Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Larry Torres Talked and Talked at Last Night's City Council Meeting, But Offered No Hope For Improvement at Pasadena Unified

Click here - Larry comes on at 19:28
It was as if the story of the educational future of Sierra Madre's kids was being told by Eeyore. Things are bad, enrollment is down, money is short, pensions are taking up ever larger amounts of the budget, and there are no solutions anywhere in sight. Just more firings, more program cuts, more failure.

I guess it is understandable why it took Sierra Madre's sub-districted Board of Education representative Larry Torres so long to go public about Pasadena Unified's grim battle with insolvency. It is a situation with little hope for improvement, and Larry doesn't have any ideas on how to make things any better. If you're looking for inspirational leadership, don't go calling on this guy.

There isn't much else to say here that hasn't already been said. The best possible solution that I can see is to simply let Pasadena Unified go under. It is a failed school district with little hope for improvement. LA County would then be forced take things over, hopefully get rid of the administrators that ran the place into the ground, and then fold the remaining schools into the LA Unified school system.

Which, by the way, is better financed, adequately populated with actual willing students, and academically more successful than whatever remains of the PUSD.

It is going to happen anyway. Why prolong this misery any longer than is necessary?

Mod: Here is the story more bluntly told.

School officials approve mass layoffs to avoid county takeover (Pasadena Weekly link): In response to a long-looming fiscal crisis, one that could force the LA County Office of Education (LACOE) to take over the finances of the Pasadena Unified School District, the Pasadena Board of Education voted to eliminate 139 full-time employees — 87 of those positions held by teachers.

Board member Kim Kenne voted against the motion, primarily because she said there was not sufficient time to review and analyze the figures being presented by staff. Board member Larry Torres did not attend the board’s special meeting held on Feb. 8.

The district has been struggling financially for several years due to declining enrollment and state laws that favor charter schools over the public school system.

School funding by the state is based on student average daily attendance, or ADA, with current budget cuts the result of steep and ongoing reductions in the district’s student population. Due to declining attendance, the board closed four schools in 2006 and two more in 2011.

District officials have blamed the decreasing numbers on “white flight,” a phenomenon caused by upper middle-class white families pulling their children out of the struggling PUSD schools and placing them in area private schools or charter schools.

Nearly every spending category in the district’s budget — except salaries, benefits and district-issued credit card expenses at the top administrative levels — was affected by possible reductions contained in the district fiscal stabilization plan. For now, cuts are being recommended among academic and certified personnel, including not only teachers, but also assistant principals, as well as security guards and custodians.

Mod: This next story hasn't improved my mood much, either. 

In year since ATF raided his Sierra Madre home, seized dozens of weapons, Pasadena police officer has collected $191,000 from city (Pasadena Star News link): A Pasadena police lieutenant has been on paid leave for the last year after federal agents raided his Sierra Madre home and carted off dozens of weapons. In that time, Lt. Vasken Gourdikian collected $191,000 in pay while federal authorities investigated him and his own department.

Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives raided Gourdikian’s home early on Feb. 16, 2017. They seized 32 pistols, 19 rifles, five rifle parts, three shotguns and two revolvers, according to a forfeiture notice. Immediately, Chief Phillip Sanchez removed Gourdikian from duty and placed him on paid leave, pending the outcome of an internal affairs review.

Gourdikian hasn’t been charged or publicly accused of any crime. The internal review has yet to begin, and Gourdikian continues to receive his full salary.

Mod: This next part is funny, in a grim sort of way.

In an interview last week, Mayor Terry Tornek called the lack of action “infuriating.” He said he hopes the department can find a way to separate its internal review from the federal investigation.

“The problem with all these police-related matters is that people demand timely and transparent performance on these investigations, and we can’t deliver timely, or transparent,” Tornek said.

Mod: Apparently when it comes to Pasadena government, crime does pay.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

71 comments:

  1. Not so grim. If the Pasadena officer finds himself looking for a new gig, he might apply for a position within the PUSD AS A highly trained and fully armed school resource officer.

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    1. PUSD teachers would be happy. LAUSD pays better.

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    2. Pathetic. Eliminate 139 full-time employees — 87 of those positions held by teachers? The last ones out the door should be the teachers, everyone else there is to support them. It's the administrators who decide who goes, so they don't vote themselves out of a job, of course. And they get paid more. Get rid of all the admin before even one teacher, what else is a school good for, a bunch of admin with no teachers and fewer studednts? and who decided to put millions of $$$ into Blair (anybody drive by and see all the new construction) and now they want to close it? People should be losing their jobs over these decisions, and I know it aint the teachers because they are busy trying to teach. Damn!

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    3. 85% of the school budget goes for salaries and retirement . And it will only get worse.

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    4. I agree 6:34 - the teachers should be the last to go. Back in the day (about 28 years ago) when we tried to get out of the PUSD and into the Arcadia school district, the Superintendent actually had a driver. Of course, now that idiot Trump wants to arm the teachers, PUSD will go further into debt!

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  2. When it comes to news; d.j.t. and his collapsing empire seems to be in or on the headlines of many countries news organizations. https://www.google.com/amp/amp.thenewstribune.com/news/business/article202484214.html

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    1. @AlbertBrooks
      Trump announced today that he will run in 2020. Robert Mueller said, "If I were you I would run now."

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    2. Love it 7:17! Wonder how he'll run from jail. In special election after special election, Democrats are winning in traditionally red areas. That's what the Trump Presidency has done.

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  3. Parents and teachers fret over five possible school closures in Pasadena Unified
    https://www.pasadenastarnews.com/2018/02/26/parents-and-teachers-fret-over-five-possible-school-closures-in-pasadena-unified/

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  4. Also on the agenda at last night's City Council meeting was what would happen if the repeal of the UUT passes. Sierra Madre will become insolvent, County will take over the administration of our town. I walked and lobbied to not pass the UUT originally - I was wrong, just like John Cappocia, who changed his tune after studying the options. We must vote against Measure D, or forget any controversy about the library...many of our services we take for granted will go away.

    On another note - Chief Ortiz was at the Council meeting, in full uniform including his gun. If a shooter came in, would he really pull out his gun and shoot? Those of you who actually think Trump's lame-brain idea of arming teachers, think about that! How can a teacher have the mentality to shoot someone in the one second it would take! "Okay, kids, 12 + 12 is what? Oh, here's a shooter, here's my gun. I'm going to shoot him, and not shoot any of my kids by accident."

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    1. Given the advanced average age of those who attend City Council meetings, the potential for a riot breaking out is high. Potential armed response will hopefully keep things under control.

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    2. I was glad he was there and armed.

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    3. 6:51 - No on Measure UUT would have dropped it back to 6%. M-D would bring it down to 0%. Big difference. As I am sure you know.

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    4. Ah the good old days - Joe Scalzo being dragged out of the chambers on the orders of that buffoon Buchanan. Joe yelling, "You want a piece of me?"
      Buchanan was the only mayor who used the silence button on residents.

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    5. Mosca too, as I recall. Remember the Nancy Walsh, "Lookie here" statement about the volunteers, and how awful they were, as well as Mosca saying to former Mayor Lee Cline, "Get a life," when he was at the podium. This Council is a dream!

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  5. Mayor Arizmendi said that 1,600 library survey cards have been returned, which is a high quantity. No indication of who returned them though, or what they had to say. I do know that the "Friends" of the Library have been leaning on their acolytes to get their cards in, so I suspect many of them have been returned by that quarter. Probably the plan all along.

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    1. Mayor Arizmendi is the kind of politician who doesn't like to actually say anything.

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    2. She is the best Mayor we've ever had. Community Services Commission was told on Monday the same thing she said, that the results will be tallied after the deadline. How do you expect her to comment on something that hasn't happened yet? You want to see a bad mayor, watch any of the Council meetings when Nancy Walsh was mayor. John Buchanan used to pass her notes during the meeting so she would know what to say, and who to dis. As Dave Barry used to write, "I am not making this up!"

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    3. 7:22, I also find Arizmendi to be evasive in her comments generally, and see her political success growing as a result. But I thought she did a good job questioning Torres. Sometimes the point is that the question has to be asked in the first place.

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    4. Nancy Walsh was more outspoken.

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    5. Nancy Walsh? Uh yeah. She will be forever remembered for her "Lookie here" statement about how our Sierra Madre volunteers weren't doing the job. Misspoken is more like it.

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    6. There are some interesting Nancy Walsh videos on YouTube. She is probably the best known Mayor Sierra Madre has ever had.

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    7. You all would be surprised at what a lot of the "Friends" think about moving the library and selling the property. Everyone I talked to are against the move, and I talked with several at the wine taste.

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  6. Here is a good opportunity for Vasken's on-line gun business.

    Dick’s cuts off sales of assault-style rifles in stores
    https://www.pasadenastarnews.com/2018/02/28/dicks-to-stop-selling-assault-style-rifles-in-its-stores/

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    1. Yay, 7:05! Gotta go to Dick's to support them.

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    2. So you know a lot of local gun shops are putting "We are not Dicks" signs in their windows.

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  7. When Larry runs for re-election his campaign slogan should be, "We haven't gone out of business yet!"

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  8. The guy who told the story about being scared by the sound of gunshots coming from City Hall was pretty funny.

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    1. I agree. Almost as funny as Torres.

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    2. That's because Torres was given more time to speak.

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    3. I think the guy talking about the gun shots was auditioning for a reality show. I can see it now, "Life in Sierra Madre as lived by the Citizens."

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  9. Reverend Billy Graham is the first religious dignitary to lay in State on Capital Hill.
    This Nation pays their respect for him today; humbled servant, America's Pastor.

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    1. If only he had been humbled in life.

      Claimed to be a Dem, but primarily supported Republicans. Claimed to believe in civil rights yet supported Johnson and Nixon in their quest to kill a couple of million Southeast Asians and 50,000 Americans. Applauded North Korea’s Kim Il-Sung as a freedom fighter. Didn’t recall his taped Oval Office comments that Jews control the media and are part of the “synagogue of Satan.” Forbade his daughters from obtaining higher education. Claimed authority over his wife. Made a fortune and set the standard for televangelists in fleecing the gullible by monetizing mythology.

      But hey, he did speak up against Nixon’s use of profanity captured in the Watergate tapes.

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    2. Good riddance to that fake corporate Christian.

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    3. Billy Graham was shnoogered by Tricky Dick. But then so many were.

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  10. Another good thing about folding PUSD schools into the LAUSD is it would take the Pasadena education establishment out of the mix. Can you imagine never having to hear about your schools from Peter Dreier again?

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    1. What makes you think LAUSD would want to absorb PUSD?

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    2. Why do you think they would have a choice?

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    3. LAUSD is better than PUSD, really?

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    4. Beggars can't be choosers.

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  11. Council member John Capoccia changes his mind on everything, speaks from both sides of his mouth.
    Great choices; Arizmendi, say nothing and Capoccia, say whatever he thinks you want to hear.
    We will vote for repealing M-D. The council have not been good stewards of our tax money.
    The PUSD and SM Council both operate from the same strategist book of stupid backed by Sacramento.
    We can only blame ourselves and as one blogger said 28 years ago change was fought for; look where we all are now.
    Everything in California will be County operated, that's where our elected official's have led.

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    1. MD - Just what the Doctor ordered.

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    2. Who was blogging 28 years ago?

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    3. I wrote a letter to the Sierra Madre News once.

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    4. 8:46 - Do you think Andy, who is backed by the Arcadia Board of Realtors will be your salvation? Watch our property values drop once the MacMansions start appearing in Sierra Madre.

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    5. This is the first Council that HAS been good stewards of our tax money. Thanks to Arizmendi and Delmar who went through the payroll with a fine tooth comb, and our new City Manager who did even more, we are better off than we ever were. That said, the repeal of the UUT would close our City down. Vote NO on Measure D

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  12. True 8:52am. So why continue to throw good money after bad results.
    The doctor or M.D. orders change.

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  13. 9:21am. I recall that Nancy Walsh is Queen of the throne.
    The expensive porta potty kiosk behind City Hall.

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  14. 9:32 you are an enigma.

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    1. I’m merely a scrivener. Perhaps you find the historical record enigmatic?

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  15. 9:48am. Abbot & Costello; Who's on first?
    Translation: reading comprehension.

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    1. Sorry you missed the syntactical pun.

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  16. 11:03am. Good resistance to saving any thing.

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  17. Amazing leadership, streaming live the bipartisan meeting with President Trump and members from Congress and lawmakers agreeing and discussing how to make real change in laws of gun ownership, mental illness, gun free zones, black market weapon sales, violent video games and movies.
    Summing up the meeting, coming up with combined legislation to create one bill that will address all of the foundation of real change.

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    1. Somebody has been reading his cratering poll numbers.

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    2. Amazing how tired old BS amazes 1:05.

      You do realize, of course, that Trump and some of his family members will lose their 2nd Amendment rights after their felony convictions.

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    3. Trump is the one who gleefully signed the recision of the law barring firearm purchases by those deemed incompetent. Don't believe it? Google it to see him holding that recision up with that stupid smile of his.

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  18. Hope Hickes, the "person closest to the President," resigns!

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    1. Donald sure has his share of babe trouble.

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    2. Don’t worry, countless other hicks still support him.

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  19. I think Hope is FED up with the Muller investigation.
    By her choosing to re enter the public sector takes the hot air out of Heir Muller's long and rambling roll call of WH aides.

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    1. Sure. Whatever you say, Comrade.

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    2. Hope either (1) can’t get the security clearance needed for the job she was already not qualified to do, or (2) has to get away from Trump now that she’ll be testifying against him for obstruction of justice when he ordered her to help fabricate a lame excuse for the July 2017 Trump Tower meeting with the Russians, or both.

      The noose is getting ever so tight.

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    3. Troll tryin’ to desperately trumpsplain his fail today

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    4. The hot air was created by her having multiple affairs with other trump staffers.

      Most pathetic

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    5. Sorry folks. It was a June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower. My bad.

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  20. Hope Hickes, the "person closest to the President," resigns!

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    Replies
    1. Wow.
      Wonder what that's about.

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    2. She became too old for him. Almost 30.

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  21. Paul Manafort could be sentenced to almost 20 years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines based solely on the charges he faces in a Washington federal court, Special Counsel Robert Mueller said.

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  22. Jared Kushner’s family businesses reportedly received over $500 million in loans from companies whose executives met with him at the White House.

    Is he begging to experience prison like his daddy, or will he be a citizen of Russia pretty soon?

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