August 2007


Are you troubled by…

How HSPD-12 is being implemented?

Forced “Voluntary” Compliance?

Privacy issues with SF-85 & SF85P?

Open-ended background investigations?

Who has access to your information?

Risks of identity theft and mistaken ID?



Here’s a link to the lawsuit just filed over the deep security checks now required at JPL. It’s getting ugly out there, folks. Do you see your civil rights evaporating before your very eyes? Thanks to pal and former JPL’r Elliot…

There’s a man about Altadena who stands up and speaks out on all issues concerning not just this community, but life itself. Just yesterday my husband saw him picketing the war at Hill and Orange Grove. Sunday I was at his home (while the fire was going on but after I took pictures) discussing the charter schools operating at Edison Elementary. Who knows where he’ll be tomorrow. But earlier this month he was seen in the Star News, speaking up about an issue that is raising hell on the JPL campus, and I would assume at all NASA sites. Here’s a reprint of his letter. 

JPL’s background checks
Pasadena Star News 08/07/2007

Re the HSPD-12 and NASA Badging for JPL, “FBI clearance not enough for NASA’s new head”:

Ah, Oak Grove Park, and the calm greenery route to Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It lured me from Detroit to Altadena in 1967, when I joined the staff at JPL as an engineer. As I made my way through my 15 years to become a member of the technical staff, I increased my security clearance from “Secret” to “Top Secret Atomos,” or about as high a security clearance as you could get. My clearance was so high that, when JPL won a contract with the FBI to help automate their fingerprint process, I was given unescorted access to the entire building, including the highly secure computer center.

When we first received a grant from NATO to install videoconferencing, I was the only member of the JPL team given access to NATO’s base in Belgium for war games.

With that clearance on my badge, I proudly walked into JPL each morning, passing through the guards, wearing the badge next to my pocket protector and my Peace & Freedom political party pin. JPL and the FBI had checked me out, found that I was a member of a far-left-wing political party, attended meetings with the Black Panthers and Brown Berets, as well as meetings with the Altadena Sheriff’s Department and the Pasadena Police Department.

They knew that, in 1972, the Altadena Sheriff’s Department along with the American Legion named me “Altadena’s Man of the Year.” The sheriffs and American Legion did so knowing that I had a secret clearance and was a member of the Peace & Freedom Party, and had long hair. (I still had hair then.)

Not long after that, the Pasadena Police Department contracted with JPL to have me manage a study for them – P&F, hair, secret clearance and all. In 1981, I “retired” from JPL and founded my own company.

In getting my job at JPL, I went through the background checks, the clearance rituals, like virtually all of my colleagues who now have spent 25-35 years at JPL, taking us where “no man has gone” into outer space. Now, NASA men (and I am beginning to wonder if they’re from outer space) are asking my colleagues to go through background checks once again, and to provide personal information, which is frankly none of NASA’s business.

JPL has a brain trust that can never be replaced. The new head of NASA has neither brain nor trust.

Elliot M. Gold


Just as we got a change in weather, with moisture coming in from the last of Hurrican Dean, fire broke out in the foothills above Altadena. I heard the helicopters over my house while in the shower, a friend called to say she could see smoke from Pasadena, and I hopped in the car to get some shots. I have posted a couple dozen shots of the fire on my flickr account, photodebbik.

Death Valley-5

Here’s one…

The Sheriff and other helicopters were on this fire that started near the old Cobb Estate at the top of Lake (not sure how it started) and quickly ran up the ridge to the power lines.


Here we are, the world of bloggers at Singer Park. Can you identify anyone?

And do you understand the site we’re spoofing? If you know, send a comment!bloggers-unite.jpg

It sounded like a great idea — the United Nations Association presenting a speaker from Tree People at Altadena’s own great Coffee Gallery. Unfortunately, the evening was marred by broken technology and the speaker had to read from printouts of her Powerpoint presentation. And more unfortunately, she is apparently rather new with making presentations. For such a great cause , presentations should be dynamic and engaging — give the audience a feeling for what it’s like to plant trees, to be a part of the solution. But planting a tree just for the sake of it, isn’t always the right answer, either. I love trees, but how many wrong choices have been made by city planners, housing tract developers, etc.? In my area, the original developers seemed to have a penchant for planting one tree smack in the middle of the front yard. Trees that eventually grew to enormous proportions and had to be taken out or are still causing problems. I’ll post a few pics shortly. More info on this to come!

dsc_0357-016-1_edited-1web2.jpgJanet and John Reynolds awaiting the start of the showfolly-bowl-guests-2.jpg


Tonight, Aug. 18, 2007, was a glorious summer evening of poetry and the stylings of the every so lovely and unique Janet Klein in a small Altadena gathering of talent called “Folly Bowl.”

My pal Lizzie, a glorious landscaper and designer, brought me along to this special gathering, held near Rubio Canyon at one of the more astonishing homes of Altadena, complete with its own terraced amphitheatre. From the small stage, words sprang forth with joy, wicked glee, and depth from local writers and poets including J. Mark Beaver, who read several pieces including “What Jesus Owes Me” and “The Mystery Spot.” Claudia Handler read a few of her visually powerful and passionate pieces in Man’s and God’s humorous voices of disgust and regret. For example, God: “I shoulda quit with the insects…” They credited Laurel Ann Bogen, who was in the audience, for helping them develop as writers. Also on the bill was Michael C. Ford, Cynthia Carbone Ward, and S.A. Griffin. Emceeing the evening was Lizzie’s neighbor, D. Frank Culbertson, ie “Monty.”

I ran into a couple of writing pals including Altadena historian and town council member Michele Zack and her husband Mark, who serves on the Land Use Committee. And when Janet Klein, with only one of her usual Parlor Boys, John Reynolds, took the stage, the chanteuse had the picnicking crowd all to her own. She sang the tunes that are making her famous — naughty, fun ditties from the early 20th century, such as “If I Can’t Sell It, I’ll Keep Sitting On It,” Take Me Out For a Joyride, and a Jimmy Van Heusen song that Klein says got him expelled from high school in Syracuse, “My Canary Has Circles Under His Eyes.”

Reynolds’ grandmother was silent film star Zazu Pitts, and he says, “I look just like her if I dress up like a woman.” My, my. How does he know?

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I’ll be adding more links and info each week as the town of Altadena shapes itself for the 21st century, facing issues of development, crime, quality of life and more. I’m excited about covering as much as I can here.