Friday, September 12, 2014

Is It Possible To Censor And Remove Public Comment From City Council Meeting Television Rebroadcasts?

A resident not seen at public comment lately
Mod: Under the tutelage of Mayor John Harabedian the hostility we had previously seen surrounding public comment at City Council meetings here in Sierra Madre seems to have abated. John, to his credit, often appears interested in what people have to say, and even responds to some of them. A rather surprising development that not too many could have predicted just a few short months ago.

The three minute clock, which was just about the only thing our previous Mayor appeared to care about when people were sharing their concerns with the City Council, seems to have now fallen into disuse. Not to mention the three minute cutoff button that Joe Mosca enjoyed using when he was Mayor. Another complex individual who had an undue amount of complicated problems with the public's demands.

However, the truce we presently enjoy could end someday. Nothing lasts forever, you know. And it certainly doesn't exist everywhere in Southern California. As proof of that I have now received some pretty troubling information from our good friend George Edwardz.

George, who has the good fortune to reside in a city with politics as interesting as ours, had this for us. It appears that in La Habra Heights things have gotten so edgy for certain members of their City Council that they are attempting to remove all public comment from television rebroadcasts of their meetings.

All I can say is it's a good thing Nancy Walsh never thought of that one. Think of all the public comment that would have ended up on the cutting room floor had she gotten out the scissors. Outside of Gene Goss, and perhaps Paulie Goosebumps, there would have been nothing left.

George sent me the following Agenda Report, which deals with that City Council's efforts to censor and gag public comment in his town. Here is a portion of it.


I am not going to repost this entire agenda report here. A lot of it is pretty standard government-speak, and Lord knows we get plenty of that here. But what follows has got to be two of the most astonishing paragraphs I have ever read in a City Council Agenda Report. Anywhere. See if you don't agree.


Needless to say I am more than a little jealous. And I would never have suspected that public comment at a City Council meeting could drive down property values. You learn something new everyday. Is there a consultant we can hire to look into this? Maybe we can get a big fat C.A.R. grant?

However, there is a distinct possibility that a sinister motive is behind all of this. La Habra Heights exists in that portion of Los Angeles County known to have oil deposits. And certain petroleum companies are now jockeying to set up fracking operations there. Not exactly the kind of thing anyone would want to see in their backyard. Being a proud card carrying NIMBY myself, I can easily understand why people there might be upset about such a thing, and cussing out their slacker City Council because of it.

And honestly, where would do you find the water to do such a thing these days? Fracking is the ultimate water hog. Even modern families don't consume that much.

George forwarded me the following statement, which was issued by an organization called Heights Oil Watch. Or HOW. They have a pretty good blog, and you can access it here.


I think we can all figure out how this one goes. The oil companies want to dummy up the citizenry as much as possible, and the highly suspect City government in La Habra Heights is more than happy to assist them. After all, there is financial gain in this.

So which is worse for a small city? Having a frackable oil patch, or having a bunch of godforsaken McMansion developers lurking about?

I'll let you mull that one over.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

36 comments:

  1. This cannot be legal! Staff whining so loudly that the citizens right to free speech is suspended? Unbelievable.
    Not only should the La Habra group recall the council, they ought to sue the staff too.

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  2. I would like to refer the council/staff of La Habra Heights to read the first amendment of the US Constitution. You know, the one they swore (or affirmed) to uphold and defend when they took office. that freedom of speech thing can be pesky.

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  3. All I can say is that if the residents of La Habra Heights care enough about the allowance of dissent in their city, they should recall or vote out those City Council members who are trying to stifle dissent. That's democracy in action. You are always going to find certain City Council members and City Staff members who want to pass their own laws about various things unburdened by any opposition in the process. The residents need to rise up and make their representatives i.e. the City Council and the people whose salary they pay i.e. City Employees understand that the residents are in charge.

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  4. Pyongyang Heights.

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  5. This is so outrageous maybe the national media will pick it up. That would be good.

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  6. a democratic system where the individual's vote is unimportant. yeah, that'll never happen.

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  7. what? So April 1st arrived early in La Habra Heights this year?

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  8. Oil companys are just as evil as developers, Fracking when there is a severe water shortage? Oh, I just made my point!

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  9. Wow. Can we get some of those public commenters here?

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  10. Let's get a bus to transport them to and from our council meetings

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    Replies
    1. Bus? Heck, I'd send a limo. The La Habra All Star Public Comment Team. "Quake ye mighty!"

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  11. Fracking and McMansioning are both terrible for the environment.

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    Replies
    1. McFracker. A McMansion with a oil well in its backyard.

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  12. The Regular meeting of the La Habra Heights City Council was rescheduled to Monday, September 15th at 6:00 p.m. All are welcome to attend and speak during what the council refers to as the public comment ghetto hour. Here is what our public comment period looks like. Link: http://youtu.be/_2kGkywT0Z8

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    Replies
    1. Great comments.

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    2. La Habra residents watch out for the words "mitigate" and for the words "we could be sued"

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    3. "We could be sued" is government code for "We won't lift a finger."

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    4. "Mitigate" means never having to say you're sorry.

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    5. If it is a mitigated negative declaration then the effects are nearly atmospheric.

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    6. Not sustainable.

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  13. Real effective democracy occasionally requires the help of angry mobs with pitchforks.

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  14. Just drove through San Marino on Monterey. At Monterey and Old Mill a couple of single family hotels are going up. Guess the San Marino Planning Commission has been thoroughly vanquished.

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  15. 2,600,000 hits.

    "Nobody reads The Tattler."
    ~ Former Mayor (and Missing Person) Josh Moran

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    Replies
    1. Nobody sees the Moran.

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    2. you are complaining?

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    3. No. Haven't seen the Nancinator, either. Where have all the flowers gone?

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    4. you mean Josh isn't working out of Mary's Market anymore?

      what Josh should have said instead of nobody reading the Tattler, nobody listens to him

      1 and done

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    5. It will only cost you the price of a latte' … no, really!

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  16. La Habra City Council must have something to hide. You cast your vote hoping to be represented by a public figure, not to be told you .have to argue for the right to be heard. RECALL.

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  17. Here is the problem: if you want people to listen to you it is not a good idea to belittle them. Firm, no nonsence and rock solid research. A small team of Sierra Madreans got rid of the underperforming city administrator in the 1990's. Group met and did their research, presented their finding to the City Council and even though the City Council didn't want to hear the truth, the group won out. Since then, we have been through a revolving door of City Managers, Planning Directors, and the like but that part if the same everywhere. The City Administrator was probably "dirty" as he gave away things too easily (this was the assessment of an Orange County attorney that they worked with. Problem was, Sierra Madre was so small it might have never been exposed unless his name came up with a bigger scandal. We made it too hot for him to stay and off he went. A few day back someone posted the one of those shuttling through as Sierra Madre's City Administrator, Tammy Gates, was fired from her follow-up position in Yorba Linda. You just have to keep their feet to the fire and get the goods on them.

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  18. Walsh was just too busy during her 4 year term working on her solo project to remove the bathrooms at Memorial Park and turn into storage for the Senior Hall - with this much too do, she didn't have time to think about anything else

    cept to rant on volunteers

    she was a waste of time and space on the Council

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  19. Jackals! You are all jackals! Leave them be!!!

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    Replies
    1. Jackals by their nature are hermaphrodite. Why do you hate the transgendered?

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  20. Links to report on Monday's La Habra Heights City Council shenanigans.
    Whittier Daily News Link: http://www.whittierdailynews.com/government-and-politics/20140916/la-habra-heights-council-puts-off-decision-on-blackout-of-public-comment-period-on-cable-tv

    Link to You Tube video of meeting: http://youtu.be/rUCNiyYRxHk

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