Which is why some have a grievance with the tax beneficiaries currently enjoying positions of political privilege. It isn't so much the lack of gratitude that offends, because anyone who has achieved an emotionally stable adulthood does not waste a lot of time waiting for that. Rather it is when those who dwell within the taxpayer funded hothouse that provides them with a decently compensated living decide that they know better than those paying the bills. And then go off to do things that many feel are not really in our interest. Which is where we could very well be in Sierra Madre right now.
A good example would be the water rate hike currently being worked in Sierra Madre. Nobody I've spoken to wants it, and the revulsion seems almost universal. Yet the confidence shown by the City that they will be able to slip this by the residents approaches the serene. So much so that they have offered no compelling argument in favor of it, nor do they show any signs of attempting to do so until after the so-called protest period is over. Rather they apparently feel that they'll get what they want, and then use the money to accomplish development goals as they see fit, not us. Their accountability to those whose money they are spending being essentially nonexistent in this matter.
An example of this pristine indifference to the popular will was displayed by our highly compensated City Attorney Tuesday evening. Discussing the water rate hike with our City Manager during a meeting break, she was overheard as saying, "They'll never get the required signatures."
There is a group of folks in Monrovia who have come up with a compelling solution to the problem of faithless local government. Using runaway city employee pensions as a starting point, they are now in the process of getting something very interesting on the ballot there. Employee pensions apparently being as out of control in Monrovia as they are in many other places in this state, including Sacramento.
Here is how an article in today's Pasadena Star News tells the tale:
Group wants to abolish property tax in Monrovia and cut off funding for city employee pensions - A group of residents is pushing for a ballot measure that would abolish the city's decades-old property tax and effectively cut off funding of pensions for city employees. Retirement benefits in Monrovia are fully paid for by the city without any contribution from the employees, according to City Manager Scott Ochoa. Some residents want that practice stopped.
The group has drafted a petition and will soon gather signatures to get a measure on the next ballot eliminating the city's property tax, which contributes $4.2 million toward the city workers' pension plan. "With the current condition of the state of California and federal economies where people are struggling to find work, pay their mortgage and simply put food on their tables, it is unreasonable for the property owners of the City of Monrovia to continue to bear this financial burden which in no way benefits them or their families," reads the petition drafted and signed by John Jogminas, Kathryn Reece-McNeill, and Cyrus Kemp.
I guess the idea being if you can't control the beast, or get it to make wise decisions that are in the interest of those who sustain it, perhaps the best thing to do is what it fears the most. Starve the critter by denying it the tax money it lives on.
Certainly a successful ballot initiative ending property taxes here in Sierra Madre would effectively cripple any of the development initiatives currently being incubated by our new City Council. Or any of a number of other bad ideas, actually. If you ever wanted to put an end to government that believes it is beyond having to answer to its taxpayers, you couldn't find a more effective way of doing it.
Another item of interest here. One of the three people behind this move in Monrovia to put an end to squandered property taxes is a blogger. Cyrus Kemp is the longtime host of Monrovia City Watch. And while this worthy blog has been quiet as of late, it is good to see someone from our brotherhood of obsessed local news junkies taking on the malefactors in such a bold and hopefully effective way.