Tuesday, April 28, 2015

One Mayor Walks In, And Another Mayor Walks Out

 All glory is fleeting.
I am not sure this will quite live up to the Mad Max Thunderdome sounding title of this post, but it is fairly edgy nonetheless. Due to a longstanding tradition here in Sierra Madre, one that links the sequence of Mayoral succession to the amount of votes each candidate received when running for office, we now have the #3 vote recipient in the 2012 election John Capoccia becoming Mayor, and the #1 vote recipient from the 2014 election, Gene Goss, moving up to take the Mayor Pro Tem slot.

Of course, there is a wrinkle in this otherwise time honored picture. Had Sierra Madre's traditionally determined order of succession been followed in 2013's Mayor Pro Tem selection, we could very well have been watching Mayor Chris Koerber passing the gavel of all Foothill Village power to John Harabedian tonight.

Is it possible that soon to be Councilman Harabedian will find himself wondering why he was in such a big hurry back in 2013? The last year of his term could end up being something of an anti-climax for him.

I'm not sure that the soon to be former Mayor of Sierra Madre ever really found whatever it was he believed he needed to get so quickly. Good things come to those who wait, as they say.

Then there is this. Mayor John Capoccia may be called upon to deliver a UUT increase, one that could be on the ballot in April of 2016. The third of its kind since 2012. This could end up being the theme of his year in that office. Rather ironic considering that he was originally elected as a tax skeptic.

But enough of that. There isn't much beyond the largely ceremonial reorganization of the City Council on the agenda for this evening, but it is possible to find two items on the Consent Calendar worth being concerned about.

Taken slightly out of order, here is the first:


Judging by the Agenda Report everything is just hunky dory with this one. However, not everyone agrees with that assessment, and there are some people in town who are of the opinion that Sierra Madre is being rather blatantly ripped off by the YMCA, and for quite a bit of dough. 

Here is what one concerned resident wrote in to The Tattler:

An interesting sidelight re: agenda item 1C for April 28, regarding the YMCA contract extension.  The City is essentially giving away the store on this one.  The extension is to be in use until the end of September when contract negotiations are finalized for a contract renewal.  However, under the current contract, the Y pays the City $600 something a month for the use of the Fireside room which has been converted into a nursery school classroom, and the YAC which has their very expensive after school babysitting program.  The City pays all the utilities and maintenance.  This extension gives them the right to use the Sierra Madre Room six days a week, 8:00 a.m.to about 9:00 p.m. week-days and Saturday mornings to conduct exercise classes.  They will give the city 25% of the income from the classes.  If the city wants to use the Sierra Madre room when they have classes scheduled, they need a 2 week notice.

They also are granted use of the offices which for now they say will be for childcare.  But who knows what will be in the contract renewal.  My take on it is that the Y will have overall control of the building. Waterworks at least pays enough rent to allow for maintenance, and they pay utilities.  The Y claimed at the Community Services Committee that they are non-profit so they can't afford to pay much more.

Someone on the City Council might want to pull this item out for a little further conversation.

The other item that could cause a bit of agita tonight is this one. It is in the second slot of the Consent Calendar, right behind the spending of $763,000.00 or so big ones.


Now you may recall that at the last City Council meeting this matter devolved into something of a rhubarb. One that resulted in a tight 3 to 2 vote in favor of what will become an effective check on the kinds of unfortunate mansionization found in such blighted cities as Arcadia.

This conversation had its more bizarre moments, with Mayor Harabedian and Councilmember Goss actually inferring that many in this community had become paranoid or delusional over the McMansion threat facing Sierra Madre. Which was unfortunate, especially when you consider that it was only a few weeks earlier that they too had expressed strong concerns about the troubling potential for mansionization and over-development here.

You almost have to wonder what unsettled spirits had taken possession of the guys. Here are two video segments that will take you back to their dark places. We'll start with John Harabedian.

To view video click here.

Gene Goss also had some particularly unhappy things to say on this topic that evening.

To view this video click here.

In a Mountain View News article the following weekend titled "Preventing The McMansionization Of Sierra Madre," Mayor Harabedian spun the fracas this way:


I wonder if Mayor Harabedian was including himself and Gene Goss in this cheery assessment of the "manner and tone" that evening.

Hopefully things will go a little more smoothly tonight.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

103 comments:

  1. Once again, I am bedazzeled by the brain power of Harabedian and Goss. Driven y fear, huh? A nebulous fear no less. I live in Sierra Madre because of the peace and quiet. I live here because I value privacy. On either side of me there are nice small houses on nice big lots. Both have been scouted by the people"waiting at the city gates." They would tear them down, and I would be stuck with people peering into my backyard at will. If I wanted that I would not have chosen to live here. If I have a fear it is of people like the mayor and councilman who bow to the monied powers not to the people who elected them. I have rights, too. There are many things I can "live and let live": a barking dog, rats even, noisy kids, a noisy neighbor, but I can't and I won't have my space violated by people peering into my yard or my having to see into their bedroom.

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    1. Exactly right 5:22 am

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    2. Exactly right!

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    3. So why exactly does Goss love this town?

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    4. I don't know. But he does show that love in odd ways.

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    5. Goss is one strange dude.

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    6. it's sort of difficult to take Goss seriously

      if his agenda on the Council was to become a joke

      he's successful

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  2. I don't know where Harabedian or Goss are coming from in their sudden and surprising about face. I can only imagine that some developers got to them. There's no other explanation. I mean should I be stuck with some McMansion next door to me because as Goss said "A free people do stupid and dangerous things sometimes." So I just have to allow them to do those stupid and dangerous things to me. I don't think so.

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    1. It is a mystery. Maybe some developers complained to the L.A. County Democratic Central Committee about Johnny.

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    2. Somebody got to them. This was a 180 degree turn from Harabedian and Goss. I guess we will see how serious the pressure is by what they say tonight. If they continue fighting this then we will know that somebody large is leaning on them.

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    3. Its probably Mur-Sol and the Groh's and/or the Bowdens - they are the principle ones trying to make Arcadia unrecognizable and who are now turning their sights on Sierra Madre.

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    4. They're looking for a few million in development impact fees so they can give city employees a raise and a platinum pension.

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  3. Maybe city staff should do the Y-M-C-A dance.

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    1. Who gets to be the Indian?

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    2. The Macho Man!

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    3. Bruce Inman, of course. He has a hardhat, too.

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    4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AO43p2Wqc08

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  4. Please show up tonight. Harabedian and Goss need to know that it is the real residents of Sierra Madre they are representing, not the fictitious residents who "stay home with their families rather than attend City Council meetings." These are the "residents" who want their right to build a McMansion to house their alleged ailing mother-in-law, stomping all over the rights of their neighbors. Those "residents," of course, go by another name - "developers." Ah, Johnny, you've been such a good mayor. It's too bad you besmirched your reputation by calling the people who care paranoid and delusional - those same people who have gotten their own property rights and privacy trampled on.

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  5. Why does Harbedian say "maybe rightfully fearful" in his attack? "Rightffully". Doesn't that undercut his argument?

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    1. Harabedian likes to walk on all sides of an issue. Just in case he gets called out later. Of course, he did bring the topic up, so I am not certain that helps him here.

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    2. You can bet that Goss and Harabedian are now getting together before meetings just to make sure they are not the only one making these outlandish arguments. They need the cover of the other guy to support them.

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    3. Great. Two elected officials who work for developers and hate Sierra Madreans. When has that ever happened before?

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  6. And Goss! "To protect ourselves from nebulous forces..." The last developers I interacted with were not the least bit nebulous. There is nothing nebulous about mansionization - it is actually quite specific and concrete.

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    1. Gene sometimes uses big words he does not completely understand.

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    2. How much does Goss get paid at Long Beach City College? Bet it's at least $150,000 a year. Good thing they don't pay him for his deep thinking capabilities.

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    3. Good guess. According to Transparent California pay and benefits comes to $160,388.00. SAlmost $30K of that was paid overtime.
      http://transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/2013/long-beach-city-college/goss-eugene-r/

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    4. Gene Goss has a room temperature IQ.

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    5. Not bad money for a junior college professor who never got a Phd.

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    6. The power of government employee unions at work. That and gutless pushover elected officials.

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  7. http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2015/04/27/402579949/feds-say-its-time-to-cut-back-on-fluoride-in-drinking-water

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    1. Is that good or bad?

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    2. Can we get rid of chloramines?

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  8. I get the feeling those two guys are never around town, or they would know what's been going on, lot by lot. It's so obvious!

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    1. They both have pretty tough work schedules. Goss commutes to Long Beach, and Harabedian works for a very demanding law firm.

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  9. I thought Mayor McCheese was from Pasadena.

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    1. Cheese is everywhere these days.

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  10. While the City is contracting more to YMCA, let's farm out the Seniors program as well. no darn reason we need to pay a City employee with a Calpers pension expense to babysit the Seniors. Cut more expenses!!

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    1. Amen!! If anything, they need a part time person to give the teens an after school program they can afford. The seniors can look after themselves.

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  11. California water regulators to release new water-reduction plan Tuesday
    http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/general-news/20150428/california-water-regulators-to-release-new-water-reduction-plan-tuesday

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  12. Harabedian is a pro development democrat.
    Goss is a got to or maybe I should say "pursuaded" idiot.

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  13. The adage of the person who gets the most votes was ginned up by the council who wanted to have Harabedian as mayor over Koerber. Traditionally, the vote could have gone to any one of the three (or two) who were on the past council.

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    1. Clue: Koerber got more votes than Harabedian.

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    2. Not in Johnny Harabedian's alternate reality.

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    3. Math is uncivil.

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  14. Johnny and Gene want development impact fees. They're the union guys, and they want to fund all of the many union giveaways that they support. Development impact fees in California are the highest in the country. It is a way that developers can give City Halls such as ours a stake in their action. Remember, this is California. It is a very corrupt state.

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    1. It is always about moneyApril 28, 2015 at 12:11 PM

      That explains the Vincent Gonzales hire. He is not the kind of guy who would allow preservationist niceties to get in the way of some fat development impact fees.

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    2. For Gene, it is not about the fees, it is about Libertarian belief that government shouldn't interfere with anyone else, let alone tell them what to do with their property. If he wanted to interfere with someone else's view or privacy, then it would be o.k. I wonder, though if the shoe was on the other foot, would he complain?

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    3. I am not sure if Libertarianism is the same as knuckling under.

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    4. I am not sure Libertarianism Is the same as being a Goss dim bulb.

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    5. Goss is a weather vane. Points in the direction of where the wind blew last.

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    6. Remember Goss is a "tolerant" person so I guess you can do whatever you want to old Gene and he won't mind.

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    7. Dennis Lehane (who wrote "Mystic River," etc.) quote, "Stupid people don't know they are stupid." Guess Goss proves that over and over.

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  15. From an editorial on the PSN site:

    "Can desalination save California from a drought? Is that the way out? That’s our question of the week.

    Later this year, a $1 billion desalination plant will open in Carlsbad, just north of San Diego. It will be the largest in the Western Hemisphere pumping out 50 million gallons of drinking water daily for San Diego County when it opens in 2016. Officials there, tired of buying water, took matters into their own hands."

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  16. Mayor Harabedian pulled item 1b for "further discussion." Here we go.

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  17. Looks like Harabedian got a hair cut for the momentous event.

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  18. susan henderson, yuk!

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  19. oh my god! More library!

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  20. you go Ms. Hedrith ! (sp)

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  21. $500,000 to persecute the Hildreths. Great. UUT increase anyone?

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  22. why do i find elaine's voice so obnoxious?

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  23. barry speaking. mic doesn't seem to be working well. He gave a great homily.

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  24. harabedian:if this passes and an earthquake knocks down your 2 story home can we put something in that if you build a house exactly the same can they not have to do a CUP? Highsmith answering.

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  25. Johnny seems to want to go out badly.

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    1. Getting his crafty legal on.

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  26. Highsmith said if they added it in they would have to have a new 1st & 2nd reading.

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  27. Deb Schuster talking about getting a CUP for 2nd story does not mean there would be a refusal to build. Teryl is reading Mary Ann McGilvrey's letter. Council was handed out a packette of 50 pictures of homes that have been impacted by bulk and mass of newer houses allowed by the Planning Department. Mary ann's letter cites the passing of General Plan.

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  28. Matt from Preserve spoke about passing the R-1 changes.

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  29. Harabedian wants a minor CUP and Goss said he hadn't changed his mind. A minor CUP is done by the head of planning. No hearing. ISN'T THAT JUST GREAT! There is still a notice posted. Arizmendi wants full CUP. aybe looking a fee structure. Capoccia says he doesn't want one person to make a decision because he might be bribed. Not comfortable putting the planning director in that position. Del Mar sees the mayors point but has no trust in one person. IF YOU HAD A REVIEW BOARD MAYBE THAT WOULD HELP!

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  30. HIGHSMITH SAYS DIRECTOR COULD MEET WITH HEAD OF PC .IF APPEALED the chair may be in question. can't draft it into this draft. look at in future. Goss says the public hearing is not the gold standard. Asked the audience if we would like to go thru a CUP hearing. Then he said he saw no hands raised-but he never asked for a raise of hands. A disgruntled audience and Goss was snarky. Delmar stated that she has not had e-mails or phone calls against this ordinance. She has requested that she hear from the people that Goss and Harabedian have heard from so that she understands.

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  31. delmar is willing to put in this ordinance that you can rebuild a home destroyed by a disaster. Arizmendi asked about the tiers in the ordinance. Harabedian explained them. Goss is sitting there with a bilious look on his face.

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    1. Thanks, 7:25. You captured Goss' expression perfectly.

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    2. Actually when Goss said no one raised their hands, 10 hands went up. His remark, "Well, just a few." Proving again that he is an idiot.

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    3. That was a really unfortunate moment - he was trying to be holier than thou and issuing a challenge that no one who was in favor of protecting the property rights of residents would put their money where their mouths were. The man's a dunce, and when he gets rattled, he can't help but insult people.

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  32. Wants to compromisee on the 4th tier. Capoccia says that should not impose sf on acre lots that do not affect views, etc. Feels the PC can tell them to make the houses smaller. Harabedian agrees, del mar agree. Arizmendi would really like someone from the planning dept to make sure that the tiers are based on something. They all keep quoting John Hutt but he didn't have enough municipal experience for Elaine. Goss says it's an improvment with this change. still concerned about 2nd story CUP. Harabedian says if the ordinance is passed tonight it can't be brought back. Not fair to PC but the PC at last meeting didn't seem concerned.

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    1. Yes, 7:33, everyone who lives here knows what an authority John Hutt is, and if any clear and direct information is needed, he's the go-to guy.
      Anyone who lives here. And of course, Elaine doesn't.

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    2. When Elaine introduces the new guy, probably at the next meeting, are we allowed to question him as to his intentions?

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    3. Most everything bad in this town can be traced back to Elaine.

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    4. To be hired by Elaine you have to be from out of town and Hispanic.

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  33. So Mayor Harabedian gets a little victory? A small bone? Is that what this was really about?

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  34. Goss asked del nar why she wasn't ready to vote. Because of the changes this will be the 1st reading. Goss is , well there are no words for him. Says he hasn't heard from the people that would be hurt by this. Says it's unfair to people who want to build a 2nd story don't have the money 2700.00 to pay for a CUP that won't be granted. Goss made the statement that delmar already had the votes to adopt. Again, was an absolute jerk about this. Like a spoiled child.

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  35. Passed 3-2 Harabedian like most of the ordinance just couldn't go with 2nd story.

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  36. now they're on to saluting themselves. Hey folks, Goss will be our next mayor. There's a thought to end the evening.

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    1. That's some very bad news.
      After watching him tonight, I think the word that describes him best is "belligerent."

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    2. Stubborn. Like a mule.

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  37. Shame on you John Harabedian. The second story CUP was the way to go.

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  38. Let them eat cake.

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  39. Goss and Harabedian just repeated everything they've done before. Guess they wanted that 40 minutes to talk about the opinions of their imaginary constituents.

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  40. So who showed up to speak against the modifications?

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    1. Invisible residents.

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  41. Goss and Harbedian's sources are not allowed out at night.

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  42. Tattler, you can just rerun the videos you posted today from the last council meeting. Though they stopped throwing slurs at preservationists, everything else was pretty much identical.

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  43. I think Goss hit new heights of stupidity tonight.

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    1. Goss cares more about thinking he's right than about examining any facts.

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    2. He bumped his head on an already low ceiling.

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    3. Like many less than bright people, Goss is sensitive about being perceived as a mental lightweight.

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  44. Where were Gene and Johnny's mystery friends?

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    1. Maybe Gene and John hear them in their heads.

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    2. Gene is Johnny's poodle.

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  45. All I know is that they are both working very hard for somebody behind the scene.

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  46. just imagine if we had elected Harabedian, Goss and Noah Crybaby Green on the Council



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    1. Sierra Madre was saved by Facebook pictures.

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  47. The highlight of the evening, if you can call it that, was after Denise nominated Cappoccia for Mayor, Arizmendi seconded. Harabedian nominated Goss to be Mayor Pro Tem (since he got the most votes - who were you people who voted for him, and I'm sure you regret it now!)...silence. Delmar and Arizmendi were very loud in their silence. Finally Cappoccia seconded.

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  48. Goss is a duffus. He will be a terrible mayor pro-tem and even worse mayor. Maybe he is not well. Billious almost captures it, but he actually looked a bit grey/green. I wasn't sure he was going to get through the evening.

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