Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Is It Time For An Advisory Vote Only City Council?

As the City Council, or at least the less intellectually endowed portion of it, debates tonight on whether to take away our right to vote on things such as downtown development, the renewal of the UUT, or who exactly will take the place of Joe Mosca (and how that will be accomplished), it is possible for us to think that maybe there is a better way for City government here to get done. And perhaps there really is a role for an "advisory vote only" situation in Sierra Madre. If it is applied correctly, of course.

Look at it this way, why should our right to vote on something such as downtown development, or whether or not to redo the Utility User Tax at its present sky high rate, be downgraded to an advisory only level? Or even taken away altogether? After all, aren't we the people whose taxes pay the bills around here? And isn't that tax money the real source of power for any government entity? So why should we only be allowed to cast meaningless "advisory" type votes?

Personally I think this is all backwards. Since our fiduciary contributions are far more meaningful than the mere words that come from the Gang of 4 (-1), how about we put something on the ballot that corrects this terrible mistake?

Perhaps is time to make Sierra Madre's City Council an "advisory only" elective body. They can talk all they want, kiss babies, mug for the camera and whatever else they like to do, but when it comes to actual decision-making their contributions would be of the non-binding advisory kind. While ours, through the vote and various public outreach mechanisms, would be the real deal. After all, it is our money that they spend. And since we do the paying, then we shouldn't we also do the saying?

Tonight's City Council Scorecard

Rather than make too a big deal about tonight's City Council Agenda, I thought I would present it as a kind of scorecard instead. Most of the people who read this blog are plenty aware of what this stuff means, and hardly need me to belabor the obvious. So instead we're going to lay it out in a simple and easy to reference style. Nothing but the items themselves, along with a little obligatory commentary.

1) Consent Calendar: A little over $1 million big ones will be spent on salaries, the CRA, Library, water well repairs, various bills, and office services and supplies. If that seems like a lot of money, well, it is.

Also on the Consent Calendar is a Temporary Use Permit for the Candlelight Walk Procession. Which is a beautiful and moving spiritual experience for those who enjoy witnessing such things. Which I do. This procession is one of those moments that makes living here the great experience that it is.

2) Appointment To The General Services Commission: If anybody knows who is up for a position on one of the truly powerful commissions in this town, do share it with us. I have no idea.

3) Appointment To Pasadena Unified School Districting Task Force: This slot is now open because The Fly (who had previously appointed himself) is buzzing off. It doesn't have to go to a Councilmember though, and even you the unelected are qualified for this gig. Pay very close attention to this part of the meeting. As innocuous as this little exercise may seem now, what you will see tonight will move you in a deep and profound way. That is all I am allowed to say about this.

4) Extension of the Utility Users Tax Increase: This is one of three areas where the G4-1 will attempt to reduce the power of the voters to participate in important decision making here in Sierra Madre. While it is not likely that the City Council will accede to the wishes of City Staff and remove the current Sunset Clause altogether, it is very possible that Buchanan will lead a charge to reduce its impact. Which will result in you having a lot less of a say-so about paying the highest UUT rate in California.

5) Discussion Regarding Options To Fill A Council Member Vacancy: One of the consequences of the way Joe Fly stuck it to his pals on the City Council is that his departure has put their majority control in jeopardy. With Buchanan termed out, Josh Moran freaked out, and Nancy Walsh lights out, it is very possible that the good guys could take control of the City Council next April. The one way that the G3-1 could guarantee that this does not happen is by appointing a replacement for Joe. Of course, this would once again steal the vote from the residents of this town, and as such could be quite a controversial move. This is going to be very difficult moment for the Gang, and it will be fun to watch them sweat it out.

6) Discussion Of Option To Place Proposed Kesington (sic) Project On April 12, 2012 Ballot: As was reported here yesterday, City Staff is running a shaggy dog strategy designed to steal your right to a binding and robust Measure V vote on Billy Spear's mystery project. What they want is to diminish this to an advisory only ballot. Which is like no vote at all. Yet another attempt to rob you of your rights as a citizen.

7) Review Of Proposed Ordinance No. 1322, Updating The City's Mandatory Water Conservation Ordinance: Don't let them kid you, they want you to use as much water as you possibly can. They need the cash to cover some bad bond debts.

8) Strategic Plan From September 20, 2011, Retreat Update: The agenda says that this is to be received and filed. Correct me if I am wrong, but hasn't that been done already?

9) Discussion - Mayor And City Council Reports: This was called by MaryAnn to point out just how absurd this ritual has become. Rather than City Councilmembers talking about important things they have done to further the cause of our City, it has degenerated into a series of embarrassing incidents such as Nancy Walsh's freeform volunteer bash.

Today Is Election Day, So Get Out And Vote!

There is one big item for us to vote on today, and that is a seat on the Pasadena Community College's Board of Trustees. We here at The Tattler urge you to join us in our Rainbow Community of Many Fine Political Ideologies (RCMFPI) and cast your vote for Brian Fuller. This is truly a golden "throw the bum out" opportunity. Jeanette Mann is a classic example of what decades of unmerited entitlement and opposition-free elections can lead to. The students at PCC, many of whom have posted on this board over the last week or so about this election, deserve a break. It is tough enough out there as it is.

If you wish to vote but you don't know where your polling station is, there is a website that will help you find it. Click here and have at it.

As they say back in New Jersey (or in the Mann household for that matter), vote and vote often.



  1. You mean even a teacher, in the classroom, with children all day, could be appointed to the TASK FORCE, one who is close to the situation?

    What an amazing idea!

  2. Developers and those who love them are quite attracted to the PUSD. Something to do with a few hundred million dollars in Measure TT bond money I suspect.

  3. There are more than a few passionately committed parents in town who would do a great job on the PUSD job. Hope one of them gets the position.

  4. Let us remember that our U.S. Constitution makes us all a Representative Republic, not a direct democracy. We elect members to office to represent us. If they do not, then it is our duty and obligation to vote them out. Our Founders' desire was for an educated and engaged citizenry following the rule of law.

  5. Termed out, Freaked out, Lights out. You forgot Joe -- bailed out.

  6. I want to know how much the City is spending on all f the Lawsuits, One Carter, Water Bonds Hildreth etc.? How come we as taxpayers never know the true costs. The Water Bond Lawsuit has been done for months now, but still no final tally. Makes me wonder what is the City trying to hide now?

  7. 2 votes cast for Fuller from my house. No lines, plenty of friendly people awaiting to assist you.

  8. It's will be interesting to hear how an (advisory?) vote can be done on a project that is pretty much site unseen, and not even reviewed by the Planning Commission before hand. This whole thing is really not ready for "prime time".
    Do these developers really have that much power over our city council?
    Or is this the way the Dems always do things ?

  9. For people who care about this sort of thing, traffic on this site is through the roof this morning. 1,100 hits so far and it looks like our 30 day number is going way beyond the 44,000 level today. It has never been that high before. Think people in Sierra Madre don't care about what is happening to their city govt? I'd say that the people are checking in.

  10. The reason this city never talks about how much money it spends with Coulantuano and Levin is the people in this town would flip out. We send them huge sums of money.

  11. The monthly retainer for C&L is $12,000; that's the basic retainer. Work done over and above basic is billed separately. $12,000 for that young woman to sit in City Council Meetings; maybe that includes Planning Commission, too. Let's hope so. And perhaps to be available to answer questions to Elaine and Johnny "Bucks" Buchanan. $144,000 annually - that's $144,000* each and every year.

  12. 7:46 am.
    What a great post this morning!
    We all need to remember this!
    We do have the power to DEMAND our elected officials to REPRESENT us, not special interests.
    It's a sad fact that we have more elected officials representing themselves and/or special interests.
    This SHOULD NOT BE!!!!! It doesn't have to be.
    Let's do something about it, starting today.
    We will be going to the polls to vote for Brian Fuller.
    Pasadena residents reading the Tattler this morning, please get out and vote and remind friends and neighbors!
    You'll be doing a good thing!

  13. Is there any extra paid for things like lawsuits and other extracurricular activity?

  14. Re cost of legal....Don't forget the lawsuit by the gentleman who purchased the old city hall building and has found out that the city never changed the electricity to light the Auburn lot. He has been paying to light the lot to the tune of over $20,000 and the city will not reimburse him. Now that stinks.

  15. A lot of people like to tap into other peoples power. Big money saver. Didn't know the city worked that way, though.

  16. REJECT AUTHORITARIANISMNovember 8, 2011 at 9:18 AM

    Authoritarianism is the problem with modern day politics.

    An authoritarian is one who ABUSES authority.

    A true authority has EARNED that distinction.

    Example....we have 4 "authoritarians" on the current Sierra Madre City Council.

    John Buchanan....authoritarian. Joe Mosca....authoritarian.....bobbleheads, Nancy Walsh and Josh Moran.....authoritarians.

    We have only one true "authority". MaryAnn MacGillivray has earned that distinction via her high intellect and problem solving and her experience and devotion to representing the residents of Sierra Madre.

    I'll be willing to bet that most of you reading this from other communities will relate this to your own city government.

    Note: this fact is also true of all government, all over the globe.

  17. The money to the Attorneys does not even count the extra lawyers that the City hires for the lawsuits. Sandy and Company do not do lawsuits, those are outsourced to the hired guns. We get to pay extra for that help, Sandy's firm can't handle the important issues. Her firm has problems giving accurate legal advice as it is. How much was paid to the Firm that worked on the water bond lawsuit against John and Kurt. Do we know yet? Or is the figure still hidden by the speaker of misinformation and lies, City Manager Elaine.

  18. People need to speak out about Buchanan's sneaky plan to extend the sunset clause on the UUT out to 5 years. If anything it should go to 2 years and be under constant resident review.

  19. Another example of authoritarianism vs a true authority is right here on the Tattler.

    Who would you rather get your "news" from....Susan Henderson's Looney Views News or John Crawford's Tattler?

    Don't forget to vote out authoritarian Mrs. Mann. She needs to go.
    Vote for Brian Fuller. We need to give him a chance to do a better job for the students of PCC and the community.

  20. Congrats to the Tattler for such a high hit rate!

    We voted for Brian Fuller this morning.

    Go to tonight's meeting so if you are able to attend. Speak up and let your voice be heard! That is how you can make a difference!

  21. I voted this morning as well. On a side note, I want to share an observation. Can the volunteers get any more cheerful? They were so kind and wonderful! If you volunteered today and are reading this, THANK YOU!

  22. PCC Student Against AuthoritarianismNovember 8, 2011 at 10:01 AM


  23. The people at the Methodist Church were wonderful.

  24. Wouldn't it be great if we could announce Brian Fuller's victory tonight at City Hall? Is anybody going to be monitoring the results?

  25. The Pasadena Star News site will post results starting at 8PM. Turnout is expected to be somewhere around 13%.

  26. 10:05

    I think you meant to say the Congregational Church on Sierra Madre Blvd?
    Don't think Methodist is a polling place today.
    Episcopal Church on Laural and Baldwin, Pat and De Alcorn's home on E. Grandview and the Cong Church.
    Correct me if I'm wrong, someone.
    Wherever you have to do, just go there.
    We're off to vote for Brian.

  27. The Mehodist Church on Michillinda is a polling place for the west side of town.

  28. Jeanette Mann has been in offcie for 28 years. That just seems like an awfully long time to me.

  29. Smears are the garden variety campaign techniques of the day. I just saw a friend from Altadena who was angry that I voted for Fuller because he was "an extremist Tea Party member."

  30. Just looking at the city website. When are we going to stop claiming the prestigious honor of All America City of 2007?
    Sounds like Yes I was Prom King at my high school dance in 1995.

  31. Does anyone know why the agenda for tonight says "revised".
    what changed????????????

  32. All American City is the only thing that certain people can brag about, as it that is something to brag about.

    I placed first in my second grade spelling bee in 1965.

  33. Mann, Selinske, Doyle, Buchanan, Mosca, the old line corrupt establishment is backed up by all kinds of liars for hire. You know that next spring they will be back and saying the most horrible things about people who are our friends. They cannot run on their achievements or goals because they run counter to what the community wants. So they lie, and they smear, and they make up the most awful stuff. They are a curse on our community.

  34. Agenda looks the same to me. But who knows. The Devil is in the details.

  35. I wish people would give themselves more insight by actually researching the claims that are made. Brian is not a Tea Party Member, nor is he an extremist!

  36. the agenda did changeNovember 8, 2011 at 11:35 AM

    Aiyiyi, they've added a presentation to Mosca.

  37. Brian Fuller is conservative? Yes. Tea Party Member? No.

    Remember, Maryann MacGillivray is conservative and look how much she has done for the best interest community and its people.

  38. I dont see a change on the city or rhymes with city(sh****) website. Tell me that this does not mean we have to sit through some sugary BS that is a tribute to the supposed work that Joe Mosca has done for Sierra Madre. Please? Someone?

  39. I just looked at it. They've added a little moment for Joe. Hopefully that means he leaves right after.

  40. There is to be a parade, with Joe's supporters wearing delightfully piquant masks of 2 faces.

  41. Great. Now we will have to hear Joe talk on and on about the only topic he ever really cared about. Himself.

  42. This ceremonial leave taking is early in the evening.
    Should be easy to miss.

  43. Paul Goosebumps will wrap himself around Joe's legs and plead with him to stay.

  44. 11:14
    Buchanan? Moran? Walsh? Mosca?
    Nice try dirt bags.
    You'ld love to see old bag Mann get elected again wouldn't you?
    What's in it for you?
    Why does a major political party spend so much money on getting this Mann woman elected?
    Why indeed?
    Vote for Brian. Hey, he's an honest guy.
    That's enough for him to get my vote!

  45. Pa's been shining up the spinners on the Hoveround all morning and now we're about to tool down to the Congregational church to vote against Johnny Buchanan. We'll be riding double, honk if you see us.

  46. I see they took Stephens picture off the Patch site and replaced it with someone else. Quite a little exodus going on.

  47. We voted, have you?November 8, 2011 at 1:54 PM

    Pasadena checking in ---- two more Inkavotes for Brian Fuller!

  48. I voted really early. Says that I was the #5 voter.

  49. We voted before 8:00 am this morning. I can say if it weren't for meeting Mr. Fuller and the Tattler's support we would not have had the least bit of interest in this election. I think that's what Dr. Mann was counting on - a lack of interest. I notice that more of her words were devoted to demonizing Mr. Fuller for being a Tea Partyer and not so much of what she has done for PCC. I know know, thank you Tattler, that Dr. Mann is hardly fit to set foot on campus let alone govern PCC.

  50. Every town needs a Tattler. It is the only way to get the truth out.

  51. AOL quarterly figures are out, and it is more red ink. Patch continues to tank.

  52. Registered Democrats in Sierra Madre got canned calls today attacking candidate Brian Fuller.
    Why is a major political party spending so much money to re-elect this Mrs. Mann, to yet another term on PCC board?
    What's in it for them?
    I recall, as a registered Democrat in 2006, getting a call from the Democratic Party in the San Fernando Valley urging my family to vote for JOE MOSCA for city council in Sierra Madre. To my knowledge this was the first time a major political party interfered in our local election.
    I asked the called from the Dems, "why aren't you supporting the other two Democratic Party members running on the ticket, Tonja Torres and Kurt Zimmerman? Their answer " we urge you to ONLY vote for Joe Mosca, he is best for Sierra Madre". WTF did they know about Sierra Madre? Oh yeah, DEVELOPMENT $$$$$$$$.
    Disgusting. Now they are trying to get us to vote for this Mann woman, in spite of her "baggage", and all the comments made on this blog by students of Pasadena City College.

    If you haven't voted yet, go vote for Brian, asp. before the polls close.
    I just did. The call from the Dems, slandering a young man, Brian Fuller was enough for me to know he deserves my vote.

  53. It won't be difficult at all for Moran or Walsh to appoint a replacement for Mosca.

    Walsh has made it clear that she is the boss and has the ultimate authority and right to do as she sees fit.

    Moran has said all along that he planned on using his Council position to appoint his friends and supporters.

    Buchanan sincerely believes the BS that comes out of his mouth.

  54. Joe just said he could go on forever. And now he is trying to prove it.

  55. gob smacked and then someNovember 8, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    OMG, the council majority has appointed a man who is being investigated for fraud, fraud of state and federal funds, as shady a business man as ever was, to the PUSD redistricting committee.

  56. Isn't it good that the G4 is appointing an alternate for Bart Doyle since he's going to be going to jail? Fitting for all of the shenanigans going on with PUSD that Sierra Madre's criminal City Council appoints a criminal to oversee its interests in educating the children of the community.

  57. PUSD Task Force appointment. Bart Doyle ??? WTF!!! These people on the CC are out of control... Sounds like Mr. S was too smart for them. John B. what a jerk!

  58. It will look good on Bart's records that he's doing volunteer work for the schools when sentencing time comes.

  59. Sunset Clause? Silly geese. Whoever said the UUT wouldn't renew the Sunset Clause? Crazy Nancy wants to raise the rate to 12% and keep the Sunset Clause because we don't know what the future holds. Nancy, we hope it holds your resignation from Council.

  60. Well, a subpoena server will know where to find Bart on meeting nights...

  61. Heather Allen just made another powerful speech.
    Thank you Heather for your integrity and intelligence.

  62. Unbelievable. They put a guy who is being sued by the City of El Monte for corruption, and was part of something that is undergoing an investigation by both the FBI and HUD, on a school board.

    It is just bizarre.

  63. "Perhaps is time to make Sierra Madre's City Council an "advisory only" elective body. They can talk all they want, kiss babies, mug for the camera and whatever else they like to do, but when it comes to actual decision-making their contributions would be of the non-binding advisory kind."

    My thoughts almost exactly. Strip them of their big decisionmaking authority and jokers like the G4-1 won't have any interest in serving on city council.

  64. Heather Allen was great. She made very clear and valid points.

    Although, we have just been stripped of our vote on the ALF unless we want to amend Measure V. We have no recourse. It will go to the Planning Commission and the G4-1 will vote it in. Say goodbye to your property values. They are paving the way for the bulldozers.

  65. So Measure V does not give citizens the right to approve a project that doesn't fit with the definitions in the ordinance? I thought we as the voting public could say, yeah it doesn't fit, but we think it's good, so we give our approval.

  66. Measure V only defines what is within the law in Siera Madre and excludes voting on individual developments. It is simply (and I use Simply to demonstrate G4-1's point) a law in Sierra Madre. The only right to vote is an amendment to Measure V since it falls under a proposition or referendum.

    However, once the proposed development goes to the Planning Commission, they City Council approves or denies the project. The City Attorney said that if a project doesn't meet Measure V requirements, then the City Council "should disapprove" it. She didn't say that they have to disapprove it.

  67. The City Attorney said that it wasn't specified in the measure that we can vote on individual projects. How? Isn't it part of DownTown?

  68. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat did you say 9:52???? We've been stripped of the vote on the ALF???? So have we become the real pod people, not just the ones featured in the movie re: bodysnatchers that was filmed in Sierra Madre years ago??? E-vile. Greed is the new bodysnatcher. Has anyone ever seen G3's reflection in the mirror? Did you ever notice the gargoyle that is perched on the south facing roof peak on the Ascension church? Looks like a cross between an aligator & gargoyle. Very interesting. It was just to the left of the walkway with the polling sign directions. Worth noting. It did NOT look holy.


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