Thursday, March 24, 2016

Arcadia Weekly: PAC Contributes Heavily to Bob Harbicht’s Campaign Coffers – Nevis Capital, LLC Named

Bulldozer Bob Harbicht - Development's $26,850 puppet?
Mod: We're in a "tale of two cities" situation with Arcadia right now, but with only the most subtle of differences. In Sierra Madre we can see the influence of big outside money and Pasadena campaign management being brought to bear against a City Council write-in candidate. Ferocious overkill I am sure, but did a bigoted Yes On Measure UUT proponent really have to attack Barry Gold over his religion? A new level of ugliness has now been attained in the Foothill Village ... In Arcadia the troubled candidacy of big development messenger boy "Bulldozer" Bob Harbicht has just received an incredible $26,850.00 campaign contribution from, you got it, a developer. Cash committed in order defeat an insurgent opponent who has had the actual temerity to stand up for resident rights and against invasive mansionization. Terry Miller has put together quite a story for us today.

As Election Draws Closer; Lines in Sand are Drawn
By Terry Miller
As is always the case during an election, some objectionable mudslinging and misinformation finds its way to the public's attention, especially via social media and through the good ol’ U.S. Mail.

Recently the Chinese language social media venue ‘WeChat’ has targeted candidate April Verlato. The anonymous posters’ attempts to discredit the candidate by claiming she was a ‘bully’ were later quelled when another comment caused fear of a possible libel lawsuit. Meanwhile Verlato said she has no plans to file a lawsuit, but needless to say was disturbed by some of the allegations being made.

An out-of-town group known as the California Homeowners Association, out of Willows, California, is encouraging people to vote for Bob Harbicht, saying he will bring “Government Transparency.”

Arcadia Councilman Thomas Beck said: “I am disturbed by the attacks that have been leveled on at least two candidates for Arcadia City Council. In my memory this has not been done in the past, and it is not the ‘Arcadia Way’ of doing things.

“When I learned that Bob Harbicht was being attacked [referring to a previous incident] I spoke to the person I thought was behind it and to his credit I have not seen any more attacks on Bob.

“Now I am seeing outright libelous statements being made against April Verlato. I have tried to get it stopped but have been unsuccessful. This all makes me very sad. We Arcadians are better than this type of campaigning. I understand having differences of opinion but attacking and name calling of a candidate has no place in Arcadia.”

We discovered that Harbicht’s campaign has been helped significantly by one “California Home Owners Association,” allegedly out of Willow, California, but the money trail leads to Nevis LLC, the developer who wants a major hillside development in Arcadia.

We checked with the Secretary of State, and the supporting documentation shows that the California Homeowner’s Association is a PAC – “political action committee”- out of Sacramento. It recently received $26,850 from Nevis Capital, LLC. The direct beneficiary of this is Bob Harbicht.

Nevis Capital, LLC is owned by Ta Jen Lee, aka, Jeff Lee. He is both a Pasadena resident and a developer in Arcadia.

Ta Jen Lee owns the hill above the Highlands, something that he has been trying to develop for the last 15 years. The residents of the Highlands have been fighting this development as it would result in the excavation of the hillside and removal of 32 healthy oak trees for a single home.

The California Homeowner’s Association acts as a shell organization so that their candidate does not have to report contributors on his campaign finance disclosure statements.

California Homeowner’s Association disclosure statements show that $15,000 were spent on mailers for Bob Harbicht, and another $10,000 was spent for online advertising for him as well.


Arcadia Weekly contacted Jeff Lee of Nevis Capital LLC. Lee confirmed that he did contribute a large sum of money to a PAC but said he “donates to a lot of PAC’s and is never sure where the money goes…” We asked him if he supported Bob Harbicht. Lee emphatically said, “Do I support him? Absolutely… Will I vote for him? Absolutely!” But he denies being directly tied to Harbicht’s latest mailer. “ This is how PAC’s work,” he said.

Lee also made reference to the denial of a project of his on Canyon. Lee says the denial of a single home on his 100 acre hillside property there is leading his company into exploring “pre- litigation against the City of Arcadia.”

Candidate Verlato said "I cannot compete with the kind of money that can be raised by developers for Bob Harbicht. Nor would I accept money from developers. Anyone who believes that Bob Harbicht will be ‘fair and impartial’ when a project by Nevis Capital/Jeff Lee is before the City Council is fooling themselves. Do you really think that Jeff Lee is going to take a chance and contribute $26,850 to a candidate that will vote in the best interests of the residents even if it means denying Jeff Lee his project? Developers don’t care about our Community. They only care about their return on investment.”

Mod: So what is it that connects Arcadia and Sierra Madre in this election? Development. The mansionization crowd does not want Barry Gold or April Verlato on any City Council. At least in Arcadia they're being upfront about it. To read Terry Miller's article in its entirety (and there is a lot more) click here

The Sierra Madre Police Association's latest postcard

So answer this for me if you can. How can a Police Department that lamely stood by while half its officers deserted to other cities, and now cannot find the manpower to actually protect this community without the overnight assistance of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, actually claim things like "They know our neighborhoods because they are their neighborhoods, too?"

No, they're not their neighborhoods. Half of them quit and left Sierra Madre vulnerable to all kinds of criminal activity. They apparently cared little about any of that, and chances are they never did.

Just one more transparently ridiculous and deceptive postcard from the Yes on Measure UUT gang. You can only wonder how much money they have for this nonsense.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

72 comments:

  1. Goodbye Calpers and goodbye UUT. No more red mercedez convertibles either.

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  2. There is always funny money enough for development and campaigns to raise taxes!

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  3. After the election Barry Gold will not suddenly "become aware of new facts" and change his stance on development. Can you say the same for the other two candidates running for Sierra Madre City Council?

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    1. 2 Johns, No WaitingMarch 24, 2016 at 6:58 AM

      "I have become aware of new facts, and therefore I have the right to break every promise I made to you when I ran for office. Thank you!"

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  4. LLC creations are just another way of influencing an elections out come for a candidate they are able skirt so many California campaign laws by producing false misleading mailers along with other types of propaganda and not be held accountable by any stretch that the candidate would be.

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    1. That is happening on both sides of the Peacock Curtain this year.

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    2. Why did the Kensington kick in $1,000 to Yes On Measure UUT? Future favors at City Hall? Seems like an easy way to get some cash into the pockets that count, right?

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    3. The Kensington is the largest single user of taxpayer-funded ParaMedic services and one of the largest water users in the City of Sierra Madre.That may explain their generosity to the City funded "Yes" campaign? Who knows what else the fund ?

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    4. Didn't this blog post the "bulldozer Bob" flyer? I'm sure AV did not file a law suit on the we chat commemts because there was nothing libel in the commemts. If you read the same "wechat" posts I did you would have seen that the "libel" threat did just the opposite of scaring the people on that blog, it fired them right up.

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    5. Why don't you ask Councilmember Beck? He has spoken out on the libel issue.

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    6. I'm asking here, what was libel on wechat?

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    7. Sho Tay was accused of not having a nice smile.

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  5. If Jeff Lee is a Pasadena resident how can he vote for Bob?

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    1. Maybe it's that two name thing. In Pasadena he is Jeff Lee, and in Arcadia he is Ta Jen Lee?

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    2. $26,000 seems like a lot to pay for a tired old hack.

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    3. WHAT does the Bulldozer get from serving on the council?

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    4. Good question. Free massages?

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    5. Free bottled water, by the looks of the picture.

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    6. Telling tall tales can be thirsty work.

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  6. Bad news for Bulldozer Bob and those who pull his shiny silken strings.
    The Surge in U.S. Mansion Prices Is Now Over
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-26/at-3-68-million-this-california-home-has-everything-but-buyers

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  7. Leaving Sierra Madre was not an act of desertion. It was an action taken because of the lack of job security reinforced by the lovely residents of Sierra Madre who don't support them. Here's a suggestion, vote Yes on UUT so the SMPD can confidently hire more officers without the fear that it's all for not.

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    1. Oh, without a doubt! That $150,000 a year in total compensation was in no way adequate. Watching as our officers were forced to go to soup kitchens in order to get two ladles of chicken noodle and a piece of stale bread was heartbreaking. This truly was the shame of Sierra Madre!

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    2. Again, it's about having job security. $150k a year (before taxes), is great! But if it's going to be gone in a few months, what would you do? Wait until you got the axe? Or move to a City that can afford to keep you?

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    3. Not a trick question!March 24, 2016 at 8:32 AM

      Test: would you rather have (I) smpd, or (ii) the sheriff and 4.8 million city verified dollars to spend on civic improvements over the next 8 years? If the latter, vote NO. :)

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    4. The first 8:32. The SMPD fired itself. If the officers who deserted stayed put the Sheriffs never would have been called in.

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    5. Mayor of RealvilleMarch 24, 2016 at 8:41 AM

      Let's see how that works, 8:03.

      The City Council has known since the massive defeat of the 2012 UUT tax increase that the UUT sunset was coming. What did they do?

      Jack squat! They hoped the 2014 tax increase would pass. It didn't. What did they do to contain policing costs and astronomical CalPERS increases?

      Jack squat! People are voting NO on this 66% tax increase because the City Council doesn't listen.

      It's time for LASD, lower CalPERS obligations and lower liability insurance costs (LASD suits & retirements are handled by LA County) and lower workers comp costs (already in LASD quote).

      The 6% UUT coming in July 2016, combined with ever increasing property taxes will do the job.

      Now, only if the City Council would do theirs.

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    6. The dishonesty of the Yes On Measure UUT campaign is upsetting.

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    7. Your question is lacking fact. Yes, switching the the sheriff's will save money in the short term, but we need to be thinking long term. The City will continue to pay for all the officers' salaries but will have no control over their step increases or how much they have to pay them, the City will be forced to pay them whatever LA County deems appropriate. The same goes for the equipment, artillery, and fleet they will be using. If LA County rolls out new requirements that require substantial upgrades to the sheriffs' equipment, the City will have no choice but to comply and pay whatever is necessary therefore increasing the risk that this "4.8 million city verified dollars" will still go towards public safety and not towards these civic improvements you speak of.

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    8. LASD will save money, period. Live with that Inconvenient Truth.

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    9. Nonsense. Cities that have the Sheriffs now, and many have worked with them for decades, have faced none of your Chicken Little paranoid fantasies. You need to go down to Arnold's hardware and get your wooden nose sanded down.

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    10. 8:41AM - I'm so happy Realville is not a real town because your city would fail if you were the Mayor. The City also has no control over how much they have to contribute to CalPERS. They are in a contract with them and to get out of it would cost way more than you are claiming it will save. I also challenge you to be a politician in a city like Sierra Madre where everyone thinks they know best and is quick to turn their back on you. If you think you can do better than the current City Council, run for office.

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    11. City Hall signed on with CalPERS. There was no vote on this, they just did it. Just like they decided it would be swell to only make interest payments on the 2003 water bonds. The results of these incredible blunders is millions upon millions of dollars in unnecessary debt. Can't we at least get an apology? A recognition that these were the acts of misguided fools? Instead of vast waves of dishonest post cards from the Pasadena snake you clowns hired to run the Yes On Measure UUT campaign?

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    12. These blunders lead a reasonable person to want to minimize the opportunity for Fools in power to make stupid commitments based on the wallets of the citizens.
      The City has demonstrated total incompetence repeatedly.And they are arrogantly demanding more ! Why would we do that?End the madness please.

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    13. The Gravy Train has Left the Station :(March 24, 2016 at 10:00 AM

      We are dealing with people who want to believe that officer berry is andy taylor. so with that's understanding, let's dumb this down.

      it is good to go with the sheriff and save $3.6 million extra over 8 years regardless of whether or not taxes go up, down, or stay the same. see tattler internet site of 3/8 for the city's own biased calculation of this figure.

      it is good to get rid of the chief when we go with the sheriff because he will not have a police department to be the chief of. this will save an additional $1.2 million over 8 years. see tattler internet site for city source of this $1.2 million figure.

      It is good to save $4.8 million over 8 years and, as a bonus, get 20% more patrol hours annually regardless of whether or not the UUT goes up, down, or stays the same.

      and no Virginia, the sheriff will not have the ability to push through increases at a pace that exceeds those that will be demanded by SMPD. if that were the case la Canada, which has used the sheriff for over 20 years, would not consistently continue to enjoy police costs that are annually 700k lower than ours.

      Finally, the genie is out of the bottle and he ain't going back in. Regardless of whether or not this tax increase passes, it is clear that SMPD no longer enjoys the unanimous support of the community. That means that every demand for a pay increase, pension increases, new staffing, etc. will be met with a counter demand for its replacement with the sheriff and the redirection of funds to community improvements. That is what you call leverage, and it can be used by the wise to force concessions that would otherwise be impossible to attain.

      SMPD officers know that the good old days of endorsing candidates and backing up the Brinks truck are gone. That is why half of them have quit. That should make our decision to go with the sheriff all the easier. The time is now. Vote No on the 66% UUT increase, pocket the $4.8 million in savings, and begin the city discussion on how to spend it now.

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    14. Wow! La Canada has policing costs $ 700,000 less than us? They're way bigger than we are.

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    15. Out of the 11 bodies left at SMPD, how many are eligible to retire? I bet all the sgts., the Captain & The Chief could go now. That would leave about 6 people.

      Let's go with LASD. No reason to recruit and train so they can quit and go to another dept. We've seen this movie before.

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    16. That would leave three new dispatchers with nothing to dispatch.

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    17. So that leaves 3 officers, really? Time to shut it down, they did fire themselves.

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  8. The loss of revenue if Measure UUT is defeated is $8 million over the next 8 years which far exceeds any of the mythical "savings" you are claiming. That means they will have to shut down other services like the paramedics.

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    1. You are lying, of course. Sierra Madre will always have paramedic services.

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    2. The only thing they need to shut down are the Platinum Pensions from SMPD.

      8.42, aka Mr. Truitt, don't go away mad, just go away.

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    3. False. In the years before the UUT was raised in 2008 (Measure U which passed with 62.6%) to help fund Paramedic services, Sierra Madre did not have paramedic services. It costs $700,000 a year.

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    4. 8:45 - please tell me you're joking

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    5. Really. And where did the ambulances that showed up when somebody had a heart attack come from?

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    6. 8:52 AM - not all ambulance services are associated with paramedic. There are contract ambulance services that employ EMTs which are not allowed to perform half the medical services paramedics are allowed to perform.

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    7. Well golly. I guess if I am having a stroke I'll first want to make certain the patch on the sleeve of the ambulance driver is the right color.

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    8. 8:55 - quick question because I know you are busy. What part of your anatomy do you pull your answers from? And are you properly trained to perform this operation?

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    9. 9:04 AM - no need to be crude. Google the difference between EMTs and Paramedics and you'll know I'm not talking out of my ass, which is what I'm assuming you're implying.

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    10. At last! An honest answer from a Measure UUT supporter! Well, almost.

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    11. Martin, go home and sleep it off.

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    12. Mr. Truitt needs to get to those anger management classes

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    13. Scare tactics. The parameds make minimum wage right now. They are training. Perhaps everyone should pay the fee offerred by the city to help keep them. How many of you don't pay the $60.00 per person? It should not be optional. Try being honest and stop drinking the kook-aid.

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    14. Mandatory paramedic program fee payment? Did you help to write ObamaCare, too?

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    15. The EMT program worked just fine. The paramedic program only had money for two years and now the money comes from the general fund. I have insurance like everyone is required to have. My insurance will pay for any expenses the paramedics charge should I need their service. Can anyone tell me why is costs over $1000 to transport someone to Methodist Hospital by the paramedics? For a $1000 I can fly to Hawaii and back. The fee does not make sense. Again the public is ripped off.

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  9. Our city can save $5.1 million dollars a year. By 1) hiring the sheffiffs, 2) contracting the library out, 3) and not spending the $2.6 million of UUT tax revenues. Everything stays the same. 4) Now we can rewrite all city employees benifit packages. We provide 401 K and take away all Pensions.

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    1. this would be true if the the sheriff worked for free (they don't) and contracting the library out would be free (it isn't and violates the law) and stripping the city of its tax revenue was considered a "saving". So if your income was reduced to zero would that "save" you money?

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    2. The concept of saving money seems lost on you. Are you the City Manager?

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    3. Contracting the library out violates the law? You just make it up as you go along, don't you.

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    4. The Yes crowd seems to be wetting their pants. Why are they so afraid?

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    5. They're scared to death the truth is getting out. They have spent a lot of money to try and keep that genii in its bottle.

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    6. Q) What do Martin Truitt and TeaPAC have in common?
      A) They both come from Pasadena.

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    7. The library can not be closed by City Charter, I believe. It has to be left open one day a week. It can be outsourced. The Sheriff will save money. No more new retirement payments, no charges for using other city jails, no more costly physicals, no supplying of uniforms and the cost of cleaning them, detectives who have the tools to work on the complaints, better equipment, no maintenance, no helicopter expense, the list is endless.The UUT is necessary but not until the spending stops. We will be able to keep the library and perhaps volunteers can take the positions they had before salaried people took them over.

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    8. The city of Riverside has contracted out its library services. The city of Lakewood has always had a county operated library, and Bradbury makes its residents use Monrivia or Duarte libraries. I don't think a library is a make or break part of the UUT tax. Now, paying the police platinum pensions on the other hand,.........

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  10. I'm kinda slow about some of this stuff, so do I get this right: if we do not continue the 10% UUT without ever having it go down again, we could die? Is that what the pro side is saying? So instead of decreasing the bloated staff at city hall to half the numbers, like they have in well-run La Canada, city hall would rather get rid of the paramedics and let residents die, so they can say "We told you so. Now, provide for our outrageous retirement and health care, or we'll let more of you die."
    Could that possible be it?

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    1. cost/benefit analysisMarch 24, 2016 at 11:43 AM

      we need to view this argument dispassionately. if we get allow the uut to go to its legally mandated 6% rate, which residents will die due to the lack of paramedics?

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    2. None. This is all "yes on measure uut" horse manure.

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    3. 11:43 look at your property tax bill, you pay LA County for paramedics. This ain't Calcutta.

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  11. I knew when I read that this California Homeowners Association was in Willows that it probably uses a Mail Boxes Plus as its "office." A quick internet search finds the following stats for this small town. All this is bogus. The money and push behind this could come from anywhere, a country of a billion plus people perhaps?

    Willows
    City in California
    Willows is the county seat of Glenn County, California. The city is a home to regional government offices, including the California Highway Patrol, California Department of Motor Vehicles, the United ... from Wikipedia:
    Elevation: 138′
    Area: 2.873 mi²
    Weather: 62°F (17°C), Wind SE at 1 mph (2 km/h), 58% Humidity
    Zip code: 95988
    Local time: Thursday 11:28 AM
    Population: 6,100 (2013)
    Area code: 530

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    1. Hunh. A mailbox office. Just like the Mountain Views News.

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  12. There's a great NPR Planet Money episode about the issues that our city, and MANY other cities are facing - http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2016/02/24/467984297/episode-424-how-much-is-a-firefighter-worth

    The fact is that times have changed and it is much more difficult for CA cities to afford the services and PENSION benefits that they used to provide.

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  13. "The Arcadia Way of doing things" remark made me think of Sean Connery driving a bulldozer. Developers and Speculators are the new Untouchables. Arcadia is doomed.

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  14. After receiving a call today from former Mayor Fashimg in which he claims Buldozer has no idea about the 28k (or whatever the amount is) contribution from a PAC group, maybe it's time to start a new thread on this issue with Billdozer. He's almost at a point where he could buy a new bulldozer. But seriously, does he have any clue how obvious it is to the public how he's being bought by various donors? Sure hope he stays retired.

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