Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Rainy Full Wolf Moon Sunday Weekly News

Howl.
Breaking News: Chantry Flats Closed A suspect in a crime that occurred in Arcadia late last night has barricaded himself in a property in the Chantry Flats area of the Angeles National Forest ... Arcadia police Lt. Mike Castro said Chantry Flats will remain closed to hikers Sunday until Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputies remove the suspect from the property. 

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?

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

37 comments:

  1. Couldn't agree more. Let those who overeay and smoke continue to do so. It is their freedom of choice to do so. However, they must also be accountable and responsible for their behavior choices. I shouldn't have to bear the costs of their choices. Let them pay for their own medical care. This is what part of being an adult is all about.

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    1. A good accounting of the Libertarian viewpoint. With total freedom comes total responsibility. Do anything you want to do, but never expect the government to come and pick you up if you fall.

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    2. I am all for most Libertarian policies. Bt health care is a different thing, and calls for more compassion.

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    3. That is the thing about health care in this country. The chance are still good that you'll die even if you get it.

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  2. Matheson, Mosca, Moran, Doyle, Buchanan, Walsh, Coluntuono, Levin, et alia . . . if you don't have anything nice to say about someone, don't say anything at all . . . . This should be such a quiet town.

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  3. Is there an Air Tax in the works?

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    1. only for the clean stuff. the dirty stuff is free. unless you want it cleaned. then you gotta pay a tax for that, too.

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    2. That will all change once our downtown gets high density green development, the fresh air 710 tunnel gets built, and all those new green trucks from the ports start flooding into our happy valley. I think it is safe to say that government is working hard to save us. We should all just stand aside and let them do it.

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    3. "the law can add years to the approvals needed for major projects to get under way" Exactly - that's the idea. It takes that long for good reasons. Why is that such a problem for developers? They have to wait for their outsized profits?

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    4. For Jerry Brown and Elmo Steinberg the only thing environmentalism is good for Is to manufacture the greenwash needed to peddle the destructive development projects of Democratic Party campaign funders. If you want an example of the kind of crap these people are producing, take a look at the Green Committee's Accords. These people are all despicable hypocrites.

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    5. Don't kid yourself. Flushing CEQA is all about Union construction jobs, more government control of our lives and property, and more tax $$ to spend. Did I miss anything?

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    6. Unions are not dem funders? So is the League of CA Cities, CAR and the BIA. To name just a few. In California the scapegoats come in herds.

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  4. Alcoholics don't get liver transplants. We need to save our limited resources for those that care about life. Smokers don't care about their life or others. Let them take out a smoker's policy with premiums that match the risk. Don't require hospitals to treat the uninsured smokers.

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    1. They could be dealt with like lepers are handled in some societies even today. A small shack settlement a few miles from any city line would be ideal.

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    2. Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances on the earth. While I agree that smokers have to pay their share, I don't agree that they don't care about life - at least not all of them.

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    3. It says on the package it gonna kill you.

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    4. It says on lottery tickets that you can win millions of dollars if you buy some. Both are sold at liquor stores. People believe what they choose to believe.

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    5. I think of smokers more like lab animals that have been experimented on. They pick up the first cigarette through some kind of stimulus like peer pressure (big mistake) and then the addiction takes over any good sense.

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    6. Does anyone know the ObamaCare health exchanges will charge 50% more for smokers? Wanna bet the smokers say they don't smoke to get the cheaper price and we get to pay for their medical care?

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  5. Good to see the PUSD dance laid out step by step. It's hard to follow, and requires close reading.
    I were hearing the story from a distance, I think it would be clear as day that it was full of lies and the real cheats have yet to be revealed.

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    1. The more officially anointed and legally vetted spokespersons for the PUSD attempt to explain the Middle School fiasco, the more suspicious people become.

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    2. The responsibility gets tossed around like a hot potato.

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    3. They're all scared to death that they'll be holding the spud when the music stops.

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  6. "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."

    This is the part that interests me. What Pasadena officials were accusing the DSA of that? And who SPECIFICALLY was responsible for turning in the plans to the DSA?

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    1. Sounds to me like PUSD employees blaming the state for things they needed to do but never did. Shouldn't they have been calling Sacramento a couple of times a day when their plans weren't returned in a timely manner? Seems much too slack on their part to me.

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    2. Watch what you say. If you go too far one of Chris Holden's friends will call up and ask if you need any home repairs.

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  8. Trying times are ahead for residents and voters of any and all california cities, those political machines hiding out in city halls are still moving ahead with mandates and projects that were dreamed up decades ago.

    The machine is still grinding up money like it grew on trees, this of course is counter productive to the realities of the tax based incomes cities are now collecting. This of course doesn't take into account of loans and bonds each city has to repay or payoff, then their are the city hall "light Bulbs" who want to incur more loans and bonds to repay the previous ones?

    This scheme seems to mimic the first step down the wrong path many cities took a decade ago, borrowing against the future isn't the smartest thing to do as we have all found out the hard way. Some lost a house to two, others lost their jobs, family and marriage.

    Be extra careful when those "pie in the sky" schemer's from city hall concoct another fire "fix it all" plan.

    These city hall fools will do and say anything to deflect responsibility from themselves. If history is any measure as to their guilt, then who loses their jobs first? it's not the city hall managers, instead it's the hourly stiffs. Why is that? because we need someone in city hall to oversee the orderly recovery and or closing down the whole misguided operating that they started in the first place.

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    1. Hear, hear 11:14.

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    2. Great post. Buchanan's "full service city" and his "do-gooder" speech come to mind. City Hall's constant big sell to the community is that they are essential. They aren't. Somebody needs to handle all the BS paperwork, but beyond that their contribution to the well being of the town is minimal.

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    3. It only costs a latte a day. You heard Josh.

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    4. What is the cost of a beer at the Bucchaneer? Josh should trade in the commodity prices of things he knows best.

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    5. What a grat post ll:14!
      If only the dumb voters who vote in these idiots like Moran, Buchanan, Mosca, Walsh, we may have a chance to really change this very bad path we go down.
      I wish they would all read what you just posted.

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  9. Why were the Sheriffs called? And isn't Chantry Flats a part of Sierra Madre?

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    1. Chantry Flats is in a National Forest (with some private property on land leased from the Forest Service.) My guess is that LASD needs to send some heaviliy armed (maybe SWAT) deputies up there to bring in Mr. Stoopid.

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  10. Also Mt Wilson and Santa Anita Racetrack or not part of Sierra Madre

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    1. That is why I never enter the Mt Wilson Trail Race. I hate to leave town.

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