Friday, September 22, 2017

Annoying City Council Quotes in the Pasadena Star News

There have been a series of Claudia Palma articles on Sierra Madre in the Pasadena Star News lately. They're usually a jump or two behind what we report here, which is fine. This blog focuses on just a few cities, whereas the Los Angeles News Group, which owns the Star News and others like it, has made it their goal to put out a lot newspapers covering many cities with as few reporters as possible. And those reporters they have kept are practically on starvation wages. They'd almost make more money working at Wal*Mart.

It's a tough world out there I know, but even a bad newspaper is better than none. Obviously the era of the watchdog daily is a thing of the past now, and very little has arisen from those ashes to pick up the fallen banner. At one point it was hoped that blogs like The Tattler might fill the gap, but nobody else answered the call for long. Even Bill Coburn crapped out. Can't figure out why. I certainly enjoy doing this.

Something often lacking in Pasadena Star News articles are explanations about how things got as bad as they have. They certainly covered the notion that Sierra Madre has a water infrastructure problem, but hardly a peep about how that came to be.

They have also acknowledged that Sierra Madre has a debt problem, but did they ever tell you how that happened? Or who might be responsible? Not really.

And their coverage of the Sierra Madre Library debacle? You might have come away after reading about that thinking they were doing publicity for the Friends of the Library. And who knows, maybe that is the case. You could certainly fool me.

But what really gets my dander up is the Star News's utter dependency on "The Quote." You know, that self-serving sentence or two from the concerned politician, obtained over the phone, that is somehow supposed to lend credence to the reporter's work. And no matter who the reporter on any given article might be, they rarely dare to question such words from on high.

Here are examples. The following two quotes come from a recent PSN article titled "Sierra Madre: Water rules are about to change" (link). This was supposed to be an expose' of the draconian water use penalties City Hall was clobbering people with not that long ago. Things got so bad that the residents revolted, causing the city to back off. Here is the resulting white wash from Mayor Arizmendi:


Can anybody please explain to me what the above is actually supposed to mean? Wasn't it a water rate study that led to those ridiculous water fines in the first place? Are you saying that study wasn't holistic enough? Or that you're willing to start at the beginning and perhaps make the same mistakes all over again?

In that same article Gene Goss took his golly shucks empathy shtick to an entirely new level when he dropped this small ball of thunder.


The water fines weren't meant to punish people? Really, Professor Goss? Then what exactly were they for? Soul mulching? And while it is great that you're sorry and all, how deeply are you digging into your pockets to pay all those folks back?

You'd hope that a newspaper reporter would want to question an offbeat statement like that, right?

A true whopper of a quote, one that literally begs for a follow-up question or two, but got none of course, was this flaming box of bromides left on our collective psychic doorstep by John Harabedian. The Star News article is titled "Sierra Madre decides fate of controversial Darling house demolition" (link), and it went this way:


Uh, sure. That should be enough. I think I've made my point.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

39 comments:

  1. No news is good news? I think this point is well made, when it comes to reporters regurgitating what has already been said.
    Journalism's dead; or so it would appear, according to PSN.

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  2. Our city council is embarrassing.

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  3. ...Lido whoah oh oh oh
    He's for the money
    He's for the show
    Lido's waiting for the go

    Lido woah oh oh oh oh oh oh
    One more job ought to get it
    One last shot then we quit it
    One more for the road...

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  4. Sierra Madre got it wrong from the beginning on the water conservancy plan. It took a massing of frustration and unfair application of seasonal water conservation levels (punitive to those who conserved in the early days of the advancing drought) to bring about this "change." There were citizens who pleaded with them to realize the weather was the same on both sides of the East/West (Baldwin) divide on the billing and seasonal application and that the conservation levels based on October 2013 was absurd. They were just too lazy or incompetent to adopt a water budget that is the fairest approach that many other cities had adopted. It is about time the City hired a Manager who knew how to give some new direction.

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  5. Politician's always hate the 'Free Press' along with their transparency and no spin reporting. Let the games begin and set the hounds lose to chase down those criminal politician's once again, the games include more lies than a insane man like Trump could tell.

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    Replies
    1. Someone had to put the trash out, and here you are...

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    2. It might be time to harvest one of your 6 plants.

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  6. The benefit of the doubt with this kind of journalism is always given to the office holder, never the resident. They'd like you to think they're setting the record straight.

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  7. A crooked politician's always like to use the phrase 'let me educate you' that's where they begin the smoke and mirrors show' like pulling rabbits out of a hat rick etc. Just simple trickery along with tired old dried up lies.

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    Replies
    1. It is often less about transparency and more about marketing things they have already decided to do.

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  8. 7:16am. if that's so, where were these same reporters when spin on this Obama was in office?

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    Replies
    1. ODS: Obama Derangement Syndrome.

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    2. One of the symptoms of ODS is it affects your ability to comprehend.

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  9. Yeah, we shouldn't be charging higher rates or fining people who use 1,000 or 1,500 gallons or more water per day.

    We should politely raise the issue in a safe space, perhaps using a kind analogy, such as the Grasshopper and the Ant. Tread carefully, though. Our unintended micro aggressions may promote uneasy feelings and have an opposite effect.

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    Replies
    1. You seem angry. How can we help?

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    2. Actually quite happy. I have a great time battling the dishonest among us, intellectual and otherwise.

      Now please do share with everyone the mental gymnastics you use to justify your implicit defense of "people who use 1,000 or 1,500 gallons or more water per day."

      No more ad hominems or daytime TV pop psychology please. (Not because such shots could possibly have any effect on me, but because they're dishonest distractions.)

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    3. I don't think there is anyone who disagrees with 9:59. Snarky as he is. What people who did get heavily fined who did not deserve it. Hope I haven't hurt anyone's feelings.

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    4. "For the snark was a boojum, you see." -Lewis Carroll

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    5. LOL, the only time I encounter the phrase 'ad hominem' is in some anonymous chatroom

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    6. I take it you see that a lot.

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  10. One of my coworkers told me she was very unhappy about an article that was written about her in the Star News. She told me she spoke to the President of our company, he made a phone call, then told her not to worry. That won't happen again! So much for Free Press.

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    Replies
    1. Well, the mountain views news is free...

      .. because it has no value

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    2. So we should conclude that the free press is dead based on triple anonymous hearsay?

      Sorry, but I'm a little more worried about those who directly convey alt-facts and those who believe the Fox propaganda machine.

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    3. Actually it is because a lot of newspapers have gone out of business, while others have had severe cutbacks.

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    4. 11:33 if you're worried about Fox propaganda, which is blankly obvious, you should watch John Oliver's expose on Sinclair News Group:

      http://youtu.be/GvtNyOzGogc

      Then you'll see how underhanded mass media control really is.

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    5. I'm less worried about Fox/Sinclair than I am about all the gunslinging idiots who believe Fox/Sinclair BS, become enraged by it, and believe that they are the last line of defense of a Constitution they never read and can't possibly understand, much less understand the massive body of interpretive Constitutional case law.

      Trump had emboldened them, and the last line of defense may well be Dems and liberals arming themselves, too, just to keep the peace. (Maybe liberals should join the NRA en masse, vote out the leadership, and change, or at least soften, the messages that rile up the extremists among them.)

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    6. I'm less worried about Fox/Sinclair than I am about all the gunslinging idiots who believe Fox/Sinclair BS, become enraged by it, and believe that they are the last line of defense of a Constitution they never read and can't possibly understand, much less understand the massive body of interpretive Constitutional case law.

      Trump had emboldened them, and the last line of defense may well be Dems and liberals arming themselves, too, just to keep the peace. (Maybe liberals should join the NRA en masse, vote out the leadership, and change, or at least soften, the messages that rile up the extremists among them.)

      Delete
  11. You can help by not being a water waster!

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  12. You have to know the backstory to fully understand Harabedian's quote. What he's really saying is that now that he's cut special deals for all his friends, we don't have to worry about people violating building or zoning codes anymore.

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  13. What the City Council is saying; if you don't care enough to show up, then shut up.

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    Replies
    1. Nobody shows up because there is no opportunity to speak with the City Council. Why would you want to show up for a meeting with people it is legally impossible to talk with in session?

      Delete
  14. "Terrible, just found out that Obama had my wires tapped at Trump Towers".
    James Clapper; I have not been informed of any FISA order that allows that.

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    Replies
    1. I find it heartening that our national security apparatus had their electronic eye on these traitors.

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    2. Remember the Maine!

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  15. Someone has to pay for all the leaky pipes FlimFlamInman left behind...

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