Sunday, December 9, 2012
Congress Erases "Lunatic," Keeps 'Idiot' in Federal Law (click here): The U.S. House voted to remove the term “lunatic” from sections of federal law, while the word “idiot” would remain.
The bill, which passed 398-1, would amend a section of the U.S. Code that defines the meanings of certain words used in acts of Congress. Making the change would eliminate “references that contribute to the stigmatization of mental health conditions,” according to an April 25 statement by the bill’s sponsor, Democratic Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota.
“The term ‘lunatic’ holds a place in antiquity and should no longer have a prominent place in our U.S. code,” Representative Bobby Scott, a Virginia Democrat who serves on the House Judiciary Committee, said today on the floor.
The targeted language from 1947 currently reads: “The words ‘insane’ and ‘insane person’ and ‘lunatic’ shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis.” The legislation, titled the 21st Century Language Act of 2012, also would remove the word “lunatic” from 1962 banking- law provisions dealing with trust powers and the consolidation and mergers of national banks.
Conrad said he was contacted by a constituent who supported efforts to remove the term from law. The measure is backed by the American Psychiatric Association, the American Counseling Association, the National Association of School Psychologists and other professional and advocacy groups.
(Mod: Thanks to the legislature gods that at least they kept the word 'idiot' intact. How our national government - or any level of government for that matter - could continue to operate without at least that in the lexicon is a problem I hope we will never have to deal with.)
Pasadena Unified axes construction contracts, places administrator, consultant on leave in Measure TT billing probe (click here): A top Pasadena Unified School District administrator and a consultant with a $312,000 schools' contract have been removed from their posts pending an investigation into improper billing practices by contractors on the $350-million Measure TT capital improvement program, officials said Wednesday.
PUSD Facilities Chief David Azcarraga has been placed on paid administrative leave and bond consultant Robin Brown's contract has been suspended.
The district also terminated four contracts related to Measure TT, including consultant Peter Contis and project assistant Arturo Arce, plus two companies, LCC3 and Seville Group, PUSD spokesman Adam Wolfson said.
Those four handled administrative functions rather than working on any specific school project, Wolfson said; he said PUSD Chief Financial Officer John Pappalardo will temporarily manage the Measure TT program, approved by voters in 2008.
(Mod: Speaking of idiots ...)
"Coincidence Of Timing": Current PUSD Troubles Include Delay in Construction of Sierra Madre Middle School (click here): In a telephone interview on Friday with Pasadena Unified School District Chief Finance Officer John Pappalardo and PUSD Spokesperson Adam Wolfson, Pappalardo used the term "Coincidence of Timing" to describe the correlation between the investigation of the handling of Measure TT projects and the startling revelation that the Sierra Madre Middle School project (also a Measure TT project) had come to a halt.
(Mod: "Startling revelation" my left foot. I don't think any realistic person could have believed that the promises the PUSD made to angry Sierra Madre parents a few months back regarding work at the Middle School were carved in stone. My take is it was just some spin designed to quieten the herd in what had become an explosive situation. And was the close proximity of the Measure TT revelations and the reneging on Middle School construction a coincidence? Could be. Disasters do come in clusters for these people.)
San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments' Committee holds secret meeting to begin executive director selection process (click here): The San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments held a secret meeting Wednesday night to begin the selection process for a new executive director. Six members of the regional association's 30-member board, part of a temporary committee, met at the Community Center to sift through the resumes of 15 candidates and narrow down the pool to five, said COG officials.
The Executive Director Recruitment Ad Hoc Committee is tasked with recommending a replacement for Nick Conway, 60, who was fired. Interim Executive Director Fran DeLach said the meeting was private because the committee does not constitute a quorum or a majority of the governing board and therefore is not subject to state open meeting laws.
"The process is confidential so as not to affect any potential employers (of the candidates)," DeLach said. He would not reveal who has applied for the job.
Ad Hoc Committee member and San Dimas Councilman Denis Bertone said the committee will meet a second time Jan. 5, also in Monrovia, to decide on a single candidate to recommend to the governing board. The other Ad Hoc Committee members are: Covina Mayor Kevin Stapleton, Monrovia Mayor Mary Ann Lutz, Alhambra Mayor Barbara Messina, Azusa Councilman Angel Carrillo and Temple City Councilman Fernando Vizcarra.
However, some critics are saying the COG is being too secretive and should include input from member cities and the public. Gil Aguirre, an open government advocate from San Dimas who sued the COG and was given $50,000 in attorneys fees after the board admitted violating the Ralph M. Brown Act, says he is monitoring the latest situation. He said he believes the Ad Hoc Committee is going beyond the bounds of the Brown Act, which makes an exception for such committees.
"While an ad hoc committee can be exempt from open meeting requirements under specific circumstances, with everything that's been going on at the COG, you would think they would want to be transparent," Aguirre said. "I think they are going far beyond the scope of what an ad hoc committee is designed to do. This ad hoc committee is secretly picking the next COG executive director."
(Mod: As you know, The Tattler broke the news of Bart Doyle's candidacy for this job last week. And we do favor Bart for this gig because his proven track record for stunning failure could hopefully bring the COG down once and for all. The last thing we need is some white hat coming in and propping this mess up for a couple years longer. And it is good to see Gil Aguirre bringing up the Brown Act issue. It certainly does appear that none of these 5 Coggy potentates quite understood what was explained to them at their recent Brown Act refresher course.)
Seven Vie for four Pasadena School Board seats (click here): In the first test of new voter districts for Pasadena Board of Education seats, seven first-time candidates have enlisted to compete for four spots on the school board. Incumbents Kim Kenne, Elizabeth Pomeroy and Scott Phelps are seeking reelection on March 5, while Ramon Miramontes and Ed Honowitz have decided not to run.
“I'm encouraged that there are a lot of candidates interested in the board. It speaks well of the community's growing interest in the schools,” said Honowitz, who is finishing his third four-year term.
Approved by nearly 55% of Pasadena, Altadena and Sierra Madre voters in the June 5 election, the new system carves the school district into seven areas. Officials sought the switch amid concerns that citywide contests discouraged potential Latino and African-Americans candidates and disenfranchised Latino voters in parts of the city where public school enrollment is highest.
(Mod: The Honowitz era finally comes to an end. The truly surprising thing here is the PUSD is still technically in business. Maybe Mr. Ed has decided he doesn't want to be there when the whole thing comes crashing down. A process that did gain quite a lot of momentum during his 12 years in the office. BTW - the author of the above Pasadena Sun article needs to be made aware that Measure A did not receive a 55% voter approval in Sierra Madre. It lost badly here because people realized its passage meant the theft of our right to cast a vote in Board of Ed elections until 2015.)
Cities vote to oust Metro Board Member Ara Najarian for 710 stance (click here): Longtime Long Beach (710) Freeway protester Ara Najarian could be ousted from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board, after a committee of local city officials Thursday rejected a nomination to extend his tenure.
Najarian, whose term ends in January, was nominated to serve another term on the board by the 12 northern cities he represents, including Glendale and La Canada Flintridge. The Glendale city councilman is one of four Metro board members selected by the L.A. County City Selection Committee. He said he was surprised by the vote, especially that a majority of the cities in the San Gabriel Valley rejected his nomination, including Claremont, Alhambra, Azusa and Monterey Park.
"It has almost always been just a rubber stamp because if the one group of cities says this is who we want to represent us on the MTA the city selection committee 99 percent of the time honors that," Najarian said. Najarian has been outspoken in his opposition to the 710 N. Gap Closure that Metro is currently studying for environmental impacts. He has been especially opposed to the twin-bore underground freeway tunnel that is one of Metro's final five options to close the gap in the freeway between Alhambra and Pasadena.
"It brings to issue clearly what they are trying to do is silence an individual who believes that there is a better alternative to the 710 tunnel," Najarian said.
Alhambra Mayor Barbara Messina agreed that Najarian's stance and tactics on the long fought-over freeway are "not right," and that he should no longer be on the Metro board. "I can accept somebody voting contrary to what I would like to see, I can respect their opinion, but when they take it to the degree that he has as a board member and constantly work to oppose the 710, I have a problem with that," Messina said. "To go to the degree that he has gone in opposing the 710 is just not right."
Messina added that she thinks Najarian has engaged in "back room politics" - which she declined to specify - regarding the 710, and that it was more than just the San Gabriel Valley cities that opposed his appointment to the Metro board Thursday night.
(Mod: The hypocrisy of Barbara Messina knows no bounds. That Messina should claim that Najarian is involved in "back room politics," while at the same time she herself is participating in secret meetings to pick COG's new Executive Director, is positively bizarre. What's really going on here is Metro is purging its dissidents. You either support the 710 Cancer Tunnel or you are gone. It is very Soviet of them.)
Enjoy what remains of your day of rest. I'll be around if you need me.
Posted by The Moderator at 7:31 AM