Friday, February 28, 2014

Tony Brandenburg: Where is the Outrage?

Renatta REM'n?
One Mule for Sister Renny 
Back in the 2010-2011 school year Renatta Cooper was the School Board President, and her co-pilot was a talking mule named Mr. Ed Honowitz. I mention this because in the cast of characters that follows, these two were calling the shots.

Loco Mosquitos
There was a great deal going on in the district. In Sierra Madre a pair of pesky parents named the Brandenburgs were asking a bunch of questions about hazardous materials that were strewn around the Sierra Middle School campus and about an ominous retaining wall that was holding back several metric tons of soil and lurking above the classroom bungalows that housed a group of preschoolers at the Sierra Madre Elementary Campus.

For more than two years the couple had been calling the PUSD hired building contractors (and who are remarkably no longer around), the Sierra Madre Fire Department, the Sierra Madre Building Inspector, OSHA, the PUSD Chief of Maintenance (also remarkably no longer around), the principals, the Board of Education and anyone else they could, in order to ensure safety for the children at the Sierra Madre public schools.

As this was occurring, a second grade teacher had been designated by the school as an "Inclusion Teacher." This is a position which generally offers more money, classroom aides, and support services. She became the Brandenburg child's teacher. She had begun her role by stating to a staff member that she was going to "fix the problem" and did so by allowing an environment of hysteria, gossip, and discrimination to fester, boil, and then explode.

When the smoke cleared enough for us - the Brandenburgs - to see, our seven year old autistic child had been petitioned out of his class by our neighbors, friends, and acquaintances. People we believed were our supports on the PUSD staff betrayed our child and family. The former Director of Special Education Elizabeth Blanco, the former Superintendent Edwin Diaz, and then current Board Vice President Ed Honowitz, along with former school Principal (and current cushy retirement recipient) Gayle Blumel, and teacher (the then teacher of the Brandenburg's son) United Teachers of Pasadena  Area Director Yolanda Munoz may have all shared confidential information about the autistic child with community parents. Some of whom were on the Sierra Madre PTA and Sierra Madre School Site Council.

The ensuing storm and bullying by the Sierra Madre community is now well documented on the internet and, sadly, has been repeated in other communities across the world. However, for what it's worth, parents of autistic children and children with emotional needs and regulatory challenges have found strength in what we've gone through, and we consistently meet people who thank us for doing and saying what they are uncomfortable saying.

We have been tireless advocates for these children, and will continue to be.

The Marshall Plan
In any event, as the crisis began to unravel at the beginning of the 2010/2011 school year, we realized that the upper campus was not a safe place for our middle child due to contaminants and dust which adversely impacted his asthma. We moved him to the school his older sister attended, Marshall Fundamental. It is a middle school/high school in PUSD.

Marshall Fundamental, unlike the Sierra Madre campuses, is a gated school. This is, and has been one of our safety concerns for Sierra Madre. It is no longer a torch we carry, and I can only say that I have tried to see one built for the safety of the children from predatory adults and adult bullies. Good luck with that.

A Predator on Campus
Not that it matters much to keep away the danger from without,  when there is danger from within.

Marshall also employs four security staff. I don't know if this is typical among the PUSD schools, but I assume it is because over the years there have been issues that have arisen about security.The security staff in 2014 have been very pleasant and helpful to me, as a parent.

However, in 2010/2011 there was something going on under the surface, and ended with a security guard in jail, and the sexual abuse of 16 year old girl.

On March 17, 2011 the story broke. Sort of. It got some coverage locally, but most of the information available was spotty.

Brian Charles covered the story for the Pasadena Star News (click here) -

Felony sexual assault charges have been filed against Shawn "J Silky" Johnson, a 30-year-old security guard at Marshall Fundamental School in Pasadena, according to documents provided Friday by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office … 

The charges stem from a March 3 incident where Johnson sent text messages to a 16-year-old female student at Marshall and arranged a meeting outside of school, said Scott Phelps, a PUSD board member, and school board liaison to Marshall Fundamental …

"The school acted quickly to place the employee on leave and launch an investigation immediately upon hearing that there may have been improper behavior," said Binti Harvey, PUSD spokeswoman in a statement released Friday. "The matter was subsequently referred to the Pasadena Police Department, and a criminal investigation is now under way." …

While the PUSD learned of Johnson's actions on March 9, the district didn't release any information to the public until Friday.

It is close to three years later, but even now the outcome of the case is unclear. I asked a PUSD official who stated that the security employee was "Immediately put in jail when it was discovered. I assume conviction later as I think they had texts between guy and student."

Still, I was not able to find any follow up articles. I do remember when the story broke, however because shortly before it did our children came home shortly and shared that they had heard hushed whispers between students, that students were talking, and that something bad had occurred.

Though they were younger than the student, they knew who she was. They shared concerns that the girl was being talked about, teased, and ridiculed. Then the child was no longer at the school.

We made numerous calls to the school and shared our concern that the child receive counseling. We also requested a school-wide anti-bullying program be implemented immediately.

Ask and ye shall receive.


PUSD Bully Central 
It was clear to us that bullying was rampant throughout the district and the immediate school communities via the internet.

We were dealing with it ourselves, with frequent pummeling leveled at us by pusddad, and a few Sierra Madre community members who changed their names more often than they wax their mustaches. That stuff was all over the  Pasadena Meekly and the Sierra Madre Patch.

Those were left un-moderated because, hey, it was an entertaining bloodbath and it was driving up the web traffic of those sites. Go community based bullying!

See, the people doing the bullying were too knowledgeable about our situation to be from outside of the school community. By that I mean that they were working with our child, and/or were being fed information from an administrative level. They have never come forward to admit what they've done because now they know we will call them all out.

These are the people who set the bar for the children, and who set the example for what acceptable internet behavior looks like. Is it any wonder that the behavior transfers right back into the school.

Something to consider in the pattern of bullying. I have watched how Renatta Cooper speaks to people she doesn't like, and I can read the writing on the wall. As long as the Board President treats the Board, staff, and the outsider parents the way I have observed, that pattern of behavior can be expected to continue elsewhere in the district.

As it has toward the staff via newspaper editorials and propaganda masked as articles, so shall the cycle continue to trickle right on down to the kids.

As far as I am concerned, Renatta Cooper lacks the respect necessary to serve the communities she was elected to serve. She will never step down. I don't believe she gives a crap about any of us.

Chewin' the Fat
And remember, when all of this stuff went terribly wrong in the lives of a number of PUSD families, our Board President was Renatta Cooper, the Vice President was Ed Honowitz, and that Superintendent was Edwin Diaz. Diaz suddenly resigned on February 23, 2011 with a statement that caught many people by surprise.  Not me.  He was still acting superintendent as far as I can tell.

At that time, the top interest of Peter Dreier and the Pasadena Weekly was the continuing saga of the two board members that Petey helped fund. Apparently they went rogue on him. So the verbiage focused on complaints about the schism on the board. Everything was about Ramon Miramontes this, and Scott Phelps that. Not anything about this child at Marshall, though. Nothing.

And Now For Something Completely Useless
Sooner or later these quasi-political groups are going to need to stop lying to the public about their party affiliations. ACT and IIPK would like to convey the belief that they are non-partisan. That is simply untrue. Additionally, they continue to follow the lead of their nutty professor, and harbor the same passive-aggressive grudges.

Now, there is no love for the IIPK in my heart. I have a list of their steering committee and found a  number of people on the list that were directly or indirectly involved in the mob mentality that targeted my child back in 2010. That apparently is OK. Only some children deserve the IIPK love, I suppose.

Anyhow, the IIPK had no updates to its bulletins after the Eight Guiding Principles spiel they ran up the Pasadena City Council's proboscis last year.  Until Blow Dreier attacked Ramon Miramontes, that is. Then the venom came out fast and furious. Bam.

Not just one, but two pieces hostile toward Miramontes in one week (click here and here). Tell me this isn't an openly political group. I'll tell you that at least two of the people directly involved in IIPK were involved in what happened to my child. It was a foul-up we weren't supposed to figure out.

The saga of Ramon Miramontes’ questionable “contract” with PUSD continues, as reflected in new revelations disclosed in articles in the Pasadena Weekly and the Pasadena Star-News last week.  Both the Pasadena Weekly article, “A closer look”,  and the Star-News article, “Pasadena Unified School Board President halts Consulting Contract with former School Board member“, report on the controversy over an alleged agreement between PUSD Superintendent Jon Gundry and Miramontes to have the former school board member get paid as a consultant to the district soon after he left the board.

More of it can be found at the above links, but it doesn't really tread new ground. However, Since Steve Cole's public comment at the January 30th Board meeting seem to supersede the Dreier article, Miramontes may want to have his attorney take a close look at the footage to see if there are other geese to cook. Sooner or later one of them will squawk and cough up the plumpest hen in the hen-house.

In any event, a female child was assaulted at a PUSD school in 2011. Assaults on women may be so commonplace at Accidental College that it's numbed the dumb, but I again ask. Where is the outrage?

Here's the Outrage 
In an essentially ignored story run last week, the now 19 year-old young woman has filed a lawsuit against PUSD. Posted by Michelle Mowad and picked up by the Altadena Patch (click here).

A young woman is suing Pasadena Unified School District and a former PUSD security guard who she alleges sexually abused her when she was a student at Marshall Fundamental High School.

The 19-year-old plaintiff, identified in the Los Angeles Superior Court complaint filed Monday as Jane Doe, alleges sexual abuse of a minor, negligence and breach of a district's mandatory duty to supervise and protect students.

According to the suit, the plaintiff was 16 when she was in the 11th grade at Marshall Fundamental High during the 2010-11 school year. The guard, Shawn Johnson, was 30 and ... In early March 2011......picked up the girl and drove her to an isolated location where he "manipulated, sexually assaulted and sexually abused her," the suit states. Instead of protecting the plaintiff, Johnson "took advantage of the minor," according to the complaint.

The complaint alleges that the PUSD negligently hired, supervised and retained Johnson. The girl confided in her father in March 2011, but did not do so earlier because of alleged threats of retaliation by Johnson, the suit states.

No monetary amount is enough, but I sincerely hope this young woman is able to teach a well deserved lesson to PUSD about the value of our most precious commodity. Apparently, it's been lost in the flotsam and jetsam.

I hope that she can find peace in her life.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Why do Sierra Madre’s City Employees Receive Better Benefits than the City Manager of Beverly Hills?

On February 8th we posted an article titled "Why Is Sierra Madre's Employee Benefits Report AWOL?" (link). The story was about an excellent resource known as Transparent, and the rather disturbing fact that the City of Sierra Madre had refused to supply information about employee compensation to them in the manner required by state law. Something that they then made very clear on their website. Every city in California is required by state law to make that information upon request, no matter who asks. We got called out.

Being the kind of guy I am, I filled out the form letter provided by Transparent and sent it off to Sierra Madre's City Manger, Elaine Aguilar. Obviously the request made by that website was perfectly legit, and by not complying with their request our City Hall was in clear violation of California's Public Records Act. Specifically CPRA 6253.9 which states “records must be provided in their original, electronic format when requested as such.”

This is what I sent to Elaine:

Please obey California's public records law - As a concerned California resident, I am writing to let you know that you should obey California's public records law, California's Govt. Code §§ 6250-6270, and fulfill the public records request you have previously received from Transparent California. Please email the records to

Here is the reply I received back from Ms. Aguilar:

On July 11th, the City of Sierra Madre notified Transparent California that the records were available, after receiving a request for the records to be provided electronically (verses "hard copies") -- the records were provided on July 15, 2013; and Transparent California responded indicating that they had received the information.    I wanted to let you know that the City of Sierra Madre had responded in compliance with the California public records law.  Last week we noticed that they were indicating that the City had not responded, so we resent the information. Thank you, Elaine

Unfortunately, the devil is once again in the details. And as is the case with much of what our City Manager tells us, we have been thrown something of a curve ball. So I got in touch with Robert Fellner, who is project manager at Transparent California. I wanted to hear their side of the story.

I forwarded to Robert the note I had received from Elaine, and he kindly provided me with an email trail between Transparent and City Hall extending over eight months.

Here are the two e-mails of most interest to us today. Note Elaine's pique.

I am forwarding a long chain of emails which provides evidence that the City of Sierra Madre provided the information you requested.  Your own email (July 15th at 9:52 am) states that you received the information requested.  However, the current Transparent California website indicates that Sierra Madre “refused to provide the information”.   This statement is inaccurate and misleading to the public.  Sierra Madre provided the information in a timely manner and in compliance with the law.   Please refrain from publishing untrue statements about the City and I respectfully request that reference be retracted from the website. 

Additionally, just to follow-up, I am aware that the data was resent to you last week; but we have not received confirmation that you received the re-sent data. 

Lastly, if I should be directing my email to someone else at Transparent California, please provide the contact information. Sincerely, Elaine Aguilar City Manager

Elaine was quite obviously upset because we had posted the Transparent noncompliance notification here on The Tattler. The one stating that her City Hall had refused to comply with California's Public Records Act. Something that had been revealed on the TCC site, and for all to see. It was not the result she'd hoped for.

Mr. Fellner was having none of that. He shot back the following e-mail to Elaine:

Ms. Aguilar, The requested records were provided to us a few days ago by a Ms. Cox, they will be uploaded to the site as soon as is possible.

The thread you sent me demonstrates what is, at the very least, a violation of California’s Public Records Act in spirit, if not the letter of the law, by refusing to provide a copy of the requested record in its original, electronic format. As is made explicitly clear in § 6253.9(a).

I would not be particularly proud of that exchange. Especially in light of the fact that the requested format was provided in less than 24 hours when we followed up this time around. Sincerely, Robert Fellner - Project Manager, Transparent California

Please note that it was only after we revealed this situation here on The Tattler earlier this month that the City of Sierra Madre finally complied with state transparency laws and correctly sent Transparent California the information they had requested.

Elaine had apparently refused to provide the documents in the required format for months. This is a direct violation of CPRA 6253.9, which, as I noted above, states “records must be provided in their original, electronic format when requested as such.” Obviously, the PDF conversion she sent back in July of 2013 was not in the original format. In other words, the records Elaine provided were conversions, not originals, and as such a violation of State Law.

The distinction is important because by sending employee salary and benefits in an unusable format, Transparent would find it nearly impossible to post that information to their site. State law requires that this kind of information be sent in a way that can actually be used. Raising the suspicion that there might be something in that information our City Manager would prefer not be made available to the public.

In other words, the purpose was to thwart the purpose of TCC's request – to upload Sierra Madre's salary and benefits information onto a public online database.

Personally I am not surprised by this. I have sent several PRA requests to Elaine, only to receive a lot of inconsequential nonsense in return. Most of it in the form of email giving her opinions about my request. Our beloved City Hall, which likes to claim it is as transparent as they can possibly be, is about as opaque as a mud puddle when it comes to sharing information they'd prefer that you not know about.

So here is the big question:

Why did City Hall try so hard to keep this information hidden?

It seems possible to me that this was done because there's something going on in Sierra Madre that any sentient taxpayer should be outraged about. Here is how Robert Fellner put it in an e-mail to me on Tuesday.

Chris Cimino, the Deputy Policy Works Director with a base pay of $81,493 received a health insurance plan that cost $36,175 in 2012. 

Jose Reynoso’s plan cost over $37,800. This is disgusting. This is what your taxes are being used for.

That is the most expensive health insurance plan I’ve ever seen. And we have covered every City, County, School, and College in the State.

I knew things were bad, but not quite that bad. As taxpayers paying the highest overall utility taxes in California, it seems quite obvious that things are extremely out of whack here. But this?

It has always been my belief that Measure UUT, which for all intents and purposes will raise our utility taxes a full 25% next year over what the voters decided in April of 2012, is about funding employee benefits and pensions. And not all of that nonsense we've been hearing from the likes of Goss and Green. Now we have some clear proof.

More from Robert Fellner:

Jennifer Kay Peterson – Admin Assistant was paid $35,000 for 2012. Her health plan alone was $33,500.

I have filtered the data to include only Full Time employees. I have omitted anyone whose “Base Pay” is below the “Average Salary minimum” as well as eliminating those with the phrase “Part-Time” in their job description and those who receive neither a health care plan or retirement contribution of any kind.

We are left with 53 full time employees. Average compensation (salary plus retirement contributions and health insurance) for these full time employees is $102,376. I got to imagine that is much higher than average taxpayer’s income in your town.

As Robert also pointed out to me, the City Manager of Beverly Hills receives $31,000 in health benefits. This was previously the highest they had ever seen for a health insurance plan. That is, before they looked into Sierra Madre.

Think about it. An administrative assistant in Sierra Madre gets more money for her health plan than the City Manager of Beverly Hills. As it is with our utility taxes, we are once again paying the highest amounts of any city in the state.

You are invited to read all about it yourself on the website by clicking here.

Somehow I think we're about to become famous.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Little Sierra Madre History Lesson

Former Mayor John Buchanan
I have a theory about the mixed range of reactions to the Noah Green controversy here in Sierra Madre. Many are troubled, some embarrassed, while others see it as an indication that Mr. Green is just not very serious guy. Certainly not someone up to the complex demands of the City Council gig.

But there are some who have no problem with Naughty Noah's antics, and wonder what the fuss is all about. It is those that I would like to focus on today. That indifference to accepted moral precepts is part of a pattern that has been with this town for quite some time. And is certainly still with us today.

Not all that long ago there was a blog in town called The Sierra Madre Cumquat. There was also another one with a name so vile that it cannot be repeated here. Though neither ever achieved anywheres near the readership The Tattler currently has, they did have sizable and devoted followings. Some of which was made up of actual elected officials here in Sierra Madre. They certainly found a home with many who claimed to be at the heart of our local fashionable society.

And these sites would often use pornographic or homoerotic imagery to degrade and humiliate people from many walks of life in this town, including those who were not politicians and never dreamed of becoming one. Just regular people who supported Measure V. These are the people the Cumquat and its unnamable counterpart blog fiercely attacked.

Yet despite all of that, then Mayor John Buchanan saw fit to use the influence of his office to endorse this Cumquat blog, and did so in an article that was published on the front page of the January 14, 2007 edition of the Pasadena Star News.

In this article, entitled "Blog makes Sierra Madre politics a laughing matter," Mayor Buchanan was quoted this way:

Even Sierra Madre Mayor John Buchanan answered (Cumquat Publisher Jim) Snider's online request for an interview, producing a piece Buchanan called "light-hearted and fun."

Buchanan was a fan of the site even before he was chosen as the subject of one of its posts. He said a political environment like Sierra Madre's, where "substantial tension" exists, is exactly where Web sites like the Cumquat can flourish.

"They provide a kind of comic relief that all human beings need to cope with life on a day-to-day basis," Buchanan said. "A little humor and a little poking fun is good for politicians so we can maintain a perspective."

Not everyone saw the Cumquat in quite the same way as Mayor Buchanan. One of those people, a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist from the Los Angeles Times by the name of Steve Lopez, had a decidedly different take on this matter.

In an April 1, 2007 L.A. Times column entitled "Sierra Madre Fears for its Treasure," Lopez described what he found on the Cumquat and elsewhere. I have removed the names of those mentioned in this column (you will see why), and I am not posting the entire piece here. However, if you are curious and wish to read the whole thing you can link to it by clicking here.

Each time I drive back to Sierra Madre I half expect the town to be gone. I figure it must have been a movie set or existed only in a dream, but there it is each time. Postcard perfect.

You settle in at a sidewalk table with a cup of joe from the homey Bean Town cafe and feel like you're in a remote mountain hamlet, the San Gabriels towering overhead and well-scrubbed villagers strolling by without a care, perhaps on their way to the Huck Finn Fishing Derby or Wistaria Festival. 

Or so it always seemed.

But it turns out that looks can be deceiving. Beneath its charming veneer, the town of 10,000 is in a dither over two development proposals: a 72-unit residential and commercial project and a 55-unit residential deal.

Measure V -- which would give citizens approval power on large developments -- is supported by, among others, (name deleted), a columnist for the Observer. In an apparent attempt at humor, an anonymous blogger who's adopted a pen name that can't run in a family newspaper, likened Henderson, who is black, to Aunt Jemima.

Another blogger, known as the Sierra Madre Cumquat, reported -- in one of the lamest stabs at satire I've seen in a while -- that Councilman (name deleted) had opened a bathhouse for young men, superimposing his photo over what looked like a gay orgy. The same website made up a story that pornographic images of Measure V supporter (name deleted) had been released on YouTube.

"It's so vile," said (name deleted), an author who has lived in Sierra Madre for nearly 50 years and speaks with a very proper Aussie accent. "I don't look at the blogging, but there are people around town who monitor it and let me know."

When I told (name deleted) that didn't appear to be as satirical as other sites and instead seemed devoted to jabbing the Observer, she scoffed. DowntownDirt has a space devoted to "lively, spirited and civilized debate," on which a February entry by "Cumquat" asked "how long it's been" since (name deleted) "had an orgasm."

Makes you wonder if there are any grown-ups left in town.

That gives you a taste of what was going on at the time. Those running the "NO on Measure V" campaign, financed to the tune of $180,000 in developer and Realtor money, had incorporated into their efforts attempts to humiliate their opponents through the kinds of Internet smear attacks described by Steve Lopez in his column. 

And the then Mayor of Sierra Madre, John Buchanan, a leading light in the campaign to defeat Measure V, endorsed the most well-known of the two sites engaged in that effort, something that sent hundreds of curious readers The Cumquat's way.  

Now call it a coincidence if you like, or fate, but that core community of anti-Measure V political activists, those who had no problem with the Cumquat back then, or even supported it in some ways, are today key proponents of Measure UUT. This same core group of political activists also supports the two pro-Measure UUT candidates running in April's election.

Kind of serendipitous if you think about it. And it would certainly explain why certain folks have had no problems with the antics of Noah Green. And continue to support him despite his now widespread notoriety.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

There Is A City Council Meeting Tonight, You Know

Everybody is just so excited about the upcoming election in April they have pretty much forgotten that our current City Council still gets together every couple of weeks to deliberate on some of the important issues facing our community. Of course, a lot of the more profound topics don't seem to get on the agenda much lately. I credit this to Mayor Walsh deciding that she's pretty much done all she intends to do, thank you very much. And if those other things are so damn important, then the next City Council can deal with them.

Nancy is still fairly fresh roasted about the ignominious fate of that unisex bathroom she wanted to see in Memorial Park. Along with the ping pong table storage room that has now become something akin to a PODS container. So she really doesn't want to hear too much from you guys anymore. Not now, and never again. You have all let her down and, as everyone surely understands by now, this Mayor does not forgive that easily.

So anyway, all of that said, here is the meeting agenda. Along with my percipient commentary and predictions of what is likely fated to be. I hope you are able to enjoy this evening's show.

a) ADOPTION OF RESOLUTION No. 14- 15 OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SIERRA MADRE APPROVING CERTAIN DEMANDS: Our City spends a lot of dough, as I am certain you no doubt know. As residents paying the highest utility taxes in the state, you hardly need me to tell you that. And this week the outlay comes to a thumping' $550,566.71. Not quite as large as some previous spends, but hardly Neil feed, either. Third World Edison gets $41,018.63 for keeping the lights on, I guess. Athens receives a check of $7,592.45 for sweeping the streets. Axontech gets $4,765.64 for keeping the cities computers rolling, and Bob Wondries Ford receives $3,780.87 for fixing a vehicle. My question being was it a Police car that Bob fixed? I've heard some rather wild rumors about this one. Colantuono & Levin gets $24,085.00 for keeping us townies at a safe distance. It does go on.

b) RESOLUTION No. 14-17: TO ADOPT THE LOW INCOME WATER METER DISCOUNT RATES BASED UPON ORDINANCE No. 1351 WATER METER RATES: During the City Council's now legendary deliberations on their latest water rate increases, it was deemed appropriate that they give some later consideration to a low income water meter discount program. And that is exactly what they are going to do here. Just in case you might think City Hall doesn't care.

c) SECOND READING AND ADOPTION OF ORDINANCE No. 1303, AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL AMENDING CHAPTER 12.20 OF THE SIERRA MADRE MUNICIPAL CODE REGARDING PROTECTED TREES: This is the legacy tree matter that caused so much excitement on The Tattler a couple of weeks ago. You know, where you get to dedicate a tree to dear departed Aunt Hazel, thereby guaranteeing her essence will live on forever after in the guise of a tree. Something that I believe has its origins in Druidic mythology. However, nothing really lasts forever, and should you sell your property to somebody else, legacy tree and all, the new resident can send Aunt Hazel screaming into eternal oblivion by obtaining a permit from the city to cut down her legacy tree. And for free. Who says there isn't a lot of pain in this life? And after? Also included in this item is some 3rd World Edison hanky-panky, but when do they ever not get their way?

d) CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION No. 14-16: ADOPTION OF TITLE VI OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964 COMPLIANCE PROGRAM FOR TRANSPORTATION SERVICES - This is kind of quaint. You cannot be denied a seat on the Roundabout because of your race, creed or religious beliefs. But apparently Sierra Madre never signed off on the accompanying paperwork. I'm sure this is an oversight, but how exactly did Rosa Parks get overlooked in Sierra Madre for the last 60 years?

e) SECOND READING OF ORDINANCE No. 1353 AMENDING TITLE 8.24 OF THE SIERRA MADRE MUNICIPAL CODE RELATING TO FIREWORKS: Fireworks are illegal in this state, I am not sure that you are aware of that. Judging by the roar of low caliber explosives every 4th of July, many in this town obviously missed the memo. But what makes matters even more dicey today is that the mountains are bone dry from the drought, and should they catch on fire life could change radically for many of us living here. The City Council is going to finish jacking up fines for fireworks possession and use in this town, and by a whole lot. It's probably a good idea.

ACCEPTANCE OF COMPREHENSIVE ANNUAL FINANCIAL REPORT (CAFR) FOR FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 2013: This will likely start out as a rather bold sales pitch by our Finance Director for you to vote Yes for Measure UUT. Whether the discussion stays on that tacky track or not depends on a number of factors. There are some big thumping cash amounts stuck in the CAFR that need to be aired out. Like did you know we owe $ 337,248.00 for some unexplained "open spaces" debt? Check out page 113 of the report for this item. It's in there, townie taxpayer. My take is that the "open spaces" in question are actually Goldberg Park. Hopefully some members of the City Council will raise these kinds of issues.

CONSIDERATION OF PREPARATION OF ORDINANCE PROHIBITING SMOKING IN HOUSING MULTI-FAMILY HOUSING: As much as I hate cigarettes, I also hate being told what to do by well-meaning people who think that I am incapable of making good decisions on my own. On the other hand, having smoke blown into my living room by some neighboring idiot would irk me just about as much. So I don't know. Maybe the concerned parties should step outside and just have at each other with broom sticks.

CITY HALL RE-LANDSCAPING PROJECT: Nancy Walsh wants to yank out all of that yellowed grass they have in front of City Hall and replace it with barrel cactus and other drought tolerant plants native to the Californias. The construction costs alone for this lulu could run as high as $50,000.00, though the City Mangler claims she can reduce that amount by using Public Works personnel to do some of the work. But to use the reasoning City Hall drags out every time they want to raise fees, aren't there real recuperable costs involved in using city labor? Hmm? The SGVMWD says they will kick in $8,000. Something that I guess could come out of our the high water rates they charge us.

GRAYWATER SYSTEMS FOR NEW RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT: It is important for this community to save water. Especially now that we are incapable of generating very much of it on our own. This is something that needs to be looked at very carefully, and approved. Of course, should graywater systems be put into place and become prevalent, the Sierra Madre Water Enterprise could lose some appreciable amount of their billable revenue. That could be a consideration in the minds of some this evening, though they would be unlikely to admit it.

STRATEGIC PLAN UPDATE FROM OCTOBER 15, 2013 RETREAT - It's back. Basically this is a pitch for increasing staff salaries and benefits. Every once in a while it gets tagged onto the end of a meeting just to remind everyone that we need to beef up staff salary and benefit spends. You know, otherwise they'll leave for other cities, and we will all suffer greatly. That is, if we even notice.

Monday, February 24, 2014

More Unhappy News for the Noah Green Campaign

I received the following information in a comment posted here last evening:

Noah's campaign signs are MISSPELLED with the WRONG COMMITTEE name and WRONG Fair Political Practices Commission ID #.

The signs say "PAID FOR BY THE CAMPAIN (sic) FOR NOAH GREEN ID # 136352"

Noah's real committee name is "GREEN FOR SIERRA MADRE CITY COUNCIL 2014" with an FPPC # of 1363523. In his "paid political advertisement" in the Mountain Views News, Noah Green uses yet another erroneous committee name, "The Committee to Elect Noah Green."

What a complete and total mess. This sign might not even be legal.

Noah is an attorney? Certainly this cannot be his best legal work product.

The link to Noah Green's FPPC page is here. Check the numbers.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Mountain Views News Publisher H. Susan Henderson Stands Tall For Voting Naked

H. Susan Henderson dedicates a lot of space in this weekend's edition of the Looney Views News to this blog. Sadly for her, Susan's handpicked candidate for Sierra Madre's City Council, a scant two year resident of this town named Noah Green, had a run-in with an unfortunate political reality this week. The lesson this not that young attorney hopefully learned is if you are going to run for political office, you need to clean up your social media sites. Naked pictures of yourself on a publicly visible forum, which is what Facebook and Twitter are, is more than fair game. Just ask Anthony Weiner, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, or Larry "Senator Widestance" Craig.

Personally, I don't care what this guy does with his life, or how he gets his kicks. But if you are going to post pictures on Facebook of yourself stripping, getting drunk, sexually fondling a bathing suit store mannequin, posing suggestively with a hot dog, or perched nude in a see-through hammock, all while you are also running for an important elective office in my town, then I will happily post those pictures here. I don't care who you are. It is legitimate news, and the voters have a right to know about who they might be voting for.

And yes, you do have a right to know everything about the candidates, no matter what H. Susan Henderson might say. You also have a right to know all about the publisher of this City's adjudicated newspaper, which you can do by clicking here. Susan has quite a vivid past, and she is extremely sensitive about who knows it.

Besides, just tune into any cable news station, pick up any newspaper, or surf news sites on the Internet. The quirks and foibles of foolish politicians is manna from heaven for newspaper publishers and TV news executives looking for ways to drive audience traffic to their efforts.

And believe me, it works. Tuesday's Tattler post (link), the one that broke the news of Noah's Facebook Follies, is the most viewed we have ever posted here. It has been checked out by over 10,000 people, and continues to attract viewers by the carload. These pictures have now exceeded the world famous Wistaria Vine as Sierra Madre's preeminent tourist attraction.

As any blogger will tell you, traffic is what moves the needle. When you give the people what they want, they will visit your site to see it. And this week it was Noah Green's pictures they wanted to see. We were happy to oblige.

If you go to the Pasadena Star News website you will be able to read their article about the Noah Green situation ("Revealing photos of Sierra Madre City Council candidate surface" - link). And again the result was huge amounts of web traffic. As of this typing it remains one of the week's Top 5 Most Read articles on the Pasadena Star News website, five days after publication. People really do want to know all about Naughty Noah.

All that said, leaving pictures such as that live on a Facebook site was hardly a brilliant move on Noah's part. As Frank Girardot, Editor of the Pasadena Star News, tweeted out to his paper's many readers:

Frank Girardot ‏@FrankGirardot  Feb 19 (link): Probably not a good idea to post revealing selfies on Facebook then run for office. Just sayin': 

Did Susan Henderson Credit The Tattler With Knocking Josh Moran Out of the City Council Race? Gosh, I Sure Hope So ...

There is a revelation in this weekend's MVN article that I take some particular pride in. Here is how H. Susan Carter-Poole-Henderson puts it:

Last year, a doctored photo of Former Mayor Josh Moran at a city event with Bob Matheson appeared on Crawford's blog along with a rant against Moran and suddenly during the time that decisions were being made to run for council, that photo complete with vile remarks about Moran's character surfaced around town. The original photo was was taken prior to Moran or the public's knowledge of the criminal activities of Matheson. Shortly after the mailings, Moran announced he would not seek re-election.

Susan seems confused here. Was the photo doctored as she says, or was it that "original photo taken prior to … etc?" The supposedly doctored photo was taken by a local photographer associated with the Beacon Media family of newspapers.

I have seen the mailer Susan discusses here, and it is pretty bad. It was forwarded to me by a concerned Terry Miller, Editor at the Sierra Madre Weekly. It also contained attacks on several other people, some of whom are close personal friends of mine. Obviously I had nothing to do with it, nor would I do anything like that, and Susan knows this. Susan Henderson is simply lying, as is her usual practice.

The issue for me was never Josh Moran's friendship with Bob Matheson. It was his factually erroneous denial of ever having known the fellow, made to the Star News after word of Matheson's arrest in Canada for possession of a laptop filled with child pornography had emerged.

My post about this story is here (link). Most of it is based on an article titled "Porn Convict Has Sierra Madre Political Ties," which ran in the Pasadena Star News (link). Here is a brief excerpt from the Star News article:

Other politicians Thursday sought to distance themselves from Matheson. Although he was supported by Matheson and attended several functions, including one at Matheson's home, Councilman Josh Moran said the longtime resident didn't stand out.

"I didn't know him at all," Moran said. "He was just another face in the crowd."

As Richard Nixon once allegedly put it, "It is not the crime, it's the cover-up." Besides, honesty really is the best policy. Especially when there are photos floating around that clearly contradict your foolish statements to a daily newspaper. Pictures tell people a lot, and some still do.

The City Council will be better off without Josh Moran.

Susan Henderson Tells A Really Crazy Lie

As ridiculous as all of Susan's nonsense above might sound, the looniest part of her extended bray is that she accuses both myself and a Councilmember of trying to organize an angry torch bearing mob and then setting some poor guy's house on fire. She falsely bases this on an email I sent to this Councilmember. Most e-mails you send to Citycouncilmembers are public property, in case you have wondered, and can be obtained from City Hall if they like you.

This e-mail was about one of the wackier attempts to post a comment on this blog, in this case a nasty bit written by an obviously deranged individual. It is what I referred to in that e-mail as a "troll post." It is something that was never cleared, and therefore did not appear on this blog.

I screen out a lot of that stuff. As you might guess, I get some pretty wild comments from people, and sometimes I send e-mails of the ones I reject to friends so that we can laugh about them.

But to use that as the basis for accusing an elected official, or Sierra Madre's finest and most effective blogger, of doing something illegal to somebody else? Sheer insanity, and quite possibly libelous.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Shared Misery and the 710 Tunnel: Screaming Molina Wants To Ruin Your Life, Too

The "OP" stands for Odious Politician
(Mod: LA County Board of Supervisors petty despot Gloria Molina apparently hates your guts. So much so that she has printed the following unhinged rant in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune telling you so. You see, down south of here the air is polluted and miserable, kids get sick at alarming rates, and the traffic is horrible. So this L.A. County Supervisor think it is only fair that you get to suffer, too. That is how democracy works in one of the most corrupt counties in America. Or so suggests barmy bureaucrat Gloria. Below is one of the most over the top tirades I have ever read from an elected official. Nikita Khrushchev banging his shoe on the podium at the UN was a daisy vendor in comparison. I've also decided that I should probably add a few pithy observations. Just to set the record straight.)

Close the 710 Freeway gap by building the tunnel (link): It is time to end the debate and close the gap by building the 710 Freeway tunnel. It is also time for 710 Freeway opponents to stop their misinformation campaign.

(Mod: Translation - You have no rights to advocate for your interests. Everything you say is misinformation. I say so. Shut up.)

A tunnel will not cause more pollution or disrupt life for local residents. In fact, it will do the opposite.

(Mod: If you Google "Molina + Green" you will get to read dozens of pages of her mouthing bromides about the environment. Reality dictates that pumping hundreds of thousands of vehicles into the San Gabriel Valley daily, many of them diesel burning trucks, will destroy our environment and bring the 210 to a halt. Despite Screaming Molina's assurances. Like most LA pols, the only green Molina understands is cash.)

Currently, with the 710 gap, drivers of roughly 200,000 vehicles have no choice but to use major traffic arteries in place of a completed freeway — along Valley Boulevard, Fremont Avenue, Fair Oaks Avenue, Arroyo Parkway and Sierra Madre Boulevard. This is exactly why the 710 Freeway practically grinds to a halt during rush hour well before drivers reach the Valley Boulevard exit.

(Mod: If traveling up the 710 and onto the 210 is made more convenient by building a tunnel, that 200,000 figure will likely double. How this makes anything better for anybody, even in Alhambra where nothing ever seems to improve, is beyond me.) 

So, for any commuter using the 710 Freeway, the gap already disrupts life in Alhambra and Southeast Los Angeles. Local roads in these neighborhoods already suffer severe damage due to overuse.

(Mod: So ruining our lives as well will make things better how? Overusing the 210 is better? How? Is that all Screaming Molina has to offer to us? Is this what life has all come down to here? Shared misery?)

These residents were promised decades ago that this fix was a stop-gap measure. Opponents need to quit trying to stop the gap from being closed.

(Mod: And what were we promised? That we would have a choice in this matter? Or that we should be allowed to protect our children and elderly from the effects of all that bad air and congestion? Is this all the LA County Board of Supervisors can come up with?)

These same naysayers also erroneously claim that a tunnel will worsen air quality. They conveniently ignore how air quality is already horrendous in Southeast L.A. — especially for its children, where 12 out of every 100 children develop asthma.

(Mod: Great. So now 12 out of every hundred children in the San Gabriel Valley will have the right to develop asthma as well. And Molina makes this threat just a few lines after saying the 710 tunnel won't make things worse, and improve the air. Quite a dramatic mood swing.)

There is a direct connection between asthma in Southeast L.A. and the pollution caused by cars and trucks forced to stand idle along an incomplete 710 Freeway. It’s all the more true since commuters must use the streets as de facto “street ways.”

(Mod: Great. The Queen of Asthma has spoken. Asthma for everyone. Democracy in L.A. County has now come down to sharing diseases.)

The pollution that 710 tunnel opponents don’t want is already in the air, being breathed by Southeast L.A. families — who don’t have the extra time and resources to devote to NIMBYism.

(Mod: Ah yes, name calling. It usually comes down to that. Defend your rights, stand up for your children, stand up for your seniors, or even yourself, and you are a NIMBY. Of course, a complimentary acronym to NIMBY could be BIMBY. Build It in Molina's Back Yard. Which would then turn her into a NIMBY. Tout suite.)

A tunnel will include massive air filtration systems. The air emitted from these vents will be much cleaner — and strictly monitored — unlike current emissions from the nearby street ways.

(Mod: You mean the technology to clear all of that asthma causing pollution already exists, and Gloria hasn't put it into use for all of those afflicted people in Southeast L.A. County? If I lived in S.E. Los Angeles County I'd be getting recall petitions ready right about NOW.)

Closing the 710 gap will remove about 2,200 pounds of air pollutants each day. That equals 803,000 pounds of air pollutants each year.

(Mod: Dumping 200,000 to 400,000 more vehicles from the 710 Cancer Corridor and into the San Gabriel Valley will do no such thing. Talk about misinformation. This is just a flat-out and rather stupid lie.) 

Perhaps that’s why 63 percent of San Gabriel Valley residents support 710 Freeway completion. So do the cities of Alhambra, Monterey Park, San Marino, Rosemead and San Gabriel, and the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments.

(Mod: I'd hate to think what Gloria pulled that figure out of. Dumping even more traffic onto the already packed 210 Freeway is not winning any popularity contests in my neighborhood. Increasing child asthma rates to 12% is not very popular, either.)

Numerous school districts, elected officials, labor groups, and business associations from these areas all agree that we can’t wait any more for a long overdue solution to this problem. Even Pasadena residents voted in favor of closing the 710 gap!

(Mod: I have no doubt that Screaming Molina can line up all the hack politicians, bumbling Metro bureaucrats, consultants, PR flacks, union pols, "interested" businesses and over-salaried government loafers she wants. It is what makes the kind of corrupt regime she represents possible.) 

Moreover, the residents of L.A. County have spoken. An overwhelming majority of county voters approved Measure R with the SR-710 North Tunnel as a named project.

(Mod: 2008's Measure R might have passed, but the effort to extend it - Measure J - was defeated. And a lot of the votes that sent this regressive tax extension down the tubes came from right here in the SGV. Oh, and Measure R money is being used for the 710 Tunnel after all? Interesting. That is not what we'd been told.) 

A tunnel will reduce both arterial and freeway congestion by 20 percent. It will remove more than 75,000 daily trips from local streets and reduce regional cut-through traffic. Plus it will eliminate congestion at 22 percent of the intersections studied.

(Mod: The phrase "If you build it they will come" comes into play here. If you make it easier to travel from the 710 Cancer Corridor and into the San Gabriel Valley, the traffic will be there. You notice how Screaming Molina never mentions the 605 Freeway? Or the 110 Freeway? That is because a lot of that traffic will then switch to the 710. Pumping huge amounts of additional car and diesel truck traffic onto the 210 Freeway. And way far beyond that 200,000 figure Molina is barking about.

Fear mongers claim truck traffic from the ports into the San Gabriel Valley will increase if we close the 710 gap. They conveniently ignore that nearby corridors are currently being improved to accommodate existing and future heavy truck port traffic. And the tunnel approval can be conditioned to restrict trucks of certain size and weight.

(Mod: Improved where? Earlier Screaming Molina claimed that these problems have been going on for decades? Now they are getting better? Where? So maybe we won't need the 710 Tunnel after all?)

When the 405 Freeway was constructed through Beverly Hills and Brentwood, residents voiced similar complaints. But could you imagine the Westside without the kind of connectivity that the 405 Freeway provides — with Sepulveda Boulevard as your only commuting option?

(Mod: As anyone in touch with popular reality can tell you, the 405 is a hideous nightmare. A June 2012 article in the L.A. Daily News, "It's official! 405 is nation's worst: Route into Valley is most congested in the U.S." (link), clearly spells this out. We do not need that here.) 

This is what San Gabriel Valley residents — especially in El Sereno and Alhambra — have dealt with every day, for decades.

(Mod: Great. And that is what we apparently must now begin too suffer as well. You know, because it is fair. This woman loves to make threats.)

Traffic congestion in the San Gabriel Valley is quickly rivaling the Westside. And because of the 710 Freeway intimidation campaign, help — like commuters in traffic — is stuck.

(Mod: Can anyone make any sense of this sentence? Not dumping 200,000 to 400,000 vehicles onto the 210 is making things more congested here? And I thought the Westside's 405 made things better. Apparently logical progression in written communication is well beyond the abilities of OP Molina.)

And if opponents have their way, this will never change. They’ve opposed every option before them — a freeway above ground, below ground and at street level.

(Mod: Great! Not making things worse is a good thing. I am all in favor of that.)

The only option acceptable to the local “Party of No” is the status quo. I’d stand with them if the proposal was the one presented in the 1970s — homes seized and razed for yet another freeway.

(Mod: I would never want you to stand with me on anything, Gloria. Ever. It would be far better that you just get kicked out of office.)

But that is not the case today.

(Mod: No, today you are making threats and working to destroy the lives and environment of the SGV as well. Just because life is miserable where you come from, and you are apparently incapable of doing anything about it, is no excuse to do the same here. Try standing with the people you are supposed to represent. The ones with 12% child asthma rates. Shared misery is good for nobody.)

We will not fall prey to misinformation and intimidation. The facts are clear — a tunnel will reduce pollution and improve mobility.

(Mod: Utter nonsense. The 710 Tunnel is to pay off foreign investors, placate the slave labor nations that lend the incompetent nitwits in Washington DC trillions of dollars, and pump import products more cheaply into the heartland of America. Further destroying good American jobs and what is left of our industrial capacity. In other words, it is all about money. The only thing the corrupt pols currently destroying L.A. County really understand, or care about. And they apparently don't give a damn where it comes from, or whose interests it furthers.) 

Let’s stand up for what is right. Close the gap. Build the 710 Freeway tunnel.

(Mod: Let's help the voters dump Screaming Molina instead. It would be far better for the air, the children, and the ears.)

Friday, February 21, 2014

Tony Brandenburg: Did the Pasadena Weekly Just Throw Peter Dreier Under the School Bus?

Scoop Denied
I wrote a quick note to Ramon Miramontes on Thursday evening. An interesting pice had shown up about the whole Miramontes consultation thing with PUSD on the Pasadena Bleakly (click here) earlier in the day. Andre Coleman had done a follow up piece and requiring minds wanted to know, um, what's up?

Besides, it was as good a time as any to be sidelined from the recent burst of youthful exuberance (click here) that had been locking me into hysterical fits of cackling delight.

So. I sent a quick note over to Ramon, like I said.

Hi Ramon. Nicer write up today. Any feedback I could get from you on it?  Either John or i or both are going to blog on it. John got the sense that they are backing off on drip dreiers piece.

Yes, thank you in advance Spelling and Grammar Special Forces. I was typing on my phone and vanity requires that I not wear my glasses when I am at the supermarket. The glass doors in frozen foods section on Aisle 3 cast the wonders and miracles of my blind-sighted narcissistic beauty. Oh, and I can draw a face in the window fog, too.

Ramon's brief but not unexpected response came to me in a misguided angelic vision on Aisle 5 twenty minutes later.

thanks for the offer but I will stay silent.....

I erased the halo I'd etched in the glass with my gris-gris-fingers and shrugged. Oh well, it was worth a try. It was not a totally unexpected answer.

I know Ramon's attorney had zapped a letter over to Drip Dreier recently (click here) over troubling statements made by The Nutty Professor earlier this month. Oscar Acevedo's letter cut right to the meat and potatoes of the matter:

It is my belief that you submitted the article for no other purpose than to deter third persons from associating or dealing with my client and/or his company, and to cause my client economic and personal harm. The article specifically injures my client with respect to his profession as a counselor and educator of young people, by imputing to my client that he should be disqualified from holding elected public office or do work with the Pasadena Unified School District or in other such venues ...

Failing a retraction by February 10, 2014, that unconditionally retracts the false and defamatory statements, you leave my client with no choice but to pursue whatever legal action is necessary to redress any and all injuries caused by your blatant spurious allegations.

Well, um. I have been poking around looking for that retraction and, um, February 10 came and went. I assume Ramon's silence is more than just golden right now. I think it's the promise of good things to come.

Ramon had allowed that letter, and his rebuttal that ran on the Meekly, to be shared on The Tattler. Titled Don't Drink the Kool-Aid (click here), Miramontes stated:

Mr. Dreir all but accused me of forming illegal contracts with the PUSD. There is no law or board policy that prohibits a former board member from working with the district. Mr. Dreier alleges that there were some shenanigans between PUSD Superintendant Jon Gundry and I that led to my firm being given a contract to do work. The fact of the matter is that the superintendant has discretion to enter into contracts without board approval as long as those contracts fall below a certain monetary threshold. Mr. Dreier was fully aware of this.

I tend to agree with Ramon on this. I also believe, and he appears to concur, that this was all a political ruse that had nothing to do equity - or morality - or ethics, and everything to do with with good old fashioned ACT inspired politikin'.

Even the follow up by Andre Coleman (click here) to Herr Dreier's original snub (click here) leaves us with visions of regressive pseudo-progressive Pasadena political plumper-dump. Even this half blind townie (click here) can see that far.

On Valentine's Day, in the appropriate Pasadena Weekly comments section, a poster named Dreier Watch (click here) asked these valid questions:

Did Dreier object when Dreier's chosen PUSD candidate Bob Harrison's business (Green Street Restaurant) was paid money by the PUSD while Harrison was a Board Member?

Did Dreier object when his Dreier's chosen PUSD candidate Tom Selinske's business (Encore Awards) was paid money by the PUSD?

Nope. Because "All Animals Are Equal. But Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others.”

Almost comedic in its predictability, a quarter was donated to the deja vu kitty when Andre Coleman wrote on February 20 that:

Miramontes is not the first board member to have a contract with the district. Several other former board members also held contracts for goods and services, including Bob Harrison, who owns Green Street Restaurant and once catered district functions, and current Board member Mikala Rahn, who owns Learning Works, a nonprofit organization dedicated to getting dropouts back into school.

Interestingly, both of these bytes sound vaguely familiar to something I read earlier in the month by some tubthumper. Any guesses as to whom (click here) I speak? No?

Well, uh, on February 4th (click here) the following nugget was tossed:

I also agree with Mr. Dreier regarding information from "the source" about the length of time between stepping down from the Board to engaging in business with PUSD. Maybe it shouldn't be allowed at all. Nothing, including donations which could be used for tax deductions. Nothing. That would mean, however, no more supports from Carol Liu's education guru "Mr. Ed" Honowitz, and no more catering from former PUSD Board President Bob Harrison, or signs from Tom Selinske.

Whatever Andre. Maybe you should put the facts first? Dreier Watch, you rule, whoever you are. When you feel like sifting through my hell, let me know who you think PUSDAD is.

I should point out that the Blogger who wrote that was probably kidding about a lot of that stuff, and maybe was misunderstood when he generalized that NO former Board Members should be contracted.

And as fast as you can say … ah dunno ... the backpedaling comes in a fury of blight, bite and sound:

According to the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPCC), there was nothing improper about a proposed contract between former Pasadena Board of Education member Ramon Miramontes and school Superintendent Jon Gundry shortly after Miramontes left office.

Um, let's go back in time to think about the above referenced blog/blogger one more time. You know, that one by the father of that autistic kid - you may remember them, right, you know - the family you doubted (click here)? He said something pretty damn similar to that on February 4th:

But it is also clear that the discussion between the two took place some time back, so this contract discussion is hardly a sudden revelation. Superintendents everywhere enter agreements with consultants. So do school principals. That this one flew under the radar of the school board until a, ahem, "source" finally got around to noticing it should come as no surprise.

Dig it, y'all. Just because the above blogger statements are written as opinions doesn't make them invalid. Or wrong.

I have found a myriad of things that have been out there regarding this stuff for a while. I have already told you what is going on, and what I thought was driving all of this crap.

Andre Coleman has tons on his plate, but his source is clearly from within the PUSD hierarchy, and that source is not providing him with any good pictures to smear on his pallet. I suspect the same source provided Speaky Pete with many of his sour incites (intentional) as well.

The Skinny
Jon Gundry is now up for a renewal of his three year School Superintendent contract I assume (I don't know OK? I assume), and my dollar bets that someone doesn't want him to come back. I am also betting that someone wants to get some other someone on the PUSD BOE to back that play.

If Gundry comes back, he's nuts. He's been treated like crap and that's really a shame because he has done nothing but offer support to this dysfunctional and ungrateful school district.

Check out the second paragraph from Andre Coleman's February 20th PW piece:

But the deal might not have met standards set in the Los Angeles Unified School District, which has a code of ethics prohibiting contracts with former district officials who participated in deciding matters related to any proposed contracts in the previous 12 months. The LAUSD also has a two-year ban on district officials who formally participated in the development of any contract’s request for proposal (RFP) process, and former district officials are prohibited from lobbying the district for one year.

Does that strike anyone other than me as a political dig, once again? They can't just give this one to Miramontes and Gundry? Is it so hard to admit that maybe that special insider is wrong about this? Does this PUSD insider ever just give up? I mean, really? LAUSD is now our guiding pillar of ethical light?

Holy Mother of Mercy pray for us all.

Sincere Thanks
to: Jon Gundry,
cc: Renatta, Mary, kenne.kimberly, phelps.scott, pomeroy.elizab., Thomas, Ramon, Mikala, hampton.tyron

Dear Mr. Gundry,

I read the Pasadena Meekly today and noticed that the CFPPC found no impropriety in the decision to contract a former board member.

While the Meekly's author, Mr. Coleman may have felt it was necessary to comment on the position of the LAUSD on the same issue, many of us who actually pay attention to things like this know that the bar for PUSD is higher than 7 inches from the ground.

In any event, I believed before, as I do now, that the agreement was a legitimate one, and I for one am sorry that elected representatives who are supposed to serve the needs of the taxpayers and consumers felt the need to speak on this issue to the press in the first place.

The Brandenburg Family have always believed you were an agent of change and a person of integrity, and we realize that there are some in elected roles that use staff members as political futbols without giving it a second thought.

We wish to thank you again for the service you provide to the children of our family and to the children of Pasadena, Altadena, and Sierra Madre.

Tony and Mary Brandenburg

Keeping The Community Schools Drools Dream Alive, Year 2

Greetings Community Partners,

We are proud to finally be able to showcase the many outcomes resulting from Pasadena’s School/City/Community Work Plan during year one of implementation.  For those of you who have been with this effort and shaping it since its inception, thank you!  Your time, dedication, support and input in seeing this effort through and to the next level is commendable.

This Monday evening, February 24, 2014, at 6:30 p.m., the Pasadena Unified School District’s Board of Education and the Pasadena City Council will have an opportunity to review the Progress Report as well as consider, in concept, a proposed Governance Structure and Work Plan for 2014-15.  We invite you to attend the meeting to be a part of this important discussion.  Details on the meeting location, the agenda report providing background on the project, and the actual progress report and related documents can be located by clicking on the link provided below.

Thank you your participation and interest in this project.  We look forward to seeing you on Monday and welcome your involvement as the process moves into year 2. (link)

Sincerely, Mercy

Mercy Santoro
City of Pasadena
Director of Human Services and Recreation

You are just going to want to be there. If only for the comedy alone.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Mountain Views News and Measure UUT

In this upcoming weekend's edition of The Mountain Views News we are supposed to be treated to something known as "The Pros and Cons of Measure UUT." What this purports to be is an unbiased look at both sides of the UUT question, with the author, Ms. Henderson herself, making the final judgement on what is a very important ballot measure for Sierra Madre. One that could, if approved by the voters, saddle those who pay utility taxes in this town with a 25% utility tax increase by the year 2015.

This presumption of impartiality is, of course, complete nonsense. Henderson is deep in the pocket of City Hall, and has a personal stake in Measure UUT passing. She runs the only adjudicated rag in town, and as such is the recipient of quite a bit of taxpayer dough in the form of city advertising and legal notices. In the course of a year we are talking about many thousands of dollars. Susan Henderson will come down on the side of Measure UUT, and why wouldn't she? Her paper survives thanks to our tax dollars.

What many people in this town do not know is that Susan Henderson, the publisher of The Mountain Views News, has quite a notorious past. And we thought we might share it with you here.

As longtime Tattler readers know, Mountain Views News head honchette Susan Harriett Henderson Carter Poole's reputation for veracity is second to, well, just about everything else in town. The once upon a time #2 ranking Democrat in the State of California, pushed out a year or so after getting that gig for both lying on her resume and using the party credit card for things like golf excursions and lingerie purchases at Victoria's Secret (which is more than most of us really need to know), fell from those lofty heights and somehow ended up here. An extremely long fall from grace. It also doesn't say very much for Sierra Madre's karma.

The details of Susan's slide from great political power to nonentity can be read in three articles archived on the San Francisco Chronicle's site. These are: "State Demo Chief's Resume Disputed" (click here), "Demo Leader Resigns Under Fire" (click here), and "State Democratic Party's Top Paid Staffer Quits Amid Charges" (click here).

All of the sordid details of Susan's scandalous and dramatic fall from grace can be read in these three articles, including such false claims as having received a law degree from UC Berkeley, and making various "Who's Who" books for achievements that turned out to be nothing but baloney.

One of the funniest passages in these three articles details the White House's impatience over how long it took for the California State Democratic Party to fire Susan. The thought that President Bill Clinton might have been asking something along the lines of, "Why haven't they fired that idiot yet?" still strikes me as pretty amusing.

Like I said, Susan Henderson fell, and when she finally stopped falling she ended up here in Sierra Madre. Which, as nice of a place as it may be, really is quite far from the California centers of political power where she used to hang out. Perhaps that explains the seething anger that lingers just below the surface of so much of what Susan writes. The California Democratic Party elite declared her persona non grata, and cast her out into the wilderness. It had to hurt.

Once here Susan started a newspaper in town, a partnership with Katina Dunn. Only to later find herself dragged into court a couple of years later to face a colossal lawsuit over financial "misappropriations." A case that Susan lost to her former partner, and at the cost of a $42,000 judgement. The details of this judicial decision can be read here.

To date it appears that Susan has not paid off very much of what she owes the Dunn family, and the Court continues to be a hovering presence in her life. Some are of the opinion that because of this judicial ruling she doesn't even own the paper she publishes. At least until she pays all of the money she owes the Dunns. Instead she could be functioning as a kind of squatter.

So this election season, make certain to take everything you read in the Mountain Views News with a grain of salt. Very little of what you read there will be true. Especially anything to be said about Measure UUT, and the two candidates who oppose it.

Buc Naked Pride: Your Noah Green Campaign Posters

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Maybe You Will Be Running As A Write-In Candidate In Sierra Madre?

There have been quite a few comments over the last couple of weeks here on The Tattler about running a write-in candidate for City Council in Sierra Madre. And now that Noah Green has been pretty much eliminated as a serious contender, the matter has taken on an even greater importance. The lack of any real choice is not making very many people happy in our town. It certainly isn't what we're used to.

With Buc Naked now out of the running there are only three candidates left, and for three seats. Which means the City Council race is for all intents and purposes over. The new City Councilmembers will be Rachelle Arizmendi, Denise Delmar and Gene Goss. As for any real contest all that is left for us election junkies to wail about is Measure UUT. And with only one serious pro-UUT candidate remaining to speak on its behalf (Gene Goss), that will make its passage all the more difficult.

Especially when you consider that this is basically a do-over of the same idiotic UUT extension measure that failed by over 60% in 2012.

There is also this to ponder. A lot of the people I have the pleasure of speaking with about our ever changing political scene do not believe that Gene Goss is really entitled to win a seat on the City Council. Outside of Eagle Bill, our man Gene was the last place vote-getter in 2012. And, because of his support for Measure UUT, he will likely be the last place finisher in this year's election as well. Except for Buc Naked, of course.

Meaning that Gene Goss is likely to become the least popular candidate to ever win a seat on our City Council. So much so that the only way he can actually succeed is if there is nobody else left in the race. And that is exactly what we have now in our somewhat problematic election for the year of 2014. The planets have aligned for Professor Goss.

So could a write-in candidate ever muster the 1,100 or so votes it would take to deny Goss the seat that many feel he in no way deserves? It would be hard. Without having their name on the ballot, or in the sample election booklet we all get in the mail, how would anyone know who this person might be?

And would a write-in candidate be able to participate in the debates? Or get invited to party in all the usual election hot spots? Again, chances are that person will be left out in the dark.

All that said, I wish I wasn't moving out of town. Which, in case you weren't aware, I am. Packing up the family and heading east around 10 miles for a much better public school district than what we have here. But running as a write-in candidate suits me. Being a devotee of lost causes (I more often vote third parties than not), I'd be as happy as a clam.

Plus I wouldn't win, which is also a plus. For me being put into that Brown Act/City Council straitjacket would be a living nightmare.

The point is moot, however. Instead I will have to be content with turning The Tattler into a regional San Gabriel Valley blog. Which I will be doing later this spring. Going big time, baby. But that is a whole 'nother story. Just be assured that I will still be writing about Sierra Madre. I find it to be an interesting town.

But I digress. Here are the rules for running as a write-in candidate in this small portion of God's great reward. Please remember that you will need to get in touch with our marvelous City Clerk should you decide to take on this difficult challenge. Also know that if you are sincerely against Measure UUT, I will give you as much support on The Tattler as I possibly can. For what that's worth.

Between the days of February 10 and March 25 (both days included), any person who desires to have his or her name as written on the ballot of the election counted for a particular office shall file a statement of write-in candidacy which shall contain a candidate's name, residence address, a declaration stating that he or she is a write-in candidate, the title of the office for which he or she is running, the date of the election and a nominating petition with the required number of signatures.

That is about it. So tell me, who wants to be our hero?

The Pasadena Star News Checks In On The Buc Naked Story

You've probably seen this article already, but in case you haven't the title is "Revealing Photos of Sierra Madre City Council Candidate Surface." You can link to it here.

A couple of points before I wrap this one up. The first being that this Star News piece is driving a lot of web traffic to The Tattler. Any article beginning with the words "Revealing Photos," and is then followed closely by a live link to them, is certainly going to draw the interest of the curious.

I am not certain Noah Green thought this one all the way through when he agreed to take Star News reporter Adam Poulisse's call. People just want to see the pics. The rest is, for them, not quite as important.

Another one is this:

“Call it an honest mistake,” said Green, 38. “It has nothing to do with who I am as a person. Everyone takes silly photos. If people want to look at those photos and form opinions, that’s up to them."

The pictures that we posted here on The Tattler yesterday are from somewhere around 2011. Which means that Noah was 35 at the time they were taken. So let me ask you this, what were you doing when you were 35? Maintaining a career perhaps? Raising a family? Paying the mortgage and dealing with all of the usual anxiety and stress of work-a-day adulthood? I suspect that would be the case in most peoples' lives.

Chances are pretty good that you weren't lavishing unwanted sexual attention upon bikini-clad mannequins in bathing suit shops.

Once more into the breach:

“I challenge (Crawford) to put the other pictures up,” Green said. “The vast majority shows what kind of person I really am. I’m a responsible person, a hard worker and an honest guy.”

Since Noah has now taken his Facebook page off line it will be hard for anyone to verify what he has stated here. And quite honestly, I don't have all that many of the pictures in question. As I said in the Star News article, I received them from a Tattler reader. Someone who found them to be quite offensive. And, in the spirit of helping voters learn a little more about a candidate running for a very important office in town, I shared them with you here. After all, this site is called The Tattler.

However, since Noah asked, I do have one I can post today. I call it "The Hot Dog Picture."