Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Sierra Madre Patch Stands By Its Man

Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the folks responsible for the Sierra Madre Patch have now stated that they believe the report submitted by Justin Chapman on our water rate woes is accurate and in need of neither a retraction or correction.

Patrick Lee, an AOL/Patch employee whose responsibilities include overseeing many of the Patches in this area, posted the following on The Tattler yesterday at around 10 AM:

Hi all: This is Patrick Lee, the Regional Editor of Patch - I am John Stephens' editor. We've looked into the claims in this story, as well as some made by commenters on our original story. We stand by Justin Chapman's reporting and story.

And then, around a half hour later, John Stephens posted something very similar to the person he reports to at Aol/Patch:

We have looked into the story and stand by the reporting of Justin Chapman. We welcome any additional comments that Tim Bittle of the HJTA may wish to add regarding this issue.

No further explanations on exactly why they have chosen to defend the erroneous reporting of Mr. Chapman, or how exactly his article in any way even glanced upon the concept of reality was forthcoming throughout the day. Apparently their approach here is to pronounce that because they said it was right, therefore it must be so.

Now this is a bit perplexing to those who still believe that news reporting should at least attempt to adhere to concepts like "facts" and "accuracy." Chapman published an article claiming that the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association declared that the Prop 218 process on the water rate hike here in Sierra Madre was done properly. Yet when Tim Bittle (the guy who runs the legal shop statewide for Jarvis and is an authorized spokesman for the organization) was asked about Chapman's claim, he stated it is utter nonsense. Among other things.

This is really a cut and dried matter. One so clear that there really is not a whole lot of room for maneuver. Which is probably why Lee and Stephens have not been able to come up with any reasoned defense for Chapman's (or their) editorial boners.

A post left yesterday on The Tattler summed up what has appeared to be on many peoples' minds:

Just my two cents .... The Patch reporter spoke to a legal assistant at HJTA who provided him with information that was incomplete. The legal director of the HJTA subsequently confirmed that it was still investigating Sierra Madre's compliance with the 218 process. Indeed, the legal director went further stating that the HJTA is "interested in (the rate protesters') case for possible amicus involvement." Under these circumstances, Patch should publish a correction or clarification instead of standing by a story containing information that it now knows is false.

Apparently the Patchies don't do popular reality.

So how do you gauge the reaction people here in town have had to this controversy? As is usually the case most remained blissfully unaware. But amongst those up on the matter it would appear that the anecdotal evidence is folks are not all that appreciative of reporting that is as flawed as Mr. Chapman's. Yesterday's Tattler post on the matter attracted close to 2,000 page views and 70 comments. Which is pretty good for a small town blog. Over on The Patch site there was one sole comment, which turned out to be from an employee family member.

We have no way of knowing how many page views Chapman's article received on the SM Patch, though I suspect it was higher than most due to our generous sharing of attention with them.

But here is what I think could be the reason for Chapman's woefully inadequate reporting. When he called the Jarvis people he only spoke to an assistant. You know, the person who answers the phones for those whose opinions count. And rather than insisting that he be put through to an actual decision maker, Chapman decided instead to get the assistant's opinions on the matter instead, and then report it as official Jarvis policy.

Which is fine, assistants are allowed to have opinions. It's just in this case when Mr. Chapman made this particular assistant an official policy spokesperson for the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, he made a presumptuous mistake.

Besides, wouldn't a real reporter have spoken to an actual executive at the Jarvis offices before making such bold pronouncements? You know, someone who knows what they are talking about? And if Chapman gets his reportage from assistants, why would he not also get the opinion of the security guy at the front desk? Or the guy who tidies up after the long work day is done?

Understanding Mr. Chapman

Justin Chapman, who on his Blogger profile describes himself as a journalist, novelist, poet, actor, film maker and a Virgo (which makes him sound a bit like one of the characters from the classic British TV comedy "The Young Ones"), has published blogs of his own in the past. One such blog, "Solipsistic Jouralismo," published 3 articles between Nov 18 and Dec 19. An introductory piece entitled "Croxeldiphivic" spread this uncapitalized cheer our way:

hello. welcome to my new blog, which will cover local, state, and national politics and news analysis, and anything else I find interesting, including travel writing and specific topics as medical marijuana, drug reform, poverty, and education.

Justin then takes a stab at defining the word "croxeldiphivic:"

croxeldiphivic is a made up word that is supposed to represent the relationship between the writer and the reader. it's a dedication to understanding that relationship in more unconventional ways.


This could be key in understanding exactly why Justin presented his Patch piece in the way he did. That from Mr Chapman's croxeldiphicial viewpoint the things we would normally expect in a news piece do not apply. Rather everything has to be turned upside down to meet the "unconventional" criteria of this croxeldiphical reporter's approach to the news. As an example, HJTA's strong misgivings became support for the Gang of Four's Prop 218 approach.

If you can come up with a better explanation please let me know.

Bonus Coverage: We have since found another Chapman blog called "Noospheric G-Spot." It features a banner photo of someone with a flaming Molotov cocktail in the process of throwing it at the Police.


  1. Oh good Lord. Patch is where slackers go to get their beer money. Apparently they get paid before they write their articles.

  2. Washington ComPostJanuary 27, 2011 at 7:35 AM

    Chapman makes Susan what's-her-real-name at the Looney Views look like a journalist. Talk about "guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children." The world according to narcissistic, juvenile, onanists.

  3. Patch supports people who throw fire bombs at police?

    Does Aol New York know this?

  4. I'm waiting for Buchanon to publicly defend Chapman.

  5. The Medium Is the MessageJanuary 27, 2011 at 7:58 AM

    Welcome to the vaunted "information age."

  6. Chapman exposes his pain in a poem published on Noospheric G-Spot. It is called "What's Wrong Is Bad Enough" ---

    what's wrong is
    bad enough
    from where i'm sittin'.
    i'm so tired of arguing, man


  7. Crawford?

    How about removing the Sierra Madre Patch from your list of sites to visit?

    It's in the same catagory as the Looney Views News, even lower.

    None of your regular readers need to give this sophomoric nonesense any futher attention.

    Tattlers: don't visit this Patch site, it's not worth your valuable energy.

  8. I'm thinking of starting a second list for comedy sites.

  9. What's most distressing is that poem about his sex life, or lack thereof.

  10. The poem where poor Justin whines about his job at the Rose Bowl "distributing mulch" is piquant.

  11. How can a poet be expected to distribute mulch? Such
    a terrible waste of genius!

  12. Old Kentucky quotes Dr. Hawkins on definition of geniusJanuary 27, 2011 at 8:32 AM

    "Genius is by definition a style of consciousness characterized by the ability to access high-energy attractor patterns It isn't a personality characteristic, nor is it something that a person "has" or "is".
    A universal characteristic of genius is humility; after all, those in whom we recognize genius commonly disclaim it, as they've always attributed their insights to some higher influence".

    I like this definition, it reminds me of our former mayor and current councilmember, you know, the lady who is a scientist.
    By the way, Patchies, you owe this lady a public apology!

  13. Now I have seen the true "lost generation."

  14. Lost indeed. I'd be surprised if this Chapman fellow can even find his hind quarters with both hands.

  15. My guess is that Lee and Stephens asked Chapman to write a hit piece on the water rate protest, and now feel obliged to back him up. That they cannot offer an actual argument in defense of Chapman's erroneous claims is revealing.

  16. My guess is that Lee and Stephens asked Chapman to... and since it is getting so much attention as a result of the Tattler's exposure of the totally bogus facts of the story they opted to stand by it because they are getting no other traffic. Gotta show the higherups the stats, right? Who cares if it's truthful, accurate, or throws a paralegal under the bus?

  17. Start lookiing at the real truthJanuary 27, 2011 at 9:14 AM

    He is like too many uneducated people in our country who pretend to be knowledgable and spew lies and the ignorant believe it because they are afraid to check the facts. FEAR is a great religion and friend of LIES. He joins the comrades of the Baloon heads and Dolts of Henderson, Joe, John, Bohner,Cristine O'Donnel, Sharon Angel, Beck, Hannity, Rush and their no solutions but always blaming everyone else Sister Sarah.

    They will never apologize because they are always right: compassion does not exist in their fundamental family value happy world.
    Remember, they all truly believe they have high moral standards and talk about it all the time.

    It is more than humility. It is about empathy for other people and they only care about their narcissistic selves.

  18. Patch Poison Petulently Perverts PositonsJanuary 27, 2011 at 9:26 AM

    From Guiding Principles:
    ■ and Patch journalists do not take a political stance on community issues. We do provide a forum for these issues to be explored and debated:

    From AOL Patch Corp:
    Unparalleled SupportCommited to providing the best customer service. 1.800.827.6364

    I think Chapman and Lee are violating a major patch guiding principle. The patch story is not fair it was solicited unethically and used to influence a portion of the Sierra Madre public. This has legal ramifications. Lee may be correct that they talked to an agent or employee of Jarvis, but some of us remember and prefer journalistic integrity.

    If Patrick Lee as regional manager is standing by his "boy" being a boy himself, who has quite a dirty mouth himself if you have read some of his ripleycal comments, so be it. It would be in order to call and file a complaint. I can easily see how AOL and Patch will meet it's demise with reporters and regional managers like this.

  19. You know what I love about the Tattler? The comedy. The send ups posted about some of these people are priceless. The Patch articles in particular have been a hoot. I read the Tattler every morning and I always get such a kick out of it. Thanks to you.

  20. isn't the Patch a extra credit project run by remedial journalism students at Pasadena High?

  21. Would you say that Justin Chapman is emo?

  22. I know tats respect all points of view, but please enough of the national political talk slamming a point of view or people that might not have your own point of view. We are not Tea partiers, Democrats or Republicans, we are Sierra Madrians.

  23. I think I know where 9:26 remarks are coming from since there was a very inaccurate and vindictive article in one of the weakly papers about the Tea Partiers. And you're right, 10:48, we need to be above the partisian politics that seems to be floating around this town.

  24. Thanks for you post 10:48, I couldn't agree with you more!

    Can it, 9:14........we hear this everyday from you, now don't we, getting tiresome.

  25. I just concentrate on Sierra Madre. As far as I am concerned all that other stuff is just things they make up for cable news braodcasts.

  26. Doubleteaming Disinformation DummiesJanuary 27, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    11:01 9:26 here..My remarks show no political reference, I read the story, checked on Patrick Lee, Justin Chapman, looked at Patch, looked at Patch New York and that was it. 10:48 I looked at all the comments this morning no reference to politics or national talk or slamming I assure you I read no vindictive articles from a weakly weekly paper. So I suggest you are both troublemaking distractors, spreading disinformation and trying to make people think this is about politics. Well wait, it could only have to do with politics if you were behind the patch stories. But that sounds like a personal problem. Durrrrr

  27. I've got it!!! These guys should run for City Council, they would fit right into the liars club.
    We can then be entertained by them for four years!!!!

  28. I apologize 9:26, I meant 9:14. Yours was an informative post.

  29.​dalia+dippolito+facebook - Cached
    Federal court: Government policy that fines broadcasters for ...
    ripleycal: F****** A: RT Federal court: Policy that fines broadcasters for using even one curse word on air is unconstitutional: Lahdee_F: Fed Court overturns FCC policy on ...​government-policy... - Cached

  30. I apologize too, to 11:54, and 11:01 and 10:48 and 9:14 all voices great and small deserve to be heard. As 9:26 and 11:22 I am going to can myself.

  31. It's official. January 2011 is now the highest traffic month since we kicked off The Tattler in Dec of 2008. And we still have until 4PM Monday to go.

    Thanks to all for tuning in!

  32. Patch would decide to stand by the report as a business decision - stir the pot, get more page views than before, take a journalistic ethics stance with gravitas, reap part of what the Tattler has sewn.
    Of course.
    We'll see how long it lasts. Perhaps Mr. Bittle will send AOL an email.

  33. I'm thinking if the Mountain Views News does a piece on Patchy's indepth investigative HJTA piece, we'll have solid evidence of a conspiracy to defame the Tattler, Zimmerman, Crawford, Herrmann, and Delmer. Remember they're doing the groundwork to elect two new Council Members!

  34. 9:14 Start Looking at the Real Truth is back!!!!January 27, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    There is a common thread of people in AMERICA, like it or not, who are very similar. They are called LIARS and there are the people who believe them.

    they say what they want and expect people to believe it based on their ignorance. We can no longer say on the internet "This is about Sierra Madre." This is now about the WWW. The world wide web.

    This is a huge problem.
    Look at what happened to our "LITTLE" gas station: it went global.

    Stop pretending that people are not connecting our town to the bigger issues in the world. I am educated and well informed and I see what is happening on a larger scale in my nation and my world to my town.

    There will always be poorly informed easily swayed Democrats, Republicans and Independents.

    Americans cannot ignore what is happening in their country when they post anything on the internet, no matter what the subject is.

    This is exactly what is meant by THE DUMBING DOWN OF AMERICAN. When people refuse to make educated and scholarly connections based on research, not emotions and favoritism.

  35. If Patch was supposed to be a part of some scam to defame the water protest they sure did fail to deliver their part of the deal. What a disaster for them,

  36. Can we go back to the assistant at the HJTA?

    Who was it?

    Still working there?

  37. "Gentle reader" is to be replaced by "croxeldiphivist".
    Boundaries, sir, respectful boundaries.

  38. Not a croxeldiphivistJanuary 27, 2011 at 1:44 PM

    Here's a thought: If Buchanan and Mosca had told the truth about the reasons for the water rate hike last spring none of this would be going on now.

  39. Your truths may not be my truthsJanuary 27, 2011 at 1:51 PM

    9:14 Start Looking at the Real Truth is back!!!! is neither educated or well informed. In fact SLatRT is a bloviator attempting a takeover of the Tattler. Get thee to your own blog!

  40. good memory skillsJanuary 27, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    7:42 yes! Buchanan will undoubtedly support the wrong writer again to wave like a banner for freedom of the press.
    Buchanan a few years ago, Long live this obscene website!
    Buchanan soon? Long live inaccurate reporting !

  41. It is odd that Buchanan keeps crossing paths with marginal personalities.

  42. Just my two cents .... The Patch reporter spoke to a legal assistant at HJTA who provided him with information that was incomplete. The legal director of the HJTA subsequently confirmed that it was still investigating Sierra Madre's compliance with the 218 process. Indeed, the legal director went further stating that the HJTA is "interested in (the rate protesters') case for possible amicus involvement." Under these circumstances, Patch should publish a correction or clarification instead of standing by a story containing information that it now knows is false.

    Right on!

  43. True 2:08, but then the flurry of attention is over, and Patch goes back to announcing the next social gathering, which our council members so dutifully and diligently inform us about.

  44. What a refreshing conflict.
    Easily solved - Bittle said it or he didn't.
    Personally my money is on Zimmerman's words, a man known for his integrity and intelligence.
    Chapman on the other hand seems to have perhaps indulged too much. It is clear he is creative. Making up his own experimental consciousness crossing word is creative, but the question is, just how creative was he with his report?

  45. Remember we must stay focused and use our energy for the water fight. Don't forget the prize. The cc-1 plus Sandy loosing the battle.

  46. 2:01, Buchanan is pushed into those indefensible endorsements because the slow growth advocates take the other side.Many people spoke out in public to then Mayor Buchanan about the libelous web sites that popped up, but they were on the slow growth side. So Buchanan had to resist. Not his best moment. Now if John Crawford is taking on the Patch report that supports Buchanan's leadership on the 218 process, what else can Buchanan do but resist? In reality, Patch will have to give in and fess up before the next council meeting - it's 2 weeks away.

  47. Maybe Buchanan is actually croxeldiphivic.

  48. Yeah, the new word for author/reader connection, the noosphereic stuff, it's a good guess that Mr. Chapman's interest in drug reform is not for greater controls.

  49. If not fully croxeldiphivic, certainly having croxeldiphivistic tendencies

  50. Undiagnosed croxeldiphivistia.

  51. Ya gotta cut patch some slack.
    AOL hired something like 900 writers in the last year, trying to make this hyperlocal thing work.
    And it's not easy covering everything -all city meetings, all social gatherings, anything that they think might pull in a viewer.
    Bound to have some slip ups with the demand of producing such volume.
    Doesn't bode well for the long term.

  52. Quit saying that word, do not make me come out of my can.

  53. All Stephens has to do is admit he screwed up and that the story is inaccurate. What's the big problem? The LA Times does it all the time!

  54. 1:24, you are so right. Thanks for the reminder. The pro-development side won last time because they started dirty misinformation campaigns very early and they were well organized.
    Watch out y'all.

  55. Can Tankerous - are you a croxeldiphiviphobe?

  56. My question is why do you think Chapman even wrote the article?

    Who nudged whom to make that happen?

  57. Look out 2:53, you may just cause Mr. or Ms. Tankerous to croxeldiphivize.

  58. or to begin croxeldiphivizing.

  59. I believe it would result in something more evolutionary than revolutionary. A kind of croxeldiphivimosis.

  60. The wine has done nothing to cloud your brain, Sir.

    I'm with 2:53. Why was this story chosen? Who instigated it, when it was obviously premature? Don't think Chapman had anything to do with it except churn out the words. The motivation, though, now that's an interesting point.

  61. I am so in awe of those of you who can rhapsodize about croxeldiphivizing. Do I have enough vowels?

    This is such a sophisticated blog.

  62. I wanted to say no, but yes, yes I think I am, that is what not being trained with phonetics has done to these kids. I was in X classes with a now school board member, and he says we lost two generations of children by downsizing and eliminating phonetics. It is scary, I guess I am against dude journalism too. It is possible Chapman couldn't even spell his own imaginary word right.

  63. 2:26, don't you mean that Buchanan is discroxeldiphivic?

  64. Chapman's word is ok - it's got '2' in it with the dyph, it's got 'cross' in it with the crox - but crox/crux is also 'torture' and that is certainly what has happened to that word on this thread! He's a young'un, experimenting with thinking. Sort of.
    Back to the matter at hand, can someone who's read the original article explain how it was presented. Like was it in "Goings On About Our Precious Village" or "The Latest Lowdown on Politics in Town"
    or what?

  65. Citizen Fay: "I'm shocked that you wouldn't condemn this."

    Buchanon: "You'll have to be shocked."

    Translation: I don't care about the truth, decency, or the citizens of this community.

    Watch the Neuroblastfilm. Watch Buchanon, a liar, hide behind a facade of first ammendment "free speech" when it suits his nefarious purposes.

  66. The quote from Stephens is a good one.
    We (the royal we or the nationwide corporation we?) welcome Bittle's comments - yep, that would do it.

  67. You mean lend credibility to an otherwise uncredible blog without much traffic?

  68. I doubt that someone with the serious work that Bittle is responsible for really wants to enter into this fracas. He sent the email to Zimmerman, and that should be enough.

  69. "Chapman gets his reportage from assistants, why would he not also get the opinion of the security guy at the front desk? Or the guy who tidies up after the long work day is done?"

    A silly little valid point. The issue is if a Patch reader thought an assistant's legal point was valid, the problem is not necessarily the Patch's, it is the dimwit who believes what he reads even after having received the 'assistant to caveat'.

    The Patch's problem is that they made an embarrassing mistake by relying on lazy reporting followed up with a righteous 'We back our reporters'. By lazy reporting, I mean, Mr. Chapman could have worked harder to find out who the policymaker or spokesman for HJTA is, and asked him the questions instead settling for Ms. Perez.

    Now I think it has degraded into name calling. John seems like a decent guy, and I won't call his character into question. But one has to question his backing of such lethargic reporting. It's time to look at the Patch as a cute project instead of as a unrepentant pursuer of truth.

  70. I am having a *really* good time reading this blog today, thanks everybody!! LOL!!!!!!!!!

  71. thanks for making the point about the internet. It has changed all of our lives. everywhere.

    Isn't this article about AOL Patch?
    out of NY?
    everyone is all a fluffle....
    this tattler site can be accessed all over the world and the Moderator said THIS is the highest traffic month! WOW

    an "unrepentant pursuer of the truth"
    Thanks 4:42!
    Thanks 1:25
    We need to look carefully and connect all the dots.

    Lotsa fun today!!

  72. Isn't the editor supposed to okay the stories? Did not our faithful, loyal, intelligent, editor ask us to give Patch a chance? Did we not try to support the uncute little project?
    Isn't the timing a bit off, since they know about the water protest fund raiser? Isn't the story uncomplete unto itself? A contrivance to soothe the powers that be exposed by the inconvienient truth of a rigged protest count by a city that could not afford to lose and let not the true facts be seen or decided on in the light of day? A literary bird of paradise poop drop of misinformational misdirection on the heads of other concerned citizens who might have joined the fundraiser? Did Mr. Chapman get his story in a forthright manner from the right person, Heck no he went the sneaky backdoor way, probably causing Ms Perez a whole lot of trouble to fulfill a favor, some request from someone? (This is not his usual caliber of story). So to Mr. Stephens I say Et Tu?



The Tattler is a moderated blog. Annoying delays when posting comments can happen. Thank you for your patience and understanding.