Sunday, December 16, 2012

This Week's Sunday News Is Brought To You By The Sierra Madre Tattler: A Brand We Can Trust

Only a select few are chosen
(Mod: Your news needs are important to us. That is why we here at the Sierra Madre Tattler use the utmost in care when bringing the news to you. We know that you have other choices in news services, and that your kind attention here is not something that we should ever assume is ours by right. Rather it is the result of a relentless search for quality reporting that you yourself chose to commit to, a decision brought about by the need for quality news. And we here at The Tattler endeavor to bring you exactly what you're looking for. Hopefully you'll agree we've achieved our goal and will be rewarded with the honor of your future attention as well. Please use care in accessing, and as always, the happiest of reading experiences to you and those you are affiliated with.) 

Attorney General Secretly Granted Gov. Ability to Develop and Store Dossiers On Innocent Americans (click here): In a secret government agreement granted without approval or debate from lawmakers, the U.S. attorney general recently gave the National Counterterrorism Center sweeping new powers to store dossiers on U.S. citizens, even if they are not suspected of a crime, according to a news report.

Earlier this year, Attorney General Eric Holder granted the center the ability to copy entire government databases holding information on flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign-exchange students and other data, and to store it for up to five years, even without suspicion that someone in the database has committed a crime, according to the Wall Street Journal, which broke the story.

Whereas previously the law prohibited the center from storing data compilations on U.S. citizens unless they were suspected of terrorist activity or were relevant to an ongoing terrorism investigation, the new powers give the center the ability to not only collect and store vast databases of information but also to trawl through and analyze it for suspicious patterns of behavior in order to uncover activity that could launch an investigation.

The changes granted by Holder would also allow databases containing information about U.S. citizens to be shared with foreign governments for their own analysis.

A former senior White House official told the Journal that the new changes were “breathtaking in scope.”

(Mod: It is shocking to think that here in the land of the free our government would begin to behave as if it were Facebook.)

Onion: 'Right To Live Life In Complete, Stunned Horror,' Added To Constitution (click here): In the wake of yesterday’s gruesome mass shooting that claimed the lives of 27 people, including 20 schoolchildren, the United States ratified a new constitutional amendment this afternoon guaranteeing American citizens the right to live life in a perpetual state of abject horror. “The provisions of the 28th Amendment will fully protect the right of all individuals to spend every waking moment utterly terrified at the thought of a deranged stranger with a semiautomatic combat rifle gunning them down,” said House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), explaining that the measure also permits Americans to suffer panic attacks anytime their loved ones go to work, school, malls, or virtually any other public location.

“In addition, the new amendment prevents the government from ever infringing on a citizen’s inalienable right to lie awake at night visualizing the images of crying children being ushered out of a school and wondering where it could happen next.” The new amendment comes on the heels of numerous other proposed changes to U.S. law, including a highly contested bill that would protect the right of Americans to ignore a widespread, deadly problem until it is far too late.

(Mod: This was added late at the request of a reader.)

Audit Shows State Employee Posted Nearly 5,000 Comments While At Work (click here): A state employee used company time and taxpayer money to post thousands of comments on a local newspaper’s website but never lost his job. According to the report this employee posted about 25 comments per day nearly every day he was on the job and never received any formal discipline.

“That’s ludicrous,” a Department of Education employee said. That’s the reaction of other department employees after finding out their coworker posted almost 5,000 comments on sacbee.com within a year.

“He is using the taxpayers’ time to voice his opinions on whatever it was that struck his fancy,” said Lance Izumi with the Pacific Research Institute.

The state audit report says this employee posted almost every day between December 2010 and December 2011 – all while on company time.

When questioned, the employee claimed he didn’t have enough work to do during the day to stay busy.

(Mod: We here at The Tattler commend this state employee for his concerns regarding the important news items that affect the lives of us all. If only more people were this involved with what is going on in our world. I look forward to reading a compilation of his commentary soon.)

Micro-Apartments Could Be The New Big Thing In Large Cities (click here): Move over McMansions, and make room for the new kid on the block — micro-apartments. They get as tiny as half the size of a typical studio. So small could become a new big thing in some of the largest U.S. cities, if not suburbs, as planners cater to changing demographics and renter desires for good locations. Buildings filled with micro-apartments are springing up in appealing areas of San Francisco, Boston and New York City.

"There's a strong market for these micro-apartments starting up among young people," said John McIlwain, a senior fellow in housing at the Urban Land Institute. "It's not going to solve everyone's problems. But it is a piece of a solution for young folks and people of modest means who want to live alone."

In New York City, where living spaces are already ultracompact, Mayor Michael Bloomberg in July launched a competition asking architects to design a building mostly or entirely of micro-units that could be half the size of average studios. Proposals were due last week.

Micro-unit apartments range from 300-square-foot studios being built in San Francisco, where studios average 510 square feet, to New York's pilot for a building with studios of 275 to 300 square feet, vs. an average studio size of 517 square feet. In Boston, the units are as small as 354 square feet, vs. an average studio size of 492 square feet, says real estate research firm Reis.

(Mod: The logical next step would be to rent shelf space. Constructed rather like the shelves in a kitchen pantry, residents of the future could curl up in spaces as small as 7 feet long by 3 feet wide, with rent assessed by the square inch. No news if this arrangement could result in the diminishment of greenhouse gases, though it is our understanding that this consideration could become an agendized item at a future Green Committee meeting.)

Pasadena Unified considers closing schools again (click here): The prospect of school closures has emerged in Pasadena Unified School District budget discussions to solve an expected $12 million shortfall. However, officials hope to avert any drastic steps by making other changes, such as adjusting school attendance boundaries.

The PUSD board on Tuesday showed a reluctance to downsize again just two years after shuttering two elementary schools, but said the district has been hit hard this year by declining enrollment.

But "It does not appear to me that we realize tremendous savings from closing schools," board president Renatta Cooper said Tuesday. "Whenever we vacate a school we open the door to another charter, and that causes us to lose more students."

Chief Financial Officer John Pappalardo is expected to present possible options next spring for the 2013-14 budget.

That could include creating a district task force and closure list, along with a plan for San Rafael Elementary School, which already faces relocation because of earthquake faults running below the campus. However, the district hasn't adjusted its attendance boundaries for at least seven years, and might be able to keep schools open by balancing student populations.

The district lost 680 students when schools opened in August, with much of the decline attributed to Celerity Exa Charter School's opening in Northwest Pasadena.

(Mod: According to what we have been hearing newly elected State Assemblyman Chris Holden is now hard at work crafting legislation that will turn this excess inventory of school space into "community life shelves.") 

At least 50 shots fired at Fashion Island. Shoppers started screaming and scrambling (click here): Sadness for far away victims turned to up-close terror Saturday evening as shots rang out at Fashion Island, sending holiday shoppers scrambling for their lives.

One person is in police custody after "at least 50 shots were fired" near the eastern Macy's store entrance at the crowded outdoor mall, said Kathy Lowe, Newport Beach Police spokeswoman. No one was hit by the shots, Lowe said. One person suffered a minor injury running in the aftermath of the shooting, but they were treated and released at the scene, Lowe said.

Late Saturday, Lowe identified the shooter as Marcos Sarinana Gurrola of Garden Grove. Gurrola doesn't appear to have a criminal record.

Lowe said the first 911 call was made at 4:35 p.m. She said a 42-year-old white male was in the parking lot firing shots into the air and into the ground. The shooter put the gun down, and was intercepted and arrested without a struggle by two Newport Beach bike officers, Lowe said.

In the parking lot, police focused their attention on a white Honda Civic with an exposed black handgun sitting on its trunk. Six shell casings were on the ground next to the car. A black jacket and Lakers cap were also sitting on the trunk of the car. One witness said she saw the suspect in a white shirt shooting into the air. He wasn’t aiming at anyone.

(Mod: Another good reason to shop local.)

Metro board member blasts 710 supporters who want him ousted for his opposing views (click here): Metropolitan Transportation Authority board member Ara Najarian said Thursday that he would not be silenced by a group of San Gabriel Valley city leaders who want him removed over his opposition to the 710 Freeway extension.

Najarian, speaking at a Metro board meeting, said he was "disappointed" by efforts to oust him, especially by fellow board member and Duarte Mayor John Fasana.

"It is an outrage," Najarian said, adding that he has been a big supporter of Fasana's pet project, the eastward Gold Line Extension. "It leads to troubling questions, but the most troubling is the reason the nomination was blocked and it was blocked for the clearly stated purpose that I am an opponent to the 710 tunnel. One issue."

At a meeting of the Los Angeles County City Selection Committee last week, representatives from 14 cities including Duarte, Alhambra, San Marino, Azusa and Monterey Park, voted to reject a nomination to renew Najarian for another 4-year term.

The committee is a group of elected officials that selects four members of the Metro board.

Najarian was unanimously nominated in October by the northern group of cities he represents, including Glendale, La Canada Flintridge, and he said the rest of the committee usually "rubber stamps" the nomination.

Najarian said the selection committee plans to re-nominate him at its Feb. 7 meeting, and he is confident he will keep his seat.

(Mod: The purge of tunnel dissidents continues at Metro. However, those ousted will be eligible for a re-education grant at the Institute for Advanced Messina Thought, a fully paid subsidiary of Southern California Edison with additional benefits provided by the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.)

Exodus to Suburbs Continues Through 2012 (click here): The latest US Census Bureau migration data shows that people continue to move from principal cities (which include core cities) in metropolitan areas to what the Census Bureau characterizes as "suburbs" (Note). Between 2011 and 2012, a net 1.5 million people moved from principal cities to suburbs (principal cities lost 1.5 million people to the suburbs). The movement to the suburbs was pervasive. In each of the age categories, there was a net migration from the principal cities to the suburbs. There was also net migration to the "suburbs" in all categories of educational attainment.

These data are in contrast to claims that people are moving from a suburbs to central cities. Virtually none of the migration data has shown any such movement. Moreover, the city population estimates produced for 2011 by the Census Bureau, which indicated stronger central city growth have been shown to be simply allocations of growth within counties, rather than genuine estimates of population increase.

(Mod: The reason why census data shows that people prefer to live in places like Sierra Madre over Los Angeles is because they do. The reason why some regional planning operatives have claimed that people want to live on 300' shelves in high density inner-city neighborhoods is because they needed to make that up in order to get government grant money.)

This is all we have time for today. We will return next Sunday with another News. I have no idea what it will say, though. And hopefully the world will not have ended.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

63 comments:

  1. if the gov't can collect information on private citizens don't be surprised when you wake up some morning and your neighbor has just disappeared. Sounds a lot like Cuba and Russia to me. Land of the free? No longer. Home of the brave? Only if we do so etching besides cower in our beds.

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  2. What does it say about our country that it can collect information about private citizens yet it can't protect little kids from madmen armed with semiautomatic assault rifles?

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    1. it says that maybe Kafka was a seer and not a paranoid low rung bureaucrat....

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    2. A low rung bureaucrat can be a seer, too. Just ask the UUT3. They see things all the time.

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    3. organic 'shrooms, maaan

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    4. Just around the same time the people at Sandy Hook were murdered, a Chinese man attacked kids in a school in rural China, with a knife. He wounded 22 people - he didn't have access to a gun. The news report I read said that this showed how bad the Chinese system was at identifying mental health issues.

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    5. A semiautomatic weapon is NOT an "assault" rifle. The media and numerous political leaders contine to mislead the public by incorrectly identifying the weapons used. An assault rifle is one which is capable of fully automatic fire, and the sale of newly manufactured, fully automatic firearms to private citizens has been prohibited by Federal Regulations since approx. 1986. As has been the case in most of these horrible situations, the real issue is not "gun contol" but "idiot control".

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    6. Please explain how any of what you've said here matters.

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    7. It matters if the goal is to have a unbiased, rational discussion about the issues of gun ownership and regulation in this country and what realistic and effective legislation could be implemented to try and prevent further incidents like these from happening again.

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    8. What spin manual are you reciting from?

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    9. Sadly, your response makes it apparent that a rational discussion is beyond your capabilities. For the record, the only new gun legislation our "Hope & Change" president has signed to date has been to make it EASIER for private citizens to carry concealed guns into national parks. I'm sure this will make for a much safer family experience for everyone.

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    10. It is ironic to say the least that when things like this happen our self-styled Liberty loving gun enthusiasts resort to claiming the government will save us.

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  3. Think there is a connection between your personal information and Facebook? Twitter? Those grocery store savings cards? Your buying habits on amazon.com and credit cards? Where you live? Your healthcare choices? The great god technology has found a way to reap the bounty of the hundreds of millions of ordinary folk and is engorged with data. Now it is taking it to the next level - government data mining. Next? Redistribution of resources, stack and pack condos, ethical choices for organ replacement, drugs for the masses to blunt reality... Brave New World...

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    1. Logan's Run, Soylent Green, and Wild in the Streets. Brave New World had casual sex and drug distribution. We've yet to see that dream.......

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  4. 'Right To Live In Complete Stunned Horror' Added To Constitution

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  5. The suntan man does not have to pass an inane law to permit humans to have sleepless attacks and and be legelly permitted to live in horror. Sure feels like he is pals with josh and nancy poo poo. Same basket of air and scare.

    Beginning to believe humans are born with empathy and compassion. Can't teach it.
    Guess these people spike their tea with evil. No one would ever accuse them of being kind and reaching out to anyone ever, ever, ever.

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    1. The reason Congressman Boehner is so tan is he has a small conceal and carry nuclear device. For self-defense purposes.

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    2. Steinbeck posited that just as some people are born with physical deformities, some people are born with emotional or psychological deformities. His villainess Cathy in East of Eden was born without humanity.

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  6. The country is reaching out and they are finding laws to excuse humans ways to not be human.
    Stunned
    They must not have ever been affected by a tragedy or been in complete denial and still walking zombies...walking mechanical zombies impressing ignorant voters.

    Gone is the Republican party.

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  7. Ummmm...The Onion is satirical

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    1. i'm not sure i agree with that

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    2. Satire is a good way of dealing with subjects that are beyond the usual ways of talking about things.

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  8. thanks john, i need to wake up and put on my smog tinted goggles, especially sundays

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  9. Yes, the Onion is satirical, but I think we'll all worry about our loved ones when they go to work, to the mall. When are we going to wake up and do something about the crazies who have easy access to guns/assault weapons??? When I was a kid the cliche was "When guns are outlawed, only outlaws have guns." Well, thanks to the too powerful NRA for the misinterpreting and using the Second Amendment, everyone has access to guns so they can shoot innocent people. There are such easy fixes, like not selling assault weapons, like having trigger locks on guns, like having a fingerprint on a gun so that only the owner could fire it. The NRA fights these simple solutions time and time again. Take a look at how much money they give to politicians, especially the Republicans. We should all be ashamed for allowing the latest atrocity to happen!

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  10. It's hard to know where to start, 9:59, but let's start with worry. There's the old saying that worry won't add anything to your day. Now, I would agree that we are all probably wondering if we want to darken the door of a mall or movie theatre right about now, but life goes on.

    Perhaps tightening up laws on assault weapons will keep some wackos from having guns, but the fact is, if someone wants a gun, they will go to the black market and obtain it anyway. Blaming the NRA and Republicans, and going so far as destroying the 2nd Amendment does nothing for public discourse on this issue. Rather, I would challenge you to think about what prevention would look like. Take for instance, a kid in school who seems depressed, or out of balance emotionally. There are usually warning signs indicating that someone is going off the deep end. Think about all of the mass murders at schools, and the movie theatre. There were glaring warning signs. I would submit that we, as fellow human beings, watch over one another instead of ignoring our neighbor or a student who doesn't seem to have all their marbles.

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    1. There were no signs strong enough for anyone to take action on with the last few.

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  11. The Onion works because our country has lost it's collective mind.

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    1. the onion is my #1 source of information, the #2 being the SM Tattler

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    2. While it sounds nice to say confiscate all guns, ask any survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto, the Soviet Gulag, or any citizens fighting evil tyrants in totalitarian countries how they feel about it.
      Unfortunately there are 300,000,000 guns in this country. If you started to confiscate guns 10 years ago, it will be 100 years before you could make a dent to the problem.
      Perhaps, we need to focus more on who can own a gun, and educate everyone on the power they hold for evil.
      The Swiss require all citizens to be educated on them. All you need to do is look at the statistics on murder rates in that country to realize education, and keeping weapons out of the hands of people with psycological problems works.
      If the principal at the school where this happened was authorized, trained, and licensed to carry a side arm, she would have had half a chance of saving lives including her own.
      Of all the recent mass shootings, everyone of them took place in a "gun free" zone. They were all helpless to defend themselves, easy targets.
      Deranged people with any weapon could do the same things. You may have not been aware, just recently, a person wielding a knife in China killed thirty people at a school. Does that mean we should outlaw knives as well?
      A case in point, how many mass shootings have taken place at a police department? Ask yourself why?
      An easy and feel good response like, outlawing guns, to this problem is not the answer.

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    3. ya know, jc, kinda surprised the onion isn't on that fine reading list to the right.....

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    4. The Chinese man didn't kill them. He wounded them. A significant difference because of the weapon. Police got there in time.
      Though I completely agree with you about the hopelessness of controlling guns when they are everywhere.

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  12. So on the one hand the idea is don't infringe on our rights by tracking flight information and other data (I gotta say, I'm ok with the flight info being tracked - and very much in favor of people who attend flight school being tracked) and on the other hand, track guns/ammo/crazy sounding remarks. Not sure the one can happen without then other.

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  13. Would the deranged person have chosen this school to do his evil, if he knew personnel at the school had side arms?

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    1. I think he would have packed more weapons.

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    2. I agree completely 11:12. I was NOT talking about confiscating guns. What I was talking about was passing sensible gun laws. Why did that boy's mother have so many assault weapons in her house, especially since she obviously lived with a disturbed young man? I must admit, I don't get "gun enthusiast." And for those of you who say, arm more people - do you really, really want Josh, Nancy and Elaine with guns. Pulleeze! Even cops make mistakes, and they are the experts. I don't want Karen at Savor the Flavor, or Bill at The Bottle Shop accidentally killing me or anyone else because they are protecting us from an armed robber. That is more NRA thinking. Let's just arm everyone, and return to the wild, wild west.

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    3. Yes more sensible gun laws is the answer. We need a thorough background check to make sure unstable or prohibited individuals can not purchase. We also need a waiting period to make sure no crimes of passion can occur. Buyers must take a test to demonstrate their knowledge of gun laws and gun safety. Buyers must purchase a locking device for any firearms and/or prove they have a safe at home for safe storage. Individuals should not be allowed to purchase more than one firearm in any 30 day period. No high firearms with high capacity magazines should be sold.

      Well all of those laws already exist in California. Yet we have far more violence in our fair state than many states which have far less restrictive ownership procedures....go figure.

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    4. None of those restrictions would have prevented Nancy Lanza from buying the firearms that she did, or from teaching her son how to use them.

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  14. Real estate being the ethically challenged industry that it is, the micros will go for market value, and then anything bigger than a micro will jump way up.
    That's no solution.

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  15. Maybe we should arm teachers.

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    1. They have the right to bare arms. Even when it is cold.

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  16. Mr. Holden - What's a community life shelf?
    Charters are a real problem for the continuing equalitarian nature of public schools - they take the more motivated students and their parents out of the public school. But, and it's a big but, there is no disputing that for neighborhoods with serious problems, the kids are much better off in charters - have a much better chance of graduating from high school, and continuing after that.

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  17. Bill Coburn has an editorial on his site about semiautomatic guns. He says any discussion about banning them is "not appropriate."

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  18. Independent/ProgressiveDecember 16, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    Satire is a way for people to think about social issues. The greatest satirists were Mark Twain, George Bernard Shaw....think about the messages they gave us about religion, compassion, racism, politicians, drinking, women's rights......and they are still relevant today....and the Tattler is getting much better at satire, but the key word here is "to think,"......."to think."

    Excuse me I am going to watch the prayer vigil in Conn as hopefully this will bring us all together

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    1. Together? You mean this is now to be regarded as some sort of cleansing sacrifice of the innocents?

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    2. I don't think 4:53 meant that. Just looking for a positive in this dark place.

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    3. There is none. It will happen again.

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    4. Yes. But life is mostly good.
      And most people are mostly good.

      Why in a land of plenty, and in peace, we have these eruptions of crazed violence -

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    5. Starting next week we begin our ritual informed and rational debate on how to separate responsible gun ownership from the crazies who murder children with machine guns. Like it matters. I call it cyclical mass insanity.

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  19. Did not know it is a ritual. If it were we would have banned the assault weapons caring about humans not the money with the NRA, and there would be real background checks, not the phoney ones. Remember we are the only developed country who has the highest rate of murder with guns. Guess it does not matter to you.....til your loved one dies while in school, shopping, while in prayer, or just living their lives. Nah, just insanity. No feelings. But, that's OK.....keep separating ....

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    1. Why are you going after someone else who is obviously grappling with the abomination that hurt us all?
      There's no point in lecturing others about how they ought to react. I don't see anyone separating from their feelings - maybe you're projecting, 8:33.

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  20. 6:00pm......sorry, but this is far from the land of peace, the US is one of the most violent nations to ever exist, both militarily and economically. Violence is imprinted into our psyche from a very early age and it's getting more and more efficient in its imprinting with every generation, a reversal of this is going to take many generations coupled with political upheaval the likes this country has never seen. My heart goes out to the families of the past and current victims of this senseless violence, a tremendous effort will be required to change this culture we have have enabled to exist...God help us.

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    1. We don't have enemy soldiers at our doorsteps or bombs dropping on us every day. That's the peace. The war we have on our own soil is the war we make.

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    2. Leadership built on dividing us isn't helping, but that's the daily dose from our President.

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    3. Few presidents have ever done a finer job than our president did today as a spokesman for the better part of our natures.

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    4. True, 11:30.
      President Obama's insightful intelligence and perceptive compassion are very off-putting qualities for some people.

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    5. 12:32 and 12:34, guess that's easier than actually getting something done.

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    6. People hate Obama - much the same way other people hated W.

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    7. God forbid we should have an articulate president.

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    8. There have been 31 massacres using semi-automatic guns since Columbine. The only way to keep more from happening is to round these guns all up and melt them down. Our government lacks the will to do that. Get ready for more.

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  21. He never misses a photo op. His plans were to visit the families. If I had lost my child he is the last person I would want to see.

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    1. I get it. That is exactly what I thought of that war-mongering economy-destroying idiot George Bush.

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  22. Mod,
    My residence will be affected as it is on Foothill Ave. I have already along with a neighbor sent Mr Inman and CM Agiular an email registering our concerns with the diverted traffic and consequences of a project of this magnitude. Mr Inman has already responded with assurances that the City will be ever vigilant and on the job.

    You did not include the last paragraph of the letter from B Inman dated Dec 12, 2012, and U quote: "During work hours, traffic will be diverted around the work area via Fooothill Avenue. A temporary speed limit of 15 MPH on Fothhill Avenue will be enforced. Automated message boards will be set up at the Santa Anita and Canon approaches to East Grand View Avenue to encourage motorists to take alternate routes and avoid the project altogether."

    In preparation for the MWD project Sierra Madre Public Works staff will be constructing a new driveway entrance to the spreading basin facility off of Grand Voew opposite Acacia Street. This new entry will facilitate MWD kuse of the staging area. It is intended that the new entry will become the permanent northerly entry to the spreading basins, with the abandonment of the existing gate 415 feet to the west at Sycamore Street.

    Following colse on the heels of the MWD project will be the construction of a 12 inch pipeline through the east side of the spreading basins to complete the connection between MWD and the City's water system.

    Plans for both water projects are available for review at Sierra Madre City Hall,232 West Sierra Madre Boulevard. These projects are being funded by the San Gagriel Valley Municipal Water District on behalf of the residents and water customers of Sierra Madre. There is no cost to the City for the MWD construction

    If you have questions about the project and/or would like to review the plans please contact me (626 355 7135 extension 801. The communiity's point of contact with MWD during the project is Mr Salvador Vasquez at (213) 217 -6702. H can be contacted with questions or concernes reguarding the construction activity.
    Best Regiards."
    Bruce Om,am
    Dirctor of Public Works

    Those of us with residences along Foothill Ave have many questions. Among them is how would a project of this magnatude materialize without Publc Hearings and Input from Residents? Grand View traffic being detoured through our relatively short and narrow street (no sidewalks and a blind curve) with assurances that a "15 MPH" will be enfourced is mind boggling. And then there is a question about "staging areas" being set up to handle the apparently anticipated arrival of heavy duty construction equipment. And of course major consideration of "mitigation" usually accompanies any project. And I suppose all day we will have the LOUD beep, beep, beep of all this construction equipment as they back up. This all sounds like a major push to ram rod a project designed to enhance expanded water availability for development requirements not yet sharred with the Residents.

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