Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Is Former Sierra Madre Mayor Joe Mosca Leading the Fight to Bring Commercial Marijuana to Encinitas?

It's on peoples' minds
More and more cash strapped cities in California are beginning to look to marijuana as a potential revenue resource. Many of these fine localities might say it is for other reasons (in Encinitas the purpose given is to "save local agriculture"), but if it wasn't for the tax potential of commercial ganja would they really be interested? I doubt it. It's always about the money.

Former Sierra Madre Mayor Joe Mosca, who abruptly vacated a City Council seat halfway through his second term here a few years back, recently resumed his political career in the City of Encinitas. Now an appointed member of the City Council there, today he sits on a subcommittee tasked with bringing marijuana into their revenue mix. Faced with a massive $154 million in (euphemism alert) "unfunded market pension debt" (link), obviously no stone (or stoner) is being left unturned. 

Here how Councilmember Mosca describes his efforts in the most recent edition of his weekly newsletter (link).

Sub-Committee on the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (“AUMA”) – In November of 2017, the California voters passed Proposition 64, which legalized marijuana in California.  If cities throughout the State intend on regulating or banning the adult use of marijuana within its boundaries, then it must due (sic) so before a certain date. In response, our City formed a sub-committee to look more closely at the matter of cultivation of marijuana.  Deputy Mayor Tony Kranz and I were selected to be on this sub-committee.  We held our first meeting of the sub-committee last week.  The meeting was held in City Council Chambers. We had about two hours of public comment and received multiple correspondences before and after the meeting. We will hold another meeting soon in which we will review model regulations and take pubic (sic) comment.

Awkward typos aside (maybe Joe was doing a field study?), this wasn't quite as dry and abstract an affair as the Councilmember's newsletter made it out to be. Crucial local newser The Coast News reports a meeting that was far more robust (link).

We will keep an anxious eye on the Encinitas variant for any further events.

Is Pasadena chasing its own green rainbow to a pot of gold?
The City of Pasadena, which is currently carrying over $1.5 billion dollars in unaccounted for employee pension debt, is also looking into getting in on the green gold rush. Here is how a recent article from the cutting edge on-line news site Pasadena Now breaks it down for us (link).

Nearly six months after the voters of California passed Proposition 64, which allows adults aged 21 years or older to possess and use marijuana for recreational purposes, the City of Pasadena still does not officially allow marijuana dispensaries, nor formulated a city-wide plan for its use, possession or sale.

To that end, officials are holding a series of public meetings to help formulate a public policy.  

“The voters of California have spoken, and the US Attorney General has spoken with another voice, and we increasingly find ourselves in California at odds with the Federal government. But, Pasadena has never allowed marijuana dispensaries, not even medical marijuana, when it was legal,” Mayor Terry Tornek said Monday.

Tornek said that the City now needs to develop some type of land use regulations that would permit the opening of legal dispensaries.

‘We’re going to have to regulate them carefully, because I think they threaten to be like liquor stores, which have been nuisances in some locations,” he said. Tornek added that the process could be “controversial and troublesome, but that’s the reason for having these public meetings.”

Councilmember Margaret McAustin said Monday that regulation is now more important than ever in controlling what could become a sudden proliferation of dispensaries.

“If we regulate them,” she said, “we will have the opportunity to shut down the bad operators quickly, which is something we don’t have now. Without regulation, they have more control. They can just pop open and get shut down, and then more somewhere else.”

All well and good, I suppose. But certainly you must know that when Councilmember McAustin talks about "regulation," she's actually concerned about collecting tax money, right?

Sierra Madre's recently hired City Manager, the visionary Gabe Engeland, helped lead one of the most successful municipal marijuana tax raising efforts in this country to date. In a story that ran on the CNN website ('Did pot money save small town from 'abyss of nothingness'? - link), here is how new dude Gabe describes how it all got done in Trinidad, Colorado.

In November 2014 the first recreational retail pot shop opened in Trinidad. Then, the money started flowing beyond expectations.

The $800,000 in tax revenue from marijuana sales in one year makes up just about 10% of the town's general fund, City Manager Gabe Engeland says. Mattie says they anticipated about $200,000.

And so began the transformation of the town. With the marijuana tax money, the city spent $70,000 on a new fire engine, a pumper truck. Some of the money has allowed the city to expedite replacing old water pipes.

"About 60% of our water pipes were installed between 1890 and 1950," Engeland says. "They're edging towards catastrophic failure."

The city bought several rundown buildings in the heart of town with plans to convert them into live-work lofts and galleries, to attract artists and craftspeople to TrinidadIt's money that's making a difference for this struggling town and a trend being seen across the state.

Don't for one minute think other cities all over our mighty land haven't taken notice of Engeland's fiduciary achievement.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Let's face it, Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos just want a riot because it will help sell their books

At least they don't reproduce
Mod: The thought that Broomstick Annie and preening child sex advocate Milo Yapalot are somehow being prevented from speaking their feverish little minds is kind of laughable since neither ever seems to shut up. Not even for a blessed moment. But there's a lot of money to be made so the campus outside agitator circus must go on. So why their fixation on Berkeley? The very real potential for riots and mayhem, of course. And in a very symbolic setting no less. Nothing will help boost their speaking fees and book sales like the sight of brightly burning buildings and chaos at one America's most venerable universities. Here are a couple of articles with all of the latest excitement.

Ann Coulter vs. Berkeley, Round 2 - She refuses to speak when university says it would be safe and insists she will appear this week. Milo Yiannopoulos says he's coming back in the fall (Inside Higher Ed link): The fight over whether and when Ann Coulter will speak at the University of California, Berkeley, did not end with the university's invitation to her to speak there May 2.

Before that invitation was extended, the university had said it could not allow campus Republican groups to host her talk April 27 because of security concerns, and that she would have to wait until the fall semester. Amid charges that it was denying Coulter a platform due to her views (charges Berkeley officials repeatedly denied), officials regrouped and said they had found a location on campus where she could appear with security assured, on May 2.

But the fight is not over. Coulter is vowing to show up Thursday. And she's suggesting that she will sue Berkeley for insisting that she appear May 2 instead. The university, meanwhile, is accusing Coulter and her campus fans of distorting free speech principles, and putting the safety of Coulter and any who might attend her talk in danger.

Further, the university is arguing that a commitment to free speech does not mean that it has to agree to let Coulter appear at any time or any place -- and that its objections to her plans have nothing to do with her political views.

A letter from a lawyer representing Berkeley College Republicans and Young America’s Foundation -- two groups seeking to bring Coulter to campus -- says that May 2 is an inappropriate date because it comes during the study period after classes end and before final exams. This date was selected, the letter says, to depress attendance and because Coulter will no longer be in the area to give a talk.

Further, the letter accuses Berkeley of a pattern of "similar silencing" of guest appearances of conservative thinkers. It cites the planned appearance of former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos in February, which the letter says was "canceled at the last minute on the pretext of being unable to provide adequate security."

Berkeley officials defended the right of Yiannopoulos to appear (amid considerable criticism from campus groups for not blocking him from appearing). The university called off the event as it was about to start, as noncampus groups engaged in violent protest and vandalism while student groups engaged in nonviolent protest.

In a letter back to the conservative groups' lawyer, Berkeley defended its actions. The Berkeley letter said that the campus groups bringing in Coulter signed contracts with her before conferring with the university about security issues. When Berkeley learned of the invitation, officials were concerned because of the violence that accompanied the Yiannopoulos visit to campus, and violent clashes among protesters in the city of Berkeley more recently. The university rejected the April 27 event based on "mounting intelligence that some of the same groups that previously engaged in local violent action also intended violence at the Coulter event."

Further, the university said that -- when security issues are involved -- student organizations don't have an absolute right to host events whenever they want. "Student organizations’ access to event venues on campus is subject to the availability of venues of appropriate size and the ability of the university to provide adequate security," the letter said. "Security risks of each event are evaluated independently. Differences in the management of event security have nothing to do with the university’s agreement or disagreement with the opinions of the speakers, but are based entirely on [the police department's] assessment of the security risks and the measures needed to minimize them."

Finally, the university said that it is untrue to say that Berkeley hasn't worked to allow conservative student groups to hold events, even those requiring security. "This semester, UC Berkeley has dedicated more resources -- in the form of staff time, administrative attention, police resources and cash outlay -- to facilitating BCR's [Berkeley College Republicans'] expressive activities than have been devoted to any other student group in memory. Dedicated staff and administrators have spent countless hours, including during weekends and vacations, working to enable BCR’s planned events and to maximize the possibility that those events can occur safely for the participants, the speakers, our students and others in our campus community."

Must be allergies
Yiannopoulos Plans Return
Whatever happens with Coulter this week, Berkeley appears likely to continue to be the focus of debates over free speech and security.

Speakers known for their inflammatory statements -- and for attracting both violent and peaceful protests -- are vying to visit the campus. Since Yiannopoulos tried to speak on campus in February, he has gone from a conservative hero to (in some circles) a conservative embarrassment. In February videos circulated in which Yiannopoulos appeared to defend sex between boys as young as 13 and older men.

Yiannopoulos has since said that his views were distorted and that he was talking about older teenagers, and that he opposes the sexual abuse of children. But the Conservative Political Action Conference withdrew an invitation for him to speak there, and Yiannopoulos all of a sudden became someone not just opposed by many campus groups for his rhetoric, but by conservatives as well.

But Friday, Yiannopoulos on Facebook announced his plans to return to Berkeley.

"I am planning a huge multiday event called Milo's Free Speech Week in Berkeley later this year. We will hold talks and rallies and throw massive parties, all in the name of free expression and the First Amendment," he wrote. "Free speech has never been more under threat in America -- especially at the supposed home of the free speech movement. I will bring activists, writers, artists, politicians, YouTubers, veterans and drag queens from across the ideological spectrum to lecture, march and party.

"Milo's Free Speech Week will include events on the UC Berkeley campus. We will stand united against the 'progressive' Left … Free speech belongs to everyone -- not just the spoiled brats of the academy … Each day will be dedicated to a different enemy of free speech, including feminism, Black Lives Matter and Islam. If UC Berkeley does not actively assist us in the planning and execution of this event, we will extend festivities to an entire month. We will establish a tent city on Sproul Plaza protesting the university's total dereliction of its duty and encourage students at other universities to follow suit."

Guillermo: Ann Coulter No Free Speech Saint (Diverse Education link): I believe in free speech, the First Amendment and all that. That’s our starting point on campus, and in America. It’s free speech for me and thee, as the saying goes, in a healthy democracy.

So let’s not make Ann Coulter into a free speech martyr just yet because the University of California, Berkeley switched her speech dates from this coming Thursday, April 27, to a time and place that could assure her safety. That would be May 2.

Instead of being flattered that there are some people concerned for her personal well-being, Coulter’s not going to have it. In addition, the more she complains, the more it comes off as a less-than-fine whine.

There is good reason for the switched dates. Some people were actually thinking nice things about Coulter and showing concern, which is more than most of the public would. However, such is the price one pays for living life as the ever-provocative right-wing media persona of one’s own creation. She’s Bill O’Reilly in a dress. And I’m sure she’s upset to not be considered for his replacement. She’ll just have to make her noise elsewhere.

As I’ve long said, colleges and universities don’t have a “free speech” problem. They have a “how to present provocative speakers” problem.

And Berkeley has actually come up with a good compromise after it originally cancelled Coulter’s April 27 appearance.

Berkeley’s solution — a different date and a safer venue — actually makes common sense.

Of course, everyone seems to have a dog in this fight, from the Berkeley College Republicans that sent her the initial invitation, as well as the national conservative group, the Young America’s Foundation (which incidentally reported as footing the vast part of Coulter’s $20,000 speaking fee). And everyone is threatening legal action.

However, university spokesperson Dan Mogulof said the school was on solid legal grounds and spoke about putting public safety first.

“We are concerned about (Coulter’s) disregard for the assessment and recommendations of law enforcement professionals whose primary focus is the safety and well-being of our students and other members of our campus community,” Mogulof told the Washington Post.

I suppose a right-wing, pro-gun fanatic like Coulter would say we’d all be safer if everyone just showed up with their own guns. As I write the sentence, the notion is ludicrous.

However, I would like to see how much concerned she would have for her safety at a right-to-carry school like the University of Texas at Austin.

Instead, Coulter is all too willing to put herself up on a stake as if she were the First Amendment’s St. Joan. The symbolism is more appealing than anything.

Coulter’s part of the showbiz realm of politics, which Donald Trump has exploited to the extreme. More than actually speaking to the crowd, Coulter gets her jollies from the process of getting to the podium. The news generated from being cancelled, then offered a substitute venue, and then rejecting that and threatening legal action, does more for Coulter than actually giving the speech.

Whatever she was going to say would not be considered news. Rejecting a substitute venue makes Coulter news.

What gets lost in all the posturing is the real problem of adequate public safety at events that draw large numbers of outsiders — and potential disrupters.

The school’s solution made sense. Hold it during day hours when the dark of night is not an ally to protestors. And have it during a break period. Fewer students, sure, but those students who desperately want to meet Coulter will be there. And those who don’t will be away. Such a move also lowers the net potential liability to actual university community members. And the ones who want to see her and show up will be adequately protected by university cops.

A fair compromise. Personally, I would have had it while class was in session during the day. In a classroom, students who did want to ask questions and challenge Coulter could do so.

But again, that’s not really what Coulter or the young conservatives are interested in. It’s not about the public discourse. It’s all about the public show, and exploiting the legacy of Berkeley, the great public university that has its symbolic legacy of protest and free speech. And now they have a week’s work of buildup before any speech or discourse occurs.

Coulter gets much pub. And likely will get to keep a chunk of her $20,000 fee whether she speaks or not.

If she’s really interested in free speech, let’s see her volunteer to show up at a class. Forget the fee. Go to a lecture hall and teach without portfolio. (What does Coulter know compared to say Robert Reich, the former Clinton labor secretary who teaches there?) Talk for a while and take questions. Make it a class, not a rhetorical circus for media attention. Act like a scholar with something to say, instead of a blonde mannequin with something to sell — books, an image, a right-wing viewpoint. Let’s see if she actually belongs up there with the best professors speaking to the students of arguably America’s finest public university.

Who knows what will happen this week?

But if Coulter wants to keep playing free-speech saint, I’d settle for her showing up unannounced on Bancroft and Telegraph during the day with a bullhorn next to the mobile falafel stand. Let’s see who draws more — Coulter or the chickpea balls.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

It looks like House Democrats just won a big victory in the Trump-Russia investigation

It looks like House Democrats just won a big victory in the Trump-Russia investigation (Business Insider link): The House Intelligence Committee said on Friday that it had invited three former officials with knowledge of Russia's interference in the US election to testify in an open hearing in May, over a month after the committee's chairman first scrapped the session. "Yesterday, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence sent two letters related to its investigation into Russian active measures during the 2016 election campaign," the committee said in a statement released on Friday.

"The first letter was sent to FBI Director James Comey and National Security Advisor Admiral Mike Rogers, inviting them to appear at a closed hearing on May 2, 2017," the statement read. "The second letter was sent to former CIA Director John Brennan, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates inviting them to appear at an open hearing to be scheduled after May 2nd."

The letters appear to mark the end of an impasse that emerged late last month, when the committee's chairman, Devin Nunes, accused Democrats of not signing a letter inviting Comey to testify before the committee in a closed session. Democrats said they did not support substituting an open hearing with a closed one and had been pushing to reschedule the open session with Yates, Brennan, and Clapper that Nunes had scrapped.

"The chairman requested that in lieu of a public hearing we have a closed hearing with James Comey and Mike Rogers," Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell, who sits on the committee, told Business Insider late last month. "I did not support having one substitute for another."

In the end, the committee agreed to hold both the closed session with Comey and Rogers that Republicans wanted and the open hearing with Yates, Brennan, and Clapper that Democrats advocated.

The compromise is arguably a bigger victory for the Democrats, however, who have been eager to publicly question Yates about her knowledge of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's relationship with Russia.

Yates was fired as acting attorney general after refusing to enforce Trump's first executive order on immigration in late January. Earlier that month, she reportedly traveled to the White House to warn Trump administration officials that Flynn could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail.

Interest in Yates' testimony grew even more last month after The Washington Post reported that the White House had tried to prevent her from testifying publicly. The White House has denied the charge.

Brennan has also come back into the spotlight recently amid reports that he established a counterintelligence task force last summer to examine whether the Trump campaign had improper contact with the Kremlin. The investigation was based on intelligence that was handed to the CIA by foreign intelligence agencies beginning in late 2015, The Guardian reported earlier this month.

Clapper's testimony, meanwhile, will be of interest to those who feel that Trump's Russia ties have been overblown. The former director of national intelligence told MSNBC's Chuck Todd in early March that he had seen "no evidence" of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

Nunes a few weeks ago stepped aside from the committee's investigation into Trump's ties to Russia. He handed the probe over to Conaway in early April amid questions about his ability to lead an unbiased investigation.

Nunes, who served on Trump's transition team, came under intense scrutiny last month for his decision to bypass the rest of his committee and brief Trump on classified executive-branch documents that he said showed that members of Trump's transition team had been swept up in government surveillance.

Reports have said he obtained those documents from White House officials — despite Nunes' earlier claims that he got them from an intelligence source — fueling speculation that administration officials had orchestrated the stunt to distract the press from Comey's revelation that the FBI was investigating whether various Trump associates had ties to Russia.

The committee's ranking Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff, criticized Nunes for bypassing the committee, calling on him to either share the documents with his colleagues or recuse himself.

"I don't know how to conduct a credible investigation if you have even one person, let alone the chairman, of a committee saying, 'I've seen evidence, but I won't share it with anyone else,'" Schiff told CNN late last month. "We can't conduct an investigation this way. That's not sustainable. It's not credible."  

Donald Trump's Latest Approval Ratings In Election Swing States Show How Unpopular He Really Is (Newsweek link): It's no secret President Donald Trump's approval rating on the national level has been relatively low his entire tenure in the White House. But polls show he's also struggling to garner support in the swing states that won him the 2016 presidential election over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Roughly 41.9 percent of Americans approve of Trump's job performance, compared with 52.3 percent who disapprove, according to the FiveThirtyEight aggregate of polls. Polls from swing states similarly show Trump's approval rating under water, making him the least popular newly elected president in decades.

A March survey of Wisconsin found 41 percent of registered voters approved of his job performance while 47 percent disapproved. A February poll conducted by Franklin & Marshall College found just 32 percent of voters in Pennsylvania approved of Trump's job performance. An EPIC MRA survey the same month pegged his support in Michigan at 40 percent, with 54 percent disapproving. In Ohio, a March Baldwin Wallace University poll found 49 percent of the state viewed the president unfavorably, while 46 percent viewed him favorably.

And it goes on. In North Carolina, which Trump won narrowly, his approval rating stood at just 36 percent earlier this month, according to a High Point University poll. Fifty-four percent disapproved. In Florida, a large, key state that helped hand Trump the win, his approval stood at just 34 percent with two-thirds of the state disapproving, according to a February survey by Florida Atlantic University. A poll later in February by Associated Industries of Florida did find that 81 percent of Republicans approved of Trump's job performance.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Good Luck Signing Up For Sierra Madre's New "Village View" Newsletter

You may not have seen this brand spanking new City Hall generated newsletter yet, even if you wanted to. Which I did, though I had to have it forwarded to me. Somehow they left me off the list. Here is how the header appears.

If you received this and did click to sign up (you can't do that here because it's just a screen shot), you would have been rewarded with the following message:

Yep, not quite ready for prime time. I suspect things will remain this way for at least a couple of days since it is the weekend. I can't imagine anyone at City Hall hotfooting it into work today to get this problem fixed. Not that you'll have missed all that much.

The "Village View Newsletter" proclaims itself to be the replacement for the City Manager's Report. I just don't see it. The CMR used to provide us with important particulars like the list of potential future City Council meeting topics under consideration by the Mayor, insights into some of the tougher issues the city is currently facing, and general "hard news" information those interested in the internal workings of city government would need to see.

This newsletter, on the other hand, is kinda fluffy. Here are examples of what I mean.

"Size of smaller" indeed. Good stuff to know and all, but hardly the kind of information those concerned about the city's internal governmental workings are going to take much interest in. Though I suppose you could look at compost as a metaphor for many of the local governments found in this region.

The City Manager's Report was first made public during a time when city government transparency had become a big issue here in town. It was an important concession by City Hall because up until then it was an internal only document, prepared solely for the eyes of the City Council. This replacement is a big step backwards in that regard. It is decidedly "public relations," and hardly the sort of thing it is proclaiming itself to be.

Here is one other issue I found with the city's latest effort to put some distance between itself and its more exasperating residents. Check this out:

Considering the outrageous rates they're charging for their dank chloramined water, I am not sure I'd ever refer to the SGVMWD as a friend. And, as always, we continue to have a problem with gender neutral Water Wise Owl. The Jar Jar Binks of local government agency mascots.

That said, should you click on the blue link provided above you will be taken to this:

I never thought I'd ever be saying this, but can we bring Elaine Aguilar back yet?


Friday, April 21, 2017

Los Angeles Times: ATF’s focus on firearm sales by police may be tied to gun seizure at Pasadena officer’s home

Mod: More info on the ATF raid of Pasadena PD officer Vasken Gourdikian's Sierra Madre residence has become available. While the state of the case against Gourdikian still remains a closely held secret, possible reasons for the raid are now emerging. 

ATF’s focus on firearm sales by police may be tied to gun seizure at Pasadena officer’s home (Los Angeles Times link): A letter from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to law enforcement agencies across Southern California warning about an “emerging problem” of officers engaging in unlicensed firearms sales came just weeks after a Pasadena police officer’s home was searched and guns seized.

The March 31 letter from Eric Harden, special agent in charge at the ATF’s Los Angeles Field Division, said the agency has discovered officers buying and then reselling handguns without a federal firearms license. That violates federal gun laws.

The ATF letter, first reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune, came after a Feb. 16 search of the home of a high-ranking Pasadena police officer. News reports at the time said several large gun cases were removed from the officer’s Sierra Madre home and loaded into ATF vehicles.

No arrests were made, but the Pasadena Star-News reported that an officer was placed on administrative leave after the search.

A city spokesman said the ATF search did not have anything to do with the officer’s work with the department. Pasadena city offices were closed Friday. Authorities did not release the officer’s name, and a spokeswoman for the ATF declined to comment on ongoing investigations.

Harden’s letter said the agency recently has discovered officers who had purchased more than 100 “off-roster” guns. Those are guns that are not on a California list of approved handguns that can be purchased by the public. Some have been recovered at crime scenes.

The law, however, carves out a specific exemption that allows police officers to purchase such weapons.

The letter from Harden, which was distributed to sheriffs and police chiefs, talked about “the growing trend of law enforcement officials engaging in the business of unlicensed firearms dealings.”

Mod: The rest of this article is available at the link posted above.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Planning Commission Discusses Solar Energy for City Facilities Tonight

Please don't get me wrong here, I am all in favor of solar energy. I have 51 panels on my roof, which is a lot. We love to use electricity here. Everything we own runs on sunshine, including our two cars which are Chevy Volts. When we do buy gasoline for them (they have gas fueled generators that produce electricity when the batteries are spent), we usually spend no more than 5 bucks. I am averaging about 125 miles per gallon in my Volt. We're quite big on disruptive technologies here and I can't understand why everyone hasn't seen the light. So to speak.

I don't pay Edison much of anything, and the gasoline industry is just going have to get along without me. I'm sure they will. They practically own the current administration.

There are those who complain that solar, along with my choice of cars, only exist because of government subsidies. My answer to that comes in two parts. Please name a corporation in America (or anywhere else in the industrialized world) that doesn't receive government financial benefits. Either in straight cash handouts, tax breaks, or other considerations. You can't. Don't even bother trying.

Also, I have paid a lot in taxes over the years, as have you I'm sure. If an opportunity comes along to get some of that money back, why should I be among the few that doesn't get to take advantage? Seems unfair. Can you believe that there are some people who actually drive Fords to protest the GM bailout? Talk about adding insult to injury.

I have very little respect for the politics of selective outrage. And yes, I have digressed.

Tonight the Planning Commission will have the joy and privilege of parsing some of the more granular aspects of taking the City of Sierra Madre's government buildings and facilities solar. It is about time. City Hall is way behind the curve on solar, and you can only guess why. Eight years of misrule by a SoCal Edison employee might have had something to do with it. You know, the one who proclaimed himself the greenest to ever live, yet never found it in himself to put solar panels on anything the city owns?

Here is how James Carlson introduces this worthy effort (link).

By the way, if you spend some time with this agenda report, you will see that in addition to Connor Energy an outfit called ConEdison is also involved. As far as I know they have nothing to do with Southern California Edison. So don't go there.

Here are where my concerns come in. 

Here are my questions. This lengthy agenda report offers nothing to us about how much all of this is going to cost. If the City of Sierra Madre is going to take on even more debt than it has now, shouldn't there have been at least one small paragraph detailing how much new debt that is going to be? Perhaps this is more of a City Council consideration than a Planning Commission one, but the courtesy of sharing those numbers tonight would have been appreciated.

My other question is was there a bidding process? I know that Connor Energy specializes in putting up solar for municipal governments and businesses, as does their partner ConEdison. And I'm sure that working with them was convenient. But did you know that there are over 7,000 solar companies in the United States? Seriously. Many of whom would drive over their loving mothers to get the business of a place like Sierra Madre.

Most of these solar outfits are practically giving the stuff away. The competition is fierce. Has City Hall taken any advantage of that? Can it be that the lack of financial transparency in this agenda report is because they have only been talking to one party?

It wouldn't be the first time that has happened. Hopefully some of this will come up tonight. If anyone can do that, it would be the fine people of the Planning Commission.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The California Drought Is Over - So Why Is Sierra Madre Still Levying Huge Water Fines?

Mod: Water fines. Is the City of Sierra Madre still going to continue with its outrageous water fines?If you go over your allotment in Tier 1, the charge goes from $2.58 a unit to $10.72 a unit. That is a huge increase, right? How can that be acceptable when the water situation in California has changed as positively as it has? Can any of this still be justified? I don't think so. Please read on.

Sierra snowpack bigger than last four years combined, says NASA (CNBC link): California's snowpack level is near a record high. New data from NASA show that this past winter's snowpack levels in California's Tuolumne River Basin, located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, are higher than they were in the last four years combined.

Melting snow along the Tuolomne is an important source of water for both California's Central Valley — the heart of California's agricultural sector, and the crowded San Francisco area.

On April 1, NASA's Airborne Snow Observatory measured the Tuolumne Basin snowpack at 1.2 million acre-feet, which NASA says is enough snow to fill the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, nearly 1,600 times. The snowpack is twice the volume of last year's, and 21 times larger than 2015's level, which was the lowest on record.

NASA's ASO is the only program that measures snow water equivalent, which is what it sounds like: the amount of water present in a measurement of snow. NASA found that combining April 1 snowpack measurements from 2013 through 2016 yielded 92 percent of the snow observed just this year.

In much of the Central Sierra, snow lies 25 feet deep (8 meters). In some high mountain basins, it's deeper than 80 feet (24 meters). And since April 1, it has continued to snow.

Mod: There is also this.

Gov. Brown declares California drought emergency is over (Los Angeles Times link): Startlingly green hills, surging rivers and the snow-wrapped Sierra Nevada had already signaled what Gov. Jerry Brown made official Friday: The long California drought is over.

Brown issued an executive order that lifts the drought emergency in all but a handful of San Joaquin Valley counties where some communities are still coping with dried-up wells.

Mod: So why is the City of Sierra Madre still fining its citizens at such spectacularly high levels? Is it really just all about the money? All that debt?


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Why some national-security experts say Kremlin-gate will lead to Donald Trump's impeachment

Mod: An interesting article from a newspaper way up north called The Oregonian. It is nice to see that there are still some actual  patriots remaining on the political right. Too bad we see so few of them here.

Why some national-security experts say Kremlin-gate will lead to Donald Trump's impeachment (The Oregonian link): "There are known knowns," former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld famously said in 2002. These are often called facts. Sounds obvious enough, but Rumsfeld was actually making an important point about the nature of information and how we process it. He continued: "We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns -- the ones we don't know we don't know."

In the Kremlin-gate scandal, we -- meaning the public in general -- remain mostly in the realm of unknown unknowns. We're probably going to have to wait for the FBI's investigation to be completed -- or the emergence of a Deep Throat for a 21st century Woodward and Bernstein -- before we move into known knowns that allow us to determine whether Donald Trump's presidential campaign last year colluded with Russian spies and hackers to tilt the election.

But some people are further down the Rumsfeldian road than others. Conservative national-security specialists -- who tend to be Trump critics -- have been cultivating their sources in the U.S. intelligence community for months. And they are increasingly convinced that the Trump campaign did indeed collude with the Russians -- and that Trump himself knew about it and inevitably is going to face impeachment and maybe even worse.

Here's how a post from Louise Mensch's Patribotics blog opened on Sunday:

"Sources linked to the intelligence community say that General Mike Flynn's trips to Cambridge and across Europe will form a key part of Donald Trump's impeachment and the prosecutions of dozens of his associates. According to several sources within the intelligence community, Michael Flynn was coordinating, with and for Russian agents, the drafting of messages that Vladimir Putin was using to attack democracy in not only the United States, but across Europe. Furthermore, Flynn was doing this with the full knowledge of the Trump campaign, including Donald Trump himself."

Mensch, a former Conservative member of the British Parliament and the founder of Rupert Murdoch's Heat Street news site, has been called a right-wing conspiracy theorist, but she's been out front on -- and right about -- key aspects of Kremlin-gate going back to last fall. Flynn, of course, was President Trump's national-security adviser until he was forced to resign for lying about his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. It was revealed last month that he was seeking immunity from the FBI or Congress in exchange for his testimony.

Much of the information that is fueling reports such as Mensch's apparently comes from communications intercepts -- the routine monitoring of foreign agents by the National Security Agency. It seems that various Trump campaign officials and advisers ended up on these intercepts talking with known foreign agents.

"Just got an EM fm [sic] senior IC friend, it began: 'He will die in jail,'" former NSA analyst John Schindler, now a conservative columnist, wrote on Twitter in February. The "he" Schindler's IC friend was referring to is President Trump.

Mod: You can read the rest of this article by clicking on the link above. 

Russian ties sink "CalExit"

Calexit backers drop 1 California secession bid, try again (Pasadena Star News link): Supporters of one long-shot bid to make California an independent nation ended their effort on Monday, while another group said it will launch a new campaign for a statewide vote next year.

The drive to make the nation’s most populous state its own country, with what would be the world’s sixth-largest economy, has drawn extra interest after last year’s election of Republican Donald Trump as president.

But the Yes California Independence Campaign faltered after its president, Louis Marinelli, revealed ties to Russia. Marinelli said in a lengthy message to supporters Monday that he is seeking permanent residence in Russia because of his “frustration, disappointment and disillusionment with the United States.”

Mod: I wonder how the Russians will treat Traitor Louie now that he is no longer of any use to them. 


Monday, April 17, 2017

Why is the Phil Hosp campaign advertising an endorsement from an EB-5 Green Card Attorney?

Tomorrow there is an election for a City Council seat in Pasadena. Like all Pasadena elections, this one has become a big money effort run by the usual frantic and quite omnipresent campaign managers. Obstreperous gents who are often far more interesting than the politicians they're shilling for. The candidate of political chameleon Martin Truitt (you know, the Republican who ran the dishonest pro-tax Yes on Measure UUT effort in Sierra Madre that so many of you knuckleheads fell for) is a personal injury attorney named Phil Hosp.

What is odd here is that Truitt is running his pie-eyed cutout as an anti-development candidate. As you must be aware, Pasadena is one of the most miserable traffic glutted over-developed logistical nightmares in the San Gabriel Valley these days, so I am going to assume Truitt's research identified this as a popular campaign issue to run his boy on. But is Hosp's opposition to more SB375 style development glut in the Rotten Rose sincere? Considering the cynicism of the source, I highly doubt it.

Recently I was perusing the always interesting Pasadena Star News website. The PSN, as you know, now resides in a building owned by one of the preeminent developers in the state. Truitt, who loves placing ads for his candidates on that site, had one for Phil Hosp up there. Being an adventurous fellow I clicked on it and was immediately taken to the following column (link).

Yes, Ms. Chen's personal life is fascinating for us all. Her column goes on in this self-reverential way for about eight more paragraphs. There are also 11 reader comments attached, which are far more fun.

Since Ms. Chen does bring up the fact that both she and her homebody hubby are lawyers, I thought it would be far more interesting to discover what kind of pettifogger she might be. It didn't take too long to find out (link).

As many of you are certainly aware, Green Card mills and developers have an interesting symbiotic relationship. Here is an article that ran in the New York Times a while back that shed some needed light on the topic (link).

Look into Phil's eyes
Want a Green Card? Invest in Real Estate Like many of her fellow classmates at New York University, Yanchu Zhao has a busy schedule. A college junior, she has a double major in economics and journalism, and juggles classes, an internship and life with roommates in a rental near Herald Square.

But unlike many of her fellow classmates, Ms. Zhao came to the United States on a student visa. “A lot of students talked about how hard it was to get a job in New York and in the United States,” she said. “My parents heard that if I can get a green card, it would be easier for me to succeed.” So two years ago, Ms. Zhao’s parents invested $500,000 in a hotel project on Bryant Park, knowing that their investment could be parlayed into green cards for the family. Three months ago, their paperwork came through and the Zhaos became permanent residents of the United States.

While Ms. Zhao’s father has remained in Beijing, her mother joined her in the United States and is now renting a studio on Roosevelt Island and studying English. Investing in real estate projects in exchange for legal immigration status has become big business in New York City. Through a federal visa program known as EB-5, foreigners, more than 80 percent of them from China, are investing billions of dollars in hotels, condominiums, office towers and public/private works in the hope it will result in green cards. 

Twelve-hundred foreigners have poured $600 million into projects at Hudson Yards; 1,154 have invested $577 million in Pacific Park Brooklyn, the development formerly known as Atlantic Yards; and 500 have put $250 million into the Four Seasons hotel and condominium in the financial district. The list of projects involving EB-5 investments also includes the International Gem Tower on West 47th Street and the New York Wheel on Staten Island.

There is a lot more for you to read. Click on the link to the NYT above to discover more. It is worth your while.

So is there a connection to be made here? Perhaps. Certainly there are some questions that need to be asked.

Here's one. Is Phil Hosp going to somehow make Pasadena into the pleasant tree lined California gem it once was? Don't make me laugh.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Does Past Volunteer Work Excuse Later Bad Behavior?

I have been doing this blog on an almost daily basis since late in 2008, and many interesting themes have developed over that time. And one theme that has consistently been with us all along is what I like to call the "Volunteer Defense."

The notion here being that no matter what sorts of shenanigans someone has recently been involved in, the fact that this person had done some past volunteer work for the city would somehow wash away all of his guilt.

A corollary here would be that criticizing someone who has done such volunteer work, whether related to the particular topic under consideration or not, somehow makes you ungrateful. Even if the topic being examined has nothing to do with that work.

As an example, the following exchange posted to Friday's Henry A. Darling home article took place late last night.

So I guess the question would be does having done volunteer work for the city get you a "Get Out Of Jail Free" card? Useful should you do something later that is not quite above board, and you need to be forgiven and loved?

Enjoy your Easter Sunday.


Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Vaskenator: News related to the Pasadena Police Lieutenant Vasken Gourdikian case finally emerges

 The Vaskenator
As many Tattler readers will recall, the Sierra Madre home of Pasadena Police Lieutenant Vasken Gourdikian was raided by the Feds last February, and crates of what are suspected of being high powered and quite illegal weaponry were seized and carted away as evidence of criminal wrongdoing. The boldest original reporting on this event came from the Pasadena Weekly, who limned the goings on this way (link):

A Pasadena police officer has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation after agents with the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) searched his home last Thursday. Property records obtained by the Pasadena Weekly list Lt. Vasken Gourdikian as the owner of the Sierra Madre home that was searched. A source close to the investigation who asked for anonymity confirmed Gourdikian is the officer in question. 

According to CBS Channel 2 News, the officer’s Sierra Madre home was raided as part of a criminal investigation. Reporters said they saw numerous gun cases in the garage which was opened when ATF agents arrived. The door was closed almost instantly and dozens of the cases were loaded into an SUV and a van. “There were so many it took two vehicles to haul them away,” stated CBS reporter Jeff Nguyen.

Now if you or I were the subject of such a colorful investigation we'd probably find ourselves uneasily resting in jail today, and the subject of a lot of uncomfortable media attention. However, this story almost immediately disappeared from all local news sources. And even then nearly all of what coverage did emerge initially dared not even mention The Vaskenator's name.

Why is that? Because under California state law police officers enjoy extraordinary legal privileges and protections, even when they are busted by Federal agents for allegedly stashing an arsenal of illegal weaponry in their garage.

That "thin blue line" hype you've heard so much about recently apparently exists behind a legal shield so daunting it turns even the most intrepid news reporters into something quite timid and runny.

After nearly two months of no coverage, this story has now come roaring back to life. In an article that appeared yesterday on the news powerhouse Pasadena Now website, intrepid crime reporter Eddie Rivera cracked open the following information (link):

There is a lot more to Eddie's excellent story, and you can check it all out by hitting the link I supplied above. However, and outside of fact that this story also only identified the city of residence and not the name of our alleged gun happy flatfoot, here is the part I found the most annoying:

Like I said, if it was you or I that was busted for such a thing we'd likely be sweating it out in sunny Guantanamo by now dressed up in an orange jumpsuit. But a police officer? The silence becomes deafening. This gent is still even collecting his quite handsome Pasadena paycheck (link).

The Modesto Bee printed an article a while back that describes the extraordinary protections police officers enjoy in this state. Check this out if you're up to it (link):

More news on this story will appear on The Tattler if and when it ever becomes available.


Friday, April 14, 2017

Is the Henry A. Darling House now being left to rot?

That most eagerly anticipated showdown between William Kefalas and the Planning Commission has now been canceled. This after having been repeatedly delayed starting late last year. Here is the news from an Agenda Report for next Thursday.

Discretionary Demolition Permit 16-01 (DDP 16-01) (link): A request to allow the reconstruction of the roof and exterior walls of the residence located at 126 E. Mira Monte Avenue. The applicant, William Kefalas, submitted an application for Discretionary Demolition Permit 16-01 to allow the reconstruction of the roof, exterior walls and foundation of a single-family residence located on the property at 126 E. Mira Monte Avenue.

The Planning Commission considered the request at its November 3rd and December 1st, 2016 meetings. At the December 1st meeting, the Commission voted to continue the meeting to January 19, 2017 to allow the applicant to submit an application for a certificate of appropriateness; at that meeting, the Commission voted to continue the meeting to February 15, 2017 upon the applicant’s request for additional time. At the February 15 meeting, the applicant submitted another request for continuance, and the Commission voted to continue it to the March 16, 2017 meeting, and at the March 16th meeting, the applicant submitted another request for continuance, and the Commission voted to continue it to the April 20, 2017 meeting.

Since the last continuance, the applicant has submitted a written request (attached herein) to withdrawal the application for Discretionary Demolition Permit 16-01(DDP 16- 01).

Here is the very brief letter Mr. Kefalas sent to City Hall.

The blacked out names Cc'd on this pithy e-mailed document are Richard McDonald and Scott Carlson. Two exceptionally fine Pasadena pettifoggers who must be making quite a handsome living litigating against cities such as Sierra Madre.

This unhappy development can lead us to some speculation. The first being how Mr. Kefalas is dealing with the bank that lent him the money to purchase the property. That amount, estimated at around half a million dollars, must have been lent to him with the understanding that a house was involved. Now that this historic structure has been reduced to toothpick sculpture, where is the collateral value? If the bank knows about it, they can't be happy.

It is also possible to speculate about a possible strategy here. Is this an attempt to stoke community anger by threatening to leave an eyesore festering in the midst of what is one of Sierra Madre's more notable neighborhoods? A stick in the eye of Mr. Kefalas's neighbors, stuck there in the hope that they will become angry enough to bring pressure upon City Hall to allow this obstreperous gent to finish his project as he sees fit?

Despite city laws that clearly state he has gone about this in an improper and apparently indefensible way?

It could also be that Mr. Kefalas and his bounding attorneys no longer feel they stand any chance of getting what they want from the Planning Commission, or perhaps even the City Council, and have now decided to sue the city instead.

I guess we'll just have to wait and see how this all turns out.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Congressman tells angry constituents the idea that they pay his salary is ‘bullcrap’

Mod: If you didn't know better, you might begin to think they're all idiots.

Congressman tells angry constituents the idea that they pay his salary is ‘bullcrap’ (McClatchy DC link): An Oklahoman congressman is under fire after he seemingly dismissed the notion that his constituents pay for him to go to Congress, calling the idea “bullcrap” in a viral video making the rounds on social media.

Markwayne Mullin, speaking at a town hall Tuesday in Jay, Oklahoma, was responding to a question from the audience when he responded to a claim that constituents pay for him to work in Congress.

“You say you pay for me to do this. Bullcrap. I pay for myself. I paid enough taxes before I got there and continue to through my company to pay my own salary. This is a service. No one here pays me to go,” said the 39-year-old Republican who represents Oklahoma’s second district, which covers much of the eastern part of the state.

When several audience members pushed back against this claim, Mullin went on, “I’m just saying this is a service for me, not a career, and I thank God this is not how I make my living.”

Court Approved Wiretap on Trump Campaign Aide Over Russia Ties (New York Times link): The Justice Department obtained a secret court-approved wiretap last summer on Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign, based on evidence that he was operating as a Russian agent, a government official said Wednesday.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court issued the warrant, the official said, after investigators determined that Mr. Page was no longer part of the Trump campaign, which began distancing itself from him in early August. Mr. Page is one of several Trump associates under scrutiny in a federal investigation.

The Justice Department considered direct surveillance of anyone tied to a political campaign as a line it did not want to cross, the official added. But its decision to seek a wiretap once it was clear that Mr. Page had left the campaign was the latest indication that, as Mr. Trump built his insurgent run for the White House, the F.B.I. was deeply concerned about whether any of his associates were colluding with Russia.

To obtain the warrant, the government needed to show probable cause that Mr. Page was acting as an agent of Russia. Investigators must first get approval from one of three senior officials at the Justice Department. Then, prosecutors take it to a surveillance court judge.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Where is CalPERS Investing Your Money? Would You Believe Trump's Mexico Border Wall?

Mod: As if driving entire cities into bankruptcy wasn't enough.

CalPERS says divesting from border wall, Dakota pipeline could hurt taxpayers (Sacramento Bee link) Leaders at CalPERS are voicing concerns about a set of bills in the Legislature that would compel that $310 billion pension fund to divest from politically unpopular projects, such as President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall and the Dakota Access Pipeline. Two of CalPERS’ top officers visited The Sacramento Bee Editorial Board on Tuesday to reiterate their worry that divesting from companies could hurt taxpayers and surrender the pension fund’s vote as a major investor.

“When you divest, you basically take our voice out of the debate,” said CalPERS Chief Operating Investment Officer Wylie Tollette.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System is watching three bills that could force it and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System to shed certain investments.

They are:

▪  Divesting from companies that work on the Trump administration’s proposed border wall. Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, is behind AB 946.

▪  Divesting from companies that build or finance the Dakota Access Pipeline. Assemblyman Ash Kalra, D-San Jose, wrote AB 20. The CalSTRS board last week voted to oppose the bill unless it’s amended in such a way that it does not demand divestment.

▪  AB 1597 by Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian, D-Los Angeles, which would compel CalPERS and CalSTRS to cut their investments in Turkey. The bill is written as a response to the Armenian genocide of the early 20th century.

In February, dozens of environmental advocates crowded a CalPERS board meeting to urge the fund to divest from the Dakota Access Pipleine, the 1,100-mile project that would move oil through the Upper Midwest. The board declined to divest, but wrote a letter calling on banks financing the project to pressure its builder to consider rerouting the pipleline away from the American Indian tribe that led protests against it.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer is under fire for saying Hitler didn't use chemical weapons (Los Angeles Times link): White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer appeared to forget about the Holocaust when comparing Hitler with Syrian President Bashar Assad during a cringe-worthy televised briefing with reporters on Tuesday.

“You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to chemical weapons," Spicer said, in an attempt to argue that Russia and other countries that are not standing up to Assad are on the wrong side of history.

Spicer's rendering ignored the horror of the Holocaust, where gas chambers were used as part of a genocide campaign that killed 6 million Jews as well as millions of others including Gypsies and gay people.

Mod: No words can describe the idiocy of these people.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A Topic That Will Not Be Discussed At Tonight's Sierra Madre City Council Meeting

On April 7 (link) we ran a piece that detailed Pasadena's $1.5 billion dollars in pension debt. Sierra Madre also has a vast amount of such debt. And while it is nowhere near as large as that suffered by Pasadena, at over $40 million dollars, with pension debt per household at $8,472, it is proportionally significant. Below is how Sierra Madre's pension woes are laid out by a site called California Pension Tracker, a site put together by Dr. Joe Nation, Project Director at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. Link here.

Here are some definitions that will help make this a little more clear.

Market Liability: Present Value of future benefits for current members, discounted at a market rate of return, ranging from 2.82% to 4.82%.

Actuarial Liability: Present Value of future benefits for current members, using discount rates reported by most systems, typically 7.5%.

Value of Assets: Market Value of Assets, as reflected by the current market price.

Market Pension Debt: Market Liability minus Value of Assets.

Acturial Pension Debt: Actuarial Liability minus Value of Assets.

Actuarial Liability minus Value of Assets: Discount rate for terminating CalPERS agencies, based on 10- and 30-year Treasury yields, ranging from 2.82% to 4.82%.

This, of course, is the real reason why Measure UUT was on the ballot and pushed so fiercely in 2016. Trust me, it wasn't really about the Library.

It is also why the City of Sierra Madre will be pushing for additional tax increases in 2018. Again, and despite what you will be told, it won't really be about the Library, the Fire Department, Paramedics, the Huck Finn Fishing Derby or Baby Rhyme Time.

This is also something the city government here adamantly refuses to agendize and discuss at City Council meetings with those who are actually paying the bills. Why this city won't level with its constituents is baffling.


Monday, April 10, 2017

Is Our Favorite Drug Rehab Facility Claiming Special Privileges, and in an R1 Zone No Less?

A Sierra Madre resident living on West Carter, and not too far away from the now infamous Dedicato Treatment Center, has had the very good fortune to have an excellent nanny. The nanny was taking care of children when she was approached by someone from Dedicato, who then told her she could not park her car along the street around 22 West Carter. He went on to say the spaces were reserved for his recovering addict clientele, individuals who apparently don't enjoy the inconvenience of having to walk very far.

Staff members from Dedicato routinely park on the street, rather than inside of the property. Many of the area residents have to weave around one particular staff car, a white Ford, license plate XXXXX, which frequently is parked for hours close to the stop sign on Baldwin and Carter, making the turn on that corner more difficult.

According to the currently under-enforced Sierra Madre Police Code the restricted parking area in front of the Dedicato prohibits the employees of that business from parking in front of that location during day time hours only. The parking (in question) is reserved for visitors to the Dedicato and residents or visitors to the area that need to legally park a vehicle on this public street.

There is more. This bad neighbor of a business is lit up like a California desert prison all night long. There are 12 lights that have a very negative impact on the ambience of the neighborhood, and make a mockery of the Dark Sky provisions in the General Plan. If they want to light up their institution, they should be required to do so with proper shielding and orientation of that lighting, directing that grim glare into their own unhappy business, rather than causing a casino like-blaze that spills out into the whole general area.

You have to wonder why the place is it up like that. Is it so the wardens can spot escaping inmates fleeing their imprisonment? Has that afflicted stretch of Carter become a no-man's land?

Every week, the Dedicato's many trash cans lined up on the street are overflowing, stuffed with so much garbage that their lids can’t be properly closed. As soon as the weather warms up, they will draw bears down from the National Monument like magnets. This lucrative junkie rehab business, which is no doubt making money for someone hand over fist, ought to be able to spring for more garbage cans, and bear proof ones at that.

Plus, how much of that overflowing trash is medical waste?  Does this business have a special collection process for medical waste? Would anyone running the city actually know an answer to this?

Every single home in town is potentially vulnerable to becoming a 6 bed rehab business. Isn't it time City Hall paid a little attention?