Sunday, June 17, 2012

Your Sunday Tattler News & Review for June 17

(Mod: The weeks go spinning by, do they not? But that isn't always a bad thing. I mean, who does not look forward to the Sunday News & Review? I know I do, it is such a nice way to catch up with this wacky old world. And yes, we are now definitely moving off of the cow story. The rule here being that once something shows up in the Looney Views News, it is old hat. Until something dramatic happens, like the arrest of the perpetrator herself, it's time to step forward.)

Ban lifted on 9-year-old Scottish blogger who posted photos of nasty school lunches (Pasadena Star News)

LONDON -- Britain's youngest food critic is back in business.

A Scottish local authority on Friday retreated in the face of an online outcry and lifted a ban on 9-year-old blogger Martha Payne, who had been ordered to stop taking photographs of the lunches served up at her school cafeteria.

Her images of uninspiring school meals -- one consisted of two croquettes, a plain cheeseburger, three slices of cucumber and a lollipop -- drew international attention. The blog, set up about six weeks ago as a writing project and to help raise money for a schools-meals charity, has drawn more than 2 million hits.

Martha, who lives in the coastal town of Lochgilphead, about 130 miles west of Edinburgh, gave each meal a "food-o-meter" rating, and offered an assessment of its contents. "I'd really like to know where the chicken comes from," she wrote in one entry about having chicken fajitas for lunch, "so I am going to write to the lady in charge and ask. I know it comes from a hen but I'd like to know where the hen lived."

Local officials were not amused, and ordered the girl to stop taking pictures. In a statement, Argyll and Bute Council said Payne's photos were misleading and has caused distress to cafeteria staff. The council was particularly irked by a report about the blog in Scotland's Daily Record newspaper headlined "Fire the Dinner Ladies."

(Mod: You can read the rest of this Star News report by clicking here. To check out Ms. Payne's "Never Seconds" blog, click here. Her post from June 14 has 2,338 comments.)

Administrators in PCC probe were allegedly running secret business (Pasadena Sun)

(Mod: You may recall that now former Sierra Madre CRA Dissolution Board member Richard van Pelt recently had his home and Pasadena City College offices raided by the very busy Public Integrity Division of the District Attorney's office. Here is a follow-up to that story.)

Two Pasadena City College administrators facing a bribery probe were operating a company together without the school's knowledge and may have been doing business with firms they hired to perform work on campus, according to school officials.

Richard van Pelt and Al Hutchings, the school's top financial executive and facilities supervisor, have been on leave since investigators with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office Public Integrity Division seized documents and computers from their homes and offices June 7.

Can Pelt and Hutchings have jointly operated a company called Sustainagistics LLC since Jan. 29, 2010, according to the California Secretary of State. Records describe Sustainagistics as an import logistics firm based out of van Pelt's Altadena home.

College President Mark Rocha said van Pelt and Hutchings did not disclose the existence of Sustainagistics to college officials, an apparent violation of conflict-of-interest rules that caught the attention of investigators.

Van Pelt signed orders for more than $8.5 million worth of Facilities Dept. contracts in 2011 - including purchase orders, service agreements and bond-funded construction work - according to college board of trustees meeting agendas and minutes.

(BTW: Van Pelt also oversaw the spending of Measure P money. Just so you know. The rest of this sustainable report can be read by clicking here.)

U2 guitarist may get a second chance at Malibu mansions (Los Angeles Times)

(Mod: A year or two back we reported on how the attempt of U2 guitarist "The Edge" to build a string of Malibu McMansions was shot down by the California Coastal Commission. Apparently what the blunt Edge did next was what any well-heeled developer would do, hire lobbyists and work our corrupt pay-to-play state legislature in Sacramento. One of the arguments? The Edge's McMansions are - of course - "green.")

SACRAMENTO - The California Coastal Commission rejected a controversial proposal last year by U2 guitarist the Edge to build five mansions on a scenic bluff above Malibu, saying that it would scar a rugged ridgeline and harm sensitive habitat.

Now, some of the same powerful lobbyists and lawyers behind the musician's quashed development are working the halls of the Capitol to push a bill that could give the rock star another chance at his dream compound.

Environmentalists and state agencies say that if the legislation becomes law, it will undermine the commission's position on his project and also extend to the character and development of the entire California coast and to state public lands.

Sarah Christie, legislative director for the Coastal Commission, said the result would be a chilling effect on public agencies' abilities to carry out their missions, giving any developers who game the system more clout and potentially leading to "more fragmented, inappropriate development" along the coast. Environmentalists cast the bill as a power grab by developers and special interests, including the Edge.

(The rich irony here being The Edge and the rest of his purportedly progressive U2 bandmates have made hundreds of millions of dollars each singing loud and long about their concern for things such as the environment. You can read the rest of this article by clicking here.)

Critical public comments unwelcome at CARB? (Fox and Hounds)

(As a Tattler reader you are certainly aware that the California Air Resources Board - or CARB for the acronymic - functions pretty much as the steel-fisted uber-enforcer for such draconian and economically ruinous Sacramento legislation as AB32. Just don't ever try and tell them that to their faces. They will take you out.)

I recently had the opportunity to attend a California Air Resources Board hearing on the agency's plans to spend revenue from a proposed cap and trade auction. This auction will cost Californians billions of dollars, but when citizens showed up at CARB to express their opposition, CARB Chairman Mary Nichols abruptly shut down public comments, announcing she was "disappointed" after she "invited" audience members to the hearing, they would have the audacity to criticize her plans.

Her announcement was met with dismay by the audience, many members of which had driven long distances for the chance to share their opinion. Citizen energy consumers and concerned small business owners are disappointed that CARB goes through the motions of holding hearings and soliciting citizen input without truly considering the input of people who worry about lost jobs and higher prices for food and other essential goods and services.

At the cap and trade hearing, representatives of organizations supportive of CARB's proposal were allowed to go to the front of the line because according to Chairman Nichols, they needed to leave early. In fact, the first half hour of public comment was exclusively from people supporting the proposal who "needed to leave early." Public comment was only shut down when critical comments began to be expressed later.

(The rest of the article can be accessed here. To view a video of Ms. Nichols shutting down public comment, click here.)

Steven Greenhut: From Fullerton to San Jose, voters did the right thing (OC Register)

(Mod: You might have read recently that 3 members of the Fullerton City Council were overwhelmingly recalled by the voters there for being asses. And now celebrated columnist Steven Greenhut gives some credit where credit is due. The force behind the recall? A blog.)

It was time for a change, and the pension-abuse issue, bolstered by these leaders' duck-and-cover routine after the Thomas killing, was enough to spark the recall. They were bounced by nearly 2-1 margins, so it wasn't a fluke. And the ground had been plowed by Bushala and his merry band of local-minded libertarians, thanks to their Friends for Fullerton's Future blog. Granted, the three soon-to-be-ex-council members provided plenty of side-splitting fodder.

But the blog set the stage, used publicly available video to expose and mock what the city's leaders did every week in council chambers. The bloggers - none of them professional writers - used humor to highlight the not-so-funny way the council mismanaged the city.

(The rest of the column can be viewed by clicking here.)

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

40 comments:

  1. I love that Orwell quote.

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  2. Thanks for the link to Martha's blog. It's wonderful and involves kids from all over the world.

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  3. van Pelt is a former CRA dissolution Board member?
    I was sure he'd be elevated to chair.

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    1. For whatever bizarre reason, as our nearest public college PCC had a seat to fill on our CRA Dis Board. Once van Pelt got busted for taking bribes they pulled all of his tickets, including the one they control here. PCC will be choosing some other solon for the job fairly soon. I kind of thought that with his interests in both sustainability and funny money development deals, he might be perfect for some other assignment in Sierra Madre. The Green Committee for one.

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  4. Fed up with bigshots running rampantJune 17, 2012 at 7:35 AM

    This is serious business with respect to the attempt by U2 members to bypass environmental rules and maximize development by submitting five separate applications, each under a different corporate name. This is very similar to the impact that 1 Carter would have in Sierra Madre, very destructive to a sensitive mountain ridge environment. The tactic of strong arming the legislature to pass special exemption bills is familiar to everyone who watched Schwarzenegger sign a bill giving Ed Roski's NFL stadium an exemption from environmental legislation, which was the camel's nose under the tent.

    I hope the local citizens and state environmental orgs shut down the U2 development immediately. They are using money and legal shielding to cover up their actions and obtain special privilege. To say that these people are hypocrites doesn't even begin to describe what they're doing. If I listened to their music, I'd boycott them and let them know it.

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    1. Absolutely right, Fed up. And if these greenly sensitive environment destroyers have their way, our mountains could be next - imagine it all like One Carter.

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    2. All it takes now to destroy the environment of your town is the money needed to buy a lobbyist?

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    3. Everything is for sale in Sacramento.

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    4. Ben Hueso is the District 79 Assemblyman and author of the legislation:

      AB 2226 2012 Agency proceedings. evidence. presumptions:
      http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/asm/ab_2201-2250/ab_2226_cfa_20120416_101206_asm_comm.html

      Hueso appears to be up for re-election, which means he's vulnerable
      http://www.huesoforassembly.com/

      He also has some ethics violations:
      http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2011/sep/13/hueso-agrees-to-fine-over-money-for-brothers/

      Here's a 5/25/12 staff report on the bill by the San Francisco Conservation & Development Commission:
      http://www.bcdc.ca.gov/meetings/commission/2012/0607AB2226.pdf

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    5. That guy is on the SANDAG Board and is known for being bought and paid for in San Diego circles.

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    6. From local Sierra ClubJune 17, 2012 at 9:34 PM

      AB 2226 IS COMING BEFORE THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE THIS TUESDAY - NOREEN EVANS, CHAIR.- LETTERS OF OPPOSITION SHOULD BE FAXED TO HER AT (916) 319-2188. HER ADDRESS IS NOREEN EVANS, CHAIR, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, 1020 “N” STREET, ROOM 104, SACRAMENTO 95814. YOU CAN ALSO EMAIL A COPY OF YOUR LETTER TO KATHRYN PHILLIPS, DIRECTOR, SIERRA CLUB CALIFORNIA <kathryn.phillips@sierraclub.org .

      AB 2226 DOES NOT JUST AFFECT “THE EDGE” AND HIS “COASTAL MANSIONS”. IT IS DESIGNED TO PREVENT ALL STATE PLANNING AGENCIES FROM REQUIRING ANY DEVELOPMENT FIRM FROM REVEALING THE IDENTITY OF EVERYONE WITH A FINANCIAL STAKE IN A PENDING DEVELOPMENT. IF ENACTED INTO LAW, AB 2226 WOULD PREVENT PLANNING AGENCIES FROM PIERCING THE “CORPORATE VEIL” AND UNCOVERING THE ACTUAL BUSINESS REALITIES BEHIND THE TITLE TO A PROPERTY THAT IS UP FOR DEVELOPMENT.

      AB 2226 WOULD REQUIRE ALL STATE AGENCIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO USE THE EVIDENCE CODE RATHER THAN EXISTING ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES FOR DETERMINING WHO HOLDS THE TITLE TO A PROPERTY PROPOSED FOR DEVELOPMENT. BUT THE EVIDENCE CODE IS INTENDED TO APPLY TO JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS, NOT TO DETERMINE THE TITLE TO LAND, AND THERE IS NO PROVISION IN THE LAW FOR STATE AGENCIES TO HAVE THE POWER OF DISCOVERY IN DETERMINING THE OWNERSHIP REALITIES BEHIND A DEVELOPMENT PROPOSAL.

      YES, THIS IS COMPLICATED AND TECHNICAL. THAT’S WHY AB 2226 ALREADY BEEN APPROVED BY THE ASSEMBLY. THE SENATE IS THE LAST PLACE WHERE WE CAN BE SURE OF STOPPING AB 2226.

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  5. Chairman Nichols is a perfect politician - smiles while she's explaining to people that she's happy to have their input, but not just now or like that, and then smugly ends the meeting when she's taken to task for her failure to hear the public.

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    1. Nichols says the speakers "want to object to the program as opposed to accepting our invitation to come in and address us". Lol. She clearly thinks that addressing the Board means saying things like "Great job."

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    2. Apparently Nichols is a "big process" person.

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  6. I just filled out a form to change my voter preference to "decline to state." Which strikes me as being unfair. I want to state that I categorically belong to no party. I mean it to be no secret, nor do I decline to state anything. I do not want to be responsible in any way for what any of those people do.

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    1. Welcome to Decline to State. I have been one ever since I moved to Sierra Madre and watched a primarily Democratic council give away the hillsides to a fraud.

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    2. I need to change to change my party preference. Of course, they don't list Anarchism as a party choice. Which is correct. It is more a form of consciousness.

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  7. Looney Sue's News goes off on Chris Koerber for opposing turning the pro-development Green Committee into a Commission. Susan is a proven liar, and no one should believe anything she says. I hope the Tattler will answer that article.

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    1. Susan was fired from the 2nd highest job in the California State Democratic Party because she lied about her resume and used the party credit card to buy lingerie and trips to Disneyland. Now she subsists here on charity and the crumbs from whoever it is she is fibbing for at the time.

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    2. Telling the truth is not part of the process.

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    3. Henderson is a pretty good con.
      She never paid the court judgment against her, $47,000, as far as I've heard.
      She maintains relationships with elders who write her checks.
      She still claims to have been a graduate of schools who have no record of her.
      And she gets away with it.
      Pretty good con.

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    4. Does she pay those seniors back?

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    5. Let's just keep our eyes on the money. We are trying to cut costs, not increase them. Adding on another commission increases costs. Remember that a commission will have a city lawyer. Ideology aside, we can't afford it.

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    6. Again Susan Henderson does not have her facts straight. She states in her Koerber article that his motion died for lack of a second. Not true. Watch the tape. Capoccia seconded the motion after Koerber rephrased it. It was then that the city atty told the mayor that he could make a "competing motion" (?), which Josh did and was then seconded by Harbedian.
      Of course, why should Susan let little things like facts get in the way of her "unbiased" reporting.

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

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    8. Good 11:09. Let us remember that mess the city attorney made in explaining procedure, the confusion of the council, and, what some of us anticipate will be one of many 3 to 2 votes to come.

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    9. Looks like Josh has unleashed the dirts favorite dotty old pit bull. Too bad the old girl doesn't have any teeth left. How'd that Measure U thing work out for you, Joshie? Victoria's Susan bring it home for you?

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    10. Let's not forget also the City Attorny's explination to the Council about the Measure V vote. That was so muddled that they passed it right back to the Planning Commission. In turn, the attorney at the Planning Commission muddled the explination several times - so now the issue goes back to the Council. We should have an independent attorney address this, someone like Chris Sutton or Kurt Zimmerman and clear the air once and for all. Problem is, we, as Citizens don't have the money to fight C&L and they know it.

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  8. Wow!...good for you..I guess..

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    1. The poster declined to state.

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  9. Henderson stated in her article re: Koerber, that he interrupted the Mayor several times. It was the other way around. Josh will not let anyone talk over a minute before he has to chime in. I'm surprised that Moran didn't state in this discussion that he remembers growing up in Sierra Madre and rode his bicycle to Toy and Patio without having UN Accords.

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  10. Again, we have to remember the two years Mayor Moran was being introduced to the proper way to run a City Council meeting, he had two absolutely horrible models: Joe Mosca and John Buchanan.

    Not letting a fellow council member have an uninterupted time to speak is a sure sign that Mayor Moran is incompetent and that he actually knows it. He thinks that if he keeps talking others won't find out that he is incompetent. Constant blather=delusions of competency: Example #1: Joe Mosca; Example #2: John Buchanan; Example #3: Josh Moran.

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  11. Henderson used a telling word to describe Councilmember Koerber's efforts to get his point across: "rant." This is a form of projection. She is not a journalist, but a PR foil for herself and the city. When is a newspaper not a newspaper? When it is a Vanity Newsletter.

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    1. I think Josh egged her on. He is hearing footsteps. He knows that he isn't winning many hearts and minds in this town. He can read the results of both Measure U and Measure A, both of which lost badly in Sierra Madre. This to me looks like panic.

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    2. I'm sure Chris Koerber considers it an honor to be on Harriet's s**t list! It would be troublesome if she supported this fine man, Chris Koerber, which she never will, that is unless he paid her off, which will never happen.

      Councilman Chris Koerber, if you are reading this, you must consider this truly an honor to be getting negative press by this grifter, Harri. S. Henderson!

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    3. Harriett only picks fights with the very best.

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  12. Henderson is just a cheap grifter. When she was leeching off the Dunns she was all about Measure V and preserving the town. Now that her bread is being buttered by a city hall controlled by out of town developers and realtors she is attacking the very same things she used to support.

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  13. An interesting article in the LA Times California section today re: fight between developers who want to build high-rises and those who want to preserve the hillside. Shades of Sierra Madre and our fight to keep RHNA numbers down. These developers envision Hollywood where it would "be a livable, urban city. . . . " ". . .a place you could live, conceivably witout a car. It's intended to be a land-use plan that unites the neighborhoods." So said Kerry Morrison, who leads the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance.

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  14. People everywhere are sick to death of seeing the control over development in their community stolen from them by corrupt government.

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