An open letter to Mike Mohill

Mr. Mohill,

In recent months you’ve published several of my comments in your newsletter. I would appreciate if you make clear to your readers your practice of copying my comments from the Nextdoor social media platform. You tend to represent comments made on social media as having been sent to your newsletter directly. It seems rather odd taking comments out of a conversational context to respond to them in your email where the public’s input is not an option. And, do you assume the same readers on social media are subscribers to your email? In your newsletter of August 25, 2021, you replied to a comment I made about Paula Devine.

You were doing fine with your routine responsive string of complaints (including Measure-S, CALPERS, etc.) until you got to this:

“Mr. Marks, you are very well known with your unconditional support of the woke council members Dan Brotman and Princess Paula Devine, regardless if they pull the wool over your eyes.”

It seems, Mr. Mohill, that you never miss an opportunity to make an error when you can make a phone call instead. Did you ask me if I had any conditions? Or did you just assume my support was “unconditional” so you could add filler to your sloppy writing? And, what does “woke” have anything to do with my comments regarding Paula Devine?

You’re always in such a hurry for a “gotcha,” that you dive into the pool without checking if there’s water in it first. I’ll provide a few quick examples of the repeated damage you inflict upon your credibility with lazy or non-existent fact checking:

  1. In October 2020, your lack of fact checking and attacks on City Treasurer, Rafi Manoukian, were so numerous that he had to write an entire entry about it on myglendale ( to address all of them.
  2. You thought you had the BIG SCOOP when you displayed a picture of Paula Devine posing at an event without a mask, claiming it was during the COVID-19 pandemic when masks were required. Though you found the image in December, 2020, you failed to recognize that the picture was taken on February 19, 2020, before masks were required anywhere in California.
  3. In July, 2021, you jumped to conclusions again while writing your race-baiting piece on executive director of the YWCA, Glendale and Pasadena, Tara Peterson. You attempted to characterize her as a Marxist, a member of the Black Lives Matter movement, and accused her of “building her little empire.” Peterson herself corrected your assumption, stating that she was not a member of BLM (but wouldn’t be ashamed to be one). Your proofreading was so bad, you couldn’t even name the Coalition for an Anti-Racist Glendale correctly, instead calling it “Coalition For Racist Glendale” (pathetic). Jessica First, President, YWCA Glendale and Pasadena also felt a need to defend Ms. Peterson, and to correct the factual errors you made about their organization.

Your attacks on Tara Peterson became so ugly, that I had to delete one of your posts at the Glendale City Government Watch Nextdoor group ( It’s something that I prefer to avoid, don’t do often, and apparently upset you greatly. If you post your race-baiting echo there again, I’ll delete that too. I once defended you as racially insensitive, not necessarily racist. I’ll have to rethink that.

Our differing views regarding race seem to have set the tone for your recent belligerent comments to me. Apparently I’m one of the “woke” crowd now because I deleted one of your ugly screeds. I find the term a bit fad-like and silly, but if it helps others identify in a way so they behave better toward one another, more power to them. “Woke” is not a meaningful label to me, and I don’t look for it in our public servants. Their good behavior, not labels, are what matter most. But don’t let facts keep you from crying “woke,” like a reflexive right-wing mouthpiece.

You also claimed that I have “unconditional” support for some public servants/politicians. That isn’t true, and it never will be. If fact-checking wasn’t beyond your ability, you would have asked first.

Here are my conditions anyway:

  1. Council Members must treat the members of the public that they serve respectfully.
  2. Council Members must perform their job for the benefit of the public without hidden agendas for special interests or self-interests.
  3. Council Members must display a level of competence that justifies their being on City Council.

Those conditions are not difficult to meet by council members who conscientiously do their job as the public expects. And they don’t require me to sling mud at every politician for the sake of hobby politics, or because they make a decision with which I don’t agree.

Political mudslinging may be your passion, Mike Mohill. Your slogan is “vote out the incumbents!” (perhaps because you’re not one). And you’ll complain until five ideological clones of yourself sit on City Council. – At least you’ll remain busy with the (thankfully) unachievable.

I don’t share your dislike of everyone in government, and hope to see only trustworthy people of good character doing their best at the dais, and in other offices. We have a few very good people on City Council now, and it can become even better. After meeting a very arrogant and corrupt City Council in 2019, the single exception being Paula Devine, I was happy to see the departure of two council members. One (Sinanyan) resigned, and the other (Gharpetian) was voted out of office in 2020.

I now write about some of the worst remaining City Council members (Najarian, Agajanian) as an alarm bell before our 2022 election. It’s our earliest chance to remove City Council members who game the system, make decisions to Glendale’s detriment, and delay progress.

Though we both write about local politics, the only thing we really have in common is our dislike of Councilmember Ara Najarian (who earned my opinion with his malfeasance, not from your writing). Let’s leave it at that.

Regarding the City Council members that you label as “woke”:

Dan Brotman is always responsive to communication. When I reach out to him, he provides an answer or connects me with someone who has one. I voted for him because he works for a Glendale future that will benefit my children. Whether that’s environmental improvement, or safer traffic conditions, he’s delivered and continues to do so. I look forward to working with him on achieving his “Vision Zero” plan to reduce/eliminate traffic injuries and fatalities in Glendale. Unlike you, he spends his time working to solve problems, not merely complaining about them. In the short time he’s been on City Council, he’s achieved far more for the quality of life in Glendale than you can lay claim to. Your claims that he’s part of a “progressive” conspiracy, or intends to make us look like “Communist China” are laughable and have no basis in reality. I look forward to the opportunity to vote for him again.

Paula Devine was there for me, my family, my neighborhood, and our city when we needed her most. She was the only one on the Council of 2019 who supported the Riverside Rancho in opposition to inappropriate developments (proposed condos at Silver Spur Stables, and the Victory Hotel in the center of the neighborhood). Whether I agree or not on a given issue, she makes her decisions with good reasoning and a sincere approach to finding solutions benefiting the public. She’s dignified and kind. Your intended insult portraying her as a “princess” is less effective than you may hope. There’s a reason she was the landslide winner of our 2020 election. Even one of my children included their picture together in her yearbook. So, Ms. Devine is liked by future voters too.

I don’t support them because they’re associated with “wokeness” or any other trendy political terminology. I support them because they’re good public servants.

Phillip Marks – Glendale City Government Watch




Author: GCGW admin

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