Nameplate:  Mountain Views News

Inside this Week:

SM Calendar of Events

Sierra Madre:
Walking SM … The Social Side

Pasadena – Altadena:
Pet of the Week

Around The San Gabriel Valley:
Christopher Nyerges
What's Going On

Arcadia · Monrovia · Duarte:
Arcadia Police Blotter
Monrovia Police Blotter

Education & Youth:
The Reel Deal

Food, Drink & More:
Chef Peter Dills
Table for Two
In the Kitchen
Sean's Shameless Reviews

Health & More:
Happy Tails
Dr. Tina Paul
The Joy of Yoga
Pet of the Week
SGV Humane Society

Business News & More:
Social Media Tips & Tricks
Rich Johnson
Business Today

Homes, Property & More:
Looking Up

The Good Life:
… This and That
Senior Happenings

Opinion … Left/Right:
Out to Pastor
Stuart Tolchin On …
As I See It
Greg Welborn

About SMTV 98:
What's on 98

SMTV 98 Programming:
This Week on 98

Legal Notices (1):

Legal Notices (2):

Legal Notices (3):

Legal Notices (4):

Legal Notices (5):

Legal Notices (6):

F. Y. I. :

Deanne Davis
Peter Dills
Bob Eklund
Merri Jill Finstrom
Howard Hays
Katie Hopkins
Rich Johnson
Sean Kayden
Chris Leclerc
Christopher Nyerges
Tina Paul
Joan Schmidt
LaQuetta Shamblee
Ben Show
Rev. James Snyder
Stuart Tolchin
Keely Totten
Greg Welborn

Recent Issues:
Issue 3
Issue 2
Issue 1
Volume 7:
Issue 52
Issue 51
Issue 50
Issue 49
Issue 48
Issue 47
Issue 46
Issue 45

MVNews Archive:  Page 1

MVNews this week:  Page 1


Read The Paper Online At: 


 EDITOR’S NOTE: At Tuesday’s City Council meeting a decision may change the city’s water department forever. In 
the midst of a severe drought, Sierra Madreans are challenged with the task of how to keep its water company operating 
while waiting for badly needed rain. Purchased water still runs yellow through our pipes and it is expensive. (This writer 
returned from out of town only to find that the water in the faucet initially came out a root beer color for a good thiry 

 In speaking with residents around town, the majority of those spoken to aren’t happy about a rate increase, but will not 
oppose it. They are willing to support it in order to maintain our own water company.

 There are others who are determined to try to gather enough signatures opposing the rate increase to stop it. Only time 
will tell, as the opposition ballots will not be counted until Tuesday. 

 In the meantime, the questions continue to pour into the Mountain Views News. One local resident, Eric Olson, wrote a 
letter to the entire city council and the city manager, and provided a copy to this paper. They are questions that I’ve heard 
asked over and over again. Read them and the city’s responses below. (The city manager’s responses are in italics. She 
informed the MVNews that the answers include input from the Public Works Director, Bruce Inman.) 

OLSON: 1. No one wants their water 
bill to go up. On the other hand, everyone 
knows that the covenants we gave 
in connection with our water bonds are 
hopelessly in default and it is no surprise 
that our municipal credit rating 
stinks. We need to get our credit back. 

OLSON: 2. No one is very happy that 
we had to bring water in at what appeared 
to be an extravagant cost. To 
add insult to injury, the imported water 
discolored the local water in some 
areas . 

3a. Are there capital expenditures 
that could be made that would make 
it possible to stretch our own Sierra 
Madre sources further? 

Yes, there are capital projects that will 
help us stretch-out our Sierra Madre 
sources - for example, there is a $22 million 
dollar project involving the County, 
the Raymond Basin Management 
Board, the City of Arcadia and the City 
of Sierra Madre to improve the capture 
of water out of the Santa Anita Canyon. 
Sierra Madre's cost share is 
approximately$900,000; this project has been budgeted 
and is included in the current rate study.

 b. In addition to being old and precariously 
close to breaking, are our 
pipes leaking? Is there some way to 
detect leaks in the pipes? 
Some of our water mains leak intermittently 
, and when they do -- we repair 
the leaks. Yes, there is a system that 
will detect leaks, before the leaks make 
it to the surface. Staff is evaluating the 
equipment, and if it looks like it will 
work for Sierra Madre and be cost effective, 
the equipment will be included in 
the next City budget. It is important to 
note that any "additions" to the water 
department budget, are ultimately paidfor by the rate payers. 

c. Would it be possible to capture 
more local water and put it into our 
water table? 
Yes, this is the primary goal of the project 
described in response to your question 
number 2a. That project is one of 
twelve (12) projects identified in the East 
Raymond Basin Water Resources Plan. 
The cost of the twelve projects is more 
than $40 million.

 d. I understand some cities by smart 
metering are detecting water loss and 
saving customers money. Would that 
work here? 
Yes, this would work in Sierra Madre. 

rate increases, generally a municipality 
does what it can to retain the utility.

 Experience shows that when a municipal 
water system is sold, the rates 
generally do not decrease, particularly 
in a situation where the water system 
has deferred maintenance issues. In 
most instances, the revenue to repair 
the system ultimately comes directly or 
indirectly from the customers. Another 
factor to consider , is if the municipal 
utility is sold to a private company , 
the private company’s shareholders 
may anticipate a rate of return on their 
investment. Additionally, a privatecompany is not required to go through 
a Proposition 218 process to increase 

*The chart could not be reproduced 
in time for publication. 

Thank you Mr. Olson for sharing 
your questions and answers with the 
Mountain Views News 

The City has obtained bids for the "smart 
metering," and the quotes were in the 
$1.5 million range. These costs were not 
included in the current rate study . If this 
project was included in the rate study, 
the rates would have been higher than 
currently proposed. Depending upon 
the outcome of the current rate increase 
process, the water fund's future financ 
ial condition, and other water infrastructure 
projects, it may be possible to 
re-evaluate this project in the future.

 e. What other things could we do? 
There have been staff reports prepared 
over the years that presented options; 
such as drilling new wells outside or inside 
the Raymond Basin. However, each 
well would cost more than $2 million, 
not including the cost of the land. 

3. If we cannot increase our supplies 
do we need to take further draconian 
The City has already taken action to ensure 
the supply of water , by importing 
water via the Grandview connection . 
(The Grandview connection is further 
described below.)

 a. Do we need to impose new building 
Based upon current conditions, the City 
is currently in a Phase I and Phase II 
level of water conservation. A building 
moratorium is not a component of 
Phase I or Phase II conservation. Should 
the City go to Phase Ill or Phase IV, 
then no new potable water services can 
be provided and no temporary or permanent 
meters can be installed. Phase 
Ill and Phase IV also call for a greater 
amount of water conservation by current 
customers . For example, Phase IV, 
includes an across-the-board , 45.5% reduction 
in water use.

 Additionally , implementing a building 
moratorium is a multi-step 
process, governed by state law. A moratorium 
can only be adopted by the City 
Council, if specific legislative findings 
are made, such as, "that there is a current 
and immediate threat to the public 
health, safety, orwelfare, and that the 
approval of additional sub-divisions, 
use permits, variances, building permits, 
or any other applicable entitlement for 
use which is required in order to comply 
with a zoning ordinance would result 
in that threat to public health, safety, or 
welfare." A moratorium also cannot be 
for an indefinite period of time. For 
example, an initial 45 day moratorium, 
followed by the requirement that 
the City Council describe the measures 

taken to alleviate the condition which 
lead to the adoption of the initial moratorium 
. Then the moratorium can be 
extended for a time period of 10 months 
and 15 days , followed by an additional 
year (for a total of 2 years maximum.)

 b. Do we need to severely restrict 
outside watering? 
Sierra Madre's water conservation ordinance 
allows individuals to determine 
how they will meet their water conservation 
targets. Ultimately it is an individual 
household decision on how to meet 
their conservation targets , and there is 
currently, no "law" that prohibits outside 

However, in light of the current statewide 
drought situation , the City encourages 
any reduction that can be made to 
outside watering, because studies show 
that most water use is for watering outside 
the home. If someone is considering 
updating their landscaping, please consider 
changing over to low-water plants 
for water conservation. 

4. I have heard informally that our 
rates are materially higher than elsewhere 
a. Is this true? 
Please see the chart inserted below*; 
four agencies have higher rates, while 
eight agencies currently have lower 
rates. However, it is important to note 
that some of the lower agencies are either 
currently undergoing a rate study, 
or they will be undergoing a rate study 
in the next few years, or they are in the 
second or third year of a multi-year rate 
increase . 

a. Have we looked into the possibility 
of partnering with some other local 
Yes, Sierra Madre regularly partners 
with the San Gabriel Valley Water District. 
For example, the District has provided 
more than $1.5 million in grants, 
and $1.5 million in a “zero interest loan”, 
and the District paid the full cost of approximately 
$2 million for the interconnection 
with the Metropolitan Water 
District (the connection is referred to 
as the “Grandview connection .”) The 
Grandview connection is currently supplying 
Sierra Madre’s water needs.

 b. Have we considered selling our 
system to a water company that could 
make the necessary capital improvements 
as well as lower our rates? 
While the possibility of selling the city’s 
water department has come up during 
discussions pertaining to the water 


Maisie Dobbs has been chosen as the Sierra Madre Public Library 2014 One 

Book One City selection and an appearance by the author Jacqueline Winspear 
will highlight a month of exciting 
free programs at the Library. 

Winspear will speak on Saturday, 
February 22 at 2:00 p.m. in the 
Gooden School multi-purpose room 
about her mystery novel featuring an 
extraordinary young woman living 
through epic times in World War I 
era England and France. A reception 
will follow the talk and copies of all 
the books in the Maisie Dobbs series 
will be available for purchase and 
signing by the author. 

2014 marks the 100th anniversary of 
the start of World War I and Winspear’s 
talk caps a month of programs 
with a World War I theme. 

Kickoff Event - Saturday, February 1, 

2:00 p.m. at the Library 
• Children’s Airplane Flying Contest 
• Display of artifacts from World 
War I 
• Display of World War I award-winning 
poetry by Christopher “Kit” 

Teen Docents will feature virtual tours of Sierra Madre in the World 
War I period 
Live music from the era 
Events throughout the month 
Tuesday, 2/4, 7:00 p.m., Library 
Travel in Time and Space. Immerse yourself in Maisie’s world with an armchair 
tour of World War I life. Catherine Adde will take us to Cambridge, London, the 
English countryside and the battlefields of France where the story takes place. 

Monday, 2/10, 7:00 p.m., Sierra Madre PlayhouseWings, an epic World War I silent action drama that features spectacular aerial 
sequences of vintage dog fighting and a romantic angle featuring its top-billed 
star Clara Bow. 

Wednesday 2/12, 7:00 p.m., Library 
Featured Book Discussion - Everyone is welcome to attend a special discussion 
of Winspear’s book, Maisie Dobbs. 

Thursday, 2/20 11:00 a.m., Library
Third Thursday Book discussion Maisie Dobbs 

Thursday, 2/20, 7:00 p.m., Essick House: The Sierra Madre Historical Preservation 
Society presents author and historian Michele Zack who will speak on life 
in Sierra Madre during the years up to, including, and following WWI. Emphasis 
will be on the role of Sierra Madre's women in shaping early 20th century 
community life and involvement in the War effort. 

Wednesdays, February, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m., Library basement 
Teen Book Club will read Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, a steam-punk novel 
with a World War I setting. 

Friday 2/21, 7:00 p.m., Alverno Villa 
Friends of the Library Wine Tasting. A signed copy of Maisie Dobbs will be 
featured as a silent auction item. 

Saturday, February 22, 2:00 p.m., The Gooden School multi-purpose room 
Appearance and book signing by author Jacqueline Winspear. 
One Book One City is supported by the Sierra Madre Community Foundation, 
the Sierra Madre Civic Club and the Sierra Madre Rotary Club. 

Sierra Madre Public Library, 440 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, CA 91024, 

(626) 355-7186, 
After learning about the massive 
data theft from Target customers late 
last year, it is probably welcome news 
for some Sierra Madre residents to 
learn that arrests have been made in 
the three year old EVG credit card 

 In December, 2010, it was discovered 
that thieves had placed ‘skimmers’ on 
gas pumps at what was then known 
as the EVG gas station on S. Baldwin 
Avenue in Sierra Madre. (That station 
has since changed owners at least twice 
since the scandal broke.) As a result, 
there were 600 incidents of fraudulent 
credit card use and approximately 
$175, 000 in actual monetary losses. 
Of the victims, 78% of them are Sierra 
Madre residents.

 The case was handed over to federal 
authorities immediately because of the 
size and scope of the crimes. 

 In December 2013, the United States 
Secret Service (USSS) arrested two 
men in connection with the identity 
theft crimes. Among the crimes they 
are accused of being involved with is 
our local EVG scam. 

 According to a press release 
from the City of Sierra Madre, “On 

September 6, 2013 after nearly 20 
months of investigative work, the 
USSS filed a nine count indictment 
in Federal Court against Artak 
Moskovyan and his brother Arakel 
Moskovyan. The indictment charged 
Conspiracy to Commit Access Device 
Fraud, Possession of Counterfeit 
and Unauthorized Access Devices, 
Unlawful Possession of Device Making 
Equipment and six additional related 
charges. The indictment indicated 
that on January 6, 2011, Artak 
Moskovian was found in possession 
of 548 counterfeit credit/debit cards 
and computer equipment that was 
used to fraudulently utilize stolen 
credit card account information and 
PIN numbers. Arakel Moskovyan was 
charged with aiding and abetting his 
brother in the operation. 

 Although a number of the stolen 
accounts mentioned in the indictment 
were traced back to the EVG 
service station, several others were 
obtained from other retail businesses 
throughout the Southern California 

The trial is scheduled to begin March 
11, 2014. “

Useful Reference Links

Local Weather

National Weather Service: Sierra Madre forecast

Map: Sierra Madre mud and debris flow
News about Sierra Madre
mud and debris flow

Mountain Views News 80 W. Sierra Madre Blvd. #327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.604.4548