Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Chandler and Harbicht: Are the Pro-Property Rights Pals also the Cell Tower Twins?

Chandler and Harbicht, the pro-property rights pals. Just what exactly are they talking about?

We hear a whole lot about how candidates Roger Chandler and Bob "Bulldozer" Harbicht are all about your property rights. I think it is safe to assume that what they mean by this is allowing the biggest home any developer wants to build. Roger and Bob will ignore the pleas of those who will have to bear the burden of living next door to a single family hotel, done in the name of profiteering for developers.

And now the two dudes are claiming your property rights are "under attack." Which, of course, they will be once these characters allow a McMansion to be build right next door to your house.

Last Saturday Arcadia heard all that again when Roger and Bob campaigned at the Arcadia High School Chinese Parents' Booster Club Fundraiser and Chinese New Year Celebration. At this event, Roger, whose ticket was fully funded by the City of Arcadia, went table to table, wearing his City Councilmember pin, passing out flyers and ingratiating himself to all the Asian parents there, all on the taxpayer's dime.

Bulldozer Bob chugged along not too far behind, brandishing a City Council pin as well. Done even though he is not currently serving in that capacity, or legally authorized to wear it. Bob was escorted by a member of the AHS Chinese Parents Booster Club for language interpretive services.

Both had their "Property Rights First!" battle cry going on that day. And remember, your tax dollars paid for Roger to be at this event, representing the City of Arcadia. It doesn't sound very ethical to use taxpayer money to attend an event for the purpose of political campaigning. But that's our boy. Arcadia can be proud of Roger Chandler's easy ethical convenience.

So let's take a closer look at some of that list of property rights Roger and Bob are eager to protect once elected to a Peacock Throne on the City Council.

Some might think it's a property right to build big houses. However, that is not all of it. The people who would have to live in the dark shadows of those big houses have property rights as well, and neither Chandler nor Harbicht care anything about them. They are selective about this, and only choose to listen to the sweet sound of money.

Roger and Bob have consistently voted to repeal tree protection ordinances in the name of property rights. Such annoying things get in the way of those building huge McMansions, limiting the amount of profit concerned developers can make.

Some might think that it's a property right to have a circle driveway that holds 10 cars for certain poor and elderly couple's 6,100 square foot McManny. But again, it's not. If you want to live next to a parking lot, go set up your tent at the shopping mall.

There's one more property right the big house boys are hokey pokeying about, and the residents of Arcadia would have to be bat blind not to see this one coming. Cell Towers. Big, tall, obtrusive, medically questionable cell towers, and right next door to your home.

Perhaps you think I'm making this up?

Roger was the lone vote for a 54' tall cell tower proposed by Verizon to be placed in a residential neighborhood last year.  The owner of the Church at the corner of 1st Avenue and Lemon needs the $2,000 in yearly revenue it would produce to stay afloat, but the neighbors vehemently protested and the majority of council voted against it. Verizon has now sued and the City of Arcadia is still hip deep in litigation over that one. A change in council would allow for a settlement with a 54' tall tower to be built in that residential neighborhood.

But what evidence do I have that Bob the Bloody Bulldozer would vote for a cell tower in a residential neighborhood?  Who would be so crazy to be in favor of a cell tower in their own backyard? You guessed it! Bob himself!

At the top of this post is a photo from the front of Bob's house. Circled in red is a cell tower glaring above the roof line of his own home like Darth Vader's hissing head. Bob has his very own cell tower next to his very own backyard. How would you like to live near it? That's what Roger and Bob call property rights. The right of every homeowner to have the cell tower of their dreams right there, in their own backyard. With nothing they can legally do to stop it.

If Roger and Bob are elected, you can also bet that Sho Tay will vote with the tower team to protect the property rights of every homeowner to have their own 54' tall cell tower. Whether they want one or not.

Don't worry, Sho Tay has been appointed and won't have to run, so he's not beholden to the wishes or desires of his constituents. You really don't think he'll go back on his word on cell towers? Try it and see what happens.

The HOAs trusted Two Timing Tay when he campaigned in 2014. He told all of them that he would vote in favor of smaller homes in the HOAs. His way of showing his appreciation to the HOAs for helping get him elected? He has voted against them every time the issue comes up.

So who's ready to get better cell service in Arcadia? Be sure to wear your sun screen.


Monday, February 19, 2018

Presidents Day: Did Washington Predict Donald Trump?

Mod: Thoughtful New York Times op-ed for Presidents Day. Please remember that we are living in interesting times. Times George Washington might have seen coming.

Did George Washington Predict Donald Trump? (The New York Times link): In September 1796, George Washington, weary of partisan combat just eight years after the ratification of the Constitution and the founding of the nation, wrote a farewell address explaining why he would not seek a third term. His message is worth remembering in our current political moment.

In elaborate and thoughtful prose, Washington raised red flags about disunity, false patriotism, special interests, extreme partisanship, fake news, the national debt, foreign alliances and foreign hatreds. With uncanny foresight, he warned that the most serious threat to our democracy might come from disunity within the country rather than interference from outside. And he foresaw the possibility of foreign influence over our political system and the rise of a president whose ego and avarice would transcend the national interest, raising the threat of despotism.

Washington certainly had great confidence, but in his address he didn’t brag about his accomplishments. On the contrary, he beseeched the Almighty to soften the impact of his errors and expressed hopes that the country would forgive them. He established a standard for presidential self-deprecation out of the fear that a president of grossly inflated ego could become a threat to democracy.

He cautioned against both overly friendly alliances (lest another country’s interests and wars become our own) and excessive hatreds (lest we provoke unnecessary conflict and war with others). Forbearance in the use of power was another of his major themes.

“A free country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another,” he declared. Such encroachment, he said, would lead to the consolidation of power and create “a real despotism.”

Some of Washington’s most prescient warnings were about the dangers of factionalism. He wrote that should one group, “sharpened by the spirit of revenge,” gain domination over another, the result could be “a more formal and permanent despotism.” The despot’s rise would be fueled by “disorders and miseries” that would gradually push citizens “to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual.”

“Sooner or later,” he concluded, “the chief of some prevailing faction, more able and more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purpose of his own elevation on the ruins of public liberty.”

As if envisioning the political tribalism and 24/7 cable news culture of today, he urged political leaders to restrain “the continual mischiefs” of political parties. The “spirit of party,” he wrote, “serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection.”

And then he arrived at one of his greatest concerns: The ways in which hyper-partisanship could open the door “to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.”

On Friday, Robert Mueller, the special counsel, charged 13 Russians with trying to help Donald Trump win the 2016 election. One need only read the indictment to understand what the first president was talking about.

Since 1893, a senator has read the farewell address on the floor of the Senate every year on Washington’s Birthday, alternating annually by political party. Bluntly speaking, it’s become little more than an exercise in bipartisan lip service. The House of Representatives stopped reading it decades ago.

This was, at least, a form of honesty. Clearly no one was listening anymore. In 2016, fake news, gerrymandering, voter suppression and disenfranchisement were “the mischiefs” employed by the Republican Party to propel Mr. Trump’s campaign. And Mr. Trump, perhaps “more able and more fortunate than his competitors,” stumbled to victory using mendacious appeals to voters squeezed by a greedy economy — even though Mr. Trump had himself profited handsomely from that economy. If only we had heeded Washington’s warnings, would the election have turned out as it did?

Washington’s goal was to ensure that the young country became stable enough to withstand the threats to liberty and freedom he saw on the horizon — a horizon that has now stretched 220 years into the future. We can never say he didn’t warn us.


Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sho Tay Censors a Discussion of Guns on his Arcadia's Best website, even though he deals in them for a living

A gentleman that I have come to know over the last few months posted the above question on Sho Tay's website, the at times oxymoronically titled Arcadia's Best.

As was recently revealed here on The Tattler, Mayor Pro Tem Sho Tay is a genuine gun dealer. And my concerned friend wanted to find out what this next Mayor of Arcadia thinks about semi-automatic weaponry and the role these things have played in the repeated slaughter of innocents. Such as what happened last week in Florida.

Or like what had also occurred in Las Vegas, Orlando, Aurora, Bowling GreenBlacksburg, PlanoLittle RockCharleston, San Bernardino, Fort Hood, Columbine, Sandy Hook, Sutherland Springs and, of course, Parkland High School. And far too many other places to mention here.

To give you some additional perspective, a New York Times article, titled "After Sandy Hook, More Than 400 People Have Been Shot in Over 200 School Shootings," appeared in that paper earlier this week. Here is the link that will take you there. Heavily armed madmen have declared a war on kids.

The screenshot at the top of this page shows the question my friend asked Sho Tay on Arcadia's Best. It seemed to me like a good one. As someone who is in the gun business, and is also about to become the next Mayor of Arcadia, Sho's opinions on this issue could be both insightful and beneficial to a lot of people.

Unfortunately, Sho Tay has not only refused to answer that question, but he also censored it from his website. It was never cleared to appear on Arcadia's Best. It's as if this deadly menace is of no concern there, with Sho not wishing to reveal any personal insight on an issue of singular importance today.

After hearing from my friend about his unfortunate experience there, I decided to do some research into Sho Tay's firearms business. The question in mind being why is he keeping this topic from appearing on his Arcadia's Best website? There must be a reason. Especially since Sho himself claims he never deletes comments from his site. Except that apparently he does.

Here is a screenshot describing the corporate entity that financially incorporates Sho Tay's gun business, Merriwether Enterprises (link).

There is a website link on the Merriwether page, and if you click on that you will be taken to the site for the La Puente Firing Range, which is Sho Tay's firearms business. You can also get to that site by clicking here.

You with me so far? Good. While we're on the topic of tragedies involving weaponry, Sho Tay's gun business in La Puente has not been without a similar misfortune. The following comes to us from local daily the San Gabriel Valley Tribune (link).

La Puente Firing Range shooting death possible accident or suicide --- (LA PUENTE 5/12/2015): Detectives don’t suspect foul play in the death of a Walnut man found fatally shot at a shooting range Monday night. Investigators are looking at whether the death is an accident or a suicide, according to Sgt. Shannon Laren of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.  

Ed Winter, assistant chief of investigations and operations for the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner, identified the man as Ning Pan, 29, of Walnut. He said an autopsy is pending.

An employee at the La Puente Firing Range at 16418 Valley Blvd. found Pan around 9:30 p.m. He had a gunshot wound to the upper body, Laren said. He said the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Obviously guns are designed to be deadly, and those who use them need to be extremely careful. Semi-automatic weaponry, such as the kind used at mass killings like the one that occurred this week at Parkland High School, is a particularly lethal category of firearms.

For some additional insight, here is how Frank Girardot, the former news chief at the Pasadena Star News, describes his experiences with the semi-automatic weaponry available at La Puente Firing Range. This following comes to us from his very serious sounding news site, SGVCrime (link).

The rest of Girardot's article on his experiences at La Puente is available via the link provided above. As a side note, given the many gun massacres involving semi-automatic weaponry over the last decade or so, I wonder how Frank might feel today about some of the edgier viewpoints he expressed in his column.

Hopefully Sho Tay can now answer our friend's question, as posted at the beginning of today's article here on the Sierra Madre Tattler. It is never too late to do the right and honorable thing.


Saturday, February 17, 2018

All of the Sierra Madre News you'll ever want to read

Mod: We get our share of complaints here about the blog, and that's fine. When some people aren't complaining you probably need to check and make sure they're still breathing. One of the gripes we hear quite often is that The Tattler doesn't carry enough Sierra Madre news anymore. So here you go.

San Gabriel Valley water board accepting applications for Sierra Madre representative (Pasadena Star News link): The San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District is accepting applications for an appointment to represent Sierra Madre on its board of directors.

Applicants must reside in Division 4, which encompasses Sierra Madre, be a citizen of the United States and not have any felony convictions, according to the board. Mailed and personally delivered applications will be accepted until 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 6. Board members will interview candidates in March.

The successful applicant must commit to attending board meetings at 8 a.m. the second Monday of each month in the district’s board room in Azusa, as well as special meetings as necessary.

Mod: Like anyone ever needs an excuse to go to Azusa, right? You could be the next Tom Love, and wouldn't that be wonderful? Another near volunteer job that has been out there for a bit is the Sierra Madre City Clerk gig. The last one left when the city cut her pay by a few thousand dollars, but don't let that discourage you. If writing down every nugget of wisdom shared at a City Council meeting appeals to you, then go for it!

City Clerk Application (City of Sierra Madre.com link): In the United States, the office of city clerk was one of the first to be established when early colonists set up local governments.

Today, a city clerk is an elected or appointed senior official who is responsible for many administrative functions that relate to maintaining the public records of a municipality. The Sierra Madre City Council is soliciting applications to fill the vacancy of the elected City Clerk. The successful candidate will be appointed by the City Council to serve as City Clerk until April 2020.

The statutory duties of the City Clerk, as described in Government Code Section 40801 through 40811, are:

· Keep an accurate record of the proceedings of the legislative body

· Keep and record all city ordinances with the clerk’s certificate annexed to each, which record, with the certificate, constitutes prima facie evidence of the contents of each ordinance and of its passage and publication and is admissible as such evidence in any court or proceedings; and

· Act as the custodian of the city seal

The appointed City Clerk will receive a $250 monthly stipend commencing the month they are appointed and concluding the end of April, 2020. If you are interested in applying for the City Clerk position please return a completed  application to Sierra Madre City Hall at 232 W. Sierra Madre Blvd.

Mod: Former Sierra Madre Mayor Joe Mosca abruptly left the Foothill Village behind a few years back, and is now Vice Mayor in the City of Encinitas. However, San Diego County has not been as accepting of Joe and his family as they probably hoped. 

Santa Fe Christian school discouraged same-sex couple from applying (The Coast News link): When Matt Bosse began looking for a middle school for his 10-year- old, Garrett, several friends told him to consider Santa Fe Christian Middle School, a school known for rigorous academics, proud athletics and a Bible-based curriculum.

After all, they said, Garrett is a high-character, straight-A student at Olivenhain Pioneer Elementary School, an altar boy at his Episcopalian Church and plays competitive lacrosse.

So it came as a surprise, Bosse said, when school admissions director Vicki O’Rourke late last year discouraged him from applying because they weren’t the type of family that would be welcome at the school.

The reason, Bosse said? Because Garrett has two fathers. Bosse’s spouse is Encinitas City Councilman Joe Mosca, who became the city’s first openly gay councilman when he was appointed in 2017. Bosse and Mosca said they were “shocked” and “disappointed” by the school’s decision, which they called outdated.

“It was the first time in our experience that we have faced that sort of discrimination,” Bosse said. “We respect SFC and their right to run the school, but in this day in age, it seems antiquated.”

Mosca echoed Bosse’s sentiments. “When they told us that we weren’t invited to apply because we were two dads it was shock to us,” Mosca said. “Hopefully by telling our story it can effect some change.” Santa Fe Christian Middle School Director Todd Deveau said in a statement that the school doesn’t comment on specific admission decisions, but commented on the school’s admissions practices.

“While we do not provide details on matters involving students or prospective students, I can say that our policy is to encourage the family of any student committed to academic excellence and spiritual development to apply,” Deveau wrote. “As a matter of practice, we do not attempt to persuade or dissuade prospective families from applying.

“At the same time, as part of the admissions process, we make clear to prospective applicants that they will be joining a Bible-based community designed to disciple students to embrace biblical truth,” Deveau’s statement continued. “This is our mission and our purpose, and a vital component of the SFCS experience.”

Mod: This next item should be received as good news for anyone hoping to save Sierra Madre's current Library. Apparently the Feds no longer care as much about "ADA requirements" as some still claim.

Bill slowing lawsuits for ADA non-compliance passes (The Hub link): A bill that slows the process of filing a non-compliant Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuit passed the House on Thursday. The ADA Education and Reform Act, or H.R. 620 was introduced by Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas).

Businesses will now have an additional 60 days to devise a plan to fix non-ADA compliant issues and another 120 days to implement the changes before being sued. “These ‘drive-by’ lawsuits all too often create a negative impression about the goals of this important law. Suits of this kind saw a 14 percent increase in 2017,” Poe said in a statement on his website. Supporters of the bill claim it will help both small businesses and people with disabilities.

“We’re very excited for H.R. 620, it’s long overdue for the business owners and for the disabled,” said Maryann Marino, the Southern California representative for Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA). This nonpartisan group focuses on fighting against lawsuit abuse in California.

ADA lawsuit abuse has been explosive,” Marion said. “I can line you up with hundred of shakedown lawsuits that have wiped out or nearly wiped out a lot of family-run businesses.”

Opponents of the bill feel it discourages businesses from making their spaces ADA-compliant and could result in long delays.

Mod: Just when you began to fear that the planet might have forgotten, a new article about Sierra Madre's mighty Wistaria Vine has now appeared on the World Wide Web.

Sierra Madre Wistaria Vine (Atlas Obscura link): Every spring, a breathtaking swathe of purple emerges within the shadow of the parched Southern California mountains. This spectacular colorful display is thanks to the beautiful flowers that burst from the branches of one extra-special vine.

This lovely “Lavender Lady,” as some call it, is the largest flowering plant in the world. Every spring, more than a million gorgeous purple blossoms drape from its tangled branches. Its seeds originally came from China, and two homeowners planted it in 1894 to celebrate their new house.

In a sad twist of fate, the wistaria eventually grew so large it destroyed the home it was planted to honor. It now occupies a staggering one-acre stretch of space.

Though the Guinness Book of World Records lists the vine as the world’s largest blossoming plant, the massive specimen is strangely hard to see. As it’s on private property, the public is only able to visit the behemoth beauty once a year during the annual Wistaria Festival. On this day, the whole town (plus plant-loving travelers) gather to celebrate this local celebrity.

It’s worth the wait. Witnessing this rare botanic gem is a true treat. Being able to walk under its sprawling canopy of delicate purple flowers is a magical experience. It’s no wonder it’s considered to be one of the seven horticultural wonders of the world.

Mod: We all know that the Pasadena Unified School District has some serious woes, but that should never prevent the usual suspects over in Pasadena from screwing things up even more. Very few people in Sierra Madre will be aware of this next item.

A New Way - Council to hold special meeting on changing charter to suit new state law (Pasadena Weekly link): The Pasadena Board of Education and the Pasadena City Council will hold a joint meeting at Pasadena City Hall to vote on putting a proposed City Charter change on the June 5 ballot. According to a new state law, cities with low voter turnout must move election dates to coincide with state election dates if local election participation rates result in contests with low voter turnout.

City Council and Board of Education races over the past several years have been plagued by voter apathy, forcing city officials to comply with the law. Under the California Voters Participation Rights Act, the city will change its election calendar from March primaries and April general elections, which are currently conducted in odd years, to June primaries and November general elections in even years, or when the state holds its elections.

The city’s election calendar is regulated by the charter which can only be changed at the voting booth by Pasadena residents. Because the Pasadena Unified School District includes Altadena and Sierra Madre, those residents will have a chance to vote on the proposed charter change regarding Board of Education elections.

Under the new system, elections will no longer be run by the city, and instead be supervised by county officials. Voters will be asked a simple yes or no question:

“Consistent with state law, shall the Pasadena City Charter be amended to: 1) change the city’s primary and general election dates to coincide with statewide primary and general election dates, beginning with the November 2018 general election; 2) extend the current terms for the mayor and councilmembers by 19 months on a one-time basis in order to transition to the  statewide election cycle; and 3) change the timing of the mayor’s thematic budget message?”

The City Council would maintain part of its current system which requires the winner to receive more than 50 percent of the vote. The school district will move to plurality elections. Under that system, the candidate with the most votes wins.

The current system could extend elections by months and make it even more expensive to run for office, thus making it more difficult for newcomers to be elected.

Mod: Hopefully that is enough for now. More Sierra Madre News as it arrives.


Friday, February 16, 2018

NY Times: Thoughts and Prayers and N.R.A. Funding

Mod: I think that if I was God the prayers of these fools would offend me.

Thoughts and Prayers and N.R.A. Funding (The New York Times link:) Most Americans support stronger gun laws — laws that would reduce deaths. But Republicans in Congress stand in the way. They fear alienating their primary voters and the National Rifle Association. Below are the top 10 career recipients of N.R.A. funding – through donations or spending to benefit the candidate – among both current House and Senate members, along with their statements about the Las Vegas massacre. These representatives have a lot to say about it. All the while, they refuse to do anything to avoid the next massacre.

All of these representatives are Republican. The highest ranked Democrat in the House is Sanford Bishop, who ranks 41st in career donations from the N.R.A. Among the top 100 House recipients, 95 are Republican. In the Senate, the top two Democrats are Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who rank 52nd and 53rd — behind every Republican but Dan Sullivan of Alaska.

Michael Cohen's Porn Star Payment Just Left Trump Open to Criminal Charges (Law and Crime.com link): President Donald Trump‘s personal attorney Michael Cohen addressed the payment of $130,000 that went to former pornographic film star Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels) in 2016. Cohen said that the payment to Clifford, who had claimed she had an affair with Trump soon after his wife Melania Trump gave birth to their son, came directly from him. In an apparent effort to show that the payment was legal, he made it clear that Trump’s campaign was not involved in the transaction. Ironically, however, Cohen’s very explanation could land Trump in serious trouble, and possibly vulnerable to criminal charges.

“Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford,” Cohen told the New York Times, “and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly.” Cohen would not say what the payment was for, but other outlets have reported it was to prevent Clifford from speaking publicly about the alleged affair.

While Cohen was probably trying to put Trump in the clear by saying he had nothing to do with it, his very explanation paints a picture very similar to that of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards.

Edwards faced charges after it was alleged that he accepted and tried to conceal hundreds of thousands of dollars that came from outside sources that were then used to cover up an affair he was having. Edwards was running for president at the time of the payments, and federal prosecutors claimed that the money should have been reported as campaign contributions. Such contributions also would have been in excess of the maximum amount allowed by individual donors, in violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Arcadia's Worst Valentine's Day: Did Sho Tay Lay An "Arcadia's Best" Hit Piece On Councilmember Tom Beck Under The Name Of Long Departed Editor Scott Hettrick?

Mod: I ordinarily don't like to post articles having titles quite that long, but this really is a special case. Yesterday things went quite bananas in Peacocktown, and we're here to try and untangle this latter day Valentine's Day Masasacre for you.

As you might know, the now oxymoronically titled "Arcadia's Best" website is currently owned and run by Arcadia Mayor Pro Tem Sho Tay. Here is a document that establishes his ownership. It is important to share this because Sho Tay is now apparently claiming he bears no responsibility for what gets posted on his own website. Here he identifies himself as both owner and "webmaster."

Scott and a friend.
Arcadia's Best used to be the pride and joy of a fellow named Scott Hettrick. Scott ran it as a kind of Chamber of Commerce news site, and filled it with articles that promoted local businesses and civic events. You know, nice community booster style positive stuff.

However, Scott moved to Nebraska a couple of years back to be with his grandkids, gave up the blog business and, quite obviously, things have now gone downhill very quickly at a site many refer to today as "Arcadia's Worst."

Yesterday someone posted a truly nasty and dishonest hit piece on the Arcadia's Worst site smearing current City Councilman Tom Beck. And this person did it under the name of Scott Hettrick who, after being contacted by incredulous Arcadia residents at his home in far away Omaha, swore he had nothing to do with it. And why would he? He gave the site to Sho Tay two years ago and hasn't been involved with it ever since. Plus it just isn't his style. Scott is a far better writer than that, and never penned anything I've ever seen in such an "ESL" style.

Sho Tay was then contacted by certain aggrieved residents and asked why he had written such a thing and posted it on a site many still believe has something to do with civic involvement and promoting the nice things about Arcadia. Sho then claimed it wasn't him, but rather it was posted by hackers and he would take care of it right away.

So what was Sho Tay's idea of taking care of this situation? Did he take down the offending article and apologize to Scott Hettrick? Or explain to a baffled community that the article was put there by a hacker, and that he has hired professionals to improve the security on a site that he himself owns?

No, instead he left the article up, said Scott didn't write it, and then gave it a new author.

Very strange, right? Technical glitch indeed. The smear piece is still attached to the name Scott Hettrick, but the site's owner said it was actually posted by a mystery resident. Look, if your website was hacked and an obvious smear piece was left there, and under the name of a highly respected fellow who ran the local Chamber of Commerce for years no less, you'd immediately pull it down, right? Then call the cops. Obviously Sho's weird solution here does raise some very substantial questions.

Tom Beck responded to the smear by posting the following on Arcadia's Worst.

Tom Beck says
February 14, 2018 at 8:48 AM

WHO WROTE THIS FALSE HIT PIECE? Everything on my website can be backed up with documents or emails. The two lawyers on the CC voted to fight the potential lawsuit because of facts of Arcadia were unique and we thought we could win. EVERY ARCADIAN I HAVE TALKED TO THINKS DISTRICTS ARE BAD FOR ARCADIA. At large election would mean everyone who wants to be on the CC would have to face the voters they represent- including Sho Tay. My votes prove I’m the MOST FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE member of the CC. The Brinks sent me an email stating they totally support me and were telling their friends to vote for me. They were then listed as endorsers. I then received a later email that they should be removed because Burt is running for the Assembly but they still support me and were sorry. Sho Tay is WRONG!! I did bring the Ring Door Bell Program. Sho should ask our City Manager where I first brought it and it was passed to Police Chief.

Sho and tell?
There is one more piece to this very strange puzzle. Sho Tay is now claiming that the smear was posted (or hacked in) by someone who goes by the name of Brett Meyer. No such name can be found on any list of property owners in town, nor has he been located yet on any roster of Arcadia voters. And I emphasize the word "yet" because we are still trying to identify who Brett Meyer might actually be. Nobody knows who this man of mystery is.

My opinion? What follows is conjecture at this point, but it is where all of the evidence is now pointing. Sho Tay, or someone close to him, wrote the piece, and he posted it under the name of Scott Hettrick because he thought this would lend it some credibility. Obviously Sho felt it did need a credibility boost, and for once he is right. And if true, it was obviously a very creeped out thing for him to do.

After Hettrick was contacted in Omaha about the smear piece and cried foul, Sho Tay then claimed the site had been hacked, but strangely enough left the offending piece up anyway just in case someone in town did write it. Or so he claims. Sho also left Hettrick's name there for all to see, along a very odd explanation for having done so.

Now Sho Tay is claiming an as yet unidentified "Brett Meyer" wrote the hit piece, but nobody knows who this guy is. Nor has evidence of his existence been found so far in any of the usual places.

You do realize that Sho Tay is about to become the next Mayor of Arcadia, right? I pity the peacocks.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Has There Been An Increase In Crime In Sierra Madre?

Some people put a lot of faith in these "Safest Cities In California" surveys. Especially in Sierra Madre, which usually ranks amongst the very safest in all of the Golden State. Treasure Henderson, who runs the Mountain Views News, obviously looks forward to these, and gives them some deeply meaningful exposure in her paper every year. This one being no exception. To bring you up to speed, here is 2018's article.

Now don't get me wrong. "28th Safest City in California" is not necessarily a bad thing. There are Mayors of many cities in this state who would happily sell the souls of their dear mothers for such a result. But is that number 28 really up to past Sierra Madre standards? Based on some similar reports from years gone by, perhaps not.

The first result we dug up is from something called the Safewise Report. The year of this survey's release was 2017 (link).

This next safe city survey was released in 2016, and it is the work of something called Background Checks.Org (link). Here Sierra Madre came in a very admirable #6.

The final survey I found was released all the way back in 2013, with the crime figures for this report dating from 2012. It is the work of something going by the name of Movoto (link), and here Sierra Madre ranked a remarkably safe #8.

So there you have it. Like I said, this year's rank of "28th Safest in California" is not necessarily all that bad. But as we have now seen, things might have been a little bit better before.


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Sho Tay: Golden Memories from the Man with the Miss America Smile

Last week I introduced you to an initial piece of current campaign bluster from Arcadia's enduring political artifact, Bulldozer Bob Harbicht. This week I thought we should have a "TBT," or "Throwback Tuesday​," and remember when Arcadia's now Mayor Pro Tem, Sho Tay, was running unsuccessfully for City Council back in the year 2012.

To the immediate left is Sho Tay's homespun, yet heartfelt, campaign flyer from that year. Note Sho's dismay at the uncontrolled tax and spend treachery of then Council Members Bob Harbicht and Roger Chandler. He was also upset with their efforts to campaign for John Wuo. John is the now former Arcadia Mayor often noted today for his alleged promotion of a local crypto-currency known as Gem Coins. Which, as I am sure you are aware, were famously backed by amber mines. Something no longer the case, sad to say. Apparently the FBI didn't like it.

Then there was Sho Tay's more successful bid for an Arcadia City Council perch in 2014. A run that was not without some measure of controversy, however (link):

Arcadia POA pulls endorsement of candidate - The Arcadia Police Officer’s Association has removed their endorsement for Sho Tay for Arcadia City Council in the April 8 election, Arcadia Detective Mike Hale confirmed with Arcadia Weekly on Thursday.

An attempt to collect mail-in ballots for the upcoming April 8 election in Arcadia by a young man identified only as an Asian teenager approximately 16 years of age who was knocking on doors in the 1700 block of Alta Oaks and asking residents if he could collect their election ballots and mail them for them was the catalyst.

Now we'll fast forward to 2018, when MPT for Life Tay has become the "Appointed One." There will be no need to campaign this time around. It also seems that his past disdain for Harbicht and Chandler has waned a bit. Or even morphed into an adorable form of bro-love. Today he appears in photo ops supporting The Bulldozer's run for a City Council seat. But you won't find such a photo in the Arcadia Weekly or the Pasadena Star News. You'll instead have to look to the Chinese World Journal.

Here is one. I am also including the interesting translation provided by Google (link).

Nice man-spread, Bob. It's here that you can find MPT Tay smiling away with his new best friend. How did this happen? Why so sudden a change of heart? Is it because Bob is now a much finer man than the current Councilmember, Tom Beck? Maybe Sho Tay is impressed by Bob's camel-toe?

Or perhaps it was how Harbicht led a young delegation from the Special Olympics a few years back when they first arrived to town. Especially after he famously referred to those athletes as being "retarded." For those who have forgotten the moment, you can refresh your memory by viewing the following video footage:

The link is found here.

It could be Sho Tay was swayed by how much money Harbicht raised in 2016.

Arcadia council candidate gets controversial $26K donation from local developer (Pasadena Star News link): A local developer that has been trying to build on an Arcadia hillside for 15 years has spent $26,850 to support City Council candidate Bob Harbicht’s campaign, according to campaign finance records ... Instead of donating directly to Harbicht’s campaign, Nevis Capital LLC, owned by Ta-Jen Lee, routed the money through the California Homeowners Association, a political action committee in Sacramento ... The PAC spent $15,000 on a mailer sent to voters this week asking Arcadians to “bullet vote,” or only cast one vote for Harbicht, even though there are two seats open. The PAC also spent $10,000 on online marketing for the candidate ...

Sho Tay, on the other hand, was only able to get a $10,000 contribution in that single donor category when he last had to run in 2014.  Here's a copy of Tay's Form 460:

Invest LA Regional Center, LLC is a federally regulated program through the United States Customs and Immigration Services Department. It is where immigrants who "invest" $500,000 with an approved Regional Center can then qualify for a visa called an Eb-5 for not only the investor, but their entire family.

It seems to me that contributions from a Regional Center that is run entirely on foreign money may be an attempt of a foreign national trying to influence a local election. Does the Federal government know how this money was being spent? Why would a Regional Center that is a pre-approved qualifying investment for foreigners looking to immigrate to the United States be interested in who is sitting on the City Council in little old Arcadia? Maybe because the gentleman behind the curtain is none other than Kin Hui, Arcadia resident and developer extraordinaire?

It looks like the actual link between Bulldozer Bob Harbicht and Sho Tay could be that they are both the willing puppets of some very well-heeled developers.

Nothing ever really changes. It is always about the money.

An update to last Tuesday's Arcadia post

The City of Arcadia will be sending out a mailer on Historic Preservation in the next couple of weeks to correct some of the misinformation being spread by Bulldozer Bob Harbicht. Yes, The Tattler makes a difference wherever it may roam. We'll post it here when it becomes available.

Here is a comment that didn't get posted a week ago because I really wanted to give it the special attention it deserves.

How ironic is that a person who himself lives in an over 7000 SF Mcmansion is against development? Tom Beck is a typical hypocrite. He would rather pay millions of tax dollars on a unwinnable lawsuit than vote for district voting to allow more representation from the underrepresented. He voted to deny Crosby's circular driveway, arguing against the owner's safety plea. How could he not understand a circular driveway would be certainly safer than backing up to the street for an over 70-year old couple? 

The commenter left out that Beck himself doesn't have a circular driveway and the poor, elderly couple who needs this circular driveway for "safety" reasons, is none other than Tom Crosby, the owner/broker of Coldwell Banker/George Realty.

Tom "Coldwell" Crosby is currently in the middle of constructing his modest 6,092 sf 2-story mansion with a 3 car garage in the back of the house that has a 32'x32' parking pad in the back for easy turning in order to go out of the driveway front first.  It features 5 BR, 5BA plus 1/2 BA, a kitchen, a wok kitchen, a breakfast nook, a family room with a wet bar, a wine room, a library, a home theater, and a home gym.

How is it Crosby is able to afford such luxurious digs, and in his golden years no less? He has reaped the rewards of over-development in Arcadia, for each agent from his office that sells a McMansion, as the owner/broker he gets a commission, too.

The city staff of Arcadia determined that because he has a 50' front yard setback, the circular driveway would cause an excessive amount of hardscape and denied the request. There has been issue on these large properties with people parking 10 or more cars in the circular driveways.

With just a retired, old couple living in this wickiup, there shouldn't be a need to park 10 automobiles.

Besides, who needs all of those cars when you can just call an Uber to take you to Sprouts?


Monday, February 12, 2018

Preserve Sierra Madre: Upcoming City Council Election

Mod: This came through this morning and I thought I should post it here.

Dear Supporters: As many of you know, there is an important City Council election coming up on April 10, 2018.  There are 3 incumbents running for re-election for the 3 seats that will be in play and voters are allowed to vote for 3 candidates.  Those incumbents are Rachelle Arizmendi, Denise Delmar and Gene Goss.  There is one candidate challenging the incumbents, Andy Bencosme.

In the past, Preserve Sierra Madre has not formally endorsed political candidates. However, the stakes are so high in this election, that we do not feel that Preserve Sierra Madre can remain on the sidelines. The present City Council has accomplished some remarkable things when it comes to preservation in Sierra Madre the highlights of which include passing a General Plan that is very protective of Sierra Madre, passing rules to prevent Arcadia-like mansionization, passing a Demolition Ordinance that protects historically significant homes from being torn down and enacting a water meter moratorium to protect our depleted water resources.

For these reasons and many others, we are strongly urging our supporters to re-elect Rachelle Arizmendi, Denise Delmar and Gene Goss and keep the present City Council intact so that they can continue their good work.

We are sure the challenger is a decent and honorable man. But he is a real estate agent who had his fundraising kickoff not in Sierra Madre, but in Arcadia at the Arcadia Association of Realtors.   Based on the over-development that has been allowed to occur in Arcadia over the last 20 years, we suspect that the Arcadia Association of Realtors probably does not share the same goals as Preserve Sierra Madre when it comes to protecting our "Village of the Foothills."

But our efforts will not be against any one but rather for keeping the existing City Council intact as long as possible.  While we have not always agreed with every position of all 3 of the incumbents, the fact remains that all of the many successes of Preserve Sierra Madre happened during their watch.  We can say that in general, all 3 have supported preservation in Sierra Madre and none of what we accomplished could have happened without their support.

The importance of this election is further amplified by two very important issues that may come up within the next couple of years: Efforts to develop the Monastery seem to be rearing its head again and the City Council may take up the issue of whether to do an historic survey of the City's properties. This makes the election and the re-election of the 3 incumbent candidates of vital importance. There may also be outside money and influence in this election from those having a different agenda for this city than preservation.

Here's how our supporters can help:

1. You will be allowed 3 votes. Vote for Rachelle Arizmendi, Denise Delmar and Gene Goss.

2. Forward this email to 5-10 friends and urge them to vote.

3. Email us back and let us know if you can volunteer by walking or making phone calls in support of these 3 candidates.

We have appreciated your support in the past and we try to refrain from asking for your help unless it is really important.  This is one of those times.  Much has been accomplished but more remains to be done.  What has already been done can also be undone if we are not vigilant.

As always, we appreciate your help and support.

Steering Committee


Wife Beaters and Pussy Grabbers: "If you want nasty things done, you hire nasty people."

"It should no longer be a surprise to people that Caveman Trump would hire a man like Porter, who’s accused of beating his wives. If you want nasty things done, you hire nasty people. That’s how criminal syndicates thrive." - Jim Carrey

As list of Trump White House scandals grows, so does women's disapproval (MSN link): As the number of scandals in the White House racks up, with accusations that now-former top aide Rob Porter abused his ex-wives being the latest, some women who voted for President Trump are walking away from him. On Friday, Trump defended Porter, saying, “He did a very good job while he was in the White House.”

“We found out about (the allegations from Porter's ex-wives) recently, and I was surprised by it, but we certainly wish him well, and it’s a tough time for him,” Trump told reporters. “He also, as you probably know, says he’s innocent, and I think you have to remember that.”

But there was one very glaring omission from his statement: the women.

The most recent Washington Post-ABC poll has found that approval from white women has fallen since the president’s first 100 days. While most white women voted for Trump in 2016, his approval rating has fallen 10 points since then, and strong disapproval of the president by this group rose 12 points, from 39 percent to 51 percent.

The group of women Trump performed best with was white women without college degrees. Many of these women found his message championing traditional values and an economic message benefiting working-class families in Middle America more attractive than Clinton’s progressive promise to continue the Obama legacy.

But that has recently changed. The Atlantic’s Ronald Brownstein recently wrote:

“In the Rustbelt states that decided 2016, Trump has slipped into a much more precarious position with these women: Gallup put his 2017 approval with them at 45 percent in Pennsylvania, 42 percent in Michigan, and 39 percent or less in Minnesota, Iowa, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Compared to his 2016 vote, his 2017 approval among blue-collar white women in the Rustbelt represented some of his largest declines anywhere — 18 percentage points in Ohio and 19 in Wisconsin and Minnesota.”

Brownstein wrote that the decline in support began during Trump’s unsuccessful effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, something he repeatedly promised his base he would do.

According to the Post-ABC poll, more than 1 in 5 — 22 percent — of white women without a college degree said actions by Trump have mainly hurt them and their family.

And despite Trump's frequent praise of the economy, nearly half — 47 percent — of white women without degrees view the nation’s economy as not so good or poor. Most — 65 percent — of these women do not believe that Trump is the “very stable genius” that he says he is. And the overwhelming majority — 79 percent — of these women think sexual harassment of women in the workplace is a problem in America.

The Trump base: Wife beaters? (Arkansas Times link): Donald Trump is said to have gone "off script" yesterday by expressing sympathy for men accused of abusing women while showing no concern for the victims.

Not his own script, that's for sure. When you're a celebrity, he's said, you can do no wrong to women. You can grab them by the pussy, "anything." But here's the thing: Trump has a knack for saying things that energize his core supporters, maybe 35 to 40 percent of the electorate. Immigration. Muslims. Guns.

You'd think, however, that the people most likely to respond to a defense of men accused of abusing women would primarily be — men who abuse women. Is that a winning strategy? Are there that many of them out there?

Meanwhile, Trump is getting ripped for how he put his Tweet of sympathy for people like Rob Porter, accused by three women - one with a photo of a black eye to prove it.

“Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation,” the president wrote on Twitter, adding: “There is no recovery for someone falsely accused - life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”

Due process? From a man who continued to call for punishment of men exonerated by DNA evidence in a Central Park assault; who urged "lock her up"; who built the birther attack on Barack Obama out of whole cloth; who's famous for introducing his latest attack line with "people say." As several have noted, Trump is getting due process from Robert Mueller. Sounds like the kitchen is getting hot.

Trump Gives Wife Beater Praise He Usually Reserves for Child Molesters and Nazis (The Borowitz Report link)—In comments to reporters at the White House on Friday, Donald J. Trump stirred controversy by lavishing an alleged wife beater with praise that he historically has reserved for child molesters and Nazis. Reporters who heard the President’s comments were taken aback since, in the past, the President had given no indication that he held wife beaters in the same high esteem in which he holds supporters of child abuse and white supremacy.

“We knew that President Trump considered child molesters and Nazis very fine people, but this was the first time he had put wife beaters up there, too,” Tracy Klugian, a member of the White House press corps, said. “We wanted clarification as to whether he considered wife beaters as fine as those other two groups, or finer.”

John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, accused reporters of attempting to drive a wedge between three of the President’s most cherished constituencies. “Donald Trump has made it very clear that he can be the champion of wife beaters, child molesters, and Nazis at the same time,” Kelly said. “He doesn’t play favorites.”


Sunday, February 11, 2018

Help Me Out Here. Can You Really Re-Elect a Mayor in Sierra Madre?

I was perusing Facebook reading Tony Brandenburg posts while sitting in a Starbucks somewhere in LA last night. I was waiting for my younger son and his girlfriend to exit a concert starring a Chinese-American rapper unhappily named Chigga, and it was very late. Long story behind all that.

There are times that I regret all of the music I exposed my kids to when they were younger. My 25 or so years in the music business have come back to haunt me. Which is why I found myself sitting in a Starbucks in LA after midnight amongst cell phone addicted people a third of my age.

But I digress. After reading how Tony's own cell phone, which hadn't been working for six weeks, suddenly came back to life as if by magic, and on his birthday no less, I noticed that a campaign advertisement had popped up on the right side of the page.

Much to my surprise it was a Rachelle Arizmendi ad, and it had a puzzling message. It was asking me to help re-elect Rachelle the Mayor of Sierra Madre. I didn't know you could do that. I'm pretty sure the City Council is on a rotation system in Sierra Madre, and after Rachelle's year as Mayor is up in April she'll have to wait until her turn comes around again. Which by my count would be around five years from now.

Slim Shady
OK, I'm pulling your leg. I really do know the answer. Apparently this is just another bone-headed error by her campaign manager, the Pasadena pro-utility tax Republican Martin Truitt. Considering what a bloody mess (literally) his now elected candidates have made of Pasadena, you'd think a little shame might kick in and he'd want to stick to his accounting. Just leave local politics to the more detail oriented amateurs. Right?

Rachelle's campaign webpage can be found here. It doesn't say a whole lot, but then what politician shares anything of substance these days? I guess it works. Your average voting fool is far more appreciative of cotton candy than they are anything approaching the red meat issues we lovingly dote upon.

To help belabor my point, here is an example from Rachelle's website. Check this out:

"Important issues remain. We need to maintain fiscal discipline, protect our water system, complete the infrastructure improvement plan, work with the PUSD to maintain the quality of our neighborhood schools, and continue promoting a safe community."

As readers of this blog are aware, the PUSD has been declared in real danger of slipping into insolvency, and being taken over by Los Angeles County. Or even, heavens help us, Sacramento. As a result they're throwing howling educator bodies out onto the streets left and right. Yet this disturbing issue has yet to be agendized by Mayor Arizmendi for discussion by the City Council. Can it be she really doesn't know?

Or perhaps Martin told her none of that will matter to most Sierra Madre voters. Their kids attend private schools.

Chatting with the City Manager
I keep emailing reader questions to City Manager Gabe Engeland on a regular basis. You should as well. He turns around his answers in mere minutes sometimes. It is quite astonishing. Here are some of the questions he has answered lately.

Sierra Madre TattlerI posted this on the City of Sierra Madre Facebook page, where it was immediately marked as spam. I tried again, this time using smiley face emojis, but no such luck. Anyway, you might want to get the City Council to address this at their next meeting. It could be important to a few people.

Gabe EngelandWow, that letter doesn’t paint a pretty picture. Sorry the story wasn’t posted on the City’s FB. Our social media policy does not allow links to outside sites/sources.

Sierra Madre TattlerSeems exclusionary. Why is that? 

Gabe EngelandIt’s a pretty common practice for social media management. The main reason is cities are not able to verify which sites are safe or appropriate. If a link is on a city page, it is assumed to be a trusted source. I forget which city it was, but they allowed a link to manage credit profiles after the Equifax data breach.  The site looked legitimate, but as it turns out, it was actually a phishing scam.  Residents used the link because the city posted it and ended up having their private information stolen.

Sierra Madre TattlerIt explains the pretty minimal participation on the city's Facebook page. That's ok. Why would I want competition? Is there a due date for the survey cards. Several have asked. 

Gabe EngelandI agree, the FB page has been more about disseminating information than dialogue exchange. We are able to see how many people view the post(s), so we know it’s effective at getting the message out. Certainly we don’t have the same interaction, comments, etc., as a private page. The due date to mail back should be two weeks after the second mailing. I believe the second mailing goes out next Monday, so people have until the end of February to reply online or by mail.

This next exchange of e-mails took place a few days later.

Sierra Madre Tattler: Couple of questions for you today.
1) Folks are receiving their second Library survey cards today. Do you know how many have been filled out and sent back so far? I have been asked that. 
2) The temporary traffic device(s) down by Kersting Court. What exactly do they do? Been asked that as well. If you have something prepared by the device manufacturer that you could forward to me that would be a bonus. 

Gabe Engeland: We haven't asked for an update on return numbers yet, but will likely receive one next week. The traffic study device on SM Blvd measures, I believe, total car and pedestrian traffic and is being used to determine if we need to make safety changes to our crosswalks.

Sierra Madre TattlerThanks. One more question. Have you been updated in any way about the PUSD and its insolvency issue? Such a huge issue, and outside of my small site (and the slightly larger Pasadena Now), nobody is saying a peep. 

Gabe Engeland: No, I have not heard anything additional.  

That is all I have for you this morning. Have a wonderful Sunday.