Friday, January 18, 2013

John Harabedian's Elegant Solution to Last Night's COG Executive Director Voting Dilemma

The light
It was not an easy place for an ambitious young man of political promise to be. How do you vote for a COG Executive Director candidate that was hand-picked behind closed doors by the scurrilous Nick Conway faction that still runs the SGVCOG without offending your more ethically concerned constituents back home? Folks that would be aghast at their elected representative getting into bed with such a nest of rattlesnakes? A bold and ethical stance is what they would demand, one that would show the entire world that Sierra Madre remains clearly offended by all of the corruption there, and wants everyone to know that they had no role in any of that.

On the other hand, how do you not vote for the Nick Conway faction's candidate without raising some eyebrows at the deeply compromised Los Angeles County Democratic Party political establishment? After all, it is unfortunately how business gets done in this part of the world, and they might not want to bestow any of their future political blessings upon a young man capable of displaying such undependable behavior. There is no place in Los Angeles County's one party political system for free thinkers or fancy pants young fellows who think they are somehow morally above everyone else. You either wallow in the filth with the rest of the swine, or find yourself a different business.

So what was John Harabedian's elegant solution? It is really quite simple. If you don't show up at the meeting, you don't have to cast that big dangerous vote. And this is exactly what happened. Instead the doughty and quite politically unambitious Nancy Walsh was sent to stand in John's place, and in a rare roll call ballot predictably cast Sierra Madre's vote for the secretly selected candidate of Barbara Messina, John Fasana, Angel Carillo and all of those others who stood with Nick Conway right up until his arraignment on four counts of felony corruption. And perhaps even a little bit beyond.

As we have been predicting these past few days, the naive outlander from the bankrupt City of San Bernardino, the quite political connection-free Andrea Travis-Miller, was confirmed by these compliant sheep that so poorly represent the people of their respective cities at the COG. And in the process was also saddled with working with the staff of the old Arroyo Associates gang as well, a rude surprise I'm sure. In this way the eminently corrupt establishment that had run the COG like their very own personal piggy bank, and in the process into the lamentable condition it is in today, won their victory. And with that vote any hope of effectively reforming the COG died, perhaps forever.

But none of this was the fault of Sierra Madre's City Council liaison to the COG, John Harabedian. How could it be? He wasn't in attendance, and therefore his name is not on our disgraceful vote. Maybe it was his bowling league night.

Question: Why does John Fasana have so much power in the San Gabriel Valley?

One of the unfortunate consequences of the regional government system is a lack of accountability from those who occupy prominent political positions there. The SGVCOG is, of course, a form of regional government. As is SCAG, along with Metro and Caltrans. All of whom are now united in their effort to ram the 710 Tunnel down the unwilling throats of the innocent victims who happen to live within the purview of their unchecked, and unelected, political power. And one of the true princelings in this realm of the rotten is Duarte City Councilmember John Fasana.

And it is Mr. Fasana, along with the Alhambra Medusa, the highly lamentable Barbara Messina, that is rumored to have been chosen for a very special mission of character assassination by Metro's autocratic ruler, Michael "Fuzzy"Antonovich. This from LA.Streetsblog.org (click here):

Congressman Weighs in on Metro Board Nomination: Keep Najarian - In the odd drama over whether or not Glendale City Councilman Ara Najarian will be reappointed to the Metro Board of Directors, there are a lot of conspiracy theories.

Some, including the Councilman, believe that Supervisor Mike Antonovich is using Alhambra Mayor Barbara Messina and Duarte City Council Member John Fasana to wage a proxy war against Najarian. Antonovich, a political heavyweight who used his current position as Chair of the Metro Board of Directors to replace Najarian with Mark Ridley-Thomas on the Metrolink Board of Directors, is believed to be stung by Najarian’s vote to place Measure J on the fall ballot and incensed over his effective opposition to the I-710 Big Dig project.

If this theory is true, then Najarian’s chances for renomination have brightened as an even bigger fish is now backing his bid to return to the Metro Board. Congressman Adam Schiff , in a widely copied letter, wrote to the League of California Cities to forcefully back Najarian and reject any notion that his position against The Dig should disqualify him from serving on the Board.  

Obviously Fasana and Messina are just pawns in this particular aspect of the struggle over the 710 Tunnel, but they are trying their very best to shut down any opposition to Antonovich's big dig. Included in this effort is Barbara Messina's truly idiotic and clearly dishonest attacks in the Pasadena Weekly this week on both Ara Najarian and Anthony Portantino. Click here, but be sure to hold your nose. It is rank.

(Note that the literacy challenged Messina claims there that somehow the 710 Tunnel, which will funnel 10's of thousands of diesel burning trucks from the Ports of L.A. and Long Beach into the San Gabriel Valley every week, will somehow "dramatically improve air quality for millions of people." Shame is apparently a seldom seen visitor on Planet Messina.)

Barabara's slag mate, Duarte's own John Fasana, is apparently nothing spectacular. A long time Councilmember in a town of approximately 21,000 residents, he was re-elected to the City Council there in 2011 by a margin of only 86 votes. Obviously there are many in Duarte that have serious doubts about Mr. Fasana.

Fasana's big break in life was his selection to the Metropolitan Transit Authority's (Metro) Board (click here) upon its creation in 1993. This is, of course, a job that nobody is ever elected to. Apparently if you behave yourself, and do things like take out the trash and get coffee for Mr. Antonovich, you're allowed to play with the trains and buses for the rest of your adult life.

John Fasana holds no degrees related to transportation, nor does he have any specialized training or work experience related to transportation, either. But that has hardly stopped him from occupying a seat on the Metro Board or, for that matter, being the current Chair for the Transportation Committee at the SGVCOG. In what will be no surprise to residents of Sierra MadreFasana does have is a job at Edison. A connection that has certainly helped to remove some of the barriers others might face, such as a lack of any real professional experience. There he serves as a project manager in its customer energy efficiency and solar power division.

As we all know, apparently Edison has some sort of internal program that allows employees to participate in government activities. As we have seen with our own John Buchanan, such persons are allowed as much time off as they need to participate in various governmental activities while still getting paid a salary. Fasana, in addition to his Metro and SGVCOG transportation activities, is involved at quite a few government agencies, and is at their meetings whenever they are held.

As we noted earlier, John Fasana is the current Chair for the Transportation Committee at the SGVCOG. John was an active supporter of Nick Conway when he was the Executive Director there, and apparently helped enable him to do his thing. Which includes standing silently by while the now disgraced former Executive Director violated a wide range of open government laws such as the Brown Act. Something that has led to considerable costs and legal difficulties for the SGVCOG.

The SGVCOG is currently paying around $50,000 a year to provide John Fasana with a full-time assistant related to his work with Metro. Your tax dollar at work.

Fasana sits on the MTA Operations Committee and Finance Committee as well He is also on the Metro Gold Line Construction Authority Board. He has been a Board member at SCAG.

Like the many organizations he belongs to, Fasana is a staunch (and loud) supporter of the 710 extension and has publicly - and repeatedly - claimed that the entire San Gabriel Valley wants the tunnel built. Which is hardly true. He, along with Barbara Messina, recently attempted to remove Glendale City Councilmember Ara Najarian from Metro Board because he had the temerity to oppose the 710 Tunnel.

It needs to also be noted that Fasana and Messina’s use of serial communications to gain a consensus outside of properly announced public meetings contradicts the intent and content of the Brown Act and proper governance practices. Something that parties who concern themselves with good government practices are looking at closely.

So anyway, here is John Fasana, a guy with no expertise whatsoever in transportation, yet he occupies various decision making positions within the bureaucracies responsible for making the trains run on time. A guy who seems to have been selected merely because he supports the wishes of the established regional powers on various mass transit issues. Plus his employer gives him all the time off with pay he needs to attend the meetings required by these positions.

Fasana was never elected by the people whose interests he is claims to represent, which is us. Instead 86 voters in Duarte somehow were given the power to decide who will represent the interests of the entire San Gabriel Valley on these matters, which includes the upcoming decisions involving the 710 Tunnel.

Of course, things aren't going so well in Duarte, either. According to a recent Los Angeles Times article, "Duarte calls for declaring fiscal emergency, seeks new taxes" (click here), they have some real problems there. Perhaps Mr. Fasana should pull his pointed nose out of our business and deal with things back home.

Question for you – Fasana has been on the MTA Board since 1993, do you think traffic congestion or transportation in the San Gabriel Valley is better now than it was over two decades ago? That certainly hasn't been my experience.

Maybe it is time for us to get some new representation. John Fasana certainly doesn't speak for any of us, and obviously we didn't vote him into the positions of authority he has occupied for a couple of decades. If anything he is an Edison employee who is making decisions on behalf of both the utility and those interests benefiting it.  

Maybe it is time we got to elect a real representative and then send the likes of an Edison carpetbagger like John Fasana packing.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

78 comments:

  1. Why is it so many elected officials just can't seem to do the right thing?

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    Replies
    1. There isn't much money in telling the truth. Lies is where the real dough is.

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    2. One politically active Sierra Madrean told me he thinks that once people get elected, they get into a different mind-set; it's as though one person runs for office, and another person holds the office. The view is different, and not all that many people have the personal integrity to navigate the change.

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    3. I think Harabedian has fallen into the same trap Joe Mosca did. He has been told by the powers that be that he has a brilliant political future, and if he plays ball and does what he is expected to do, he could very well find himself on the way to the Assembly. It is a tried and true tactic, and how you get ambitious young pols to work for you for free.

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    4. If you are correct 8:53 am, young Harabedian should take notice of Joe Mosca's fate. After being supported politically and financially Joe was dropped by his party on his way to Sacramento. He may have been a mover and shaker among the LGBT clique in Sierra Madre, but he never made the jump to a regional force. BTW Holden was given his Assembly assignments this week.

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    5. The LA Democratic Party Central Committee treats young politicians like beauty contest contestants. They have to show just how badly they really want it.

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    6. That and they have to show that they can bring hefty donors to the table.

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    7. Well, 11:13 at least Harabedian has shown that he can draw money from all over the country as evidence from his run in Sierra Madre.

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    8. The sons and daughters of the 1%.

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  2. Clean air for millions? Is Messina crazy?

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    1. A lot of these officials are convinced that we are complete idiots and will believe anything they tell us. Which is, of course, how they got elected in the first place.

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    2. That's a spooky one alright. Definitely the Ministry of Truth time.

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    3. sure, for millions of dollars. hey, how about we put through a bill that forces every city that produces smog pay to clean OUR air. same logic as the clean ocean bills, yes?

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    4. Good point. All that bad air from L.A. Is harming our foothills. We need an Air Tax.

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    5. When a member of the public raised the issue of the COG not following the State's transparency laws and the illegal conflicts related to Conway, Messina responded in a public meeting by calling the member of the public an "idiot", no a "complete idiot".

      Well months later, the COG paid out $50,000 in legal fees, has a judge's order against them for Brown Act violations and Conway has been charged with 4 felonies.....maybe it is Messina who is the idiot!

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  3. so Johnny Harabedian isn't even brave enough to vote "present". He's as soft as his uncalloused hands. And I suppose the lure of a tasty buffet was all the persuasion it took for Nancy Walsh to attend. Will her vote be remembered in2014 when she runs again for Council?

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    1. Walsh could mightily improve her image if she would lead a movement to stop the shocking waste of tax payers' money in feeding the COG.

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    2. From what I've heard she is one of the worst offenders.

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    3. Dancin' Nancy was the Council Member that said "I worked for the County" which is why she favored a 5% raise for all City employees. Logical? I think not.

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    4. Any member could mightily improve their image if they lead a movement to reform the abuses at the COG, so far not one has stepped up to the plate.....except the buffet plate.

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    5. That's because they don't know there are abuses. They just show up, partake of the buffet, collect their stipends and vote the way they're instructed. The members are just a lackluster assortment of small town political wannabees being led around by the nose by a few savy and unethical board members.

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  4. Duarte is a pit. We need Fasana telling us how to run our affairs like we need another hole in the head.

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  5. Don't forget, if Johnny had attended, he would also have been voting against his Uncle Barty. Discretion is the better part of corruption.

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    1. Johnny just didn't want to soil his hands. He is too good to vote on something as dirty as that. Nancy is not.

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    2. I don't think Johnny is in "Uncle Barty's" camp. Johnny has higher aspirations. By not voting he's obviously currying favor with someone who can grease the skids for him later on.

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    3. My guess is Harabedian has Anthony Portantino on speed dial.

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    4. I'd put money on that too.

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  6. "On the other hand, how do you not vote for the Nick Conway faction's candidate without raising some eyebrows at the deeply compromised Los Angeles County Democratic Party political establishment?'

    The COG Executive Board, the people who are the movers in the COG are major operatives in the Democratic Party. Nick Conway brags he worked for President Jimmy Carter. The COG is a Democratic Party front group. That's how. All of the COG Board Members that have gone to jail in the last couple of years are Democrats.

    Carillo is grooming himself for Assembly.

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    1. COG is a real launching pad for dirtbags.

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    2. Angel Carillo would be a perfect fit for the assembly - after all, John Perez is the Speaker of the Assembly so that tells you something about the "quality" required for the job. Maybe Carillo could hire Roger Hernandez to help him run his campaign.

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    3. Does "quality" mean Hispanic? Is this a racist post masquerading as acceptable politics? Shame on you 9:01 am.

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    4. Sorry you believed the post was racist, I am Hispanic and it had nothing to do with race. It had everything to do with lack of character, integrity or professionalism in our elected officials - something that is not limited to our Hispanic politicians, just read up on the antics of Duarte's John Fasana and Alhambra's Barbara Messina to see that the lack of integrity is color blind.

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    5. No, it doesn't. Your assumption that corruption is something endemic to the Hispanic community alone is disturbing, 9:32. Go wash your head out with soap.

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    6. No pero in the fightJanuary 18, 2013 at 10:49 AM

      9:45, little quick on the draw there. Think you're seeing something that wasn't there in the first place.

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    7. Aww look! A tap dance!

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    8. Tap dance....is it like Carillo, as the COG President, allowing Conway to participate in contracts in which he had a financial interest? or is it like Carillo allowing the COG Board to violate State laws related to transparency while COG President? Or is it like Carillo going to work for a political consulting firm that contracts with cities which are members of the COG? What kind of tap dance is it?

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    9. Aww, did 9:01 just finish reading Rules for Radicals?? How sweet - FAIL!

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  7. City Council Announces Agenda for Jan. 22 Meeting to Appoint Holden Replacement

    http://pasadenanow.com/documents/CityCouncilSpecialNotice.pdf

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    1. What, no special election?

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    2. That could be risky. The people might get involved.

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  8. Yes by all means, take a day trip to Duarte and enjoy the surroundings. Then decide if Fasana, the man who helped make Duarte what it is today is the man you want deciding how transportation will work in the entire San Gabriel Valley. Just remember not to plan your trip on Friday's since many city offices and services, along with the public safety offices, may be shut down due to the creative leadership of Mr. Fasana.

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  9. Need a city tree trimmed in Duarte - sorry can take up to 5 years. Interested in senior or youth programs -sorry big cuts to those programs. Concerned about the increase of gang activity - sorry reductions to public safety including reductions to the number of special assignment deputies. Have some graffiti that needs removal - sorry that program has been cut and will get to it when we can. Well you get the idea, not exactly the picture of a well run hamlet in the Valley.

    Fasana's answer, raise taxes. He supported raising the sales tax on residents as well as exploring other potential new taxes on the folks trapped in Duarte.

    A reporter discussing Duarte summed it up nicely "the city of duarte needs to find a way to stop large overspending and find a budget that will permanently reduce spending".

    So this is the guy that is making decisions about our transportation issues?

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    1. Do they ever even see Mr. Fasana in Duarte? He seems to have so many other interests.

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    2. Yes, he is regularly seen using the City charging station to charge up his electric vehicle.

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    3. Makes sense. He has a lot of out of town meetings to attend.

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    4. Maybe he's got tokens from SoCalEdison.

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    5. I think his Smart Meter might have shorted.

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  10. Let's not get distracted by a conversation about the boobs over at the COG, the real issue is that people like Fasana, who we never had an opportunity to elect, our making HUGE decisions about our future while we are totally excluded from the process or in having any real input.

    It is time that those sitting on these Regional Boards or Agencies run for election so that WE can decide who we want representing our interests.

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  11. Hey wasn't Fasana (city of duarte) being investigated by the District Attorney a few years back for their role in a secret campaign against the expansion of Vulcan?

    If I remember correctly they hired a consulting firm, owned by the son of Supervisor Knabe, to lobby against the expansion. Something about the firm calling residents and claiming to be from a "save the canyons" group. I think the DA refused to file charges but found the secret dealings to be troubling and lacking in transparency.

    Lack of transparency, seems to be a underlying theme with Fasana.

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  12. Can't confirm, but Harabedian may have placed a call to Walsh before the meeting....something about try the turkey and pasta salad, it is to die for.

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    1. I'm pretty sure that is how he got her to go to the meeting. She fell into the yummy trap.

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    2. I just don't get how any of the representatives who go to COG can tolerate this inappropriate luxury of face stuffing given the wider economic climate. Do the all pass through the Land of the Lotus Eaters before they get there? It is a business meeting that supposedly deals with serious issues - it is not a party.

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    3. Happens all the time wherever volunteers gather to publicly administer their positions. Sierra Madre? You bet. The City Council and staff is well fed - usually pasta but sometimes salad - from local food emporiums. Pasadena? City Council and Planning Commission and some pretty elegant fare at that. So in that respect SVGCOG is just following the herd.

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    4. Did Johnny let Nancy get his COG stipend $$? How nice it is to share.

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    5. She's the alternate. I imagine the alternate gets any money when they are called on to sub.

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    6. The herd needs to develop some new habits.

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    7. I think that Nancy would have been eligible for extra gravy on her mashed potatoes.

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  13. As we all have come to know, the COG has a long history of having representatives run afoul of the law due to their corrupt practices.

    And in an apparent attempt to not disappoint, it appears the legacy continues.

    COG Representative, Jack Hadjinian, from Montebello is being investigated by the DA for his acceptance of campaign donations from the very same agent who is accused of illegally funneling money to disgraced Assessor John Noguez.

    Mr. Hadjinian sits on yet another little known board called the County Assessment Appeals Board, which determines exactly how much folks will pay in property taxes.
    Apparently, the agent forked over a cool $5000 to Hadjinian's campaign coffers and then represented clients in front of the Board including Hadjinian.

    Nice to see that the longstanding traditions at the COG continue.

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  14. This may help you if you are as baffled as I am

    http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/news/ci_22396255/san-bernardinos-andrea-travis-miller-voted-new-cog?source=jBar

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    1. Explains why Johnny skipped the meeting. If he voted "no" it would have ruined the unanimous vote for Barbara Messina's minion.

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    2. I guess he just didn't want to ruin the party.

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    3. "I don't want to spoil the party, so I'll go..."

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  15. Maybe the people in this fine town need to vote to remove ourselves from this union of shysters. We are not REQUIRED to participate.

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  16. All these pols who are the movers and shakers from Messina to Buchanan, see Brown Act violations as just what you pay to play.

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    Replies
    1. In their eyes governing means lying to the taxpayers for the benefit of their cronies and paymasters.

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  17. Harabedian has turned out to be such a disappointment.

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    1. Nah, he was going always going to be that way. Voting for Mary Ann would have prevented that.

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    2. Has anybody ever advanced to a larger political career from Sierra Madre?

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    3. 4:03 If she was more civil to people at the meetings she probably would have been , if you go back and watch old meeting it was hard to like her even if she was right or wrong

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    4. Oh good lord. Like that whining punk Mosca was any better.

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    5. Think back to the "civil" Enid Joffe and then think about the money and grief she cost the taxpayers with her opening the treasury to private citizens to take their unsaleable property off their hands, or giving in to the SMPD's demands. Give me less civil and more concerned about the residents and their well being anytime!

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    6. Oh, and don't forget Rob Stockly's attacks on senior citizens or Glen Lamdin's caustic remarks both to and about MaryAnn.

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    7. I have often found that the most uncivil people in town are the most likely to whine about civility. Passive aggressive schmucks.

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    8. Now-Now folks, remember both Moran and Walsh ran on the civility platform. We'll just forget Walsh's "We put you in, we can take you out", and sarcastic remarks Josh makes to Koerber at each council meeting. After all, they are the "civil" bunch

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  18. The reason why unelected people like Fasana are even on the Metro Board is because of Michael Antonovich. He's pulling the strings to get this tunnel built for his own selfish reasons. Antonovich wants Najarian off the Board because Najarian isn't playing to his agenda. Najarian is actually trying to do a good job by asking questions, and protecting taxpayers' interests. Messina and Fasana are being promised gold (or a hefty retirement package) to do the heavy lifting for Antonovich. This whole thing stinks. Throw the bums out!

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    1. Antonovich isn't pulling the strings, it is most likely his Deputy of Transporation, Michael Cano. Few know much about Cano, but he is little more than a political thug who is willing to bully or intimidate folks into getting his way. He has close ties the SGVCOG and it's former(now indicted)Executive Director, Nick Conway.

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  19. Good Movie "Broke City" playning now. Its about a City with a corrupt Mayor, Commissioer, Campaign Managers, Wives, Detectives and goes on and on about the greed of City Politicians and their Associations. The plot revolves around a Housing Project, condemnation, money, with lots of intimadation and money. At first I thought it was about Cities in the San Gabriel Valley, but it turned to be New York City.

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  20. For the "broke" San Bernardino, California city manager: Andrea-Travis Miller,

    Your city of San Bernardino won the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award in 2011.

    Then in court last year, the city filed for municipal bankruptcy.

    Is this what sgvCOG master minds have in store for sgvCOG?

    SGVCOG likes to give it's self puffed up worthless awards too?

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