Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Your Tattler City Council Meeting Prophecy

There is a piece of choice gossip that has come The Tattler's way. And if there is one thing that we enjoy more than a well-constructed conspiracy theory, it is gossip. And before I share this intriguing tidbit with you let me say that for a piece of gossip to be interesting, it does have to have come from a reasonably credible source. Or perhaps even an inside one, which isn't always the same thing. Please allow me to share.

Mayor Moran apparently has a group of people who help him to prep for City Council meetings. All of them are hostile to community control over planning and development, and each shares in his goal of bringing mixed-use tightly packed SCAG housing to downtown Sierra Madre. Each prepster is assigned an "action item" that roughly coincides with their field of expertise. Or at the least something that they care about. Then all get together with Josh to share their findings.

While I am certain this helps the Mayor prepare for his meetings without having to actually work at it, this also results in a lack of spontaneity on his part. The supposed purpose of a City Council meeting is for ideas to be exchanged in open conversation, which then hopefully leads to a shared consensus reflecting the will of the community. But apparently we have a Mayor who only heeds those specially chosen in advance to tell him how he is to deal with the issues, and then regurgitates their agenda wholesale at the meetings. Which means that the only voices he hears are those of the special interests scripting him.

This evening's meeting kicks off with all the usual voodoo. There is a secret session with the Sierra Madre Police Officers Association. And since it is secret it's hard to tell what exactly is going on in there. But it has to be one of two things. The SMPOA is either asking for more of our money in the form of raises and benefits, or they are attempting to sue the taxpayers over some minor grievance. I'm not sure if they understand the contradiction.

Once the curtain rises on tonight's main event, the spending of the cash commences. Also known as item "1a" on the Consent Calendar. Added all together tonight's sum comes to $595,094.78. A fair amount of cash for 14 days worth of doing whatever it is they do down there. If you figure that two weeks equals 336 hours, it all comes to $1,771.12 every 60 minutes. However, if you consider that the average City Hall day is 7.5 hours per the 9 days worked every two weeks, that figure balloons to $8,816.00 an hour. Which is quite a nut if you think about it.

After the Brink's truck leaves with our tax money, the second item on the Consent Calendar will jump up to take its place. This has to do with GASB 54, an acronym that stands for Government Accounting Standards Board. (Click here if you are a glutton for abuse.) Basically what this means is funds were committed for various things in 2011, like Santa Anita Fire expenses, or Street Resurfacing. What the City Council is expected to do here is look at this list, ponder its significance, rattle and hum for a bit, and then say they're down with it. Unless they aren't. Then they will say something else. Hopefully they'll just gut the whole thing and cut our taxes.

As if that wasn't thrilling enough, next up is Item 1c, which is the GANN appropriation limit. As it says in the Staff Report, "In 1979, the voters of the State of California approved Proposition 4, better known as the Gann Initiative ... requiring the City establish an appropriation (spending) limit each year." The new limit for the year to come is $8,479.572. In the Staff Report there is no explanation of how that number was arrived at, though I am certain it was carefully considered during the recent serial budget deliberations. That is, the ones that took place in Elaine's office. And since it is now on the Consent Calendar, I guess the City Council will just have to consent. Otherwise John Harabedian will once again share a few of his many thoughts about "the process." He is a big process guy, you know.

The next item, 1d, was news to me. Apparently if you are a volunteer and you get injured in whatever duties you are performing for the City stugotz, you can still get workers' compensation insurance coverage. I should think this would be a good thing if you are a volunteer member of, let's say, the SMVFD. Of course, The Tattler also performs voluminous services for the City stugotz, especially in the form of advanced information dispersal. Often those working here suffer paper cuts and chronic sleep loss.

The excitement of the Consent Calendar peaks with the letter "e" this week, and believe it or not it has to do with paying lawyers. Something this City does as well as any. The firm in question is Dapeer & Rosenblit, and these goombahs specialize in putting the hurt to residents and businesses that don't adhere to the stringent requirements of the City's municipal code. You violate a City Ordinance and you'll find yourself standing in your doorway looking straight into the mugs of Jimmy Da Peer and Rosie "The Chin" Blits. Believe me, you don't want that. Turns out Da Peer and The Chin want more money for their muscle. Go figure. From $160 an hour now to $225 in 2013/2014. Of course the pushovers on City Staff recommend that we pay it. When do they ever not? They're very generous like that.

The Consent Calendar grinds to a halt with 1e, which recommends that we continue to fund transportation services provided to Sierra Madre's residents by First Transit, Inc. Last year it set us back $217,689. This time around the amount scheduled would be $18,140.75 a month. Which is the exact same amount of money when multiplied by 12. No, you can't make this stuff up. It has to happen all by itself.

Item #2 deals with the topic of congestion management. Which means that we get to participate as both a city and taxpayers in maintaining a prevailing fantasy (or is that a mass psychosis?) that the government has some sort of control over freeway traffic jams. This pile of pottage is specifically about the Congestion Management Program, or CMP. The paperwork was prepared by SCAG, so you know it is utterly useless. What we are required to do here is produce an LDR, or Local Development Report. Which, since we have effectively stopped uber development in this town cold, should take up about a half a page of double-spaced lettering written in thick crayon. Somehow this is supposed to help us with our transportation needs while, of course, saving the world. Everything is about saving the world these days.

I am sure that Josh's meeting preparation team spent a lot of time with him on Item #3, because this deals with the Kensington. The very last thing any of that rotten lot wants is for this project to go to a vote as a full blown Measure V ballot question. The Measure V haters never want to see the people of Sierra Madre practicing their democratic rights as voters in the approval of a development project. It positively brings out the Kim Jong Il in them. Complete with spiky fright wig. We have written about this topic 40 times now, and I am not going to do it again. I can't, it will kill me.

However, I will tell you this. The City Attorney and the Measure V hating cafones on the City Council will do anything they can to stop this vote. Including talking for weeks on end about the most inconsequential and absurd nonsense, all done in hopes of making everyone throw up their hands in despair and go home. Or just throw up. This is the tactic they used on the Planning Commission, and quite effectively I might add. You just have to remember why they're doing it. Then get ready to dig deep for the lawyer we'll need to sue the living hell out of them for attempting to steal our Constitutional rights. If they get away with this, then we have all been wasting our time, and for a long time. The law is on our side, and they must be stopped. There is no alternative.

Item #4 has to do with the Appointment and Reappointment of folks to various commissions. The big catch here is the two seats on the Planning Commission being vacated by the termed out Gina Frierman-Hunt and Russell Replogie. Don't be too surprised if Josh throws the likes of Bart Doyle and Enid Joffe's into the nomination cap.

Item #5 deals with appointments to the Library Board of Trustees.

Shoved to the end of the meeting is Item #6, which has to do with the worthy goal of hiring City Attorneys that doesn't cost us as much as the treacherous lot we have now, seems like it should be a simple process that any Councilmember who cares about the financial well-being of our City would fully embrace. But unfortunately right now that is only about 40% of the current City Council. The rest are other directed, and prejudiciously hot air propelled.

This last item was covered in depth here last Saturday, and you can read all about it by clicking here.

That concludes this day's portion of City Council meeting prophecy.

Goodnight moon.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

69 comments:

  1. Yes, let's pay the lawyers more. After all, we are trying to reign in costs.

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    1. Check out the staff recommendation on that little item. For goodness sake, Aguilar trots out other cities the firm services, like Beverly Hills and San Marino. That should end the gig right there. We are not Beverly Hills or San Marino. Doesn't anybody in city hall know what it means to cut costs? Look at who the poorer cities use. Get a clue.

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  2. Doyle and company, 'stu cazzo!

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  3. I want Charley Martin back, get rid of these shysters. Time for a class action and we might as well name them all because they are all apart of it. How can we start a list of all the involved so at least we have their names. Each one of them has a skill they bring to the table that supports their investments. With most prep work done this should be a slam dunk, this could run long and deep. I hope someone writs a book on the last 10 years in Sierra Madre. When others hear about this they can't believe it. Move over Temple City, here comes Sierra Madre.

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  4. We need to have our legal war chest full and ready.

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    1. Amen. As Gil Aguirre proved, you can beat these people. But it takes financial commitment.

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  5. Maybe we can get rid of the senior management at city hall and have the lawyers run it. That way we can save at least some money and the city gets to give them the all the money it wants.

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  6. Does this mean our mayor is a wind up toy?

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    1. And here I thought he was actually reading the materials before the meeting. Should have known it would take a team to get that done.

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    2. I think that is how it worked with George W. Bush.

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    3. No still a bobble head with nothing inside.

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    4. Silly me. I voted for Josh because one of his campaign pledges was to read every council packet before every meeting. I thought he meant that he, himself, would do the preparation work, not rely on the Readers' Digest version.
      this must be Josh's version of full employment for friends and family.

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  7. Kensington

    Old project 58,000 sq feet New project 60,000 sq feet
    Was short 3 parking places Is short 9 parking places
    Was not Measure V compliant We'll be told it is Measure V compliant
    More grading to lower building Building will sit 2 feet higher.
    Deliveries were capped Deliveries not capped but averaged
    Impacted water supply Greater impact on water supply

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  8. Stealing citizens' rights to vote. Something they themselves voted into existence. You mean to say that's a bad thing?

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    1. The real reason why city hall loves Colantuono and Levin so much is that they have no regard for the rights of citizens.

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  9. After all the "I too would like to thank all the volunteers that make our town so special" verbiage, watch the triad try to get nobody but friends into the commissions. Do I have to remind anyone of the disgraceful and disgraced Bart Doyle being appointed to the PUSD Task Force, over a superbly qualified candidate who was not hooked up with the Downtown Investment Club members?

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  10. The Kensington is not Measure V compliant.

    The definition of density that is in Measure V and that was approved by the voters is the definition that must be used. The attorney and Planning Department muddied the issues trying to get around the issue of density.

    This must be a Measure V Vote... not a vote about how cute is the prospect.

    Tonight is the night that you need to speak up.

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  11. We are in a recession! No more raises for anyone! That includes City Hall Employees, our Police, and our Attorneys. If they don't like what they are paid, go get a job somewhere else. Let's let the qualified and currently unemployed citizens step up to the plate and hit a home run. There's a lot of eager and hungry people waiting for each and every job. The people who have jobs should be more thankful they are working at all!

    And while we are at it, let's discuss the next chess piece that needs to removed from the board. The Unions-at one point in history they were needed voice, but now they have become greedy and ask for more than they deserve and more than their bosses can pay, which hurts our economy and our quality of life. Why should they have special privileges? Why should they have more rights than the working stiff that lives next to me? They should have to play by the same set of rules the rest of us have to stand by and work hard to keep their jobs.

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  12. Please, don't let it be the same people come to the podium to speak on the ALF. Everyone is tired of the same old, same old and are not paying attention any more. Lets get up and show them that it isn't just 5 or 6 people who are paying attention and want a vote on Measure V. It's a packed council chamber of those who believe in the citizens right to vote on an issue that will determine the future of downtown.

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    1. I personally am very grateful to those "5 or 6 people" who stand up to Josh week in and week out. And you know what? If the city led by their lying law firm tries to steal our vote and break the law we sue them big time. OK? We'll call their bluff in a heartbeat.

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    2. It takes a lot of money to sue, we learned that from the water rate suit. At the Planning Commission meeting, Scott announced that Kennsington was willing to defend the City from any suits. That means they have a huge law firm backing them plus the City. So, lets get the job done at Council meeting rather than wishing we can beat them in a lawsuit.

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    3. One thing the city doesn't have that we do. The law is on our side. Don't be intimidated. If the city has decided that they can get away with it, then they are going to try.

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    4. Do you think Billy would want to get involved if he knew the city was breaking the law?

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    5. I think Shields knows exactly what he is getting into. His attorney has been at the last few planning commission meetings and, by the way, mentioned that he had talked with Chris Sutton -- whatever that means.

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    6. There could be some surprises yet!

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  13. All should read Coburn's take on Kennsington.

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    1. "Legislative aspects." A meme is born.

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    2. I don't know what Bill is talking about. This will either be a Measure V vote or it will be illegal.

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    3. Bill is talking Cityese. The City has presented lots of alternatives just to throw us off track. Don't let this happen.

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  14. Maybe Joshyboy will appoint his friend Bobbie Matheson to the Planning Commission?

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  15. Shields, his lawyer, his partners and everyone connected with the project will do 'whatever it takes' to get it don.
    Why?
    The payoff.

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    1. done, I meant done, not don. And maybe Shields etc. ought to sue the city attorney for making such a mess.

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  16. You can only imagine the conversations that have taken place these last few months between Billy's legal team and the C&L bunch.

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  17. I am most nervous about the appointment of planning commissioners.

    We could be at the beginning of the mansionization of Sierra Madre.

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    1. Welcome to Sierra Madre Estates.

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  18. Really sad to see Mr. Moran deliberating, discussing and making decisions prior to the actual meetings. While his meetings with an inner circle of advisers may not be illegal(depending on who these advisers might be), it speaks volumes about his lack of judgment and his willingness to exclude the public from observing how he, as an elected official, has reached a decision on their behalf.

    The public deserves better than an official who is getting "direction" in secret meetings outside the view of the public.

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    1. Slippery line - political talk with friends and the actual decisions in council.
      Wish I could trust him - but he's known for impulsiveness and immaturity.
      There really isn't much hope that he's thinking independently.

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  19. Josh is an actor, and he reads from a script.

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    1. The performances have been more polished of late, which leads me to suspect that the rumor the Tattler wrote about is true.

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    2. I agree. I can hardly see the strings anymore.

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    3. When Josh talks, do Bart's lips move?

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  20. Whole different meeting with Capoccia and Koerber asking for precise information. Whole different meeting. Not the usual rubber stamping.

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  21. Gene Goss was just appointed to the library Board of Trustees - over a more qualified candidate.

    Looks like the Downtown Investment Club wants to keep Gene around.

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    1. Maybe the radio talk show host thing isn't working out.

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    2. It was a no brainer. No surprises.

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  22. Those appointments are all about who you know.

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  23. who? are they about?

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  24. Web video of the meeting isn't working. Any updates?

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    1. Probably intentional - it's not the first time K-Gem is "experiencing technical difficulties" when there is an important meeting. I wonder if we get a discount when they deprive those of us without cable TV the chance to watch from at home.

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  25. Can't take it anymore! Josh is an idiot, tool...

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    1. I know - it's tough.

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    2. What happened? Did he lose his woodblocks?

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    3. Man o man... need to remove the deadwood. This guy is like fingernails on chalk board... I need an f'n drink !!!

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    4. There should be an ordinance that does not allow a mayor to use the word "commensurate" more than 25 times an evening.

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    5. or maybe an ordinance that does not allow THIS mayor to use any words.

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    6. The city needs a council chortle ban.

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  26. I can hardly wait until Nancy is holding the gavel...

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    1. If Josh throws it will she fetch?

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    2. A Mayor Walsh could be a sign of the end times.

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  27. Oh my gosh, are we going to get an RFP?

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  28. Just put out an RFP !!!! Goddammit !!!

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  29. Oh how I wish the camera could pan on Nancy when Capoccia is talking. Im looking forward to another of her lookie here moments, since she is reacting to him as she did to MaryAnn. She actually fell back in her chair and chortled (not out loud, or at least it couldn't be heard from the audience) when Capoccia suggested a City Attorney would not have to be present at the whole meeting.

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    1. Nancy couldn't imagine doing her Council job without professional babysitting.

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  30. It's like watching a car wreck... as painful as it is, can't take my eyes away. Bad TV at its best.
    Good characters, lots of drama, interesting guests at the podium. Couldn't make up funnier sh*t, too bad it's our local government. My favorites so far, Cappocia and TeaK. But that loveable drunk clown is a hoot!
    It's gonna be a good season.....

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    1. Josh is like Junior Bush. All yucks and backslapping, but when it comes to real serious work he needs someone to write him a script.

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  31. How about it Tattler Readers, if we don't get a Measure V vote are you in on the class action lawsuit. If they worm around Measure V then we sue for sure. Personally I hope they continue to try to get around Measure V just so we can take action against the whole lot of them. What would come out of such a lawsuit? There has got to be a lot of dirt swept under the rug here that needs to come out. From what I have been told this is a slam dunk lawsuit and more than one firm wants it, and that's good for the preservation of Sierra Madre.

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  32. Nick Conway was arrested today. Your readers owe Mayor Pro Tem Tom King from Walnut a whole lot of gratitude for looking out for the San Gabriel Valley.

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