Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Is Chris Holden the Best State Assembly Majority Whip that Money Can Buy?

(Is $199,000 enough?)
Our State Assemblyman Chris Holden will be stopping by to speak to Sierra Madre at tonight's City Council meeting. He is slated to talk about how things are going up in Sacramento, and all the many wonderful things that are being done there for us, the hardworking citizen taxpayers of California. It is being called a "State of the State" speech. And perhaps Chris will also take a moment to describe exactly how he achieved the august position of State Assembly Majority Whip mere weeks after being elected to that legislative body for the very first time last November. It would be an interesting tale to hear him tell.

But since I don't think Assemblyman Holden will have enough time to cover that particular topic this evening, I am going to discuss it for him here on The Tattler.

You would think that a legislator would need to get at least one term in the California State Assembly under his belt before assuming so senior post as State Assembly Majority Whip. As the sixth ranking power player in our de facto one party State Assembly, someone who works directly with the Speaker of the Assembly in helping to create and enact important legislation on behalf of the people of our state, it really is quite a plum position.

Most folks would naturally assume that an office with that much potential influence would only be given to someone with years of hard won experience and seniority, right?

Yet Chris Holden, freshman Assemblyman from our very own 41st Assembly District, was given the prestigious and very senior position of State Assembly Majority Whip (link) only weeks after being first elected to the Assembly. And had a few other rather influential assignments thrown his way as well. Here is how the happy news is celebrated in a press release from Chris's very own official State Assembly website (link):

Holden Named to Key Assembly Committees
Created on Thursday, 03 January 2013 16:11
Sacramento – Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) was today appointed by Assembly Speaker John Perez to several key committees. Holden, who serves as Majority Whip, will also serve on the Appropriations Committee, Business, Professions and Consumer Protection, Labor and Employment Committee and Transportation Committee.

"I am pleased and honored to participate in these important committee assignments to improve the lives of all Californians," said Assemblymember Holden. "Many of these committees are areas in which I have some experience from my years working in the Pasadena City Council, the Burbank Airport Authority, and with Metro Gold Line. I look forward to putting that experience to work dealing with the challenges facing our district and our state."

Assemblymember Holden represents the 41st Assembly District which includes the communities of Altadena, Pasadena, South Pasadena, Sierra Madre, Monrovia, San Dimas, La Verne, Claremont, and Upland.

CONTACT: Wendy Gordon, (626) 720-3409

So how did Chris manage to do all that? The press release doesn't actually say. But according to the Center for Investigative Reporting, newly elected freshman Assemblyman Chris Holden may have paid Speaker John Perez $199,000 in specially targeted campaign donations in order to obtain these prestigious and influential positions.

It seems that this is how such things currently get done in our vastly corrupt State Assembly.

In an article titled "California speaker gives Assembly's juiciest jobs to biggest fundraisers" (link), here is how the Center for Investigative Reporting describes this, er, "process:"

In May 2012 and again in June, Speaker John A. Pérez wrote memos to Democrats in the California Assembly. He wanted millions in campaign cash to win a handful of key races.

At stake, Pérez wrote, was their party’s control of the Assembly – and, as it turned out, the perks and power enjoyed by the lawmakers themselves.

“It is critical that we band together to maximize our financial resources,” the burly Los Angeles legislative leader wrote in the memos, copies of which were obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting.

The lawmakers gave Pérez what he wanted, state campaign finance records show.

Exploiting loopholes in a law enacted to stanch the flow of big money in state politics, the Assembly Democrats pumped $5.8 million into the campaigns Pérez designated, a CIR data analysis shows. The infusion of cash helped the Democrats win a supermajority in the Capitol: two-thirds control of the Legislature for the first time since 1883.

The system also paid off for the speaker’s biggest fundraisers in the Assembly.

According to the data, Pérez gave lawmakers who raised the most money the best assignments in the new Legislature – posts on the speaker’s leadership team and seats on the powerful “juice committees.”

These are seven of the Assembly’s 30 standing policy committees. They control bills affecting the financial bottom line for the Capitol’s wealthiest interest groups: from banks, insurance companies and public utilities to casinos, racetracks and liquor distributors. For lawmakers who serve on them, the committees are a source of political campaign “juice”: abundant donations.

Pérez’s spokesman John Vigna said the speaker makes legislative assignments based on merits, not money.

“There is absolutely no connection, zero connection, between Speaker Pérez’s leadership selections and any political considerations, including fundraising,” he said.

“Speaker Pérez chooses his leadership team based on their ability to serve the people of California” and nothing else, Vigna added.

CIR’s analysis of more than 38,000 contributions to Assembly Democrats in the 2011-12 campaign shows a link between donations to the speaker’s targeted races and a lawmaker’s prospects for important legislative assignments.

Among the findings:

The mega-donors to Pérez’s targets – three lawmakers who gave more than $250,000 – obtained positions of power. Each was named to either a leadership post or chairmanship of a juice committee, along with a seat on at least one juice committee. The top donor, Toni Atkins of San Diego, was named Assembly majority floor leader – next to the speaker, the top leadership post.

Lawmakers who gave more than $150,000 were likely to get multiple important posts. All 18 got one juice committee seat, and 16 got a leadership post, chairmanship of a juice committee or a seat on a second juice committee.

Lawmakers who gave less got less. Donors who contributed less than $150,000 stood a 13 percent chance of heading a juice committee or joining the leadership. No lawmaker who gave less than $40,000 was named chairman of a juice committee.

So does Chris Holden, our apparently paid up power player in the State Assembly, give preferential treatment to the interests of those who fronted him the dough required to buy all that influence in Sacramento?

Let me put it to you this way, chances are you are not someone who has given Chris any substantial checks lately. Have you received any phone calls from your State Assemblyman?

And if you had given our brand new State Assembly Majority Whip a large check in the last year or so, do you think that maybe you would be able to get him on the phone if there was something you needed? Of course you could. Isn't that kind of access what you were really paying for?

Without that money Chris Holden could have been just another rank and file freshman backbencher with little of value to sell. Access costs money and money is power in Sacramento, and he is now one of the people those having that kind of cash are going to want to get in touch with.

Who helped Holden buy this influence in Sacramento? Thanks to Follow the Money.org, that information is only one click away (link). Just to whet your appetite, Sacramento made man Holden has received over $1,000,000 in campaign donations, most of it from influence hungry organizations. It really is quite a roster.

And who is right there among Chris's top campaign donors? The California Association of Realtors.

Now there is a coincidence.

For a hilarious video that accompanies the CfIR's expose', click here. Chris has a neat cameo.

Welcome to Sierra Madre, State Assembly Majority Whip Holden! We have been following your career closely. I don't know how much you know about our town, but we take this kind of stuff rather seriously here. And we do enjoy talking it over with our neighbors.

This isn't Pasadena. Just so you know.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

174 comments:

  1. It's no surprise that Holden got much of his campaign money from labor unions, he was bought and paid for just as Perez used him. Sierra Madre is just a small tic on his radar and he could care less about what we think or do. I suspect he is campaigning here at our city council meeting to give Harabedian a boost when it comes time for Johnny to jump on the California political bandwagon.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Johnny is likely to have a Wayne's World "I'm not worthy!" moment tonight.

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    2. Whoa dude, cool wingtips!

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    3. You do know that I am the Mayor Pro Tem, right?

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    4. CORRECTION: You do know I am the Mayor Pro Tem*, right?

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  2. And to think it could have been Assemblyman Joe Mosca instead. Politics is so cruel.

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  3. do you think Chris "let's build that 710 tunnel" Holden is aware that the Sierra Madre council voted 5 - 0 to oppose the extension of that freeway? Oh, and how low will MPT* bow to kiss Holden's , ... Well, ring, I guess.

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    Replies
    1. Holden also supports SB-1, the law that would allow local governments to seize private property through eminent domain just because somebody wants to build something.

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  4. Voted "Most Likely To Be In The Audience" tonight for Holden's performance will be Planning Commissioner Ken Goldstein. Chris always returns his calls.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, Ken knows all about squeezing the juice.

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    2. Goldstein didn't roll over for the Carter cookie cutter castle.

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    3. only because it's next door (practically) to his own home.

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    4. You forget that he can see 1 Carter from his house. Of course he'd vote no. Self interest, don't you know.

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    5. For those of you wondering what this conversation is about, our Ken Goldstein, the modest and unassuming guy who rules so wisely on the Planning Commission, is also a big time political bundler. That is he raises money for politicians. One of those politicians is Chris Holden, who was very well financed last fall. To the tune of a million dollars. It is quite conceivable that the $199,000 discussed here was raised through Ken's efforts. Something that gives a very Sierra Madre angle to this story

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    6. No wonder the Dirts have been kissing Goldstein's a**! Ever since he didn't make it onto some Commission or Committee they've been making spots for him. If you're a small time politician (like the MPT* or the former Mayor[s]) he's a biggie to have in your corner...

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    7. Pay no attention to Dr. Know. Goldstein's not a bundler. He just cares about Sierra Madre (wipes tear from eye.)

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  5. You must watch that video.

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  6. Holden is coming as part of the 1-2 Punch he and Judy Chu are delivering for the Democrat Party. Sierra Madre hasn't been getting in line since 2010, you know. That had better stop, per Chris & Judy.

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    Replies
    1. Sierra Madre is a small island of political awareness in a vast sea of dumbasses.

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    2. If we are "a small island of political awareness in a vast sea of dumbasses", how did we end up with the dumbass city council we have. Led buy the poster child for dumbass, herself, Mayor Walsh?

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    3. An island within an island maybe?

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    4. The LA County political machine must be upset with us.

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    5. 10:02, upset isn't the word.

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    6. Is it send in the National Guard upset?

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    7. Nah, just send in tons of union money to elect Dem supporters. This insurrection must be stopped.

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  7. Isn't this influence peddling? How can that be legal?

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    Replies
    1. Sounds like the "State of the State" is not so good right now.

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  8. Ken. Goldstien is putting in time before a run for city council! Listen to what he says at Planning Commission meetings. He wants to build and get around codes. He also asked if a builder had all his financing in place.
    Like that is something the PC looks at.

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  9. They say "birds of a feather flock together." That saying is very true in Sierra Madre politics. Check out a person's circle of friends and new found buddies, see who is endorsing them, and follow the money. Anything can be said during a campaign as many of us have learned the hard way.

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    Replies
    1. Some hard earned wisdom. For many of the candidates we have seen what they say is the exact opposite of what they do once elected.

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  10. If I had the neergy I think I culd predict Holden's speech pretty accurately.

    Thank you blahblahblah
    Great town blahblahblah
    Remarkable that your city provides you with all these services blahblahblah
    Pay up blahblahbah

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    Replies
    1. Let me tell you about all the the great bills that I have helped to pass in Sacramento. Each and every one of them will fight global warming, create real jobs and house the homeless. As I was telling Jerry just the other day.....

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    2. Hey 1:16, you got it!

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  11. Be sure to catch Public Comment tonight.

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  12. This is why Holden didn't have to go out and campaign last November. He just made a few phone calls to Labor groups and told them it was time to pony up some money. You notice he received no money from individuals, it's all institutional money. Some groups are paying for future favors, some are paying to keep Holden and the dems off their backs. Sorta like the mafia.

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  13. Mic check one two one two...

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  14. Harabedian led the moment of inspiration in a global sense. Keeping parties in our thoughts, firefighter sin Azusa and women and children in Mali.

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    Replies
    1. Sorry! Firefighters in Azusa, not firefighter sin.

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  15. Councilmember Moran just told a story chuckilng about a squirrel that was burned alive from electric charge, and how quickly the fire department came. Not all that funny.

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    Replies
    1. Josh was the kind of kid who fried insects with a magnifying glass.

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  16. Walsh came back from Sacramento with new ideas. Oh dear.

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    Replies
    1. She's just discovered there is a community component to disaster preparedness. Maybe she should have asked her community. It's called CERT and it's well and alive.

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    2. Walsh didn't understand CERT. She's remarkably ignorant.

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    3. You mean to tell me we paid for Nancy Walsh to go up to Sacramento to be inspired about disaster preparedness, and all she had to do was talk to a few people in town?

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    4. That's about it, 6:55.

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  17. Seniors and pancakes. Long days. New ideas. I smell disaster training consultants. You're so informative Nancy.

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  18. Earl Richey is up at bat.

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  19. Someone is calling Nancy Walsh to accountability.

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    Replies
    1. Royalty is never wrong.

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    2. Is anyone surprised that Walsh did that?

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    3. Smart, accurate and right on.

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  20. "Nancy you called me a liar in a public meeting and you owe me a public apology."
    No kidding.

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    Replies
    1. Nancy will never apologize. She is too mean.

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    2. Yet another concept that eludes our mayor - a gracious apology. She owes one.

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    3. I think it's more she's got a very tough hide.

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    4. Walsh does not have the aptitude.

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  21. Stockly is presenting the unveiling of the historical displays. Sounds cool. I wonder if there's a section that covers his time on the council, when he pushed to violate the Hillside Management Zone and develop the hillsides?

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  22. Digital storyboards on our history, worth a look. Wonder if there's anything about our leaky pipes history...

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  23. Veeeerrrrrey lucky to have Holden with us, says Nancy. Hope he heard Walsh get called out for being the loose canon she is.

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  24. Holden is sending Godspeed to the firefighters - he and Harabedian have got the patter down.

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  25. He loves our Fourth of July parade.

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    Replies
    1. Holden is a parody of a state pol. Go buy an office, Chris.

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  26. He just said it was clear the surface route for the 710 was dead, so the state owned properties should be sold.

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  27. Hah! He just said Sierra Madre was one of the communities that used redevelopment funds honestly - he hasn't got a clue.

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    Replies
    1. He wants us to use eminent domain honestly, too. Honestly meaning for the use of his cronies.

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  28. I couldn't disagree more Mr. Holden; it was not an overreaction for the state to dismantle CRAs. It was long overdue, and just a good start. You must be on the take if you think otherwise. How much did the Realtors Assoc. give you?

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    1. Chris believes government should take peoples homes to build things like bowling alleys and strip malls.

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    2. He cares about Fred Flintstone.

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  29. Why are we being forced to listen to a Holden campaign speech?

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    Replies
    1. Because he thinks it will make us like him. Even though he obviously has contempt for us.

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  30. Sustainable communities investment authority. I think I know what that means.....

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  31. Listening to this kind of politician, it's hard not to despair.

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  32. Gold line to Claremont would be cool

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    Replies
    1. I'd take it, once.

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    2. And the taxes to pay for it, will those be cool too?

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    3. Metro will tell you it is for the Gold Line, then sink it in the 710 Tunnel.

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    4. Hey 7:15. I would rather have my tax money towards the good of my fellow citizens and not wasted on dirty wars and tax breaks for big business.

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  33. "Public Safety. We'll be safe."
    Liar

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  34. Holden said this was just one of more nights - he's got 8 more councils to take his show and tell to. Maybe it'll be better as he goes along.

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  35. Does Holden have any idea what community he's talking to?

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  36. Johnny can't fawn enough.

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  37. I like Earl, but he always sounds nervous

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  38. So only one council member has any questions for mikala Rahn. They must not care much about the kids and parents of Sierra Madre school.

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  39. It's Bruce Inman! We're saving water. We have magically reversed the water use trend. Looks like we haven't been enjoying the blessings of chloramine yet. This Thursday is apparently the big day.

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  40. Josh has now thanked us for saving water. Our reward will be a huge water rate increase. Congratulations!

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  41. So we get H2ohno Thursday. And the Kensington is still working out its construction water billing....

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    Replies
    1. You mean Billy gets to negotiate his water billing? How nice for him.

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    2. Bingo! 8:06. Connect the water drops.....

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    3. City Hall has become Billy's personal petting zoo.

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    4. So construction must start on Friday

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    5. Everyone is going to enjoy that. I wonder how many people are going to be able to remember that "yes" vote they cast for this atrocity.

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    6. However you voted, one thing is sure, we all will be helping Billy pay for his water

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  42. It is time to give our blessings to the two 900 sq ft homes for the con from Alhambra.

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    Replies
    1. Didn't that guy go to jail for bribery? What is he doing here?

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    2. Trying again....Isn't this the second time for a proposal for this property to be maximized?

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    3. Yes. The Alhambra Con was in a snit because he was being asked to pay development fees, and requested that the CC push consideration of these pack and stackers to another date. He is still asking us to help finance his shacks with our tax money.

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    4. The plan checks were dropped in 2007? After going to the council for approval then too. Huh.

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    5. 2007 he got a vested map, so he's here to collect on that.
      Maybe the interruption was due to the time in the pokey.

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    6. Pokey Parker. I like that! If the city has a letter on file that Parker was no longer pursuing
      LAN checks for the previous project, then doesn't that end the building opportunity for it?

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  43. Nancy Walsh was called out tonight for lying. Just like Joe Mosca. And it looks like, just as in Mosca's case, there will be no consequences. What a town.

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    Replies
    1. Her pants will catch on fire

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    2. Joe Mosca eventually left the country.

      Anybody notice that tonight the Red Queen is dressed in ... red?

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    3. Maybe she is looking for a date.

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  44. I have been using bottled water for everything yesterday and today. And I didn't need to? Will these people ever get their dates straight?

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    Replies
    1. Check your water filters. Some people are reporting their filters are suddenly a mess. Nobody can figure out why.

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    2. Didn't Coppocia go to the bathroom? He must have flushed....oh those damn pipes again !

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    3. He recused himself. He lives too close to Chez Parker.

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    4. Looks like he recused a lot more than himself

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  45. Vandevelde is doing a big song and dance about Parker's properties. so what if it started out as four that were rejected and has finally come down to two. doesn't make it any better or mean we should wai be his fees.

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    Replies
    1. Maybe he's trying to put up another stop sign.

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  46. Harabedian has a lot of faith in the Planning Commission.
    I wonder if it will last til the Carter Castles come up in October?

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  47. When did Johnny H get married. Band looks a little tight on his chubby finger.

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    Replies
    1. Nov 4 or 5 of last year. Must be too many COG lunches. I hear they're very tasty.

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  48. This meeting has a lot of high density.

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  49. Oh my goodness, is the MPT*'s three minutes p yet? I can't beat my head against the wall any longer!

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    1. Johnny just set a Guinness World Book of Records achievement for most "uhs" per minute.

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    2. Oh not at all 8:42. He's a piker compared to Joe Mosca.

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  50. Koerber brings up a good point. Was Capoccia participating previously on a matter that he should have recused himself from? Hmm... What will this do do the whole project? Interesting

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  51. Capoccia is right on this. General Plan first.

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    Replies
    1. The only way to change things at City Hall, is to elect reasonable people.

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    2. That's the truth. But I'm close to giving up hope that the majority of residents will ever give a hoot about the town.

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  52. Uh oh. Loks like Josh was wrong. Capoccia's back

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  53. Here comes Nancy. "I just think it uh think that its not a sore thumb stand out uh I am in favor blah blah blah."

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  54. Will the Twee Three give Parker his fee break, and put the burden of those costs on the taxpayers?

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  55. is Parker going to have to pay a public arts fee? Perhaps he should just write a check to the Kensington.

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  56. Is this the same lawyer Parker used during his difficulties in Alhambra?

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  57. Uh Oh. Danny just made MPT* look bad. Johnny asked if others have made the requests and Danny says, "it's in the staff report.". I guess MPT* skipped that part.

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  58. When he thinks about a nexus, he thinks about a connection. This guy has a serious hot air problem.

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    Replies
    1. How come the 3 minute clock doesn't apply to Parker's shyster?

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  59. I don't think Lazaretto is a lawyer. I think he has been a city manager for several other cities in the past, including Alhambra.

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  60. A.C. Lazzaretto & Associates is a highly respected professional research and management consulting firm specializing in servicing municipal agencies. We utilize our diverse experience in administration and management to serve our clientele with accurate and reliable guidance, information, project management, and implementation. Our primary expertise is in redevelopment and economic development. http://www.aclazz.com

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    Replies
    1. A.C. doesn't dig it. He sees no nexus.

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    2. Make Parker pay.

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    3. Ooohh. He was the Alhambra City Manger when Parker was on the City Council there. Did he later send him a cake with a file in it?

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  61. so why does a management consultant get to speak for more than three minutes? what is his standing? he should just be public comment.

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    Replies
    1. Maybe if you wear a tie you get more time.

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  62. Both Lazaretto and Johnny are wearing polka dot ties. Must be the latest thing.

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  63. Will Parker change his mind about building his two 900 footers if he has to pay his fees? One can only hope.

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  64. Parker needs to pony up his fees.

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  65. Excellent statement by Koerber about development paying its own way.

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  66. Damn. Bruce is forgoing his water meters? Doesn't want to spend $1.4 million? Wha?

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  67. Why don't we pay down our bond debt? Because we're idiots.

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  68. If this item was miscalculated why wasn't it just pulled from the agenda?

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    Replies
    1. To make the water rate increase seem more palatable.

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  69. Josh says that our bond covenants do not allow us to pay down our bond debt. I am not sure he knows what he is talking about.

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  70. Maybe if we had accurate meters Bruce would be exposed for the lousy manager he is.

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  71. Hey June, public comment is closed!

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    Replies
    1. She is making a lot more sense than Josh and Nancy.

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  72. Nancy says it is the wave of the future. I am so glad that she is above the use of cliches.

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  73. If we have $4 million in water division reserves, why is the City raising water rates?

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  74. Huh? Koerber wants to tax us to pay for the meters

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    Replies
    1. But no UUT added to it.

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    2. Call it what you will. Manage our money the right way. Why the hell should I be charged for a meter I don't want.

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  75. Elaine doesn't want to share the nature of the irregularities that led to the rejection of the new water meter buy. But she won't say what they are. Why?

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  76. I told Edison to stick their smart meter where the sun doesn't shine. I will do the same with Bruce's.

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  77. Two step process... Step one, live in Sierra Madre .... Step two, bend over.

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  78. Josh is very concerned about bond covenants. To the point of raising our water rates 60%. Why are the bond covenants so important? So more bonds can be sold?

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  79. This consultant dude looks like he's straight out of Boardwalk Empire...

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  80. The consultant just mentioned imported water costs commencing in fiscal year 2015. Why is that?

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  81. Why would we be concerned about bond covenants unless we were planning on selling more bonds? What difference does our bond rating make if we aren't going to sell more bonds?

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  82. Water meeting on Monday. Oh joy!

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  83. Who's the dog and who's the pony?

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

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