Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Hilarious Star News Article: Water Board Member Caught Being A Water Rat

Mod: When government officials get caught doing stupid things, it is of interest to us all. Bringing the mighty down to the level of their actual deeds is an enjoyable way to spend some time, and we heartily endorse that kind of activity. And this particular instance is a real doozy. Can't get enough of it, actually.

This Steve Scauzillo penned piece ran in yesterday's paper. If you didn't get a chance to catch it then, here is a small portion of it. To check all of it out on the Pasadena Star News website (and you really need to do that), click here.


Just awesome. So you know, before moving on to his important water board duties Mike Touhey was on the West Covina City Council for 16 years, and also served as Mayor (link). Here's hoping that Waterwise Owl does a fly-by on 2-Hee's head.

The California Water Boards site (link), which 2-Hee is supposed to be all about, has some hard and fast rules about this kind of noncompliant misbehavior. Here they are:


Last October the Center for Investigative Reporting ran a piece called "California water officials aren’t following own call for conservation," which you can link to here. Partially penned by Lance Williams (the journalist who broke the news about our very own Susan Henderson back in the 1990s, and Chris Holden more recently), it shares some embarrassing details about all sorts of water officials who seem to believe they don't have to walk the same kind of walk you do.

NBC LA ran a related piece on their website last October called "Biggest Water Wasters in Southern California" (link). Here's the list of these fine public officials:

1. Mike Soubirous, Councilmember, Riverside City Council: 2,996 gallons per day (8.3 times average California user)
2. John Powell, Board President, Coachella Valley Water District: 1,808 gallons per day (5.01 times average California user)
3. Andrew Walcker, Riverside Utilities Boardmember: 1,799 gallons per day (4.98 times average California user)
4. Nick Ferguson, Riverside Utilities Boardmember: 1,791 gallons per day (4.96 times average California user)
5. Peter Nelson, Coachella Valley Water District director: 1,521 gallons per day (4.21 times average California user)

Pretty good stuff. These guys think they're just above it all.

Did City Hall screw up some closed session meeting noticing?

During last night's City Council marathon lawsuit-o-mania closed session meeting with City Attorney Highsmith, many items were discussed. All of which we pointed out yesterday. Including in this stack of legal woe was this obscurely stated item:


Very mysterious. Now this caught the eye of a Tattler reader, who then made the following two comments. The first is the original, and the second is a clarification that became necessary when somebody asked our dauntless commenter if he (or she) thought they were a "legal genius." 

Which he/she could be. You just never know who is going to show up on The Tattler.

Here is the first:


And here is the second:


Being a curious person, I decided to check up on this. Here is what Government Code Sections 54956.9(b) and (e)(1) have to say about this (link).

54956.9.  (a) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent a legislative body of a local agency, based on advice of its legal counsel, from holding a closed session to confer with, or receive advice from, its legal counsel regarding pending litigation when discussion in open session concerning those matters would prejudice the position of the local agency in the litigation.
(b) For purposes of this chapter, all expressions of the lawyer-client privilege other than those provided in this section are hereby abrogated. This section is the exclusive expression of the lawyer-client privilege for purposes of conducting closed-session meetings pursuant to this chapter.
(c) For purposes of this section, "litigation" includes any adjudicatory proceeding, including eminent domain, before a court, administrative body exercising its adjudicatory authority, hearing
officer, or arbitrator.
(d) For purposes of this section, litigation shall be considered pending when any of the following circumstances exist:
(1) Litigation, to which the local agency is a party, has been initiated formally.
(2) A point has been reached where, in the opinion of the legislative body of the local agency on the advice of its legal counsel, based on existing facts and circumstances, there is a significant exposure to litigation against the local agency.
(3) Based on existing facts and circumstances, the legislative body of the local agency is meeting only to decide whether a closed session is authorized pursuant to paragraph (2).
(4) Based on existing facts and circumstances, the legislative body of the local agency has decided to initiate or is deciding
whether to initiate litigation.
(e) For purposes of paragraphs (2) and (3) of subdivision (d),"existing facts and circumstances" shall consist only of one of the following:
(1) Facts and circumstances that might result in litigation against the local agency but which the local agency believes are not yet known to a potential plaintiff or plaintiffs, which facts and circumstances need not be disclosed.

It does look to me that a sensitive piece of legal information has been put into jeopardy of unwanted exposure by somebody's inability to get those little letters and numbers in the parentheses correct.

Anybody interested in filing a Public Records Act request and see what happens? It just might be something interesting.

Jeff and Taryn Hildreth vs. the City of Sierra Madre

Some were asking about the court date yesterday, so here's the details:

Los Angles Superior Court
April 13th, 2015 @ 8:30
Burbank Court – Dept A
300 East Olive Avenue
Burbank, Ca

Handling the case for the City of Sierra Madre? Dapeer – Rosenblit - Litvak. Here is how the firm is described on Martindale.com (link):

Dapeer, Rosenblit & Litvak, LLP is comprised of a dedicated group of ten litigators emphasizing the resolution and trial of business, real estate, municipal law, land use law, professional liability and related matters. A time-tested approach of meticulous analysis, careful planning and excellent execution has resulted in consistent successful performance on behalf of the firm's clients. While settlement is at all times sought, it is the philosophy of the firm's principals that the willingness and readiness to proceed to trial are the most effective method of securing above average settlements and judgments. Excellent client communication and involvement round out the successful approach used by the firm. The firm has extensive experience in representing business entities, both public and private, successful individuals and governmental agencies.

That "willingness and readiness to proceed to trial" line could be telling.

Last night's City Council meeting

My apologies, but I could neither go nor watch last night. I'll be tracking down some info today and posting it tomorrow. Most of it was held in closed session as you know, so there might not be a whole lot to report.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

55 comments:

  1. This guy owns a dairy barn?

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    1. Probably his best quality.

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    2. It is a drive thru. Those are quaint.

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    3. Are drive-throughs sustainable?

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  2. Maybe he was watering his cows.

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  3. What's up with the cow colored poles? Are they for fracking milk?

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    1. Those are for pole dancing cows.

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    2. Is that allowed in West Covina?

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    3. Yes. Under CA law, pole dancing by cows is an animal right.

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    4. Registered Bovines can dance wherever they want to.

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    5. Except Carson.

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    6. Mike Touhey is more porcine than bovine. The family that owns his dairy said Touhey's greed and unethical business practices were entire reason they had to close. He is no advocate for small businesses in West Covina- despite serving on city council all those years. He's bad news.

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  4. Every hour on the hour a cuckoo bird pops out of the gable.

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    Replies
    1. That would be worth the drive.

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  5. Best thing about that picture is his smile. Now that's a true politician.

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    Replies
    1. He looks like a large Elmer Fudd.

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    2. Hey, it's a photo op. He can't help but work it.

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    3. Touhey should have invited the resident photographer in for a milk dud and talked things over.

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    4. I want to know why he doesn't have AstroTurf instead of water sucking grass in front.

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    5. He's special. Can't you tell?

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    6. So when city representatives or city staff violate water conservation requirements, are they fined? What kind of penalties are in place for such idiotic behavior?

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    7. In the Star News article the number $500 is mentioned. Not a lot of dough, but certainly this guy should have to pay it.

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  6. I want to understand Government Code Sections 54956.9(b) and (e)(1), but I'm just going to have to wait for the regular language version.

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    1. Me too. Lawyer & client & opps? Can somebody give me an example? I've tried hacking though the legalese and just don't see practical applications.

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    2. Pretty opaque stuff.

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  7. Love it, Crawford. ....keep exposing these politicians for what they all are.

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  8. I don't want to know their names but I would like to have the addresses of cities top employees. I would take a picture to see how green they are. Anyone know some addresses to look at, no names just addresses. A picture is worth a thousand words U know.

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  9. Why can't citizens know what they're being sued for? What does it take to file a freedom of information request?

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    Replies
    1. That one is not a suit yet, right?

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    2. I don't think so. Looks to me like we're in the preliminary rounds.

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    3. The round of 64.

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  10. 10:15, because then remarks could be used in court based upon what was shared and commented on.

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    1. It is a secret world where the participants work in the dark and use your words against you to cast their spells and steal souls.

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    2. Actually, I reluctantly get the need to keep things quiet.
      You've got a jerk like, oh let's say, MacDonald, who's blustering and threatening and then backing down, going to this office and pouring over every word of a transcription from a regular city government meeting in Sierra Madre. And what is the scrutiny for? He's searching for weapons with which to dominate the city, and to force us to do his client's bidding.
      That's the way it works. I think. So the cone of silence is to diminish said jerk's arsenal.

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    3. It's war. You can't let the enemy know your plans.

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  11. The Hildreth's lawyer has made a fairly big investment of time and energy by now. I don't think anyone from Dapeer, Rosenblit & Litvak, LLP will be giving up anytime soon.

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    1. The Hildreths and their lawyer are ready to enjoy a fine payout from the city, in other words, us.

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    2. Funny how a city employee can make a mistake and the city residents are the ones who have to pay for it.

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    3. Any idea what this could cost?

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    4. Other than plenty? No. But that fact that the Hildreths have had a real law firm take up their cause, and stick with them, makes me think we'll be paying.

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    5. I believe the bad decision could cost city ha $1 miion to $5 million dollars. The judge will evaluate city expertise , the city is the agent of hildreths, a lot of time will cost city hall a lot of money....and

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    6. 4:14......so if a law firm takes your case you interpret that as you win? Reality check snookums, as long as the checks clear you'll find all kinds of representation, wake up!

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    7. Yeah, 7:50, but the Hildreths don't have any money to pay. It's got to be one of those pay-us-when-we-win deals. Snookums.

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  12. http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/general-news/20120211/hole-truth-still-murky-in-lawsuit-over-sierra-madre-wine-bar-project

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  13. The Facebook page for the Dairy has a date of closing of Dec 2014. You can see the "for lease" sign on the building in the above photo. They had been in business for a long time and were thanking their loyal customers. Bob Kirk, the photographer of the offending water use, may be the pharmacy owner of another long-standing West Covina business. I wonder if these guys went to school together and are still in some basic feud. Also, West Covina does not seem to be doing much with water coservation measures in terms of informing the average homeowner on what to do to cut back on water use. Sierra Madre, with its mismanaged water department has been freaking us out for a whole lot longer and the rest of the state is barely catching up to the dire reality of water shortage.

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    1. Yes, well we lost good water and had to replace it with stuff that it's better not to drink. That will contribute to the freak-out factor.

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  14. Would a part time person in city hall have the authorization to issue a partial permit in a two week period? Who did the fact checking on the ordinances and zoning for that area? Could it be that these people used to their advantage a
    misunderstanding and yet at the time ,had spent no money out of pocket. The Hildreths and the Darling house buyers appear to have a common goal. MONEY.

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    1. I'm afraid the answer to that first question is yes. Back when this started, Matt Maquez was promoted from helpful kid behind the counter to grand poohbah of the Development Department.
      His signature is on one of the Hildreth documents.
      Matt left after a few months.

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    2. 4:15
      You seem to be a hater. It sounds like our city manager that has the most to loose if the Hildreths win.
      The information that I have read says the Hildreths have no Money. They have been in a lawsuit with the City for five years, which would cost a boat load of money. The Hildreths are bleeding money.
      This is nothing more then abuse of one of our follow village citizens
      The Hildreth have lived in town for close to 20 years I think unlike the Brown's who want to tear down a beautiful craftsmen house. The Hildreth's saved a 1906 structure that is beautiful now but was a tear down. The Hildreths save it.
      There is nothing similar between the Browns and the Hildreths except your rant

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    3. 4:15 - what the Hildreth's got involved in was no conspiracy. Both parties committed error after error after error.

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    4. Yes, plywood over a public sidewalk always makes a home "beautiful now".

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    5. 5:10
      I think there is a conspiracy! The trail is in less then three weeks. We are about to find out.
      The Hildreth's stood up for their rights. The City has been nothing more then bullies. A lawsuit for five years, that tell me it's not the Hildreth. They would have already been evicted. The City is trying to take away their property and kick them the hell out of town. What would anyone of us do, run with our tail between our legs. You can't fight City Hall is true. But what do you do if City Hall is Corrupt! When the true comes out, city administration heads should roll. Except for our City Manager & Water Boy, everyone else saw the writing on the wall and are gone. No more Danny Castro, No more City building inspector, that's hired out now by a much more expensive private firm. Only the City Manager is responsible and should be fired.

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  15. I walk by the Hildreth all the time. There is no plywood over the sidewalk. There is a deck. The plywood has a painting of a oak tree. I think the structure is charming unlike other mansions in town

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  16. Actually the Hildreths tried to take that deck down. Even payed for a permit to remove the deck. The City would not issue the Hildreths a permit. All the information is available on the court website

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  17. Can you imagine this the U.S.A. has deported a pedophile back to Canada this didn't happen with Sierra Madre's finest cictizen? http://www.sgvtribune.com/general-news/20150325/ex-fugitive-found-hiding-out-in-san-dimas-deported-to-canada-for-child-molestation-trial

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