Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Behind Closed Doors

It's hard to tell what's going on in this photograph of the South Pasadena City Council chambers ... but citizens can certainly participate in the operation of our city government when the council meets in open session.

I'm glad I raised my voice at the last meeting. I stood alongside former mayors, activists and other members of our community. We each expressed enthusiastic support of our police chief Dan Watson. We questioned why the council inexplicably began recruitment for another chief when the one we have now has done such an excellent job for the past 8 years.

We didn't get any answers.

Tonight's City Council meeting is at 7:30PM, 1424 Mission Street. I encourage all concerned South Pas citizens to attend. If you wish to be included in the public comments, be sure to fill out a yellow card and hand it in to the city clerk before 8:30PM.

You can read more about the situation with Chief Watson in my earlier posts here. You can also read what journalists at the Pasadena Star News had to say here, here and here.

20 comments:

Judy Williams said...

If the squeaky wheel does indeed get the grease, then I hope all of the squeakers continue until their questions are answered.

The dark foreboding look of this image speaks to me about the corruptness of government and dishonesty of some elected officials. It makes me think of the good ol' boys behind closed doors.

I don't know Chief Watson but I do know that his reputation speaks for itself. If the City Council has a hidden agenda, I hope that the constant demanding of answers chips away to find the truth.

Our country allows for public assembly and expression of opinions, so speak loud and speak often. Keep all of us posted as to the end result.

Mister Earl said...

I'll be there! The council seems caught between concerned citizens who want rational, public, decisions, and certain interests that have contributed generously to their campaigns. They may drag this out for awhile not wishing to disappoint either side, but it's time for them to realize that a mobilized public will be more powerful than money when election time rolls around.

Mister Earl said...

I might caption this photo, "There's a light... over at the Frankenstein place...."

Virginia said...

Oh I'd pay big bucks to hear you guys let em have it tonight. We want details tomorrow!!
V

altadenahiker said...

I second that Virg. Good luck, Laurie; good luck South Pas!

Margaret said...

It's all very strange, isn't it. Keep on rabble rousing! We're counting on you.

San Diego Farmgirl said...

I pity the fool who messes with Laurie. Go get 'em!

WV: seshur
"They say this cat Shaft is a bad mutha - Seshurmouth!"

altadenahiker said...

Y'all ready for your close-up? We in the adjacents are most interested in how this unfolds.

Petrea said...

Waiting to hear and standing right behind you.

Mister Earl said...

Just got back from the meeting. Overwhelming support for Dan Watson although the Police Officers Association has finally weighed in. They don't have much to say publicly. I think they're now scrambling for reasons to remove the Chief, but they don't really have any that amount to anything the public would care about. The fact is the POA heavily financed at least two members of the City Council. All this was aired in the public comments at the meeting.

The Council officially punted tonight. They decided to put the entire matter in the hands of the City Manager, whereas before now it is believed that they told the City Manager what they wanted him to do. It now appears that they are backing off, trying to save face.

They are also hiding behind the Brown Act, which prevents them from commenting on personnel matters. Then they assure us that various rumors about who is behind this are not true. Should we believe them when the rumors make sense? I'm more and more convinced that the rumors are true and there are some smoking guns which may come out later on.

One rumor is that the main Councilman behind the move to remove the Chief pressured a former South Pas Police Sergeant not to run for Council, and he went along. It is believed that the payoff was going to be the Chief's job. I learned from a direct source that this same Councilman tried to pressure someone else not to run.

Kaori said...

I just read your earlier posts and the 'here, here and here' and am now officially rooting you on! I hope the city will listen to all of you tonight!

Laurie said...

Mister E, I hope you post more about this on your site. I'll link to it.

Mister E and my hubby Jon joined many others tonight in a public comments session that had the mayor begging, "can't we keep it under two minutes each?" It was a parade of South Pas notables as well as ordinary citizens representing a wide swath of economic status, age and political persuasion. On the opposing side? A couple of people who said they support the council because they elected them and trust that they'll do a good job, one high-strung woman who made a disparaging remark about the Rotary Club and seemed ticked off that any people would spend money on a full page ad of support for Dan during an economic downturn and, of course, a representative from the police union.

A representative for South Pasadena Neighbors for Peace and Justice (the antiwar group often seen holding signs on Fair Oaks and MIssion) spoke on Dan's behalf tonight. I'll add this much: as a fellow liberal I know it's not often that anti-war protestors decide to go to a city council meeting and back a police chief.

I was down with a massive headache and babysitting duty tonight but I watched the proceedings on TV -- as I'm sure MUCH of the town did. I was damned proud of my hubby, and of Mr. E, and of all the friends and neighbors who spoke.

No idea what happens next, but I'll keep you all posted with any news.

Oh, and for all of my readers who have emailed me with passionate testimony and support for Dan... please let the council know how you feel. Or, since the council passed the buck to the City Manager, be sure to email him. Just follow my email link on the sidebar of the blog. (The email there is to the City Clerk. She'll make sure the appropriate parties recieve the message.)

Until tomorrow, gang.

Petrea said...

This is very exciting and there is no doubt in my mind that the forum provided here at Glimpses of South Pasadena has made a huge difference. You go! All of you! Yay Laurie! Yay Jon! Yay Mr. Earl! Yay South Pasadena!

Laurie said...

Thanks, P. One thing is for certain -- I'm one of a VERY large crowd of concerned people in this town.

Petrea said...

I hope we get the same kind of concerned, enlightened turn-out for our February 1st Council meeting when the Hahamongna plan's going to be discussed. The plan has some worrisome elements. South Pas is showing us how it's done.

Dan Watson said...

To Laurie and all your followers - As you know, I am a regular viewer of Glimpses of South Pasadena, and I believe I'm overdue in responding to all the words of support that have been posted on your blog. When I came to South Pasadena 8 years ago, I knew I was going to be part of a very special and unique town. Never in my wildest dreams, though, did I think I would ever experience the overwhelming level of support and friendship I've received in the past few weeks. Whatever the final outcome, I will always know that the people of South Pasadena are passionate, caring, and committed souls. I have been given an unexpected, and I'm not sure deserved, gift that I will take with me and treasure for the rest of my life.

Much can be said about the turn of events, what's behind it, and all the rumors that have consumed the administration of the City. I will not contribute to the speculation and rumors, and will continue to let this situation run its course. As Laurie has noted, the City Council has given the responsibility to determine my future to the City Manager, a man whom I respect and trust tremendously. I don't envy his position which is why I have no desire to ever have that job.

I am hopeful that a final resolution will be forthcoming soon. When that happens, I will accept the final outcome and support it. Whenever I move on, whether in a few months or several years, I will do so with the knowledge that I have been blessed with the opportunity to make friends for a lifetime and lead a fine Police Department with a group of people who are committed to providing a special kind of service to a community that deserves no less.

I thank you Laurie for introducing me to a wonderful community of people I otherwise wouldn't know, while at the same time inspiring me with your photography and words. I value the friendship that you, Jon, and Little Bit have given my wife and me.

Petrea said...

Chief, you're a class act.

Mister Earl said...

Thanks, Chief!

Laurie said...

Right back atcha, Chief. (And Petrea is right!)

Laurie said...

For those of you subscribing to this post, I've written about the latest here .

http://southpasadena.blogspot.com/2010/02/newsworthy.html