Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sierra Madre: The Mouse Roars Again

(Ed: The Greensward Civitas site occasionally gives out awards to towns who show the courage and depth of caring to actually stand up to those who would exploit their communities for narrow private gain. Often with the cooperation of elected and city officials who have somehow forgotten exactly who it is they are working for. Here is how editor Laurie Barlow describes our victory in the fight against a 40% water rate hike, along with all that entails ...)

Sierra Madre residents have just won another battle with those who would like to devastate its character for profit. The current City Council, with the lone exception of MaryAnn MacGillivray - the past Mayor - has attempted to push a significant water rate increase through without justifying these increases or the scope of the water system repairs and upgrades. Through a manipulation of the process, the Council attempted to make it seemingly impossible for residents to engage in a process of protest. However, the citizenry has once again pushed back at these tactics by mounting a successful walking campaign to get far more than the sufficient required protests lodged with the City Clerk. On Sunday, July 18, the local Tattler blog posted the press release from the City Clerk, certifying that the protest was successfully carried out.

Interestingly, the Tattler also records this comment:

The City Clerk did not have access to the Assessor's Parcel Numbers List/Owner's Names. If this list is made available to her, she will be happy to check the list once again.

Which was a bone of contention throughout the entire process, and seems to have been withheld from everyone. This may become the grounds for some kind of City Council challenge by the residents to the whole intentionally obfuscated process. It's a shocking demonstration of how developers are seeking to control a city for the opportunity to build large projects that require more water allocation. So much for regional control and coordination of local needs and resources allocation, that's simply a development steamroller. It seems to have set in motion again the citizen revolt that resulted in the earlier Measure V which halted planned major development in Sierra Madre's downtown, another local resistance to the building industry honchos vested in Sacramento.

The mouse is a dangerous beast.

Sierra Madre Police versus Los Angeles Police

(Ed: Some interesting math was sent in by a reader. The comparison is between Sierra Madre's resident to cop ratio as compared to that of Los Angeles. Here is her note ...)

I just got a call from an old friend who is a new Tattler reader. She used to work for the LAPD and was married to an LA cop. Our 31 officers got to her, so she went to the website LAPD.org for their 2010 midyear report. Here are the comparisons:

1. Sworn officers: LAPD 9,961; SM 31
2. Population: LA 4 million (roughly); SM 10,500 (roughly)
3. Square miles: LA 468; SM 3

By my rough calculations that comes out to: LA, one officer per 400 people. SM, one officer per 338 people.

It appears that we have a greater police to resident ratio than Los Angeles. Yet according to the LAPD site, Los Angeles has 400 gangs, with 41,000 known gang members. How many gangs and gang members does Sierra Madre have?

Marilyn Diaz on small city policing

(Ed: In today's Pasadena Star News there is an article describing the process South Pasadena is undergoing to select its new Police Chief. Many experts have been brought in to help facilitate the process, such as our very own Chief of Police Marilyn Diaz. Here she describes what is expected of Police Officers in towns such as ours.)

Diaz said cities like South Pasadena and Sierra Madre face similar challenges in policing. "In small communities, where there is very little crime, we fight to keep officers trained, stimulated and current with trends of policing," she said. "We also have to meet a great expectation from our citizens because of the small and tight knit character of our communities."

Sierra Madre residents, Diaz said, expect to see police officers serving in more than a public safety role in the community, whether it be community service or volunteering.

Like South Pasadena, Diaz said Sierra Madre battles residential burglaries and other types of property crimes.

SCAG vs. Democracy

(You really have to enjoy truly spirited SCAG skewering. There is never enough of it, so when something of particularly high quality comes along, you really need to stop and smell the roses. Here is an editorial questioning the extra-legality of this organization that ran in the Orange County Register last October ...)

It seems like something out of a conspiracy novel: Phantom government agencies with no accountability and no judicial oversight making decisions for cities and their citizens. Unfortunately this is a nonfiction book, it is exactly what happened last week when the California Supreme Court said it had no jurisdiction over the Southern California Associations of Governments, this letting stand a SCAG mandate requiring Irvine build more than 35,000 new housing units by 2014, including about 21,000 units of "affordable housing."

This ruling is particularly jarring because it illustrates the mounting power of government agencies that have no electoral accountability or judicial oversight - a terrible subversion of democracy and liberty.

Think about it. SCAG is saying that Irvine must build roughly 40 percent of the entire county's affordable housing requirement even though Irvine contains about 6 percent of the county's population.

We recognize that there is a little irony in the decision, given the majority of the Irvine City Council is known for a pro-affordable-housing agenda, but nonetheless the mandate by SCAG is wrong, and the Supreme Court's decision to turn a blind eye to the problem leaves us puzzled. What the court has essentially said is that SCAG is its own judge, jury and executioner, something contradictory to our state and federal constitutions. Irvine lost the lawsuit because the state high court said it did not have authority to overturn SCAG's decision. So, who does?

Tomorrow's Headline Today

(Ed: Well, it is not our headline. At least not yet. But if the water rate protest is shot down in the next two days by the development advocates in control of our city's affairs, this could very well ours, and sooner than you think. This from the Pasadena Star News ...)

Former mayor, others oppose city's plans for more mixed-use development for downtown South Pasadena -- A group of residents is criticizing South Pasadena officials over plans to build another mixed-use condominium and retail development for the downtown commercial district.

Former Mayor Mike Montgomery, a lawyer, is leading the informal group that has focused its opposition against the most recent condo project proposed for downtown.

"We don't understand why the city wants residential condominiums in a commercial district," he said. "Residential units don't benefit the city. The cost of public safety and services (for new residents) exceeds the revenue generated."

(Later ...)

City officials believe those projects, plus the one proposed for the corridor just east of City Hall and west of Fair Oaks Avenue, will help South Pasadena pay for all of its services and avoid a structural deficit projected for the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

(Note: Isn't anticipating and spending revenues against as yet to be built mixed use projects what got places like Pasadena into the debt crunch they're in now? Empty buildings pay very little in taxes. Remember, if the spend happy Go4's plans go forward, this rationale is certain to be used.)

Foothill Cities Blog R.I.P.

It was once the center of regional attention as the place where many contentious issues were openly discussed, including such things as Measure V and the Mosca Recall. Sadly, it is now no more. With no one maintaining the place (the last article posted was sometime last February), the site has apparently become the victim of a rather toxic malware attack. Unprotected sites being particulalry vulnerable to assaults from individuals who take pleasure in such things. For your protection we have pulled the link from our "Sites of Interest" listings.

One more thing for today. We are awaiting word on whether City Hall will be heeding the clearly demonstrated will of Sierra Madre's residents on the water rate increase, or be making the kind of disastrous decision that could lead to this matter being put on the ballot for a popular vote. The Tattler will be posting any new developments as they come in.


  1. How's that Mosca thing working out for you, Sierra Madre?

  2. So dos this mean that Sierra Madre has 10 cops per square mile? Seems rather, well, intimate.

  3. You should extract the portion of the 3 square miles that is inexcessible by vehicle and the police per square will increase significantly.

  4. Low income housing and homeless shelters will make more
    police necessary. Diaz has made Sierra Madre ready for the

  5. Just imagine how embarrassed Mayor Mosca would be at tomorrow's 8:00 am Special Council Meeting Breakfast with Supverisor Antonovich at The Only Place In Town if residents used their three minutes to ask about the protest tally and when the Council will comment on the results...

  6. How will the City pay for 31 SMPD employees when the UUT sunsets? How will the City afford the EMTs when the UUT sunsets?

  7. I would sure hope City Clerk, Nancy Shollenberger has two of her deputies present with her if she is called in for the water rate hike count.
    I don't trust the City and neither should Nancy. With the exception of MaryAnn MacGillivray.......they are all highly suspect....at best.

    Remember residents (and official city sign watcher....Moran)......Joe Mosca and John Buchanan had the highly unqualified Karma Bell for City Clerk signs in their yard in the 2008 election. So did Bart Doyle and Glenn Lambdin. Moran didn't live here at that time.

    MaryAnn MacGillivray, Kurt Zimmerman and Don Watts had Nancy Shollenberger for City Clerk signs in their yards.

    Residents! Please stand behind our Nancy Shollenberger! She works ONLY for us, she doesn't need the job, she has done it all these years because unlike some of the dirts, Nancy truly loves this town.


  8. 8:30, that's an excellent idea - it's time to embarass Mosca in front of those he so desparately wants to impress, there should be a line out the door

    it'd take Mosca seconds to shut down any question session

  9. We all know once a tax, always a tax. The UUT will not go away, most likely kept alive by another vote claiming no way in heck can we afford paramedics without it.

  10. Laurie Barlow!

    Thanks, again for writing that nice article on your website!

    You are a special friend of Sierra Madre.

  11. Terry Miller seems to have joined Bill Coburn in harvesting his news reporting from the Tattler. In Water Rate Increase On Hold Due To Residents' Outcry published July 15th quotes the same speakers as the Tattler, out of the dozens that came to the podium. Terry was observed existing the Council Chambers when the Baldwin Lake Fire Department left, driving away and not returning.

  12. Terry and Rooster are Tattler Echoes.

  13. Maybe people should picket the Antonovich breakfast. "Hey ho, Joe must go!" would resonate nicely I should think.

  14. There's a new editorial up on Baffled Billy's news.nut site. Looks like he's trying to create some doubt in the minds of his 8 remaining readers over the water protest counting procedure.

    I'm sure the businesses that he represented at last Tiesday's City Council meeting will be happy to see he's doing everything he can to undermine the protest.

    Of course, he invites no comments on his site. The Baffled One really doesn't enjoy hearing any opinions that don't come from Joe and Elaine.

  15. OK, it's Tuesday.
    When is city hall going to announce the announcement?

  16. At the Council Meeting to allow Community Comment on the Water Rate Increase there was obviously scheduled a show of (supposrt? force?) from the Police and Fire Departments. Was it to keep order or to intimidate?

    Contrast with today's LA Times where a picture is worth a thousand words. The City of Bell Scandal where an overwhelming crowd of citizens were shown demanding firings and recall of the City Manager and City Council. In the picture the Police Chief (being paid more than the LA Police Chief and the LA County Sherrif) is shown protecting the racketeering Council from the Citizenry. This is where a clandastine secretive Couincil leads to. Lets hope transparency and respect for our citizens prevails here in Sierra Madre.

  17. one protest per parcel whether it is a tenant( per California's law Ab 1260- the tenant is also considered a owner of record) who pays the water bill or the owner of the parcel signs the protest. So I think the protest will stand or Becasue Nancy was not provided with a parcel owner list then it can always be recounted by Nancy Shollenberger our elected City clerk ---there are copies of all the count.

  18. All of a sudden Rooster is inviting comments on his site. He nose must be glued to the Tattler.

  19. "The Mayor has already stated that whether there were enough protest letters to meet the legal requirements or not, the City has heard the protest and the water rate increase as proposed is dead." - Bill Coburn, SierraMadreNews.net

    So why hasn't the Mayor issued his proclamation that the proposed water rate increase is dead?

  20. Hmm. Interesting that only the Rooster is crowing about this one.

    Where is this proclamation? Was it accompanied by a "Hear Ye! Hear Ye!"

  21. City Hall, press release please.

  22. Nothing on the City site. Isn't that where Mayors go to proclaim?

    Bill just has a burr in his bottom about Nancy. He gave his love to Karma, and he's never forgiven the voters for rejecting his choice.

  23. What's next? A column from Glenn Lambdin?

  24. I wish this mouse would roar at our attorneys, fire 'em, and hire more reasonably priced ones.
    C'mon, we gotta get better at handling the money.

  25. Think Moran will show up for breakfast with Antonovich tomorrow?

  26. Only if they're serving tomato juice.

  27. What's up with all the volunteer bashing in Coburn's "editorial?" That is NOT very Sierra Madre!

  28. Good Afternoon, had to catch up, had a funeral yesterday and did not get my tattler fix until today. That cursed Newsgroup advised by the rothchilds, is heavily censoring comments on the water rejection story, each time I tried to comment I was send to a land called original story aired December 1969!! Really, so I saved my comment, (they did the same thing with Titan)
    The city council mentioned a possible default on some water bonds. They manipulated the language of Prop 218 to try and wrestle a inhumane rate increase to raise matching funds promised by the
    federal government. Infrastructure repairs are necessary all over the US. But the repairs should be paid by the company not the citizens. An alert group started the intelligent questioning of the huge increase and used their true rights to protest, it was an incredible victory all citizens should be inspired by this. The cities have became
    donkeys jumping for the higher each time carrot of funding, without any regard to their concensus units (you) Constantly applying unreasoned guilt and pressure to their people to rationalize enormous unaudited funding.

  29. Gee, now you guys are forcing me to go to Bill's website, which I hardly ever read.

    When was that "Breakfast meeting" posted on the city website, and was it also on the city eblast and I missed it? Hmmm.

  30. Hey Louise, pass the biscuits and gravyJuly 20, 2010 at 1:10 PM

    I just adore that Laura Barlow. Squeeeeeeeeek!!!
    This is a wonderment article today dear editor,
    Now why would Mr. Antonovich agree to have a lunch with the happy mayor "snidley whiplash" Mosca? I suppose a bad mayor that cannot control their mouse herds of useless eaters, get a reprimand from older more mature rat catchers.

    Speaking of the Irvine SCAG appeal defeat did you notice the kenneth moy, attorney for the bad guys, like Edmund Moy, who heads the US mint, and Eugene Moy deposed prince of the el monte redevelopment agency, there was a suit against the Moy family by the city of Bell, before he was placed in El Monte, just a coincedence right?

    Isn't tommorrow the first annual breakfast for Tattlers at the only place in town restaurant?

    Be careful tatts, you just chopped down the giant beanstalk..Thunder!!!!!

  31. It's Tuesday, right? The city staff is going to announce their decision today, yeah? Follow the law or get tricky?

  32. 12:48 - More like a fawnfest. Mosca and the rest of the Go4 will be falling all over Bill Antman. That is, if he even shows up. He is a notorious canceler. This is like the third time they've tried to do this one.

  33. Flat tires through muddy watersJuly 20, 2010 at 1:57 PM

    The Rizzo's are pappy godfather bushes enforcers have been since the kennedy assasination. The same black op ists, that twenty years ago helped defraud america are now in highly placed positions in redevelopment agencies.

  34. Ratso Rizzo? Wasn't he the friend of the Rhinestone Cowboy?

  35. I'm not sure you people are aware of the risk you're running here. Bill Coburn writes for the Mountain Views News. There are at least 50 people who read that paper. Don't say you weren't warned!

  36. Hungry rate payerJuly 20, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    You can bet Coburn and Henderson will be bobbing and weaving through the room to get photos of themselves with Supervisor Antonovich. For those of you who aren't aware, there is a Special Breakfast Meeting tomorrow at 8:00 am with Supervisor Mike Antonovich at The Only Place In Town. I wonder if that means anyone who comes gets a free breakfast... Can the town afford to feed everyone?

  37. Maybe that'll be when Mosca makes his statement about the protest results!

  38. Maybe that's why Bill didn't get a copy of Nancy's press release faxed to him. His copy went to Susan!

  39. Antonovich is the conduit for development monies in the SGV. Huge funding networks and access.

  40. That will have the dirts genuflecting. Or perhaps groveling? He must be like a god to these teeny town chumps.

  41. So what do you think is next?
    My bet is that the city council will offer, through staff:
    12% rate hike for one year
    Citizens' oversight group
    Evaluation at the end of the year

    Gonna be tough to fight. We'll need to kick and scream - maybe get it down to:
    One year only - evaluated by citizens' oversight comm. (Chair, Jim Engel)

  42. City Hall has got to downsize, budget cut, trim costs, and if letting go of two employees won't make enough of a difference, double that - let go of four employees.
    When did government workers become indistinguishable from Gordon Geckos, getting so greedy that they bring down their own systems?
    Let's get some serious decreases in the city staff. I do not believe that nothing can be done.

  43. You want to know what i think? Any rate, fee, or tax hike in Sierra Madre must be put on the ballot for voter approval. We need to put that on the ballot. No way we should trust THAT City Council with our money. They're like new divorcees with their ex-husbands platinum card.

  44. From yesterday's Tattler,
    Joe Mosca: "It is my understanding that the process is still going on and that the final results were due to be released on Tuesday of this week."
    Just another lie?

  45. Joe does have a loose way with words.

  46. Not sure it was a lie. I think it was Joe opening his dumb mouth and saying too much. Again. Oh, and did anyone here this so-called lawyer put his foot in his mouth at the last city council meeting? He doesn't even know the difference between the words "amenable" and amendable." I guess they brought him in for his cocktail party skills, because he sure as hell doesn't have any attic skills.

  47. Joe Mosca IS a LIE!

  48. Saying that Joe Mosca "is a lie" might be too harsh. Let's just say he has authenticity issues.

  49. Petition carrierJuly 20, 2010 at 4:31 PM

    I have heard more than one malaprop from Mosca. I'd say he averages one doozy per meeting.
    Once again, begs the question, he got through law school?

  50. Joe certainly does mqake you question
    just how tough the California bar exam

  51. It is not unheard of to hire exam takers.
    Very elaborate identification scams required, but for the right price...

  52. Talking money.
    The "average" income in Sierra Madre is high - but that's the "average".
    The statistics are skewered by some much greater than average income households.
    The truth is that many residents are here through family ties, and if not that, we have a very, very slow turn over, so many residents bought in 30, 40, 50 years ago.
    Look around, theaverage person here IS NOT RICH.
    Wht do we have a city administration that is for the rich.

  53. Some Democrats they are. They're doing everything they can to make it impossible for seniors to live here.

  54. So respectfully what is the final official breakout of the number of protests received and accepted?

  55. Sierra Madre ended up as unique as it is because for a long time nobody wanted it. It twarn't all that desirable. Now that the over-development frenzy has ruined so much around it, the town starts to look ripe for the picking. But people are silly to put on airs like it's a rich or fancy place. isn't now, never has been.

  56. Accepted by who? The paperpushers at City Hall?

  57. I am familiar with one of our leading law schools. When a candidate for a law degree doesn't know enough to bring a #2 pencil to a "bubble exam", the inside joke is that they all need mothers. God forbid they will ever come before a Judge but then again Judges were lawyers before they were Judges. Right?

  58. Accepted by the people who control the paperpushers, the city council.
    Has the city council accepted what their constituents told them loud and clear.

  59. My undertsanding is Joe doesn't do legal work any more. He does publicity work for a utility. That's where his real skills are. Chatting and back patting.

  60. I keep checking the city web site under News. Nothin new.

  61. I thought Rooster said the Mayor issued a proclamation. Or something.

  62. City Hall is open for another 15 minutes -maybe the council will tell them to fly a white flag on their way out the door.

  63. Years ago volunteers put on all the special events and the city did city business. Now the city has partnered with groups to put on the events. Mt Wilson Trail Race, 4th of July etc. The city now needs extra people to do the work of planning these event that volunteers used to do. Let the groups handle the events and if they can't make them happen the we don't need the events. We would save many salaries. We don't need a full time staff of party planners.

  64. Good comment old timer.
    You need to make a public comment on this.
    Throw it out for folks to either remember or think it may just be a good idea.
    Seems our council is lacking in any good ideas for us residents.

  65. 5:44, you are so right. We have two full-time recreation directors to do the work of the volunteers. In fact, the 4th of July was always full time volunteers and now the city is in the mix. The rec. dept. is overloaded with employees.

    As for tomorrow's meeting, let's prove that Sierra Madre has class by not embarrassing our selves while harassing Joe. Mosca will be embarrassed enough at our regular meetings.

  66. Does that mean I shouldn't show up in my "Joe the Rat" costume?

  67. That's too funny, 7:30

  68. I should think nothing would be more embarrassing than the sight of the Gang of 4 sucking up to Michael Antonivich.

  69. Sir Eric, I just found a press release dated June 10th, 2010 Where Cheif Randy Adams of the City of Bell PD was discussing a Regional Joint Powers Police Authority for Southeast Los Angeles, it was released by the City of Maywood. The words sustainable and strategy were used. (he had retired from Glendale Police,
    then went to Bell. He kind of looks like Howdy Doody without the freckles). Maybe all this is because people don't want to be regionally disjointed. The disguntled regional peasants are storming bell authority central. Does anyone have the dish on Bell?

  70. Here is the article Coburn posted on the Sierra Madre News Net regarding the tabulation and validation of the water rate protest letters.

    "For those who are wondering, I spoke with the City Manager this afternoon about the status of the City review of the protest letters. She said that City staff was at that time still reviewing the letters against the water billing information. When that was completed, all the names on letters that didn't match the water bills for the addresses in the protest letter would have to be reviewed by staff and the City Clerk against the Assessor's database for ownership information. She expected that the first phase, review against the water bill, would be completed tonight. Tomorrow morning, the City Clerk and staff will begin the process of checking the property owner information. She reiterated that the proposed rate increase was not proceeding and that the Council directed staff to return with an outreach plan at the next meeting. She also stated that per Council action at the last meeting, the Council would be receiving the final protest validation report at their July 27th Council meeting."

    Like most of Coburn's articles, the above serves to confuse rather than to inform.

    Case in point, the City Council passed a resolution directing the City Clerk and NOT the City Manager and her staff to tabulate and validate the protest results. But according to Mr. Coburn, we have Ms. Aguilar violating the express terms of the City's resolution by conducting her own count.

    Second, according to Mr. Coburn's article, Ms. Aguilar claims that per Council direction the proposed rate increase is not proceeding. If that's the case, than why is she conducting her own count of the votes!

  71. If you go over to Rooster Booster's site you will see that his opinion piece generated exactly zero comments. Not one single blessed comment.

    Nobody gives a damn what this cluck has to say.

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