Sunday, November 6, 2016

Arcadia, Richard McDonald and the Chinese American Equalization Association

Tricky Dick
So here is how this rapid descent into the usual idiocy all neatly ties together. As always, the tentacles of the McMansioneers do extend a little farther than you might care to know. They respect no borders and always have each other on speed dial. And today we will see that those wiggling appendages apparently traverse the entire development anatomy. Bottom to top. And why not? It's what they do for a living.

Sierra Madre's old McMansion enabling nemesis Richard McDonald has his fingers in other pies as well. Lawsuit Richie (as he is jocularly known in some of the finest circles) sent a letter to the City of Arcadia a few weeks back. A crusading civil rights advocate when there is enough money in it for him, Richie is now representing a group demanding district representation in Arcadia because there is only a single Chinese-American sitting on that City Council.

This in a city where 60% of the population is Asian American. Richie's letter claims 50% of Arcadia's registered voters are Chinese American. However, the data shows only 1/3 of registered voters identify themselves as Asian American.

That's the thing about racial gerrymandering, of course. Sometimes it really is about people not having it together enough to actually vote. After all, local fun figures like Bart Doyle and Joe Mosca once pushed for something similar for the Pasadena Unified Board of Ed, and it still remains the Caucasian bastion it always was. With the only remotely Hispanic BOE member coming from its whitest bailiwick, Sierra Madre.

The Voter Rights Act was created to hopefully help low-income, minority citizens. Folks deemed underrepresented in various governments because they don't have the cash to support a candidate of their own ethnic persuasion. The easy assumption being minority candidates would never have the finances themselves to pay for a successful campaign. Even in Arcadia, where the minority in question is the majority and has lots of cash.

Richard McDonald, however, comes from a far more moneyed universe. He is an attorney for developers and has never before represented anyone's civil rights. Except now of course, when it is economically and politically convenient. He has never before represented a group for violations of the Voters’ Rights Act, either. He has only represented developers.

So which developer is he representing in Arcadia? Singpoli, aka Singpoli Pacifica, aka Park Place, aka Kin Hui. Kin Hui is the developer behind the Dusit Hotel in Pasadena. The Chinese American Equalization Association has some tactile ties to Kin Hui. They’re incorporated and use Singpoli's headquarters as their address. They also hold their press conferences there.

Why push for racially gerrymandered districts? It might be because their house coffee chaser, Councilmember Sho Tay, is politically threatened by the anti-McMansion Saving Arcadia movement. An organization that trounced Sho's ethnically diverse cronies in the most recent city elections.

Kin Hui, through his EB-5 Visa Regional Center, donated $10,000 to Sho Tay’s campaign in 2014. Mike Soo, a Singpoli board member, also donated $4,000 to Sho Tay’s 2014 campaign. As I am sure you've heard, there is plenty of green in Green Cards.

EB-5 Visa Regional Centers fare better with elected officials on their side. Kin Hui hoped that Arcadia City Councilmember Sho Tay might become the Mayor of Arcadia and then use his title to help promote his regional center, InvestLA in China. Those hopes were set back a bit when Bob Harbicht was denied his umpteenth term on the City Council by the voters.

Oh, and as we saw with John Wuo and the GemCoins debacle, the title of Mayor does go a long ways with the folks on mainland China.

Perhaps Kin Hui is worried that Sho Tay (aka: "The Man with the Miss America smile") won’t get re-elected unless there is a racially gerrymandered district for him to safely cocoon in. After all, how many times did Sho have to run for office before he was finally elected? Would it increase Sho Tay’s chances of re-election if he was running from a racially homogenous district?

It might also be about bad blood. The attorney for Saving Arcadia is John McClendon. McClendon represented a group of hotel union workers in a lawsuit against Singpoli/Kin Hui when the Dusit (Does It?) Hotel was approved by the City of Pasadena. This was very controversial in certain circles. Most developers dislike unions even more than they do slow-growthers. They're not big sharers.

The attorney for Singpoli, Richard McDonald, was serving on the Pasadena Planning Commission at the time Singpoli presented its plans. John McClendon is representing the group currently suing the City of Arcadia for CEQA and General Plan violations over that City Council’s approval of a project on 5th Avenue in Arcadia.

Richard McDonald has donated to Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek’s political campaigns as far back as 2009 when Singpoli was first presenting its plans for the Dusit Hotel in Pasadena.

In 2015, McDonald held a fundraiser for now Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek. Tornek was running for the district in which Singpoli’s project was located. Oh, and Tornek used Town and Country Rentals for some of his fundraising events. Town and Country Rentals is owned by Sho Tay’s nephew who is registered to vote out of his home in Arcadia.

One other tantalizing bit of info before we end this post. Down the hall from Richard McDonald's law offices in Pasadena is where Martin Truitt hangs out. Martin, an accountant who likes to run local political efforts (he managed Tornek's campaign), was the fellow who ran the "Yes On UUT" canard here in Sierra Madre (link). The fib-filled utility tax increase initiative that, outside of propping up Sierra Madre's beta-level police department, is now accomplishing none of the things its proponents said it would.

Yes, it is possible to be a pro-tax Republican like Martin Truitt. It is possible to be a Republican anything in the SGV. A long necked strutting giraffe, or even a porcupine. It all depends on whoever happens to be paying at the time.

More on all of this in the many months ahead.


  1. My favorite Beverly Hillbillies episode is "Clampett-a-Go-G0", the
    one where Sheldon Epps crashes his car, and
    calls Ellie a "chick" (the Clampetts think
    he out of his "gourd", and seeing things)....
    I like the beatnik ways Epps talks, like when
    he calls money "gumballs" and Jethro "Clyde"...."money bunny", wants another sniff of Granny's "airplane glue",
    etc....The writers came up with some of the
    funniest slang I've ever heard on a TV show
    in this one (and the other two with "Shelly
    Baby") and, to me, this was one of the best...I also like any episode with Granny
    and Mrs. Drysdale of them always
    ends up in the cement pond....

  2. Thanks Tattler for exposing this effort for what it is. Merely a ploy for development interests to regain some power after losing big in the last election. Too bad they have to stir up racial divides in the process. The pretext is that a a person of different ethnicity than Chinese can't represent Chinese interests. That's offensive. We are supposed to all be Americans. Guys like McDonald are wiling to devide people into their racial groups to promote development interests which he has a financial stake in. How cynical. But what can you expect from a slime ball like Richard McDonald.

    1. The destruction of Arcadia is progressing well, and will do so until all the approvals that were given before the last election run out. Then there is some hope for reasonably sized houses. Until then, it will just be more of those hotel sized structures.

  3. The McMansion greed heads never rest. As we have now seen with the HA Darling House, one new technique is just to flaunt the law and laugh at the reaction. And now they're pitting different ethnicities against each other in Arcadia? Shame on these people.

    1. The development industry is no easy foe. They are organized, clever and focused. We have preservation victories now and then, but it's really like fighting a hydra. Those heads keep growing anew.

    2. Time to get out the pitchforks and torches again.

    3. To what the "Anonymous November 6, 2016 at 7:42 AM" stated, the Darling House owner is not mcmansionizing anything. You're too ignorant to get your facts straight, check again the approved plans and what the final house rendering looks,like... the same as it is before, except up to code.

      Can't fix stupid, I guess!

    4. Here's that idiot "Anonymous November 6, 2016 at 10:12 AM"again at it. No matter what you post, all what his little brain (if any) can hold is "his pitchforks and torches". I bet you post a recipe for a cheese pizza, and he'll pull the same garbage

    5. 2:41 (and also at 2:45) - You are 100% right. You are definitely still broken.

  4. Martin Truitt is a RINO. Republican In Name Only. Same with Bart Doyle. The rest of all the "players" are Democratics.
    California is a Blue State; been run by Democratics for years. Gerrymander was introduced by the Democratic Party.
    Big money in Development (Chinese), reaches back into the homeland, where updates and reports on progress; in all areas, are given. In the future, the voting block will be; the investors of the USA birthing homes. Fly into the USA; Montery Park/Alhambra/Arcadia. Obtain a US Citizenship; fly home, return into the future. Now "you" have a place marker with benefits.
    Big Developers have always thrown their weight into a fight "they"want to win.
    Why do you think big development has a condition of "affordable low income UNIT" attached to all submitted plans? Make the voters "feel good" to help the less fortunate; the ones that have lost the very same property up for new development.
    I am way off subject in this article; but definitely a very large and with big money backing; yes.
    Money makes a difference.
    All the informed voters, expensive shiny materials sent to each doorstep conveys a message of; I must be qualified.
    Appearance is everything and the substance being delivered; not so much.
    The Voters Right Act; has the same appearance, as do the Affordable Tax write off "feel good" units (usually one-two).
    The voters lead "busy" lives; let those voted into office determine fate!
    Put your trust in them.

    1. I appreciate much of this. But I have too tell you, the real Republicans scare me a lot more than the RINOs do these days.

    2. Please stop using semicolons; you don't know how to use them properly.

    3. Uh oh. The Grammar Lady; is back.

    4. Good one, 9:17.

    5. 8:00, could you rephrase your comment, with brevity, so that it makes sense?

    6. That's the trump guy.. he rambles here everyday with horrible grammar.

    7. Can't wait until this election is over and all the Trump guys go back under their rocks.

  5. Me too 8:23. Trump is the one pitting ethnicity against ethnicity.

  6. Duh; who your voting for says it all.
    Of course Republicans scare you; you enjoy status quo.
    Don't know what a "real" anything is. Not a Robot...

    1. Not big on the whole KKK/Putin/Neo-fascist thing. Is that a problem for you?

    2. Mussolini with a combover.

    3. Trump is so corrupt.. as are his followers. Particularly the evangelicals. Disgusting.

  7. When you use a semicolon in place of a comma before the transitional word, you usually put a comma after the transitional word. However, when the transitional word retains its adverbial force and is not regarded as an independent element, it is seldom set off with a comma.
    The semicolon is used before a co-ordinate conjunction between two independent clauses when either one or both have internal punctuation.

  8. Someone needs to take a closer look at Terry Tornek. $5,000 to his campaign for mayor from California Association of Realtors. $9,900 from an LLC called BDK, oh wait, that's another LLC registered at Singpoli headquarters. How many LLC's does Kin Hui need?

  9. When Myriam Webster speaks, both Trump and Hillary listen.

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

  11. Anyone else find it interesting that a "pro-Chinese" group uses a very white looking attorney to do their bidding? Couldn't they find a Chinese attorney that agreed with them that the Chinese are under-represented on Arcadia's City Council?