Thursday, May 31, 2018

Politico: California Republicans have now hit rock bottom

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Mod: Some new numbers are out, and they show that the once-proud California state party that gave America two presidents not all that long ago, has now been relegated to an ignominious third-party status. 

California Republicans hit rock bottom (Politico link): The state that spawned the "Reagan Revolution’’ and Richard M. Nixon just experienced a watershed moment — the California Republican Party was officially relegated to third-party status.

In the culmination of the withered state GOP’s long slide toward near-political irrelevance here, new voter registration data released this week show the once-robust party trails behind both Democrats and “no party preference” in the nation's most populous state. The California Republican Party is now outnumbered by independent voters by 73,000, according to Political Data Inc., which tabulates voter file data from county registrars.

The new figures come as the state looms large in the national battle for the House, with a handful of Republican-held seats poised to play a pivotal role in November. Among California’s 19 million registered voters, the latest statistics — as of 15 days before the June 5 primary — show that Democrats now make up 8.4 million or 44.6 percent of the electorate.

That compares with 4,844,803 no-party-preference voters, or 25.5 percent of the state’s voters and 4,771,984 Republicans, who both make up about 25.1 percent. The California Secretary of State’s office is expected to release its own official count later this week.

Here is hope: There is still one Californian making a difference in Washington

Kim Kardashian meets with Trump to discuss prison reform (New York Post link): It was the commander and cheeks! Kim Kardashian strutted into the Oval Office on Wednesday for a sit-down with President Donald Trump to discuss criminal justice issues — including an imprisoned drug offender she discovered on Twitter.

The reality queen donned high heels and an all-black ensemble for the highly anticipated White House meeting.

Kardashian was spotted entering the West Wing around 4:45 p.m. and leaving about an hour later. She spoke with both Trump and Jared Kushner, whom she met through Ivanka Trump, according to sources.

The mother-of-three requested the White House meeting after hearing about the plight of Alice Marie Johnson on social media late last year. “This is so unfair,” Kardashian tweeted in October 2017, along with a link to an interview Johnson, 63, did on

Sources told The Post that Kardashian argued that Johnson — a Memphis great-grandmother convicted of a drug conspiracy — had paid her debt to society after 21 years behind bars and deserves clemency.

The meeting went “well,” sources said, and now the decision is in Trump’s hands. After the meeting, Kardashian headed to Ivanka and Jared’s DC home for a private dinner.

Mod: Think about it. A Reality TV Star with no knowledge of public policy had an hour with the President of the United States in the Oval Office yesterday. Then there is this.

Drugmaker to Roseanne Barr: 'Racism is not a known side effect' of Ambien (Politico link): Roseanne Barr blamed sleeping pills for the racist tweet that got her ABC show canned. But after the drugmaker fired back with a snarky reply Wednesday, the comic may soon be looking to treat a burn.

A day after the network pulled the plug on the hit “Roseanne” reboot in response to her tweet about Valerie Jarrett, a longtime adviser and close friend of former President Barack Obama, the comedian tweeted Wednesday that her initial remark was “unforgivable” and “egregious.” Barr said it was the result of “ambien tweeting,” a reference to the common sleep-aid medication.

Sanofi, the company that makes Ambien, rebutted the assertion Wednesday on Twitter.

“People of all races, religions and nationalities work at Sanofi every day to improve the lives of people around the world,” the drugmaker’s social media account tweeted. “While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”

Barr had sparked outrage on Tuesday by suggested that Jarrett, who was born in Iran and is African-American, was the product of the "muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes" having "a baby."

The remarks prompted immediate calls for boycotts of the show. On Tuesday afternoon, ABC announced the cancellation of the program.

Mod: It is hard to believe that trash culture America has placed one of its own in the White House. Well, OK. I've reconsidered. Maybe it's not. And yes, it really is all about the Donald. Who wouldn't want to jump in on this one?

Trump accuses ABC of double standard on 'Roseanne' cancellation (The Hill link): President Trump on Wednesday accused ABC of a double standard in its decision to cancel the hit sitcom “Roseanne,” whose star Roseanne Barr is a vocal Trump supporter and has come under fire for a racist tweet she sent earlier in the week.

Bob Iger of ABC called Valerie Jarrett to let her know that ‘ABC does not tolerate comments like those’ made by Roseanne Barr. Gee, he never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC. Maybe I just didn’t get the call?” Trump tweeted.

The tweet is Trump's first response to the show’s cancellation, in which he chose to focus on Iger rather than the substance of Barr’s comments.

Barr sent a tweet on Tuesday likening Jarrett, a black former adviser to President Obama, to an ape. Jarrett revealed later in the day that Iger called her before announcing “Roseanne” had been nixed.

Say "Howdy!" to Gowdy

Republicans distance themselves from Trump’s ‘Spygate’ conspiracy theory (Los Angeles Times link): The air seems to be going out of “Spygate.” While President Trump still touts the unfounded claim that the Obama administration improperly spied on his 2016 campaign, senior Republican lawmakers have steered clear of the conspiracy theory since they received classified briefings last week on the role of an FBI confidential informant in an investigation aimed at unmasking Russian interference in the election.

That silence broke when Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), one of the few who got the Justice Department briefing, said he believes the FBI acted appropriately when the informant, a retired American academic living in England, met with three of Trump’s campaign aides.

"When the FBI comes into contact with information about what a foreign government may be doing in our election cycle, I think they have an obligation to run it out," Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor, said Wednesday on CBS News.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Mindless Facebook Madness of the Voice of Arcadia

This sad little exercise in elementary school graffiti appeared on the Voice of Arcadia's very strange Facebook page yesterday. Who knows, though the anonymous person who runs that site isn't exactly a titan of courage, it might still be up. He has been known to cut and run some times, and things do mysteriously vanish.

Usually when people are attempting to engage in a political discussion, no matter how absurd or pointless, they at least try and make some sense. But VOA doesn't really do that. I'm not sure they even care. They just throw this kind of crap out there and make believe it means something. Then dare you to do something about it. Just like any other playground Mussolini.

Of course, this plagiarized and defaced Arcadia Weekly cover page did have a rather lengthy screed attached to it. They usually do. Written this time by some fool calling himself "Concerned Citizen." Here is a paragraph from his godawful mess.

"He is considered to be intentional violation because he has no reasons to amphasize that he guaranteed all of these fraudulent or criminal activities 100% clean election and he put in a deliberate effort to stop any possible criminal investigations. Intentional violation is punishable under the law."

Just complete and utter gibberish.

So I'm a little at a loss. What is the point? Who exactly is it that is impressed by the sorts of garbage found on Voice of Arcadia? What is it they believe can be gained?

That it will make Sho Tay mayor?

Is Mark Hong leaving Arcadia?

As I am sure you recall, Mark Hong is the guy whose obsession with Tom Beck was so great that he invented an entire persecution fantasy around the four or five emails they exchanged back during the recent election. It was quite a little soap opera Mark had going on there for a brief while.

However, like all mad fantasies built upon nothing more than duck farts, this all came crashing down around Mark's ears. And so devastating was the emotional effect of this loss that he is apparently packing up his belongings and leaving Arcadia for good.

Here is that stunning news, as found on Mark's Facebook page.

Mark's four or five Facebook friends are apparently upset about this because there have been some teary comments left on his page. Here is a portion of that woe.

I certainly hope it wasn't anything we said. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Comparing what is happening in Arcadia today to what went down in Sierra Madre 11 years ago

Steve Lopez is a famed heavy hitter columnist for the Los Angeles Times. He has often been lauded for the excellence of his work, and has won some big time journalism awards. On the website Steve is described this way (link):

"Steve Lopez is a California native who has been an L.A. Times columnist since 2001. He has won more than a dozen national journalism awards for his reporting and column writing at seven newspapers and four news magazines, and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist for commentary: in 2012, for his columns on elder care, and in 2016, for his columns on income inequality in California."

Our guy Steve published a locally momentous column about Sierra Madre a little more than a decade ago. It was written during a time when developers were putting some heavy pressure on The Foothill Village to accommodate a very large and unpopular downtown mixed-use development project. The big money people behind it were using some very nasty tactics as an attempt to silence the people opposed to it.

More on that in a moment.

An anonymous Arcadia reader posted a comment the other day that impressed me a lot. So much so that I reposted it last Saturday as part of the regular daily entry. The reason being it reminded me of what had gone down in Sierra Madre a while back. Here is a small portion of it.

"Everyone keeps asking where the rational people are. Why aren’t they speaking up? I’m going to tell you why…. WE ARE AFRAIDWe are afraid of being bullied. We are afraid of community leaders coming after our kids. We are afraid of Kin Hui destroying our careers. We are afraid that OUR face will be the next meme shared maliciously on Facebook. We are afraid but it doesn’t mean we are not watching, listening and whispering. You might think we are cowards for not getting more involved but we have a lot on the line."

The use of the Internet and social media as ways to intimidate and silence those opposing predatory development is nothing new. And back when organizations such as the Building Industry Association, the California Association of Realtors, and the Arcadia Association of Realtors were coughing up $10's of thousands of dollars to try and force Sierra Madre to accommodate a fat wedge of bad and unwanted development downtown, some related websites had begun to pop up.

Rather contentious and unpleasant ones. Downtown, The Sierra Madre Cumquat, and another whose pornographic name I won't repeat here, arose from seemingly nowhere and started going after development opponents in rather unfortunate and at times salacious ways. They became the talk of the town. One even got some favorable coverage in the Pasadena Star News.

People began wondering who would be attacked next. The tactic worked, for a while.

This was when Steve Lopez showed up. Steve had been clued in on these happenings by friends from town, and in April of 2007 he published an LA Times column called "Sierra Madre Fears for its Treasure" (link). It was a fairly wide ranging effort, but he hit hard on the smear sites that many even now believe were generously enabled by developer money.

Here are a few key passages from Steve's column:

... 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.

Old friends cross the street to avoid each other, the city manager fled town, bloggers are waging war with words and images that might be called homophobic and racist. Some people have reported mysteriously punctured tires. And a dead mole turned up splayed on the doorstep of a local newspaper publisher.

Measure V -- which would give citizens approval power on large developments -- is supported by, among others, Susan Henderson, 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 Kurt Zimmerman 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 Faye Angus had been released on YouTube.

"It's so vile," said Angus, 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 Angus 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 Angus "had an orgasm."

Trust me, there were far worse. Pardon my French, but that site whose name cannot be named in a family setting had the unfortunate habit of acquiring head shots of development opponents and photoshopping them atop male genitalia. With commentary.

It would be my contention that a similar tactic is being employed today by certain individuals with pro-development websites in Arcadia. Those sites being The Voice of Arcadia, The Angry Arcadian, whatever Mark Hong calls his ridiculous Facebook page, and, in a more nuanced way, Singpoli financed The Hub. All are now at some level performing that role.

The people of Sierra Madre did prevail. Measure V went to a vote and won, despite the $180,000 raised by various developers and Arcadia Realtors to defeat it. Plans for that highly unpopular downtown development just dried up and blew away.

But this victory didn't come without a measure of pain. Pain inflicted via the Internet by an industry that sees small city residents as the enemy, and therefore a legitimate target for their cruelty.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Here are 11 ways President Donald Trump has dishonored American veterans

Mod: Interesting article from the news site Raw Story that details some of the more bizarre incidents highlighting the current president's deep resentment of America's military veterans.

Here are 11 ways President Donald Trump has dishonored American veterans (Raw Story link): Memorial Day was the holiday meant to honor fallen soldiers, but somewhere along the line it has become a day that also honors all veterans. Regardless of whether the holiday is Memorial Day or Armistice Day, President Donald Trump is likely to mark the day claiming that he honors veterans who fought for America. It’s an interesting tactic given his history disparaging veterans, attacking Gold Star families, mocking prisoners of war, getting into a public battle with the family of a soldier that had just been killed.

Then there are the broken promises for the Veterans Administration. That alone could make for an even longer list.

However, as the president celebrates fallen soldiers Monday, here are 10 of the times he did the opposite:

1. The John McCain attacks

“He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured, OK?” Trump said at a 2016 campaign event.

A few days later Trump even doubled down on his remarks.

2. Trump goes after the Khan family for speaking out in support of Hillary Clinton at the Democratic convention.

“Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America. You will see all faiths, genders, and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing — and no one,” Khizr Khan said.

In the days that followed the statement, Trump went into full attack mode. He did everything from claim Khan’s wife wasn’t allowed to speak because she is a Muslim wife. He claimed he made sacrifices because he “created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, built great structures.” He even began spreading a conspiracy theory that came from some right-wing fever dream that Khan was secretly a “Muslim Brotherhood agent.”

It’s been almost two years and Trump has never apologized.

3. “My personal Vietnam”

Trump got five draft deferments while Vietnam raged for nearly 20 years. Trump had bone spurs, though. While we’ve heard about his medication list, eight, weight and other factors, but the president’s physician, and former nominee to chair the Veterans Administration, never gave a status update on the spurs that kept him out of serving his duty.

He didn’t miss out, however. Trump said that his sex life was like his own personal Vietnam.

“I was dating lots and lots of women,” he said in 2004. “I just had a great time. They were great years, but that was pre-AIDS, and you could do things in those days that today you’re at risk doing. AIDS has changed a lot.”

“It is a dangerous world out there — it’s scary, like Vietnam,” he continued. “It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave soldier.”


4. Promise the moon but give them pennies.

Twice, Trump promised that he would be donating to veteran causes. The reality, however, was another story. While campaigning in 2016, Trump indicated that he has sent nearly $6 million to different veterans groups nationwide, but when Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold called every veterans advocacy organizations to uncover who got what and how much, the donation was a little closer to nothing.

Despite making the claim for months, the money miraculously appeared to various organizations in the days that followed Fahrenthold’s report and questions for Trump.

5. The Niger widows.

The families that lost their husbands or sons in the Niger ambush didn’t get a call from the president for nearly two weeks. When the call finally came it was only after the president was blasted publicly in the press.

Except, when he called one family, he completely flubbed the call. Instead of taking the high road, Trump moved on to blast the family and a local Congresswoman and friend of the family who mentored the Sgt. La David Johnson.

If that isn’t bad enough, when Trump was blasted for his behavior, he swore that he had done more for Gold Star families than anyone. He even went so far as to claim that former President Barack Obama never called the families. Not only was the claim false, families who had received that heartbreaking call stepped up to call out the lie.

6. The $25,000 promise.

Chris Baldridge’s son was killed in June 2017 by an Afghan police officer. Over the phone, the president told Army Sgt. Dillon Baldridge’s family how sorry he was. The father lamented how hard the family has struggled financially.

“He said, ‘I’m going to write you a check out of my personal account for $25,000,’ and I was just floored,” Baldridge told the Washington Post in an interview. “I could not believe he was saying that, and I wish I had it recorded because the man did say this. He said, ‘No other president has ever done something like this,’ but he said, ‘I’m going to do it.'”

The interview took place five months after the promise. The check hadn’t arrived. After publicly outcry at another Trump lie, the White House told The Post “The check has been sent.” Better late than never.

7. Trump’s lie he fixed VA wait times.

Everything was supposed to change. Finally, the White House would have an advocate for the veterans, Trump claimed in 2016. But, his promises haven’t proved much in terms of action.

One thing Trump said he would change are the wait times at the VA. During at least two events in 2017, Trump swore he’d fixed it.

“I used to go around and talk about the veterans and they’d stand on line for nine days, seven days, four days… 15 days. People that could have been given a prescription and been better right away end up dying waiting on line,” he said during a July speech. “That’s not happening anymore.”

It was.

“Now [veterans] go right outside, they go to a doctor in the area, we pay the bill, and it’s the least expensive thing we can do and we save everybody’s life and everybody’s happy,” the president claimed.

Except, they still wait. The Government Accountability Office quotes say that they still wait on average 81 days.

8. The backlog in veteran disability claims

Trump signed the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 in August, saying that they were working to streamline disability compensation appeal claims for veterans.

It’s great for new vets applying for disability. For those who were stuck in the system, the wait continues as the legislation did nothing to reduce or address the current backlog or address appeals after denials. There are over 470,000 veterans stuck in the backlog. Former VA Secretary David Shulkin said that it would take $800 million and 10 years to clear the backlog of appeals.

They wait still.

9. VA’s Veterans Choice Program emergency funding ran out before it was supposed to.

Someone didn’t do their math correctly. When Congress passed and Trump signed the $2.1 billion in emergency funding for the VA’s Veterans Choice Program, it was supposed to keep the program afloat until February 2018. It ran out two months early.

10. Trump’s hiring freeze

Like many Republicans, Trump wanted to stop government from hiring new people, so he placed a freeze on any agencies bringing in new staff. For veterans looking for jobs at the Pentagon, in the social services or anywhere in government, they were locked out. While many might think it’s a small number, in 2015 The Hill reported that one-third of those applying for federal government jobs were veterans.

For understaffed agencies like the VA, the hiring freeze only made things worse.

11. Trump’s budget hurts veterans.

The Trump White House lacks a basic understanding for the daily life of those coming home from war and being discharged face. When Republicans sought to cut food stamps, they seemed to forget 1.5 million veterans use food stamps. Data on active-duty soldiers isn’t available because the Pentagon doesn’t share it. In 2013, however, 23,000 active-duty troops use food stamps.

Trump’s budget would gut Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), by $17 billion for the 2019 budget.

Veteran-specific benefits and services fall short of meeting the needs of veterans and their families, many of whom struggle to meet basic needs even with Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) supports,” the Center for American Progress reported in 2017. “More than 3.9 million veterans live paycheck to paycheck—meaning their family incomes are less than twice the federal poverty level, or less than $50,000 for a family of four.”

So, if the president touts his “many successes” that show how he has “done more for veterans than any president in the history of the world,” Americans can remind him what he has really done.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Sierra Madre VFW Memorial Day Ceremony Tomorrow

They used to send me a press release about this event to post here every year, which I was always very honored and pleased to do. But I haven't been receiving any such information from them lately. I assume it's because I have published criticism of a president who clearly collaborated with a nasty foreign power to get himself elected. 

Personally I would think that any functioning patriot would be appalled at so compromised an individual somehow ascending to the position of Commander In Chief of our military. And a five time Viet Nam era draft dodger, no less. I mean, what is there to like about this guy

Besides, isn't that what our service men and women fought and died to defend? The freedom to speak your beliefs and opinions in as forthright and fearless a manner as possible? That's pretty much where I stand. By using your freedoms you honor those who sacrificed everything to protect them.

However, the importance of this event by far transcends any such local political disagreement over press release distribution, and you really do need to go. It is very important that you do.

The VFW still hasn't posted the identity of this year's speaker yet. They have certainly had some very interesting and controversial ones there over the last few years. 

As is their unalienable right. 

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Beck Obsessed Mark Hong's E-Mail Claims Debunked

Clearer copies of Hong's emails are published here today as part of The Tattler's custom of keeping up with all of the good news. Thank you to the kind reader who sent them my way. The Tattler has nothing to hide and I was disappointed that I couldn't get cleaner copies for yesterday's post. The source wasn't good.

With these sharper copies of the emails between Hong and Beck you will be able to see that Hong did not "catch" Beck in a lie. Quite the opposite. Hong tries repeatedly to put words in Beck's mouth, but Beck respectfully and politely corrects him. Beck makes it crystal clear that he is for all citizens registering to vote and exercising that democratic privilege bestowed upon all the citizens of the United States.

Hong tries to accuse Beck of wanting only "the right Chinese" voting, but Beck never refers to that term and questions Hong's use of it. Beck agreed to meet with Hong and the City Manager at City Hall, but as everyone can see from the email that Hong somehow left out of his collection, Beck cancelled the meeting after Hong sent him over an agenda and Beck saw no reason to meet as they were destined to disagree.

In Hong's Facebook post, he clarifies that it was Joyce Platt who made the comment about the video. Hong babbles endlessly about negative mailers that Beck failed to acknowledge, but when the meeting took place between Hong and Beck, the anti-Chandler mailers had not yet been sent out. How would Beck have known about the Chandler Monopoly mailer before it was mailed? The Inside Arcadia mailer came out later in March.

These mailers only went to District 5 residents. Hong is a District 2 resident. Hong didn't know about them either and you can tell from the email exchange there was no mention of the negative Chandler mailers. And no, there were no negative Harbicht mailers, ever. And when Bob the Bulldozer yard signs went up, Beck went around and pulled them up out of people's yards after checking with the homeowners who had no idea where the signs had come from.

The emails and Facebook post just show Hong is mad about Historic Preservation and he was looking for a reason to hate Beck. Beck was never dishonest. He was merely trying to be kind to someone who did not deserve that favor.

So to the Beck haters that keep on hating in the absence of any evidence of him lying, please provide some real proof of the aforementioned offenses made by Beck. I will gladly publish it here.

And somebody posted a comment the other day that Stella Gu lives and voted in District 5. My sources checked the voter lists and no one named Stella Gu voted in District 5. Is she using an alias?  Maybe we need to check ID's at the door.

If Stella wants to be respected as a voter of District 5, maybe she should use the name in her emails that she uses for voting. And she should use a name of someone who has an address in District 5.  Still no address associated with anyone by the name of Stella Gu in District 5.

Before spreading more lies, check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Here's the emails. Examine them for yourself.

Interesting comment from yesterday

Mod: I thought I should highlight this one.

Friday, May 25, 2018

It's Time for Some Arcadia Election Losers to Take a Nap

This has been going on for just a little too long. Arcadia's City Council election happened over six weeks ago, and still some people can't seem to deal with the fact that Bob Harbicht lost the April 10 election to Tom Beck.

I mean, guys, this was just a relatively small town City Council election. What's the big deal? Certainly you can somehow put your disappointment behind you and rejoin the human race in a civil and forthright way. Trust me, you're not the first people to have candidates that didn't win a political race. But you are now rapidly becoming some of the worst election sore losers Arcadia has ever had the displeasure of seeing.

Here is what I think this is really all about.

Yes, Bob Harbicht lost. Yet somehow the sun still comes up in the morning.

The award for Sore Loser for the Month of May has got to go to Mark Hong. This guy has literally gone over the edge and straight into the Crybaby Hall of Fame with his current rather frightening obsession with relatively recently re-elected Arcadia City Councilman Tom Beck. To the point where Mark has now posted all of his personal emails with the guy.

You see, apparently the highly complex Mark once upon a time liked Tom, but that changed. These emails are from when his man crush was fresh and love was new.

Here is Mr. Hong's latest on the otherwise anonymously published Voice of Arcadia.

It appears that questioning some of the lurid and misleading claims he's made on a Facebook page constitutes being attacked in Mark's rather troubled world.

The place where Mark exposes his man crush e-mails is on a Google Drive site. They are of poor quality visually, otherwise I'd post them all here. But the presentation looks like this:

As an example of just how crude an effort this actually is, here is a screen shot of one of the emails reproduced on the heartbroken Mr. Hong's crush site.

Virtually unreadable, right? And I am not just talking about the blacked out parts.

Either somebody doesn't really want you to read these emails because they in no way back up his bizarre claims, or he just needs a good nap.

Beck won, Harbicht lost. You don't see any of these kinds of crybaby antics over the results of the 5th District election. It is time for some people to get over the results of the 2nd District vote as well.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Carpenters Union Local 209 Pickets at The Kensington

It isn't the kind of thing you usually see in bucolic Sierra Madre. Downtown Los Angeles perhaps, or maybe some place like Anaheim. But here? Across the street from City Hall, and in front of the much celebrated The Kensington Sierra Madre? No, not what people around here expect to see while driving their kids off to school.

The picketers are from the Carpenters Union Local 209, and according to the flyer I was given their grievances are a quite serious. I took a picture of it and I am posting it below. Interesting that they call out Billy Shields. They even refer to him as an enabler of wage theft. Billy was quite affable when he was here pushing to get the place built a few years back, so this is all something of a surprise.

Pretty serious accusations as far as I can tell. It is hard to believe the Kensington folks would be involved in such shady labor shenanigans, but that is what the Carpenters Union is saying. And apparently they feel quite strongly about it.

Back in March of this year the Mountain Views News covered a similar Kensington picketing. The prognosis was much sunnier than what I heard from the union guys yesterday. Here is how Susan Henderson viewed what was going down.

I don't want to appear too cynical, but maybe that is the kind of favorable coverage you get in The Mountain Views News when you buy a lot of advertising space.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Apocalypse Arcadia Is Only A Week From Next Tuesday

Everybody is getting ready for the big Arcadia blow out on June 5th. Will the City Council finally be able to pick a Mayor as planned? The supporters of Sho Tay will be there en masse to demand that he be selected as the next mayor, otherwise it would be racist. That has been pretty much standard operating procedure these days. Up until now his claque has neither been respectful, honest, or positive. Rather they have been hot-headed, disrespectful, demanding apologies for what they blindly interpret to be racism, and noisily disruptive.

The mad mail keeps flowing in to Arcadia City Hall, and most of it is mind-boggling in its cluelessness. As an example for today, I have picked one out. I'll probably do this with a few others as we head to the big day. Especially if they unkindly disparage The Tattler, as this one does. Here is what we found.

This email is from Stella Gu, who doesn't live in District 5. Stella lives in District 1 on Alta Street, Arcadia. She is not a homeowner, she is a renter.  She has been very outspoken about the Historical Preservation Ordinance, yet she would be completely unaffected as the condo she lives in would never be included. It may be because she is not a homeowner that she has a total lack of understanding as to how a historic preservation ordinance would work and what the benefits of preservation would be.

There was a negative mailer against Jolly Wu. It was in Chinese. It was re-published on the Tattler.

She claims there were 6 mailers, but attaches only 3, because there were only 3. One was a flyer that was passed out door to door by volunteers. They were all from the Committee to Oppose Roger Chandler and they were all clearly marked as such.

They were all filled with facts, copies of actual state filings and citations to city records.

In contrast, Sho Tay's mailers included false statements about the voting of city council members without any reference to the city records to back up his claims.

Since Sho Tay's mailer was the one of the only mailers sent in support of Chandler and Chandler won, it would seem likely that voters relied on the information in that mailer when voting for Chandler.

The mailer titled "Inside Arcadia" clearly is not the city of Arcadia's logo and clearly states it is from the Committee to Oppose Roger Chandler. You wouldn't know it was a mailer against Chandler unless you read it and you would know that it wasn't from the city of Arcadia if you read it.

Beck was endorsed by 2 people with ties to real estate development, but he did not receive any money from them. They are both residents of Arcadia and live in Beck's district. Tay, Harbicht and Chandler all received $1,000s of dollars from real estate developers, agents and special interests that do business with the city of Arcadia. The impropriety is the acceptance of money to get elected. The candidate then owes his seat to the donor.

Verlato never received money from real estate interests in Arcadia.

The Arcadia Rights Protection Association is currently under investigation by the FPPC for failing to file required campaign finance disclosure forms and failing to put required disclaimers and notices on their mailers meant to inform the voter of who is really supporting the candidates. Again, this was previously covered on the TattlerStella needs to review the past Tattler posts.

There was not a single negative mailer against Harbicht. Not one. Nada. And he still lost. There were multiple negative mailers against Beck and campaigners going door to door accusing Beck of being racist against Asians, a total lie. And Beck was attacked on Sho Tay's website, Arcadia's Best.

Moral of the story: Stella doesn't know what she is talking about. Here is her letter.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

A Different/Better Approach to Rebuilding the Library

Mod: I received all of this last week. Sierra Madre resident Gary Hood has been working on some very imaginative ideas for the Library that I believe are pretty exciting, and need to be carefully considered. Especially now that the community has spoken and the notion of moving the Library poolside has been rejected. Rather than just selling the back lot and using that money to patch the old building up, why not take advantage of some of the resources that are available for libraries and can be used to do something incredible? Why automatically accept the unfortunate limitations that were built into the survey postcard process? As Gary shows, charitable resources for libraries are plentiful, and if asked some could actually kick in. A lot. Plus there are intellectual resources available as well. Why not give some of these a try first? It never does hurt to ask. What is the worst that could possibly happen, they'll say no?

Sierra Madre City Council

Mayor Delmar
Mayor Pro Tem Harabedian
Council Member Arizmendi
Council Member Capoccia
Council Member Goss

The following information stems from my attending the Library meeting at the YAC. My interest was in having at least two, preferably three bids so that the city could compare prices and performances. I had a better understanding of the situation after hearing what all the comments were from those in attendance and finding out that there were no plans for bidding because that was too expensive at this stage of the process.

The City is in an excellent position right now and can take advantage of having a competition for a new, up to date design that preserves the existing structure with an added on design that takes advantage of the most recent technology.  See #2 & #8

When you look at #10 you are looking at a sign in front of the Library that shows they are educating in the most recent technology.  The Library and the community should have a building that reflects what they are teaching.

The list on the next page can be a guide for an Architect in the competition for designing something unique and imaginative. Huntington Library #5 is a good example of what a Library can provide.  As of 2-12-18 #6 shows there is grant money available today, specifically for Libraries installing a Solar system.

When you take into account that using Geothermal #12 and #9, Solar Heating, the overall long term costs are recoverable.  #1 by Calif Department of Water Resources covers Grants and Loans for Recycling, Desalination, Stormwater and Gray-water.  This should be a consideration in a New Library design and other buildings in the City.

A Library with a Digitizing room #3 could be a real asset to community and the City. Think of a Library where you could go sit in a Virtual Reality Room and experience the Desert, a Forest or the beach.

Think of what it would be like for a study group to walk into such a room where the look and feel were the same as being there. This is not futuristic dreams, this is all possible today. Think of a proposal to Samsung, Sony, LG or RCA to help build such Library rooms. The possibilities could get people and organizations interested and involved.

Sierra Madre sits in the heart of Caltech, JPL, Hollywood and many advanced technologically advanced schools. We are lucky to have such talented residents that I’m sure would love to be involved with such a Modern Library Design. With a good design that takes advantage of the latest that technology has to offer I think we would be surprised at the contributions and donations.

Thank you for the opportunity to present this.

Respectfully, Gary Hood

Information and Points for Discussion

Ca. Water Grants & Loans *1

Competition,  Collegiate Schools of Architecture *2

Digitizing,  System/Room and Storage *3

Front View of SM Library and Sign *4  ‘cover page’

Germ Free Buildings

Geothermal Heating and Cooling

Huntington Library Geodesic Dome Greenhouse & Botanical Gardens *5

Hydroponic Climate Control

Hydroponic Greenhouse

Library Grant money from EBSCO as of 2-12-18 *6

Library installs Solar, may even make money *7

Rendering of SM Library as an Updated Design *8

Solar Heating ‘Wikipedia *9

Solar powered Buildings

SM Library STEAM for Adults *10

Virtual Reality Rooms

Virtual Reality Headsets *11

Why Geothermal *12


Morgan Stanley 2015 cash contributions: $62.5 million

PNC Financial 2015 cash contributions: $72 million

Kroger 2015 cash contributions: $76.5 million

Pfizer 2015 Cash contributions: $93.3 million

General Mills 2015 cash contributions: $105 million

Target 2015 cash contributions: $111.5 million

AT&T 2015 cash contributions: $112.9 million

Coca Cola 2015 cash contributions: $117.3 million

Merck 2015 cash contributions: $132.5 million

Microsoft 2015 Cash contributions: $135.2 million

Citigroup 2015 cash contributions: $142.8 million

Google 2015 cash contributions: $167.8 million

Bank of America 2015 cash contributions: $168.5 million

JPMorgan Chase 2015 cash contributions: $224 million

Chevron 2015 cash contributions: $225 million

ExxonMobil 2015 cash contributions: $268 million

Goldman Sachs 2015 cash contributions: $276.4 million

Wells Fargo 2015 cash contributions: $281.3 million

Walmart 2015 cash contributions: $301 million

Mod: This could end up being a lot more than just building a couple of cement ramps.