Children comprehend the concept of voting: We vote for what we want, the most votes win. But not in presidential elections. Hillary Clinton won more than a million more votes than Donald Trump, but an estimated 306 Electoral College votes will elect Trump Dec. 19. How do we adults justify this 18th century anomaly?

The authors of the Constitution thought evaluating presidential candidates required detailed analysis that the average voter couldn’t perform. Skip to the 21st century and ask yourself: Did you get enough information in the 2016 campaign to cast an informed vote for president?

The League of Women Voters has supported popular election of the president since 1970, by which time two presidents had won the Electoral College after losing the popular vote. Now, it has happened twice in the past five elections. It is time to bury this relic and move to popular election of the president.




As Americans watched state after state move into Donald Trump’s column on TV, it appeared he was receiving a “mandate” for his agenda. But as Trump gathered the necessary Electoral College votes to become our president-elect, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. More Americans chose her than him.

Historically, our indirect method of choosing the president was designed to obtain support for the Constitution from less populous, rural states, which feared domination by a federal government elected by a national vote. But as we achieved a national identity, the undemocratic quality of this system became apparent.

A discrepancy between popular and Electoral College votes usually sets off a clamor to end the college. This would require a constitutional amendment. However, those who profit politically from the status quo now control all avenues to accomplish this.

Should Trump’s many opponents undertake what looks like a quixotic quest to abolish the college? 

Oddly enough, they should. It would be a constant reminder that Trump’s seeming mandate actually reflects only the depth of our national division.



Re: “The Hand That Feeds,” Nov. 17

So, only entertainers who have taken a loyalty oath to the institution of predatory capitalism, while also promising to never criticize America’s openly war-criminal behavior towards the rest of the world, may be considered for that special gift of an honorary Oscar.

And while I can’t attest to just how outraged the average Chinese person may be toward the “anti-freedom” attitudes that Jackie Chan perhaps has expressed, I do know that  America, which has around a quarter of the general population of China, hosts a prison infrastructure that incarcerates more than six times the number of its citizens than does the “Middle Kingdom.”

Also, while China’s capitalist-redefined economy may be a degree or two closer to “communism,” America’s predatory capitalist state is so much more likely to become a fascist utopia.

The Academy Awards is an entertainment venue. That I know of, there is no official propaganda litmus test to pass in order to receive its prizes. Jackie Chan is a very talented entertainer. His ideas and opinions are also his own. 


First, DanD’s comment on prison population in China fails to recognize that China considers its prisoner population a state secret. No one knows for sure how many prisoners are in China, nor do they know how many prisons there are, including the “black jails,” where relatives cannot find out where their loved ones disappeared into.  

Furthermore, Amnesty International concluded that China executes more people than the entire world combined. I am sure that DanD would not want the US to execute all our prisoners on death row in order to reduce our prison population.

DanD argues that the decision to give this award should be based solely on Mr. Chan’s past work. However, would DanD have recommended that the Academy should have honored Leni Riefenstahl, one of Nazi Germany’s top propagandists, solely for her innovative filming technique, creative documentary production and directorship without taking into account of her subject matter? I think not.

DanD implies that just because China is currently a market economy it is therefore not a communist country. The communist ideology is that there is a continuous revolution in order to achieve the communist utopia; the use of market economy is merely one of such steps and tools.  

One has only to pay attention to what China’s President Xi Jinping has declared in his confidential internal “Document No. 9,” which warns of seven dangerous Western values among which are constitutional democracy, universal values of human rights, civil society, pro-market neo-liberalism, media independence, to understand that China is indeed a communist country in the mode of Mao Zedong.


Re: “A Blind Eye,” Nov. 17

Sounds like the new city manager is in hot water. Watch out Stevie, the “community” fired Hawkey, Kurtz, and Beck. You will be next. Capitulate. Save yourself. Let them own you.




Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com or by dialing ext. 114.


We misattributed the cover photo of Ellen Snortland in the Nov. 10 edition. The  photograph was taken by Kirsten Filonczuk. 




A sweeping trend is rebounding in America; it’s the idea that some people are just more valuable than others based on bogus criteria. It’s nothing less than a phony hierarchy of human worth.

The hierarchy reflects blanket judgments about people: Men are better than women; straight people are better than gay people; owners are better than workers; people born in America are better than those born outside America; English speakers are better than non-English speakers; white people are better than people of color; and, of course, rich people are better than poor people.

The latter premise reflects an economic arrogance that assumes “Good people just don’t become poor.” 

America fought the Civil War over these kinds of assumptions. We championed civil rights to put down these ideas. We challenged these notions in support of women’s rights and gay rights, but they are returning with a vengeance.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously remarked, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Dr. King was right; character is the proper measure of good or bad.

Being gay or straight, or white or black, or rich or poor doesn’t make us good or bad. Being a person of character, who is trustworthy, respectful, kind, responsible, fair and a good citizen — that is what makes us good.

Don’t be fooled into using phony criteria to judge people, criteria over which people have little or no control — like the color of their skin, or their gender, or where they were born. We all know good people of all races, nations, religions and circumstances. Stand up against prejudice and bigotry.




(Following are a handful of anonymous reactions to last week’s election sent to our Buzz iPhone blast on Nov. 10.)

“Our president-elect is one of the most divisive figures we have ever seen in our country’s history, and people on both sides of the aisle recognize that. I’m hopeful that Americans on both sides will see this as a wake-up call and have the courage to work diligently to make sure that the future candidates our country nominates to the highest office are qualified, have the appropriate temperament to be president, and are actually reflective of the majority of American people.”

“I am a registered Democrat and not too happy about the election outcome. I think Trump is a bully, demeans people and doesn’t have substance or detail behind what he says. With that said, he will be our president and we have to give him the benefit of the doubt. He might surprise us and do good things for our country. If things don’t work out, we will take my 9-year-old’s suggestion and put our house on a trailer and move it to Canada.”

“I am not happy with the results. I hold out hope that when the Electoral College votes on Dec. 19, some of them change their minds and Trump does NOT become President.”

“I’m excited Donald Trump will be our new USA president. He will get our country back on track. The Obama years have been destructive to our economy. Our military will be built up to save us, if needed, and our health care system will be back where it should be. Obamacare was shoved down our throats without our say. Our Constitution will be followed by Trump.”

“Today of all days, I am most proud of what we do in libraries, a place that accepts and helps everyone, even those that we disagree with. Today I am going to do my best to remember what Michele Obama said: ‘When they go low, we go high.” I am going to remember that even though I am not proud of my country or what we seemingly stand for now, I can make a difference here locally in my community. I can live the values that I stand for: love, compassion, acceptance, equality and charity. Yes, I will struggle with anger and fear and it won’t be easy, but it is all a journey and I am committed to being here, if for nothing else than to protect and stand up for those who will be most affected by this nightmare. I won’t give up.”

“Even though I do not care for both of the candidates, people elected Mr. Trump as our 45th president and I think he will do a good job trying to fix the problems this county is facing today (i.e., joblessness, health care issues, political corruption, etc.). Our county has lots of problems and I hope that he will bring in the right people to help him do the job.”

“I am happy and we need to unite and give him a chance to do his job.”


Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com or by dialing ext. 114.


We misattributed the cover photo of Ellen Snortland in the Nov. 10 edition. The  photograph was taken by Kirsten Filonczuk. 




The Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) has a new rule. It says that unfunded pension liabilities have to be reported on balance sheets, and not ignored in financial reports. This has led to some school balance sheets that look like they came out of MAD Magazine.

For instance, the school district of Philadelphia lists assets of around $2 billion and debts of $7 billion, half of which are unfunded pensions. Its net position is a staggering negative $5 billion. 

Do you know of any corporations that stay open with negative stockholder equity of any amount? 

LAUSD is slightly better: its debts exceed assets by $4 billion. Keep in mind — GASB says unfunded pensions are not phantom debt. It’s debt that is as real as what you owe on your charge cards. 

The city of Pasadena is a long way from being the next Chicago or Detroit, but it’s on its way to being the next San Jose, where pension costs are “crowding out” services such as fixing roads and keeping libraries open. The balance sheet of Pasadena lists $2.3 billion in assets, and $1.4 billion in debts, with $360 million of those debts being unfunded pensions. The balance sheet also includes $120 million in pension obligation bonds, a bad sign for any city budget. 

As voters decide on new taxes, they should wonder if those taxes will be used to pay off debt that is growing every month.




What is socialism? Socialism is a form of governing that puts everyone on an equal level; no one has more or less than anyone else. The idea is great as long as no one wants to get ahead and live with more than a minimum of things to sustain life. No one wants more. No one gets more. Everyone works the same. Everyone looks the same. As long as people want more, socialism doesn’t work.

Russia tried it for 75 years and it didn’t work. 

Greece, they went bankrupt because no one wanted to work; they wanted the government to take care of them. 

You say Social Security is a form of socialism. You are right, but Social Security was set up to help people save for their future. Politics changed it because the government saw all that money and wanted to spend it. They came up with a way. One way was to give money to people who are drug addicts who don’t work but get an SS check from the government so they have money to live. If you are an alcoholic, you get an SS check as well. If you are homeless, the check is sent to any address. There are many things that government spends on that are a waste of taxpayer money.

The problem I have with the idea of socialism is government giving people who can work no incentive to work and better their lives. What is poor? There are poor people all over the world, and mainly because of their governments they starve. They don’t have any opportunity to move out of poverty. In the USA, everyone has an opportunity to get ahead. 

What is poverty in the USA if you are a US citizen? If you are poor, you have only one TV set. You have an old car, but you have cable TV, you have a cell phone and you get a check from the government. 

I am an American Latino. I grew up poor in a large family. Everyone in the family had to work at a young age. We got no help from the government. We all had to pay for our own educations. 

Many taxpayers live on less because of high taxes, many on fixed incomes who worked hard to make a better life for their families. Now that they are old they don’t live very well because of high taxes for government programs. Now you want more socialism. Who pays for that? The people who work.



November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month and I encourage people who are ready to give a cat or dog a loving, lifelong home to consider adopting an “oldie but goodie” from their local shelter. As the guardian of three animals in their golden years, I appreciate how my companions have mellowed over time. Now, I can actually keep up with my dog on walks and my cats prefer cuddling over clawing the couch.

When you adopt mature animals, what you see is what you get: There are no mysteries about what their adult size, personality, energy level, or grooming needs will be. Many adult animals in shelters are already housetrained, well past the destructive chewing phase, and have mastered skills such as walking on a leash and using a scratching post. Unlike boisterous puppies and kittens, mature animals often have an easier time fitting into a family that includes other adult animals because they learn and respect boundaries more quickly.

Like all of us, dogs and cats form relationships throughout their lives. Adopted senior animals are usually eager to bond with their new families, and they give them ageless love. 

To learn more about adopting, visit peta.org.





Re: Reading Between the Lines,” Sept. 22

… I am sure no one wants this situation. Not Mindy. Not staff. Not the Friends. Somehow, Mindy made some staff members upset. How about accepting some responsibility, apologizing to whomever it is you need to apologize to, and move on. We don’t know what happened. There is a lot behind the scenes that we don’t see, but there must have been a lot to lead this situation. 


Sounds like typical ’Dena. Most in town like to keep things just the way they are. This thinking must have trickled over to some ALD employees. Most times when there’s a new boss change is sure to follow. This is how it works in big and small companies. Employees aren’t usually into change. It’s difficult, unknown and uncomfortable … but you gotta deal with it. That’s life.





If anyone thought Halloween was scary, just read the latest reports about the meat industry.

Like news of pig farms dumping millions of gallons of pig feces into North Carolina’s water supplies during Hurricane Matthew, and stories about saturating their neighborhoods with windborne fecal waste spray, and farming accounting for more greenhouse gases than transportation.

Like recurring media exposes of horrific atrocities against animals on factory farms, slaughterhouse workers being subjected to crippling workplace injuries at slave wages and exploitation of farmers by controlling prices. 

Like repeated reports of studies linking consumption of animal products with elevated risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer and other killer diseases, and reports of the meat industry bullying health authorities to remove warnings from dietary guidelines. 

Now that’s really scary. 

I fought back by dropping animal products from my menu, and my local supermarket has rewarded me with a colorful display of fresh fruits and veggies, as well as a rich selection of plant-based meats, milks, cheeses, and ice creams. I am no longer scared, though I still fear for my friends and neighbors. 



I had the pleasure of working for Mindy Kittay at two different library districts in Colorado. She is an incredibly talented, hard-working and forward thinking individual. She is obviously trying to bring Altadena’s library into the 21st century and implementing innovation. At a large district in Denver, she was the director of finance as well as a leader in the Public Library Association and American Library Association nationally.

Under her leadership, the poorest, worst library in Colorado was transformed into one of the most beautiful and collaborative libraries in the entire USA. So if you want to Google something, see “Anythink Libraries” which has been the recipient of national awards as well as international recognition. 

Growth is painful, pure and simple. Many were “disgruntled” at Anythink when massive changes were implemented. Librarians resigned, people complained, but the board supported the change, ultimately achieving unparalleled services for an area that was formerly neglected and blighted. 

The community of Altadena is blessed to have Mindy Kittay. She loves Altadena, she loves that library enough to endure the criticism from those who fight change, and she loves being a catalyst bringing innovation to those who will benefit the most … your children. 

Hurray for Mindy! I loved working for her and would do it again, any time!


NO ON 64 

California has a great medical cannabis law under the Compassionate Use Act, approved by voters with 1996’s Prop 215. Now with Prop 64 we have big corporations coming in trying to sell a new law to voters — one that is misleading and designed around maximizing pot profits, as well as jailing the competition.

A patient with a valid doctor’s recommendation has more rights than what would be offered under the false “legalization” of Proposition 64, which would limit everyone to a single ounce, enable a corporate GMO takeover of the market, and criminalize 18- to 20-year-old adult consumers. While public consumption is currently allowed, under Proposition 64 seriously ill patients could be ticketed for consuming cannabis in places that allow cigarettes.

Cannabis is a wellness product that is reasonably accessible and affordable in California. The medical cannabis system is working. 

Vote NO on Proposition 64.



Re: “Release the Names, Release the Tape,” Sept. 29

So what are the cops supposed to do? In an accompanying article in PW we read of the damage one person armed with a knife did when he stabbed or slashed six people at a party, seriously injuring all six, almost killing two of them. In this case the cops show up at two in the morning and confront the subject who is standing at the front door to his apartment. We know from other news reports on this incident that at least one family member had called the police and informed them that Thomas was acting erratically and was high on drugs. He refuses to follow police orders to drop the knife and he starts to go back into the apartment which is occupied by other family members.

Now, let’s freeze this moment in time and take our time as we determine what an appropriate course of action might be. One, they could allow him to go back inside the apartment where other occupants are, including children, and permit him to do whatever type of assaultive behavior he elects to do. Two, they could shoot him with their handguns and end the incident right there. Of course, if they did that he would more than likely be killed and there would be an immediate outcry as to why they didn’t deploy their Tasers first. Three, they could try to physically stop him by grabbing ahold of him, but doing so to a large, unstable man armed with a knife would more than likely result in serious injuries to one or more police officers, or four, they can use their Tasers, a tool designed for just this type of case, in an attempt to momentarily incapacitate him.

Time’s up. The moment is unfrozen. What would you do? Of course, you deploy the Taser. Unfortunately for Mr. Thomas the probable combination of stimulant drugs in his system, a weak heart and the resulting struggle with the police officers more than likely led to a case known as excited delirium and his heart gave out resulting in his death. Very rare, but it’s not unheard of.

The takeaway is that the cops did nothing wrong, in fact they did everything right. And, of course, just like in almost every other death involved in a police contact, if the suspect followed the original orders of the police a death would not have occurred. Mr. Thomas has no one to blame but himself. 


If the changes have not been with the mission of the library or community in mind, who have they been for? The director is doing what she has been hired to do, build and maintain a successful library that serves the community. Since the staff seems so keen on conducting “surveys” why don’t they survey the patrons and community to consider how they feel about the new director and all of the work she has put into the library?

~ K_E

Re: “Release the Names, Release the Tape,” Sept. 29

Oh boy. Here we go again. With morale at the police department at all-time lows, this will surely push it to rock bottom.






California is not a swing state.

The presidential race is apt to be decided long before polls close here resulting in a low turnout locally — especially after the big race has already been decided.

Low turnout provides an opportunity for well-financed special interests to make their weight felt with deceptive claims that go unchallenged.

Already, relentless media attention has focused the public on bombastic assertions and manufactured issues, deflecting from the realities we need to address. It is hard not to be caught up and waste further energy bashing either Trump or Clinton, however amusing that might be.

Local issues and local officeholders are apt to have a greater effect on our lives, and certainly we Californians have more power to decide the outcome.

We must turn our attention to the less sensational task of studying our lengthy ballot and making the best choices among the contenders — listen to what they say, examine their records, maybe donate to the good ones. And then vote.



There’s no ban (or fee) on disposable bags in Sarasota, Fla., where I live, but it’s just as easy — and more responsible — for me to stash tote bags by the door and grab them when I go shopping.

In “One Can Make a Difference,” Rebecca Hosking, the woman who made the documentary “Hawaii: Message in the Waves,” explains that more than 100,000 birds and marine animals die every year after they mistake floating plastic bags for food and eat them.

Brown bags aren’t green either. According to the National Co-op Grocers Association, approximately 14 million trees are used annually to make paper bags for Americans, destroying wildlife habitats and displacing animals.

Using inexpensive, reusable bags is a simple, selfless and effective way to help clean up our planet and reduce animal suffering. Please think about animals and the environment when you go to the store.





Take an important step toward cleaner communities and a plastic-free ocean by voting YES on Proposition 67.

Did you know there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050? You can help prevent this by voting YES on proposition 67 at the very end of your ballot. Proposition 67 would uphold existing law and enact a statewide ban on plastic shopping bags at grocery stores and similar retailers. Plastic-bag litter is ugly and can be deadly to wildlife. The ocean is downhill from everywhere so plastic pollution makes its way to the beach and ocean through storm drains and from a variety of sources such as overflowing trashcans and littering, both intentional and unintentional.

More plastic is reaching the ocean every year so we need solutions like this to help protect animals that many of us love, such as sea turtles and otters. Plastic-bag litter directly impacts those species and many more while there is an easy solution with reusable bags. I see the blight from plastic-bag litter while riding my bike around Ventura. In fact, it’s amazing what you see when you slow down a little. On the beach at Pierpont I have also seen a cormorant that perished with a plastic bag around its head. To take an important step toward cleaner communities and a plastic-free ocean, it is imperative at the end of your ballot to vote YES on Proposition 67.





Re: “Reading Between the Lines,” Sept. 22

It seems clear that there are changes in the Library’s focus and activities that this patron finds most positive. It takes a lot of leadership, courage and forward thinking to bring about these kinds of changes in a new environment. And this is exactly what the Library needs to be doing. “Pew’s research shows that while many patrons still want to use libraries to borrow books, they’re also increasingly thinking of them as a community space that enables access to technology and a source of digital literacy for all different demographics.” This is a quote from the Washington Post from 2013! It was a wise board of trustees that brought Ms. Kittay to the Altadena Public Library. I suspect that these disgruntled “staff members” are quite in the minority and are the ones who can’t deal with the new directions the library is taking or realize the big picture and just how important these changes are, as evidenced from the Washington Post article quoted above. Ms. Kittay and the board of trustees should be lauded! Further, I am surprised that the author of this article would actually use a self-referential survey (a survey created by the same people it is surveying), as proof of anything but whining by an obviously biased minority of anti-change staff — and then have the nerve to quote it! This is the epitome of deliberate bias in reporting and a textbook example of yellow journalism. And the editors of the Weekly let this stand? The Weekly owes an apology to Ms. Kittay and the board of trustees for such sloppy, dishonest and sensationalist reporting.


If the changes have not been with the mission of the library or community in mind, who have they been for? The director is doing what she has been hired to do, build and maintain a successful library that serves the community. Since the staff seems so keen on conducting “surveys” why don’t they survey the patrons and community to consider how they feel about the new director and all of the work she has put into the library?

~ K_E

Re: “Release the Names, Release the Tape,” Sept. 29

Oh boy. Here we go again. With morale at the police department at all-time lows, this will surely push it to rock bottom.





Most people supporting Hillary Clinton for president are doing so not because they like her but because they’re scared to death of Donald Trump.

What a choice: crazy, unstable Trump, or militarist, corporatist Hillary. Either one is a bleak prospect that will help create a non-future for young people. If voters will support Jill Stein of the Green Party, at least temporarily, and spread the word, they can return to Hillary if Jill doesn’t get high enough in the polls. Why not give Jill a chance? The corporate media and big money won’t help. Change has to come from the people. To those who say third parties can’t win, consider how the Republican Party got started, as a small abolitionist party. Jill could really take off, just like Bernie did. He proved the grassroots and small donations can do amazing things.  

Jill has an inspiring vision. She wants to restore the middle class, protect our environment and have justice for all. Voters need to embrace leaders who will help heal this troubled world. It’s time to give up on corporate politicians who represent the wealthy and support grassroots efforts instead. We can be brave for now and support Jill, remembering the words often attributed to Goethe: “Are you in earnest, seize this very minute, boldness has genius, magic, and power in it …”




Assemblyman Mike Gatto, who represents the 43rd District, is being termed out of office and is recommending Glendale Councilwoman Laura Friedman as his replacement.

Mr. Gatto, who lived in Silver Lake when first elected, now rents a small apartment in Glendale. He moved his family to Sacramento shortly after being elected. Therefore, how can he be aware of all the issues facing our Jewel City, among them the out-of-control construction occurring in our central business district and elsewhere? Projects approved by Ms. Friedman have caused major traffic congestion and parking nightmares in nearby neighborhoods. Her voting record has reduced the quality of life for many Glendale citizens.

Since Ms. Friedman was elected in 2009, her concern has been to ensure there is sufficient revenue in the city’s coffers to pay for her CalPERS union supporters with their outrageous salary and pension benefits. 

Councilwoman Friedman has voted to raise our water and electric rate costs above the cost of delivery. Her approval and voting to transfer approximately $20 million annually from GWP to the general fund is a backdoor tax on the ratepayers.  The increase in water and electric rates and the money transfer from GWP motivated previously uninvolved citizens to join and form the Glendale Coalition for a Better Government. 

When term limits were brought forward at a Glendale City Council meeting last year, Ms. Friedman voted against them for her city. Now, because of term limits at the state level, she benefits and is now able to run for the 43rd Assembly District seat.




It seems like there is always some special observance around the corner. There is even a World Day for Farmed Animals. It’s observed fittingly on Oct. 2, Gandhi’s birthday. It’s intended to memorialize the tens of billions of animals abused and killed for food around the world. 

My first instinct was to dismiss it. But, I wanted to understand the impact of my diet and my food dollars on others. 

Recent undercover investigations showed male baby chicks suffocated in plastic garbage bags or ground to death, laying hens crowded into small wire cages, injured pigs killed by slamming their heads against the concrete floor, and cows skinned and dismembered while still conscious.

As theologians debate whether there is life after death, I wondered whether these animals have a life before death and why I should subsidize these barbaric practices.

I wonder no more, as I have now embraced a plant-based diet — green and yellow veggies, legumes, fruits, nuts, and some grains. Occasionally, I indulge in nut-based cheese or ice cream. Although I was motivated by compassion for animals, I have since learned that my diet is also great for my health and for the health of our planet.




Re: “Past, Present, Imperfect,” Sept. 15

It’s sad to see Pasadena become a giant housing project. It was bad enough when it was on the west side, now they’re moving to the east side. Walnut used to be a “business” street. Now these eyesores of housing units are being built. Soon the only business in Pasadena is going to be restaurants. That’s real productive. Sad, sad, sad.  Luckily I’ll be retiring soon and I’ll be out of here.


Re: “Conscientious Objections,”

Perhaps these students don’t appreciate how (Orange County’s Republican Club) was attempting to hijack the identities of all those 9/11 victims as a part of their perpetual quest to perpetuate the official 9/11 conspiracy theory? Perhaps Occidental Students United Against Gentrification  (OSUAG) was behind some of the “vandalism” (why not call this covert planting of flags itself an act of vandalism?), but maybe even just students that didn’t agree with the partisan political display also removed the flags more respectfully, or has all the thousands of flags summary removal been individually accounted for as disrespectful? As well, how do we even know who “put posters and flyers up that shamed the victims of 9/11?”  Just because some despicable poster is attributed to a screaming “communist” nutcase doesn’t mean some fascist cultural assassin didn’t really create it. It could also just be a young Republican propaganda strategy of “victim” status transferal.  Dirty “Tricky Dick” lives on.






“The Star-Spangled Banner,” among other things, is intended to express in public the approval of a free and satisfied people. 

Any American citizen, regardless of the merit of their feelings, can decide not to join in singing “The Star-Bangled Banner” at a public event, while standing or seated. They can, if it suits their purposes, hold their nose during such a display, showing a further sign of disapproval for aspects of the United States. This may be insulting to others at the occasion. Those who are insulted may express their feeling in a civil manner or not. 

However, in my opinion, there is no reason to take umbrage at anyone expressing a negative view of all or part of our republic, whether we agree with this view or not. Criticizing our homeland is a right, even an obligation when we feel it is necessary of all American citizens. It is a useful and constructive right which should be cherished. We are not perfect yet.




On Sept. 17, 2009, Mitrice Richardson was released from the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff Station while suffering a mental health crisis. Subsequent to her release, she went missing and nearly 11 months later her naked skeletal remains were discovered in the canyons of Malibu.

That Mitrice was found dead after being released in the most inhumane of ways is incomprehensible, and the fact that people who are mentally compromised continue to be released from law enforcement custody with no concern for their safety is shameful. The recent case of 71-year-old Gerald Sakamoto, whose family informed Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department jail personnel that he suffered a mental health condition and needed his medication, highlights the fact that not much has changed since the disappearance and death of Mitrice.

Despite his advanced age and his mental health condition, Mr. Sakamoto was released in much the same manner as Mitrice, and he was found, as was Mitrice, deceased. 

Missing person cases continue to be treated apathetically. Families are routinely told that they must wait to make a missing person’s report when the fact of the matter is that there is no waiting period to file a missing person report. In a recent conversation with an LAPD officer, I was told that they consistently tell families to wait before filing a missing person report because, “Taking a missing person report is a pain in the butt, so we just tell people to wait.” I have learned, as part of the volunteer work that I do in assisting families in search of missing family members, that most people who go missing return within three days, and because of that, law enforcement officers do not bother with missing person investigations for about 72 hours. The possibility that Mitrice would be alive today had her missing status been taken seriously from the time that her family attempted to make a report is something I try not to think about too much because the lack of regard for her safety on the part of LASD continues to be a painful thought. Why hasn’t the death of Mitrice been solved?  

The LASD has set about to engage in intentional activities that have interfered with the investigation of the disappearance and death of Mitrice. For example, the LASD detectives removing her body from the crime scene prior to the coroner’s being able to assess the condition of her body was intentional and detrimental to the successful resolution of her case.  

A former captain of the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station lied about the existence of the videotape of Mitrice while in the sheriff’s custody and hid it. When he eventually admitted to lying about the existence of the video, he was not fired — he was promoted. The LASD continues to refuse to release the video of Mitrice despite the fact Neal Tyler, now second in command under Sheriff Jim McDonnell, stated in an email to me regarding releasing the video in February of 2010, “there is nothing of startling evidentiary value — it’s pretty much just silent footage of Mitrice and a cell mate walking or sitting in the confined space of the booking area.”  If that is the case, then why won’t they release the video for the public to view?

The instances of corruption and cover up are far too many to mention and can be better understood in the recently released documentary “Lost Compassion,” which tells the story of the disappearance and death of Mitrice Richardson. As we mark seven years since she went missing, my thoughts continue to be focused on finding justice for Mitrice.





A recent study in Clinical Pediatrics examined 1,616 dog-bite injuries and concluded that “with rare exceptions, children and pit bulls do not mix well.” It found that pit bulls are more than two and a half times as likely to bite in multiple places on the body than other breeds, and that the injuries they inflict are often more severe.

This reinforces the need to spay and neuter pit bulls for the safety of the public and the dogs alike. PETA supports spay/neuter laws for pit bulls — and all dogs, given the overpopulation crisis.

Preventing more pit bull births not only helps keep communities safe from attacks but also protects pit bulls from entering a world where only suffering and death await so many of them. In response to recent attacks throughout Québec, Montreal is expected to soon ban new pit bulls, and other cities would be wise to follow suit. People who have pit bulls’ best interests at heart can agree that protections and regulations based on their breed are not only fair but essential.




There were a few goofs in last week’s Best of Pasadena edition. First, in the introduction to the Shopping section we credited the wrong person in the Best Bridal/Tux Shop category. The winner is Connie Tao Designs. In the Services section, we published the correct winner in the Best Pet Services category but the wrong information about that business, Paws in Motion. Finally, a photo appearing on page 54 contained the wrong name. The person in the photo is Gretchen Sterling of Pasadena Certified Farmers’ Market. All mistakes have been corrected online. We regret any inconvenience or hardship these errors may have caused.





The rant by Kevin Dunn in the Sept. 22 issue should be repugnant to any progressives who want something better than the usual Democratic hacks who have depressively become de rigueur. 

Dunn seems to want the Tweedledee-Tweedledum rule by our present two parties to die — just not now. The obvious question is, If not now, then when? The arguments for supporting the Greens (or any alternative to the Dems) will never in the future be more compelling to Dunn and his ilk.

Sure, we may not succeed in 2016, or even 2020, or 2024, but don’t we have to start someplace? Ironically, Dunn advances his position in this Pasadena paper where current support for the Greens could not conceivably help Trump win. 



Urban water consumption is increasing despite the lingering drought. One place where all residents can easily cut back? Their plates.  

On Aug. 18 André Coleman’s article “Force in Numbers” highlighted the recent City Council Public Safety Committee meeting in which the Pasadena Police Department presented “praise” worthy figures of their “low numbers for use of excessive force.” However, the actual PPD data submitted in their 18-page 2016 Mid-Year Discipline Review should cause community members more pause than praise. 

Coleman correctly reported that two complaints of excessive use of force out of 22 total complaints were filed against PPD personnel in the first six months of 2016. However, the report provides no data of previous excessive use of force statistics with which to compare. Therefore, the assertion of “extremely low numbers” for excessive use of force is both disingenuous and without merit.  

Instead the PPD report reflects little to no significant change in the number of complaints or use of force. In first half of 2015, PPD reported 25 complaints filed as opposed to 22 this year, a decrease of three. For the category of “force incidents” the PPD’s numbers were even less praiseworthy, staying constant at 20 for the first six months of 2015 and 2016. 

However, the article provides some insight into the state of police community relations in Pasadena. The article mentions the 2012 killing of Kendrec McDade and the subsequent “clearing of wrongdoing” for PPD officers Matthew Griffin and Jeffrey Newlen. However, no mention of the 2014 independent OIR Report which found 26 critical issues with the criminal investigation, including PPD not sufficiently collecting witness testimonies, officers breaking pursuit protocol, and the absence of a thorough administrative investigation. 

Coleman concludes the article with data from the “Community Perceptions of Policing in Pasadena” poll completed in April which found that nearly 40 percent of all respondents and 70 percent of African-American respondents expressed belief that PPD engages in racial profiling. Yet, in spite of these findings, and a separate April report recommending PPD oversight via a citizens’ commission and independent auditor, a report that the city themselves commissioned and paid $50,000 to have completed, has so far been ignored and not implemented.  

 The Guardian’s web database of people killed by US law enforcement called “The Count” reports that 698 people have been killed by law enforcement so far this year, with African Americans representing nearly 25 percent of those killed. The national and local numbers speak for themselves and demand that critical reforms in public safety investment must be taken up by local officials and community members. And maybe for Pasadena the prioritizing of findings from independent reports, rather than PPD’s internal data, would be a first step in the right direction.




I was shocked to read the article on the Altadena Library and its director, Mindy Kittay. For a decade I served on the Altadena Library Board of Directors. In that time, I was a voice for improvement. While during that era the Library was run smoothly and well by Bill Tema, it wasn’t really keeping pace with best practices.

Shortly after I left the Altadena Library board, the board appointed Barbara Petersen as library director. Barbara and I had opposing personal styles. Shortly after her hiring, many of the library staff members that are complaining now contacted me with the same complaints about her that they have now with Director Kittay. I did investigate, and while I disagreed with many of Barbara’s decisions, I didn’t find any legitimacy to the complaints of the library staff. In fact, Barbara was making many needed improvements, and often fighting her very privileged staff to do so.

Shortly after Mindy Kittay was hired as the district librarian, many of the same staff began contacting me and complaining about her. I did investigate. She is making needed change to get the Altadena Library to function for the 21st Century. I certainly don’t agree with all of her decisions, and we have a very open communication. She is not difficult to communicate with, even when we disagree, and we do a good 40 percent of the time.

As to the specific article, 

1. The Board of Directors, who are all elected out of the Altadena community, have heard each set of the employee complaints and found them not valid.

2. The staff-generated survey was purposefully designed to fail Director Kittay. No one hired within the last year was allowed to take the survey by those who generated it. Of the persons eligible to take the survey, 30 percent declined.

Finally, allow me to say that while I was a board member of the Altadena Library District, I was constantly shocked by the high pay scale, golden benefits and relaxed working environment compared to the private sector. While change is always challenging, it is especially difficult for employees who have been insulated from the reality of the marketplace.

Director Kittay is working hard to restore the existing library building and make it functional for another 50 years, bring the antiquated out-of-date collection up to date, attract more Altadenans into the library and increase circulation. While I don’t agree with all of her decisions, Mindy is doing much needed work to improve the Altadena library system, and she is doing it well.








Re: “Reading Between the Lines,” Sept. 22 

I said this on Altadena Beautiful and it applies here. Change is so hard, especially at our hallowed institutions, but it is a requirement within our libraries. Mindy [Kittay] has brought change and life and fun and music and art and a 3-D printer! The library is suddenly lively and living, not just a repository for dusty books (something I personally adore). 

I’m sorry the old staff members didn’t stick around a little longer to reap the benefits of the changes. Our library is just getting better and better. Just check out the calendar to get a hint of what the library is. Sign me a fan.



Urban water consumption is increasing despite the lingering drought. One place where all residents can easily cut back? Their plates.  

Every meat eater indirectly consumes nearly 600 gallons of water per day more than someone who eats plant-based foods, because large-scale animal agriculture relies on water-intensive crops like alfalfa and uses enormous amounts of water to clean filth, water animals and more.

So save water, not to mention the lives of sentient animals, by switching to tasty plant-based foods.

For a free vegan starter kit, please visit PETA.org.




I think it is time to ask the public the question about development in the city of Pasadena in one of your editorials. The paper seems silent on what the citizens think of continual disruption in the quality of life issues that seem to have no meaning anymore to those making decisions for an entire population of the city that would like to slow this growth down and let most of us remember what Pasadena was and should be into the future.

The city is becoming unrecognizable; massing of buildings, road congestion, cutting any tree that is protected to let every developer max out every development that is asked for. I don’t think any of the general public comes to any committee meetings to render an opinion. If so I’d like to see those numbers present. I think our council persons and the mayor do not represent the wishes of the general public. I may be wrong, but everyone I talk to doesn’t share their opinion of opening up the city for overdevelopment. If continued, the quality of life for all neighborhoods will certainly decline. We still don’t have any air monitors along our freeway to just let us have an idea of what the air we breathe is doing to our health. We seem to think that bigger buildings use less water. Just prove those numbers because we are still using more water just for the landscaping on the ground floor of those buildings than was used for those sites in the past. I do think it is time to ask the question to the public in such a short time since the new general plan was put into play. We really have no understanding of what all that effort by the public was all about.



Not My Fault 

Tuesday evening, Sept. 13, I came before Glendale City Council to inform the public that former City Manager Jim Starbird had filed a $1 million claim against the city.

“Starbird claims he was pushing his wife in a wheelchair when the chair hit an uplifted sidewalk, thrusting her head onto the concrete. It caused a severe concussion, and she died shortly afterwards,” according to the Glendale News-Press.

Starbird’s attorney, Steven Glickman, said, “You cannot have these dangerous conditions, especially with disabled people in wheelchairs.”

After the incident, city officials spray-painted the roughly one-and-a-quarter inch sidewalk elevation bright orange. Glickman said “if something that simple had been done earlier the tragic accident never would have happened.”

Years ago, concerned citizens Herbert Molano and Richard Espiritu came before council week after week after week, asking for an aggressive policy for sidewalk and road repairs. Mr. Espiritu was very passionate on ADA compliance. 

Council members Laura Friedman and Ara Najarian, who bestowed accolades upon Mr. Starbird upon his retirement, would often remain silent when these two gentlemen came before council with complaints and generally waited for a reply by Starbird. Mr. Starbird generally stated all was under control, not to worry and did nothing.

It appeared that Mr. Starbird was a miser when it came to finding money for sidewalk and road maintenance, but never had a problem finding money for generous salaries and pensions for his beloved CALPERS union workforce.

We are sorry for the loss of Mr. Starbird’s wife, a very respected person in the community, but the claim against the city brought on by Mr. Starbird and family is both appalling and unconscionable.

As the former city manager, he had plenty of time and opportunity to fix our sidewalks and roads. Mr. Starbird will be suing the taxpayers of Glendale for his mistakes.

Mr. Starbird and his attorney might want to review the videos of Mr. Molano and Mr. Espiritu before going forward.




Re: “Reading Between the Lines,” Sept. 22

They should all be focused on how they can all make/implement changes at the library for the better of the community. When you are in a position of authority, you don’t abuse your authority and do as you please. You are still there to lead your team and be successful as a team. It appears this is not occurring. The board is failing the staff big time. They did a flawed survey over a year ago and have really done nothing to make this better. I’d offer suggestions but apparently the board has no desire to fix the situation. Looking at the first comment about Ms. Kittay’s previous job termination makes you think; all those employees that left, a volunteer that quit and many unhappy employees. Could they ALL be wrong? I think not. 



Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114.





A great way to set a positive example for your kids is to obey society’s rules. 

While dropping off or picking up your kids at school, don’t stop or park in the red zones, in front of private driveways or on top of crosswalks. It’s a violation of the law.

If there are no spaces, park on the next block. By having kids walk a bit, it would also be a positive step toward reducing childhood obesity

Your kids will follow your example, but if that’s not enough incentive, the price of convenience is a parking ticket.




1. Hillary grew up in Illinois the child of a stable religious conservative family.  

2. In her earlier college years, while still influenced by the conservative leanings of her father, she actually worked as a supporter of Barry Goldwater in the summer of 1964.  However, influenced by the Methodist Youth Movement and her college environment, she soon became a liberal, and became active in a number of liberal causes. She worked to support Eugene McCarthy in 1968 and George McGovern in 1972.

3. She graduated from Wellesley College and Yale Law School. 

4. While at law school she met and married Bill Clinton.

5. They have a lovely daughter, Chelsea, and two grandchildren.  

6. Hillary’s husband, Bill, served for 12 years as governor of Arkansas with Hillary serving as the first lady. 

7. While in Arkansas she became a member of the Rose Law Firm, the oldest law firm west of the Mississippi River. She became their first woman law firm member, receiving acclamations as an exceptional attorney.

8. In January 1993 she moved into the White House as first lady with husband Bill who was elected president in 1992.   

9. In 2000, Hillary was elected to the US Senate in New York for a six-year term and was re-elected to a second term.

10. While serving her second term as a New York senator she was appointed secretary of State in 2009 by President Barack Obama. 

11. She resigned on Feb. 1, 2013 in order to pursue her campaign for the 2016 presidential election.

12. During their years together Hillary and Bill became authors. Hillary wrote five books. Hillary’s two most remembered are “It Takes a Village” and “Hard Choices.” Bill Clinton is also an author. His autobiography, “My Life,” is a huge best-seller, selling over two million copies. Their books generated quite a bit of income (and still do). 

13. Hillary and Bill this year released their financial statements for the period 2007-2014. In that period their combined income, including salaries, book sales and money received for various speeches was $141 million. Their taxes paid for this period was $43.9 million. Their charity donations amounted to almost $15 million.

14. She is an active member of the United Methodist Church and has been a huge fan of its founder, John Wesley. She often quotes his most famous statement:

“Do all the good you can,

By all the means you can,

In all the ways you can, 

At all the times you can,

To all the people you can, 

As long as ever you can”

15. Case Closed.




Re: “The Power of ‘No,’” Sept. 1

How stupid can we really be?

The Star-Spangled Banner is not about a FLAG! It is about the bravery of the men fighting against Great Britain, who just a month before invaded Washington, DC, and burned down the White House and Capitol Building and were heading to Baltimore as their next target.

The poem was written by Francis Scott Key as Key was being held by the British fleet. Key had negotiated the release of a friend that was being held and was aboard the flagship of the fleet. The reason he was held is because while aboard he learned of the impending attack on Baltimore.

Key was allowed to board his own vessel but was not allowed to proceed to land and was guarded by the British.  

On Sept. 13 the barrage of Fort McHenry began. History tells us he was about 6-8 miles away. As night fell the scene was described by many to fill the sky red with fire and as though the clouds were erupting. There was little doubt in the minds of most that saw the battle that the fort would fall.

On Sept. 14, as the morning light came to shine, and hours passed slowly as the smoke cleared from the endless barrage, Key, while sitting in his craft heading inland, saw the American Flag, not the British Union Jack, flying over fort. In other words, the battle was won by the American forces.

The poem is about bravery, courage and the will of free people. The American Flag he saw and describes was nothing more than a symbol of the battle won.

What is funny is how this racist slave owner was a Democrat and a close adviser to Andrew Jackson, the father of the Democrats, who was a major slave owner (at times as many as 300) and a slave trader earlier in his life, but yet the people screaming racist comments are they themselves Democrats.



Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114. 




Re: “A World Without God,” Sept. 9.

Being labeled for something you’re not — in this case, a-theist — seems counterintuitive. No big deal. What seem like big deals are the writer’s unresolved conflicts. 

Seeking “purpose in life” to fill a faith vacuum defines a dry drunk: you’re not over it; you’ve transferred your addiction.

Rising above faith addiction doesn’t call for studies, organizations, connectivity or consulting firms. Believe in yourself; exhale, savor the emancipation. One way you’ll know you’re there is when you can spell god without “G.”




Our nation has had an ongoing history of problems with the relationship between law enforcement and the public. We can no longer ignore it. There is nothing new about the stories we are hearing in the news today about innocent citizens being killed or seriously injured by law enforcement officers, with the majority of the people being targeted by law enforcement being African Americans. There also is nothing new about retaliation from the public toward law enforcement after an incident occurs in which law enforcement is accused of injuring or killing an innocent person. There needs to be a bridge between the public and law enforcement. There needs to be communication and understanding. The public needs a voice when it comes to law enforcement, and law enforcement needs a voice to the local community in which it works.

The only way to ensure fairness and justice between law enforcement and the public is by adding new legislation. My recommendation is for states to adopt law enforcement boards. These law enforcement boards would operate much like school boards, which reside in their communities. What do we know about school board members?

According to the National School Boards Association website, “School board members are as diverse as the democracy they serve. School board members, especially those in large districts, are more representative of the communities they serve than state legislators and members of Congress. Boards include women (44 percent are female) at more than twice the rate of the US House of Representatives (about 17 percent) and the US Senate (about 20 percent). In large districts, 21.8 percent of school board members surveyed were African American and 6 percent were Latino.”

A law enforcement board could operate in much the same way, reflecting the views, opinions and needs of the actual people within the district in which it would operate. States could then establish policies and regulations for districts to follow and enforce. Some of these policies could also include having members of the public on the panel responsible for interviewing and screening potential law enforcement applicants, annually reviewing law enforcement officers’ status, which could include whether officers had any civil rights complaints filed against them, whether the result of any psychological testing revealed an officer’s being unfit for duty, etc. Law enforcement boards can also require an officer to attend anger management classes, sensitivity training, etc., at the recommendation of a licensed psychologist. If a law enforcement officer fails to improve, the board/council can recommend the officer be removed from duty.

At the same time law enforcement officers need to be given the tools to help them do their jobs well without hesitation, without discrimination. I do not feel that certain classes at police stations or within a law enforcement setting will provide the necessary skills to help law enforcement officers learn to bridge the gap between themselves and the local community. They have to be out in the community in which they work or with people of that community. Therefore, the law enforcement board should be the entity that oversees and recommends training and workshops that are operated by local nonprofit organizations to help law enforcement learn things like dealing with stress and working in high-poverty areas.

The public also would have a duty to the community and law enforcement to attend the law enforcement board meetings so that their voices can be heard. I feel that if law enforcement boards are successful, other states may adopt a similar model. 

Allowing the public to be more involved in the hiring, training, evaluation and firing of law enforcement within their own communities would provide the public with a voice when it comes to law enforcement and it would also provide law enforcement with the necessary tools to understand and work with the community which it is given responsibility to protect. Bringing the public and law enforcement together in this way would be bridging the gap between law enforcement and the public.




Re: “The Power of ‘No,’” Sept. 1

America’s National Anthem focuses on a flag. Personally, I would much rather have a national anthem that existentially illustrated the more divine circumstance of hope that is expressed in the United States Constitution. A flag evokes what we are at the moment. The Constitution describes what we should forever be trying to become. Right now all over the world America’s flag is seen as an institutional declaration of corporate conquest. On the other hand, our Constitution is at least a bit more uplifting as a complex statement of ideals. Decades ago, when I joined the Air Force I swore to uphold and protect the Constitution … as an honorably discharged veteran I will also do that with America’s flag only as long as it at least sufficiently represents the Constitution. Right now? America’s flag mostly represents only the profits of incorporated empire. I do empathize with this stand (or perhaps I should say “sit-down”) taken by Kaepernick.



Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114. 




With the new school year starting, parents’ to-do lists are now filled with shopping for school clothes, school supplies and school food.    

That’s right — school food.

In past years, our nation’s schools were used by the USDA as a dumping ground for surplus meat and dairy commodities. It is neither a surprise nor coincidence that one-third of our children have become overweight or obese. Such dietary mistakes at an early age become lifelong addictions, raising their risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

Then came President Obama’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 requiring double the servings of fruits and vegetables, more whole grains, less sodium and fat, and no meat for breakfast. The guidelines are supported by 86 percent of Americans.

Most US school districts now offer vegetarian options. More than 120 schools, including the entire school districts of Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Oakland, Philadelphia, and San Diego, have implemented Meatless Monday. Some schools have dropped meat from their menu altogether.

As parents, we need to involve our own children and school cafeteria managers in promoting healthy, plant-based foods in our own schools.

Going online and searching for “vegetarian options in schools” provides lots of good resources. 




Re: The One Hundred Black Men for Change event.

On Monday, Aug. 15, we shocked the world.

Across Altadena and Pasadena, the community felt our love and commitment to help the young people of our community achieve greatness. Thank you to each of the 110 men who gathered at Altadena Elementary, John Muir High School, Cleveland Elementary, and McKinley. 

Because of the time each of you gave, students returned to school with a newfound confidence in themselves. Words will never be able to express the gratitude the students and community have for you simply showing up where so many do not.

It is important that we take the time to recognize a few key individuals who went above and beyond the call of duty to help pull this off. Dr. Cynthia Olivo of Pasadena City College, PUSD Superintendent Brian McDonald, Police Chief Phillip Sanchez, Fire Chief Bertral Washington, Council Member Tyron Hampton, Rodney Wallace, Kim Rhodes, Jackie Snell, Marcia Talbert, Regina Major, Walter Buchanan and Scott Holland of the Black App, Yemi Kuku of Hard 6 Media, Nicole Ford, Gary Moody, Ishmael Trone, Pastor Tyrone Skinner, Pastor Larry Campbell, the Men of First AME, the Pasadena Department of Water and Power, the Pasadena NAACP, the Altadena NAACP, the Eta Pi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, the principals and staff of Altadena, McKinley, John Muir, and Cleveland, Beverly Bogar, Cushon Bell, Cheynne Chong, Malcolm Johnson, James Farr, the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, Ideal Youth, the Pasadena Black Pages, Pasadena NOW, Steven Syms, Shauna Ursery, and so many more. 

Thank you to everyone who participated in making this event a success.

Our community needs us and in the coming months there are several opportunities to give back. Please visit us at Pasadena City College for the African American Young Men’s Conference from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 24.

The women of Alpha Kappa Alpha Pasadena Graduate Chapter will be hosting their annual Health Fair at the Jackie Robinson Community Center from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 28.

Pasadena City College will host a Convening on Boys and Men of Color to document all services for boys and men of color in our region. Sessions will be held at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. If you are looking for opportunities to mentor or other ways to get involved in our community please do not hesitate to contact me for more information. 

Again, thank you for your commitment to our city and I look forward to seeing all of you again soon.



There is only one way to stop police brutality. The officer who was beating the crap out of the woman on the freeway, the officer who used the chokehold on a man who was on the ground and killed him, the officer who shot and killed the man who was in his car with no weapon in his hand, this all has to stop and there is only one way. You know it and I know it.

All of those officers should be doing time, two years minimum sentencing, and lose all their benefits; and when they get out of prison, they can never be in law enforcement ever again “to serve and protect.”



Re: “Old Pas Parking Probe,” Aug. 11

Handicap fraud is everywhere in Pasadena. It allows people to park on the street for free overnight and not pay for a pass. It also allows people to stay longer at a meter. When Kings Villages started towing cars from their lots for not registering them, the tenants parked their cars with handicap placards on them on the neighboring streets. On any given evening on Hammond Avenue there are at five to 10 cars with handicap placards. People who work in doctors offices steal placards and use them. Parking enforcement towed away a truck that had a handicap placard that was illegally used. In Pasadena the fine is $371 for misuse of a handicapped placard. It’s a difficult crime to enforce. Police have to look up the owner of the placard who is handicapped and then check to see if the person is on the premises. CBS News reported the LAPD is finding many cars are parked at malls with handicap placards that are fraudulent. We’ve seen men with huge muscles who change their own tires and lift up cars continually use the handicap placard as a way to park for free.

A guy who runs a used-car business out of Kings Villages puts the handicap placard in junk cars he’s selling or fixing. Another neighbor who works in a doctor’s office uses the handicapped placard so that they can park the boat in the driveway. At City of Hope, nurses use handicap placards so that they don’t have to park far away. The sad part is that it prevents people who are really handicapped from finding parking nearby.


Re: “Old Pas Parking Probe,” Aug. 18

More than half of those people are “borrowing” the placard. This is complete and utter crap. They are abusing the system and should lose their placards.



Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114. 



I get it, John Grula is angry with Huntington Hospital (HMH). In his zeal to pillory HMH, he fails to acknowledge that in May 15, 2015 the LA Times reported that UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center (which according to the CNA’s website represents the UCLA RNs) was found to have been lax in the supervision and cleaning by the nurses and techs of the now infamous Olympus scopes that were used in the rooms where the gastroenterologists treated patients. This seems to contradict his claim that “CNA-affiliated RNs provide the best patient care in the state.”    

Grula also seems to be of the impression that Nurse Lin has returned to work at HMH. It’s my understanding that Nurse Lin has not returned to work at HMH, and as part of the agreement Almada and Lin are barred from seeking employment at HMH now or in the future. If correct, it would appear that Grula has once again misinformed his readers. Such a misdirection comes as no surprise to me, since it’s been my experience that rabid supporters of the CNA often play fast and loose with the truth, believing, I think, that the ends justify the means.



Editor’s Note: According to information obtained by the Pasadena Weekly, as part of the settlement with Huntington Hospital, the terminations of registered nurses Vicki Lin and Allysha Almada were rescinded, and they agreed to resign from their positions with the stipulation that they not seek employment at Huntington Hospital. This information was not included in material provided by the California Nurses Association regarding the settlement.


With regard to the Democratic National Convention: How depressing for us Bernie Sanders supporters. And how appalling, how manipulative, and finally, on day four, how anticlimactic! 

Many Bernie Sanders supporters and I were much relieved to see this disgusting, insulting charade of pageantry come to an end. Speaking on behalf of my fellow Sanders supporters, we were repulsed by Hillary’s speech, which was laden with false promises, lip service (in the name of Bernie), insincerity, you name it. 

So I say to all of you Hillary supporters, if only you could be bothered to look into her history. And don’t even get me started on Bill’s history. In short, Hillary, like Bill, is not to be trusted, and there is no shortage of factual information to substantiate this claim, all right? So, Hillary, in spite of what the corporate media would lead us to believe, you’ll never woo the majority of Bernie Sanders supporters into your camp. No way! 

Now, in my attempt to dole out punishment to the Democratic Establishment for all their misdeeds, I will be casting my vote for Donald Trump this November. 

All right, all right, but please hear me out. I’m no fan of Donald Trump, but at this point why not hang our hope on fate itself? In other words, let’s allow the village to be destroyed in order to save it. And, when 2020 has arrived, hopefully the American electorate will awaken to the fact that the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are no longer good for America. Perhaps then the Green Party and the Independent Party could fill the void and bring about a much-needed change to this utterly dysfunctional system of government.



From the ashes that did fall

From the towers that stood tall

There is Freedom in the air

We bear our grief and our despair

This great nation’s been around

We’ve been knocked down and we rebound

We strive on just like before

Because we always even the score

Let those who trod on our great land

Know on our freedom we make our stand

We are noble to our Just Cause

And our enemies receive no pause

Yankee Doodle and GI Joe

Mom’s apple pie ala mode

From the Big Sky to the Alamo

We will overcome our country’s foes

March on now Uncle Sam

Rid the evil from our land

We love our Freedom — we say no more

And our country forevermore

I am an American — I love this land

On my flay I make my stand!

I fear no evil — I don’t despair

Because there’s freedom in the air!



PS: I’m a 62-year-old white male in prison for robbery (banks and businesses only). I never physically hurt anyone. Inspired by Butch Cassidy. Although I’m stuck in prison I refuse to lie down and give up. I have a brain, body, ideas, songs, poems, creative ability, a desire to succeed, ink, paper, time and envelopes. I can contribute! I can succeed. Make my mother proud of me. (RIP 9-11-13) So I place ink on paper to present myself and my works in my endeavor to make this world a better place and hopefully improve my station in life. So be it from a prison cell.


Re: “Sisters in Spirit,” Aug. 11

Great story! So good to read something positive about our schools and the Catholic Church for a change!


Re: “Old Pas Parking Probe,” Aug. 18

More than half of those people are “borrowing” the placard. This is complete and utter crap. They are abusing the system and should lose their placards.



Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114. 




Poor organized crime. The mob has been marginalized somewhat for over seven years. But “Happy Days” may be humming early for the largely “off the books” economy and worshipers of untaxed wealth.    

One caveat Americans can count on with a Trump victory: Those pesky regulations on Wall Street will be tailored for a renewed no-nonsense sensibility.

The nation should anticipate one more time a Wall Street SEC policing unit that will see, hear and speak no evil surrounding risky deals. It has been historically what Republican administrations allow and count on for robust profit-taking.

But accompanying those loose, lucrative, producing policies, one shouldn’t discount the recessions they often trigger. When those recessions pop up on schedule on GOP watches, the trademark words of the late Paul Harvey will resonate with prophetic irony: “Now you know the rest of the story.” Yes, Virginia, the more things change, the more they stay the same.




Dear PUSD Community Member:

The governing board of the Pasadena Unified School District welcomes you to the new academic year for 2016-2017. We would like to update you about our vision for PUSD, including some present states and future plans for the district, as we continue to improve informative communication with our public.

First and foremost, the board is united in its support of our superintendent, Dr. Brian McDonald, and his executive leaders.  We refer to our collaboration as a Team of Eight: Superintendent and seven board members. We appreciate Dr. McDonald’s appointments of excellent executive staff who are bringing the district to a new level of efficiency and collegial relationships with the board and others.

We affirm the vision that Dr. McDonald has for our district: to improve achievement at all of our schools and to put our students at the center of all important decisions. This vision includes recognizing that each of our schools has its own particular needs as it makes progress toward better success. We have approved a Theory of Action for Change, which gives greater autonomy to schools that are performing well and more oversight and support to schools that need academic growth.  Guided by these ideals, the superintendent has made some difficult but thoughtful changes in school leadership, and we have confidence in his judgment about these changes. He has become well known for good listening and calm reasoning. 

Academically, we can report good progress in new and continuing programs. The initial phase of a balanced literacy approach focuses strongly on reading across all our schools.   Signature and magnet programs are thriving at many schools.  Still ahead are planned improvements to mathematics programs and much better reclassification rates for our English learners.  The dual language immersion programs (in Spanish and Mandarin) were recently evaluated with detailed reports; these programs now need thoughtful development through the middle and high school years. The district’s GATE program (for gifted and talented students) needs to be made more rigorous and engaging.

There has been good progress toward development of the Educational Master Plan, including a parent survey and a definite increase in communications to the public, including the launching of the new much-anticipated district website. The office of school support services is working on branding and outreach to ensure the public gets to know the PUSD of today and its important place in the educational landscape.

We responded with joy and pride to the success of our PUSD high school graduates last spring, as they moved on to distinguished and diverse colleges, to the military, or to career paths, with a fine showing of scholarships and awards.

In administrative systems, the district can report progress as well. We wish to see one full cycle of the new budget planning system, especially with income from the state’s local control funding formula (LCFF), which has changed how funds are allocated to school districts. Decisions on reducing costs and balancing staffing needs must be made with plenty of public outreach and convenient meeting times for parent and community involvement. The superintendent and his staff are developing administrative processes that are tighter and more frugal. This includes consolidating some functions and responding to enrollment trends. With this approach, the district’s resources can increasingly be devoted to the classrooms.

The Measure TT bond monies are yielding excellent results, as our facilities leadership has saved San Rafael Elementary School from a potential fault zone hazard, opened the brand new Sierra Madre Middle School, built the K-8 McKinley School gym (accessible also to the Pasadena community), opened PCC Northwest at John Muir High School, and financed building improvements at every school site. Construction projects always bring challenges and sometimes unexpected delays or costs. Planning for sustainable improvements must involve some tough decisions, including staffing and the uses of our school properties. We have confidence in our superintendent, who has generated good will for PUSD and for public education wherever he goes, and we are proud to stand with him as his board.

There are challenges ahead this year in academics, planning and finances. But we are teaching our children that challenges bring out our best thinking — critical thinking and collaboration. It will take the involvement of all our community to sustain great schools in PUSD. Therefore, the superintendent plans to convene a steering committee of parents, teachers, administrators, staff and community members to help us understand problems and develop solutions. With your care and concern, we can continue to build our PUSD as a proud model of 21st century education.




Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com at ext. 114. 




Unfortunately, I don’t think we will ever get any gun laws or minimum wage raises, although 90 percent of the people want it. Here’s why.    

The president doesn’t run the country. The people don’t run the country. The poor president can’t replace Scalia, for crying out loud.

Remember, the wealthy run the country. They own all the big businesses, including the gun manufacturing companies, and they don’t want to pay $15 an hour, either. And the Republicans, who work for the wealthy, make sure it stays this way.

That’s the way it is.



Tuesday, Aug. 9, marked six years since the naked skeletal remains of my former psychology intern, Mitrice Richardson, were discovered in a canyon in Malibu. 

For some she is but a distant memory of “that girl who went missing from Malibu.” Many refer to her story as tragic and remember the terrible loss of life. But for me the disappearance and death of Mitrice Richardson was and continues to be utterly devastating and life changing. This is not only due to the potential of who she could have been and the life that she should have had, but  also because of the realization that police corruption is real and that there are many victims of this corruption who go unnoticed and without a voice. 

When Mitrice Richardson went missing in September 2009, many in the public would not hear of the possibility that there was corruption in the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. But time has uncovered deep corruption within the LASD with the sentencing of Paul Tanaka, the indictment of Lee Baca and the sentencing of several others in the department.  

However, despite the fact that the department has “changed guards,” the corruption continues.  The continued leaning toward covering up wrongdoing is obvious by the way Sheriff McDonnell responded to the recent death of 71-year-old Gerald Sakamato. Mr. Sakamoto, who suffered from bipolar disorder and Alzheimer’s disease, was arrested and released from jail in a similar way as Mitrice Richardson just a few weeks week ago. A close look at Sheriff McDonnell’s response to the death of Mr. Sakamoto echoes statements that were made about Mitrice Richardson when she went missing. I am sure that if the Sakamoto family persists, they too will feel the strong arm of corruption and cover up.  

Sheriff McDonnell states that he wants transparency in the department; however he refuses to release the video of Mitrice while she was in jail, the detectives on Mitrice’s case refuse to meet to discuss her case, and they continue to fail to follow up with leads.  How many more have to die in a similar way as Mitrice Richardson before significant changes are made regarding release practices is unknown. It is obvious that the practice of disregard when releasing mentally incapacitated inmates continues and the lack of compassion prevails within the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Civilian oversight is possibly the best chance we, as citizens of Los Angeles County, have to ensure that we are treated justly, fairly and with compassion. 




Re: “The State of Black Pasadena,” July 7   

The management of Pasadena Weekly needs to change the name of the publication to BLM Pasadena.

It has nothing to do with the color of your skin but the culture you decide to join. Because your skin color is darker than mine you are made to eat unhealthy foods by local markets or fast food joints? You are being made to play video games 24/7 by some mysterious power that doesn’t control me because of my skin tone? Sounds like a copout for not wanting to take responsibility.

Blame the problem on where the problem resides — one’s self.

As a WASP who grew up in a reasonably poor area of a large city back east, I could have joined a gang, robbed houses, stole things from businesses, and not gone to school and disrupted classes if I did attend. But, instead I had parents (who could have been on food stamps but declined) that pushed good grades, good behavior and morals and there were consequences to my actions, both bad and good.

And what happened? Two college degrees, naval officer, owned five businesses, and now I am teaching my kids that very same way as my parents taught me. And guess what, yes, they too completed high school with honors and are now graduating from college, and never once did they have an incident involving the police.

This is not because of the color of your skin, but because of one’s decision in which culture you participate. I bet there are kids from Northwest Pasadena who are getting good grades and going off to college, so how are they doing it with the same skin color as those that are getting their guns confiscated?

I have many friends that have darker skin tones than mine (am as white as a sheet) and they are all successful business people and parents and members of the community. To blame this on your skin color is a travesty to the people you seek to help.

Oh, by the way… the Irish (pretty much as white as you can get) were harshly discriminated against in America, especially eastern cities like Boston. Anti-Irish prejudice never disappeared, but the virulent quality visible in the middle decades of the 19th century did vanish.

Today the Irish in America are no longer the victims of discrimination. They have abandoned the shanty towns of the old immigrant neighborhoods and moved to the suburbs. Rather than filling the jails and the poor houses, they occupy the board rooms of corporate America. Their journey from the outhouse to the penthouse is an unparalleled success story.



Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com at ext. 114. 




What a beautiful piece written and photographed by a Pasadena High School student, Emma Brown (“Wait and Receive,” July 21).    

Thank you, Emma, for all your good work. Please continue along your path. 

Thank you, Pasadena Weekly, for publishing this. And thank you also for not allowing a copy editor to butcher it up.




Thanks to the Pasadena Weekly for alerting people about the effort to save the park opposite City Hall which has been suffering from a slow demolition by neglect. And double thanks to all of you who put your bodies where your hopes and convictions stand and appeared in the Civic Center Park last Saturday to protest the park’s demolition. But it’s not over. You have a chance to speak out one last time next Monday at City Council (6:30 p.m. in City Hall) when the decision will be made as to whether or not to give away this public parkland to a hotel developer or preserve it as a park for future generations of Pasadena residents. 

In this age of climate change where our trees and our oceans are not only our best but possibly our only line of defense against the ever increasing amount of carbon in the air, every tree is important. As our national forests succumb to drought, bark beetles and raging fires, our urban forests or city parks assume an even greater role in protecting us from the impact of climate change. Unlike our surrounding natural forests, we can nurture the green environment of our parks, water their trees and thereby strengthen their growth and ability to protect us through their remarkable carbon absorbing ability. In the future, they may become one of the most valuable assets any city possesses. A City Council that looks to the future will not give away its treasures. It will protect them for our children and grandchildren.

The responsibility for creating a sustainable future for all those coming after us rests with us and our ability to help enlighten our political leadership, not just at the national or state level but at our local council level. So I hope to see you on Monday at 6:30 p.m. in the Pasadena City Council Chambers at City Hall, 100 N. Garfield Ave., Pasadena. 

It’s time for all those who understand the importance of our natural environment to step up and speak out. The future depends on it. 




You had better visit Pasadena’s Civic Center soon — it will soon be gone, as we know it. It is about to be overtaken by a large, imposing 180-room hotel right next to the 95-year-old YWCA building.  

Do you like the parkland opposite City Hall? Gone. 

Do you like the alley of trees along Holly Street where hotel uses will be? Gone. 

Do you like the park setting for the Robinson Memorial? Gone.

Do you like the traditional front and lawn on Marengo Avenue of the 95-year-old YWCA? Gone. 

Do you like the public ownership of the public land throughout the Civic Center? Gone.

Do you like the parkland to the north next to the YMCA? Soon gone.  

The proposed 180-room, 60-foot-high hotel will not only overshadow the two-story YWCA building, but also will be built on 93-year-old parkland across from City Hall, right next to the Robinson Memorial. It will set a precedent for public land being sold for private development in the Civic Center. To add insult to injury, the parkland is being given away free to the hotel developer “to sweeten the deal,” as City Manager Steve Mermell told the Planning Commission recently. The process for selling this 93-year-old parkland violated the city’s own Municipal Code, and the city’s decision to sell this land and the “deal” with the developer was done behind closed doors in closed sessions of the City Council, meetings not open to the public. 

Public sentiment is growing against the outsized hotel building, as evidenced by a rally held on the parkland last Saturday and various community meetings. The City Council did not engage the existing City Center Implementation Task Force, created in 1998, to address the rehabilitation of the YWCA and the public land that surrounds it.  What do members of the public want? They want the hotel to stay off the parkland. This alternative exists and is spelled out in the environmental impact report (EIR) — the environmentally superior alternative, “2E,” a hotel at just over 100 rooms compatible with the YWCA that stays off the public’s parkland. The City Council needs to adopt this alternative.

The City Council meeting is Monday, Aug. 15 at 6:30 p.m. on whether or not to sell the parkland and build a large, imposing hotel in the Civic Center. If the City Council does not choose the environmentally superior alternative, then the City Council must throw out the current hotel proposal and the existing community-based City Council-appointed City Center Implementation Task Force, created in 1998, engaged to determine the best course for the Civic Center, the heart of our city.




Re: “The State of Black Pasadena,” July 7   

What a terribly timed article, as five white cops are killed at the hands of one black man. Is this the fault of “whitey” too, Mr. Kennedy? Black racism gets a pass, again.



Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com at ext. 114. 




Seeing people jogging with their dogs in this heat gives me the chills. Anyone forcing them to run behind them or behind a bicycle is asking for trouble. You may save a life if you step in and warn these folks why they are putting their dogs in serious danger. I once pulled over to help a man whose dog was showing signs of heat stress, although the man hadn’t turned around to notice. I bundled them into my car, and although we reached the vet’s office within minutes, the dog did not make it.    

A common misconception people have is that if they aren’t overheating, their dog isn’t, either. But in addition to being covered with fur, dogs cannot perspire as humans can — they can only cool themselves by panting, which doesn’t help when they only have hot air to breathe.

Signs of distress include heavy panting, tongue hanging all the way out, vomiting, and stumbling or lack of coordination. Dogs experiencing heatstroke must be cooled down with water and wet towels and rushed to a vet immediately. According to one study, half of all dogs taken to a vet with exercise-induced heat exhaustion died, but the chances of survival increased the sooner the dogs received care.

Our dogs love us and will try to keep up with us until they can’t anymore. Let’s not run them to death. Leave them at home in the air conditioning on hot days.






Re: Letters, June 23   

I just wanted PETA to know that, despite their scare tactics, meat is still providing delicious, healthy meals for millions of people across this great country. I took Heather Moore’s advice back in February (Feb. 4), and instead of ordering my usual fare (a pizza,) for Super Bowl halftime, I bought some hand-breaded chicken tenders instead. Awesome!

As for Jennifer Bates’ numbers that she may have pulled out of somewhere dubious (March 3 and April 21), I guess we should give Buffalo Bill the highest medal we give Americans for saving all that water which would have otherwise been wasted on bison. The simple choice our California government can make is to stop ignoring the undocumented immigration invasion, which uses far more water than normally falls in the local So Cal environment.

And like Phil Gargalis, I too look forward to the celebration of spring every year (March 24). For the second time I bought and prepared a corned beef dinner for my family.  Delicious!

A recent story which has been reported should give pause to meatless Mondays: According to a story in the Telegraph, “Long Term Vegetarian Diet Changes Human DNA.” “Long term vegetarianism,” militant or peaceful, “can lead to genetic mutations which raise the risk of heart disease and cancer, scientists have found,” the English newspaper reported.

Populations who have had a primarily vegetarian diet for generations were found to be far more likely to carry DNA which makes them susceptible to inflammation, the story states. Scientists in the US believe that the mutation occurred to make it easier for vegetarians to absorb essential fatty acids from plants. But it has the knock-on effect of boosting the production of arachidonic acid, which is known to increase inflammatory disease and cancer. The finding may help explain previous research which found vegetarian populations are nearly 40 percent more likely to suffer colorectal cancer than meat eaters.

The new research was published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.

Which reminds me of another story I recently saw, that Hershey’s Chocolate is introducing meat bars this summer.  Sounds scrumptious! I’ll watch for the PW’s unbiased review.

Also, I’m glad I got to go see a circus or two when I was a child, as the circus PETA and the media put on today are no comparison to the grand shows of yesteryear (Craig Shapiro, April 28).

And finally, is Heather Moore against meat or sodium (June 16)? I mean, lots of people raise their own chickens nowadays, so they wouldn’t have to worry about added sodium, because they have the option of not adding it themselves. 

Me? I’m looking for some recipes for smaller birds so I can keep them out of my plum tree, and for squirrels, so I can get the varmints before they ravage my avocado and orange trees.  Remember, if you want to protect your plants, try fricasseeing the critters.



Re:  “The Right Track,” July 21

We need more east/west cycle infrastructure. Union Street is a great candidate, because three lanes is overkill on that street.  

I wish it went further west than Union, but I understand the impacts to the two-lane section in Old Town. At least it connects up with the bike lane on Marengo Avenue.

What’s needed next is a bike lane connecting West Pasadena to Old Town. Colorado Boulevard from Pasadena Avenue to Orange Grove, across the Colorado Street Bridge to the western city limit could be done with very little to no impact.




Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com at ext. 114. 




It is impossible to be unmoved by descriptions of combat in the European and Pacific theaters in World War II in the letter “A-bombs saved lives.”    

However the post sheds little insight on the questions that historians still can’t answer: Did the A-bombs dropped on Japan really shorten the war or was Japan close to surrendering anyway? Were the bombs payback for Pearl Harbor and the Bataan Death March? Did we drop the bombs to show the Russians our new weapon?

Each year, thousands of classified documents enter the public domain. A dedicated group of researchers (like in the movie “Spotlight”) may someday answer these questions. The answers could lie in an archive in Japan, America, Europe, or even our own Huntington Library.





This is regarding Andre Coleman’s piece on the negligence of Huntington Hospital in alerting the city’s Public Health Department about the outbreak that may have killed 11 people and infected 16 others, in which Huntington Hospital blamed it on staffing issues. It is indeed staffing issues that have caused this and many other problems arising from Huntington Hospital, and the medical field in general. The problem is that all businesses, including the medical field, are looking to keep their staffing costs down, while medical career schools are churning out graduates in droves — yet appear to be omitting classes that teach about compassion and common sense. In fact, I invite you to read my Yelp review about Kids & Teens Medical Group on Sierra Madre Boulevard, here in Pasadena, to further illustrate my point.   

But back to Huntington Hospital, of which I can only relate my own personal experiences.

A good friend of mine thought she was having a heart attack and drove herself to the ER at Huntington Hospital in the middle of the night only to be told that they did not accept her form of insurance. They transported her to some hospital that no one had ever heard of, but when she was afraid to get treatment there, because the place looked so filthy, they refused to transport her back to her car. 

Long story short, she ended up taking a bus back to the parking lot of Huntington Hospital and getting seen at Methodist Hospital in Arcadia instead. I called the office of CEO Steve Ralph to relay the incident and was transferred to patient services, who told me that this was a very serious issue that would be escalated and that my friend would be receiving a letter shortly. This was almost two years ago and my friend, who happens to be African American, has yet to receive that letter.

Another time I took my 89-year-old mother to the ER at Huntington Hospital and we were treated so hatefully by the ER reception staff that a security guard who happened to overhear actually came over and apologized to us.

Recently, I was taken to Huntington ER by ambulance twice in a matter of days. The first experience was everything that it should have been. Incidentally, I have the exact same insurance as my African-American friend, who was refused treatment.

My second visit, however, was quite the opposite: Despite being brought in by ambulance, I was simply left to sit in a chair in the waiting room. Because I was in excruciating pain and could not sit there any longer, I tried to walk to the bus stop, but fell in front of one of the parking lots. I then called Steve Ralph’s office again asking for help. Not too much later, one of the ER reception staff came over and asked me if I wanted to go back in and wait. He delivered his line with no expression whatsoever and could not even bother to offer me his hand to help me up. I actually had to ask if it would be OK if I held onto him for the walk back. I learned that day not to bother going back to the ER at Huntington Hospital — especially after having incurred an ambulance bill for no reason.

I have actually worked at Huntington Hospital on many occasions, as an outside contractor, whenever they held special events. On one such occasion, I ran into Mr. Ralph in the hallway and inquired about my acquiring regular administrative employment there. He pointed to a door, told me to march in there and let them know that I worked there all the time. So I did. Inside were two young girls who couldn’t even be bothered to get up and walk to the front counter. They instructed me to “go to the website.”  

So, yes, when Huntington Hospital claims that its lack of responsibility in alerting the city of Pasadena about the pseudomonas aeruginosa was simply a staffing mistake, I wholeheartedly concur! But these staffing mistakes will continue to take place until somebody steps up and pays attention. Granted, the medical field offers lucrative salaries. But along with those salaries come challenges that are not present in other fields. Medical employees have to realize that they are not usually dealing with people when they are at their best, so they must be capable of exercising compassion, utilizing common sense and have the ability to prioritize and complete a task. If current hospital staff is there simply for procedure and a paycheck, perhaps there are people out there who are better suited to deal with the needs of the sick and of their families.

At present, my advice to anyone is to bypass Huntington Hospital completely and go directly to Methodist Hospital, which is a shame, because Huntington is such a beautiful hospital.




Have something on your mind that you’d like to share with the rest of the community? You’re in the right place: Our Letters to the Editor page, one of the most widely read sections of the paper. Send your letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. Just remember, it usually takes two to three weeks for a letter to appear in print. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115, and Deputy Editor André Coleman at 




The nation has seen the brutal attacks on our communities, especially those on African-American males. Our communities have been set up for slaughter without circumstance or consequence. This is not to distract from the fact that black-on-black murder is an important issue, such as the case in Chicago. Our young brothers must be in a heightened state of awareness regarding the war in the streets being waged by law enforcement throughout the country.   

Those distributors of handguns and assault weapons are not unlike the cartels dealing millions of pounds of cocaine and heroin to our communities nationwide. The mass shootings by those claiming ISIS as their ally is indicative of the growing violence that has set the United States as the “Nation of Random Violence.” Only the fact is our young men are not being murdered by those international/domestic criminals who have arsenals at their disposal, but by those who are supposed to be civil servants hired to protect our communities. 

Our national leaders continue to be bipartisan in creating legislation to curb this violence while supporting the institutionally racist policies that continue a genocidal assault upon our African-American communities. I don’t know how many times I have quoted the fact that black people are an endangered species, especially in this country.

The African-American community should take to the polls locally, statewide and nationally to change these institutionally racist tactics. There should be a national desire by all of our young African-American citizens who are eligible to vote to take to the streets, register to vote, and show their true power. Our forefathers died so we could have the right to this opportunity. An African-American poet and activist once said, “I don’t want anybody giving me nothing. Open up the door and I’ll get it myself.”

Don’t be like a dull knife that’s just not cutting, talking loud and saying nothing.





All what Mr. Grula reports is absolutely correct (“Outbreak of Truth,” July 7).   

I spent 20 years at Huntington Memorial Hospital (HMH) as a nurse and often wanted to leave, but many of my fellow nurses and I felt compelled to stay, knowing that if we did not look out for our patients, they might fare worse. If we brought something to the attention of administration and it did not meet with their approval, the response of the director of nursing would be, “If you don’t like it, you can always ship out.”

Being unionized would finally give the nurses the ability to intervene for their patients. One of the major features of a union contract between nursing staff and administration is a binding agreement written into the contract that any proposal from the nursing staff has to be addressed in a certain timeframe. Either it can be approved or a counterproposal has to be put forward by the administration. 

For over a decade there have not been any raises, many benefits have been cut and the patient/nurse ratio mandated by the state of California is never met. Anti-union people always think it is about the money. HMH nurses disprove that notion. One of the terminated nurses went to work for USC in the intensive care unit. Her salary increased $13 an hour, plus she now has better benefits, proving that nurses at HMH are woefully underpaid and overworked. 

HMH has a wonderful, dedicated staff and physician pool. But you are only as good as the tools you are given to work with.

There are many grievances against the present administration, which has no shame in paying union-busting lawyers $850 an hour, posting more security everywhere to intimidate staff.

What is wrong with this picture? Claiming you are a nonprofit hospital, your board of trustees has 12 members, only one of them being a medical person.

What is wrong when nurses in some of the units are too afraid to demand their penalty pay if they have not received a break after four hours of work, which is mandated by state law?

What is wrong when a hospital has way above-average work-related injuries and people get threatened when they do not return to work soon enough? 

What is wrong with HMH wanting to increase their bed capacity when presently the hallways in surgery are so cluttered with equipment that it would be difficult to evacuate patients in an emergency?

What is wrong when HMH administrators get paid millions while their hospital is run into the ground?

I think by now we all know what would be right: Letting somebody else steer the ship.



Re: “The State of Black Pasadena,” July 7

I am so tired of this. Would the Weekly run a story about “The State of White Pasadena?”


Healthy lives? You don’t see crazy white people driving up from San Marino shooting up the neighborhood. Look in the mirror; there’s the problem. Promoting grocery stores to sell healthy foods? Last I saw, Vons wasn’t pushing the Mountain Dew and Fire Cheetos on everyone. Affordable housing? I worked my way up from nothing, saved my money and bought a house with no handouts. If you can’t afford to live here, go somewhere else. Quality schools? OK, you got me on that one. Pasadena schools are a joke; but that’s still no reason not to at least go. Political participation? No one in the Northwest portion of Pasadena votes. Come on. … Sadly, the black community has been and always will be its own worst enemy.


How come someone from Vietnam, China, or Japan can come to America with nothing and overcome all the above obstacles?





“Now add in the misogyny from loudly vocal, bullying Bernie supporters of both genders who accuse Hillary supporters of being too stupid to vote because of their biological make-up,” writes Ellen Snortland in “Nuance Not Required” in the June 2 issue of the PW.  

I would disagree:  just “too stupid” to not support a candidate who has few if any virtues except that she is a woman, a reverse kind of sexism.

And even if supporting HRC because, if for no other reason, by assuming the highest office in the land she will advance the cause of women, how does Snortland reconcile the fact that, as a 27-year-old Little Rock attorney, HRC defended a man on trial for rape by maintaining that he had been led on — by a sixth-grader?

Or that HRC enabled her husband’s philandering but set out to demolish the lives and reputations of women who spoke up about their abuse? 

Nowhere does Snortland cite what qualifies HRC to be president, just vague, misleading encomiums: “Huge clanging ovaries.”

My God, a metaphor for a perverse form of penis envy bastardizing the fecund, nurturing power of women (Snortland is clearly hung up on biology).    

“She’s tough.”  Sure, troops can die in Iraq to show how tough she is.

“The courage to change her mind.” A Snortland euphemism for the fact that HRC says what she thinks anyone wants to hear. Not since Richard Nixon has there been a more craven, dishonest candidate.

“She extols kindness.” Not according to Clinton-era White House Secret Service agent Gary Byrne, whose forthcoming book describes HRC’s “erratic, uncontrollable and occasionally violent” disposition and tirades laced with abusive obscenities. Or does that make her tough?

“She’s loved globally in an era when it’s chic to hate Amercans.”

I don’t think there’s much affection for HRC in Libya, where the US-led operation to oust Gaddafi while secretary of state (SOS) resulted in the refugee crisis into Europe and the rise of ISIS in the country, or the US-backed coup in Honduras, also while SOS, that toppled a democratically elected president to create a climate of violence in the country and the assassination of human rights activist Berta Cáceres. 

So, HRC is hardly “loved globally,” and if “it’s chic to hate Americans,” HRC is a big reason why. “Love” is almost never a word associated with HRC. She makes the skin crawl for a lot of people. After all, she has record-breaking low favorability ratings.

“And one thing I really like about her is that she doesn’t have thugs standing by to intimidate people who don’t agree with her.”

Are you kidding? She is a thug. And HRC has thugs all over the place telling Bernie people to get over it and fall in line.

Like the one who says that even women for Bernie who “accuse Hillary supporters of being stupid” are misogynist. Parse that: women who are not for women for a woman candidate are the misogynists. Did I get that right?

Snortland should stick to teaching and stay out of politics. She’s an embarrassment. And an insult. And if her “vagina made her do it,” she needs to have a long talk with her vagina. Or someone — like a psychiatrist, maybe.




It is disappointing to read editorials calling for an apology for the use of nuclear weapons in Japan during World War II. Disappointing because, after all these years, someone finally came up with an appropriate idea that actually shows respect for the people of the affected areas but also incorporates the lessons and responsibilities to be learned from this tragic event.   

Secretary of State John Kerry was recently quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying that all world leaders should visit Hiroshima. “It tugs at all of your sensibilities as a human being. It reminds everybody of the extraordinary complexity of choices of war and what war does to people, to communities, countries, the world,” Kerry said. “I don’t see how anyone could forget the images, the evidence, the re-creations of what happened.”

A visit to Hiroshima would also be a good reminder to the rest of us that we are responsible for the actions of our governments and militaries.

My father was a combat infantry scout in World War II, going into France as a replacement for killed or wounded soldiers from the D-Day invasion and subsequent battle to capture the port of Cherbourg. He fought through the end of the war, was wounded in November 1944, and was pulled out of a hospital in France and sent back to the front lines during the Battle of the Bulge. He continued to fight into Germany until the end of the war in Europe, whereupon he was stationed in occupation in Eastern Europe. As with many single combat veterans, he was cached there until the inevitable invasion of Japan took place. He had no expectation of surviving Japan.

My father-in-law was stationed on Corregidor when WWII broke out. Google it. Once Corregidor fell he spent over a year in a prisoner-of-war camp in the Philippines before being shipped off in an unmarked transport to spend the rest of his life doing slave labor in mainland Japan. After several years of that, in terrible health, he awoke one day to find the guards were gone. Thanks to the dropping of the atomic bombs, he lived.

An invasion of Japan would have seen hundreds of thousands, possibly a million or more military and civilian deaths. The fact is, the atomic bombs saved lives in the long run. It certainly saved those of my wife and me, as yet unborn. No apology is owed by the United States. The US and Japan have gone on to forge a civilized alliance as time heals the wounds. Ultimately, war itself is the enemy. Acknowledging that fact would be a great legacy as well as a sign of respect for all the lives disrupted and lost.






If you live in and care about Pasadena then listen up!  

The City Council and the Planning Commission are considering a project that will remove one of the two parks facing City Hall (the one featuring the sculptured heads of Pasadena natives Jackie and Mack Robinson) and replace it with the rear end of an ugly new hotel. With so little green space in the center of the city (the proposed site for future smart growth development), this is one more blow to all those citizens trying to expand, not reduce, city parks and open space.

The city now owns this park which was purchased through a 1923 bond issued for the purpose of fulfilling the Civic Center City Beautiful plan (the Bennett Plan), which is why we still have our trademark plaza and tree-lined ceremonial entryway leading up to City Hall. It was not approved by a vote of the citizens for the purpose of “sweetening the deal” to help a hotel developer who also promises to incorporate an architectural landmark, the adjacent Julia Morgan-designed building.  

You can do something about this right now. Write a letter in opposition to this project and drop it off at the permitting center opposite City Hall. You have until July 13 to tell the commission and the City Council you want to protect and maintain Pasadena’s remaining green space and want no more closed-door giveaways of public land.  

Or you can come to the City Council chambers in City Hall on July 13 and tell the Planning Commission directly. Nothing is as powerful as direct citizen action. And nothing feels better than to know you raised your voice in support of what you believe in — a beautiful green city now and for future generations.




The NO on Measure N Committee outspent and outmaneuvered the Yes on Measure N folks by 10 to 1. Your five council members authorized at least $50,000 of your tax dollars without your consent to mail two one-sided information mailers to 200,000 residents. Additionally, at least $123,000 came from developers and other special interests from the NO on Measure N Committee.   

Voting NO on Measure N means you are comfortable knowing that we will continue to have a six-figure elite club of CalPERS city employees: 800 city employees earning $100,000 to $300,000-plus per year, with enormous pensions to match.

I am willing to accept to continue to pay Glendale CalPERS employees retirement: Police and Fire personnel get 90 percent of their last year’s salary as their pensions for life at age 50 to 55. City managers get 75 percent for life and general employees 60 percent for life.

I am willing to accept continued Glendale CalPERS government employees earning a whopping 83 percent more pay than a full-time Glendale resident.

I am willing to accept as a county employee that Glendale City CalPERS employees earn about 25 percent more than a comparable county employee and 35 to 45 percent more than a comparable employee in private industry.

I am willing to accept, as a Glendale taxpayer, guaranteeing Glendale CalPERS city employees 7.5 percent annual rate of return on their investments. I also know that no bank today guarantees 7.5 percent rate of return on my savings.

I am willing to continue to have an inefficient Glendale Fire Department, in which 85 percent of all fire calls are medical related, and not brush fires or burning buildings. 

I am willing to accept, as a taxpayer, that Glendale’s unsustainable and unfunded pension obligations are $1.4 billion and still growing.

I am willing to accept that Glendale bond debt is over $1 billion for my children to pay.

I am willing to accept, if necessary, the city of Glendale floating a CalPERS pension bond, like the city of Bell, in order to continue paying our city employees outrageous salaries and pensions.

I am willing to accept selling our “historic assets” even if that includes selling GWP and City Hall to have the best employees that money can buy.




While it is true that our nuclear stockpiles have been reduced dramatically since the 1960s, there are still over 15,000 nuclear weapons in existence worldwide. As of 2009 there were 23,335 with a total explosive power of 6,400 megatons. That’s 6 billion, 400 million tons of TNT. As a comparison, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was 15 kilotons. If the reduction figures are proportional and today there truly are only 15,350 weapons, then there are still 4.2 gigatons. That is the equivalent of 280,000 Hiroshima bombs. Our nations do not need this kind of destructive capability.   

In his book, “The Fate of the Earth,” Jonathan Schell argues that a global nuclear war would lead to the extinction of mankind through (aside from the estimated 200 megadeaths caused by direct explosions) radioactive fallout and nuclear winter. 

Although a global nuclear war is unlikely today, the No. 1 concern is not even so much nuclear terrorism as it is accidental nuclear war as described by Bruce Blair in “The Logic of Accidental Nuclear War.” In spite of the decline of the Cold War in the 1990s, the United States and Russia still have nuclear-armed ICBMs on 24/7/365 alert. These should be the first urgent target for nuclear disarmament, followed by submarine, launched ICBMs. 

My recent research into this subject led to a strongly anti-nuclear play, “Psylo,” that I soon hope to see produced. The title describes in a word the insanity of the nuclear brinkmanship played by the nuclear-armed nations on this planet. Kim Jong Un recently became a card-carrying member of the inner circle of lunacy with his claim to “never use nuclear weapons first.” Thanks for the assurances, now we feel so much better. Or not. 




In last week’s story “PW, Argonaut Honored,” we failed to mention Ted Soqui won Photojournalist of the Year from the LA Press Club for his work with several publications, including PW and The Argonaut. Congratulations Ted.  




To Erica Wayne, regarding “Too Good to Be True: Indulge in the Enchanting Excesses of Margaritas,” May 5.

I too have enjoyed this place since the ’80s, but don’t know how you can review a restaurant without mentioning the hair-raising experience of trying to safely get out of the parking lot?

I try to park on the street rather than risk life and limb for a good meal.




To Earl Ofari Hutchinson, regarding “The Time is Now: Sanders must start telling his backers to support Clinton over Trump,” June 16.   

I agree that Bernie Sanders thundered against wealth and income inequality. However, candidate Hillary Clinton, in the future,  will continue to support the special interests that paid for her unfair, dishonest and corrupt campaign. She will not represent the working class.

In the future, I will vote for progressive Democrats to take back the Senate, Congress, governorships and city councils. This is what democracy looks like.

The crucial issues that we are facing could not be more different. Candidate Clinton will keep the wealth in the hands of a few … the
1 percent. So is that what democracy looks like?

Elections in the past 40 years have been won by dark money. I need to hear from candidate Clinton and the establishment Democratic leaders that our future elections will not have superdelegates, that they will create open primaries and have same-day registration. This is what democracy looks like.

I too would like to see a united Democratic Party. Let’s see a warm welcome to all the young and old progressive Democrats. So far, it seems unlikely after the recent swindling of the California primary. The voters are reading evidence of fraud and no leaders are responding. I have not heard from Alex Padilla. Is this what democracy looks like?

Sanders will tell his supporters the struggle continues.

If I lived in a swing state I might be considering candidate Clinton. As of lately, I have not heard her say anything of measure to the progressives. I’m still listening. I will be observing closely the details of the convention in Philly. I hope I can say, “This is what democracy looks like.”




Re: “Bob McGowan: 1927-2016,” July 16, 2016

Fire departments everywhere do a great job of promoting themselves in order to remain relevant. The reality is that due to improvements in building codes over the past several decades legitimate structure fires are very rare, and if it weren’t for the paramedic service they provide there would literally be nothing for firefighters to do 98 percent of the time. That is why fire unions are adamantly opposed to private ambulance services contracting with their cities.


RIP, sir. You were the best chief of police Pasadena has had and you will be remembered as such.


Chief McGowan was by far the best police chief in the history of our city. He was forward thinking, intelligent, fair and compassionate. He remained relevant long after he retired, due primarily to his impact on the Police Department and the city he served. Chief McGowan is the one who made Pasadena PD a beacon on the hill and he was the one that all aspired to be like.


As for the awards banquet, no one really tracks what goes on there at the PPD. (Between you and me, the place is kind of like the walking dead right now.) You would think, though, that someone would review the chief’s weekly emails and pluck out a few “critical incidents” and use those. Those are all just taken from the daily logs anyway, so most likely he doesn’t even read them. About a month before the banquet, an email goes out asking if anyone has anything or any input. No one, I’m sure, replies and it becomes a mute cause. If the Fire Department wants to award someone for picking up the phone and getting a lower rate on insurance, then they either have low standards or did nothing last year worth promoting. The thing about police work, though, is that getting into a high-speed chase, arresting a murder suspect or investigating a crime to its completion is their job, and being awarded for that is sometimes awkward. There are many at the PPD who go above and beyond daily to help a family in need, comfort a victim, come in on their days off to help the community or make sure that someone bad is taken off the street; these events go mostly unnoticed. Yet they do it every day for lower pay, crappy equipment and longer hours.


Good points, 626, but it appears as though the Fire Department brass created awards for the sake of giving awards. Five firefighters received the Medal of Meritorious Service. Their accomplishments? Increasing breast cancer awareness within the Fire Department; securing a ratings upgrade to the department’s insurance policy; two firefighters “completed a complicated task, ultimately benefitting a community member”; and the fifth received his medal for improving the role of the department’s recruitment committee and founded the Go Pink campaign. Those things are nice, but does anyone really think they rise to the level of a medal for meritorious service? I certainly don’t.


Hey, guys, the banquet stuff is interesting, but let’s not forget what the article is about. The best chief ever has passed; let’s remember him. RIP, chief.



Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114. n  




Thanks for a well-balanced article on Pasadena’s acquisition of body cameras. Local civil libertarians have met with City Council members to urge their support for policies governing body cameras that will promote transparency and assure accountability to the public.

Body cameras were developed by the Department of Justice to help hold police accountable for misconduct. The question before the Pasadena public and the city’s leaders is will the policies proposed by Chief Sanchez promote transparency and assure accountability.

 Will the public have access to footage of use-of-force incidents, or of misconduct incidents, or will the chief propose restrictions on access as in many American cities where citizens didn’t have a clue?

The police organizations have opposed such public access in legislation in Sacramento. The press has pushed for such access. Pasadena has a chance to “get it right” with policies on body cameras from the beginning if enough people show concern for transparency and accountability to the public.




In addition to publishing letters you receive regarding the Kimpton Hotel appropriation of the two “Sister City” pocket parks immediately west of City Hall, I urge you to do an in-depth investigation of how this critical part of the Civic Center’s historic “setting” was not included in public discussion and debate and how it can be introduced.   

Throughout the nation, our Civic Center embodies one of the very best expressions of the “City Beautiful Movement,” the late 19th- and early 20th-century reform movement intended to bring grace, elegance, nature and grandeur into the public space for the benefit of all. The “setting” — landscape pathways and hardscape whose greenery sets off the building or buildings — is key to allowing the Civic Center buildings to “breathe” and to express that grandeur with largesse and dignity. The word is also one of the seven aspects of integrity defined by the National Park Service and legally applicable to those historic properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places, including and especially the Civic Center. 

As I understand it, by appropriating almost all of the areas of the two mirrored parks, the proposed Kimpton Hotel project’s east terminus would virtually eradicate and fragment that unique quality of largesse and the ability to “breathe” that we, the city, have always enjoyed. The Civic Center is Pasadena’s best feature, especially in the way each building has a specific relationship to one another: in a sense, they are in constant dialogue with one another. 

What is more, by imposing a continuous wall along the eastern boundary of that new, now harshly diminished space, what is evident is that the philosophy girding the City Beautiful Movement — of key civic structures in dialogue with one another and set off in space — has been betrayed. In 1925, the original architect, Edward H. Bennett, carefully orchestrated these buildings to have these special relationships. A long opaque wall fronting guest rooms, with no entrance, cannot speak. 

While it’s true that the back of the YWCA now uncomfortably faces City Hall, it is also the case that a lovely facade can be erected that does not violate the precious “Sister Park” and that can enrich that dialogue with appropriate design. 

This intervention is occurring against the backdrop of much market-rate housing being introduced into central Pasadena, especially along El Molino Avenue, now a canyon of apartments and condos. This backdrop makes the preservation of green space even more important, of which Pasadena has very little to begin with. 

Don’t suffocate the Civic Center. Let its spaces breathe. Let its greenery and open spaces work to calm and to bring some clarity to the jingle-jangle of modern life.




Re: “Hillary’s Bataan,” June 9

She is a liar. She thinks the rules do not apply to her. She is in this for herself. She treats everyone around her poorly. She has no achievements to speak of. She will win the presidency and America will suck.


Re: “Bob McGowan: 1927-2016,” June 16

A Tale of Two Departments:

On May 26 the third annual Police, Fire and Citizen Award Ceremony was held at Ambassador Auditorium. I found it interesting that the two city departments responsible for public safety in Pasadena have two completely different views on what constitutes a performance worthy of recognition above and beyond the normal call of duty.  The Fire Department recognized 31 firefighters with awards, medals and citations for what was apparently deemed as performance above and beyond. In contrast, the Police Department recognized just three police officers, all three of whom were involved in the same incident.

Why the disparity?  Why do roughly 20 percent of Pasadena firefighters get recognized with awards, medals and citations while fewer than 1.5 percent of Pasadena police officers receive similar recognition? I seldom read of any Fire Department incidents in the local news publications. But, I routinely read of Police Department incidents involving high-speed chases; arrests of gang members with guns; successful prosecutions of murderers, rapists and robbers, etc. My guess is the Fire Department administration acts like the coach of a T-ball team where everyone gets a trophy for participation, while the Police Department administration either has incredibly high standards or just doesn’t care to promote the heroic deeds of its personnel.  I doubt Chief McGowan would approve of this.



Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114.  




Many people are thinking more about their sodium intake now that federal health officials are calling on restaurants and food manufacturers to reduce the amount of salt in their foods, saying that Americans need to cut their sodium consumption by a third.

If you’re one of them, you’ll want to eat healthy vegan foods rather than chicken flesh, which can be a significant source of sodium.

That’s because the chicken industry often injects raw chicken with saltwater solutions during processing. According to Marion Nestle, a professor at New York University, “This practice manages to do not one but two bad things. It increases the water weight of the chicken so you are paying for water, not chicken, and it adds salt that you don’t need.”

High sodium levels can cause and aggravate high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. If you want to reduce your risk of serious health problems — and help animals and the environment — try tasty plant-based meals. For more information and free vegan recipes, see PETA.org.





The following is a list of politically abstract (PA), nice-sounding, “feel good” words that have been in vogue with the business world and news media the past few years. After each “econo-speak,” “feel good” term, I present my own true and real definition:  

Austerity:  Make life miserable for the poor so the rich can live better and get richer.

Downsizing: Firing employees at the bottom of the company.

Restructuring: Firing some people near the top (never the board members or CEO).

Relocating: Firing people here and hiring people in China, India, Pakistan or Mexico.

Global markets: Overseas markets, where American companies can obtain cheapo labor.

Globalism: Creating a world environment to raise living conditions in poor countries while lowering American living standards.

Competitiveness: Lower American wages (not for CEOs and board members) to compete with cheap labor in China and other countries.

Free Trade: Use “free” labor in other countries to replace higher-paid American workers.

Outsourcing: Fire your own employees and hire cheaper workers from someone else (at lower wages).

Recession: People at the bottom are out of work.

Depression: Many high-paid executives in many companies are out of work, too.

Supply-side economics: Make the top 10 percent richer, while everyone else becomes poorer (often called “Reganomics”). Money trickles upwards, and not downward.

Upscale: Filthy rich.

Equal Justice: Lots of justice for those who can afford good attorneys, and jail for those who cannot.

Law and Order: Law for those who can afford good attorneys, and jail for those who cannot.

Gun control: Make streets safe for criminals by taking guns away from law-abiding citizens.

Stock market: A gambling place for the rich and superrich.

Lottery: A gambling place for the poor.

Economist: Professional “witch doctor” who rarely makes correct predictions.

Unemployment statistics: False, highly gamed, misleading data which are always lower than the real, actual figures, especially during election years.

Trade agreements: Agreements negotiated by stupid idiots in our State Department, to benefit those in other nations while screwing American workers.



Re: “’Terrifying Event’,” June 2

So let me see if I got this right. A house is broken into and burglarized in October. The police investigate and identify Daylan as the suspect. They have sufficient evidence to file the case with the District Attorney’s Office, which is what you have to do to obtain an arrest warrant, and then a month or two later an observant police officer recognizes Daylan. He or she attempts to contact Daylan. However, he flees on foot and runs into daddy’s house, where he barricades himself and refuses to give in to the police.  

The police follow protocol when dealing with a barricaded suspect and a couple of hours later they convince him to come outside and give himself up. They don’t force entry into the house; they don’t damage the house and no one else is adversely affected.

While this was going on, the press hears about it and incorrectly connects this to the San Bernardino terrorist shooting that happens to have happened the same day. When city officials hear about this they, according to the PW, “quickly quelled the rumors and assured residents that the two incidents had nothing to do with each other.”

And yet, Daylan and his douchebag father, looking for another government freebie in what has probably been a long history of government freebies, file a claim (which as we all know is a necessary predecessor to filing a civil law suit) in hopes they get a settlement to make them go away. I sure hope the city doesn’t do that.

In my opinion, Daylan, his father and especially the attorney who took this cases are dirt bags who are intentionally lying and fabricating facts in order to get free money from the city.  Please, please, please city attorney and city officials do not settle this case. Make them try to make their case in court and prove themselves to be the fools they are.


Re: “Vote Tuesday,” June 2

Outside of Poppa Smurf, why are all of the Pasadena Weekly’s endorsements 710 tunnel supporters?


Re: “Pasadena Confidential,” June 2

I can’t believe there is yet another story on this.



Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114.ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114.




Re: “Family Records,” March 19

Thank you, Carl Kozlowski, for an honest article that focuses on the joys of music listening. After years of reading articles that claim that horrible-sounding MP3 is good enough, your positive perspective is both refreshing and welcome.




On March 28, the FBI announced that it had unlocked the iPhone of San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook with the help of an unnamed third party. Prior to that, in February, the Department of Justice (DOJ) had issued a court order demanding that Apple help unlock that phone; Apple would not comply. After the phone was unlocked, the DOJ dropped the order.  

Conflict resolved, right? 

No, it’s just the beginning. 

Immediately after dropping the terrorist iPhone case, the FBI filed another court directive against Apple, demanding aid in the unlocking of an iPhone 5s used in a Brooklyn drug-trafficking case.

We now live in a digital age in which technology has changed the way we look at our lives and security. Our old laws are no longer relevant; new legislation is inevitable. We should be paying attention to what the new rules will look like and how they will impact our privacy rights.

Our government has shown a lack of transparency in the recent past when it comes to surveillance of the American public. Playing off Americans’ fears concerning national security after 9/11, the PATRIOT Act made it easier for our government to spy on its own people by giving them the access to look at our emails, phone records, and banking and credit reports.

Remember Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency subcontractor who sparked a national controversy in 2013 when he leaked top-secret information about NSA surveillance activities? Those files revealed an order issued to Verizon to allow the government access to Americans’ phone records.

Most recently, Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, and Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, have drafted legislation that would require technology companies to build ‘’back doors’’ to the encryption within their products with the intention of assisting law enforcement. This proposed legislation seems to ignore the fact that our digital world does not exist only in America. Around the globe there are millions of servers connecting billions of people to the Internet. Unfortunately, if there is a back door to encrypted products, nothing will stop hackers from entering our realm of privacy and picking and choosing which tidbits of our lives they wish to use for either good or evil. Technological backdoors could be the 21st century’s opening of Pandora’s box.

There are pivotal moments in a nation’s history that determine the path we are to go down. I believe this is one of those issues that will set a new precedent. Do you want to live in a country in which our government has the authority to spy on its own people? I’m not convinced that the FBI is being transparent or truthful in its claim that it is only interested in using back door features to unlock the iPhones of criminals.

Rather than having our politicians and government agencies working together to unlock our digital privacy, I want to see them work together to protect it.  I want to be assured that in the future no agency or hacker will be able to access my personal life via technology. If I wish to share with anyone or any agency any information, I will. I do not feel that my private life should be analyzed or entered through a back door without my consent.




The repeal of the Utility Users Tax will force our City Council to stop giving salary increases year after year to city employees. The repeal will help reduce our runaway unfunded pension debt obligations. The repeal will begin addressing reduction in expenditures in all departments.

We should move forward in placing all future city employees on Social Security and a 401K plan. We need to downsize top management, reduce overtime for well-paid employees and reduce salary perks.

Outsourcing to the county for police and fire services, where services are about 25 percent less than a comparable plan with CALPERS employees, is an idea. 

According to an LA Daily News article in November, private employers, on average, are contributing three percent of pay toward their employees’ retirement account.  Glendale’s struggling taxpayers are paying a whopping 30 cents per dollar to CALPERS this year.

County pension plans are self-funded. Glendale CALPERS is guaranteed by the taxpayers’ 7.5 percent return on their investments. CALPERS is only 74 percent funded. CALPERS recently announced that, because of its failed investments, going forward it will have the taxpayers picking up a bigger burden of the pension funding. If the wealthy and low-crime cities of La Cañada Flintridge, Calabasas and Yorba Linda have chosen county services, Glendale should be able to move to the county as well. 

The city does not have a revenue problem; it has a spending problem. 

Vote “yes” on Measure N to repeal the Utility Users Tax. 

The present system is broken. By Glendale voters approving Measure N, voters will have forced our council to make changes for the better.




Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114.ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114. 




Outstanding article on Vibiana and her long track record of producing beautiful art, both visual and literary (“Habia Una Vez,” May 12). 

Kudos to Vibi and her inspirational mom, Chabela. May she have many more years of love, family closeness and vitality ahead of her. 

My best wishes to all.





Re: Councilman Kennedy’s letter “Have Some Respect,” May 5

I too was startled by Councilman Victor Gordo’s performance at the recent meeting with the city’s consultants who came to explain to the council members their recommendation for civilian oversight of Pasadena’s Police Department. He came off more like a street brawler than a member of our City Council, immediately attacking the two women, calling their credentials into question, and dismissing the chair’s request to allow the women to talk, completely ignoring the purpose of the meeting.  

The city’s newly released Survey on Community Perceptions of Policing in Pasadena was also introduced, showing that 72 percent of African Americans and 46 percent of Latinos surveyed perceived racial profiling misconduct by police. Councilman Steve Madison pounced on the survey, calling it worthless statistically. Fortunately, one of the speakers corrected him, referring him to a graph and suggesting he read the survey more carefully.

These opponents of civilian oversight of our Police Department, in the face of proven, longstanding race-based problems between Pasadena PD and communities of color, refused to hear the facts of experts in the field of police community relations. It felt like a free-for-all a la Trump. Councilman Kennedy, chair of the council’s Public Safety Committee, was even-handed and allowed all speakers their say, including the long-winded, way out of order Gordo. It was a spectacle.  

All parties support an effective, competitively compensated police force. But Pasadena is not competitive and is losing officers because of it. What Pasadenans should reject are the manufactured hysteria exhibited by Gordo, the false choice between compensation for police and addressing police misconduct, and the willful blindness of too many council members about such misconduct.






Re: “Back from the Brink,” May 19, 2016

Thank you, Mr. Nelson, for your service to our community.

We need more science information and less fluff news. I’m grateful to Pasadena Weekly. I did not know about the Clintons’ past regarding nuclear war issues.







I want to congratulate you on an article you published in a recent issue called “Back from the Brink,” by Bob Nelson. Going into this election cycle it is vitally important to realize that Hillary (and Bill) is an extreme hawk. Not only would she be controlled by her rich contributors who always put profit above people and the planet, but by the war machine as well.  At best, a Hillary presidency spells endless war; at worst it could mean a nuclear war.  







The Minimum Drinking Age Initiative on the Nov. 8 ballot was created to lower the drinking age to 18 in California by businessman Terrance Lynn. Proponents, such as me, will argue that 18-year-olds have nearly every burden and privilege of adults … except the right to drink alcohol. 

As a 35-year-old, the issue does not impact my ability to consume alcohol now. However, it would have allowed me not to feel isolated while I served my country.

With my parents’ permission, I enrolled in the US Air Force at 17. I was stationed in Texas for basic training and technical school. After all the rigorous drill work in technical school, some of the drinking-aged airmen would go to the base bar for a cold beer. I would often be asked to come along to show camaraderie, but I always felt I was brought along to be used as the designated driver. Despite the Korean drinking age of 19, this continued through my first duty location in South Korea. My second base of report was in the United Kingdom. The drinking age for British adults is 18. At the age of 19, I was finally able to indulge in beverages socially and legally.

The fact is, at 18 years of age, men and women of this great country are told they are adults. They are able to vote, enter legally binding contracts and sit on juries where they may possibly determine another human being’s life or death. It’s incredibly hypocritical to say adults can make life-altering decisions but are not old enough to have a beverage of choice. As such, this is why I agree with nonprofit founder of chooseresponsibility.org John McCardell’s argument that the drinking age should be lowered to 18 when he said, “If you infantilize someone, do not be surprised when infantile behavior, like binge drinking, results.”






Re: “Back from the Brink,” May 12

What I love about Bernie Sanders is that he keeps the attention on the important issues. What I love about this article is that it is an important issue! This is just one more reason why a Trump or Clinton presidency could be so dangerous. Bernie has already demonstrated his understanding of the big picture and an ability to make wise decisions. Thank you for the history lesson, Mr. Nelson!




Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114.  




If there could be a silver lining to a Trump presidency, it might be that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, would be waterboarded.

The major stink behind this election cycle (after all the smoke-and-mirror theatrics are over) is that the system is still rigged — not broken.

As Mark Twain put it, “If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it.”




Hillary Clinton’s campaign has been telling Bernie Sanders’ voters that it’s time to face reality and call it quits. 

Here is the reality: Three million voters in New York (independent voters who have overwhelmingly supported Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primaries) were not allowed to vote because New York has a closed primary which allows only Democrats to vote.

In Brooklyn, 126,000 voters were purged from the rolls. Since 62 percent of New York voters are Democrats, that means 88,000 Democrats were purged in the borough where Bernie was born.

Hillary won New York by 390,614, so we all have to face the reality that Bernie would have won New York by a landslide even if he had won only half the three million independents and half the 88,000 purged Democrats.

Wherever Bernie has run in open primaries which allow independents to vote, he has won: New Hampshire, Vermont, Michigan and Wisconsin. 

“He wins independents who say they’re going to vote in a Democratic primary, and it doesn’t matter what their ideology is — whether they’re moderate or liberal, he wins them,” explained Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

And here’s the final reality: In the biggest primary of all, California on June 10, about 375,000 voters who mistakenly think they have registered independent because they have signed up with the American Independent Party, will not be able to vote Democratic unless they change their registration at the last minute by May 23.

Bernie has been saying all along that the electoral system is rigged.

That’s the reality we all have to face.




Replying to Jean-Michel Cousteau’s support of building sea pens to rehabilitate captive orcas, Sea World opined that releasing the orcas from their small, cement tanks into the ocean — their rightful home — can’t be done as it might cause them “immense stress and death during transport and release.”

Not only has Sea World spent decades pulling in millions of dollars by shunting orcas from one park to another, but the death rate of orcas at Sea World is through the roof. Orcas there have also killed three humans — unlike any ever in the wild — out of sheer rage from tight confinement and control of every aspect of their lives. 

In captivity, they die like flies of infection and other illnesses, are covered in rake marks inflicted by other angry orcas from whom they cannot escape, have teeth worn down to the nub from biting at the underwater bars, and have collapsed dorsal fins, a sign of ill health. 

Many of their children are born dead or die soon after birth, and until last month, they were all artificially inseminated (raped) to produce offspring that Sea World could use, trade, or sell. Cousteau oversaw the release of Keiko, an orca who was sick from confinement but then lived happily and well for five years once released. 

It’s past time for Sea World to let the orcas go under the direction of such experts.






Re: “Making an Impact,” April 28

Solid article with a message that should not be overlooked!! Thank you for everything you do, Ellen! 


Re: “Trouble Above,” Dec. 17, 2009

I have been trying to get something done about the ridiculous amount of helicopter surveillance and noise pollution for at least the last two years. I’ve written the mayor, spoken to the heliport captain and spoke in front of the safety committee at the heliport when they “investigated” the situation. The Pasadena Police Department apparently believes it is above the law and has no problem annoying the citizens of the city. As a real estate broker, I know the noise problem and invasion of privacy are affecting real estate values. Try relaxing in your hot tub with the war of the worlds buzzing over your backyard. It’s pathetic! 


Re: “The Old One-Two,” May 5

To everyone who insists using Styrofoam is OK and thinks changing to environmentally friendly products is too expensive: How about those merchants begin paying the marine sanctuary for all the foam trash that lands in the ocean, and the veterinarian who pulls a piece of foam out of a bird who has ingested it; and businesses pay more to the landfill because foam is bulky, never breaks down and leaches toxic chemicals? The insidious fact is that it is a carcinogen and neuron disrupter to humans when it leaches into hot food and drinks. 



Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114.  





On May 4, the United Teachers of Pasadena (UTP) and PUSD bargaining teams met for the fact-finding hearing. A tentative agreement has been reached that settles the contract for 2014-2015, 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 with one re-opener on salary for the 2017-2018 school year.


During the fact-finding hearing, the district stipulated that its article X (class size) proposal was officially withdrawn from fact-finding consideration. Therefore, the district shall maintain the following district-wide staffing ratios for secondary counselors (grades seven-12): 1:400, and the district shall maintain librarians on the basis of one for each high school, and one for each middle school, except at McKinley (Elementary) and Rose City High School.


UTP stipulated that its special education article proposal and its appendix C (high school coaching assignments) proposal were officially withdrawn from fact-finding consideration.

Thank you to all our members for supporting the bargaining team with their organizing efforts. Their efforts made the difference.


Highlights of the Tentative Agreement


1. Effective Jan.1, 2016, the district shall provide a six percent increase on all salary schedules contained in appendix A of the contract. Appendix A shall be updated accordingly.


2. Effective July 1, the district shall provide up to a three percent increase on all salary schedules contained in appendix A, contingent upon the state budget for 2016-2017.


3. In addition to the current provisions of the contract, involuntary transfers/reassignments may be made for a legitimate documented program-related need.


4. The district shall pay any increases to health and welfare benefits for 2016-2017 and 2017-2018, and the parties shall negotiate health and welfare benefits for 2018-2019 prior to Jan. 31, 2018.


5. The contract for 2015-2018 shall remain closed, except the parties shall negotiate salary for 2017-2018.


Ratification Timeline

May 16 — Ballots distributed at the Rep. Council meeting

May 23-25 — Voting before school, during lunch and after school at the sites

May 26 — Ballots returned to UTP office no later than 9 a.m. Ballots will be counted and results announced







The April 18 joint meeting of the Pasadena City Council and its Public Safety Committee adjourned around 2 a.m. April 19. Since becoming a City Council member, it was the longest meeting of both bodies that I have attended. 


Oversight of the Pasadena Police Department was the primary topic for the evening. We received approximately 40 speaker cards from the audience on the topic, with each person receiving three minutes to share their thoughts. The president of the Pasadena Police Officers Association received five minutes. The council weighed in as well for as long as each member chose to do so. 


Ultimately, the report that was presented on oversight models was derided by certain members of the council, who also challenged the integrity, methodology employed in the report, objectivity, and professionalism of its authors. Some have said the authors were demeaned. I have not attached a copy of the referenced report. However, I believe it is available on the city of Pasadena website.


The council did not have the necessary five votes to adopt either or both forms of oversight recommended by the consultants. As the present chair of the Pasadena Public Safety Committee, after learning that the City of Anaheim has some form of an independent police auditor (IPA) and a separate commission, there is no reason in my view to fear the benefits of responsible and transparent oversight, which the current Public Safety Committee structure pains to do.


Surprisingly, the vice mayor of the city, Gene Masuda, took the opportunity to attack an unidentified number of his colleagues with a specious claim that some members of the City Council do not support the Pasadena Police Department. Such an insinuation is simply parochial, factually incorrect and devoid of the truth no matter how many times it is repeated by the vice mayor or anyone else. The mayor and all members of the council support our Police Department!


If police oversight is an issue that concerns you, I hope you will share my remarks with all of your friends and neighbors who may be interested. Thank you.







I want desperately to believe in Hillary. Like many feminists, I have for decades dreamed of some woman someday cracking that ultimate glass ceiling — the presidency. And along comes Clinton, tested by years in government, a woman who has persevered courageously through major setbacks, both personal and public. Her résumé alone renders her the obvious best choice for the job.


The problem is I don’t trust her. In every position change she’s made, she’s moved from what was politically safe to what later became so: with her vote for the invasion of Iraq to expressing regret for it, from support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership to vague reservations about it, against marriage equality to support for it, and so on. In every case the shift suggests changes in public opinion rather than depth of values or judgment.


Her rival Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, gets it right the first time. He does so because his positions arise out of who he is, what he values — not what is politically convenient. 


While Clinton is well-informed on the specifics of governance, she appears to lack insight into major systemic problems such as the overweening power and corruption of Big Money in whatever form it reaches her — e.g., lobbyists, speaking fees, etc.


Sanders, however, has made this issue central to his campaign, using small donations to “crowdfund.” His surprising success shows that the electorate “gets” what Hillary does not. If we want a candidate to truly represent the 98 percent, we, the public, must fund this person.


Another major issue acknowledged by Sanders but ignored by Clinton is the primacy of climate disruption as a threat, nationally and globally. Someone should be talking about it. Sanders is. Clinton isn’t.


Bernie’s the better choice.






A misunderstanding is circulating that must be corrected: a suggestion that Pasadena Unified School District is proposing to eliminate its librarians and counselors. This is not true.

In fact, PUSD is actively recruiting school librarians and welcomes inquiries. Our school libraries are beautiful and the students are a joy to work with; I know this! Also, the district’s teachers have been notified that there are pathways they can follow if they would like to become librarians in our schools.

Of course PUSD is not considering eliminating counselors from our schools. We have been looking for ways to ease their record-keeping time so that they can spend more time directly with students.

We look forward to a strong year ahead with our librarians and counselors, and many thanks to them for being a vital part of our PUSD.





The recent increase in shootings in Northwest Pasadena did not happen due to the Pasadena Police Department’s shortage of patrol officers. It’s very unlikely that an increase of 40 additional officers would have prevented any of these shootings. Understaffed as the Pasadena PD may be, additional staffing and a knee-jerk response will not stop the violence making residents anxious. The reality is there is no quick fix because the violence arises from deep-rooted problems — i.e., poverty, institutional racism, guns (stolen/illegal), mental illness, employment issues and gentrification. Law enforcement can address the above-mentioned issues temporarily, but can only hold the line while the deeper issues are resolved.  

The Pasadena Branch of the NAACP supports the goal of a well-staffed Police Department — but only when the Pasadena PD begins to make progress in addressing its issues as well as the above-stated issues facing the community. Violence in our neighborhood has led to resident anxiety and a demand to their elected officials for quick fixes. Our law enforcement officers’ temptation to appear tough and responsive by demanding additional police as a priority is hard to resist. When our political leadership looks only at policing as a priority while failing to acknowledge the need to continue addressing the underlying issues, that’s not leadership but a failure to lead. Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez has often wisely said, “We can’t arrest our way out of these crises.”

Demagogues have always used crisis to advance their agenda and to forestall progressive change. They pose a false choice between security and progress, playing on the natural anxieties of the citizenry when facing threats to their security. A healthy democracy does not get bamboozled into disproportionate responses. We must trust that our elected representatives, who are calling to prioritize hiring more police officers while refusing to equally prioritize police reform to end racially biased and wealth-biased policing, are not reactionary demagogues but rather have been temporarily caught up in overreacting to a legitimate concern about the rise in shootings. It is unacceptable for our politicians to promote either police or progress. Best practices in Pasadena are inclusive not exclusive.

There is only one way….the Pasadena Way…all for one and one for all.







Re: “Family Fractures,” March 31

This story needs to properly address both perspectives here in order to be considered proper journalism. How do you know that officer Bugh hasn’t done everything possible to resolve these family issues in the weeks, months, or years leading up to this story? No one wants their family affairs thrown upon the wall of public scrutiny, and I’d bet that Ms. Rodgers has been extended the opportunity to settle these unknown aspects by her brother. While this article seems to report on a seemingly unique situation, it is not at all uncommon to learn of adult children taking advantage of their aging parents, especially financially, which is what seems to be the case here.

That said, who better to protect the interests of these aging parents than the children on whom they depend? Sounds to me like this elusive manner of obtaining money (in an unusual form of small denominations) served as the last straw in what previously was a sensible, private attempt by this officer to protect the interests of his mother, and probably troubled him as much as it did her.

If you were a police officer, and discovered that someone to whom you have tried to extend some courtesy was stealing from your own mother, what better way to say enough is enough? Guessing this officer has previously made it clear to his sister that he has drawn the line, and both the actions and the decision by Michelle to throw it out into the public eye certainly crosses it and by doing so, has probably created a whiplash that results in the real shame intended for her brother now being cast upon herself, where the shame properly belongs.

The Pasadena Weekly should know that reporting the single-sided view of any special interest story only serves the source for whom it was written and does not serve the comprehensive interests of its readers, for whom it was intended.



Re: “Sibling Rivalry,” April 14

F*** you, Pasadena Weekly! Now you’re re-running stories? What’s wrong? Can’t find any anti-law enforcement articles so you need to pull out this BS story? My parrot would rather poop in his water dish than on your rag.









I am 70 years old … and we are facing the worst presidential election of my lifetime and maybe ever. The best candidates have already dropped out.

Eight years ago, the Democrats had to have made a deal: If Hillary drops out we’ll make her president next time. Look at the opponent, some old duffer with no chance of winning. The Republicans are no better.

No matter who wins, the country loses. Please keep printing political articles for all the good they will do.




As an early Sen. Bernie Sanders supporter I have to ask now, after he’s become a nasty Hillary critic, what does he really want?  

To accomplish his fantastic campaign goals, he calls for nothing less than a national “revolution.” With his down-ballot impact disturbingly invisible, his enthused supporters must grow in number, rise up and replace existing officeholders in a clean sweep. He no longer wants to engage in the long, bloody battles that require frustrating compromise to get half a loaf. He’s done with that.

He’s a purist on a sacred mission, which can only be accomplished on his terms and no other’s. He’s the secular version of evangelical politicians, with his followers espousing the same absolutist positions as the noble leader. He’s made those positions the conditions for supporting Hillary. He’s not going to take half a loaf even now, even if it costs the Democrats — his newly adopted party — the election. This surely has something to do with his long-frustrated career as a progressive outsider, now potentially unwilling to support his capable rival, whose own potential revolution as a woman president means nothing to him. So he assaults her. 

The more Hillary gets maligned by him and the other absolutist males, and the more they portray her as scarred and bloodied and scandal-ridden, the more I like her. She’s the ring-battered, tested champ facing a stable of down-card amateurs who have not yet felt her counterpunches. They are coming.

To foment his political and cultural revolution, Sanders attacks Clinton, the winner of primaries and the delegate and vote leader, and charges her with “obscene” fundraising, and then wants the party to embrace him and his cadre of untested millennials to carry the day. Really? A national campaign will require funding from many sources. Most of the women, minorities, regulars, elected officials and endorsers will not follow if Sanders, as the nominee, defines himself as the only pure one. So, the Democrats lose — but that’s OK with his supporters if he loses on principle.

I now see him as more of a self-obsessed idealist than a capable reformist and national leader. He’s waited 40 years to pick his all-defining fight with the Democrats and he’s at long last found his big opportunity — attack Hillary, his Democratic team rival, whom he now, in this crucial election, defines as an establishment hack. He won’t commit to supporting her and has said he would not appoint her to a position in his cabinet.

Bernie Sanders is surely now a force to be reckoned with — and the most effective source of a frustrating loss by the Democrats to the right-wing champions of repression and greed.



We commend the state Senate for voting in favor of a bill that would impose steep fines for circuses, zoos and other animal exhibitors that are caught using bullhooks on elephants.  

Bullhooks are weapons of intimidation — heavy batons the size of a fireplace poker with a sharp, steel hook on one end that can gouge and tear an elephant’s sensitive skin. Their outright ban by a growing number of compassionate, forward-thinking municipalities around the country compelled Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus to end its elephant acts.

It’s unfortunate and inexplicable that Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed an earlier bill that would have made the use of bullhooks a crime, but the new measure, which would impose fines of up to $10,000, is a step in the right direction. We hope when it reaches the floor of the Assembly that it passes swiftly.







Re: “Family Fractures,” March 31

I have known this family for years and when I read this article, I found it very disturbing!

It was a very one-sided article, depicting Michelle as the victim when in actuality Verta is the true victim in this situation.  

In all the years I have known Mike he has always been a man of integrity; making the right decisions at the right time for the right reasons. He has gone above and beyond to provide a safe and comfortable environment for his mom. For as long as I can remember, Verta has always been a top priority for Mike. 

Mike is logical, grounded, and not easily frustrated. That being said, I know having Michelle arrested was not an impulsive decision or one he entered into easily. I believe that he saw this as a last resort to keep his mom safe. 

In the end, what really matters is that Verta is in a safe and comfortable environment. Whatever the outcome, this needs to be the top priority.


Re: “Similar Incidents, Different Endings,” April 14

Apparently this guy does not belong in civilized society.  Already out on bail for fleeing with drugs and a handgun, it appears he did not learn any lessons. Thank goodness our officers are safe. One more dirtbag off the streets. Great job, PPD!












I am outraged by Pasadena Unified School District’s refusal to offer a fair and competitive salary increase to its teachers.

I am a Pasadena homeowner, parent, and an 18-year veteran teacher of PUSD. As a homeowner, having a great school district helps make our city more desirable to potential buyers. As a parent, I want to know that my children’s teachers are of the highest caliber. As a teacher, I need to feel valued and appreciated for all of the hard work that I do. This translates into a fair and competitive salary. 

At this time, PUSD teachers are among the lowest paid teachers in all of Los Angeles County. We rank as 43 out of 47 comparable districts. We have only received a three percent salary schedule increase in the last eight years. At the same time, we took 10 furlough days, which amounted to a 2.6 percent decrease salary. PUSD has received more money in the last two years than it had in decreased funds, yet they have offered their teachers nothing on the salary schedule for 2014-15 and 3 percent for 2015-16. With this small increase, PUSD would continue to be ranked at the bottom compared to other surrounding districts that have received on average double that amount for the last three years. 

We have a teacher shortage in the state of California and PUSD is already unable to fill its many teacher vacancies. This situation will only worsen as veteran teachers leave the district in search of better pay. The best and brightest new teachers will have no other choice but to go to higher paying districts. They cannot afford housing in our city and many of them graduated from college with tremendous debt.

A three percent pay increase will not rectify this situation. PUSD needs to fairly and competitively compensate its teachers now, before it becomes too late. It is unjust what PUSD is doing to its students, teachers and parents. It is time that the residents of our great city were made aware of this situation.





Re; “Fanily Fractures,” March 31

This is an incredibly one-sided piece of journalism. I would like to see Detective Bugh’s side of the story. He’s absolutely right — this should have been a private family matter. (Bill) Paparian should be ashamed of himself for going to the papers with this. Maybe the Pasadena Weekly should interview Bugh for his side of it, but I’m sure that won’t happen. It’s open season on cops and now an alcoholic sister looking for sympathy because her brother tried to protect their mother. You know what they say as far as the allegations against the sister — where there’s smoke, there’s fire. No sympathy here for her. Not an ounce. And certainly not with this one-sided article.


“Chavét, who has been a friend of the Bugh family for more than 30 years, and knew Michael Bugh before he became a police officer, has also filed a complaint against Bugh and the department.

“I have been with this family for many years,” said Chavét, who at 59 considers herself Rodgers’ big sister. In fact, she bailed her out of jail. Now she’s been arrested alongside Rodgers at a home in which they shared many happy memories. 

“I have been in and out of this house for 30 years and this whole thing was just devastating,” she said.

“This arrest,” Chavet writes in her March 24 complaint against Michael Bugh and the department, “is an abuse of Sgt. Michael Bugh’s position and power within the Pasadena Police Department for his own personal gain. Michael Bugh’s actions show an out of control police officer who seems unable to differentiate who he is as a police sergeant from his own person. This arrest also shows a Pasadena Police Department knowing and willing to make false arrests for the sake of a fellow officer’s personal gain.”


Besides this article being an extremely one-sided account of things, as apparently dictated to Kevin Uhrich by Michelle Rodgers and her attorney (who seems to have some kind of ax to grind), it reeks of desperation.

An attorney who makes his case in the press, where cases are not actually tried, in an attempt to bring pressure against the person he is bringing suit against, seems to do so from a position of weakness. And from an equally desperate position, comes the rantings of someone who seems to be in full-tilt survival mode, someone who is afraid their free ride might end.

You have to ask yourself why someone who’s in her 50s is so dependent upon their mother for free room and board. I wonder if Mr. Uhrich got to the bottom of that question. It probably wouldn’’t be hard to fact check why Michelle Rodgers lives with and is totally supported by her 84-year-old mother.

Additionally, Ms. Rodgers’ attorney seems to betray his true intentions regarding this case when he says, “For some, not all, but for some, the motto of the Pasadena police is: ‘We can do whatever we want.’” His indignation in this case seems to be more of a reaction to and issue with members of the Pasadena Police Department. It makes me wonder why a former mayor of Pasadena (and, may I add, a politician) is taking this case. I guess Mr. Paparian is the only one who can answer that question.

There’s no real way to convince readers of one side over another in a case like this (especially when only one side is presented), but those of us who know this family understand what’s involved. One sibling is desperate to hang onto what she sees as her only way to survive, namely grabbing what she can from her elderly and vulnerable mother in order to feed her narcissistic way of life. The other sibling is trying to protect the whole family (including his damaged sister) from this self-serving and destructive assault.



Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114.




For the last 23 years — 10 in the Pasadena Unified School District — I have dedicated my life to teaching children with special needs.  

I have been rewarded for my loyalty and perseverance by PUSD with one 3 percent raise a couple of years ago, after years of furlough days, benefit cost increases, and five (yes, FIVE) superintendents. When we teachers of PUSD agreed to the furlough days, we were told that our salaries and benefits would be “restored and enhanced” when the district had the money. Now the district has nearly $10 million in unallocated funds and instead of keeping their promise to the teachers of the district, they continue to ignore us — literally. 

Instead they spend money on phone systems (that fail), purchase computer programs and implement mandatory use of them (despite their uselessness), and continue to practice costly nepotism at the district’s administrative level. The teachers of PUSD are already among the lowest paid in the region. There is a looming teacher shortage. There are vacancies the district hasn’t been able to fill since the beginning of the 2015-16 school year and 33 teachers resigned in March.

Who do you want teaching your children?




practice any religion at all, it is Judaism. And I, and many others like me, and millions not like me, have paid a harsh price for it. I make it a point to wear my stars of David conspicuously (I have 14 of them on the chain around my neck). I think it is important to do so because I want it understood that I know what a terrible price was paid for my right to do just that. Our religious freedoms have taken a heavy toll on us. 

 However, and this is a BIG “however,” there was supposed to be a separation of church and state. The only part of religion that should have any play in this election process is the freedom OF. That means we do not have to practice any religion and if you do practice a religion, that is your right to do so. As long as the practice of that religion does not infringe on the rights of others, we are free to practice away.  

It is not unlawful to be a Jew, but that freedom is not mentioned. It is not unlawful to be a Native American and practice your ancestor’s customs, but that freedom is not mentioned. It is not unlawful to be a Muslim, or an atheist, or an agnostic, or a Buddhist, but those freedoms are not mentioned today. Only the freedom to be a Christian, and most specifically an evangelical, is mentioned, and quite often.

In addition to being a Jew, I am also a woman of age. I have no idea how many more elections I will be around to see. But with all the talk of our Constitution, the rights afforded to us by it, and who will be our next new justice on the Supreme Court, I shudder to think that once again the specter of religious zealotry has raised its head and many of us will have to pay dearly for it. Before we come to the day of reckoning (voting), I hope each and every one of our citizens will come to realize that this country has grown because of its many freedoms.

We need to open the doors of free thinking, true religious freedom, true political freedom, and let our people be free to seek out life, liberty and happiness wherever they may find it. Within the LGBT community, among women who wish to use birth control or stop a pregnancy, among people who want to own their guns … as long as nobody’s rights are being violated, can’t we just agree to stop attacking one another and let it be? 




When most people think of Garry Shandling they probably imagine his groundbreaking sitcoms “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” and “The Larry Sanders Show,” or his perfectly coiffed hair that he self-deprecatingly referred to in his jokes. But when we think of Garry Shandling, we think of his huge heart for animals. Garry’s heart gave out this week, but not before it did a lot of good for animals.  

An unabashed dog lover who was especially devoted to his dog Shep, whom he rescued in Hawaii, Garry lent his tremendous comedic talents to PETA’s Stand Up for Animals benefit show to support PETA’s efforts to rescue and care for farmed animals. He also served as an honorary committee member at PETA’s 1996 Animals Ball and Humanitarian Awards Gala, which raised money to support PETA’s campaigns against the abuse of animals in the clothing, entertainment, experimentation and farming industries.

Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel expressed the sentiments of many with this tweet: “Garry Shandling was as kind and generous as he was funny and that is saying a lot.”





Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114. 



Value our Teachers 

The Pasadena Unified School District is maintaining one of the lowest paid educator workforces in Los Angeles County, comparable to Compton. The consequence of that practice is that PUSD becomes a training ground for new teachers who leave after two to seven years of experience to work in surrounding districts that pay $9,000 to $20,000 more per year. Fortunately, the classroom workforce is comprised of educators who have served in PUSD for 15, 20 and 30-plus years — seasoned educators dedicated to the children and families of our communities, Pasadena, Altadena and Sierra Madre.. 

As I complete my 19th year serving in PUSD as a nurse practitioner, I reflect back on when I left private practice to serve my community. I wanted to give back. As a homeowner and advocate for public education, I became an involved K-12 parent. I was surprised to learn how high the quality of the educators were who became my colleagues. Most have a master’s degree, many a doctorate and decades of experience.  They are passionate advocates for public education on the local, state and national levels and are actively involved in protecting and shaping policy for education and the future of our country.

The district spends the lowest legal limit in the classroom and the highest legal limit for administration. What the district has failed to do over the years of declining enrollment is to downsize proportionately; they continue on as if there were still 25,000 students when the reality is around 16,000.

The turnover in administration is alarming. I’ve known seven superintendents, five superintendents in the last 10 years, and 23 Board of Education members since 1999. Each new leader brings their own cohorts and consultants, various expensive surveys of the district and attorneys to do those tasks that they are unwilling to perform. And then they move on — a carousel of administrators across the district who are wooed and then padded with extra stipends along with packages for coming and leaving.

The essence of our children’s education is carried out day after day in the classroom. It is the connection between the child and the teacher where the magic of shaping our children and our future happens. Education fashions come and go, PUSD teachers are the substance — dedicated, experienced, highly qualified.  Our communities deserve the high-quality education that the dedicated educators provide. 

Support our educators. Make PUSD one of the most desirable districts, a district that values its teachers.




No Respect

For the first time in 15 years I am considering leaving PUSD. I love my school and my students, but I have never felt so disrespected by administration. Teachers in PUSD are already some of the lowest paid in the county (43 out of 47). So, to be told that the district has not set aside any money for salary increases — in a year in which it is receiving an unprecedented amount of funding and in which it has a $10 million surplus in the budget that is not allotted to any particular budget area or item — is a slap in the face.  

I am not a greedy teacher. I am a person whose bills are increasing while my paycheck has actually decreased. I am a person who is working harder due to the shift in state standards, a shift that came without proper support, training and materials; I spend more time searching for appropriate learning materials that align with the new standards. As a teacher, I am not paid for this additional work. The only way to fairly compensate me and those like me is for PUSD to provide a fair salary increase. One great way to recruit — and, in my case, retain — qualified teachers is to pay a competitive salary, which PUSD currently does not. Six percent — when Glendale is providing 11 percent — is only enough to keep us treading water in the same spot in the county rankings. The vacancy list for PUSD has been a long one this year and will only continue to grow as the salary gap between PUSD and other districts widens. 

I love my school and my students, but I have to also be practical and consider how I can continue to work for an administration that doesn’t respect those working with students in the classroom.  






Re: “Copping a Plea,” March 10

This scumbag should get at least 10 years in prison, where he will get justice! Corruption at its worst!


Re: “It’s Only Just Begun,” March 17



Re: “Power Play,” March 17

Even if the poles don’t come down (immediately), at least the power lines would.  Sufficiently placing these lines underground would better shield the local residents from inevitable EMF radiations that are perpetually produced. As it is, decades past before human technology finally advanced enough to detect that radioactive materials (e.g., uranium ores) and machines that mimic such radiation were dangerous. Any long-term effects (in other words, the effect on genetics over generations) of power line EMFs will remain a mystery until at least a longer time from which the popular age of electricity has passed. Until then, we are all lab rats to the power corporations and their shareholders.



Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114.





After another winter of severe snowstorms and floods, I look forward to March 20, the first day of spring, balmy weather and blooming flowers. 

Hundreds of communities welcome spring with an observance of Great American Meatout, asking neighbors to explore a healthy, compassionate diet of vegetables, fruits, legumes and grains. 

Indeed, 56 percent of respondents to a Global Meat News poll said that they were or are reducing meat intake. US per capita red meat consumption has dropped by more than 16 percent since 1999.

Mainstream publications like Parade, Better Homes and Gardens and Eating Well are touting vegan recipes. Even the financial investment community is betting on plant-based meat start-ups, like Beyond Meat or Impossible Foods, while warning clients about the upcoming “death of meat.”

The reasons are ample. Last year, the World Health Organization found cancer to be associated with consumption of processed meats. The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recommended reduced meat consumption. The media keeps exposing atrocities perpetrated on factory farms. And, animal agriculture remains chief contributor to climate change and water scarcity and pollution.

Each of us should celebrate our own advent of spring by checking out plant-based foods at our supermarkets and vegan recipes on the Internet.  




I raised two children before social media became a thing. There’s a decade age-gap between them and my youngest. My youngest was begging me to be able to sign up for Facebook since age 12. I waited until the recommended age of 13. I’ve seen the difference that social media and “fake” friends can bring about in a child’s life.  

Kids will go underground to keep their parents from seeing their stuff. I never wanted to be on all the platforms my youngest is on. Who has time to hover? There are no easy answers, and I’m sorry to tell you that there is much to fear when it comes to social media. Kids see that they’re left out of parties/overnights and they feel lonelier than they would have years ago.

We had minimal rules about social media — not at the dinner table, not after bedtime on school nights — and we still found serious issues. Kids need to have 200 to 300 Facebook friends or they’re considered “losers.” This means all those “fake” friends are judging your every word, plus you’re seeing what they’re doing without you. Sorry, but my experiences as the mom of three adult kids confirms a lot to be concerned about.

All kids are different, but human nature is what it is and hearing a voice on the phone is different than a text. Social media has replaced human interaction, and I find that sad for the generation who feels disconnected. Did you know anxiety levels in teens are the highest they’ve ever been? There are many reasons, and a major one is putting machines into the majority of our interactions. And the judgments and arguments that erupt among family and friends that wouldn’t happen if it weren’t for Facebook.  




Re: “Close to the Heart,” Feb. 25

Mr. Ellison’s comments on the founding of Dianetics and Scientology ignore the most important fact: L. Ron Hubbard really did devote the bulk of his professional life to researching, writing and lecturing on the subjects of Dianetics and Scientology. His opus stands at a full 76 million words on the subject of the mind and life. The religion he founded what has since become the only worldwide religious movement to emerge in the 20th century and thrive in the 21st century. It is practiced all over the world and has helped millions of people, myself included.


Re: “I Bought a Gun,” Jan. 28

Having now acquired a firearm, you feel you are qualified as an expert on the unalienable right to bear arms? You took this action on an impulse that was not grounded in a love or commitment to first principles and unfettered individual liberty, but was prompted by some perverse liberal compulsion to find something to ridicule while wearing a faux imprimatur of being on the “inside.” Well, you’re NOT on the inside, really. You are an infiltrator. Every so often one like you comes along trying to be clever. It is so transparent as to be laughable.


I think that if you know nothing about guns, you should have a training course before you buy. If you can’t do that, buy a revolver in .38 special, .327 magnum or a 22-calibre long rifle. At least you will be able to figure out how to load, unload and shoot it. Then take the training course. Part of owning a gun is knowing how to clean it and having the cleaning kit to do that. Just as high schools have driver education, they should have an optional gun safety class with trips to a range with a .22 rifle and revolver. If people are serious about gun safety and saving lives, the NRA’s Eddie Eagle program should be mandatory in all schools.


You’ll shoot your eye out!



Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114.




The death of Justice Scalia has exposed how desperate the Republican Party is to retain its 40-year stranglehold on power. The news had barely broken when Republicans ranging from several presidential candidates to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell were announcing that President Obama should not appoint a replacement. Imagine, the body is being transported to a funeral home prior to shipment to his home, and the Republicans launch a full-scale crass scramble to retain power. 

It was not like this when President Eisenhower made a recess appointment in an election year, or even when the Democrat-controlled Senate confirmed Justice Kennedy in 1998. It is only when a Democratic president has the gall to attempt to exercise the role of office to which he was elected by a more than five-million-vote margin. This is one party, bought and paid for by a few very wealthy backers, that is determined to hold on to power at any cost to the nation. 

The Republican Party has ceased to be a legitimate party in a democracy. It is no more than a bought-and-paid-for set of shills fighting over the chump change rewards their overlords let them feed on. They have in the past 48 hours exposed their total abdication of propriety and honor. For shame.   



Just Ask 

I was very disappointed in your article about the single mother who purchased a firearm for the first time. She did exactly what you should not do, and that is purchase a firearm without first seeking some training for the safe use and handling of that firearm. This is what causes most accidents and could be mostly avoided.  

Had she asked any one of those more experienced persons or clerks at the gun store, she would have been informed about many programs that teach firearm safety. One such program is funded and organized by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife called the Hunter Safety Program. Or in her case, a perfect avenue would have been the Women on Target program put on by the NRA: http://women.nra.org/womens-instructional-shooting-clinics.aspx. It is a program tailored to first-time women shooters like her to teach them safety and confidence. Had she done this before actually purchasing, receiving and firing her “scary” firearm, she might not have had the same experience, and would have been a lot safer in the process.  






Since I sell self-protection products (stun guns, pepper sprays) for women, a friend told me about the article in the Pasadena Weekly titled “I Bought a Gun.” I’m actually mortified at her experience and the results.  

My gun-buying/owning experience was quite different than that “single mom.” I went to a gun show where some LAPD officers had a booth. They told me they were going to teach a class in gun safety on Mother’s Day that year and suggested I wait to purchase until I had the chance to handle a few guns to see which felt good to me and which I could load and fire safely and see if I still wanted to purchase.

I took the class and got to try out a number of guns, finally settling on a Glock 19. It’s lovely. It was made for me. It’s never jammed or given me any problems. Does this mean it’s good for everyone? Nope! 

If I were to purchase another, I’d go to a gun range where there’s a variety of guns and handle as many as allowed. I’d ask one of the gents (pay him or her if necessary) to teach me how to handle each. 

 My suggestion to “single mom” is if you are going to keep the gun, get someone who is adept at handling the type you have and learn how to shoot at your level.

I sell nonlethal weapons and teach people how to handle those. It makes little sense to not learn how to use a deadly weapon safely and train with it regularly. And yes, you begin with non-moving paper targets. It seems to make no sense, yet I’d be a bit concerned having someone as fearful and incompetent as her shooting at moving targets.






Re: “Close to the Heart,” Feb. 26

Lovely article. I met Harlan Ellison at an LA restaurant. He was at the next table. My late grandmother was holding court among our family, which is to say she was a verbal Zorro to our horde of hapless swordsmen. Mr. Ellison was apparently amused by the repartee and suddenly became a participant. I turned to my brother and said, “Is that …” and the instantaneous reply was “Yes.”  

Mr. Ellison’s lunch companion seemed less amused but Mr. Ellison had a good ol’ time. My brother and I ended up walking over and chatting some more. The coda is, Mr. Ellison suddenly said something like, “Say, would you like a coaxial cable?” To which we replied, “You have one on you?” “Yes,” he replied, grinning. I couldn’t tell what was behind his eyes besides mischief. 

“Of course, you do,” I said. “You never know when you might have need of a coaxial cable. Sure.” At which point he produced a coaxial cable, gave it to us, and we thanked him. 

For days, my brother and I would veer off our conversations to say to each other, “Dude, Harlan Ellison gave us a coaxial cable.”







Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114. 




Re: “Honk Off!” Feb. 11

I wonder if Lauren Holland was the harpy who shrieked “STOP SOUND POLLUTING!” at me for honking my horn.

The car in front of me had just sat through three (yes, THREE) green lights without moving. I thought I was being pretty patient to wait until the fourth light to honk. The honk did the trick and the spaced-out moron in front of me finally pulled forward through the intersection. It was at that point that the shrieker, coming toward me in her own lane, yelled at me.

Tell me, Ms. Holland, in your opinion, how many green lights should I have waited before attempting to wake that idiot up?

In a similar situation, when I honked at a guy who also seemed incapable of understanding that green means “Go,” he turned and yelled back at me, “I’m on THE PHONE!”

Should I really have waited for him to finish his phone call?

With so many idiots texting and jabbering on the phone while they drive, sometimes a quick honk becomes all there is to retain one’s own sanity.

The short message is this: If you stay awake and pay attention to your driving, you’ll never hear a honk from me.



The New Hampshire electorate, Republican and Democratic alike, seem to have understood the systemic corruption of our political process by big money. Both Mr. Trump and Sen. Sanders, who for different reasons decline these funds, scored big victories. 

The two candidates converge on several other issues, which should cause all contenders to pay attention to the convergence. That is, if they want to win.

Unfortunately, Mr. Trump brings out attitudes in the American people that we of good will hoped were long buried — prejudice and scapegoating, to name two. Because Secretary Clinton may yet become the Democratic nominee, no liberal should want her to shoot herself in the foot.

But framing Sanders’ attention to her speaking fees, their numbers and amounts, as a personal attack, as she has done, does her no credit. A major bank with a “cozy relationship” within successive administrations, one which desired to hear her speak multiple times, each time at great expense, is not a divergence from the issues. It IS per se a very, very big issue, regardless how innocuous her speech.

What it’s not is a “smear,” nor an accusation of bribery, nor any smudge on Clinton’s escutcheon. Nor is it a condemnation of any candidate who ever took corporate money, as she charged. 

Someone with a large war chest has a great advantage over someone without it, an advantage that rebounds to the interests of the benefactors, be they huge corporations or ordinary citizens. 

Clinton’s over-personalized reaction reveals her profound lack of insight into the fundamental flaw in our election process, an insight the electorate appears to have grasped. This does not bode well. 



Really enjoyed your write-up (“I Bought a Gun,” Jan. 28). 

As a gun owner since age 10, allow me to give you some well-meant advice.

First, in pistol self-defense, an armed encounter usually takes place at no more than five to 10 feet away.

The aggressor will be coming toward you (not running away). Ergo, shooting a paper torso at that distance is quite realistic. In defense, there should be no attempt to hit the attacker’s hand “Lone Ranger Style.”

An automatic pistol, such as the one you purchased, requires A LOT of dry fire practice. You must be sure that ammo is properly placed in the magazine and successfully chambered. A much better option, for the home defender who does not shoot regularly, is a revolver.

It has the following advantages: 1) Whether it’s loaded or not is determined by easy inspection; 2) there’s no worry about the safety being on or off; 3) it very rarely malfunctions, as compared to an automatic; 4) it’s very hard for a young child to press the trigger.

You should also take a half-day course for women shooters offered by the NRA. This is an excellent course with a great emphasis on safety first. It’s free of charge and taught by real experts. Don’t even think about concealed carry until you learn how to draw a pistol covered by clothing.

Should you feel safer? Absolutely! The bad guys now have to deal with an armed woman who has a better alternative than just screaming. Concerning the government’s advice to “Run, hide and fight,” in that order: Not bad, but if you have to fight, isn’t it nice to have something besides your purse?

Good luck.




Re: “Men Who Love to Hate,” Feb. 11
I am a person that abhors this Return of Kings’ kind of sick thinking. It is hard to imagine how this low level of thinking even exists. Then as I read your article I see that you are not so far off the hate path either. You proceed to denigrate all who are “white, straight and Protestant” and go on further to associate this sickness with “Trump supporters.” That is definitely jumping to some fantastic conclusions and associations. It is just getting sicker and sicker. 


Re: “Digging In,” Feb. 25
How did each council member vote?  What is the downside to allowing the Arroyo Seco Foundation to use the otherwise apparently abandoned facility? Also, shame on Mr. Beck again for failing to keep his word!


Re: “Close to the Heart,” Feb. 25
Three decades ago, I was exiting the Nuart after having taken in a movie when I saw my literary hero leaving the theater. His street rep as a crusty curmudgeon who did not suffer fools lightly was already well established. I had very little time to think but knew the chance to meet Ellison informally would never come again. So, I swallowed my fear, approached him, and asked him what he was working on. He politely gave me a minute of his time, and then went on his way. I walked away on a cloud.



Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114. 




I read your piece on buying a gun eagerly, anticipating what the experience would be like, watching as you selected, as you waited, as you went to a shooting range, as you shot. My stomach was actually contracting. 

I have known the fear of having a gun in my house (not now) and it never stopped frightening me. Not that my husband or significant other would use it on me, but that an intruder would get hold of it and use it on us. I don’t think I could use it (unless my child was being threatened, then who knows what I would do?), but I was certain an intruder could!

Thank you for such an insightful and sensitive article. It really hit home with me and I hope it will with many others. Owning a gun is not the same as being able to use it when confronted. And shooting a gun at a target is not the same as shooting a gun at a human being.  



Your account of purchasing and shooting a firearm for the first time is akin to putting the keys to a Porsche with a manual transmission in the hands of a person (adult or teenager) in driver’s training and telling them to take it out for a spin. 

A 9 mm handgun is a powerful weapon; your initial choice of a .22 rifle would have been more appropriate for a first-time gun owner. I too was afraid of guns, but when I made the decision to become the owner of a firearm, I made it a point to take a gun safety class, a class which was offered at the same range where you went shooting for the first time. I even went further and took an all-day class sponsored by, dare I mention, the National Rifle Association, which was very heavy on gun safety and included an afternoon shooting our firearms at the gun range under the watchful eye of our instructors. 

I no longer am afraid of guns; I am afraid of the damage they can do in untrained hands. I have the utmost respect for a firearm. And yes, especially in light of the recent prison escape in Orange County, as a woman I do feel safer in my home.  



Despite a bit of rain and snow, California has now entered the fifth year of its most severe drought in history, and water scarcity remains a very real threat. 

But rather than address the problem in a meaningful way, the state has chosen to relax emergency regulations. It is evident that it is on California residents to act where the state will not. Anyone who wants to have water for the foreseeable future must stop eating meat and dairy.

It can take almost 2,000 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef, and nearly 900 gallons to produce a single gallon of milk. (By contrast, it takes less than 50 gallons of water to produce a gallon of soy milk.) From irrigating the crops that feed cattle to providing animals with drinking water, animal agriculture strains California’s water supply. And these industries are also hell on animals, which are mutilated without painkillers, confined to tiny stalls or filthy feedlots, and slaughtered by the millions each year.

There is one simple choice every Californian can make that will save water, the environment, and the lives of sentient animals: Go vegan. For a free vegan starter kit, visit PETA.org.





Re: “Paying for Saving,” Jan. 14
OK, so let me get this straight … the brain trust in Pasadena decided to raise the water rates because users conserved and used less, as reflected in their bills? Does that make any sense?  Hmmm, those medical marijuana dispensaries are looking pretty good right about now, huh? Maybe if the powers that be were not entirely asleep at the wheel while millions were being absconded right under their noses. 


Re: “A Closer Look,” Jan. 14
Six people have died in the last six months jumping off of the Colorado Street Bridge.  It is so prevalent that Pasadena is famous for its Suicide Bridge. Maybe we should be more concerned about oversight of the bridge than of those who protect us from evildoers.


Re: “Size Matters,” Feb. 4
Pasadena is most certainly being overdeveloped. Getting around town most times of the day is taking significantly longer. Parking is becoming significantly more difficult. This significant increase in travel time reduces our society’s productivity, and leaves less time to enjoy life. In Pasadena’s case, the road to hell is paved with developer dollars.


Re: “Change of the Guard,” Feb. 11
Over a very short time period, Beck drastically changed Pasadena. Not much of this was good. The Rose Bowl was too costly; the embezzlement occurred; employee morale plummeted; police-community relations hit an all-time low, police officers left en masse for other cities, and crime has skyrocketed. Let’s all stop saying he did a good job.


Re: “Copping a Plea,” Feb. 11
Tanaka probably fainted when he heard of the plea deal, knowing that they would be blaming him for everything.



Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114. 




On Jan. 28 your paper ran an article titled “I Bought a Gun,” written by Michael Sullivan.

My reason for writing to you is my hope that you can send my offer to Michael to assist this poor woman.

I run the Women On Target Program for Southern California. Our program uses a nonjudgmental and stress-reducing methodology to teach safe firearm handling, storing and marksmanship.

No husbands, boyfriends or other ego-driven detractors are allowed in our classes!

More than half of my instructors are women, and all are certified by the NRA and many other training organizations, including law enforcement.

All I ask is that you take a moment and send my offer of a free class to the writer of this article and have her possibly forward it along to the women she is quoting.

Thank you for taking the time to read this!


Fed chair Janet Yellen, in her transparency aims before Congress, provided a blanket of comfort in these worrisome times. Her views and answers offset much of the terrorist and political rhetoric lurking about America’s security environment. 

Yellen’s confidence and intellectual acumen remind me of President FDR’s take on fear — fear itself being the distorting villain it is. 

The increasingly crowded space we share amid changing times makes solving problems resemble nasty Sudoku puzzles. Big money and special-interest bribers are not new to our system. But, more than in the past, they are crippling our congressional bodies from acting in the best interests of the nation. 

In days of the past when room for error was less risky (and experimental aims of growth may have had logic) the august groups of Washington were able to compromise more easily, as the design intended. Change has largely altered much of that flexibility. 

It is no time to panic. Corporations and wealthy entities, however defined, and the electorate at large may never agree on the meanings of fairness and balance. The original design that our forefathers postulated was modeled in part on the Greek ideal of moderation. 

America is yet in the process of becoming. Her path is cluttered with old and new blocks to stumble over, but the course she is traveling on is unswerving. 




Re: “The Rest of the Story,” Jan. 21
Respectfully, Ms. Bogaard is using many falsehoods, misrepresentations and “rumors” presented as facts to make it appear there is some sort of problem in the Lower Arroyo when there is not. 

The archery range has operated in the Lower Arroyo for over 80 years with zero reported injuries to archers, observers or neighbors. Although it is true that certain private properties abut the range, all the neighbors of the range have their properties sitting several hundred feet above the range atop tall cliffs. While it is technically possible for a powerful bow to shoot this high, there is no reasonable way this would happen accidentally. Many of the arrows that local residents have “found” on their properties are of designs or sizes that would make it highly unlikely that any archer would have been able to shoot them far enough to reach private property.

Despite Ms. Bogaard’s implication, there is no plan to “hand over” any public land to exclusive use. The size of the archery range has shrunk in recent years due to agreements with the city. Like other public land areas in Pasadena, like the golf course and casting pond, the archery range is available for public use. 

Despite her implication that the all-volunteer organization that runs classes and helps maintain the range is “unwilling to compromise,” the group recently concluded a long and detailed agreement with the city to further enhance the educational opportunities available to the public, to further increase safety on the range and to provide more funding back to the city. 

While the classes and events at the range have gotten more popular in recent years, Ms. Bogaard seems to feel that this is somehow an affront to the public nature of the park or at odds with their goal of “allowing Lower Arroyo activities to thrive.” The popularity of the range has not in any way limited the number of hikers, bird watchers, or other public users of the park. While larger events do attract more people than the on-site parking can hold, all visitors are parking on public streets and there are no known reports of any conflicts or problems due to the public parking on public streets in order to visit a public park.

The Lower Arroyo range is the oldest field archery range in the United States and the programs there have produced Olympic athletes, numerous medalists, and educated thousands of children and adults in a safe, fulfilling activity promoting excellence, achievement and respect for nature. While I can understand that locals who purchased homes alongside the existing park might have their own vision of what they would like to see happening there, none of Ms. Bogaard’s concerns are based on facts or in any way conflict with making the Arroyo a place where the public can safely experience and enjoy nature. 



Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114. 





Re: “I Bought A Gun,” Jan. 28.

It took courage to write this article. I can guarantee feedback. 

There are two items I hope you write about in the future: How does one transport a handgun legally in a vehicle, and how are you going to sell it?

This last item is not as easy as you may think. You can’t advertise, a gun show costs too much for one gun, and a gun store has limited visibility. When a tremor made owning a handgun stupid for me, I met a man at a garage sale and sold my guns to him through a dealer he knew.



The Better Business Bureau warns consumers against high-pressure sales tactics, such as “today only” or “last one in stock.” According to the BBB, “Deadlines are designed to force you into a sale before you’ve had time to think.”

Now-or-never climate warnings would make a hyperactive used-car salesman blush. The message? Act now, act big. Replace the carbon-based energy economy. Get rid of coal, petrol and natural gas. The future of the planet, as Obama stated in his final state of the union address, is “at stake.”

Where have we heard this sort of doom and gloom before?

Remember the 1960s scare of mass starvation in the United States and around the world? The mineral exhaustion scare in the 1970s? The global-cooling scare implicating coal-plant emissions of sulfur dioxide?

These predictions were wrong. Instead of famine, we have obesity. Instead of oil and gas depletion, we have a historic glut. And instead of global cooling, we have global warming.

Now it’s climate change all the time. When the climate scare arose in the 1980s, the director of the UN Environment Program’s New York office stated there was only a “10-year window of opportunity to solve” global warming. 

Seventeen years later, in 2006, scientist James Hansen said the same thing: “We have … 10 years to alter fundamentally the trajectory of global greenhouse emissions.” That same year, Al Gore pronounced a 10-year deadline to avert a “true planetary emergency.” 

But with these dates past or approaching, don’t look to these exaggerators to admit error.  Expect them to soldier on. 

Climate crusaders have lost patience and are revealing their authoritarian impulses.

In 2014, Robert Kennedy Jr. called for the legal system to “punish” skeptics of climate alarmism. More recently, climate scientists sent a letter to President Obama encouraging him to use the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act against “corporations and other organizations that have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change.”

ExxonMobil has come under attack for allowing internal parties to debate the issue in the 1980s. Over 40 groups signed a letter claiming that the company knew the dangers of climate change decades ago but concealed the information to protect profits.

The rhetoric has only become more intense. In November, Pope Francis claimed that the world is at “the limits of suicide,” while President Hollande of France said: “I can’t separate the fight with terrorism from the fight against global warming.” New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait cited “the rise in atmospheric temperatures from greenhouse gases” as “the most dire threat to humanity … since Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany launched near-simultaneous wars of conquest.” 

Meanwhile, the evidence actually points toward global lukewarming, not catastrophic warming. Modest warming is a positive, not negative, externality for the economy, according to climate economists. 

The greenhouse blanket could protect against a future Ice Age, which even alarmists admit. Carbon dioxide, the major manmade greenhouse gas, enriches the biosphere. Trees and plants are growing faster today than in pre-industrial times because atmospheric concentrations of CO2 are one-third higher. 

The stream of alarms is getting old. We do not need to make climate change policy the “central organizing principle of world civilization,” as Al Gore claimed in 1992.

The good news is that such campaigns are not persuading the majority of Americans to buy climate alarmism. Let the debate continue — and the hyperbole end.



Re: “Missed One,” Jan. 28

If there is a large planet out there, it is NOT the ninth planet but more like the 15th. In referring to this potential object as “Planet Nine,” Brown is being extremely disingenuous by portraying his view of the solar system and planet definition as THE view when this is far from the case. He is once again promoting his obsession that he somehow “killed” planet Pluto.

It is unfortunate that the media repeat his position without acknowledging the reality that the IAU definition is just one among many currently in use.

Numerous planetary scientists continue to reject the controversial IAU planet definition, which was adopted by only four percent of the organization’s members, most of whom were not planetary scientists but other types of astronomers. That petition was immediately rejected by hundreds of professional astronomers, who reject the notion that an object has to clear its orbit to be a planet. 

Brown deliberately chose the term “ninth planet” knowing it would be repeated ad nauseam by the media, most of which simply rewrites what is written in the press release.

Dwarf planets ARE planets too, and their discovery means that far more than two full planets have been discovered in the last two centuries. The solar system’s current planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Ceres, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Charon, Haumea, Makemake, and Eris — and counting.



Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114. 




Less than an hour’s drive from here, up in those dry and dusty San Gabriel Mountains, are three rare and precious wild trout streams, the west, north, and east forks of the San Gabriel River.

Under arbors of alder, sycamore and oak, they run clear and cold all year long, despite drought, and harbor wild rainbow trout. Some of the rainbows are direct descendants of steelhead trout, which went to and from the sea for eons before the dams were built. The streams are also home to some threatened and endangered creatures, including the Santa Ana speckled dace, which exists only in the Los Angeles basin. 

These streams are always under pressure, and not just from the climate. They frequently suffer from overuse by crowds of visitors, some of whom trash them and others who damage them with illegal gold mining and what the Forest Service calls “recreational dam building.” The Forest Service has long been hard pressed to protect them, for the usual reasons: not enough money and not enough staff.

The many people who know and love these streams were naturally excited when the National Monument was declared in the fall of 2014, anticipating that plans and resources would be developed to better protect these waters. And so the fishers, the hikers and the mountain bikers, together with professional fishery experts, weighed in during the requisite public comment period to tell the Forest Service what they thought should be done for these streams in the new San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Plan. At the end of that process, the Forest Service produced a summary of the comments and an outline of the issues and concerns they determined should be the focus of the plan. Sadly, the outline for the management plan, published in December, does not include any focus on these streams. Thus, in accordance with the Forest Service’s planning policies, most of the stream-specific comments and recommendations that were submitted by the public and by experts were ignored. They will not have an influence on the management plan for the National Monument.

If this concerns you, let the Forest Service know. You can contact Justin Seastrand, environmental coordinator, Angeles National Forest, at jseastrand@fs.fed.us, or Superintendent Jeffrey Vail, at JVail@fs.fed.us.  

You don’t have to wait for the next public comments period later this winter or spring, when part of the environmental assessment will be published. It may be too late by then.




Re: “On With the Show,” Jan. 21

In reference to the quote at the end of this article from Council member and RBOC board member Gordo, I would like to add the following to his “greats” planned for the three-day musical festival proposed. 

How about the great usage of drugs and alcohol; the great assaults on young women; the great traffic jams to be endured by thousands trying to get to their homes; the great heaps of garbage and debris; the great decibels heard  as far as Hastings Ranch (as reported after the 2014 summer of concerts).  

He felt the concerts held there in the summer of 2014 were a huge success. I don’t think everyone feels the same way. I don’t.

The Rose Bowl is the only stadium located in a residential neighborhood. It is a football field with an adjoining park, golf course, aquatic center and Kidspace. No more, no less. We are not Coachella where these long festivals are held, and not without the huge problems mentioned above.   

If approved, the contract with AEG will last for decades. There is no way sufficient security can handle the crowds that will be attending.

Join with me and urge your City Council representative and county supervisor to not allow this type of usage for the Rose Bowl. The environmental study being considered overlooks the toxic fumes from the cars and buses that poison our air and stay in the area for weeks and months. The recreation usage by not only Pasadena residents but also those from all over the county will be off limits before, during and after the concerts. The three-day schedule does not include the setup and taking down of the equipment and stages.  

As I was told by a staff member of the Rose Bowl at a meeting, if we can’t tolerate the noise and intrusion, we can just leave town during these events. I find that unacceptable advice.





Re: “I Bought A Gun,” Jan. 28

I/ we/you have begun a conversation on a complex and difficult topic.

I do own guns, but am probably one of the more ambiguous gun owners, as I am willing to discuss the topic and its aspects from different viewpoints, something that is often lacking in the debate where enthusiasts and anti-gunners are usually well entrenched in their viewpoints.

The point was made to me many years ago in a safety class held for teachers at a school I worked at that, in order for a gun to be useful for any real self-defense situation it has to be loaded and practically in your hand at all times; an intimidating situation when answering the door for pizza deliveries or Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Far more realistic and useful is a trusty can of pepper spray; this is far less intimidating to strangers and less likely to kill your stumbling or drunken relatives or sneaking teenagers.

Since the original Second Amendment was written to cover single-shot, muzzle loading and flintlock-fired weapons, it is only fair that the entire subject should be open to debate, as the Brown Bess is rarely seen these days and repeating arms have only been around since the Civil War.

I would strongly advise any inexperienced potential gun owner to consider pepper spray as an alternative to a firearm.  Washing a toddler’s eyes out is far more desirable than washing their brain tissue off of one’s ceiling.

Safely securing a gun from children essentially makes it useless for any real home-defense scenario.  Also, many of the guns (about 84%) used in crimes were legally purchased but stolen in burglaries (see: 

http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/press/fshbopc0510pr.cfm and







Re: “Moving Forward,” Jan. 7
What would be helpful and start to put trust back into the citizens of Pasadena and the employees of Pasadena is to hire someone who has either lived here or worked here in the city.  Pasadena is a unique and diverse community and to have someone come in and try to “manage” a city that has little to no connection with it will again likely end up with what just happened. Also, it would be helpful for the next city manager to not make a first appearance at a city employee appreciation event and tell everyone, “We are going to do a whole lot more with a whole lot less.” First appearances for city employees are tantamount to rebuilding trust, appreciation and loyalty. Before going out and spending a large amount of money on hiring a consulting search firm, take time to get feedback from the city employees as well as citizens of Pasadena to learn from what happened the last eight years. Lastly, make (Steve) Mermell the interim manager — the transition will be flawless. He is articulate, intelligent, a hard worker and extremely approachable. Let’s make Pasadena the World Class City that it is extremely capable of being.




Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114.




Are you rooting for the Panthers or the Broncos in Super Bowl 50?

Personally, I’m rooting for the chickens. 

More chicken wings are eaten on Super Bowl Sunday than at any other time of the year. Why is that? We can enjoy the big game without gnawing on a dead bird’s dismembered body. In slaughterhouses, chickens are shackled upside-down, their throats are slit, and many are scalded alive. Such cruelty is nothing to cheer about.

If you like to eat wings while you watch football, Gardein makes some great-tasting meatless varieties, or you can make your own using Beyond Meat chicken-free strips. Check out PETA.org for other product suggestions and free vegan recipes.






It’s taken me months to figure out. The bizarre behavior, the rude insults, the accusations, the name calling, the continual barrage of arrogant, unapologetic rants … why would he do it? Why would any man vying for the most powerful position in the world — the presidency of the United States — come off as so offensive and unpresidential? For the longest time, I just couldn’t make sense of it.

Then it hit me. He doesn’t want it. He never did. He knew from the start he wouldn’t be elected president. And for Donald Trump, that’s beautiful. Why? Because it’s all part of the plan; the culmination of an incredible, all-American bait-and-switch. That’s right. His campaign charade has been just another of the Donald Trump “Deals.” No, not just another deal — The Deal!  

Think about it. He enters the race and what does he get from the start? A priceless, gold-plated international platform. He creates unprecedented press coverage by angering a large, disgruntled segment of the American population that he knew would be ready to scream and holler and fight. He convinces those frustrated, gullible Americans, who are sick to death of a do-nothing government, to go all in.

And then what? The campaign implodes. It was designed to do that. Even members of his own party are helping him take care of that. He knows that’s inevitable, and he knows that for him that’s fantastic. Why? Because it’s the final step in his ultimate deal, the largest sales job of all time. 

The GOP will think it’s won when it’s thrown him out of the race, but remember, Trump is the master. He’ll walk away with world notoriety, an expanded international brand, millions of loud, belligerent and now fiercely loyal followers hungry for his next TV show or hotel or casino project, or just about anything he puts the Trump name on.  

And best of all, he’ll inherit the ability to forever blame the “stupid idiots” in Washington for anything and everything that goes wrong in the future, simply by saying, “I told you, didn’t I? They’re dummies. They’re a bunch of fools. They have no idea. Had they treated me fairly, had they chosen me, it would all be fantastic. Believe me, it would be huge. Like nothing you’ve ever seen before. We’d have the wall. The most amazing wall you can imagine. And you’re damn right Mexico would have paid. We’d have China giving up its currency manipulation and begging for our products. We’d have the ISIS oil. Our gas prices would drop to nothing and they’d be out of business. It would be fantastic. But hey, what can I say. They chose wrong. They’re idiots. Isn’t it obvious?  Sure it is.”

Not sure yourself? Imagine Washington if he wins. Would a man like Donald Trump be able to stomach a minimum of four years arguing with a hostile Democratic Congress, a bunch of “liberal idiots” who have no idea how to run a barnyard let alone a country? 

For that matter, could he live with the very real possibility of a hostile Republican Congress? Would the king of the “deal” be able to function as one of three constitutional powers, each with an equal share of decision-making authority? 

No way. And he knows that. He’s known it all along. It would drive him nuts. It would not be good business. It would not live up to the Trump reputation. And most of all it would not be recognized as an ultimate deal in which “The Donald” takes the GOP, the Dems and a large chunk of the American public to the cleaners on a bogus presidential run, and walks away with the grand prize: recognition as the exalted, glorious, undisputed King of the Great American Deal of Deals! I’m telling you — it would be huge!




Re: “Moving Forward,” Jan. 7
What would be helpful and start to put trust back into the citizens of Pasadena and the employees of Pasadena is to hire someone who has either lived here or worked here in the city.  Pasadena is a unique and diverse community and to have someone come in and try to “manage” a city that has little to no connection with it will again likely end up with what just happened. Also, it would be helpful for the next city manager to not make a first appearance at a city employee appreciation event and tell everyone, “We are going to do a whole lot more with a whole lot less.” First appearances for city employees are tantamount to rebuilding trust, appreciation and loyalty. Before going out and spending a large amount of money on hiring a consulting search firm, take time to get feedback from the city employees as well as citizens of Pasadena to learn from what happened the last eight years. Lastly, make (Steve) Mermell the interim manager — the transition will be flawless. He is articulate, intelligent, a hard worker and extremely approachable. Let’s make Pasadena the World Class City that it is extremely capable of being.




Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114.





The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce and the restaurant association are delusional.

Way back in the Dark Ages, when I got my first job, minimum wage was $1.65. A single-room apartment rented in Pasadena for $45 in a seedy section of town and the princely sum of $60 somewhere nice. Tuition at PCC was a $5-a-semester registration fee and Cal State LA was $35 a quarter. Gasoline was 35 cents, and a decent running but reliable beater car was $400.

Now a one-room single apartment is $800 to $900 anywhere in Pasadena, Cal State LA is almost $10,000 a year, gasoline is $3 to $4 a gallon in Pasadena, a running reliable beater car is $6,000 to $10,000.

A minimum wage of $15 an hour projected five years into the future does not keep up with the cost of living, particularly for young people working at the hash house to try to go to school. Something over $20 would still be on the low side of the cost of life.

Restaurant owners in particular have been abusive to employee needs for higher wages. In the last 40 years, as wait staff have attempted to organize, restaurants have arranged to pay them more simply by adjusting the minimum deemed acceptable tip from 10 percent to 15 percent to now 20 percent, all so the restaurant owner would not be subjected to paying her or his employees a living wage. 

If Pasadena is going to be a restaurant destination, it has to be a place where its restaurant workers are professional, high-quality servers. That begins with a living wage. These below-the-cost-of-living wages are undercutting the long-term viability of the restaurant business.




I always appreciate Seattle being cited by increased minimum wage advocates because Seattle, in addition to the minimum wage increase, also allowed for total earnings to be taken into account by small businesses, so that restaurant worker gratuities are included in the calculation, along with health benefits, commissions and more. (Seattle restaurants are still able to pay tipped employees at the state of Washington’s minimum wage.)

They also define small business as any business employing fewer than 500 workers, so the total earnings model applies to most of the businesses in Seattle, including Walmart and others that may be identified as oppressive employers.

Here is the citation from the city of Seattle website: Small employers can pay an hourly minimum wage and make up the minimum compensation balance with employee tips and/or payments toward an employee’s medical benefits plan. To use tips to make up the balance of minimum compensation, the tips must be (a) actually received by the employee and (b) reported to the Internal Revenue Service. Note: employers must provide employees notice of tip policy at the time of hire (as required by the city of Seattle’s Administrative Wage Theft Ordinance).

Professor (Peter) Dreier (like at least one candidate currently running for president) doesn’t let facts or information stand in his way when trying to substantiate an argument. The fact is that well fewer than 10 percent of Pasadena resident workers earn minimum wage. (Those are workers who both live and work in Pasadena.) Even at the $15-per-hour threshold, only 11,000 residents of Pasadena earn less than $30,000 per year, and most of those do not work here. That is less than 20 percent, and nowhere close to the 1/3 cited by Professor Dreier.

Finally, that total earnings model does not allow for anyone being paid less than the state of California minimum wage and requires that compensation (minimum wage, commissions, gratuities, etc.) total more than the city mandated minimum wage, whatever that amount may be. That is perfectly legal.





Re: “Paying for Saving,”
Jan. 14
OK, so let me get this straight. The brain trust in Pasadena decided to raise the water rates because users conserved and used less, as reflected in their bills? Does that make any sense?  Hmmm, those medical marijuana dispensaries are looking pretty good right about now, huh? Maybe if the powers that be were not entirely asleep at the wheel while millions were being absconded right under their noses ….


Re: “Moving Forward,” 

I hope that the city council won’t make the mistake of hiring the next city manager from the same pool of long-term, high-paid, high-ranking individuals in positions that could have prevented or stopped a massive multi-year embezzlement that occurred under their watch.


What would be helpful and start to put trust back into the citizens of Pasadena and the employees of Pasadena is to hire someone who has either lived here or worked here in the city.  Pasadena is a unique and diverse community and to have someone come in and try to “manage” a city that has little to no connection with it will again likely end up with what just happened. Also, it would be helpful if the next city manager did not make a first appearance at a city employee appreciation event and tell everyone, “We are going to do a whole lot more with a whole lot less.” First appearances for city employees are tantamount to rebuilding trust, appreciation and loyalty. Before going out and spending a large amount of money on hiring a consulting search firm, take time to get feedback from the city employees as well as citizens of Pasadena to learn from what happened the last eight years. Lastly, make (Assistant City Manager Steve) Mermell the interim manager — the transition will be flawless. He is articulate, intelligent, a hard worker and extremely approachable. Let’s make Pasadena the world-class city that it is extremely capable of being.



Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114.




Three NFL teams (the Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers and St. Louis Rams) have submitted relocation applications to the NFL this week seeking to move to Los Angeles.

Given the challenge of finding venues to play in, it seems certain that NFL officials will once again attempt to negotiate to play games at the Rose Bowl. In order to play at the Rose Bowl, the NFL would need the consent of UCLA and would no doubt offer UCLA a large sum of money for UCLA’s consent. Pasadena’s current city manager, Michael Beck, has been hired by UCLA as its administrative vice chancellor and he will begin his work there on March 1.

I would like to reiterate that, as a City Council member, I am opposed to the NFL using the Rose Bowl even on a temporary basis. I will not sell the quality of life in the neighborhoods I represent for the benefit of the NFL at any price. 

In addition, because of the possible conflict of interest, I am also requesting that City Manager Michael Beck recuse himself from having any contact with the NFL while Mr. Beck remains in the employ of the City of Pasadena.





My wife and I recently attended the COP 21 in Paris as “sidelined” participants. Had we been powerful fossil-fuel lobbyists or the American Chamber of Commerce, our places at the grown-up table would have been reserved. Instead, we were relegated to the sideline events (the kiddie table). The theme was “2015 — A Time for Implementation.” We’ll see — we’ve been here before. Decades later, we’re still waiting.

Feeling environmental guilt over how much kerosene (JP4) we burned getting to Paris and back, I decided to look into buying some carbon credits to offset our substantial carbon-footprint faux pas.

FYI, air transport accounts for four percent to nine percent of the total climate change impact of human activity, and unfortunately it is only getting worse, given the growing number of the Chinese middle class taking to the friendly skies. Understandably, they are becoming more like Americans. Right now they only have one-sixth of our carbon footprint. 

Our only saving grace: we did take Air France, which was voted the most sustainable airline. However, I have to be honest. We did not realize that until after my wife bought the tickets. Our pragmatic criteria were a direct LA-to-Paris flight, best value and adequate in-flight meals — they don’t get better than Air France, even in steerage.

After reading all of the possible pitfalls and NGO vetting required with carbon credits for flying, we opted to instead donate that money to the Bernie Sanders election campaign fund. Why? Because the oil companies and other huge international corporations are not. In fact, they aren’t allowed.

I would ask other Americans who attended COP 21 to do likewise if you really want to forestall manmade global warming. The only real hope that Climate Summit 2015 has of achieving any substantive climate change goals is for Bernie Sanders to win the Democratic nomination and election. 

See https://go.berniesanders.com/page/s/volunteer 

P.S. I tried to get my “Vote Earth! Republicans for Bernie” banner into the COP 21 compound. No luck. It was subsequently confiscated and returned with the questionable excuse of “no politics allowed” (except, apparently, for paying lobbyists). I did manage to display it around Paris without incident, for what that was worth. Other Republicans even volunteered to help me hold it up; apparently we’re growing in numbers. (My Blue Dog Democrat wife refused to be involved with anything that said Republican.)

FYI, until my GOP magically regains its corporate memory, acknowledging and vowing to effectively deal with the potentially species-ending problem of manmade global warming, I’m voting for Bernie. I respectfully urge other like-minded Republicans to do the same. That is the only way for the average American to have his/her vote counted, compared to the overwhelming influence of large corporations where they win and the rest of us (and our heirs) lose.



Re: “Culture in Focus,” Dec. 10

Tragic mistake.

~  LAMB777

Re: “Drive-by Christmas,” Dec. 24

Memories of my childhood in Pasadena growing up …  now my children are grown and when they come home we take the same route listed above. Thank you for the sweet memories …  Merry Christmas.


Re: “Tough Decisions,” Jan. 7

I would be delighted if MM (Michael Moore) moved to any of those countries and fried his brain on heroin.


Re: “Moving Forward,” Jan. 7

I hope that the City Council won’t make the mistake of hiring the next city manager from the same pool of long-term, high-paid, high-ranking individuals in positions that could have prevented or stopped a massive multiyear embezzlement that occurred under their watch.



Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor
André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114.




By gum, they were right! We are subject to terrorist attacks, right here in this country, killing American citizens. Fanned by extremist rhetoric and abetted by easily accessible weaponry, they spray unsuspecting civilians with gunfire and set fire to buildings.

Syrian refugees? Muslim jihadists? 

Nope, the terrorist in Colorado Springs didn’t shout “Allah Akbar” but “No more baby parts.” The arsonist(s) in Santa Barbara didn’t say anything, just set a fire, fortunately not injuring anyone this time.

And these are not the first acts of violence perpetrated by fanatical anti-abortionists against women’s clinics, staff and patients. There have been many burned clinics, assassinated doctors and injured and killed bystanders in various parts of the country. 

Instead of being manipulated by “cultural” warriors and fear-mongering politicians, maybe the public could take a good look at where actual terrorism is coming from and demand federal help in infiltrating these groups and disarming them before more people are killed.




As the Pasadena City Council considers a local minimum wage increase, they should do so thoughtfully and strategically. While this policy aims to boost the wages of Pasadena’s lowest earners, it runs the risk of jeopardizing opportunities for the low-income workers the City Council seeks to help by forcing local businesses to make tough choices such as cutting hours, raising prices and laying off staff. Pasadena can do better than this in crafting its minimum wage policy.

City leaders have the opportunity to do what many cities considering local minimum wage increases haven’t: develop a balanced proposal that will effectively increase wages while protecting local opportunities. This is important, as research has found blanket minimum wage increases are ineffective at targeting higher wages to the lowest earners. 

Rather than adopting a blanket increase, local policymakers should include targeted mitigations that will ensure higher wages reach their low-income targets while reducing the impacts to small businesses and the local economy. These mitigations include an annual review of scheduled increases, a slower implementation period for small businesses, a teen wage to protect entry-level opportunities for young workers and total compensation to create income equality between tipped and untipped workers. These mitigations create smart policy solutions rather than unintentional negative impacts for the low-income workers local policymakers seek to help.

The implementation of an annual review of the economy and employment rate allows local policymakers to ensure increases reflect the current economy. The automatic indexing method suggested by a blanket minimum wage increase fails to consider key economic factors, such as a recession and other cumulative costs.  

Ensuring that wage increases are slow, steady and predictable will help small businesses survive. California raised the minimum wage 25 percent over 18 months to $10 per hour this month, making our state’s minimum wage the country’s highest. Given that restaurants are still adjusting to this increase, and labor costs average 40 percent of their costs, any local wage hike must include a delayed implementation period to prevent small businesses — the majority of which are minority- and woman-owned — from unsustainably rapid increases.  

A recent study by Beacon Economics found that only one in four dollars of blanket increases actually reach the intended workers, and therefore, create little to no positive impact on the low-income community. In fact, it causes a disruption in the wage ladder by increasing the wages at the bottom, which stagger upward, resulting in a doubled labor cost impact for employers. Coupling this blanket increase with a struggling economy will ultimately edge these unskilled workers out of the entry-level positions they need. 

Finally, total compensation guarantees a tipped employee a total taxable super wage, freeing up limited labor dollars for nontipped employees who often earn significantly less than their tipped counterparts. Total compensation is a win-win for all staff, as it shrinks the income disparity between tipped and untipped employees and allows an employer to raise wages to reward experience and longevity. 

The success of Pasadena’s vibrant local economy and small business community is dependent on opportunity — opportunity that diminishes when wage increases are implemented without any mitigating measures. Pasadena has the chance to implement a thoughtful, targeted proposal that increases wages for the lowest earners while simultaneously protecting local opportunities.





(Please see page 6 for a related 

opinion column.)



Re: “Back to School,” Dec. 3

The public has lost trust in the city management and the City Council. Employee morale is dead. Everyone is leaving (those who can, anyway). Absolutely no one with a position that isn’t elected or directly hired by Beck says one good word about him. … The mayor’s comments on Beck make me regret voting for him, but that’s a correctable mistake in the next election.


Re: “Someone Knows,” Dec. 10

Or maybe we have a pervert/rapist/murderer who happens to be a cop. That graffiti says that someone saw something disturbing and someone knows something. They said the artists had been found and questioned but not charged. Start there.


Re: “Culture in Focus,” Dec. 10

Tragic mistake.

~  LAMB777


A guest opinion column appearing in our Dec. 31 edition titled “Defending the Indefensible” contained erroneous information. The Office of Independent Review (OIR) Group was allowed by contract to participate in the Pasadena Police Department’s March 15, 21013 administrative review of the officer-involved shooting death of unarmed 19-year-old Kendrec McDade. City Attorney Michele Beal Bagneris did not sign the contract with the OIR. City Manager Michael Beck signed the contract and Assistant City Attorney Frank Rhemrev approved it in her place. The story appearing on our website has been changed to reflect this correction.






I read the article on the current troubles at local leftist outpost KPFK (“Radio Silence,” Sept. 24) with mixed emotions.


Though I am a fairly conservative Republican, I do not want to see KPFK disappear. If they can do what needs to be done within the law to stay on the air, then they should stay on the air. KPFK is programmed into my car stereo (at No. 1, no less), and I give it a listen more than the vast majority of leftists turn on conservative talk radio. The station’s politics are not a threat to me, as so much of modern left-wing thought is highly emotional, and I can’t argue with people’s emotions. 


For a conservative, KPFK is like being a fly on the wall (an analogy I’m sure many progressives would agree with) in the faculty lounge at Yale, UC Berkeley or your local middle school, and is what leftists say about non-leftists when they think that only leftists are listening.


As I see it, KPFK’s main problem is not enough listeners. Every listener to the station is a potential donor. You have to get people in the door before you can try to sell them the product. KPFK can’t get enough of the former, so they don’t have enough of the latter. How to get more listeners? Well, not totally crapping on anyone who is even marginally to the right politically would be a good start. KPFK labels those whose views it disagrees with as not just wrong, but as “evil” and “monsters” and “filth” and worse. Potential listeners just gliding by, but who may not be left-wing or have friends and family who are not, are not likely to hang around and hear the views of people they love (and, invariably, the people themselves) thoroughly trashed, and tune out. This serves to ideologically cleanse the station, but means that KPFK is just preaching to the choir day in and day out.








Recently, the California Public Employees Retirement System (CALPERS) stated that, going forward, they plan on reducing their investment losses by having the taxpayers  contribute more money to their corrupt and irresponsible pension fund.


In 1999, CALPERS, through deception, convinced our state Legislature and governor that generous salary and pension increases for state union workers could be financed from investment earnings and have no effect on the taxpayers’ wallets.


Cities that belong to CALPERS, after 30 years of service, saw their fire and police personnel receive 90 percent of their last year’s salary at age 50 as their pension for life. Previously, safety personnel received 75 percent of their last year salary at age 55. Safety personnel immediately saw a 15 percent pay increase and now could work five fewer years to full retirement age.


CALPERS also convinced our politicians to have taxpayers guarantee a 7 ¾ percent return on their investments. Just a few years ago, CALPERS reduced the return a quarter percent. 


Today, safety personnel are receiving 90 percent of their last year’s salary as their pensions for life, city management 75 percent and general employees are receiving 60 percent of their last year’s salary as their pensions for life. 


CALPERS never talks about returning salary and pension benefits to the pre-1999 rate.


In private industry, employers on average are contributing 3 percent of pay toward their employees’ retirement accounts. In Glendale, taxpayers will be contributing a whopping 30 cents per dollar to CALPERS this year and many cities will be spending even more. 


CALPERS is only 74 percent funded and the taxpayers should no longer be on the hook for their failed investments.


Only cities that belong to CALPERS have filed for bankruptcy protection.




Re: “Off Target,” Aug. 28, 2014


The so-called Stewards of Public land harp endlessly about how the archery range limits public access. That place has been an archery range for eight decades and has the phenomenal record of no archery-related accidents in that time. Such cannot be said for dog walkers who allow their pets to run unleashed and scare the horse riders, or the joggers who sprain themselves. There are deaths related to golf. All that aside, it is still dumbfoundedly mysterious that the so-called stewards would specifically target the archery range. Across the concrete river from the archery range is the exact same habitat. It has trails and trees and shade and open areas for dogs to wander about (with supervision) and easier access to the parking lot and the wonderful casting pond with all its amenities. There is ample room for everyone at the Lower Arroyo and even with that, the archery range is never closed to anyone. All the archers ever want is that everyone show some common sense and be safe. Archers want everyone to enjoy the Arroyo and all this political bickering is no fun at all.





RE: “High On Control,” Nov. 26


Pasadena may not have brick-and-mortar dispensaries, but they sure have delivery services. And it doesn’t take much to drive to Atwater Village or Eagle Rock or Highland Park, where they do have walk-in shops. Wake up, Pasadena. It’s high time you started collecting this tax revenue, or does the city not need the extra cash flow? And I’m willing to bet the employees make well over $15 an hour.





Re: “Culture in Focus,” Dec. 10

Tragic mistake.

~  LAMB777





A guest opinion column appearing in our Dec. 31 edition titled “Defending the Indefensible” contained erroneous information. The Office of Independent Review (OIR) Group was allowed by contract to participate in the Pasadena Police Department’s March 15, 21013 administrative review of the officer-involved shooting death of unarmed 19-year-old Kendrec McDade. City Attorney Michele Beal Bagneris did not sign the contract with the OIR. City Manager Michael Beck signed the contract and Assistant City Attorney Frank Rhemrev approved it in her place. The story appearing on our website has been changed to reflect this correction.




What a stupid mistake the Tournament of Roses committee recently made by selecting Ken Burns as the 2016 Rose Parade grand marshal.

In October 2007, filmmaker Burns released a 15-hour World War II documentary called “The War.” Burns and team spent six years interviewing 600 individuals from four American towns with the purpose of capturing intimate wartime stories of each town’s citizenry, both abroad and at home. 

No mention was made of the Latino population’s unique experiences as military personnel and defense workers. Yet, a half-million Latinos served in the military during World War ll. Of those who served, 13 were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, while tens of thousands of Latinos were employed in America’s defense plants and ensuring our military was supplied with badly needed war material.

Only after an immense amount of criticism and objection by Latino journalists, filmmakers, politicians, etc. did Burns attempt to justify his ignorance and prejudices of Latino wartime contributions. None of his excuses and lies were acceptable to Latino communities, so he decided to reconsider his insulting and disgraceful practices.

Burns decided to add 28 minutes of new interviews and photographs to his film about Latino military experiences. The new interviews of Latino military personnel were added to the ends of two separate episodes, but they were never fully integrated into the original file. Hence, some viewers could see this as an afterthought. His accompanying book, “The War: An Intimate History, 1941-1945,” made no mention of Latino contributions to the Second World War. 

The film did address World War II experiences of Japanese Americans, so why not Latino Americans? Had Burns excluded African American contributions of military personnel and defense workers, Danny Bakewell, the NAACP, the Urban League, etc., would be boycotting the 2016 Rose Parade, and rightfully so. 

I challenge your newspaper to print this letter. If you don’t, then you and other opinion staff should ride with Burns on Jan. 1



Thank you André Coleman from the Pasadena Weekly for covering the making of the Mitrice Richardson documentary “Lost Compassion” in the story “Someone Knows,” appearing in the Dec. 10 edition. 

For more on the Richardson story, visit pasadenaweekly.com




The reality is that the evidence and research clearly shows that minimum wage increases have no impact at all on poverty rates. So, the question to be answered is, if workers and people living in poverty don’t benefit, who really benefits? 

Perhaps it is the people who employ the advocates and City Council members (not including the one-percenters) who will profit from imposition of the LA minimum wage scheme in Pasadena. 

Oh, where can I hire an economist to support my position? I think it might be north of Santa Barbara and east of San Francisco: http://dailycaller.com/…/gov… “Emails Cast Doubt on Berkeley Minimum Wage Study,” dailycaller.com

Also, this is from the beloved Michael Reich, et al., from Berkeley related to the LA minimum wage scheme: “Does raising the minimum wage reduce reliance on means-tested public assistance programs?” asks the study “Estimated Impact of a Proposed Minimum Wage Law for Sacramento, published in August by the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics. “The answer may seem obvious, but West and Reich (2014) point out that the research question shows it to be more complex. If, for example, raising the minimum wage causes increased unemployment, more workers and families would have to rely on programs such as food stamps (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP). The authors conduct a causal analysis of state and federal minimum wage increases from 1990-2012 and find that, on average, a 10 percent increase in the minimum wage reduces food stamp program enrollment by between 2.4 and 3.2 percent, and reduces program expenditures by 1.9 percent. West and Reich (2014b) conducted a comparable study on the causal effects of minimum wage increases on Medicaid, with similar findings. Zipperer (2014) also examined the effects of minimum wages on these public programs and obtained similar results.”

(For more on this study, visit irle.berkeley.edu/cwed/briefs/2015-02.pdf.)

Again, this is not a bad thing, just a bit of info we were pointing out and certainly not the reason why the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce opposes the imposition of the LA scheme here. There are plenty of other good reasons for that position: loss of jobs, loss of businesses, negative impact on the local economy, no impact on poverty rates, etc., as detailed in the several analyses we have made available.




Re: Letters, Nov. 26

While the PW was busy publishing the plagiarist Phil Gargalis’ meatless manifesto, millions of Americans across the USA sat down to a traditional feast of Thanksgiving, first declared as a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. In fact, one may truly say that it was President Lincoln who first declared that black lives matter, in having one nation with unified values, before the slogan was hijacked by the selfish groups using it today. Anyway, I won’t repeat myself like the vacuous vegans do, by again mentioning the “Five Common Myths About Meat” article, which refutes their talking points (oops, I mentioned it) and can be found by doing a simple search on the Internet. Instead, I’d like to point out a new article: “Eight Ridiculous Myths About Meat and Health.” That’s right, folks, over a 50 percent increase in the beat down of outright lies pushed by PETA. It can be found at  http://authoritynutrition.com/8-ridiculous-myths-about-meat-and-health/. There’s also the new story in Women’s Health magazine which says that vegetarians are more likely to suffer from depression and panic attacks (like we didn’t already know that from their gloomy philippics periodically published in the pages of the PW.) I attended a wonderful family get together with the traditional turkey and all the trimmings, complete with chips and salad, with hors d’oeuvres beforehand, and pumpkin pie afterward. Per tradition, I claimed one of the drumsticks. It was still a bit new, however, as it was the first smoker-cooked turkey I had ever tasted. Afterward, the left-overs were divided up and we each took some turkey and other food home to enjoy the next day. Possibly the best thing of all, anyone can enjoy the experience again when Christmas week arrives!


Re: “Back to School,” Dec. 3

The public has lost trust in the city management and the City Council. Employee morale is dead. Everyone is leaving (those who can anyway). Absolutely no one with a position that isn’t elected or directly hired by [City Manager Michael] Beck says one good word about him. … The mayor’s comments on Beck make me regret voting for him, but that’s a correctable mistake in the next election.


Re: “Back to School.” Dec. 3

Everyone should read the McDade OIR that was finally released. You will see why Beck fought to have it kept from the public. The police chief he hired screwed this up so bad and caused so much more liability it had to be hidden. Nice job Beck. Sanchez needs to leave with you.


Re: “Culture in Focus,” Dec. 10

Tragic mistake.

~  LAMB777

Re: “Someone Knows,” Dec. 10

Or maybe we have a pervert/rapist/murderer who happens to be a cop. That graffiti says that someone saw something disturbing and someone knows something. They said the artists had been found and questioned but not charged. Start there.






Your publication seems in favor of gun control and had a pro-gun control cartoon with the Letters to the Editor section. On page 23, however, was “Gunslinger Auctions” as a suggestion for gift-giving among other businesses listed.

Because of events in San Bernardino and your seeming support for gun control, insensitivity and a certain disconnect on the part of Pasadena Weekly can only be discerned in the Dec. 10 edition.



Councilman John Kennedy,

We have spent a significant portion of our lives on the front line, speaking out when we believed inequities occurred. Now is another of those times! 

Local newspapers have accurately quoted your response from a Pasadena City Council meeting. (“Judgment Day,” Dec. 10)

Councilman, none of this makes any sense. For you to become aggrieved is something that we can understand. To get up and storm out of the council chambers is something we can respect. But to scold, berate and “sho’ put that preacher in his place” exceeds your authority on the Pasadena City Council.

We do not write this from a position of authority figures seeking to condemn you or anyone. We write only as people with a genuine emotional connection to this community, the black church in particular, with its keen understanding of the power it has within this community.

So please allow us to minimize the possibility of a misinterpretation by saying that we were fully embarrassed, confused and very disappointed. Your shameful deportment was stunning. It’s this level of disappointment that comes when a person we hold in high regard does or says something so offensive that one feels compelled to respond.

To be frank, we have developed a respect, love and appreciation for this office of our local pastors, so this response equally reflects most of their sentiments.

The very stakeholders who granted you various platforms to share your vision and seek support when you campaigned for the City Council question your motives and speculate why you would consider it beneficial to blast Pastor William Turner who was exercising his right of freedom of speech.

As you know, others and I, Joe Brown, also spoke during public comments. Yes, I departed after your tirade because I could no longer sit and watch the verbal lashing and scolding you leveled at Pastor Turner. And, neither did I have the stomach to continue to wait and hope you would return and apologize to the city and the attendees. In the interests of still honoring the office of our clerics, apologies will go a long way.

And to be clear, as social-justice advocates, the part we found most disappointing was when, after encouraging many in this community to come together and share around a cause that historically has yielded positive change in our community, opposing comments were not welcomed. Diverse comments can give continual birth to changes for economic, social and civil rights. They can also help continue progress in the Pasadena Unified School District educational system and reform efforts in the Pasadena Police Department.

We believe you would agree that leveling words of intolerance toward others who speak on non-agendized items hinders future dialogue. 

There has been a failure on your part to explain how ridiculous a stakeholder [Turner] was to express his point.

We raise these issues without expecting a response, but in hopes that it may plant a seed that will produce a shift in your thinking that will be reflected in your future actions. 

In closing, we sincerely hope that the rationale for such an emotional response and the intent of this letter were fully conveyed. More importantly, it is our hope that the statements noted above will be considered. And if our prayers are answered, maybe some of them will be applied.

This community supports each council member’s efforts to improve the quality of life for residents and act as a model for others. We hope this letter reminds you of how instrumental your leadership has been when it wasn’t used for a political ploy.








Today, I grudgingly paid a $100 bill from Huntington Hospital for a trip to the emergency room on Sept. 23.

Shortly after 10 that night I checked into the emergency room, following complications from a recent surgery. For the next five hours I endured the discomforts of a hard-backed chair, blaring big-screen television and glaring fluorescent lights in the triage center, named for its wealthy benefactors Philip D. and Lois S. Matthews. 

By accident or design, the end table was devoid of reading material. Only an occasional trip to the vending machine alleviated the boredom that was worse than the pain.

Shortly after 3 a.m., I was finally given a bed — too short for my six-foot four-inch frame. All I could do was curl up and wait for a doctor.

Huntington Hospital boasts a world-class facility with state-of-the-art medical care. A plaque on the triage center wall welcomes patients to “the finest community-based medical center in Southern California.” But I defy President and Chief Executive Officer Stephen Ralph to spend one night in a waiting room that has all of the ambience and amenities of a bus station.



Re: “No Place for Black People,” May 7, 2014

You’re absolutely right. I was watching this with my wife and turned it off after the first time it was said. Can’t understand why they felt they could go on and say it two more times.  Then we Googled the IMDB info for the show and saw the all-white production crew and cast. Then we Googled reviews that mentioned the racism and only yours came up. So disappointed that a show people have been raving about is so clueless about race and the world, like the commenters below. It’s sad how racism gets this automatic defense, while truth and justice is such a slow fight. I’m a white man and we’re not all like these people in Hollywood, or like these anonymous little monsters on the Internet. I’m sorry for your hurt and thank you for writing this.



Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114. 



Bad Fit 

In response to parent, community and teacher complaints about an allegedly abusive principal who was imposed on the school without any of the normal district processes, the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) has sought to deflect these concerns as coming from disgruntled teachers resisting positive change. These assertions simply are not true.

Madison Elementary School has lost more than half of its teaching staff since the unilateral appointment of Principal Juan Ruelas, who both parents and teachers allege is openly hostile with teachers, parents and children. Two teachers left before school started based upon Ruelas’ reputation from his last school, Roosevelt Elementary, and nine teachers assert that they essentially were forced out by Ruelas’ abusive leadership style. Despite the simple fact that Madison is operating with substitutes for half of its teaching staff, the district audaciously claims that Madison actually is getting priority status in the district. For example, the district claims that Madison is getting extra resources, including more classroom aides. However, parents and teachers have provided specific examples that Ruelas’ handpicked aides from Roosevelt are not assisting in classrooms but spying on teachers that didn’t immediately join Ruelas’ bandwagon. These extra resources weren’t even available to prevent Madison from losing a 5-year-old child who was sent alone to the office and eventually found wandering on Orange Grove Boulevard.

The district claims that Ruelas is hosting Friday coffees with parents but refuses to listen to parents who found that Ruelas only allows parents who support him to attend these coffees. Even the district’s claim that Ruelas is a high-achieving principal holds almost no water. Ruelas’ only principal experience prior to Madison was at Roosevelt, where he also had a mass exodus of teachers, many of whom called out his abusive style. Ruelas also had an abnormally high student suspension rate (highest elementary school rate), and this with one of the smallest student populations. While Ruelas did see test scores rise, the suspension rate with small student population could have accounted for the test score increases.

There also arises at least one obvious question about the current extra resources: Where were these extra resources over the past years as Madison suffered through low achievement? Community members who have worked with Madison through at least the last three prior principals have been asking for these extra resources for years.

Parents, community members and teachers have met with Board of Education President Elizabeth Pomeroy and board member Patrick Cahalan and provided them with specific facts about Ruelas’ abusive actions, not only at Madison but also at Roosevelt. The presentations were specific and factual, not simply vague or general allegations. Numerous parents, teachers and community members also have attempted to use the board’s public comment period to present their factual concerns. However, these forums were reduced to a circus of extremities, in part because of the presence of non-Madison parents who favor Ruelas and the board’s lack of understanding of basic open meeting laws. Among the specific facts shared with the board’s leadership was that the so-called Friday coffees are denied to anyone not openly supporting Ruelas, and specific information about the so-called classroom aides who are not assisting in classes. 

While parents, teachers and community members called for some basic investigation of their factual complaints, what is most disturbing is that the district has not undertaken even the most minor investigation. The district, instead, chooses to continue its rhetoric that Ruelas is good for Madison.



Re: Back to School,” Dec. 3

In late 2014 City Manager Michael Beck met with the board of directors from the Pasadena Police Officers Association. The officers had gone many years without a pay or benefits package increase and the message to the city manager was that needs to change if you want to retain your top officers. Beck’s response? “This is Pasadena. Nobody leaves Pasadena.” Fast forward one year to the present day. Fifteen officers have left Pasadena for other police agencies. Two more are leaving in December and another dozen or so are in various stages of their background investigation for other police departments. This is unprecedented in the history of the PPD. Hundreds of years of investigative experience have left Pasadena for elsewhere, and all because Beck refused to negotiate a new and fair contract. Penny wise, pound foolish.

And now, the man who said nobody leaves Pasadena is doing the same thing. I guarantee he would not have left Pasadena if the pay and benefits at UCLA were the same as in his current job. Just like the officers who left Pasadena for other police departments, he is leaving for more money, better benefits and his retirement in CalPERS remains intact and continues to grow.

The Police Department is in shambles; understaffed, low morale and a sense of despair by most employees, both sworn and civilian. It is not the Police Department of 10 years ago and we have Beck to thank for that. Good riddance to you, Mr. Beck.



It’s not just the Police Department. Morale at the Fire Department is at an all-time low and, yes, it is thanks to Beck. Beck passed on an internal candidate who was not only superbly qualified but was also well respected and supported by the rank and file. Instead, Beck hired Chief Washington from Clark County, Nevada, for the same reason mentioned above by Landry.  But wait, it gets better. Chief Washington then decided he needed a No. 2, but instead of promoting from within he commissioned a nationwide search for the most qualified person. Who did he find? His buddy from Clark County. Who would have thunk? What are the odds that the most qualified person for the job is actually someone the chief used to work with? Amazing, isn’t it? My brother may not be able to work here, but it’s nice to know cronyism is alive and well in the city of Pasadena. Thanks Beck for ruining morale in both of your public safety departments. I hope the City Council looks in-house for the next city manager. At least that way some of Beck’s wrongs can be corrected and existing employees in middle and upper management will have hope that someday he or she can actually lead their department.





Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114.




 Re: “Next Step: Rent Control?” Nov. 12


There are a lot of people who bought property before the ’08 meltdown, and the rentals they thought would help them through retirement are often bordering on “upside down.”


One frequently overwhelming problem for these small-time rental property owners is that they can’t get away from their subprime mortgage setup. Want to see rents get more manageable? Regulate the banking usury a little better.






Five of us were invited to set up exhibits before the Neil Young concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl on Oct. 10. We talked about the Grange and the future of sustainable farming.  Around 100 out of the audience of 5,000 visited “Neil’s Village” where we and others talked about solutions for climate change, GMOs and threats to biodiversity.


Because I love the message of his new album, “The Monsanto Years,” Neil’s 45 years of rock stardom feel like a preparation for this Rebel Tour. A brain aneurysm in 2005 might have left a fresh sense of purpose for this album and tour. He came to deliver an all-out three-hour performance with messages about GMOs, pesticides, pipeline politicians, Safeway and big-box stores, the Supreme Court and the California law that you can’t carry seeds more than three miles and give them away, which he dramatized by throwing a basket of seed packets to the crowd and inviting the police to arrest him. 


The Rebel Tour sounds as though it is meant for everyone, but not everyone could afford to go hear the rebel bandleader. Still, maybe a few hundred white privileged males will go home and do an inventory of their cupboards and refrigerators. Many were drinking and yelling “Old Man,” a self-sorry old ballad he did not sing. Instead we heard the new “People Want to Hear About Love,” about denial of our corrupt, polluted world.


He’ll be 70 in November. He said, “I’m workin’ here.” Hard to know, but it did not seem to be for money. May he inspire more celebrities to use the full force of their fame and talent to call out Citizens United, greed, toxic food and the laying to waste of Mother Earth.








Re: Next Step: Rent Control?” Nov. 12

Who are the real losers with rent control? The middle class.  People who can’t afford to live here will occupy housing via rent control.  This reduces supply for everyone else, driving up prices.  The wealthy can absorb these higher prices while the middle class is squeezed out. Great idea.




Why don’t we just rename it the People’s Republic of Pasadena and be done with it? Wow:(



Great idea to know about.




Re: “Costly Weapon,” Nov. 12


A lot of emphasis was made of finding arrows in backyards. A horrifying thought if it were true. Any sane homeowner would immediately report that incident to the police for immediate investigation. If a homeowner in Inglewood found bullet holes in their property, do you think they wouldn’t call police? However, arrows are to be found for sure, as bunches of arrows have been brought before the Pasadena City Council as proof, but where exactly were these arrows found? The people who complain about stray arrows neglect to mention that their property is 150 feet above the archery range and that their houses are hundreds of feet away from shooting positions. In between them and the archers is a steep, unmaintained cliff overgrown with poison oak. They also neglect to mention that these residents claim this cliff as part of their property so, in essence, the cliff is their backyard. Shooting an arrow a distance of over 100 yards with an elevation of 150 feet is a formidable shot. It takes a special bow and a matching set of special arrows that are quite expensive for the average archer to make that shot. It may be a drop in the bucket to the rich residents living above the archery range, but losing a $30 arrow for the sake of pissing off the neighbors is insane. A close examination of arrows found by residents could easily determine whether it is physically capable of such a flight. The Pasadena police could make that examination, but, alas, the residents refuse to let the police in on their findings. It is not enough to bother the police with, but perfect fodder to take directly to the City Council with a lawsuit. Stop this madness and don’t contribute to their cause. They alone should pay for their own foolishness.



Re: “Back to School,” Nov. 26


Well written article that describes the situation accurately. It will be interesting to see how long it takes to find a new city manager and where they come from. Hopefully they can get a handle on the current deficits in morale and human resources and capital. Beck was not going to last very long with so many critics, but the controversy over his firing auditors will remain high on the list of missteps. We need someone who can connect with the community and be humble. Arrogance should not be tolerated.





“But the thing that created perhaps the most heartache and cost in terms of community confidence was the case of Kendrec McDade, the unarmed 19-year-old who was shot and killed by two Pasadena police officers on March 24, 2012.” Seriously?  That $700,000 hit was a drop in the bucket compared to the $6 million taken right under his nose. Hell, the PD has spent more in overtime this year trying to fill its patrol staff to a minimum expectable level. If the citizens of Pasadena knew how many cops were not out there, they’d bolt up their doors. And for the record, the only people in Pasadena who keep bringing McDade up are at the PW. If you don’t believe me, take his tuxedo picture to anyone in the Northwest and ask them if they know who this is.  No one will guess right.







Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114.




Re: “Costly Weapon,” Nov. 12

It may be that not all archers are Pasadena residents — but that’s true of the shoppers in Old Pasadena. That’s true of those who attend our colleges and use our museums.

 It’s probably true that many of those who work in Pasadena are not residents either.

Every year the city is inundated with visitors to our Tournament of Roses, and they are (shudder) not Pasadena residents. Like it or not, we are an attractive and hospitable city — one of the factors that keeps our property values high. 

Every nonresident who contributes to the vitality of Pasadena is very welcome here. As a bona fide taxpaying Pasadena resident, I’d hate for the city parks to fall victim to a reclusive mentality.





In the 2014 election 60 percent of the nation’s population failed to exercise their constitutional right to vote. As Americans, our vote is our chance to change what we don’t like in government. Our vote is also an opportunity to keep those politicians who work for us in office. 

Some say their vote won’t change anything. Those who refuse to vote cannot blame anyone but themselves for the government in office thereafter. They do not care enough to educate themselves on issues that affect all of us. Such negative thinking resulted in seven years of congressional gridlock.

Many Republicans and Democrats agree that Congress is bought and paid for by lobbyists, super PACs and Wall Street. The TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) is a good example of politicians on both sides of the aisle whose votes were purchased to pass the worst trade deal in the history of this country. Congress should not have taken any money for their votes.

The 2016 presidential campaign, financed by the Koch brothers, Wall Street, super PACs, lobbyists and special interests, raises the question: Is the presidential election, hence our country, for sale?

Two presidential candidates refuse to accept money from Wall Street and super PACs: businessman Donald Trump (Republican) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (Democrat). Though the two candidates differ on most issues, they agree on public campaign financing for a fair election. They are not for sale.

The right to vote is the one chance we have to make our country better. It is our one shot at realizing our hope for the future of our children, grandchildren and the planet. The right to vote matters. Let’s start educating ourselves now on the presidential candidates so we can make an informed choice when we vote in the primary election in June 2016. 

One year from now we will be voting for the 45th president of the United States of America. Let’s make that vote count for something that matters: a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, not one procured by the Koch brothers, Wall Street.

Now that would be real change.



The archery range attracts participants from over 104 different zip codes, yet more people come from Pasadena’s District 6 than from any other area. Despite drawing attendees from as far away as Santa Monica, Torrance, La Verne and Castaic, the Saturday classes still find over 23 percent of their students are from Pasadena and 25 percent of them are from District 6. 

As I told Mr. (Councilman Steve) Madison at a City Council meeting, the archery opponents can all ride to the meetings in the same mini-van, but hundreds of his constituents enjoy practicing archery at the range. 

Sadly, he is confused; he’s supposed to be the representative for District 6, not the representative for six people in his district.




Re: “Climate of Complacency,” Oct. 15

What a sick culture at Pasadena City Hall! Beck does not have any managerial skills. Who knows how many others of the 170 secret accounts have been looted. This behavior continues despite public outcry. Councilman Steve Madison and the Finance Committee meanwhile cancel meetings and pretend that Pasadena is above the fray. McAustin continues to be shocked and saddened. WAKE UP! This is criminal. … — THE PASADENA WAY

Re: “Wage Rage,” Nov. 5

The poll randomly sampled 400 registered voters.  Of those sampled, 52 percent strongly favored a minimum wage ordinance while 22 percent “somewhat” favored. Given that this sample represents an estimate of the overall population, and that they lumped the 22 percent who “somewhat” favored into the total 74 percent, I would hardly say that voters overwhelmingly support raising the minimum wage. BTW — that $23 hamburger will become a $35 hamburger after the ordinance.  Even fewer people will buy them, and that hamburger joint will go out of business. Good job. — TRUE FREEDOM

Re: “Costly Weapon,” Nov. 12

I don’t know how the people attempting to destroy a 95-year-old Pasadena institution got to be called “preservationists” in this article. Claire (Bogaard) and Tim Brick both know that in 1914 the citizens of Pasadena passed a bond for improvements and amenities in the Arroyo. Listed among them were campgrounds, dedicated fishing areas, a community meeting house and archery ranges. This bond was championed from afar by Gustav Stickley, whose 1914 pro-bond articles from Craftsman Magazine I shared with Ms. Bogaard and Mr. Brick and they each republished, and Theodore Roosevelt. In town notables such as Henry Greene and E.A. Batcheldor supported what was to become a people’s municipal park. Sadly, almost all the money got diverted into the Rose Bowl.  But the archery range was an outgrowth of that bond and stands today as a legacy in Pasadena, not just of the physical aspects of the arts and crafts movement, but also of the very often forgotten social component of uplift and recreation for all that was central to this movement. Removing this archery range, in truth is no different than removing Batcheldor’s house would be a cultural crime against the past and the future. Ms. Bogaard and Mr. Brick are far on the wrong side of this one. — LAMB777


Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114.




While  President Obama is pardoning two turkeys for Thanksgiving, every one of us can exercise that same presidential power by choosing a nonviolent Thanksgiving observance that spares a turkey’s life.

And here are some good reasons:

• You can brag about pardoning a turkey — like    Obama.

• You truly are what you eat. Who wants to be a    “butterball?” 

• Fruits and vegetables don’t have to carry government warning labels.

• You won’t sweat the environment and food    resources devastation guilt trip.

• You won’t spend a sleepless night wondering how the turkey lived and died.

• Your body will appreciate a holiday from saturated fat,

   cholesterol and hormones.

• You won’t have to call Poultry Hotline to keep your family out

   of the emergency room.


Seriously, this Thanksgiving let’s give thanks for our good fortune, health and happiness with a life-affirming, cruelty-free feast of vegetables, fruits and grains. 

Our own dinner will feature a soy or wheat-based roast, mashed potatoes, stuffed squash, candied yams, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. An Internet search on “vegetarian Thanksgiving” is getting us more recipes and other useful information than we could possibly use.





Regarding the changes at Madison Elementary School in Pasadena, now causing much discussion in town, your readers need to know some background and some current details.  Madison is actually being favored now by PUSD with extra attention and resources; here is why.


In recent years Madison students have not achieved academically at the level of our other elementary schools. Too many were working below their grade level. And last year only eight of the school’s 301 English learners were reclassified as fluent. Clearly this status quo should not continue. Madison students deserved a positive change.


Superintendent Brian McDonald, with the support of the school board and as part of his responsibility as superintendent, decided to appoint a high-achieving principal for Madison, one with a background similar to Madison families (a Latino, son of immigrant farm workers who grew up helping in the fields, then worked hard in school, graduated from UCLA and became a teacher and principal).  


Also, Madison is receiving extra resources, such as more classroom aides, additional tutoring, English language development instruction for the first 30 minutes of every day, a special Edward James Olmos video-creation project for all fourth graders, and more. Parents and community members are welcome to have Friday morning coffee with the principal to discuss progress and any concerns.


All of these changes are for just one purpose: placing student learning and achievement as the number one priority at Madison. It’s a time of transition but the students matter most. Given a chance to let the new approaches succeed, the young Madison Eagles will soar as they deserve to do.






Re: “Mad Dog Sees Red,” Oct. 22

Sounds like it must have been fun being a communist if it involved getting free sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, Coca-Cola, and Levis during the Cold War. Ms. Reinholz’s writing is playful as well as riveting. In fact, hers is such a detailed portrait that I’m not sure I now need to meet Salisbury.



Re: “Next Up: Rent Control?” Nov. 12

Who are the real losers with rent control? The middle class. People who can’t afford to live here will occupy housing via rent control. This reduces supply for everyone else, driving up prices. The wealthy can absorb these higher prices while the middle class is squeezed out. Great idea.



Better yet … FREE RENTAL for everyone! 



Re: “Costly Weapon,” Nov. 12

This article shows the “Stewards” up to their usual tricks … again. 

FALSE: “The Stewards are not against archery,” said Tsai.

TRUTH: Tsai needs to check his facts. On the Stewards’ own website they had previously proclaimed “The ultimate goal is to eliminate archery from the Lower Arroyo.” It has been recorded and cannot be taken back so we know the truth. 


FLASE: “Our position has been attacked and maligned by a dissenting group of these archers (most of whom are not Pasadena residents). They have waged a nasty campaign of disinformation and personal vilification.”


TRUTH: The archery club has always been super professional and polite in City Council and park commission meetings. It is the cornerstone of their group not to engage in 

false claims and lies and certainly not to vilify anyone. 


FALSE: “A dissenting group of these archers.”

TRUTH: Word went out to the archery community about the possibility of this public 80-year-old archery range being closed and support literally gushed forth in support of the archers’ position. A paper petition (nearly 4,000 signatures total), and writing letters (over 150) or postcards (roughly 200) to the City Council. Even the local neighborhood homeowners group turned out in support of the archery range because they know it is an asset, not a negative for the area (the activity keeps homeless from camping in the park). 


The stewards have misinformed the public and City Council until the council and the people of the neighboring community surrounding the archery range finally had enough and voted in favor of preserving a historic facility the city of Pasadena is lucky to have. And, we, the public at large, not just aprivileged few, are lucky to have it!  


The stewards are now resorting to legal action that will only cost Pasadena taxpayers more time and action. The suit is ridiculous, suing for an environmental impact study on a facility that is 80 years old! The suit has virtually no merit, but, alas, it must be heard, costing the Pasadena taxpayers more in time. 


Enough is enough! The archery range exists because the public wants it to (all 200-plus supporters that turned up at City Council meetings) and you five stewards need to leave the people alone! 

~  R2D2






My wife and I visited the used book store, Century Books, on Green Street this weekend. We never miss a stop here while in Pasadena.  It is a charming and inviting rare gem of a bookstore, given the obsession with all things digital these days. I was saddened to find out that they are struggling with their lease and may soon go out of business. Given the enthusiasm Pasadena readers have for this store, as well as the larger Vroman’s, I thought more people should know that this lovely contribution to the city’s art and culture may soon be a thing of the past. Besides selling rare books, they regularly have lectures, exhibitions and concerts by local scholars, artists and musicians. More than one Pasadena luminary has stopped by to peruse the shelves or climbed up to the second floor for a cozy offering of wine, jazz, and convivial conversation. Perhaps you could get the word out to people who might want to give them the proper support they need.





There have been some truly great confidence games, Ponzi, multilevel marketing, etc. But they pale in comparison to the two run by the Republican Party to fleece the gullible. 


First, we have the two Santas. In 1978, Jude Wanniski, a conservative columnist, penned a column advocating that the Republican Party adopt the two Santas approach. First Santa, massive tax cuts for the rich, and second Santa, spend like crazy on things Republicans like; you know, war, farm support, financials. Then, when Democrats get into power, which they will from time to time, scream that they can do nothing to help the average American because of the massive deficits. Ronald Reagan followed this like a champ, creating two huge welfare programs, the B-1 Bomber and the Star Wars SDI program, while cutting taxes and creating the massive S&L banking crisis, $125 billion tax payer bailout for 872 failed banks. 


Clinton refused to follow their plan, raised taxes, and with peace and prosperity and budget surpluses, turned the presidency over to G. W. Bush, and the two Santas con came roaring back. With the economy in free-fall, massive deficits, war on two fronts, Republicans tried to block every effort of President Obama to stabilize the economy, screaming, “Look at the deficit.” The same con has run for 35 years, and America still falls for it.


The second con is Planned Parenthood and abortion. Republicans shut the government down in 1995 over Medicare and Planned Parenthood. But there was a Democrat in office then. After all, Ronald Reagan, as California governor, signed a bill in 1970 legalizing abortion. He only opposed abortion when he decided to run for national office as a Republican. Like all other Republicans, he knew this was a con to fleece the gullible. 


With George Bush, Republicans controlled both houses of Congress and the White House for six years and did nothing about abortion or Planned Parenthood. Why? They didn’t need to fleece the fools; they were in office. So now, out of office and with an election pending, here comes the con, same Republican con for the past 35 years. 


So, fools, line up, get fleeced again, let the wealthy steal you blind by voting Republican as they run the same cons again.





Only a short time ago a NASA climatologist announced that “there is no longer a possibility that [this El Niño] storm will wimp out. It’s 100 percent for sure, too big to fail.”


That means we are almost certainly looking at one of the wettest rainy seasons ever recorded in Southern California. Are SoCal authorities listening?


People should do whatever they can to sensibly capture rainwater on their own properties. But I want to know where the urgency is to collect water on a larger scale. Where are the WPA-like projects to build emergency reservoirs and catchments ASAP?


We had years to do it, but now only a couple of months. Is our drought not a major emergency? This should be a major public works project of the highest priority. Yet I haven’t heard of a single thing being done, even as record rainfall becomes more and more imminent each day.


We are surrounded by mountains where rainfall flows through an endless number of crevices and ravines. Why aren’t small dams or other water-capture systems being built? If nothing else, can’t we pump water out of the LA River when it floods rather than let it all flow out to sea?


With each storm I am frustrated to see billions of gallons of fresh water flowing through our streets and into storm drains, lost forever, while authorities seem asleep on the issue. Where’s the Depression-era will and determination to build the infrastructure to face this challenge?


Too big a project to tackle? No money? Consider this: Much of Highway 1, almost all the way up the coast of California, was built in just a few years during the cash-strapped 1930s. Not to mention the gigantic Hoover Dam. Remember how swiftly that Santa Monica Freeway overpass was completely rebuilt after it fell in the 1994 quake? It was done in a breathtakingly short time — because it had to be.


Meanwhile, we need to have a serious discussion about growth. We wouldn’t have to skip showers and let our lawns go brown if we hadn’t invited in millions of new residents in recent decades. Sure, developers want to make money and it’s a free country. But how bad does it have to get for the rest of us before authorities wake up and apply some common sense?







Re: “Mad Dog Sees Red,” Nov. 22

Sounds like it must have been fun being a Communist if it involved getting free sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, Coca-Cola, and Levis during the cold war. Ms. Reinholz’s writing is playful as well as riveting. In fact, hers is such a detailed portrait that I’m not sure I now need to meet Salisbury.






Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114.





Re: “Life Stories,” by Randy Jurado Ertll, Sept. 24  

Good commentary, Randy. Very, very true. In my education as well, I had no books related to my culture, no discussions, news articles, etc., of families and individuals, heroes and role models that reflected my own culture. Only as an adult, when I started publishing my work and learning about other Latino/a authors and their books, did I finally become informed about the history and viewpoints of the Hispanic American demographic. All voices and stories should be valued in American literature: inclusive rather than exclusive.







When Gov. Brown signed SB 350 into law earlier this month, he was praised for putting California at the forefront of energy and climate policy. But if the governor wants to make an even bigger impact on the environment, he should turn his attention to the meat and dairy industries and their devastating impact on global warming.


The UN singled out both in a sweeping study that called for the world to shift to plant-based diets. It found that agriculture, particularly meat and dairy production, accounts for 19 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions, 38 percent of land use, and 70 percent of freshwater consumption. Given the state’s water crisis, that last statistic raises a red flag. So does this one: It can take more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. By contrast, 25 gallons are needed for a pound of wheat. Roughly 80 percent of California’s water is used for agricultural purposes. It has the nation’s fourth-largest cattle herd (5.2 million). It is the largest milk-producing state.


That is not sustainable. But an environmentally friendly, plant-based diet is. A study by Loma Linda University found that vegans have a greenhouse-gas footprint that is nearly 42 percent smaller than that of meat-eaters.








How about adding two more categories of interest?








Re: “A Lift Out of Poverty.” Oct. 15

Your argument does not hold water. You assert: “We reject the argument that an increased minimum wage will be unduly burdensome to nonprofits. Rather, our continued ability to meet many Pasadenans’ needs depends on our ability to recruit and retain the best staff — something we can only do with fair wages.” First, you are already free to increase your nonprofit’s wages if you feel you are unable to attract and retain the talent you need. You don’t need to increase the minimum wage in order to increase your staff’s wages. This leads to the second problem with your argument: If you currently need to pay higher than the minimum wage to attract the talent that you need, you will have to raise your staff’s pay if the minimum wage is increased, likely by a proportional amount, to keep yourself competitive in the job market. So, increasing minimum wage will increase your labor costs. Finally, think of where your funding comes from. Will your funding increase proportionately to the increase in minimum wage? Will those donors who earn well above the minimum wage likely increase their donations by the same percentage that your labor costs rise? I doubt it, which would further strain nonprofits.





I have to wonder at the $150 million infusion into the local economy claimed by these advocates. If only one in four Pasadena residents (with jobs) work in Pasadena, that is fewer than 15,000 people. Even if a third of them are minimum wage employees, that would be 5,000 people. The additional $5 per hour for 2,000 hours (assuming they are all full-time workers and not waiters or part-time student workers) is $10,000 per year. That times 5,000 is $50 million. Even adding in 50 percent for wage compression, that’s still only $75 million. The real number is likely much less, since most Pasadena residents who work here are paid well above minimum wage. Now, if we are realistic, the added money in our local economy will likely be next to nil, because those same minimum wage employees will see their costs for groceries, rent, gas, pretty much everything, increase to offset costs required to offset a minimum wage increase. And, most of the Pasadena minimum wage employees will be taking their additional $5 per hour back home to Highland Park, Monrovia, Azusa and lots of other places that are not Pasadena. And, nobody is going to hire unskilled people at $15 per hour. No taking a chance on a teenager working her first job at $15 per hour. No spending $15 per hour on a returning felon. No spending $15 per hour on recently homed homeless people. When the $15 per hour results in fewer jobs, at least those new homeless people who can’t afford the increased rent that $15 per hour minimum wage will cause can go to Union Station for a meal and a shower. That’s economics 101: when costs go up, prices go up. And how much will prices rise with a 50 percent increase in labor costs in four years? The other reality: These “advocates” will push this through a union-controlled City Council and all of them can go home to their million-dollar homes (or more) and feel good about themselves. Sheesh.





True Freedom, your argument also does not hold water.


The assertion you question, “We reject the argument that an increased minimum wage will be unduly burdensome to nonprofits,” is being stated by nonprofit leaders who have the burden of expenses, and nevertheless know that their nonprofits can survive an increase. These are all types of nonprofits, from small to large, saying that they can afford it. Do you run a nonprofit? What’s your expertise in managing nonprofits? That these key leaders believe that the benefits of increasing the wages even among nonprofits outweighs any potential losses should indicate that the idea that it can’t be done or that it is self-destructive is a bad argument, unless you believe that Friends in Deed, YWCA, Union Station and the like are simply led by fools.





Re: “Culture of Complacency,” Oct. 15

Just to be clear, millions of dollars were stolen with Beck at the helm and in the aftermath he has done nothing to change the environment to ensure it does not reoccur? Fire him!





Re: The death of former Monrovia Mayor Bob Bartlett  


Bob worked with my dad at Aerojet for many years and they were good friends. 


He was a fantastic uniter in Monrovia, a difficult endeavor, and he made a north/south redevelopment work, something no one else has done.


Throughout his life, Bob held true to Republican principles and, in spite of his own personal experiences with racism, remained focused on the American Prospect, the promise of the country each of us must always work to fulfill, rather than any failure he may have encountered.


In personal difficulties and medical ones, Bob remained ever gracious, positive and hopeful.


Truly, he was an example of a great American.




Creative programming


So much for VW’s clean-burning diesel reputation. We had originally attributed our VW Sportwagen TDI’s outstanding performance to superior German engineering and not obfuscation. I still think they build super-engineered and affordable automobiles. TDI owners’ environmental holier-than-thou status, however, is now questionable. To VW’s credit, it is still planning 20 plug-in hybrid or all-electric models before 2020.


The recall will net us TDI owners negative power, torque and mpg performance. Goodbye to 40-plus mpg. I used to procure VWs and Mercedeses for the US Army in Germany back in the ’80s. Both were excellent and trustworthy companies at that time. We never had a problem with either one. My European-spec VW hatchback really had good performance and mileage [due mainly to fewer emissions restrictions]. 


This cheating scandal is an unfortunate setback for lots of reasons: 1) unsuspecting TDI owners, 2) the breathing public and 3) VW (whose stock plummeted along with consumer confidence). Giving the maximum fine the EPA can levy will probably not happen. If, however, the EPA and the Department of Justice could see fit to mail a small portion of the proposed $37,500 per vehicle fine to us jilted VW buyers, that would be nice. Especially since the lion’s share of any class-action suit to make us whole will nominally go to the lawyers. 


P.S. No one from VW has contacted us regarding the recall, which is supposed to take place in less than a year. We should all understand and reconcile ourselves to the fact that mitigating manmade global warming will be an expensive proposition and not a party — but it sure beats the alternative. 


P.P.S. I trust EPA and California are checking other auto manufacturers. My guess is VW wasn’t the only one to employ creative programming.



New Depths 

Florida is well known for political shenanigans, and when SeaWorld gets involved, late-night talk show hosts must start to salivate. 


Take the recent debacle involving Florida’s Department of Education (DOE), which rightfully scrubbed references to SeaWorld on its website. After getting media inquiries, the DOE not only did an about-face, the staffer who approved the deletion was fired. Here’s where it gets interesting.


Internal emails show that the same day that PETA hailed the department’s decision to remove references to the theme park, a former top aide to Florida Gov. Rick Scott — who is now a lobbyist for SeaWorld — asked the department about the issue. The DOE’s communications director — whose husband is a deputy chief of staff for the governor — also got emails from Scott’s office regarding SeaWorld. SeaWorld previously gave $30,000 to Scott’s political committee.


The DOE’s support of SeaWorld sends kids the dangerous message that it’s OK to abuse animals for entertainment and certainly gives the perception that the agency is being told what to do by those who can pay to play. People are demanding answers.


California officials would do well to take notice of the depths SeaWorld will sink to in order to get its way.






Re: “Out of Line,” Sept. 24

“Beck later announced he would only release the recommendations made by the OIR in that report’s summary. In sharp contrast, the city had released the full copy of the OIR report prepared on the officer-involved shooting death of Leroy Barnes in 2009 and left it on its website for years.” Many citizens have been making this comparison for years, but this is the first time the PW has said this. What has taken so long?


(Editor’s Note: PW first made the comparison and continues reporting on it, albeit not in this story.)

OIR on Barnes:


Nothing redacted!



Re: “City of Choice or City by Default,” Sept. 24


All of the focus has been on Old Town and the Playhouse District while other parts of town like East Pasadena have suffered. There’s so much runaway development in East Pasadena that it’s not only unwalkable; it’s downright dangerous to drive. Meanwhile, there’s no evening ARTS bus, no parking in Old Town or the Playhouse District, and you can park your bike at your own risk. Those of us outside of the core find it easier to go to Arcadia, Monrovia, South Pasadena, Downtown LA, Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Glendale or Burbank than support our own restaurants or other businesses in Pasadena. It would be nice if the city paid attention to other parts of town and built some more parking structures in the core. If the people’s republics of Santa Monica and West Hollywood can provide parking and decent transportation options like the Blue Bus and the West Hollywood parking shuttle, I think Pasadena should be able to as well.


Marsha, you are absolutely right. It feels like there is more dislocation and unbridled development than even in the bad old days of the Pasadena Redevelopment Agency. And no end in sight …






Re: “Mex-Mumbia?” Oct. 8

Thank you for the detailed review, Pasadena Weekly. We are so glad you enjoyed your meal! A few things we would like to mention, though. We do serve craft beer and wine and accept major credit cards. And the shrimp is definitely coming back! We will also be launching a new dinner menu to complement the beer and wine very soon.




Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114.




I enjoyed the article by Marsha V. Rood in the Pasadena Weekly (“City of Choice or City by Default,” Oct. 1). She is right on target about the lack of leadership in this city. They are more like followers of job security and greed. Those who have messed up the city just move onto another city that is unaware of the damage that is coming. We can’t take care of the building growth we currently have and all the problems that exist. Now we want to build more and create greater problems under a new General Plan.  


Why is there such a need for more hotels in this city? Talk about wasting water and power. And then there’s the traffic congestion. Hotels take the cake. They may provide jobs but the employees will not be able to live in Pasadena unless a separate wing is built for them. Pasadena isn’t building a place for the citizens it already has. It’s building for outsider congestion on a large scale. 


I think that Marsha V. Rood should have a continuing job with your paper as the official ombudsperson for the people of Pasadena. Then maybe a greater public participation on the issues impacting Pasadena can be fostered. You surely can’t ask our leadership at present because they are dedicating another building or trying to solve a past blunder that needs resolution. 






My sister Geraldine just sent me a link from the periodical Pasadena Weekly. Of note is that this publication has named me Best Public Official in Pasadena.  Wow!  With only a little hyperbole, that title was once reserved only for Bill Bogaard, our illustrious and highly skilled former mayor.


All I can say is that I am grateful for the honor and hope to continue to meet and then exceed the expectations of my wonderful constituents in District 3 and the city as a whole! 






As a long-time listener and activist devoted to all the information I get from KPFK/Free Speech Radio/Pacifica, I am objecting to the ”‘hit piece” about KPFK in a recent edition (“Radio Silence,” Sept. 24). 


The people quoted are paid programmers, not “staff.” Despite their noble sounding rhetoric, they are only complaining that they did not get paid as much as previously. There are only a few of them and they want to control everything and everyone, including the general manager. They are ignoring the many dedicated volunteer programmers who more accurately represent the listener sponsors of the station who are supposed to actually “run the show” via the local station board and its committees. 


In order to do a more fair and accurate job of reporting, I suggest Ms. Gachman interview Leslie Radford, the general manger, to find out who is on her actual staff and what she and each one of them does to keep the listener-sponsored, noncommercial, non-corporate radio station going and their actual relationship with the current local station board and the Pacifica Foundation Board. This would also be a way to get some accurate financial information.


I hope many others respond in defense of this unique and endangered media treasure available at 90.7 FM or kpfk.org.




Reporting on Perdue’s acquisition of Niman Ranch, many journalists have been applying some of the meat industry’s favorite buzzwords to Niman, such as “sustainable” and “humane.” Niman is far from either.


As Hope Bohanec reported in her exposé of so-called “humane meat,” “The Ultimate Betrayal: Is There Happy Meat?” even Niman Ranch’s former owner and namesake, Bill Niman, doesn’t eat the company’s meats any longer after shareholders lowered the participating farms’ animal-welfare standards. Farms can shock animals with electric prods and can even shock “downed” animals to force them to move. Workers can castrate animals and cut off their tails without providing any pain relief, causing the animals to writhe and scream in pain. Hens used for eggs can be painfully debeaked. And this is all before the animals face slaughter at a very young age. Of Niman Ranch, Bohanec determined, “[T]here is very little, if any, difference from a standard operation.”


It’s par for the course for so-called “humane” farms. After thoroughly examining the actual company practices behind the feel-good labels, Bohanec came to the same conclusion as many other researchers: “[I]t is impossible to produce meat, dairy, or eggs without inherent cruelty. Reducing and eventually abstaining from the use of animal products is the only truly humane option.”


For more information, visit PETA.org.





Re: “While Rome Burns,” Sept. 17

In the 1970s it was the coming of the next ice age. Here is the archived Time magazine article: 





Re: “Once Too Often,” Sept. 24


Sheesh, Earl: We all try to make sense of the world around us.  We all try to understand why things happen the way they do.  Far too often I hear the simplistic viewpoint describing “why” as “because I’m black.” Someone describes a suspicious white guy in the neighborhood it’s because he’s acting creepy. Someone describes a suspicious black guy, it’s “because he’s black.” Sheesh, man, I’ve had all those things you routinely hear about happening to black guys happen to me. Folks lock their doors when I pull up next to them on my bike. Ladies cross the street or take the stairs instead of the elevator. I’ve been pulled over multiple times for what “appeared to me” as no apparent reason.  I’ve had people throw me their keys outside a restaurant (though, I actually was a valet). You name it. I don’t doubt that racism and prejudice still exists. It will always exist to some degree, and between all ethnicities and all genders. But to blame everything that happens to you on your race is simply just first-order simplistic thinking. Break out of your own box




Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114.




Your ship is waiting

to take you to the end

What you’ve been doing

you’ll never do again

It’s over

The ship may be doom or glory

it can open the door

It will take you further

than you could ever go before

Thirsty seas are deserts

which are long since blown away

There is no time for judgment

There is nothing left to say

The lure of desolation

was heavy in the air

Earth has been destroyed

and there’s no one left to care  





As I prayed for the victims of the mass shooting in a community college in Oregon and their families, I felt God asking me, “What are you going to do about it?”

To be sure we are called to join these beloved families in their grief. We are praying for them now and we will pray for them when we gather for worship Sunday. We will pray for them beyond next week. 


There is more, however.  We are also called to what the Bible calls “righteous indignation” — the kind of anger that leads to long-term action resulting in real change. As President Obama said this afternoon, “Each time we see one of these mass shootings, thoughts and prayers are not enough. It’s not enough. It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel. And it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America, next week or a couple of months from now.”


No doubt the shooter had a mental illness but, as our president said, America is not the only nation that has people with mental illness. “We are the only advanced country on Earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings every few months … the one advanced nation on Earth in which we do not have sufficient common sense gun safety laws even in the face of repeated mass killings.”


What am I going to do about this?  I am going to do everything possible to make All Saints Church and its friends a “faith in action community” where we address not just “why” these tragedies occur, but “how.” Strict gun policies can and will reduce such tragedies — along with the daily prevalence of gun violence in our communities across the nation. We cannot be numb and paralyzed. We must tirelessly work to have federal gun laws to reduce gun deaths and eliminate mass shootings while we boldly proclaim that real religion cares about the world — and that means bold, long-haul, nonpartisan political action. And so we will both pray and politick for nonviolence and sensible gun laws throughout our land.


Lord, have mercy upon us.






From time to time in the history of a nation, a meteor flashes across the sky shedding awe and wonder and a great light. We are amazed! Such an incident occurred in America with the visit of Jorge Mario Bergaglio.  We know him better, since his election in 2013, as Pope Francis. He assumed the name Francis to honor St. Francis of Assisi, the famous patron saint of the poor. Pope Francis seemed to be everywhere all at once. The crowds were enormous and the enthusiasm was contagious. And it all was projected on TV. 


In the space of a week, Pope Francis presided over a major Mass, delivered major speeches before Congress and the United Nations, and was engulfed by hordes of people as he engaged in a host of other activities. All of this was seen on television by all America. He spoke in Spanish, Italian and English. He is 78 years old, but he moves around like a youngster. 


He reminded the followers of Jesus, and indeed all of us, that the core values of human beings are our attention to the homeless, helpless, poverty-stricken, the sick in mind and body, and the little children. This applies equally to Protestants (of which I am one), Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, people of other religions, and no religions. While in the Christian faith the way we perform the rituals and rites of the church may vary between Catholics and Protestants, Pope Francis minimizes these differences and majors on the principal values of the Christian faith that we mutually share. 


Pope Francis also reminded us that we should have knowledge about how we humans came to be and about the universe we live in. As a young man he was scholastically trained to be a chemist. It shows. He had much to say about saving the environment, and the evolution of the human race. It is a pity that many of our religious and lay leaders are not also men and women with an understanding of the elements and the environment. It is evident that Pope Francis speaks with intelligence and energy about the past and the enormous tasks human beings have in facing the future fearless and unafraid.  


You might say that Pope Francis is a modern-day saint with a vision. He is an Argentinian by birth, but he has become a citizen of the world. Thank you, Pope Francis, for a wonderful week!  

We shall bask in its glory for many a day.  We are a better people because of your visit. 




Re: “Why I Sued the LAPD,” Aug. 27 


Many of us are familiar with German pastor Martin Niemöller’s famous statement about being sent to a concentration camp during the Nazi regime: 


“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a socialist.


Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a trade unionist. 


Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew. 


Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.”


Mr. Milam’s op-ed piece … is a take on this parable about the consequences for those who hide from the truth as fellow dissidents are vanquished. 


Although Milam’s outcome is less dire, I am nevertheless outraged by his tale of contempt for truth, justice and individual rights exhibited by those who are entrusted to protect them. People empowered to shoot from the hip and answer questions later. 


I shudder at the ever-grimmer implications.






Re: “Hard Evidence,” Aug. 20

I had the privilege to meet Detective Okamoto in 2011. I have nothing to say except that he is an amazing person. I am very thankful he was in charge of my case. If it wasn’t for him I really wouldn’t be where I’m at now. It is sad how this city is really corrupted and blames innocent people. I really hope there is justice. Nothing is going to be the same for him. I can relate how this can be mental suffering. I hope justice is served and much respect for Detective Okamoto. Thank you again for helping me out when I needed justice in my case.



Re: “Gone Too Far,” Sept. 10

“Did Black Lives Matter members go too far in trying to free a protester?” Andre, I assume the question is rhetorical, because the answer is so obvious even you could figure it out.  They also went too far when hours after a Houston deputy was assassinated they marched and chanted, “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon.” And they went too far when shortly after two officers were assassinated in New York City they marched and chanted, “What do want? Dead cops. When do we want it? Now.” The Pasadena chapter of BLM, under the leadership (I cringe when I say that) of a hood rat like Jasmine Richards, also goes too far when they attempt to instigate confrontations with the police in order to prove their point about police abuse of the local citizenry. She admittedly recruits young children, some as young as 10 years old, and directs them to interfere with police operations by kicking police cars and such. Great leadership JR. But for all of her shortcomings and failures she has hit upon a gold mine. In an article dated July 24, 2015, published in TruthDig, a progressive publication,  the following was written after an interview was conducted with the divine Ms. R. at La Pintoresca Park: “While she was in jail, a crowdfunding campaign by Richards’ fellow Black Lives Matter activists raised $90,000 to bail her out.” Here is the gold mine. Bail is solely for the purpose of ensuring the criminal defendant appears in court throughout the criminal process. When cash bail is put up without going through the process of using a bail bond company, the bail money is returned to the defendant when the case is completed. So rest assured our little hood rat will appear in court, she will accept a plea deal that has no additional jail time and minimal probation, and then the case is completed. Cha ching, show me the money! Think she will return it to the donors? André, that was also rhetorical.



Re: “Policing Pasadena,” Sept. 10 

It would have been nice to have pictures of the government actually distributing the drugs to these gangs. You remember the funding of the Contra hearings. Maxine Waters gave it one heck of a fight. Deny all you want, but facts are facts. 






Hall of Fame basketball player Moses Malone’s death at 60, believed to be from cardiovascular disease, has left many of his fans wondering what they can do to keep a healthy heart. One way is to eat plant-based foods rather than animal-based ones.


Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in America, accounting for about 800,000 deaths every year. About one-fourth of all cardiovascular disease deaths are preventable. Studies have shown that healthy plant-based foods can reduce your risk for a heart attack and even reverse arterial blockages.


According to Dr. David Jenkins, a renowned nutrition scientist at the University of Toronto, “[T]he evidence is very strong that vegans, who eat no animal products, have the best cardiovascular health profile and the lowest cholesterol levels.”


Research suggests that people who eat plant-based foods have 2.5 times fewer cardiac events, including heart attacks, strokes, bypass surgery and angioplasty, than do people who eat meat, eggs and dairy products.


So, if you want to keep your heart healthy — and help animals and the environment, too — enjoy more tasty plant-based meals. 


See PETA.org for free vegan recipes and product suggestions.










While a $15 minimum wage law has obvious appeal to those who would like to do more to help the working poor in Pasadena and elsewhere, many economists who share that same goal, including me, believe there are much better alternatives that don’t end up hurting this very same group of workers. While a worker currently earning less than $15 an hour will clearly gain from the minimum wage increase as long as he or she keeps her job and his or her working hours aren’t reduced, in the longer run there are serious possible detrimental effects to a minimum wage increase of this magnitude, including a reduction in the future growth of jobs for low-wage workers in Pasadena as well as a reduction in the on-the-job training that could otherwise accompany such jobs. 


Readers will have no doubt heard the arguments advanced by some economists that a majority of studies have shown that the reduction in jobs that has resulted from the current minimum wage (and past increases in it) are quite modest, on the order of about a 3 percent reduction in employment for every 10 percent increase in the minimum wage. I actually do not quarrel with such consensus estimates. However, I would quickly note that these past studies have focused on increases  in the minimum wage that are well below 50 percent of the median hourly wage; they have not dealt with increases of the magnitude proposed in Pasadena. That is why even The Economist, a respected weekly news magazine that supported Obama in the past two presidential elections, recently characterized (in its July 23 edition) an increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour (or 77 percent of the median hourly wage) as “reckless.” They wrote, “By moving towards sharply higher minimum wages, policymakers are accelerating into a fog. Little is known about the long-run effects of modest minimum wages. And nobody knows what big rises will do, at any time horizon.”


So, even if the job losses in the short run turn out to be relatively minor, over time the minimum wage increase can have two more serious detrimental effects on the plight of the working poor: 1) they can reduce the otherwise growth of new jobs for this group of low-skilled workers as employers substitute more new technology (think of McDonald’s) or locate to cities without a $15 minimum wage; and 2) the jobs that are offered will provide less on-the-job training than they otherwise would. The latter effect is not often noted but is especially important to the future productivity of low-skilled workers, since their lack of skills is the main culprit in their poor earnings prospects. Firms simply can’t afford to pay these workers $15 an hour and to provide such on-the-job training. The reduction in the growth of jobs for these low-skilled workers going forward will be magnified if there are surrounding cities that do not increase their minimum wage laws to $15 per hour.


These are some of the reasons that many economists who want to help the working poor favor the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which is the most important policy at the federal level for aiding such workers. I favor the federal EITC as well as recent proposals by the state of California to offer its own state EITC to complement the federal policy. The EITC is better targeted at low-income households than the minimum wage, and it relies on federal taxpayers to deliver the more than $62.9 billion in benefits to 27.9 million families (as of 2011), without the detrimental effects noted above. My final argument is that unlike the EITC, an increase in the minimum wage penalizes the very groups that are currently helping low-wage workers the most, namely the owners and customers of those firms that are currently employing such workers. How fair is that?









Re: Letters, Sept. 17


So, apparently, somebody’s convinced you that a child can be vaccinated too early. Good for you! America’s shills for the medical-industrial-complex “recommend” that you get a child injected with MMR poisons starting at 12 to 15 months. Then, at age 6, you should idiotically get that little descendant a “booster” shot, just in case his brain cells haven’t completely succumbed yet. So if you got your baby vaccinated at 1 year of age, then, according to the popular corporate paradigm, that little diaper-depleter should be fully protected at least until he’s 6 from the three scariest diseases that you’ve been trained to mindlessly fear. Consequently, your child should have absolutely nothing to be scared of from anybody else’s unvaccinated child. So tell me, in spite of this fact, why must you still denigrate others and demand that the non-Kool-Aid-drinking population of parents who don’t buy into the private/government corporate propaganda meme of vaccine reliability, and consequently should still summarily surrender their right to protect themselves — and their children — from institutionally sponsored poisons? You are either ignorant or stupid. The little mess-maker you claim you want to protect will ultimately end up most fortunate if your scientific gullibility is caused only by ignorance.







To City Manager Michael Beck and former Mayor Bill Bogaard:


As you know, Sgt. Scott Studenmund, a resident of La Cañada Flintridge, was tragically killed while on duty in Afghanistan on June 9, 2014. 


Mayor Bogaard requested all flags to be flown at half-staff for a week. In addition, the City Council meeting on June 16 adjourned with a meaningful tribute to honor Scott with remarks by Mayor Bogaard and Police Chief Philip Sanchez. 


Previously, four Pasadena soldiers were killed in this ongoing conflict. 


Question: Why were these four fallen warriors not so recognized? Did our mayor have a special relationship with the Studenmund family? 


In addition, concerns have been raised regarding the placement of this memorial sculpture in Defenders Park. This location on city parkland was selected without any public notice. 


Initially, a steering committee proposed placing the sculpture across from City Hall, which was rejected. 


They were directed to Memorial Park, also rejected. No reason was given. Memorial Park is the logical and appropriate location … to join other Pasadena war memorials.  


Because of unexplained aspects like the one pointed out above, the council should not rush into a decision.


Thank you for your consideration.









Napoleon may have been vertically challenged, but he so obviously comprehended the concept of stupidity in politics. Gosh, has the Trumpster forgotten … America is not for sale. Even with Citizens United, all the money in the country will never elect this trifecta poster child of arrogance, ignorance and way too much CO2 emitting from his big mouth. Talk about destructive and depleting greenhouse gas, and he comes to mind. 


Moving on to former (aka past) Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., telling the pope to “leave science to the scientists” proves he, too, is clueless and also quite insulting. Who knows? Maybe Rick is relying on Wikipedia for his information. God help us. Actually, God is doing just that with Pope Francis, who consistently defines and defends the true meaning of Christianity, which is centuries old and based on compassionate love for all people in our world, most especially the poorest of the poor, who most often pay the price for the actions of those with more finances. It’s called environmental racism. 


Justice is equity in action. It is called not just “talking the talk” but “walking the walk” for all who inhabit our home, which we call Earth. Without beauty and biodiversity, all we are left with is Republicans. At least President Obama and First Lady Michelle fully comprehend the concept. We are all connected. In the next few months, perhaps we all can remember that that is the very foundation of America. The pope is coming to our country and, hopefully, Rick might plan a “visit” to listen and learn. After all, like climate change, Jesus also has his “deniers.”


The food we consume, the air we breathe, the environment we live in are only as safe as we the people are willing to protect and preserve it. Wake up parents and grandparents … your children and grandchildren are the future of our community and our country. Remember, if you’re not outraged, you’re not listening. Today is your child’s tomorrow. Justice is realizing … we are all connected.





Re: “Hard Evidence,” Aug. 20


I had the privilege to meet Detective Okamoto in 2011. I have nothing to say except that he is an amazing person. I am very thankful he was in charge of my case. If it wasn’t for him I really wouldn’t be where I’m at now. It is sad how this city is really corrupted and blames innocent people. I really hope there is justice. Nothing is going to be the same for him. I can relate how this can be mental suffering. I hope justice is served and much respect for Detective Okamoto. Thank you again for helping me out when I needed justice in my case.




Re: “Gone Too Far,” Sept. 10


“Did Black Lives Matter members go too far in trying to free a protester?” Andre, I assume the question is rhetorical, because the answer is so obvious even you could figure it out.  They also went too far when hours after a Houston deputy was assassinated they marched and chanted, “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon.” And they went too far when shortly after two officers were assassinated in New York City they marched and chanted, “What do want? Dead cops. When do we want it? Now.” The Pasadena chapter of BLM, under the leadership (I cringe when I say that) of a hood rat like Jasmine Richards, also goes too far when they attempt to instigate confrontations with the police in order to prove their point about police abuse of the local citizenry. She admittedly recruits young children, some as young as 10 years old, and directs them to interfere with police operations by kicking police cars and such. Great leadership JR. But for all of her shortcomings and failures she has hit upon a gold mine. In an article dated July 24, 2015, published in TruthDig, a progressive publication,  the following was written after an interview was conducted with the divine Ms. R. at La Pintoresca Park: “While she was in jail, a crowdfunding campaign by Richards’ fellow Black Lives Matter activists raised $90,000 to bail her out.” Here is the gold mine. Bail is solely for the purpose of ensuring the criminal defendant appears in court throughout the criminal process. When cash bail is put up without going through the process of using a bail bond company, the bail money is returned to the defendant when the case is completed. So rest assured our little hood rat will appear in court, she will accept a plea deal that has no additional jail time and minimal probation, and then the case is completed. Cha ching, show me the money! Think she will return it to the donors? André, that was also rhetorical.




Re: “Policing Pasadena,” Sept. 10 

It would have been nice to have pictures of the government actually distributing the drugs to these gangs. You remember the funding of the Contra hearings. Maxine Waters gave it one heck of a fight. Deny all you want, but facts are facts. 






I wanted to respond to your analysis of “To Catch a Watchman” (Letters, Sept. 3).  


Your sense of outrage seems to derive from a comparison to Lee’s famous first publication. However, your error lies in your initial misreading of Atticus’ latent racism in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” 


For instance, he bemoans anyone who takes advantage of a “Negro’s ignorance,” which implies his belief in the inferiority of black people. In the same breath, Atticus also expresses some antiquated feelings about women. He states, with a grin, that it would be impossible to finish a trial with women jurors because they would ask too many questions.


So, to assuage your sense of moral outrage, I suggest you re-examine the Atticus you once loved. To help untangle your Victorian belief that all texts should be about moral instruction, I remind you of a couple of Shakespeare’s most famous characters: Othello and Shylock. 


Was Shakespeare a racist whose work should be condemned, or was he an artist exploring the complexities of life and human character? 



(A Southerner but hopefully not one of the racist ones.)



Re: “A Disturbing Pattern,” August 27

Vicki and Allysha don’t deserve this. Many of us registered nurses (RNs) support bringing them back. Many of us are sad and mad that this has happened and feel the hospital made a HUGE mistake in firing such well-trained and promising young ladies who are also very well liked. 


It’s just unbelievable. I am truly shocked and bewildered. 


A fellow RN at HMH.





Re: “Hard Evidence,” Aug. 20

“See something say something” is akin to “The Pasadena Way.” Great PR slogan … nothing stands behind it. If you see something, as many did, and you say something and it triggers an investigation and (Human Resources) gets involved, you can best believe you have committed career suicide, because the city will break their necks in discrediting you and trying to save themselves in the process. No one sees anything, says anything, and everyone is frantically trying to cover their own rear ends, all the time still being miserable in their jobs,  hence no morale whatsoever within the department. Administrators, supervisors, etc., are moved around at a moment’s notice … never once being dealt with on their lack of judgment, character or lack of supervisory skills … just because you have been with a department for 25 years-plus does not make you a leader. The PD is full of those types. They just know how to do what they have been told and keep their mouths shut and look the other way. Nothing ever gets done, nothing ever changes, but now you have a problem on your hands because this is front page news and a lot of skeletons are going to start to come out of the closet. Hopefully a full-scale investigation is brought up and all the comings and goings and investigations that have happened within the last few years are looked at in-depth. And if you get called in to an investigation TELL THE TRUTH … integrity … courage … fortitude. Isn’t that what we signed up for when we took the job? Talk the talk and walk the walk.



I was a victim of an assault with the use of a weapon in 2010. Needless to say, this was a difficult time. Under these circumstances I had the privilege of meeting Detective Kevin Okamoto who helped me get justice. During the long time that he conducted my case, he went above and beyond to help me get closure in this ordeal. I am very grateful that Okamoto led my case, as he truly demonstrated serving justice and helping victims. He was extremely dedicated and hard-working! I am saddened that this amazing man’s reputation and integrity is being tarnished. It is about time that the Pasadena Police Department takes responsibility for its deficiencies and stops pointing fingers at officers who are making a difference. Okamoto deserves justice!

~  SANG888


Re: “Shaken to the Core,” Aug. 27 

Everyone has a past. I personally spoke with Monte Russell one month before his death and he looked me in the eyes and said he is no longer with the street hustle/lifestyle and that he secured a job and was working to contribute and give back to society. Everyone is entitled to a second chance. There is only one judge and that is God. Where is your compassion? If you do not have anything nice to say at least be human and courteous enough to be respectful of the family during their time of loss. Let’s not cast judgment but render support, as God is our judge, not we ourselves. …


Ephesians 4:32 — But become kind to one another, tenderly compassionate; freely forgiving one another just as God also by Christ freely forgave you.


Matthew 7:1 — Stop judging that you may not be judged; for with the judgment you are judging you will be judged, and with the measure that you are measuring out they will measure out to you.


I speak for peace to be lifted upon your heart. And I speak for unity among all. Not just black lives matter but ALL lives matter, and it begins inside one’s heart to defeat gun violence and unite through peace. I am a strong believer that a person can change and to God we shall give the glory. 



Lovenwhatever, good luck with that God thing. This guy paid for his past with his life.



Re: “Beyond the Law,” Sept. 10

So Benita Escoe robs a restaurant and hides out in a BLM gathering. The police show restraint and arrest the thief Escoe after the meeting, at which point BLM member attack the police to “rescue” the thief. I was not aware that Pasadena had passed a law stating people did not have to pay for a meal if they ran out and attended a BLM meeting. As for the minors, I am sure they will continue to build their criminal resumes under the guidance of Ms. Richards.




Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114. 





We spent the last year worried that an unvaccinated child would pass the measles or another disease to my grandchild, who was not old enough to be vaccinated. Her parents ended up having a nanny for a lot longer than they planned in order to keep her out of day care, where children may or may not be from a home that doesn’t vaccinate. 

If you feel so strongly about not vaccinating your children, you should homeschool them as well for the public good. 





Re: “No Laughing Matter,” Aug. 20

Dr. [Ben] Carson is indisputably a brilliant man. He is a man of faith, honor and tested spirit. Shame on this article for suggesting otherwise. Our country would be honored to have him serve in any capacity, including president.



Re: “Hard Evidence,” Aug. 20

Chief Sanchez, time to put down the iPad, roll up your sleeves and start cleaning house. For the past year, comments and horror stories about your staff and unqualified supervisors have been published for anyone who trolls the PW to read. Sure, no one reads the PW, but the damage that has been done this year to the PPD cannot be repaired by simply hiring a couple of officers who couldn’t cut it at another department. Just how low is the PPD willing to go to fill the vacancies created by the officers who saw the writing on the walls of “18” and move on? The officers that left took with them hundreds of thousands of dollars in training and experience only to use that experience to make someone else’s community “the happiest place on earth.” All of them will do well and will not regret their decision one bit. They will move laterally at their new departments and will promote quickly. Next in line to leave is one of the best cops “and” sergeants the PPD has. If he leaves, and I believe he will, why should those left behind stay? To put it bluntly, the city of Anaheim will be getting one of Pasadena’s crown jewels, and he will be rewarded quickly for his sacrifice. What does that tell you as a leader? How hard would it be to sit one-on-one with your employees and ask “What are we doing wrong? What are we doing right?” “How do we compare to the other agencies?” And then DO SOMETHING! … The PPD is not far from its officers not showing up for work anymore simply because it’s not worth the effort. Risk career suicide by going to work or burn 12 hours of sick time? It’s bad enough (take note criminal elements) that no one, and I mean no one in the field does any proactive police work anymore. How do “on-view” and self-initiated arrests compare over the last year to five years ago? How do moving violation tickets compare to five years ago? What are the numbers? And then there is the beloved city manager; does he read the comments? Does he pick up the phone and call over asking if these comments are factual? Is any of this going to come back and haunt us? The destruction of Kevin (Okamoto’s) career will be vindicated and the depositions will be like an onion. Every interview will lead to another incident that will lead to another and so on and so on. My recommendation is to put an offer on the table before you open that box, and then do something, seriously, anything! Come on!



Funny how a cop would not know that if there is evidence that tends to exonerate a suspect he should disclose it instead of suppressing it.




Not only is Okamoto smart, gifted, astonishing detective, he is also a mentor, motivator, teacher, guide and a hero for many people in his community, including officers, residents, victims, students, and children. He’s such a great person who is always going out of his way to assist those who need it. It’s so frustrating for me to hear about what has been done to him. For so long I’ve refused to believe that bad things happen to good people, but I see the unjust acts that were done to Okamoto. How could such a wonderful and honest person get lied on, targeted, disrespected and depicted as a criminal by his own peers? The truth always comes out. The city should pay Okamoto, especially because of his great contribution to the department while still having to endure the emotional distress of being stabbed in the back. I’m sorry this happened to you, Okamoto. I’m sorry that because you were fair and did the right thing you became a target under a corrupt system. I’m confident that Okamoto will make sure justice is served, because good things DO happen to good people. Then, perhaps, everyone will soon know about the Okamoto that I know; a truthful, genuine, honest and hardworking person with integrity, compassion and respect.



Re: “Salary Talks,” July 23

Wait on Los Angeles? Because they always get it right, I guess. Way to lead from behind, Terry. Pasadena used to set the trend, not wait to see what happens next door. Bring back Bill!



Re: “Flag Afire,” July 2

[Woodrow Wilson] lived in Columbia, South Carolina from the age of 14 to 18 while his father taught at the university. Until then he lived in Virginia. At 18 he moved to North Carolina. This hardly makes him a SC native and is just another example of shoddy reporting. Nice work. Do you just make this stuff up as you go so it fits your agenda?


(The correction has been made to our online version of this story.)


I really appreciate André Coleman, Kevin Uhrich and the Pasadena Weekly for giving us this comprehensive, well researched and very informative article.




Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114.