Monday, December 3, 2012

Two Whopper Monday: Metro and the PUSD Get Their Pinocchio On

"Can you sense my concern?"
When it comes to playing fast and loose with the truth, done at the expense of the poor slobs who pay the way of these characters with their taxes, nobody does it quite like Metro and the Pasadena Unified School District. We have two sterling examples of their disregard for popular reality, and the indifference they appear to feel for those of us who must live with the consequences of their unfortunate actions.

First let's go to our Metro example. Doug Failing (pictured here) is the Executive Director of Highway Programs at Metro. One of the big projects falling under his purview these days is the 710 Tunnel, or "gap closure" as he would prefer to have you say it. Euphemisms are important when you are attempting to sell something most everyone doesn't want.

One of the big 710 Tunnel issues as of late has been the possible funneling of vast amounts of truck traffic up from the ports and out into places like the San Gabriel Valley. This is widely held to be a potential health catastrophe for our little portion of the world, with a deterioration of our general environment to 710 "cancer" corridor levels. The 710 Corridor being an environmental debacle ranked up there among the worst in the nation.

Back in March of 2011 the public's attention wasn't quite as focused on the truck traffic issue as it is today. Here is what Doug Failing had to say in a Metro press release back when it was possible for him to discuss what the 710 "gap closure" project is really about (click here):

While this year's 18 projects and the I-405 are designed primarily to give people a better commute, three other high-profile projects in various planning stages but not yet scheduled, address the demands of commerce -- specifically goods movement from the twin ports of L.A. and Long Beach, the two busiest ports in the country, and goods movement from California's Central Valley, America's bread basket.

The I-710 south from the Pomona Freeway (SR-60) to the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will involve a freeway widening and possibly a separate freight corridor that could be tolled.

The 710 north gap closure between the I-10 and the I-210 would complete the natural goods corridor that was begun several decades ago. Metro has been holding a series of conversations and outreach with the community, in an effort to collect ideas on best options.

A third, the High Desert Corridor, will be a brand new 63-mile east-west freeway between SR-14 in Los Angeles County and SR-18 in San Bernardino County. It would create a shortcut for goods movement from the Central Valley to the rest of the United States and trim back goods congestion through the L.A. basin. 

Like infrastructure investment, goods movement investment is an investment in our future, Failing said. 

"What made America great was the building of the system that allowed us to take products to market. America has lost jobs overseas. Even though American workers are still the most productive on the planet, we are not as competitive because we can't move goods within our own country. We need to continue to make these investments so that we can have a healthy economy and we can continue to attract the kinds of jobs that are going to be necessary for us to maintain the standard of living we have."

That was then. Today the feared possibility of massive amounts of truck traffic coming up from the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles and out through the Pasadena area has become one of the major rallying points of those opposed to building this tunnel. And as such Mr. Failing, who apparently is not a man of any particular honor, has adjusted his message. The letter below was written to a private citizen who had expressed her concerns to him about the 710 Tunnel becoming a conduit for truck traffic from the Ports. Mr. Failing's tale this time is quite different from what he told us back in March of 2011.

Dear Mrs. Xxxxxxx -- Thank you for your recent letter addressed to my attention regarding the State Route 710 Study currently underway. Your interest in this important regional transportation issue is appreciated and I welcome this opportunity to provide you with Metro's perspective on this matter.

Your primary concern is in regards to statements that may have been attributed to me, presented in an article that ran in the publication "Everything Long Beach," asserting that the State Route 710 freeway tunnel option is being planned as a goods movement corridor for trucks. Please be advised that, while this may be the interpretation of the author of the article, that statement should not be attributed to me as the State Route 710 is not a goods movement corridor.

The objective of the State Route 710 Study is to examine a range of alternative concepts in order to find solutions to traffic congestlon in the West San Gabriel Valley area and to promote a more efficient operation of our regional freeway system. The voters of Los Angeles County passed Measure R in November 2008 by a two-thirds majority to approve a half-cent sales tax increase to fund
transportation improvement projects in our county. Measure R specifically allocates $780 million to the State Route 710 corridor. In June 2010. the Metro Board of Directors authorized staff to pursue a robust public outreach effort in pursuit of multi-modal.solutions to congestion in the State Route 710 Corridor. Jeading to the preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report I Environmental Impact Statement (DEIRJDEIS).

None of these alternatives are being developed as a goods movement al1ernative. At this time, we are just beginning the environmental process and no decision has been made on a preferred alternative.

Sincerely,
Douglas R Failing, P.E. Executive Director. Highway Program
cc: All Metro Board Members Hasan Ikhrata, Executive Director, SCAG

Obviously Mr. Failing needs to re-examine his personal relationship with professional responsibility, along with things like truth and ethics. Which, if done successfully, would probably mean his having to depart Metro.

The PUSD Whopper, which is the other fine example of forked tongue governance we have to offer today to you, our reader, is a much simpler matter to discuss. Here they just say something that is blatantly untrue, and then provide all the evidence needed to prove their error. Truly the mark of an organization that is not only supremely confident that no one will care enough to check, but also doesn't seem to care if anybody does.

PUSD Subdistrict 6 - click map to enlarge.
The following below was culled from the Pasadena Unified School District webpage dealing with Measure A (click here). This being the recently voter approved ballot initiative that robbed Sierra Madre of direct subdistrict elected representation on the Board of Education until 2015. Most other subdistricts will get to elect their representatives in 2013. Something that puts us at a very distinct disadvantage for what will be two long years.

PUSD Board of Education SubdistrictsThe official filing period for candidates for Seats 1, 3, 5 and 7 on the PUSD Board of Education is now open. Interested candidates can only run for the seat that is in the geographic subdistrict where they reside. PUSD board districts became geographic subdistricts after the passage of Measure A last June, replacing the previous at large system. Board members will be elected to a four year term for subdistricts 1, 3, 5 and 7 next year and subdistricts 2, 4 and 6 will be on the ballot in 2015. The filing period to run for the PUSD Board of Education will close December 7, 2012. Voters in Altadena, Pasadena and Sierra Madre will go to the polls March 5, 2013 for the primary nominating election and April 16, 2013 for the general election (if necessary). Click here for the map of the new geographic subdistricts or visit www.cityofpasadena.net/cityclerk. Information for candidates is available online at the City Clerk’s website or by calling the Pasadena City Clerk’s Office at (626) 744-4124. 

On the map we included above you can see that Sierra Madre is a portion of "subdistrict 6." Which, according the the PUSD statement above, means we won't get to elect anyone to the Board of Education under the new Measure A subdistrict representative system until 2015.

So why are these guys also saying that voters in Sierra Madre will go to the polls on March 5, 2013? To vote for what? We have been unfairly (a nice word for it) prevented from putting forward any candidates until 2015. So how can they possibly say we will be casting votes on March 5, 2013?

Our tax dollars at work. Paying the way for people who work against our interests. And they still have the nerve to call it democracy.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

55 comments:

  1. So who is our Board of Ed representative in the meantime? Ed Honowitz?

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    1. You mean who is going to watch over our cut of the $300K Measure TT fund? Most likely nobody.

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    1. Selinske is not our representative, he is district wide. So he represents the 2013 districts that will have their own representatives in addition to us. So under Measure A subdistricting it would be more accurate to say we have 1/7th of a representative. Say goodbye to that Measure TT money!

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  3. It is easy to see why they slipped up in including Sierra Madre in the 2013 election on their website. The original plan had Sierra Madre in a 2013 district. At the very last possible moment of the process they pulled a switcheroo and made District 3 a 2013 voting district. Lots of pressure from the Latino community.

    I was told that Selinske will be overseeing Sierra Madre. Honowitz, as of last Friday, has not pulled nomination papers.

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    1. I disagree. If you go back to articles written for the Star News, Patch and this site last spring it is all spelled out. The PUSD site is either maintained by the worst slackers imaginable, or they're deliberately putting out disinformation.

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    2. Honowitz may pull papers last minute, he still has a couple days...Otherwise, what on earth will he do with himself?

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  4. I'll let your readership carry on with today's discussion but I just want to interject three items on land use, from today's LA Times (A1, A11): the guy with the failed loft purchase and the squatter problem whose bank did not forclose on him because they did not want to take on the homeowner's membership costs; the statement in the article on the tree house too close to the property line (will no doubt be granted a variance with reasonable conditions) by the kid's mother "...just because you own the property dosen't mean you can do anything you want to do on it..." and even the problem of the farmer whose land's mineral rights are "owned" by an oil company who can drill without doing formerly required environmental assessments!

    There is no end to the need for paying attention!

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    1. CBB- you gravely misinformed.

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    2. Do you have specific information you would like to share, 12:52?

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    3. Why did anonymous at 12:52 PM not answer Anonymous at 1:12 PM? I am sure CBB would like to know what is the grave misinformation. I took a look at the LA Times and read the articles CBB referred to earlier in the day.

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  5. Can we raise enough stink here, or not, as there is a way to get this representation with the overlapping term needs so that all the School Board representatives don't term out at the same time: There is an election for all the districts, everyone gets to elect a representative. They all take their seats on the same day and draw lots for the terms: 4 years and 6 years, thereby establishing the overlapping terms. At the end of the first 4 year terms and then at the end of those who got the luck of the draw resulting in a 6 year term, the terms are for 4 years from then on out.

    Problem solved? Otherwise Sierra Madre (and the other shortchanged districts) are left out for two additional years with only a general representative.

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  6. dear Mod, Your final line "And they have the nerve to call it democracy.". Indicates that you are somewhat upset/disgusted by the terms used. Perhaps we could have our very own restorer of calm, John Harabedian, suggest another term to use. after all, he was so very effective in solving the problem with the UN Agenda 21 Accords by renaming them "goals and Committments". We rename it, folks are mollified, and the powers that be can carry on as usual.

    Come to think of it, instead of a Safety Commission, I think we just need a beefed up Language Police.

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    1. Just because some PUSD districts get representatives 2 years ahead of us doesn't mean it isn't a democracy. Look at it this day, in 2015 when we finally do get our own representative we can call it Liberation Day!

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    2. Our 2015 rep will be just as rotten as the current majority. Even if that person is a good guy, he will be in the minority and have no say.

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  7. All school districts are run like private kingdoms, in all senses of the word RICO can be applied to them.

    In like SGVCOG and SCAG they are the jewels of money laundrying and power brokering in the local and state wide political arenas.

    Most if not all School Districts are operating for one reason, they are safe from judicial oversight and most state politicans don't want to touch them for fear of revenge and possible exposure to the truth.

    In like the call for "Open Government" ther is a serious need for this idea to be applied to school districts.

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    1. The ethnic zones chosen for early subdistrict representation were carefully chosen for their likelihood to support housing development on PUSD property. Sierra Madre, where people actually are concerned about education, does not fit into that rubric.

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  8. I sat through many of the districting task force meetings. I didn't see any other Sierra Madre people at any of the meetings (with the exception of Bart Doyle). If this was so important to you, then why weren't you there commenting and fighting for Sierra Madre?

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    1. Fighting for what is right in this city is a full time job. There are/were other issues that people were fighting as well as this one.

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    2. We had Bart Doyle and Joe Mosca representing our interests. What could go wrong?

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    3. 8:57 - That is a lame excuse. Activism doesn't sleep when the stakes are high. The PUSD districting was important, and there is no reason why one could not attend one meeting per month. If a group of 3 shared the responsibility it would be manageable.

      Unless, and until people are willing to develop citizen oversight committees, we will be in the same position we are in now.

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    4. The sad thing is few people care that much. That is why things are so bad.

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    5. I was busy ighting to keep my child in public school. go figure.

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    6. 12:08, 8:57 here. I was involved in time, energy, money on 2 other issues. The city business is a hydra - chop off one head and there's another. It's not a lame excuse to have too damn much to do. Why didn't you organize the 3 person activism?

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    7. If you don't do it who will? that's right, the same lousy folks that have been controlling everything. If you want it to change, then you must be informed and actively participate. It's the cost of being a responsible citizen.

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    8. Most of the people who read this blog and who post here are very busy in defense of this little town. It's not really each other we need to scold - it's the larger apathetic public that doesn't follow city business that needs to hear about it.

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    9. I'm in complete agreement, 2:35 pm. However - the larger apathetic public doesn't read the Tattler. And the scolders may not be us - think trolls trying to sow discontent. Somebody is out to discredit CBB. You can tell by the snarkyness of their remarks. Watch out! Don't feed the trolls.

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    10. Good point 3:13. Thanks!

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  9. A business that would be sure to attract a lot of interest in Sierra Madre would be a new private school. It is obvious that the interests of this town are not the priority of this Board of Education. People want out, give them a place to go.

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    1. Sierra Madre has plenty of private schools! St Rita's, Bethany, Gooden, and Alverno and La Salle! These schools offer great curriculum and are well attended. The more people leave the PUSD the less chance of improvement brought about by community involvement. You're leaving it to people like Doyle and Mosca. The Brandenburgs are to be commended for supporting their child and all of the children in similar circumstances while remaining within the public school family.

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  10. There is a very odd message up on the Mountain Views News website. Susan Henderson is saying that Sierra Madre will be voting in March of 2013. She doesn;t say what will will be voting on, however. Can it be she has some new information?

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  11. Maybe someone could clarify, bit it is my understanding that a boe member to represent region 6 could be appointed to serve until 2015. Maybe someone could help me clarify or dispel that....?

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    1. I think they'll tell people whatever they think they want to hear. We're supposed to believe that Selinske or Honey Pot are going to take care of us. But as far as changing the numer of BOE members to something more than 7? That was the excuse for screwing 3 districts in the first place. It had to be 7. Maybe it is someone's lucky number.

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    2. I think that Sierra Madre will continue to be represented by the "at large" contingent for the BOE. However, since we are lame ducks and cannot vote for them when they run next time, what kind of representation do you think we'll get?

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    3. We will have no represenatives that live here. Two years of getting screwed.

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    4. If it's only 2 years of being screwed we will be lucky.

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    5. Will Joe Mosca be back in time to run for our Board of Ed seat? He did such a fabuloso job on the redistricting committee.

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    6. Please pass the AmbienDecember 3, 2012 at 5:47 PM

      One of my nightmares is that Joe Mosca does return, and that he runs for public office, and that he is elected! It's just too depressed to even think about...

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    7. Ambien taker, we have enough to deal with without dredging up such a horrible prospect!

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  12. According to the City Clerk's office in Pasadena, subdistricts 1, 3, 5 + 7 will vote in March of 2013. Subdistricts 2, 4 and 6 will not. I just called Mark Jomsky's office. Susan Henderson doesn't know what she is talking about.

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    1. It will be interesting now to watch how Henderson shifts the blame and somehow becomes totally unaccountable for what is published under her watch in her paper.
      Maybe a correction on page 3? A sort of companion piece to the page 3 correction of that poor lady who was falsely identified as a criminal, and then apologized to?

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    2. The Looney Views News is a godawful mess.

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    3. Rest assured, Henderson Poole whatever will not take any responsibility for the error.

      And the fact that it shows she was completely out of touch with the whole process will not be addressed either.

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    4. It takes a fairly high level of self-obsession to be that clueless about so important an issue. Especially when you run a newspaper.

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    5. There's the catch, 5:35. Henderson's old partner created the paper. Henderson had to tweak this and that to avoid more court time, but she doesn't really run anything. Except going to the bank to cash the checks from those pages of legal notices. They keep the whole thing afloat. I don't know if she's still hitting up town elders for 'contributions' and 'loans', but that was very lucrative for her in the past.
      It's not a paper, it's a hustle. She's no journalist.

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  13. You want to see what the 210 will look like if the 710 Tunnel goes through? I just witnessed it while driving to an appointment in Ontario off the 60 Freeway at 9:15 this morning: Big rigs by the multitude. And unless it was due to the rain or an accident on the 10 or the 210 to the north, this was just a monterous crush heading into and out of the LA basin. OMG!

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  14. I think CBB tree commissioner believes she is in the know of everything. There is also an imposter of CBB running around town. You might find her at Bean Town.

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    1. I think you're a bitter little runt.

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    2. Ah! The unicorns are in revolt and out to smear glitter strewn s**t everywhere. Beware that they don't brush against you!

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    3. I'm a huge fan of CBB! And I agree she knows everything - or at least City issues that I follow. And, unlike the glitterati, she has no vested personal interests. She's not out flipping property, buying and sellinng houses, or reverse mortgages. Too bad we can't clone her.

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    4. The Unicorn SS has a problem with accomplished people. Since their heads are mostly one big horn, they have little room left for gray matter.

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  15. Seems to be a difference between the two Carol's. One being education.

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  16. Susan may be awfull and a phoney but tragically more people read her paper than the Tattler. I see people all over town reading that rag. and it is delivered to many places like the British Home and other shops in town.

    Don't kid yourselves: people believe her. Sadly, that is why MaryAnne lost, and why the dirts have power. Until we get the Tattle to the public or another great paper, not much change in a change of apathy and ethics.

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    1. At least there is the humor angle. Think of all the dumb Looney Views News readers looking to vote in a nonexistent election next March.

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  17. CBB is our guiding light. Thank you CBB for your great well educated and well informed comments.

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