Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Preview Of This Evening's City Council Meeting

The Council advises all to attend
(Mod: This is the second City Council meeting preview where we have dropped the agenda onto this page and added some comments. I think that as a preview it works a lot better.)

CALL TO ORDER/ROLL CALL - CLOSED SESSION
Mayor Moran, Mayor Pro Tem Walsh, Council Member Capoccia, Council Member Harabedian, and Council Member Koerber

PUBLIC COMMENT: Regarding Closed Session Items

RECESS TO CLOSED SESSION - REGARDING: CONFERENCE WITH LEGAL COUNSEL
Anticipated Litigation Pursuant to California Government Code Section 54956.9b(3)(C). A point has been reached where, in the opinion of the City Council/Agency on the advice of it legal counsel. Based on the below-described existing facts and circumstances, there is a significant exposure to litigation against the City Council/Agency. Receipt of Claim pursuant to Tort Claims Act or other written communication from Sierra Madre Police Officer’s Association threatening litigation (copy available for public inspection in the City Manager’s Office). ModYou have to wonder if the SMPOA (or is it the SMPA?) has completely succumbed to schizophrenia. On the one hand they are sending out flyers with coupons for Mother Moo and a free movie offer, on the other they just keep suing this city. If the SMPOA is trying to make the Sierra Madre Police Department seem unsympathetic in the eyes of this City, then it appears they are succeeding. It is always possible that they believe that by threatening legal action they are forcing the City Council into a position where it will be forced to hand out raises and increased benefits to a Police Department that already receives 53% of our General Fund. But the SMPOA would have to be completely out of touch to believe that.

PERSONNEL Pursuant to Calif. Government Code Section 54957 Public Employee Performance Evaluation - Title: City Manager. Mod: It is obvious that this City needs to go in some new directions. And that the costly old school style City Hall operation that we have been saddled with since the late 1990s has pretty much run its course. There is no CRA any longer, plus grants and other moneys from Sacramento and Washington DC can no longer be depended upon. The rejection of the UUT extension earlier this year by the voters is also a sign that a new way of doing things is called for. Unfortunately, that will not happen tonight.

OPEN SESSION
CALL TO ORDER/ROLL CALL
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE AND INVOCATION/INSPIRATION
REPORT OUT FROM CLOSED SESSION
APPROVAL OF AGENDA APPROVAL OF MINUTES
MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL REPORTS
PUBLIC COMMENT PRESENTATION
ACTION ITEMS

Mayor will request from the City Attorney a report from the closed session. Mod: The involved legal firms are going to ride the gravy train provided to them by the SMPOA for as long as they possibly can. It is in their interest to keep this under wraps. There will be nothing to report. This one will be ongoing for a long time.

Majority vote of the Council to proceed with City business.
Approval of Minutes from the regular City Council meeting of September 25, 2012.
Brief reports of individual Council Member activities relating to City business occurring since the last City Council meeting.

Public Comment - Regarding items not on the Agenda.

Presentation by the Sierra Madre Rose Float

1. CONSENT CALENDAR
a) ADOPTION OF RESOLUTION NO. 12-80 OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SIERRA MADRE RATIFYING CERTAIN DEMANDS Mod: The total spend tonight will be $421,799.71. Notable expenses include $2,300 for printing the 2nd unit survey, $18,000 for Colantuono & Levin, $9,000 for a landscaper, $12,000 for Willdan Associates, and $12,300 for meters from AXONTECH LLC.

b) RECOMMENDATION TO APPROVE CONTRACT WITH AT&T FOR CO-LOCATION ON T-MOBILE TOWER AT MAINTENANCE YARD Mod: AT&T, the lousiest of all of the lousy cell phone companies, has been promising to build a tower here that will make it possible to actually use their service in town. The glacial progress being made in keeping with this often repeated promise has now moved forward a millimeter with AT&T leasing space on the T-Mobile site from the City. AT&T will pay Sierra Madre $25,680 yearly for the honor.

c) BAKER AND TAYLOR CONTRACT RENEWAL Mod: Baker and Taylor first started doing business in 1828, making it amongst the very oldest continuously operating American companies. They are a distributor of books and music, and a good portion of what you see in our Library was purchased from Baker & Taylor. 

d) RESOLUTION NO. 12-81, GRANTING TEMPORARY USE PERMIT 12-18 FOR THE HALLOWEEN HAPPENINGS PARADE AND COMMUNITY TRICK-OR-TREATING Mod: There is only one holiday in Sierra Madre that is more popular than Christmas, and that is Halloween. I have no idea what this means. Attend religious services as often as possible.

2. DISCUSSION – DISCUSSION OF STATE ROUTE 710 EXTENSION AND CONSIDERATION OF TAKING A FORMAL POSITION ON THE PROJECT Mod: This is being watched very closely by a number of other cities. The obvious issues are the quality of the environment here in Sierra Madre and whether large state bureaucracies such as Metro and CALTRANS should be allowed to build things that are detrimental to and overwhelmingly opposed by the taxpayers. Expect people from other jurisdictions opposed to the 710 Tunnel to give detailed presentations tonight about why this thing should not be built. Turning the 210 into a diesel truck clogged extension of the highly toxic 710 corridor is one of them.

3. DISCUSSION – REVIEW OF FERGUSON GROUP LEGISLATIVE ADVOCAY (sic) SERVICES PROFESSIONAL SERVICES CONTRACT Mod: The Ferguson Group is a lobbying organization that we pay approximately $60,000 per year to represent our interests in Washington DC. Their focus is to identify funds available through Federal Government and make certain that we receive our cut. This is a split expense with the City of Arcadia, with much of the funding raised in WDC having to do with water and its related infrastructure. I seriously doubt that our relationship with Ferguson will end tonight.

4. DISCUSSION – APPROVAL OF CONTRACT FOR TRANSPORTATION SERVICES WITH FIRST TRANSIT, INC. Mod: This has a lot to do with those small "round-about" buses we see circling around the town, more often than not with no passengers inside. First Transit is the company who provides us with both empty buses and the bodies to drive them. The funding for these buses comes out of Prop A and Prop C funds, and totals around $205,129 per annum. Yet another reason to never vote "Yes" on things such as these two propositions. Chances are always good that the money will be spent on things people don't really want, and as such just wasted.

5. DISCUSSION – CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION NO. 12-82 REGARDING PROCEDURES FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS OF BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS Mod: A lot of minutia dealing with how people are appointed to Boards and Commissions is contained in the Staff Report. The last time this matter came up the City Council made clear its desire to keep complete control of this highly political process, and not allow an undue portion of it pass to the Mayor. I am sure Josh had something specific in mind when he agendized this matter, but whatever it was seems to have dried up and blown away. We'll see tonight if something new hasn't been cooked up.

6. DISCUSSION – TREE ADVISORY COMMISSION RECOMMENDATIONS FOR AMENDING MUNICIPAL CODE CHAPTER 12.20 TREE PRESERVATION AND PROTECTION Mod: The Tree Advisory Commission has suggested 24 changes to the Tree Ordinance, it says in the Agenda Report. You have to commend them for their depth of caring.

7. DISCUSSION – CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION NO. 12-83: APPROVING SECOND UNIT AMNESTY PERMIT REQUIREMENTS Mod: This has to do with getting residents who own off the grid granny flats and guest houses to confess such so that City Hall can count them against our overall state imposed  RHNA requirement number. Given the reluctance of many who live here to confess ownership of such things due to the fee and permit expenses involved, the City is proposing a 50% reduction. This is seen as necessary due to the City requiring the owners of unreported "2nd  units" to bring them up to code. Something that will end up costing them quite a bit of money.

8. DISCUSSION – UPDATE AND REPORT REGARDING CITY REORGANIZATION Mod: This is yet another review of exactly what changes City Hall has made in reorganizing staff, with an eye to reducing head count in order to offset some of the money lost when the CRA was dissolved by the State. The resulting savings being in the vicinity of $260,000. The purpose here is to address " few operational issues." The City currently employees 67 full-time employees. 

9. DISCUSSION – CONTINUED DISCUSSION OF THE STATE OF SIERRA MADRE INFRASTRUCTURE Mod: Saddled with a Police Department that consumes 53% of all available General Fund moneys, the City has found itself having to shortchange required maintenance of its infrastructure. This topic was covered at the last meeting as well, with Bruce Inman memorably declaring that we will run out of water within the year. That is going to be a hard act to top. A moratorium on new construction until the water situation is permanently resolved would be the wisest action the Council can take. Expect some discussion on how to raise some of the huge sums in additional moneys needed to address some of these problems. All without having to make any fundamental changes to how the City's finances are already being used.

10. DISCUSSION – STRATEGIC PLAN FROM APRIL 17, 2012, RETREAT UPDATE Mod: Yet another revisit to the historic Strategic Plan confab of April 17, 2012. As usual it has been stuck at the end of the meeting agenda, and since this one is probably the longest in months this item will be rushed through. That is, if it even gets discussed at all. Contains memorable language written in the hope that people will begin to confuse downtown development with preservation. It also sets forth the proposition that the Green Committee should become a full Commission, though it does not explain how this would in any way benefit the community or lessen some of its pressing financial burdens. 

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

86 comments:

  1. Lots of important stuff tonight. The Green Committee/Commission issue was pushed onto the Stretegic Plan by Buchanan and Harabedian at the meeting in April. Hopefully, with a few council meetings under their belt, Koerber and Capoccia will be able to right this wrong at the next Strategic Plan meeting on October 24. This meeting is open to the public. It starts at 8:30 and usually ends around 1:00 with lunch.

    Watch carefully re: transportation contract. It seems that someone in City Hall is still pushing the round-about which is the bus nobody rides instead of placing the monies into the Dial-A-Ride program that provides a great and well-used service to the disabled and seniors.

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  2. According to the Green Committee condos are green and if we pack enough of them downtown the world will be saved from global warming. There is also an Easter Bunny, and he brings candy to the little children.

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  3. A Green Commission would increase our pressing financial burdens.

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    1. Oh Please!Money is not a problem or either is water for that matter.There is always the property owner you can fleece.They don,t mind,they always keep electing us high rollers so we must be doing something right.

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  4. How about the Green Comm. continuing as a citizen volunteer group, an arm of SMEAC?
    That would pump up the membership of SMEAC and save the residents the cost of another commission.

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    1. I think the people who want the Green Committee to become a commission do so in the desire to give it the same kind of authority the Planning Commission has. Which would make the Green Commission agenda a governmental force in the community. The driving force here is SB 375 style development, not flower patches or drought resistant gardening tips.

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    2. The pre-Bart Doyle practice of lots of volunteers running things would save us money, and give us better results.

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    3. I agree completely. Having out of town paid professionals run Sierra Madre has resulted in endless conflict between city hall and the residents. They push for things we don;t want, and often try to hide things from us. For this we pay things like the highest UUT rate in the country. It is madness.

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    4. 7:23 - I love your comment. Thank you.

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    5. Welcome. Let's hope the council members agree. Folding the GC into SMEAC would be a win-win-win.

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    6. Whatever a green commission would be charged with doing is more properly done by the planning commission process. A green commission would be a redundant expense.

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    7. The one difference is John Buchanan and Bart Doyle would find the GC to be completely dependable and in lockstep with their agenda. Everything they want as far as development would be proclaimed "green" or "in compliance with state laws." It would give them the political correctness needed to sell downtown development to the gullible.

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  5. This is a runaway train to nowhere.As long as they have a few dollars to spend and drips and drabs of water to waste,be assured it will be one boondoggle after another.One has to wonder:what's in it for them?

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  6. Anybody want to bet the Strategic Plan stuff will kick off with the city manager talking about:
    ....community trust, and governmental transparency.....

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  7. Why is the appointment process back again? Making people get up and give a little sales job about themselves is a mistake - kind of a public humiliation, a test of how badly you want to volunteer your time and energy to help the city - but other than changing that, it's clear the democratic way of having all council people have a vote is fairest.

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    1. Public speaking is an important part of a committee or commission job. I don;t see how speaking to the City Council is humiliating.

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    2. Ask the elders who got turned down for the senior commission. Speaking to a small group of people with a task is different than getting up in front of the council and the part of the town that watches it on tv. Big egos always like that part. There are people with fine contributions to make who do not have the gift of gab.

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    3. Face it 7:54 am, not everyone who applies gets chosen! Not everyone who is chosen is popular with the multi-sided factions that make up Sierra Madre. And, getting up in front of City Council and the six people in the audience is much the same as a small group. Who knows how many people watch SMTV3? The Cable knows but no one ever asks. I point out that one woman is on three important Commissions. Most folks who are appointed fill out their 8+ years without public outcry. It's the "volunteer" organizations that elicit comment - like the 4th of July Committee. Yip, some volunteers are from "the other side". Just because they're volunteers doesn't mean they represent all of us.

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    4. I bet the cable audience is about the same as the Gateway Coach ridership. Skimpy at best and miniscule at worst.

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    5. Too bad the City Council meetings don't have the same public audience that the Tattler enjoys! If only all the Tattlers would tune in at 6:30 pm on alternate Tuesdays.

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    6. I wonder if the City realizes that more people get their news about current Sierra Madre affairs from this blog than any other source.

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    7. Not alternate Tuesdays. Second and fourth Tuesdays of each month - and usually only the 2nd Tuesdays in Dec. and Aug.

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    8. 9:52....and you know this how?

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    9. What other news sources are there, 2:43? Unless you consider the publicity releases in the Looney Views to be news.

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    10. 2:43 gets all the latest news by wrapping her head in tin foil and standing in between city hall and the police station.

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    11. Her unicorn keeps her up to date.

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  8. I have sat through several City Council meetings where the vetting of applicants for Commissions were done with candor and intelligence. That is not what I saw at the last meeting with the appointment of Senior Commissioners or many other meetings in the recent past. Even those who were appointed were anxious over the methods. I have seen City Council reject candidates for the most sophmoric of reasons and there must be a better way.

    Make a public presentation about your desire to serve, they have your written qualifications already, and then let them vote in silence. The final tally can be done later. Unless this is something covered by the opens meetings law this should work. If Elane declares it is something to do with the open meeting law we need to check in to it. Probably a CYA interpretation and not much more.

    I have been rejected for a commission, died for lack of a second, appointed later to tha commission and then had one CC who voted for me, reopen the discussion as he wanted it known that he did not want to cast a vote for me (talk about public humiliation, him, not me for his stupidity) so, yes, there must be a better way if there is good will on the city council. Hum?

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  9. Green Committee my shorts. I see that the City Manager has again failed to put removing Sierra Madre from the COG on the Agenda. In the meantime, CONway is getting paid monthly by COG buffet masters to mount an expensive defense, paid for by the taxpayers to continue this COG SCAG nonsense. Makes me sick.

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    1. I think John Harabedian has had a change of heart. Everything is swimming along now.

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    2. Yes, 11:00, that's the last we heard. Harabedian was no doubt lobbied long and hard by Conway's supporters. The people who allowed Nick to get away with everything don't want to lose their positions just because he got caught.
      You would think a lawyer would know better.

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    3. L.A. County Democratic Party political careers are not built by investigating the COGs of this world. Those folks are far more interested in enablers than crusaders.

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    4. I won't hold my breath, but it's not impossible for a lawyer/politician to succeed by doing the ethical thing, in this case, advocate the dissolution of Conways Club.

      And let's stop paying the Con, huh?

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    5. I'd hate to see the same thing happen to Harabedian that happened to Mosca. Joe was so hungry for higher office that he ended up parroting whatever it was that those running the party in LA County wanted. It was pretty sad.

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    6. A lot of good it did Joe.

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    7. Harabedian is much, much smarter than Joe.

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    8. 2:49 pm

      Are you kidding? Joe is now living in the belly of the beast, exactly where he wanted to be. London is the headquarters of Fabian Socialism and international, drug money laundering, among other things. If he kisses and licks enough you-know-what, Joe might be back in Sierra Madre a few years from now as our appointed dictator.

      Harabedian has a lot of catching up to do if he wants to compete with Joe Mosca.

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    9. "Harabedian is much much smarter than Joe."

      Who isn't?

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  10. Earlier there was a post about one woman being on three commissions at one time. Let's double check this. I think what that person might have seen is subcommittee work of a commission and another entirely differenent committee, not a commission. But, hey, let's find out.

    Also, please fill out an application for the commission opening of your choice. The city needs volunteers and there are many people out there whose turn it is to chop wood and carry water.

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    1. And make speeches.

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    2. Maybe committee slots should he filled the same way juries are. Send out notices to around 30 people and out of that batch pick what you need. That way you get all walks of life involved with the city. Mix it up a little.

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    3. Great idea! And make the amount of time you have to serve shorter.

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    4. I think a percentage UUT break would get a lot of people interested in volunteering for commissions and committees. Maybe a full 1% break in the year you serve?

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    5. Plus a meeting $tipend and a free buffet.

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    6. No, that is what they do at COG. I think they get them drunk, too.

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    7. Looking at the city website under committees and commissions, there isn't anyone who is listed under three "important" commission. So it's hard to imagine what 9:18 was referring to. However, if you want to get on a commission or committee, you only need apply, if you don't get it the first time, then apply again. I know several people who have applied for a commission multiple times, and haven't been chosen. But, look if you do want to volunteer to help the City there are many ways to help such as Mt. Wilson Trail Race, Huck Finn, 4th of July and Wistaria Festival. Join Kiwanis, Rotary, Woman's Club or Civic Club - get known, make new friends - some of whom are on the opposite side of you politically. You'd be surprised how nice most of them are. Expand your horizons. Then you will have a better chance to serve.

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    8. You have no idea who actually posts here.

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    9. Stipends and free buffets are for Dirts. Real volunteers do it for the love of their community, and nothing more.

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    10. I agree 4:53, except for council people. They have to give far too many hours of their time to go without a stipend.

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    11. Do you mean to say that the love of the community is not enough?

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  11. Hey, Walsh is using her council member report to push the Green elevation!

    Will she ever get the purpose of those reports?

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  12. Mayor Josh enjoyed the Prop 218 boondoggle the city perpetrated on the residents. It was "fun."

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    1. Stealing resident rights is considered sport downtown.

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  13. Josh is irked T the gentleman in the "No on 710" hat.

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    1. Fay Angus upset him as well.

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    2. I think he actually reached under the desk to hit the off switch for the public podium, but couldn't find it. He did, however, have all the time in the world to taradiddle about the float. No problem with a 'lengthy agenda' then.

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    3. The mayor may have been taking a little nap, or other forms of zoning out, because the guy with the No 710 hat had said "710" 50 times before the Mayor seemed to follow, and start the agenda only schtick.

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  14. Who's tired of josh Morgan's lame attempts at humor?

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    1. Josh is at his funniest when he is trying to be serious.

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    2. Why does cacciotti get more time than Faye angus?

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  15. Huh?
    A 2 minute break for technical difficulties?
    Huh?

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    1. The earpiece that John Buchanan uses to tell Josh what to say was shorting out.

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    2. Is that why the fire chief had to go to the dais?

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    3. Something Josh said caused his pants to light on fire.

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    4. Best comment of the day 8:15.

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  16. Spit it out Josh. You want to jump on the anti 710 side, go for it.

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    1. You know Cacciotti would be great as a pre-school teacher or a game show host. He's soooo enthusiastic ! According to him, we all need to get on the bus. why is he supporting Carol Liu? Liu wants to wait until theMetro surface routes are In
      . bye bye. so. SPasadena!

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    2. I think we need to support the Alameda Corridor for cargo out of the harbor that will minimize the thru truck traffic. Donna Lowe is against the 710 extension. Holden supports the tunnel if we an ban truck traffic from it. Fat chance.

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    3. Alameda Corridor East is funded and in the process of being built.

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  17. Josh just took 4 minutes to tell people to hold their comments to 3 minutes.

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  18. What a surprise. Mr. Baldwin from the 710 Freeway Coalition is a paid lobbyist.

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    1. Baldwin supports the process.

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  19. Walsh has been following this for years, but this is the first time she heard of "what they are proposing". Uh-huh.

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    1. Even Nancy is against the tunnel. Wow.

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    2. What was she following then?

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    3. The pastry cart.

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  20. So if so many cities and people are against the tunnel, who exactly is propping up Metro on thus issue? Why are they still pushing for it? Who is backing Metro in this effort?

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  21. Watch the bouncing ball - my take is that the tunnel was never intended to get approval.

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    Replies
    1. I'm in favor of public rail transportation just as long as not very much of it gets built.

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  22. When did the Tattler start writing about the 710?
    Sure would have been nice if the majority of people on the council had kept up with the issue.
    The resolution would be done, signed and sent some time ago.

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    1. Why does mayor josh comment first? It is his job to run the meeting,not to comment first totry to direct the conversation and thus the decision.

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    2. He has a chip on his shoulder..

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    3. Is it just me, or is Moran hitting a whole new level of verbosity tonight?

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    4. Heaven help us, I think he's warming to the speechifying potential of the mayoral seat, as he called it.

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    5. Re the transit decision- how come community services didn't do a survey by hour over several weeks to see what the actual ridership is? This decision was made onvery flimsy information. Not a very responsible way to go.

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