Thursday, May 31, 2012

Who Appointed Bart Doyle to Our Oversight Board for the Successor Agency to the CRA?

"Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!" - Gomer Pyle

Yes, it really is quite a mouthful. "The Oversight Board For The Successor Agency Of The City Of Sierra Madre." It isn't the kind of Committee, Commission or Board that you see meeting everyday in the City Council Chambers down City Hall way. But whoot! There it is! Complete with none other than Bart Doyle himself. And tonight's the night they'll be kicking it all off. Doors open at 7 p.m. If you are prone to anxiety attacks, be sure and bring a paper bag. You just might need to watch yourself breathe.

Now you may recall that at the almost last meeting of the previous City Council it was decided that John Buchanan, the outgoing Mayor at the time, would continue on with his storied service to the City of Sierra Madre by running something called the Successor Agency to the CRA. But beyond bringing Karin Schnaider along because she is proficient at math and can do complex spreadsheets in various modern accounting forms on her computer, that was about it.

This was deemed necessary because our Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), along with every other CRA in the State of California, had its plug pulled by Jerry Brown. The purpose being to rake back the billions of dollars in otherwise obligated property tax money these CRAs controlled. Plus the state requires it in a legal sort of way.

CRAs, as you know, were purportedly designed to fight blight and build low income housing using property tax money that would otherwise go to Sacramento. More often than not, however, this money was frittered away by corrupt and dumb City Councils who used it to do favors for supporters and reward amenable developers.

To see what kinds of things our CRA (or RDA if you prefer) money was spent on, including a $3.5 million dollar bond from the 1990s, look for the meeting notice on the City of Sierra Madre site and follow the instructions. The Agenda Report for tonight's CRA Successor Agency Oversight Board fandango can be found there, along with many of the details on actual redevelopment spends.

And what this Oversight Board is supposed to do is not only monitor the money that the state is raking back, but to negotiate our fate favorably with the powers that be so that we can possibly even keep some of it. And we're talking millions of dollars, some of it spent in the 2011 "City Councilmembers Gone Wild" episode.

But here is the catch. Suddenly it isn't just Johnny B and Karin who are working things out with Uncle Jerry, now it is a whole Committee. Who picked these people? Who authorized all of this? It certainly wasn't done in public at a City Council meeting, and no elected official I know voted for them. Was it some outside governmental dude that picked them? Michael Antonovich maybe?

In addition to the Johnster and Karin, we now also get:

Marilyn Diaz
Bart Doyle
David Jaynes
Tom Love
Richard Van Pelt

I am sure some of these folks are fine and upstanding citizens and certainly weren't picked just because they happened to be politically aligned with John Buchanan. But here is my question, don't City Councils appoint members to such bodies as this Oversight Board? Since when does the City of Sierra Madre allow a Committee Chairman to pick his entire committee? Particularly one that is overseeing the fate of millions of dollars in our tax money? Was there some kind of a coup d'etat, and City Hall forgot to issue a Press Release about it?

And then there is Bart Doyle, a guy who hasn't won anything for anyone in years. In the mid-2000s he was the moving force behind the Downtown Specific Plan, which was ignominiously sent down in flames by the voters with Measure V. Then he moved on to manage some billion dollar bus station redevelopment project in El Monte as CEO of a company called Titan Development. Which then went belly up with some of its executives being either arrested, sued by the City of El Monte, or investigated by the FBI and HUD. Or all three. And then most recently Bart was sent to represent us at the PUSD Districting Task Force, with the result being Sierra Madre will not have a seat on the Board of Education until 2 years later than much of Pasadena and Altadena, potentially harming our ability to obtain adequate Measure TT funds for our schools.

The way things are going for Bart Doyle, we'll be lucky to even be allowed to use our City Hall after this is all over. After all, it too is CRA property, along with quite a lot of other things in town. And if you think Sacramento can't take such things away from us, consider this article from the Daily Sound (click here):

Santa Barbara's Big Parking Problem: State may force city to sell all of its downtown parking lots, killing free 75 minute parking.

In a move that could dramatically change the future of downtown parking and spell doom for free 75-minute parking, the city might have to sell all of its downtown lots, the latest fallout from the loss of its redevelopment agency.

A trailer bill released as part of the governor's May revise states that parking garages or lots owned by RDAs (CRAs) must be disposed of, as part of the dissolution of statewide redevelopment agencies. Money from the sale must then be turned over to the state.

You can see the kinds of issues that are involved here, and understand just how important to the City of Sierra Madre the work of this Oversight Board really is. After all, Sierra Madre's CRA/RDA once owned our City parking lots, and I am sure we'd love to keep them. Apparently they can now be sold and the money sent to Sacramento.

Like I said, this is important work. When applicable, it should be done by a Committee with the members appointed by all of our elected City Councilmembers. Not just a former one.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

51 comments:

  1. There has to be money involved. Who gets to buy the disposed properties? The gang of Troll and his minions. The new council needs to take over and stop the corruption. Just another power grab by the losing side where there is buck to be made.

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  2. The same old faces just keep turning up, over and over again. Like the guy at work who never takes a vacation because he fears all his monkeying with the books will be found out if he ever left his desk. That $3.5 million CRA bond, that was Bart's doing, right? What a mess.

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  3. Who are all these "members" Bart selected? We know who Marilyn Diaz is, who are the rest of them.
    Someone please vet them for us!

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    1. We know what Bart is! Bad, bad news!
      We know Marilyn Diaz or thought we did
      ???

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    2. Mr. Love has made frequent appearances at council meetings over the years. He's with the San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District.

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    3. I don't want to start an anti-police rant by somebody's head exploding when I make this point, but I was a fan of Chief Diaz. She did a good job as a police chief.
      As a committee member, she's an unquestioning supporter for the status quo.

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    4. Marilyn won't even dare to open her mouth before looking at John Buchanan first.

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    5. Tom Love is our elected representative to the San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District. Don't you remember voting for him? Thanks to him and buddy Bart, we now convey are water to them and then buy it back at inflated prices. I guess the chlorine and flouride that's added to it costs a lot of money. But that's an inconvenient truth no one wants to discuss.

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    6. Van Pelt is the VP of Administrative Services at PCC..yeah...won't say what most people think of him but it's not flattering..something about a horse and it's rear comes to mind!

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    7. Any relation to Lucy Van Pelt? I'd always heard she was very crabby.

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  4. Tattler is asking an important question: under what authority - outside of the public eye as well - were these people "appointed"? It's the same old boy kickback network as always, which has zero accountability.

    Sierra Madre citizens need to demand a public application process that vets candidates for this Oversight Board and is approved through public process in open hearings.

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    1. The last thing the old boy kickback network wants is people rummaging through a mess that they themselves created. For the same reasons they opposed a forensic audit.

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    2. What Oversight Board? Who gave Buchanan (who appointed himself as our representative) the authority to appoint a Board? This is just as corrupt as Moran saying that he will appoint all of his friends to commissions and committees presumably to avoid having a selection of qualified people serving our community. But then, maybe that is just what he did --- as Mayor, maybe he appointed this oversight board without the consent of the other Council members.

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    3. Oversight water boarding?

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  5. Stop saying "old boy network," it's sexist.

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    1. Old boy network. So there.

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    2. "Old boy network" is exactly what it is to the exclusion of women and minorities. Pretending it doesn't exist is to stick your head in the sand while covering your ears and shouting la la la la loudly. Old boy network. So there, too.

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    3. Hmm. Maybe we should have had a Measure A selection process for this Oversight Board. 5 old white dudes on a panel of 7 just isn't good enough for this concerned Californian. Maybe John Harabedian's law firm should sue them.

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    4. ". . . the exclusion of women and minorities . . . ." Read the article, the district is primarily latino.

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  6. It has that Old Soviet feeling.

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    1. You mean New California feel?

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  7. I have a bad feeling this is going to cost us. Is the 12% UUT just around the corner?

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  8. An oversight committee that's picked in secret. A committee that's designed to provide as much transparency as possible, chosen with the least amount of transparency as possible. Disgusting.

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  9. Okay Tattlers, time to spring into action once again, and demand at the next City Council meeting that something be done to explain this boondoggle.

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  10. Do other cities have successor agencies and how were they formed? Still no money to succeed with, so ha!

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  11. All the cities have to have these agencies, to scramble for crumbs, to cover up all the shenanigans, to make false claims about affordable housing and blight, to wheedle and whine, to regret their foolishness, too late.

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  12. This is exactly why Buchanan was so panicked by a forensic audit a couple years ago. Expect zero transparency.

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  13. The CRA lawsuit filed by Pasadena, Glendale and other Cities to recover their lost development funds was denied yesterday by a Sacramento Judge. Further the Judge ruled that Santa Barbara's many parking lots built with CRA funds must be sold and the proceeds returned to the state. Lots more to come on what the CRA funds were used for which is not good news. (The CRA owns our City Hall) What is coming to an end is the corruption and cynical use of our property tax money for Development, Real Estate, and entrenched City Administrations personal sand box.

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    1. The day they hoped would never arrive is now here. No wonder they stacked the committee.

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  14. Next city council meeting, this should be brought forward at public comment by as many speakers as possible. Call also for the forensic audit while you're at it, boys and girls. This corruption must be swept out of City Hall, along with its purveyors, immediately. We need to back Koerber's call for an RFP for legal services as well and say good riddance to those bastions of developers' defense, Coluanto and Levin.

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  15. So basically there are possible consequences to the shenanigan years, and we could lose a bunch. So what does a parking lot go for these days?

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    1. Hey, it could be worse. WSJ article today says the city of Westminster put its entire city under CRA!
      Wanna buy a city in the OC?

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  16. This is ideal for the insider developers. They get to buy CRA property that was purchased with taxpayers $$ at discounted prices and the city will use this money to fund other projects for other insider developers.

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  17. Time to DEMAND a FORENSIC AUDIT.

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  18. I'm sure the Congregational Church would be glad to take those parking lots off the state's hands.

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  19. Who owns Municipal Park? Or our parks in general?

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  20. The City owns our parks, but they may have the new playground and rest rooms in Memorial Park repossessed by Sacramento, which were purchased by CRA funds.

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    1. Are you 100% sure? We could wake up one day to find a chain link fence around Heseley Field with a $5 admission sign at the only gate.

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  21. Anybody else notice there's no public comment on the agenda of the CRA Oversight Committee meeting tonight?

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    1. This will be all about message control. You will not hear anything they don't want you to hear. Two lawyers, Buchanan and Doyle, will be on guard at all times.

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    2. They've instituted the no minutes rule for public comment.

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  22. I seem to recall David Jaynes as a PUSD wonk

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  23. Chief Diaz was chosen as Chair of the Oversight Board. Tom Love is Vice Chair. Doyle isn;t there? Did he get a note?

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    1. Bart isn't there? Maybe he knew they'd be doing unimportant stuff like setting up figureheads.

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  24. Two (2) appointed by the Mayor (the City Council made the appointments) : John Buchanan and Karin Schnaider
    One (1) appointed by the largest special district (San Gabriel Valley Water District): Tom Love
    Two (2) appointed by the County Board of Supervisors: Marilyn Diaz and Bart Doyle
    One (1) appointed by the Community Colleges: Richard Van Pelt
    One (1) appointed by the County Superintendent of Education: David Jaynes

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    1. Which Super nominated Bart? And does he read the newspapers?

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    2. Doyle is working for the County?

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  25. I thought he was in line for a state job! Punching out lisences plates....

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    1. Not likely. That would be useful.

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  26. Sadly, it was probably Mike Antonovich who appointed Doyle. The same Antonovich who appointed very liberal social justice types to the Districting Task Force (Measure A).

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  27. A Public Records Act Request under 6250 et seq of the Government code should produce all records that relate to the appointment of the Oversight committee.

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