Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Is Certain Public Comment Getting Left On The Cutting Room Floor? Plus: There Is A City Council Meeting Tonight

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I have received several complaints from people who have told me that their public comment from the most recent Planning Commission meeting has pretty much been chopped out from any of the SMTV3 reruns.

Which is kind of troubling in a couple of ways. The first being that this city is blessed with some very thoughtful and eloquent people, folks who actually bother to go to City Hall for these meetings and share what they know. A thankless task if ever there was one. You'd think they would deserve to be treated a little better than that. Besides, finding out later that your brief 3 minute talk has been badly cut or even deleted from Planning Commission meeting TV reruns altogether has got to be a sobering experience. You could find yourself wondering why that might be. Are your thoughts really that dangerous?

Even more troubling is that there might actually be somebody in a position of authority here who actually fears what some people had to say to the Planning Commission last Thursday. To the point where they would arrange to have the comments in question badly truncated or even deleted entirely from city video taped meeting reruns. You have to wonder what the stakes might be for someone to cause such a thing to happen. It really is kind of mind boggling and absurd.

One resident particularly annoyed by this is Barry Gold. Barry is an especially thoughtful and courteous speaker, and carefully prepares what he plans to say way in advance of these meetings. Barry spoke at last Thursday's Planning Commission meeting, and here is his entire statement:

Good evening Commissioners,

As you all know the support of our community to preserve the uniqueness of our very special town by preventing the McMansionizing of Sierra Madre has been overwhelming. 

Soon you will send the General Plan update to the city council. Our citizens are looking to the general plan update to reinforce the goals and guidelines that will save our city from the developers who's only desire is to build the largest homes they can on the smallest lots possible to make the most money they can and then leave without ever looking back at the destruction to our way of life that they caused.

As a lay person I cannot be sure that the wording in the general plan update covers all that it should to give us the protection we need to preserve Sierra Madre. So we look to you, our experts, to protect our neighborhoods by making sure that the plan contains the guidelines that will stop our community from being transformed into that which we all dread.

We do not want to prevent anyone from building their dream homes here and enjoying the tranquility of Sierra Madre. We just want their homes to blend in, not stick out.

I know that this committee recognizes that lot coverage, setbacks, mass, bulk, and I think most importantly, architectural fit are vital components of preserving our communities uniqueness. By making sure that the general plan update properly addresses these items you will be saving a cherished way of life for all who live here for years to come.

Thank you for your time, Barry Gold

All that made it to the reruns is that last paragraph and the sign off.

And apparently Barry isn't the only speaker to find that much of what they had to say was missing from the meeting reruns. Others have noticed that some or all of what Marguerite Shuster, Teryl Willis and Deb Sheridan had to say was also chopped out of the SMTV3 Planning Commission re-airings. There may have been some other people whose words were edited as well.

In that La Habra Heights City Council agenda report, the one George Edwardz forwarded to us recently, there was the following quote from the General Manager there, Shauna Clark. An individual adamantly opposed to public comment appearing in the public access reruns of those meetings. Here is what she had to say:


We don't have much in the way of the kinds of public comment described here. And according to people I have spoken with neither does La Habra Heights, despite the claims of its City Manager. Apparently it was just a lot of hyperbole meant to justify an act that is tantamount to government censorship.

But maybe this is a new government trend in dealing with unwanted and inconvenient public comment at city meetings? You have to allow people to speak during the meetings by law, but since there is no legal requirement that you include them in government access TV reruns later on, City Hall is free to just hack their comments out. That way only those watching the meetings live will ever get to hear them.

I hope that idea hasn't spread here.

There is a City Council meeting tonight

Rather than write about the whole thing here, I thought this week I should just link to the City Council meeting agenda, which is here. Somehow I just ran out of time this week. I'm sure you can figure all of this stuff out for yourselves. Probably better than I can.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

86 comments:

  1. the renewed its contract with KGEM because Elisa Weaver Cox assured the council that staff had done its due diligence research and that KGEM offered the best rates and the best service. If this is so, how awful are the other stations? Or did "staff". Not really perform the due diligence required?

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    1. KGEM is really the only company there is in this area. Others that bid on the contract are way above the cost that our city should pay and do not provide the service that KGEM provides. KGEM would not take it on their own to cut out parts of a broadcast. It has to be someone within the city that gave the authorization -- like our city manager or the city attorney. I think it is Mr. Gold's second paragraph that has the City worried.

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  2. Who on city payroll is is cutting and editing these broadcasts? This stinks of Elaine

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  3. Maybe Adele was upset. You know how she can get.

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  4. John, did I not state in my email to you last week. 'Coming to a community near you!' Send out the welcome wagon.

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    1. Quite a coincidence, right? Of course, in your city it would take a debate of the City Council first. Here they'd just up and do it without telling anybody.

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  5. KGEM has always been troubled. I'm betting this one could be due simply to incompetence.

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    1. Yes, but why would that incompetence only happen while residents are speaking?

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    2. Has anyone reviewed the tape of the whole meeting to see that the cuts were only on the residents?

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  6. Has anything ever been edited out of Rob Stockley's misinformational talks about the library?

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    1. come on, SM couldn't survive without the wisdom and guidance of the all knowing Rob Stockley

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    2. Did the Library close yet?

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    3. I was talking to Chicken Little about this earlier today. The word is it happens Friday.

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    4. People are VERY protective of this library. I just don't get it...

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  7. Just what happened to the 1st Amendment - freedom of speech? If this city council is willing to go this far where will they stop? I might add to keep pouring it on since it appears to have hit a nerve or bone and is causing severe mental stress for this so called leaders of the city. Tonight might be a good time to remind those busy little hands that chop and splice those public comments from each speaker at tonight Sierra Madre, California city council meeting not to do it again or there will be further repercussion from their dictator type of actions in a free society. This is not a Communist Country, yet?

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    1. The tattler edits its content too..

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    2. The tattler is a blog. It is not a city government. Though it is certainly more responsible than the city government we saw last night.

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  8. Did anyone notice that much of what was edited out of Mr. Gold's comments dealt with the General Plan? Was that the case with the other speakers as well?

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    1. All of these speakers need to tell the city tonight during public comment what is happening.

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    2. if you put your comments in writing and hand them to the city clerk she will place them in the minutes. I know it's not broadcast, but there will be a record.

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  9. Aw, do we have to read the staff reports ourselves? We always count on you to do our work for us. How can we know what is going on if you don't tell us how to think?

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    1. I really intended to do the usual, but I took my kids to a Dodger game instead. All 13 innings of it. It was a lot of fun.

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    2. 13 innings was not good luck for the Dodgers.

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    3. I was tongue in cheek, Mod. I love your reviews of the agenda items, but I think some on the blog need to read some things for themselves too. Just like you can't get the whole picture unless you actually attend a council meeting, you can't get the whole picture unless you read the entire staff report on the important stuff. A dad taking kids to the Dodger game is really most important over all.

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  10. The City is feeling the heat;they are beginning to make mistakes!

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    1. Strange that they still think they can get away with things.

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  11. Fortunately a reminder of just how awful it can get, Arcadia has allowed a gargantuan (house motel-multi family-?-hard to tell which) ediface a block up from the Arco Station. It sits right there on Santa Anita as a stark reminder that Sierra Madre has so much to offer especially as Arcadia goes downhill. Never Never compromise what we have for the "funeral parlors ", passing as single family homes in Arcadia.

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    1. They have swollen to such great sizes I've started calling them single family hotels.

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    2. They need that size so that they never run into each other at home....

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    3. Shared bathrooms are a leading cause of divorce in Arcadia.

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  12. Why would the city intentionally edit out such mundane remarks? Everyone loves a good conspiracy theory but nothing here.
    KGEM is run by a bunch of local kids it's not CBS. things happen........

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    1. Why did you think the remarks are mundane? You wouldn't be trying to softsoap this, would you?

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  13. Lacking interest or excitement; dull. Nothing we haven't heard hundreds of times,a position that is well supported in the community and well represented and recognized already.............

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    1. OK, enough about you. Can you tell me if the library is closing?

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    2. The library hours are changing it will open earlier and close earlier as I understand.

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    3. See? I knew it!

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  14. There was a helicopter circling downtown earlier. A police car was parked in front of the Old North Church. Another one was parked roughly near Arnold's. I overheard a policeman say to one of the merchants something like, "We are looking for a 19yr old Black female".

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

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    2. Maybe we should stop taking Sierra Madre so seriously and instead start looking at it as a pre-apocalyptic situation comedy.

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    3. It's been turned over to the Detective Bureau...

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  15. Public comment should be recorded as legal documents, just as any thing written and submitted.
    What did the city clerk ask to be re submitted from the last meeting? Something that was ........?

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  16. We don't want to lose our focus. Sierra Madre is going to face relentless development pressures over the next few years. Liiterally, the future of our little town is at stake. People need to get involved and speak up. The only way to save the city is through the General Plan and then its implentation which is manifested in the Municipal Codes.
    Now is the time to get this right and then we don't have to work so much. Time spent now will save alot of time later.

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  17. Councilmember Goss has corrected the City Clerk on the spelling of the word rodent.

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  18. The AQMD lady is making the air bad in the Council Chambers.

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  19. The AQMD lady is making the air bad in Council Chambers by her excessive oxygen burning.

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  20. Charlie Kissinger is happy about something. Not sure I care what that might be. Time to buy a lottery ticket.

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  21. Paulie Goosebumps should apply to be a Rose Prince.

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  22. Barry gold, about general plan, last line of defense against mc mansion. New development director, citizens should be included. I will meet with manager tomorrow. He thinks the people should have an input on hiring. We welcome building her, we want to fit our goals.

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    1. Wouldn't it be great if Danny's old job became an elective one? It is important enough.

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  23. Mr. Hood, about the enthusiasm about library. Fire dept. needs same enthusiasim.

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    1. If you don't like firemen, next time you need help call the library.

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    2. Mr. Hood is a constant champion for the fire department.

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  24. Oh dear me, it's Crooked Chris Holden.

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    1. Hysterical! Holden has his mug up on the top of the slideshow! Yep, never let a PR opportunity pass you by.

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  25. I'm against the water bond, Chris. The last thing we need to do is give more tax money to the people who fund your campaigns.

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  26. I just tuned in. Holden? I'm tuning out.

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  27. Holden is helpless without a PowerPoint.

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  28. God. As if watching these meetings aren't hard enough to watch.

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  29. Criminals are bringing children to California for prostitution purposes? How do you feel about Jessica's Law, Assemblyman?

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    1. He's probably against it. It discriminates against an important Democrat political constituency.

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  30. Chief Giannone can't get enough camera time lately.

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    1. It's been turned over to the Detective Bureau.

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  31. Chief wants to institute gun control in Sierra Madre?

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    1. Will that include Detective Amos?

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    2. Capoccia feels law hold be ant hunting in Sm.

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    3. In my house the ants hunt me.

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    4. It's been turned over to the Detective Bureau.

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  32. Goss-culture of violence we live in. Uncomfortable with restricting legal firearms. Arizmendi should be a hunter issue. Del mar, hunting issue. Another time restrict guns in our city parks. Can't tie these two together.

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  33. Funny! I meant about.

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  34. After all of these years the City of Sierra Madre is finally looking into sex offender laws and how they apply in Sierra Madre. I guess it is never too late.

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  35. What about the outrage over Bob Matheson, Councilmembers?

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  36. Nice to see city benefits are being cut. I guess all that news about us paying for the highest costing health plans in California finally got through to the City Council.

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  37. Elaine does drone on. Just cut the benefits and cap salaries. Shouldn't take more than 5 minutes.

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  38. It's Nancy Walsh! Just when things were getting boring.

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  39. Is anything that Nancy is saying making any sense?

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  40. Somebody needs to take her out for ice cream and cake.

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  41. All the dirts had tonight was poor old Nancy? How the mighty have fallen.

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  43. It's cold in here.i wanna go home to my blanky.

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  44. They're going to try and raise the UUT again.

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  45. The City Council lacks the will to deal with the UUT cut.

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  46. After almost 3 1/2 hours, I never thought I would realize how interesting mr. Holden was.

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  47. Eeyore Goss is struggling with the idea that the people of Sierra Madre decided they didn't want to pay the highest utility taxes in California anymore.

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  48. I know it is late, but I had to have a glass of wine and dinner before I could calm down enough to post. This is what we need to do. Call, write or email your city council MAN and let them know how disappointed you are that they just don't get it. If we want to curtail massive building in Sierra Madre, we need to get the General Plan Update approved. Elaine is putting up more roadblocks that you can imagine. The current re-org plan would force Elaine to work on the plan, justify the moratorium on building, and assist in keeping the water hook-up moratorium. No excuses, no wiggling out of it. The library be damned, they got what they wanted - a blue square on the org chart which could change in a nano sec if the Council chose to do it. Goss is not thinking of the city, he is thinking of his obligation of the library supporters helping him to win election. Think about it. Would you rather have a library open several hours a day, or would you like to have it closed most hours of the day. Would you rather have a City Librarian or no librarian. When the City can pay paramedics minimum wage, but pay a person working in the library much more, which would you want? O.K. I've had more than one glass of wine, but I'm pissed.

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    1. I think you're correct that Goss is beholden to this group. When he lost the election he moved onto the library committee, formed alliances and had broader support for his 2nd, successful, run.

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  49. Ok, I'm going to type this slowly for our Councilmembers & City Staff:
    (whispering) I know what to do about the UUT decrease - Spend...Less...Money!

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