Monday, April 30, 2018

Frank Girardot's Orwellian "Coded Language" Diversion Was First Used In Pasadena

A bumptious Kin Hui back in the day - Nov. 1, 2016
The carelessly leveled charge of racism in beleaguered Arcadia is an unfortunate and sad tactic. That Sho Tay will not be raised to the office of Mayor until after the FPPC investigation into his alleged election corruption concludes is widely accepted by Arcadia's more temperate citizens. Yet there is a rather small and accusatory faction in town that would like you to believe he was at least temporarily denied the office due to racial animosity.

But this obvious red herring is hardly the real issue at work here. Rather it is a cynical political stratagem that is being used in hopes of defeating the opposition to mansionization and other forms of "Locally Unwanted Land Usages" (LULUs) in Arcadia.

Sho Tay sides heavily with these LULU developers and realtors, and this decidedly eclectic mix of selfish people are willing do almost anything to get him into the big seat. Even going to war with the people and government of Arcadia itself. Which they are now doing, and with a shrill vengeance.

Today The Tattler is taking you back to 2016 and a rather bizarre Pasadena land use controversy involving Singpoli's Kin Hui and a venerable YMCA building found there. A place Kin was widely suspected at the time of wanting to turn into yet another one of his ostentatious, bourgie hotels.

This rowdy rhubarb erupted on a Facebook page called Pasadena Politics, and featured a number of notable players, most prominently Kin Hui himself. It also starred his highly compensated publicist, former Pasadena Star News editor Frank Girardot. The fellow who has the job of enabling his boss's often loudly communicated will. More on that in a minute.

It all began with an original post of course, which went something like this.


Local Investment Firm ‘Floats’ Opportunities in Pasadena to Chinese Media (Pasadena Now link) - Beijing. Shanghai. Tianjin. Guangzhou. Shenzhen. PasadenaThe unveiling of the Singpoli Group’s 2017 Rose Parade Float at the DusitD2 Constance Hotel Monday afternoon might have also offered a peek at what may increasingly become a notable Chinese real estate and investment target: Pasadena.

Singpoli, the Pasadena and Arcadia-based real estate investment, along with its joint venture enterprises, BDK Capital, and 8sian Media, brought together a powerhouse of Chinese media companies, including one of the country’s largest Asian-targeted multi-channel networks and advertising platforms, for the unveiling event.

Along with the sponsors came the 2016 eXin media delegation from China, comprised of executives and leaders from top-tier China TV stations and industry associations. The delegation came to “visit local companies and institutions, and to exchange innovative ideas about new media industry,” according to a group spokeperson.

The event will undoubtedly contribute to increasing efforts to build Pasadena’s “brand” in Chinese markets. The official hosts of the event were Singpoli Group Chief Executive Officer Kin Hui; William Chu, chief financial officer of Singpoli Capital Corporation, and Dr. Gang Ding, of BDK Capital.

Pretty pedestrian press release style stuff, right? A group of overseas investors had come together in Pasadena hoping to make a little dough in real estate. Pretty much what America is all about. Especially in an era when such investment has become universal, and anywhere money is to be made will do just fine.

However, there were a few associated local land use issues that had made some Pasadena preservationists uncomfortable, and they saw this an an opportunity to share their concern with the readers of Facebook's Pasadena Politics. This lead to a rather lively conversation about LULU real estate exploitation and overseas capital, which for whatever reason precipitated the colorful outburst from Mr. Hui we cut and pasted into the above left hand corner of this post.

Apparently Mr. Hui was not trying to up his Facebook friends count that day.

It was then that the dutiful Frank Girardot, perhaps hoping to get his volatile boss to chill, leapt in and attempted to seize an upper hand. Here are two of his comments.



Note the use of the phrase "coded words." Frank used it twice that day back in 2016.

Last week in the Kin Hui financed and owned publication The Hub, which lists Frank Girardot as its editor, the following verbiage was used to describe opposition to the allegedly corruption tainted Sho Tay becoming Mayor. The article was titled "Charges of racism, fraud fly at contentious Arcadia city council meeting," and you can link to it in its entirety here.

“If you choose to bypass the opportunity to have a Chinese-American as mayor, what will it say to the 60 percent of Arcadia residents who participate in this community’s successes?” Singpoli CEO Kin Hui asked. “Will it say to our children that Chinese-Americans are great members of the community, but have no business as community leaders? That would be shameful and go down as an historic blunder.”

Using colorful and sometimes coded language, a handful of residents told the Council that complaints about Tay’s tactics were too serious to ignore. “We the American People are here to ask the City Council to restore ethics to this chamber,” exclaimed resident Caroline Blake. “I say no to rotation, and to even one year with Sho Tay as Mayor.”

Frank, who apparently is an old dog unlikely to learn any new tricks soon, has returned to using the same spin he employed in Pasadena two years ago. That is to accuse the opponents of his boss's outsized real estate ambitions of racial intolerance through the use of the term "coded language." By which I am going to have to assume he means being racially intolerant without using any of the words normally associated with racial intolerance.

A conundrum for certain. Perhaps Frank is alluding to the Orwellian concept of "thought crime?" You can only guess. And yes, we all have to work for a living.

That article from The Hub is credited to one of the news writers there, a fellow named Hugo Guzman. Hugo also works out of Singpoli's 25 E. Foothill address.

However, given the usage of what is obviously a favored phrase and tactic, you would have to assume that this piece was heavily edited, if not entirely written, by Girardot himself.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

Sunday, April 29, 2018

18 Vintage Olive Trees Tagged For City Buzzsaws On No. Michillinda Avenue

Mod: I received the following as an email blast yesterday. I thought I should post it here for a more thorough review. If this unhappy deed is being done just so the city can fix or install sidewalks, consider that it would be on a steep hillside that only a few people outside of housekeepers ever climb. The folks living there would be far kinder if they would just start picking up their tax free cleaning help at the bus stop and leave the trees alone.

URGENT: Protest removal of 18 old olive trees; tagged on N. Michillinda Avenue near schools.          

Dear Tree Defenders, Local Conservationists & “WalkabilityAdvocates, I just received the following message from Mitch Marich re: notices tacked to 18 mature old olive trees on N. Michillinda Avenue at the border of Sierra Madre and Pasadena. The sign in the photo reads, as far as I can decipher from enlarging the photo:

City of Sierra Madre

The Dept. of Public Works has approved the removal of this tree in the parkway on N. Michillinda Avenue. The trees will be replaced after street, curb and gutter improvements along with the installation of a sidewalk is completed.

If you wish to appeal this removal it must be submitted in writing to Chris Cimino, Director of Public Works by 5:00pm, 21 May 2018.

I am traveling and cannot investigate this matter; however, I’ve admired those old trees for years and cannot believe there is no creative means of providing pedestrian passage while also protecting these magnificent olive trees! Isn’t this situation exactly what “creative walkability design” is all about? Simply hacking these trees down to install more sun-baked concrete sidewalks and curbs is not an improvement of public space.

(Note sidewalk on west side of street)
The capricious removal of mature old trees as the most expedient means of remodeling a mall parking lot, installing a sidewalk, implementing a new “streetscape plan,” clearing power lines that might be strengthened or rerouted instead, or whatever …needs to stop. The myriad values of old trees, from beauty to providing cooling shade… carbon sequestration to nesting habitat for small birds… production of seasonal flowers to fruit and nuts… all needs to be taken into greater consideration along with soliciting the opinions of all those who live, commute, and work in proximity to such trees. Mature trees are too often treated like expendable old signs or park benches.

They are elegant, living answers to global warming and reduce urban air pollution. Surely the City of Sierra Madre can design a better option that preserves these trees?

I hope you can contact friends and officials you know in Sierra Madre and immediately adjacent Pasadena about saving these trees. Submit your own protests opposing destruction of these venerable olive trees and request a stay of execution until innovative alternatives can be explored.

Olive trees can live to immense age and gain a gnarled and sculptural stature. None of us will live long enough to see trees of this girth again growing along this old parkway, even if tiny saplings are planted. More likely, only a few wimpy species will replace these grand old trees, such the usual crepe myrtles or scraggly ginkgo trees.

Apologies for not being able to provide the Sierra Madre address for the Director of Public Works. Call the City or check the Sierra Madre website for that information. Or drive by and see the notice on the olive trees for yourself. Please share this info. with others who may be concerned.

Large old trees are living remnant of a city’s history. Together, let’s find a way to save these olive trees!

An Additional Email

Mitch: This removal form is on 18 mature olive trees and a pepper on the east side of Michillinda at Sierra Madre. The reason is no doubt to put in a sidewalk as people have to walk in the street there. This is a reasonable goal and maybe even required by the ADA but not ideal. 

It will be decades before replacement trees are useful.  The northbound lane is quite wide here and there is room to just build a 3' sidewalk outside the current curb. That would crowd "my" bike space but be within normal spacing on many streets in Sierra Madre.

I'm not connected to the "tree hugger" community but I bet you are. It would be good if someone from Sierra Madre would register a protest and there could be reconsideration of the need and possible solutions. You have any suggestions for making sure interested parties can be alerted? 

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Sierra Madre Is Getting Ready For The Big SCAG Meeting

Remember those glorious days when Sierra Madre almost escaped the clutches of the delightfully acronymic SCAG? It seems like just yesterday here at The Tattler, while also being kind of far away at the same time.

Two of the major functions of this distressed mess of an Eisenhower-era planning bureaucracy is to crank out ridiculously overstated population growth numbers, and then use them to cram as much LULU housing development as possible down the throats of the communities living under their thumb. All done through the so-called "RHNA Planning Process." Whether they like it our not. And trust me, few cities do.

Inaccurate population increase projections are a SCAG tradition, and they've been making them since way back when Richard Nixon was young. Here is a bit from a Los Angeles Times article written in 1986 bemoaning the numerical idiocy of SCAG's then current crystal ball crack-up.

SCAG Report Predicts 43% Growth: County Criticizes Population Estimates for 2010 (Los Angeles Times link): Orange County supervisors said Tuesday that erroneous assumptions may have been used in a report projecting that Southern California's population will grow 43% by 2010. Supervisor Harriett M. Wieder said the report, issued Sept. 4 by the Southern California Assn. of Governments (SCAG), the area's major regional planning group, "raises a red flag" because its numbers vary so much from the association's past reports.

The SCAG report said the population in the six-county Southern California area will increase to 18.3 million by 2010, a 43% increase over last year's estimated population of 12.8 million. SCAG said that Latinos, the fastest-growing ethnic group, will constitute almost 40% of the population in the six counties in 2010. It said that Anglos, who accounted for 61% of the population in 1980, will then make up 41% of the total.

link
So you know, and according to the 2010 census, SCAG's numbers were only off by a little under 900,000 souls. Which, for the purposes they were designed for, made SCAG's 1986 population projections pretty much near useless. The chart to the left is from SCAG. At least they had the decency to 'fess up. Sort of.

Outside of predicting the future as inaccurately as they possibly can, another important SCAG priority is transportation planning. If you would like to see how they're doing with that, get in your car any early weekday morning and take a ride west on the 210 Freeway. Then spend a moment to wonder how in the world you chose to live under such horrid conditions, and why Utah wouldn't be a better place to spend that precious thing called your life.

But we are talking government bureaucracy in its most voodoo-like form, and it appears that our creaky and utterly ineffectual regional planning organization, one that consumes both large chunks of taxpayer treasure and the work hours of city staff employees everywhere, is having their big convention soon. And apparently it is a big deal who Sierra Madre will be sending there this year. So much so that the City Council is having a special one item meeting Tuesday evening just to decide who will go.

Here is the agenda notice (link):


Doesn't our City Council understand that by sending someone to this thing it not only helps legitimize their absurd and futile efforts, but will also encourage them to do even more stupid things in the future?

If you go to the SCAG website you can view what imperfect joys they have planned for this year's attendees. Here is how it is described.

Secure your tickets: SCAG’s premier annual event is fast approaching. The 53rd Regional Conference and General Assembly will convene on May 3-4, bringing together over 900 of Southern California’s most influential leaders, innovators and policymakers at the Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa in Indian Wells, CA. The conference, titled “Southern California at a Crossroads,” will feature collaborative, solution-oriented discussions about the region’s future.

A diverse program of expert panels, keynote presentations and technical demonstrations will share insights on how our local governments and civic partners can work together to make the most of new technologies to enhance mobility, economic opportunity and quality of life. The event will also present the 2018 SCAG Sustainability Awards, which recognize excellence in sustainable planning throughout Southern California.

The event is free for elected officials and city managers in the region. For other attendees, a special early bird registration rate of $250 will be available until April 18.

Here's something I have always found amusing. Do you know where the head of SCAG, the mighty Hasan Ikhrata, got his career start? The defunct Soviet Union. Makes sense, right? Here is an Orange County Register article that shared the news (link).

No joke! SCAG’s new leader was a Soviet planner (Orange County Register): This is too good to be true. I have a habit of comparing myriad local and state planners to Soviet planners, given that their ideas seem so similar at times. Recently, I wrote a column about the planners at SCAG, the appropriately named Southern California Association of Governments. I say appropriately, because a dictionary definition of scag is heroin, and these folks are addicted to central planning and tax dollars.

Well, the new head of SCAG, replacing Mark Pisano, is Hasan Ikhrata. Check out this from his bio: “Hasan also worked abroad for the Government of USSR, Moscow Metro Corporation, where he conducted subway ridership forecasting, engineering design and analysis of TDM programs for the Moscow Subway system. Hasan holds a bachelor’s degree from Moscow University in the former Soviet Union and master’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and is a Ph.D. candidate in Urban Planning from the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles.”

At least now it will be easier to refer to the “Soviet planner” in charge of Southern California’s premiere planning agency!

I am not sure Hasan ever did get that Phd. Maybe he had trouble with some of the math. I've heard it is hard.

KFI's John and Ken don't like Hasan much, either. Here is a segment from their show they called "Hack In A Dumpster" (link).

So you know, San Bernardino won a SCAG Sustainability Award not too long ago. It was just before they went into bankruptcy. Hopefully Sierra Madre won't win one.

I can only hope City Hall registered in time to take advantage of the early bird special.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

Friday, April 27, 2018

Daily Journal: Catching Up With The GemCoins Lawsuit - Plus: Getting Your MouTai On With Sho Tay


Mod: Every once in a while the GemCoins affair shows up in the news, and as a service to all of those who were cheated out of millions of dollars in this bizarre scam we try and keep up with the latest. Here is a report that appeared in the Daily Journal last month, which is a newspaper sold mostly to attorneys. The big news here is John Wuo, the former Arcadia Mayor who was forced to resign his office due to his outsized role in the GemCoins scandal, has been served in the USFIA civil lawsuit.


Getting your Moutai on with Sho Tay!

Mod: The following pictures were sent our way by an attentive reader of The Tattler.


In case you are wondering what is actually going on here, this is the description our wonderful correspondent included with these pictures: "Could he become another John Wuo? Pictures taken Feb. 2017 from the TV. Here Sho Tay is promoting hard liquor MouTai. It is about 106 proof. I saw a MouTai store on San Gabriel in San Gabriel city. The store is not in Arcadia. The product is hard liquor, the store is not in Arcadia, and an Arcadia city councilmember should not promote it. I don't see other politicians lift up the bottle in the video to promote it. Except Sho. The Chinese words on the screen are "Raising your MouTai liquor in the cup and looking forward to a Happy Chinese New Year."

Apparently MouTai is a drink of some historic importance to government functionaries in China, and even here. Here is how Fortune Magazine describes all that (link).

While few outside China buy the liquor, MouTai baijiu is baked into national myth as the drink of choice for Communist Party leaders. It’s what Mao Zedong and his comrades toasted with at the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949. Just four years ago, the distiller was battling a slowdown as an austerity drive in Beijing slashed demand from government officials. But purchases by ordinary Chinese have more than compensated since then.

So there you have it. Get plowed with Chairman Mao. And Sho. But as a warning, if you do consume too much of this strong stuff it will be a long march to the bathroom.

You might want to bring a bucket.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Singpoli Controlled In-House Media Outlet "The Hub" Labels Sho Tay Mayor Opposition City Hall Racism

Mod: If you are not yet aware (few are), Singpoli developer Kin Hui and his lavishly compensated in-house publicist, former Pasadena Star News editor Frank Girardot, have been working on a media project called "The Hub." Originally a publication designed to appeal to millennials supposedly starved for news about clubs, boutique clothing and cannabis, it has instead pretty much hewed to previous Girardot foci with a heavy tabloid-style emphasis on urban crime. However, there has also been another purpose, that being to propagandize the priorities of big development outfits. Which, when you consider who is funding this money losing media effort, should hardly be surprising. Think of The Hub as a kind of Pravda for predatory McMansion builders. Below is an unpleasant article designed to create the impression that the motives behind denying Sho Tay the Mayor gig at Tuesday's City Council meeting had nothing to do with those various alleged corruption charges, or the local land use requirements of Mr. Hui, but were instead driven by purported City Hall racism.

Charges of racism, fraud fly at contentious Arcadia city council meeting (The Hub link): After a contentious two-hour public hearing Tuesday night, where residents accused some members of the council of racism, the Arcadia City Council bucked tradition by declining to elevate Councilman Sho Tay to the largely ceremonial post of mayor.

Instead, current Mayor Peter Amundson will remain as as the city’s titular head for 45 days, while a complaint against Tay, the city’s only Chinese elected official, is investigated by the state’s Fair Political Practices Committee.

“It’s an unprecedented move,” Amundson said, to a packed council chamber that at times turned raucous with derision. “But this has been an unprecedented election.”

A boisterous citywide election in March returned three incumbents — Tay, Roger Chandler and Tom Beck to the chamber amid acrimony from residents and candidates who traded barbs verbally, on the internet and via fliers sent to voters.

 link
With the election results certified earlier this month, dozens of residents urged council members to “do the right thing” and proclaim Tay as Arcadia’s mayor for the next year. Several said any other move by the council could only be described as racist retaliation aimed at further dividing Arcadia following an ugly election.

“If you choose to bypass the opportunity to have a Chinese-American as mayor, what will it say to the 60 percent of Arcadia residents who participate in this community’s successes?” Singpoli CEO Kin Hui asked. “Will it say to our children that Chinese-Americans are great members of the community, but have no business as community leaders? That would be shameful and go down as an historic blunder.”

Using colorful and sometimes coded language, a handful of residents told the Council that complaints about Tay’s tactics were too serious to ignore.

“We the American People are here to ask the City Council to restore ethics to this chamber,” exclaimed resident Caroline Blake. “I say no to rotation, and to even one year with Sho Tay as Mayor.”

Tay described the FPPC complaint as an unfair election tactic used by his opponents who publicized it in various formats.

“They made me sound like some kind of criminal,” Tay said.

In seeking a vote to delay the election of Tay, Amundson described it as a “cooling-off period” meant to strengthen the cooperation between members of the City Council, and allow extreme emotions left over from the intense election to settle down.

With the cooling off period in effect, the next time Tay could be considered for the post of Mayor will be June 5.

Mod: You might want to blow in a call to Mr. Girardot and ask him what was meant by the use of the term "coded language." It is an ugly charge that I am sure he would love to discuss with you. The number at Pegasus Communications is (626) 247-2883.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Sierra Madre and Arcadia: A Tale of Two Cities

For 50 minutes of peace, love and understanding click here.
A fairly short tale actually because it is late and I am a little exhausted from all of this stuff right now. More on that in a minute. But here is the first half of the story.

It used to be that Sierra Madre was the lawless lands when it came to politics. There were more wild and crazy controversies, fights, feuds, and general mayhem found in The Foothill Village than just about anywhere else on the planet. It was from those days that The Tattler first found its place in our little world, and all of that controversy had sustained this blog for nearly a decade. Trust me, I was always very grateful. There was a lot to write about.

But obviously those days are now in the past. Last night Denise Delmar was made the Mayor of Sierra Madre in about as peaceful and untroubled a manner as you would ever hope to see. The only thing that was even close to a controversy was who would become the next Mayor Pro Tem, with John Harabedian and John Capoccia struggling over who could hand the honor to the other guy the most. Eventually Capoccia won and Harabedian was convinced to accept the honor.

After which everyone went out into the City Hall foyer to enjoy some cake and soda.

Things were the very opposite last night in Arcadia where no Mayor was chosen at all, and won't be until after a 45 day "cooling off period" has taken place. The problem being that the current Mayor Pro Tem, the eminently unqualified though next in line Sho Tay, is now faced with both the potential consequences of a rather unfortunate Brown Act situation, plus an ongoing two count FPPC investigation into his having possibly run a crooked political campaign.

This in front of a seething packed house as 35 residents angrily spoke to both sides of the issues during public comment, and mostly in no uncertain terms. According to the majority of these speakers you apparently are either a racist who has serious problems with Asian folks, or someone who countenances unchecked corruption in a city government lacking for all ethical values. There appeared to be little middle ground between the two sides as each persuasion seemed quite convinced that they alone were occupying the moral apex.

The current Mayor of Arcadia, Peter Amundson, will now remain in that office for an additional month and a half, which hopefully will be enough time for Sho Tay's guilt or innocence to be clearly established by these ongoing investigations. If it turns out that he actually is a crook, then the gig will fall to councilmember April Verlato, who would then become Arcadia's first woman mayor in quite some time.

There is also the matter of what could have been wide ranging voter fraud in District 5, something calling into question the legitimacy of Roger Chandler's election to yet another term. Something that will also be closely looked into during that now momentous 45 day cooling off period.

Oh, and there was no cake afterwards. Anywhere. Like I said, a tale of two cities.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Landslide Roger: How Extensive Was Voter Fraud In Arcadia's City Council District 5?

It is not a question of whether there was voter fraud in District 5 or not, but rather how much. I believe there were enough potentially illegal votes cast there to put Roger Chandler over the top, and that when he is sworn in for yet another term at Arcadia City Hall this evening we could all be witnessing a rather grotesque and tragic farce.

I have been provided with deeds to the homes of certain people who voted in District 5. However, they own them outside of Arcadia, or in one case in town but outside of District 5. Kind of troubling, right? Empty nests there somehow became full again. Some very good people have been working hard to uncover this story, and you are the beneficiary of their due diligence.

Send some good thoughts their way.

This is what happens when you have you have a city government that refuses to honor its legal obligation to guarantee fair elections, and instead turns a blind eye. Private citizens have to fill the void when bad government reneges on its responsibilities.

We'll start with John Wuo, the former Arcadia Mayor who resigned from office during the Gem Coins scandal. Six votes were cast from his house. John Wuo, plus Jane Wuo, his wife, were two of them. Also voting from that address were Jennifer Wuo Aoki, 37 years old and married to Brent Aoki. They are the co-owners of a home at 17107 Halldale Ave, in Gardena. Do you think Jen lives at home with her dad and not at the home she owns with her husband in the South Bay?

Jeffrey Geng Han Wuo, 41 years old, is John Wuo's eldest child. He also voted in this election. Do you think he lives in Arcadia with his dad?  Or does he own a home with his spouse, Teresa Wuo, at 19437 Twin Hills Place, in Northridge? While it's nice that the Wuo children are successful and do own homes, it's just unfortunate they don't appear to own them in District 5.

I wonder how that conversation with John Wuo and his children went down? "Trust me, kids. No one ever checks voter rolls. And we really do need to help Uncle Roger."

Then there is the Hsia family, with 5 votes cast from their home at 1125 S. 5th Avenue. Two votes were cast by the husband and wife owners there, so those were probably legal ballots. But the others? It looks like Sen-Shihuan Shirly Hsia (37 yo) and Sengli Hsia (40 yo), own a home together at 11367 Mineral Peak Court in Rancho Cucamonga. The 5th vote cast at that house was by the 43 years old Sen-Ling Hsia.

At 1809 S. 2nd Avenue, 5 votes were cast. Jen and Chun Ping Wang are the husband and wife owners of the property. But Reynold Wang, a 34 year old, who also voted from that address, appears to own a home at 15821 Approach Avenue in Chino. Where do you think he actually lives? Most likely in the house that he owns, right?

Then at 2028 S. Santa Anita Avenue, where only 4 votes were cast, Helen and John Shen are the husband and wife owners, so presumably they live there. But Tony and Lisa Shen, who also voted from that address, might actually be title holders at 19 W. Naomi in District 4, not in District 5.

Why would they register to vote out of 2028 S. Santa Anita in District 5 when the home this couple owns is in District 4?  Do you think all of these folks will register to vote in D4 at that Naomi address in 2 years when Mayor Amundson runs? It appears they might be flexible. Run to the sight of the ballots.

I hope residents of District 5 will contact the LA County Registrar's Office and report this alleged unlawful activity. Until Arcadia gets its badly neglected voter rolls in order, this type of possible voter fraud is likely to continue. Unless remedied all future elections in Arcadia could retain the reputation for fraudulence.

Freedom of the press and voter integrity are stalwarts of our Democracy. Citizens must fight to protect their rights and, most importantly, their freedom to elect government officials in fair and legal elections. Did that happen here in 2018? Perhaps not.

Don't let this election go down in history as a loss for Pro-Preservation Arcadia. Pull back the curtains and reveal the puppet master hidden behind them. District 5 was a close election, and only a relatively few votes made the difference. What you have seen above are possible examples of how that difference was actually achieved. There are more.

Here are those deeds that I mentioned earlier. I am posting them to back up much of what I've written above.


Late Breaking News!


Mod: The following comes to us from the Chinese language news paper The World Journal, which you can link to here (click). Apparently the Godfather himself, Singpoli founder and proto-developer Kin Hui, will be speaking on the behalf of Sho Tay and his dreams of Arcadia Mayorship this evening. Obviously somebody is more than a little bit worried. As they should be. Here is what the World Journal has to say about all of this.

"Following the end of Arcadia city council election, most of Chinese put their attention into the 24th Arcadia Mayor election. As MPT Sho Tay previous stated that he had most possibility to become the mayor of Arcadia. But the result of this election could make my Mayor possibilities change. Mayor Peter Amunson will be the key playor in this mayor election.  Some of Arcadia Chinese residents with Singpoli CEO Kin Hui will be attending 24th night city mayor election meeting to show fully support Sho Tay in the meeting."

Mod: Things get more and more exciting all of the time.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

Monday, April 23, 2018

Sho's Woes: Sho Tay Supporters Demand the City Shut Down the Free Press in Arcadia for Reporting the News

Mod: As readers of this blog are aware, Arcadia Mayor Pro Tem Sho Tay is currently under investigation for possible California campaign law violations by the FPPC, and likely by the City Attorney as well for a rather broad Brown Act violation at last Tuesday evening's City Council meeting. This while Mr. Tay will also presumably face a vote tomorrow night by his elected colleagues on the council regarding his fitness to serve as Mayor. There have been a number of letters sent to City Hall by his supporters, three of which were forwarded to me. However, rather than discussing any of the reporting here or at the Arcadia Weekly on Sho's woes, the demand seems to be that the city shut down the local press for reporting news they didn't want to see.

Dear Councilman, Councilwoman, and City Manager,

I am writing to show discontent with current print of "Arcadia Weekly" story on "Councilman Tay".  This newspaper has continuously attacked the only Asian councilman on Arcadia council, providing info to mislead readers that Sho Tay is unqualified but never disclosed the contribution and work Councilman Tay brought to Arcadia Asian community. They have done it in the past and they kept doing it in every election. It's a strongly biased and discriminatory newspaper. Please disclose how much is City of Arcadia sponsoring this local newspaper to publishing biased newspaper. I, as a taxpayer, felt that we should not continuing sponsor such newspaper.

Best Regards, Andrew Lin

Mod: Here is the next missive.

Dear City Managers,

I have noticed that Arcadia Weekly is not posting articles in a neutral manner. I don't understand why the city did not stop or warn this newspaper.

It has came to a point that makes me as a resident feeling sick and disappointed to see such a long time newspaper which represent Arcadia has made such unprofessional comments. Whoever is in charge of this newspaper should be warned and stopped immediately and apologize to wrongly accused victims.

Sho Tay did not divide the city, in fact he has pulled Arcadians together. It is Arcadia Weekly and Sierra Madre Tattler have divided the city. I strongly urged the city to take further action to these newspapers.

Sammie Fong
District 4

Mod: This third letter is far longer. Here is a four part screen shot.


Mod: I can't speak for the Arcadia Weekly, but this blog will continue to post news as we see fit. The notion that certain Sho Tay supporters actually believe the City of Arcadia could send their police to a reporter's house and drag him off in handcuffs in order to, in Angie's words, "incorporate civility and foster a welcoming interactions environment," seems very Orwellian to me. Hopefully Angie has finally read the article that caused her to write so long a letter, and now understands the possible legal woes Sho Tay is facing. Also why these problems could make him an unsuitable choice for Mayor of Arcadia. There will be more news on the Arcadia situation tomorrow. 

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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Tim Donnelly's One Weekend 'Cinco de Mayo' Border War With Mexico Will Be Held May 5 - 6

Mod: We like to catch up with former Assemblyman Tim Donnelly occasionally, mostly because he is quite a colorful character. Tim, who you will recall once upon a time represented Sierra Madre and other area communities in Sacramento for a couple of years, is apparently going to war with both Mexico and California in just two weeks. Very ambitious of him for sure. The following came to my attention via an email blast from the news site Politico

THE BUZZ: If there's any doubt about how Donald Trump's tweetstorm slamming California and Gov. Jerry Brown on border and immigration issues is playing with his base, look no farther than the email from Tea Party darling and former state Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, which hit inboxes around California Thursday, headlined "CALLING ALL MINUTEMEN."

THE MESSAGE: "Dear Patriots, If you believe that our borders should be secure, laws enforced and immigration a controlled, orderly process, then Gov. Jerry "MoonBeam" Brown thinks you're a 'low-life' that should 'chill' out and just accept that millions of illegal aliens are here....THE TIME FOR TALK IS OVER..."

DONNELLY, who's mounting a CA-08 primary challenge from the right to GOP Rep. Paul Cook, challenges conservative and "patriot" voters to "send a message to "MoonBeam" that you refuse to allow him to turn our communities into cesspools and sanctuaries for illegal alien criminals." Their plan: to amass at a designated border location about 70 miles from San Diego on the weekend of May 5-6. He says the response has been "overwhelming."

Mod: This sent me scrambling to Google News to find articles I could cite here, but ironically the only one in existence was from the Spanish language newspaper La Opinion. I ran it through Google Translator for the benefit of The Tattler's Anglophone readership, and this is what emerged. It is certainly not flattering to Mr. Donnelly.

Candidate to the Congress of the United States summons to "Patriots and Minutemen" to watch the border (La Opinion link): Tim Donnelly, an ultra-conservative congressional candidate in San Bernardino, California on Tuesday, called on anti-immigrant militias to make a symbolic effort on the border on May 5. Donnelly, a former tea party candidate and self-appointed "Minuteman leader," apparently wants to revive the movement that exactly 13 years ago captured the country's attention by sending thousands of volunteers to "patrol" the border to stop undocumented immigration .

In a statement from his campaign, Donnelly called for the revival of controversial militias, after California Governor Jerry Brown decided not to send the National Guard to the border while its mission is related to immigration.

"Since the illegal Governor Brown has decided to side with the criminals and ignore President Trump's call to send troops to the border - by threatening our communities," the people must resist this tyranny, " Donnelly said.

The Republican candidate for Congress for District 8, occupied by Republican Paul Cook, called on "all Minutemen and patriotic groups to come to the aid of their country and do the work that the irresponsible Governor Brown has refused to do."



The call is for next May 5 - a day of celebration for the Battle of Puebla in Mexico that is symbolically celebrated in the United States - and supposedly aims to summon supporters of the anti-immigrant movement in the town of Boulevard, California.

But instead of summoning militias to stand for a long time on the border "to help the Border Patrol", Donnelly plans an only one weekend mobilization, to send a message to Governor Brown.

"Let the cartels and criminals who want to penetrate the border know that from 9 am on Saturday May 5 to 9 am on May 6, the border will be safe," he said in the statement.

Despite his self-definition of "Minuteman Leader," Donnelly was not among the actual leaders of the vigilante movement, which was rejected by the leadership of both parties but later won the sympathy of some politicians like Arnold Schwarzenegger, when he was a candidate for governor of California.

The intense media coverage that the movement obtained in 2005, driven by the anti-immigrant sentiment that followed the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, had its effect on national politics and ended with the temporary sending of national guard troops to the border by George W. Bush.

Tea bag optional.
Donnelly, on the other hand, has lost more elections than he has won, although he served as an Assemblyman from California between 2010 and 2014, before submitting his candidacy for governor, which he lost in 2014.

For its part, the Minuteman movement and some of its leaders at the time are given credit for the anti-immigrant movement that followed their training and even for the phenomenon that elected Donald Trump. Recently, Jim Gilcrist, former leader of a Minuteman faction, said in an interview with Vice that his movement was responsible for raising the issue of immigration to a prominent place in US politics.

In reality, the Minuteman movement ended up dissolved and divided, and at least two of its leaders were imprisoned for various reasons. For example, Chris Simcox, founder with Gilcrist of the initial movement, was imprisoned in 2013 for sexual abuse against three girls, including his own daughter.

Shawna Forde, Arizona's Minutemen leader was sentenced to death for the murder of Brisenia Flores, 9 and his father Raúl, in a trailer near the border in 2009.

There were also multiple allegations of fraud against Minuteman leaders for funds sent by citizens to "build a wall on the border" that was never built.

Mod: There's no doubt that one of these fellows wanting to have sex with his own kid is disturbing. But as long as we're also speaking of fraud, did any of these Minutemen ever claim that Mexico was going to pay for their version of the wall? 

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Sierra Madre Final Vote Is In - And Nothing Has Changed!


Well, OK, the numbers are a little larger than the last time we checked. It does look like Bencosme is going to remain stuck forever at just under the 1,000 vote mark. Which is kind of sad because even I broke that threshold. I think I was at the $5 a vote level. Modest by today's standards, though at the time it seemed like a lot.

However, I don't recall having had a budget of anywhere between $20,000 and $30,000 dollars. No, I know I didn't. We won't really know about MrAndy B's complete boodle for certain until sometime in July when final campaign financial disclosures will be revealed. And yes, we will find out. It is very important that we do.

Remember our latest Tattler aphorism: "The big money is in lying. Truth is for volunteers."

But I digress. These truly are great days for Sierra Madre. The city is in the best shape it has been in years, preservation is making regular work-a-day folks into home owning millionaires and, God bless us all, the voters have actually become smart enough to elect people who represent their interests. As unbelievable as that may have seemed just a few years back.

So, can we celebrate yet? Well, I am happy to tell you, folks are getting ready for that. The political juggernaut previously known as Preserve Sierra Madre (actually, they still are), sent out the following email blast yesterday. For people who worry so much they sure do sound happy.

Dear SupportersThere will be an installation ceremony for the new Mayor of Sierra Madre at the next City Council meeting on Tuesday, April 24th beginning at 6:30 pm. 

We are very pleased and excited at the re-election of the three candidates endorsed by Preserve Sierra Madre: current Mayor Rachelle Arizmendi, Mayor Pro-Tem Denise Delmar and former Mayor Gene Goss.  They have done an outstanding job in their four years on the City Council and we expect the same from them over the next four years.  

All of you made a difference in this election and helped to make this day possible so it might by fun to attend this event.  The formal presentation will occur towards the end of the meeting and refreshments will be served in the City Hall reception area immediately following the City Council meeting. We hope to see you there!

Thank you for your support. Steering Commiteee

Did you see that? The word committee had three e's at the end. I'm telling you, I have never seen them so wild before.

For those of you who enjoy walking on the analytical side of life, I was on an e-mail chain yesterday where they broke down the vote totals in some surprising ways. Or at least I was impressed.

We had a meeting of Inspectors with Laura Aguilar yesterday. Interesting facts: Vote by mail was 1,521 ballots, or 19.8%. Precinct voting was 1,161 or 15.0 %. Overall that was 35.9%. Total ballots cast: 2,682.  I don't know how that compares to the last few years, but in the '80's and 90's we had well over 50%. 

Another interesting fact: Many ballots had only two votes, Denise and Andy.  And, many had single votes --- most of those were for Delmar. Of the vote by mail ballots, the County invalidated 10.  

There were an additional 7 with no signature. Laura contacted those folks and got signatures from 6. And, all in all, only 12 ballots were not counted, those were for signatures that didn't match the registration. People who say that elections are not on the up and up need to take heed. I think Sierra Madre has the fairest elections anywhere.

Many ballots voted yes on Measure D and didn't vote for the council candidates. But the no votes got 81.7%; Yes 18.2%

You know what? Somehow all of this makes me happy.

Paul Lauritz (1889 - 1975) "The Evening Hour, Sierra Madre"

Wait. Even more good news for Sierra Madre?

Mod: I know. You might find yourself wondering, am I reading The Tattler? But this really is more good news. Remember the conversations here recently about some impending Sacramento high density housing development mandates, and how even Sierra Madre's funky little bus station by Kersting Court might have become the cause of some big LULU (Locally Unwanted Land Use) development? Well, all of that misery died last week. Here is an article you should enjoy.

The takeaway from the sudden death of California's most controversial housing bill in years (NPR link): The most controversial state housing bill in recent memory died with a pretty resounding thud.

Senate Bill 827, which would have forced cities to allow taller, denser development around public transit, got only four votes on the 13-member Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing. Both Democrat and Republican lawmakers voted against the bill.

Authored by state Sen. Scott Wiener, Democrat from San Francisco, the bill would have allowed developers to build five-story apartment buildings near major public transit stops, including neighborhoods previously zoned for single family homes. The bill received a ton of media attention, including a fairly flattering write-up on the front page of the New York Times.

UrbanistYes In My Backyard” (YIMBY) groups mourned the bill’s death as yet another roadblock to building the new housing the state so desperately needs. Cities and anti-gentrification groups cheered the demise of what they viewed as an unprecedented inroad on local control.

Mod: Too much joy, I'm telling you. The rest of the good news is available at the link.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

Friday, April 20, 2018

Did Mayor Pro Tem Sho Tay Trigger The Brown Act At Tuesday Evening's Arcadia City Council Meeting?

Mod: I was forwarded the following email sent by Arcadia resident Laurie Thompson to City Attorney Stephen P. Deitsch this past Wednesday. It now appears Sho Tay has opened up a legal Pandora's Box with some of the words that slipped from his loose lips at Tuesday evening's City Council meeting. Here is her note to City Hall.

Last night MPT Tay described a vote taken in closed session regarding public safety in Arcadia.  Can you please provide the date of this closed session and a copy of the notice of the agendized item?  I do not recall the Brown Act allowing for a closed session to discuss public safety and crime. If this meeting truly did occur, please provide the reference in the Brown Act that allows for such a meeting.

This claim by MPT Tay seems dubious at best.

Also please send me copies of any other emails or letters you receive regarding MPT Tay’s claims of closed session deliberations as I want to start a support group for victims of MPT Tay’s false claims.

Laurie Thompson
Resident

Mod: City Attorney Deitsch has yet to reply to Laurie, which is not surprising. I'm not sure that he, or anyone else there, has decided quite how to handle this latest mishap from a loose cannon who apparently doesn't understand right from wrong. 

Do Post Offices in other cities have to do this?


Mod: You might have thought that one of those highly compensated cops in Arcadia would have stopped by and checked up on the Post Office every once in a while.

Final Arcadia vote totals


Mod: To look at the exact same thing on the City of Arcadia site, please click here.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The FPPC Launches An Investigation Into Arcadia Mayor Pro Tem Sho Tay's Possible Misuse Of Campaign Funds

With Arcadia's City Council reorganization scheduled for this coming Tuesday, today's news couldn't be coming at a worse time for Mayor Pro Tem Sho Tay. His elevation to Mayor, which due to the custom of succession should have been a nearly automatic process, is now very much on the minds of many. Can an elected official under investigation by the California Fair Political Practices Commission for serious campaign law violations still be voted by his colleagues the next Mayor of Arcadia?

The complaint was filed because of independent cash expenditures made by the Committee To Elect Sho Tay Arcadia City Council 2018 in support of the campaigns of Bob Harbicht and Roger Chandler. Candidates cannot send mailers supporting other candidates. This is considered a "fraudulent use" because it in effect makes contributions seem like they went to one candidate, in this case Sho Tay, and not to the candidates that the contributions actually benefited, which was Harbicht and Chandler. What Sho Tay did was allow contributions from real estate interests to go through him and not directly to Harbicht and Chandler as they should have by law.

Here is the passage from an FPPC document that spells out the law in this situation. It comes from that portion dealing with the legal use of campaign funds (link):


Sho Tay's wife, Sherry Tay, is the Treasurer of his Committee. This could also possibly be a serious problem according to the FPPC rule book (link).


The opening of this investigation means that the FPPC has found clear evidence of campaign law violations. Now they are determining just how egregious these violations were, and how much money they should fine Sho Tay. Here is the FPPC's notification.


Mod: Today's edition of The Arcadia Weekly also has a report on this scandal (link).

Arcadia Mayor ProTem. Under Investigation by FPPC - State Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) Scrutinizes Multiple Complaints

By Terry Miller

Arcadia Weekly has received documents regarding an investigation into Mayor Pro Tem Sho Tay’s election campaign alleging unfair political practices, specifically eluding to spending campaign dollars he received and used to support candidates Bob Harbicht and councilman Roger Chandler.

This newspaper has learned that at least 3 separate complaints against Sho Tay have been filed for not only financing the printing and distribution of “misleading and false” mailers, but also not disclosing campaign funds he received within the required 24 hour period after receipt.

Arcadia Weekly has also learned that Sho Tay received two separate payments of $2500 and $1000 on January 15 for his campaign. Tay did not disclose the $3500 until March 13, 2018.

Ironically, Sho Tay never needed the campaign funds as he was appointed to council when the only opponent to Tay’s campaign abruptly changed his mind at the eleventh hour.

Another complaint registered is in regards to Sho Tay’s conflict of interest in not disclosing, initially, on his election paperwork that he owns a gun range.

Councilman Tom Beck took exception Tuesday to Sho Tay’s use of derogatory mailers attacking him. Beck held up copies of mailers during the meeting that Tay had paid for which directly attacked Beck in English and Chinese during the election.

Councilman Beck’s assertion was that it was an ugly campaign where his opposition insisted that he (Beck) wasn’t for a safer Arcadia, or a stronger police force. Beck pointed out that all council members had voted 5-0 when it came to public safety, therefore Harbicht and Chandler’s statements were completely unfounded.

Councilman Beck also made a concerted effort, during Tuesday’s council meeting, to point out that traditionally candidates donate unspent campaign funds to local charities…and not for personal gain i.e. spending money supporting other candidates.

Tay countered saying he doesn’t understand why people were picking on him when all he wanted to do was ‘unite’ the council and the community at large.

Mod: Here are some of Mayor Pro Tem Sho Tay's possibly illegal campaign flyers.


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