Saturday, September 8, 2012

So When Did the PUSD Get Into the "Affordable Housing" Game?

One of the things that has always bugged me about the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD for the acronymic) is that a lot of the same people who pushed for the Downtown Specific Plan (DSP) in our fair little throwback of a City are also intimately involved in a lot of whatever it is that is going down at the school district. As an example, the close involvement of three of our SCAG housing forward former Mayors in the campaigns to create and pass PUSD bond measures. That raises a red flag at this well-used keyboard. The connection is too close, and the interests too intertwined.

Hardened skeptic that I am, this would seem to be the reason why involvement with the PUSD is so important to these folks. The hundreds of millions of dollars that had been obtained through the passage of such debacles as Measure TT being the primary inducement. It really is a lot of development dough. And while there is much talk about the kids, of course, and education does get discussed quite a bit as well, you have to suspect that this isn't the true appeal here.

The actual children themselves, along with their parents and teachers, are just convenient hostages.

Through the intercession of those always helpful invisible hands that bring us so many interesting documents, we have been permitted to discover that the PUSD is apparently getting into the so-called "affordable housing" game. "Affordable" being the term that is usually used to describe the wickiups government is involved in planning to build. Until they're actually built, of course. Then they go for whatever the market will bear. Something that is then invariably blamed by the involved government agencies on the developer.

So here is what our document of the day has to share with us. There will be some questions after it is over, and they will not be multiple choice. The acronym "FSC" stands for "Facilities Sub Committee." "DSC" is short for "District Service Center."

Top note: "This is in line with our request to look at master planning the Muir North and DSC site. I would enjoy discussing this." - Tom Selinske

To: Ed Honowitz, Ramon Miramontes, Tom Selinske, (plus various cc'd district factotums)

ED/FSC,

A few days ago, Dr. P and I were invited to a meeting at City Hall to discuss the possibility of a development project at the DSC and Muir Field behind DSC. Present in that meeting was Asst City Manager Steve Mermell, Councilman Chris Holden, 2 reps with a Developer Firm, and Dr. P & I. Several topic (sic) were discussed as follows:

- The City of Pasadena has funds to build a sports complex (i.e., Soccer/Baseball Fields) and they are interested in possibly doing this project as part of a development plan.

- The Developer is interested in perhaps assisting the District with a study on the existing DSC and adjacent Muir Fields to see of there is the possibility to build affordable housing that includes a medical clinic.

- The Developer is interested in perhaps building a solar panel project on top of our Warehouse as part of the project.

- The Developer is interested in perhaps assisting in the Modernization of the DSC as part of this project.

The Developer, Council Holden and Asst City Manager Mermell would like to address the FSC at our next meeting to make a presentation on this concept to the FSC. Are you ok with adding this item to the next FSC agenda?

Dave Azcarraga
Chief Facilities Officer

Where should we begin? Let's see, I guess it would be nice to know who the developers are. Public employee types meeting in the hidden recesses of the greater Pasadena area with such folks should be of interest to we who foot the bill for such things. And how exactly does a developer become special?

There is also the matter of where the money is coming from. Is Measure TT money in any way involved? After the series of bait-and-switch cutbacks at the Sierra Madre Middle School it would be fascinating to see if some of that money is being pumped into a privately developed so-called affordable housing project on PUSD property. Did Chris "Tunnel Man" Holden broach that topic at this meeting?

Why would Pasadena Unified School District employees be spending their time on something of such marginal importance (at best) to the business of educating children? Why are Ed Honowitz and Tom Selinske so concerned about building housing on public school property?

Why are PUSD staffers giving preferential treatment to outfits that have political ties with Chris Holden? Are his the only people being allowed to play here? Aren't we talking about the public interest here, funded by the taxpayer dollar? Is all of this just the business playground of the Holden-Hahn political machine? Are favors being brokered here? Who will be getting paid?

Here is my favorite inquiry, and I am happy to share it with you. How is it Azcarraga and "Dr. P" (Pappolardo) have so much time on their hands that they can go off to Holden brokered meetings with a specially favored developer looking to get its hooks into some PUSD swag? This at a time when the PUSD is laying off bunches of hard working teachers?

I got some questions. We deserve some answers.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

75 comments:

  1. Ah, the carrot - a sports complex AND a medical clinic. Who could pass that up. All in the guise of helping a developer oops, I mean the disadvantaged who need affordable housing. Why does this not pass the smell test?

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    1. It stinks to high heavens.

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    2. And the salesmen- HONOWITZ and his "yes man" SELINSKE are up to their eyeballs in this. Why does Ed Honowitz want this so badly? What does he get out of this? Some warm fuzzies to shift the attention off of what he did to that autistic kid?

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    3. Inquiring minds want to know why Ed Honowitz is pushing this deal so hard?? What's the gain for him?

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    4. Stick a bunch of poor folks into a specific area.....ghetto.....but call it something nice....good try Honowitz.

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  2. Hello! This begins to look a bit like all those transit villages that the Agenda 21 folks want to build. Will the residents of the low income housing be issued brown shirts or Mao jackets?

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    1. It is always about money. They might say this is the solution to a social equity problem, or it is going to somehow make things more green, but it is money. They're in the pockets of development interests. All that money the people in this area were dumb enough to put in their hands has turned the place into a gangster paradise.

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  3. Heritage Housing Partners?

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  4. Bigley's - Urban Housing Communities

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  5. Looks like the Bigley Brothers got all the angles covered. Affordable, urban and senior housing.

    http://www.uhclI.net/bios/pho

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  6. "Since 2003, Urban Housing Communities (UHC), a partner of Bank of America Community Development Corporation and Morgan Stanley ...

    Shazaam!
    http://www.ulIc.net/

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    1. Address doesn't work. Have you definitely I.D.ed the developer involved?

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    2. Google Urban Housing Communities. The Moe, Larry and Curly of junk development.

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    3. Got it, but are they the company involved in the pitch to the PUSD?

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    4. Yes, I was at the PUSD Facilities subcommittee meeting and when hard pressed to give some answers, Honowitz gave the names of the 3 Bigley brothers.

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    5. From the Bigley Brother UHC site:
      "Urban Housing Communities LLC, a partner of Bank of America Community Development Corporation and Morgan Stanley, was formed in 2003 by Douglas, John and David Bigley with the aim of creating livable, sustainable, affordable housing developments that serve distinct purposes in communities.

      Our credentials include executive management experience at for-profit and not-for-profit organizations such as SunAmerica, ASL Housing, CalFed, Heritage Community Housing, J. Paul Getty Trust and University of Notre Dame. We draw on this experience to examine the desired objectives of each stakeholder when planning our communities, and work to ensure we meet the goals of our civic, financial and not-for-profit partners. Our affordable housing developments are therefore full of opportunity for investors, municipalities and future residents. Our not-for-profit partners further this opportunity by providing families and seniors with specific resources that meet their physical, educational, professional and social needs."

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    6. Is that Bigley Brothers, or Big Brother?

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    7. Big Bigley. Their friend is Chris "Pasadena" Hold'em.

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  7. Mega Corporate Fascism supported by a dwindling middle class who are suckered into voting for these felons!

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  8. My first question, even before getting to the end of the blog: Who are the developers????? Peel back this onion (love the metaphore--onions most always "stink" and bring tears to your eyes). Some suggest that you cut and peel an onion under running water--oh, if only we could drown some of these projects under running water, but then again, we are in a drought, and there is not much water to spare. It would be a real lesson to al of us if we each had a well on our property to monitor and were more aware of the water level depending on the rain fall. That would have eleminated the better portion of LA county from ever being developed. Imported water is a luxury and these developers have it too easy.

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    1. @8:30 Think Honowitz's better half.....Ellen Pais and their special project, Community schools.

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  9. The cartoon caption is a hoot!

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  10. Development, corruption in our government. Blah blah blah. John's blog stinks!

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    Replies
    1. Obviously this blog isn't for you. Why don't you try somewhere else? There's a big article on doily tatting today over on the Patch. Might calm your nerves.

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    2. Here we go again, what are you afraid of, I guess when show shine a light on a rats nest, they all scurry away....

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    3. Looks like the quality of our trolls has slipped again.

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    4. Steve's new medication has given him hot dog fingers. Can't type so good anymore.

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    5. @8:35- Sounds like you're one of the Honowitz/Dreier cronies.

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  11. Wow. Tunnel Holden is swinging real estate deals for the Bank of America and he isn't even in the Assembly yet!

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  12. Better call Saul...

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  13. Is Fred Wesley the architect?

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    Replies
    1. I hear he's good. Fred could turn Sierra Madre Elementary into condos. As long as the PUSD is cashing in their properties, why not?

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

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  14. Who's this Steve everyone bags on.

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    1. Started out as a specific troll, one noted for posts that had a definite pothead thing going on. Now it has become the name for any troll who happens to come along.

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    2. The label 'Steve' applies to any of a number of trolls who stop by this blog, to take focus off of the topic at hand.

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  15. I wish low income housing plans worked, but they don't. The proof is all over the nation.

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  16. 'Steve' is the name that a few blind sheep slap on anyone who disagrees with them. Rather than debating.

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    1. I wish you would debate, Steve. It would be far more interesting than your tired guilt trips and witless attempts at insult.

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    2. The sure sign of a troll is that he or she drags the discussion down to a personal level, calling people sheep or things like that.
      Thanks for the instructive post 9:07. Good teaching tool!

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    3. i hate to steve here, but mrs. steve won't hurry up, and is interrupting my morning date with neighbors and coffee and bagels.

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    4. I wonder if 8:35 Steve thinks his post is debating?

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    5. 8:35 is lame. 9:07 is speaks some truth

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    6. 12:48,
      1) Likely 8:35 and 9:07 are one and the same, and
      2) Tattler readers tend to be some of the most independent people in town. Fat chance Crawford has of convincing them to do anything they don't think of themselves.

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    7. People who themselves are slavishly devoted to authority often feel threatened by those who challenge it.

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  17. I was at the last Facilities Subcimmittee Meeting and the name that came up was Urban Housing Community of Santa Clara, CA, which Honowitz was hot for, and Selinske, his LARRY TATE YES MAN was nodding about. In Honeybun's blather (that exciting monotone of his really perks me up) he blathered on about "three brothers" (BIGLEY) and then blathered on about community education (which will be how he gets his share of the pie). So. Me, I am all for affordable HOUSES - not HOUSING COMPLEXES that are just VERTICAL SLUMS WITH NEW PAINT to TRAP POVERTY WITHIN POVERTY - and people like HONOWITZ and DREIER love to champion the poor - it sure sounds nice, we all want to help the needy - but it is more of the same political crap aimed at trapping people of poverty in central locations so they are easy to exploit for vites and funding. What a sick, miserable system of Orwellian doublespeak.

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    1. Just what we need. A PUSD company store.

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    2. funno if word predict helped me (!) again, but UHC is in Santa ANA, not clara..... http://www.uhcllc.net/

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    3. I guess the Pasadena political machine likes its people to be all in one big house.

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    4. Right, 10:16. Like a prison. Or a work house.

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  18. PUSD tried this affordable housing stuff before, in 2006, by pretending that the sharp decline in PUSD enrollment at that time was due to a lack of "affordable housing." The plan was to build so-called "affordable housing" on "surplus property" (shuttered PUSD schools). A "7-11 Committee" was hand-picked to choreograph the process. See document at link to get a taste:
    http://tinyurl.com/97hj6yu

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  19. So did these PUSD people pull Measure TT funding from the Middle School to fund their real estate venture? Can we find out?

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  20. "Heritage Housing Partners" is an offshoot of Pasadena Heritage.
    http://www.pasadenaheritage.org/index.php

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

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  22. Admittedly off topic, but here it is... the huge wonderful oak tree in Ralph's parking lot is gone! Last weekend it was encircled with yellow caution tape and appeared to have died literally overnight; yesterday it was gone! Stump and all. It was a magnificent tree and I'm thinking of never shopping at the Ralph's again. At the very least they could have posted notices or a PR piece in the Weekly. If they did, I didn't see it. Terry Miller, are you reading? Patch? Can we get an explanation?

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    1. 10:38, I too loved that tree, and have been watching it's slow demise for the last half a year. It was sick and I guess they couldn't cure it.

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    2. The tree at Ralphs hasn't looked healthy for awhile, but previous poster is right, it appeared to have turned brown overnight. I'm sure they had nothing to do with its demise and the yellow tape around it would have given you the clue that it was going to be cut down.

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  23. Holden has had a business card listing him as an employee of UHC. And yet he and Ed think it's ok for them to convene meetings w top staff of the city and PUSD. It's stunning to see what folks too long in power can get away with. No sense of propriety, conflict of interest rules are for other people. Remember when Selinske got his campaign supporter a six-figure job w PUSD? She used the money to write a book and market herself and then took her kid to private school. Nice.

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    1. Holden employed by UHC?
      omg.

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    2. If Holden is an employee of UHC, this is a clear conflict of interest, and the project has to be stopped right away.

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  24. Want to see the Big Picture.

    Watch the first 6 minutes of this video, and many of the things posted on the Tattler in the past about development and redevelopment will all be strung together in a neat package. It may also explain the arrogant behavior and indifferent attitude of our public officials.

    http://www.prisonplanet.com/globalist-plan-to-downsize-americans-into-jail-cell-like-holmes.html

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    1. I used to think Alex Jones' Prison Planet was an kook website...now, it seems everything he's been saying turns out to be true!

      We are all naive....we don't want to believe our government is corrupt and worse, but it is! It is!

      It's far more comfortable to be in denial.
      I think that happened to the population in Germany during WWII
      They didn't think Hitler could be a monster....well, he was.

      Crawford is trying to alert us, before it's too late.
      Pay attention. The man is honest and truthful. Even if some of us don't want to face the truth, we need to.

      Thank you, John Crawford, you are a patriot and a gentleman.

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    2. In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson is a great book about Hitler's Germany just before the outbreak of WWII. Read it and you will find many unsettling similarities here currently in the U.S.A.

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    3. I was also skeptical of Alex Jones, for years. I would listen to him and say to myself "it can't be that bad." Then my personal experiences collided with things that he had disclosed and I began to research and investigate for myself. Turns out, in spite of his A-type personality, Alex Jones was telling the truth.

      Time to take off the rose colored glasses and see the world for what it really is, before it's too late.

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    4. Have you given much thought to the NSA's mechanisms for capturing the IP addresses of all of you folks who regularly access Alex Jones' website? You think AOL and Patch collect your info...

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    5. Have you ever given thought to the percentage of the neighborhood's flies that might wander into your mouth if you leave it open for too long?

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  25. Thanks for the fear mongering 9:22. Do you work for the NSA or the United Nations?

    The "be afraid, be very afraid" attitude is a blight on our society and is only meant to keep people silent. If you're so afraid of the NSA, then you shouldn't be on the internet at all. The NSA records everyones internet activity, not just those that watch Alex Jones.

    If you're a coward, then you're just as much a danger to us all as you are to yourself. Grow a spine or move to England with the rest of the Globalist scum.

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  26. England, an epicenter of globalist scum?
    Oh my.

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  27. I think it's pretty simple actually. The district continues to lose funding and if it wants to maintain or limit the reductions in services, it is forced to look for ways to raise money, and one way is selling off or leasing some of its land. That was the whole basis for the recent consolidation effort. And now opening yet another charter school--and approving the extensions of two others--is solidifying the drop in enrollment that will be needed to close more schools. 'Market forces' will do more to dictate 'policy' than any intentions, good or otherwise.

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    1. Navigio, are you trying to excuse Honowitz's self serving behavior?
      If PUSD is losing students, maybe they should reexamine what they have to offer the consumer.
      Maybe the public will enstate a Board of Education that actually works for the good of the students, rather than for themselves or the Pasadena political machine.
      Maybe everyone should start listening to the Board of Ed minority and stop listening to the Bully Honowitz/Dreier team?
      How is it that there's certain Board members that can make and break all the rules?

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    2. This all smacks of old boy network wheeling and dealing. That Holden set up a City Hall meeting for the Bigley's while at the same time taking a $2,400 campaign donation from them is ugly stuff.

      Navigio? Is this your job or something? Are you a professional apologist?

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    3. Apologist? Job? Jeez.

      The article asked why PUSD was spending time on this. I offered my take.

      And anyone who believes I think charter schools and selling off public land set aside for public education is a good idea hasnt been paying attention. Those are two steps along the path to the end of public education.

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  28. I, typically, do not bother making comments. Especially after I have read some of the posts made by those who feel the need to comment without getting all the facts first. However, this one caught my eye, and I feel a strong need to comment.

    What it was that caught my eye was the mention of the developer, Urban Housing Communities (UHC), and the owners (Doug, Dave and John Bigley).

    I will admit that I am completely ignorant of the PUSD / Affordable Housing project, so I have no comment on that.

    However, I am not ignorant of UHC and the Bigleys, as I worked for them for five years. So I am really offended/angered by the "The Moe, Larry and Curly of junk development" comment.

    I witnessed first hand the professionalism, honesty, diligence, attention to detail, ethics, and never ending hours of hard work, that these three men put into making an affordable housing project happen. A project that would fulfill the many, many requirements of the various applicable entities (i.e. city, county, state, ADA, funding partners, non-profit partners). A project that wouldn't be just a mass of concrete (or vertical slum), but one that the city would be proud to have within its city limits. A project that any lower income family and/or senior would be proud to live in, but would never be able to afford to if it were not an "affordable housing" project. A project that I would not hesitate to live in if I were income eligible to do so.

    Their past work experience has been, and still is, a great working tool in making UHC an ongoing successful company, because they continually integrate what they felt worked at the prior companies, and changed what they felt didn't.

    Because of the attributes that I have already mentioned, and the success of the projects, UHC has multiple partners beyond Bank of America and Morgan Stanley.

    In closing...I have to add that, to me, anyone making a negative determination about UHC, or the Bigleys, by only viewing a "not up-to-date" website, nor having actually seen one of their many beautifully built projects, is ignorant.

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