Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Tattler Sunday News: Your Road to a Productive Work Week

Don't we all?
(Mod: We have come across some rather disturbing statistics. It would appear that more people read The Tattler during working hours than at any other time. We know this because the platform this blog is built upon, Blogger, has now supplied us with statistics showing just that. Which has led us to conclude that this blog, done in the full faith that volunteer public service is the greatest blessing a citizen can bestow upon his (or her) community, is actually harmful to work productivity in this region. And that Sunday, which is the time when most everyone is off and should have all the free time they need to contemplate the very useful information we post here, is actually when our reading audience is at its lowest. I just want you to know that I feel this is wrong. Here's the news, anyway.)

A New Chapter? A Launch of the Bookless Library (click here): If your idea of a library is row upon row of nicely shelved hardcovers, then you'll be in for a surprise when a planned new library in San Antonio opens this fall. "Think of an Apple store," Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff says while explaining the layout of the new library, BiblioTech.

In keeping with technological advances, the county will house a library of neatly arranged LCD screens and gadgets instead of the traditional banquet of dog-eared print and paper books. The public library will be one of the first digital-only libraries of its kind. With 50 computer terminals and a stock of laptops and tablets on-site, the building will also offer an array of preloaded e-readers available for the card-carrying customer to take home.

"The library is a chance to expand the scope of opportunities for people to learn technology," Wolff explains. "The world is changing."

He contends that the $1.5 million project will be cost-effective, as it'll be located in an existing county-owned building and available to many underserved communities where residents may not have access to at-home computers.

(Mod: I wonder how this would go over here? Certainly the idea of a Library that gives full Internet access to all is a good thing. It is important that everyone, no matter what their economic status in life, have access to The Tattler. That alone would make this worth the $1.5 million asking price.)

In Sierra Madre, school rebuild remains a pledge unfulfilled (click here): The summer before Kenna Castillo started sixth grade at Sierra Madre Middle School, education officials ordered demolition of the aging campus to make way for a brand-new school. More than 2 1/2 years later, construction has yet to start, and Kenna is wrapping up eighth grade in a hodgepodge of trailers on a dirt lot.

On Tuesday, Pasadena Unified school board members ordered yet another delay for the rebirth of Sierra Madre Middle School after bids for the $22.5-million project came in nearly $9 million over budget. That has Kenna’s mom doubting that even her fifth-grade son will be able to enjoy the school her daughter was promised.

“I’m not holding my breath. For most of us working to get this school built, our kids aren’t going to see it,” said Melissa Castillo, an organizer and past president of Sierra Madre’s PTA.

But school officials say construction will break ground later this year, after a new call for bids in April that incorporates cost-cutting design adjustments goes out to a wider pool of contractors. The initial offering attracted just six bids from eight general contractors who were pre-qualified for major construction projects.

School board member Ramon Miramontes said bad decisions, not devious intent, are to blame for mistakes with Blair and Sierra Madre. “Where there’s incompetence, you don’t need a conspiracy,” Miramontes said.

Board member Tom Selinske said he was confident a Pappalardo-led team will be able to reduce construction costs for Sierra Madre by revising building plans.

The “value engineering” effort, he said, will include changes to exterior finishes, as well as a redesign of the electrical systems that could save as much as $1 million. But Selinske also wants to know why such savings weren’t already built in to initial plans.

“That’s a red flag for me. It doesn’t make sense,” Selinske said. But “Sierra Madre continues to be a board priority, and I don’t see that changing.'

(Mod: "Where there's incompetence, you don't need a conspiracy." Good observation, but how many conspiracies were born because of incompetence? I think they're called "cover-ups." I mean, couldn't Tom Selinske have looked at those "initial plans" when they had first become available? Was he napping or something? And while we're at it, was it incompetence that led to the theft of Sierra Madre's right to full representation on the Board of Education until 2015, two full years later than most of the other so-called subdistricts? What kind of "board priority" can Sierra Madre be when we are not even allowed to have a seat on the Board of Education? Don't get me started.)

TSA to Remove Controversial X-Ray Scanners (click here): Those airport scanners with their all-too revealing body images will soon be going away.

The Transportation Security Administration says the scanners that used a low-dose X-ray will be gone by June because the company that makes them can’t fix the privacy issues. The other airport body scanners, which produce a generic outline instead of a naked image, are staying.

The government rapidly stepped up its use of body scanners after a man snuck explosives onto a flight bound for Detroit on Christmas day in 2009.

At first, both types of scanners showed travelers naked. The idea was that security workers could spot both metallic objects like guns as well as non-metallic items such as plastic explosives. The scanners also showed every other detail of the passenger’s body, too.

The TSA defended the scanners, saying the images couldn’t be stored and were seen only by a security worker who didn’t interact with the passenger. But the scans still raised privacy concerns. Congress ordered that the scanners either produce a more generic image or be removed by June.

On Thursday Rapiscan, the maker of the X-ray, or backscatter, scanner, acknowledged that it wouldn’t be able to meet the June deadline. The TSA said Friday that it ended its contract for the software with Rapiscan.

(Mod: Suddenly the jobs of those airport TSA agents "who don't interact with passengers" have become even less interesting than they are now.)

Metro releases final Alternatives Analysis report for 710 study (click here): After months of delay, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority released the final report on the Alternatives Analysis phase of the agency's three-year environmental study for the completion of the Long Beach (710) Freeway. The 183-page report was posted on the Caltrans District 7 website at 3:50 p.m. Friday.

The report, which was originally promised in October, details the process by which Metro's study team narrowed the options down to five final alternatives that it will study for environmental impacts: "No build," traffic management systems, light rail route, bus route and a dual-bore underground freeway tunnel.

Metro announced that it planned to move forward with these "final five" options to fill the 4.5 mile freeway "gap" between Alhambra and Pasadena in August. The final EIR is set for completion in 2014.

The report explains that the study team evaluated each of the 12 initial alternatives - which were already narrowed down from 42 - based on how well each option would minimize travel time, improve connectivity and mobility, reduce congestion on the freeway system, reduce congestion on local streets and increase transit ridership.

The team also looked at each alternative's impact on the environment and local communities as well as it's cost efficiency and cost feasibility.

(Mod: I think it is fairly safe to say that the reason this "710 study" was delayed for as long as it was is because in the eyes of Metro it really wasn't very important. They decided that the tunnel was the way to go years ago, and this attempt to convince area residents that they have somehow been considering "other options" is pure bunk. This report, along with the upcoming meetings to "explore all the options," are just a public relations stunt designed to soft soap local sensibilities about what would be a disastrous event for this area.)

Donnelly proposes school marshal plan - Bill would be modeled after air marshals program (click here): Assemblyman Tim Donnelly was cool to President Barack Obama's 23-point gun-control plan, adding that he plans to introduce a school marshal bill to allow teachers to carry concealed weapons.

“It is disappointing at best to see the president politicizing this tragedy to impose an anti-Second Amendment agenda that would have done nothing to prevent the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, said in a statement. “All his plan will do is make it more costly and more difficult for law-abiding citizens to exercise their Constitutional right.”

Donnelly, whose district includes most of the High Desert, said criminals will always have firearms and they will ignore restrictions. The president’s plan will only impact people who would never have misused their firearms in the first place, the assemblyman said.

“We must hold criminals, not inanimate steel objects, accountable for their actions. And we must not criminalize responsible, freedom-loving citizens exercising their natural right as Americans,” he said. “The purpose of the Second Amendment is to defend freedom against tyranny.”

Donnelly said he plans to introduce a measure to create the school marshal program, modeled after the highly successful air marshals program. This would give teachers the ability to receive training and become qualified to carry concealed weapons anonymously on their person at their school.

“In light of the incredible bravery and selfless heroism of teachers like Vickie Soto, it would be morally wrong to leave the next teacher confronted by a deranged killer defenseless. As the president said, he is happy his daughters are protected by armed guards at school. I hope he will support the rest of us protecting our children too.”

(Mod: I get the point of arming teachers. I believe that if insane people with military assault weapons knew that by attacking an elementary school they would be walking into an area patrolled by trained and armed school marshals they might think twice. After all, these lunatics go after schools, not police stations. However, thinking back to my own high school days, had some of my teachers been armed there might not be a Sierra Madre Tattler today.)

Andrea Alarcon resigns from L.A.'s Board of Public Works (click here): Los Angeles Board of Public Works President Andrea Alarcon quit her post Friday, two months after she became the subject of a police investigation into possible child endangerment.

In her resignation statement, Alarcon apologized to co-workers and expressed "profound regret" for what she described as "the missteps of my past." An appointee of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, she had been under investigation since Nov. 16, when her 11-year-old daughter was found unattended at City Hall.

Alarcon, 33, also is facing child-endangerment and drunk-driving charges in San Bernardino County stemming from an unrelated incident. "I am grateful for the difficult lessons that I have learned and am now healthier and stronger," she said. "Through this experience, I have been reminded of my most important job — being a mom."

The resignation is the latest development in what has been a difficult year for the Alarcons, a political family with City Hall ties going back more than two decades. Alarcon's father, Councilman Richard Alarcon, lost his bid for state Assembly in November and is currently facing perjury and voter fraud charges. He recently acknowledged publicly that his 36-year-old son is homeless and suffering from mental illness.

(Mod: A follow up to Tony Brandenburg's very popular post about the Party Girl - click here. My only question to add here is what will the Alarcon's do without government work? It would seem this is pretty much the only kind of livelihood they are suited for.)

Is Subway's footlong sub really just 11 inches? (click here): What's in an inch? Apparently, enough missing meat, cheese and tomatoes to cause an uproar. Subway, the world's largest fast food chain with 37,000 locations, is facing criticism after an Australian man posted a picture on the company's Facebook page of one of its famous footlong sandwiches next to a tape measure that seems to show it's just 11 inches.

More than 100,000 people have "liked" or commented on the photo, which has the caption "Subway pls respond." Lookalike pictures have popped up elsewhere on Facebook. And The New York Post conducted an investigation that found four out of seven footlong sandwiches were shy of the 12 inches that makes a foot.

By Thursday afternoon, the picture was no longer visible on Subway's Facebook page, which has 19.8 million fans. A spokesman for Subway, which is based in Milford, Conn., did not comment on the photo but said the length of its sandwiches can vary slightly when its bread, which is baked at each Subway location, is not made to the chain's exact specifications.

"We are reinforcing our policies and procedures in an effort to ensure our offerings are always consistent no matter which Subway restaurant you visit," Subway said in an e-mailed statement.

(Mod: There is nothing in life that will not eventually disappoint you.)

And on that note we now conclude our weekly "Sunday News" feature. Enjoy your day of rest.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

91 comments:

  1. Maybe the posters don't have jobs

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    1. When you don't have to work every day is like Sunday.

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    2. oh no, that means church every day

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    3. Actually a lot of the people here have been avoiding Church because of the Tattler. This blog is leading many into perdition.

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  2. I don't work. Can read and post anytime I damn well please. And I do.

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    1. I have a job, and I can do the same. I work for the County of Los Angeles.

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    2. and i, i've been working on the railroad

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  3. did you get a 5per cent raise?

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  4. Maybe we should start a teacher's militia. They could be called the Minute Math Men?

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    1. Wouldn't that mean arming the teachers union?

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    2. The teachers would need "assistants" to carry their guns.

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    3. That would be very western. Like the Lone Ranger and Tonto.

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    4. I've heard Ed Honowitz has put in for gun training.

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    5. SEALS of Science. Do they still teach science in the PUSD?

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    6. mr. ed with a gun. now that is funny....

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  5. If the Aussie tape measure was a meter tape measure then the "foot" would show up shorter. How was the conversion handled?

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  6. As a secondary classroom teacher for 32 years I know that it is not my job to arrive at school armed to defend my students and fellow teachers against a military-type armed gunman.

    Everyday Israeli parents send their children to school through a phalanx of armed military personnel and hope they get home safe and they have a proclaimed "enemy.!" We are our own enemy here.

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    1. No, your job is to be a victim.

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    2. And here I always thought I was a taxpayer. No, wait ...

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    3. @917 Even by Tattler standards, that was unduly harsh.

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    4. Uh oh, the civility police are here.

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    5. True, we are our own enemy. It's almost as though some people can't take it if there aren't violent eruptions, so they create their own.

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    6. I wouldn't want to see teachers walking around with guns strapped to their hips. On the other hand, if a teacher had pulled out a .357 magnum and blown the head off that punk in Connecticut, I would have cheered as loudly as everyone else.

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    7. The punk in CT. was wearing body armor, the odds of a teacher, not a trained law enforcement officer, getting a head shot in chaos are practically nil.

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    8. @10:00am Have you no soul? "civility police"? are you joking? did I miss the sarcasm font?

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    9. No. Just the little green squiggly lines denoting "bad smell."

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  7. All the airlines employ armed air marshalls on most flights.
    If we demand protection for adults and children who fly, why can't we demand armed marshalls at all schools to protect children?
    Teachers don't need to be armed, but there should be a hidden panic button for them to push, if emergency comes up, where an armed on school marshall could immediately be on the scene.
    This could be done and should be done at ALL schools.

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  8. Thirty-five years ago, when I was a young college teacher, one of my students was obviously mentally disturbed. Naive as I was, I called the student's "counselor" to ask how best to handle the situation. The counselor told me the student was paranoid/schizophrenic, and that the best way to handle the situation was to "not rile him up." Thus, I learned early on that I would be on my own in the classroom, while the school district calculated ADA and worked diligently to avoid any appearance of discrimination, putting me and my students at risk. From there to Virginia Tech to Sandy Hook, nothing has changed.

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    1. 9:16, unfortunately, the "counselor" probably wasn't a psychologist/psychiatrist- but more likely an academic counselor. To simplify things by suggesting that by keeping him happy, rather than getting him proper counseling/support services was wrong for the student, for you and your students. It creates an environment of fear rather than support.

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  9. 8:53....it's called 911...and protecting a 2 foot wide corridor going to a cock pit door is a little different than patrolling a school campus that is acres in size....apples and oranges...bless your heart !

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    1. The Columbine shooters were confronted by an armed security guard (off duty sheriff) prior to murdering an additional 15 souls. It made no difference in the outcome, as the guard was badly outgunned. Arming teachers would not have changed the outcome against a kevlar wearing, assault weapon bearing madman. More guns is not the solution to this problem.

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    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    3. Nuh uh. I ain't taking the fall for that one.

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    4. Chicken. are we zoned for you?

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  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. A dyspeptic unicorn, I'll bet.

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    2. That explains the rainbows.

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    3. Why do the "unicorns" always have to be so snarky on Sundays?

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    4. They are facing an entire day at home with the poor fools that married them.

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  11. I am glad to read that Alarcon "mis-stepped" her way out of public service.

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    1. She should have done her drinking in an "all ages" bar.

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  12. Why Your Man's Laziness May Be Your Fault

    http://shine.yahoo.com/love-sex/why-women-want-control-relationship-202000691.html

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  13. Why doesn't anyone address the real problem of this violence......anti-depressants.
    They kill far more people than guns do, every day.
    We even have anti-depressants in our water supply. Add all the other RX drugs and illegal drugs to this......
    They are destroying our brains, destroying the country.
    If we take guns away, these people will kill with knives, clubs, bombs....they will still be violent.

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    1. not me. i'm going to kill all of you bastards with kindness.

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    2. And that's why I drink imported bottled water from Figi!

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  14. Moderator: Selinske isn't the only Board member on the Facilities committee that "overlooked" the initial plans, Honowitz is the chair of the subcommittee. He was also the Board member representing Sierra Madre school, before we lost our vote. He represented those Sierra Madre parent bullies, right?

    Melissa Castillo and Honowitz are buddies. Google it, she comes up with Honowitz in photos. She's part of the parent elite cry baby committee- and as long as she gets her piece of the pie, to hell with the rest of the students of Sierra Madre. So much for equity, she's concerned for her children only- yet she's on the School Site Council leadership which is supposed to look out for all students.

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    1. me first and the gimme gimme. they are all for a school they can utilize first, in the event it gets bilt in three years, and they ca't benefit from in- well, not so much. funny how that works.

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    2. Agenda Item #4 for this week's Tuesday evening City Council rhubarb is called: "Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) Construction Update." Which is kind of funny since there hasn't really been any construction to update. The agenda report doesn't say who from the PUSD will be there to make excuses this time, so we're just calling him "Mystery Guest."

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    3. haha, that's funny. maybe edwin "phone fixer" diaz will come down for a surprise visit, or maybe ACT can recommend someone

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    4. You're right 12:07
      http://www.google.com/search?q=ed+honowitz+melissa+castillo&hl=en&client=safari&tbo=d&rls=en&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=82H8ULXyOcaQiQKHi4CADw&ved=0CAoQ_AUoAA&biw=1152&bih=629

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    5. Poor PUSD parents. They have so many "friends."

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    6. Have you done a search on Honowitz and Sierra Madre school? It's either the Brandenbergs, a horse puppet that come up along with Honowitz. Bet he loves that!

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    7. Moderator, you're so right. If Sierra Madre truly were a Board priority as sneaky Selinske says, why hasn't it come up that we won't have a board rep for 2 years?

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    8. This may not be a popular opinion, but with a student body of maybe 200-300, why in heaven's name is a cash strapped district going to pour so much money in? Why not add to the lower campus where's there's a large field and continue it as a K-8?
      Some PUSD parents are saying that Sierra Madre school parents, like Castillo, are behaving like prima donnas in a time of fiscal crisis- that everyone needs to give up a little for the good of the district.

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    9. When Measure TT was up for voter approval the parents of Sierra Madre were told by all the usual suspects that if they voted "yes" they would be rewarded with a beautiful refurbished Middle School. Now it is 5 years later, the Middle School is a moonscape, and the same usual suspects are trying to put the final touches on a classic bait and switch. Maybe you too, 2:07?

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    10. No, 2:20- I pay taxes, and I vote. And I voted no on TT- so much for that. Yes, there were lots of promises made about facilities modernization- at all the PUSD schools, not just Sierra Madre.

      I'd much rather see the money used wisely, rather than to pacify a few parents throwing a fit because they want a gym, a swimming pool and classrooms to house a couple hundred students. A swimming pool? There are high schools in PUSD WITHOUT pools, but Sierra Madre middle school should have one? Why is it that other school sites have had to downgrade from the original plans, but not Sierra Madre?

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    11. The fools are those who believe anything PUSD says. Parents were told they would be "rewarded" with a beautiful new middle school if they voted yes on TT?

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    12. I'm curious 2:20, who are the "usual suspects"? Are they the same people serving on the Board, or the TT Oversight committee?

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    13. How dare you 2:07? Our children are entitled to have a habitable middle school just like any other PUSD students! The staff and the students work hard, as our scores prove. My child will be graduating next year. Maybe they'll hold the graduation ceremony on the pile of rubble? Don't they deserve better?

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    14. 3:16, sorry, but you're sounding a bit like a prima donna.
      Who cares about the ceremony? What you should be worried about is the construction debris and dust these children have been exposed to for over 2 years. All the parents should have organized and insisted that the construction site not be used concurrently as a school site and moved the students to the lower campus in the portables. Then, PUSD would have had to push to get things moving faster, or end up paying penalties for not using the school site for its intended use.

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    15. The delays are by design. Now it is the bids. 2 or 3 years from now it will be something else. They want to put a development on that land. Wake up everyone. They're criminals.

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    16. When the PUSD moved Maranatha out, what was the reasoning? It was in disrepair then.
      Why didn't they hold off before putting the students in, and do the renovations then?
      Instead, students have been attending the school for years with acoustic tiles (asbestos?) falling from the ceilings, holes in the floor of the music building, bathrooms no one could use safely, etc.

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    17. No bait and switch from me. I love the word entitled 316. its one of my favorites. this school is entitled to the same thing as every other school. one was shut down after an earthquake. isn't that one entitled, too? I would be MORE concerned about how caustic the Conditions of the school is now and will be in the next couple of years than in the silly promotion activity.

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    18. My favorite observation in all of this is that the Board members voicing in are not running right now. I take that as a positive sign forward. it won't be part if a campaign promise..... personally I don't care if it gets built, I'd rather have my money back- but, on the other end- I do think it will get done.

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    19. The majority of the new Board of Education will come from the new subdistricts. They are only beholden to their own voters. They won't give a damn for those areas that have no representative of their own. That is the difference. The old board members are thinking about the whole PUSD. The ones who will be calling the shots in a few weeks could care less. They only want what they can get for their people. Sierra Madre Middle School is going to be in a tough spot.

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  15. Nuh-uh, 2:20 - the wily old devil who talked to the community at the city council meeting never was so indiscreet as to say "Vote yes and we will reward you with a beautiful refurbished school." What he said was more along the lines of:

    "Vote yes and we will do our best to reward you with a beautiful refurbished school" or
    "Vote yes and we will try hard to reward you with a beautiful refurbished school" or
    "Vote yes and we will intend to reward you with a beautiful refurbished school."

    What he meant was clear as a bell, even back then.

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    1. He is still a liar. Despite the weasel words.

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    2. Who made the "promises"? Doyle?

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    3. How is the investigation going on the Measure TT bond money theft? Are we going to see another outcome like we did with Measure Y? As in the crooks get away, no questions asked?

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    4. Still a liar? Of course! The point is that he was lying from the get go.
      Those are lying words pure and simple. Jeez, no wonder they have such an easy time hoodwinking the public.
      The speaker that night was a PUSD administrator. The man who had the guts to question him was Don Watts.

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    5. And the council member who supported the PUSD Spin Meister? John Buchanan.

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    6. Ah yes. Johnny Electric. The sparks fly out of his behind.

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  16. Swimming pool? Swimming pool? When did they sneak that one in. I do know they have plans for a gym which is greatly needed in Sierra Madre, but a swimming pool?

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    1. Apparently many things were said. Few true. Board of Ed seat anyone?

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    2. I think there were plans for a heated outhouse on the sports field too.

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    3. I hope it was to be powered with green energy. Bio mass maybe.

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    4. There are no swimming pool plans in any of the designs. And there never have been. You can look at the actual plans on the PUSD site.

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    5. Is there a Sierra Madre middle school in the PUSD's plans? Their real plans?

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    6. All the documents on Sierra Madre Middle School site plans
      http://www.measurett.org/archived-content/sierramadreupperms.html

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  17. Anybody know the name of the poor lamb the PUSD is sending Tuesday to make poor excuses for the mess at the Middle School?

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    1. Not likely to be Azcarraga as he's still presumably on paid leave until the missing money mess is straightened out. Maybe it will be Heckle and Jeckle from the Facilities subcommittee?

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    2. Chump on a leash. Don't expect him to answer any questions though.

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    3. Peter Dreier might have needed it. The cane harvest in Cuba is poor this year.

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  18. 4:34 -- they're sending Fredo.

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  19. I looked at the site plans and don't remember a pool. Please be sure of what you are saying.

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    1. I think they were discussing an office pool. There were bets on whether Sierra Madre would be dumb enough to vote for a PUSD bond measure or not.

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    2. maybe It's a pool table. shooting dirty pool is popular in the 'dre

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