenue and Ramona Boulevard to a vacant property across Valley Boulevard.

The move will open up 5.5 acres near the bus station that city officials hope are destined for greater things: the El Monte Transit Village, lately dubbed the El Monte Gateway Project.

Damn nice of them to help out like that.

In what I am certain is only related in the most coincidental way, the new developer for the Billion Dollar Bus Station, Primestor Development, recently became a member of the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership. A place of considerable local importance in the redevelopment world, and where Sierra Madre's very own Bart Doyle has long served as a figure of some influence.

Happy Friday to you!

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

62 comments:

  1. Holy Moly! You'd think Sierra Madre was akin to the five points in New York. It would seem so with gangs of developers, real estate agents, all doing the bidding of of Boss Tweed aka Bart Doyle, raping and pillaging from one end of Sierra Madre to the other. When will all of this cease?

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  2. I am hoping Adam looks into the financial relationships of the Doyle Council's members to the LLC's created for the downtown development scheme. Then we will see who has violated the law and trust of the people. LLC'a are a great
    way to hide one's investment identities.

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  3. Honestly I have wondered where the Feds have been for a while now. Obviously it has been a case of the LA County foxes running many henhouses for some time. Eliott Ness, where have you been?

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  4. "Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison."

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  5. Not that impressed with the resistanceNovember 12, 2010 at 8:00 AM

    Why would Adam even be aware of such a relationship if he didn't have some inside information? It'll take a disillusioned whistleblower to get any attention. In spite of what appears to be graft and incorruption because half of Mayberry doesn't like the same breakfast cereal that the other half likes, cities with demonstrable millions of dollars in malfeasance will get investigative priority.

    Sitting at the kitchen table with your coffee blogging is not the same
    as standing at the podium on Council night. Railing while sipping your decaf at Beantown isn't the same as writing letters to the City.

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  6. Are you suggesting that people actually drink decaf at Beantown? To say I'm offended by your assertion does not do justice to the emotion, 8AM.

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  7. Is Karma (thank God she didn't get elected our city clerk) Bell, still a secretary at Bart's Titan Co.?

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  8. A resistence needs to be organized. Any leaders?

    And for those of you who eat the other breakfast cereal, I have been a rebel and a fighter for at least fifty years, and that has taught me not to walk into battle alone without a strategy.

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  9. Maybe the current calamitous financial and the highly publicized corruption of California communities has attracted the needed attention it deserves.Maybe it is time to contact our Representative and ask him to seek federal help in combating this Cancer of corruption as well.My complements to Representative Schiff for doing his JOB!

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  10. Davie Drier is the rep who sends his minions to Council meetings to congratulate the Council. Try sending your entreaties for investigations to him. I'm sure he wouldn't want to be aligned with a criminal element siphoning off the taxpayers monies.

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  11. Corruption in the kind of public/private relationships is as old as old as this country, to the point where even the laws are slanted in favor of it.
    Nobody asks why the residential segment of the populations should be asked to subsidize development in the form of "water bonds", (additional resevoirs, etc.)
    The residents get stuck with the necessary infrastructure costs to subsidize development.
    Once they get higher density in the downdown, don't believe them for a minute when they shift to rezoning square blocks of R-1 neighborhoods.
    Doyle, on more than one occasion has eyed the canyon as his next target.
    Why do you think Watts wanted to turn the canyon into a historic district?
    If we don't resist this, you might as well plan on moving to another state.

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  12. David Dreier has always been helpful to Sierra Madre.
    He is a friend of MacGillivray. I believe he arranged for now councilmember Nancy Walsh to be flown home from Mubai when she was with the group of tourists trapped in that hotel that Islamic terrorists attacked? I know MaryAnn asked for his help when she found out Walsh was one of the victims.

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  13. Bart was the Chief Operating Officer of Titan.
    Wherever he goes, bad things happen.

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  14. Expecting gratitude from Nancy Walsh would be like asking a goat to write a dictionary.

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  15. I wanna dream big - how about a whole town as a historic district?
    The canyon, Montectio, the hillsides, downtown, and next door to you, all need to be protected.....from the people who see town as a potential ATM.

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  16. David Drier is the book end to Barbara Boxer - somebody who got elected and just stays there.

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  17. The corruption in Sierra Madre may be small potatoes next to the corruption in larger places with more money, but it is still corruption, it is our corruption, and something stinks in our financial history.
    I am fed up with the councils telling us we're going to lose so forth and so on unless we pay more. Let's just lose so forth and so on and see where we are.

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  18. Not that impressed, this great blog has been invaluable in getting information out, and keeping the resistance workers in a healthier frame of mind by giving us a chance to articulate outrage and emotional frustration.
    Mr. Moran on the other hand uses the meetings for that, and see how it turns out?

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  19. If the Feds clear up the heavily corrupted cities, the ones remaining won't seem so "acceptable."

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  20. 7:39, yeah it does seem overly dramatic, but in many places in America the struggle between good and bad has morphed into a struggle between the development/realty/mortgagebanker consortium, and the people who want someplace to live.

    Some years ago there was an article in Time or Newsweek that caught my eye. It was called "Once my home, soon a place like any other" written by a young man, from Tennessee I think, and he was talking about how the loss of the hillsides where he was. I remember feeling lucky here. That was before Stonehouse and Carter.

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  21. I found the article online. It's called "Once Unique, Soon a Place Like Any Other"

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  22. Bring in the Feds!
    When Zimmerman was going to run for council, people would say "Who is he?" "Is he trustworthy?" And the answer that convinced most people to vote for him?
    "He's a federal prosecutor"

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  23. I wish more people would have realized that Bart Doyle was a lawyer for the Building Industry Association.
    I wish more people would have realized Mosca and Buchanan are attorneys/or marketing people for energy companies.
    Buchanan's "green" bs is just that bs.
    Electric cars? What do they make the electricity from? Coal. Oxymoron.

    Stop electing Sierra Madre officials with any connections to Bart Doyle!
    No brainer? You betcha.

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  24. We need outside muscle to combat what is going on here.This is not to demean the efforts of everyone who shows up at City Council or those who express their outrage on this Blog.There is no hope,regretfully. in changing the direction of the current regime towards massive urbanization subsidized by misrepresentation,deception and fraud upon the residents.We need to explore every means available in order to check this calamity from happening.They are currently unstoppable;they hold the Power!

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  25. Warning on my water bill beware of men pretending to be water employees..November 12, 2010 at 10:31 AM

    There is no phone listed for Titan in El Monte, per the 411 operator. Titan went Bankrupt and the property El Monte thought was collateral is held under the Leung Family Trust. El Monte is so upside down another 22 million does not matter, The new developers, the main group are heavy hitters from Chicago, juiced by a sitting president that is from Illinois. The Leungs are heavy developers in Florida, Doyle is not Boss Tweed Antonovich is. The Feds could have prosecuted Leung and Doyle, but passed it to the locals, they had to give it to Cooley. Cooley declined to prosecute. I believe it was because it would expose the immigration investor program and they could not embaress the Dept of Homeland Security. The group at the Court building on the day it was either charge or release representing Lang and Leung mentioned a Grace as in Did you talk to Grace, does Grace know.. Just recently a political figure mentioned having a friend named Grace who invited the figure to a movie and would the figure mind if Leung just showed up. My advice was not to have anything more to do with them, the figure said that grace had a different last name, I pointed out that John S.K. Leung used that same last name on the fraudulent bond documents used to finance Pacific Towers as in the contractor who wasn't licensed by the state contractor license board
    and still managed to pass himself off as a legitimate contractor becoming a receiver of 6.500 mill in bonds supposedly checked by Fulbright and Jawaroski. You would expect Leung who strongarmed and defrauded his own investors and the city would not hold an esteemed position in the SGVMWD would you? Go Figure, and your city fathers and mothers just refinanced with them oh joy, Isn't Doyle pushing the Pasadena school thing, did not your school just take 75 thous from them? Do you really think Doyle and Leung aren't still together? Shan Kwan was in a mountinviewsnews story explaining the water rate increase to Pasadena residents.

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  26. Brown may have gone to Arizona, or Brown did go to Arizona?

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  27. I am not blogging where Godwin's law is applied, it is imaginary and I get that enough in politics. The application of Godwins Law to stop a political discussion on a political blog is an oxymoron. Socialism is being backed by unions and the UN. If a blog invokes godwins law it becomes part of the big lie.

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  28. Looks like El Monte's a goner, but really, once that bond merry go round gets going, what choice is there?
    Isn't that the same thing we're facing?
    We have to pay, and then borrow more, to then pay, borrow, pay....

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  29. For the first time in history the fed is having to buy it's own bonds back. like an out of control outaboros, the snake eats it's own tail.

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  30. Up there for all to see. The two gentlemen; one an archetecht and the other the owner addressed the Planning Commission attempting to explain why they wanted a monstrosity at the top of Camello for all world to see. Included were a 2 story entry, 9 ft ceilings, competition with a "ridge line", etc., making the proposed home the most visable structure on the side of Mt Wilson (not counting the astronomical observatory).

    The Planning Commission stood its ground and deserves the suport of the Community. The two applicants mutterred "they were not trying to build an "Arcacia type home" and were in complience with their interpretation of the Hillside Management Zone, HMZ" "LOL" (laugh out loud)

    The Planning Commissioners told the two to come back with a "Plan that fit on Camello St and complemented, not detracted, from the hillside.

    Long live the Planning Commission. Long Live the Hillside Management Zone. Long live our Wildlife, Flora, and Fauna.

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  31. From Joesph Wilsons Huff Post review story on Bushes book Decision Points,

    The president appears in this book to live in Htrae, the Bizarro world of DC Comics where society is ruled by the code that "Us do opposite of all Earthly things! Us hate beauty! Us love ugliness! Is big crime to make anything perfect on Bizarro World!" To that might be added: Us hate truth.

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  32. On the "7M Mosca-Buchanan Sierra Madre Public Library". Today's LA Times notes that a recent visit to the huge DT LA Library there were a couple of readers in the large reading room, and more than 70 packing the computer area. They noted the Library of the future will provide computer access to books, documents, maps, etc. both at the Library and accessable from home.

    Fay Angus addressed this at the last CC Meeting, suggesting that an expansion of the current location bringing into to electronic age capability rather than a new ediface would better serve our fair City. Funny how one so old (sorry Fay) has a more up to date vision than the "young thinkers" longing for 7M in bonds to build an already out dated monument to themselves.

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  33. The Sierra Madre Planning Commission voted against One Carter; the City Council overturned that decision. The Sierra Madre Planning Commission voted for the Canyon Zone Ordinance, about to be voted on by City Council on November 23rd -- we shall see.

    But I do agree that the current Planning Commission is one of the most professional, hard working, knowledgeable Commissions the City has had in a long long time. Thoughtful, thorough, and deliberative.

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  34. The pressure from large development corporations and their complicit government friends will only get more intense as the economy improves.

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  35. Glen Springer on carterNovember 12, 2010 at 1:02 PM

    A very interesting subject matter indeed
    as one of the volunteers of the outreach General Plan Update Steering Committee
    I am letting you know this Sunday 11-14-2010 at 2:00 - 4:00 PM there will be A
    General Plan Town Hall Forum
    at Youth Activity Center
    611 E. Sierra Madre Blvd.
    Sierra Madre 91024
    626-355-7135

    The November 14th forum will solicit community input regarding six "General Plan Areas." The areas are:

    1. Public Safety;
    2. Economic Development, Parking, Traffic and TRANSIT;
    3. Resources, Public Services;
    4. Treasures/Seniors, Hillsides, Historic Preservation, Trees;
    5. Recreation, Parks, Library, Special Events; and
    6. Land Use, City Council Approved Housing Element.

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  36. I see question 2. Economic Development, Parking, Traffic and TRANSIT;
    is on the agenda wonder what the General Plan Steering Committee will be steer for on this question
    and which member will be asking the question or STEERING FOR??

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  37. Come and do the steering your own self 1:32.

    This is a chance to get our ideas into the general plan.

    If we see foul manipulations going on, we will expose them.

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  38. 11:34,
    "Long live the Planning Commission. Long Live the Hillside Management Zone. Long live our Wildlife, Flora, and Fauna."
    You know your stuff.
    Thanks

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  39. Our Planning Commission is excellent. They will soon be put through some vigorous exercises too. The plans at One Carter, er, uh, Stonegate are gearing up. Rumor has it that one family who lives in a large, large Arcadia home will be building for themselves, and the rest of the sold lots are 'spec' houses. Built to be flipped.

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  40. I just don't get it why anyone would want to buy at Carter.
    Lots of people hate the development, it's crazy expensive, and the land is disaster prone.
    If I were rich enough to buy and build there, I'd go someplace with a better vibe.

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  41. John Chiang whoop whoop hip hip hooray!!!November 12, 2010 at 2:11 PM

    Mayer Hoffman & McCann, with offices in Santa Monica, San Jose, Irvine etc. are mentioned in the LA times story of the Bell debacle "Audits of city finances often cover up serious problems" It is a great story and of course they point out most of the problems are being found in redevelopment areas/money/bonds. 23.5 million in a non interest bearing acct. So much for clean audits. Missing audits are supposed to be flagged, but even auditors can be bought.

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  42. Anyone remember Arthur Anderson or Deloitte Touche? Is it a surprise that they can be bought?

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  43. 10:37, from news10.net:
    "Brown's campaign staff isn't putting out the fire, refusing to confirm or deny that the Governor-elect is vacationing in Arizona, saying they are respecting his privacy."
    humph

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  44. In Maryland, "Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson and his wife were arrested at their home Friday and charged in federal court with trying to hide or destroy the proceeds from a bribe from a local developer, according to court papers and by federal law enforcement authorities.

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  45. 3:03 So who cares..

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  46. It sounds like the purview of a questionnaire: you know the kind, with ratings for each question from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree. For example:

    The population of Sierra Madre should remain at approximately 10,000.

    The hillsides should be left natural.

    The downtown should remain essentially unchanged.

    The library is adequate as it is.

    Bond debt should be avoided.

    The Police Force should be downsized.

    The UUT is excessive.

    Old trees are part of the charm of the city and should be preserved.

    The MVN should not receive city funds.

    Measure V is essential.

    Wilderness and open space are essential.

    High density is a bad idea.

    Montecito should continue to be used by the artisans already there.

    Less is more.

    You don't know what you've got till it's gone.

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  47. Prince George County 1705,November 12, 2010 at 4:15 PM

    3:02 I care, John Bond Buchanan, "everybody does it" probably cares and someone should grab Doyle's passport

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  48. By golly, 4:12 pm, you've got it! Have we seen you at the GPUSC meetings?

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  49. 3:02, I care, too. It's important to realize that what we're experiencing in Sierra Madre is what other towns across the country are seeing as well. Let's look to their methods of handling to guide us to successful prosecutions. The Grand Jury needs all the help it can get.

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  50. On the Town, the State of California requires the General Plan to be updated every few years. I can tell by your post that you are a truly sophisticated individual and are perhaps above all of our simple efforts to keep our town in slow growth mode. You won't mind if we repost your mantra from time to time to remind everyone how important it is to be vigilant. Old words are just fine, and yours will do, too.

    Yes indeed. You don't know what you've got till it's gone.

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  51. 4:28, state law requires 2 portions of the General Plan to be updated. Just 2.

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  52. Well, the GPUSC wants to do a good job!

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  53. heynonny,
    then let's just update 2....TWO!!!! TWO!!!!!!
    Old Kentucky trusts GP member Teryl Willis. Let her do the updatin'.
    Case closed.

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  54. Every Sierra Madre resident that can ought to put down what they want in writing.
    A real majority voice.
    I'm willing to bet that the people of this town want the town to stay very much like it is. Except for the Dirts and DIC's, but they are the minority, not any bs silent majority. The minority.
    But we have to show up to prove it, and this little event and survey filling out sounds like a pretty painless way to get the record going.

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  55. On the 1 Carter and Stonegate plans, submitted for consideration by the Planning Commission.

    If you can see it from down below, don't build it. If it confuses the wild life, stop it. If a fence is errected tear it up. If streets, driveways, patios deflect and cascade downpours down the mountain, rip them up. If the developer wants water pumped up hill, assign tier 12 with a 3" meter. If the home blocks the mountain ridge line, flatten the home. If the great deity had wanted homes on the side of Mt Wilson he / she would have created nice "cut and fill" spots perfect for home sweet home.

    The fire is coming, The earthquake is coming, The monsoon rains are coming. Who knows locusts may find easy pickens up there.

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  56. Townhalls are necessary for certain funding, looks a a full service town hall, with all those extra goodies. October 7, 2010 The Sierra Madre Tattler did a great story, and another one on September 10, 2010 both on the GPUSC.

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  57. One Carter is cursed, and you, 5:36 are probably cursed too.

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  58. 5:36
    Arcadia allowed "Gold Hill" or "Tight Wad Hill" or what ever they call the eyesore above Foothill and 2nd. The Arcadia hillside is a study of conspicuous consumption and stunted taste. The palm trees & night time flood lights are particullary stunning. At least we know what not to do in Sierra Madre, if we are smart! that is.

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  59. I have a One Carter question. If they have sold some lots up there, why have no houses been built?

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  60. 5:36 gorgeous post.

    6:21, what funding?

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  61. 12:40 search townhalls for grant funding, those little surveys get applied as consent, some grants need three meetings for their funding requiements, it depends on the grant,

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