But then I began to think about all those sensations of yesterday. The crimes and scandals that, when written about, drew hundreds of comments and thousands of hits. But only a few of these controversial matters ever came to any sort of resolution, or even got close to actually being solved.
Officially, none of what is to follow ever gets discussed by our local officials. Except to say they remain under investigation and therefore cannot be talked about. Or so they say. Though there are others that won't get discussed because those in charge would prefer not to see these matters brought back out into the open. The reason for this is it would be a cause for further embarrassment.
So I dug back into the thousand or so articles stacked up here on this blog and pulled out 5 stories that collectively I am calling "The 5 Great Unsolved Mysteries of the Sierra Madre." All of these articles covered controversies that, in their time, were important and contentious events. And now, months or even years later, they are the stuff of local legend. Bad things that should not have happened, and never were resolved. And today only get spoken about here.
#1: The EVG Scandal. Back in late 2010 it was discovered that hundreds of people had suffered the theft of their financial identities at a gas station known by the name of EVG. At first the City seemed to want to hold this one filling station crime wave at arms length, preferring instead to claim that the Sierra Madre Police Department was deep into an investigation, and that the credit and debit card skimmers responsible would almost certainly be arrested soon.
But then more and more people stepped forward to reveal that they too were victims of the EVG credit and debit card fraud operation. First 100, then 200, and when that number went beyond 400 people, it became politically untenable for the City to avoid the issue any longer. In a January 6, 2011 article entitled "EVG Scandal: The Press Conference," we described it this way:
The big news is the Feds are involved and the Secret Service is the agency. In addition to protecting Presidents they are also assigned to the topic of money. Counterfeiting, credit card fraud, theft or information related to money, all fall within their purview. Though it was not stated outright by Chief Diaz, despite my questioning, this indicates that the EVG situation is likely an organized crime related operation. Federal involvement is triggered when the crime is suspected of being interstate or international in nature. We've made it to the big time.
As of today the culprits responsible for this mass identity theft at the now defunct EVG gas station remain at large. The rest of this article can be found here.
#2: The Matheson Case. This remains a highly controversial matter here in Sierra Madre. A resident of our town, caught at a Canadian airport with large amounts of child pornography tucked away on his laptop, was tried, convicted and imprisoned there, only to later return home to no further consequences. In the opinion of many the delayed search of Robert Matheson's home was a bungled mess, and rather than admit to it the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has chosen to remain silent for months. As has the Sierra Madre Police Department, who were equally non-proactive. The result being that Matheson never was registered here as a sex offender, and is as free and easy today as he was before his arrest.
Here is how we described it in a February 26, 2012 article called, "The Matheson Return: Did the City Make the Right Call?"
Back on February 4th we posted an article entitled "Has Sierra Madre Prepared for the Return of Bob Matheson?" It turn out that yes, it did prepare something. At least for itself. However, given the fact that Bob Matheson had been arrested and imprisoned in Canada for possession of a laptop computer containing 2,820 pictures of naked young boys, along with 285 videos of boys having sex with adult men, the City's conclusions might not be as restrictive or punitive as many in this community would expect. Apparently what the City of Sierra Madre did was build for itself the case that it had to do nothing.
To date Robert Matheson has been allowed to wander the town as he sees fit. The City did not even supply its residents with a photo of what he looks like today. The rest of the article can be read here.
#3: The Measure Y Theft. Now that the residents of Sierra Madre have become aware that there will be a lot less Measure TT money for school building here than they had originally been led to believe, perhaps it is a good time to recall the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars from a previous school bond debacle, Measure Y. Here is how we described it in a May 2011 piece called, "Measure Y Theft Case Goes Nowhere."
Recently we had discussed the $800,000 that the Pasadena Unified School District paid out to a one-man consultant firm to do some Measure TT construction work on various PUSD facilities. Only to fire the guy later, but only after they'd already paid him a King's ransom. Two school board members have now called for an investigation of this rather cavalier handling of bond money that we as tax paying homeowners are expected to pay off over the next 60 years or so.
But before that there was the sad case of the previous school construction bond issue, Measure Y. A couple of contractors and the PUSD employee who was supposed to keep an eye on these guys were suspected of having purloined over $300,000 in Measure Y money, much to the chagrin of an outraged Superintendent Diaz who loudly swore that the guilty parties would be brought to justice.
But they never were. Rather the District Attorney concluded that the PUSD's Measure Y record keeping was so inept that it could never be proven that the $300,000 came from the school district. The result being the crooks got to keep our money. Read about the rest of it here.
#4: The Use of Uniformed Sierra Madre Police on Election Material. This is a fairly recent case, but as with all the others listed here, there has been no resolution. Just assurances that some sort of an investigation is going on, and nobody involved can discuss it. The cone of silence has been lowered. Here is a bit from a March 22 article called, "City Is Investigating Harabedian 'Law Enforcement' Postcard."
Apparently the revelations we posted yesterday regarding the suspected inappropriate political use by City Council candidate John Harabedian of a photo showing Sierra Madre Police Officers in what appears to be PD uniforms has raised a significant level of concern in this community. And because of this concern the story is now beginning to show up on competing media outlets as well. In other words, this one is starting to get legs.
And judging by what Patch is reporting, the City of Sierra Madre is also taking this matter quite seriously. "Sierra Madre's Public Information Officer Elisa Weaver said that the City is reviewing the photo. 'We are aware of the situation and we're looking into it,' said Weaver, adding that she has seen the image."
Yet another investigation that continues behind the scenes. Or so it is said. Read more by clicking here.
#5: City Hall's Fabricated Water Rate Increase Story. We never have heard from City Hall about who exactly cooked up the story that the water rate increase was necessary so that old pipes and infrastructure could be repaired. Only to have it later discovered by residents that it was actually for servicing old water bond debt. Certainly we have a right to know. After all, it is our money, and those who receive it work for us. From an October 25, 2010 article called "The Smoking Water Gun," here is the lead-in to what was at the time a rather large revelation.
After months of being told that the proposed water rate increase was based on the need to repair such water infrastructure as deteriorating pipes from as far back as the 1920s, the truth has finally come out for all to see. Even for those who ordinarily don't notice that sort of thing, or would wish to even when it becomes unavoidable.
After telling the citizens of Sierra Madre that they would be required to bear up under 37% rate increase to keep water infrastructure from collapsing, it turns out the money raised wouldn't be used as advertised. Rather it would have to be spent on old water bond debt.
Of course, we know as little now about who was responsible for that cock and bull story as we did back then. The City conducted a most effective cover-up. The rest of the article can be read by clicking here.
There you go. Sierra Madre's five great unsolved mysteries. If you are planning to try and get to the bottom of these things yourself, be sure to bring a bloodhound.