Monday, May 19, 2014

So What Will Happen To The Sierra Madre Tattler?

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I don't know if you are aware of this or not, but after around 14 years of living in the occasionally friendly confines of Sierra Madre, my family and I are moving. There are a number of reasons for this, and unfortunately they all make perfectly good sense. It isn't anything we wanted to do, it's just that we have to do it. There really is no other way.

Here it is in a nutshell. Our oldest son is about to enter high school. We applied to quite a few private schools and, being a smart kid, he was accepted to all of them. The bad news is each of these fine institutions of a little bit of higher learning is quite costly. The one we were leaning towards, The Webb School in Claremont, would have cost us a cool $40,000 a year. Ties and meals not included. It is just too much.

Both Lorrie and I are the product of perfectly sound New York metropolitan area public school educations. Lorrie has two PhDs, and I ended up in the music business. Which makes the results 50-50, a decent enough average for the real world. And so, faced with some fundamental financial challenges, and not all that impressed with the private school educations our sons have received up until now anyway (as examples, neither can speak Latin or code computer programs yet), we decided to go out and tour some public high schools.

And that is how we discovered San Dimas. The high school there, which we fell in love with, has won just about every award the state can throw at it. The Middle School is equally celebrated. They offer everything real schools should, have extraordinary athletic programs (the San Dimas varsity baseball team has been scouted by professional teams with names like Dodgers), and in a lot of ways stack up very favorably with their private competition.

Interesting fact. Most private schools in the San Dimas area cost far less than their counterparts in the Pasadena region. Why? Because they have to compete with San Dimas's public schools.

House swap
The financials also add up. Homes in Sierra Madre, because the big development jackasses weren't allowed to wreck this town as they have so many others, are going for absurdly high prices right now. Our little cottage on the north end of Grove Street went for far more than I ever dreamed possible.

People want to live in towns that offer authenticity and character. Sierra Madre has all that, and people are willing to pay out the nose to get it.

If you check out the Redfin website you'll find a chart that shows Sierra Madre is one of the 5 hottest real estate markets in all of Los Angeles County. We didn't get this way by building the Downtown Specific Plan, or listening to the selfish complaints from the usual suspects in the Canyon.

It happened because slow growth Sierra Madreans stood up to some very big money, and won. The homeowners of this town owe them all a huge debt of gratitude.

Generic SCAG housing, which has harmed property values in so many of our neighboring cities, never happened here. At least not yet. But, given the pressures being exerted upon this community by people who only care about the dough they'll make by cashing in your birthright, this might not last. Three potential McMansion developments, various large and densely packed infill nuisance projects, the growing atrocity that is the ALF, plus imported water that kills cats and fish, all of that needs to be taken into consideration.

Nothing lasts forever, especially when you don't want to fight for it.

The differential in home prices between Sierra Madre and San Dimas is still fairly large. With the equity we picked up from the sale of our small house here we were able to get something far more spacious. Our new home is located at the end of a long driveway that winds up the side of a hill. It is surrounded on three sides by wooded land, and from the fourth we have a view that on a clear day goes on forever. All at about half the price a similarly situated home would cost here.

So what will happen to The Sierra Madre Tattler?
There are critics of this blog who are of the opinion that since I'm moving out I must stop doing this. Nothing could be more ridiculous, even from them. My wife is keeping her practice right here in town, and I have many great friends in Sierra Madre that want me to keep this project moving forward.

Besides, as far as this blog goes, I can pretty much do as I wish. The only time I listen to critics is when I want to find out which opposite way I should go.

I think that in time The Sierra Madre Tattler will start to take on a more regional perspective. Living 20 miles down the valley from where I am typing this now will likely do that. But the change will be gradual, and I don't plan on forcing anything.

Also, this blog has become something of a brand, with a readership that is hardly limited to Sierra Madre alone. 2.3 million hits and 103,000 reader comments are numbers indicating that there really is interest out there in what we are doing. Why stop now?

There is a lot going on in Sierra Madre today, and I believe it needs the kind of coverage this blog has always given the place. I know the town, and I know the material. Besides, this is the Internet after all. Who can tell where anything is actually coming from? And really, does it really matter all that much?

We might be moving down the road, but The Tattler is going to stay right here. I expect the transition to be seamless.
                                                             
http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

57 comments:

  1. This news will make City Hall very unhappy.

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    1. It has been a rough year for them.

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    2. One thing I want to say is Thank you. I only started reading the Tattler a year or so ago when I moved here. Now, its one of the first things I do every morning. I don't think I'll ever be able to figure out how John Crawford spits out a post every morning when he has a real full time job outside the Tattler. Judging by the quality of the postings and the writing that goes into it, the Tattler would be a full time job for the normal person. It goes without saying that John Crawford and the Tattler have made and are making a difference in the world. How many people can say that at the end of the day? If the Tattler didn't exist, among other pernicuous things, we would certainly have seen the UUT pass. If a few more people in this town and elsewhere cared as much about what what happens in this world as John Crawford does, we would all be better off.
      Thanks John for helping us all out and for not abandoning us in Sierra Madre even though you will be 20 miles away. All the best to you and your family. I suspect that if you shine the same light on the hypocracy and corruption that you will surely find in your new town of San Dimas (because no place is immune from it), that town will be better off too and its propery values will soon equal Sierra Madre's.

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  2. When will you be relocating moderator?

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    1. We don't have anything exact yet, but May 31st is the most likely date.

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  3. I have been here almost thirty years, this is the first source of real information i have ever seen, Thank you and please do not lose interest in us!

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  4. Thanks for all you have contributed , John, and thanks in advance for all you will continue to do on behalf of truth and preservation.

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  5. This is interesting, an expansion past the Michillinda Curtain. And now for the contributing editors and reporting staff! How to do that without ads or subscriptions? Donations to a 501 (c) 3 structure? Do you need a grantwriter? Kickstarter? Onward and upward!

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    1. The problem isn't a lack of entrepreneurial zeal, it is time. There is hardly enough of it to get done what I do now.

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  6. Caroline can just drop off items for Tattler articles, from her attic inventory, on her way to Claremont to have lunch with her retired school pals or on her way to Ontario for field assignment with Cal Fish and Wildlife Service. I am sure she will like the ride up the described narrow private drive into the wooded surroundings you will now be calling home. San Dimas has a very sweet downtown that they managed to keep whole without a Measure V. Hurray for them, hurray for the Crawford family.

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  7. Love the Nancy cartoon. Wasn't Sluggo the name of her pal? We'll that Nancy was a doll so it is only the name that is apt here in the question that relates to our recent Nancy, of past-mayoral fame--no bathroom, no storage room without some more thought-Nancy of past-mayoral fame...and boy, did she have to go up against "Sluggo" Tattler Boss Mr. Crawford?

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    Replies
    1. Ernie Bushmiller was a genius.

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  8. I am too sad to properly say the town is sorry to see you go, well maybe not city hall.

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  9. Going through the same analysis as you. More than likely I'll be moving the family in the next few years to La Verne, San Dimas, or Claremont. Cheaper housing and a good public education.

    I wouldn't say the private schools in other areas are cheaper. Like you mentioned Webb is in the $40k year range. It is more about who their funding sources are and what the school's mission is. Pasadena area and LAUSD area as a large number of private schools is because people are either that dissatisfied with the public education and/or they easily have the means to pay for the school.

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    1. Claremont water is super high. Be careful. Makes SM look like a good deal.

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    2. San Dimas? That's patrolled by LA County Sheriff's Dept. The horror...

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    3. San Dimas and its neighboring cities are fiscally conservative. That and they value public education. It's America out there.

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    4. But...but...they're not a full service city! {gasps}

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  10. The PUSD is helping to contribute to the gentrification of Sierra Madre. A good education can now only be purchased here at a high price.

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    1. Sad, but true.
      The PSUD requires students to study Sharia law in the 7th grade.
      Yes, right here in Sierra Madre middle school.

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    2. Steve is up early for a Monday.

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    3. He never gets up before his parents leave for work.

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  11. Good luck at San Dimas High, the home of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure!

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    Replies
    1. We all need excellent adventures.

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    2. Sierra Madre is an adventure, but not always an excellent one.

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  12. Thanks John. Your contribution has been invaluable.

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  13. The two top stories in the Mountain Views News this week are a local kid who signed with the Green Bay Packers after not being drafted, and the opening of an i-fruggie shop next door to the new Subways. Not that these aren't fine news stories because they are, but think of all the important news that was shoved aside to put them on the front page. Last week's Planning Commission meeting as an example.

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    1. Silly news for silly people.

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    2. Chase's younger brother Hayden is a back up QB at LSU.

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    3. disagree 8:49, the stories are more homespun and planning commission articles should be in a news section

      however, if it were election or Susan had an agenda, you can bet that the story on the new store and Chase would have been buried

      maybe Susan is understanding that her brittle spite is worn thin in the town and her round of supporters are being flushed down the toilet, her last supporter on the Council is John Harabedian and he'll be gone in 2 years and he's a lightweight on the Council anyway


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    4. Johnny Process is no light weight. He has a law degree and he went to Yale.

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    5. He is bound by the agendas of those he needs in order to advance his political career. Everything he does has to first pass through that filter.Too bad he is working for himself instead of the people who elected him.

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    6. I find it odd that Johnny lives in a small apartment here in town. If he was planning on staying here with his wife, and child on the way, why hasn't he purchased a home here? Those Latham & Watkins attorneys make a ton of dough.

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    7. Susan won't print hard news because she fears offending the people whose money sustains her publication. That and she doesn't always understand the material. Some of her articles are way off base.

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    8. Like all cons, Susan Harriet Poole Henderson knows who she has to keep happy, and whose trust she needs to manipulate.

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  14. 10:05 AM ... I can't believe Little Johnny will be staying here very long. With the financial support from dads work and the spiritual work from mom and her work that boys going up the ladder. Sierra Madre is just the launching pad for fame and fortune for LJ. Sacramento is his next stop. His record here will determine this families vote for their.

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  15. That would be for there.

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  16. Thank you Mr. Crawford for your work on behalf of Sierra Madre .You have endured much for our communal benefit for which my family are very grateful. I hope you continue to support us in our struggle against the forces that would disfigure this town beyond recognition.
    Best of luck in your new home!

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  17. You tore this town apart to appease your ego. Good riddance Mr Crawford.

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    1. You didn't read the article? The Tattler is staying!

      Blinded by rage, I guess.

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    2. Is that you Harriet Susan Henderson?

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    3. What do you really think?

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    4. 3:48 is mad - didn't get Crawford's listing.

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    5. I just spit my iced tea all over my keyboard. Thanks 4:24...

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

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    7. Somebody apparently mistook this blog for cable news.

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    8. Mighty big power attributed to Mr. Crawford, 3:48. Tore apart the whole town? All on his own?

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    9. That would be a mighty feat for one person.

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  18. Good luck on what seems to me to be an excellent move, and I look forward to you expanding the Tattler's penumbra -- there's so many rocks out there that need to be lifted so we can see what's squirming under them!

    Sierra Madre, you are losing a treasure: John Crawford is your watchdog and your pit bull. It's what a local news site needs to be. But a change of address doesn't mean a change of attitude. Look forward to seeing what happens next! Well done, John Crawford, and best of luck in your new location!

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  19. Hey I like reading this blog from time to time although I no longer live in Sierra Madre....I'm glad you have aggravated some of the regional powers! I hope you stick around and keep doing what you are doing.

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  20. While I am a big fan of your blog (I am a native Sierra Madrean), the reality is that sooner or later you will be perceived as a carpetbagger. Your wife's Sierra Madre office does not qualify you as a Sierra Madrean. I'm talking about perception, not whether you are qualified to comment on the happenings of our little town. You already mention that you may regionalize your coverage, which will only further erode the Sierra Madre-centric coverage you are so well known for. Geographical
    distance ultimately results in a psychological distance, which, of course, will affect your coverage. This is the bane of any newspaper/blog/news website reporter/editor/commentator who leaves the town they cover. It happens. I wish you luck, but it remains to be seen whether the quality of your present coverage will continue.

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    1. A carpetbagger by definition is an outsider who takes advantage of a community for monetary gain. I'd have a hard time accepting that one to be true, and if I was accused of such a thing I'd probably enjoy writing about it. But look, if enough people decide they no longer want to read this blog, then I'd be free to go and find some other way to spend my time, right?

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  21. I lived in Sierra Madre over 20 years ago... I fell in love with it but couldn' afford it. My parents had a house in the Canyon in the 70's until they sold it after the death of my father in 2009. Good times. I appreciate all that you have written over the years .... I understand your reasons for leaving although you are not leaving ... all in all keep up the good work. I don't agree with everything you say ... but I respect you ... and although I no longer live in Sierra Madre I totally love reading about the goings on ... peace my friend.

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  22. To A bit of a back handed compliment or 1:17am. The Rag or Sierra Madre News is a local paper; the first page only. The rest is filler from surrounding cities. What ever your perception of carpetbagger . . . then for that editor; would it then translate as . . . pack your bags? Thanks John for covering/blogging more California cities in the future, I am looking foward to a great read. And tk u 4 correcting all my mis spellings and gramerer. I agree with blog 9:45am I love reading your blog and dito; peace my friend.

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