Sunday, September 30, 2012

Tattler Sunday: Weekly Report & News Review

(Mod: We're back with yet another installment of the Tattler Sunday News. I did have other plans for this evening, events that mostly involve such life affirming activities as eating, drinking, staring at glowing electronic screens, and then sleeping. Sleep being the important ingredient since I really could use some. But so great is my sense of duty to the Tattler reading audience, both here in Sierra Madre and out there in the great beyond, that I added this to the menu of my activities. Here is the result of those efforts.)

Jerry Brown vetoes package of local redevelopment bills (Sacramento Bee click here): Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed a package of bills that could have let local governments retain some redevelopment money for affordable housing and other economic development projects following the dissolution of California's redevelopment agencies, his office announced this afternoon.

In his veto messages, the Democratic governor said the measures could distract from the winding down - and cost savings - of redevelopment.

Senate Bill 1156, by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, would have allowed local agencies to establish "Sustainable Communities Investment Authority" to finance redevelopment-like projects. Assembly Bill 2144, by Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, D-Los Angeles, would have expanded the types of local projects that could be financed under existing infrastructure financing districts.

"Expanding the scope of infrastructure financing districts is premature," Brown said in a veto message. "This measure would likely cause cities to focus their efforts on using the new tools provided by the measure instead of winding down redevelopment."

Citing similar reasons, Brown also vetoed two other, similar bills: Senate Bill 214, by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, and Assembly Bill 2551, by Assemblyman Ben Hueso, D-San Diego.

(Mod: The redevelopment whack-a-moles keep popping up, and Jerry just keeps hammering them down. So is this what the so-called "Green Commission" was going to be all about? To become a redevelopment money funded "Sustainable Communities Investment Authority?" I guess we won't be needing them around after Jerry scuttled that little doozie.)

AOL's redesigned Patch websites make a play for neighborhood groups (Poynter.org click here):  Patch's new site design went live in five Long Island, N.Y., towns (last) Sunday evening.

The new design is less newspapery, Patch creative director Abel Lenz told me Friday, when he, chief content officer Rachel Fedderson and Patch CEO Jon Brod gave Poynter a demonstration of the site design. There's an anchor spot up top for editor's picks, but all the rest of the content flows down a center column, much like Advance's sites in New Orleans, New Jersey and elsewhere.

But there's a key difference between a reverse-chronological blog view and Patch's new design. Patch readers will be able to follow certain topics - e.g., sports, government, businesses - and they'll also be able to create groups on Patch whose updates will feed in among the local news they're interested in: A blog, or a private group, or a public one for a kid's soccer team, in the example they showed me.

(Mod: In other words they're going social. You can see examples of the new Patch design by accessing the Poynter.org article. It struck me as being even more banal than what Patch offers now. Sierra Madre Patch will have this totally reworked design up in a few months. After having lost $140 million last year on Patch, with this year's losses projected at close to $100 million, you'd think AOL would have figured out what they want their hyperlocal sites to look like by now. One of the truly immense failures in Internet business history staggers on.)

Iranian News Agency Plagiarizes The Onion (New York Times click here): Apparently unaware of the unwritten rules of both ethical journalism and satire, an Iranian news agency published an edited copy of a report from The Onion on Friday, without crediting the original or acknowledging that it was fiction.

The Fars News Agency, which is close to Iran's powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, posted its version of the report on its English-language Web site under the same headline used by The Onion for the original four days earlier: "Gallup Poll: Rural Whites Prefer Ahmadinejad To Obama."

Although the dateline for the news brief says the reporting was done in Tehran by Fars, the first sentence is identical to the earlier Onion parody: "According to the results of a Gallup poll released Monday, the overwhelming majority of rural white Americans said they would rather vote for Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than U.S. president Barack Obama.

The second sentence of the Fars report, however, changed "have a beer with Ahmadinejad" to "have a drink with Ahmadinejad," and entirely omitted The Onion's description of the Iranian president as "a man who has repeatedly denied the Holocaust and has had numerous political prisoners executed."

The final two sentences of the original Onion report, quoting a fictional voter in West Virginia who prefers Iran's president, were published unchanged by Fars:

"He takes national defense seriously, and he'd never let some gay protesters tell him how to run his country like Obama does." According to the same Gallup Poll, 60 percent of rural whites said they at least respected that Ahmadinejad doesn't try to hide the fact that he's a Muslim.

(Mod: Anyone know if Fars is looking to hire Hail Hamilton?)

Mortgage rates hit all-time low (Pasadena Star News click here): Average rates on fixed home mortgages dipped to record lows Thursday, hitting levels most industry experts figured they'd never see.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on a 30-year loan dropped to 3.40 percent. That's down from last week's rate of 3.49 percent, which was the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.

The average on a 15-year fixed mortgage also fell to 2.73 percent, down from its record low of 2.77 percent last week.

"Every time I tell people the rates won't go any lower they do," said Donna Baker, a Realtor with Podley Properties in Monrovia. "I don't know how the banks can loan money to people at these rates."

(Mod: And that is the catch. The people who need these kinds of loans the most, young parents, fixed income older peoples looking to refinance at these low rates, don't get approved. The restrictions on banks as to who they can lend money to, put in place after the housing collapse, cut off the very people who would be helped the most. Which is why this doggy mostly stays in the window.)

Poll finds Prop. 37 is likely to pass (Los Angeles Times click here): By more than a 2-to-1 margin, California voters favor an initiative to require food manufacturers and retailers to label fresh produce and processed foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients.

With less than six weeks until election day, Proposition 37 is supported by 61% of registered voters and opposed by 25%, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll. An additional 14% were undecided or refused to answer.

If approved by voters Nov. 6, the labeling initiative would make California the first state in the nation to require labels on genetically engineered crops or processed foods, such as corn, soybeans, sugar beets and Hawaiian papayas. It would require labels on supermarket shelves or on food packages.

The California ballot issue is being watched closely by experts who say it could set the stage for battles in other states and perhaps thrust the issue of labeling genetically modified organisms to the forefront in Washington.

(Mod: This initiative has huge support in Sierra Madre. I have heard from many people who are hoping that this will pass. It looks like they will be happy on election day.)

Camden, N.J., city leaders say laying off all police will increase safety (Mercury News click here): Two gruesome killings of children last month - a toddler decapitated, a 6-year-old stabbed in his sleep - served as reminders of this city's reputation as the most dangerous in America. Others can be found along the blocks of row houses spray-painted "RIP," empty liquor bottles clustered on their porches in memorial to murder victims.

The police acknowledged that they have all but ceded these streets to crime, with homicides on track to break records this year. And now, in a desperate move to regain control, city officials are planning to disband the Police Department.

The reason, officials say, is that generous union contracts have made it financially impossible to keep enough officers on the street. So in November, Camden, which has already had substantial police layoffs, will begin terminating the remaining 273 officers and give control to a new county force.

The move, officials say, will free up millions to hire a larger, nonunionized force of 400 officers to safeguard the city, which is also the poorest in the nation.

(Mod: Sierra Madre, of course, cannot afford to fix water pipes, infrastructure or streets. Yet 53% of our General Fund goes to a Police Department that also appears to be outmatched by criminals. We too could bring in a County force, save $1.5 million, and in the process possibly not run out of water. )

Note: September marks the 8th month in a row that The Tattler has drawn over 50,000 hits. Not bad for a small city news site.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

43 comments:

  1. This just made my day!


    "By more than a 2-to-1 margin, California voters favor an initiative to require food manufacturers and retailers to label fresh produce and processed foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients".

    I hope all the Tattler readers boycott Whole Foods.....they refused to even endorse Prop.37.
    Isn't that something? I will never go to that store again and I hope other Sierra Madreans will not shop there.

    YES ON 37.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So much for the Whole Foods commitment to healthy food. What's the problem? Some labels on shelves will cut into their abundant profits too much?
      Sleazy.

      Delete
    2. The truth could very well be that there aren't very many "whole foods" left. It looks like we're about to find out just how many genetically modified food products there are on the market today. My expectation is people will be stunned.

      Delete
    3. Yes, I believe people would be stunned. Horrified is more likely.
      These genetic engineered foods have got to be , at the least a partial cause of many bad things. Obesity, cancer, autism, dementia.

      Delete
    4. Actually Whole Foods IS an official endorser of Prop 37....check out the CA RIGHT TO KNOW.org website's list of official endorserd...it is listed under food retailers. Wile they do sell products with GMOs in them (because "natural" products are legally allowed to contain them and most manufacturers take the easy and cheap road of using conventionally grown GMO sources because they can get away with it)all Whole Foods' own 365 brand IS non-GMO as well as all products with the NON GMO PROJECT label and anything labeled ORGANIC.

      http://www.carighttoknow.org/endorsements

      so glad to see you all supporting this important piece of legislation. if you would like yard signs to show your support you can get them from your local leader or campaign workers for a $10 donation. Make your checks payable to "Label GMOs 2012"

      Delete
    5. Wait a second- your going to boycott Whole Foods because the company merely abstained?

      Delete
    6. The oranges are usually hard.

      Delete
    7. after the third time i got home with food that smelled worse than a home made sin, i stopped going to OLD FOODS

      Delete
  2. So Sacramento isn't going to be allowed to funnel property tax money to the Green Commission? Better keep the sharp objects away from our previous Mayor.

    ReplyDelete
  3. AOL will only lose 100 million on Patch this year? See, they improved.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sierra Madre doesn't contract out to the sheriffs, giving them the police facility in town, because.....?

    Why exactly don't we want to save one and a half million dollars a year?
    Sentimental attachment?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vanity. Some people are more concerned with keeping up appearances than making actual rational decisions.

      Delete
  5. I have loved our police department - knowing them by name, having them respond to my few calls over the years within minutes. I was a vocal supporter of the first UUT, because I felt they needed a raise. That said...Receiving that slick, meaningless brochure in the mail, hearing about all the lawsuits, many of them ridiculous, is changing my mind about keeping our own department and not contracting out. I hope someone will ask John Harabedian at the next City Council meeting if he is going to recuse himself whenever a police issue comes up. I would but I'll be out of town.

    ReplyDelete
  6. John Buchanan says its because we want to remain a "full service city.". It's an ego thing, definitely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To this day I have no idea what he meant by that.

      Delete
    2. City Hall is a lot like a garden hothouse. It is filled with exotic things that would never survive for long in a natural environment

      Delete
    3. We do not need to be a "full service" city. It's unsustainable financially. John Capoccia and Chris Koerber know this. MaryAnn MacGillivray knows it.

      We need to take care of ourselves like we used to do in this town.
      Instead of fake "volunteer" groups like the "green committee", who only serve a very dangerous political position, let's get back real volunteers like the type of people George Enyedi and Barbara Cline are!
      The type of people like the citizens who served on the Canyon Zone Committee, the General Plan Committee and real volunteers like the CERT group.

      Delete
    4. Agreed 8:37. When Bart Doyle started phasing out volunteers, bad things started to happen.

      Delete
    5. Bart Bonds sure knew how to spend the taxpayers' cash.

      Delete
  7. Speaking of Patch, they now have an article up that allows you to check on how much your neighbors have donated to presidential candidates. How narc of them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They're changing the name of the site from The Patch to The Snoop.

      Delete
    2. Don't you mean The Snitch?

      Delete
    3. No, we like the Snitch. The Snitch told us about Tai the elephant. That was a good deed.

      Delete
    4. No, The Snitch is a very good person, a friend of the Tattler.
      This person exposed Mosca and Bosse for the 4th of July Parade scandal.
      I am a fan of the SNITCH.

      Delete
    5. I think we've always been able to go to a website and get names of people who contribute to national political campaigns.
      I've seen those before.

      Delete
    6. Yeah, but this is just a very small-minded and cheap opportunity to snoop on your neighbors.

      Delete
  8. For the best video ever about Whole Foods click on my name.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. my favorite part is when he tries to look tough grabbing his reusable bag out of his prius

      Delete
    2. I forget that dude's name but his yoga rap was better

      Delete
  9. "Pay my $80 for 6 things and check out."
    Yep.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Talk about "getting real."

      Delete
  10. RE:"Jerry Brown vetoes package of local redevelopment bills",
    The language of Steinburg is that of UN Agenda 21.
    I had heard about a book called "Behind the Green Mask". I looked it up on Amazon, and realized the same language is used by the Agenda 21 advocates.
    Though I am not necessarily a "Browniac", he seems to have the right motivation, for good financial reasons.
    Steinburg needs to go...The only thing that stands in the way of his recklessness is the governor, and I shutter to think who will be the next governor if it's in the likeness of the Steinbergs of our state.
    Regardless of where you stand about the ALF, don't make this easy for these guys. They will walk all over this town if you do.
    I am ambivilant about the project, but plan on voting "no" on it. I don't want to see the consequential effect on the rest of the town, or the attempted dishonesty of calling units Suites.
    Everything is interconnected. Every additional unit built in town increases water demand, and increases the need for water rationing. We have a water problem or we don't.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jerry just took their money away. You just know the development and realty lobbies are having a conniption fit today.

      Delete
  11. Political donation tracking sites

    http://fundrace.huffingtonpost.com/

    http://www.opensecrets.org/indivs/index.php

    It also looks like Patch is trying to reinvent the Ning platform with the social networking news thing. What a waste. Also wide open to abuse and fraud with non-factchecked gossip.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I have found Maplight to be an excellent source of information. As my friend Diane Shear is famous for saying - "Follow the money." Take a look at that website to see the massive amounts of money the unions and special interests are spending to defeat Prop 32.

    For instance, I can see that Judy Chu receives almost all of her $1MM + campaign funding from unions, telecommunications companies, and developers. This website also shows you her corresponding votes for projects and funding for these special interests who funded her campaign.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Judy Chu DIDN'T EVEN BOTHER TO SHOW UP for a debate against her opponent Jack Orswell last Thursday night but sent her aide to fill in for her. And I understand this was the SECOND TIME she has been a no-show. She was busy picking up an award, the aide said. My husband noted that she should have sent her AIDE to pick up the award while SHE showed up at the debate.

      Pretty nervy of her and insulting to the people in attendance who, if they were anything like me, wanted to look her (not her aide) in the eye when she spoke.

      Not really sure why she feels so confident about this race that she can't be bothered to show up for debates because it looks to me like Jack Orswell has A LOT of support and has a great shot at the seat.

      Delete
    2. Hopefully overconfidence will be her downfall.

      Delete
  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Somebody needs some anger management.

      Delete
  14. that onion story is funny. sounds like that missile gag in 'the dictator'

    ReplyDelete
  15. "California's Prop 37 is not stricter food regulation"
    http://www.calwatchdog.com/2012/09/26/californias-prop-37-is-not-stricter-food-regulation/

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete