Pasadena to pay $275K to fired department heads amid $6.4M embezzlement investigation (Pasadena Star News - link): The city will pay more than $275,000 to two Pasadena department heads who were fired amid a $6.4 million embezzlement from City Hall. Department of Public Works Director Siobhan Foster and finance chief Andrew Green were fired without cause by City Manager Michael Beck last week.
The city released details of the total severance packages that will be paid to Foster and Green on Wednesday morning. Foster will receive six months salary and healthcare benefits totaling $109,425.39. Green’s severance pay totaled $105,840.93.
In addition, Foster will receive a $33,198.21 check for hours worked, car and phone allowances, cash-outs for vacation, management time off and floating holiday hours afforded in her contract. Green will receive a $27,876.65 check.
Their dismissals came in the wake of the Dec. 30 arrests of former DPW employee Danny Ray Wooten, 51, Altadena-based contractor Tyrone Collins, 55, and former temporary city employee Melody Jenkins, 46. In a 60-count felony complaint, the city began an administrative investigation into the alleged embezzlement scandal.
Mod: Now there's a difference between public and private sector employment. If I were to get fired from my job I might be able to keep that box of fine-tipped black Sharpies I ordered recently. But I'd probably have to discuss it with HR first.
Don’t Be Left Out, Get Your Tickets Now for One Book One City Scotch Tasting (City of Sierra Madre website - link) Ticket sales begin on January 31st for the popular Scotch Tasting event, part of the One Book One City program at the Sierra Madre Public Library. The classic detective novel, The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler, is Sierra Madre Library’s 2015 One Book, One City pick and a month of exciting events is planned celebrating Chandler and the LA Noir genre.
A celebration of the hard-living Marlowe will include a Scotch tasting on Friday, February 13, 2015, at 7:00 pm., in the Library and is limited to the first 30 pre-reservations. Tickets are $15 and will be available at the Library beginning at 1:00 pm on January 31st. No tickets will be sold at the door on the evening of the Scotch tasting event.
Mod: This works for me on so many levels I can't begin to tell you. Great book, one of the best genres ever, and scotch? What is the library trying to do, get cool on us?
Ray Bradbury's house, sold for $1.76 million, is being torn down (Los Angeles Times - link) Ray Bradbury lived in his 1937 Cheviot Hills home for more than 50 years. After the author of "Fahrenheit 451" died in 2012, the house was readied for sale.
The home was filled with original details, such as built-in bookcases, that surrounded Bradbury for much of his life. The next owner could be proud to live with the echo of Bradbury, the beloved science fiction writer who advised both Walt Disney and NASA.
The longtime home of the late writer Ray Bradbury has come on the market in Cheviot Hills at $1.495 million. The home, which was purchased in June for $1.765 million, is being demolished. A permit for demolition was issued Dec. 30, Curbed LA reports, and a fan who visited the house over the weekend found it in the process of being torn down.
At the request of friends who'd heard the home was being destroyed, John King Tarpinian paid it a visit. "In only one day half of the house was gone," he writes at the science fiction site File 770.com.
Tarpinian took photos of the shattered roof, half-demolished walls and former patio where a knocked-out door frames emptiness behind. "As I was taking pictures locals were walking their dogs. They’d stop to observe and we’d converse," Tarpinian writes. "One lady had no idea who had owned the house; she was new to the neighborhood. She walked away in tears. Another long time neighbor knew it was Ray’s home and we mutually agreed things like this are just wrong but money wins out. Another young couple had no idea who Ray was ... the saddest encounter of all."
According to Curbed, Bradbury's house was purchased by "starchitect" Thom Mayne, of the firm Morphosis, and his wife, Blythe Alison-Mayne.
Mod: Maybe somebody just wanted to build their dream house there. Starchitect and all.
As motorists use less and less gas, gas tax revenues to pay for state highways, roads and bridges shrink. Meanwhile, as gas prices fall, so does the sales tax generated by fuel sales. In California, among the taxes collected on fuel is a 2.25% sales tax on gasoline and a 9.67 percent tax on diesel.
Some state lawmakers feel a mileage tax is the best solution.
To pay for the shortfall, California officials are considering a plan that would replace California’s gas tax with a fee for each mile motorists drive. Drivers who log the most miles will end up paying the most, no matter how fuel efficient their car is.
Mod: This one doesn't seem to be going away. In order to track exactly how many miles you've been driving, the state would force you to carry a black box in your car that would pretty much let them know where you've been and what you've been up to. One particularly big champion of this invasive misery has been Hasan Ikhrata, the former Soviet official who now heads up our local regional planning organization SCAG. The very same inept and befuddled central government planners who yearly attempt to tell us how to run Sierra Madre. Detecting a pattern yet?
"Our Water is Black": Families Worry Over Foul-Smelling Tap Water (NBC LA - link) Families in a Southern California neighborhood worried by black and foul-smelling water pouring from their faucets, toilets and showers say their water company is not doing enough to fix the problem.
"We don't want to drink our water, because our water is black," said Gardena resident Emy Sebastian.
"My daughter says, 'Mommy the water is black and it stinks. Why does the water stink?' She doesn't want to wash her clothes."
Diane Morita and her neighbors say it's been happening off and on for months. She said the murky water "has an odor of rotten eggs or sewer smell."
"I'm concerned because it's getting worse, if it's even safe," Morita said.
"I refuse to drink the water," said resident Don Inouye. "I run it through a filter and I drink bottled water."
Some residents wonder if the black water is connected to their recent health problems. Sebastian said she and her daughter have gotten sick from drinking the tap water.
Mod: Don't you hate it when other cities try and one-up us?
City Councilman Pulls Out Gun To Defend Colleagues As Shooter Opens Fire (ABC News - link) A gunman opened fire inside a suburban Minneapolis city building Monday night, injuring two police officers before authorities returned fire and killed him, the county sheriff's department said.
The terrifying moments were caught on video inside the city council chambers. Video shows the city council memberse duck under the desk when they heard gunfire. One of the city council members even draws his own weapon, prepared to defend himself if needed.
Hennepin County Sheriff's Office chief deputy Mike Carlson said the shooting happened around 7:15 p.m. while two officers were being sworn in at the New Hope City Hall.
The newly sworn-in officers and others were leaving the city council chambers when they encountered a man armed with a "long gun," Carlson said at a news conference.
The man opened fire and struck two New Hope police officers, Carlson said. Other officers immediately returned fire, killing the gunman, he said.
Carlson said the officers are in good condition and are expected to survive. He did not identify the gunman or disclose a possible motive for the attack, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.
Mod: Does anyone here know if any of our City Councilmembers are packing heat? Certainly could be an effective way of dealing with 15 minute public comments.