Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sierra Madre Tattler: Weekend News & Commentary

(Mod: After what was a very busy week of in depth discussion and analysis of the water rate and utility tax increase situations here in Sierra Madre, we will now take a bit of a break from all that and have a look at some other things. It is the weekend, and perhaps a little change of pace is not a bad thing. Certainly there must be some other excitement going on in the world. Besides, we'll have to get back to those other topics again next week. Because if we don't, who will? For whatever reason we seem to have some sort of a monopoly on tax and rate increase stories. I am not sure why that is. Here is the weekend news, along with my 2 cents. Which is always free.)

L.A. County meeting on Hahamongna dredging project draws fire from Pasadena residents (Pasadena Star News link): About 75 residents of Pasadena, Altadena and La Canada Flintridge — uneasy about the effects of a massive dredging project behind Devil’s Gate Dam in Hahamongna Watershed Park — added a new concern to their list during Thursday’s community meeting.

Many booed and groaned when representatives from Katherine Padilla & Associates or KPA, a public relations firm hired by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works to run the meeting, told those at Jackson Elementary School in Altadena that they should write down their comments instead of speaking them aloud.

Some felt the system of flip charts, mini-group sessions and questions re-interpreted by county and public relations representatives masked their feelings about the project. Worse, others felt the system was designed to tamp down opposition.

“They don’t want us to co-educate each other,” said Lori Paul, a biologist and Altadena resident opposed to the project. “They are trying to create the illusion of consensus.”

(Mod: "They are trying to create the illusion of consensus." Pretty much sums up the aim of most government agencies around here, right? Are you sick of being treated like children yet?)

Marijuana dispensary across street from LAPD station burglarized (Los Angeles Daily News link): Burglars broke into a Mid-City marijuana dispensary early Tuesday morning and got away before officers arrived, even though the building is across from an LAPD station, police said.

The alarm came in about 3:30 a.m. from the dispensary at La Brea Avenue and Venice Boulevard, said Sgt. Chris Chase of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Wilshire Station.

``The suspects were not there when we got there,’’ Chase said. Detectives were investigating to determine how much, if any marijuana or property at the dispensary was taken.

(Mod: Here in Sierra Madre marijuana dispensaries are run out of private homes. Of course, outside of their immediately concerned customer base, nobody seems to know much about them, especially law enforcement. Think of the business license fees being lost. Also, if you were running such an establishment out of your house, and it was robbed, would you call the police? Around here you'd likely end up being the only party arrested.)

Richard Conlin Concedes: Seattle Elects Sawant As First Socialist Councilmember (KUOW.Org link): Longtime Seattle City Councilmember Richard Conlin conceded his seat to challenger Kshama Sawant late Friday after Sawant's lead widened to 1,640 votes, or 50.3 percent.

Speaking at City Hall on Friday, Conlin said he can’t speculate yet on why his reelection bid failed. But he noted that he’s taken on a wide array of controversial issues.

“A few days ago I got three e-mails in the space of about an hour,” he said. “One of them said, ‘I’m voting against you because you voted against the arena.’ The second one said, ‘I’m voting against you because you supported apodments.’ And the third one said, ‘I’m voting against you because you voted to ban plastic bags.’ You know, it’s hard to know how you could come up with the right kind of message that would work for all of those voters.”

Sawant becomes the first Socialist elected to the city council. Her grassroots campaign focused on a $15 minimum wage, rent control in a city with rising rents, and a millionaires' tax to fund transportation. Sawant has a Ph.D. in economics, and has taught economics at Seattle Central Community College. She's been active in the Occupy Seattle movement.

Conlin has served 16 years on the council, where he most recently chaired the city's land use committee. During his press conference Friday, he said he was proud of his record on sustainability and transit.

(Mod: When a 16 year veteran Seattle councilmember who claims sustainability and transit as his greatest achievements loses to a socialist, then you know that things are starting to get wild. Couple this with the Whig victory in Philadelphia last week and we could soon be heading into uncharted territory.)

Syrian rebel 'beheaded in case of mistaken identity' (BBC News link): An al-Qaeda affiliated rebel group in Syria is reported to have asked for forgiveness after beheading a fellow rebel in a case of mistaken identity.

A video recently posted online showed members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) brandishing the severed, bearded head of a man. They said was an Iraqi Shia caught fighting on the government side.

But other rebel fighters watching the video recognized the man and said he was one of their commanders.

The video of the beheading shows two ISIS fighters in Aleppo province - one holding a knife - brandish a severed, bearded head, denouncing their victim as an Iraqi volunteer for President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

They decry his immorality, saying he is a heathen - one of those who have threatened rape of men as much as women.

BBC Arab affairs analyst Sebastian Usher says horrifying videos like this stream out of Syria every day from the rebel and government side - each with the aim of sowing terror.

What makes this one stand out, he adds, is that other rebels watching the video recognised the beheaded man. Members of the hardline Islamist rebel group, Harakat Ahrar al-Sham, said he was not a government fighter at all, but one of their own. They said he was a commander called Mohammed Fares Maroush.

(Mod: Somehow I don't think a sympathy popcorn bouquet from 1-800 Flowers is going to do it.)

SAN BERNARDINO: Candidate’s music video hits sour note (Press Enterprise link): A San Bernardino city council candidate’s rap music became a campaign issue last week when some of his videos surfaced online and ended up costing him some support. Anthony Jones, 23, forced Councilman Fred Shorett into a February runoff after getting 32 percent of the vote to Shorett’s 48 percent in the Nov. 5 election.

Jones, who uses the name Yah Boy Money in the videos, is shown using vulgar language in one video which features a simulated gunshot sound and lyrics such as “(Expletive) my enemies, I put the 4-5 straight to their memory.” The backdrop is recognizably the San Bernardino Valley, shot from a hillside perhaps near Little Mountain.

The San Bernardino Police Officers Association, withdrew its endorsement of Jones on Tuesday, Nov. 12 after the video surfaced. The lyrics, said SBPOA President Steven Turner, glorify crime and violence, and denigrate women.

Jones said he made the video two years or more ago, when he was 20 or 21 years old but did not write the lyrics. He added that he couldn’t remember the name of the other man in the video, who hired him to produce it.

Jones defended the videos on his Facebook page. “You sing songs for fun about topics covered from Gilgamesh and Sampson to Sinatra, Johnny Cash and Dr. Dre, and the video gets passed around political circles as if it was tape of a policy speech advocating violence or misogyny,” he said.

(Mod: Does anybody know if Gene Goss raps?)

Prosecutor Asks That She Not Be Called 'the Government' Because the Term Is 'Derogatory' (Reason.com link): Last month a Tennessee judge overseeing a burglary case rejected a pretrial motion in which the prosecution requested that it not be referred to as "the Government" because that term is "derogatory."

In the May 22 motion, Assistant District Attorney General Tammy J. Rettig noted with alarm that "it has become commonplace during trials for attorneys for defendants, and especially Mr. [Drew] Justice [the defendant's lawyer], to refer to State's attorneys as 'the Government' repeatedly during trial."

Rettig worried that "such a reference is used in a derogatory way and is meant to make the State's attorneys seem oppressive and to inflame the jury." She added that "attempts to make the jury dislike the State's attorney have no place in the courtroom."

She therefore urged Williamson County Circuit Court Judge Michael Binkley to bar Justice from using the g-word during the trial and instead refer to her as "General Rettig, the Assistant District Attorney General, Mrs. Rettig, or simply the State of Tennessee."

(Mod: No word here yet on whether the Mayor's request that City Hall now be referred to as "The Jumping Castle" is going forward.)

Mariah Carey: My time on "American Idol" was hell (KMOV TV.com link): In case you were wondering, Mariah Carey didn't like being a judge on "American Idol." And that's putting it mildly. The pop songstress has likened her time on the show to working with Satan.

In an interview with New York radio station Hot 97, Carey said, "Honestly, I hated it." Carey sat on the judges' panel earlier this year, alongside Randy Jackson, Keith Urban and Nicki Minaj. Even before the season launched, there were reports that Carey and Minaj were not getting along -- and their animosity towards each other played out as the season wore on.

"I was led to believe -- I was the first person signed on," Carey told the radio station. "Heaven forbid I look like I'm saying something negative, but honestly I thought it was going to be a three-person panel. They gave me a nice dangling monetary moment. I was just like, 'OK, Randy Jackson will be there, I've known him forever. He used to play bass for me. This isn't a big deal. This will be nothing.

But it wasn't that. It was like hell. It was like going to work every day in hell with Satan."

(Mod: I wonder if Mariah ever considered what it was like to watch that show.)

Man agrees to remove wife's grave from front yard (New York Daily News link): An Alabama man has agreed to remove his wife's remains from his front yard after a four-year fight to keep her grave next to the house where they lived together.

James Davis testified at a court hearing Wednesday that he will hire a contractor to remove the body of his late wife, Patsy, and have it cremated. A judge still must approve the plan.

The court ordered the 74-year-old Davis to remove the body after the city of Stevenson won a lawsuit arguing the grave amounted to an illegal cemetery and had to be removed.

The City Council rejected Davis' request for a cemetery permit for his yard after his wife died in April 2009, but he buried her a few feet from the front porch anyway.

(Mod: Having family members buried in the front yard would really help with your Halloween presentation next year.)

Did LBJ Kill Kennedy? (And Why It Matters) (Reason.com link): I think he's an amoral psychopath," says Roger Stone of President Lyndon Baines Johnson. "I think he's crude, evil, vicious, vindictive, drunk."

And there's this: "I think Lyndon Johnson had unique motive, means, and opportunity to kill John Kennedy and I think he participated in a plot to do so."

Stone, a well-known political operative and Richard Nixon loyalist, lays out his case in The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ, written with Mike Colapietro.

As Gillespie notes in the interview (and in this essay about the nation's JFK fixation), Stone's book is "fully enjoyable" even if you don't buy his central argument that LBJ was a cold-blooded killer. Among the dozens of books published in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, Stone's book is memorable for its meticulous cataloguing of the personal and political foibles of JFK, LBJ, and Tricky Dick.

"My book achieves nothing," says Stone, if it doesn't persuade people "that what the government tells you cannot be believed. Anything the government tells you needs to be regarded with a heavy dose of skepticism."

(Mod: At this point in my life I am pretty much willing to consider anything. Though with a certain degree of skepticism, of course.)

We'll end this here.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

53 comments:

  1. Hunh. People attending the Hahamonga meeting were told they had to write down their questions rather than speaking them out loud. Now where have we seen that little charade recently? Oh yes, at the city's water meetings the City Manager ran. What a coincidence!

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  2. Who were the men the mayor was having coffee with yesterday? Was she scheming a beheading in town or was she just scheming against the whole town? Don't think we ever had a mayor that hurt Sierra Madre more than she does and don't send her to Sacramento again until you educate her about the fine Community Emergency Response Team "CERT" we have here. As far as beheadings go, she told the whole town she could take some volunteers out if she wanted to. I hope she's not a prime example of the people she represents. Wonder how she voted on our towns very own pedophile? Sierra Madre needs "Mean Mayor Nancy" voted out.

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  3. The priority of local government is to take as much money as they can from the taxpayers while at the same time excluding them from any meaningful role in government decision making. It is one of the services consultants offer. Which means our money is being used to shut us up.

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  4. 8:16, were you talking about the following?

    http://www.ci.pasadena.ca.us/PublicWorks/hahamongna/

    I would like the city to prove to the community that the excavating that was allowed on One Carter had nothing to do with our water problem we have today. For awhile during construction there was very tight security up there, could they have been diverting some water, so many questions so few answers.

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    1. You can ask the city, but you'd probably have to fill out a card first. At which time your question would be reinterpreted to mean: "How do I learn to enjoy the city's services enough?" There will be plenty of security on hand in case you attempt to speak your mind.

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    2. And you'll have to wait until afetr 11 am (M-TH. and alternate F) when City Hall opens to submit it.

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    3. Stonehouse and Carter/Stonegate both had their own water - wells and cisterns or something. The water rights went to the city in one of the settlement agreements when we were being sued by developers.

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    4. Being able to communicate with our city government is a privilege. Just don't expect to be told the truth about anything to do with development or revenue. Those topics are none of your business.

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    5. Good point. The diversion argument makes no sense.

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  5. Saw Mayor Mean in front of Bean T at 10 a.m. or so, sitting with another woman and two or three men. She was apparently listening attentively. By that I mean, she had her usual foggy, far-off expression of "it's over my head, let me outahere!" Did not recognize any of them but her. Gag!

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    1. Probably another miracle quick fix for downtown like the one Buxton conned her into spending $30K on. I think companies like that know what a sucker she is. I bet she gets meeting offers all the time.

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    2. its easy pickens for any developer in Sierra Madre

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    3. They were working on a new revenue plan that involves allowing burial of deceased family members, in the front yard.

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    4. According to the EENER Commission burying deceased family members in the front yard is a sustainable practice. Especially if your plants are drought tolerant California natives.

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    5. Unless your deceased family member (dfm) had a toxic personality.

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    6. Yes. Sour soil can be a problem.

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    7. 12;53 Show us where the the commission says that about burying people in front yard is a good practice or is that another made up story

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    8. It's a joke, son. Kind of like you.

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  6. So a transit and sustainability oriented democrat loses his Seattle council seat to a socialist who ran on the issues of the minimum wage and rent control? Looks like all that so-called green crap doesn't even work on the left anymore.

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    1. Metro - the Gold Line to nowhere.

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    2. Beg to differ...the Gold LIne goes to very interesting places, as does the Green, Blue and Red. You could get off your scardy cat derrier and give it a try.

      There is a hardy group of travelers that use the system to tour all over LA. Guess they are part of Tom Browkaw's "Great Generation's" kids...not much phases them and they like the world around them.

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    3. Sure. And after you've been to all 10 of them what do you do? I'd take it but if it does go to someplace I need to go, it is only a longshot coincidence.

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    4. If you don't have a job public transportation is meaningless because you have nowhere to go. That was the point of what happened in Seattle. The people dumped a green democrat for a socialist. Why? Because the green democrat had nothing for them. People need jobs, not a choo choo train.

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    5. and soon those "smart" Seattleans that elected this socialist will discover that minimum/living wages decrease the amount of jobs available and that rent control decreases the number of places available to rent and the condition of the buildings deteriorate too as ther is no incentive to repair them. boy, those progressive socialists sure are smart!!!

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    6. Sounds to me like 11:43 is in a nice time where there are no work commitments, and a leisurely ride around here and there is a fun thing to do. Sounds great - and it's a mistake to think that a lot of people can do it, whatever generation they are in.

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    7. The Gold Line is an amusement ride. Also it allows useless elected officials such as Chris Holden and Madame Chu to claim they've actually accomplished something beyond corporate fund raising.

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    8. It will also allow the folks that clean houses and babysit children in this area, good safe transportation.

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    9. I did not use the Gold Line for work but for conferences when I didn't want to face the 210, 110 traffic and parking. I took a good look at the riders and they were not on out on a lark. People heading to work and school and of a demographic not greatly expressed in Sierra Madre.

      While it is true that it dosen't get you everywhere, it gets a lot of people somewhere.

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    10. I have friends that use it for school and work. We have millions of people that live in SoCal, public transportation is a good thing. Don't have an issued with the Lines. Many students and people can't afford cars,gasoline,car insurance...it's a good option

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    11. It is not financially sustainable, however. Without the generosity of the taxpayers it would grind to a halt within weeks. A high price to pay for babysitter transport.

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    12. Life, death, and taxes. I don't mind paying taxes for smart projects (and please spare the "pay my taxes" bs line). I do mind paying taxes for dirty wars, subsidies for oil companies, arms makers big pharma and all the other greedy banksters that use every tax loophole available. No one gets out here alive, and if you think you can do away with taxes, you're dreaming.

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  7. likewise Mariah Carey, she hated being on American Idol and I hated that she was on it

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    1. In an expletive filled post Steve (or is it Craig?) complains about people posting things that offend him.

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    2. Steve suffers from keyboard Tourettes. He can't control his fingers.

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  9. In today's Looney Views News old Susan refers to something called the User Utility Tax. According to a City document published when they were peddling Measure 12-1 a year and a half back, there is something called the Utility User Tax. Or UUT.

    What is Measure 12-1 ?
    Measure 12-1 is on the April 10, 2012, municipal ballot. If approved by the voters it will extend the Utility Users Tax (UUT) until its sunset or reauthorization and provide funding for vital city services.
    What is a Utility User Tax or UUT?
    A Utility Users Tax (UUT) is a tax on certain utility bills. A UUT may be imposed by a city or county on the consumption of utility services.

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    1. Her main article is about the possibility of development on the Mater Doloroso property. Sure, we have a lack of water, but looks like the floodgates are opening

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    2. Do we know who wrote the article?

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    3. By line is Susan Henderson. And it's Mater Dolorosa...the Monistary.

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    4. Of course. But who wrote it? I found the article to be unnecessarily alarmist. At first glance it appears like vast amounts of development is being put up there. But it seems that if built it will be relatively few low density homes. Just like the neighborhood that surrounds it. I suspect the article is intended to be a distraction from the real ugly stuff going on in this town. I think it is bogus.

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    5. One more thought if I can. Please consider the source.

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    6. OK here's the comment I turned in on the Hahamongna issue, so that everybody can read what I really said:

      The "problem" here is that Hahamongna is a Watershed. It's basically all the silt behind the dam. There's an outflow pipe that's supposed to be used to allow the silt to flow from the bottom of the dam, but the County doesn't use it. The dam should be modified somewhat so that the silt & dirt flows when the water reaches a certain level in wet years. What that does ultimately is create a ravine formation into the backside of the dam at the outlet, and that's about it. County is not doing the necessary maintenance because then they can wait for an "emergency" to get the funds to scrape it all away at once, rather than managing the silt flow. Unfortunately that removes the riparian habitat that slows the water flow and helps the ground absorb the water, which is what that kind of dam is supposed to do; even out the water flow and recharge the aquifer. They've let it go because it doesn't produce power, so no loss of revenue, but it's headed for failure because it's starting to fill up.

      A big issue here is that managing the silt flow produces no truck emissions, whereas these proposed massive trucking operations probably violate AB 32 and air quality regulations. That in addition to the heavy particulate matter when summer activities are held at the Oak Grove area. And, finally, it's far cheaper in the long run just to manage the silt.

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  10. Thank you 6:01. And yes, if the Mountain Views News is involved, there is a good chance the reporting is garbage.

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    1. 6:15 And when you say something like that without a name attached then its a good chance it is garbage

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    2. I think we have all had enough experience with Ms Henderson's brand of "journalism" to know that skepticism about anything written in that paper is the correct approach. Last week's smear attacks against 2010's water rate protesters being a good enough example.

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    3. 8:12 I think you should read the article again there was no smear . just a editor giving her oppinion.
      If you think what she said is a smear then there are much more smears on the tattler than in her paper

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    4. "just a editor giving her oppinion."

      Is that you, Susan?

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  11. The monastery is zoned residential. Ripe for the picking.

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  12. So, who owns the property? The Archdiocese?

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  13. 5:59 it's true, some of that property went up for sale. The article is a soft peddle "sell" so it can be sold and the city is all for it so they can generate more revenue.

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  14. The interesting fact is that the County has no real watershed or dam Policy. We have a State Inspector of Dams and County Supervisors that are left to their own opinions and desires to formulate Policy that controls everything that starts on the sides of our mountains, streams, and subdivisions that have been graded over for homes. Supervisor Antonovich along with the Corps of Enginers decided for themselves how to scrap the Santa Anita Dam and deposit the silt below on over 100 acres of pristine land that contained Oaks, Sycamores and Native Shrub, habitat for bears, deer, foxes, small animals and bird species too numerous to mention. It was an environmental disaster that Arcadia (closest homes) sat by and smiled while it proceded. Watersheds and Dams are not evaluated for environmental effects.

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