Sunday, December 9, 2012

Your Weekly Sunday Tattler News & Review

We are now looking at the third week in a row where we have brought you the Tattler Sunday News. It has been a very rewarding experience, and I see no reason why it should not continue. That is, of course, unless we decide not to do it. It is hard to gauge what the general feeling is going to be around here from week to week, and at times mood swing management does take precedence. So no promises. But we do have the news today. And more often than not today is all we really need. Anything more than that can get to be too much to deal with. One foot in front of the other is what I always say. Just don't trip.

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.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

54 comments:

  1. Coincidence of timing?
    If the PUSD were a private business they would have been kaput after the first scandal.

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    1. When Bart Doyle actually suggested a few months ago that a solution to the Measure TT funding shortfalls would be even more bonds, I nearly fell out of my seat. Now that we have seen that the PUSD can't keep track of hundreds of millions of dollars in our money for a second time, nobody should ever vote yes on a PUSD bond issue again. Not as long as that bunch of wackos is running the place.

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    2. Coincidentally, this is mind-boggling ineptitude on the PUSD's part..

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    3. The PUSD keeps "losing" our money to all kinds of thieves, corrupt contractors and con artists, and then they come back to us and cry for more. They're like an old drunk uncle we have to keep picking up out of the gutter after an all night drunk. Where does it stop?

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    4. When they end up in jail, of course.

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  2. Messina said, "I can accept somebody voting contrary to what I would like to see, I can respect their opinion"
    Not true.
    If you don't agree with her, you are her enemy and she will try to make you inconsequential.

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  3. Barbara Messina first caught my eye when she advocated for the 710 tunnel as a way to share the ill health that people in her district had, as a result of heavy traffic. Her reasoning went something like: We suffer from it, so you need to also. She also characterized the South Pasadena activist as troublemakers, nothing more. Yeah that's Messina for you.

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  4. Barbara Messina is a Class A hypocrite. Secret government is what she does, just look at the COG and this Bart Doyle hire! To accuse someone else of backroom dealings to me is a cry for a psychological intervention.

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  5. Oh no, the 12 year era of Ed has ended? What will PUSD do?

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    1. If there is one guy who personifies 12 years of PUSD failures, it is Ed Honowitz. Hopefully he takes that dirtbag Peter Dreier with him.

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    2. Think Mr. Ed escaped the censure the Brandenburgs requested, and which was in the works?

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    3. He probably thinks he can run for higher office.

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    4. Then that censure better go through, for a start.

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    5. Maybe Ed can slip into Azcarraga's position, or make a move on Gundry's job- temporary, of course.

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    6. Maybe the COG will have something for him. He and Bart are such old pals.

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    7. i could use a publicist.....

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    8. There's absolutely no question, Ed is laying low until everything blows over.
      He is chair of the Facilities, not Selinske. His ACT/PEF buddy Jon Fuhrman was watching over the bond money, and was sitting on the 2011-12 audit, which still hadn't been reviewed? How convenient.

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    9. Maybe Joe Mosca will let Ed use his couch over there in England.

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    10. TB, think Ed could pull off a publicist/rock photographer job?

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    11. The potential challenge would be doing the job from a jail cell.

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    12. What will Ed do? Will he and Petey be the PUSD puppetmasters for the missing board seats?

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    13. I vote to place Ed as the ceremonial Board member representing Sierra Madre- not.

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    14. Now why on earth did Honowitz throw in the towel?
      He didn't want to run against POMEROY?
      He didn't want to run for city council?
      He's got something in the works. I bet it has something to do with land development and community schools.

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    15. Ed is running. Running away, that is.

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    16. 914, i laughed so hard i had to run outside and pee on a tree. unfortunately there wasn't one of those wonderful SOCAL outhouses available like they use at the festivals.

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    17. until the brandenburg situation is solved, honowitz could still be forced to testify if we sue the district- at least unti March- if he's no longer in the mix as a pusd "employee", he just becomes like the other five people who retired, transfered, and took off or he'll be relegated to community member/parent volunteer, which is, of course, carte blanche to violate student rights.

      my prediction is that he will return to be the one to solve the current building/money situation, that it will be well orchestrated and publicized when it goes down. he will rise, like a phoenix from the stable manure, and lead pusd in the facilitation of community based housing. meanwhile, we rogue chicken farmers will be planing an uprising like that one in that aardman clamation movie

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    18. Yeah, notice TB how Selinske is credited as the "chair" of the Facilities committee, rather than Honowitz? If you say it enough times, maybe it'll stick. What the heck was the TT Oversight Committee doing? And why did someone on the committee step down just prior to the big announcement last week?
      Although the StarNews was told that the TT audits for 2011/12 hadn't been looked at, here's a link to the October 25, 2012 agenda:

      http://pasadenausd.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/917180/File/Board%20of%20Education/Board%20Subcommittees/COC/C.O.C.%20Agenda-%202012.10.25%20%20FINAL%20(1).pdf?sessionid=e6d63027d1f78d6aac1b6c66b9072e4c%2F%3Fsessionid

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    19. Guess who the Board liason to the TT Oversight Committee was? You got it, Mr. lame duck Board member.

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    20. 9:52 am. I think you are correct. Honowitz isn't going away - they never go away - it's too lucrative for them. I think he'll show up along with his wife in making all these new schools into fascist transit communities. Watch out Sierra Madre, we have a very nice piece of land on North Canon that would suit them well.

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    21. Honowitz was the Board of Ed liason 10:30? Really?

      And his financial wizard buddy Jon Fuhrman chairing the TT committee?

      Maybe Fuhrman missed something being so busy? He's the Treasurer of the PEF, Treasurer of ACT, on the PCC Finance/Investment committee......It's surely not that he doesn't know how to manage money.

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  6. If anyone has followed the political career of Steve Cooley you'll understand the rather "kind" send off article on page one of the Sunday 12.09.2012 L.A. Times newspaper.

    This article was just a cheap coat of low cost paint to try and cover up the short coming and other allowances, done for purly political reasons of course.

    Where now the "good citizens" have to clean up the crooked political mess that has grown in their own cities and towns through out L.A. County in the state of California.

    Those cases he chose to through the full weight of the judicial sysytem against them were of course on the opposite side of a political divide and or were favors lent to his friends etc.

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  7. The 5 people picking the COG's replacement of Conway are all diehard supporters of their disgraced former Executive Director. You have got to know that Doyle is their guy. He fits in with that bunch hand in glove.

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    1. Wait, how is this possible?
      Won't all of the cities have a vote?
      Or do we have to leave it up to this little crew of Conway's?

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    2. The COG runs on the old Soviet Union model. You have a Central Committee of 5 that will make their choice. Then that choice will be presented to all of the dumb bunny liaisons who will bark their approval in unison and then go gorge themselves at the buffet.

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  8. This is what happens when you don't pay attention. It is nearly impossible to do so, but still.... We are all at fault and need to get up off our collectives arses and participate.

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  9. PUSD financial troubles spread
    http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/news/ci_22154382/pusd-financial-troubles-spread

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  10. Thanks Mod for keeping us updated on the big picture. Guess I best use some language before the "millions " of new hire unionize goverment workers start enforcement. What lunatics thought making "Lawman" Larry the full time police chief after his incompatant handling picture boy bob was a good idea? Maybe the same lunatics who would put a crook like Bart! Doyle in charge of the cog! As to Barbara Messina crooks of a feather flock us together.

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  11. http://www.pasadenasun.com/news/tn-pas-1209-seven-vie-for-four-school-board-seats,0,7259845.story


    Kenne's challenger in West Altadena's District 1 is Hermond Dean Cooper, a former school district employee who unsuccessfully sued the district in 1999 and 2003. Cooper, who alleged employment discrimination, did not return calls.

    Phelps' challenger in West Pasadena's District 7 is Luis Carlos Ayala, an immigration attorney who also has taught adult English classes in Los Angeles. Ayala, 49, said he had hoped to enroll his two daughters at Linda Vista but chose a private school after learning high-achieving public campuses were at capacity and not accepting students.


    A disgruntled employee and an ELITIST. and a Baptist minister who has incorporated his church. good god.

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    1. The "sub-districting process" is bringing us a wealth of wonderful candidates. I hear jack the Ripper is thinking of also filing.

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    2. and krampus, too

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    3. Who is that weird plucked chicken looking guy from The Hobbit that keeps saying "My precious" over and over? He is supposed to file on Monday.

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    4. We can only hope that board members who push for transparency and accountabiity become the majority. That may happen if Kenne, Phelps, Arce win, but what of the open seats? Who fills those?

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  12. My guess is we won't get the big announcement on the scale of the Measure TT theft until sometime near Xmas when they think no one will be paying attention. They're revealing this stuff very slowly. My take is the damage is huge, and the PUSD is desperately trying to control the message.

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    1. Ah yes, the Friday afternoon news dump. Perhaps this is why Friday the 13th is so ominous.

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  13. Seville Construction is one of the contractors under fire. Tom Selinske took campaign donations from him, and multiple labor unions. Inflated Planned Labor Agreements in exchange for campaign donations. Time to oust big union backed Selinske in 2015!

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  14. Can anyone explain to me why handing over $350,000,000 in bond money to such a bunch idiots was a good idea? After Measure Y you'd think people would have known better. Of course it was going to get stolen. The way they do it is like hiring coyotes to guard chickens.

    Just curious.

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    1. But 10:51, they have experience!

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    2. Yeah, experience. The same gang of thieves that sucked all the Measure Y money out of the PUSD coffers are now back to do the same with Measure TT. And all the PUSD can do is shout "ole" as all that cash passes out the door.

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    3. Seems to me that $350,000,000 would buy an awful lot of vouchers to private schools for Pasadena school children.

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    4. Because they're "experts". Just like the folks on the green committee.

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  15. Like shooting fish in a barrelDecember 9, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    From the December 8, 2012, e-edition of the MtnViewsNews.org:

    "Mountain Views News
    Anyone know who twitters as: @_smith_marke: ? They sent a ridiculous tweet suggesting that Sierra Madre would not be able to vote in March PUSD Board elections. Called news article (from PUSD) in the MVNews a lie. Wondering who this tweeter is. Of course their information is blocked. BTW, article is true according to release."

    Does this woman not update her breaking news Twitter box?

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    1. Susan doesn't care. She knows that the people who look at her paper couldn't think their way out of a paper bag.

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  16. If anyone has followed the political career of Steve Cooley you'll understand the rather "kind" send off article on page one of the Sunday 12.09.2012 L.A. Times newspaper.

    What wasn't said by the author nor by Steve Cooley, his legal problems are not over with just because he retired this month from the D.A.'s office. No Steve is due back in Federal court this coming Monday December 10, 2012 on what will be a long and winding legal road he generated for himself.

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  17. " But of course, too much salt if you're salt-sensitive, also could raise your blood pressure. After trying nearly every natural remedy imaginable, none of which worked, I finally solved my high blood pressure problem with slow breathing - on my own, exactly as described - and I've since witnessed many others enjoy even more dramatic results. People who have a family history of high blood pressure are more likely to have it also. Make sure that you watch your diet until you reach your ideal weight. *Neroli is very expensive and therefore is often purchased as a 3% dilution in jojoba oil.

    my web page: foods that lower blood pressure

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