Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Tattler Follows Up On Some Big Recent News Stories

There has been a lot happening lately, so much so that we've lost track of some of the news we had been following. I figured that today would probably be as good a time as any to follow up on a few stories. Though things have been moving forward rapidly, we do need to stay in touch.

Gene Goss and His Quite Quiet Contacts - During that recent City Council rhubarb over the Planning Commission's new R1 regulations on things such as building rather ominous second story additions to houses that then cast long dark shadows over their unhappy neighbors (something that in the querulous minds of a few minor irritants in town is synonymous with freedom), Gene Goss began to speak of the many anonymous people who had been contacting him about this issue. Folks who had chosen not to attend any City Council meetings and speak up personally about their concerns for fear they might end up in The Tattler. Or something.

Curious to find out exactly who these mystery men might be, and what really is on their troubled minds, The Tattler filed a California Public Records Act request to obtain copies of any e-mail records from (or to) Councilman Goss on this matter. The law recognizes such communications as official records of the peoples' business, and therefore this request is appropriate and civil.

Yesterday we received the following news regarding our CPRA request from Sierra Madre City Manager Elaine Aguilar:

Good Afternoon John - On April 30, 2015, the City of Sierra Madre received your Request for Public Records, pursuant to the California Public Records Act, Government Code Section 6250 et. seq. You have generally requested information regarding, “All city business e-mails sent to and from Councilman Goss,” pertaining to the new R1 regulations. 

The California Public Records Act (CPRA), Government Code Section 6250 et. seq. provides that each agency upon a request for a copy of records shall within 10 days from receipt of the request, determine whether the request, in whole or in part, seeks copies of disclosable public records in the possession of the agency and shall promptly notify the person making the request of the determination and the reasons therefore.  As such we are required to provide disclosable copies of records. However, the CPRA does not require government agencies to create records or provide written answers to general questions. 

The following is in response to your request pursuant to the California Public Records Act:

·Copies of emails are available for your review during regular business hours of 7:30 am to 5:30 pm on Monday to Thursday.  The total number of pages is 107.  The cost is 6 cents a page, if you would like copies.   

Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

Thank you,
Elaine Aguilar

The good news here is that I have managed to scrape together the $6.42 it will take to have copies of those 107 pages made. That and I will also be down at City Hall Monday morning to pick them up. I will share anything of importance found there on this blog Tuesday morning.

Peter Dreier and the $15 Minimum Wage

Occidental College Professor Peter Dreier, a quaint though somewhat obstreperous and gnarled local relic of the 1960s New Left, has been working hard to make things difficult for local dry cleaner and pizza shop owners by advocating for a $15 minimum wage in Los Angeles County. Something that would likely put about 75% of Sierra Madre's downtown businesses into receivership should it ever happen.

That said, Professor Petey is reporting some success with his efforts. This screenshot is from a post he made yesterday on the Facebook site "Pasadena Politics" (link).

There go the liquor stores.

However, all is not perfect in the worker's paradise envisioned by our nutty professor. Tattler readers may recall that while Peter Dreier is fine with other folks shelling out $15 an hour for quotidian help, it isn't something he himself prefers to do.

As we revealed in one of our more widely read posts recently ("Occidental College Professor Peter Dreier, Noted $15 An Hour Minimum Wage Advocate, Outs Himself For Paying His Student Researchers $10 An Hour" - link), what is good for the goose isn't necessarily convenient for our favorite richly tenured Occidental College working class hero.

Noted Arcadia McMansion apologist gets his whoopie on

As you hopefully recall, the folks attempting to save the Arcadia Highlands from mansionization recently filed a lawsuit against that city in hopes of shutting down any further approvals for those awful things. Apparently Arcadia City Hall, in its greed driven and relentless appetite for more and more development impact fees, forgot about such niceties as the California Environmental Quality Act.

Money can do that to people.

However, all of that appears to be lost on Arcadia's Best, a Chamber of Commerce run blog there that faithlessly advocates for all that is trite and rotten about Arcadia. Here is how they got their George Orwell on this week and spun that lawsuit story like a top (link). Apparently in their minds defending the Arcadia Highlands from McMansionization is actually a threat to, get this, community preservation.

Lawsuit halts City projects, not history - Repercussions from a lawsuit that could impact the growth of Downtown Arcadia and the preservation of historical buildings in the Highlands while improving preservation elsewhere, a decision to shut off the city’s most prominent water fountain, a new ordinance dictating new rules about realtor For Sale signs, and discussion of the City’s upcoming $100 million-plus budget were just a few of the topics covered during more than five hours of Arcadia City Council meetings that could have been called Cinco de Mayor on Tuesday evening, May 5, 2015.

A class-action lawsuit filed by residents in the Highlands who are trying to stop construction of large homes has resulted in the City halting work on a citywide modification of residential and commercial zoning that was nearing completion after about two years of staff efforts and community input, as well as a long-sought survey of historical structures in the Highlands.

But the Council did vote 3-2 to approve moving forward on the historical survey in all other parts of the city, likely hiring a consultant already identified by City staff in the near future to conduct the survey to determine what buildings in town may be considered of historical significance, and then propose a Historical Preservation ordinance over the next six months or so, which could incorporate the Mills Act like many other cities that would allow property owners whose homes and buildings are considered historic to take advantage of tax breaks in exchange for preserving the historical elements of their homes and buildings.

This decision was made during a closed session at the end of a 2 1/2-hour budget study session open to the public and prior to the first regular Council meeting under new Mayor Gary Kovacic. The vote was reported at the beginning of the Council meeting that got underway more than ten minutes late due to the closed session – a continuation of a closed session from April 7.

It was reported that the Council voted unanimously in the closed session to defend the City against the lawsuit challenging the Council’s decision to allow developers to build two new larger houses — the lawsuit is hinged on negative environmental impacts. But the Council split 3-2 on three votes in that closed session related to ongoing projects they felt could be used against the city’s advantage in defending its position in the lawsuit.

Here is my other question. How did the author of this witless wackiness know what happened during the Arcadia City Council's closed session with their City Attorney? And how exactly can it be that he was then stupid enough to write about what he wasn't legally supposed to know in a blog that is partially funded by, you got it, Arcadia City Hall?

Unless, of course, it was later announced by the City Attorney. Who must be salivating over that big payday heading his way.

An interesting piece of newer news

I received the following e-mail yesterday from some good folks living close by the Rose Bowl in Pasadena:

John: Today a formal conflict of interest complaint was made to the FPPC by a member of a neighborhood association in the Rose Bowl area. The main issues relate to free tickets, the city council members votes and the Rose Bowl. The document is attached. If you would like more information, please email me.

Meena Pennington
Carriage District Neighborhood Association

I love it when people send me stuff like this. Here is how this awesome complaint reads:

The following is a few examples of what the dedicated defenders of the public weal in Pasadena received in tickets, along with their cash value. There are quite a few more shady characters involved, but these four winners should give you the picture.

Pretty outrageous. How this cannot be considered bribery is beyond me. But what inquiring minds really need to know is if these fallacious officials got to go backstage and meet the pop stars. And if so, what exactly happened? 

If anyone has a picture of Beyonce sitting in the lap of Bill Bogaard (or vice versa), would they please be so kind as to send it my way?


  1. Some days I feel doomed!

    1. If you laugh at them you win. They can't take that.

    2. Elaine's answer was an example of why our government is so misguided, it took her 752 words to get around to saying

      "you can pick them up on Monday, it's 100 - 150 pages and it's 6 cents a page"

      jeez Mr. Goss, you didn't learn anything teaching political science at Long Beach City College (150K a year gig) that if you make claims of conversations and emails pertaining to Council business it's a matter of public record.

      I'm gonna take him at his word that he had lots and lots of emails and phone calls and he was inundated with pro development calls that of course the email records will show won't it?

      just who are these nebulous forces that have been emailing him and who's he been contacting in Area 51?

  2. Looks like even backward Arcadia is doing a historic survey. Thanks to Harabedian and Goss Sierra Madre is stuck in the dark ages without a survey.

    1. Yeah, but Arcadia has pretty much demolished its history already.

  3. In Sierra Madre the right to badly screw over your neighbor for personal gain is a sacred trust. I salute Councilmemeber Goss's idealism.

    1. Accurate summary of his position.

    2. Goss is starting to make Nancy Walsh's antics almost reasonable compared to his la la land positions. At least she never claimed to have nebulous forces looming in our town - she was one of them. Maybe that's what Gene is trying to tell us - I wonder how many emails are to Nancy Walsh or John Buchanan or Darth Bonds Vader himself, Bart Doyle.

  4. The Metro tax monkeys are on the loose again.

    Eyes on the 2016 Transportation Measure: R2 Could Be Two Ballot Measures
    LA Streetblog by Joe Linton

    Here's something we need to keep an eye on:

    In the proposal as it now stands, there are basically two new Metro sales taxes – two different ballot measures – on the table right now:

    A new half-cent sales tax: “Metro staff is assuming that 50% of the revenue generated would be used for local return, transit operations and facility repairs. Metro staff is seeking subregional input on the remaining 50%, assuming the Metro Board elects to distribute the funds by a population- and employment-based formula to each subregion for transportation capital improvements.”

    Extending Measure R’s half-cent sales tax: generally continuing the 2008 “adopted expenditure plan consist[ing] of a funding split of 40% for transit capital projects and 20% for highway capital projects. The remaining 40% was split as 20% for transit operations generally, 15% for local return, and 5% for rail operations. Essentially, this meant that of the capital funding that was available, 67% went to transit projects and 33% went to highway and highway-related projects”

  5. Complaint: Pasadena leaders received thousands in Rose Bowl tickets

    1. What do Sierra Madre City Councilmembers get tickets to?

    2. Traffic court.

    3. Disgusting.

    4. The politicians in Pasadena who received any tickets should be made to pay for them, apologize, and then knock it off!
      Anyone can see what a sleazy they've done.

    5. I hear that when Rihanna and Beyonce were there Mayor Bogaard had the name of the city temporarily changed to Bootydena in their honor.

    6. Since Meena Pennington's husband is the Executive Officer at LAC MTA...gotta wonder if Meena is using this info to try to damage the city council that is fighting the 710 freeway that her husband would be in charge of building? Plus, Meena has bragged her work experience includes purchasing subterranean rights for an underground London railway and compliance of environmental requirements for developments. (see link)
      Seems Meena has not explained her personal motives for this disclosure. Ask yourself what could she and her husband who works for Metro gain if they can damage the anti-Pasadena CC?

  6. Here are the total figures for 2014.!Free-Rose-Bowl-Tickets-to-City-Officials/cgcj/554b760a0cf2adc1ad17c2fd

  7. As much as I'd like to figure that the Arcadia council closed session was and is open to certain interests, it sounds like the information on the votes was just the city attorney's report from closed session.

  8. When will the residents finally figure it out!

    We need a management change!

    city halls moneys are commingled, there is no accounting for income in any enterprise, per state law - the city has illegally charged residents in excess for the cost of water, the city has failed to improve our water infrastructure which the residents paid for, the city of Sierra Madre has No Ground water any longer thank you Elaine & Bruce! this was not due to any drought crisis!!! ....

    1. it's about juggling chainsaws to distract from the real core issue bankrupting cities and school districts etc

      it's the polluted bloated ponzi scheme pension plans - we'll still be paying Elaine 80% of her salary for eternity as part of her pension - we've got retired 50 year old former police officers drawing almost a full salary, benefits and able to work a new career. Or we'll be paying pension on Officer Amos who cost the city untold millions in a wrongful shooting incident which the city settled and Amos will be being paid for years after he retires from the SMPD and we should feel grateful?

  9. Surely you aren't suggesting that the City Employees forego a little Platinum Pension & Health Benefits and actually maintain the City infrastructure? That ,sadly would be a revolution in Sierra Madre City management. Bring it ON !

    1. Broken infrastructure is work intensive and keeps city hall employed. And why should they care beyond that? It's not like they live here.

  10. Draft EIR for Sierra Madre's General Plan up-date is available? Where are copies for the public review located?

    1. Here is all the stuff from the City's site:

      To: Reviewing Agencies, Organizations, and Other Interested Parties
      Subject: Notice of Availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) and Public Meeting for the
      City of Sierra Madre General Plan Update Project Title: City of Sierra Madre General Plan Update DEIR
      Notice of Availability Review Period: May 11, 2015 – June 24, 2015
      Lead Agency:
      Agency Name: Address: City/State/Zip: Contact:
      City of Sierra Madre
      232 W . Sierra Madre Boulevard Sierra Madre, CA 91024 Leticia Cardoso, AICP
      Senior Planner
      NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the City of Sierra Madre has prepared a draft environmental impact report (DEIR) for the City of Sierra Madre General Plan Update. Pursuant to Public Resources Code Section 21165 and the California Environmental Quality Act Guidelines (CEQA Guidelines) Section 15050, the City of Sierra Madre is the lead agency for the project. The purpose of this notice is to (1) serve as a Notice of Availability (NOA) of a DEIR pursuant to the CEQA Guidelines Section 15087, (2) advise and solicit comments regarding the content of the DEIR, and (3) advise of a public meeting to take comments on the DEIR. Copies of the DEIR are available for review at the following locations:
      City of Sierra Madre
      Planning and Community Preservation Department
      232 W. Sierra Madre Boulevard Sierra Madre, CA 91024
      Sierra Madre Public Library 440 W. Sierra Madre Boulevard Sierra Madre, CA 91024
      The document can also be accessed online at: The Notice of Availability will also be published in the City’s local paper, the Mountain Views News.
      Notice of Availability: Pursuant to Public Resources Code Section 21083 and CEQA Guidelines Section 15087, the DEIR will be available for a 45-day public review beginning on Monday, May 11, 2015, through Wednesday, June 24, 2015. The City, as lead agency, requests that responsible and trustee agencies respond in a manner consistent with Section 15082(b) of the CEQA Guidelines.

  11. Hey there! I've been reading your site for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Lubbock Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the great job!

  12. Welcome to sierra madre tattler Lubbock, Tx. Share your news with us regarding matters that concern all of us.

  13. The city is locked into employee contracts with CALPERS. The police come up in June or July. Watch for those negotiations that are always held in private.

    1. Will they give away the store before or after the next UUT measure goes on the ballot?

    2. isn't a little odd that the person and groups making contractual decisions about city staff pensions and packages are the same staff who benefit from their own decisions?

      Milking the System at our expense.

    3. None of them live here.

  14. Wanna bet that the silent voice (s) that Goss hears do not come in the form of emails but with a handshake and a wink?

    1. Probably the same people that talked him into running for the city council in the first place.

    2. I've heard they work the phone, and do not, will not put anything in writing.

    3. You are assuming a level of sophistication that might not be there.

    4. Hope you're right, 8:17.

    5. of course Goss can't name one person that has been contacting him

      either they don't exist and he's just winging it up on the Council

      or he's ashamed or wants to hide who the people are?

      either way, he looks foolish and a one term wannabee

      next in line is Noah Green, the bawling lawyer

  15. maybe all of Gene Goss' emails about development constitute the new Silent Majority.

    1. The silent majority in Sierra Madre is the same old majority we have always had. It is all those people who don't vote, don't know anything and don't care. If that is how you want to legitimize a utility tax hike in Sierra Madre, then you go for it. Just don't count on your majority showing up at the polls. It won't.

  16. I'm betting those voices Goss hears are over a Tsing Toa ,Dim Sum,and on the corner of Las Tunas and Rosemead .


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