Wednesday, December 28, 2011

And Now, Some Other News

With so much going on in our sometimes chaotic little city nestled besides the foothills of the mighty San Gabriel Mountains, it becomes easy to forget that there is a big world out there and things happen in it as well. Planet Sierra Madre might have its endless fascinations to delight and amuse us, but we do need to take a peek through the Michillinda Curtain from time to time. If only to see how it affects ourselves, of course. When you live here, the world is just the mirror that we use to witness our enduring importance in the grand scheme of things. Or so it might seem to those not fortunate enough to be us.

A new political party in California?

It is a fairly widely accepted fact these days that most people have pretty much had it up to here with both major political parties. The country, along with the State of California, continues to edge towards the kind of financial oblivion that threatens to consume Europe, yet neither of our political parties seems to have the will or the wisdom to do anything about it. So utterly devoted are they to shoveling our tax money to their respective constituencies that they seem oblivious to the very real dangers facing all of us. Obviously both of them need to be fired.

So how do you go up against two massively financed major political parties, organizations that not only benefit from the hundreds of millions of dollars given to them by powerful financial interests, but also exclusive 24/7 news coverage on television and in all other media as well? You turn to the same thing that has brought low the newspapers, entertainment industries, and much of traditional retail. The Internet.

Here is how the NBC-LA owned blog Prop Zero (click here) lays it out:

A "record breaking" 1.62 million signatures qualified Americans Elect for next November's ballot. A state as large and media-centric as California will put the group in the national spotlight. According to its website (click here), Americans Elect "is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that is not affiliated with any political party, ideology or candidate. It is funded exclusively by individual contributions - and not from corporate, labor, special interest, foreign or lobbyist sources." Its goal is "to nominate a presidential ticket that answers directly to voters - not the political system," by "using the Internet to break the gridlock in Washington, open up the political process and give every single voter - Democrat, Republican or independent - the power to nominate a presidential ticket in 2012." The "virtual" selection process will feature the country's first, on-line Presidential nominating convention.

The idea of using the Internet to go directly to the people and nominate untainted state and national candidates, and thereby cutting out the corrupt middlemen in Sacramento and Washington, certainly does appeal to me. Of course, if Americans Elect should then turn around and offer its nomination to someone like Donald Trump, well, then I'll have to go and look for a 4th party.

The obligatory Patch financial report

The glee I used to feel when dropping the dime on Patch's parlous finances isn't quite as automatic as it used to be. There is no denying that the Sierra Madre franchise has definitely improved as of late. The articles are better written and actually go beyond three paragraphs from time to time. Plus those currently running it don't seem to be looking over their shoulder quite as much out of fear that they might be displeasing City Hall. A debilitating condition the site's previous editor seemed to suffer from greatly. You can actually learn interesting things by reading Patch these days, something that wasn't always the case.

However, there are problems. A paper out of Connecticut (home of Tim Armstrong) called The Day has an article up now called "Planted Patches not producing AOL fruit" (click here), and the news is not so good for those living inside the hyperlocal habitat. Apparently some new investment partners don't like some of the numbers they've been seeing.

Starboard Value LP, an investment management firm that seeks to invest in undervalued and underperforming public companies and turn them around, has purchased about 4.5 percent of AOL shares, making it one of the largest shareholders. In a letter to Mr. Armstrong and the board, Starboard Managing Member Jeffrey C. Smith outlines what he sees as the problems at AOL and seeks a meeting to consider a change in course.

AOL, with shares off 36 percent this year, would be successful if not for "the company's massive operating losses in its Display business, which they state could be in excess of $500 million, as well as continued concern over further acquisitions and investments into money-losing growth initiatives like Patch," writes Mr. Smith.

"AOL acquired Patch, a news and information platform for small towns, from an investment firm that you (Mr.Armstrong) founded," states Mr. Smith, digging in the knife. "We believe that Patch may alone lose as much as $150 million in 2011 based on heavy fixed expenses of $160 million ..."

In more chipper news, it appears that the multi-headed Lady Elizabeth Wistar (LEW) has been unceremoniously booted from the Sierra Madre Patch website for planting news of non-existent events almost daily on their Events Calendar. The tip off apparently being specious announcements that consciousness raising meetings were being conducted by Our Lady at The Bottle Shop. In the screw-top wine aisle, I'm sure.

This seems to put LEW firmly into the 4F category. Fake identity, Fake events, Fake website and, of course, Fake news. Which probably explains the credibility she enjoys with Sierra Madre's small but raucous alternative reality set.

Trouble at the Rose Bowl Parade?

It looks like the Occupy folks are planning to take their occasionally disruptive campaign to this year's Rose Bowl Parade. This from the Los Angeles Times (click here):

Rose Parade security beefed up as Occupy plans protest - Facing a protest by Occupy demonstrators, Pasadena police will bolster their already robust presence at the 2012 Rose Parade.

Pasadena police and Tournament of Roses officials have been negotiating with Occupy forces for several weeks on a plan that they hope will prevent any disruptions to Monday's parade. Pasadena officials are allowing the Occupy group to march on the parade route after all the official floats have passed.

Protesters intend to march with large banners that decry wealth inequality in the United States and to unveil a few colorful "floats" of their own, including a giant people-powered octopus, said Pete Thottam, an Occupy spokesman.

The octopus - to be made out of recycled bags and stretching 40 feet from tentacle to tentacle - is designed to represent the stranglehold that Wall Street has on the political process, he said.

Just so you know, the official Tattler position on the wealth inequality question is that we are against it, and will continue to be so until we ourselves acquire some wealth. At which time we will then advocate the arrest of all Occupy persons and demand that they be charged and deported under the terrorist statues of the Homeland Security Act.

The Eagle flies again

Bill Tice has once again thrown his hat into the City Council campaign ring. In other news, the sun came up in the east this morning and, if it gets cloudy, we could see some rain.

The Tattler sets a new record

Sometime late last night this site waltzed past its old monthly record of 43,653 hits. As of this early morning typing we are just beyond the 44K mark and, with a little less than 4 days left in the month, could break the 50,000 threshold by New Year's Eve. Which is quite a lot of traffic for an independent news site that focuses mostly on the affairs and foibles of a city of less than 11,000 souls.

Which just goes to show, if you want to have a successful website, nothing succeeds like controversy. The Tattler would like to thank all of our critics for their continued and energetic support. We probably couldn't have done it without you.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

46 comments:

  1. Eagle Bill, eagle neck, eagle wings, eagle feathers, eagle claws, eagle, well, just be sure to wear a hat.

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  2. I'm sure that Bill Eagle Tice can make better decisions than the Gang of 4 -1 has. Mr. Tice loves this town and given the facts would vote every time for the right animals. Last but not least, he wont lie, he will tell you what's in his heart. You go Mr. Our Eagle Tice.

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  3. If only more people had voted for the Eagle in 2006. He was the real go slow on growth candidate and not the carpetbagger.

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  4. I admire Bill for his truthfulness and his caring nature. But he also believed what Mosca told him, so....

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  5. Mosca told so many whoppers that you can't believe him about anything. Is he really in England?

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  6. Not so far as I can find, he may be in France.

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  7. That's a great article on AOL. Armstrong had a daydream that didn't pan out.
    "...there will be no simple model for swooping in and capturing the local community news market that newspaper companies have long dominated through the advent of radio, TV and now digital communication. You still have to generate revenue to support news gathering and AOL and Patch are, so far, having a hard time of it."

    The Tattler and the author if the well written article are more generous in their appraisals of the hyperlocal AOLies than I am. I still think that to manufacture "local" in corporate headquarters, stick "hyper" on it, and then spit it out over the country, is just too superficial and artificial to have any staying power.

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  8. The other day someone suggested that this blog set up a game like "Where's Waldo?" called "Where's Bosca?". I thought that was a good idea. I might have to do it myself.

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  9. It's weird that the news about Mosca has stopped - nobody is saying so and so heard from Joe and all is well, or the new home/job is great, or any of the other bits of news people share about friends who have moved.

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  10. AOL Patch might have worked7:49, if free press writing types hadn't already picked up the opportunity to start blogs in their own communities.Armstrong was just too late.

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  11. The London thing was just cover. Joe has gone underground to spy on our city's enemies. Particularly the uncivil French.

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  12. Bosca's whereabouts are of no interest to me. Should they come back (highly unlikely) I'll rejoin the focus group. Until then it's the answer to many Tattlers dream: Joe has left the building.

    Get over it! He escaped our wrath. So far this year all the announced candidates are long time Sierra Madre residents.

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  13. Many, many third parties and outliers have run throughout American history, and lost.

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  14. I"m making a New Year's resolution! No personal attacks on the opposition. Who cares what wild style Carol's Canturbury's hair assumes? This blog used to be a place where interesting intelligent discourse took place. For the last few months it's been downgraded to rants by a handful of seriously deranged individuals promulgating innuendo and falsehood, if not downright slander and libel.

    Back to the sassy! Back to the insightful and robust research into the political machinations of a very small town under attack by its own. Join a committee or a commission! Carry a petition! Sign up to host a coffee for the candidate(s) of your choice.

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  15. No third party has ever run a completely internet based campaign. It is the first time that a truly direct democracy might work.

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  16. With a truly direct democracy you get Justin Beiber and Taylor Swift. Worse than bread and circuses.

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  17. Thank you 9:40. Please...no personal belittling remarks; it only muddies and besmirches the facts, which are telling enough. If YOU don't help your candidates by donating, knocking on doors, putting up signs, joining a committee or commission...then it is YOUR fault if we get more Council members who don't have our best interests at heart, and are such an embarrassment like Josh and Nancy.

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  18. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  19. That shows a certain low regard for the for the citizens of this country, 9:55. Beiber and Swift? C'mon. Then again, we got Josh and Nancy. So maybe you're right.

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  20. Um, OK 9:40. What shall we talk about?

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  21. THANK YOU 9:10, I AGREE.....

    DO NOT LOWER OURSEVES TO MEAN AND CRUEL GLEN & RUSH.

    WE WILL BE CIVILIZED AND POINT OUT WHAT OUR CITY NEEDS, NOT CRITICIZE THE OTHER SIDE.

    ENOUGH IS ENOUGH..

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  22. Let's talk about all the positive things that have taken place to keep small growth. Let's talk about the volunteers. The work of Kurt, Don and Mary Anne who improved the policy's of this town.

    Let us talk about people who uncovered the evidence of the water rate increase.

    Policy is important. Representation of the people, not the builders. That is who we talk about. That is who we elect.

    Thank you.

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  24. 10:16, we can wait and see who is running, then post about what we like about the candidate of our choice. We want to focus on fiscal responsibility, slow growth and true transparency. I know all will run on the same thing, but we must cull out those we know are just saying they believe on slow growth to win votes, and those who have demonstrated that they truly believe on slow growth. i.e. pro Measure V.

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  26. What's the status on the homesless shelter and the low cost housing on Highland?

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  27. Hey, Crawford! Can you get some one on one time with Colin Brauderick to answer our questions? Can we send you our questions? And Capoccia, too. Maybe Chris Koerber. That young John Harabedian? What are his intentions right here in his home town?

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  28. To those whose posts were depleted, I do not allow those topics to be discussed on my blog. The reference to Johnson was to shame him for trying. I never have and never will allow those things to be discussed here. So knock it off.

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  29. Thanks Moderator for looking at all those slurs so your readers don't have to.

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  30. How about featuring a candidate for a day on the blog?
    All candidates can write articles and have a day to post them?
    Don't know if comments w/could work then, but it would be good to get the candidates' platforms out.

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  31. It is obvious that there are some people trying to plant their crap here. And there are others who innocently react to it. It is a problem and is getting to be quite a chore.

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  32. 12:02 - this is a very good idea and I have been working on one already.

    Stay tuned!

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  33. Can the TATTLER present AN EVENING OF THE CANDIDATES.

    After all, you are a public forum and have a right to present to the public.

    Perhaps people could just walk up to the platform and give their questions to you, Mr. Crawford.

    I am sure we will get a great crowd. People will listen and their will always be complaints. But, we will still have a forum.

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  34. Americans Elect is a privately-funded group that is using its structure to circumvent the party system. (Link above)

    "It's a little bit odd," Axelrod said, "because it's supposed to be the most democratic nominating process ever, except there's a board of censors to decide who is actually worthy of the nomination or not. So it's kind of like uber-democracy meets backroom bosses."

    It could be an attempt to create a straw man to divert votes from Obama, or perhaps it's a way for Gingrich to get back in the race after not qualifying for the Republican ticket. The problem is, the candidates are privately selected, not vetted in public as they would be for a third-party platform. So I'm not going for this one.

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  35. You can see that Joe is in London based upon his Facebook pictures.

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  36. Rich - do you mean by people like Elizabeth Wistar?

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  37. Susan's favorite reporter has been spending time with Bart and Rob. What's that about?

    Pleasde tell me that those two aren't going to run.

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  38. When a voter goes for an unorthodox candidate, it's pretty much a done deal that the person's vote is used only to help one old political machine over another old political machine. That's a hard true lesson about voting.

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  39. Bart Doyle run while under investigation by the FBI? That would actually be a gift.

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  40. El Monte Bart is going to run? We'll have to turn the City of El Monte lawsuit into a post card.

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  41. The California Supreme Court rules on redevelopment agencies at 10am tomorrow.

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  42. @3:20 pm,

    Remember Pat Paulsen and now Stephen Colbert!

    ;-)

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  43. My problem with voting is I feel it makes me complicit in the decisions of government.

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  44. Farm a galaxie farawayDecember 28, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    I personally signed up on american elect and got my gold badge, I answered 234 questions and I think it is very revealing, I hope it gave bam bam, bush, the oil men, the developers and the DHS a tummy ache. I think they have enough info to clone me now. The questions get better and juicier after the first hundred for all of you who have not forayed into the process. Thank you dear editor, but after 234 questions I am reading the comment of 3:30's above as "run bart, the fbi and hud are going to turn you into a leather wallet and mail you back to china, that is what I read on the back of a post card from el monte"

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  45. If Bart runs we will have to bring in some City of El Monte officials to explain to the residents of our fair city what a bum he is.

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  46. Looks like the Rose Parade, started by a group of Pasadena swells at the Valley Hunt Club, one percenters if ever there were, will be departing from its usual format.

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