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While the rest of the world sits transfixed and stares into their television sets at the endless coverage of the passing of Michael Jackson, many here at The Tattler choose to look to other things. Myself included. As a f'rinstance, I was pumping some gas into my fuel efficient Saturn Ion at a filling station in Pasadena yesterday, and a portly fellow walked up to me wanting to know if I might be interested in purchasing one of the obviously bootlegged Michael Jackson commemorative t-shirts he was proudly holding in his hand. "Who?" I asked. "Michael Jackson, man. The King of Pop." "Pop?" I replied. "I'm sorry, but I have no idea what you're talking about." The gentlemen stopped, looked at me closely for a second, and then walked quickly away. Who knows, maybe he thought I was dangerous.
Now if he had tried to sell me a "John Leung's L.A. County Weekend Getaway" t-shirt, or one that said, "My City Councilman Belongs To SCAG, And All I Got Was This Cheesy Condo," I'd have bought the whole damned bunch. Because when it comes to media sensations that I can get into, that is where it's really at. Obviously that t-shirt bootlegger is a guy who just doesn't understand the real interests of his potential customers.
Sometimes when I get really bored at work I go to the Pasadena Star News website and look for stuff. Most of the time the search for items of interest is a futile one, and I am forced to return to earning a living. But then sometimes I strike pay dirt, and then get to share what I've found with you. And that is what happened around 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon.
For those of you not familiar with the PSN site, one of the features there is a Top 10 "Most Viewed" list. These are the stories getting the most hits at whatever particular hour you might happen to be visiting. And at 3 PM yesterday there were two El Monte stories that had made this roll of honor, and they were listed numbers 4 and 5.
Story #4 - Officials: El Monte transit project in spotlight, but still viable (06/28/2009 8:46 PM) "While questions linger over the future of the development, city officials believe it remains on track ... 'This project has tremendous merit and potential,' said El Monte City Manager Jim Mussenden. 'We have been making great progress on this and that momentum will continue.' ... The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is confident the transit center/bus depot portion of the project will be completed at the end of 2010, according to Tim Lindholm, MTA Director of capital projects ... 'We have been working hand in hand, but if they have problems, it's not going to slow our project,' Lindholm said ... Meanwhile, El Monte is still in the process of obtaining more money for the Transit Village, Mussenden said."
Now what is significant here is that while the MTA is getting its bus station done, the Transit Village portion is still much in need of investment, especially with the Titan Group in Dutch. With El Monte, despite its much noted lack of folding money, having to make up the difference. Which takes us to article ...
Story #5 - El Monte considers bankruptcy (06/29/2009 01:28 AM) "The city council will consider Tuesday whether to initiate Chapter 9 bankruptcy proceedings for El Monte if council members cannot immediately find a way to completely fix the city's $12 million budget deficit ... 'If I don't have a balanced budget by the end of the evening, we have to initiate Chapter 9 bankruptcy proceedings,' said City Manager Jim Mussenden."
Perhaps there are circumstances that I am not cognizant of here, but how can the City of El Monte possibly be raising (or, should we say, borrowing?) money to build a "Transit Village" while at the same time going into bankruptcy because they can't pay their cops?
Now what this sequence of articles could be telling us is that the City of El Monte and its Transit Village might very well have reached the breaking point. With John Leung and Bart Doyle's Titan Group in seeming disarray, the State of California about to issue Confederate-style scrip, and El Monte's own financial situation parlous to the point of bankruptcy, what we could very well have read here is a report on the demise of the entire project.
There was one other new article up on the PSN site yesterday, "Leftovers from City Hall: Leung's Colleagues shocked." In it was contained this passage: "Leung and his colleague, Jean Lang, were arrested by El Monte police on allegations they bilked two private investors out of $1 million ... They were released from jail on Tuesday, and no charges have been filed. Police expect to bring their case back to the District Attorney's office this week."
As always, The Tattler is standing by.