Monday, March 26, 2018

Bencosme's Library Move Flip/Flop: Did Andy Have Privileged Information on Library Survey Card Results?


Above is the "flip/flop" portion of Andy Bencosme's most recent campaign mailing. To go from being a leader in the effort to move the Library to the YAC as the head of an influential city commission, to the candidate now claiming that he wants to keep it just where it is now, is truly a quantum leap. But then some people will say or do anything to get elected.

You do know what the irony is here, right? Had Andy, as Community Services Commission Chair, opposed the process for moving the Library to the YAC a few months earlier, none of this would have happened.

However, and at the insistence of Andy, the Community Services Commission voted unanimously to further explore the option of moving the library. Which is why those survey cards went out, community outreach meetings were held, plus other unnecessary and costly things happened.

 Arcadia Andy
That was then. Now, because of his City Council campaign, Andy has emerged from his City Hall commission cocoon to mingle amongst the residents of Sierra Madre, people he had never really met before. And, quite suddenly, he has flip/flopped on a process that he himself bears a lot of the responsibility. If Andy had actually talked to real Sierra Madreans earlier, he would have known how unpopular this Library move scheme had always been, and perhaps none of this would have ever gone down.

This is what happens when you put people who are new to town, and don't really know very much, into important positions like Chair of the Community Services Commission. Bad and unnecessary things happen. Plus it ends up costing the taxpayers a lot more money than was really needed.  

However, there is also a chance that Andy did not discover his sudden opposition to the Library move by actually talking to real Sierra Madre residents. Andy is mostly running a Facebook and mailer campaign, and has not spoken with as many residents as perhaps he should. As an example, at this year's fairly well attended Wistaria Festival outsider candidate Andy spent very little face time at the candidates' booth, while his three opponents hung out there for hours. Perhaps people are not really his thing.

I exchanged emails with City Manager Gabe Engeland about the possibility of Library survey data having leaked. I respect Gabe, and I do not envy him the job he has trying to keep this very challenging city moving forward. But he is someone who trusts people perhaps more than he should, and I believe Gabe may have missed something important.

Here is our question, and his answer.

The Tattler:  Is there any possible way Andy Bencosme could have known what the state of the groove is on the Library survey card results? Did somebody give him an early peek at some results? Does anybody know anything yet? Was there a leak? Would a leak have even been possible? What he says on his latest post card is the polar opposite of what he was aggressively pushing for as Chair of the Community Services Commission. It seems out of character for him to take such a position without having at least some foreknowledge of what is coming down.

City Manager Engeland: It is not possible that any Council Member or any Council Candidate has seen the preliminary results.  The research company is still finalizing their review and analysis.  My guess is this is just one of the topics residents are asking council candidates to state their position on as they campaign. 

Gabe might be mistaken here. This is just a theory at the moment, so nobody should jump to any conclusions just yet. But this wouldn't be anything we haven't seen in Sierra Madre before, and do remember we are talking both politics and the possibility for developers to make big money should a predatory development candidate like Andy Bencosme get elected. You know how that goes.

It is true that the company hired to do this postcard survey, the National Research Center (NRC) out of Colorado Springs, has yet to put together their final findings on the desire of Sierra Madreans to move their Library into a gymnasium. The graphs haven't been designed yet, the final phraseology hasn't been curated, data hasn't been analyzed, the fine report book stapled, none of the stuff you'd expect when you shell out $18,000 for a research project of this kind.

But numbers apparently have been run, and as of March 6th actual raw data exists. Here is a memo from March 19 showing Sierra Madre's library survey cards were likely run though a tabulating machine by the NRC nearly three weeks ago.


If Andy Bencosme did have this raw data from the NRC, it would give him certain political advantages. While the other three candidates still dutifully waited for the results, and therefore could make no conclusive statements about the fate of the Library, Andy would have been able to come out and take a position he already knew was in line with what the residents really want. Why? Because he saw the numbers. Even if it contradicted all he had done and said before.

I guess we now need to find out how many people at City Hall have been in communication with the NRC, and who might have leaked this information to the Bencosme campaign. Let's face it, City Hall is hardly the FBI, and I doubt anyone there discussed making Library survey tabulations a high security matter.

Maybe they should have, right? And look at it this way, now we know that most folks don't want to move the Library. We too might have the results. Just remember where you read it first.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

76 comments:

  1. The Friends of the Library are backing the relocation. As long as any of us can remember they have been spearheading this concept.
    It is unclear to many of us, just where all of the money the Library has received from the city throughout these many years has been spent.
    Look to the past Board members, the same supporters of the DSP.

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    Replies
    1. He is a flip flopper. If the wind shifts in the other direction, he will switch back. Whatever it takes to get elected I guess.

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    2. Andy will say anything to get elected. Once elected, he'll ignore all that.

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    3. I don't know how you can say that the Friends of the Library are for the move. Several I have talked to with who are in the know about the Friends, are absolutely against the move and destruction of the building. The Trustees, however are wavering.

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    4. The Library move is dead. Even Andy has left the ship.

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  2. I'm not surprised. This is how the Arcadia Association of realtors does their political business.

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  3. How much money does the Library get each year. It must be several million over the past few years.

    Why hasn't the repairs been made already?

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  4. There you go again, tearing down another Sierra madrean based on absolutely nothing. You suspect he got the results early? You really have no integrity at all. Just stop already. All of you. The only thing you people know about Andy, is that he is a realtor. He was asked to place a value on the library property, and you assume you know anything about him based on that? He has signs in arcadia? I’m not sure you are aware of this, but people do travel outside the city borders...daily. I can’t believe the passionate disgust you people muster over nothing.

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    1. It's politics, fella. If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. You think those nice realtor ladies aren't ripping at Denise Delmar every day of their present lives? Now that we've gotten past your hypocrisy and phoniness, answer the real question. Why did Andy flip flop on the Library move?

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    2. It is all about the money, 6:46. As I am sure you are very aware.

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    3. I’m neither in the kitchen or a hypocrite. I have no opinion of Andy because I do not know him. You can try and deflect by calling it politics, but that in no way detracts from the reality that attacking someone based on hubris Is nothing more than an insight into your character.
      You may be right that people are attacking Delmar, I have not heard it. However is that what you teach your kids? They are doing it, so I will also?
      If you really care about this city, try listening to someone other than yourself. You might learn something. If you disagree, make a respectful case. But what happens on this blog, well, this is what’s wrong with society.

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    4. You know what they say, 6:46. If you don't like the Tattler, then don't read it.

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    5. 6:46, the only thing I know about Benscome is that all of his significant funding comes from people in Glendale, Arcadis, Altadena, Pasadena, Los Angeles, San Gabriel.
      And he's a realtor.

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  5. Selling the land to move the library is a big big mistake. We will deeply regret not having that property in the near future.

    The Friends of the Library are not really our friends.

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    Replies
    1. For the Realtor Party it was always about the land, not the Library.

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  6. He was for it before he was against it.

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  7. The city needs to do an investigation. If somebody did leak this information they need to be fired.

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    Replies
    1. The City investigate? The City already knows and are probably behind it.

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    2. More development., more tax money. There is a lot of pension debt to pay.

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    3. It wouldn't necessarily be a leak in city hall - it could be the company that conducted the survey.

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  8. The big beneficiary of preservation has always been the residents. Property values have never been higher than they are now. Preservation has put a couple of hundred grand into the pockets of every Sierra Madre homeowner. You'd have to be an idiot to turn your back on that.

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  9. Once again the strong smell or odor of Sulfur & Brimstone raise up to greet the unsuspecting public at large who are really clueless as to who and what are plotting their fate from darkened back room deals.

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  10. No leaks, a person can change their mind.
    I dont know Mr. Bencosme, but I do know that as head of the Community Service Commission he and the Commission voted on further study of the move. The exact same decision that this current City Council made!
    Now, what conspiracy theory do you Tattler's bloggers have?

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    Replies
    1. C'mon, it was a classic flip flop. Bencosme was all for the Library move at the Community Services Commission. Now as a candidate for City Council he is against it. Denial is a river, dude. No conspiracy, just cold hard facts.

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    2. Here's the motion: Sullivan moved to recommend to City Council to sell existing library and adjacent property with proceeds to fund the new Sierra Madre Library and Cultural Center Moran seconded. Vote was Unanimous. Keith moved to recommend to the City Council that the City look into developing the existing Recreation Center into the new Sierra Madre Library and Cultural Center. Bencosme seconded. Unanimous.

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    3. Thanks, 1:49. Always good to have the facts.
      I imagine Bencosme wishes that record would disappear.

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    4. Flip Floppin' Arcadia Andy.

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  11. As the Chair of the Community Serv Comm., why wouldn't Andy have had access to this data?

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    Replies
    1. No one was supposed to have access, except the people who were conducting the survey.

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    2. Why did they decide to run this library survey during a City Council election?

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    3. Good question.

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  12. 7:55am. The Planning Commision?

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  13. It seems that once Andy got out in the community and met the residents face to face. He realized his error and countered his past actions with a new mailer. He will sucker in people who don't know the truth and get their vote. Politics are a nasty road, that means you have to flip flop every now and then and it looks like he is good at that.

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    1. Agreed 8:37.
      Many of our older residents are strongly opposed to the library being moved.
      When asked, they'll speak their minds.

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    2. You mean they weren't impressed with the plan to move the library and remake one, for an vague number of millions of dollars?

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    3. The current candidates running for re-election are hamstrung in voicing an opinion about the library since they are still waiting for information re: resident's wishes, accurate cost of each alternative, (bond issue?) and the long-term effects on the community. Then and only then, can they make an informed decision.Then and only when they discuss it openly from the Dais, can they determine what is right. Of course Andy will come out with the only issue that is really debatable, and of course he is the only one that can debate at this point. Let's hope that somehow or another the word gets out that the three incumbents are up to date enough to make an informed decision, not talking off their heads like Andy is.

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  14. 8:28am. Access to city data in order; (NRC), the City Manager, the City Council and then the Commissions.

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    1. City Hall has back doors. You'd have to be naive to think otherwise.

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    2. 8:28am is still living in the pre-Watergate scandal era

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  15. Don't think there were any leaks because so far there is nothing to leak. When you talk with council and people in the community you learn right away "NO ONE WANTS TO MOVE THE LIBRARY" and Mr. Andy the real estate investor picked up on that and changed to get votes. When you see who is supporting Andy and Goss, his not so silent supporter, you understand what's going on. Nasty Nancy hates Delmar and is a big part of the group to oust her. And that's the truth.

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    Replies
    1. That Community Services memo shows that the cards have been counted. Do you really know for sure that didn't get out?

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  16. 8:57am the back doors in city hall lead out to Mayor "Nasty Nancy" Kioski Toilet! How much money did the City spend on that thing?
    Anyway, Nasty Nancy will always hold the title of Queen of the Golden Throne.

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  17. 8:56, if someone leaked the results to Andy or his supporters there will be or should be, an investigation. Something this big in an election should not be swept-ed under the carpetbagger. That is so wrong. If the law is broken does it get reported to the police department? When informed are they obligated to investigate? If you are the Police Chief with friends with the higher up's at City Hall do even investigate or show findings or act on findings. Some real gray areas here.

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    1. Our city can't even stop "Andy" from putting signs in illegal places, as the city owned Mariposa lot. There won't be any investigation.

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    2. Double standard: Rumors have it that the APD caught those criminals very quickly involving a burglary of a home belonging to a former Asian Arcadia City Councilman. And most criminals of home burglaries of ordinary Joes rarely get caught.

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    3. 1:44pm post clarification: The home burglary incident happened while he was a seating council.

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    4. My bad... I meant "sitting" council member...

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  18. I don't think the CM would leak any info.

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    1. I don't think he would either. But he is hardly the only person working at City Hall with access to the survey company.

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  19. The first rule for crooks when accused of something: Deny Deny Deny

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  20. I think Delmar and Arizmendi are running a straight up honest campaign, can't say the same abut the other two. Guess Andy could be considered a carpetbagger 9:40.

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    1. Goss is telling people who have his sign that they are not to put up a Delmar sign.

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    2. Okay.
      If I have to choose between Goss and Delmar, it's pretty easy.
      Delmar for city council.

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  21. 10:00, very true. Hello 355-1414, do I have a possible crime to report? Please tell.

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  22. Jose aka "Andy"-- is a carpetbagger, plain and simple and is only looking to feather his real estate nest with developers that have their sights set on Sierra Madre.

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  23. The drought continues as does the water moratorium.
    New development on hold until we receive more rain.

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    Replies
    1. Unless a new City Council decides to take a new approach.

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  24. Except for the last election, it feels like our Preservation of SM is under attack with the likes of past Mayors and Council Members. Everyone I know that has talked with the new city manager have come away feeling like we finely have have a capable person doing that job.

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    1. Many of our past Mayors and Councilmembers never had the interests of homeowners and residents at heart. They were more concerned with what developers, real estate agents and utility companies want. Preservation has added a lot of value to the homes of people living in Sierra Madre. There are some who see that as a business threat.

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  25. The proponents of Measure D don't even have the courage or integrity to publicly support their own Measure in public forums. David McMonigle in particular is too cowardly to show his face at any event. Why isn't David McMonigle willing to defend his absurd Measure D which is designed to financially wreck city government?

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    1. Is there really anybody in town who doesn't know that Measure D is a tea party/aka Koch brothers faux grass roots effort?

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    2. Sure. Most likely the same people who refuse to admit Vladimir Putin put Trump in the White House.

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    3. Yes on D from my house.

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  26. 11:25am. You are new in town, better to not make assumptions.
    It is the Planning Commission that studies the zoning issues, the Council may choose to discuss and address these studies.
    Preservation has always been of importance in Sierra Madreans planning of the town; prior Preservation group of homeowners were extremely committed in studying zoning and ordinances being considered for change. Everything concerning changes to the town was addressed, and was done from knowledge, not emotions.
    Sacramento is demanding changes in all cities and towns, in this we have very little leverage, unless voters cast their option of change for more of a balance of lawmakers.

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  27. Just drove by the Mariposa parking lot, and saw 2 Andy signs ....

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  28. 11:16 and 11:25 you are right. 12:27 runs in a different circle. What he is saying is partial truth but he must be in the same group with past council members who have caused the city grief and money.

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  29. Lol, 1:01pm. My sentiments are the same about you and your group, tho I am sure you claim you grasp a working knowledge of town you created havoc from all your mis information.

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    1. What misinformation? Can you cite any specifics ?

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    2. I guess not.

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  30. All anyone would have to do is have been at the public meeting on the library held in the YAC last month and listened to the speakers: 95% of who spoke to keeping the library where it was. Then on top of that you could ask a couple dozen of citizens on the sidewalk and pretty much get the same results. All leaking aside, ears used for a bit of listneing without talking is a good source of information. Changing position in the face of the obvious is obvious. Vote Delmar, Arizmendi and Goss.

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  31. 1:52 the group I associate the most with are residents who are trying to preserve our little town. Most of us have no problem seeing those that want to make a living selling out to the for profit building industry.

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  32. Tomorrow 12 noon at the Lodge the Kiwanis Club is hosting a debate on Measure D, the UUT measure on the April 10 ballot. It's free if you do not have lunch.

    It should be interesting to hear what the guy for the Yes vote has to say. A YES VOTE ends the UUT and destroys the city, but they don't care.

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    Replies
    1. It's a dead issue. Measure D will be lucky to get 20% of the vote. Everybody should stay home and take a restorative nap.

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  33. 5:47pm. You are right! We all do not care, just as this council removed the Sunset Clause,our house will remove the UUT. VOTE YES MEASURE D.
    Enlighten all of us, just how is the town destroyed and just how and who got this town into the mess that the mailers say will happen, and then enlighten us as to why this current council has not addressed the problems.
    The new City Manager has the appearance that he is the one making a difference, TG the Council does not turn a deff ear as it has over the years to the residents.

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