Friday, July 31, 2015

Goodness Gracious Me. It is the Return of Chip Ahlswede

Chip points to the old block
We're going to go a little deep here. Those who have been with The Tattler from way back in the early days might recall a political operative named Chip Ahlswede. Chip was one of the mainstays at a public relations firm called Schubert Flint Public Affairs, which was the company hired by the "No On Measure V" folks to help beat down all opposition to the Downtown Specific Plan. Something that they were given around $170,000 in political action cash by the Building Industry Association, Arcadia Association of Realtors and California Association of Realtors to make happen.

As anyone up on their Sierra Madre lore knows, our Measure V prevailed and the DSP (which was kind of the Monastery Development issue of its time) was consigned to the dustbin of local history. In many ways Chip Ahlswede's failure to rally the voters of Sierra Madre to the cause of what would have been one of the more grotesque development abominations in Sierra Madre history was a turning point for this town. Fortunately those living and voting here at that time proved themselves to be far too smart for the kinds of nonsense our man Ahlswede was pushing. No matter how much in other peoples' money he spent.

Here is how the Los Angeles Times reported the results (link):


Schubert Flint later went on to lead the campaign for Proposition 8, the 2009 ballot initiative that delayed same sex marriage in California for a few years. According to the blog Queers United, Schubert Flint Public Affairs went on to do far bigger things than merely screwing up the 'No on Measure V' campaign in Sierra Madre.

Here is what that blog has to say about Chip's once upon a time employer (link):

Schubert Flint Public Affairs is an advertising agency that created many of the ads that helped Proposition 8 pass in California, leading to same-sex marriage rights being taken away in the state ... The "National Organization for Marriage," an anti-gay think tank, is continuing their relationship with the ad agency in an attempt to further erode marriage rights for same sex couples.

I have always found it to be wryly amusing that the highly politically correct "Civility Party" proponents of massive blocks of high density overdevelopment in downtown Sierra Madre did business with an organization that later achieved such intense notoriety in certain quarters through its efforts to defeat gay marriage.

For the record, our man Ahlswede has claimed that he left Schubert Flint Public Affairs before 2009, and did not participate in the Prop 8 effort. Though, when asked, Chip never denounced them for that work, either. He just claimed he wasn't there at the time.

Chip later went on to become an advisor to the Josh Moran for City Council campaign, along with various other largely discredited Civility Party nonsense.

Which pretty much takes us up to today. Outside of whatever he does for the Arcadia Association of Realtors these days (an organization dedicated to defending the property rights of developers while ignoring your property rights), the area had been pretty much happily free of the political machinations of Mr. Ahlswede for awhile. Or at least it was until the following e-mail went out from the Pasadena-Foothills Association of Realtors (or PFAR - link) earlier this week.

Sent: Monday, July 27, 2015 12:23:53 PM
Subject: Special LGR Meeeting Tomorrow

Don’t forget our special, but quick,  LGR Meeting tomorrow at 1:30 to meet new GAD Chip Ahlswede.  This will be an informal gathering.  Some of you have told me you will be out of town, but hope the others of you can join us tomorrow at 1:30.

(Name deleted)
Acting Association Executive and
Government Affairs Director
Pasadena-Foothills Association of REALTORS

A GAD (as opposed to a gadfly I suppose), is a Government Affairs Director. Which is a kind of Realtor special interest political advocacy gig. And what the GAD for the PFAR region is tasked to accomplish is represent the perceived interests of the Realtor community with various San Gabriel Valley governments. Including Sierra Madre City Hall.

You know, the kind of annoying guy who will show up at the public comment podium during City Council meetings unannounced and chatter on for too long about how great the organizations he represents are, and what wonderful things they are doing for all humankind.

All completely forgettable stuff I know, and a complete waste of time at any meeting. But people do that sort of thing. It is kind of the public speaking equivalent of nose picking.

So what did Chip Ahlswede say at this July 28 meeting of real-estate people? You know, the one where PFAR had to send out an e-mail practically begging people to show up?

According to those who attended this affair, Mr. Ahlswede went off on a particularly bizarre rant about Sierra Madre. He proclaimed this town to be some kind of enemy of development, in the hands of proven lunatics, and that the place is in danger of imminent collapse because the people he favors can't just waltz into town, throw up a lot of crap architecture, pocket the resulting loot, and then scram for the Bahamas. Or someplace.

And then Chip went off on what apparently in his mind is another true enemy of the human race, The Sierra Madre Tattler, along with my estimable self. Apparently there are few crimes this blog is not guilty of, or at least according to the quite talkative Mr. Ahlswede.

Now here is the kind of time warp Chip Ahlswede is living in. Back around 2009 that kind of happy talk probably could have flown in a roomful of Realtors. This blog had few friends in that community at the time, and Tattler bashing was very much in fashion. Things occasionally got rough for us back then.

However, this is 2015, and The Tattler is more accepted now. Or at least people are used to it. And it seems that the people in that room had no idea what Chip was going on about. So much so that two of them called me on their cell phones and asked what the deal was.

That and why was this guy saying such awful things about my kind and gentle self. In the process informing me of all the excitement of Chip's return. Imagine my surprise.

I told them it was just one of those "thin line between love and hate" situations, and that I would spell out the details here on the blog. Which I now have.

I guess the rather old school Chip didn't really know his audience, and made a few unfortunate assumptions about how they feel about Sierra Madre.

So anyway, a golden oldie pro-development political operative from back in the the days of the Downtown Specific Plan is now once again with us and working the area. A California Association of Realtors kind of guy who apparently believes he can convince everyone that slow growth is the work of evil doers, and that the only path to true municipal glory lies in building things like 3 or 4 story mixed use condo warrens next door to The Only Place In Town.

However, considering what has been going on lately in the largely successful fight here to preserve our local communities and hold off predatory mansionization, you do have to wonder about the timing of Mr. Ahlswede's sudden reemergence.

sierramadretattler.blogpsot.com

50 comments:

  1. Is Ahlswede also working with SCAG, you know that big bully looking guy from Russia who was running the show and came to a city council meeting with his insults. Ahiswede's sounds like such a guy, just needs a fancy suit to fit right in with the Russian from SCAG. These people just keep crawling out of the woodwork. Thanks Mr. Tattler for showing us what to look out for.

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    1. SCAG, COG, the Arcadia Realtors, they all work hard to diminish community control over development. That is where the money is.

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    2. CAR should be with that group, too. Remember their classic "How to Defeat Slow-Growth Movements at the Local Level."

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    3. $ 170,000 and he loses to a $ 10,000 campaign - his group used $ 170K to basically lie and distort the truth otherwise it wouldn't have been even close

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    4. Ding, Dong, Chip is gone!

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    5. Where'd he go?

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  2. Wow. A blast from the past. One of those bad pennies that just keeps turning up.

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  3. Never let your guard down. Over twenty years ago I watched a neighbor fight a stinker like this guy who wanted to split the lot next door to her and build (overbuild) on the resulting lot. She did not ask for her neighbors' help until it was too late. The "developer/would-be-neighbor" snidely commented to her as he left the Planning Commission meeting where he triumphed "I just had to out last YOU."

    Lesson learned: We need to work together all across town, and are doing so now with Preserve Sierra Madre, and Never Let Your Guard Down.

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    Replies
    1. As long as there is money to be made, those folks will be around.

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  4. Can't the Tattler find a more flattering picture of Chip. With his eyes all bugged out with that crazy look, it reminded me of the picture of that guy from the movie theater massacre.

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    1. I think he is pointing to his hair implants.

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    2. They can work miracles these days.

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    3. That is a flattering picture of Chip.

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    4. He's not aging well.

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    5. Eventually everyone gets the face they deserve.

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    6. like Noah Greene, he just posts whatever juvenile pic he has to get attention

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    7. Fortunately he left his dolls out of it.

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  5. This is why we always have to remain vigilant.

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  6. If we voters stay informed we can roll that bad penny right back down the hill.

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  7. Congratulations, Mr. Mod,
    People can't stop talking about The Tattler. Even Josh Moran's former campaign operative.

    "Nobody reads The Tattler".
    - Josh Moran

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  9. Those of you who have "I love the library signs," need to get Preserve Sierra Madre signs as well. The two go hand-in-hand. If you haven't joined Preserve, do so now. Keep informed. The Darkness is always out there, just waiting.........

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  11. The designers of the Dreadful Specific Plan were from Orange County and so were Schubert Flint. They understood one another, and both found four stories necessary for economic well being.

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  12. What a way to make a living. Screwing residents for a living.

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  13. Wonder what the Chipster's sales pitch was to PFAR. Something like:
    "Even though our anti-Measure V campaign in Sierra Madre led by me spent over $ 150,000 and we LOST, I know how to fight the Tattler and the Preservationsists."

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    1. "I have new hair."

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    2. I would have loved to hear that pitch, lol.

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  14. Hello everyone, please allow me to clear the air here. First I left Schubert Flint in 2007, not 2009. As for what they did with their clients after my tenure, that is completely immaterial.

    Second, I've been consistently working with local associations and clients in this region since 2004. And yes was opposed to measure V. The citizens saw differently, by a small margin, and I moved on, which is what you do in elections.

    Third, thank you for using that picture. It was one that I've used while doing fundraising for the St. Baldricks foundation that raises money for children's cancer research. I was pointing to my hair that was soon to be shaved in an effort of mine that raised over $5000 for the foundation. I highly encourage everyone to look into supporting that organization.

    Fourth I am honored to be working with the fine members of the Pasadena Foothill Association of REALTORS(R). The meeting we had was an informal discussion where we were just meeting each other. I believe my comments may have either been misinterpreted, or conveyed in a manner that isn't reflective of my views or relationship with the city. Those who were in the room know that, and all members were invited to participate, as I expect to continue in the future. What I conveyed was that sierra Madre was unique in the country in that it is the only city I've ever encountered that is fervently against having a traffic signal, and that there is a very activist community in Sierra Madre. I also referenced other issues that communities around the country have that are uniquely addressed in non-traditional ways. Sierra Madre was just one example.

    Last, I will offer, as I have in the past directly to you John, that I am always available for questions if people have them. Feel free to get in touch with me directly.

    Thank you all for your time.

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    1. Of course. You are a saint.

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    2. Why do you hate Sierra Madre, Chip?

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    3. Chip post makes him seem like a text book narcissist.

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    4. Everyone is wrong except Chippy.

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    5. Chip lost in 2007. Nothing has improved for him since .

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    6. "Feel free to get in touch with me directly."

      Chip, you forgot to post your cell # so we can call you. Can you please send it to the Mod at sierramadretattler@gmail.com?

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  15. What is this 3-4 story mixed use project you are talking about, next to the only place in town.

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  16. When avaricious people present themselves as altruistic, the world is upside down.

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  17. Why can't we as a community be the way we want and live the way we want without big builders coming in and trying to make a dollar off of us with out concern for what they leave behind. Sierra Madre is a lot better informed now and more residents are involved in preserving what we have here that no other city around here has. We are united and informed so save your money and leave us alone.

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  18. Ah common Chip "...by a small margin..." was a monsterous success when you remember, as those is your position often fail to do, that the Yes on V spent $35,000 to manage their win against the No on V. Your loss by a few hundred votes, when $170,000 was spent against us by you and the Building Industry Association, the Calififornia and the Arcadia Realtors Associations is a real triumph of grass roots efforts.

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  19. Next to the Only Place In Town is a secret, who let the cat out of the bag?

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    1. Only if you are talking about 2007. Measure V killed it. Ok?

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    3. Ahlswine is a windbag. One that mostly talks about himself.

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  20. Did anyone hear the horn go off at 5:00? I must be getting really old if it did.

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    1. Yep. Nice to know that it's in good working order.
      Of course it caused hysteria, strokes, conniption fits in certain residents, but for the most part, it was ok.

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    2. Did anyone turn on their AM radio?

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    3. Thank you both. I guess i was distracted or I am getting old. I love the horn.

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  21. Yes, it went off at 5 p.m. just as it is scheduled to do. What does that have to do you with getting old?

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    1. I think it was a reference to hearing. The poster didn't hear the horn, and is wondering if old age has made him deaf.

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