The Wacky World of Sierra Madre Politics
By Terry Miller
Ah, it’s springtime, that time of the year when everyone is talking about new growth and yes, those dreaded elections rearing their hanging chads in cities near and far. Indeed, this is that special time when all the uncompromising extremists crawl out from under their piles of TEA Party pamphlets to preach and shove their propaganda down your throat and into your mailbox in hopes that they see some ink in the local press. Perhaps even a nice mug shot for the campaign scrapbook.
In Sierra Madre, for instance, there is no shortage of important issues concerning the village atmosphere that the town tattle-tails would like you to believe is in dire jeopardy. Believe what you read, and apparently there’s a master conspiracy afoot to allow such things as Wal-Mart at the old Howie’s site, a Rose Bowl-sized performance center with helipad for rock stars to arrive in style, a Costco in place of Bean Town and of course, turning Kersting Court into a five-story mixed use strip mall to house a massage parlour/gift shoppe/transit center. Oh, and don’t forget parking meters. We’ll need a few hundred thousand of those.
But alas, not one candidate who is running has said they want that kind of escalation in development. In fact, they’ve all come out with the rest of the town against it. But the fear-mongering blogocrats of our fair city need you to believe these changes are not only possible, but plausible, that is, unless you vote them into the corridors of power. Then, and only then, will we be safe from the Rick Caruso and Sam Walton.
What is in short supply here are honest, straightforward solutions to problems the city faces; that and a critical lack of civility amongst a city council that never ceases to one-up their own childishness. I mean seriously Mrs. MacGillivray: “I don’t need input from the City Attorney”??? “This is my meeting and I’m the Mayor!”??? Easy on the gavel, there. We all heard you the first time. We promise we’ll be good.
But back to the blogosphere: Calling one’s opponent “a worm” and alluding to his sexual orientation is juvenile at best and potentially libelous at worse. Take a gander at ‘that blog’ sometime and you’ll see not just one or two derogatory comments but scores of slanderous attacks on many people in Sierra Madre. Prejudice is ugly and ubiquitous on candidate John Crawford’s blog. (www.sierramadretattler.com)
We have observed less than a handful of Candidate forums in Sierra Madre and what we observed was at best not terribly encouraging, and definitely dull as dish water. Neither was even remotely thought provoking – as many had hoped. The real issues seem get buried in interminable vociferous accusations, trivial name-calling, and hackneyed regurgitations from preprinted statements.
Attacks on this newspaper, its staff and the other papers, politicians and personalities in town including the Pasadena Star-News and their staff members have been widespread, consistently cruel, callous and pedestrian.
In fact, courteousness and graciousness has already started to pay off for those candidates who are distinctly more well-bred and erudite. The Pasadena Star-News recently endorsed Joe Mosca, Nancy Walsh and Josh Moran. I concur, in spades.
One look at the “Tattler” in the past year or two shows how clearly the town is alienated thanks in no small part to one particular candidate. Even some intelligent people, who otherwise might be less forthright, provide incessant ramblings and discourteous comments under the guise of anonymity, rightfully embarrassed to have their given name tied to such speech.
Mr. Crawford frequently refers to the late Cumquat blog as “obscene,” yet he somehow refuses to see how offensive he and his “contributors” can be. The Cumquat was parody whose game was lampooning the very essence of Sierra Madre’s insular upper-class. This was the late Jim Snider’s forte. That’s parody, Mr. Crawford, not obscenity. Even a well-respected local priest was a regular reader of the Cumquat as he recognized the entries for what they were. Parody, Mr. Crawfish, plain and simple burlesque, spoofs.
The “In” clique of Sir Eric Maundry (a.k.a. Candidate Crawford) has made personal attacks their passion; leaving once-good neighbors even more alienated than ever before.
Crawford’s less than courageous and gaudy cohorts have not the valor to divulge their true identities: So therefore we offer these quotations in the hope that even Crawford’s cronies might think twice before casting their votes on April 13.
Of all my favorite quotations, the following classics best describe, in my estimation, the Crawford clique and their dirty tricks.- we took poetic license and adjusted some for clarity.
Thank you for sending me a link to your blog; I’ll waste no time reading it.”
– Moses Hadas
“He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.”
– Abraham Lincoln
“He had delusions of adequacy.”
– Walter Kerr
“He is a self-made man and worships his creator.”
– John Bright
Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.”
– Oscar Wilde.
“He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts… For support rather than illumination.”
– Andrew Lang
And finally, let us forget about politics and the obviously homophobic rhetoric (and sometimes unadorned repulsive and plain juvenile interpretations of someone’s career or sexual orientation) on certain blogs. Let us not speak ill of those who have moved on to another world; let us love thy neighbor, and respect each other’s differences without vulgarity and even violent thought.