To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Recall Effort vs Councilmember Who Backed NFL Games at Rose Bowl Fails


July 5, 2013


 Councilman Steve Madison

The efforts to recall a Pasadena official who backed proposed professional football games at the Rose Bowl failed as the petition was not submitted on time.

Residents opposed to Councilman Steve Madison’s proposal to allow a National Football League team to use the city-owned stadium initiated a recall. However, they were not able to submit the recall election petition by Monday, July 1 evening deadline, Pasadena City Clerk Mark Jomsky told the Los Angeles Times.

A completed recall petition required the signatures of 2,866 residents in Madison’s West Pasadena council district, which includes homes adjacent to the Rose Bowl, Jomsky added.

After the City Council members voted in November to relax restrictions on the number of large events to be held at the Rose Bowl, the city officials were able to negotiate with the NFL for a pro team to play at the Rose Bowl for up to five years during construction of a permanent stadium in Los Angeles.

However, many homeowners near the stadium have objected the proposal, fearing traffic jams, environmental damage to surrounding parkland and an onslaught of inebriated and unruly fans, the Times reported.

A coalition of neighborhood groups has filed a lawsuit against the city for alleged violation of the California Environmental Quality Act and seeks to overturn the council’s decision. The draft of the recall petition also accused Madison of ignoring the interests of his constituents by supporting talks with the NFL, the Times said.

Madison, who in 2006 cast the deciding vote against a previous NFL proposal, responded at the time that he “would not hesitate to reject a proposal from the NFL if our community did not see benefits,” the newspaper reported.

Meanwhile, there have been no discussions between the city and the NFL or any of its teams since the City Council votation, Rose Bowl General Manager Darryl Dunn told the Times.

“Because we would be an interim site, the first thing that needs to happen is a substantive discussion between a permanent site and a team,” Dunn told the newspaper. “We’re the tail, not the dog.”

Anthony Portantino, Jacque Robinson Square Off

July 5, 2013

Former Assemblyman Anthony J. Portantino and Pasadena Vice Mayor Jacque Robinson announced this week plans to run for State Sen. Carol Liu’s seat, when she terms out of office in 2016.

“Since I left office, so many folks have been coming up to me saying, ‘We want you back in office. How can we help?’” Portantino told the La Canada Valley Sun. “Frankly, I think that’s why so many people in the foothills are supporting me…. I share the same priorities they do.”

“Representing Pasadena has been one of the greatest honors of my life and I look forward to bringing that same sense of pride and commitment to this election and service to the people of the 25th Senate District,” Robinson said.

The 25th Senate district, established during last year’s redistricting, includes La CaƱada Flintridge, Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena.

Robinson, who filed papers on Monday to open a campaign committee, said there’s a gender gap in Sacramento and considers being a woman an asset.

Portantino, who served in the State Assembly from Dec. 6, 2006 to Nov. 30, 2012, recently told the La Canada Valley Sun that he is getting back into politics because the citizens in his district want him to get more transparency in government and funding for education.

A fundraising party was held Sunday at the home of Mary and Bill Urquhart and, as of Dec. 12, 31, 2012, an Anthony Portantino for Senate 2016 election committee has already received $476,366, the newspaper reported.

Both Robinson and Portantino will run as candidates for the Democratic Party. Robinson told Pasadena Now that she will run for re-election to the Pasadena City Council on March 2015.

Pasadena Bus Route & Schedule Changes Begin July 1, 2013


July 3, 2013

Pasadena Arts Bus Route

 Riders on Pasadena’s popular Area Rapid Transit System (ARTS) buses, will notice service changes beginning the week of July 1 as part of an ongoing effort to improve and increase local transit services, including changes to Route 10, Route 20 and Route 51/52.

Changes include:

• More direct service along Colorado Boulevard in the Central District for Route 10

• Increased frequency of service on the heavily used Route 20

• Schedule adjustments on Route 51/52 in response to riders’ requests.

Route 10 will now operate on Colorado Blvd. in both directions between Pasadena Avenue and Lake Avenue, improving the connection between Old Pasadena and City Hall to the Playhouse and South Lake Districts. Bus stops will be located nearly every block or two along both sides of Colorado Boulevard. Route 10 will still service a portion of Green Street between Orange Grove Boulevard and Pasadena Avenue.

Extra bus service is also coming to Route 20, the City’s most popular route with more than 700,000 passengers a year traveling along its service corridor of Lake Avenue and Fair Oaks Avenue. As part of a three-year, $1.9 million federal grant, the City is adding bus service in both directions during the weekdays. Route 20 provides direct connections to four Metro Gold Line stations, numerous other bus lines, key commercial and entertainment areas, medical destinations, employment centers, schools, and numerous other destinations in Pasadena.

Riders on Route 51/52 will notice a schedule adjustment to improve on-time arrival performance. Based on customer input, many of the scheduled “stop times” on this route have been shifted—in some cases by several minutes—so all riders are advised to check updated schedules on the City’s website. This route serves Old Pasadena, the South Raymond corridor, both Art Center College of Design campuses and JPL.

For more information on these service changes, please visit www.cityofpasadena.net/artsbus or call (626) 744-4055.

For more information about the City, visit www.cityofpasadena.net. Follow the City on Twitter@PasadenaGov.

Show Metro That El Sereno Is Not Buying Their Lies--Video by Joe Cano

Joe Cano: Metro is coming into El Sereno once again to push a tunnel that will solve nothing they claim it will solve. Barbara Messina is behind the push to get the tunnel put through our neighborhood & has demonstrated a disdain & total disregard for the people of El Sereno bordering sheer racism. This video will show the historical record of Metro & its bootlicking toadies coming in to lie to the residents of our community.

"Let's show them El Sereno is not buying their lies on Thursday, July 18, 2013, at The Korean Presbyterian Church, 2241 N. Eastern Ave., 6:00 - 8:00 p.m."


No 710 T-shirts

From Sylvia Plummer:

Interested in buying a NO 710 T-shirt? 

Cost:  $5.00 

Colors: Red or White.  

Adult Sizes:  Small, Medium, Large & Extra Large

Contact Waynna Kato: waynnakato@sbcglobal.net

The Sierra Madre Tattler Sunday News: Special L.A. County (& Beyond) Corruption Report


July 7, 2013


(Mod: It is a dirty old world out there, and if you are like me you just can't read enough about it. Besides, if so many of our esteemed public servants are actually engaged in underhanded skullduggery designed to enrich themselves at the public's expense, how can you in any way be obligated to speak well of them? It is just a whole universe of opportunity for bloggers. Of course, the reason why these individuals are able to enjoy their lives of undeserved privilege and financial reward is because most citizens don't have a clue. And just as long as there is enough electricity to keep the TV warm and their mixed drinks cold, Mr. and Mrs. Low Information Los Angeles County Voter couldn't care less, either. But that isn't what we are all about. Not in the least. Here is the news.)

Dan Walters: Corruption flourishes in Los Angeles County (link): Los Angeles County contains a quarter of the state's population and is home to the nation's second most populous city, more than 80 smaller cities, a like number of school districts and literally hundreds of single-purpose districts providing fire protection, water, parks, recreation and other services.

The county itself and each of those entities has its own board, administrative superstructure and the power to extract fees and taxes and to borrow money. Collectively, they probably disburse about $100 billion a year for one purpose or another.

That's big money in anyone's book, but the impact of Los Angeles' local governments goes beyond collecting and spending money. Their actions have other, immense economic consequences, such as deciding whether land developments can proceed and under what conditions, or who pays what for water.

That brings us to the FBI's recent interest in the Calderon family of politicians, in part involving its dealings with a small water district in the San Gabriel Valley, which is also home to Bell and other tainted local governments.

We don't know whether the investigation will result in prosecutions, but what's come to light so far – high-dollar consulting contracts, turf battles between water districts, etc. – are indications that it's another example of a familiar local political genre.

We should not be depending on the FBI to root out corruption. If it's endemic – in L.A. or elsewhere – state and local authorities should be attacking it vigorously.

(Mod: A small water district in the San Gabriel Valley? Aren't we supposed to start buying our water from something like that soon?)

Raid draws attention to state's water districts (link): The FBI's investigation of a state lawmaker has brought attention to an arm of government that is at once indispensable and nearly invisible - public agencies that pipe water to millions of people and vast swaths of farmland yet operate with scant oversight or public scrutiny.

In a state where water, the economy and politics are intertwined, California has hundreds of local agencies that oversee the pumps and pipes that bring water to fields, homes, schools and industry. Yet the agencies' board elections are often ignored by voters, and little attention is paid to the six-figure salaries, generous pensions and hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts they hand out.

Dozens of water agencies throughout California even ignore the annual requests by the state controller's office to provide salary and staffing information so it can be available publicly. Such agencies typically break into the headlines only when something goes wrong.

"They are completely under the radar," said Robert Stern, former president of the Center for Governmental Studies in Los Angeles. "Who are these people? Yet, they have lots of power."

The potential link to the Central Basin district in the federal investigation is only the most recent example of a local water district becoming the subject of public scrutiny because of potential misdeeds. Previous scandals involving water agencies have uncovered fraud, bribes and lavish expenses and travel.

The number of local water agencies in California is staggering and each has its own bureaucracy. The Association of California Water Agencies represents nearly 440 public agencies accounting for about 90 percent of the state's water use, with the remainder generally provided by private and investor-owned utilities.

Former federal prosecutor Joseph Akrotirianakis says the little-noticed agencies remain ripe targets for abuse, despite increased public awareness after a widely publicized pay scandal involving public officials in the Los Angeles suburb of Bell.

"These are literally open meetings, but are they?" said Akrotirianakis, who handled corruption cases in Los Angeles. "There's a lot of abuse that goes on without a lot of scrutiny."

(Mod: Don't look now, but I think one of them now has just opened a pipeline into Sierra Madre.)

SEC investigating failed El Monte Transit Village, subpoenas many entities for records (link): The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has opened an investigation into the federally shuttered El Monte Transit Village, a subpoena issued June 26 shows.

The subpoena signed by Carol Lally of the SEC's Office of Enforcement requests records from or related to TV, LLC; AC Landmarks, LLC; EM Incubator, LP; El Monte Regional Center; Pacifica Manufacturer Direct Business Incubator; and the El Monte Transit Village project.

The SEC's investigation aims to pinpoint every investor, owner, employee, source of income, financial account, office location, telephone service provider and correspondence produced by the listed entities since 2009.

TV, LLC must produce those documents, along with a declaration certifying the records, by 9 a.m. July 10 at the SEC's Los Angeles office.

John S. Leung, an Alhambra resident who headed the Transit Village project until its demise in 2009, acknowledged the SEC's investigation.

"They're looking at some of the transactions," he said. "I'm not worried about that issue."

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services shut down the El Monte Regional Center, which included the Transit Village project, in 2011. The regional center allowed foreign investors to obtain green cards through the U.S. EB-5 Visa program in exchange for investing $500,000 locally. The feds terminated the center, which largely funneled investments toward the failed El Monte Transit Village, after determining it had only attracted two investors and no longer promoted economic growth, according to a San Gabriel Valley Tribune story at the time.

The SEC's investigation relates to the possibility that investors -- likely investing in an attempt to receive an EB-5 work visa -- were taken advantage of and whether the promoters of the regional center were in compliance with securities laws, Gondek said. None of the program's foreign investors landed a green card through the regional center, he said.

"Many of the issues that the SEC is interested in pursuing are things that the city of El Monte has been concerned with for a couple of years now," Gondek said.

(Mod: Green card laundering, now there is a growing opportunity. John S. Leung, hmm. The name rings a bell. Oh, that's right. He is on the Board of Directors of the San Gabriel Valley Metropolitan Water District. You know, where we are about to start buying our water? I think Bart Doyle knows him as well. They used to work together.)

(SCAG President) Greg Pettis drew private pay while on public business - Cathedral City councilman says there is nothing wrong with his 'multi-tasking,' but watchdog, others see ethical conflicts (link): While traveling on his city expense account, Cathedral City Councilman Greg Pettis routinely submitted salary invoices at $100 an hour to California State University, where he is employed as a public relations and fundraising director.

By his own account, Pettis “multi-tasked” during trips to Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, switching roles during the same conversation from council member on city business to university employee asking for grants to benefit his employer.

At times, Pettis wore a third hat during these taxpayer-funded trips as a board member and vice president of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), which recently awarded the university a $50,000 grant for a project Pettis organized, according to documents obtained by The Desert Sun.

Those various roles caught the attention of SCAG executive director Hasan Ikhrata, who asked Pettis to sign a conflict of interest policy pledging that he is compliant with federal and state requirements to not have “direct or indirect financial interest” in a deal between SCAG and California State University, San Bernardino’s University Enterprise Corporation.

Before he signed the pledge, Pettis’ own work logs for CSUSB show Pettis was in active pursuit of grant money from SCAG. At least six times between 2010 and late 2012, Pettis asked CSUSB to pay him for hours he spent soliciting SCAG’s top leaders for a grant or “future funding” to benefit CSUSB’s Palm Springs Institute for Environmental Sustainability, where he worked.

A month before he signed the pledge, Pettis indicates on his payroll log that the grant was already approved: “Met with Hasan Ikhrata of SCAG to discuss our current grant and future funding.”

Last month, Pettis was named president of SCAG, California’s largest regional planning organization with $38.5 million in revenue and $8 million in assets. Cathedral City pays membership dues to the group, $4,150 this year, and Pettis files routine expense reports with SCAG for mileage and travel reimbursement. He earns an additional stipend of $120 per meeting to attend up to six SCAG meetings a month.

According to work logs Pettis submitted to CSUSB, the councilman has met with SCAG’s top leaders nine times since 2009 on behalf of the Sustainability Institute.

Ikhrata told The Desert Sun in an email that he did not know Pettis was submitting $100-an-hour timesheets with CSUSB for meetings with Ikhrata, chief deputy Sharon Neely and deputy director Darin Chidsey.

As a board member and now president, Pettis has significant influence on an association that solicits funding and support for billions of dollars of transportation and housing projects in six counties and 190 cities, including Los Angeles, Anaheim, Long Beach, Riverside and all of the Coachella Valley’s cities.

Earlier this year, SCAG approved the $50,000 grant to the Sustainability Institute for a project Pettis organized to teach Desert Hot Springs High School seniors how to create a “sustainability plan.”

(Mod: We have posted about newly appointed SCAG President Greg Pettis and his unique problems with indebtedness - link. But milking his SCAG connection for personal gain? The $50k in taxpayer dough for high school student sustainability studies sure is an ironic touch. But that's SCAG for you. At a time when city governments are going bankrupt in California at an alarming rate, how better to spend our dough?)

Realtors' ads in 16th Senate District race have California Democrats fuming (link): The flier that hit Fresno-area mailboxes last month shows a maimed puppy – patchy fur, eyes covered with lesions – next to the face of Leticia Perez, the Democrat running in a tight race to fill a vacant seat in the California Senate.

As a defense lawyer, the ad says, Perez represented a man accused of taping the dog's mouth shut, spraying its eyes with bleach and beating it with a golf club.

"The Valley deserves better," says the mailer promoting Republican Andy Vidak for the seat that represents parts of Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare counties.

Negative advertising has become a staple of modern politics. But the hits, including this one being paid for by the California Association of Realtors, have generated an especially angry response from Democratic leaders in the state Capitol.

"It is shocking. It is over the top," said Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento. "An election is an election. Stakeholders and interest groups get involved. … (But) this is beyond the pale."

The Realtors association has poured nearly $1 million into efforts to influence the July 23 election in the 16th Senate District.

The race is a crucial one for Steinberg and other Democrats in the Capitol, who have enjoyed a two-thirds supermajority that allows them to raise fees and taxes without any Republican votes.

Senate Democrats flexed that power for the first time this year when they voted in May to approve a bill that puts a $75 fee on some real estate transactions to fund affordable housing programs. The California Association of Realtors opposed the measure, Senate Bill 391, setting off a political spat that appears to be shaping the race to replace former state Sen. Michael Rubio.

(Mod: Wow. The California Association of Realtors versus Darrell Steinberg. How could you possibly pick a side?)

This concludes today's report.

New Los Angeles 'health atlas' shows alarming disparities between neighborhoods


By Susan Abram, July 6, 2013

 A couple makes their way around Lake Balboa. 

Residents in North Hollywood, San Pedro and even Silver Lake die younger than those who reside just a few miles away in Sherman Oaks, Bel-Air and Westwood, according to key findings that, for the first time, will be included in the city of Los Angeles' general plan.

More than 100 health indicators -- such as obesity, coronary disease and asthma -- were studied within neighborhoods across Los Angeles and compiled into a health atlas, which includes a series of 115 maps. Results show that while economic disparities do affect health, so does land use. The atlas was released by former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on his last day in office.

"Too often a person's neighborhood determines their health destiny," Villaraigosa said. The goal of compiling the atlas, he noted, was to ensure that city officials would consider how future development impacts neighborhoods where bike lanes, walking paths and parks could be integrated with new housing developments and transportation hubs.

In Sherman Oaks, Bel-Air and Westwood, for example, residents are more likely to live up to 84 years old -- that's 12 years longer than those residing in South Los Angeles, the northeast San Fernando Valley or the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

In North Hollywood, San Pedro and Silver Lake, there are areas with no safe walkways, only one to three acres of parkland or open space per 1,000 people and high rates of motor vehicle crashes with pedestrians and cyclists. They also have higher rates of respiratory disease and fewer fresh-food grocery stores per 10,000 residents.

"With the health atlas included into the general plan, city departments will consider policies and programs through a health lens," said Ken Bernstein, principal city planner for the City of Los Angeles. "That is a groundbreaking step for a city as large as Los Angeles." He added that the general plan is the city's overall road map for how Los Angeles will grow in the future. It has not been updated in almost 20 years.

Work on the health atlas was funded by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the California Endowment.

Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said in a statement it was important that the city and county work together. "The numerous environmental factors contributing to health disparities -- poverty, the unhealthy food environment, limited access to places for physical activity and increased time spent in sedentary activities -- must be addressed through comprehensive efforts by the City and Los Angeles County working together, targeting each of these factors to improve health outcomes for all residents."

Adding parks, increasing pedestrian safety and finding ways to improve air quality in high-density areas such as Pacoima or central Long Beach not only benefits those communities but has broader impacts, such as the air quality of the whole region, added Beatriz Solis, program director for Health Communities, South Region for the California Endowment.

Seattle, for example, has been at the forefront of thinking broadly on how to integrate transportation with employment and other public sectors, she said. "People really understand that having safe parks, safe streets, safe passage to school, good air quality and transportation that make sense, really helps communities thrive. This health atlas is a really big deal."

Bernstein noted that the atlas' release comes at a good time, just as Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and the seven new members of the City Council are beginning to work together.

"The timing worked out well," he said. "It was fortuitous that the outgoing mayor unveiled this so that the new leadership could carry it forward."

More No 710 Photos of the South Pasadena July 4th Parade

Miriam Nakamura:
We used over 200 balloons to make 15 hats and 2 star bursts. Ray Quan (Miriam's husband) is a serious amateur photographer and loves and think of himself as a street photographer. I am so happy he captured the feeling of empowerment and fun.