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 Madre, Fasana 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.