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?