Thursday, October 9, 2014

Can I Get A Witness? The Missing Planning Commission Public Comments Mystery - The City Weighs In

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Back on September 23rd we posted an article here titled "Is Certain Public Comment Getting Left On The Cutting Room Floor?" You can link to it here if such is your wish.

What that post dealt with was the disturbing news regarding several people who had made public comments at the September 18 Planning Commission meeting, only to discover later that, in the KGEM replays at least, what they said that evening had somehow vanished. The natural suspicion being that someone had been doing a little surreptitious editing, and decided that these particular comments were best left on the cutting room floor. Where they would be both out of sight and safely out of mind, you understand.

As you may also recall, this particular meeting was yet another of those dealing with the seemingly endless attempt by the folks at CETT to build some jumbo LULU McMansions up at One Carter. A matter of great importance in town, and one that most likely is heading to the Courts fairly soon.

To be clear, nobody in an official capacity has discussed anything like lawsuits yet, nor are they likely to do so anytime soon. But that hardly means what we are speculating about here isn't true, or that the last few meetings haven't really been more about legal jockeying than any potential McMansions. Just so you know.

So here is how this was all described on The Tattler Sep 23:

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.

As you also likely know, reruns of City Council and Planning Commission meetings are pretty much the meat and potatoes of SMTV3 here in Sierra Madre. With public comment always being an important part of these rebroadcasts. And it is quite probable that more people see those meetings in the repeats than they do live.

Several residents whose public comments appeared to be tampered with had written into the City asking for explanations. Yesterday replies were sent out by City Hall, and I managed to get my mitts on a couple of them. Here is the first.


For the record, I am often at these meetings, and I do bring a laptop with me so that I can transcribe some of the happenings there. And I do use the Internet, of course. So if Leticia's theory is correct here, I could be at fault. Though I am having some trouble accepting that.

The other response came from Elaine Aguilar, Sierra Madre's longstanding City Manager.


Now here is the part where you come in. We're looking for a few good witnesses. Anonymous ones are fine. The issue as I understand it wasn't the live broadcast, but the repeat airings of that broadcast. It is where people began to notice that what they'd said at the meeting had been somehow deleted. After all, they could hardly have been watching themselves disappear on television at home while they were at City Hall making a public comment at the same time. Right?

So how else would they have known? It's not like anyone at home could tell if what they were saying was not being broadcast live.

A couple of the people I have been corresponding with have said that they did watch this particular meeting at home, and that the public comments in question were broadcast in their entirety. At least in the original "live" airing. It was only later that they disappeared.

This, of course, was after they'd discussed the matter with those who had made the actual public comments.

So anyway, if you were a witness that evening, let us know what you saw. Leave a comment here. As you can tell, it really is quite a mystery. And inquiring minds always need to know.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

43 comments:

  1. In the technological age, we should be able to get this right. Can't the folks at Google or Oracle send us their best and brightest to help out like they did with the Obamacare website?

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  2. Maybe the City manager has a bandwidth problem, too.

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    Replies
    1. That's not nice.

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    2. True. Hopefully it can be fixed.

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  3. Maybe our city manager should disappear!

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  4. We should edit city hall meetings so only public comment is visible.

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  5. Who does Arcadia use to broadcast their meetings?

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    1. Who says that Arcadia's broadcasts are more complete or more accurate? Insist that KGEM and Elaine fix the problem! We the Taxpayers pay for service we are not receiving. Doesn't that bother you 6:41 am?

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. The playback of the first meeting full of skips (PC 9/18) is now restored.
    Looks like there's a 72 hour timeframe before that has to happen, which is why it was not a true playbcak at first.

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    1. So anyone who watched the actual meeting live, or the repeats for the following three days, didn't get to see public comment? Really?

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    2. We're very busy. No, really!

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  7. You gotta love the city manager - any opportunity she has to say staff is too busy, she grabs it.
    You want accurate records? Give me more money!

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    1. Aguilar's management slogan is "We are overworked and underpaid." That is all she has to bring to taking care of this city.

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    2. Ranks right up there with the PD blotter stating officers responded to the PD lobby for a complaint.

      Ya see, we can't outsource the desk dispatcher! People would have to call on the phone or pick up a direct line phone in the lobby (gasp!)

      Besides, the dispatchers are eligible to be POA members. Gotta keep up those Union dues!

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  8. Maybe a time allocation for priority jobs should be evaluated.

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  9. The answer is always more taxes.

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  10. If band width is a problem then all the staff that attends the meeting and sits in the backing playing with their iPad and phones need to turn them off and pay attention. Also, if bandwith is the proplem then shouldn't the entire meeting have this problem and not just public comment?

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    1. 8:39. you are so right! I have observed staff surfing the net or playing games during the meetings. And they get credit for being there.

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    2. Public comment uses more bandwidth than, let's say, Gene Goss.

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    3. Gene Goss: "I agree with Councilmember (fill in the blank)."

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  11. That is why Elaine kept trying to postpone general plan meetings -"not enough staff," even when an assistant for Danny Castro was hired allegedly for work only on the general plan

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  12. These jobs use to get done years ago, why can't they now get done with the expensive computer system we have had for some time now?

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    Replies
    1. Whenever residents have a complaint like this City Hall turns it into a fundraising opportunity. Too bad they didn't use some of the $36K health plan money for fixing this problem instead.

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  13. Since the mystery of the lost tape recording still go unanswered how about this, http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/opinion/20141007/whittier-conservancy-grateful-for-tour-of-nelles-facility-letters there seems to a complaint written against a certain city attorney and his actions are being called up on as being deceitful and unethical before the public comments can be recorded or aired via the cable channel, D. Wayne Leech is the culprit all right and other illegal discrepancy has surfaced while being employed by the city of Glendora, California.

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  14. If anyone is really feeling upset about the quality of service Kgem offers voice your complaints!! There are other companies out there, that offer better services for more competive rates!
    Voice Your Outrage, and be heard!

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    Replies
    1. other companies charge twice as much.

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    2. Maybe we should let the library run it.

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    3. You're just going to have to trust me... There's at least one upstart company containing several people with decades of experience that charge less than KGEM

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    4. City Hall doesn't do upstarts. They pay top dollar for the same old faces.

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    5. They are the same faces... Just different company!

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

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    1. Language, dude. That kind of talk uses too much bandwidth.

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  16. Like one poster noted earlier, it is hard to believe that only public comment fell victim to a bandwidth shortage caused by laptops. I find the City's explanations to be entirely without credibility.

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  17. Whenever Elaine doesn't know what she is talking about, we get an answer like the one Tattler posted. Can anyone believe her round-about story?

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  18. A good friend in Arcadia paid $34 for water last pay period. My charge was abt. $350. Same size house, same size pool, same lawn being sprinkled. Something very suspicious is stalking City Hall and it stinks to high heaven.

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    1. Did you compare the water consumption amounts? Plus all the added line items? That will tell you what's going on.

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    2. Pay no attention to that water bill! We only raised the rates twice so far in 2014. Enjoy your services!

      PS: We REALLY need to raise the UUT. No, REALLY.

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    3. Is that "Enjoy your services," or "Enjoy being serviced?"

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