Sunday, June 20, 2021

Pasadena Star News: Sierra Madre of too many sorrows

Mod: Some things the people need to know. From the Pasadena Star News. Support your local newspaper.

Sierra Madre of too many sorrows (Pasadena Star News link): I used to live in Sierra Madre. That is where I started writing news, an adventure that has taken me in many interesting directions. One of them was straight out of town. Something that happened several years ago, and with only minor consequences.

One of the joys of running a local news blog is you have the honor of airing out your city’s dirty linen. Local newspapers, economically deprived and newsroom depleted ever since readers decided Facebook stories about the neighborhood dogs were preferable, pretty much give an independent newser free rein to share the pain.

One Sierra Madre story we broke had to do with water bonds issued to purchase infrastructure needed to moisten some downtown cheese-box urban renewal. The city had to raise some cash tout de suite to take advantage of a matching federal water grant, so it cooked up $6.75 million worth of 30-year economic bondage. Sadly for these faulty financiers the residents rose up against the demolition of their beloved downtown village, put a measure on the ballot and crushed those identikit development dreams with merciless joy.

So how did the knuckleheads handle all this now unaffordable bond debt? They made interest-only payments on that $6.75 million nut for 16 years (link). Kind of like a college freshman might do with his first credit card. And if you live there, you’re still paying.

There is something similar going down in Sierra Madre now. A priceless resource in the form of open land surrounding the Mater Dolorosa monastery is about to be sold off to some out-of-town development cowboys in order to, we’re being told, fund education projects in India.

Oddly, Sierra Madre is not the only place Passionists are selling the farm. A brief Google review will take you to news accounts detailing similar moves elsewhere. Riverdale, New York, North Palm Beach, Florida and Union City, New Jersey are all in on the Passionist land boom.

The Mater Dolorosa developers are planning for 42 new homes, each selling in the seven figures. Laid out in grids, these wedged-in tract McMansions will be generic in appearance and out of kilter with civilized norms.

Here’s the skinny. On July 16, 2007, according to Wikipedia, “Bishop Mahony and the Roman Catholic Church in Los Angeles apologized for abuses by priests after 508 victims reached a record-breaking settlement worth $660 million, with an average of $1.3M for each plaintiff.”

The Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, I’m sad to say, appears to have been at the heart of this pain. A letter I’ve obtained, written by Fr. Michael Higgins (link), the fellow now running the Retreat and driving force behind the housing project, details the carnal fall of Fr. Arthur Carrillo. Carrillo was often at Mater Dolorosa between 1970 and 1994. His known prey was an underaged girl.

On the Horowitz Law website you can read about a Fr. Henry X. Vetter (link), another Retreat resident. Vetter was there — off and on — for years. During a near-decade-long span, Vetter molested children. He later fled to Mexico where a truck collision sent him to his unhappy maker.

Bishop Accountability.org discusses Fr. John Ormechea (link), an itinerant Mater Dolorosa occupant from 1974 to 1994. He was shown to have sexually abused four boys during this period.

Building so immense a housing project will take years of construction, dust, diesel exhaust, noise and misery. The folks being called upon to suffer all that are the residents of Sierra Madre.

If, as many believe, this is all a stratagem designed to raise money and help service $660 million in Archdiocese of Los Angeles child sex abuse debt, people deserve to hear about it.

Mod: Blame the messenger? So says the Linkster. Beats having to think, I guess.

Have you been sentenced to Facebook Bob's 'Sierra Madre Posting Jail' yet?

W'all, it seems that the reg'lars over at the Sierra Madre Facebook page, folks who have been hanging around that place since Lumpy Baldwin was a boy (Lumpy being Lucky's least likely lad), are not happy this weekend. They didn't much cotton to my latest Pasadena Star News column, and boy howdy did they make that known to anyone who dared show up and defend it. 

And since most of the reg'lars lack the language skills necessary to type a complete sentence without including a picture of their dog, they weren't winning any of the arguments. 

So the Sierra Madre Facebook page's social media cop, Facebook Bob Gjerde, started suspending the accounts of anyone disagreeing with him. Putting 'em in that Sierra Madre Facebook Jail, as it were.

If anyone knows how to bake a saw into a cake, please let us know. We're trying to free some prisoners of injustice.

                                               sierramadretattler.blogspot.com                                           

92 comments:

  1. Word soup is meaninglessif you dont verify.

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    Replies
    1. True. The Higgins letter is scary. What did the victim get from "pastoral support?"

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    2. Gives a whole new meaning to "Father's Day."

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    3. I'm not sure Jesus died for those sins.

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    4. It literally makes me want to throw up.

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    5. Jesus was a genius in his time and had the greatest gig all time getting free food and shelter in exchange for magic show and story telling.

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    6. Maybe He can be our next City Manager.

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  2. They talk about property rights like that is the monopoly of those doing the selling. But what about the people who will have to live with the consequences? The surrounding homeowners? Those are the property rights they never mention.

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    1. What property rights have you ceded to your neighbors/others?

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    2. You have the right to use your property subject to a City's ordinances and regulations. The proposed development is contrary to Sierra Madre's General plan, Land Use Plan and ordinances. They are using a "Specific Plan" to evade those regulations, and plan to create a residential Specific Plan District adjacent to other residential districts, but one which allows larger houses, more lot coverage (read smaller lots) and less setbacks than our ordinances allow! (All the neighboring homes don't have those "property rights"! City Staff has been promoting this project and helping them with "fixing" their Specific Plan before it is presented. Those are not the same property rights that everyone else has! Oh, the property rights you can buy if you pay (reportedly) 25 million for 20 acres!!!

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  3. Study your local ordinances and laws when it comes to protecting your property rights, each city has different laws and guidelines.

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    1. If the Mater Malarkey deal goes through Sierra Madre has no property rights.

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    2. The city council can change ordinances and laws at will.

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    3. Yes. Like all politicians they do not keep promises.

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  4. Mater Delarosa Monastery and the Catholic Archdiocese are like apples and oranges, the retreat house of Mater Delarosa is open to all.

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    Replies
    1. Bring the kids.

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    2. Sounds like the modern day equivalent of political conventions providing eye candies and charade.

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  5. I remember when I gave you the water bond info. Fun times.

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    1. Those were the days. The only elected official who ever told the truth about Sierra Madre's water bond disaster. The current crop of cowards would rather kick their mothers than dare speak of such forbidden things.

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  6. Lol, Facebook jail, him sounds familiar but the guys name is Zuckerberg, a correction needs to be inserted here.

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    1. Give Facebook Bob his due. I hear his latest jail term is until June 22.

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    2. Are you kidding? Somebody posted about this article on Facebook Bob's Sierra Madre page, and after 50 comments he deleted the whole thing!

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    3. Thank you for including the Link letter. Kids really do say the darndest things.

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    4. It is astonishing what some people will make excuses for.

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    5. When posting comments on Facebook Bob's page be sure to take a screen shot of it. You never know when he'll decide he's offended and take it down. He is very thin-skinned.

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  7. What happens if the City of Sierra Madre goes bankrupt because of insufficient funds to pay the bond installment ?
    Is that the only option to massive development of homes on the Monastery ? Arcadia developers profits have ruined
    that city with overcrowding & city hall has rubber stamped the densely packed buildings. Individuals have fought it and
    too often lost . FB has been a scourge largely attracting mental robots. The City of Sierra Madre will never recover from
    their lack of zoning restrictions that allow this sale to proceed. Can't the City Council there stop it if there is a huge
    outcry by residents ?

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    Replies
    1. City Hall is selling everything it can to pay for bad bond deals and crazy pensions like the one they gave the SMPD. People talk about how the current City Manager "saved the city." That is how he did it. Now he's taking his magic carpet out of town.

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    2. 5:59, residents can impact decisions, but it has to be a lot of them, and they have to be willing to devote time, energy and maybe some money to the cause. It's not easy, and most people who live here take it for granted that the town just evolved this way, without the enormous effort it has taken to keep it.

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    3. The City has the General Plan which specifies the property is zoned Institutional. The City has codes which have been tightened to protect neighborhoods from huge houses.
      However, the City also has a City Council and the current city manager who are all to eager to change the General Plan to please the developers. The current city manager, capoccia, and Harribedian have all done their dirty work and are gone. The current council is drinking the Kool Ade and are spineless.

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  8. Nutz and Fruits, you may spin the truth anyway you want to please yourselves, but the citizens of Sierra Madre that were involved with keeping city council's in check fought a good fight and did their research before jumping to conclusions. Lack of involvement by many of you same people because you were "tired after working all day" or "had to take care of the kids, ecterea " are why many questionable choices slipped by easily with various council members, so many had their personal agendas backed by the loudest groups in town.

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    1. Well said 7:14. Some of us have been fighting for over 20 years - some even longer. And yes, we had families, were tired after work but still did it. We are who make Sierra Madre Sierra Madre. Some fighting for 30+ years. So, people, join the fray - keep the Nancy Walshes and Joe Moscas off the Council, apply to be on the Planning Commission. DON'T just complain. It takes a lot of hard work, and some of us are very, very tired.

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  9. The gift of new development may just save the town with new revenues from taxes, but the future Mater Delarosa development had nothing to do with the deep pit some many dug out to line their pockets; most have moved out of town or are dead.

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    1. What are you talking about 7:17? The State will get most of the taxes, and we'll have to pay for the added police, etc. "Save the town" - from what? You sound like that evil MAGA man, who attempted to destroy our country.

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  10. Management under Elaine was the beginning of the end of the town.
    The SMFD and SMPD simply took what was offered to them, remember the DIRTS always had a way with words and coercion, hard to fight city hall going in the front door when the back door to Elaine's office was a revolving door.

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    1. Gabe has been a slick operator.
      Facilitating the monastery development, and dividing the preservation movement. Clever guy.

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    2. Gabe has been a slick operator.
      Facilitating the monastery development, and dividing the preservation movement. Clever guy.

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    3. 9:26. I’m sure he got a good laugh after meeting with one of the groups. They shared everything.

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    4. City Hall exists to raise the money necessary to keep City Hall in business.

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  11. Ah ha! Now it makes sense why so many people are leaving the state of California; all the monies owed in the forever pension plans that must be legally paid out.

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    1. When you see the long line of dump trucks and heavy construction equipment heading up to Mater Dolorosa to build all those mini-mansions, remember that it all goes to pay for Officer Potato Salad's retirement. You'll feel better then.

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  12. Insight from an old timer; Sierra Madre has the most strict zoning laws, the Mater Delarosa development does not violate any of them, unlike the Carter property or possibly the Helfin property in the future.

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    1. What about the drought and Sierra Madre's water restrictions? They are saying the drought this summer could be the worst in California history.

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    2. Best not to trust the city's zoning laws - they are more flexible than you might think.

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    3. Our General Plan, Housing Element and Ordinances all say that the property is zoned Institutional. The Institutional Ordinance requires a Conditional Use Permit and Master Plan for any development. Part of the Master Plan says that an Institutional property adjacent to Hillside Zoned property (like Bailey Canyon park) must adhere to the values of the Hillside Zone”

      The developer is not adhering to EITHER the General Plan or the Zoning ordinances! With the help of City Staff, he is applying for approval of a Specific plan - a residential overlay with its own rules - Larger houses than is allowed in the ordinances, More lot coverage than is allowed in the ordinances (read bigger houses on smaller lots - what does that sound like??) less setbacks’.

      We got a copy of their plans for streets, plants and fences (slump block fences between every property and the adjacent neighbors) along with an email that said (according to the Specific Plan the City would have only one opportunity to review those plans which would be included in the Specific Plan.

      So NO - following our rules and ordinances even LESS than One Carter - which didnt even have the benefit of help from the City. I bet the City didnt even make one phone call on One Carter’s behalf to help THEM out!!

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  13. Now for a politically touchy subject of the past in Sierra Madre and the election of Bart Doyle to the council, elections do have consequences.
    Too bad Mayor George Maurer is no longer with us so that he could verify this statement, but a few old timers are still around that know.
    The ballot boxes were stuffed in favor of Doyle being elected, the counts of bballots coming out of the Canyon was irregular or to put it in layman's terms; more votes that the number of residents living in the area gave Doyle his win; forensic audits are expensive but they uncover the truth, wish one had been done but graciously inorder to save the city money it was decided not to go forward.
    My how things might have been different; legal votes do matter.

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    Replies
    1. Maybe invite that crack Arizona audit team to help you out and get your chosen candidate installed, say in August.

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  14. Didn't Sierra Madre hook up to the Metropolitan water district up by Carter, remember the big hole and expensive repairs and promises?

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  15. Oxymoron! Privacy invasive Facbook is the platform for free speech. Really?

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    1. Not when Facebook Bob is running it.

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    2. Banned by Bob.

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    3. Unlike zillionaire Zuckerberg, I guess netizen Bob doesn't have a budget for a panel or independent post monitors on his FB page.

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    4. I think you can get a government grant to help you run your Facebook page. Call the city Monday and see if they have the paperwork you'll need to fill out.

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    5. Good idea. Bob should ring up his buddie Newsom to speed up the government grant process. The developer should add a French Laundry fine dining theme restaurant to the site where Newson can dine with his political donor friends in LA. This will attract lots of women going gaga over this beautiful god creature and bring SM to the world stage.

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    6. The recall is dead, and your stories are old. Time to move on.

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    7. Another boomer snowflake.

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    8. Name calling is not nice, but it does seem typical of you.

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  16. Snowflakes can't deal with CENSORSHIP if it includes them!

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    Replies
    1. Good point. These are the same loud mouths that have no problems censoring their political opponents like the biggest loud mouth djt among others.

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  17. I wonder what the native americans thought about these... whiners?

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  18. The next war will be about water.

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    1. The final battle of the Trump Installation Insurrection of January to August 2021 will precede the water wars. Final score: National Guard 1 - Insurrectionists 0

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    2. The last battle may get pushed back to December because Trump is going on a speaking tour that month with Bill O'Reilly. (Hopefully, they'll have some seasonally appropriate Trump-O'Reilly caroling and maybe a lovely Holiday Ice Capades skating duet.)


      Q Nuts, of course, are perplexed considering the promised August installation:

      "OK I GUESS MY QUESTION IS TRUMP COMING BACK? WHY WOULD HE BE DOING A TOUR THRU THE END OF THE YEAR WITH O'REILLY. HMMMMMMMMM SOMETHING DOESN'T FEEL RIGHT?” — Telegram user Peace L
      "So nothing will happen until December?" — Tina N.
      "Man I sure hope we don't have to wait that long before you're back in office." — Jack M.
      "So basically the August thing is a bunch of bull because a reinstated President doesn't go on tour.” — Angela B.

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  19. Isn't that what Chinatown was all about?

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  20. Native Americans or First People, were helpful with the second landing of immigrants from England, the first settlers did not flourish because they lacked knowledge of farming skills and how to care for themselves, no one whining but willing to learn from the natives, the second settlement consisted of skilled tradesmen and farmers.
    Learn from your elders, neighbors and forefathers; Happy Fathers Day.

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    Replies
    1. Wow! That is a beautiful story for a Hollywood script... 80 years ago.

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    2. Thank you for your WASP Anglo Saxon perspective.

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  21. All of California is at war from lack of water. RECALL GOVERNOR NEWSOM, not one penny has been spent in over 50 years to fix the water problems but you can take the bullet train from Modesto to Sacramento when it is completed, billions spent with no end cap in sight.

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    Replies
    1. But isn't the bullet train the type of corporate welfare you wing-nuts like?

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  22. Roman Polanski - Chinatown?

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    Replies
    1. Yup. Starring Jack Nicholson.

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  23. "The Rev. Michael Higgins, Father Ormachea's American superior, said parishioners expressed concerns in the mid-1960s that the priest was too close to children but did not specifically accuse him of abuse. He said the first complaints came in 1993, before he was in charge, but were withdrawn within weeks. Father Higgins said the four men's allegations were credible and he moved Father Ormechea to Rome, with approval from headquarters officials, because the order had no US facility away from children."

    One of the main charges against the Catholic Church on the child molestation issue is sheltering the perpetrators. It appears that Higgins was a part of that.

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    Replies
    1. Some of the pedophile priests hiding out in Rome are wanted in the US for their crimes. Vatican City will not allow them to be extradited.

      https://www.bishop-accountability.org/news/2004_09_12_Dunklin_InThe.htm

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    2. I have a feeling there is a #metoo theme story coming....

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  24. Lol - THE POPE WAS IN CHARGE OF ALL ABUSING PRIESTS.

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  25. Peru: Fujimori cries electoral fraud – and unleashes torrent of racism.

    Communist's dictators hate to lose.

    With 100% of the official vote counted, leftist Pedro Castillo had 50.12% – and advantage of about 44,000 votes over his far-right rival Keiko Fujimori. But Fujimori has claimed fraud, challenging about 500,000 votes, calling for half to be annulled, and obliging officials at Peru’s electoral board to reexamine ballots – despite the lack of evidence of wrongdoing.
    Apparently inspired by Donald Trump’s refusal to accept defeat at the US elections, Fujimori has led a string of marches against “fraud” telling supporters at one rally: “The election will be flipped, dear friends.”
    https://news.yahoo.com/peru-fujimori-cries-electoral-fraud-090019850.html

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  26. Any and ALL religious church or what not should lose their tax free status ASAP, and be taxed backwards in time. IRS denies tax-exempt status to Christian nonprofit group because 'Bible teachings are typically affiliated with the Republican Party'. But the IRS pointed to the group’s leadership, which has members that have been heavily involved in Republican political activities in previous years. The rejection letter also accuses the organization of engaging in “prohibited political campaign intervention” and operating “for a substantial non-exempt private purpose and for the private interests of the [Republican] party.”
    https://news.yahoo.com/irs-denies-tax-exempt-status-160500810.html

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    1. I suspect the gentlemen running Mater Dolorosa spend a lot more time discussing real estate than they do saving souls.

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    2. Which do you find more appealing? Free food and money, or hearing about the prospect of eternal life, but only after you die first.

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  27. Boycott paying the IRS and State taxes on all items, no one voted for these money making schemes.

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  28. Free food and money? Like Welfare programs and free groceries for only certain levels of income?
    Hearing about eternal peace from the other side? Is that like all those dead voters for Biden?

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    1. That’s why socialism is so much more popular than the right. With socialism you get real stuff. With the right all you get is empty headed bullshit.

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    2. It’s getting increasingly difficult for anyone to perpetuate, with a straight face, the utter bullsh!t coming from the right. Trying to defend the indefensible is only possible on Fox News and not in the real world.

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    3. The right loves socialism: corporate subsidies, tax breaks for the wealthy, fat government contracts, and socialized business costs, like taxpayer paid infrastructure and unmitigated pollution.

      The things they don't want socialized are property and profits.

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  29. 'Final straw': Priest warns Catholic bishops parishioners are furious church is choosing Trump over faithful Biden

    https://www.rawstory.com/joe-biden-catholic-bishops-hypocrisy/

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  30. Former president says US failed in Afghanistan.
    This has to be considered coming from the source, he and his country men slowly stopped the U.S. and it's allies from dismantling the Taliban and other extremists groups that in the end will kill the former president and his family member's, in 2021.
    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/ap-interview-former-president-says-us-failed-in-afghanistan/ar-AALeTVY

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  31. Here is another double standard in play, its OK for Communist Chinese to kill Muslims in Communist China? Pakistan’s PM won’t condemn China’s Uyghur treatment after decrying Islamophobia elsewhere.
    https://news.yahoo.com/pakistan-pm-won-t-condemn-223331289.html

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  32. Very sad whats happening in Sierra Madre. But, an excellent article in the Sierra Madre Tattler / Pasadena Star News.

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  33. I just looked at the Sierra Madre Facebook page and there is nothing going on there. Just crickets. Did Facebook Bob put them all in Facebook Jail?

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  34. If you want to make enemies in Sierra Madre tell the truth.

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  35. Facebook Bob, here. I have no authority to suspend any facebook accounts. Please name one person I muted or blocked from posting in the Sierra Madre CA group in relation to this article. What was the subject of the disagreement and the approximate date.

    Regarding "Facebook Bob Fights The Drought With Big Baloney" which facts did I state that were in error?

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  36. How many millions of dollars has the city made from large-project property taxes that "saved us" under Gabe's direction? I'm guessing the answer is zero millions. Even when the project is done you are talking about only a 1% increase in property taxes and that is hardly "massive." I thought it was just going to be a couple hundred thousand a year to the city.

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