Now the assumption was that Nancy just didn't grasp what was actually happening at these COG meetings, and the reason why she never gave reports at our City Council confabs about the shady goings-on there was because she didn't understand much of what she'd heard. I now realize that was unfair. Nancy was, to use the colorful Mario Puzo/Godfather term for this, "keeping omerta." Or, in layman's terms, "shudding ya mouth up about it."
Apparently "keeping omerta" is expected of their COG liaisons by the Buchanan/Moran Faction because, like Nancy Walsh and Joe Mosca before him, John Harabedian is now doing the exact same thing. I mean, to say to the residents that there is nothing to report regarding what has been going down at The COG the week after its Executive Director, Nick Conway, had both his home and his COG offices raided by armed officers of the Public Integrity Office of the Los Angeles District Attorney does take some considerable doing. But just like his predecessors, that is what Harabedian did. He "ticked a lock."
Now I happen to have a different opinion about how such things are supposed to be done. My take is that if our taxpayer dollars are going to an organization, which in the case of The COG they are, then the people have the right to be told by their elected representatives everything that is happening there. And to completely whitewash the fact that an investigation of COG Executive Director Nick Conway is being conducted by the District Attorney's office is certainly not in that spirit. It isn't what I would call transparency. The notion that elected officials might attempt to hide such news from the people whose money they spend (foolishly in the case of The COG), is somewhat alien to me.
Just to let you know, I get to hear a lot about what is actually going on at The COG. This blog is widely read by many of its members, some of whom actually enjoy the kind of "breaking omerta" coverage we give here. Some hate my guts because of it, but that's show business. I'm not that crazy about them, either. And I do occasionally receive e-mails from members sharing who want to share their knowledge of some of the bizarre internal goings-on there.
I thought today I would reprint a portion of one of those e-mails. I am not going to identify the source because the author fears legal retaliation. There are good reasons for that concern in my opinion, and because of that I will not reveal this person's identity. Here or elsewhere. We too can keep secrets.
This e-mail was written to me a week before the District Attorney obtained a legal search warrant from the Court and raided Conway's home and offices. In retrospect it was a great lead-in to something nobody knew was going to happen. I now wish I'd printed it upon receipt. Other things were going on at the time in Sierra Madre, and I passed on it. In hindsight the importance of this e-mail is now crystal clear.
I recently wrote to Angel Carillo, the current President of the San Gabriel Valley COG of allegations I read in your blog. Specifically the allegation that Nick Conway's company, Arroyo Associates, is being paid rent for the homeless coalition formed and set up by the COG. While I do not know if the allegations are true, they require immediate action to either exonerate or avoid possible conflicts of interest. Surprisingly, Carillo did not respond to me. When I asked him about it at a recent executive committee meeting he said, "Because I do not agree with you."
Nevertheless, the SGVCOG has a fiduciary responsibility to investigate this for it's member cities. This and other conflict of interest allegations need adjudication to retain confidence in government. The effort by Conway to get a lucrative PERS pension is a non-starter for my community. The amount of legal fees that are amassing because of Conway are staggering.
A week after this e-mail was received here the District Attorney launched his raids on Conway controlled properties. Obviously the author of this piece suspected something big might happen.
At the most recent SGVCOG meeting this blog came under some criticism from those who run the joint. Apparently there is concern that some of the things revealed by The Tattler over the last few months may have played a role in the District Attorney's decision to launch a conflict of interest investigation of that organization's lead figure.
Which, while being good news for this blog, certainly does not say much for the communicativeness of those elected officials who are supposed to be representing our interests there.
But hasn't that often been the case in Sierra Madre over the last several years? As our City government has gone from being a place where the peoples' business gets done to a private marketplace open to the desires of any outside interests with the money to buy in, it has taken citizen volunteers to break through official omerta and find out what the truth might actually be. It happened with the Downtown Specific Plan, it happened with the deceptive rationale for the water rate increase, and now it has happened with The COG.
It is nice that people can take this kind of interest in good government and make the effort to get to the truth of such matters. But isn't it also kind of sad that we have to do so?