The details of Susan's slide into national ignominy can be read in three articles archived on the San Francisco Chronicle's SFGate.com site. These are: "State Demo Chief's Resume Disputed" (click here), "Demo Leader Resigns Under Fire" (click here), and "State Democratic Party's Top Paid Staffer Quits Amid Charges" (click here). All the sordid details of Susan's scandalous fall from grace can be seen there, including such false claims as receiving a law degree from UC Berkeley, and having made various "who's who" books for achievements that turned out to be baloney.
One of the funniest passages in these three articles details the White House's impatience with how long it took for the California State Democratic Party to fire Susan. The thought that President Bill Clinton might have been asking something along the lines of, "Why haven't they fired that stupid #%*&@ yet?" still strikes me as pretty amusing.
Like I said, Susan Henderson fell, and when she finally stopped falling she ended up here in Sierra Madre. Which, as nice of a place as it may be, really is quite a piece from the California centers of political power where she used to hang her hat. Perhaps that explains the seething anger that lingers just below the surface of so much of what Susan writes. She is a world class loser.
Once here Susan started a newspaper in town, a partnership with Katina Dunn. Only to later find herself dragged into court a couple of years later and facing a colossal lawsuit over some hanky panky involving "misappropriations." A case that she lost to her former partner, and at the cost of a $42,000 judgement. The details of this judicial decision can be read here. To date it appears that Susan has not paid off very much of what she owes the Dunn family, and the Court continues to be a hovering presence in her life.
So it makes perfect sense that when Mayor Josh Moran needed to deliver a political message to the people of Sierra Madre, he would choose H. Susan Henderson to be the carrier of that message. After all, the two of them are on a similar ethical and moral wavelength.
Things have not been going well for Mayor Moran as of late. Three recent ballot initiatives that Josh staked a lot of political capital upon, both Measures 12-1 and 12-2 (which involved a potential Utility User Tax increase), along with PUSD Measure A, lost quite handily in Sierra Madre. And two 2 of the 3 City Council hopefuls he campaigned for lost as well, with his third candidate squeaking out a victory only by spending far more money than any other candidate in Sierra Madre history.
To me that looks like he has now lost 5 out of the last 6 election opportunities. Something that doesn't show a whole lot of political leadership. Obviously Josh Moran is hearing footsteps.
Which brings us to Mayor Josh's recent City Council tete a tete with Chris Koerber. The topic was the Green Committee, and whether it should be brought up to a full commission status ala the Planning Commission, which actually does meaningful work for the City of Sierra Madre. Bringing the Greenies up to full commission status would require such costly things as hiring a lawyer to sit in on their meetings. This at a time when City Hall is jettisoning bodies due to a lack of funds.
Susan's mercenary hit piece on the matter, "Council Meeting Takes A Strange Turn," is first of all shot through with glaring factual inaccuracies. She appears to have been completely baffled by some of the procedural niceties of the exchange, with Susan stating in her article that Chris's motion "died for lack of a second." If you watch the tape you'll see that John Capoccia seconded the motion after some terminology was cleared up. It was at that time the City Attorney told the Mayor that he could make a "competing motion," which a by then clearly agitated Josh did, and was then seconded by John Harabedian. So why would they make a "competing motion" to something that didn't exist? Susan chooses not to say.
Henderson also fabricated an exchange where Chris Koerber interrupted the Mayor "several times." It was actually the other way around, with Moran attempting to talk over Koerber at almost every turn of the discussion. Josh has developed the rather unfortunate tendency of busting in on just about anyone's conversation, and at any time. The theory being that Josh suffers from anxiety over his fear of keeping up with conversations that might develop into something he doesn't like. And since the only things he cares for are conversations about himself and what he wants, this happens quite often. The result being that the Mayor comes across as being something of a boorish and self-obsessed control freak.
The heart of the conflict between Councilman Koerber and Mayor Moran stemmed from something called the Green Committee Accords and their United Nations origins. The rationale for why the Green Committee needs to be upgraded to full Commission status is based upon something called the Environmental Accords of the United Nations. We are now expected to begin recognizing the UN as an important authority here in town on matters of community planning and development. Which in large part is what these "Accords" deal with.
Apparently when the Green Committee put together their Accords, they basically cut and pasted the United Nations version into their own and handed it over to the City Council as if they had spent the last two long hard years agonizing over the process. Which quite obviously they did not. Maybe that is why they need us to pay the bill for an attorney for them, just in case they get busted for misappropriation. Like Susan did.
Now there are several problems with the United Nations Environmental Accords (which are also the Green Committee's Accords since they were lifted almost word for word from the original), the chief of which is that they call for the kinds of development here in town that most Sierra Madreans oppose. I know that Susan Henderson assumes that the dotty old dears still reading her rag will likely not understand it, but "smart growth" SB375-style development, strikingly similar to the old Downtown Specific Plan that a bunch of clueless knuckleheads sunk their life savings into in 2006, is at the very heart of these Accords. If you go to the "California Green Cities" site (click here) you will be able to ponder the whole thing. And this is what it has to say about redevelopment:
Urban Design: Action Item 8 - Adopt urban planning principles and practices that advance higher density, mixed use, walkable, bikeable, and disabled-accessible neighborhoods which coordinate land use and transportation with open space systems for recreation and ecological restoration.
Now how a downtown redeveloped to accommodate the walkable and bikeable is going to also make the neighborhood disabled-accessible is beyond me. I'm not sure that beyond stringing together some neat buzzwords they really quite thought that one through, but you get the picture. The Accords (both UN and their Sierra Madre doppelganger), proclaim that they are environmental, when in actuality they're yet another phony ploy cobbled together to sell this town on garbage redevelopment. The kind that would destroy the character of our city while making a lot of money for the Downtown Investors Club and related interests. Which is, of course, the real object of Josh Moran's concern.
Unless, of course, you really do believe that six or so blocks of densely arranged stack and pack condos coupled with street front nicknack shoppes is somehow going to save the world from global warming. In which case I have a rather ornate bridge in Pasadena to sell you.
In her article Susan Henderson says the following:
When the Sierra Madre City Council had almost completed a rather lengthy agenda, what should have been the simple adoption of the strategic planning objectives ...
Since when have the adoption of "strategic planning objectives" ever been simple in this town? And something as contentious as proposed objectives that could result in so-called "smart growth" high-density redevelopment language being shoved into our City's General Plan should just be simply rubber stamped because it had been a long night and everyone was tired?
I guess they don't call it the Looney Views News for nothing.