Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Neighbor Writes In About the Sierra Madre Police Association Fund Raising Letter

I've posted my neighbor's letters here before. He has a certain direct style of communication that - judging by the way traffic jumps on this site when I post his stuff - seems to appeal to The Tattler readership. There aren't all that many topics that send him to the computer keyboard to write in, but the Sierra Madre Police Department is without a doubt at the top of his very select list.

Here is his latest e-mail from last Friday:

Today the wife received a letter from something called the Sierra Madre Police Association. It is signed by the ever charmless Officer Berry, apparently while taking a leave from his regular duties. Like trolling the town's 4 square miles and giving tickets to soccer moms for going 33 in a 30 mph zone. Or writing up an entire Sunday service of the faithful for not curbing their wheels. Or working to shake another union contract out of the city council, which is apparently committed to showering our officers with still further government goodies.

I guess I should be thankful that Officer Berry took leave of these shakedown runs to write his letter. But wait! The letter is itself a shakedown, seeking donations for whatever it is the Sierra Madre Police Association does. Please note, the donations "may not be considered tax deductible" because the Sierra Madre Police Association is not a charity. In fact, the letter does not refer to any charitable use at all, indicating only that a donation will allow one to "assimilate with the good name of the SMPD." Oy!

Let me be clear, it is foolish for our city to spend over 50% of its general fund budget on the SMPD. Our city is smaller that La Canada Flintridge, has only half as many people as that town, and does considerably less business. And yet La Canada Flintridge pays $1.5 million a year less for police services than Sierra Madre. I will not add to that foolishness by sending $250 to a police officers' union or its controlled "Association." I guess the family will have to live without the "SMPA Custom Plaque and Lapel Pin."

Now get your kids out of my office as that HALO game is giving me a headache.

It so happens that we here at the Maundry Compound also received the same letter my neighbor so thoroughly skewers. As recent victims of a crime wave that seems to have overtaken Sierra Madre lately, we are very attuned to policing issues. That it took us three visits to the SMPD station to get a police report on our "incident," a requirement for getting paid by our somewhat reluctant insurance company, did not leave the best impression here. Since we never got any of our stuff back the least we should have received is some halfway decent service.

But that is neither here nor there.

Having read Officer Berry's letter, I would like to offer him a couple of suggestions. First of all, if you are claiming that some of the money is going to "strengthen relations by and between the SMPA and several local worthy groups and charities," you really should point out the groups and charities involved. There might be something there people will find very appealing, and make them more likely to mail you a check. But there also might be a group or charity involved that people would not find to their liking. You owe it to those whose money you wish to take to allow them to know exactly how it will be used.

That you also state that donations are not tax deductible is something that detracts from the charity message you've mixed into this appeal as well. Is there a charitable connection or not? When asking people to send you money you really do need to be as upfront as possible.

And then there is this:

Possession of Support Decals will not reflect preferential treatment during enforcement contacts, but will allow the bearer to go through any green light in town!

We here in Sierra Madre have no green lights, nor any red ones for that matter. By leaving this statement on the letter template you give the impression that your appeal is a generic multi-city form letter, and not something that was specially created by you for the residents of this town. It undercuts the sincerity you attempt to convey elsewhere in your letter, making the overall presentation seem rather impersonal and perfunctory.

My guess is this form letter was supplied to Officer Berry by the home office of the SMPOA's parent organization, the Police Officers Association, and is something designed to help identify those persons in town who would support the SMPD in their current negotiations for a new contract with the city. Which, considering all that happened in Sierra Madre during the previous negotiations in 2006, is not exactly the happiest of pictures.

We would be remiss if we didn't follow up on the AOL/Patch story

Another big traffic item here on The Tattler recently was our coverage of a news website that had shown up in town recently, Sierra Madre Patch. And the rather interesting fact that this site is a fully controlled creation of Aol, the corporation formerly known as America On Online of "You've got mail!" fame.

Now today, November 16, is a very momentous occasion in the history of Aol because this is the day Time Warner finally cuts it loose. In what was probably one of the most harebrained mergers ever, "AOL Time Warner" became a laughingstock of the corporate world, and went on to cost the adult partners in this arrangement vast sums of money.

In its current incarnation Aol is trying to transform itself from being a company dependent upon internet subscription billing for its cash flow, to one hoping to become a highly profitable venue for advertising. Such as Google and Yahoo. Which is why Aol has created over 500 local advertising platforms called "Patch" all across this great land of ours. Aol has predicted that this and related website ventures will go on to generate over $20 billion dollars in revenue for them in time. A pretty large number that will take an awful lot of Charcuterie banner ads to hit.

So how are things working out for them, here on the day of Aol's rebirth? According to ADWEEK, not as well as hoped.

Aol Ad Revenue Plummets in Dismal Q3 - Firm's advertising revenue plunged 27 percent compared to the same period a year ago (Nov 3, 2010): Like President Barrack Obama, Aol chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong is finding out that change hasn't happened quite as swiftly as he might have expected, despite the hype and optimism surrounding his arrival on the job.

Aol's advertising revenue plunged 27 percent in the third quarter compared to the same period a year ago, while display advertising slipped by 14 percent globally and 8 percent in the US. That marks the third straight quarter that Aol's display business has trended southward even as the overall display ad industry enjoys a solid recovery.

Come to think of it I have yet to see any advertising on the designated Sierra Madre version of Patch. It is probably much too early to make this kind of call of course, but could we be looking at yet another untenable business model from the once mighty Aol?

I guess time will tell the tale.

There is one other criticism of the Patch business model that needs to be mentioned. In some cities it has been pointed out by longstanding independent community websites that Patch editors do a lot of their research on-line, in particular by reading their competition. And that rather than independent news producers they function more as information assimilators dependent for their content upon the very sites they now compete with for advertising.

One such incident involved charges of non-attribution, and received notable coverage on the LA Weekly.com site. That story can be accessed here.

Bill Coburn Just Can't Seem To Help Himself

Just when it seemed like Bill Coburn had embraced the light and rejoined humanity, he turns around and tells one of the more significant whoppers of his career. Which, when you consider his brutal assaults on Nancy Shollenberger, MaryAnn MacGillivray, Don Watts, and just about anyone who dared to support Measure V, is saying a lot.

The occasion of his latest slide into the murk begins mildly enough. In a recently posted "editorial" Bill proclaims that MaryAnn's opinions might actually have some validity. Now this may seem quite shocking and controversial in some of Sierra Madre's more outre' circles (Susan Henderson, for one, couldn't have been pleased), but Bill seems to believe he has a "Nixon Goes To China" thing in effect, and can make such dangerous claims and still get invited to Bart's house for martinis.

And in a Machiavellian way Bill's analyses is fairly sound. His notion that the dogmatic opposition of the G4 to anything MaryAnn proposes actually empowers her and her supporters is not without merit. Of course, that observation could have been coupled with the fact that Joe and the Gang haven't done all that good a job of running this city, but it wasn't.

Look at it this way, these guys have a 4 to 1 majority on the City Council, and yet they just can't seem to get anything done. We're now into the seventh month of the Joe Mosca regime, and can you name a single worthwhile thing that he has accomplished as Mayor? Anything?

I didn't think so.

You could say without fear of contradiction that the G4 has a negative knee-jerk reaction to anything MaryAnn MacGillivray proposes. Which could have a lot to do with Joe's unprofessional tendency towards personal resentment. But it must also be mentioned that they also have a certain penchant for making poor decisions, in spite of MaryAnn's suggestions. Even she cannot overcome so intransigent an incompetence.

Then Bill had to go and tell his whopper:

Further, the Council had an opportunity to quiet some of the critics (and there are many) that claim the Council/City staff had misled the ratepayers by "hiding" the water bond debt that most of the rate increase is intended to cover. Now I have to kind of disagree with that, because these bonds have been around since 1998 and 2003, and they are addressed in the annual budget. They also were not passed by previous councils without the public being informed. Nothing was hidden.

Now how Bill could claim that anyone reasonably well-versed in these matters would believe that $19 million dollars in water bond debt can be hidden out of sight from the citizens is beyond me. Maybe Bill thought it might be under the same mystery rock he claimed Nancy Shollenberger hid city paperwork when he was out there trying to give people a reason to vote for Karma Bell?

But what must be recalled here is that when the water rate hike was first proposed, and then communicated to the ratepayers of this city through a legally required notice 45 days prior to actual implementation, the reason given was old pipes and water infrastructure repair, not bond debt. Anyone who can recall Bruce Inman trudging around Memorial Park on the 4th of July weekend will tell you it wasn't a box of bonds he was lugging with him, it was an old rusty pipe. And when 200 or so folks were inveigled into taking the Water Walk, it wasn't the subject of bond debt that they heard discussed much at the pump house. Rather it was old rusty pipes and cracked dams that were the featured topics.

To say that opponents of the water rate hike claimed that the city had engaged in a vast lunatic conspiracy to hide $19 million dollars in bond debt is both intellectually dishonest and absurd. The real charge has always been that the G4 City Council, and those who work for them, decided against including any mention of bond debt in their explanations for the need to raise water rates last Spring. Even though it was. Instead we were told it was all about pipe repair.

It was the City's unwillingness to level with the rate payers about the real cause of the water rate hike that has caused so much concern in town, not the strawman conspiracy defense that Mr. Coburn has cooked up.

Good luck with the damage control, Bill.



  1. maybe I'll put an penny in the return envelope for the police shakedown request

    instead of the PD claiming glory for donations to local charities, I'll just make them myself

    and I'm still a waitin for old Green Jeans Buchanan to explain the 7 million dollar library remodel he claimed was necessary to rebuild the water pipes

  2. I can name one thing this council has done.

    The council is a lot more civil.

    No wait, that has not happened either.

    This council, especially Moran and Walsh, who ran on the campaign of bringing civility back to the council have been the nastiest bitter spiteful and unfocused Councilmembers we've seen in a while.

    If Mosca gets his way, he'll have a legacy of ruins to leave behind as he peddles his career somewhere else.

    And Buchanan, we are in serious trouble with this guy. He is hell bent on having his name on a plaque somewhere, regardless of the cost and the boondoggle of the project. Maybe we can dedicate a toilet or two to him and he'll be happy.

  3. Maybe one of the charities Officer Berry is talking about in his letter is the one to send Josh Moran to Decorum School?

  4. I think that any tax money given to the Sierra Madre PD is charity. Don't
    they already get 52% of the general fund?

  5. Why do I sense a shake down in the air...

  6. So let's see, if we don't send Officer Berry checks we might start getting more tickets?

    Would that be possible?

  7. It is very helpful in controversial matters, such as the motivation for the water rate hike, to have things written in black and white for all to see.

    The council made a very, very bad decision and did not come forth with the need to pay the bond debt as the motivation for the increase until they were forced to.

    Bad choice in a town where people care about transparency.

  8. If you've been following the water rate heist discussions, you know that there WILL NOT BE ENOUGH MONEY TO DO ANYTHING OTHER THAN "SERVICE THE DEBT" and build a small reserve.It was complete BS that it was for the pipes.It is to SERVICE THE DEBT.That was not clear at first.

  9. Nothing the gang of four tells us is on the level. It is always what
    they think we want to hear. There is always an agenda.

  10. Curb your wheels AND keep a disposable camera in the "glove" box. Carry your copy of the daily paper with you as you leave the house. If you get a parking ticket, document the scene. Set the paper by the car and take the photo (the keeping of a disposable camera is good for all traffic accicents outside of SM, too).

  11. I thought the "go through any green light" was the POA trying to be cute (did not pick up on the generic aspect of that comment) as we DO have fractions of green lights to go through with their "cute" permission: 1/4 green, yellow, red at Orange Grove and Michilinda, and 1/2 green, yellow and red at Baldwin and Michilinda.

  12. fed up and then someNovember 16, 2010 at 8:11 AM

    Are the citizens responsible for allowing Sierra Madre to go down so far into debt that we cannot climb out of it?
    The idea about a representative democracy is that a few people are trusted to look out for the many.
    If the many make the wrong choice, and are not up to the full time job of monitoring the council, things like this happen.
    It would be nice if Coburn would interview the people who decided to set us on this disastrous course to hear how they explain it.

  13. John, you probably already did this research online but the Police thing sure looks fishy. Kenneth Berry seems to be a real Sierra Madre PD guy but the rest of the campaign is a mass-produced form letter thing used by dozens of cities with perhaps sinister intent.

    You can see


    etc etc etc

    Interesting article on the phenomenon at


  14. 8:13 - no I didn't see any of that at all. Great catch!

  15. Tattler, I always dread your police articles, because people want to argue that speed laws should not be enforced and 50 cars parked on a hill do not need to turn the wheels to the curb.

    And I look forward to the police articles because 52% of our budget is a real problem that we need to fix. Don't see any way around it, except to do what La Canada does, better and smarter than we do.

    So how about if residents obey the traffic laws, and we contract out for police services?

  16. Sierra Madreans for Sane Financial PracticesNovember 16, 2010 at 8:21 AM

    The Sierra Madre Police Department is a luxury that we can't afford.

  17. Good idea 8:11. It would be interesting for the ex-banker Rob Stockly to present his case for steering the city into financial ruin.

  18. Mod?
    Give us a highlighted links so we can access this article better?




  19. You can tell when the G o' 4 is upset about something. Articles
    defending their problem start showing up on Coburn's site and
    in the Looney Views News.

  20. Poor AOL. Poor Patch. It just doesn't work to try so hard to be cool. Somehow the real creativity took a hike a long time ago.

  21. Read the following in the Sierra Madre Headlines sidebar item.

    He would say only that Martin is being investigated in connection with, "multiple burglaries and thefts in the greater Sierra Madre area."

    "Greater" Sierra Madre area! LOL! Maybe we need multiple area codes now. No wonder we need so many cops, there is a greater Sierra Madre most of us have never seen!

  22. The problem our local patch editor has is AOL corporate ties the hands of people like him. Patch is a vehicle for getting advertising. Therefore the last thing it would ever want its editors to do is offend people. So everything is rosy and lovely there. Which makes it more of an infotainment venue than a news source.

  23. We got that letter from the SMPD.
    We used to always send a donation check.
    This time we tore it up.

    The SMPD, except for Chief Marilyn Diaz, couldn't get jobs any where else.

    Diaz lives in Sierra Madre and does care about the town. More than we can say for most of the rest of them.

  24. Hey Crawford, long live your journalistic independence!

  25. I agree 8:53.
    I do think we should get the sheriffs and give upon the SMPD. but I hope that Diaz can stay on in a supervisory capacity.
    She's a solid pro and a born police officer.
    Diaz has had to push water uphill too.

  26. About that Bill thing. Bill has an interest in any infrastructure funding, He represents Bauman Engineering. He probably received use and benefit of the last funds. I saw him at the council meeting forum, he is a real go for guy, "yes sir do you want me to do a poll at the chamber? Yes I will rally the chamber," gawd if he wasn't human you could toss him a dog bisquit or chicken feed. Scraps of money you know. 100,000.00 to infrastructure is nothing. I got an estimate for 25 thousand to pour a simple 20x30 concrete porch, 4 porches persay and no more infrastructure money. 900,000.00 to payment on bond debts, means bond debts durrrrrr. Structural Engineering companies would benefit greatly in rusty pipe non and/or replacement activites. He seems to be a stand at attention guy and go to man for a lot of interests.

  27. From the OC-Register.com

    Venezia: What's up with letter from Newport police association?
    June 09, 2010|By BARBARA VENEZIASo what's up with the letter Newport residents received from the Newport Beach Police Association asking for money?

    If you called the number on the letter, you heard a recorded woman's voice saying,

    "If you have received a letter from the Newport Beach Police Association, it is a legitimate program." You know, that just didn't do it for me.

    What is the NBPA, anyway? I've written articles about the NBPD Employees Association and the NBPD Management Association, but neither name's listed on the letter. When I finally talked to David Syvock, president of NBPA, he said it is the new name of the NBPD Employees Association. Maybe someone should have included that tidbit in the letter.

    The website, policedonations.com/newportbeach, also puzzled me. Clicking on it, I found nothing more than the letter. Why wasn't the official site of newportbeachpa.org listed?

    I did some online research to find the owners of policedonations.com/newportbeach. Turns out it's not the cops, but a company called New Equity Productions with a P.O. box in Newport. According to their site, nepmail.com, they're a direct marketing firm specializing in police officer, deputy sheriff and firefighter associations. In other words, they're paid solicitors. Here's how it works:

    New Equity takes printing and mailing expenses right off the top. Then there's a percentage split between them and the association. What percentage? No one would share that info, but I've seen professional fundraisers take as much as 60 percent. Wanna bet New Equity comes out with more dough than the cops do?

    The original letter states that they're raising money to "encourage professional development." Doesn't the city already do that? In their labor contract (memorandum of understanding), there's the master recognition program, compensating officers for years of services and special skills they acquire, with four master officer levels and increases in salary. There's also an education incentive program and scholastic achievement pay.

    The letter also states that money will be used for "recognizing employee valor." The association already contributes to the Chamber of Commerce police breakfast each year, in which police officers are honored.

    "Enhancing community outreach" was also listed. Huh? One thing that NBPD is known and loved for is the wonderful community outreach they already do, Neighborhood Watch program being part of that. Call the department anytime, ask for an officer to speak with your group or organization, and they're great about it. There's also the Newport Beach Explorer program, which is outstanding for Newport's youth.

    Here's my take on the situation. The association was sold a bill of goods by New Equity and lost control of their message. Cops are sharp people. They should've anticipated uncomfortable questions would be raised by this letter. My guess is that they're not going to see much out of this campaign, but New Equity will come out ahead. NBPA should start a PR clean up effort, quickly, with Newport residents.

    In their defense, this association does do good work donating to many charitable organizations and city-run functions. They assured me that no money raised would be used for political endorsements or lobbying. And that the timing of this letter had nothing to do with current city labor negotiations. Syvock told me that police associations around the state do this kind of fundraising and that he saw nothing wrong with it.

    Freelance writer Barbara Venezia's opinion column appears online and in The Current every Friday. Email BV at bvontv@earthlink.net

    "Thanks for risking your lives so that my family and I can enjoy OURS!"
    - Joel Swintowski

    Appears in the form letters from all the sites listed

  28. I don't feel sorry for "soccer moms" who get tickets. I once saw a soccer mom run over one of the canes of a Climb person who was trying to cross a driveway. The soccer mom was in an SUV so she probably couldn't see the end of the cane but she could see the blind person using it.

  29. No more crazy talkingNovember 16, 2010 at 9:38 AM

    This Bauman Engineering? "Since the 1950s, Hanns Baumann and Baumann Engineering have been providing innovative solutions to simple and complex design problems. From retaining walls to high-rise structures, Baumann Engineering has provided engineering for hundreds of clients over the years. Specializing in seismic engineering with an emphasis on concrete, Baumann Engineering has worked as well with steel, wood, polymers, even hay. Baumann Engineering or its employees have over the years been recognized or won awards for bridge design from the Army Material Command, steel design from the American Iron and Steel Institute, Project of the Year from the American Society of Civil Engineers, Orange County, innovation in design from the Civil Engineering Research Foundation, and more."

    You're saying Bill Coburn has a stake in bridge building in Sierra Madre? Who knew?

  30. The city council and city staff presented a reason for the water rate hike that was an ancillary reason, not the main reason.
    How on earth can that be defended?

  31. Like this 9:38?
    "“Since 1999, Bill Coburn has designed websites for Baumann Research and Development Corporation and its subsidiary Baumann Engineering. ..."

  32. 'The Coburn Group' does marketing and Public Relations.

  33. Coburn designs websites for Bauman, he doesn't build bridges. Either between the banks of a river or between the polical factions in this town.

    He's been in the developers' pockets for years.

  34. Oh, please 9:43. Can you cite one project that Bauman Engineering has been involved with in Sierra Madre? I think it's a stretch from designed websites to insinuating malfeasance by an Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce. Or wait! Is he somehow directing the City Council and the City Manager to give Bauman Engineering preferrential treatment in bidding on the non-existent water infrastructure projects? I had no idea Mr. Coburn was so influential.

  35. So when Bill shows up at GPUSC meetings and makes a great show of interest in the goings on, is he there as an interested provate citizen, or a PR guy doing a job..

  36. I could be wrong, wouldn't be the first time, but I thought Coburn is working for a living, and part of his job is to show up at meetings of all kinds, and represent the businesses that pay him.

  37. Faux Joel Swintowski FanNovember 16, 2010 at 9:58 AM

    So in other words Mr. Faux Joel Swintowski, the SMPD - principally Officer Berry - has lent it's name to a scam, complete with fake quotes and vauge references to charitable work. Excellent work Faux!

    The fact that the Union Assoiciation's take from this scam is only 40% does not absolve SMPD or Officer Berry from the fact that they are participating in it. Nor does it answer what they are doing wih their 40%.

  38. I have no love for Coburn, particularly how he treated Watts, Alcorn and Crawford (with his bogus fire dept. article) in the MVN. But he now seems to be genuinely advocating for the businesses, who overwhelmingly signed protests. Only time will tell if he will turn on the citizens and go back to his old ways.

  39. As in other years, the Police Association letter went right into the trash without being opened. It should be on the scam list that is created for the Sr. Citizens. It's those people that fall for such an appeal. At least the Fire Assn. gives back to the community, although for the life of me I have not yet been able to figure out why they don't donate to the fire department itself.

  40. Who are you to tell me I'm too old to spot a scamNovember 16, 2010 at 10:29 AM

    I'm a senior citizen. I didn't fall for it. the POA letter that is. How come senior citizens are always portrayed as somewhere between addled and drooling? This town has some of the most involved, vocal, and savy seniors anywhere. Give us a break.

  41. Within minutes this morning I have an interesting set of facts in hand. The power of electronic communication. Now I can shred the Police Association letter, removing not just one piece of junk mail, but one more lie of omission from my life.

  42. Probably older than you saidNovember 16, 2010 at 10:33 AM

    Keep looking out for me Tattlers.

  43. You can bet I won't be donating to the Fire Assn or the fire department. Not until they issue an apology to MaryAnn MacGillivray. And to John Crawford, Pat Alcorn, and Don Watts. Nor will I eat their rubbery pancakes, nor support any of their projects that come before the City Council. Not until Bamberger, Keith, Lowe, and the rest of the "old boy" a**hats are too old to drive the toys.

  44. Bill Coburn
    Executive Director at Sierra Madre Chamber of Commerce
    Demographic info
    Greater Los Angeles Area | Marketing and Advertising
    Current:Executive Director at Sierra Madre Chamber of Commerce, Principal at The Coburn Group Past:Operations Manager at Baumann Engineering Education:Monrovia High School

  45. Are you sure you've got the right Baumann Engineering? Bauman Engineering is an infrastructure company; Baumann Engineering has something to do with transmission (as in auto and truck) design. You left out the fact that his brother in law is a volunteer fire man. And I think once he may have kicked his dog.

  46. Whatever his affiliations are, Coburn was 100% incorrect when he said that nothing was hidden about the bonds.
    Until the public said nineteen million dollars for infrastructure is craaaaazy, the council did not talk about the bonds.
    The bond debt that will bring down Sierra Madre was waiting backstage while the pipes danced in front.

  47. We brought this up on the Tattler on 4/27/2010 around the Tracy LetterNovember 16, 2010 at 11:13 AM

    Nothing personal just looking at money angles

    From his own website


    Coburn Group Announces Debut of New Construction Technology E-zine Website Sierra Madre business The Coburn Group announced the debut of a new E-zine website focusing on the design and construction industry, called Construction Technology Today, located at constructiontechnologytoday.com. The new website, designed and maintained by The Coburn Group, will feature both original and linked/referenced content of interest to those in the design and construction industry. The site will bring together articles of interest into one location, so surfers won't have to visit 6 different websites to get the information, they can find it all in one place. The debut issue features articles regarding a bridge rehabilitation project in New York, a paper by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute on the risks of tsunamis to California coastal cities, a construction event calendar, and much more. There is also a links page with links to the websites of dozens of design and construction organizations. Bill Coburn of The Coburn Group (yes, that's me) who spent several years as Operations Manager for an Orange County Structural Engineering office, will serve as Editor for the new E-zine. Publisher of the E-zine is Hanns Baumann, Structural Engineer and holder of several US and foreign patents for construction industry products, and principal of Baumann Research and Development Corporation in San Clemente, which has a 40-year history of assisting inventors with developing products for the construction industry. Use the links above to find out more!!

  48. I don't know about most of you, but this citizen wouldn't have known anything about the bond debt withouten for Sir Eric.

  49. The Gang knows they've been called out and exposed, and now they're scrambling for a suitable fairy tale to tell the residents.

  50. Some people think chutzpah has a positive connotation, as in bold, or mischievous self promotion, but the word really means an arrogance that shows a kind of obliviousness. The SMPD has a lot of chutzpah to ask for anything from us.

  51. 6/4/03)

    Coburn Group Announces Debut of New Construction Technology E-zine Website Sierra Madre business The Coburn Group announced the debut of a new E-zine website focusing on the design and construction industry, called Construction Technology Today, located at constructiontechnologytoday.com. The new website, designed and maintained by The Coburn Group, will feature both original and linked/referenced content of interest to those in the design and construction industry. The site will bring together articles of interest into one location, so surfers won't have to visit 6 different websites to get the information, they can find it all in one place. The debut issue features articles regarding a bridge rehabilitation project in New York, a paper by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute on the risks of tsunamis to California coastal cities, a construction event calendar, and much more. There is also a links page with links to the websites of dozens of design and construction organizations. Bill Coburn of The Coburn Group (yes, that's me) who spent several years as Operations Manager for an Orange County Structural Engineering office, will serve as Editor for the new E-zine. Publisher of the E-zine is Hanns Baumann, Structural Engineer and holder of several US and foreign patents for construction industry products, and principal of Baumann Research and Development Corporation in San Clemente, which has a 40-year history of assisting inventors with developing products for the construction industry. Use the links above to find out more!!

  52. Like I said, I don't care about the affiliations. I just care about the spin about the spin, the following of misinformation with more misinformation about the misinformation.
    Guess it's all in a days work for PR.

  53. 9:49 I cannot tell you anything without seeing the actual invoices. With the light of corrupt auditors in the paper recently, and the city council who must read the Tattler to know allay fears with the "audits" they mentioned, who the heck knows. Nobody on the Tatt, has seen the previous bond distributions have they?

    Who got the contracts? We found a city audit hidden by misnaming on the internet, where are the other documents you guys asked for that you are still holding your breath to get? Who got the money on the previous bonds. So an auditor just checks money sums, the pieces of the puzzle are who got the work. Structual engineering is not limited to bridge building, heck the money could have gone to a group of dentists they do bridges (tongue in cheek, another Coburn thread)

  54. What do you think about the Roski/ City of Industry and the AEG LA Staple Center football
    fight? I think AEG LA might win. It may be possible that all football fans might have to take transit to the games. It is possible that Roskis, Arnold is my friend governor juice, is dried up. The Pacific Palms group, is in an uproar. And it looks like the NFL is favoring LA. Shucky darn it is like a football horse race.

  55. I'll bet if you go down to the Hart House at lunchtime and ask the seniors there if they contributed to the police assn. you'll find 80% said yes. The other 20% of us keep up on things and know when a scam is a scam. Even my neighbor age 88 who is very active in volunteering for the city donated until last year when I clued him in. Us seniors are not drooling, but oft times clueless. hmm I guess you can say that about the majority of Sierra Madre Citizens, can't you.

  56. Do you think it is possible that
    the "charity" involved here is
    raising money to pay for the lawyers
    they use to sue us?

  57. Yes you can say most Sierra Madreans are not paying attention 1:36. But I think the seniors can get stuck in time warps too, and believe in values that are no longer a part of the community.

  58. Maybe I'm naive, butNovember 16, 2010 at 2:16 PM

    Isn't anyone here shocked that the officers of our Police Department are using the same "charity" scam that door to door magazine salesman use? At the very least, the letter is deceptive. Shouldn't we expect better of this from law enforcement?

  59. OMG! Door to door magazine salesmen. Aren't you dating yourself a bit? Is there such an animal anymore? Maybe there's more droolers than it appeared at first...

  60. Yes there are still door to door magazine salesmen - but they're door to door magazine sales teens, herded together into motels, dropped off in areas with quotas to fill, armed with the lines, "Hi I'm your neighbor and I'm trying to save money for college, and I live just around the corner...."

  61. I wonder where the money goes.

  62. The Devil Is in the DetailsNovember 16, 2010 at 3:22 PM

    When I think of engineering and design I think of Coburn's website with one word: Pristine!

  63. High spirited intelligent people resist foldingNovember 16, 2010 at 5:48 PM

    A search of into the fold,

    In Reply to: Into the fold posted by Paul Dean on March 28, 2006

    : What is the meaning & origin of "into the fold"? as in welcome into the fold, or come into the fold.
    : Thank you. Paul Dean

    The dictionary (in this case, dictionary. com) defines "fold" as
    fold2 n.
    A fenced enclosure for domestic animals, especially sheep.
    A flock of sheep.
    A group of people or institutions bound together by common beliefs and aims: "He is a living testament to the wisdom of admitting lay psychoanalysts into the official fold" (Jerome Bruner).
    A religious congregation: The priest welcomed new parishioners into the fold.

    Many religions (and other organizations) demand sheep-like obedience from members. It promotes coherence, and assures the control of the shepherds.

  64. The Water Bonds were the best kept "half truths" for over 4 years. The true total costs by the city administrators was never communicated to Zimmerman or Watts while they were on the Council, That, you have to thank John Buchanan, Lisa, and his boy Coburn, and his" True Lies", web site.
    You have to remember Coburn's role in the whole DSP conspiracy with all those who made a quick exit from Sierra MAdre to keep "reputations" intact.

  65. 8:16 Good point. Coburn made much of the fact that the audits reflected the water bond debt in 06, 07 and 08. Of course, those audits were not completed until Kurt Zimmerman became Mayor in 09.

    Thank God for Kurt.

  66. But....the water department is separate from the general fund and most of us are focused on the general fund for our information on how the city is going financially... The general fund audits that Kurt and MaryAnn insisted on having done have nothing to do with the water bonds.

  67. Innarestin' observation, 11:10. So maybe before we go letting the Gang of 4 raise our water rates we should ask for a Water Dept audit be performed first?

    Sounds fair to me.

  68. What a shame the city in the bubble is full of people that all they do is complain and criticize city services, and when asked to contribute they feel offended. Stop complaining.

  69. The best city government is the one where those whose taxes float the boat are intimately involved. We employ and pay people to perform certain services for us. Those people have the privilege of working for us. It is our job to keep an eye on them.