Sunday, April 30, 2017

Pasadena Police Lt. Gourdikian Affair: ATF Releases A Smoking Gun On Sierra Madre Weapons Seizures

Slim Shady
Mod: Much of the news about the Pasadena Police Lieutenant whose rather posh Sierra Madre home was raided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in February had been, at least up until now, based on speculation. It was believed that vast amounts of semi-automatic and other weaponry were found there, but no real proof was available. The City of Pasadena (AKA: "The Rotten Rose") refused to even release the officer's identity. Only the Pasadena Weekly (along with The Tattler, of course) had the temerity to even mention Vasken Gourdikian's name. But now that has all changed. Here is what the ATF released this morning. The original report is linked here. Pages 2 to 9 list all of the weaponry seized here in Sierra Madre. Thousands of dollars worth of semi-automatic and other firearms, many of questionable legality. Who would ever have believed that such a massive arsenal was hidden away in the garage of a local cop? And for what possible purpose?

CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
17-ATF-007731: Springfield Armory, Geneseo, IL Operator Pistol CAL:45 SN:NM364243, valued at $950.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007735: Wilson Combat CQB Pistol CAL:40 SN:WCT35344, valued at $3,800.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007736: Springfield Armory, Geneseo, IL Operator Pistol CAL:45 SN:NM362141, valued at $950.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007737: Sig Sauer (Sig-Arms) P227 Pistol CAL:45 SN:51B018956, valued at $700.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007738: Glock Inc. 42 Pistol CAL:380 SN:ABHB683, valued at $700.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007739: Colt Commander Pistol CAL:45 SN:CJ07182, valued at $849.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007740: Springfield Armory, Geneseo, IL Operator Pistol CAL:45 SN:NM294678, valued at $950.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007741: Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield Pistol CAL:9 SN:HAS7827, valued at $350.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007742: Sig Sauer (Sig-Arms) P226 Pistol CAL:9 SN:47A045529, valued at $979.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007743: Glock GMBH 27GEN4 Pistol CAL:40 SN:TZR808, valued at $539.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007744: Glock GMBH 22 Pistol CAL:40 SN:LYK339, valued at $339.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007745: Smith & Wesson Airweight Revolver CAL:38 SN:DCW7120, valued at $311.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007746: Glock GMBH 41GEN4 Pistol CAL:45 SN:BATU462, valued at $500.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007747: Critical Capabilities NC 9 Receiver/Frame CAL:Multi SN:CC901232, valued at $150.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007748: Wilson Combat Unknown Receiever/Frame CAL:Multi SN:WCB2370, valued at $299.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007749: Colt Commander Pistol CAL:45 SN:4089WCA, valued at $849.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007750: Springfield Armory, Geneseo, IL EMP Pistol CAL:9 SN:EMP32134, valued at $1,000.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007751: Spike's Tactical LLC ST15 Rifle CAL:Multi SN:SCR-022865, valued at $100.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007857: HS Products (IM Metal) XD45 Pistol CAL:45 SN:S3225712, valued at $550.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007859: Springfield Armory, Geneseo, IL Professional Pistol CAL:45 SN:CRG4415, valued at $2,000.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007862: Glock GMBH 19 Pistol CAL:9 SN:BAUA688, valued at $519.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007863: Colt Delta Elite Pistol CAL:10 SN:DS31845, valued at $990.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007864: Sig Sauer (Sig-Arms) 1911 Pistol CAL:45 SN:54B016735, valued at $895.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007865: Smith & Wesson 12 Revolver CAL:38 SN:16D3288, valued at $479.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007866: Nighthawk Custom GRP Pistol CAL:45 SN:NCP15007, valued at $700.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007867: Glock Inc. 23 Pistol CAL:40 SN:BAMC677, valued at $549.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007868: Sig Sauer (Sig-Arms) P229 Pistol CAL:9 SN:55B052614, valued at $989.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007870: Glock GMBH 19 Pistol CAL:9 SN:3521LAV, valued at $519.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007871: Glock GMBH 17 Pistol CAL:9 SN:1654LAV, valued at $508.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007872: Sig Sauer (Sig-Arms) P226 Pistol CAL:9 SN:47A134935, valued at $979.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007876: Sig Sauer (Sig-Arms) 1911 Pistol CAL:45 SN:54B042110, valued at $895.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007863: Colt Delta Elite Pistol CAL:10 SN:DS31845, valued at $990.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007864: Sig Sauer (Sig-Arms) 1911 Pistol CAL:45 SN:54B016735, valued at $895.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007865: Smith & Wesson 12 Revolver CAL:38 SN:16D3288, valued at $479.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007866: Nighthawk Custom GRP Pistol CAL:45 SN:NCP15007, valued at $700.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007867: Glock Inc. 23 Pistol CAL:40 SN:BAMC677, valued at $549.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007868: Sig Sauer (Sig-Arms) P229 Pistol CAL:9 SN:55B052614, valued at $989.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007870: Glock GMBH 19 Pistol CAL:9 SN:3521LAV, valued at $519.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007871: Glock GMBH 17 Pistol CAL:9 SN:1654LAV, valued at $508.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007872: Sig Sauer (Sig-Arms) P226 Pistol CAL:9 SN:47A134935, valued at $979.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007876: Sig Sauer (Sig-Arms) 1911 Pistol CAL:45 SN:54B042110, valued at $895.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007881: Colt Government Pistol CAL:45 SN:CCS012239, valued at $700.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007883: Spike's Tactical LLC Unknown Receiver/Frame CAL:Unknown SN:022302, valued at $100.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007884: Noveske Rifleworks LLC N4 Receiver/Frame CAL:Multi SN:X10221, valued at $300.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007887: Ruger 10/22 Rifle CAL:22 SN:823-60480, valued at $700.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007888: Unknown Manufacturer Unknown Receiver/Frame CAL:556 SN:UKG-556-2C, valued at $100.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007889: Springfield Armory, Geneseo, IL Operator Pistol CAL:45 SN:NM331581, valued at $950.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007890: Colt M45A1 CQBP Pistol CAL:45 SN:06778EGA, valued at $1,200.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007891: Glock GMBH 40 Pistol CAL:40 SN:BCLT661, valued at $400.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007892: Glock GMBH 21 Pistol CAL:45 SN:RKP632, valued at $500.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007893: Glock GMBH 35 Pistol CAL:40 SN:LLS706, valued at $500.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007901: U.S. Autoweapons, LLC USM4 Rifle CAL:556 SN:USA 556-60042, valued at $300.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007903: Addax Tactical Incorporated Addax-ZK Rifle CAL:56 SN:AT000211, valued at $600.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007904: Daniel Defense Inc. DD5 V1 Rifle CAL:762 SN:DD5004436, valued at $2,000.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007906: POF USA (Patriot Ordnance Factory) P-308 Rifle CAL:Multi SN:13BA-14934, valued at $1,500.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007907: Sig Sauer (Sig-Arms) Sig 516 Rifle CAL:556 SN:53E006737, valued at $1,000.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007908: PTR Industries Inc. (PTR-91 Inc.) PTR91 Rifle CAL:308 SN:AW15780, valued at $1,000.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007910: Remington Arms Company 870 Shotgun CAL:12 SN:RS13507D, valued at $1,000.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C.
17-ATF-007911: F.N. (FN Herstal) Scar 16S Rifle CAL:556 SN:LC29792, valued at $1,200.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007912: Colt Unknown Rifle CAL:Unknown SN:CRP18CA, valued at $1,000.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007913: Sig Sauer (Sig-Arms) Sig 716 Rifle CAL:762 SN:22C007090, valued at $1,500.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007915: Daniel Defense Inc. M4 Carbine Rifle CAL:Multi SN:DD039226D, valued at $1,500.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007916: LWRC (Leitner Wise Rifle Co. Inc.) REPR Rifle CAL:762 SN:74-12753, valued at $3,000.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007917: Mossberg 930 Shotgun CAL:12 SN:AF151070, valued at $395.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007918: LWRC (Leitner Wise Rifle Co. Inc.) M6IC-SPR Rifle CAL:556 SN:24-01571, valued at $1,950.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007919: POF USA (Patriot Ordnance Factory) P-415 Rifle CAL:Multi SN:13BB-12550, valued at $1,500.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007920: Benelli, S. PA. M4 Shotgun CAL:12 SN:Y068643W, valued at $1,600.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007921: Bushmaster Firearms BACR Rifle CAL:Multi SN:ACRC003244, valued at $1,700.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007922: Henry Repeating Rifle Company H004ES Rifle CAL:22 SN:ES11222, valued at $700.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007923: POF USA (Patriot Ordnance Factory) P-415 Rifle CAL:Multi SN:14RB-01056, valued at $1,500.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).
17-ATF-007926: F.N. (FN Herstal) Scar Rifle CAL:762 SN:HC41504, valued at $1,200.00, seized by the ATF on February 16, 2017 from Vasken Gourdikian in Sierra Madre, CA for forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 924(d).

Mod: I forwarded this report to the Sierra Madre Police Department. Expect to see no public statement from them about this anytime soon, or ever. Here are two questions. Why did this happen in Sierra Madre? And how did all of this weaponry get here?

sierramadretattler.blogpsot.com

White Privilege! Somebody Allegedly Gave Milo Yiannopoulos $12,000,000 to Start New Venture

 Veal lover Milo
Mod: Unlike for the rest of humanity, on the sordid and wildly spinning planet the Neo-Nazi wannabe Alt Right occupies advocating for child molestation is the freeway to riches and acclaim. In this case to the tune of $12 million big ones. Here is the latest in the saga of one of America's most unlikable and depraved immigrants, and a wonderful argument in favor of deportation. Which, if Milo wasn't of white European non-Muslim origin, certainly would have happened by now. But you know how that is. In Donald Trump's America, the freak show must go on.

White Privilege! Somebody Allegedly Gave Milo Yiannopoulos $12,000,000 to Start New Venture (The Grapevine link): Looks like douche-y provocateur extraordinaire* Milo Yiannopoulos has risen from his pedophile-tinged ashes to the tune of 12 million dollars. Wow.

Yes, Yian-what-the-f---, bitchy misogynist of epic proportions, who had his $255,000 book deal snatched, resigned from Breitbart “news” and was uninvited to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) after an interview surfaced where he seemed to condone underage rape by “Father Michael,” is back.

A little more than two months after that fallout, Milo is reportedly rolling in the dough, telling the Hollywood Reporter that his new company, Milo, Inc., has anonymous backers who have forked over $12 million for the venture, including a $1 million signing bonus, which he will use “to buy his boyfriend a Tesla.”

Pause: If he’s telling the truth here, this is like, peak white privilege. Scandals far less severe have wiped out many a black.

And, being the tone-deaf, silly, sexist ass-hat that he is, Yian-whatever continues to believe his own hype. He’s definitely a legend in his own mind.

“Obviously, I’ve done a lot of soul searching over the past few months and I’ve come to a conclusion: I’ve realized that I’m really, really important,” he sarcastically? said. “There’s a war being waged out there for free speech, and I’m the only one who can win it for the forces of light.”

He added: “I will spend every waking moment of the rest of my life making the lives of journalists, professors, politicians, feminists, Black Lives Matter activists and other professional victims a living hell.”

No, more like enrich yourself by being the perpetual petulant pudenda that you are, using shock tactics to stay relevant.

Let’s hope he goes away.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Henry A Darling House Update: Rewriting History?

The confusion rolls on as William Kefalas's convoluted strategies to get his project back on track continue to change. After repeated requests for Planning Commission meeting continuances dating back to late last fall, the applicant quite suddenly withdrew his request for a Discretionary Demolition Permit altogether. Surprising many and raising much concern. That has now apparently been walked back a bit. However, his new DDP date with the Planning Commission, where it must be assumed this request will finally get made, is now being moved yet another 60 days. Or so the applicant is demanding. At least at this moment.

Is all that clear? Please stay tuned for any possible further developments.

You might get the feeling that Mr. Kefalas and his attorneys are having trouble coming up with an acceptable strategy. Or at least one that they feel will work since they have had so very many of them. But there is something new afoot. You could call it an attempt to rewrite history. Here is how it is all explained in the latest Planning & Community Preservation staff report (link).


The key phrase here is "a 60-day extension to allow time to prepare a new historic resources report for the property." As you may recall, the previous report, as prepared by historian Charles J. Fisher, concluded that the Henry A. Darling house does (or at least did) have some important historic significance. Meaning that razing the place was probably not the most legal or ethically informed thing Kefalas could have done. It is also how the place got red-tagged by the city.

So I guess the strategy now is to concoct a new historic resources report, one concluding that the Henry A. Darling house never had any historic significance whatsoever.

If you wish to read portions of the Charles J. Fisher report establishing the historical significance of this house you can do so by clicking here and scrolling down.

More news as it comes our way.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Hoover House: Sierra Madre Spanish-style estate listed for $3.75M sits on more than 1 acre

Mod: Here is a pretty remarkable real estate listing. One that has quite a bit of history as well. What if the Henry A. Darling house, also located on a large lot, had been treated with such tender loving care? Or, conversely, what if the Hoover House were to fall into the hands of the wrong owner? Someone who would be tempted to split this acre of land into smaller parcels for development purposes? That's one way to fund the purchase. I hope this will be the only time we'll ever need to post about Herb's place.


Sierra Madre Spanish-style estate listed for $3.75M sits on more than one acre (Curbed Los Angeles link): This Sierra Madre estate was previously owned by the son of the 31st President of the United States, Herbert Hoover. Naturally, the president and Mrs. Hoover visited numerous times. (Hoover is often considered to be among the worst presidents in history.)

The seven-bedroom house sits on 1.15 acres north of the Hastings Ranch area of Pasadena. Built in 1928, it comes with colored glass windows, high ceilings with exposed beams, a large fireplace, and a wood-paneled library.

In 1932, when the Hoover family moved into the house, they added a playroom that can be accessed via either a fun slide or boring stairs.

The rear yard holds a guest house that measures just under 780 square feet and comes with its own living room and a full kitchen. There’s also a covered patio area that overlooks a photogenic pool.

The property is listed for $3.75 million.


Mod: The listing agency for this remarkable treasure, once also known as "The Winter White House," are those vivacious downtown folks at Podley PropertiesIf you want to read up on their real estately take on the Hoover House do click here.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Christian preachers claim they need to fly first-class because it’s impossible to talk to God in coach

Mod: A quick round trip about Trumplandia is in the offing for today. This is your captain speaking. Fasten your seat belt and please be aware of the location of that small white bag in the pocket in front of you at all times.

Christian preachers claim they need to fly first-class because it’s impossible to talk to God in coach (DeadState link): In a strange, rambling discussion, Evangelical ministers Ken Copeland and Jesse Duplantis claimed they talked to God on a private jet and that their supernatural feat was impossible to accomplish while riding in coach. The conversation took place on Tuesday during a broadcast of The Believers Voice of Victory. The two preachers were seated at a folksy table when Duplantis recounted his personal conversation with the Lord Almighty while riding in his private jet. The Lord apparently opened with, “Jesse, do you like your plane?”

Although the conversation sounded suspiciously like Duplantis talking to himself, Ken Copeland chimed in, saying, “You couldn’t have done that on an airline,” and that “Private jets are sanctuary that protect the anointed.”

Copeland went on to say that commercial airline travel was impossible for preachers in a “dope filled world” and that riding coach was like “getting in a long tube with a bunch of demons.”

Other preachers, such as Pastor Creflo Dollar, have allegedly been told by God to buy private planes. Creflo was able to raise $70 million for a Gulfstream Jet to fulfill the mysterious will of the Lord. One can only hope the conversations are more interesting.

For video click here

Ann Coulter Says She Will Pull Out of Speech at Berkeley (The New York Times link): Ann Coulter said Wednesday that she is canceling her planned speech at the University of California, Berkeley, because she had lost the backing of conservative groups that had initially sponsored her appearance.

Ms. Coulter, in a message to The New York Times, said, “It’s a sad day for free speech.”

Despite insisting that she would go to Berkeley regardless — even after the university said it could not accommodate her on the date and time it had initially scheduled her because of threats of violence — Ms. Coulter said she did not see how she could go forward. The school said she could speak only at a later date and an earlier time of day, when there were likely to be fewer students on campus and less of a likelihood for violent outbreaks.

Late on Tuesday, the conservative group that was helping Ms. Coulter in her legal efforts to force Berkeley to host her, Young America’s Foundation, said it could no longer participate. “Young America’s Foundation will not jeopardize the safety of its staff or students,” the group said.

Without any support, Ms. Coulter said, she was left with little choice. “Everyone who should believe in free speech fought against it or ran away,” she said.

Ms. Coulter was confronted with the dangerous prospect of setting foot unguarded on a campus that erupted in violence in February after another conservative speaker, Milo Yiannopoulos, planned to appear. The school canceled his event.

The Berkeley College Republicans, which invited Ms. Coulter and was supposed to sponsor her visit, also backed out and joined Young America’s Foundation in saying the atmosphere had grown too hostile.

Lawyers Just Confirmed Trump Named As Witness In Pedophilia Case (OccupyDemocrats link): It has just been revealed that President Trump has been named as a witness in a civil trial involving convicted pedophile billionaire Jeffery Epstein and a lawyer suing him for “malicious prosecution.”

Law Newz has just reported that Florida attorney Jack Scarola announced that “President Donald Trump has been identified as an individual who may have information relating to these allegations.” Scarola says he has evidence that a worker at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club was allegedly recruited by Epstein and became “involved in a pattern of alleged molestations:”

The civil trial, which is expected to begin soon, is a complicated one and dates back to 2009.  It involves allegations of malicious prosecution, and defamation filed by Florida attorney Bradley Edwards.

Edwards also represents several of Epstein’s alleged victims who brought separate civil cases against Epstein. But, what is particularly interesting about this latest case is that it now appears to involve President Donald Trump himself.

Trump’s Son-In-Law Is Told To ‘Lawyer Up’ (Huffington Post link): The fire in the underbrush is getting closer to Donald Trump and seems to be burning brighter as well.

California Congressman Ted Lieu of Torrance, California, has advised Donald Trump’s son-in-law that he’d better “lawyer up.” Lieu claims Kushner, 36, lied and committed a crime regarding contact with foreign governments. “Kushner committed a felony by not disclosing two meetings with high profile Russians during his security clearance hearings,” Lieu told MSNBC’s, AM Joy.

The stakes are high for the White House as the Trump administration struggles to reboot following a near-unanimous disastrous first hundred days. Trump wants to get his 2018 agenda before a Republican-controlled Congress. If Democrats reclaim all or part of Congress, most observers bank on a full-blown investigation into the Trump White House which would include the Russian scandal.

Also on deck for a Democratic-led investigation would be Trump’s conflicts of interest and the family’s conflicts of interest (hello, Ivanka and any crimes committed by his aides).

Leiu also called for Kushner’s security clearance to be suspended, a sign that the Russian scandal is pushing the Trump family further into the toilet.

Master “Negotiator” Trump Just Caved On His Wall, Deal Failed (OccupyDemocrats link): White House officials are quietly signaling that they are already capitulating on the fight to fund the border wall, recognizing that the great “dealmaker” will once again be forced to admit defeat on one of his signature campaign promises. President Trump has threatened to allow the government to shut down if the next Congressional spending bill doesn’t include any funding for his wall, desperately needing a victory as the 100-day mark approaches without a single Trump achievement.

But the New York Times is now reporting that “he would settle for additional funds for border security — potentially including at least part of the wall, according to a senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity,” a result that will not appease his base, which is very much expecting a literal wall.

It appears that Trump doesn’t have the support he needs on Capitol Hill, much of his political capital having been already squandered on previous defeats. Not a single politician from the border states are in favor of constructing the wall.The increasingly unpopular Republicans in Congress cannot afford to take the blame for a government shutdown, having already been humiliated by their inability to pass an Obamacare replacement bill earlier this year.

Trump SLAMS Canada By Using Example Border State; That State Doesn’t Border Canada (AddictingInfo link): It can easily be said that Donald Trump doesn’t have a clue what he is doing. He hears things in clips and talking points, and then spews them out to the world, usually via Twitter, without thinking about the weight of his actions.

One of the things Trump has been hung up on lately is Canada taking control of their dairy. According to Business Insider:

“Last year, Canada implemented a policy that created a new class of milk prices for ultra-filtered milk, a liquid, high-protein concentrate sometimes used to make products such as cheese and yogurt. Canada lowered the prices for this milk class, so as to incentivize domestic ultra-filtered milk and better compete with the US-produced imports.”

How dare they, right? The United States should not only legislate in their own country regarding the market but also around the world. At least that’s what Trump seems to think.

So Trump, trying to puff his chest and seem like he’s a tough guy, tweets out:

Canada has made business for our dairy farmers in Wisconsin and other border states very difficult. We will not stand for this. Watch!”

Here’s the thing about that statement, besides being inflammatory and going after one of our nearest and dearest allies, Wisconsin doesn’t fall on the Canadian border with the United States.

Here’s a map of Wisconsin, the surrounding states, and the Canadian border. As you see, Wisconsin isn’t a border state:


Not only is Trump going after Canada for a reason he really shouldn’t be, but he also apparently needs a map. Will someone please get on that?!

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Does Sierra Madre Now Have Yet Another Mayor Who Will Not Tell The Truth About Sierra Madre's Massive Pension Debt Problem?

I'm not as hardcore on tax issues as I used to be. Some of those that I worked with on that issue in the past became pretty big disappointments to me in the last year or so, and I no longer feel any obligation to carry their ridiculous banners for them.

I can understand why taxpayers might want to dig a little deeper to save their city from financial ruin, and I'll admit that this is not necessarily a bad thing. But what does bother me are politicians who play upon the good will of residents, people who believe and trust in them, yet for whatever the reason refuse to tell them the actual truth for raising their taxes.

We saw that dishonesty in spades during the run up to last year's Measure UUT. Rather than confess to Sierra Madre's extraordinary debt problems, and how that drives the need for more taxation, voters received countless postcards telling them that the money was actually required to save things like the Library, the Huck Finn Fishing Derby, or even Baby Rhyme Time. Whatever that is.

Very cynical, and very much untrue. Below is the real reason why City Hall put Measure UUT on the ballot in 2016, and why they will be asking for even more taxes in 2018. This information comes from a website run out of Stanford University (link).


$40 million dollars in CalPERS debt is an enormous amount of money for a city of around 11,000. Throw in another $15 million or so in water bond debt and you're talking some serious money. And let's face it, unless City Hall finds more money somewhere there will be serious consequences. Bankruptcy being the very least of them.

Sierra Madre's new mayor will have to lead on the next round of tax increases. Hopefully this time around we will see leadership that will have the courage and integrity to tell the truth about why the City Council is going to ask for a second big tax increase in two years.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

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 developments.

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 to get in on the big 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 do know that when Councilmember McAustin talks about "regulation," she's actually more concerned about collecting tax money and selling business licenses, right?

Sierra Madre's recently hired City Manager, the visionary Gabe Engeland, helped enable 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), this is how our new dude Gabe describes the way 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 blessed land haven't taken notice of Engeland's fiduciary achievement.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

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.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

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.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

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?

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

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.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

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.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com