Saturday, January 28, 2012

John Capoccia's Blog Post On The Patch

John Capoccia has written a very thoughtful and dare I say it wise "Local Voices" blog column for the Sierra Madre Patch, and it isn't getting much traction over there. I have no idea why that might be so.

I am not here to launch any criticism at our Patch pals you might be relieved to know. They certainly have improved the site from the rather twee and counterintuitive nonsense it lived on in the past. Publishing John's column is a good indication of that. And they are trying to bring some meatier political fare to those who choose to graze there, so you'll hear no criticism from me on that topic today.

But why John's blog post is not attracting the kind of interest it should, as it certainly would have had it been posted here, is a mystery to me. You'd think Patch readers would enjoy the give and take of lively political discussion just the way Tattler readers do. But for some reason they do not. And while there can be interesting conversations (the Brandenburg family's struggle with the PUSD is particularly gripping), for the most part the folks there would apparently rather concern themselves with other, and for me, far less engaging things.

So rather than allow John's post to sit neglected, I thought I would pull out a couple of passages that I found to be important and open them up for discussion here. It really is a strong column, one that shows John Capoccia to be a reasonable man endowed with good sense and a keen understanding. It needs to be read and discussed.

My mother lives in an Assisted Living Facility. She refers to her room as "My Apartment." I told her about the controversy here in Sierra Madre regarding the proposed Kensington Assisted Living Facility. I explained that the developer does not agree with her. The developer says her apartment is really not an apartment or a "dwelling unit" because it doesn't have a kitchen.

She sneered and asked, "What difference does that make?" She says, "I live here. I just don't eat my meals here all the time. Other than that, it's like any other apartment." But sometimes she eats her meals in her apartment. And sometimes she even "cooks" in her apartment by opening a can of soup, warming it in a microwave, and then eating it in her apartment.

Some other things about her apartment. She receives mail that is sent specifically to her address. Her address is different and distinct from her neighbors. She has her own key. Her apartment is not shared by any other residents.

So what is ambiguous about the definition of a "dwelling unit?" If she isn't living or dwelling in her unit, then what is she doing in there day after day?

Out of all the things I have read about the Kensington ALF controversy here in town, this is the first piece I have seen that actually addresses the issue from the persepctive of those who might choose to live there. The key words here being "might choose."

The Kensington ALF will hardly be a fleabag or a flophouse. Nor will it be warehousing for old people. This will be a very expensive place to live, and I suspect that only those who can produce proof of significant worth in this world will be permitted to pass through its doors. And people with that kind of equity not only have options, but are used to exercising them. And I can't imagine that they would opt to live anywhere except in a place that they can feel is their own. One with a door and a lock. That is what people who have lived independently all of their lives would demand for that kind of money.

What the City has been describing, however, sounds at times almost like some sort of communal arrangement. Common areas and a common dining room, with the only place the residents there could retreat to for privacy being a bedroom, which would only be a space attached to a thoroughfare filled with not particularly happy strangers.

I'm not sure that is what privileged ALF residents will want. As we saw with John Capoccia's proud and independent mother, that is not the kind of thing people who have been successful all their lives would choose for themselves. And if they can afford the $4,500 or so a month it would take to live at the Kensington, they do have options. They will demand units, and the Kensington people know that. Which is really what the ALF will be providing. For that desirable market, there is no other business model possible.

The developer's calculus baffles me. It appears that they believe that Sierra Madre is comprised of BANANAS (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything). There are a few of them around to be sure, but they are not the majority of Sierra Madreans. Most folks I've talked to speak very favorably of the project. They are anxious to see the existing eyesore in the middle of our downtown replaced with the proposed beautiful craftsman-style structure. They're also enthused by the prospect of additional revenue flowing into the city's coffers and excited about the overall boost to the local economy that the project would provide.

I believe that if the developer submitted the project to a vote of the people as required by the Voter's Empowerment Ordinance, it would pass by a resounding majority. However, it appears that the developer believes that the path of least resistance is to methodically dismember a plain, common understanding of what it means to live somewhere, and to scare up a controversy over that so-called ambiguity to serve their own interests.

Personally I prefer the term LULU - Locally Unwanted Land Usage - but that is just me.

John has identified the great mystery in what is happening here. Did Billy Shields and his partners really invest a king's ransom in this project just so he could get himself embroiled in an ongoing Sierra Madre political and land use controversy? Doesn't he understand that if he followed local law and put this project to a vote, not only would he win, but we'd probably throw a parade for him?

Instead Billy's ALF has become the catalyst for reigniting a near civil war in town that should have ended once and for all in 2007 when Measure V was voted into law. What is in it for him? Is he being used? Is he that naive? It just doesn't make any sense on the business level.

Either someone has been filling Billy's head with some really bad advice, or he just hates people voting on projects such as his. And if the latter is true, it would have to be one of the strangest occurrences in this town, a place noted for its often bizarre development behavior.

To locate John Capoccia's column in full, please click here. It is entitled "Leveraging a Definition of 'Dwelling Unit.'" You'll need to scroll down to around mid-page to find it. Go check it out.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

93 comments:

  1. And That's The Truth,January 28, 2012 at 5:28 AM

    It's just the way the politicians do business around here. They don't care what the people want, they want to tell the people what there getting and spending the peoples tax money to cram it down our throats.
    Mr. Capoccia's a good honest working citizen that will be shunned by the local DIC's because he wont be lining their pockets with any money, and besides he's not in their club. My families voting for Mr. Capoccia.
    And by the way for those who don't know, DIC stands for "Downtown Investment Club".

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  2. When does blight morph into white elephant? When the city approves an overbuilt, overly expensive to fill and eventually empty monster on the boulevard.

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  3. Why do the Kensington people oppose a vote? What did City Hall tell them?

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  4. I'm a 91 year old man Sierra Madrean who works full time at Santa Anita Racetrack. They named me Hometown Hero of the past 4th of July Parade,John Capoccia is one of my heroes.
    Please vote for John Capoccia. We need him on the city council.

    Note to PATCH. I read this on your website, but had difficulty signing up to post. You would get more comments if you were more user friendly.

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    Replies
    1. America Online wants your email address. Can't imagine why.

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  5. Capoccia is right about this - and I'm glad he wrote it on the AOL site. There are readers there that don't know about the current outrage that is going on, and they might now.

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  6. It is a great mystery that the Fountain Square West Development chose this path, when anyone could see that a public vote would go for the project.
    So they thought "let's be devious and pick the most contentious way possible"?
    I really would like to know what the hell happened there.
    P.S. Billy Shields is just a spokesmodel.

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  7. It seems obvious to me that City Hall fibbed to Fountain West about people in this town. I think we need to go visit Billy and tell him some down-home truth. This is about Measure V.

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  8. I remember witnessing Jeff Hildreth at a city council meeting where he requested that if the city administration was not willing to follow the law to at least put their project up to a city wide vote. The City Staff just ignored his request. I think even if Billy Shields has asked the City Administration to put his project to a city wide vote, the City as usual has its own agenda and is not willing to take a chance on the citizens approving his project. The City administration and the City Council feel that this is the perfect project to break the back of Measure V. This city makes its own rules, and breaks whatever laws they want. And even when they are sued, it doesn’t really stop them, it just stalls them. Again, it is time for the audit that Kurt Zimmerman requested years ago. Hopefully some people will be going to jail once the books have been audited. It starts with the troll and the city manager behind bars. This city will certainly be a better place once that happens.

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    Replies
    1. Does anyone know the Hildreth law suit status?

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  9. Thanks to Mr. Capoccia for saying exactly what he thinks in print. When all of the other candidates do that, we'll have a good basis to make decisions on. They need to be as forthright as he is, in print. No more of the fluffy "I Love our little village and want to preserve it." Let's get the real information about specific issues.

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    Replies
    1. Agree.
      I'm voting for MacGillivray off her proven record.
      I'm voting for Capoccia on the basis of his integrity.
      All other candidates are likely "Manchurian Candidates", we're set up to be a council minority, no matter what.
      However, a council minority, Kurt Zimmerman and Don Watts got us Measure V, in spite of enormous odds against them.
      Get out and vote, Sierra Madre.

      Delete
  10. If it turns out that city hall has been lying to Fountain West, would anyone be surprised?

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  11. Also no surprise, the effort to invalidate Measure V. It was just a question of when, not if.

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  12. Billy is being used.

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  13. This was already covered on the Tattler, but I just looked again at the Fountain Square Properties proposal for the alf in Rolling Hills Estates.
    It does say "The assisted living units or suites..." and "95 rooms or units"
    Guess they didn't have to play with too many slippery definitions there.
    There is discussion of general plans and codes/zones.
    Wonder how that project is going?
    http://ci.rolling-hills-estates.ca.us/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=6700

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  14. Soon to be oldtimer..January 28, 2012 at 9:23 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  15. Saw John Harabedien getting his picture taken with a fire truck. Last person to do that was Joe Mosca. Maybe it's a young Democratic politician stations of the cross thing.

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  16. Stations of the Cross is exactly what it is.
    So I guess it's might be right to assume that Haribidian and Goss will be the candidates who say keep all services as they are.

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  17. If you ask a Sierra Madre politician to come out against the fire dept., the police department, the paramedics or the library, you're asking them to lose whatever election they're in.

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    Replies
    1. If that's true 12:17, then how is anybody ever going to get the facts straight?

      Delete
    2. So if you live in a small city where 52% of the general fund goes to the cops, and a huge amount of that city's sustaining funds just got sucked up by Sacramento. But rather than level with the voters about how far south things have gone, and the kinds of sacrifices that will need to be made, you instead go and put on your Sunday suit and get your picture taken with a fire truck because it will assure everyone that things are just fine and dandy.

      Is Joe back in town?

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  18. I guess we won't see too much substantive policy information coming from that quarter. Instead we will be assured that the candidate likes fire trucks.

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    Replies
    1. The acronym is KISS'M. Keep It Simple in Sierra Madre.

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  19. So when will there be the open forum to ask these people what they really believe?
    I will not be asking "Do you love Sierra Madre?"
    I will ask:
    Do you think Measure V should be modified without a public vote?
    Do you foresee an ever increasing UUT? Just yes or no please.
    Would you be in favor of contracting out police services if it was proven to be less expensive and equally efficient?
    Would you be in favor of hiring a less expensive law firm, and if yes, would you work to accomplish that; if no, why not?

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    Replies
    1. HI 12:04PM Brilliant!!!!! Non- threatening, cut to the chase, valid questions that are respectfully asked as intelligent residents. Anyone that has an issue with that would be "suspect." My feelings about this alf thing..."If Billy really likes Sierra Madre, why is he calling it the Kensington??? He did mention that he was "global" & had constructed & hired competent people to run these alfs. These alfs are considered to be institutions because they're for seniors that need assistance. If you have 96 seniors that have varied "needs for assistance" shouldn't you have medical staff to meet these needs? Well, among other amendments to "Measure V" and to any "institution" unless you have 100 residents you aren't required to have medical staff!!! That's a RISK I would never put to task with any seniors in Sierra Madre!! More Kensington Loopholes. What you really have is a "HOTEL" with fee for services. In other words...the staff can't administer any medication & if your dear one is having a heart attack & needs medication he can't reach...well, the maid is not allowed to hand them the medication legally & prevent a loved one from a heart attack, BUT they can call 911 for paramedics, IF our loved one is still alive!!! This very thing actually happened. Measure V is protecting our seniors. We need Measure V & we need an appropriate facility that does not look like a cruise ship. Case in point...The British Home. Now THAT's Sierra Madre. The Kensington is just another Goldberg Park. One big expensive fiasco. Whatever...bye bye, Miss American pie..

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  20. The ALF commented on says, "Craftsman Style Archetecture". A click to the Developer's proposal on the City's Web Page reveals a rendering so mundane, (pastel, wood siding, plain roof and landscaping left to the imagination that it could only be classified as "Levit Madre". If Craftsman, where are the river rock sides, 12 inch posts on rock bases, Green & Green porches and overhangs, and all those beautiful lamps, all accented with magic colors?

    Combined with the disaster of a "no room Parking Lot" this project will be an eyesosre in no time flat.

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    Replies
    1. That makes perfect sense. Just one more senseless project to terrorize residents. Check out The Kensington in San Gabriel. The Scripts Home on North El Moleno was torn down & many resients were transferred to the now "Kensington (a HUGE complex with single attached homes, separate buildings for meetings, dinners,etc & a small doctors office of a few stories, convalescent home, assissted living complex. It's about one square city block. It was for retired ministers & parishoners. Well, when the Kensington acquired this huge complex, they systematically notified any residents in( Long term care facility) that were loosing their private insurannce & would then have to apply for medi-cal, that the Kensington did not accept medi-cal & those residents were then discharged from the now Kensington. One very dedicated doctor was horrified and then proceeded to try find adequate placement for these evicted residents at another similar complex. Sad, but very true. Unless you are privately paying for your stay...no room at the inn. NO alf unless it follows Measure V. Please

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  21. Does anyone know why Johnny H pulled down his personal Face Book page? Seems weird to me. What was there that could have be incriminating? Rallies and personal thoughts perhaps that he did not want to be associated with anymore?
    No other candidates did that. HMMM

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    Replies
    1. Maybe he figured out that in Sierra Madre, politics is a blood sport.

      Delete
    2. You'll be getting calls from John H.'s major politicsl party.
      They will be endorsing him.

      Delete
    3. Harabedian "volunteers" (same Mosca young Democrats) are out spreadin expensive glossy cards for Harabedian. They are all over town. It's started. They are advertising his kick off campaign party.

      I predict this guy will get thousands in big development/political party money, just like Joe Mosca did.
      Mosca didn't work out well for them, so they've picked a better guy to carry the banner for the party.
      Impressive....yes, even more so than Mosca was, but it's the same
      special interests financing him.
      It's started. Stay tuned. You'll be getting the phone calls next.
      Measure V revisited.

      Delete
  22. There are many problems with this project. At the next Planning Commission meeting, the residents will talk about some of the actual problems, beyond the farce of the dwelling unit "clarification." There are letters that talk about some of the problems in the appendix G. You can see them on Koerber's web site. What a great help that is!

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  23. Sorry, it's Exhibit G, not appendix. Here's the link:
    http://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/ck/pages/20/attachments/original/Planning_Commission_1-19-12_Agenda_Item_VII._Exhibit_G.pdf?1327342035

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  24. Yes 1:07, I think the parking will be a mess.

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  25. One of the lingering after effects of Joe Mosca is nobody trusts anyone anymore.

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    Replies
    1. And for good reason. Anyone get the flashy Harabedian cards being passed out all over town by legions of out of town "volunteers".

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  26. Could you scan and post the Harabedian card? Haven't seen it yet. This is a very early out in front kind of assault and bound to worsen. There appears to be a big push from both sides.

    Predictable odd outcome: folks get so turned off that the push and pull from the far sides that they shove us over the cliff and we go under only to be annexed by the city of Pasadena (unlikely Arcadia would want us in their city any more than they wanted us in their school district). Bah!

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    1. Argh, more slick material from party headquarters?

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  27. I'm newish in town, 4:37 pm. Can you tell me when the people were so turned off we were axctually annexed by the city of Pasadena? That must have been dreadful. I have seen the Koerber and Capoccia signs popping up in yards. Is that what you mean by the "push and pull" from both sides?

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    Replies
    1. They're not running against each other.

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  28. That "newish" line is getting a little old 4:56. How about dropping the fan and just say what you think?

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  29. Noosh - the city hasn't been annexed. Somebody must have put something in your cosmo.

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  30. All the candidates love and respect one another. It is really quite boring.

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  31. Harabedian with a fire truck. Next, does he have to rent-a-dog like Joe did for a publicity picture?

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  32. annexed was a prediction. need to read carefully but newishness can be a hindrence to full comprehension. we will help.

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  33. My problem with Johhn H is that he's being supported by John Buchanan and not Kurt Zimmerman, or Don Watts.

    John H. does not want to be associated with Kurt or Don. Tells you something, doens't it?

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    Replies
    1. 9:45, is that a sure thing, that Buchanan supports Haribidian?

      Delete
  34. I don't think it is possible to have a foot in both camps and come off as being a credible candidate. Not without being split up the middle.

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  35. Poster 9:45.

    It tells me that he is another Joe Mosca.

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  36. Harabedian is quite the hypocrite. Emphasize your hometown roots, and then have outsiders distribute your campaign material.

    Solicit support from the Buchanan clan and then show up at a Planning Commission meeting asking the Commissioners to focus on the intent of Measure V.

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  37. Is it true that Buchanan's wife signed Harabedian's papers to run for the City Council?

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  38. Johnny H. is not sitting on the fence. He's in Buchanan's backyard.

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  39. Hey John H,

    You can't solicit support from the DIRTS and then claim you're a preservationist.

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  40. I would be glad to know if Buchanan supports Harabidian, because that clears things up.

    And not just that B's wife signed the papers - that can come from more than one circumstance or motive - but that Buchanan himself endorses Harabidian.

    Is that on the glossy card? (which thankfully I have so far been spared.)

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  41. Apparently the Lord has now endorsed the Harabedian campaign as well. John's cards were on every car at St. Rita's this morning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Good Lord.
      I guess we're the first step in a political career.....

      Delete
  42. I think we're the step before the first step. Which is the doormat.

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  43. Not a good idea to leave political tracts on the cars at the church parking lot. Most of those folks are not SM residents and it really tells that the folks on the beat were not from here.

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    Replies
    1. L.A. County Dem organization folks most likely. They used to show up for Joe, too.

      Delete
  44. Lets use ....Pres OBAMAS platform...

    WE NEED CHANGE...
    The City of Sierra Madre needs to cut EXPENSE(S)...staff - fire - replace - terminate its relationship(S) with the city staff, that's right
    1. the city manager,
    2 the public works director,
    3. finance director...
    4. The Police Department staff needs to be reduced accordingly, or County needs to replace those good O Boys...
    5. The City Manger has created too many expenses, there is not enough water fund monie(S) to continue to be misappropriated to continue to pay these city expense(S)...
    6. Please refer to the city council expenditure found on The Tattler Home page....
    7.

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  45. We got rid of Joe...

    Whats it going to take to get rid of the other water gussller(S)?

    We are not living in the White House, we can not legally print more money!

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  46. It's sad that this town has turned into a bunch of people who want to hate someone. If you aren't with oneside on every issue you are vilified as the enemy. Kinda reminds me of the Communist fervor of the 1950s. Time to stop the hate and act like neighbors should.

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    Replies
    1. We need a leader who will make decissions for the best of the residents!

      Delete
  47. OK 1:07, this neighbor says I now have serious reservations about Haribidian. If you can tell me "No" on these two questions, I'll change my mind.

    1) Has John Buchanan, who has done so much damage to Sierra Madre in the time he has been able to make decisions for us, has he endorsed Haribidian?
    and
    2) Has the Democratic Party begun one of their campaigns here, where they don't understand one single issue that we face on a local level, but they want to promote this candidate, exactly like they did that liar Joe Mosca?

    I don't hate anybody. I am not in the grip of a frantic anti-communist/democrat/tea party delusion. I just want the town to survive as itself, not as some manufactured idea of a kitschy over developed realtors' dream.

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  48. That's politics, sweetheart. If you think it is somehow unique to this town, go watch a few minutes of cable TV news. That should straighten out the daisies for you.

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    1. Well... in that case, screw ALL Repubicans! They did such a brilliant job of running this country when Dubya was president... running it into the crapper! Now they've become obstructionists, and are only interested in bringing Obama down. To hell with the teabaggin', right wing, fascist, greedy pigs!!!

      Delete
    2. That would be "Republican," son. If you don't spell it right folks are going to think you've been smoking tea.

      Delete
    3. Son? I'm probably old enough to be your grandpa. Too funny... your only response is my leaving an 'l" out... thanks for pointing it out. Here is how I meant to spell it : "Republicants". You might enjoy smoking tea, but I'll smoke whatever the hell I want to in the privacy of my home!

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  49. What's wrong with Democrats? You know there are a few of us who read this blog too. Unless this blog has just become the voice of the Tea Party now?

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    Replies
    1. Nothing is "wrong" with any party you want to name. Lots is wrong with individuals.

      Delete
  50. Far be it from me to interrupt so scintillating a conversation, but the official stance of this blog is that both parties pretty much suck. Thank you for reading.

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  51. I did years of volunteer work for the Democratic Party, and all I have received in return is John Buchanan, Joe Mosca and Oily Moran. Imagine my chagrin.

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  52. Me too, 1:44.
    This series of comments is the perfect example of why we need to keep things local. The way the major parties behave on a national level does not necessarily translate on the local level. Look at the person, the stance on specific issues, the ability to problem solve in a way that is actually good for the long term survival of Sierra Madre. National party affiliation is irrelevant.

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  53. The fastest growing segment of the California electorate are independents. The major parties are little more than organized crime.

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  54. On a trip to Canada (one province in particular you all would immediately associate me with) I picked up an old political button that read: Vote Municipal Elections--All Government is Local!

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  55. Eh, I supported an independent, a liberal and a conservative in the last local election. Didn't matter to me, or them, how any of us voted nationally.

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  56. Do you want to do something good for your Country, you State, your town, yourself. Go re-register as a DS DECLINE TO STATE. Be an INDEPENDENT.
    Send a message to the establishment. They fear free thinking individuals.

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  57. I find "decline to state" to be degrading. It makes it sound like you belong to one of the major parties but you just do not care to discuss it. Well, I do. The donkey is as rotten as the elephant. If you follow either one of them you'd better bring a shovel, because there is only one thing that either one of them produce.

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    1. Oh damn, 5:44. You just hurt my feelings!
      decline to state or DS is on my voter registration, now I don't know what to change it to. You make a good argument. First I was a R. Then a D. now a DS.
      What to do?????? How about a POV.....pissed off voter??? That works for most of us in Sierra Madre, anyway.

      Delete
    2. I am a Groucho Marxist. Whatever it is anyone is for, I'm against it.

      Delete
    3. I think the question best asked to the city council is....Whats best for the community...

      I believe their answer would be BANKRUPTCY, its our fuduciary responsibility, as best stated by our cc member boywonder

      Delete
  58. The Tea Party is saving the future of this town. Those dems that run this town are bankrupting us. Mosca is a dem, bucchanan is a dem, Haribedian is a dem and I heard colin is a dem. Who ever heard of a cop who is a dem makes me doubt he is really LAPD. they are going to use the cra excuse to tax us more. then they will take more money by increasing the water. they are all about taking our money. we have nothing to show for it in this town. we have bad streets, mean cops and empty businesses downtown. Thank God for Tim Donnelly, Chris Koerber and Marianne. They are real patriots and will stand up for whay is right. Vote Koerber and MacGillvary.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah.... right... the Tea Party. Too funny. However, the real Patriots will win the Super Bowl !!!

      Delete
  59. I saw two groups of 2 people going door to door, anyone know who for or even if it was for the election. These 4 people did not look familiar.
    Thank you for your reply.

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  60. Turn it into a national party issue, and lose.

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  61. why did the monerator fail to post my posts...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Everything posted today. Except the cussing posts. What is it you think wasn't allowed through?

      Delete
  62. Just took a peak at the PUSD maps on Chis Koerber's site. Why oh why is the Sierra Madre map looking like that? Half of the "Sierra Madre" portion of the district is not even in Sierra Madre. What a gerymandered mess.

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