Tuesday, June 30, 2009

As Goes El Monte, So Goes El Monte Transit Village?

Update: El Monte Avoids Bankruptcy (PSN 7/01/09) "El Monte averted bankruptcy Tuesday night after all four of its employee unions, including the Police Officers' Association, agreed to cuts in benefits to help the city's budget deficit." Does this mean that the money being saved will go towards saving El Monte Transit Village? If some of that money is used for that purpose, how will the unions react?
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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.


  1. Why is this not surprising?
    Sir Eric, how can any of us be cognizant of what is behind such bizarre city manager Mussenden double speak:
    6/28/09:"... El Monte is still in the process of obtaining more money for the Transit Village..."
    6/29/09: "'If I don't have a balanced budget by the end of the evening, we have to initiate Chapter 9 bankruptcy proceedings..."
    Not unlike our very own Moscistic flip flop, but more succinct.

  2. Maybe Mussenden was having a mood swing?

  3. Mussenden's pronoun usage is interesting. When it's a call for a balanced budget, it's "I," and when it's bankruptcy time, it's "we."
    Also Moscaish.

  4. Anybody have any idea how much El Monte has invested in Doylesville? How much of their $12 million debt is due to this transit village?

  5. 8:22:

    Very good question! Somehow I don't think the Tattler readers will be surprised at the answer.
    Is El Monte a member of SCAG? How much has that little outfit contributed to the financial problems?

  6. Old K, according to a pdf of membership benefits, El Monte is a member.

  7. Well, 9:01, there ya' go!
    SCAG is a disease.

  8. The media reports we are getting on the El Monte situation are all from the establishment side. Think of what you might think Sierra Madre is all about if you lived 10 miles away and all you read was the Loony Views News. Anybody have any contacts there? My guess is people aren't so crazy about the El Monte Transit Village as government officials they might claim. After all, they have to put a good spin on things, they spent the taxpayer's money.

  9. Sierra Madre,
    One of the regular posters on this board is on vacation this week, she is a teacher in the area of El Monte....she has spoken to lots of parents and NO ONE is for any of this outrageous development/eminent domain crap.
    I"ll ask her to post on this. It's really sad.

  10. El Monte should look on the bright side....they can break all their union contracts with their POA and other unions.

  11. I hate to repeat myself, but this is all part of an evolving structure set up by special interests in Sacramento to drive the State with growth.

    What residents?


  12. Thanks again, Laurie.
    We really appreciate your information here!

  13. Herd of ElephantsJune 30, 2009 at 11:16 AM

    Remember the Tattler's Riggins Rule #1 from a few weeks back? (I'm re-posting below.) What about sending SCAG letters/e-mails demanding to have Joe Mosca removed from SCAG because he has failed to represent the City of Sierra Madre and it's residents by his failure to attend SCAG meetings? I should think it would be a black mark on the record to have been removed from SCAG for dereliction of duty!!!

    "Don't accept an appointment or nomination to a Board, Commission, or Council unless you expect to attend 99.9999 percent of the regular and special meetings, including inspection trips, briefings and public functions where your presence is expected ... If your participation falls below 85 percent during any six months' period you should tender your resignation. You aren't doing your job. You aren't keeping well enough informed to make intelligent decisions, and you are making other people do your work for you and assume your not inconsiderable responsibility. Your effectiveness and the regard for your opinions by other members will be in direct ratio to your attendance."

    Now, and as was uncovered by The Tattler in an exclusive expose that ran on May 26, Joe Mosca's attendance at the vital confabs of SCAG's CEHD meetings has not only fallen below Fred Riggins' threshold of 85%, it has actually fallen below 10%! Joe Mosca has only attended a single SCAG/CEHD meeting between February 7, 2008 and March 5, 2009.

  14. Joe, Joe
    He gotta go.

  15. Herd,
    great idea. I just went to their website....not clear who to send an email complaint to.
    Would you please post us an email address to send our demand to have Joe removed as our rep?

  16. Time to get out the pitchforks and torches. Obviously our government no longer cares about the hard working citizens.

  17. Herd Of ... all for it, but with us getting out of SCAG soon Joe will have to pack up and clear out anyway. After all, if we don't belong he can hardly represent us, right? Not that he ever represented us anyway. He works for the enemy.

  18. Sierra Madre business ownerJune 30, 2009 at 11:53 AM

    I'm with you, Bad Karma. Let's just focus our energies on getting out of SCAG.
    Do ya think Joe might claim to have disliked what was going on in SCAG all along, and that's why his attendance was so abysmal?

  19. Yeah you're right, BK......let's pray the city council (Don, MaryAnn and Kurt) vote to get us out. If not, out come the pitchforks and torches!
    We not only need to get out, we need to encourage other cities to also get out.
    What the hell is SCAG to do about it? Threaten us with not getting any State money to our city?
    What money????? Such a joke.

  20. SM Biz Owner - Joe is all about SCAG. He might not have been showing up at CEHD meetings, but he sure has been all over the SGVCOG confabs for SB 375. Even chairs the committee charged with enforcing it. Which figures seeing how bart runs the franchise.

    Our little Joey has become a big bad man in that world. What better reason to pull that rug out from under him.

  21. Sierra Madre business ownerJune 30, 2009 at 12:14 PM

    Right EM, I recall you writing about that. I also recall the delight Joe had every time he announced at a council meeting that SB375 was the state law. The question is how will Mosca spin the loss? SM is out of SCAG and Mosca has no home base to go to SCAG with, making him kind of irrelevant. Wonder how he'll turn it...

  22. Business owner,
    I don't care how he spins it, if they vote it out they vote it out.
    It's costing us $1000 a year to be in it, and it does nothing but cause us grief.

  23. Business Owner at 11:53. If you go on Joe Mosca's website, you will see that he identifies himself as Sierra Madre's SCAG representative. Good luck trying to distance himself from that association in the future.

    BTW, I encourage anybody who wants a good laugh to go to his site and click on the box of his "accomplishments." He brags about being the swing vote for an extra layer of emergency water protection. The reference, in case you didn't know already, is to his vote approving the contract to connect to the MWD line. His justification for the City entering into a contract was Sierra Madre would need the extra water in an emergency situation (e.g., a wildfire). Total BS. We did not need any of the MWD water to suppress the April 08 fire. And, three years after his vote, we have not even connected to the MWD line!

    He also claims that he has been preserving and protecting our downtown. Since when is supporting the DSP and the Cong Church's planned expansion preserving and protecting our downtown?

    Oh and almost forgot, he's also taking credit for the audit being completed.

  24. Anon at 1:13. Mosca's also taking credit for promoting transparency in government. Does his voting to keep the environmental impact report for the DSP secret count as promoting transparency? LOL!

  25. Can the current council vote to reverse the MWD connection which was passed by the old council with Joe's swing vote voted? The connection hasn't happened, it wasn't needed during the recent fire, and not putting it in place would save $$$.

  26. Joe must be exposed. People do not realize what evil the man has done and the lies he has told and will continue to do in order to promote his personal agenda.

  27. Ooooh Pasta, wouldn't that be wonderful?
    Just vitiate the whole decision, restore the 75 year legacy of water independence. (75 years, right? Lost in one bad night at the CC)
    I remember asking Mr. Christenson about it, if it was to further the One Carter development. He told me that it wasn't FOR development, but of course would be used in emergencies at the development...

  28. Republican candidate for Congress Betty Chu will hold a press conference tomorrow on the Titan/John Leung matter @ noon. Her opponent in this special election, Judy Chu, recently had to return 2 donations given her by Leung. Address is 8728 Valley Blvd #206 in Rosemead. Might be some interesting revelations!

  29. As luck would have it, in ElMonte, is a good Bancuptscy firm, convenient to to the El Monte City Hall....www.premierlawonline.com

  30. Well, back to the original question, how can El Monte be getting more money to build the Transit Village and be about to file bankruptcy? My bet is that the Transit Village is a redevelopment agency project and the rest of the city can burn in hell. They are two sparate entities and one of the best exploiters of that difference is none other than our own personal favorite, Bart Doyle.

  31. I just watched the news on TV. California will be officially bankrupt tonight at midnight, if they fail to pass a budget.
    They will be issuing IOU's. Some banks may not accept them or so they say.
    How can anyone expect any money from the State of California to build anything?
    Sierra Madre is in better shape than most cities in Calif. One big reason, we PASSED MEASURE V.
    Thank you to Watts, Zimmerman, Dunn, SMRRD and Dr. Staccato.

  32. Dr. St. - Reminds me of when I was a kid growing up in New Jersey. The usual thugs pushed casinos in Atlantic City on the voters because they would supposedly bring lots of jobs and money into what was a terribly depressed old line city. So the casinos were built and the city was in worse shape than ever before. Why? Because people only came to spend money in the casinos. And since they were owned by out of city interests, all they money was sent back out as soon as it was captured. I suspect that is what this transit village will do. You'll get a transient condo population with offices and businesses surrounding. A contained city unto itself. None of which will in any way filter into El Monte.

  33. re: the casinos in atlantic city.

    who worked in those casinos? answer: the people who lived in a.c., margate, ventor and the surrounding area. where did they spend the money they earned in those casinos? answer: it went back into the local economy.

    the steel pier burned down in 1982 and sat as a sad testament to what-once-was until donald trump's taj mahal resort & casino resurrected it in 1993.

    thousands upon thousands of people visit "jersey's disneyland," the steel pier, annually and literally hundreds, if not thousands, of local residents prosper--as does the local economy--as the result of their employment there.

    the old wooden way, the boardwalk of atlantic city, was dying before the casinos. so mr. finewine's depiction of the casinos and how they impacted that area isn't entirely an accurate one.

    they (the casinos), like everything in life, are like that proverbial double edged sword. so, i guess the question should be; does the good outweigh the bad?

    i imagine the answer to that question (also, like all things) remains in the eye of the beholder and which lens that beholder chooses to filter his/her experience through--good or bad. we always see what we're looking for, don't we?

  34. So what are you really saying Zox? That the El Monte Transit Vilage or the DSP (may it rest in peace) would be good for San Gabriel Valley economy?

  35. Wikipedia - "The introduction of gambling did not, however, quickly eliminate many of the urban problems that plagued Atlantic City. Many have argued that it only served to magnify those problems, as evidenced in the stark contrast between tourism-intensive areas and the adjacent impoverished working class neighborhoods."

  36. USA Today - But just two blocks away from the casinos was a different Atlantic City.: a poor population living in substandard housing, feeling cut off and alienated from the glittering wealth just beyond their grasp. Sheila Thomas, 60, a lifelong resident and former casino cashier supervisor, said the casino boom has passed the average Atlantic City resident by. "We're the ones who put up with the drugs and gunshots and the street crime out here every night," she said. "I've worked here, I've paid taxes here and I helped make this town. Now I feel like they want me to leave." Gooding, the casino job seeker, added, "There are a lot of angry people in our city. We have to deal with the traffic, the crime, the prostitution and the drug activity, but I can't get any opportunity from the casinos. When tourists come down here, they see beautiful attractions, but they never come into the poor part of Atlantic City and really see the homeless situation," she said. "People are living in deplorable conditions. You go two blocks from the casinos and it's like you're living in a different country. We have a soup kitchen right across the street from the Taj Mahal. On Atlantic Avenue, you'll see nothing but homeless people standing around asking for dollars."

  37. Eric, interesting update today about the unions agreeing to cut benefits to save El Monte from bankruptcy Can you imagine that ever happening here?
    No, me either.


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