Monday, March 21, 2011

Week Of Many Agendas: The Tattler Discusses This Evening's Community Services Commission Meeting

"The Law of Triviality, briefly stated, says that the time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum found." - C. Northcote Parkinson

The City's official agendizers have agendized agendas at a most fearsome pace this week, and many things will be considered by those who consider these considerations with considerable care. Decision makers' decisions will be decisively decided, the effects of which could effectively effectuate our governmental conduct for years. Or at least until the next round of meetings takes place in a couple of weeks. Which of course they will. Government sadly being the arena that now fills our days, whether or not you know it.

As a service to the community The Tattler will attempt to review the issues being covered in each of this week's four City meetings the morning before they happen. And should that prove to be impossible we will instead offer what we hope are entertaining rounds of japes, complaints and snark. Mostly because we enjoy that kind of thing, but also because it attracts readers in a far greater volume than the fawning and ineffectual babbitry provided by the four other news venues in town.

The proviso being that too many meetings in so small a town is not always a good thing. It is true that some people are very busy, but what they are actually busy at should always be considered a tiptop topic for discussion. Whether they enjoy it or not.

Today we will be discussing this evening's agendized deliberations of the Community Services Commission, taking place at 6pm in the City Council chambers. They do have a lot of juicy (there is no other word for it) topics on their list, and we hope to give them all the preview they deserve.

Here are the topics that I found to be the most interesting:

1) Fourth of July Financial Analysis - Recommendation to advise on the financial stability of the event and forward any recommendations for allocated funding to City Council.

Apparently the outgoing 4th of July Committee may have spent more money than it took in last year. Led by some of Sierra Madre's most privileged individuals, expenditures are now suspected of having outstripped the amount of donations they had managed to raise from the residents. And it does ring true. It was under this 4th of July Committee that such things as the superfluous and costly rental of golf carts and advanced communication equipment were brought into the parade mix, expenses that had never been any part of overall costs in the past.

I also suspect that money had become harder to obtain because of all the adverse publicity the Committee received by initiating such unpopular killjoy measures as banning water pistol fights with the Fire Department, or the throwing of candy to Sierra Madre's children. People in town came to consider these prohibitions the acts of ridiculous control freaks, and therefore didn't feel up to cutting them checks anymore.

The upshot being that the 4th of July Committee threw up their hands and dumped the entire situation on the City. Which dutifully accepted their challenged checkbook. And while there was money in the account from past years, future funding now looks challenging.

The 4th of July Committee had claimed to believe that they might become personally liable should anything disastrous happen during the parade itself. Or at least that was the reason given for their sudden abdication. I personally think it had more to do with all the financial drift, and the understandable desire to push the fiscal consequences of that potential problem onto the backs of the taxpayers. After all, that's what everybody else does.

2) Sierra Madre Congregational Church Request for Amplification in Memorial Park Bandshell - Recommendation to review options and provide staff with recommendations to forward to the City Council/Redevelopment Agency.

In order to better serve God, Sierra Madre's Congregational Church wants to amplify its Sunrise Services at the Memorial Park bandshell. The Congregationalists believe this should be proclaimed an "all-city event" which, considering that their amplified hosannas of praise would be taking place at 6:30 AM, it most certainly would be. Whether the city's slumbering sinners would have voluntarily joined in with all of that joy is another question.

Of course, there is a legalistic inspiration for the "all-city event" thing as well. The Congregationalists are famous for carefully reading the rule book, and the reason for this request could be that since only a City sponsored event can be so amplified, it would need to be just that. The Cong had been turned down on a similar request last year, something that apparently chafed at them for a bit. So they've been mulling the matter over.

But should the City decide to sponsor an electronically amplified Sunrise Service event, wouldn't it raise Constitutional issues? Such as the appropriateness of a government sponsored religious event? And should the Sierra Madre Community Services people approve city sponsorship of a Congregationalist event, what would the other denominations in the Sierra Madre religious community think? My guess is there might be considerable envy, which would mean that the City would have led them into sinful behavior.

Also remember that any such amplification could upset the day laborers. Which might lead to expensive civil rights litigation should it occur.

3) Memorial Park Restrooms - Recommendation to review options and provide staff with recommendations to forward to the City Council/Redevelopment Agency

This one is just so choice that I have to pinch myself. There is a paragraph from the staff analysis for the topic (not provided on our opaque city website, but I did obtain a copy), that knocks this whole wiggling pile of effluential behavior into a cocked hat.

Also considered was the length of time needed to enter into a contract with a construction contractor or supplier. This is critical in that the City Council/CRA Board has designated the use of Redevelopment Agency funds for the project. Under recent state budget proposals there has been serious consideration of eliminating redevelopment agencies. Under some proposals the City's Redevelopment Fund revenues would be lost to the State as early as July 1st. For that reason, it is highly desirable to be under contract for a restroom project to obligate or commit the funds, as there is currently no other source of funding for the project.

In other words, rather than lose these CRA moneys to Jerry Brown, his damn public schools and some sick old people, the City of Sierra Madre wants to hide this booty under some public toilets in a park. Which, if you think about it, is quite a metaphor.

This sort of thing is likely being attached to a lot of other CRA related matters the City is also pushing. Such as the Farmers Market, Highland low income housing, homeless wickiups on Montecito and $50,000 consultant studies for things like the shopping preferences of Sierra Madreans. Something that could result in such life altering events as the stocking of toilet tissue at The Bottle Shop.

4) Special Event Permits - Recommendation to review proposed additions to the Municipal Code and forward a recommendation to approve to the Planning Commission and the City Council.

This rather bold notion states that when the City is asked by the likes of the Chamber of Commerce to cut them a cash break on fees related to the staging of such beloved events as the Wistaria Festival or Dicken's Village, the responsibility for deciding the matter should be taken away from the Community Services Commission and turned over to City Hall. Which would free up our city government to give away the farm while at the same time asking for fee and tax increases to make up the difference.

The result being yet one more instance where control over the spending of our tax money is removed from the actual taxpayers and turned over to those who do little more than spend it.

Tomorrow we will discuss the findings of this Community Services Committee meeting, plus review the agenda for this week's second major gathering, Tuesday evening's City Council meeting.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

74 comments:

  1. calling the young Noah WebsterMarch 20, 2011 at 10:52 PM

    The Congregational church cannot do that.

    Violation of the separation of church and state, straight up.

    Heck, a case could be made that they shouldn't even be having a service in the park.

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  2. They can do that, if the city allows it. The ball is in the cities court now.

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  3. If they approve amplification of the service, we need to also amplify other religious institutions for equal access. For instance, the moslem call to prayer, midnight mass, blowing of the shofar, wicken services.
    I think we don't want to go there, though it might be a fun fight in town.

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  4. Reality check..There are plenty of committed persons throughout the land that relish a fight over church and state issues..It would be a fascinating show!

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  5. Put on the safetybelt, crash helmet, and batten down the hatches, let the battle begin.
    It will be a whole lot less boring than Mosca and Buchanan droning on.

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  6. Maybe they should construct a minaret and call people to worship like they do in Baghdad.

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  7. The commissions are the real front lines. Once those battles are fought the decisions are then sent up to the wind farm.

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  8. Let the games beginMarch 21, 2011 at 7:45 AM

    I think the city, instead of spending CRA money on things like the farmers market, should be using the fund to upgrade Handicapped access to the different public access buildings.
    Under the new ADA guidelines, EVERY building MUST fully comply with accessability requirements, new construction, existing buildings, public and private commercial structures. Also, provide a comprehensive schedule to do so, or face justice department prosecution for civil rights violations.
    If the city refuses to acknowledge this, we will be sued as a city. The ADA is a civil rights act.
    Since we have such knowledgeable attorneys on the City Council, they should know this, and will be held culpable.

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  9. The $50,000 Buchanan wants to spend to find out what people from Sierra Madre consume is just about as idiotic a waste of money as I have ever seen. You want to give a good example of what Governor Brown means by wasted redevelopment taxpayer money, there is none better than Buchanan's welfare for consultants.

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  10. No wonder the city staff always complain about being overburdened, and not having time to do their jobs because they are so busy, and needing more staff for all the busy busy work - they're tied up in organizing and attending meetings.

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  11. A lot of meetings this week!
    Monday - Community Services Commission
    Tuesday - City Council
    Weds - Strategic Planning Retreat
    Thursday - The Green Commission
    Quite a lot going on/

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  12. Question everything Buchanan suggests.

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  13. Who was in charge of the 4th of July budget?

    Why did they spend what they didn't have?

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  14. When John Buchanan says something assume the opposite is true. You'll be right 90% of the time. When Joe Mosca says something assume the opposite is true as well. The percentage there is also 90% since it most likely first came from John Buchanan.

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  15. 7:45 It would be nice..however it will not bring the cash or flourishing careers to the current sitting establishment.There is more juice in constructing Flop Houses and low Income housing than accommodating taxpaying home owners and local businesses.

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  16. It is always about money. Always. All that "green" and "caring for the poor" talk is just there to sucker in the chumps.

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  17. The people who so badly managed the money for the Fourth of July need to reimburse the city out of their own pockets to be responsible for their financial foolishness.
    And the city staff needs to witness it.

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  18. Since the city is so negative about volunteers and pushes staff into everything, who was the staff person in charge of overseeing how the 4th of July comm. conducted itself? The people on the comm. and that staff person or people need to find other things to do with their time. To overspend on something like that is really disgraceful behavior, given how hard so many families have to work right now to keep things together.

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  19. Let's not be too coy... we all know Matt Bosse was the 4th of July Chairperson... and we all know that the committee is made up of folks who supported the DSP and oh so many other over inflated projects around town... demand a whole new 4th of July Committee!

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  20. I didn't know who was involved 9:20, and I don't care.
    I just want the city to sober up about spending my money.

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  21. All to transparentMarch 21, 2011 at 9:45 AM

    Its the "COMMITTES'' that Jake & Elwood use to get there buts a seat up in Sac-to .

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  22. The 4th of July event needs to be scaled back to the way it used to be. The City can have a fun celebration without breaking the bank. We don't need all the extras to have fun with our family and friends. After all this isn't the "State of the City" party.

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  23. I have an idea. How about we let kids play with water pistols and parade participants toss candy? It is free and would be lots of fun!

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  24. It's all about gaining power.

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  25. Bond sales will fix everything. Why worry so much? Here, have a balloon.

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  26. OK, if its a purple one, 10:45.

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  27. We are not a money tree.

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  28. Vendors at the Wistaria festival are apparently up in arms because the SMPD opened the streets without telling them yesterday.. The vendors are saying they came prepared for the rain and were ready to do business. That is until cars started driving by.

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  29. Interesting, 11:10. Does that make the PD fair weather friends?

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  30. Love the bon mot 11:11, but I doubt the decision to open the streets came from the PD alone.
    More irresponsible behavior to track down...

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  31. Excuse me while I rant, but the “times they are a changen’” There used to be more people marching in the parade than watching it. Last year was disappointing with the small entries. Civic Club, boys baseball, AYSO, classic cars, and even some of the merchants used to have entries. Now instead of being proud to be in the community parade, the little league has to have a parade of their own, and AYSO seems to be non-existent in this town. City Employees loved to come out on their holiday off and help. Now, the union has forbid employees to volunteer. The Civic Club ladies who willingly bought supplies and worked in the blazing sun to do the games in the park in exchange for an exemption of the % of profits from their confetti eggs, now have to cough up money like the other booths. No wonder they decided it wasn’t worth a heat stroke to continue doing the games.

    Now the city has to have a “get out and get active” campaign (in which few participate). Then we had kids not only playing organized sports, but the school yards were open after school and weekends for the kids to play. Now the school yards are locked up tight. Now the kids sit on their behinds and play with their I- phones and games. Then the boys of the little league helped rake the fields and get them ready to play. Now they have a tractor in which an adult rakes the field. Then the fun part of the parade was to see how much candy you could score. Now, no candy. Then there were squirt guns and fire hoses. That had to stop when irresponsible people hauled out their garden hoses and their blasters to drench parade participants and ruin the interior of open cars. and on, and on.

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  32. Good rant, 12:01.

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  33. Who would have made the call about opening the streets yesterday? The Chamber or City Hall?

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  34. Little League did march last year, but only a few kids showed up.

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  35. Love reading your Tattler and POST that follow.There is "nothing new under sun"..what you are blogging about is what we Old Timers call RACKETEERING!!!

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  36. Who cares about volunteering, when those in charge don't really care or want volunteers.
    The leaders sponsoring the 4th parade should dig deep into their wallets and pay for the extravagant spending they authorized.

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  37. What rules give the city council the power they misuse?

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  38. It seems to me the city council doesn't have all that much power any more, it is being shifted to the city manager, the city attorney and the department heads. And we don't even have a chance to elect them.

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  39. I believe that a lot of what we see comes from John Buchanan. That it appears the City Staff is responsible for a lot of what he himself initiated would be by intent.

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  40. What documents give the city council and city staff the power they misuse?

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  41. 1:28 - There are no documents. Their license is public indifference.

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  42. plutonium politics, in the airMarch 21, 2011 at 1:55 PM

    Babbitry, babbitrisms? Babbitizers? babbitralistic? babbitriatic? Silly babbitt's, Bosse babbitt's, born again babbitts, Babbitts with bad habitts?

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  43. Funny exchange on Patch today. Somebody chews them out for having a reporter interviewing people at the Wistaria Festival without identifying themselves as a Patch employee. Then Patrick Lee jumps in and talks about Patch's commitment to complete transparency or some such nonsense. I guess damage control is much more important there than truthful reporting.

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  44. Dieter patchy eaterMarch 21, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    I just read the story on the wisteria festival, the supermoon was a big flop too. But I did see little lord Chapman carrying our Tattler broke the story first, about the Marketing group a subcontractor to the San Jose Police Officers and the form chain letter used by the Sierra Madre Police Officers Assn to a depth of a new low. instead of checking himself he enlisted the help of guidestar.org, which sounded to me like the SEC gemstar, indictment of elsie leung, for 15 mill and judgement, anyway, now they have revealed SMPOA has not done its filings either!!! Apparently Ms Volpe, has asked for a request in writing, to consult with the POA attorney. enter the wrath of Dieter
    that Chapman is going to start getting a lot of tickets if you know what I mean..Dieter is going to bite a patch out of Chapman's britches.

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  45. Since Little Lord Chapman is all ass, Dieter should feel free to bite
    him wherever he pleases.

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  46. 2:11 that isn't the first time the Patches failed to ID themselves.
    At the Town Hall Forum, one of the writers had a cord around his neck, with the badge hanging just a little above waist level. Not visible if he was seated, and not visible when he was standing unless one were waist gazing.
    Those badges are to be seen.

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  47. We know about push polling, maybe interviewing people without their knowledge is push reporting?

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  48. Chapman making nonsense, as usual. Get what you pay for

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  49. Nov 17,2010 Moderator requests we not cover the royal wedding we find out who Joel Swintowski is. Corporate Licensing of New Equity online.

    Swintowski means, I swindle towns to ski and skate. Gandolf Foundation, 1982 founding papers New Equity.

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  50. I just posted on the Patch asking Justin whose secretary he got his information from. I will report back with any further information.

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  51. Maybe the badges harsh the casual, young reporter on the go ensemble.

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  52. They don't want to wear an AOL dog tag because they think it makes
    them look like they've sold out to the man.

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  53. The bathrooms in Memorial Park do need work. So since the city allowed them to get in that bad shape, how will the next bathrooms fare under the city's watch?

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  54. But 3:25, they promise to be better....

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  55. Any of the readers here dues paying members of the ACLU?

    How about an email to the ACLU about the Congregational Church amplification question?

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  56. They could build the Taj Mahal of johns at Memorial Park, but
    It would still be the main point of interest for the 70 or so day
    workers who show up every morning.

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  57. So, they made it illegal to use blowers before 9:00 am, but they're going to let the Congregational Church wake us up at 6:30 every Sunday morning!

    Wow! Looks like Sandi Levin is trying to create another lawsuit for the City. It doesn't matter, that the City will lose, as long as Sandi gets rich.

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  58. The Congregational Church already has an large indoor facility; no other Sierra Madre churches have asked to use a park and amplification. I say turn 'em down.

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  59. How much revenue does the city get for renting out the band shell to the church?

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  60. 3:53, well said, but gardening machinery can start at 8 a.m.

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  61. 9.32.050 - Public property noise limits.
    A.
    No person shall produce, suffer or allow to be produced by any machine or device, or any combination of same, on public property, a noise level more than 15 dba above the local ambient at a distance of twenty-five feet or more, unless otherwise provided in this chapter.
    B.
    Performances using sound amplifying equipment and special events shall not exceed 60 dba measured at a distance of fifty feet from the source without an exemption issued by the city manager or his designee. These exemptions must consider the standards set forth in Sections 9.32.070 and 9.32.100. The exemption permit must be obtained in addition to any other permit or license.
    C.
    Vehicle horns, or other devices primarily intended to create a loud noise for warning purposes, shall not be used when the vehicle is at rest, or when a situation endangering life, health, or property is not imminent, without a valid noise permit.



    9.32.060 - Special exception provisions.
    A.
    Daytime Exceptions. Any noise source which does not produce a noise level exceeding 80 dba at a distance of twenty-five feet under its most noisy condition of use shall be exempt from the provisions of Sections 9.32.030, 9.32.040 and 9.32.050 between the hours of seven a.m. and nine p.m. daily EXCEPT SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS, WHEN THE EXEMPTION HEREIN SHALL APPLY BETWEEN TEN A.M. AND SIX P.M.
    B.
    Emergencies. Emergencies are exempt from this chapter.
    C.
    Construction. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, including Section 9.32.100, between the hours of seven a.m. and seven p.m. daily, except Sundays and holidays when the exemption herein shall apply between ten a.m. and six p.m., construction, alteration or repair activities which are authorized by a valid city permit shall be allowed if the noise level at any point outside the property plane shall not exceed 85 dba.
    D.
    Leaf blower. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, including Section 9.32.100, no person shall operate a leaf blower within the city outside of the hours of eight a.m. to seven p.m., Monday through Saturday, and ten a.m. to six p.m., Sundays and holidays. The foregoing prohibition shall not apply within any commercial zone. Noise generated by leaf blowers within any commercial zone shall be regulated by other sections of this chapter.

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  62. Well, I guess I got my answer from Patch about Justin Chapman getting his information today from somebody's secretary ... They took down my post.

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  63. PUSD spending $25,000 on a consultant ..

    http://pasadenastarnews.com/news/ci_17664709

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  64. This request was for the Easter sunrise services which they have done for many years. Just last year the city changed the ordinance to make it only city sponsored events can use amplification in the park e.g. concert in the park. Looks like the church will have to look elsewhere for a sunrise service.

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  65. Ed, that was a clear response from Patch. Guess it's none of your business who the secretary was.

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  66. I can appreciate that, but today Patch Regional Editor Patrick Lee said the site fully supports complete transparency in it's reporting. I can only assume that some sort of error resulted in my post being deleted.

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  67. Separation of Church and State is seriously violated here by the Church that Ate Sierra Madre:

    Use of crosswalk to work their was across a public street to get to the other side. Slowing down the normal flow of Sunday morning traffic found on other parts of SM Blvd and side street-Hermosa (Just waiting for an unfortunate accident);

    Scofflaw regarding building permit, fees, zoning CUP, at the former Funeral Home (NE corner of SM Blvd. and Hermosa);

    Use of park facilities that would not be allowed to private citizens (amplification for Easter Sun Rise Services).

    ETC.

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  68. To further the worthy goal of transparency, perhaps a workshop on how to wear a press badge is in order.

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  69. Damn. It happened again. I put my post back up on Patch and somebody took it down again. They must hate freedom or something.

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  70. Caught with his hand in the cookie jar, huh??March 21, 2011 at 8:17 PM

    The MATTBOSSEMESS is classic. Now who did not think he was going to not play fair, raise your hand.

    Really folks. It is time for payback. The partner of the MAYOR,living in the same household, um overspent and is getting away with this, and dumps the expenditures back onto all of us.

    Our MAYOR did not stand up for HIS city? Who he loves.

    Beginning to sound a lot like the City of Bell.

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  71. The Royal Family accepts no responsibility for anything.

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  72. It doesn't matter who lives with who. What matters is that a committee ignored its fiduciary responsibility, and needs to repay the city.

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  73. What a hateful place Sierra Madre has become. The people hate each other. Their politicians hate each other. The people on this post hate God and the local Christian church and care only for money hmmm-----seems to me, I heard your wisteria festival was rained out and your city made squat. An act of God maybe?

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  74. Nonsense 6:11 pm! Half the people who live here love God, may he/she be called God, Allah, or Yahweh; obviously you don't live here or you'd know we have many Christian churches; we care very much about how much money the city wrings from us in taxes and fees because we're a working class town; and lastly, the city doesn't make a cent from the Wistaria Festival - all the proceeds go to the local Chamber of Commerce. Sierra Madre is a lovely town. Half the people live here peacefully and in harmony with their neighbors. You see Sierra Madre is divided in half on basically every issue - the only one in recent memory that elicited a united front was the issue of deer being impaled on a pointy iron fence because some awful local resident decided her flowers were more important than the wildlife. Not one person liked the thought of writhing deer dying in agony.

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