Archive | September, 2010

Carchio’s Payback to City Came 6 Months After Learning of ‘Honest Mistake’

Carchio’s Payback to City Came 6 Months After Learning of ‘Honest Mistake’

By John Earl
Surf City Voice

Six months after he took his ineligible ex-wife off of his city paid Blue Shield HMO plan, and only days after he received clues that a Surf City Voice report on his misuse of that plan was imminent, Huntington Beach City Councilmember Joe Carchio walked into the Human Resources department at City Hall and paid up $2,782.73 in reimbursement to Surf City taxpayers (Editor’s note: The City subsequently confirmed that Carchio actually owed more than the Voice originally estimated: $6,627. The full amount has been paid).

Reimbursement

Proof of Carchio's reimbursement, made Sept. 23, 2010.

The larger reimbursement estimate first reported by the Voice was incorrect because it included only the city’s share of overpayments to the health plan and not Carchio’s own premiums. But Carchio paid the amount, in full, on Sept. 23, only three days after he was confronted by the Voice about his divorce, which he had kept secret from City officials and much of the public—even though his two Facebook accounts and an official biography published on the City’s web site all claimed that he was married.

In a contentious interview with the Voice on Sunday, Sept. 26, Carchio acknowledged an “honest mistake,” but falsely claimed that his ex-wife had been on the City’s health care rolls while ineligible for only one year. Records obtained by the Voice through Public Records Act requests, however, including the reimbursement invoice, provide proof that starting in September 2008 she was enrolled for 19 months in regular health care, dental and vision plans through last March (2010) when Carchio switched her to the vision plan only for another 6 months.

From March 2010 through September, even though his wife was still enrolled in the vision plan, there were no premium charges for the City for the extra person.

However, the timing of Carchio’s withdrawal of his ex-wife from enrollment in all but the free vision plan as of last March—by which time, if not sooner, he certainly would have noticed his “honest mistake”—and his subsequent reimbursement not until six months after that withdrawal and several days after learning of the Voice’s investigation—suggests that Carchio was trying to skip reimbursement for his “honest mistake” until repayment became unavoidable.

Wise Guy Jersey Joe

Councilperson Joe Carchio, Surf City's Wise Guy: "You're going to start a 911 with me!" Photo by Arturo Tolenttion for SCV

In the Sunday interview Carchio claimed that he had “rectified” his “mistake” after having his ineligible ex-wife enrolled for only one year, not two years as records prove, and implied that he had long ago paid up.

“I realized that the mistake was made…because I looked at my check and I was getting more money,” he told the Voice. “So I went to HR, I rectified it, paid the balance.” When asked when he dropped his ex-wife from enrollment Carchio said “In March of last year.” Actually, the drop took place in March, 2010.

During the interview Carchio was furious and threatened this reporter. “If you’re going to start a war, you’re going to start a war,” he warned. “You’re going to start a 9-11 with me, John. I’m not going to put up with you attacking my family, attacking me and going after me…”

Carchio also accused this reporter of waging a “personal vendetta” against him.

Surf City taxpayers might wonder how long Carchio’s apparent scam would have continued if he had not been caught by the Voice.

They might also consider the need for affordable health care for all people and the hypocrisy of politicians who, as members of America’s ‘fiscally responsible’ political party, vote or speak against public health care for other Americans  but love to have it for themselves, and their ex-wives.

Click here to read the previous Voice report.

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Not So ‘Wise Guy’ Jersey Joe Takes City $, Threatens 9-11 War When Caught

Not So ‘Wise Guy’ Jersey Joe Takes City $, Threatens 9-11 War When Caught

By John Earl
Surf City Voice

Sunday, Sept. 26, was a hot day in Surf City.

For me, however, most of the heat came from a chance encounter on a street corner with a local politician, not from the late blooming summer sun.

That politician, Joseph John Carchio, a.k.a. Jersey Joe, possible former owner of Jersey Joe’s Italian Eatery at 424 Olive Street, would insult my integrity as a person and a journalist multiple times; no problem there, that goes with the territory.

But I was shocked—and nerve racked for the rest of the day—when Carchio, an otherwise congenial member of the Huntington Beach City Council since 2006, and with whom I had enjoyed a professional but cordial acquaintance the past four years, lashed out. In a fit of intense anger, expressed with squinted eyes, a tightly stretched face and deliberately pronounced words, Jersey Joe, everybody’s friend, threatened me with dire warnings of “war” and “9-11.”

Was the threat just a bluff of hot air from a reelection candidate, who is desperately trying to hold on to his seat on the council, amid embarrassing revelations by the Surf City Voice that he could have to pay back thousands of dollars to the taxpayers for health benefits that he had kept his ex-wife signed up for even after their divorce, a divorce which he had not revealed to the city or the public while maintaining on his two Facebook web sites that he is married and has eight children?

No doubt, with the emergence of Measure O—the city ballot infrastructure proposition that is partly aimed at the alleged excesses of the city’s public employees—in a time of great economic hardship and budget cutbacks for the city, the otherwise unemployed city councilperson has landed in the worst crisis of his political life. Continue Reading

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Not So ‘Wise Guy’ Jersey Joe Carchio Takes City $, Threatens ’9-11′ War When Caught

Not So ‘Wise Guy’ Jersey Joe Carchio Takes City $, Threatens ’9-11′ War When Caught

By John Earl
Surf City Voice

Sunday, Sept. 26, was a hot day in Surf City.

For me, however, most of the heat came from a chance encounter on a street corner with a local politician, not from the late blooming summer sun.

That politician, Joseph John Carchio, a.k.a. Jersey Joe, possible former owner of Jersey Joe’s Italian Eatery at 424 Olive Street, would insult my integrity as a person and a journalist multiple times; no problem there, that goes with the territory.

But I was shocked—and nerve racked for the rest of the day—when Carchio, an otherwise congenial member of the Huntington Beach City Council since 2006, and with whom I had enjoyed a professional but cordial acquaintance the past four years, lashed out. In a fit of intense anger, expressed with squinted eyes, a tightly stretched face and deliberately pronounced words, Jersey Joe, everybody’s friend, threatened me with dire warnings of “war” and “9-11.”

Was the threat just a bluff of hot air from a reelection candidate, who is desperately trying to hold on to his seat on the council, amid embarrassing revelations by the Surf City Voice that he could have to pay back thousands of dollars to the taxpayers for health benefits that he had kept his ex-wife signed up for even after their divorce,  a divorce which he had not revealed to the city or the public while maintaining on his two Facebook web sites that he is married and has eight children?

No doubt, with the emergence of Measure O—the city ballot infrastructure proposition that is partly aimed at the alleged excesses of the city’s public employees—in a time of great economic hardship and budget cutbacks for the city, the otherwise unemployed city councilperson has landed in the worst crisis of his political life. Continue Reading

Posted in Poseidon3 Comments

Fred Speaker: Crotchety Council Candidate Zips Lips Over Budget Slips

Fred Speaker: Crotchety Council Candidate Zips Lips Over Budget Slips

By John Earl
Surf City Voice

Huntington Beach Planning Commissioner Fred Speaker is no doubt one of the leading candidates from the pack of 20 locals running for one of four open City Council seats on the November 2 ballot.

Speaker—in his own words—is a “fiscally responsible” and “pay as you go” candidate who as an experienced small businessman knows “how to balance a budget” and who promises that he “won’t treat taxpayer dollars any less carefully.”

He recently received the endorsements of the City’s two most powerful unions, the HB Police Officers Association and the HB Firefighters Association.

Speaker is also expected to get the full endorsement of the Orange County GOP in a vote to take place Monday, according to publisher Chip Hanlon writing on his blog, Red County.

Red County is the voice of Orange County’s Republican partisans who hope to get “real” Republicans in office and do their part to take back control of America—by following the tenets of “revolution” proclaimed by Party leader Scott Baugh.

The union and OCGOP endorsements combined with the PAC money and campaign donations that they will generate will make Speaker a “virtual shoe-in” on election day, says Hanlon.

But Hanlon and other Red County revolutionaries are wondering what Speaker has done to deserve an endorsement and why more credible Republicans like council candidates Billy O’Connell and Barbara Delgleize have been rejected by the OCGOP.

Hanlon explains that those two leading candidates were denied their endorsements because Delgleize supports gay marriage and abortion rights for women and O’Connell gave campaign money to a few Democrats in the past.

One of the underlying problems with the Speaker endorsement, however, is that it would violate one of Baugh’s most important revolutionary decrees: the Party shall oppose union backed candidates. Continue Reading

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Human Population: The Elephant in the Room

Human Population: The Elephant in the Room

By Sarah (Steve) Mosko
Special to the Surf City Voice

It’s hard to come up with a looming environmental problem that’s not ultimately rooted in human population expansion, be it a local issue like traffic congestion, litter and air & drinking water pollution or more global concerns like ocean fish depletion, deforestation, species extinction and global climate change.

We humans currently number 6.9 billion and continue to swell the planet by nearly 80 million more each year. Almost half of us are under the age of 25, and, if present trends continue, we will double in number before 2060.

The United States does not earn a pass when it comes to population pressures on the environment, in part because our per capita resource consumption and waste production dwarf that of much of the rest of the world. Furthermore, the Central Intelligence Agency tracks birth rates, and although the current U. S. birth rate (13.8 births per 1000 people per year) is roughly one-third that of several African countries, 69 other countries have lower birth rates.

The U. S. population has continued to rise by roughly three million each year over the last two decades with the latest total estimate topping 307 million. By the end of this century, there could well be 570 million of us, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Given these harrowing projections and the monumental environmental dilemmas we’re already facing, you’d think that candidly stated strategies to stabilize the population, at home and abroad, would be a priority at every level of government.

Not so.

For starters, consider that neither the Democratic nor Republican Party Platforms of 2008 even mention population growth. The closest the Democratic Platform comes is through explicit support for access to comprehensive family planning services (including sex education, contraception, and safe abortion) as strategies to help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies. The Republican Platform heavily stresses the need for immigration reform but without any reference to population control.

While it may be fashionable for politicians to acknowledge that our environment is in serious trouble, and indeed many do work diligently to pass legislation to improve environmental protections,it’s nearly impossible to imagine any one of them saying to the public that there are – or will soon be – too many of us.

What happened to Zero Population Growth?
Baby Boomers may recall when, during the 60s and 70s, the nonprofit organization Zero Population Growth (ZPG) enjoyed a formidable presence on college campuses and in the popular media. Though since renamed Population Connection, it’s still the largest grassroots population organization in the United States. To understand why population per se isn’t a front page issue anymore despite mounting pressures on the environment, I approached the five-year President of Population Connection, John Seager.

Seager points out that it’s hard to keep the public interested in population numbers because the headline would read the same every day, i.e. that global population had jumped by about 220,000 the day before. However, in the late 60s and early 70s, a confluence of events pushed population into the American public’s consciousness for the first time. Among them were Paul R. Ehrlich’s best-selling book “The Population Bomb” which predicted mass human starvation, the advent of birth control pills, the Supreme Court’s 1965 establishment of a constitutional right to use contraceptives, and the unprecedented wave of female Baby Boomers going on to college and choosing to have smaller families.

Yet Seager asserts that population stories are still very much in today’s headlines, but in the guise of seemingly unrelated issues like California’s chronic water shortage, political squabbling over drilling in Alaska’s Arctic refuge, the Aids epidemic in Africa, and this year’s unprecedented flooding in Pakistan which has killed tens of thousands.

Tackling the problem of population head-on is also particularly sensitive at this time in American society because the nation is so divided on abortion rights and immigration, the two flash points that invariably surface whenever population issues come to the fore. According to Seager, unplanned births and immigration contribute about equally to U.S. population growth.

Given the political climate, Seager sees as less important whether politicians speak openly about population growth than whether they support the three measures scientifically proven to curb it: family planning (synonymous with access to modern, artificial means of birth control), comprehensive sex education as opposed to abstinence-only programs, and access to safe and legal abortion.

As evidence that political alliances for or against these measures have shifted substantially over time, Seager points to the fact that Republican President Richard Nixon ardently lobbied for and signed into law Title X (ten), the federal program dedicated to providing family planning services nationwide (his legacy also includes the Clean Air Act and the Environmental Protection Agency). What’s more, George Bush, Sr., as a young congressman, was such an outspoken supporter of Planned Parenthood that among House colleagues he earned the nickname “Rubbers.” Only later while positioning himself for the White House did he reverse positions on abortion to the extent that he embraced a constitutional amendment to ban abortion.

While President Obama’s stance on controversies affecting population is evident from his campaigning as a pro-choice candidate and subsequent policy implementations (e.g. increased federal funding for domestic and international family planning services; shift away from abstinence-only sex education programs for teens; and rescinding the last-minute Bush Administration policy which allowed pharmacists nationwide to refuse to fill prescriptions for contraceptives), Obama has also refrained from openly pointing to population as the root environmental problem.

The sheer number of we humans is undeniably the behemoth elephant in the room when it comes to the daunting environmental issues of our time. One has to question how far we can get in creating an environmentally sustainable future for our children when we’ve all silently agreed to acknowledge, not the elephant, but only its manifestations like smog, water shortages and climate change.

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T-Mob Towers Over T-Mobile: Did City Council follow the law?

T-Mob Towers Over T-Mobile: Did City Council follow the law?

By John Earl
Surf City Voice

An unruly full-house crowd got its way—for now—during the Aug. 31 City Council meeting when six out of seven councilmembers put legal risks aside and revoked permits previously given for two T-Mobile cell phone towers in separate parts of the city.

The victory came after many passionate speeches by the agitated activists—demanding that the City save their children from the [yet to be proven] harmful effects of the proposed radio towers’ emissions—and after some equally passionate election-time pontificating by their elected representatives.

But T-Mobile, which like other cell phone corporations is undergoing similar plebeian revolts in other American communities, has already won one related court battle against the City and any further challenge to its right—under the Telecommunications Act of 1996—to build cell phone towers will be a battle against odds that favor the industry that helped to write the federal law. Continue Reading

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Defactualization: Bogus polls emerge from sea bottom before Poseidon hearing

Defactualization: Bogus polls emerge from sea bottom before Poseidon hearing

By John Earl
Surf City Voice

In July the Surf City Voice exposed a bogus public opinion poll conducted by Poseidon Resources Inc. last spring that was obediently promoted by the Orange County Register’s Huntington Beach reporter, Jaimee Lyn Fletcher (Probolsky + Poseidon + Register = Bogus Desal Poll) in a subsequent news feature.

The poll purported to show an increase in support and decrease in opposition to Poseidon’s proposed seawater desalination plant, to be located at the corner of Newland Avenue and PCH in the southeast portion of Huntington Beach.

examining the cards

SCV editor John Earl examines "support" cards that Poseidon Resources collected over the past 5 years. Photo: Marie Braddock

We wrote: “But Fletcher’s article, like the poll it purports to inform its readers about, is laced with deception and wrapped in secrecy, no doubt providing a service to Poseidon but leading the Register’s unknowing readers astray in this election year.”

The Voice article revealed that the methodology used to conduct the poll, the wording of its questions, the name of the polling firm (Probolsky) and the political bias of its owner–and that he is a contributing columnist for the Register–were all kept secret by Fletcher and her editors, largely at the request of Poseidon.

Poseidon officials refused to reveal the vital details of the bogus poll, but just days before Tuesday’s (Sept. 7) City Council hearing  on the Poseidon project, Poseidon VP Scott Maloni revealed some of the previously secret questions of that poll, confirming the inherent bias of Poseidon’s polling methods that are intended to manipulate respondents to chose the “correct” answers. But Poseidon’s latest poll and its last minute PR stunt were clearly meant to be a thinly veiled threat to all current city council candidates, including sitting Councilmember Joe Carchio, who is running a troubled reelection campaign and needs all the support he can get.

A concrete example of that threat is on Poseidon’s website (emphasis is Poseidon’s):

“By about a three to one margin, Huntington Beach voters are more likely to support than oppose a City Council candidate that supports the desalination project (56.2% more likely to support vs. 17.7% more likely to oppose a candidate supportive of the desalination project).”

As part of a publicity stunt to promote the poll and to strong arm the City Council into passing the Poseidon’s updated Environmental Impact report, plus a long awaited and secretive pipeline franchise agreement and updated Owner Participation Agreement and development permits on tonight’s council agenda, Maloni dropped off over 4,700 postcards “signed by residents of Huntington Beach and Orange County,” according to his accompanying letter to Mayor Cathy Green, that he claimed are “a reflection of the broad support for the project throughout Huntington Beach, as documented by recent public opinion surveys and the project’s growing number of individual and organizational Continue Reading

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