Thursday, October 15, 2015

Will Halloween On Alegria Be Especially Scary This Year?

Video link here.
If you have kids, or had them in the past only to see them grow up and desert you for other places and things, you've probably spent some quality family time attending the Halloween festivities over on East Alegria.

This is one of the truly big events on the yearly Sierra Madre calendar (perhaps the biggest), and is happily attended by thousands of trick or treaters from throughout the San Gabriel Valley.

In the past there has always been a robust Sierra Madre Police Department presence on East Alegria for Halloween. This included things like officers on foot, lighting, patrol cars, traffic barriers and those all important portable toilets. However, according to a widely circulated email that made the rounds yesterday, this year could be a little bit different.


I was not completely certain about the original source of this email (it was forwarded to me by a friend), so I did a little searching and came up with the following unhappy news from the September 11 City Manager Report (link).


Interesting information to say the least. You have to wonder why this has not been more widely reported, or was even allowed to come down this way at all.

So how many people attend this event? Apparently quite a few. The following 2012 account comes our way from a blog called Sierra Madre Living (link).


You'd think something that attracts 10,000 people would be taken more seriously by the local authorities.

In the past that apparently was the case. The following year old account of this signature Sierra Madre Halloween event comes to us from the somewhat overlooked Sierra Madre News.net (link). I found this to be confusing because while the City Manager's Report suggests that this is an event put on by private residents and not City Hall, here SMN correspondent Bill Coburn notes the strong city participation this event enjoyed in 2014.


So why the scary change in the city's attitude? I am not sure. I'd hate to think that certain persons in positions of authority at Sierra Madre City Hall would be attempting to make some sort of political point about their reduced budgets by leaving the East Alegria Halloween festivities unprotected this year.

After all, 10,000 is a lot of folks, and as anyone who has spent some quality Halloween time there can tell you, this isn't just a local event. People from all over Los Angeles County attend. Many of them filled with the kinds youthful exuberance this holiday often brings.

If some of these festive folks were detect the lack of any official presence there, might they try and take advantage?

Perhaps some people in authority might want to rethink their decision a little before anything unfortunate happens. If the City of Sierra Madre can afford to spend a ridiculous $15,689.43 to pay for the Water Department's cell phone service (link), it should be also be able to come up with a few bucks and assign some already on duty cops to East Alegria this Halloween.


sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

103 comments:

  1. We would be able to afford the police protection if we contracted with the sheriff. Sounds like problem solved.

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    1. Someone is wanting to punish residents for not wanting the highest utility tax in the state, that's all this is. They are willing to put people's lives at risk to make a political point. If anybody gets hurt, there should be an investigation to determine why the sudden change. This is also why we need the Sheriff's Department.

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    2. In the Sheriff's proposal, there will be additional charges for events. So the City would have to pay one way or another.

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    3. total BS. Look at the ridiculous overtime hours and there is never an itemization on what those hours are for. I do agree that Allegria has gotten out of hand but if there is going to be thousands of people show up and our PD is going to stay away to prove a point - then they all need to be fired.

      Dweebish tactics by a dweebish PD and City Manager

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    4. Apparently you didn't attend the meeting regarding the sheriff's proposal.

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    5. read the proposal sparky!October 15, 2015 at 2:01 PM

      apparently you arn't aware that SM is already paying extra overtime for the alegria coverage. and if you actually reviewed the sheriff proposal you would see that it includes overtime, delivers 22% more actual patrol coverage, still delivers $800k in savings. though, to be fair, i suspect this would be special event overtime which is a separate cost under the city system as well as the sheriff proposal.

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    6. Right, but it has to be paid for one way or another. Previous years the event was paid for by a grant.

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    7. The City Manager also cites budget cuts. I guess you missed that one.

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    8. City Manager cites budget cuts yet she charges the Mt Wilson Trail Race for 700 hours of staff time for pre event planning of the event - which is the same year in and year out

      City Manager is full of cow methane

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    9. are we able to see the lights and displays before Halloween night

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  2. Maybe the good folks on Alegria should ask Athens Trash if they will help sponsor the event this year by providing trash cans and porta potties and maybe some lights. Or ask SCE if they would sponsor the lights.

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    1. Maybe they could get the Los Angeles Sheriff Department to sponsor the security.

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    2. ^:37, I like the way you think. Maybe LASD could host an open house on Alegria on Halloween? I'd love to meet those nice Deputies!

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    3. A Halloween Homecoming Tent.

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    4. Can LASD Deputy Friendly come to Halloween? Goodness knows Officer Friendly from SMPD has definitely left the force.

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    5. That is a great suggestion. Athens has always been good about city functions.

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  3. This is a City scare tactic for the UUT. The safety of persons at this event has been provided for by the City for over 25 years. Tell them to get their heads out of their PUMPKINS.

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  4. How heartwarming. The city is taking trick or treaters hostage.

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    1. I wouldn't mind if Allegria got taken down a few decibels

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  5. Sierra Madre elected officials and city manager along with the city attorney are not doing their job of working for the betterment of all Sierra Madre and it's resident who they ALL work for. Time for new blood to be introduced in to city hall, ASAP.

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  6. This is a scare tactic to garner support for the UUT increase. Don'y be surprised by these tactics. Its similar to the old standbys like "police response times will increase", or the "library will need to be shuttered". They are always coming up with new ways to scare or inconvenience the residents the most for having the temerity to question a UUT increase. Its right out of the union playbook. Let's focus on cutting the 1000 pound elephant in the room that eats up the vast majority of any city's budget including Sierra Madre which is the salaries, benefits and pensions of city workers. Maybe if we asked them to retire at the ripe old age of 60 rather than rewarding them for retiring at 50, we would have enough money to police the annual Halloween festivities.

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    1. ironic how timely of a notice

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  7. Call the City Manager and express your thoughts on this escapade. Please be polite.

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  8. As I was reading the Tattler I was thinking everything that was said above. You people have got it, city hall is making a statement to garnish our income. They will at the last minute change their mind because of the potential lawsuits to the city. City hall is just making a statement like always, hit em where it hurts, the safety of the the children. Wonder if it is cheaper to just hire a rent a cop, "security person with no gun".

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    1. Wonder what the legal costs to the City (meaning us taxpayers) would be in a lawsuit if someone is hurt or killed on Alegria when police presence has been yanked? One might argue that there is an expectation of City provided protection since the City has done this for lots of years before. Hmm. The City Attorney must be licking her chops at the additional billing hours , at retail rates, of course.

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    2. if the PD is going to ignore a crowd then we don't have a PD at all

      or will they storm the group with bullhorns and orders to disperse?

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  9. It should be much cheaper to hire a security company and not pay SMPD overtime, the city has been long overdue in cutting costs in this area. Security guards with no guns would be safer than having our cities shooter on duty with his gun.

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    1. agree but who is going to pay - Allegria is basically a block party gotten out of hand

      my kid is now 20 and when he was a toddler Allegria was controlled and not as loud and crowded

      when we are seeing carloads of kids from El Monte being trucked up it's time to reign in the event

      plus locals know to avoid it cause it's a zero candy zone - stand in line and get one piece of candy

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    2. Oh no! Not kids from El Monte! Listen up, you entitled SOB, economic disparity does not necessarily equate to hooliganism. You're a revolting excuse for a human being.

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  10. Maybe the residents should start a militia.

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    1. Don't give us an excuse.

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  11. what is the cost of having SMPD working halloween?

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    1. Elaine has got to be the most lame brain business manager in all of SoCal.

      I agree that this isn't a city event, but it's only because of the UUT that "this" year the city PD is going to back off.

      and if there is an accident or worse, the city is fully aware of the event, has demonstrated a pattern of protection and involvement in previous years, the city will get buried in a lawsuit and rightly so

      maybe Elaine's tactics will backfire on her - the city gets sued and has to declare bankruptcy and then we get what we need for the city - dumping the SMPD and CalPers

      Elaine is so freaking transparent

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  12. The Grinch who stole Halloween.

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    1. Allegria residents should just go dark

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  13. This is like a labor action. But it is being led by management.

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    1. The City Manager needs to be fired. How many times does that need to be said?

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    2. I agree 7:38. Absolutely stupid idea and this will backfire in the worst way. Residents will be furious at the unwillingness of the city/police department to provide for a safe Alegria experience. This is dispicable.

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    3. Recipe for disastor.

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    4. The city manager could have handled this directly with the residents on Allegria. She's going public to promote the UUT tax with a whiny scare tactic.

      A complete waste of time - Elaine needs to be fired.

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  14. City Mangler: "Police presence on Alegria will be minimal this year…"

    So they ARE sending the SMPD?

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    1. woo hoo - we can bring beer

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  15. Here's a great idea. Let's put the safety of children in jeopardy so the police department can get a raise! Thanks Elaine!

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  16. Think how much staff time the city would charge. I am happy the police are not involved this year. It's also the city and the police saying we need the UUT to keep you safe. Why ham radio operators? What's wrong with cell phones. It's the tour buses and the out of towers that cause the congestion. This event was started for OUR children.

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    1. O.K., the tradition was started for our children, but we have no control over who comes into the city. The ham radio operators agreed to do this as a volunteer organization since they have experience working with the Mt. Wilson Trail Race and other activities in town. There will also be the police volunteers manning the barricades. The police will be on their regular patrol and will respond if called by the volunteers. (by ham radio)

      The Alegria thing happened over time and morphed into a great activity encouraged by the residents decorating their homes and providing treats. If the Alegria residents want to have this activity, then I suggest they get together and organize including getting sponsorship for portables and lights. It has always been my contention that there are only three events that the city should be involved in: 4th of July, Mt. Wilson Trail Race, and the Wistaria festival, since these three bring in people from out of town and benefit all of the town residents. The others should/could be run by volunteers with permits for street closures, no parking, etc. And, even the 4th of July Parade was an all-volunteer activity without city involvement until just a few years ago when the city took it over, so to speak, although they have a super great committee of volunteers who do the bulk of the work.

      As far as using cell phones is concerned, can you imagine if a 5 year old in a mickey mouse suit was lost in the crowd and each volunteer had to be individually called on their individual cell phone to alert them to keep a look-out for that 5 year old? Not to mention the need to get hold of the patrolling officers if needed. As for the lights and porta potties hopefully that can get that done before the 31st.

      p.s. It does seem that this is another ploy to again raise the UUT rate but control of this event should have been addressed long ago even before the UUT issue came up.

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    2. This is two weeks out. It is a mess. I spoke with two city councilmembers this morning who knew nothing about what was happening. They were not happy.

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    1. You're no fun anymore

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    2. This is why we can't have nice things.

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  18. I think we need to get ex Mayor George on it. Horns and ham radios right up his alley!!

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    1. Ex Mayor Moran could bring the hats and horns.

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    2. And whips and chains

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  19. This is a 'smart' move by Aguilar and Mayor Capoccia?
    They know the lack of Police at this very large public event will be exploited by the out of town "visitors" we get for this event. It is an open invitation to the vandals and hoodlums to come to Alegria and cause havoc.
    Then Aguilar and Capoccia will wag their fingers at us and say the chaos is our fault for under-funding the Police.
    It will backfire on them.
    If the Sheriffs were running law enforcement is Sierra Madre they would 'control' any situation very quickly ! Our own Police - not so much.

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    1. I recall during the L.A. riots the SMPD denied access to all "visitors" specially the younger ones.

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    2. so the City Manager and PD Chief know that the event is going to create crowds and they are announcing that the PD will provide minimal support?

      Elaine and the Chief are complete idiots

      this guarantees I'll vote NO every time on the UUT

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  20. I hear Westboro Baptist church will be there, along with insane clown posse.

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  21. Capoccia and Aguilar are like militant Trade Union leaders .They will exploit any situation to coerce us into agreeing to any tax increase. Then there will be another demand and eventually they will break this City financially.
    In effect Capoccia and Aguilar are fanatical anarchists. They seek their perverted goal by fear and destruction.This could end up like Detroit's Devil Night .
    Imagine the statement from Mayor Capoccia and City Manager Elaine Aguilar after mayhem on Alegria caused by lack of Police presence at a large after-dark public event. "The citizens got what they deserved"
    This has been a useful clarifying insight into what those two love birds Capoccia and Aguilar want for Sierra Madre.

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    1. Funny the Tattler crowd haven't liked a mayor the past 5years. There has been two elections since then. Why don't you elect someone you like, l can answer that, it's because sometimes a council member has to do what is in the best interest of the city not to please you.

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    2. "Detroit's Devil Night"! what a maroon!

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  22. The message is mixed between these two sources, to say the least. "Minimal" police presence is pretty vague, especially considering that every year the City makes sure to tell us Alegria is not a City event. For all we know, the SMPD provides what they consider to be minimal paid police presence every year, but this year they want to blame it on money. But, the email says "no Police support"; that's a whole different thing. Also, not clear why any of this would affect the number of volunteers ("There may be police volunteers but we are not sure."). I guess we'll find out.

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    1. Agreed 9:22. We don't have enough information.

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    2. No barricades, no special lighting, no porta potties, fewer police. Two weeks out and nobody can tell for sure what is going on. Right. Thousands of people pouring in from out of town. Looking good.

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    3. what's John Buchanan got to say about this?

      he's the most brilliant person in SM, certainly he has an answer

      after all, he's a lawyer

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  23. Sierra Madre police are afraid to work alone, they call for back up when they stop an elderly resident for a rolling stop sign violation. The PD are padding their work and city hall is preaching the lies. The SD can't possibly be worse or more $.

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  24. City Hall's only concern is monetizing everything.

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  25. The responsible thing for Mayor Capoccia and City Manager Aguilar to do is to beg Alegria residents to cancel their event.
    Yes ,I know, putting those two names and the word responsible in juxtaposition is naive
    But this is to serious for political squabbling. The Alegria event un-policed is a potential public safety disaster.It is an open invitation to every "Devil Night" wannabe to come to Sierra Madre and cause damage.
    What happened to "To Protect & Serve" ? Oh sorry that is just LAPD - does not apply to SMPD?

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  26. Los Angeles Sheriffs Department is looking better and better.

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    1. The Sheriff's department will charge for special events. As stated a few hours ago, the City will pay one way or another.

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    2. Get ready to spend $800k a year on new stuff!October 15, 2015 at 2:06 PM

      except the city will have an extra $800k to spend on improving the library, building an awecome senior center, etc. if we hire the sheriff!

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    3. The awesom senior storage room is already over budget. The senior have over $100000 in their account. Let them pay for the over run. It's to store their table.

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    4. Did I miss the donut shop?

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  27. Maybe the good citizens should make certain there are lots of "traffic stops" up by Alegria on Halloween. that way, there will be at least two police cars on site.

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    1. the doughnut shop will be busy that night

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    2. Absolutely scary that you would create a disturbance just to prove a point. Where are your senses

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    3. What are you talking about?

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  28. I am willing to give a donation to the people on Alegria. Also, you have a right, I believe, to ask the city to borrow the barricades and lights for your use. This city may charge rent, but that only makes it worse for them if they do. I know there are retired sheriff's who live here. They could step up and volunteer. Or cancel the event. What alternative do you have? The chief said at the CC meeting that he would have to lessen the time spent by COPS. I guess this is it.

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    1. Don't think you can "cancel" the event, these are private property owners decorating property they own in the tradition of Halloween, and if individuals decide to view these decorations, that is their right. Tickets aren't sold, no money is made by anyone. This has taken place for many years without city "participation", and will continue for many years to come with or without the city's involvement....BOO!

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  29. If a decreased police presence at the largest public event in Sierra Madre is what the police want to do, so be it.
    Let's just make sure there is equally no staff time spent on Derbys, Dinners, Dances, Festivals any kind of citizen party, including the big deal parade.

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    1. Allegria is a block party - not a city event. It used to be cool but now is out of hand. Too many obnoxious adults.

      however if the city can't afford overtime then overtime needs to be cut across the board for all events except for emergencies



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  30. Sadly, the Alegria event needs to be declared an Attractive Nuisance or similar and banned until we can afford appropriate law enforcement..
    With the declaration that the largest public event of the year is to be an un-policed free-for-all -what else could a responsible City Manager do ?
    Oh but we don;t have a responsible City Manager do we?

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    1. Great. Let's sacrifice one of the truly great Sierra Madre events for, well, nothing. Cool.

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    2. We're spending waaaay more than we need to for :appropriate law enforcement", 12:05. Don't be a troll.

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    3. Cool? No, it is sad and irresponsible. Let me explain.
      I accept that the City Manager Aguilar is incapable of budgeting and can not find the money to Police the largest after-dark public event in Sierra Madre.I also accept she has no interest in protecting Sierra Madre.
      What is unacceptable is her de facto invitation for street and property crime by advertising that this is a police-free event.
      Let's be clear.This needless,blatant and callous intent is to create a disaster so she and Capoccia can say :" See, told ya we need more money" .. for police/library/rusty pipes/pensions/whatever .

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    4. This is a knee-jerk reaction to something that is in hand. The police volunteers will be manning the barricades. The radio club will be handling communications. The police will be taking their regular shifts.
      The Alegria folks will be handing out their candy. This is not an activity that has had trouble in the past. The only problem the volunteers had last year was when a resident insisted she drive past the barricade to get to her house about 7:00 when the event was a full speed. Not as if she didn't know the street would be closed, she did. The volunteers convinced her she should park her car and walk the 1/2 block home, which she did. If the Alegria folks don't want people peeing on their shrubbery, then they should chip in for some potties.

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    5. Two cops on duty? 10,000 people? Yep. Just great.

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    6. This matter is not "in hand".That is the whole point of our outrage.
      The City Manager put in print that the Police presence will be "MINIMAL".
      What is "in hand" is an effort to shake down the citizens of Sierra Madre.

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    7. Thank you. I can't believe there are people making excuses for this disastor.

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    8. The City, making it a public fact that the PD presence will be minimal, just put a big "ROB ME" sign up for criminals. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

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    9. 1:53, if they are being as sneaky and destructive as some people think they are, that's exactly what they want.
      "You see you ungrateful residents, you better pay til you bleed or we will be gone."
      This is not the first time this attitude has been made clear.

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  31. As a former resident of Sierra Madre - I attended the event when my daughter was 2 - 22 years ago. It was crowded .. but friendly ... and my daughter's eyes were wide open in aahhh of all the houses. She had to go to the bathroom and one of the owners of a house was kind enough to let her in and use her restroom ... very kind ... one house gave out punch and cookies .. it's been over 20 years since I lived in Sierra Madre. From time to time I stll drive through it .. it brings back great memories ... I went down the street last year the day before Halloween and looked at the decorations being put up ... the thought now of seeing it on the day of the event ... knowing the crowds and the potential for no law enforcement to enforce traffic laws and safety is a very huge detour for me to not attend this event ever again ...

    Maybe that was the initial intention ... however my memories will remain of my 2 year old at the time being happy and safe.

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    1. The memories won't be the same because the event has entirely changed from your memories. I don't go now either because it is crowded with mostly people from out of town, not because I fear for my safety. As far as traffic control is concerned, being from Sierra Madre, you will know where to park to avoid the traffic and walk up to Alegria. You could even trick and treat along the way.

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  32. Again, there will be law enforcement and traffic control. You guys are just pushing your own agenda.

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    1. Wrong.
      The City Manager put in writing that the police presence will be "Minimal" - see the screen shots above

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    2. There are people in this town who even defended Bob Matheson. You have to wonder what is wrong with them.

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  33. If this has always been a block party, which one of the many residents applied for the permit for the street closure? If they did not have to get a street closure permit, then it is a city sanctioned event, even if they say they do not provide any financial assistance. Who brings in the city barricades? Who brings in the portable light standards to illuminate the intersections at both end of Allegria? How does the city contract with Athens waste pickup extend to this unsanctioned neighborhood event? How does the city-owned Police Volunteers' car get gassed up and insured? Is this all by default and therefore a city sanctioned event by default?

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  34. Does Elaine not know that "Sierra Madre lives matter"?

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  35. Excuse me while I wring out my Hankie.. I hope none of you create a disturbance to prove a point!

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    1. I hope you stay sober long enough to eat that hankie.

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  36. Public is aware of event:
    http://www.timeout.com/los-angeles/things-to-do/best-places-to-go-trick-or-treating-in-los-angeles

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  37. I repeat, there will be law enforcement and traffic control. Because the police are not standing at the barricades doesn't mean there isn't law enforcement.

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    1. What if they're out getting coffee and donuts? Is there law enforcement then?

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