Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The City Council Meeting Quiz

So today on The Tattler is something a little bit different. I am traveling on business. I had a 3AM wake up call and a 6 o'clock flight. Normally I'm not too addicted to sleep, but staying up until midnight watching last night's meeting, and then writing about it into the wee small hours, would have left no time at all for shut eye. And I have quite a day today. Long story short, I did not see the City Council meeting last night. Which is a shame, since it has been shaping up to be one of the more momentous ones we've had lately.

So what I am doing instead is throwing today's post open to you. All done in the hope that when I get to where I'm going I will find out what happened last night by reading The Tattler. Which is a little bit of a switch for me. Usually I figure out what is going on and then tell you about it. Whether you need me to or not.

In order to make this work a little better, I have listed each of the Agenda Items with some multiple choice answers attached. These are some of the possibilities I had in mind when I wrote this, but of course had no idea which answers would end up being the correct ones. If any. Kind of like when I was in high school.

So here are your agenda topics with multiple choice answers included. Good luck and please, no looking at your neighbor's paper.

Conference With Legal Council: The Hildreth Matter. How did this one finish up once closed session ended?
A) The City Attorney said there was nothing to report.
B) The City Attorney said the case had concluded and the Hildreths are guilty as all get out.
C) The City Attorney said the case was decided and Hildreths prevailed, and now they're going to sue the bejeezus out of the City.
D) The City is organizing an angry mob in the lobby and your choice is between a torch and a pitchfork.
E) I was in the kitchen getting a beer when this happened.

1 - Consent Calendar: If you printed all 5 of the Consent Calendar items out on paper and placed them in a nice folder, what would you have?
A) A lot of paper.
B) A filled folder.
C) A reason to staple.
D) A sad end to the life of a perfectly good tree.
E) Yet one more thing not to care about.

2 - Citizens Option for Public Safety (COPS) Grant: Chief Giannone spoke on this matter. What did he have to say?
A) Things are going really well. The Department is better than it has ever been before, and boy oh boy is this money going to help.
B) I fear that civilization has begun to crumble about our ears. I don't know what to do about it.
C) SLESF does not stand for Supplemental Law Enforcement Service Funds, and anyone who says it does is a damn liar.
D) Thank you God, Thank you Jerry, All this money, Makes me merry.
E) I missed this part. I had to go watch some paint dry.

3 - Public Hearing On Permits: What exciting new information did you glean from this item?
A) The City will soon require you to take out a permit in order to apply for a permit.
B) You don't have enough money to even get through City Hall's front doors, much less ask them about the room you want to add to your house.
C) Just because you pay taxes doesn't mean you won't have to pay even more money when you finally do need something from these people.
D) Just don't tell the City. Chances are they won't ever figure it out anyway. They rarely leave the building.
E) I switched over to the Home Shopping Network while this item was being discussed.

4 - The City's Situation with the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments: This item was agendized by Councilmember Harabedian. What became of it?
A) Nick Conway stopped by with his Buffet Bunch, ukuleles, and some Hawaiian shirts. Everybody soon forgot about the meeting and partied the night away.
B) Nancy Walsh said the distractions are over and everyone needs to recycle their batteries.
C) Josh Moran said that we get a lot of benefits from belonging to The COG, but declined to mention any specifics.
D) By a 3 to 2 vote the City Council decided to do or say nothing. Somewhere in heaven Sergeant Schultz smiled.
E) The fix was in. It always is with these guys.

5 - The City Council Vacancy Question: What would be the best practice for filling an empty City Council seat?
A) Give it to Bill Tice.
B) Buy a manikin and just sit it there.
C) Turn it into low income housing.
D) Play spin the chair.
E) Would anyone really notice the difference if you didn't?

6 - Should the Green Advisory Committee become a full Commission: What happened with this wild and crazy thing?
A) John Harabedian said he was a big believer in process.
B) A vengeful God struck down all who worship the Green Idol.
C) Josh Moran converted to the Tea Party and told a mortified Paul Alva that this wasn't a dialogue.
D) A condo is green, but your single family home is a cancer on the planet.
E) The Sierra Madre Police Department will now ticket all cars for greenhouse gas violations. You might as well start walking now.

7 - Public Safety Master Plan: What public safety initiatives were proposed?
A) Wrap everybody in bubblepack.
B) Prohibit the sale of donuts and energy drinks within the borders of Sierra Madre.
C) Don't run with scissors.
D) Only use a spoon, except when eating spaghetti.
E) Don't watch City Council meetings.

8 - Update and Report Regarding City Reorganization: How exactly can you tell if your City has been reorganized?
A) No one really knows. It has never happened before.
B) You get a call from the Police Department saying that they caught the guy who robbed your house.
C) You call City Hall looking for help and the person answering the phone doesn't tell you to go on-line and find it there.
D) An entire year goes by without someone in an official capacity informing you that taxes need to go up or the world will end.
E) You discover the point at which being forced to talk to someone you don't like becomes kidnapping.

You have 30 minutes to complete this test. Good luck, and yes. It will go into your permanent records.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

83 comments:

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

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    1. does evil know where i can get a deal on gasoline and a cheap housing complex?

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  2. On the COG Distractions, Walsh said that now everything "feels better, there's a new spirit a new day" and that the last year had been incredibly tense and you could feel the high anxiety.
    So she's a revisionist because that's the first we've heard about a year of anxiety and tension. Remember how fine everything was, except for the little irritating distractions.

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    1. It was a veritable love-in for the COG last night. And that interim director will be pitching woo to some other council tonight, and tomorrow night and so on, because the COG is begging for its dues. Without them, how can the help Conway?

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    2. Good thing there's half a million dollars to spare at COG, wating for Nick should he need it.

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    3. People will tell you who they are:
      The COG spokesman said "I'm not making excuses for ex-Director Conway" and then launched into a long excuse. Conflict of interest is "complicated".

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    4. That is what COG stands for. Complicated Odd Gents.

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    5. 7:34 am, every day is a new day for councilfraud Walsh.

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  3. I pass by the cheapest gas on my way to a Zumba class in a neighboring city. The Friday the prices skyrocketed I told my significant other that we should hustle over there and fill up--I had told him to fill up the truck the day or two before but Noooo--so off we went and plenty of other folks in that part of town had the same idea and that little gas station was packed, cars out the bays and onto the street blocking left and right. We drove on by and got gas later. Last night it was the cheapest of three I passed and I'm not telling.

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  4. Test question number 6 will be back for the midterm and the final; the mayor wants to keep on keepin on with it, even though it's clear it will be a 3 to 2 vote for the commission. Neither wasting time nor wasting money seem to influence his decisions.

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    1. Is it just me or is Mayor Moran talking more and more with every meeting?

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    2. I've noticed the same thing 1:24. He seems to have wandered into the delusion that he should make personal remarks about every thing that is said by other council members, staff or the public. It's a difficult condition to shake: lastworditis.

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    3. Here's an exchange that shows what I find most difficult about our present mayor:

      Council member Capoccia: It's evident that we have different opinions and that we will not change our minds. Let's vote on it and move on to the next item of the city's business.
      Mayor Moran: I am not like that. That is not the way I work.

      What? Why is Moran always responding as though everything is about him personally? Stuck in permanent adolescence?

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  5. How much does it cost to have a commission. anyone know??

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    1. It's staff time that could be put to better use elsewhere. The estimate that Alva the Expert among Experts gave was 10-15 hours per month. In a pig's eye.
      Koerber pointed out that a whole lot of time and energy was spent in staff getting the inventory together - no way was that done in a few hours.
      But since staff wants the commission, and 3 out of 5 council members want the commission, no one will fess up to how much time it really takes.

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    2. I think it has more to do with connections than a straight money buy. Though I am certain for the right price accommodations could be made.

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    3. You were not listening .There will be oodles of money for us, the Green Comm will get it for us. Just tons of money from the Federal and State governments, waiting to be asked for.Let the good times roll. Surely there won't be any strings attached either. Woo-hoo.

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    4. All we'll need to do is turn downtown Sierra Madre into Pasadena.

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  6. The volunteers longing for commissioner status are experts, it's true - experts at pontificating.

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  7. The Green Commission (it's a commission, the rest is frippery) is going to advise the council on matters of 'science.'
    Physics?
    Chemistry?
    How about astronomy?
    Computer Science? That would be helpful since our staff doesn't know how to upload docos.
    Think they could tutor my kids in AP Bio?

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    1. ALL science, AND energy, technology, environment, natural resources, and, tada, sustainability,

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  8. At one point, the Green Committee Chair was asked what the actual work product of the committee was.
    Obviously there was none, so the Chair replied:
    "We are experts."

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  9. For my sins, I am required to watch the entirety of each council meeting. While last night's meeting had a few bright spots, after it was all over, I felt like I needed to take a shower.
    The COG stays for now. If it is managed correctly, it does provide some useful benefits to Sierra Madre. What was so distasteful was the way Nancy all of a sudden became an expert on the COG and how things are so much better now that the tension is gone. If things were so bad before how come every report from her (and John Harabedian) stated "Not much happened, nothing to report."?

    Nancy is also gearing up to become the mayor because during the "green" discussion, she actually took credit for the idea of making it a commission. I thought this was an idea put forth by Josh and John Buchanan. If Nancy did truly think this up, perhaps we have been fooled all along in thinking that Josh and Buchanan directed Nancy in what to say. Maybe she has controlled them! How diabolical. Nancy also wants to rename the "commission" to "Enviroment and Natural Resources Commission" because having an enviromental commission is oh so trendy now and we can get lots of money if we have this. (I want to thank Sandi Siraganian for reminding Nancy that all this grant money is not free, but comes out of the taxes we pay. Or, as Koerber put it, It's just a ponzi scheme.")

    Another thought: why does James Carlson need an entire commission to help him do his job? Is he that special? Is he that incompetent? Does he know where the bodies are buried?

    I also tip my hat to Capoccia for calling out the mayor and telling him to call for the vote as they obviously have the 3/2 for it. (Shame on all of you who voted for Harabedian - do you think we would be having this discussion if MaryAnn had been elected?) And of course,the mayor and his two cohorts chickened out.

    And then, Harabedian's hare-brained idea for a Safety Master Plan for the city. He spoke for several minutes about how important it is and was echoed by Nancy that yes, we must do this with a high priced consultant. However, Chief Gianonne's report on this noted that he could find only 2, yes 2, other cities in California that had done a safety master plan. If it's sooooo important, how come only two other cities have done this?

    It is mind-boggling to me that the city spent the entire previous evening fear mongering about how broke the city is and how we must be very careful with our monetary resources, and then, at the council meeting, they are so eager to spend money on creating commissions and hiring consultants. (oh yes, Nancy, can we have an update on how that $40,000 you spent on the Buxton consultants is working out?)

    Perhaps the meeting went this way because of the tone set by Mayor Moran at the beginning of the meeting. For his inspiration he channeled Kahil Gibran and Rodney King: "Let's remember to say "I love you" to one another and never go to bed angry." The mayor even claimed to say "I love you" to Chris Koerber.
    I think I'll go take my shower now.

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    1. Thank you for your service, 8:33.
      Two of our council members want to save money, and three of them want to spend money.
      And someone actually chose Josh Moran to officiate at his wedding.

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    2. May I add to your statement, 9:20 am? Two of our counci members want to save money, have experience and common sense. One of our council members has an expensive education, a fast car, and, when he grows up, may have a sense of commo sense. The remaining two council members have little to no experience, absolutely no common sense, and are flattered by the attention of unicorn chasing charlatans and montebanks.

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    3. I thought the mayor's credo was to "never go to bed without a sixer of Pabst in your tubby tummy." urp.

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  10. I attended one of the Green Committee meetings. It was such a waste of time! Chairperson, "Member #1, do you have your report?" #1: "I'm working on it." "Member #2, do you have your report ready?" #2" "I'm working on it." etc. Then James Carlson said, "Real quick (seemed to be a catch phrase of his)I'm working on A, B,C, and D..." That was the lamest excuse for a committee (especially a committee of "experts") that I've seen! It makes one appreciate Denise Delmar, Chairperson of the GPUSC even more! Anyone who watched last night, I'm sure caught that it was City Staff that wrote the UN Accords that we are supposed to follow. Thank you Chris Koerber, for subtly bringing that out!

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    1. The Green Commission is there to provide IDEAS. They are specialists in IDEAS.

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  11. If you can't see where this is going then you'd better get some sun glasses and a cane. The money they're talking about isn't for daisies or park enhancements. It is development money. The Feds, at least the current ones, are way into this stuff. Those aren't strings that attached, they're ropes.

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    1. The taxpayers here will need a tin cup as well. I'm sure we'll be expected to kick in.

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  12. What is it about "budget crisis" that Moran, Walsh and Harabedian do not understand?

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    1. But 10:40, they are spending money to make money.
      They'll spend the money on a Green Commission in order to have buckets of tax money to spend on smart development.
      See?

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    2. It all goes back to the Downtown Investors Club. The people who plowed a lot of money into the DSP. That is who have been calling the shots with Josh. They probably think their problems have come to an end. Just don't vote for the word "suites" in Measure ALF.

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  13. Councilman Capoccia made outstanding contributions to the discussion last night.
    He asked the Interim Director of the COG how the blatantly obvious conflict of interest went on for so long without any action by the governing body. Needless to say, he wasn't answered.

    He encouraged the COG to lobby Sacramento about the RHNA numbers as a system, not just "live with it," and then they really could have value. The interim director said he would bring that up.

    And then later in the meeting, Capoccia emphasized that as we all heard the night before in the budget extravaganza, our biggest cost is people. If we are going to reduce cost, there is only one place to go.

    Thank you Councilman Capoccia. Your common sense and your intelligence are greatly appreciated.

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    1. Amen. You really have wonder about the ethics of those who turned a blind eye to Conway's crimes. Or the COG's apparent acceptance of that.

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    2. All is forgiven.
      To quote Walsh, "It's a new day." Harabedian, "They are righting the ship."
      Cue inspirational music, and never mind that Conway's biggest supporters are still there.

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    3. Harabedian claimed that the COG would be even stronger than before.

      The question is, stronger at what?

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    4. They will be stronger at pretending that everything is fine, that they are effective, and that they are good for the 31 cities they represent.

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  14. Did the Green meetings ever include public outreach?
    I know that was claimed last night, that they would listen to the public and take those concerns to the council, but I never saw any public outreach efforts. Were there some?

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    1. I can't claim to start my day with checking on the city website, but I do follow the public outreach efforts.
      To my knowledge, there hasn't been one.

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    2. I have vague recollections of Kim Kelly in the parkig lot at Mary's Market (in the Canyon) demonstrating composting and some event in Kersting Court the same day. You know Kim's place, the one with the 8-cyl recycled gas burner that now doubles as an organic GMO-free zone for squash. The Green Committee's big day was woefully under attended in spite of the Baldwin/Sierra Madre banner and local free advertising in the media.

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    3. There are plans, you impatient people, plans for public outreach. As soon as the plan gets formed in the fullness of time and with careful and expert deliberation, it will go to the council, then down to staff, and staff will get busy on implementing the plan for the public input.
      Why have a simple straightforward volunteer effort, when you can make everything so very much more complicated?

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    4. 2:01, obviously staff fell down on the duties that were not doubt delegated to them.

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  15. You know that one of Walsh's main arguments for making the Green Committee into a commission was that the other cities are doing it.
    I kid you not. Presented as a justification.
    The others are doing it.

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    1. 1:29, Cappocia responded to that idiotic remark by Walsh by saying something like other cities are spending their way into bankruptcy. I bet he feels like he's watching a wreck in slow motion sometimes.

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  16. All in all, it was a bad night for the slow growth side, and a good one for the pro-development side.

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    1. We will have a Green Commission, we will have that towering water hog thing built, we will run out of water, and we will be in COG...kind of a grim outcome.

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    2. It is replaying tonight. If people missed it, they might want to check it out.
      It's a little after 7 now, and the meeting is just starting the COG show.

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  17. The ethics level of all those who turned a blind eye to Nick Conway's crimes, as long as the money kept flowing who is going to blow the whistle. Simular to how the "Mob" operates.

    Member's from Glendora, California sure must have been deaf, dumb and blind to have miss all the warning signs.

    But since someone else was doing it and it wasn't happening (illegal meetings) in Glendora then it was OK.

    Since the sgvCOG meetings were held in secrecy and no meeting minutes were kept nor agenda's provided.

    This was ripe for "RICO" Criminal activites by all the member's and Nick Conway.

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  18. If the Tattler readership would google Green Committee and look how wide-spread this concept is, and what various cities focus their Green Committee/Environmental Committee efforts on, we will see that this is a simple effort to make cities focus real effort on bettering their environment through recycling, water conservation, tree planting, etc.

    It is no small effort.

    It got off to a bad start here in Sierra Madre because of the political connections that people made with candidates in the last elections.

    Also, unpopular, to some, the programs such as: the UN Accords, Kyoto Accords, etc., the hated UN from the element still equating the UN with the cold-war and globalization. The UN Accords do not dictate the adoption of any of it, especially the parts that don't fit the local circumstances.

    Sierra Madre was way ahead with Sierra Madre Environmental Action Council, started during the early days of Earth Day. All across the nation, cities are waking up late to the disaster facing us from enviornmental destruction. Silent Spring is being talked about much in the news today, its 50 year anniversary, as this work is pivotal to our continued understanding.

    Another thing we should google, is the Pacific trash heaps, there are several of them, but one is the size of Texas two times over, and how much of that is in our food chain and in the guts of fish, birds and sea mammals that we certainly do not wish to directly destroy but do so by default.


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    1. I am a fan of all environmental protections, and actually, don't split a gut, a fan of the UN.
      But I am 100% opposed to the Green Commission here. It is unnecessary and wasteful, and because it was so complaint as to fold in the UN Accords, it has ended up advocating high density development.
      That is a compromise that makes that committee ridiculous.

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    2. Two questions that don't get answered. Why is DSP-style development called for in the Green Accords? And what does this federal and state money require us to do?

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    3. I don't believe that there is all that money waiting for green actualization. Anybody got the facts on that?

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    4. What does the Sierra Madre Green Whatever got to do with garbage in the ocean?

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  19. So, instead of a green commission, let's revitalize SMEAC. It would be a fitting tribute to Midge Morash - much better than a seat placed under a tree in Bailey Canyon could ever be.

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    1. Like many of the best ideas from the residents of Sierra Madre, that one will be ignored.

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  20. You want a sample of what life with a green commission will be like, with all their "ideas"? Look no further than the CARE (or however the acronym is spelled) group that took up the first half hour of last night's meeting. Under the guise of health, their "good idea" is to have Sierra Madre force all landlords to have smoke free buildings. This would be an unlawful taking from the landlords. but do they care? No, they prefer to be victims and make everyone else conform to what they want. If cigarette smoke bothers them so much, perhaps they should move to a different apartment. I am unaware of a rule that says once you rent an apartment, you must stay there forever. And, if the free market shows that it is more advantageous for landlords to offer smoke free facilities, then they will change. But you cannot mandate this behavior - after all, smoking cigarettes is still a legal activity. You know, what if I am allergic to someone's aftershave or perfume? Should it be banned from my apartment complex? this "holier than thou" and " I'm not going to take responsibility for my own life, but I will make sure I control yours" attitude is exactly what the green commission "ideas" are all about. Just say " no" to a green commission.

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    1. I agree 100% about no green commission (though it's pointless because it's already been decided) and disagree 100% about second hand smoke, because it is a public health matter.
      Perfume is an irritant; second hand smoke is a carcinogen. They're different.

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    2. 3:24, you must not have seen the meeting. The Green Commission is upon us.

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    3. 3:24 - You MUST be a smoker! I've gone to the hospital three times after being exposed to secondhand smoke - the last time the doctor told me to make out a will if I didn't have one. Remember the airline stewardess who died, before they banned smoking on airlines? She'd never smoked - should she have asked for a "nonsmoking route"? Don't be an idiot - we already have two on the City Council - one who spoke up against banning outdoor smoking in restaurants. I'm part owner in two apartment complexes in Michigan, the land of NRA - don't take my rights away - and we won't accept new tenants who smoke. Duh - that's because one just burned one of our buildings down!

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    4. Actually, smoking is not a legal right. Additionally, landlords have the right to make their buildings smoke-free, just like they have the right to say that there are no pets allowed, etc. Considering that smokers are the minority, those that are not smokers should not have to be exposed to toxic chemicals that are emitted via cigarette smoke.

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  21. Leadership is a tough quality to find these days in our elected officials. I had hope for Council Member Harabedian, but his comments, observations and vote last night regarding the COG show that he is little more than a well educated follower.

    Sad really, he could have proven himself as someone who really wanted to make a change for the better of the residents/taxpayers of Sierra Madre.

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    1. I think Harabedian intends to make a name for himself through alignment with law enforcement and public safety.

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    2. He is just shilling for the cop union. That is what is required of young pols from the Democratic Party in LA. You got to work for the union agendas to get your start up the ladder. Thing is, now we're going to have to pay for the consultant to help Johnny get a foot up on the political ladder.

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  22. we will have a Green Commission. Moran, Walsh and Harabedian have said so. We will be in COG and we will have a Safety Master Plan at about $45,000 or more for counsultants. And permits? Going back to the Community Services Department for the millionth time since Jan, 2011 for refinement. Sure wonder why we have commissions since the Council doesn't listen to them anyway. By the Way, two CLIMB residents were there to protest the cuts in dial-a-ride. This after the Community Services suggested expanding the service and instead the Council cut services.

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    1. Harabedian. A hack politician is born.

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    2. The jig is up with Harabedian.
      He votes to spend, use consultants, supports shallow commissions, and promotes engagement with an organization that has harbored and defended a felon.
      So now we know, with certainty.
      3 to 2.

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    3. For a while there I thought Harabedian might be Joe Mosca with brains. Now I am not sure he is all that smart.

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  23. I guess the answer to #4 is "A"

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  24. Upshot of last night's meeting?
    Money will continue to be spent without caution.

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  25. I'm sorry, I know we're supposed to think very highly of two City Councilmembers. But a 5-0 vote to stay in the COG? Jesus God.

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    1. I know 7:34, it was tough. But a lot of good reasoning and advice to the COG interim director accompanied it, and I thought it showed a willingness to compromise on some things.
      Not on others.

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  26. One must choose which mountain to defend. To stay in COG for now is not a priority, there are several issues that the two council members will choose to fight for.

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  27. There are a lot of talented, intelligent, and accomplished people who live in Sierra Madre, and who volunteer their time and energy working on committees and commissions.
    I don't recall any of them repeatedly pointing out that they were experts.

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  28. On the playback now, so just about 9 pm, Capoccia is explaining the lack of need to elevate the Green Committee to a commission. We're lucky he didn't quit after getting such a run around last night. He gets even more specific further along in the discussion.

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  29. There's a trick to understanding Mayor Moran; replace the words he says with antonyms.
    This is substantive = this is inconsequential.
    I don't see the cost = I see the money to spend.

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    1. Everything Moran does is just scamming for development. He wants to build lots of new condos so his mommy can sell them.

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  30. 2:52 is right with what she wrote but leaves out several very important points. First off one of the people on the green committee is a blatant out and out liar. She wrote and published very mean things that probably caused a good,honest person to loose the election. For lying and showing that she has no integrity the dirty people in town reward this liar by putting her on the green committee and then want to make it a commission. A liar of that magnitude should never be forgiven and the fact that she is being rewarded at the towns expense is unthinkable. Second the city says it is going broke and they want to have a green commission but have never wanted to have a Police Commission or Fire Commission, why is that. The city will spend money for people outside of the city but won't spend money for immediate safety inside the city, go figure $. Saving the trees and talking about the plastic in the ocean is important for the long term but we need to take care of SM now. Rewarding a lying, gross, poor excuse for a human is something I will never stop talking about or forget, never. Thank you 2:52 for the points you did bring up.

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