Monday, July 28, 2014

Sierra Madre's Adjudicated Weekly Newspaper Finally Publishes Our Building Moratorium Public Notice - And Is Doing This Two Times For Free

It's only money
The Public Notice for the remaining City Council business involved in extending Sierra Madre's building moratorium through July of 2016 has now finally been published by the Mountain Views News.

The paper's publisher, who somehow spaced out on her responsibilities (if that's what it was) here a few weeks ago, failed to honor a legally mandated requirement to publish this notice. This is what caused the City Council's deliberations to be bumped out of last Tuesday's agenda and into next month.

Because of Susan's error each of the five City Councilmembers will now have to drag themselves back from their summer vacations to meet in a special session on August 12th. I am certain this has sent all of them deeply into a state of beatific ecstatic peace beyond all known (and as yet unknown) past and present beliefs.

While Mountain Views News publisher Harriet Susan Poole Carter Henderson has steadfastly refused to accept any responsibility for what happened, the City of Sierra Madre did acknowledge the cause for this building moratorium extension discussion being pushed into August. The reason being to do otherwise would have been, thanks to Susan's dottiness, a violation of California law. Here is how this was communicated in a City Hall news release earlier this month (link):

City Council Consideration to Extend the Interim Moratorium
On July 8, 2014, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 1357U, establishing an Interim Moratorium Ordinance Pursuant to Government Code Section 65858 on the issuance of all building permits and any discretionary approvals for construction of new development requiring new water service connections. The interim ordinance was an urgency ordinance, making it effective immediately. The Interim Ordinance 1357U will expire on August 22, 2014, unless the City Council takes action to extend the moratorium before it expires.

Originally, the City Council’s consideration of extending the interim ordinance was scheduled for the July 22nd meeting, but the public hearing notice was not printed in the locally adjudicated newspaper (the Mountain Views News) as required by law. This means that the City Council cannot consider extending the ordinance at the next Council meeting, instead the City Council will meet on Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 6:30 pm, in the City Hall Council Chambers, to consider extending the moratorium for an additional 22 months and 15 days (until July 5, 2016).

Sierra Madre resident Judy Gold sent an e-mail to City Manager Elaine Aguilar asking her about how our adjudicated weekly newspaper's publisher was going the make good on this failure. The bonus revelation that came out of this exchange being The Mountain Views News is giving the City two freebie runs on this Public Notice. Both this past weekend and next.

Whether this is enough to compensate the taxpayers of Sierra Madre for the expense of having to pay for an otherwise unnecessary "special meeting" (and aren't they all special?) is not known as of this typing.

Here is that e-mail exchange:

This is an enquiry email via City of Sierra Madre from: J. Gold  xxxxxx@xxxxx.com;
Name: J. Gold
Subject: Publication
Message: Last night you mentioned the building moratorium extension notice would be published twice. Why is this notice being published twice? How much does it cost us to publish? And is Ms. Henderson paying for this because of her mistake?

From: Elaine Aguilar
Date: July 24, 2014 at 11:53:00 AM PDT
To: "J. Gold"
Subject: RE: City of Sierra Madre: Publication
Hello Mr. Gold (sic):
The notice is only being published twice to provide as much notice as possible.  The City is not being billed for either the first or the second printing of the notice in the newspaper.  The printing of these two notices is at no cost to the city. Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.
Thank you, Elaine

So there you go. The Mountain Views News is printing the Building Moratorium Public Notice two weekends in a row, and doing it for free. Apparently this is her way of making up for that rather badly timed and unfortunate error.

While Ms. Henderson is loathe to admit any guilt to the general public, she is hardly as evasive when it comes to protecting her relationship with the source of much of her income. 

Is City Hall attempting to restrict your use of the City of Sierra Madre website?

Let's say you are reading the City Manager's Report on the CoSM website, and see something of interest that you would like to forward to a friend. The best way to do that would be to make a cut and paste copy and send it off by e-mail. Unfortunately, and for reasons that are unknown at this time, you are now being blocked from doing this by the City.

Here is a screen shot of this new and unfortunate restriction in action:


When the current City of Sierra Madre website was brought on-line, so very much was made about how it would improve city government transparency in this town.

It is therefore sad to see that City Hall has decided to take so unfortunate a step backwards.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

53 comments:

  1. To copy ANY image from the internet:
    When you are on the page you wish to have content from, hold Ctrl, and press Prnt Scrn.(copy/print screen).
    Now it is on your clipboard.
    Open Paint in accessories.
    Hold Ctrl press V (Paste).
    Now save as an image file you can share like a Jpeg.
    You have now all been enabled.

    On a Mac it's called a screen snap shot and here's what to do
    To capture the image hold Alt and press Print Screen, then hold Ctrl press V on any document you are editing in.

    Neuroblast Films

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. Curious how does one get a password? How much do they want to know about those that copy? Very short cited! Are there copyright rules here? Very frustrating,

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    2. Thanks Neuroblast. You always have helpful information.

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    3. 11:43 - I think you have to pay a password fee.

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  2. thank you Mr. Neuroblast, that's helpful. However, it is a shame that the citizen paid for City Manager's report would even have a block on it. It didn't used to.

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  3. Shameful acts from the managers office is the norm.

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  4. I would never be able to work as a city manager if you have to respond to every petty demand and request

    Maybe the pensions are worthwhile to recover from these types of emails, imagine getting them all day long and also having to put up with the egos of Councilmembers and their demands.

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    Replies
    1. I imagine you do not "work" at all in today's technological paradigm. If you can't type out an email, with an entire staff at your disposal, and need or even desire compensation into retirement for it, speaks volumes about your personal investment in the Sierra Madre Shenanigans.

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    2. I would have been very happy to have retired at 50 with full salary if all I had to do was repond every day to petty demands and requests. Hell ya, even to put up with the egos of Councilmembers and their demands. Beats working for a living.

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    3. If the employee becomes so frazzled by doing their job, there's workman's comp.

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    4. The staff of Sierra Madre City Hall is taught to feel overwhelmed and underpaid.
      They obviously need more training and a whole different attitude.

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    5. I think if they lived here they would see things differently.

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  5. If you can't stand the heat .........

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  6. Years ago there was a Fedco Store where the big Target is on east Colorado Blvd in Pasadena, remember that store? Well, at the rear of the customer service area the wall had a large poster that read:

    "The customer is not an interuption of your business the customer is your business!"

    City Hall needs to get with the program. The citizens of Sierra Madre are their business day and to hold restrictive business hours and treat the citzens of Sierra Madre as if they were piranhas is just so much bull pucky. Just stop this! Open the doors to the public as does every other city, maybe close every other Friday, but keep longer hours one day a week the week the place is closed on Fridays.

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    Replies
    1. didn't Fedco close?

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    2. City Hall is available if you are a developer

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    3. I hope Fedco spelled it "interruption".

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    4. Great comment 8:38.

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    5. Amen. And ignore the spelling nanny. They can't help themselves.

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    6. Spel is a four letter word.

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    7. I confess that I am fond of good grammar and accurate spelling, but never, ever, to the point that the content is not placed first in importance. Hence, 8:38 has made an excellent comment.
      And if there's anybody who hasn't seen it yet, Weird Al's Word Crimes:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Gv0H-vPoDc

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  7. Tattler is full of examples of our City's staff incompetence ,obstruction and malfeasance. The are accounts of our LEO's behaving like loutish scoff-laws. Examples of idle, unhelpful employees are also given. How can an entire system be so bad? And why is it tolerated ? I only know the world of business so am perhaps unqualified to comment .But in business ,you could not be this bad for long before you'd be bankrupt. And there are a few simple rules to follow to help avoid that.
    I suggest the issue is one of toxic leadership. The employees aren't all bad, they just lack the example of decent leadership. Lambasting employees may be cathartic but it does little to solve the basic problem bad leadership.
    So what to do? In my simple business world, you start at the top. Submit the list of failures to the mayor and City Manager and ask for their resignation -in private. If they do not do the honorable , ask in public and take it from there.
    If you have no accountability at the top ,did we expect excellent management ? As ever in business ,it is much the system as the people that create failure. Carping about the failures is futile and just creates an unproductive hostile atmosphere.
    So shouldn't we start the process of getting some resignations?
    Documenting a list of failures by the City Manager and Mayor could begin here on the pages of the Tattler ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We could start by no longer hiring applicants that are beginning or early in their careeer. As far as I can recall, every city manager we've hired has used us to push projects and work that helps he or she find the next gig. I'm sure there are plenty of applicants that are in their 50's that would work for the city and not against the residents. When we found out that Elaine had applied at another city she should have been fired.

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    2. Employees are allowed to apply elsewhere. This is America, or what's left of it. Simmer down.

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    3. There is a victim culture at city hall, and that needs to change.

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    4. Goes along with the entitlement.

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  8. We should start with a list of success' of the city manager's office it's a MUCH smaller list.
    1. Pay off friends and cohorts through misappropriation of funds through the Benefits system...check
    2. Work closely with the local paper to create spin, to confuse the public in order to push the dirt agenda...check

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    1. 3. Bill the Mt Wilson Trail Race for 200 hours of staff time in pre event meeting and planning...get paid...check.

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    2. 200 hours of planning to let people run up a dirt trail they already use every day. Awesome planning, they may be able to help my parents gardener plan the mowing of his own lawn with that kind of outside the box thinking!

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    3. The city likes to refer to this as recouping costs. A more accurate word would be "monetizing."

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    4. double dipping.

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    5. 10:16 - apparently city staff is so slow and tedious that it took staff 200 hours to plan and review the trail race, which is the same year in and year out and we all know that it probably took staff a max of 20 hours.

      wonder why the city attorney didn't step in or why the Race Director just paid the city as if nothing had happened, especially when the Race Director was telling people that the proceeds of the event was to maintain the trail year round, not pad the pockets of staff or budgets

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  9. I don't think people want to see their city do it's business this way anymore. We need to change things.

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  10. Transparency is just a buzz word. While some members of our city council have and do mean it, it's just an irritation for the staff, and all they do about it is parrot the word.

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    Replies
    1. Transparency is a part of the process. Especially for stakeholders.

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    2. Has anyone requested a certificate of appropriateness?

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  11. Fedco did close......but the store with the greatest customer service now would be Nordstom's, looks like the way they treat customers will keep them around for along time.
    Maybe our city staff are just bad.

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    1. I think the majority of people working at city hall are probably nice people.
      It's the leadership that has a history of incompetence and knee-jerk defensiveness.

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  12. So forcing a change in plans for so many people (council members, many, many interested residents, staff) is worth 2 freebies.
    What's the exchange rate on Henderson's screw-up?

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    Replies
    1. In exchange for the two freebies the city worked to help suppress the story.

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    2. What is this incredible largesse worth?

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    3. Depends on which day you are asking.

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  13. City Hall is a strange configuration which makes for greater isolation. Your boss if off in a corner and as the welcoming face to the public you sit behind a horseshoe barrier and have to move forward to see what the member of the public wants. There is a feeling of non-productivity as half of the desks are empty. I would take a sledge hammer to the place and rearrange that mess yesterday. If you come to work at 8 or 9 am (when does the work force show up actually?) and bury yourself in the important work of the day, how do you feel when the doors open to the public at 11 a.m.? Oh the onslaught! and you have to deal with all their problems! Well, dang!

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    Replies
    1. I'm with you, 5:13.
      A few efficiently minded residents should be let loose on the place.
      A new volunteer committee - SMFCH. Sierra Madreans for a Functioning City Hall.

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    2. Don't look at the man behind the curtain.

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    3. Woman. The woman behind the curtain.

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  14. You know what the worst part of that meeting being bumped into August? It means I have to think about this stuff in the middle of the dern summer. What a dirty rotten trick.

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