Part II: It is over. Here is what the Pasadena Star News has. Sounds like it was a very bad date (click here).
Police arrested a man on suspicion of attempted murder and other crimes early Sunday after he tried to drive himself and a woman over a cliff, then barricaded himself inside the home of the Santa Anita Dam keeper for seven hours, authorities said.
Patrick Anthony Gonzalez, 21, of Los Angeles was taken to a hospital for treatment of unknown injuries prior to being booked into jail, Arcadia police Lt. Mike Castro said.
The incident began about 6:30 p.m. Saturday when officers responded to reports of a car that had crashed into a guardrail along Chantry Flats Road, just within the northern city limit, the lieutenant said.
"Further investigation revealed the driver of the vehicle intentionally hit the guardrail in an attempt to kill both himself and his passenger - changing the focus of the investigation from a traffic accident to attempted murder," Arcadia police officials said in a written statement.
Maybe she met him in the Internet. Back to our regularly scheduled blog content.
(The Mod: It is raining now, which for me is 3:51 AM. By the time you read this the sun could be out and the topic line for this post will not be accurate. That is the risk you take when you bring the weather into your reporting. But do you know what? We're not afraid to take chances here at The Tattler. We'll go out on a limb and dare whoever wants to try and saw it off. And you know they rarely do. Also last evening was a Full Wolf Moon, a rare event that is often represented by pictures like the one we have posted here on the left with this article. All of which happened somewhere behind the clouds I am afraid. But the picture is cool and who here hasn't wanted to occasionally howl at the moon? Even when it is lost in the clouds? Anyway, this week's rainy Sunday News includes stories that we thought you might be interested in. Here they are.)
Years after bond's passage, no start on new Sierra Madre school (click here): The Middle School, slated to benefit from a $350 million bond approved in 2008, has been operating out of trailers since the old campus' demolition in 2010.
Troubles at Sierra Madre Middle School began in July 2010 with demolition of the old campus before California's Division of the State Architect had issued approvals for new buildings. Renatta Cooper said former Pasadena Unified supervisors had sold school board members on an early demolition under the pretense that they could save money by using workers already engaged in other district construction projects.
A year later, Pasadena officials were accusing the Division of the State Architect, which must sign off on all public school construction plans, of dragging out the approval process. The agency countered that state workers were waiting on Pasadena to submit design changes needed to meet regulations. Local officials denied that any design changes were needed at that time.
Plans for the campus weren't approved until fall 2012, school district Chief Finance Officer John Pappalardo said. Pappalardo took charge of Measure TT projects last month after board members placed the district's chief facilities officer on leave and suspended a pact with a contractor overseeing some work pending an investigation into the use of bond funds. Officials have declined to specify the nature of the investigation, which is ongoing.
Staff upheaval and budget reductions for most bond-funded projects, meanwhile, have some Sierra Madre parents accusing officials of delaying construction until they can cancel the project by claiming lack of funds. That's what happened to Blair Middle School, which the school district demolished in 2005 and failed to rebuild before exhausting a $240-million bond approved in 1997. The new Blair campus was built later using Measure TT proceeds.
Pappalardo said about $111 million has been spent on or committed to school renovations under the current bond program, with some $274 million in Measure TT proceeds and other construction funding still left in the pipeline.
(Mod: If your kids came home and told you a story like the one above, would you believe them? There are a couple of things driving all of this, and it doesn't have much to do with building our school, or any PUSD outlet for that matter. One is increasingly scarce buildable land, which the PUSD controls a lot of, and with continued steep declines in enrollment just doesn't need so much of it anymore. The other is $274 million in remaining Measure TT bond money. Combine these two ingredients and it is a developer-friendly crooked pol's dream. People need to snap out of their dreamworld and wake up to what is really going on here. It is always about the money.)
Do penalties for smokers and the obese make sense? (click here): Faced with the high cost of caring for smokers and overeaters, experts say society must grapple with a blunt question: Instead of trying to penalize them and change their ways, why not just let these health sinners die prematurely from their unhealthy habits?
Annual health care costs are roughly $96 billion for smokers and $147 billion for the obese, the government says. These costs accompany sometimes heroic attempts to prolong lives, including surgery, chemotherapy and other measures.
But despite these rescue attempts, smokers tend to die 10 years earlier on average, and the obese die five to 12 years prematurely, according to various researchers' estimates.
And attempts to curb smoking and unhealthy eating frequently lead to backlash: Witness the current legal tussle over New York City's first-of-its-kind limits on the size of sugary beverages and the vicious fight last year in California over a ballot proposal to add a $1-per-pack cigarette tax, which was ultimately defeated.
"This is my life. I should be able to do what I want," said Sebastian Lopez, a college student from Queens, speaking last September when the New York City Board of Health approved the soda size rules.
(Mod: What a novel, yet chilling, approach. Government should just butt out and let nature run its course? The war on the fat has begun.)
The Battle for CEQA (click here): California’s core environmental protection law, a 43-year-old statute frequently denounced by developers and business interests as a tangle of red tape, is on a Capitol hit list once again. But the political dynamic this year is unusual: Those pushing hard for change are Democrats, including Gov. Brown, the Senate and Assembly leaders and a farm-belt lawmaker.
At issue is the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, which requires builders and others to detail their projects’ potential impacts over time on the environment and offer ways to fix them – which helps local zoning commissions and city councils weigh the benefits and negatives of the proposals in their decision-making.
The Act, which Ronald Reagan signed into law in 1970, has long been cited as the underpinning of California’s aggressive environmental protections and a shield against well-heeled special interests.
It also is seen as a sort of grass-roots environmental protection law because it is driven by the locals through the courts, not by Sacramento-based regulators. The law has been used to protect everything from ocean waters to tribal burial grounds. It has been altered over the years – 334 times since 1990 alone, by one count -- but its over-arching goal largely remains in place.
“They haven’t fundamentally changed CEQA, ever,” said Ron Stork of the Friends of the River. “There have been court decisions from time to time. But to some degree, it’s a living process and now it’s been around for a long time.”
The law has protected Californians from “from many tons of toxic air pollution and related health effects, such as childhood asthma. CEQA played a principal role in the electrification of the Port of Los Angeles, making it the cleanest port in the country, improving the working conditions for truckers and health of nearby communities,” noted David Pettit of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
But CEQA, long under fire from its traditional foes, is now taking hits from lawmakers, the Democratic allies of environmentalists and others who say – with some evidence – that the law can add years to the approvals needed for major projects to get under way. They argue that the law needs to be modernized.
(Mod: The one-party rulers of this state are obviously in the tank for developers, Realty lobbies, the BIA and whoever else from that disreputable world pumps money into their pockets. CEQA is the one recourse residents and small cities have to halt the depredations of large corporate development interests that want to build nasty things in places that those living there do not ever want to see. The days when we can call the Democrats friends of the environment are pretty much over. They have quite obviously sold us out.)
Recent Legal Actions Further Illustrate EPA’s Challenge In Regulating Stormwater Runoff (click here): Within the last few weeks, three separate legal developments have demonstrated the difficulty faced by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in regulating stormwater runoff under the Clean Water Act (CWA), 33 U.S.C.§ 1251 et seq. In the first matter, EPA settled a lawsuit with builders and utilities that challenged the Agency’s regulations on stormwater runoff at construction sites. The settlement requires EPA to propose new effluent limits for runoff that do not contain numerical turbidity limits (i.e., limits on the suspended material in water that affects its clarity), and to discontinue the monitoring requirement for turbidity in the runoff. Wisconsin Builders Association v. EPA, No. 09-4113 (7th Cir 2012).
Next, the United States Supreme Court reversed a ruling of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that Los Angeles County’s Flood Control District had violated its system-wide water-discharge permit because monitoring stations downstream from discharge points reported pollutants in excess of permit limits. The monitoring stations were located in sections of the Los Angeles and San Gabriel rivers that had been lined with concrete to channel and direct water flow during storm and flooding events. These concrete-lined sections were controlled by the Flood Control District.
The Supreme Court held that water flowing from a concrete section of the river to another section was not a “discharge” of pollutants under the CWA, thus overturning the Ninth Circuit’s decision. Los Angeles County Flood Control District v. Natural Resources Defense Council, et al., No. 11-460 (U.S. 2013).
Finally, in Virginia Department of Transportation, et al, v. EPA, et al., No. 12-775 (E.D. Va. 2013), the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia sent a clear message to EPA – non-polluted water is not within the Agency’s jurisdiction under the CWA, ruling that the Agency may not regulate stormwater runoff flow as a “surrogate” for limiting sediment load into a waterbody.
(Mod: The bandits on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, along with their so-called "Rain Tax," have pretty much been legally kicked to the curb by the Courts. However, you can be sure they haven't given up. When it comes to new and novel ways of emptying the taxpayers' pockets, they can be ruthless.)
Canadians: U.S. Homeland Security knew of Sierra Madre man's porn case in October (click here): The Department of Homeland Security's failure to search Robert Matheson's home in Sierra Madre immediately after his arrest for smuggling and possession of child pornography may have cost Canadian authorities the chance to secure a harsher sentence, officials in Nova Scotia said Wednesday.
Matheson, 67, was arrested Oct.17 at the Halifax Stanfield Airport in Canada after border agents discovered 2,820 pornographic images and 285 videos of teenage boys. Most of the pictures and videos showed teenage boys engaged in sex acts, said Craig Botterill, Nova Scotia Crown Attorney and the lead prosecutor on the Matheson case.
Canadian law enforcement officials contacted the Department of Homeland Security's Los Angeles office about Matheson's arrest on Oct. 20, they said. But federal agents didn't search his home until Monday. The delay compromised the Canadian case against Matheson, Botterill said.
"(The delay) prevented me from painting a full picture of the accused at the sentencing hearing," Botterill said. "We wanted to know whether he was a person with a small amount of child porn on his computer or whether he was a big-time player."
Matheson, who hosted the 2010 campaign kickoff for former Sierra Madre Mayor Joe Mosca and is a member of the foothill city's Chamber of Commerce, was sentenced to 120 days in prison on Dec. 13. DHS officials said the agency has worked closely with Canadian officials since Matheson's arrest in October.
(Mod: This article was published by the Pasadena Star News on Dec 21, 2011, or a little more than one year ago. We have yet to hear the results of any investigation, nor have we ever been given any kind of accounting as to why Matheson was not registered as a sex offender here in Sierra Madre. Despite Federal laws that clearly dictate this must be done. Yet one more proof that when it comes to law enforcement in our little portion of the world, we're pretty much on our own.)
Have a pleasant valley Sunday. Is it still raining?