|~ Pre-Internet Blogging ~|
Antonovich Warns "Clean Water" Tax Flyer Misleading: We discussed this flyer earlier in the week. Titled "Los Angeles - Clean Water, Clean Beaches Measure," it is written in that "save the world" kind of a way typifying so much of what dishonest government agencies are putting out these days. After all, here in Sierra Madre there are those who are touting downtown stack and pack development as being necessary to prevent global warming. There isn't much of anything being done nowadays by these kinds of folks that doesn't have at least some greenwash generously slapped on to it.
What this "Clean Water, Clean Beaches" flyer is actually all about is a tax hike being sold as yet another world saving effort that you would have to be a terribly callous person not to support. That it is going to come out of your hide in hundreds of dollars of increased yearly parcel taxes is downplayed just a little bit. Here is what Antonovich has to say:
Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich urged county residents to check their mailboxes for the "Official Notice to Property Owners of Public Hearing" which could result in a property tax increase. "While the mailing looks like junk mail, it is an important document that allows one to protest the proposed parcel tax," he said.
"It is vital that property owners return the protest form to stop this additional tax," he added.
"Property owners, schools and businesses already pay flood control taxes and now they are being asked to fork over more money at a time when families are struggling, schools are hurting and businesses are fleeing the state."
Residents have until January 15 to file their objection by returning their protest form or protesting at the public hearing on January 15, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. in the Hearing Room of the Board of Supervisors at the Hall of Administration. If a majority of the property owners do not object, the Board of Supervisors can approve a mail-in-ballot to be sent to all property owners in March. Passage requires only a simple majority.
If you haven't seen this flyer, or chucked it out because it did indeed look like junk mail, you can find it by clicking here. At the end of a rather long and deceptive tax sales pitch you will find the actual Prop 218 Tax Protest form. Something that state law required them to send out to you, and despite all the nonsense they surrounded it with there it is. Please print that part out and send it in to the County as soon as you can. Save yourself a couple of bucks while also having the satisfaction of letting them know you're on to them.
Monday Evening Is 710 Tunnel Meeting Night at the Pasadena City Council: A lot of other cities have come out against Metro's attempt to build this destructive hole under the pair of Pasadenas, including our very own Sierra Madre. Monday night it will be the big dog's turn to either bark or sit up and wag its perky tail. Hopefully Chris Holden won't still be voting. Also please be aware that SCAG and the SGVCOG are also for it, so there is the town wrecker goon squad element to consider as well. Here is how the Pasadena Star News describes the meeting (click here):
The City Council will take a position Monday on whether or not a tunnel should complete the Long Beach (710) Freeway. Though it opposed three other alternatives at a meeting in August, the council has shied away from taking a position on the tunnel connecting linking the San Bernardino (10) and Foothill (210) freeways.
While some residents believe the council kept quiet so that the freeway extension wouldn't become an issue in the state Assembly campaign of former City Councilman Chris Holden, city officials said they were awaiting a legal opinion.
Councilman Terry Tornek said he is glad the council will finally take a stand on the tunnel, but he's not sure it will affect Metro's decision to extend the freeway. "Frankly, I've been asking to have this brought forward much sooner, I think the public deserves to have an opportunity to know how we feel about this stuff," Tornek said. "But I also think there is a misconception about the influence the council can have in all this. This isn't our project and we are not the decision-makers here."
The council must reconcile whatever position it takes with voter-approved Measure A, which was passed in 2001. Pasadena residents took a position in support of "completing the 710 freeway between I-10 and I-210." At an August City Council meeting, Councilman Steve Madison proposed a resolution to oppose the tunnel.
Terry Tournek's statement kind of gets under my skin a little bit. Metro, the so-called "lead agency" pushing for this regional environmental cataclysm, is in the end is just another bureaucratic planning organization that lives off of our taxes. So why exactly are they so powerful that they can defy the wishes of elected officials and the tax paying citizens who sustain their employment? What almighty force stands behind them that makes whatever we and our representatives want to do so meaningless? Who exactly are these decision makers? And why do they have the God-like power to defy our wishes and spend $10s of billions of our dollars when doing it? Nobody ever seems to say.
I received a notice from the wonderful folks at the No on 710 Action Committee (click here), and it included an e-mail that was sent by Weston DeWalt to the Mayor and City Council of Pasadena. It is a great read, and I am posting it here in its entirety.
Over the past five or six years I have found myself engaged in a variety of issues of concern to Pasadena residents, and through those efforts have met a number of individuals devoted to causes of equal concern to them. In the sharing of stories of our experiences, I began to notice that, when organized labor and/or the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce was promoting a specific action to be taken by the City Council, those who held an opposing view most often found themselves on the losing end of the debate. In recent years, the frequency of that occurrence has become even more glaring, and an increasing number of Pasadena citizens have begun to take notice. The blunt force and suppression tactics used to hasten the City Council’s approval of the final Rose Bowl/NFL EIR – for many – has proven to be the last straw. Or is there a final-final straw yet to come?
The City Council’s delay in dealing with the Measure A/710 extension issue – now going on for almost five months – seems to many to have been politically motivated. For some there is the belief that the delay was orchestrated in order to give Chris Holden time to clear the building without having to cast a vote, which could have jeopardized his election to the State Assembly. For others there is the belief that the delay was to help insure Holden’s favorable inclination toward the F-7 tunnel would be absent when a vote was taken on the Measure A/710 extension issue. Either way – if a delay was manufactured – the Council would have been in violation of a City ordinance that prohibits a purposeful delay in conducting business of concern to Pasadena citizens, and we would have been denied our right to fair and timely representation.
On December 10, when it has been announced that the Council will finally address the Measure A/710 extension issue, we may hear that the only reason for the delay was the City’s desire to clearly ascertain its legal position, that the complexity of the issue and the need to thoroughly analyze the situation were the sole reasons for the delay. If that should prove to be the case, I would recommend a serious dose of skepticism, especially in light of the fact that the City Manager – back in September – was telling citizens that it was his expectation that the matter would be resolved by Election Day in November.
When all is said and done, it may be that the City Council will vote to oppose the F-7 tunnel on December 10. If so, a good many of us will be grateful, but – should that come to pass – I think we should not lose sight of the effort that has been expended over the past several months to finally get the Council to the December 10 judgment day and what the City Council’s inaction may have contributed to the suppression of a wider awareness of the threat that the F-7 tunnel presents; thus encouraging METRO in its continuing ambitions.
If the Council does not vote to oppose METRO’s F-7 tunnel proposal, we can add that decision to the victory column of the Chamber of Commerce, whose seeming disregard for quality-of-life-issues – to my view – could well contribute to a degradation of the very environment that draws businesses, customers and residents to our city.
Finally, it must be considered that the City Council might decide to kick the can down the road by arguing that the Measure A/710 extension issue is just too complex to allow a clear decision as to what action the City Council could take and will advise that a ballot measure is the only option available to those who want to challenge the proposed F-7 tunnel. The attorneys with whom I have spoken about the Measure A/710 extension issue have all said that taking such a position would be nothing but a dodge, an effort on the part of Councilmembers to avoid having to publicly declare their positions. I and many other Pasadena residents share that belief.
Whatever is to come on December 10, some important civic lessons have been learned, and, thanks to many of you, there appears to be an ever-growing interest in more closely scrutinizing the actions of individual Councilmembers and the influences to which they respond. It is a scrutiny that is long overdue.
The Pasadena City Council meets and will discuss all of this on Monday, December 10th at 7:30 p.m. The address is 100 No. Garfield Avenue, Pasadena CA 91109. These occasions have been turning out huge crowds of justifiably angry folks, so getting there a little early is advised. I'm going to bring my laptop and post about it "live" from the meeting. If anybody would like to join me I can come by and give you a lift to the meeting. You have yet to live if you haven't had the chance to ride in a fuel efficient Saturn Ion yet.
Tony Brandenburg on Pearl Harbor Day and Whatever the Hell is Going On at the PUSD All of a Sudden: Today is the big day folks.
Why? First and foremost, it is the day I honor my Grandfather who, on this day in 1941 was stationed on the USS Enterprise in Pearl Harbor, Hawai’i. It wasn’t his narrative of what happened there that stayed with me all of these years later, though the aftermath of that day would affect him for the rest of his life (he lost much of his hearing during the shelling.) It was his love of penguins. The only person I have ever known who saw penguins in the wild, he fell in love with these birds who, having never interacted with humans before, were so trusting they would approach the sailors. My grandfather looked at me once, clearly, and his eyes were so dark I remember being drawn in by them and realizing that I was in the audience of a great man.
He said, “Some of the others would just kill them. These wonderful birds,” and he paused. I could feel the tension in the air, and the kind of fury that can only be known by one who has been severely wronged. “Those Gottdamn bastards. I reported them. I was hated from then on.” And he stared at me for a while, then bounced back in his swivel seat, his fat toothless poodle in his lap. “Sometimes you have to do the right thing, son, no matter what the cost. Otherwise you’ll end up like one of them, just another Gottdamn fool.
To my Grandpa. Today is also the day that closes the window for the people who will run for City Council and School Board in Pasadena. We’re not part of that club, you and I, and whether I like you, or despise you, Sierra Madreans - people of the ‘dre, ‘dreans if you will - we are all unified on one thing. None of us matter right now to the City of Pasadena. We have no vote, and we have no voice. If we want to shop, we pay for their bags; if we want to park, we feed their meters; and if we want to use their public schools, or not - we pay their taxes.
We are taxed, but we are not represented. Wars have been fought, and countries have been created out of the ashes of such insignificant details.
I would rally for some kind of secession, but it's our own leadership that put us where we are. I’d be better off raising a middle finger from the roof of my house. At least then my vote would count, if only to me
This week Mary Brandenburg and I spent two nights at the PUSD district office. One night was at a parent meeting with the Special Education staff, they were doing a state mandated quality review. This happens every four years, and it is an important thing for a number of us. Parents from all over Pasadena, Altadena, and Sierra Madre were in attendance, and many of us have concerns. Interestingly, the Director of Special Education, Dr. Michael Jason, was not in attendance, though his car was in the parking lot. We notice these little things. The Director of Special Education rarely shows up at Board Meetings, doesn’t respond to phone calls or emails, and this has unraveled a number of parents as a result. Just a word from the wise, he generally hides out on BBOR meeting nights in a dimly lit office, quietly avoiding the people that PUSD will eventually be sued by. I would suggest that you remember to bring your flashlight on Board Meeting nights if you want to find him. Just shine it through the windows and look for movement. Please, just between the three of us, OK?
On that second night we were at a closed Board session. These are the “shhhhh, secret” meetings you only hear about, like a grown-up verion of Sneaky's Peepshow. There is a reason for this. Some things are just too sensitive for you and I to be privy to. Well, now just too sensitive for you, because I got to be in a closed session. Of course, it was about my family and a complaint against the dimwit investigator of Human Resources, so I guess what I am really like is the pain-in-the-ass guest who pays the $1500 a plate and gets to sit there on the sofa farting, chatting it up with some self-important politician, gulping cheap champagne, and licking my fingers before I reach over you to get at the hors d’oeuvres. The real important closed session stuff happened before we got there; we were just like the burp after the main course. Something is definitely going down in the PUSD and with the Measure TT.
Renatta Cooper and Elizabeth Pomeroy were both absent, perhaps recovering from the nice things I said about them in the Tattler last week- leaving the decisions to be handled by the team of five. I am not sure what transpired at the meeting, but what I do know from listening through the wall with a glass, is that there is a Chief of Facilities collecting $10K a month to stay home, that a whole bunch of building companies just got sacked by the Board, and a bucketload of our cash is missing, or overspent, or in a lawyer’s pocket, or, in the more perfect world I envision, maybe lost at the blackjack table.
Oh, yeah, and I nearly forgot. I had an awesome chiliburger and fries, and for the first time in a long while, I even enjoyed a Dr. Pepsi. At the 4:30 Facility Subcommittee Meeting, a citizen oversight committee member resigned, and a new one was appointed. Please note how much weight I just gave that critical piece of information. It’s just another nonchalant statement in the middle of a long dialogue where I mostly talk about myself, something I take great pride in. Pay attention to the insignificant things I say when I tub-thump and I distract with minutia. There will always be a point, and it will generally slide past unnoticed in the fanfare. That’s how the smart guys play this game that we are losing.
And by the way, for all of that “We showed them who’s the boss” from the middle school parents a while back at a PUSD Board Meeting, showing 'em what it is, and shouting it with pride to "Finish Sierra Madre Upper Campus!", and all of the bravado, and all of the self back slapping and self- congratulatory victory chants ... your world just took a dump. All projects just got shut down, including the one at Marshall Fundamental. So get ready, Sierra Madre Upper, to show the Board one more time who the boss is. Ha. Ha, ha. Meanwhile, me and my ruca will be working out the plan for how we’ll see that money go to the school that we’ve been exiled to. Keep dreaming of that gymnasium, and that pool, and that special toilet in the middle of the sports field.
Build it, and they will come. But will it will flush?