Thursday, June 25, 2015

Is the "Arcadia's Best" Blog In the Pocket of Development and Government Interests?

There might be better.
I recently had the temerity to ask the major domo of the Arcadia's Best blog (link), Scott Hettrick, what effect all of that City Hall money sent his way through the Chamber of Commerce offices he runs might have on the objectivity of his reporting. To my wandering eye it appeared that his blog had said some unkind things about preservationist and slow growth people in Arcadia. Especially those involved in preserving the Highlands from those huge mausoleum looking things that have sprung up there like so many unchecked architectural tumors.

So I thought I should ask.

The reaction I received to my question was not what I'd hoped for, however. Scott Hettrick, just so we are perfectly clear, is the CEO of the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, he also publishes the self-described "Arcadia's Best" blog. A name that, depending on your perspective, might be cause for debate.

Scott as he appears on his blog
Now the precedent for my concern would be Sierra Madre's Mountain Views News, which owes much of its existence to taxpayer largesse. Claiming to be the weekly newspaper of record here, the MVN more often than not serves as a mouthpiece for whatever unhappy initiatives and agendas the city happens to be pushing at the time.

The current City Hall run campaign to put another draconian UUT increase measure on the ballot, and for the 3rd time in six years no less, has gotten nothing but extremely supportive press from the MVN. In my opinion this makes it more a local establishment booster publication than newspaper.

For the record, The Sierra Madre Tattler has never accepted money from anyone. Even to the point of turning down advertising. Whatever gets said here is completely free of any possibly corrosive influence from someone else's money. You might not like what we have to say, but you can read The Tattler happy in the knowledge that we don't sell our opinions for cash.

Even your cash.

So here is the very brief question I dared ask Scott Hettrick.


Rather abrupt I know, but that is pretty much how we do it here. Why beat around the bush, right? However Mr. Hettrick, who is obviously not up on the aphorism "Brevity is the soul of wit," replied with a rather voluminous and quite wordy screed on his blog.

We'll get into that in a minute.

Hettrick also unleashed a rather pointed email at me personally. Which is fine. I get that sometimes, though not quite as often as I did a few years back. It does go with the territory. My assumption is Scott was upset by what I'd asked and didn't want to reply to any of my follow-up questions in public.

Here is a portion of Mr. Hettrick's wonderful example of e-mailed indignation.


Now was that really necessary? About as long and grumpy a non-answer to a perfectly innocent question as you will ever get, all while claiming he was too busy for that sort of thing. And this was only a part of it.

But who knows, maybe he was having a bad day a work. Or someone found a peacock in the prize spinach artichoke fondue at some Taste of Arcadia event.

Where Scott may have drifted a little off to sea, however, was with his initial response to that pithy question I posted on his blog on the 18th. Here is the portion where his personal bridge over troubled waters may have gotten all wet.


Much more information than was required. And that 20% figure is a little hard to figure. Especially when you consider that, and despite Scott's snarky remarks, I did do my research on this matter. What I turned up is as follows.

The City of Arcadia pumps a lot of money into Scott Hettrick's two person Chamber of Commerce. And, judging by his unwillingness to respond to my questions in a sunny manner on his blog, it could actually be a much larger sum than he wants anyone to know about.

What follows is two portions of the Staff Report describing the cash agreement between the City of Arcadia and its Chamber of Commerce.

Please note that the City of Arcadia gives the Chamber of Commerce $73,761 per annum, plus $40,000 a year (actually $120,000 spread over 3 years) for capital improvements to the facility where the COC offices. The Chamber pays $400 per month rent for that place, which is fully owned by the City. Its true rental value is probably closer to $3,000 per month.

Here is a portion of the Staff Report detailing that generous money outlay.


If my math is correct we are talking about $154,761 in taxpayer donated value to Scott Hettrick's operations, as designated by the City of Arcadia. Or about the equivalent of the entire Community Services Department budget in Sierra Madre.

Scott as he looks today
Add to that the use of city offices at a bare minimum cost, and you can see where we're going with this. All of which indicates to me that this two person operation runs on about three-quarters of a million dollars a year. That is, if Scott's 20% claim is correct. $619,044 of which is obtained through sponsorships and fundraisers according to CEO Hettrick.

They must run some really effective bake sales.

These could all be legit numbers. I am not privy to the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce's internal budgets, so we are going on pure gut instant here. I wouldn't bet my semi-sustainable Chevy Volt on any of it, but who knows? Stranger things have happened.

But I also believe that what we're talking about here just may back up the spirit of my original question. That being Arcadia's Best might very well be little more than a de facto compensated publicity vehicle run with the needs of the City of Arcadia and its big McMansion development agenda (examples: link and link) in mind. And not what most of us would refer to as an authentic or real blog.

At least that is my opinion. I'm sure there are others.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

46 comments:

  1. Maybe Scott Hattrick's blog photo was snapped by the "soul taker"

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  2. Hey, I've seen that guy in Bean Town. Must have been doing some reporting.

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    Replies
    1. Maybe he doesn't like the taste of Arcadia.

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    2. Maybe his favorite coffee stop in Arcadia got paved over with a McMansion.

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    3. If that happened, 7:03, I'm pretty sure Hettrick would work his mind around to seeing it as an upgrade.

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    4. Everything that gets more tax money into city hall is an upgrade. When you have a police department that pulls down $200K a year, it is all about monetizing.

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  3. Wonder what I should ask Scott the next time I see him in BT?

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    Replies
    1. Ask him if he has a good recipe for peacock.

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    2. Ask him why he lied about the City of Arcadia giving $$$ to the Arcadia Chamber. Doh!!

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    3. He was pretty upfront about that. This is more about how much money and the effect it has had on his reporting.

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  4. The question to ask is how much the Chamber leases the building for. The city charges $1.00 a year. Additionally, the Chamber has never stuck their noses in city business more than under CEO Scott. Where does the Arcadia's Best blog indicate it's written by the CEO of Arcadia's Chamber? There is no explanation. Just like the city, it's "Move along, nothing to see here." Maybe Hollywood could take him back.

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  5. Scotty wants to be a playuh.

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  6. Truthfulness: If Scotty won't use a current photo of his likeness on his blog, why would he speak the truth to any of the questions you asked? What a pathetic façade!

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    Replies
    1. in some social circles he might be considered a little douchey

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    2. Maybe retouched but that looks like the same guy to me, Mr. Maundry.

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    3. Perhaps the effect was accomplished through the miracle of air brushing.

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    4. Scotty subscribes to the real estate agent school - get a glamour photo shot and use it for 20 years. At least.

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    5. Younger photos get more likes.

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  7. William ShakespeareJune 25, 2015 at 7:01 AM

    regards Scotty Hettrick:

    Methinks the lady doth protest too much.

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  8. Dear Scott:
    Liar, liar, pants on fire!!

    Dumb ass.

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  9. 7:04, that's funny, gave me my first laugh of the day.

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  10. What can you say about a guy who describes homes in terms of who they "attract"?

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    Replies
    1. That he's a racist?

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    2. The funniest thing about this guy is he actually thinks he has credibility.

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    3. So you can tell real estate interests by race? Fascinating.

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  11. read it again, out loud, 11:40. Sounds racist to me.

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    1. Can you be a little more specific about your complaint? I appreciate the need to be enigmatic, but a deeper share is called for here.

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    2. a guy who describes homes in terms of who they "attract"? I typed it slowly so you might understand.

      If Scotty said that, he may be a R-A-C-I-S-T.

      Hope that helps.

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    3. I am not sure it is the speed you type a post at that makes the difference. When you hit the "publish" button everything moves at the very same speed no matter what your WPM. It is more what you say, and how you say it, that counts.

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    4. Lighten up, baby. Try some decaf.

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    5. Can't. They plowed down the coffee shop and built a McMansion.

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    6. Hettrick is not a racist. He embraces other cultures - I can tell because he's taken one of those soft, fuzzy portrait pictures that teenage Asian girls are so fond of.

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    7. Or aging actresses

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  12. "They must run some really effective bake sales."

    LOL!

    Don't forget the sprinkles. :)

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  13. Scott Hettrick is obviously someone who thinks that the way things look is more important that what they are. The superficiality of his values is an embarrassment given his age.

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  14. If only you could see the sad-sack whiny pitches for money Scotty makes to local businesses. They are reminiscent of Andre Coleman's finest work at Pasadena Weekly. But if you saw them, Scotty Hattrick would have to hire the Soul Stealer to protect his reputation as a defender of the status quo. It's all about the money with this guy.

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  15. The full title of the blog should be "Arcadia's Best as judged by Scott Hettrick (and anyone who pays him)"

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  16. It's always about the money if they don't have any integrity. Just like Elaine with her BS degree.

    A "show me the money" person.

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    Replies
    1. Yes. And getting that money means screwing over residents.

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  17. I guess he has no opinion at all on a neighbor's right to privacy, light, air and views. Except that those rights don't exist.

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  18. I bet that there is no way to get Elaine's resume! Talk about fake resume!

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

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    Replies
    1. Urban Dictionary:
      Caramba is a common word used for expressing positive/negative reaction to an event. It's used mainly by people of Latin America (Mexico&Colombia that I know of) but in Portugal as well.
      http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=caramba

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  20. You really make it appear really easy together with your presentation but I find this topic to be really something that I think I might never understand. It seems too complicated and extremely wide for me. I am looking ahead on your subsequent submit, I'll attempt to get the cling of it!

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  21. Here is the info you were looking for on his own blog
    "The City also funds more than 20% of the $300,000 annual budget of the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce, 50% of which ($31,000, or nearly the entire annual pay for two of the four staff members), comes from Redevelopment funds."
    http://arcadiasbest.com/2011/12/state-ruling-costs-arcadia-millions/

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  22. Taste of Arcadia? The City Council has put such a bad "stink" on Arcadia with it's McMansion binge that I can't imagine how badly the city must taste. No thank you.

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