Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sierra Madre Robo Patch - Plus Bart Doyle Seems Unhappy

Run away!
I used to write about The Patch once in a while on this site. Part of the 700 or so national web of "hyperlocal" news and information sites run by the corporation formerly known as America On Line (now AOL), our very own Sierra Madre Patch was occasionally controversial and oftentimes clueless. Mostly because it was run by a succession of editors who were not even remotely from here, and therefore folks who probably meant well but never really understood the sometimes subtle mysteries of political life in Sierra Madre. Not an easy thing even for those who actually live here, much less a transplant from, as an example, the state of Georgia.

But that was then. Today our little outpost of the vast Patch empire has no editor whatsoever. As a matter of fact, nobody even works there. Rather it is a robo-site run remotely by someone from out of town, a person who is also responsible for other sites as well. And this remote control editing really shows. As an example, the recent series of articles on the "lighter side" activities of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department had small relevance to a city with its own Police Department. And then there is this article about tonight's Pasadena Unified School District "ACT" Board of Education candidates' debate (click here):

Those interested in finding out more about candidates running for the Pasadena Unified School District and Pasadena City Council are welcome to a free public forum at Pasadena City College Thursday.

ACT, the oldest and largest progressive political organization in the San Gabriel Valley, is hosting the forum in cooperation with Andrew Bott, Vice President for Business Affairs of the Associated Students of PCC, according to a release. Former Sierra Madre mayor John Buchanan will moderate the forum, which will be filmed by the Pasadena Community Network for rebroadcast over the following weeks.

The insensitivity of running this article in a town that has been forcibly (and possibly illegally) excluded from participating in this year's PUSD Board of Education elections seems obvious. And the fact that no particulars of this burning Sierra Madre controversy were even mentioned in the article shows either a lack of concern for the needs of this town, or just plain ignorance about what is actually going on.

(As an aside, what the heck is former Sierra Madre Mayor John Buchanan doing hosting a debate for an election that his own town was barred from participating in? Sierra Madre will still be paying taxes that go to the PUSD, yet we will have no Board of Education sub-district representative there until 2015, two full years later than most of the others. A classic "taxation without representation" situation. Is this really something Buchanan should be lending his name to?)

I did some research last night about these goings-on at Patch, and it turns out that our situation is hardly a unique one. Patch, which so famously proclaimed "We're Hiring!" just a few short years ago, is now in the process of shedding as many of those same employees as quickly as possible. This from an article on Fishbowl LA called "AOL Patch-Work Approach Has Some Local Editors Stretched to the Limit" (click here):

This is not exactly the way AOL likely envisioned marching Patch into the critical operational year of 2013. Lately, when a site loses a local editor, one of the company’s responses has been to upside-down replace the departing journalist. In lieu of a new hire, Patch is tasking a number of adjacent LE’s with the duty of doubling their coverage area.

“Our goal is to have a Patch in every community in the U.S.,” company rep Joe Wiggins told FishbowlLA. “As such, we are testing a number of different models, including about 20 sites in the SoCal area covering two or more communities.”

The model Wiggins is referring to is that of clearly hyphenated sites like Echo Park-Silver Lake and North Hollywood-Toluca Lake. But the kind of Patch double duty we’re zeroing in on involves sites where there is a generic email address and no LE listed.

Based on some research at the city council and other local LA levels, it appears to us that Marie Cunningham, local editor of Beverly Hills Patch, is also presently running West Hollywood Patch; Susan Pascal, overseer of Agoura Hills Patch, has her hands in Calabasas Patch; and Mike Szymanski, the company’s longtime Studio City cheerleader, has separately taken charge of the Sherman Oaks site.

However, the king of this muddled mountain locally may well be Saul Daniels. From what we gathered, he is currently pulling the strings for two hyphenated sites – Northridge-Chatsworth and Encino-Tarzana – as well as keeping an eye on Woodland Hills Patch. Wow.

To that list we will now need to add the Sierra Madre Patch, which apparently is being run by a Patch employee working out of either Pasadena or Altadena. Since the address on our Patch is a generic one like those described by Fishbowl LA, we aren't completely sure.

The obvious reason for this doubling (or even tripling) up on Patch editor duties is obvious. AOL lost more than $134 million dollars in 2011 alone on these kinda chirpy sites (click here), and indications are things aren't getting much better. The result? Welcome to Robo Patch.

Bart Doyle Seems Unhappy

An interesting piece in today's Pasadena Star News called "San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments expected to pick new executive director Thursday" is now available on their website (click here). As I am certain you recall, a secretive and possibly Brown Act non-compliant SGVCOG ad hoc committee operated by Nick Conway loyalists including Alhambra Mayor and COG President Barbara Messina (click here to read about a $14,000 FPPC fine leveled on Babs), chose Andrea Travis-Miller out of famously bankrupt San Bernardino to be its new Executive Director.

The Chosen One will go up for the approval of rank and file City Liaisons at tonight's COG meeting. Which, given the often noted clueless passivity of these folks, has to be considered a pretty sure thing.

Barbara Messina, who apparently has a flair for language similar to that of the celebrated Yogi Berra, had this to say about Travis-Miller: "She will bring our organization back to new heights."

Well, alrighty then.

Andrea Travis-Miller was chosen by the Messina Faction over some other candidates, including Sierra Madre's former Mayor Bart Doyle. And in this PSN article Bart displays what sounds a bit like a guy with his nose out of place.

"The organization is going adrift. But it should get back on track as quickly as possible," said Bart Doyle, a former Sierra Madre mayor and COG president who is now a government consultant. Doyle was a candidate for the job but was not chosen because he said the agency was looking for someone with city manager experience.

"She really fits the profile," he said of Travis-Miller. But he said she will have a steep learning curve getting to know San Gabriel Valley issues and personalities.

"I would have felt better if they found somebody who knows the Valley well," Doyle said.

Someone who knows the Valley well. Hmm, like maybe Bart Doyle? 

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

54 comments:

  1. I'm Sorry, every time I hear the name Bart Doyle I think of the villain tying the fair maiden to the train track, you know the one where the guy with the long handle bar mustach dressed in black is smiling with big white teeth. In our case, he is tying Sierra Madre to that track.

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    1. Considering the bizarre stories we have heard coming out of the COG, you'd have thought Bart would be perfect, right?

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  2. Awww, poor Bart. Looks like Mistress Babs didn't see him as being obedient enough?

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    1. It might have been the taint of being connected to the whole El Monte thing, ya know, with the FBI investigations....maybe Messina wants a break from intense law enforcement scrutiny.

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    2. Bringing in an Executive Director from a city that has gone into bankruptcy might come with some surprise. Just saying.

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  3. Bart describes himself as a government consultant? What government? Mali?

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    1. Bart Boyle is the worst person in Sierra Madre.
      I could care less if he is ever happy again.

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    2. I guess losing out on a job that pays $190,000 a year for flushing millions in taxpayer money down a bureaucratic sewer would make Bart unhappy. After all, it is a job he is uniquely qualified to do.

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    3. I've heard that Doyle was tapped for Homeland Security in some capacity. Pretty depressing to think of that.

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    4. Is that situation in El Monte still being investigated by the FBI? I've heard that some people associated with that transit village were peddling green cards.

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    5. 821, please tell me more.

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  4. "She will bring our organization back to new heights."
    Which begs the question, what were the old heights? Felonies?

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    Replies
    1. I read that as a Freudian slip on the part of Babs. "Back to new heights" has to mean a return to the practices of the person she supported to the bitter end, Nick "Felony Counts" Conway.

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    2. Ahh, the good old days.

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  5. The Amalgamated Patches remind me of the Mountain Views "newspaper" - the morphing in with other areas is all about the money.

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  6. AOL?
    At one time, wasn't it AoL?

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    Replies
    1. Does AOL, or AoL, still fraudulently charge customers an unnecessary fee?

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    2. It is the only thing that keeps it in business.

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  7. Got to love the stooges over at the COG. In an effort to repair and improve their lack of transparency they decide to hire a new Executive Director - by holding secret meetings and excluding the public from any involvement in the selection process.

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    1. I get the impression that they were not paying attention during their remedial Brown Act training. Maybe they need another round?

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  8. Bart Doyle is no slouch when it comes to talking out of both sides of his mouth. So the gal who beat him out of the job both fits the job description and does not have the knowledge needed. Huh.

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    1. It would be interesting to watch him debate himself.

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    2. What would be really cool is if a fight broke out.

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    3. i would go into being a bookie if you could make that happen

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  9. Got to give Doyle credit where it is due. He knows a thing or two about organizations "going adrift."

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  10. http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/news/ci_22390140/avon-close-distribution-center-pasadena

    keep on building stuff, pasadena

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    Replies
    1. The phony building boom funded by taxpayer money has got to stop.

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    2. you will recall the Avon building. it is on foothill close to the METRO line. that's why they are in charge. they are the smart guys. well now, on the upside, there is a ne location to build pack -n- stacks

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    3. I love how Pasadena leaders mentioned putting "big box retail" on the site. Wow, that will generate TONS of high-paid jobs, huh?

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    4. It could be the world's largest .99c only store! Think big!

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    5. Just doing their part to move Chinese goods.

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    6. think walmart superstore is more like it

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    7. That's two announcements in a week! Avon closing and Macy's Paseo closing.

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    8. macy's paseo?!!! where those fancy APARTMENTS were built, by CITY HALL?!!!

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    9. That Paseo location would make a good indoor chicken farm.

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  11. Scaffolding from yesterday's 710 expose (don't forget who is really funding that connector, and why) another BIG STEP FORWARD FOR DEMOCRACY- read it and weep, seethe, and act.....

    http://www.pasadenaweekly.com/cms/story/detail/connecting_with_a_cleaner_world/11816/

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    1. Yeah, saw that. Barbara "Nick's Moll" Messina actually claims that the 710 Tunnel will help to clean the aura round here. Do you think that maybe she is from North Korea?

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    2. lol. all those empty trucks from avon will have a nice connector to china

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    3. Medusa Messina.

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  12. PUSD the fun never quitsJanuary 17, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    The biggest liars on Earth just got bigger

    http://www.pasadenanow.com/main/lozano-smith-and-gutierrez-preciado-house-llp-form-strategic-alliance

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    Replies
    1. go back to Mary Brandenburg's "How many Lawyers......"

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  13. When I see a headline that says Bart Doyle is unhappy, I want to read that article

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    1. YES DOC STACCATO....WE ALL DO!!!!!!!
      THE WORSE THE BETTER FOR THIS BAD MAN, BART DOYLE!!!!!

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  14. Anybody know if John Harabedian will be rubber-stamping Messina's hand picked choice tonight at the COG meeting?

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    1. Good point. I guess we'll find out if he is still in possession of his soul.

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    2. Since the new director is actually already appointed, except for a little dog and pony show, Harabedian will no doubt make the politically wise decision.

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    3. The various city council members currently serving at the COG could vote against Messina's handpicked minion. Of course, a lot of them would need to man up, and I am not sure many have the ability to do that.

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    4. My guess is that Harabedian, along with all of the other COG folks, will gladly rubber stamp the secret committee's selection - that is, in between bites of their taxpayer funded buffet.

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    5. It is depressing to think that our elected officials would sell us out for a plate of mashed potatoes.

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    6. There's corn, too.

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  15. Of course he will. He knows how to play the game.

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  16. The football stadium slated for Irwindale annex east of Walnut was to be hugely funded with CRA money. Ta, ta for now. Also, no franchise seemes to be interested.

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    1. I could never figure out why we would want an NFL team here. As it is now we get to see the best of all the football games the NFL has to offer. If we get a franchise here we'll find that many of the quality televised games we get now will go away. Instead we'll be forced to watch the Jaguars or the Panthers or some such nonsense.

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  17. Oh, Patch is getting' worse. First, the SM Patch can't be run from Altadena, because the Altadena Patch isn't run from Altadena. It has had two fulltime editors in its lifespan, neither one of which ever lived here (it did have an interim editor who lived here, but she wisely wasn't interested in a fulltime position). We've also just crossed the third month where nobody from Patch was there to cover the town council meeting. News is hard.

    It's also not being run from Pasadena. The Pasadena Patch is run by a collective of editors from the surrounding cities, and concentrates on lifestyle/food type articles rather than local news. They seem to defer actual newsgathering to the City News Service, a wire service who works for everybody.

    As a matter of fact take a gander here at the latest Patch format they're rolling out on the east coast. It's more about "social engagement," i.e comments and gossip. http://bellmore.patch.com/# This is your future.

    As you can see in the trade press, nobody's impressed by this. http://pandodaily.com/2013/01/16/aols-patch-to-go-from-lousy-local-news-network-to-even-worse-community-message-board-network/





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