Thursday, January 19, 2012

The City's Attempt To Silence City Council Candidates At Tonight's Planning Commission Meeting

Yesterday, and at the behest of City Manager Elaine Aguilar, each of the candidates running for City Council was told something that she felt was very important for them to know. It was stated to the candidates in a phone call that if they were to speak at tonight's Planning Commission meeting on the Measure V/Assisted Living Facility question, and if they were to express an opinion either FOR or AGAINST the ALF project, they could be putting themselves in some serious future jeopardy.

These calls, which were made by a surrogate, are being followed up today by calls from Elaine herself.

And what would that jeopardy be? If any of them were to speak their minds on this topic tonight, and were they later elected to the City Council, each would then have to recuse themselves from ever discussing the issue in the future because they would have already expressed an opinion. And because of this they would somehow lack for an open mind on the project should it come before any City Council they might be serving on. And the legal basis for this? According to Elaine Aguilar, such restrictions on the free speech of yet to be elected candidates is required by the Brown Act.

We are providing a link to the League of California Cities pamphlet on the Brown Act (click here) for you to look over. When you read this document you will clearly see that while the Brown Act does apply to recently elected but yet to be sworn-in candidates, it in no way applies to people who have not been voted into office by the electorate.

Elaine Aguilar's claims here have no legal basis and are apparently bogus. And how could they not be? Can you ever imagine a law that would make someone running for office legally responsible for every comment they have ever made? As they were originally stated? And after having been elected anything they might have said previously could possibly prohibit them from ever deliberating on these particular topics once on the City Council? What if they changed their minds?

By that logic Councilmember Josh Moran would have to recuse himself from any deliberations regarding the Measure V aspects of the ALF question because of the vociferous oppositional statements he made on the topic of this slow growth initiative back in 2007.

And can it really be that Elaine Aguilar is stating that no candidates can talk about this issue in particular during their campaigns, and should any resident ask about it they will have to tell people they can't answer their question because of the Brown Act? I'm sorry, but Elaine is speaking complete and utter nonsense here.

The apparent reason for Elaine's claim is that there is something of a panic at City Hall about tonight's meeting. What was originally supposed to be an obscure Planning Commission adjustment to some language used in the building code to define what a "unit" in a building project might be, has now been exposed as being something quite different. With many people having awakened to the fact that this is in reality a full-on attempt by the City to circumvent the resident approval requirements of Measure V.

We discussed this at length earlier in the week in an article you can access by clicking here. The Planning Commission meeting tonight is a high stakes gamble by the City to change the Measure V ordinance so that a resident vote will not be triggered during the approval process by the developer's out of compliance plans for the ALF. Mayor John Buchanan and Mayor Pro Tem Josh Moran, backed up by Colantuono and Levin (the law firm that we the taxpayers pay $250,000 a year to work against our interests), want to remove resident rights to vote on downtown development from the equation. And the way they plan on doing this is by illegally manipulating the voter approved definition of "dwelling units" in this ordinance.

So why this transparent malarkey about unelected candidates being bound by Elaine's novel and quite fallacious interpretation of the Brown Act? Obviously City Hall is worried about the level of opposition that will be directed their way tonight, and are now making a serious effort to silence some of this community's leaders. That being the folks running for City Council.

Unfortunately for City Hall, however, our candidates can read the Brown Act all by themselves. And I am happy to inform you that the efforts of the City Manager to coerce them into silence have apparently failed rather miserably. And the candidates that authentically care about saving our hard won right to vote on downtown development questions will be heard this evening.

You really need to be there and support them.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

57 comments:

  1. Another example of the predicable thuggery applied to honest debate by Corporate flunkeys and their servile representatives on the City Council. Naked Corporate Fascism showing it's ugly face!

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  2. Obviously the City Manager was ordered to do this. Those who really call the shots in this town do not like to put their names on their dirty work. Which is why the Planning Commission is being asked to totally step beyond its delegated responsibilities and change a law.

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  3. Sierra Madre is no longer a democracy.
    It's a fascist dictatorship.

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  4. You know, that is the first time in quite a while where I don't think the word "fascism" is overstated.

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  5. It will be quite telling to see which candidates will "stand up to the plate" at the meeting, and what they will be saying....
    If the Brown Act is being used as a tool to stop a citizen's right to free speech is being used, perhaps the City Attorney and City Manager should butt out, or resign.
    This all coming from Buchanan and Mosca, trying to be amateur dictators.
    It's a scare tactic employed by South American, and Iranian dictatorships to shut people up.

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  6. Elaine, it may be time to move on...

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  7. Elaine is just following orders from the council majority, Buchanan, Moran and Walsh.

    Does anyone think any of this would be happening if Zimmerman, Watts and MacGillivray were the still the council majority?

    No way.

    Sierra Madre voters who voted for Moran, Mosca and Walsh....this is your fault. Your town is about to be destroyed. Your right to vote is going to vanish.

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  8. Exactly how far will these people go to placate one developer. Change our laws through a ridiculous and illegal ploy? Done that. Lie to City Council candidates? Did that.

    Do they know no shame?

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  9. This is a fascist move to keep candidates MacGillivray, Koerber and Capoccia from speaking tonight.

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  10. 6:57,
    they aren't doing this for the developer. They are doing it to rob the people of Sierra Madre of their right to vote on development issue.
    If they put this on the ballot, which the Measure V law dictates, it would probably be approved. That's not the issue. The reason for this is to negate Measure V
    PERIOD.

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  11. I guess Buchanan and Moran don't believe the people of Sierra Madre have the right to vote on issues that are important to them. Like development.

    I guess they thinking we're living in Paraguay or Syria.

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  12. If the fascists stop us from voting, Measure V will vanish.
    The old DSP will be put back on the table.
    Next will be the Cong. church asking to violate Measure V? You bet!

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  13. If the people don't storm city hall tonight and object to this outrage, there is no hope for Sierra Madre.

    Occupy Sierra Madre City Hall, anyone?

    Nothing scares the fascists more than an uprising of the citizens.

    Look for the police to be there tonight at this meeting.
    Over 30 police in a tiny town like Sierra Madre is setting the stage for a police state? You bet it is.
    Wake up citizens.

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  14. if this attempted chicanery succeeds, at the next meetig, we need to organize an occupy city hall to bring ths to the public's attention. That may be the only way to get the public to be aware of this.
    Nobody is paying attention

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  15. In the end it always comes down to a few people. That is the way it goes.

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  16. 7:44
    Wait and see what happens if and when they proceed with their plans to kill Measure V.
    When the people finally realize they have been screwed, they will fight.

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  17. Reminds me of Bob Huff, If the law prevents you from doing what your developer friends want, change the law.

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  18. Hey, 7 a.m. Ms. McGillivray cannot offer an opinion at the Planning Commission as she is already a seated councilmember.

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  19. It reminds me of the California Central Committee and the Govenment in Washington, DC

    No difference. Fascist/Corporate Dictatorship

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  20. Good point, 8:05. She would have to recuse herself. But she is the only candidate that would.

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  21. I think all the members of the Planning Commission expressed views about Measure V. Do they need to rescue themselves also? The same goes for the City Council. All Commission members wee told not to sit next to each other for Brown Act violations.

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  22. Chief Black KettleJanuary 19, 2012 at 8:26 AM

    Not even with all of his long drawn out hyperbole could Buchanan come up with something this cavalier. Nor does it seem to be the work of Ms. Aguilar all by herself. Or even the legal team which helps pay for the upkeep of Coluntourno's vineyards in the Sierras. No, no my friends, this stinks of the corrosive and poisioning touch of Bart Doyle. None of these others have the ability to twist and turn the law to his own devices.

    Let's all show up tonight at the Planning Commission Meeting and show Bart we're still monitoring his movements.

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  23. Is someone (and I seriously doubt the city manager cooked this up herself) seriously suggesting that people who run for office cannot be asked their opinions on everything that's happening? I expect to hear from each candidate what he or she thinks about this project.

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  24. Talking about the Brown Act, whats the closed meeting before the meeting all about?

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  25. Doyle and Buchanan only know one law. Those with the lawyers own it. And theirs are paid for with our tax dollars, of course.

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  26. Whatever it is 8:28 it is protected by the cone of silence that all closed meetings are protected by.
    Usually some kind of lawsuit and the words have to be kept private or cases will be lost or some such.

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  27. Madam City Manager, why do you think activists get elected so often? Because they are ACTIVE! This is a much better forum for our candidates to express their views on a real issue, rather than a debate where they have one minute to respond. Please, Tattlers, show your appreciation to all our candidates (and your concern) by showing up tonight. Of course this is about Measure V!

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  28. So they say, 8:37. So they say.

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  29. I've been thinking for some time now that someone was going to make some money off the Fountain Square Kensington Sierra Madre project. And it wasn't going to be easy to ferret out. Now that person (or law firm as it may be) is becoming known to us. Mr. Fish and Mr. Shields have seemingly engaged the services of Bart Doyle to see this project through to completion, and in the same broad brush stroke, to ensure the completion of the three story multi-dozen property line to property line square block underground Montecito LLC condominium project.

    By pulling the teeth from Measure V they will effectively resurface the small town of Sierra Madre. Downtown will obscure the grandeur of our mountains, Stonegate will emerge as if it is some long delayed Atlantis, and yessiree bob, in your own backyard, will the multi unit properties spring up on Baldwin from Orange Grove to Carter.

    I don't think it's any stretch of the imagination to believe Bart Doyle and his Machivellian engines of mischief are behind the avowed downfall of Measure V and the selling out of downtown.

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  30. This change to measure v will only affect buildings such as assisted living whereby a common kitchen is shared. Apartments and condos will still fall under measure v. An assisted living facility is a unique situation due to the living arrangements. Don't be so hasty to think that our Planning Commission hasn't done their homework.

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  31. No wonder Buchanan turned down a third run at City Council! He knew what was coming. To paraphrase, he got out of the kitchen. Basically JB is a timid sort, comfortable in the back water of labor and human resources law, not one to go to the mat over matters generally left to litagators.

    Aguilar has no dog in this race but does need to keep her job. If the City Council (G3) says call the candidates and spoon feed them s***, she's going to start dialing.

    Never, NEVER, has this invocation of potential Brown Act violations been used against candidates for an upcoming City Council election. And so what if it doesn't stand up to litigation or fair political action practices? It'll be over and done with, the candidates intimidated, and Measure V gone down to defeat before any challenge can be heard in court.

    We're all citizens before the law and we have rights!

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  32. Too blatant for words...except that the words of the intelligent Tattler readership will be out in force tonight at the meeting and all day long on this important blog.

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  33. Residents of Sierra Madre no longer have any rights.

    News flash all you naive clueless voters, you're being screwed over by a dirty dog, Bart Doyle. If you lay down with dirty dogs, you get flees, or in the case of Sierra Madre, you get fleeced.

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  34. I just got a call from a friend who just now read today's blog.
    Her only comment was DISGUSTING.
    I asked her if she had a stronger word to use than disgusting?

    We do, but we can't print it on the Tattler, Crawford does have his standards.

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  35. 8:51. I think you've missed the point. Measure V was intended to apply to institutional uses like the proposed assisted living facility. After all, a skilled nursing home was at the site when the initiative was passed and the initiative specifically called out that property as being subject to the initiative. The lack of kitchens in every room is a red herring.

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  36. Wouldn't her mistaken logic then also apply to Colin's comments that he has been making throughout his tenure on the General Plan committee? Any comment about density, zoning, etc. would therefore be cause for recusal if he is elected and had an item on the agenda that touched upon such an issue.

    I remember this coming up before when Jim Hester ran for CC from a seat on the Planning Commission. Now, of course Hester was a lawyer and not so easily intimidated but then City Attorney Charlie Martin, cleared up the confusion by stating that a person could always say they had read the positions of the applicant, weight both sides with an open mind and make a decision.

    Why would that ever change? Who does Elaine Aguilar think she is kidding?

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  37. 9:33 - great point. And all the next developer would have to do is ask for the very same things the Kensignton people asked for. Just claim their project is "institutional" and you are off to the races.

    This is nothing but a baldfaced attempt to destroy Measure V by two of its biggest enemies, John Buchanan and Josh Moran.

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  38. Thank goodness for the intelligent, hard working Planning Commission we're fortunate enough to have. I have every confidence they're working hard to resolve this conundrum.

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  39. This is an attempt at intimidation. That is all there is to it. The City wants to silence the candidates.

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  40. The only candidate who can't speak at the PC tonight is MaryAnn, because she is a sitting council member.
    Don't think she would speak anyway tonight, she'll wait to hear the PC's position.
    Then she'll comment when the issue comes before the city council.

    Other candidates can speak, like another poster said "who are kidding, Elaine"?

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  41. Wow.

    The only way to describe this twisting of the Brown Act by the City Manager to void public participation is "obscene"

    Good work, John

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  42. You got it Laurie B.

    OBSCENE is the best way to describe this.

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  43. If you look at the PC closed meeting agenda, you'll see it is indeed anticipated litigation. Couldn't be lawyer Meaglia of Meaglia MacMansions, ya think?

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  44. Maybe after Billie Shields has his way with us, he will help Meaglia with the McMansion. Dirts 2, Measure V 0.

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  45. That is the big mystery. Why is Shields opposed to a public vote, and what kind of hold does he have over the city to make them pull such obvious crap as this?

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  46. I don't undertsnad. Why can't MaryAnn speak during Public Comment tonight? There's no rule that prevents current councilmembers from speaking at Planning Commission meetings. She's a resident, just the same as everyone else. (Come to think of it, you don't even have to be a resident to speak at Public Comment.) Even those who live outside of Sierra Madre can speak.

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  47. City Hall is doing whatever it can to limit speakers tonight. They want the fix to be in.

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  48. As a sitting Council Member who will be making a decision on the items presented tonight, MaryAnn should not speak on the issue. If she would demonstrate that she has a bias against (or for) a project she would have to excuse herself from the Council proceedings. Or,a law suit could be filed by either side

    I believe MaryAnn will listen to all of the arguments and then will make her decisions when the issue is brought before the City Council.

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  49. That is important when you consider that no matter what happens tonight this will end up with the City Council.

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  50. The city council ignores this public protest at their own risk.
    The people of Sierra Madre are tired of being lied to and cheated.

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  51. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out tonight. One in a series of miscarriages of justice by Buchanan, Moran, Walsh and their underhanded predecessors Doyle, Stockly, Lambdin, Torres, Joffe. I'd like to see them all banished together to a desert island. Maybe then they could overdevelop THAT with all the flotsam and jetsam that might pass within their vicinity. One can dream...

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  52. How great it is to hear the intelligent speaking of Mr. Zimmerman again.

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  53. The contrast between John Buchanan and three real attorneys, Sutton, Zimmerman, and Harabedian, is astounding. Like a kid's first recital and the entire symphony playing in harmony.

    What an inspiring moment!

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  54. Oh what little faith you all had in the Planning Commission... Told you they would do the right thing!

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  55. Tattlers, it is up to each of you to ensure that the people have full execution of their rights! The City Manager has absolutely no right to dictate about what "potential council members" speak. And in no way can the city absolve Measure V unless you do something! Their candid and pejorative talk can only go so far as long as the true message is tactfully communicated through all of you.

    Remember the basics of psychology. If you speak to the residents about the tactics of the majority of the city council, you will alert them to the fact that their rights are being stripped (not to mention their property values and quality of life when the last remaining paramedics are on constant attendance at the ALF). That alone will warrant some action by the usually complacent, non-political residents. Stir the pot!

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  56. Good advice Snitch.
    We hear you. The people are pissed.

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  57. The room hasn't been that full since the water rate hike hustle.

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