POA Sends Out Robo-Call
This afternoon, 4/7, SM POA president John Ellins
called Sierra Madreans asking them to vote for Measures U and UA
Listen to the message.
LA County Democrats Target MacGillivray
Saturday afternoon, some Sierra Madreans received a
call from the LA County Democratic Party, asking them not to vote for Council
Candidate Maryann MacGillivray. The caller, who couldn't correctly
pronounce the candidate's name, told people that she is trying to deceive them,
wanting them to believe she is a moderate when she is actually "a George Bush
Republican, committed to the policies that have hurt small cities and towns
across our nation."
Listen to the call
here. When contacted about whether they had any involvement with
the call, candidates Enid Joffe and John Buchanan not only denied being
associated with the call, but were upset that it had happened. "That's not
our campaign," said Joffe. "I did not authorize and do not condone
that type of call. I want to earn people's votes with my experience and my
record, not by attacking other candidates," she continued. "Had I been contacted, I'd have argued against
making the call." said Buchanan.
No on Measure P
– This flawed measure would tie our Police Department’s salaries to those of
other cities throughout the area. This would take away the decision making
power from our City Council and put it in the hands of other cities. We would
literally have no control of our own City Budget. Due to the Memorandum of
Understanding signed between our Police Officers’ Association (POA) and the
City, even the author’s of this measure, the POA, have now withdrawn their
support of the measure, and are urging a No vote on it.
Yes on Measure U
– This measure, which has been endorsed by the POA, the Sierra Madre Volunteer
Firefighters’ Association, and the SM Chamber of Commerce, has also received the
unanimous support of all five City Council Members, who wrote the Argument for
the Measure that appears on the Sample Ballot. All funds raised by this
measure will remain in Sierra Madre to help bring revenues for our General Fund
closer to the City’s expenditures. It’s a modification of the existing User
Utility Tax (UUT), which increases the existing UUT rates by 2% per year for
three years, and adds other utilities to the taxable items, including updating
the existing law to include new communications technology. That’s right, a tax
increase. The City’s costs are going up, and its revenue is not. Somehow, more
money has to be found to continue to fund City services, particularly the public
safety services. The POA has signed a memorandum of understanding that will
increase their salary. The City has started paramedic services, the last City
in L.A. County to provide this essential service for its residents, and its
first two calls justified its existence, saving the lives of the residents
involved. But there’s no money to pay for that service after 2009, since it was
funded for only two years when started (funds were obtained by the sale of an
unused fire station). And there’s no money to pay the POA salary increase. So
the Ad Hoc Finance Committee, which reviewed the City’s budget and found that
there was no way to fund these items without essentially eliminating all other
City services such as the Library and the Community and Personnel Services
Dept., recommended this UUT increase, with safeguards to protect the residents.
There’s a sunset clause; by 2016, the tax is back to today’s rate unless the
City’s voters elect to extend the increase. There will be a Citizen’s oversight
committee formed, with each Council member appointing one member, to make sure
the funds are properly disbursed. There is an exemption process for low and
fixed income residents. And as stated before, unlike some taxes, where only 18
cents on the dollar is returned to Sierra Madre, every penny raised by this tax
will be spent in Sierra Madre; the state can’t touch these funds. It should be
noted, this isn’t a cure-all for the City’s financial woes, we still need to
find funds to pay for other services, but this measure will go a long way
towards helping to keep the City financially solvent.
Yes on Measure UA
– This is an advisory measure, a companion to Measure U. If approved, it
advises the City Council that all funds raised by Measure U are to be spent on
Public Safety, i.e., increasing the Police Dept. budget (not just POA salaries)
and funding paramedics. It is non-binding, advisory only, but it will ensure
that money raised by the UUT isn’t diverted to other General Fund expenses (to
act against the will of the voters is not a smart move). So even if you vote no
on Measure U, you should vote yes on Measure UA, to ensure that if Measure U
passes, the funds all go to Public Safety.
Yes to John Buchanan
– John Buchanan has demonstrated in his first four years that he has a keen
understanding of the issues that face the City. Ask him about an issue that has
appeared before the Council, and he will tell you what it was about. I’m
regularly amazed at his ability to talk at length about items that are not
always easy to grasp. He is ALWAYS prepared to discuss an issue. You may not
always agree with how he votes, but you know his vote was made with an awareness
of the issue he was voting on, and a desire to do what’s best for the City.
That can’t be said of all our Council members, one of whom openly admits a lack
of preparedness and knowledge of some of the issues before the Council. Since
he’s not up for election, the best we can do is make sure the other Council
members we elect ARE prepared and knowledgeable. John’s record is admirable.
During his time on Council, he led the effort to establish a paramedic program,
the City completed its first Senior Housing Project, and brought in federal
money to pay for the water project. He also rejected the POA offer of Jan. 07,
and approved the Dec. 07 agreement, which saved the City $200,000+ per year.
That’s just a partial list, and he’s earned the right to four more years.
Yes to Enid Joffe
– Enid took over as Mayor right after the divisive Measure V election, and has
helped bring the City closer together, though obviously there’s still division.
But you can’t argue with her record. During her four years in office, probably
the most important thing she’s done has been to sign a three-year agreement with
the POA, the first time the City and POA agreed on compensation in more than a
decade. Under her leadership, The Ad Hoc Finance Committee was formed to review
the City’s budget and make recommendations on preserving the City’s financial
stability. The hillside ordinance was strengthened.
also rejected the POA offer of Jan. 07, and approved the Dec. 07 agreement,
which saved the City $200,000+ per year.
Enid has shown a willingness
to listen, and to work with others to do what’s best for the City, and she, too,
has earned the chance to serve the City for four more years.
No to Maryann MacGillivray
– At both Candidate Forums, when asked how to solve our budget crisis, Maryann
told us there are four places we can look to cut our budget, but only one that’s
viable, Personnel. Ms. MacGillivray is living in a dream world if she thinks we
can find the $1.6 - $2 million dollars the City needs annually if Measure U
fails, by cutting staff. The Ad Hoc Finance Committee already looked at our
budget and says the cuts can’t be made without shutting down entire departments
and their essential services. Sierra Madre already has the fewest employees per
capita of any full service city, and those employees are paid lower than
comparable cities, and are not scheduled for pay increases any time soon. We
need Council members that are living in the real world, not dreaming. And then
there’s the Dorn/Platz issue. MacGillivray lives within 300 feet of the Dorn/Platz
project at 1 Carter, which is one of the issues involved in the lawsuits the
builder has against the City. MacGillivray says she sees no need to recuse
herself from the Council’s discussion and action regarding the lawsuits. But it
only takes one person to file a complaint with the Fair Political Practices
Committee to start an investigation, and if you or I think Dorn/Platz won’t be
all over that, we’re fooling ourselves. So either we end up for an extended
period of time (while the FPPC conducts its investigation) with a Council that
has only three members that can vote on settling the lawsuit (Council Member Don
Watts already recuses himself), or MacGillivray votes, which sets up the City
for a lawsuit by Dorn/Platz. But hey, we’re already fighting seven lawsuits
with this developer, what’s an eighth? An eighth would be additional money (the
City doesn’t have) being spent by the City to defend itself on an issue that
should never have arisen in the first place. She’s got (or has endorsed) some
good ideas (take the library out of General Fund, recruit modern, high sales
tax, low work area businesses), but not enough to take our endorsement away from
John and Enid. Those ideas can be implemented by others, and I’m not sure they
are originally attributed to her, anyway.
No to Kevin Paschall
– Kevin Paschall’s campaign has been based on implications, and scaring people,
not facts or solutions. He implies in his campaign literature that his
opponents are in the back pocket of developers or have ownership in properties
that they aren’t acknowledging. But he has no basis for these allegations. He
implied that he is the only candidate that will protect our downtown by
upholding Measure V, when all four of his opponents have stated that they will
uphold the Measure because, after all, it’s the law. He has shown a lack of
respect for the Voters of this town by failing to show up at the Kiwanis forum
to help them learn where he stands, and at that forum, his campaign manager read
a statement that admitted that he won’t be there for us as a Council member,
noting that his auto broker business “doesn’t afford me the luxury of a day
off.” So, when the City needs him to conduct its business during the day, or
to attend a meeting of a regional organization to defend/promote the City’s
interests, we’re just out of luck. He’s shown a complete lack of respect for
federal copyright laws, by using the All-America City logo without authorization
and refusing to take it down despite multiple requests by the National Civic
League that he do so. After all those years in the printing business, you’d
think he’d respect the rights of the copyright owners, but his actions say
otherwise. I’d be willing to bet Kevin Paschall couldn’t (without coaching)
tell you the difference between Prop A and Prop C funds, or what they can be
used for. I don’t think he’s qualified for the position. And don’t get me
started on the way he’s chosen to exploit the memory of “Grampa Jack”, a man he
never knew (Grampa Jack died in the 1940s, Kevin was born in the fifties), but
who probably was far more qualified than his grandson to serve on the Council.
If you look at his campaign material closely, Kevin’s running his campaign on
his family’s and in particular, Grampa’s reputation, as much or more than his
No to “Eagle” Bill Tice
– I like Bill, and he regularly surprises me. I appreciate his involvement in
City Council and the issues facing our town. I look forward to his presentation
of Eagle awards. But as much as I like Bill, I’m not sure apple pie and ice
cream and old fashioned revivals are the solutions to the City’s problems, and I
don’t think he’s as qualified as three of the other candidates to sit on the
Yes to George Enyedi
– Former Citizen of the Year George Enyedi is well respected in Sierra Madre.
He is a CPA who volunteered untold hours of his time helping the City Treasurer
back in the 1990s. He has put the Pioneer Cemetery and the Sierra Madre
Playhouse on solid financial footing. He is eminently qualified for the
position, and this town is extremely lucky that he has agreed to run to be our
No to Salvatore Tesoro III
– Tesoro has turned
his back on this town since entering the race, not responding to a single phone
call or e-mail from either of the sponsors of the Candidate forums, ignoring the
editor’s of local papers that wanted to help bring his message to the voters so
they can make an informed decision, and failing to launch any type of campaign
whatsoever. For that alone, the City should turn its back on him. And thank
its lucky stars that George decided to run. One can only imagine the chaos Sal
would create if he was to be elected because he was running unopposed.
Yes to Karma Bell
Karma Bell wants to have the
City Clerk’s office in City Hall, and even store official City records at City
Hall. What a novel concept.
She wants to have regular
hours (not hour) at City Hall, where people can actually connect with the City
Clerk. Another novel concept.
At a time when the City is
facing a major budget crisis, she wants to reduce the compensation to the City
Clerk, to the tune of $14,000 during election years.
She trusts the City
administration, and wants the City Clerk’s office to work with other members
of staff as a team, for the good of the City.
She thinks the Election
Officer of the City needs to be an impartial, unbiased steward of the
Her opponent takes the opposite
stance on all these issues. The main knock I’ve heard from anybody on Karma
Bell is that she lacks experience, and has never managed a City election. Nancy
Shollenberger lacked experience when she took office 24 years ago, and as Nancy
herself admitted at the Kiwanis candidate forum, when she took office, she had
never managed an election either. But there is one thing Karma can say today
about herself that Nancy can’t. She’s never mismanaged an election, either.
No to Nancy Shollenberger
– There are myriad reasons why it’s time for Nancy Shollenberger to call it a
Nancy Shollenberger wants to have the City Clerk’s office in
her home, and keep City records there (on the hillside that is far more
susceptible to fire than is City Hall). For that matter, once they’ve left
City Hall, they could be stored in Bakersfield for all anybody knows. If
something happened to Nancy, all City records stored away from City Hall could
Nancy, until Feb. 1st, did not have regular hours at
City Hall, and since then, she has only one hour per week scheduled at City
Hall, making it difficult for people to actually connect with the City Clerk.
At a time when the City was facing a major budget crisis
(2003), she asked for more money from the City, including asking for four
times more than the Mayor makes.
She doesn’t trust the City administration, and kept it out of
the loop on the Sample Ballot error, forcing the City Manager to ask a local
reporter to provide her and the City Attorney with a copy of the City Clerk’s
press release announcing the error.
She thinks it’s perfectly acceptable for the Election Officer
of the City to be biased, and to publicly trumpet her bias, despite being the
steward of the Election. Can a candidate for office really feel that their
best interests will be served in an election when the City Clerk’s office has
signs endorsing that candidate’s opponent?
She messed up big time on this year’s sample ballot, not only
costing the City $6,000, but putting the entire election at risk. If someone
wants to challenge the results of the election regarding Measures P, U or UA,
they have a reasonable chance of winning, and forcing another costly
She refused to answer questions about the error for several
days (actually, some questions never got answered, but I stopped asking when
she acknowledged responsibility for the error), and…
She sent the wrong document to me when I made a public records
request about the issue.
She has tried to re-write history, noting in her campaign
statement that “A select few City Council Members decided to change the Minute
Taking process.” What she failed to inform the voters is that the Minute
Taking process was only changed when she refused to continue taking minutes
unless the Council gave her a raise.
There’s the issue of seven or eight years of ordinances not
being published. Nancy’s defense has been that it wasn’t her job to have them
published, and I suspect that’s probably right. But what Nancy hasn’t
addressed is the fact that Government Code 40806 states that ”it is the
City Clerk’s responsibility to: Keep a book marked "ordinances" and record in
it all city ordinances with his certificate annexed to each, stating: (a)
It is a true and correct copy of a city ordinance; (b) The ordinance number; (c)
It has been published or posted pursuant to law. “ So either she failed
to properly keep the record of the ordinances’ publication as required by law
for all those years, or she kept a record stating they had been published when
they hadn’t. Either way, she wasn’t doing her job correctly.
She provided incorrect information to me when I asked for
information for an article to inform the voting public about the absentee
ballots, and had I not questioned the “facts” as provided, I would have given
voters throughout the San Gabriel Valley the wrong info, based on the
erroneous data provided by the Sierra Madre City Clerk.
She gave candidates the wrong candidate handbook for 3 straight
Her minutes are rambling and incoherent. To give you an idea,
read this sentence in today’s letter to the editor where she talks about
deserving to be chastised: ”Since I strongly feel
that I am deserving of being chastised and strongly criticized for my errors,
albeit it was the only one in my 24 years of service to our City, by many of
our residents and the news media especially, I owe it to my conscience to have
a closing to this unpleasant experience.” Admittedly not from the
minutes, but it gives you an idea of her writing skills. Her sentence
structure makes it very difficult to understand what she’s trying to say. Do
we want City records kept this way?
I’ve just received word that absentee ballots for two Sierra
Madre students who requested them were sent to their parents’ homes, instead
of being sent to the students’ schools, as requested. How many other absentee
ballots were misdirected? And how many voters will not get to vote due to
this type of misdirection?
And what about her claim that the sample ballot error was the
only mistake she’s made in 24 years? Can she really believe that? The evidence
POLITICAL SABOTAGE IN
SIERRA MADRE as Newspapers Are Stolen, False Endorsement of City Clerk
Left In Its Place
The Mt. Views Observer newspapers on all of the racks in Sierra Madre
except the ones on North Baldwin were stolen this evening (Sunday,
4/6) within a few hours of their being distributed. In their
place was a flyer that says "ENDORSEMENT of our CITY CLERK NANCY
SHOLLENBERGER Mount Wilson Observer Jan 5-10, 2007. Then it lists
quotes from a Mt. Wilson Observer story on Nancy after her ex-husband
THEN IT IS SIGNED SUSAN HENDERSON, former managing editor of the
Mount Wilson Observer."
This vandalism and forgery have been reported to the police.
Shortly after midnight, it appeared that some locations had been
restocked. The issue, which included several articles and letters
to the editor regarding the election, was heavy with criticism of City
Clerk Nancy Shollenberger and Council Candidate Maryann MacGillivray.
If you are unable to find a printed copy, it can be found online at
Online Sierra Madre Election Coverage is at SierraMadreNews.Net
Tuesday, April 8th, we will be at City Hall, updating election results
as they come in. At last year's election, we posted election
updates an average of about 20 minutes sooner than the City website.
Responses to Misleading Statements
Response to Sierra Madre Citizens for Change
After receiving in the
mail a postcard that appeared to me to have some pretty disturbing
accusations, I decided to do some research about it. Unfortunately, I
couldn’t research who sent the mailer or who was financially backing the
mailer, because the only information in that respect was the name of a
committee, the Sierra Madre Citizens for Change, and on the day it was
received, there was no such committee on file with the City Clerk.
However, the next day,
I found out the paperwork for Sierra Madre Citizens for Change was filed
with the City Clerk on Thursday, April 3rd, one day after its
mailer arrived at the homes of Sierra Madre residents. John Crawford is
listed as the treasurer of the organization. That is the only name on
the form, the parts of the form for listing other principal officers’
names were left blank. So, either we have a one-man committee, claiming
to be a group of citizens, or, more likely, we have a “mystery”
committee that is operating under a cloak of secrecy. Ironic, since the
Committee is demanding transparency in City government. Incidentally,
the postcard as mailed does not conform to the City’s requirement that
political mass mailers include an address for the Candidate/Committee
that sent it.
According to City
Manager Elaine Aguilar, there seems to be some confusion as to the
documents referenced on the postcard. Ms. Aguilar advised me that a
common mistake made by people is to compare budgets with State
Controller’s reports or audited reports. Doing so is comparing the
proverbial apples and oranges. Budgets are estimates, and estimates
only, of what the City expects its revenue and expenses will be. Actual
income and expenses do not always match up with what is anticipated.
Outside influences beyond the City’s control cause the numbers to change
from the time that they are projected (as much as 18 months before the
budget start date) to the time they become actual income and expenses.
Also, the state controller’s report does not include everything that is
in the budget, so the numbers are going to be different. It is a
snapshot of the un-audited actual income and expenses, but it is only a
portion of the total budget. The state controller’s report must be
filed within 90 days of the end of the fiscal year. Audited reports are
generally completed 9 months to a year after the end of the fiscal year,
and again, contain different information than is found in either the
budget or the State Controller’s report.
here to view audit and budget figures from 2001 – 2009.
Let’s look point by
point at the postcard’s statements/misstatements.
1 - Why has the City’s budget gone from $7.9 million in 2001 to $18.2
million in 2008?
Despite what the
postcard states as a budget figure ($7.9mil), the City’s audited actual
figures show $10.5 mil in 2001, though the $18.2 million budget figure
is accurate for 07-08. Comparing the City’s 2001 audited actual figures
with the projected budget figures for 07-08, the City General Fund
expenses have gone down half a million dollars, from about $6.4 million
dollars to about $5.9 million dollars. The General Fund is made up of
funds that have no restrictions on them, that can be used however the
City sees fit. The audited figures for 2001, which includes both
General Fund dollars and Restricted Fund dollars, has increased, from
$10.4 million in 2001 ($6.4mil GF and $4mil RF) to the 2008 projected
budget figure of $18.2 million ($5.9million GF and $12.175million RF).
But if you read the postcard, they make it sound like this is a bad
thing. It’s not. And here’s why…
to the City’s infrastructure should not be ignored in order to reduce
the City’s total budget. It’s not a bad thing when a City is able to
maintain, or in this case, reduce the funds that it spends from its
General Fund, as Sierra Madre has, and is able to maintain essential
services or increase the capital improvement it makes for its residents
by using other people’s money, i.e., restricted funds received through
grants and state and federal funds that limit how the money can be
spent. Especially when other agencies’ money is being used for
improvements like reconstructing the City’s reservoirs, constructing the
Youth Activity Center, improvements to the Senior Center, and the
construction of an Emergency Operations Center (EOC), along with capital
purchases for items such as the transit buses for the City’s Dial-A-
Ride program. Isn’t it a good thing that the budget increased, because
it means we addressed major needs within the City’s infrastructure and
other areas, using federal money and other agency money (not City
money), in the only manner that that income was allowed to be spent?
The answer is obvious, but you’d never know it from the postcard. They
raise a very legitimate question, but when one knows the answer, it
becomes less an accusation, and more something to be praised and
Point 2 – “Three new
taxable categories have been added to the UUT, and at a rate as high as
12%. When added to the four existing categories being raised as much as
6%, the UUT “Measure U” tax increase becomes significantly larger than
we’ve been told.” The implication is that the City is hiding some
information about the UUT and the tax increase. That’s patently
untrue. One need look no further than the City’s website, one click of
a mouse away from the home page. The postcard gives a web address that
doesn’t provide any breakdown of the information it discusses, though
the City’s website
has a link right on its home page to a
fact sheet that does.
visits the matrix, as the postcard suggests, one finds a spread
sheet that states that based on anticipated utility revenue for
2008-2009, there will be an increase of $332,000 in General Fund revenue
at 8% vs. 6%. Using the same 2008 numbers, a 10% tax would mean an
increase of $668,000. And a 12% gain means an increase of $998,000 over
6%. But our postcard doesn’t tell us how these numbers “become
significantly larger than we’ve been told.” Since the matrix is on the
City’s website, available to anyone looking for it, it would seem to be
the information we ARE being told. So where are the numbers the mystery
finger-pointers say we are not being told? They forgot to pass that
little piece of information on to the voters.
When one visits
fact sheet, one finds the question: “How
will a "yes" vote on
affect Sierra Madre's Utility User Tax?” and the second
bullet point in response to that question states: “The measure will
expand the UUT to include sewer, trash (sanitation/solid waste), and
cable television utility services.” And a little further down the page
is a spread sheet that spells out what the cost to the average household
will be, based on the average utility user’s bill. There is nothing
secret about this information, as I said, it’s right on the City’s
website. Do the senders of the postcard have some information that’s
not listed? The only reference they cite is the City’s website. That
is obviously the information we are being told. So where is the
information we aren’t being told? The chart below clearly shows what
the City anticipates the cost of the 3 new items are, showing a $16.55
monthly jump the first year, and about $9.75/mo. the next two years,
meaning there is obviously a front loaded jump the first year, as the
three added utilities go from no tax to 8% tax. There’s nothing hidden,
except the information the sender says is different than what we are
being told. Why are the Sierra Madre Citizens for Change being so
secretive, if their intent is to get this information out to the
Click here to view the Chart
from the City website’s UUT facts page.
Point 3 – Sierra Madre
has not filed audited financial numbers with the State Controller’s
office in Sacramento since FY 2001 – 2002, one of only three cities
failing to do so for this period. Because of this illegal lapse, we
have paid $15,000 in state levied fines. Why the costly secrecy?
Again, there’s no
secrecy here, and the first statement is just flat out wrong. We’ve
NEVER filed audited financial numbers with the State Controller’s
office. The State Controller’s report is not an audited report. The
audited report is different than the State Controller’s report, which is
due ninety days after the end of the fiscal year. The audited report is
generally completed 9 months to a year after the end of the fiscal
year. Secondly, we HAVE filed State Controller’s reports for 2006 and
2007, but the website the mysterious finger-pointers reference has not
been updated. Last word our City Manager has is that the 2006 report
will be posted in May of 2008, and the 2007 report will be posted over
the summer. Yes, the City failed to file in 2003 – 2005. Yes, the City
was fined for not filing. According to our City Manager, there were
staffing issues, that have been addressed. “The details cannot be
discussed because of privacy issues.” But the website will continue to
say that we didn’t file for those years, because once you’ve missed the
filing deadline, unlike audits, you can’t file State Controller’s
reports late. What we have here is a problem which, once noticed, was
corrected. The City can’t do much more than that. There’s no secrecy.
This is public knowledge. I know the issue has been discussed at City
Council meetings. And one other minor point, the fact of the matter is
that staff missed a deadline and was penalized for it. The mystery
committee’s decision to use the word “illegal” was a calculated move to
make it look like the staff is trying to break the law, when all they
did was miss a deadline.
Point 4 – Our police
offered to settle for a 4% raise in February ’07…The City Council shot
it down. Ten months later, the Council voted to approve a 24%
increase. With negotiators like these, no wonder we’re broke.
By accepting the Dec.
07 offer, the City saved $200,000 plus per year over the Jan. 07 offer,
which I assume is the offer that the postcard refers to when it says
Feb. 07 offer. Perhaps the mysterious committee should look a little
deeper, and take back their statement maligning the City’s negotiators,
which included not only Mayor Enid Joffe, but City Council Member Kurt
Zimmerman. The Jan. 07 offer at 4% was retroactive to FY 03-04, and
compounded, i.e., 4% one year, plus 4% of the increased amount the next
year, and then an additional 4% on that higher figure, etc., and
included increases in benefits, meaning the cost to the City over three
years could have been $1.2 million dollars. The December agreement,
included 4% for only one year retroactive, but the 24% the postcard
references is spread out over three years, didn’t include the increases
in benefits, and had an expected cost to the City of $540,000 over three
years. That’s an average of $400,000/yr, vs. $180,000/yr. A critical
reason to accept the Dec. 07 agreement vs. the Jan. 07 agreement, is
that it offers an identified funding source (Measure U), which the Jan.
07 agreement did not. Another benefit of accepting the Dec. 07
agreement vs. the Jan. 07 agreement is that if Measure U passes, the POA
will drop its binding arbitration suit against the City, reducing the
City’s legal expenses. It seems that the negotiators may have actually
gotten it right, though Mr. Crawford’s committee obviously disagrees.
And regarding that vote, on the Jan. 07 POA offer, which was rejected 3-
2. The three Council members who made the right decision, and
saved the City all this money, were Joffe, Buchanan and Mosca.
Zimmerman and Watts voted to approve the earlier agreement, which would
have cost the City $200,000/year more than the agreement that was
The mystery committee
did get one thing right, though. At the bottom of their mailer, they
ask people to “Please cast an informed vote this Tuesday, April 8th.”
Now that you have accurate information, instead of the misleading
insinuations, implications and innuendo found in their mailer, I hope
By Enid Joffe, Sierra
I realize that it is
an inalienable right in the United States to say pretty much anything
you want about someone in elected office. In fact, I will vigorously
defend anyone’s First Amendment right to express an opinion about a
public official or a public matter, whether or not I agree with it. But
that doesn’t mean public officials shouldn’t respond to misstatements or
misrepresentations. The following article is primarily taken from a
Letter to the Editor I wrote in 2006 in response to an article that
appeared in a local paper. Since these and other rumors still seem to
be circulating, I thought it might be worthwhile reprinting the letter
and addressing some new rumors that have surfaced.
The original article
claimed that I had “hidden” my ownership of a “construction” business
from the public. I have since been told by perfect strangers that I am
a building contractor or, worse yet, a developer. Nothing could be
further from the truth. Here is the response I wrote two years ago:
“Let’s get the facts
right…. My business was described in my campaign literature and in an
article in the September 1-7, 2005 issue of the Sierra Madre Weekly. I
am half owner of an environmental consulting and contracting business,
Clean Fuel Connection, Inc. dba SolSource Energy, CA License # 770564.
I am proud to be a small business owner in a field that has not
traditionally employed many women.
As pointed out in the
Weekly profile, our company sells and installs infrastructure for
electric vehicles, natural gas vehicles and small wind energy. In the
past two years we have expanded into photovoltaics (solar energy). As
an environmentalist, I drive an electric car that uses no gasoline. I
am not sure how that leads to the conclusion that I have a “bias toward
As for the implication
that my business interests affected my vote on 1 Carter, let’s recall
that I voted against the Maranatha high school project while on
the Planning Commission. I voted for the 1 Carter housing
project for the same reasons as three other council members -- because I
believe it is my responsibility as Council member to tightly control the
development of housing that Maranatha is legally entitled to build
rather than bankrupt the city in a futile court fight that we would
ultimately lose. And as for advancing my business interests, I don’t
recall any requirements in the 1 Carter project conditions for EV
chargers, natural gas refueling units or solar panels.
Do I want to see
houses at 1 Carter? Of course not. But when elected to the Council, I
took an oath of office that included a commitment to uphold the law to
the best of my ability. And that is what I believe I am doing.”
These words ring as
true today as they did 2 years ago. Since then the owner of the 1
Carter and Stonehouse properties has filed seven lawsuits against
the city. In order to try to find some resolution to the seemingly
endless litigation, the City Council and the property owner sought to
craft a settlement agreement that would halt the lawsuits while the
developer submitted a proposal through the normal Planning Commission
review and recommendation. Unlike settlement negotiations in most
cities, the entire process was done at public meetings with full
community participation. But in February 2008, after months of
discussions with the developer and residents on what might be acceptable
to all parties, the Council unanimously turned down the
Settlement Agreement as inadequate in addressing the concerns of
neighboring residents. All parties are now back in court while we
review our options.
Another issue that
keeps resurfacing is the city’s financial situation. Like many small
cities around the state and the country, Sierra Madre is struggling to
keep pace with rising costs for everything from salaries to employee
retirement funds to the cost of construction. Interim City Manager Don
Hopper (formerly long-time City Manager of Monrovia) put it best in his
eloquent farewell to the City in June, 2008.
that comment when I first got here, that this is a remarkable City, that
you do more with less than probably any city that I am aware of, but
make no mistake, you are living off of your savings, and that is a very
dangerous precedent to get comfortable with. You have no reliable
ongoing revenue stream that can address your future expenditure levels
and so you are going to have to do something.”
forming a citizens’ Ad Hoc Finance Committee to review the city’s
finances and recommend ways of generating additional funds for public
safety. The 2007-2009 budget process was a wakeup call for the City.
Our budget is heavily dependent on property tax revenue but the city
receives only 16 cents of every property tax dollar paid by residents.
The 1 percent of local sales tax revenue we receive from the State Board
of Equalization amounts to only $200,000 per year. Even without any
increase in staffing levels or any cost of living salary increases,
expenditures will continue to grow faster than revenue. By the end of
this two-year budget cycle, it will be difficult to maintain a balanced
budget let alone fund police salary increases or paramedic service.
The Ad Hoc Committee
carefully scrutinized the city budget and agreed with Don Hopper’s
assessment. After several community input meetings and countless hours
of discussion, the committee recommended that the Council put a Utility
User’s Tax increase on the ballot to secure a new source of funding for
police salaries, paramedics and other essential services. The result is
Measure U and UA on the April 8th ballot. Measure U would
increase the utility users’ tax from the current level of 6 percent to 8
percent in 2008-9, 10 percent in 2009-10 and 12 percent in 2010-11. If
the increase is not re-approved by the voters at that time, it will step
back down over a 3-year period. The Measure also modernizes the tax to
include additional utilities and ensure continued collection of the tax
on telephone service. Measure UA is an advisory measure to gauge the
public’s agreement with the proposed use of the funds.
Rumors have surfaced of
a budget that ballooned from $6 million to $18 million under the current
City Council. The two numbers are correct, but that is about all that
is accurate in this statement. Next year’s General Fund budget will top
$6 million for the first time in the city’s history. General Fund money
is unrestricted money typically used for the day to day operation of the
city such as police and other staff salaries, utility costs, supplies,
mileage etc. When you add in restricted funds such as the water
infrastructure funds, the total grows to $18 million. In part this is
due to the city’s success in obtaining federal and state grant funds for
specified capital improvement projects such as the new restroom at
Bailey Canyon or the reconstruction of the Mira Monte reservoir. These
funds can only be used for the purpose for which they were granted, not
to pay day to day operating costs. The amount of funds fluctuates
depending on our success in getting these competitive grants. The
General Fund stays pretty steady from year to year, increasing only a
few percentage points each year.
The status of the
City’s Audits has also been the subject of much discussion. In 2006, the
City Council was informed that a number of reports including State
reports and City audits had not been completed despite previous
assertions that everything was being done properly and on time. The
delinquent reports had resulted in thousands of dollars in fines which
the Council was unaware of. Once uncovered, the problem was swiftly
addressed. The City Manager and City Council took action to make
personnel changes and bring in experts in municipal finance experience
to bring all audits up to date and prevent similar occurrences in the
future. The original problems dated back to well before the 2004
Council election and had only compounded over time. At no time were any
funds missing. The errors ultimately turned out to be about how funds
should be accounted for not the amount of money. None of the
corrections made affected the city’s financial position, but the absence
of proper procedures and the length of time before the problem was
discovered were inexcusable nonetheless. Read the
Polling Locations Map
Letters to the Editor
Nancy Sue's Mailer: I Was Responsible for Unpublished
Ordinances from 1998 to 2001! (click to view
City Clerk Playing Politics With Information She is
Legally Required to Disburse When Requested - Why Election and City
Records Need to be Stored at City Hall, Not Nancy's Garage
CLERK SCREWED UP THE ELECTION CANVASS FOR 2002, TOO!!
While the City Clerk has been busy putting off sending me
the document I requested, I managed to get a copy from City Hall.
Seems Resolutions can be found at City Hall, because not all documents
are stored only at Nancy's house. So here it is,
Resolution No. 02-039.
Look at the total for Tonja Torres. Then look at
Excel spreadsheet that calculates the tally. SEEMS NANCY
ERRED BY 300 VOTES!! I'll say it again - to state as Nancy did in
her letter to the POA that she has only made one error in 24 years is
the height of hubris. Or perhaps not, perhaps withholding
documents that show you messed up on an election in order to try to
prevent voters from finding out about the error is the height of hubris.
Either way, she's got it cornered!
Clerk's Supporters Acting in Desperation at Last Minute
Nancy Shollenberger's campaign manager, as well as numerous day workers
presumably hired from Memorial Park, have been seen passing out flyers
in town that falsely state that MVO Publisher Susan Henderson has
endorsed Shollenberger for office. In the current edition of MVO,
Henderson endorses Karma Bell, but the flyer being passed around by
Shollenberger's campaign manager uses 15 month old quotes from an
article that, while speaking kindly about Shollenberger, did not endorse
Shollenberger's candidacy. While the quotes may be accurate,
Henderson states that they are being taken out of context. We
expect her statement regarding the matter shortly. According to
one local politico, "There may be some truth to them, but they are being
used in a manipulative manner to deceive the voters."
Statement from MVO Publisher Susan Henderson re: Deception by City
In an apparent last ditch effort to garner support for the campaign of
Nancy Shollenberger, copies of the MountainViews-Observer were stolen
from the racks on Sierra Madre Boulevard and replaced with
unauthorized flyers that implied an endorsement of Ms. Shollenberger
The document is entitled: "Endorsement of our City Clerk Nancy
Shollenberger Mount Wilson Observer, January 5-10,2007" and the name
affixed in testament is SUSAN HENDERSON, former managing editor of the
Mount Wilson Observer.
It goes on to quote excerpts of an article I wrote on Ms.
Shollenberger in 2007. These remarks are taken out of the context of
the story. They were not in any way a political endorsement of Ms.
Shollenberger's re-election. They were edited comments given in the
context of the story about Ms. Shollenberger and her life after the
illness and death of her husband.
In the March 31-April 6th edition of the MountainViews-Observer, I am
very clear about my endorsement in the City Clerk's race. On page 8
it reads, "Positions Not Personalities. Nancy
Shollenberger has served the city for a very long time but there comes
a time when everyone needs to recognize it is time to move on.
Judging by the last few weeks alone, the job seems to be overwhelming
Karma Bell should be elected city clerk. Let's de-politicize
the office of City Clerk and bring it back to City Hall."
I did not authorize the use of my name on the flyers that are
currently being passed around. I do not endorse Nancy Shollenberger
for City Clerk and this latest incident of political malpractice is a
prime example why.
April 2008 Election Information
Sample Ballot Statements, Campaign Material, Q and A,
Initiative Text, Impartial Analysis of Measure U
of Commerce Measure U Forum Video
City Council Candidate Paschall Breaking Federal
Trademark Law, Ignoring Rights of Intellectual Property Owner
(click to view article)
Self-Proclaimed 24/7 City Clerk Takes Four Days to Answer a Simple
Question About Sierra Madre Citizens for Change
Another City Clerk Error Found?
I've been told by three reliable sources that the Certified Election
Results for the 2002 City Council Election has precinct totals that
don't add up to the overall total shown for Council Member Tonja Torres.
Two of the sources reported having seen the document. On
Wednesday, April 2nd at 3:05pm, I requested a copy of
"the final election
certification of the 2002 City Council election," in order to confirm
the information provided to me by the three sources. Since the
Public Records Act allows the City Clerk up to ten days to respond, it
will be interesting to see if I get the document requested before the
election or not. On Sunday, the City Clerk e-mailed me that if I
sent her my fax number (for the third time), she would send it to me.
Not bad. It only took four days to get a partial response by our
self-proclaimed 24/7 City Clerk.
Another Error Found on Sample Ballot?
It has been brought to our attention, and more in
depth coverage of this issue can be found in this week's issue of the
Mountain View Observer coming out on Sunday, that the Sample Ballot
issued by the City Clerk, failed to include Eagle Bill Tice in the
Candidate Statement of the Ballot. While Tice did not submit a
statement, we are told that the Observer will report that it is standard
practice for candidates who do not submit statements to still be
represented in that area with a listing of their name, age and
occupation. My sample ballot does not include Tice in the
candidate section. Stay tuned for more in Sunday's Observer.
Letters to the Editor
Send Your Letter to the Editor
son, Erik, faxed an application for an absentee ballot to City Hall, as
instructed in the Sample Ballot. The application provides a line, with
a big red arrow next to it, where the absentee ballot should be mailed.
Erik properly filled in his school address in New Hampshire.
Erik's absentee ballot
arrived at MY HOUSE this morning!
And this same mistake
happened to Jay Sullivan, Bill and Patty's son, who's attending school
I wonder how many
other ballots have been misdirected.
never written in to a newspaper before, but I find myself wanting to
express to the people of this town how important it is that they get out
to vote on April 8. This is our right as citizens of this great country
and you need to make a difference.
Not all of
us can make a difference though, the way John Buchanan has. He has done
so much for this town and has earned not only my respect, but also my
vote. Here are a few reasons why:
- He led
the effort that established the life-saving paramedic program, increased
firefighter training and created an auxiliary firefighter program that
now provides greater daytime firefighter coverage. As the wife of a
volunteer fire fighter, I know first hand how much John did for this
accomplishments John was instrumental in are:
- Completing the Senior Housing Project
- Strengthening the Hillside Management Zone while protecting
- Instituting a strategic planning process that has improved city
operations and efficiency.
- Establishing development impact fees to protect our town
- Completing the agreement to keep the Community Nursery School in
Sierra Vista Park.
- Winning the All America City award
He has worked hard for all Sierra Madre, not a favored few. He
was there in person (not by phone) for every council meeting. He was
also Sierra Madre's representative to the League of California Cities,
the Foothill Workforce Investment Board, and the County Sanitation
District. He was liaison to the Fire Department, the Library Board of
Trustees and the Community Services Commission.
and I attend a lot of the events in Sierra Madre and I see John at
almost all of them. I very much appreciate a public official that is
truly a part of this town and not someone who provides lip service and
then retreats from public events.
believe that he has a wonderful vision for the future putting things
like financial soundness through strategic planning and local
solutions, enhanced public safety, and new "green" policies at the
forefront of his platform. We need someone who believes that we should
remain a full service small town protecting our library and community
John served this town through a difficult period with style, grace and
dignity. He was a role model for us all. And as I said earlier, he not
only has won my respect and loyalty, he has won my vote.
For too long our town
has been a training ground for cops who gain experience here and then
take their expertise to a higher paying police force. Let's pass Measure
U, recruit high quality cops, pay them a good wage, upgrade their
equipment, and make it possible for them to stay here with us for an
entire career. To whoever is reading this: Measure U is what we need to
keep our community safe and public safety workers happy. Vote Yes.
I am Supporting Sierra
Madre’s Measures U and UA
On Tuesday, April 8th,
I will be casting my vote in favor of Sierra Madre’s Measures U and UA.
My reasons for
supporting Measure U are simple: 1) it raises funds that are necessary
for critical public safety services (it will allow us to carry forward,
fully funded, the newly implemented paramedic services and will help us
retain and recruit excellent public safety officers), 2) the funds are
raised locally and stay local (will not be subject to ever increasing
“local funds” that are taken away by the State to balance its budget),
and 3) it is a fair tax, since it applies to renters and homeowners
alike, except for those in our community that are of low income.
I am particularly
proud of the low income exemption in Measure U. This exemption means
that residents who can’t afford this tax will have relief. This
exemption is essential to protect our seniors that are on fixed incomes
and least able to afford this increase.
You should know that
Measure U mandates that a Citizen Oversight Committee be set up to
ensure accountability, and that Measure U contains a sunset clause,
which means that we will have an opportunity in a few years to either
keep it in place or vote it down.
Your support for
Measure UA means that our money will be spent on the public safety needs
of our community. These needs have been clearly identified and
presented by our Sierra Madre Fire Department and our Sierra Madre
Police Department and in independent studies of the departments.
I hope you will read
more about Measures U and UA (see
www.cityofsierramadre.com or e-mail me at
firstname.lastname@example.org for more information), and I hope you will
join me in supporting these Measures that will keep Sierra Madre safe
two letters, classified in the cover sheet to two other local papers as
well as ours, noting that they were letters to the editor. However,
they were clearly marked as being sent to the SMVFA and the SMPOA.
Since both letters were the same except the addressee, we are only
publishing the one.
Members of the Sierra Madre Police Officers Association:
you know by now, l made an error in mislabeling (sic) the ballot
propositions describing the Arguments in Favor of Measure P".
Recognizing the headaches and the financial cost, (sic) which my error
caused, I offered to reimburse the City for all costs incurred in
correcting this error. To my disappointment, the City Council felt it
would set a precedent, and would not accept such a reimbursement.
Since I strongly feel that I am deserving of being chastised and
strongly criticized for my errors, albeit it was the only one in my 24
years of service to our City, by many of our residents and the news
media especially, (sic) I owe it to my conscience to have a closing to
this unpleasant experience.
What better way to accomplish this than offering a donation of $3,000 to
your organization and a similar donation to the Sierra Madre Volunteer
Fire Fighters Association.
While I don't expect to be exculpated from my mistake because of this
act, I sincerely hope that you will accept my donation
Sincerely, Nancy Shollenberger
City Clerk’s Self-Serving Gesture Shouldn’t Fool Voters
E-ditorial by Bill Coburn
When the City Council (rightfully) rejected Nancy
Shollenberger's offer to reimburse the City for expenses incurred
because of her error in preparation of the sample ballot, it would seem
the next obvious thing for her to do would be to announce that she would
not accept the City's payment of $6,500 for managing (mismanaging?) the
election. The amounts were close enough ($6,000 vs. $6,500) that it
seemed an obvious way to reconcile the City's loss without setting the
precedent the Council was concerned about when they rejected her offer
Instead, Shollenberger chose to continue the political
theater that is the City Clerk race, by instead writing checks to the
SMVFA and the SMPOA, neither of whom lost a cent over the City Clerk's
error. They may have lost votes, but no money. And the City Clerk
can't reimburse lost votes (don't go there).
However, here's the thing. The City lost money, not these
associations. And with her new solution, the City is the loser. Had
she chosen to refuse to cash her check for the election services, the
City would have gained $6,000. Instead, Nancy gains a $6,000 write-off,
(and with all the investment property she owns in town, that may come in
I was at the SM4U committee meeting March 27th
when Nancy had her representative read her letter to the Committee. No,
she didn't write a check and have the representative quietly hand it
over to the Association's representative, she had him read her letter
for the whole committee (most of whom aren't even members of the
association receiving the check). Then, on the 28th, I
received a fax from Nancy Sue that was also sent to the editors of the
Mt. Views Observer and the Core Media papers, stating that we might want
to publish these two letters, which she described as Letters to the
Editor. So she isn't doing this because she thinks it's right, she's
doing this to try and win back votes of people who might be having
second thoughts. In fairness, at the meeting, I had told the
representative that I felt this was political grandstanding, and that
while I thought her gift should be publicized, I thought maybe the
publicity should wait till after the election. After some discussion, I
agreed to contact Nancy and let her know that since I thought it
inappropriate to report on a private letter she had written to the SMVFA,
if she wanted to send it to me as a letter to the editor, I'd run it.
But I never had to contact Nancy, and tell her I'd run it as a Letter to
the Editor. She sent it to me, and the other two editors, before I ever
had a chance to contact her.
And let's talk about that letter for a minute,
published elsewhere in this issue. First, by the Keeper of the City
Records, there's a punctuation error in the opening line. Minor, I'll
give you. But the opening line? Then she states that she made an error
mislabeling the argument. No, she made an error labeling the argument.
She did quite well at mis-labeling the argument. I know, this is
semantics. But hey, I'm not the one saying that I can take exemplary
minutes. With apologies to Lloyd Bentsen, I've seen Nancy's minutes, and
they aren't exemplary.
Then she says it's her only error in 24 years.
While I could go on and on about this, I already have, so I'll just
refer you to my 3/19/08 editorial.
Then she asks "What better way..." Well a better way would be one that
gets the $6000 back in the city's coffers. A better way would be a way
that doesn't make her out to be a hero, when all she's actually doing is
trying to make up for her colossal screw-up.
By choosing to bypass a quiet contribution to these
organizations, and having the letter read out loud at the committee
meeting, and then sending it to all three papers, Nancy has exposed the
act for what it is. Self-serving, grandstanding, political theater.
Don't be fooled. Vote for Karma. Or if you can't do that, vote for no
one. But it's time this City stopped validating our City Clerk’s
screw-ups by voting for her even when she's messed up.
Joffe, Buchanan, Bell and Enyedi Pick up Important Endorsement
The Pasadena Star News
has endorsed the candidacies of Mayor Enid Joffe, Council Member John Buchanan,
City Clerk candidate Karma Bell, and City Treasurer candidate George Enyedi.
Click on the headline to view their article.
SGV Weekly Endorses Measures U and
UA, Buchanan, Joffe, Enyedi and Bell
In the San Gabriel Valley Weekly's Friday April 4th edition, the paper
endorses a Yes vote Measures U and UA, and candidates John Buchanan,
Enid Joffe, George Enyedi and Karma Bell.
Chamber Votes To Endorse Measures U and UA
hosting a public forum on Measures U and UA featuring speakers both for
and against the Measure, the Sierra Madre Chamber of Commerce polled its
membership and the respondents overwhelmingly voted their support of the
columnist for local newspaper the Mountain Views Observer, represented
the against argument at the Forum. Mike Comer, a Sierra Madre
businessman and a member of the Ad Hoc Finance Committee that
recommended to the Sierra Madre City Council that they put an increase
of the Utility Tax in front of the voters to raise funds, spoke for the
Measure. The video of the forum is available on SMTV 3, and
is currently available online at
The Sierra Madre
Chamber of Commerce endorses a YES vote on Measures U and UA.
City Clerk Says She Will NOT Be
Counting Absentee Ballots in Her Own Election
received an e-mail from a reader expressing concerns about the City
Clerk opening and counting ballots in an election in which she was a
candidate. Here's the content of that e-mail: "Can either one of
you briefly explain the absentee voter process to me? I filled out
my ballot, and got ready to mail it. I noticed that it is sent directly
to Nancy Shollenberger. What does she do with them? Does she open the
envelopes and then submit them for counting? Does she just check off my
name as having voted and turn them over to the people tabulating the
ballots? My concern is if she opens the envelopes. I did not vote for
her, so I would like to make sure that my vote is counted. What is her
motivation to make sure that all the votes are counted, even the votes
that are against her? Not to mention, she now knows the names and
addresses of the people who did not support her. Doesn't this seem
odd that our voting system requires that we submit our ballots to one of
the people running for election. Her name is on the envelope, so if I
understand Postal Service rules, she is fully within her right to open
it. I mean, I did mail it to her!" Since these seemed like
reasonable questions, I forwarded the message to the City Clerk, asking
her if she would be appointing a deputy to count the absentee ballots.
The City Clerk has now responded to my e-mail. Here is her
I do not open the ballots. I have an Inspector and three Clerks who
will be opening them on Election Day at City Hall in the Council
Chamber. The public will witness the opening and counting. I
process the ballot request - all is on the computer. The residents
should not be worrying about the process. The Registrar of Voters in
Norwalk in the election department will certify each signature before it
is counted. I just process the request and record the request and when
the ballot is returned. I hope this helps.
How Involved Should City Council
Members be in the Community?
A question for Kevin Paschall and Maryann MacGillivray
Here's a spreadsheet of some of the
events (29, actually) that have taken place in the city between January
2007 and February 2008, events that not only define the essence of the
character of our village community, but also offer City Council members
a chance to hear what everyone who attends feels about the issues facing
our community. This can be very important, as it is human nature
to prefer to run with the crowd that agrees with you. However, as
a council member, there is a responsibility to hear what all your
constituents think, the ones who voted against you as well as the ones
who voted for you. All the City resident voters are a Council
Member's constituents, not just the ones who tell them what they want to
hear. It's important that Council Members not hide among their
supporters, but hear what every resident feels, and these events
provide that opportunity. Here's a spreadsheet that reflects what
events current Council Members have attended, of the ones we covered.
It's not all inclusive, but it's a good cross-section of events. My
question for the two non-incumbent council members. Will you be
like the two candidates you are trying to replace, and show respect for
your constituents by showing up at community events?
Or will you be like
the two council members you've aligned yourself with, one of whom
attended one of the 29, and the other of whom couldn't make a single one
of the 29 events? Events such as Memorial Day services honoring our
veterans, the beginning of paramedic service for SM residents,
fundraisers for our schools…
Coffee with Joffe, Continued
My favorite rumor is
that the current incumbent-candidates will not enforce Measure V.
Regardless of who voted for Measure V and who did not, it is now part of
the Municipal Code. As Council members, it is our duty and obligation
to fully enforce Measure V. Measure V specifies height, number of
stories and dwelling units for downtown, but does not address the design
of buildings in downtown. The challenge facing the City Council will be
to determine how to best achieve the “look and feel” the community wants
to see in downtown. Most of us know intuitively what we want downtown
to look like—quaint, charming, small-scale—but writing code that
achieves those goals is far more difficult.
So as this campaign
season draws to a close, let’s continue the public debate over the
important issues of public safety, the downtown and the city’s financial
condition. But let’s continue it in a way that shows respect for the
facts and for each other as volunteers committed to the preservation of
Sierra Madre as a wonderful place to live.
View restaurant menus and
download restaurant coupons at
Business Web Pages
Annual Sierra Madre Events
Arts in Sierra Madre
Sierra Madre Business
Community of Sierra Madre
Sierra Madre Real Estate
The Rest of the News Net
Local Business Web Pages
Hardware & Gifts
Bank of the West
Best Buy Drugs
Bill Traxler's Pool Service
Casa Del Rey Restaurant
Rambo, Century 21 Village Realty
Dr. Theresa Smith, Chiropractor
E. Waldo Ward and Son
Epiphany California Realty
Gwen Gordon, Fine Art/Graphic Design Solutions
Harlequin Art Gallery and Restoration
Harmony Skin Care and Day Spa
Hastings Animal Hospital
Highlander Jr. Market
Julia Rocks, Prof. Skin Care
Katie Bolton, Orange Coast Title
Company of California
Les Carroll, Dilbeck GMAC Realty
Mary's Market and Cafe
Michael Paris, Coldwell Banker Realty
Moe's Automotive Service Center
Once Upon A Time
Pacific Pantry Catering
Real Estate Photography
Reni Rose, Prudential CA Realty
Ruth Richardson, Fine/Portrait Artist
Savor the Flavor
Sierra Madre Self Storage
The Bottle Shop
The Coburn Group
The Hair Upstairs
Tres Immune, Inc.
Wilson Trail Race Information
Mount Wilson Trail Race is celebrating its 100th anniversary this
year! The Trail Race will occur on Saturday, May 24, 2008 at 7:30am sharp.
The 8.6 mile race starts in Kersting Court on pavement, then uphill on a
dirt trail that features an elevation climb of over 2,100 feet, and then
back down to Kersting Court.
Friday, May 23, 2008 there is a pre-race Pasta Load Party. A pasta dinner
will be served, provided by Café 322, in Kersting Court from 6:00pm-8:00pm
for $6.75. Pre-registration will also take place at the pasta feed where
participants can pick up their race number and t-shirt.
for this year is a Family Award category. Participants can team with other
family members and compete for the Family Award. The combined time of the
each family team will be calculated and the lowest average time will take
home the prize!
Registration forms are now available at the Community and Personnel Services
Department at 611 E. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, CA 91024 and are also
available online at
www.mountwilsontrailrace.com. The Trail Race sells out every year, so
be sure to register early!
Paschall Breaking Federal Law, Ignoring Rights of
Intellectual Property Owner
website, yourvoiceforourtown.com, is in violation of federal trademark law,
illegally displaying a trademarked logo, and he has chosen not to respect
the rights of the owner of the trademark, which has asked on multiple
occasions that he remove the logo from his website.
When checking out
Paschall's site in early March, I noticed that his site had the All-America
City logo at the top of the page. That logo is owned by the National
Civic League (NCL), which allows the winners of its annual All-America City
contest to use the logo to promote the city and the fact that it won the
award. Having been one of the delegates of the City's participation in
the 2007 program, and a participant in the winning program, I knew that
Paschall had not participated in the program. I also knew that the
City had thanked all the donors and delegates in a full-page ad shortly
after the announcement of its win. Paschall was not listed as either a
donor or a delegate in the City's ad. Knowing that two other
candidates, Enid Joffe and John Buchanan had been delegates (a position
which required a donation of $100 or more), and that during their terms as
mayor each had played a major role in the City's participation in the
contest, I thought it was strange that neither of them had the logo on their
site, yet this non-participant candidate was using the logo. A quick
conversation with Joffe revealed that she had checked with the NCL to
determine whether or not it was appropriate for her to use the logo in her
campaign, and had been told no. Out of respect for the organization's
right to limit the logo's use (and federal trademark/copyright laws), Joffe
has not used the logo in her campaign. On Friday, March 7th, I sent an
e-mail to our City Manager and the head of the Community and Personnel
Services Dept., who are in charge of the City's sub-licensing of the use of
the NCL logo, which the City has modified to include wistaria as part of the
logo. Paschall is using the unmodified logo. I copied the e-mail
to the National Civic League.
In the e-mail, I noted that I thought there might be unauthorized use of the
All-America City logo. "I
know that Mayor Joffe is not using the All-America City logo on her website,
and it would seem that for a candidate who had no part in the process to be
able to display it when the candidates who were involved are abstaining out
of respect for the institution that awards it, is just a complete injustice
to both Mayor Joffe and Council member Buchanan."
Shortly thereafter, the NCL contacted me and said
they would look into it and get back to me the next week. I didn't think any
more about it until March 31st, when I was on Mr. Paschall's website again,
and noticed the logo was still there. Realizing I'd not heard back
from the NCL, I decided to see what their findings were when they had a
chance to "look into it." I sent an e-mail to the NCL, which responded
the next day that they had, in fact, already asked him to remove the logo.
Later that same day, I received a copy of an e-mail that the NCL sent that
day to Paschall, in which they again asked him to remove the logo: "Mr.
It has been brought to our attention your use of the
All-America City Award logo on your website. In keeping consistent with our
message to all political candidates in All-America City communities around
the country, the logo may be used to promote the broader community and city,
but cannot be used with any promotion of individuals. This includes any use
within political campaigns. Therefore, we ask that you remove the logo from
your website and discontinue its use with any other materials related to
All-America City Awards Program Coordinator
National Civic League
As of this writing, at 6:33am, April 5th, Paschall has ignored the request
of the trademarked logo's legal owner, the NCL, that he remove their logo
from his website, and continues to display the logo in violation of federal
Nancy Sue's Mailer:
Shollenberger Admits She Was Responsible to Publish Ordinances from 1998 -
2001, When None Were Published! Editorial
by Bill Coburn I was given a copy of City Clerk Nancy Shollenberger's
mailer postcard today. Apparently Nancy is using the City's water bill
database, rather than paying for the voting list database like most
candidates, because my out of town landlord gets her mailers, I don't.
Is it legal for her to access the City's database for her own political
gain? Let's not get sidetracked. The mailer, while slick material, was
certainly not prepared professionally. On one side, I counted nine
punctuation errors (I was being generous, I could have been a stickler and
counted more), and she mis-spelled additional. This by the keeper of
the City records. That's true attention to detail, Nancy, way to go.
Then we look at the front side, with the mailing address. Again, the
attention to detail is breathtaking. While Maryann MacGillivray is
listed as endorsing Shollenberger, I have to wonder if she would have done
that had she known that Shollenberger wouldn't even be able to spell
MacGillivray's name right on the mailer. And of course, isn't it nice
to know that Monrovia (yes, Monrovia) resident Steve Pock endorses Nancy
Sue, even though he can't vote for her. But these are minor issues
compared to the "confession" on the back side of the postcard. I have
been giving our City Clerk the benefit of the doubt regarding the publishing
of the ordinances. If you look at my editorial in the left column, I
acknowledge that "Nancy’s
defense has been that it wasn’t her job to have them published, and I
suspect that’s probably right." My issue has been with her failure to
properly record the ordinance publication in the "ordinance
book" required by California Gov't. Code
However, Nancy states in her mailer that in 1998, the responsibility for
publishing ordinances was given back to her. Since the lack of
publication of ordinances surfaced in 2001, that means that for
the remainder of 1998, all of 1999, all of 2000, and the part of 2001 prior
to the uncovering of the error, which I believe was mid-year, Nancy
admits she was responsible to publish the ordinances. Yet none were
Self-Proclaimed 24/7 City Clerk
Takes Four Days to Answer a Simple Question About Sierra Madre Citizens for
On Wednesday, April 2nd, at 6:41pm, I sent the following e-mail to City
Clerk Nancy Shollenberger:
"Are the “Sierra Madre
Citizens for Change” registered with the City under any campaign/political
committee designation?" Shollenberger, who's campaign mailer of April
5th states that "My customary service to residents is round-the-clock,
24/7(not (sic) on a part-time basis at City Hall, as Ms. Bell said she will
do)" finally responded at 1:07:pm Sunday, with the terse comment that "At
the moment, yes." She did not mention that at the time I requested the
information, after the group's mailer had been delivered Citywide, they were
not registered. A source within the
Shollenberger camp told me on the same day I requested the information that
Shollenberger had spoken by phone with a member of the committee and that
their paperwork had been mailed that day. I was speaking with the City
Manager when Shollenberger gave her a copy of the Committee's Form 410 on
Thursday, 4/3. Yet our City Clerk was unable to respond to my inquiry
City Clerk Playing Politics With Information She is
Legally Required to Disburse When Requested - Why Election and City Records
Need to be Stored at City Hall, Not Nancy's Garage
A week ago Wednesday, a local resident requested copies of the nomination
papers and financial records for the candidates in the April 8th election.
The City Manager did not get the request filed with the City Clerk, until
the following Tuesday, at which time the City Clerk reportedly stated that
she was going to use all ten days allowed by the Request for Public
Documents rules. What reason could the City Clerk have for withholding this
information? She had provided the info to others that had requested
it. Of course, this request came the same day that the flier from
Sierra Madre Citizens for Change came out. And as stated elsewhere, on
this page, the City Clerk took five days to respond to my request for
information about that group, and when it was provided, the answer was
different than it would have been had she responded in a timely manner.
And there's another thing: the Public Records Act was not the governing law.
The Political Reform Act, Government Code #81008 (www.FPPC.com),
trumps the Public Records Act as the issue at hand is time sensitive due to
an upcoming election date.
I have requested a document from the 2002 Election that I'm told will
provide evidence of an error on the part of the City Clerk in tabulating the
results of that election. It's been five days since I requested it,
and I have not received it yet. I did get an e-mail telling me that our City
Clerk needed my fax number (odd that she had my fax number when she wanted a
Letter to the Editor published, but couldn't find it yesterday). If
these records were at City Hall, and the City Clerk had regular hours when
the public could stop by and get items such as these, or if there was a
Deputy Clerk working out of City Hall, the City could provide time sensitive
documents immediately instead of five (and counting) days later. Our
City Clerk says she is available for residents 24/7, yet the evidence says
Now let's discuss why records should be kept at City Hall. You've just
read one reason. Now let's go a little further. If someone
breaks into Nancy's home/garage, where records are now kept, and steals a
City document that contains Social Security information and that info is
used for identity theft, the City is going to be sued by the individual
whose identity didn't receive proper protection. Of course the City
will have to defend itself by COUNTER-SUING ITS OWN CITY CLERK!! Nancy
lives on the hillside, an area much more susceptible to fire than City Hall.
For the City's protection, it should move the records back to City Hall.
Once the records have left City Hall, Nancy could choose to store them in a
storage unit in Bakersfield, and no one would be the wiser. What
if something happens to Nancy, and there's no record of the storage unit?
All the City's records would be lost. Or suppose, God forbid, Nancy
were to pass away, and the executor(s) of her estate chose not to cooperate
with the City. The City could find itself in a position where it has
to sue the City Clerk's estate in order to get back its own City records.
All of these scenarios are apparently perfectly fine with Nancy, despite the
fact that they are obviously not in the best interests of the City, nor of
the voters who put her in office. It's time to bring the Office of the
City Clerk back to City Hall for the City's own protection.