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Be A Responsible Citizen - Vote Tuesday March 8th


SATURDAY MARCH 5, 2011

VOLUME 5 NO. 10

MOSCA DELIVERS 1ST ANNUAL 
CITYWIDE STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS

“Working Together the Sierra Madre Way”

PUSD CANDIDATES SPEAK TO KIWANIS

 
On Monday evening, Sierra Madre 
Mayor Joe Mosca walked up to the 
podium in the newly remodeled 
Sierra Madre Room full of anxiety. 
His anxiety wasn’t over the contents 
of the speech he was about to 
deliver, rather it was due to the fact 
that he “had a tough act to follow”, 
referring to the performance by 
3rd Graders from Sierra Madre 
Elementary School. The group, 
accompanied by Principal Gayle 
Bluemel on the piano, opened 
the event with several inspiring 
songs from their ‘Showcase on the 
Pillars of Good Character’. They 
literally ‘rocked’ the house and the 
showcase theme coincided with the 
Mayor’s topic for the evening on 
working together.

 This was the first citywide State 
of the City address in Sierra 
Madre. In the past, Mayors have 
generally delivered the address at 
the invitation of The Chamber of 
Commerce, The Women’s Club, and 
Sierra Madre’s Kiwanis and Rotary 
clubs. For this event, the invitation 
was extended to every resident in 
Sierra Madre and held in the evening 
in order to accommodate working 
members of the community. It was 
well attended with a standing room 
only crowd at times. 

 Representatives of every civic 
organization were present as 
well as the entire city council 
and all city department heads. 
Refreshments were provided by 
Bean Town, Café 322, Casa del Rey, 
Charcuterie, Corfu, Sierra Madre 
Pizza Company, Sierra Madre 
Grocery Company and Zugo’s 
(formerly Ugo’s). Liebert Cassidy 
Whitmore, Athens Disposal and 
Southern California Edison helped 
underwrite the expense for the 
evening.

 Mosca noted that he chose the 
theme “Working Together the 
Sierra Madre Way” because of “the 
collaborative style and volunteer 
spirit that defines our foothill 
village.” 

Highlights of the State of The City:

Finances

“The good news is that our current 
General Fund budget is “balanced”, 
and we have ended the past couple 
of years with a surplus. This surplus 
has been added to our General Fund 
reserves, which is now approaching 
an amount equal to more than 
50% of the annual General Fund 
expenditures, which is not all that 
common for our community.” 

 Mosca noted that one reason Sierra 
Madre was able to sustain a healthy 
financial position because of 
proactive measures taken including 
the voter approved Utility Users Tax 
that helps sustain our Police, Fire 
and Paramedics.

 He also noted that the city does not 
rely on sales taxes as other cities due 
and therefore the impact of a down 
economy is less. “We are more 
dependent upon property taxes, 
which is a much more of a stable 
revenue stream.” He noted that 
our town “has always been fiscally 
prudent in our investments, revenue 
forecasts, and our expenditures.” 

 While speaking of finances, he also 
discussed the city’s Water Fund. 

 “As you’re probably aware, the 
City Council recently approved 
a water rate increase. Unlike our 
General Fund, our Water Fund was 
not balanced and our projections 
indicated that in a few short years 
all of our reserves would be spent. 
The increase that was ultimately 
approved was the first increase 
approved in the past five years. 

As some of you may know, the 
Water Department is a city owned 
utility with a wholly separate fund. 
This utility must bring in enough 
revenue to cover its obligations and 
to ensure an appropriate level of 
investment in the system, so that it 
continues to deliver quality water in 
a reliable manner.” 

 Discussion of the Water Fund in 
particular was timely as a claim has 
been filed against the city by Blogger 
John Crawford who threatens to 
sue the city over the water rate 
increase. Crawford, according to 
the Pasadena Star News, is being 
represented by Former Mayor Kurt 
Zimmerman.

Accomplishments

 The Mayor went on the outline the 
many accomplishments that have 
been achieved in the last year or 
two. They included (partial listing):

The Sierra Madre Community 
Room Renovation through the 
use of Federal and County grants;

$800,000 in Street Improvements; 
Acquiring a new fire engine, a 
new fire department water tender, 
a new ambulance, a new backhoe 
for Public Works, along with a 
new Vactor Truck for maintaining 
the City’s sewer system; 

Updating the city’s computer 
software system;

Launching the Emergency/
travelers radio station, AM1630 
and completion of the Housing 
Element.

He also mentioned updating the 
General Plan and the work being 
done on the new Canyon Zone 
Ordinance. 

 Mosca ended his speech with a 
quote from the President of the 
National Civic League describing 
cities, such as Sierra Madre, that 
have received the high recognition 
of being named an All-America 
City, “These communities serve as 
models for the rest of the country…
they are tackling challenges that 
seem insurmountable and are 
producing positive and tangible 
results with ingenuity and 
collaboration.”

Candidates running for three seats on the Pasadena Unified School District’s 
Board of Education spoke before the Sierra Madre Kiwanis Club 
on Tuesday. Pictured above is resident Ken Anhalt questioning from left 
to right, Incumbent Renatta Cooper, Kimberly Kenne, Gene Stevenson, 
Tom Selinski, Sean Baggett and on the far right, Gaylaird Christopher. 
(Write In Candidate Cushon Bell arrived later.) Anhalt asked the group 
about their position on resuming classes such as ‘shop’ and ‘home economics’ 
that proved to be very effective in years past.

Photo By Dean Lee

A VERY BAD TASTE By Susan Henderson

Parents Angry Over Children Not Receiving Awards

 When Sierra Madre resident 
Tom Brady came up 
with the idea of hosting a 
citywide event to benefit 
not only the Sierra Madre 
Youth Center, but also the 
Rotaplast Foundation and 
young Artists and Essayists 
in local schools, the 
idea was well received. As 
stated on the website, “A 
Taste of Sierra Madre” is a 
community celebration of fine 
arts, culinary arts, drama and 
live music hosted on Kersting 
Court, Saturday, September 
11th. This inaugural event 
raises awareness and equal 
funding for the Sierra Madre 
Youth Activity Center and the 
Rotaplast Foundation which 
serves kids & adults who require 
cleft palate surgery. We 
are devoted to the well-being 
and future of our children locally 
and humanitarian service 
globally.”

 Brady gathered support 
from all over town including 
local schools, churches, service organizations, 
the Police and Fire Departments 
and local media. The mission 
was noble and Brady was a master at 
motivating over a hundred volunteers 
that made the one day event a success.

Or so it seemed.

 Even when Brady appeared before 
the Sierra Madre City Council and 
presented a big check to the city for 
$6,000 for the Youth Activity Center 
everything appeared to be just fine. 
An equal amount is alleged to have 
been sent to the Rotaplast Foundation. 

Everything still appeared to have been 
performed as committed. However, 
by late November, the fact that the 33 
students who had been promised Savings 
Bonds for winning their category 
in the Arts and/or Essay competitions 
had not received them, started 
to surface. When questioned, Brady 
indicated that there had been a delay 
in acquiring the necessary information 
from the parents in order to process 
the bonds. Later, Brady made a 
public announcement that all bonds 
had been processed and they would 
shortly be in the hands of the award 
winners. That never happened.

 In January, parents began speaking 
up. After receiving conflicting accounts 
from Brady, Contact was made 
with Chase Bank, who issued the 
forms on the day of the event. Chase 
confirmed that only 11 forms had 
been turned in to them by Brady and 
processed. Those bonds are the only 
ones that have been received by students. 
Brady acknowledged that the 
information from Chase was correct 
and the remaining bonds would be 
purchased right away. That was January. 
That never happened either.

 Members of the committee who were 
questioned about the situation were 
all shocked to learn that the Bonds 
had not been issued. “The children 
who won the awards should have been 
paid before any other funds were disbursed,” 
said one volunteer.

 No explanation has been given by 
Brady as to what happened. Several 
parents have denied that there was 
ever a problem getting the information 
on the Bond applications. One parent 
recalls going into Chase Bank on the 
day of the event to get her child’s social 
security number so that the form 
could be processed that day.

 The response by Brady to inquiries led 
one organization that committed to 
buy 6 bonds for the 7th and 8th grade 
winners, to withhold the funds because 
when they asked Brady on several 
occasions to confirm the amount 
and send a letter requesting the funds 
or an invoice, he never responded.

 And to further exacerbate the problem 
according to one parent, Brady issued 
an individual personal check to 
her child. The committee specifically 
voted to have Savings Bonds distributed 
to the award winners in order to 
introduce the award winners to the 
value and saving and being thrifty. 
They were also told that the event had 
made net profit enough to meet all of 
its obligations and donate $12,000 to 
the YAC and Rotaplast respectively. 
Despite repeated requests the details 
on what children have received has not 
be forthcoming.

 Breaking News: According to an 
email received from Brady just before 
press time, he said, “Disbursed 
over 14k to community half to Rotaplast 
half to Sierra Madre Community 
Services plus all student awards in 
the form of bonds and awards.” That 
statement has not been confirmed.

 
Tom Brady, center, Chair of The Taste Of Sierra 
Madre, posed for this picture in November, 
2010 when he assured parents that the Savings 
Bonds were forthcoming. At that time (November) 
Brady said, “There was a delay in receiving 
back all the applications for the bonds from the 
winners’ parents. We’ve now purchased them, 
and the Treasury Department will send the 
bonds directly to the recipients”. MVNews Photo


Third Grade Students from Sierra Madre Elementary School opened the meeting with songs 
from their Showcase on building good character.


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