Scott fancies himself to be a player with major sway locally within the fine feathered precincts behind the Peacock Veil. He has also blocked me from leaving comments to his blog articles, which is a shame since I have in no way prevented him from commenting on my blog. However, I am fine with that. I'll just post my observations here. That way they will be in a place where more people will see them.
As many here are well aware, Arcadia has been roiled by various troubling controversies lately. From those controversial McMansion enablement issues (link), to Brown Act lawsuits (link), to dream junkets funded by the Chinese government (link), to John Wuo's less than believable denial of any knowledge of the GemCoin matter (link), things have been action-packed there lately. Especially at City Council meetings, where more and more residents have begun to show up to express outrage at their government's run amuck shenanigans.
Which brings us to today's topic, Scott Hettrick's apparent anger at anyone who dares speak out about the many problems Arcadia is facing. Using the unlimited access he has to the Arcadia's Best blog, Scott has now launched several rather blunt assaults upon City Hall's critics in town. Especially those who are opposed to McMansion development in the Highlands area.
This from his most recent screed, called "City Council sausage-making" (link):
But along the way attendees and viewers on TV and online had to observe/endure the following:
Warnings of police arrest after a member of the audience yelled so loud and long over Mayor Gary Kovacic’s demands to be quiet while banging a gavel that a recess had to be called until order was restored.
Recent former Mayor Mickey Segal threatening to use his considerable resources, including a mailing list of 6,000-strong, to mount a recall campaign against three City Council Members, including the current Mayor Pro Tem, if they didn’t make the residents lawsuit go away in 120 days — “Or we’re going to have a wild winter in Arcadia.”
- Claims of false statements by and about each other from the Mayor and Council Members, most related to the lawsuit and size of homes.
- The first public verbal accusation of a Council Member using his position for financial gain by the author of the lawsuit that was first reported the week prior in the Arcadia Weekly.
- Plenty of hyperbole and rhetoric in public comments and from the Council, much of it misleading and outright inaccurate (see “Sifting through the rhetoric” below).
And all of this played out in front of a sign prominently displayed in front of the Mayor that reads “R-E-S-P-E-C-T,” which was put there by Gary Kovacic at his first meeting as Mayor in April to try to discourage most of the above.
That sounds like democracy at work to me. And given what has been happening in Arcadia lately, isn't it quite conceivable that residents there just might have some highly legitimate reasons for being upset, and feel that the only way they can reach their psychologically remote elected City officials is to get in their faces a little bit?
Apparently I am not the only one who feels this way. There have been a number of reader replies to Hettrick's latest assault on those who dare to speak out in a way he does not approve of, most of which were not complimentary to the self-styled guardian of "Arcadia's Best." Here is one such reply from Tim Burch:
Scott, I’m neither a fan or foe of your Arcadia’s Best blog. I’m certainly a fan of Arcadia. Since I attended and spoke at the 7/7 ACC meeting, let me address a couple of your points which I feel are inaccurate or a mischaracterization. Perhaps the inaccuracy results from your necessary editorial paraphrasing as much as any slant you may or may not have toward the ACC or against residents.
First, the audience applause was most poignant following former Mayor Segal’s verbal castigation of the current council and his disappointment in the partisan voting by a 3-member block of councilmen. His remarks emphasized the recent 3-2 votes against doing the city’s business; suspending the zoning code update, excluding the Highlands from the historical preservation survey and suspending the work of community impact committees. You missed the mark when you suggested 3-2 votes are limited to one issue. My own public comments characterized this vote as mean, vindictive and wrong.
[Fan or foe of citizen action, certainly you can’t be pleased by the LA Conservancy’s “F” rating to Arcadia – just 5 out of 245 points – on historical preservation. The 3-2 vote is the wrong direction for all Arcadia].
Second, audience applause also peaked after councilman John Wuo was called out on the recent news story regarding his affiliations with USFIA and the GemCoin crypto-currency that has been characterized in the press as an international Ponzi scheme. There may be details yet to come but at face value it is an embarrassment for the city. Mr. Wuo’s claim he didn’t know about GemCoin rings hollow when in fact there are videos online of his support and promotion of GemCoin, support Mr. Wuo gave at GemCoin press conferences in 2014 and 2015 while he was mayor.
Third, I feel you mischaracterized the exchange initiated by Councilman Sho Tay, and the objection by Ms. Verlato. Mr. Tay attempted to initiate discussion on matters apparently subject to a confidentiality agreement signed by the city regarding the lawsuit by Save the Highlands. Mr. Tay’s remarks were made after public comment and thus appeared as deliberate baiting not discourse. A vocal objection seemed appropriate to me and many in the audience. This understandably frustrated Mayor Kovacic who read a boilerplate statement about decorum before resuming the meeting.
Fourth, you didn’t mention Mr. Wuo’s “plea” to the audience to drop the lawsuit so the city can go on about its business. This smacks of political gamesmanship, not leadership. In light of Mr. Tay’s attempt to circumvent confidentiality, it appears these two councilmen are colluding for political purposes above city business. This is abhorrent.
This “sausage-making” as you call it rightfully could be praised as an exercise of democracy and free speech. Being free, it may not be as calm or quiet as some may prefer.
I felt it was an excellent learning experience for the Arcadia Youth Council Commission students, the Leadership Academy graduates and all others who witnessed democracy in action. In this case, “sausage-making” serves an important purpose in reminding us that we all have a voice and we should not be fearful to speak out, especially when confronting the powerful, whether they are elected officials, deep-pocketed developers or anyone who is believed to be doing a disservice to our city.
Then there is this from Lael Blocker:
I am sure there is no one in Arcadia who does not appreciate your Arcadia’s Best informing us of the local happenings and reporting on the fun events around town. However, when it comes to City Government, there seems to be a disconnect between you and many citizens of our fair City.
Using buzz words and phrases such as “wasn’t pretty,” “warnings of police arrest,” “threatening,” ” verbal accusation,” “combative behavior,” “unfortunate,” and the best one–“ugly,” makes it apparent you are comfortable in diminishing people who do not go along with decisions that counter their well being and are out of line with the norm.
I believe you are mistaken if you see this issue as equal to past concerns about peacocks, coyotes or oak trees. The Mansionization of Arcadia has been too long on the loose while so many of us were asleep at the wheel. I drive around town and can scarcely believe what I see.
This goes far beyond the Highlands and, rest assured, we have woken from our lethargy and will not be written off as misbehaving brats who just don’t know any better. And, as for the first-timers, students and new volunteers, I am guessing it was a lot more fun than they expected!
Some pretty telling stuff. But we still don't have our answer to the question why Scotty can get so Snotty on his Arcadia's Best blog with those questioning the increasingly unfortunate status quo at City Hall. However, we do have a theory, that being McMansion supporting Arcadia Councilmember Sho Tay could have some serious political sway with this not quite so independent blog, and uses that control to influence Scott Hettrick's somewhat bombastic political writings.
We have prepared the following chart illustrating what in my opinion are Scott Hettrick's rather compromised connections to Councilmember Sho Tay.
We would also like to share with you a document that establishes the financial dependence Mr. Hettrick and his Chamber of Commerce have upon the city government of Arcadia.
So there you go. In the opinion of The Tattler, when our pal Scott Hettrick attacks the opponents of Mansionization in Arcadia, it is not simply a matter of any preference for that "mausoleums for the living" style of development. Rather it is something expected of him, given in exchange for the taxpayer money he is gifted with by City Hall through the Chamber of Commerce.
Of course, residents of the Highlands are taxpayers as well. Which makes the repeated propagandistic assaults they are forced to endure from Mr. Hettrick on the Arcadia's Best blog all the more problematic.
To use the metaphor, it is like they are being forced to pay for the bullet their government hopes to shoot them with some unhappy day.