Thursday, October 24, 2013

Don't You Go Messing With Neil the Pig

Neil and some celebrity friends
It seems that Neil the Pig, Sierra Madre's own beloved potbellied porcine institution, had run into a little ordinance trouble with City Hall earlier this week. A couple of the tone deaf out-of-towners running this city tried to give the 17 year old Sierra Madre legend some sort of a code enforcement bum's rush, and the outcry in the community was immediate, and loud. Social media lit up and within 24 hours Neil had over 300 Facebook friends. The following could be found on Bill Coburn's website where this matter was being followed closely (link):

There’s been a lot of chatter on Facebook about a citation issued to the owner of Neil the Pig, who resides on Montecito.  It started with a post by Neil’s owner, Katherine Emerson early yesterday evening, which said: “Due to my multiple complaints regarding the rooster violating city ordinance, the Sierra Madre Police Department has informed me that I am in violation of city ordinance 6.08.030-hogs. I was issued a warning stating that I have to get rid of the pig… yes, that means Sierra Madre’s beloved Neil the Pig. Please get the word out that the Sierra Madre Police is now trying to evict Neil from the city where he has lived for the past 17 years. Rich Johnson I need your help. Save Neil the Pig.”

And then there was this story on the Sierra Madre Weekly website (link):

Neil is being evicted from Sierra Madre for being overweight Now, honestly … what code enforcement officer would issue such a hogwash citation for eviction to Neil’s “parents”? We find it absurd, to say the least that a city like Sierra Madre would attempt to enforce such a stupid ordinance. What if that were the case for homosapians? Half the town would have to be evicted. This has to be the silliest thing Sierra Madre has tried to do since raising the water rates….they must know there will be a HUGE public outcry!

Over 160lbs, so what? Neil is a loving kind pig! Kids have grown up with him on Montecito street. Surely our lawmakers can find better things to do with their time!

There is a support rally for Neil in Memorial Park Thursday Oct 24 at 11: 30…..Don’t miss it! We’ll be there. Hope you will too!

Yesterday cooler heads apparently prevailed however, mostly in the form of the politically savvy Chief Larry Giannone, who I am sure sensed a PR disaster in the making, and not at a good time for the PD. In the process averting a possible confrontation with a bunch of unhappy residents who planned to demonstrate today in Memorial Park. Neil's bacon was saved.

And that is probably a good thing. Not just for Neil and his many friends, but also for Sierra Madre as well. Why? The story was starting to get some significant outside attention. I kid you not. This from Examiner.com (link):

Social media asks you to help #SaveNeilthePig from eviction from Sierra Madre Sierra Made is a small community east of Pasadena. If you have ever been there you have probably heard talk of Neil. Neil is a Vietnamese potbelly pig that has resided in the small community for the last 17 years. Yesterday he was threatened with eviction.

Neil has been living in a front yard behind a white picket fence greeting passersby for 17 years. He was adopted by Diane Emerson in 1996 after a chance meeting at the Pet’s Delight pet store in Monrovia. She fell in love at first sight and brought him home to Sierra Madre the following day. Her daughter Dr. Katherine Emerson inherited Neil after Diane died six years ago.

Yesterday Officer Story of the Sierra Madre Police Department came by to cite Dr. Emerson. According to Story, Neil is a violation of municipal code 08.030, entitled simply “Hogs”. The code prohibits hogs from residing within the city limits. However Neil is actually a pig, not listed in the code. Dr. Emerson said she was warned if Neil is not removed from the city limits they will proceed with legal action to have him destroyed.

Dr. Emerson believes the citation is in response to a complaint she made about a neighbor who brought home a rooster a few months back. The rooster is in violation of two different city ordinances, including a noise violation, but has yet to be removed.

A social media campaign began Tuesday to save Neil on both Facebook and Twitter. The family encourages everyone to contact 626-355-1414 or stop by 242 W. Sierra Madre Blvd. and show their support for Neil.

Locals are outraged by the citation and can’t believe Neil’s home is being threatened.

“Why in the world are they citing him now after 17 years? This outrageous.”

“SAVE Neil the Pig! Back away from the bacon!”

“The City cannot do this to you. We had recently heard a rumor that Neil had passed away and my kids were devastated! We got in the car to go over and make sure he was still okay. Neil is an icon in this town and our children should not be hurt by ridiculous bureaucracy.”

“Let's make Neil Pig the Grand Marshall of the next Sierra Madre 4th of July Parade!!!!”

“This reminds me a lot of Charlotte's Web. Like we are all Charlotte and neil is wilbur. I was very sad to hear that they want to evict neil. I am 15 years old currently and have fond memories of going to see Neil with my grandmother at a very young age.”

Neil has been called the “real treasure of Sierra Madre”, was named Mr. November in the local realtors calendar as a Sierra Madre landmark and has been featured on Village Vine Online radio.

According to Dr. Emerson, locals volunteer their time to help take care of Neil. One friend would come by in the morning to sing to Neil; his song of choice is “Rock Your Body” by Justin Timberlake. Another has spent three to four hours a week cleaning up Neil’s yard and staying to chat with him.

Neil’s regular diet is a bowl of Cheerios and the occasional apple but most of his food comes from those passing by. People were so generous with their donations, Neil had to be put on a strict diet by his doctor. Visitors now bring him food such as organic lettuce and other vegetables from their garden.

A rally is scheduled for Thursday October 23 (sic) in Memorial Park on Sierra Madre Blvd. at 11:30 am. It will be a peaceful demonstration by his friends and family to show the city how much he is loved. Neil has asked for support on Facebook.

“Attention friends...we will be gathering tomorrow in Memorial Park in Sierra Madre at 11:30 to show support for "Save Neil." Please bring your kids, dogs, neighbors, etc. Make signs and write letters of support so my sister can use them at my administrative hearing. We cannot block the street or cause a problem, but we do have the right assemble. Unfortunately, due to my age and health I will not be able to be there in person, but I will be there in spirit.”

Dr. Emerson is distraught by the citation but is ready for a fight. “There seems to be no reason to try to evict Neil now when he has lived peacefully within the city limits for the last 17 years. Please follow Neil on Twitter, become his friend on Facebook and help me communicate with the city of Sierra Madre how his removal would be a loss to the community as well as my family.”

UPDATE: Dr. Emerson has received word from Sierra Madre Police Chief Larry Giannone that they will NOT pursue any action against Neil. He is free to stay in his home with the Chief’s support. After spending the day checking the municipal code, he declared Neil exempt because he is a potbellied pig and not a hog.

Dr. Emerson would like to thank everyone for their support of Neil including the Sierra Madre Police Department for resolving this issue so quickly. She credits social media with getting the word out and helping to save her beloved family pet.

No news yet on where Neil the Pig stands on the water rate increase or the vote to extend our currently California high UUT rates. But somebody should ask him. Apparently he has more political clout than just about anyone else in this town.

Rumors that Mayor Nancy Walsh and Councilmember Josh Moran will be seeking Neil's endorsement for their upcoming reelection campaigns cannot be corroborated as of this typing.

 http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

56 comments:

  1. Is it April 1 today?

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    1. Everyday is April 1 in this town. Except the jokes aren't always funny.

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  2. Is Officer Story's first name Bedtime?

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    1. Second. Though his friends call him Endov.

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  3. Cooler minds prevail thanks to SMPD Police Chief Larry G. Like anything, you never know what you will trigger when you complain about an illegal rooster. But here is the question, unless the rooster owner just put two and two together and figured the complaint came from a neighbor who had a pot bellied pig as a pet not a farm animal (no hogs in Sierra Madre thank you very much) then how did the complaint get turned back on Neil's owner? I thought complaints were supposed to be kept confidential. Something like the "we tip" on real criminal activity. Any ideas on that?

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    1. it's probably the Chief who okayed the citation but once he figured out just how stupid they looked, he had to change his mind

      the PD already looks pathetic after their own union law firm was cited for fraud

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    2. I agree. But I would expect the City Manager's name to show up somewhere as well.

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    3. Illegal roosters out.
      Illegal day workers welcome.
      Huh? I don't get it.

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  4. The rooster needs to get a name and a Facebook page. How about Rusty?

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

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    1. Nah, can't do that. Too '60s. Besides, it isn't Officer Story who is the problem, it is whoever gave the order to send him. A free box of CDs to anyone who can uncover documentation.

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    2. Christmas Decoration. They're very shiny and can reflect light in interesting ways.

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  6. "Dr. Emerson said she was warned if Neil is not removed from the city limits they will proceed with legal action to have him destroyed."

    How would they do that? Firing squad behind the Police Station? Would Neil be given a cigarette and offered a blindfold?

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    1. Hopefully the cigarette would be Gauloises.

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  7. It is the officers responsibility to understand the laws they are enforcing. If they do not understand the laws, what are they policing?

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  8. Given that Neil is Vietnamese, maybe there was a racial ingredient to the City's actions.

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  9. I don't know if Josh will get Neil's endorsement. Josh's support for the chicken ordinance could be a problem.

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  10. better not let Neil fall asleep in the back of a Nissan Murano, he'll be shot in the back for sure by the SMPD

    oh wait, with the SMPD that's reserved for humans

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  12. I don't get Sierra Madre sometimes. The City can talk about raising water rates 60% and eight people show up at a City Council meeting. Threaten a potbellied pig and the place goes crazy. Don't get me wrong, I am all about Neil maintaining his place in the community. But people here can be careless about their own interests.

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    1. Same thing occurred to me, 8:41. I love Neil, and I wish that residents showed the same kind of energy about the preservation of the town he lives in.

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  13. The Tax Trio will be for the citizens' outrage all the way - watch for the absurdity of threatening Neil to be used be each of them to show their solidarity with the people.

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  14. Two pigs in a pod.

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  15. Neil should run for city council

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  16. Wait, she's tattling on her neighbors about a code violation and then goes on this rampage when she is called on her own code violation? What a jerk.

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  17. never heard of the pig and I have been here for over 35 years.

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    1. He'll be working at the next Wistaria Festival. He just signed a contract with Jimmy Dean.

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    2. I love Neil the Pig. We live by him. I've heard from neighbors about the rooster crowing constantly, so I don't know what's going on there. We have seen her larger dogs she keeps in the back jump the front fence and run after people. That's happened more than a few times. And recently her dogs dug under the adjoining fence between her house and the house next door and killed all of the chickens that person had. I never walk my dogs up that alley because her dogs in her backyard are very vicious.

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    3. I walk that alley once a week for years and never had any trouble

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    4. I know those dogs, and they are pretty frantic. They are well fenced in so there is no danger. But they look pretty crazed to me.

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    5. The fact that we saw them jump the front fence and chase someone was enough for me. Luckily the city put in a higher fence after they worked on Grove Street, and that has helped, but still I won't walk down that street. Their snarling and barking is enough for me not to take the chance, not to mention the front fence jumping has happened more than once. Luckily the daughter called the dog back when it was chasing the guy up the street when we saw it. And it came back, but a few seconds more, we would have seen a mauling. It's horrifying.

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    6. I think they are, but that's not the problem. The problem is not socializing the dogs. The dogs she keeps i the front yard are smaller, but they're not socialized either and they growl and snarl if you walk by them, too. We have a pit bull mix, and she's very socialized and very sweet. So the breed isn't the problem. It's the owner.

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  18. On a different subject this might be the last day for Postal Carriers in Sierra Madre Office as a going away party is being held today in the parkinglot of the P.O.

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    1. From the PSN last month:

      SIERRA MADRE >> In an effort to cut costs, the city’s postal carriers will be consolidated into the Arcadia branch, effective Oct. 26.

      “It will be business as usual,” said Raul Halili, the officer in charge of the Sierra Madre post office at 61 S. Baldwin Ave.

      “The post office in Sierra Madre is not shutting down,” Halili added. “The move will only involve the mail carriers.”

      Residents will still be able to buy stamps or send mail from the Sierra Madre post office, but mail carrier drivers will instead report to the Arcadia post office, 41 Wheeler Ave.

      “It will be transparent to the community,” said Richard Maher, spokesman for Los Angeles County USPS. “We’re not reducing the number of employees, we’re consolidating two spaces into one. There will still be the same number of letter carriers.”

      Removing the carrier operations out of Sierra Madre will decrease facility related costs there, ultimately saving money for the USPS, Halili said.

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    2. The Sierra Madre Post office will not be in that location in the next couple of years or sooner

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    3. More big development plans for the current site and the empty lot next to it? Why not. We buy the water for dust control.

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    4. Maybe the PO should move into that vacant space at Howies.

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    5. The Kensington has been doing a great job on dust abatement. Every time I drive past, water is gushing out on the site.
      Our drinking water.
      Makes me wonder if Billy was waiting for the MWD hook-up to start.

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    6. Could have been the reason all along. Who knows in this town?

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    7. We can know that when an attorney for the Building Industry Association got on the council and made it his goal to get the MWD hook-up, it wasn't to preserve the city. That decision postponed any serious conservation efforts and led us to ruin one of our best gifts.

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  20. "FRANK" our postal carrier is without a doubt one of the finest employees to grace the Postal Servce. I have written several leters of praise on his behalf over the years. Please keep him on the job on Foothill Ave and our neck of the woods.
    Jim Engle

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    1. I think we have "Frank" as well. One of the best mail carriers I have ever known.

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    2. I think we have him, too. Nicest person ever.

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  21. Neil endorsed Pat Alcorn for Council a few years ago, so I don't think he would endorse Mean Nancy the Mayor.

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  22. thanks for the update john. i was just going to send that "contact the pd" out to 12,000 people

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    1. Any idea what I should write about tonight? Coming off of two late nights at work and my head hurts from a lack of content.

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    2. you know, ed honowitz and alice petrossian (another work of administrative poppycock) have been doing a 'us tour' with good ol' lookie liu. still researching it, but bill bogus is involved, too.

      how about the 1% IRS fine for people who don't get insured. sounds like insurance is a mandate for usa citizens (but interestingly not for foreign born nationals residing here without permission), not a dem/obummer favor as they want all of us to believe

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    3. An Ed Honowitz tour? What is his message? How he almost single-handedly destroyed a public school system while claiming he did it to save the kids going there?

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    4. haha, yes, exactly. we are working on a letter to mrs. edison san bruno smart grid about her hiring a photographer who never taught in a public school to be an education guru

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  23. The annual Halloween window painting downtown? Handled this year entirely by volunteers.

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    1. The city didn't hire a halloween window painting consultant?

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    2. That's very good news 8:20 - now every other celebratory event needs to be done the same way.

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