Saturday, March 12, 2016

Why Is The "Yes On UUT" Campaign Now Resorting To McCarthyism?

As one of this community's only truly open news forums, the Sierra Madre Tattler has been the target of a lot of attacks over the years. Especially during election seasons when the hot winds howl and rational debate finds itself being blown so very far away.

On Thursday this week I received an urgent communication from the mother of one of Yes On UUT's preeminent personalities. The gist of her complaint was that I needed to stop berating her precious son. If not she would hit me with her rolling pin and make me scrub her rudely neglected chamberpots. Needless to say the prospect of such a punishment did not appeal to me, so I promised that I would never ever do anything quite so bad again. In order to protect the sensibilities of the poor dear thing I will now only refer to the object of her special concern as Napoleon Cheesecake. I would hope that you will do so as well. Actually, I'm going to insist on it.

Of course, that this missive from mother should have appeared in my email box the same day as a mass mailer to the residents of Sierra Madre arrived warning all concerned of a vast interstate conspiracy against local government, and as typified by The Tattler, is hardly a coincidence in my humble opinion.

Some people can dish it out, but don't enjoy taking it quite as much. They'd rather go and whine to mother instead.

So anyway, enough of that. Here is today's story. Many small town politicians prefer that people not discuss election issues in any real depth, but rather spend their time contemplating the bromidic though colorful political mailings their campaigns issue. Those postcards depicting SMPOA teddy bears in Police uniforms a few years back come to mind.

Yes, they really do think you're an idiot.

The Tattler doesn't do that sort of thing, of course. It would just be too boring and dull. Life is far too short to serve as a volunteer publicist for fibbing small town politicians and the vastly overpaid donut chasers who line their pockets with cash at election time.

Besides, and do allow me to assure you, we have always enjoyed the criticism. After all, if The Tattler was not having an important effect on what is going down in the SGV, why would certain special individuals go to all of that bother and expense? I figure that over the years thousands of dollars have been spent in misguided efforts to "Take Out The Tattler." And each and every time that effort has failed miserably.

The most obvious flaw in this scheme is that when The Tattler has been the subject of these sorts of things, blog traffic and interest have increased. For that we have always been grateful to our critics. Without them why would anyone bother to read what we lay down here? People prefer red meat controversy far more than they do the simplistic bloviations of prevaricating local politicians and their pompous and oftentimes laughably inept campaign managers.

As in other elections, The Tattler is now being roundly smeared. It is kind of a tradition here. I think they spent around $5,000 of somebody else's money this time around, which is pretty impressive. We are moving up in the world. But what makes it even more delicious is that these folks, who would happily tell you just how progressive and caring they believe themselves to be are, in my opinion, engaging in a reactionary form political excess known as McCarthyism.

This is how it is defined by Wikipedia (link).

McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence. It also means "the practice of making unfair allegations or using unfair investigative techniques, especially in order to restrict dissent or political criticism."[1] The term has its origins in the period in the United States known as the Second Red Scare, lasting roughly from 1950 to 1956 and characterized by heightened political repression against communists, as well as a campaign spreading fear of their influence on American institutions and of espionage by Soviet agents. Originally coined to criticize the anti-communist pursuits of Republican U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin, "McCarthyism" soon took on a broader meaning, describing the excesses of similar efforts. The term is also now used more generally to describe reckless, unsubstantiated accusations, as well as demagogic attacks on the character or patriotism of political adversaries.

Here is a portion of this week's mailer from what I believe is the Napoleon Cheesecake fronted "Yes On UUT" campaign.


I'll bet the majority of people who voted against raising utility taxes here in 2012 and 2014 are not aware that they're actually "anti-government political militants obsessively determined to advance their personal political agenda." Nor did they know they voted that way to "harm seniors and families." They probably just figured they were sick of being forced to pay the highest UUT rates in California, and decided to vote NO.

In 2014, the Pasadena Star News said the following about that year's attempt to raise UUT rates in Sierra Madre.


Tell me, do you really think the Star News said that in order to destroy property values in Sierra Madre? Is Larry Wilson actually a member of an insidious extremist cabal hellbent on subverting the Wistaria Festival and Huck Finn Fishing Derby?

Besides, property values in Sierra Madre go up despite City Hall, not because of it.

This stupid and nasty attempt to smear the "No On UUT" campaign is, of course, complete bunkum. It is also an example of McCarthyism at its most extreme. An attempt to frighten the good citizens of the Foothill Village into believing that, rather than voting themselves a little bit of tax relief, are actually the target of a vast interstate conspiracy bent on destroying everything they hold near and dear. Or, even worse, are themselves the ones actually doing these terrible things, and really ought to look ashamed about it.

It is also not the only mailed example of McCarthyism this town has seen recently. Here is one from last year's Pasadena Unified School District Board of Ed election.


Kind of similar in a way, especially in the use of an inset display box. Strategically placed to reveal "secret evidence" of evil-doing from those targeted by these rather overwrought and extreme examples of McCarthyism.

Very strange things to see in the Foothill Village. Can it be the Yes On UUT campaign thinks it is losing?

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

67 comments:

  1. Gee, I didn't receive the post card screed in my mail. Are there any facts included in it about the UUT? It just sounds like scattershot fear mongering to me. Guess that's what one does when they've run out of reasonable arguments.

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    1. They call me Mister CheesecakeMarch 12, 2016 at 7:45 AM

      Facts? We don't need no stinking facts.

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    2. I think they're getting their information from Dr. Abumere.

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  2. The UUT taxes need to GO. 2) All Future Pensions nedd to be replaced with 401k. 3) All medical benefits need a cap of $400 per employee 4) I see no signs of the city council cuting expenses, only getting closer to bk and Taxing the taxpay we s. Why?

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    1. I think that all existing pensions should be recalculated and adjusted downward.

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  3. When you don't have the facts, pound the table.

    Fact; the city has raised spending by $1.2 million over the last 3 years.

    Fact: the city admits going with the sheriff will save $3.6 million over the next 8 years. $4.8 million if we eliminate the public safety director.

    Fact: the city will not address spending if the 66% jut increase passes.

    Would you rather have (1) SMPD, or (2) the sheriff and $3,6 m - $ 4.8 m to spend on civi improvements?
    th city should address spending before raising taxes.

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    1. By the way, I am writing these facts on an iPhone from a baseball tournament in Phoenix. That , of course, does not alter the truth of the facts stated,

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    2. Napoleon Cheesecake is watching.

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    3. 6:08. You must be another of those out of town anti government political militants.

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    4. I saw a lot of them in Azusa last night. They were eating in a restaurant.

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    5. How about let's get into real facts? If we pick 2008 as our starting year, we're spending less. (stats below). Pick a year to spin your argument to look the best, who's pounding the table?

      https://sierramadre.opengov.com/transparency#/390/breakdown=c51ab5be-8f2a-453e-8506-64e95debafd0&currentYearPeriod=years&currentYearAmount=cumulative&accountType=expenses&graph=stacked&selection=3A8A7B5C58CE5E56ECAA7FB60339AF4D&legendSort=desc&saved_view=null&fiscal_start=earliest&fiscal_end=latest

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    6. Where's the $9 million dollars in CalPERS debt? Or is that just another one of those things you say we're not allowed to talk about.

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    7. We can talk about anything. We can talk about how the immediate reaction to information that directly contradicts the argument made above, is to move the goalposts to CalPERS debt. (Instead of acknowledging the lack of rigor in the information being spread.)

      We can then talk about how we are going to waste energy linking the UUT to a fight about CalPERS. I can think of many ways to launch a fight for pension reform in the State of California. This is not one of them. I can think of many ways to go about reforming the pension system just within Sierra Madre. This is also not one of them.

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    8. So you probably wouldn't want to talk about the millions in water bond debt as well.

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    9. Sure, let's move the goalposts again and talk about that, while I get to point out that people here (once again) keep bringing up bad points, spread misinformation, and dodge to a new topic whenever they are proven wrong.

      Water bond debt? The debt that is constantly drummed up here as debt created for no good reason (even when people show exactly where the money was spent?) Debt that was added in such a way as to create absolutely no change in costs of water from year to year? (a fact that gets spun in the Tattler as the most egregious con to ever have been created, because in order to create no damage to your pocketbook today, it costs more to pay off over the decades.)

      Let's talk about the water bond debt. Let's talk about how the water is more expensive because we had to invest in ways to clean up the water coming from our streams, and how somehow this is the fault of city hall and not just plain bad luck. Let's talk about how city hall was incompetent for upgrading our reservoirs to withstand earthquakes, in compliance with state law. Let's talk about how incompetent they were to underwrite a big portion of these expenses with federal money.

      Anything else?

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    10. Really? That is what matters to you? Whether the help gets the blame or not? Have you ever taken lessons in relevancy?

      Here is a report on the interest only payments the downtown circus has been making on the 2003 water bonds. It is costing the taxpayers millions.
      http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com/2015/05/massive-doyle-stockley-era-water-bond.html

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    11. Yes, that's excellent, link me to the tattler's spin on the issue, and dodge a substantive discussion on the UUT by staying on another topic.

      This debt paid for improvements to water safety (the contaminated streams), and earthquake improvements to reservoirs. The debt was structured so your water bill would remain exactly the same, you wouldn't pay a penny more. If it had been structured differently, then we all would have paid more starting in 2003.
      Am I also allowed to point out the irony of the entire comment, in reference to blame? No, probably not.

      We can also point out, once again, that the actual true difference between a fixed interest loan and the payment structure outlined is under 2 million dollars, spread out over 30 years, the difference is 56k a year. This is not the spin we've been getting here. Regardless, every penny counts, but again -- raising rates up-front is not something voters here want, they appear to want to pay more over the long-term, so they don't have to raise rates up front.

      The cost of a special election to get people to pay up front would wipe out a lot of those savings as well. And if they vote it down, well, we are right back where we started.

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    12. You only seem to want to deal with selective problems, and the combined $40 million in water bond and CalPERS debt is irrelevant how? Because it isn't convenient to your tax hike spin? Doesn't mention the Library? Oh, and of course. It is always the fault of the residents. Even interest only water bond payments that added $6.75 million to an already substantial amount of debt. Are you having lunch with the City Manager today?

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    13. What did this start with? Ah yes: When you don't have facts, pound the table.

      Water rates pay for the water debt, so it's irrelevant to the UUT. CalPERS debt is a solution that is not addressable by the UUT, and if people want to address it they need to address it directly. We've discussed ad nauseum how to cut costs to reduce the UUT. Outsource the police: still in the hole next year. Is a 6% UUT factored into that multi-million windfall? No. But you want me to trust and validate these arguments anyway?

      As for the off-topic issue of the water bond. The interest only component added less than 2 million, a savings of perhaps 56k a year, which isn't enough to do anything substantive. The bond was for infrastructure improvements, are you saying we didn't need those improvements because we couldn't afford them? Are you saying the improvements we were legally obligated to address first should have been shirked in favor of more pressing concerns?

      Actually, I can't tell what your point is through all the spin. I have no trouble talking about any problem. If you want to switch subjects because you can't win an argument on the facts, keep changing it.

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    14. I think a pattern has been established. From the water bond debacle to the CalPERS catastrophe to half of the police department deserting. Quite a series of screw ups. I understand why you would want to compartmentalize the disastors, but some of us do like to take a look at the big picture. You can go back to your table pounding now.

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    15. "Only $56,000 a year? Only? How out of touch can one get?

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  4. It is hard to believe the nice people from the Yes On UUT campaign would be employing a tactic such as this. Did somebody put something in their poached eggs?

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  5. Have you no shame Mr. Mayor?March 12, 2016 at 6:36 AM

    Can you imagine Barry Gold or any of the no on jut folks putting out such nonsense?

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  6. The author of the Torres/Dreier card is known and that person is a close associate and political supporter of the person who paid the yard sign permit fee for the No on UUT campaign. It has nothing to do with the Yes on Measure UUT campaign. In addition, because the Torres/Dreier card did not have the required "paid for" disclosures it is a violation of FPPC regulations and the FPPC got involved. Therefore, you are falsely accusing the wrong people of an unlawful act. Such an accusation is defamatory on its face ("defamation per se"). Finally, like the Dreier/Torres card, the NO on UUT yard signs are also unlawful because the NO on UUT yard signs do not have the required "paid for" disclosures.

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    1. So who is the author of the Torres/Dreier card?

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    2. Excuse me Mr. Pettifogger, but where exactly does it say that the Dreier/Torres mailer is the product of the Yes On UUT campaign? As far as I can tell the Yes On UUT campaign didn't exist in 2015.

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    3. The wisteria hysteria of the yes on uut crowd has become comical. Rather than addressing the facts, they are actually paying someone to track web traffic and send out silly postcards. Does that tell you anything about the wisdom with which they intend to spend your money.

      As for the chubby politico behind this vapid and fact free campaign, the question is this: if you lose this election to a rag tag and cashless no on uut opposition, will anyone ever hire you again?

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    4. Maybe 6:44 can't count.

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    5. 6:44 I'm sooooooooooo afraid

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    6. Hmm. The no on UUT yard signs are obviously "paid for" by the people who place them in their yards silly boy.

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    7. Maybe Nancy Walsh and Susan Henderson are running the Yes On UUT campaign again this year.

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    8. Sure looks like it.

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  7. Just like last time the Yes On UUT campaign is being run by loons.

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  8. Just received a flyer from the Sierra Madre Police "Association" i.e. police union. Do you think they are in favor of increasing the UUT? If it was proposed to increase the UUT to not 10% but 20%, do you think the Police "Association" would be in favor of that too? Or course they would. All they want is more money in the General Fund in order to get themselves even higher salaries, benefits and pensions. Know too that this flyer was paid for by those who donate to the Police "Association". They use our own money against us in order to keep pushing for higher and higher taxes. I hope people see through this by now. I love the headline on the flyer: "Vote for a Safer Sierra Madre!". If we want a safer Sierra Madre and at a cheaper cost, we would go with the Sheriff's Department. It would also be the end of a Police "Association" meddling in local politics and agitating for higher and higher pay. They need to focus on fighting crime.

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    1. Our police department has become way too politicized. They will do everything possible to influence the vote for any tax increase at any amount and at any time. If we continue down the road we are going, they will be able to retire at 30 with lifetime pensions while the rest of us retire at 80. No way.

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    2. The Sierra Madre Police Association sends out an annual flyer (by the way its exactly the same flyer used by every other union - so they all collaborate together for the same thing because they know that if a union in one city prevails in getting higher pay for their officers, every other union in every other city can now point to them as the new "going rate" that we have to match to stay "competitive" - but I digress. I would like to know if they money people donate is now being spent on fancy flyers to try to pass tax increases. So the people who donate to what they think is a worthy cause is actually being used against their interests. Wake up people. The unions follow the same playbook in every city. There's nothing new here. And the result is that the ordinary cop walking the beat makes a six figure income and gets to retire at the age of 50 with about 90% of their salary for the rest of their lives, with cost of living increases each year and amazing medical benefits. I don't begrudge them for making herculean efforts to have taxes be as high as possible so that a city can keep increasing their salaries. I only condemn the citizens who fall for it and I blame our elected representatives who grant these exorbitant benefits in exchange for union support in elections. They put their own political ambitions ahead of the people whose interests they are supposed to represent.

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    3. I recently called SMPD for assistance with a crime in progress.I gave them the street address.They could not find it. I had to walk them around the block to show them the address painted on the curb. And after all that -they did nothing !Too late crime done. Suspects still there but oh well .
      And SMPD wonders why we want the Sheriffs !

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  9. The madness tempo on all fronts has increased so once again human nature has taken over to run lose and it's all over Money an Power for politician's not the tax paying voting residents the reason out of towner are getting involve is this could spread outside the borders of Sierra Madre to threaten other tax wasting politician's life styles.

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  10. This UUT needs to be voted down.....again. Its all about more raises for the Sierra Madre Police "Association" members. They aay in their latest flyer in favor of the UUT that: "We are committed to being there when you need us the most, and we hope you will join us by voting Yes on the UUT this April." Are you kidding? They are leaving us in a lurch by abandoning the citizens of Sierra Madre in droves. Its all about the money for these people. I'm sorry but its true. I have been the biggest supporter of the police officers but since they were allowed to unionize and since they are all focused on retiring at 50 with as much money as possible, my respect for them has changed. Its all about the money. The union which is comprised of the individual officers - don't forget that - they sometimes let the union do the dirty work for them but they will sue the city at the drop of a hat if necessary to get their way. It was not too long ago they hired the worst of the worst law firms to push their agenda - Lackey, Dammilier or some name like that. That law firm was known to use very despicable tactics to get their way and has since disbanded after being accused of corruption. They were really bad actors and our little police department had no problem in hiring them. I say good riddance and bring on the Sherif's Department.

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  11. Why are we arguing about the Sierra Madre Police Department? Didn't half of them quit and the rest are getting ready to leave at the end of the month? Let those bums go and bring in the Sheriffs.

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    1. The unemployable ones (like the Police Chief !) will remain to suck up our tax dollars for the rest of his life.

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    2. Most of us already have family to support. Why do we have to pick up the tab for these guys as well?

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    3. Dear SMPD (aka the part-time police force),
      With 9 of 20 leaving, I'd say you fired yourselves.

      Buh-bye!

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    4. More are leaving at the end of the month. Hope the door doesn't hit them in the pants on the way out!

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  12. Tattler bashing is an election time tradition in Sierra Madre. Every two years the same idiots start honking to warn the dotty old dears who listen to them that free speech represents a threat to their property values. Or some such nonsense. Telling the unvarnished truth about the scoundrels running things in this part of Happy Valley upsets the powers that be mightily. But yes, it's the same old stuff.

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  13. Hysteria in the Wisteria.

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  14. By law, city hall is suppose to be natural on the UUT tax. why in the hell is mayor co po co storing yes on UUT yard signs on his front porch for distribution. I believe if the state of California was doing its job co po co would be instructed to step down from the cc. Co po co is violation the law. You gotta ask yourself, how much of the $7500 did cc spend on those co po co yard signs?

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  15. It appears that copocca is heading the yes on UUT. When John doesn't get his way he turns into a crabbaby . and that's what is exactly happening.

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  16. The fact of the matter is, there are very few city councils and city Halls who lost 50% or more of their police force. If the police force left because they were UN happy, why hasn't the city hall employees left. Here's your answer. They must be all overfeed, and over compensated. Our city manager applied at least twice for Monrovia city manager job and was not hired!. Fact. City of Sierra Madre pays her more to manage 11,000 people than Monrovia pays to manage 60,000 people. If she was such a great FIND, Monrovia would have hired her. I believe she is UN employable as city Mgr.

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  17. Man, this UUT topic has been beaten to death!

    If the "no" crowd spent a tiny, tiny fraction of the time that they spend complaining about it by working to pay it, they'd have more of their remaining, ever-decreasing life spans to do other things--things like kvetching about Trump, or for those who in their fantasies imagine themselves as great leaders who know in their hearts that they could have built great empires (if they wanted to), perhaps even admiring Trump.

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    1. Wake me up when you start making sense.

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    2. Alas, 11:17, I suspect your type of somnolence is incurable. Perhaps you prefer "knock, knock" jokes?

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    3. No. Just posts that make sense.

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    4. I . . . Who took the money?
      Who took the money away?
      I . . . It's always showtime
      Here at the edge of the stage
      I, I, I, wake up and wonder
      What was the place, what was the name?
      We wanna wait, but here we go again...

      Down, down in the basement
      We hear the sound of machines
      I, I, I'm driving in circles
      Come to my senses sometimes
      Why, why, why, why start it over?
      Nothing was lost, everything's free
      I don't care how impossible it seems

      Somebody calls you but you cannot hear
      Get closer to be far away
      Only one look and that's all that we need
      Maybe that's all that it takes
      All that it takes, all that it takes
      All that it takes, all that it takes

      As we get older and stop making sense
      Stop making sense, stop making sense...stop making sense, making sense
      And nothing is better that this
      (is it?)

      --Talking Heads

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    5. Far out, man.

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    6. 11:15, what?

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    7. I think 11:15 has taken a few too many to the head.

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    8. I truly don't understand - is that original remark a maligning of Trump or a support of Trump or what?

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    9. 11:15, I've told you time and again to stop hittin' the bottle while Mommy's out shopping. Off to bed you go. No supper!

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    10. OK. I'll 'splain it to you:

      "Man, this UUT topic has been beaten to death!"

      If you don't know what I meant by this, you may want to take a gander at your kid's elementary school reading comprehension notes.


      Next: (A) "If the 'no' crowd spent a tiny, tiny fraction of the time that they spend complaining about it by working to pay it, [(B)] they'd have more of their remaining, ever-decreasing life spans to do other things...."

      (A) This means that many here spend way, way, way more time complaining about the UUT than it would take to simply earn the money to pay the UUT.

      (B) This part means that the time saved by doing (A) could then be used to do other things during the finite amount of life each of them has remaining, which by definition is always continuously decreasing.

      "--things like kvetching about Trump, or for those who in their fantasies imagine themselves as great leaders who know in their hearts that they could have built great empires (if they wanted to), perhaps even admiring Trump."

      These are simply examples of something else you can do with the time you have saved.

      For the Trump example, I was simply being fair and balanced: Some of you may well dislike and complain about him; hence the time saved could be used to kvetch about Trump.

      Others may admire him and may want to spend the time they saved by supporting Trump. This group unless they are already wildly rich themselves is composed of those whose fantasies consistently cause them to vote against their own economic interests by voting for multi-millionaires and even billionaire like Romney and Trump, or the minions falling all over themselves to do the Koch brothers' bidding.

      The fantasies that cause them to vote against their interests no doubt include the belief that maybe one day (maybe any day now!) they too will be rich beyond belief, maybe even owing or running a gigantic corporation. In those fantasies they don't need no stinkin' gubmint taxin' 'em and regulatin' 'em and takin' away their freedom to be rich and to exploit others. How dare the gubmint try to tax their fantastic capital gains at the same rate as labor! How dare the gubmit try to impose a death tax on the wealthy! How dare it!

      Yesiree, any day now!

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    11. Wow. You really need to cut back on the day drinking.

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    12. Ahh, 9:04 cannot partake of hyperbole. But is it ... hyperbole?

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

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    14. Clear as mud, 7:53. Articulate you ain't.

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    15. Sorry about your poor reading comprehension 12:38. Go back to Fox News. They'll explain everything you need to know. No need to think.

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    16. You still here babbling, 11:37? Didn't Elaine promise to take you out in the Benz today? You got ditched, son.

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  18. 11.15 you guys are talking to mayor copoca. The mayors platform is all about taxation. He's the problem. Like you said, he's brain dead.

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