Thursday, April 30, 2015

Is Anyone Familiar With This Sierra Madre Rescue Dog Rumor?

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I always feel a little proud when this blog is the first place to report on an important story. Nothing is more fun than breaking some real news to the people who want it. This is what gives readers a reason to go to The Tattler. You just don't know what can be found here on any given day.

The most recent example of what I am talking about today would be news of the hiring of our new Director of Planning and Community Preservation, Vincent C. Gonzales. Nobody knew anything about this guy or his new job until that news was first made available here.

This was something City Hall had known about for a while, but decided for whatever reasons to keep it all a big secret. Even the City Council had not been told about it. Which is probably not the best way of doing things. After all, it was the City Council who had decreed that we needed a Planning Commission firmly tied to Community Preservation.

Vincent is a guy whose planning past is tied to heavy high density redevelopment projects, which is a field of endeavor about as far away from Sierra Madre community preservation as Attila the Hun is from Gandhi. Doesn't make him a bad guy mind you, just not the right fit for what this town needs.

So here is our next breaking news story. A friend of mine was out of town attending a convention of some sort. And while there he met with some people who mentioned that they'd heard this crazy rumor about Sierra Madre, a paramedic and her rescue dog.

Apparently this paramedic was fired for what many in the department feel was not a very good reason.

Like most who work there she was a part-timer, in this case one that also does work for the LA County Sheriff's Department. This individual saw what she thought was a need in this town, which was for a trained rescue dog. Something that would be useful in many emergency situations.

Knowing that Sierra Madre had no budget for a rescue dog, she decided she would use her own money to purchase a fully trained one herself. The cost being $5,000. Which is a lot of money for anyone, much less someone living on a part-time paramedic salary. It seems to me that this was a pretty generous thing to do.

Long story short, the woman was fired from her job here. Apparently the City Manager caught wind of this, didn't think the dog had any place there among the Paramedic and Fire Department staff, and sent this woman and her dog packing.

There is now a lawsuit, of course. In this day and age city employees cannot be summarily fired without a carefully prepared reason. Using your own money to purchase an expensive rescue dog, and for a department where such an animal would be put to the very best use, just doesn't seem like a good justification for such a dismissal.

If anyone has any details to add to this story, please let us know.

Pleasanton CA joins our call to halt RHNA numbers until the drought is over

Last Sunday I had an opinion piece in the Pasadena Star News (link) that called for an at least temporary halt to Regional Housing Needs Assessment numbers, or RHNA. Cities in California have been required to meet these numbers for quite a few years now, and nobody is particularly happy about it.

In case you are blissfully unaware, these are mandated new housing development quantities handed out on behalf of the many cash friendly Sacramento construction and Realty lobbies (along with their all too agreeable legislative pals), by organizations called Regional Planning Organizations, or RPOs. Our RPO is known by the unfortunate acronym SCAG.

The threat here is that any city refusing to enable planning for RHNA mandated increases in SCAG housing runs the risk of being hit with all sorts of dire Sacramento financial penalties and consequences. The state can be real jerks about it.

This so-called "RHNA process" is supposedly done in order to meet the housing needs of the many mythological new people arriving in California any day now. Even though there haven't been very many of them in the last few years, with nearly as many leaving the state as showing up.

In places such as Sierra Madre, which like many towns thinks of itself as being built-out enough already thank you, these numbers are particularly onerous because they are often responsible for driving the kinds of unwanted high-density stacked and packed generica that many feel is out of character with their special place in the sun.

So here is my question. Are RHNA numbers relevant anymore? Particularly when Governor Jerry Brown has now decreed that places like Sierra Madre, Arcadia and Pasadena, along with many other similarly water cursed communities, must somehow reduce their usage by as much as 35%?

How can you tell cities to build a lot of new high density condos while a the same time ordering them to cut their water use by draconian amounts? That doesn't seem reality based, even for Sacramento.

Well, it appears that we are not alone in this. Pleasanton California, a town that had a few years back resisted the "RHNA process" to the point where then-California Attorney General Jerry Brown actually sued them over it, has now made the news again. This from the always informative Pleasanton Weekly (link):

Thorne, Olson in Sacramento today for Legislative Action Day - City mayors, council members to focus on water policies, housing, transportation issuesPleasanton Mayor Jerry Thorne and Councilman Arne Olson will be in Sacramento today to talk to legislators about transportation, public safety, economic development, housing and infrastructure and water policy issues.

They are part of the League of California Cities annual "Legislative Action Day," an event that brings hundreds of city officials to the state capital to focus on the organization's and individual cities' legislative priorities.

The issues to be discussed by the Pleasanton representatives are aligned with the city's general interests as well as the City Council's current work plan.

Thorne and Olson also will ask legislators to make changes in the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) law by either extending the current planning period to allow communities to reduce building toward achieving the RHNA-imposed housing numbers or by suspending RHNA housing numbers until the current state drought is over.

What a great idea.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

59 comments:

  1. You can do a lot of bad things to this town, but don't mess with a dog. I hope we can get to the bottom of that story.

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    1. It will be Ruff going.

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    2. Some dog owners are barking mad.

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  2. Why would anyone from the city have a problem with a trained rescue dog. A lot of cities have them.

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    1. I would assume that you'd need to have an insurance policy to cover the dog, the risk of the dog biting, you'd need to make sure you had a place for the dog, a trainer who has a certification to humanely treat the dog (because humane society usually has all kinds of legal stuff you have to follow when it comes to dogs that work), you'd need to do all kinds of red tape stuff to be able to have the dog in place to work in order for the city to not be liable for all kinds of things. It may feel stupid and "the dog would never," but you'd still have to do all of it. Also, you'd expect a dog for Search and Rescue in the mountains, not the paramedic program.

      Now if she bought the dog and kept it at her house, and informed the city they could use it whenever, then that's no big deal. But if she brought the dog to work without informing the workplace, making sure the workplace was ready for the dog, then that would be problematic. Even that doesn't seem like something that would get you fired. But we don't know why she was fired. The city is cutting back, maybe they fired her because she was lowest on the totem pole, and she feels like it was because of the dog.

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    2. Elaine Aguilar at her high handed best !
      This will be a P.R. nightmare if the Daily Mail gets it.
      Dog lovers to boycott Sierra Madre ?
      And this is our City Manager in public - can you iagine what she is like in private ?

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    3. 8:39 - fire departments have had dogs around since the dawn of time. They're called dalmatians. A $5,000 trained rescue dog like this was a very generous gift to this city. That the person who did this got fired is hard to comprehend.

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    4. 8:45 I'm sick of all the dog poop in town. It would be a blessing to the residents if dog lovers went away

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  3. I have been by city hall at all hours of the day and have never seen a rescue dog over there. Was this a fully trained dog that rode along on calls or what.

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    1. You haven't seen the dog because it was kicked out.

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  4. What kind of dog was it? Was it trained to find lost children or was it a drug & bomb sniffing type?

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    1. I heard it was caught sniffing glue, which resulted in the firing.

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    2. I thought that got you promoted to doing plan checks.

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  5. was that the dog that Joe Mosca borrowed for his campaign photo so he'd look like a townie?

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    1. That was a narcissist dog. It would help nobody but itself.

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    2. It liked to go for walks and meet like minded dogs.

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  6. Two things: the dog would have been with the EMT at the Fire Hall and not at City Hall and how does Elaine fire an EMT? Wouldn't someone other than Elaine have been her "boss" and yes, a third thing: warning before firing as per a stated policy of having No Rescue Dogs At Word. Elaine is so wrong, again. When will we have a City Council that can see through her subtrafuge?

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    1. Seems kind of control freaky.

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    2. That's Elaine all right, a control freak.

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  7. Hmm...stack and pack for the people moving here. Do you think those are Goss' s mythical residents with growing families?

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    1. Do you think Goss would have been a DSP supporter?

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    2. Gene would have told us he is getting a lot of phone calls supporting mixed use development.

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    3. Yes. Gene needs to listen to the opinions of all Sierra Madreans. Even those who might not exist.

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    4. More important in 6:50s question, where was civicly minded Gene Goss during the DSP, measure V discussion?

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    5. Neither Goss nor Harabedian participated in previous political issues. At least not in public.

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    6. Gene has a lot of imaginary friends.

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    7. Goss is taking a page out of the Susan Henderson playbook. Making up sources.

      Of course he's getting allot of phone calls - sure Gene....we believe you.

      If he is, it's probably from the Arcadia Realtor Association

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    8. Maybe he hears voices.

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  8. As for Vincent: I heard he helped develop the Paseo mall when he was working in Pasadena. What boon to the city that is! Many empty stores. I also heard that the condos didn't sell so many of them are rented to the culinary school students. We should be honored by Elaine's hire-NOT! As for the dog story.....this could only happen here. They use dogs at Huntington Hospital for god's sake.! It seems Elaine has the power to do whatever she wants. Another suit as well? Enough, she needs to go!

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    1. Paseo Mall lost its anchor stores. Macys and Gelsons both fled.

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    2. The mall's success was predicated on all of those condos selling. You know, so that there would be that "walkability" factor so many in the dumb bunny set bought into? That it didn't work should not be a surprise to anyone.

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  9. Is the dog Hispanic and live out of town?

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    1. People joke about this, but if the pattern continues the city is going to find itself on the wrong end of a nasty discrimination lawsuit.

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    2. I don't think it's discriminatory to terminate someone for bringing a dog to work?
      Cops may not bring uzis,Fireman can't bring dalmatians,Teachers can't bring cats,Priests can't bring Sheep,Mothers can't bring babies,doesn't matter if it's a talking horse if the boss says no it means no.

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    3. But you can really bring the stupid.

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  10. Maybe Elaine doesn't like dogs.

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  11. Vincent was at the mayor/mayor pro-tem cake eating affair last Tuesday night. I spotted him out in the foyer looking meek and disconnedted. Not introduced to the City Council as yet, or has he?

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    1. People with minds of their own are not welcome at city hall.

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    2. Given his expertise, just imagine if the second story plans required a minor CUP, and he was the one to decide!!

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    3. The soon-to-be mayor Capoccia called it out that night "don't want the decision to be in the hands of one person who might take a pay off" rather boldly although it took him a bit of himing and hawing to get the words "pay off" out. Then they noodled around with the idea of the City Planner working on the Minor CUP with the chair of the Planning Commission but the mention that that might make the chair ineligible to work with the project if it was decided it needed a full CUP brought them up short. This long, drawn out discussion is supposed to make the voters think there is something mindful going on in their decision making.

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    4. Our new Director of Planning and Community Preservation is a big time redevelopment guy. Put together the pieces of the puzzle and you can see that something rather ugly is being born. Fueled by big money, of course. Harabedian has sold this community out. Goss is his poodle.

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    5. And not a good looking poodle, at that.

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  12. According to a reverse picture search this dog has been banished to Kazakhstan and is now saving drunks on trains. Really!

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    1. Do they have a drunken walking ordinance there?

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    2. The Mod has a long tradition of finding just the right picture on google images. I suspect that this picture is apt but not specific to this controversy.

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  13. Pleasanton was the warning for all of California - resist RHNAs and the state will come and get you.

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    1. Pleasanton is a hero city. It stood up to the monster.

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    2. Agreed, 8:23. Unfortunately, they lost.

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    3. Der Stadt und Der Jerry know how to deal with disobedient townies.

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  14. http://search-dogs.carda.org/faqs

    I'll look through this some further but in the meanwhile some Tattler readers might want to as well. I googled along the lines rescue dog training laws State of California.

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  15. Off topic, question about water bills. If anyone gets a 2 unit water bill and the following month, in spite of your similar usage your next bill shows way more units into Tier 2, take a good look. I think the 2 units is the default position of having not read the meter and just charging for something and then they catch up next time which will cost you more money.

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  16. Since we're off topic. Does anyone know how I can stream the "fight" tonight for free?

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    1. The Floyd Mayweather / Manny Pacquiao fight is Saturday. Is that the one you're talking about?

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    2. Yes. But I'd like to see it tonight? I'm retired so today is Thursday apparently? Am I bad........

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    3. How can you see a fight that hasn't been fought yet? And won't be for two days?

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    4. Watching the hockey playoffs is akin to shotgunning it out of Las Vegas on an unpaved road with no sleep and no seat-belt. It is important to keep in mind that there have been NO confirmed cases of swine flu in Jalisco.

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    5. Thank you, Hunter Thompson.

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  17. It's a dog eat dog world, out there....

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