Friday, November 28, 2008

Oh, the Indignity!!!!!

Here it is, the Friday after Thanksgiving, full from yesterday's turkey and fixin's it should be a morning to relax, read the paper and just chill before the work of climbing through the garage to extract holiday decorations and start the season.

But the paper did not bring me solace this morning. I'm indignant, my hackles have been raised, and I'm just plain angry!!!

First, an admission--I actually read the legal ads in the DB. It's a habit from having past city administrations try to sneak something through figuring no one reads those ads so we'll do the legal notification and maybe no one will notice. Even though the Pomona staff is now much more out front in their dealings with the public, I can't help but be ever vigilant.

So this morning, after the news, weather, and comics, I turned to the classified section of the newspaper to begin reading the legal ads. Lately, the DB has been intermingling classifications 54 and 55 (LA County and SB County) legal notices--Doesn't this defeat the concept of "Classified?" Anyway, within the SB County notices, was an LA County notice that I was sure was misplaced. The FDIC had their notification of the takeover of PFF. But they had the old POMONA address as their corporate address for the notification. PFF decided first to get rid of Pomona from their name, then they moved to Rancho Cucamonga, where they proceeded to destroy a financial institution that had been around for over 100 years, but when the failure notice comes out, suddenly it's a Pomona institution. AAaaarrrrggggggghhhhhhh!!!!!!!

We just can't cut a break.

So not only was PFF lax with their loans, but they also must have been lax with their paperwork if the FDIC didn't have their current address. The one thing that might come out of this is that the DB should get another ad from it. If someone from the DB is reading this, be sure to let advertising know so that they can get a retraction/correction ad.

So now, it's time to go off and figure out what to do for front yard decorations since the lovely Mrs. C has laid down an edict "No nails in the newly refurbished house." How can I hang my lights? AAaaarrrrggggggghhhhhhh!!!!!!!


John Clifford said...

Oh, and further down in the ad, there is the old Garey address of PFF's corporate offices.

Anonymous said...

"I actually read the legal ads in the DB. It's a habit from having past city administrations try to sneak something through figuring no one reads those ads so we'll do the legal notification and maybe no one will notice"

Doesn't local law require legal notification in a local paper. So how can they "sneak" something by.

The DB should get that error fixed!

John Clifford said...

Yes, the law requires that there be notification in a local paper. How often do you suppose the average citizen even looks at the local paper. And, with the problems facing the newspaper industry today, there are fewer and fewer local papers, with smaller and smaller circulation. So the idea that a city can "slip something by" is pretty good odds. Under some laws, citizens have 20 or 30 days to respond to various studies and reports. But if you don't know that there IS a report/study . . .

As for fixing the ad in the DB, it's most certainly NOT the DBs fault. The newspaper is responsible to print an ad AS IT IS Presented to them. They weren't the one's who put in the ad, the FDIC was. So now it's up to the FDIC to put in a new ad with the proper information (AND pay for it!!).

Anonymous said...

SO if there are fewer local papers circulating (in our case one: DB)then it should be easier to find notices right? Are notices online on the DB?

And if one was actively or genuinely interested in local happenings wouldn't one know where to look? How do you know about public notices John?

So it seems that it is us as residents that are "slipping" by missing notices and being uninformed.

Anonymous said...

I suspect many residents are "genuinely interested" in local happenings, yet they have no time or interest in searching through obscure notices published in papers they may not even read.

Some residents believe those elected to represent their interests, along with the folks employed to discharge the people's business, should make every effort to involve and notify those they!

John Clifford said...


I'm not quite sure why anonymous 1 was so offended by my suggesting that government tries to "slip things past us" (an aside) when this post was more about the indignity of the FDIC putting PFF back in Pomona when things went sour, but I guess this has turned into a discussion of governmental transparency and public involvement in the process.

So, here goes. YES, the legal requirement is to place an ad in a local newspaper. Since we only have the DB, that's the paper of record which gets all of the ads. So I have no argument that the city, county, water district, school district, whomever, is following the law and putting public notice ads in the paper.

Beyond the legal requirement, is there an obligation on the part of governing bodies, those entities which are "by the people, for the people . . ." etc. to be open and transparent in their workings? Should they go beyond the legal requirements and try to engage the citizenry in those issues that directly impact them?

Ed has noted in his postings, the difficulty in getting information from the Pomona city web site, for example. I've also been arguing for a better web site where the information is easy to find.

I'm a firm believer that we are all better off if the business of the public is done in the light of day, without backroom deals, without hiding things from people. I'm not suggesting that is happening at the moment, but it has happened all all levels of our government in the recent past.

Using an antiquated system such as classified ads (which seem to be less classified--at least in the DB) when there is a decline in readership of newspapers, is a fundamental flaw in the system of open government.

So much for ranting over a holiday weekend. Hope everyone had a good turkey day and will continue to have a happy holiday season.

Ed said...

It's been awhile since I looked at the DB numbers and they were a couple of years old anyway, but I think only about 15% of households in Pomona get the paper. I could be wrong so if you have better numbers feel free to correct me.

If my number is correct then I could see posting "public notices" on the website, in addition to the paper, as being a more legitimate effort at reaching out to the public. Surely, Anon would advocate for that solution!? If you wanted to find a public notice about Pomona, you would only need to look at the city's website, not peruse through classified ads. After all, look what it's done to John!!

Anon is absolutely correct, we're to blame for not reading the notices since with fewer papers we have no excuse for not finding public notices. So, here I'll go and publicly advocate for having one paper that serves all of California, that way we'll all know where to find "public notices". Better yet, let's just get one paper for the whole country!

Sorry, Anon, a little snarky at the end. Why am I snarky? I heard the 'Big Bad Wolf' is at it again.

Anonymous said...

Wondering if there will be a Historic Preservation Commission meeting this month? Was over at City Hall today and no posting of an agenda or notice of cancellation?

Tad Decker said...

To answer Anonymous' question, No, there is not an Historic Preservation Commission meeting scheduled for December. At our November meeting, it was announced that our next meeting would be in January, due to a lack of agenda items. In addition, by that date the new city council will have been seated, so the commission will be seeing several new faces (hopefully they will be appointed by then, so that a quorum will be available!). If any readers are interested in serving in this capacity, NOW is a good time to contact the city clerk for an application.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mr. Decker for the information...much appreciated!

I still think it might make sense to post a "no meeting" notice either on the City website and/or at City Hall.

Help a naive guy out here....due to the election results some current members of the commission will be replaced? Can you share which members will be ousted?

Thanks in advance for your assistance and insights.

Ed said...

If I understand the rules governing commissions in Pomona, commissioner's terms are tied to the elections. Lantz, the Mayor, Soto, and Atchley could appoint new commissioners if they so choose, but do all these positions automatically become vacant? If so, OUCH!

John Clifford said...

Ed / Anon,

It has been my observation and the way that I understand that the HPC works that commissioners are appointed (1 per council district plus one for the mayor) by the councilperson to run concurrently with their term. However, if the councilperson leaves office prior to the end of their term, then the commissioner's service continues until what would have been the end of their term.

I've not read the city charter, but this is the way it worked when Mayor Cortez died shortly after the start of his term. His commissioners were not replaced by mayor Torres.

Thus, the newly elected council persons, Atcheley, Lantz, and Soto can, as well as Mayor Rothman, can appoint new commissioners (or keep their current choices if they so desire). The 5th district commissioner (Rothman's old seat) will remain for another two years regardless of whether a new councilperson is appointed or elected (again, the way that it's been done in the recent past).

So, if the incumbent council persons were to keep their commissioners, then there would be two openings. However, my understanding is that commissioner Kercheval (Norma's district 6 appointment) is terming out of his seat (there is a limit to the number of terms you can serve), and Atcheley may desire to reappoint regardless.

That means that four of the seven commission seats are up. In addition, the distict 2 commissioner has not attended a single meeting since March (and had previously missed 6 or 7 straight meetings prior to her return just after the first of the year). I've heard that this long-absent commissioner will be up for replacement as well.

If you're interested in serving on the HPC, PLEASE submit an application to the city clerk. You don't have to live in the district from which you're being appointed.

John Clifford said...

An update on the way the DB does their legal ads. In today's paper, category 54 (LA County Legal Notices) starts on one page, goes to another, where category 55 starts (SB County Legal Notices), which go for two pages and then suddenly there is a large legal ad from the county of LA which has NO heading (so is it category 55, which one MIGHT suppose? but it can't be since it's an LA county ad), then there are some interspersed LA / SB ads including an ad regarding a study available to the citizens of Pomona on the sale of some property to the redevelopment agency (6.5 acres of Commercial St. east of Garey). It will come up for public hearing on December 15.

This is exactly the kind of issue I have with the legal ads, they are not in a logical order as they should be (it would be like looking in an index for a word under F and not finding it, then looking further and realizing that there was more F between I and J, with one of your items actually under G. The idea is that the ads are "classified" so that you don't have to read every friggin' word in the paper to find them. It's supposed to make government accessible to the governed.

Yes, it's all legal. But . . .