Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Tattler Sunday News & Review: The Tony Brandenburg Stoops to Conquer Edition

Yes, my hat is sideways
(Mod: Here at the Tattler Compound my two sons and I have been celebrating our Christmas vacations with a marathon series of Risk games. Risk being the Parker Brothers game based on world conquest in the glorious Napoleon Bonaparte style. My sons are fierce board game warriors and extremely good with dice. Luck having to be the reason why game after game I end up in Elba ... This week's Sunday News kicks off with the Pasadena Sun column that Tony Brandenburg has written in response to a disingenuous Ed Honowitz piece previously published there announcing his approaching departure from the Pasadena Board of Education. Needless to say, the Peter Dreier manque Honowitz gets his head handed to him. The Pasadena Sun, in case you are not aware, comes out every once in a while as a local news supplement to the Los Angeles Times. However, we don't get it here in Sierra Madre, most likely because they don't respect us. Tony's column is linked here to their website.)

Outgoing school board member left out a lot (click here): In the Dec. 16 guest column, “A 12-year education in public school reform," Pasadena Unified School District board member and Sierra Madre Elementary representative Ed Honowitz presents a laundry list of things he believes occurred under his watch. As a parent whose first of three children hit that same 12-year watermark through the entire period, I am a knowledgeable consumer, and I don't see there's been positive change. Honowitz vigilantly supported programs that served his own political belief system and established a dominant philosophical position for those interests when he makes his move from the education arena into the next juncture. It's what Honowitz fails to mention and his revisionism that are most enlightening.

We're to assume that after serving 12 years on the school board, Honowitz is still receiving “an education” in the working mechanics of reform. This faux ideal — that “we're all learning together” — sounds more like a drug recovery program than an educational growth model. As a board veteran, Honowitz is neither novice nor learner. He's a leader with a specific agenda and, promising to remain active in the future via Community Schools, he'll likely return as a private corporation poised with rhetoric promoting the common good. The Pasadena City Plan is designed precisely for this type of consultant to flourish.

Under Honowitz's watch, PUSD enrollment has decreased approximately 25%. Enrollment for most ethnic groups has decreased, most dramatically African American enrollment, which decreased at a rate five times higher than other populations. If the measure of success in public education is enrollment, these statistics demonstrate failure. Since 2005, PUSD suspension rates have been two times higher than Los Angeles County's, with African American males and special education students most negatively impacted.

A formal request for censure was requested by parents of a disabled child citing protocol violations that Honowitz, as regional delegate to the California School Board Assn., was familiar with. His continued endorsement of CSBA fails to justify the $35,000 dues and travel expenses paid out of PUSD funds over the two years since CSBA Executive Director Scott Plotkin resigned, having lied about using a company credit card in a casino.

Historically, Honowitz focused on luring investors and capital to PUSD by citing decreased funding for public education. With Americans with Disabilities Act funds drying up, the asking of alternate sources to compensate for revenues lost because of low enrollment is absurd and equates to setting a plate for a guest you know isn't coming to dinner.

Citing programs he believes to have initiated, Honowitz fails to disclose they existed in prior forms. Without demonstrating how these innovative programs support student achievement, or whether they've brought students back to PUSD, or how they'll retain students who never left in the first place, we are simply served old wine in new flasks.

In celebrating that PUSD schools reached 800 API, he fails to mention this trend is the common target all schools will eventually meet — yet one that no PUSD high school has achieved. Has Honowitz forgotten them? Does he even care?

Honowitz for years neglected Sierra Madre families who were held hostage trying to receive enrollment information until pledging $130 to the annual school fund — overseen by the Honowitz-affiliated PEF, while these shanghaied donations funded time-out rooms which denied educational access.

The summer school programs he lamented aren't gone; they're available through the PEF for about $400 per course.

A 21st-century resume was presented last week, as Honowitz looks “... forward to our joint City Council/School Board meeting in February that will institutionalize these growing partnerships.” Readying to reap the harvest sown for the last 12 years, aligning the Community Schools agenda to the Pasadena's housing proposals, and with a significant population of children having already left PUSD, Honowitz now sits poised to exact the same exodus from the entire city.

(Mod: Congrats, Tony. If anyone wants to see a monument testifying to the PUSD disaster that Ed Honowitz's dozen years of tyranny have been, head on over to the Sierra Madre Middle School and check out what $350 million dollars in Measure TT bond money has bought us. Then contemplate not being allowed to vote in next year's PUSD Board of Education elections.)

Alarcon child endangerment case isn't felony status, D.A. says (click here): The Los Angeles County district attorney's office concluded Thursday that the child endangerment investigation involving city commissioner Andrea Alarcon does not rise to the level of felony charges and sent it to the city attorney's office for possible misdemeanor prosecution.

Michael Gargiulo, head deputy of the district attorney's Family Violence Unit, said in a two-page report that Alarcon left her 11-year-old daughter unattended for three hours on Nov. 16, the night of a gala at City Hall. Because the girl was found by security officers within 45 minutes, she was not in circumstances that would have caused "great bodily harm" — conditions that could have made Alarcon, who is president of the Board of Public Works, the subject of a felony prosecution, he wrote.

"This matter is more appropriately filed" as a misdemeanor child endangerment case, "which does not require that the circumstances be likely to produce great bodily injury or death," Gargiulo wrote. A spokeswoman for Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey would not discuss the matter further.

The LAPD initially referred its investigation into Alarcon to City Atty. Carmen Trutanich on Nov. 19. At that time, Trutanich referred the matter to the district attorney's office on the grounds that Alarcon is a client of the city attorney and that her case could pose a potential conflict of interest.

William Carter, Trutanich's chief deputy, said his office would "more than likely" refer it to state Atty. Gen, Kamala Harris.

Alarcon, an appointee of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, was a block from City Hall with two adults when she was approached by her daughter, the district attorney's report states. Alarcon, 33, instructed her daughter to go back to City Hall and wait for her — and told her she was "walking two individuals to their car and would be back in 10 minutes," Gargiulo wrote.

The girl returned to City Hall. But Alarcon was not located until after 1 a.m. at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Little Tokyo, the report said. Alarcon "appeared intoxicated" when she arrived at the Los Angeles Police Department's Central Division to get her daughter, Gargiulo wrote. Law enforcement sources previously have told The Times that Alarcon did not show up until about 2 a.m.

Alarcon did not respond to a request for comment.

(Mod: Please note that felony prosecutions to do apply to any member of Napoleon Villaraigosa's royal retinue.)

Newt Gingrich: Marriage Equality Inevitable, OK (click here): Longtime social conservative Newt Gingrich has made a surprising admission, saying he accepts marriage equality as inevitable and he’s OK with it.

Voters’ legalization of same-sex marriage in three states in November’s election changed the debate over the issue, and conservatives have to come to terms with it, the former House speaker and Republican presidential aspirant told The Huffington Post. “It is in every family,” he said. “It is in every community. The momentum is clearly now in the direction in finding some way to ... accommodate and deal with reality. And the reality is going to be that in a number of American states — and it will be more after 2014 — gay relationships will be legal, period.”

The thrice-married Gingrich, a convert to Roman Catholicism, said he recognizes the distinction between religious and civil marriage. He and his church consider the former to be limited to male-female couples, but he has no problem with the state giving legal recognition to same-sex pairs, he said.

This is a significant departure from Gingrich’s previous stance; just this year, while seeking the Republican presidential nomination, he told religious right supporters, “The effort to create alternatives to marriage between a man and a woman are perfectly natural pagan behaviors, but they are a fundamental violation of our civilization.” He also signed an Iowa conservative group’s pledge to support the Defense of Marriage Act and to seek a federal constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage.

(Mod: Kind of a gutsy move on Newt's part. It has always been my observation that a substantial percentage of the gay community is, by nature, conservative. Even amongst those who are not in the closet. Should the Republican Party ever climb off its social conservative pedestal I believe they would find a sincere welcome there.)

Pot farms wreaking havoc on Northern California environment (click here): State scientists, grappling with an explosion of marijuana growing on the North Coast, recently studied aerial imagery of a small tributary of the Eel River, spawning grounds for endangered coho salmon and other threatened fish.

In the remote, 37-square-mile patch of forest, they counted 281 outdoor pot farms and 286 greenhouses, containing an estimated 20,000 plants — mostly fed by water diverted from creeks or a fork of the Eel. The scientists determined the farms were siphoning roughly 18 million gallons from the watershed every year, largely at the time when the salmon most need it.

"That is just one small watershed," said Scott Bauer, the state scientist in charge of the coho recovery on the North Coast for the Department of Fish and Game. "You extrapolate that for all the other tributaries, just of the Eel, and you get a lot of marijuana sucking up a lot of water.… This threatens species we are spending millions of dollars to recover."

The marijuana boom that came with the sudden rise of medical cannabis in California has wreaked havoc on the fragile habitats of the North Coast and other parts of California. With little or no oversight, farmers have illegally mowed down timber, graded mountaintops flat for sprawling greenhouses, dispersed poisons and pesticides, drained streams and polluted watersheds.

(Mod: Damn hippies.)

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

57 comments:

  1. Merry Christmas everyone and a Happy New Year to one and all. now wake up, the world is on fire.

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    1. It's got to be those damned hippies and their hooch!

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    2. You know what their motto is, don't you? "If its green, smoke it."

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  2. Off topic, but this is the Tattler. Anyone notice that the Mtn Views News has now used the same Xmas painting for the third year in a row? What a lazy don't give a damn effort that is!

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    1. I have not seen a copy - can't find one.

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  3. I can't wait until the February joint City Council/PUSD Board of Education meeting at City Hall. Sierra Madre needs to give those SOBs some hell.

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    1. Keep reminding everyone 7:50 and we should gather up a good crowd. Do some protest signs to make sure our message gets out.

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    2. Prepare questions. Why was our BOE election vote stolen? Why did Mosca and Doyle turn against us? Why were Measure Y and Measure TT funds stolen? Why was no one ever convicted of stealing Measure Y funds, even though Diaz the Departed said they would be? Why were we told before the vote that Measure TT would make our two schools first rate, only to have a bait and switch run on us after it passed? Why was the Middle School destroyed? Why was SME turned over to a clique of vigilantes instead of run by education professionals? There is so much that needs to be discussed.

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    3. Need someone to bring a megaphone.

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    4. they could use it every year , it is a good piece of art

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    5. What's a piece of art? The joint Board of Dducation - Sierra Madre City Council meeting?

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  4. Tony B. this is definitely an edited form of your writing. I'd like to see what was edited out. That teaser about Plotkin and Honowitz is something to be explored.

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    1. Unlike 8:16, I say Tony B thank you for making it easier for me to follow the important ideas you want to share with us.

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    2. We are a pack of morons:December 23, 2012 at 10:26 AM

      Your questions are easy to answer. The Measure TT funds will never to be used for the intended purpose, and the middle school project was an instrument to get a vote from us. The old school was torn down prior to the loss of our school board vote, and we will never see funding for that school. Now that the land is cleared, it will be open for development.
      Anyone want to build low income housing? Since it's on school property, no public control like an EIR will be necessary.
      As a City, we should be demanding the land be returned to the city of S.M., since it's intended use was for a PUSD school campus.
      Let's wait and see how they play this one.
      By the way, you need to thank Michelle Keith and Bart Doyle for this.
      We got played like a violin. Merry Xmas.

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    3. I wonder if Danny is busy writing up the PUSD Specific Plan? Maybe they'll call it the Our Kids Get Bused So They Can Develop Plan?

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  5. Burning question, oh wise Moderator: Why did Honowitz decide to end his reign now? Is he running from something? Or to something?

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    1. I'd like to turn that one over to the Tattler PUSD desk. Tony? Mary?

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    2. well, the prepared statement is designed to spend time with his family. family is always the safe bet, and looks good on virtual paper. however, as that Pasadena push towards pack-n-stack moves closer to fruition, he needs to get that community schools partnership moving. that is huge and it is the guiding principle that brings big money to education consultants. see, the consultation companies are more than just names on paper, those companies sit and accrue annual brand value- they can then toot My Bullshit Education Consultants, Inc. and attach cred to it by ahowing it has been rolling for x number of years. joe average voter says to hiself, "hmmmm. must be good, been doing it x number of years." it is very powerful for getting jobs in a busy, busy world where people don't take the time to check stuff and erroneously trust the word of chislers and weasels. This guy has been working toward this for a long time, it right there, one or two cards shy of fruition. he has to get out of the game before this mess he created with my family wrecks it. he'll be there in a capacity where he can't be criticized for a while, as someone works on re-establishing his cred, then he'll return. meanwhile, all is good, the other PEF guy with interests in building stuff- selinske- will look out for his interests and keep things moving in the same general direction

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    3. Hmm. So that would be why Selinske was chosen as the guy who got to keep his 4 year seat despite the subdistricting.

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    4. Selinske is the guy with all the great excuses. They need someone to be able to throw up a smokescreen while Honowitz skidaddles.

      http://www.pasadenanow.com/main/letter-to-community-from-pusd-board-president

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    5. Isn't that racketeering?.

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    6. Honwitz's kids are adults now, so the "spending more time with family" explanation doesn't make much sense unless he's visiting his mom in the retirement home.

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    7. exactly. he lies, he evades, he hides docs, and he covers up. he would make a great president

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    8. Funny how you never hear the family say "We want this guy to spend more time with us."

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  6. This is a standard political trick that I first learned about listening to John Buchanan, and then the master, Joe Mosca.

    "Citing programs he believes to have initiated, Honowitz fails to disclose they existed in prior forms. Without demonstrating how these innovative programs support student achievement, or whether they've brought students back to PUSD, or how they'll retain students who never left in the first place, we are simply served old wine in new flasks."

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    1. John and Joe always took credit for the good work of others. Of course, since anything they initiated turned to crap, what other choices did they have?

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    2. It certainly does sound like a Mosca political "white paper" for an election campaign. Yes indeed, he took much credit for other peoples' accomplishments.

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    3. Buchanan, Doyle, Mosca, Honowitz, Selinske, Dreier. Six heads, same beast.

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  7. I cannot believe this!
    'Because the girl was found by security officers within 45 minutes, she was not in circumstances that would have caused "great bodily harm'. Right, because the girl's Guardian Angels were working overtime, because the girl was just plain lucky! She could have been kidnapped in the first 5 minutes. Who are they kidding?

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    1. Yes. outrageous but it doesnt take an astronomer to connect the stars....... kamala- Holden-villagairosa-alarcon

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    2. Do I get this right, that this drunk of a mom sent her kid walking back to city hall?

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    3. Yes. In downtown LA. In the dark. So she could get loaded with some people at the local Doubletree. Nice class of folks running Los Angeles these days.

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    4. Right twice 11:52. Mom's a drunk, and kid was abandoned.

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  8. Old Newt, trying for relevance, huh? Anything to get his name in the paper....

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    1. Maybe Newt's 4th marriage will be to a man. Something that might explain the failure of his previous arrangements.

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    2. Now that would convince me that he means what he says.

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

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  9. Not damn hippies Mod; damn drug addicts.

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    1. People who smoke pot accomplish 3 things:
      1) they send money to murderous international drug cartels
      2) they send money to the idiots destroying Northern California's wilderness areas
      3) they live out their days in an imbecility brought about by a self-induced herbal lobotomy

      I hope I have not been too critical, man.

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    2. 11:41, I think that is an accurate assessment.

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    3. maaaaaaan, you are harshing the weed folks way to hard! ride the unicorn, bro- born to be mild. don't worry, be happy and just roll with it. all ya need is a cubicle to sleep in, and enough water for your bong.

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    4. Tripped out on my mellow, bra.

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    5. If people want to become plants, I guess they have the right to. Once heard from a herion addict that he wanted to be the essence of a poppy. Many years later, he's still living off the state.

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    6. Potheads I knew in high school are still living with their parents. We're talking 10 years ago. The plant turns you into a plant.

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    7. Eh...it was a godsend for my step mom battling cancer. A toke = her being able to eat some soup. You have two types, the ahh this is nice like a glass of wine and then those living in moms basement at 35 eating cheetos while hitting the bong for the 25th time in a day

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    8. yeah, I love potheads and support total legalization. I am tired of the government and their rules, tired of them telling me what to do, what I can, and can't do, what I can grow, what kind of animals I can keep, paying taxes so they can enforce their stupid rules. I just love goofing on everyone.

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    9. If pot is legalized it hurts the drug cartels and gets the jerks out of our wilderness areas. Put pot into the hands of our big pharmaceutical and tobacco corporations, collect the taxes and let the people that smoke this stuff go to their doctors for prescriptions. Works that way for most other drugs, so why not pot?

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    10. Most excellent point 8:45.

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  10. My son works with the State to come in and clear out and restore the damage caused by these pot growing operations discovered on public property - we have no idea how widespread the problem is nor the level of damage to our public properties. The level of danger for some unsuspecting hiker or hunter who stumbles upon these operations is grave.

    Increasing penalties for this type of operation coupled with charging the Mexican Government for the cost of restoration when the operation is performed by a Mexican National would be a start in the right direction.......but knowing the politicians we have in office, I am not going to hold my breath.

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  11. There are not put in by the Mexican Gov. they would not be liable for the cost of restoration

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  12. My web link was down yesterday so I missed the discussion on Sandy Levin's new position. I went to the link and most eyepopping of all was the background blather on her that included: she was mayor and council member in Culver City!

    Also, regards to the storm water runoff issues--we have all just been passing the buck for generations and it has finally caught up with us. The oceans have been repeatedly telling us: enough! enough!

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    1. The taxpayers are saying enough as well.

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    2. Do you really think that the parcel tax the county wants to keep our storm sewers clean is actually going to solve the problem? All the county will do with the money is hire a bunch of people and create some new bureaucracy. One that will be as expensive, corrupt and ineffectual as the rest of them.

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  13. Here's a link to one of the events at Sierra Madre. If you didn't pledge money to the annual fund, you couldn't go finish registering your child for school the next day. Keep in mind, this is a public school. This money is funneled into the PEF, right? Same guy watching the treasury at the PEF is the one on the TT Oversight committee.....Jon Fuhrman.

    http://muir.pasadenausd.org/modules/newsletter/newslettereditionview.phtml?nedid=9182

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  14. PEF donated at least $10,000 back a ways for the YES on CC effort. sure bet the IRS would love to hear 501(c)3 tax-deductible charitable contributions were used for political purposes!

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    1. Do you have the link to the info 2:59?

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    2. Working on it.



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