Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Tattler's Matheson PRA: Unanswered Questions Remain

One of the remaining mysteries from our PRA (Public Records Act) request on the Matheson affair is the complete absence of any e-mails (private or public) on the matter from City Councilmembers other than Chris Koerber. Who, it must be said, only joined the City Council in April of 2012, long after this had all become public knowledge.

The arrest and imprisonment of Bob Matheson in Canada for transporting large quantities of child pornography on his computer created quite a stir in this town in late 2011, with the exact nature of his conviction there raising serious concerns for Sierra Madre as well.

Here is an example of the kinds of reporting taking place in the local media at the time. This from the Pasadena Star News (link):

Feds search Sierra Madre home for child pornography

By Brian Charles, Staff Writer
Posted:   12/20/2011 07:11:09 PM PST
Updated:   12/21/2011 04:26:38 PM PST

SIERRA MADRE - Federal agents raided the Sierra Madre home of confessed child pornography smuggler Robert Matheson late Monday night, looking for computers, hard drives and documents that may contain additional pornographic images or videos of underage boys, according to a federal affidavit obtained by this newspaper Tuesday.

Matheson, an active member of Sierra Madre civic life in recent years, was arrested in Halifax, Canada in October and charged with possessing and smuggling 2,820 pornographic images and 285 videos, many of which showed underage boys engaged in sex acts.

Canadian investigators also found several instant messages in which Matheson said he wished "to find a young man who could pass as his son or grandson and his belief that it would be an honor and privilege to guide and teach young boys through puberty," the affidavit said.

Matheson pleaded guilty to both charges on Dec. 13 and was sentenced to 120 days.

Immigrations and Customs Agents obtained a warrant and executed the search of Matheson's 2030 Liliano Drive home after noticing a "flurry" of activity at the residence following his guilty plea, according to the affidavit. The most recent of this activity occurring on Thursday, the day the story of Matheson's arrest was published on this newspaper's website, according to the affidavit.

Federal agents declined to answer specific questions about the Matheson investigation. "Because that probe is ongoing, we are not at liberty to release any further details at this time," ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said. "I know there's significant media interest in this matter and I hope to be able to provide further information at a later date."

We raised this matter yesterday as part of a discussion on the issue of City Hall email retention. It is an agendized item for tonight's City Council meeting, and to me this PRA request and its results serve as good examples of why email retention needs to be incorporated into the City's policies for electronic communications. Many in town are of the opinion that not enough was done in regards to Mr. Matheson's legal status here upon his return from imprisonment in Canada, and this PRA was an attempt to find out what had actually happened at City Hall.

Unfortunately what we received shed no real additional light on the matter.

The assumption here yesterday was that any e-mails other than that of Councilmember Koerber were not supplied to us because certain other Councilmembers (past and present) might not have wanted their observations at that time discussed here. Something that prompted this reader comment posted yesterday:

Regarding Agenda Item 8: From the MercuryNews.com:

"SAN JOSE -- A Santa Clara County judge has ruled that San Jose must provide city officials' private text messages, emails or other electronic communications about city affairs in response to an activist's request, a potentially far-reaching decision that could settle a growing dispute over what open-government advocates say has become a glaring loophole in the state's public records law."

The mod should resubmit his PRA request and remind the city manager that the council's personal email accounts are included in the scope of the PRA request. 

The cited Mercury News article, "Judge orders San Jose to disclose officials' messages on private devices," can be read in its entirety by clicking here.

Now there are two possible ways you can go with this. As I said earlier, it is possible emails requested in the PRA were illegally held back to spare certain Councilmembers (past and present) the embarrassment of having their views discussed here. I can understand that concern. The other option is that no emails exist because none of the Councilmembers in office at the time were concerned enough to send any. Considering the nature of the controversy and the level of public concern back then, that seemed highly unlikely to me when I wrote about it yesterday.

Taking the advice of the author of the comment above, I emailed City Manager Elaine Aguilar about this issue yesterday. I expressed my concern that emails related to this matter had possibly been illegally held back, and that I would resend my PRA in order to get that matter taken care of. Here is her response:

Hello John –

Happy Monday to you too.  I was just about to head home, when I checked my email one last time, before heading out!  Glad I did.

I’ve read the email exchange below – thank you for forwarding the question – I appreciate the opportunity to respond.

Please let “Anonymous” know that it is Sierra Madre’s standard procedure to include “personal email accounts and other electronic communications” in public records requests such as the one you submitted.  You are welcomed to submit another Public Records Request (and please let me know if you want me to re-submit your request to the City Council), but personal email accounts were included in the scope of your original PRA request.

Please let me know if this adequately responds to your email – and if there is any further assistance I can provide.

Thank you,
Elaine

Judging by what Elaine says here not only was nothing about the Matheson Affair ever discussed in public by the City Council at that time, neither were there any electronic communications being sent behind the scenes as well. Unless, of course, they were erased. Like I said, some unanswered questions remain.

Here is one of them. Can it be that nobody at City Hall actually cared?

Somebody needs to go to anger management class

The article below was the number 1 most read for most of the day yesterday on the Pasadena Star News website (link):

Man badly beaten in dispute over parking space in Sierra Madre

By Brian Day, Staff Writer
twitter.com/sgvcrime
Posted:   05/12/2013 04:22:06 PM PDT
Updated:   05/12/2013 06:29:49 PM PDT

SIERRA MADRE -- A man pummeled another man late Saturday in a dispute over a parking space, police said.

The incident, which police are investigating as an assault with a deadly weapon due to significant injuries suffered by the victim, took place about 11:40 p.m. in an apartment complex parking lot in the 400 block of West Sierra Madre Boulevard, Sierra Madre police Sgt. Rueben Enriquez said.

The victim, a man in his early 50s, became involved in an argument over a parking space with another man, initially described only as being in his late-20s or early-30s, the sergeant said.

The younger man attacked, striking the older man in the face multiple times, Enriquez said.

Though the older man suffered significant injuries to his face, including several lost teeth, he declined to be hospitalized, he added.

The victim and suspect did not know one another prior to Saturday night's incident, the sergeant said.

Enriquez said the attacker had fled the scene prior to officers' arrival, and the investigation was ongoing.

It's getting real out there.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

120 comments:

  1. Dude, it's always been "real out there".

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    1. really real

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    2. What it really is out there is too damn hot. If the temperature hadn't been creeping up to 100, maybe the younger man could have contained his temper.

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    3. This happened at 11:30 at night on saturday the temp where not any way near 100

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    4. except that it was night time over the weekend....when it happened

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    5. Crime rises when the heat waves happen. even at night, and even in mini-heat waves. People get cranky.

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  2. clockwork orange real.

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    Replies
    1. The masks would be appropriate.

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    2. Or white robes...

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  3. Change O topic: San Marino City council debates changes in basement regulation to address loophole, there is tax money buried in them basements.


    Read more: http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/news/ci_23235678/city-council-debates-changes-basement-regulation#ixzz2TH7eU5UX

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  4. It is too bad that the city doesn't put as much effort into law enforcement as it does raising taxes.

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  5. Very strange report, are you sure a real police agency wrote this report up?

    There seems to be several missing pieces of information height and weight, ethnicity, long or short hair, tattoos or distinguishing physical marks, language accents clothing etc.

    Was the 50 year old man a resident of Sierra Madre, it seems very od that resident's were not warned earlier an attacker was on the lose in the community.

    Once again POOR police work, time for the Sheriff's Department to step in, to save money and lives.

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    1. Maybe the victim needs to pay a fee to cover the cost of a police department investigation.

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    2. This is a newspaper article, not a police report.

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    3. I eagerly await the Police Blotter.

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  6. The council members are all informed about the lack of privacy they have in emails when they get their Brown Act training.

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  7. I find it extremely hard to believe that then Mayor John Buchanan had no communication with staff on the Matheson matter.

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    Replies
    1. They could talk about it - nothing written down, nothing recorded....

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    2. There would have had to have been meeting records, right?

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    3. ...or deleted emails...

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    4. Why would the Mayor have deleted his emails about Matheson?

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    5. Doesn't matter if any email is deleted. It is still recoverable.

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  8. Only official, publicly announced in a required time frame.
    informal talks between a few people? Off the record.

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    1. The law dictates that the peoples' business needs to be done in public. Outside of Chief Giannone's famous 3 phone calls and the ensuing claim that nothing needed to be done, everything was either discussed in private or not at all. Which is what makes this all so very odd. Both from a leadership perspective and a legal one. The people needed to hear this issue discussed by the Mayor. All that got were snarly grumbles blaming the messengers.

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    2. This widely held suspicion that the city is hiding something is only made worse by not being transparent.

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    3. Did Chief Giannone ever get the news that Matheson didn't need to be registered as a sex offender in writing? Or do all we have are anecdotal accounts from the Chief about phone calls to mostly unnamed people?

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    4. Anecdotal. Somebody said that somebody said type of stuff.

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    5. For so important a matter, that seems very casual. Especially for a Chief of Police.

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  9. Reading the reponse from Elaine makes gag! How breezy, how empty, how insulting!

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  10. When city governments censor emails it could spell trouble.

    http://www.redwoodtimes.com/ci_23234885/humcpr-county-reach-100k-settlement-county-acknowledges-california

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  11. look under the rug in Elaine's office, lots of good stuff there!

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  12. I think the Mod is on to something. I also do not believe that Elaine's late afternoon response was because she just happened to discover the Mod's email on her way out the door. I believe she needed to spend some quality time with the City Attorney before responding.

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    Replies
    1. Maybe she and the city attorney were out the door.
      Absolutely the city manager's response was vetted by the city attorney - probably even mostly written by the attorney.

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    2. I wonder why Elaine made a point of that? Makes no sense.

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  13. In anticipation!! When the "tickets for fees" starts up would it be possible for the Tattler to keep a runing tally of tickets and dollars issued?

    Watch out merchants! You might be the victims not the violators. As a major merchant I personnally, "dismantled" the blocking gate from the City Parking Lot Exit. Usually because someone who did not speak English would not let an offending car exit the garage blocking 30 or 40 cars honking with vows of never to return to Pasadena again. But never mind after identifing a large percentage of the parking spaces with "reserved for this and that (usually government employees) there were not that many spaces left and they were "in the back."

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  14. The newspaper article surround the brutal beating by a 20 something male against a 50 something male was and is a very serious crime, why didn't the Sierra Madre police department spread the news around to protect more Sierra Madre residents or guests?

    The author of this article must have gotten the information from somewhere?

    I don't buy the excuse's posted about why a serious lack of information was not included or deleted by that author?

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    1. Are we talking about a 20 year old Justin Bieber vs. George foreman at 50?

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    2. Don't mess with the Beeb. He is mean as a rattlesnake and fights dirty.

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    3. Do you think anybody might have been drinking?

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  15. Remember 2 sides to every story...sounds like the old guy got taught a lesson.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, that was very enigmatic. Maybe it was a message to some people here.

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  16. Just a reminder ... Live blogging of the city council meeting tonight. Should be entertaining. will Mayor pro tem* Harabedian speak to Koerber, will Paulie Goosebumps show up and rail at the council because they didn't make "Joe Mosca". Mayor pro tem? Will the city spend everybody's money? No more lattes for you!

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    Replies
    1. Tonight is "Bum Rush the Taxpayer Night." Don't miss it!

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  17. Why is anyone shocked that there is a fight in Sierra Madre? People swing at people for no reason all the time. There is hate speech,stereotyping, cursing and irrational behavior done all the time. A reporter reported the whole thing and the perp ran off. Why is everyone judging the victim?

    Can't we all just wait for the FACTS to all unravel?

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    Replies
    1. Huh? Are you projecting or something? Did YOU hit that poor guy?

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  18. No Josh tonight.

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    Replies
    1. He's taking a night off after a whole lot of self-restraint on two Tuesday nights a month for the last year.

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  19. So now Walsh is the mayor, and her report is 100% about parties.

    Public comment at 6:43? It's supposed to be at 7:00.

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  20. Great news Crawford! Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. We are insured? So what is the problem?

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  21. What! We're insured? The Doyle era credit card madness was insured?

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    Replies
    1. Bite the bullet Sierra Madre. Use our insurance to get out from under all that debt.

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    2. Yes! Stop the crazy credit spiral into bankruptcy.

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    3. Bankruptcy is a valid business tool.

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    4. Yes. And the water company is bankrupt.

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  22. Mr. Richey is saying the city has not paid its own bills? Huh?

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  23. An Edison is here. Every time the power goes out they show up.

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  24. Hysterical! Crawford gets up and drops a bomb about the damn debt being insured, so we should walk away from it (damn right), followed by an Athens chipper report about compost, followed by Richey and his accusations of the city not paying its fair share in the same way residents must, followed by a perky Edison guy. Mood whiplash.

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    1. A big mistake made by the "slicky" people from Athens Services (trash haulers) was getting involved with them in the first place.

      Like pimps and drug dealers they keep sucking the residents dry and exert undo political influence deep inside city hall on their behalf ONLY.

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  25. Fay! Oohh, she is going after Johnny Process.

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  26. Good for Fay Angus. She is absolutely right - Harabedian was casually disrespectful to children, and Koerber got the most votes. Thanks Mrs. Angus. You're the best.

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  27. Yes indeed Harabedian usurped the position.

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    1. The Mayor Pro Tem*

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    2. The only "power grab" that went on was given to us by the youngest member of the council. It could not have been more obvious.

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    3. Nobody can scowl like Johnny Process.

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  28. I don't see why we should have to suffer for the next 20 years paying for Bart Doyle's dumb mistakes.

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  29. Thank you Fay for schooling Harabedian and Walsh in how not to be rude. They both need it.

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  30. Down here in the slough of despond. It is very funny watching Johnny Harabedian and Bruce Inman trying to fix the 3 minute clock.

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  31. Walsh just muttered under her breath - mike on. Anybody catch it?

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    1. Looked to me like she was commiserating with the young Mayor, Pro Tem?, but I'm not sure.

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    2. The mayor has a minder.

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  32. Uh oh. Fredo from the PUSD is back. Is he making any sense to you?

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    1. No, but he has put on some weight.

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    2. He's happy. Things are moving along. There is no longer scorn and derision in the air.

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  33. All the talking is being done by Capoccia and Koerber. Nancy and Johnny just sit there looking at the paperwork

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    1. I hope Fay Angus got to them. They deserved what she said. Nancy and Harabedian are not nice people. This is very well known.

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    2. Johnny sits at Nancy's right ear. He has become her consigliere.

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  34. It's water fine time.

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  35. Did Inman just say that one calculation was too lenient for residents, so they needed to adjust it?
    Yes he did, though not exactly in those words.

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    Replies
    1. Time to fine the residents.

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  36. Bruce is scaring me.

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  37. Wait a minute - Inman says they decided to go with an average, so staff won't make errors - but everyone will of course go above the yearly average in the summer months!

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    Replies
    1. Most everything we will hear tonight is about getting the City more money. Item #2 is no different.

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  38. I thought the MWD hook up was for emergencies only.

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    Replies
    1. I do believe that was the sound of the other shoe dropping.

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    2. We're being asked to pay for the rope they'll use to hang the town.

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    3. MaryAnn MacGillivray and Linda Thornton tried to warn everyone years ago, and no one paid attention.
      They knew. Two of the best people we ever had in Sierra Madre, MaryAnn and Linda.

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  39. Thank goodness Koerber and Capoccia are questioning the numbers. I do not want to subsidize water hogs like five bathroom McMansions.

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  40. In regards to the three minuet warning...
    traditionally our mayors have been polite enough not to cut someone off as they are concluding their remarks.
    Nancy Walsh is the hatchet lady, more interested in chopping off the speaker than listening to what they are saying.
    Nancy Walsh is shameful and mean spirited, always has been.
    How sad that this horrible woman is our mayor.

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    Replies
    1. The mean spirited attacks were possibly from hot flashes, what we are seeing now is full alzheimer's dementia.

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  41. Finally! A moratorium on new water hook-ups has been mentioned in the council chambers. Finally!
    Of course too late, but as least said in the public arena.

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    1. How does this effect the McMansions at One Carter?

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    2. I guess they'll have some pretty big water bills. But the hook-ups are already there, and permitted, right? How about the Kensington water usage?

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  42. PEOPLE NEED WATER MORE IN THE SUMMER.

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  43. Have we seen the chart for the water penalties yet? Will this be a disguised water rate increase?

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  44. Who will assess the fines?

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  45. What are the penalties? What are the fines? They are not saying.

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    Replies
    1. Yikes. $4.50 a cubic foot.

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  46. Harabdeian and Walsh both use "anyway" as a filler. In unison.

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  47. I wonder if Karyn has figured out how much revenue the City will receive through fining people for over usage ..

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  48. Labor intensive, to give fair bills to Sierra Madre water users? Heaven forbid.

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  49. It is a water rate increase, no matter how you phrase it. And it could be the right thing to do, I'm not saying it isn't. But it is still a water rate increase.

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  50. If everyone starts to pay big water fines kiss that water rate increase goodbye. Everyone will sign their Prop 218 paperwork after then.

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  51. Another item, another attempt to get more resident money.

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  52. The city doesn't make anything, but it sure works hard to get more and more dough out of its captive population.

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  53. Aaa aware guard dogs included in the alarm fee? If yes, I already paid my fee to the Pasadena Humane Society.

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  54. Has Mayor Nancy been taking acting classes? her expressions tonight are remarkable!

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  55. Yes we pay twice, For everything.

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  56. "The city cannot survive on property tax and sales tax."
    Then change it.
    Provide 2 services - water and police. That's it. Forget the fluff.

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  57. They're dunning the captives.

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  58. The City speaks. Let's see what we can get away with.

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  59. Harabedian thinks that people won't notice if someone puts up an illegal second story on the house. I'll bet he also believes, probably, that If you cover your RV with a tarp, it doesn't exist.

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    1. It's those kinds of remarks that make me think he knows nothing about this town.
      I know he grew up here, but he's just so ignorant about the real size of the town, the obviousness of something like a new second story, and lets not get started on any political history.

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  60. The city is selling us services that we have already paid for.

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  61. Money changers in the Temple.

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  62. Johnny wants to spend $25,000 for downtown WiFi. Maybe they can take it out of tonight's haul.

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  63. The goal of the staff is to provide for the staff.

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