Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Imperial City Council Gets Its Comeuppance

"They'll never get the signatures." - Sandy Levin

If there is one thing that distinguishes this City Council from the previous it's that the present incarnation seems to believe they know better than the people of Sierra Madre. And rather than inviting the taxpayers in to discuss matters of real concern (like taking more of their money), it seems like this City Council's belief is that they are the ones who will decide everything, and few amongst the residents will have either the will or the wit to contest their pronouncements.

However, that rather presumptuous belief seems to have all come crashing down last night. Because in what must have stunned certain members of our City Government, the citizens of this town, armed with Proposition 218, rose up and performed an almost impossible task. That being they turned in 1,941 signed rate payer protest forms contesting the City Council imposed 40% Water Rate Hike. Something that our highly compensated City Attorney, a leading legal expert on all things Prop 218, said could never be done.

The highlight of the evening was the public comments. And for once Mayor Mosca allowed people the time to fully speak their minds. The result was rewarding and at times surprising observations from some very astute and motivated people. Here are some of the observations that I thought were among the best:

Tracy Thompson spoke about how people on fixed incomes would be the ones who would really suffer from the 40% water rate hike. And that people were very upset this City Council would consider such increases in what is a terrible economy. This became a theme that others picked up on as well.

Ed Vanderpool gave some members of the Council (especially the Mayor) a history lesson on just how business had traditionally been done in Sierra Madre. That being funds paid by the citizens for water, rather than being used for infrastructure work that would have saved us from much of what is going on now, were spent on things such as fire trucks and parks. Mayor Mosca contested this, something that clearly shows he has some glaring gaps in his knowledge of this town. If you go to yesterday's post on this blog and click on the Los Angeles Times article linked near the top of the page, you will see some very clear proof of everything Ed was talking about.

Caroline Brown came up with what I thought was the quote of the night. "You can't make a City solvent by making its citizens insolvent." She also noted how some of our most vulnerable residents were terrified by the hike, and told her of their fear that this might be only the beginning of a process that would economically force them out of Sierra Madre.

David Darbyshire brought up first what was to become another theme for the evening. That being City Hall was careless and dismissive about the job they were supposed to do in explaining what this water rate hike was all about. That no ballot was sent by the City to the rate payers in its mailed literature seemed as if it was done by design. Rather than offering people the tools they needed to make the right decision, the City opted to do legal bare minimum required in hopes that only a few would know what to do.

Pat Alcorn called for a new beginning. It is her opinion that the City should issue instructions to its consultant to humbly rework its formulas in a way that reflects the fact that over 50% of the rate payers in town stood up and protested their previous handiwork.

Jim Engle, who spoke about an issue I have discussed here, took a strong stance on behalf of this City's very large senior population. With something like 1,000 senior couples living on fixed incomes in Sierra Madre, who would profit should life for this segment of the population become impossible here? Gentrification, the economically engendered removal of a distinct group within a community's population in order to redevelop the resulting vacated property for profit (which in this case would be $10s of millions of dollars), could very well become of real concern here if such rate hikes are implemented. Jim also asked how Councilmembers Buchanan, Mosca, Walsh, and Moran could actually state that they were "comfortable" with this hike when so many of their fellow Sierra Madreans would suffer. How out of touch with their constituents are they?

De Alcorn told the City Council that they need to listen to those who protested this large rate hike. Business owners, landlords, and residents alike all found reasons to sign protest papers and send them in to the City. Certainly the Council and City Staff can realize that this protest was the direct result of their failure to properly communicate real issues. You can't expect to get money from people here by merely trying to scare them. Chicken Little doesn't fly in this town.

Bill Coburn gave a very complete report on the concerns of this City's business community. He also raised the specter that the unique mix of independent shops we find in Downtown Sierra Madre could become a thing of the past should this radical hike be instituted. Something that would harm Sierra Madre's claims to having a small city charm.

Derrick Bush stepped up to give a thoroughly damning appraisal of the tier system. He found it puzzling in that it seemed designed to punish those who conserve water while letting the big users off the hook with a substantial percentage break. He concluded that the obvious moving force behind this tier system was generating income rather than conservation. Something that is a serious slap in the face to the green pretensions of certain City Councilmembers.

Fay Angus, with her usual gracious style and eloquence, proclaimed that the best source of water conservation is recycled water. She has long been an advocate for the use of "grey water" for things such as taking care of plants and cleaning cars, and this was the perfect venue for continuing that dialog. She also thanked the many people who stepped up and informed the residents of their options with these issues. In the process taking on a role that should have been performed by City Hall. She described this situation as the result of "an appalling lack of communication from the City." Fay also took up the issue of how seniors would have been affected by the hike. Describing her generation as being "a proud one," Fay stated she would rather go thirsty than face the humiliation of having to go to City Hall and show her income tax filings in order to get a rate cut.

Wade Bonds had the second best quote of the night when he said that he is not opposed to the City getting more money, he just didn't want them to get it from him. Wade, like many people struggling to make ends meet in this terrible economy, is just sick of all the nickle and diming. "Where is Robin Hood?" he asked. "All I see on this City Council is the Sheriff of Nottingham." He also mentioned that he had been congratulating those in the crowd who claimed they didn't mind having to pay more money.

Carol Parker described some of her experiences on the streets going door to door to get signatures for the water protest. Nobody worked harder than she did to make last night's victory happen. Some of the things Carol observed in people she visited was the confusion many felt over this poorly designed initiative. The City, if it was sincere in its claims for needing more water money, should have had sense enough to invite Sierra Madre in.

One more (slightly ominous) thing ..

At the end of this meeting the acting City Attorney said that the protest won't officially be declared victorious until all of the water protest forms are properly examined. With nearly 100 more than what is needed to stop the rate hike, I don't think there is much to worry about. However, if City Hall does manage to throw out enough protest forms to take this resident victory away, there will be some considerable anger in this town.

The good news is there's a remedy should this occur. The protest process that we all just went through is not the only solution available through Proposition 218. We could, if we had to, then turn our grievance into an initiative and put it on the ballot. This would involve us going out for signatures again, but we know how to do that. It would also cost the City a substantial amount of money, and things could get very contentious here, but it is an option that Prop 218 provides to people facing such a predicament.

Let's just hope the City doesn't force us down that path.


  1. Thank you once again for your fine coverage of tonight!

    There were many volunteers who worked VERY VERY hard to make all of this happen. We all walked, phoned and stood together to get the signatures for this PROTEST.

    I did NOT want to take credit for being the one who worked the hardest to make this happen. I was only one person in the wheel to create this fabulous group of volunteers who worked together for SIERRA MADRE.

    This was a great City Council meeting. May we continue to work together, and have transparency.

    Thank you to all the FABULOUS volunteers I have the pleasure of working with. You are indeed a gift in my life.

  2. Kudos to the team of volunteers who gathered the protest letters while educating the public of this very important issue. I truly didn't think it could be done in such a short period of time. As one of the speakers said, the process "was like poking a stick into a hornets nest", and boy did the hornets swarm.

  3. Great job!

    This ain't no secret ballot -- before the City Attorney throws out a single protest (i.e. turns a no vote into a yes vote) just call'em up and ask what they want. It's real easy to determine the intent of the voter in this election. This ain't Florida 2000.

  4. And even if the City Attorney somehow manages to throw out enough votes -- the Gang of 4 would be just asking to be recalled if they ignored more voters than any candidate got in the last election and barreled ahead with the rate increase. I mean how stupid can they be?

    Oh, wait a minute...

  5. I, for one, would like to commend Councilwoman, Macgillvary for always speaking so honestly and intelligently. It made me chuckle when Councilwoman, Walsh, said "I don't have that much too say" when following Macgillvary, then went on to still support the rate increase!! Hello, what planet does she live on? A majority of citizens have spoken...why are they still not listening??

  6. Nancy Walsh, though having precious little to add herself, still seemed fully convinced that she and her co-conspirators know what is best for all. All it would take is for them to educate us. Imperial City Council indeed.

  7. Just to reiterate what happened with this resolution because if it got approve the residents have 10 days to contest it...again no absolute power in the hands of the city manager to decide what kind of piping and repair (fConsent Calendar Item #8: This one might be a big bad wolf in little sheep's clothing. Which could be why it was saved for last. Entitled "Reaffirmation Of City Council Action Of July 9, 2010 Regarding Emergency Waterline And Street Repairs On Sierra Madre Blvd.," what this could mean is empowering the City Manager to continue spending some serious cash on Eyewitless News's favorite SGV sinkhole. If so, it needs to be rejected. The $35,000 spent last Friday was necessary, but any further spending at that level should not be automatically authorized just because meeting in emergency session interferes with someone's social life. Each instance needs to be considered as a unique event. We should never want to see that level of spending being authorized by anyone but elected officials, and in an open sessionor development) go on Sierra Madre Blvd.

  8. Democracy works.

  9. Nancy Walsh, as part of her 'not having much to say' wanted to let the "confused" rate payer know that they could look on their water bill for the tier they were in. Excuse me, Nancy, that is not possible as there is no tier in place now--it is being proposed. Maybe you were thinking about the meter size--but no, that is not called out on the bill now--you have to call the water department and ask them what your meter size is. It has yet to be explained why you should have higher rates for larger meter diameters. Shouldn't it be the amount of the product that you pay for (water) no matter the size of the meter it is passed through? Better you follow up your initial statement of not having much to say and say nothing!

  10. Nancy's claim that she lives on a fixed income was in bad tatse. Obviously her fixed income is several strata above that of many other retirees. And her dismissive notion of holding "lunch and learn" sessions for seniors was demeaning. Read between the lines and it was her "let them eat cake" moment.

  11. Take the concrete cover off of your in-ground water meter and read the meter size on the gauge. You might have to clean the gauge up a bit...

  12. I would like to thank the ladies who devoted their time and energy to saving our city from this rate hike. I do not know their names, but their dogged pursuit of signatures stopped this silly rate hike cold. More importantly, it will serve as a governor on the big spending/big development ways of our big energy lawyer kingpins - Mayor Joe Mosca and John Buchannan.

    Thanks again ladies, Rick De La Mora.

  13. Tired of others spending my moneyJuly 14, 2010 at 8:36 AM

    Paul Hovosepian had a lot of nerve telling people the rate increase was a good thing. The man lives in his elderly mother's home purchased in the early 1970's. He pays no rent. Property taxes are less than $600 a year. Yeah he can afford to pay extra for water, UUT, Measure CC. He has NOOOOOO expenses like the rest of us who have mortages, children, and real property taxes. Hey Paul, Laurie Cooper, Mr Keith and Nancy Walsh if it is such a great thing, why don't you write an extra check every month to the city to help out??? Put your money where your mouth is. (By the way it was Laurie Cooper who wanted the city to pay the bill for getting rid of her goffers. LOL)

  14. It is a very bad sign when a representative body does not protect the folks of modest income in a community, when a modest income neighborhood is targeted for 'upgrading', when $120 more a year is presented as insignificant to one and all, when one old gal who is nicely set up assumes all the other old gals are too.
    Who are these people??

  15. It's a management issue.
    Our city finances have been mismanaged for a long time.
    My kids could have done a better job after they studied econ in high school.

  16. who's the real liarJuly 14, 2010 at 8:58 AM

    What did Susan Henderson call the 1,941 protesting citizens?

  17. I think joe mosca calls them homophobes.

  18. That tier system idea has got to go.
    It's just consultantese anyway.
    Inman already said it makes people conserve at first, but then wears off.
    Some boilerplate bad idea that we bought with that undisclosed amount of money.
    And how many times does a councilmember have to ask how much that study cost us......

  19. What did the Water Consultant cost? Can we get a refund for a bad idea?

  20. There must be a magic number 9:09. Maybe the council person has to ask 5 times, and do a jig.

    Or maybe the water study bill was misplaced.

  21. To add to handsome Rick's nice comment at 8:33......

    John Crawford and Derek Bush.....thanks for all the signatures you boys hustled up.
    Thanks to all the walkers, there were teams of them who delivered our message door to door.
    Thanks to Ivette and Melissa who again, pulled another all-nighter, vetting signatures, along with Saint Nancy.
    I guess I should thank the city staff who did an all nighter with finally earned your salary.

    Thanks to all the speakers at city council last night, even you few people who spoke up for the unfair tax stood out like sore thumbs for the fools and spokes people for over development of the BIA and the CAR... you are.
    Especially, you, Nancy need to resign or shut up. You are one of the biggest fools I've ever seen on the city council.

    To Bill just moved up in class last night. Never thought I'd be able to say that. Thanks.

  22. Nancy nor Roger are able to see "the big picture" when it comes to all the people in this community. They forget about some of the very low income. Living in Sierra Madre those are the people you cannot help but notice, they are part of our character. Take off your rose-colored glasses.

  23. Pros and Cons is what a public hearing is all about. Thanks to the people who were for the water rate to take the time to come to the Council meeting and give us all some good information. The Council deserves to hear all of the citizen's point of view. Thanks too, to everyone who worked so tirelessly to get the required number of signatures for a protest, to those who spoke in protest, and especially Mary Ann MacGillivray for being the only council member to represent the People of Sierra Madre.
    She listened, she heard and clearly spelled out what could be done to remedy the situation.

  24. PSN article just hit the net:

    Proposed Water Rate Hike Seems Headed For Defeat In Sierra Madre

  25. THANK YOU MARY ANNJuly 14, 2010 at 9:52 AM

    The only person on the City Council who was elected and works for the people is MaryAnn

    Keep watching citizens. She said:
    "If it is 100 votes or 1940 votes we have to listen and do something."

    She is the only city council person who responded to the PEOPLE's PROTEST!!

  26. Congratulations all you hard working volunteers, you guys truly are the heart of the town.
    The 5 people sitting up front, need to start listening to the people, and stop acting like a group of "party functionaries".
    My gut tells me;
    Thomas Jefferson would be smiling today.

  27. For those of you who stuck around last night after the Council meeting...

    The City Manager claimed that she has the right to verify all of the protests.

    In point of fact and as articulated by Nancy Shollenberger at at the Council Meeting, it is Ms. Shollenberger as our duly elected City Clerk that has that responsibility.

    Only Nancy can verfiy the results!

  28. Last night should have happened many many many tines.'

    Nothing is more important than open, honest communication between people. In this case the City and her people. By not opening up a forum such as this with distinguished people to answer questions and to voice opinions, there is no starting point to begin the process of understanding anyting about WHY and WHERE money is being spent.

    There are many other issues which are left unanswered: the sewer? Are those pipes going to be part of the repair? Are they as old and rotted and considered the same "pipes?"

    This is another interesting blank hole I could not answer door to door.

  29. P.S., Keep the faith, Maryann

  30. Paul Hovosepian has something rambling to say about everything and has been one of those guys who show up to Council meetings just to hear himself speak, go home and watch himself over and over and marvel at himself, tries to sound informed but makes stupid contridicting points or blabbers on about nothing.

    I always hit mute when he comes to the podium.

    He makes Bill Tice sound eloquent and concise.

  31. John and Joe were doing damage control last night. Don't believe a word they say.

  32. The City's Guidelines are clear that only Nancy can tabulate and validate the results.

  33. How much you wanna bet that Buchanan and Mosca are combing through the protest forms to find errors?

    We've elected four blooming idiots who actually believe that they are smarter and more knowledgeable than you or I.

    Of course Buchanan Mosca and Moron are comfortable with the water tax hike. It will allow for a infrastructure for development that benefits their respective employers or personal or family business interests and therefore benenfit themselves.

    Ms. Walsh is laughable and really shouldn't speak. The old saying, "It's easier to remain silent and thought a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt" applys to Walsh.

    1,941 signatures could easily equate to over 3,000 voters, if a single signature represents a household or business.

    That's a pretty resounding defeat for Mosca, Buchanan, Moran and Walsh.

    Hopefully the petition carriers verfied that the signatures are valid for this petition.

  34. You have got to be kidding!. Now the City Manager -- who does the City Council's bidding -- is trying to verify the results!!!!

  35. 10:31. Let them comb. The Guidelines the Council approved charge Nancy Shollenberger and not individual Council Members with validating the protests.

  36. 10:25, I stopped believing anything Joe said a few years ago when he lied to me about his vision for Sierra Madre.

    John, never had any trust in the guy, reminds me of a sleazy overbearing windbag. Like Joe, he also moved into town and immmediately started immersing himself into volunteering and politics.

    Both speak on behalf of their employers when it comes to anything having to do with devleopment.

    I could't believe anything Moran says also after he called for a boycott of Sierra Madre businesses a few years ago when a local paper ran editorials in favor of Measure V. Plus, he peddles loans and his Mom is a realtor, go figure his agenda.

    Mrs. Walsh, jeez, what can you say about her? She keeps embarrasing herself and the city everytime she speaks.

  37. signature gathererJuly 14, 2010 at 10:36 AM

    For the future? More people to actually take action would be great.

  38. A couple of thoughts on the ending of the Water Rate Increase discussions last night. Mayor Mosca was insistent that we immediately get the rate increase proposal going because of the dire consequences if we dallied too much.

    ONE, Rather than rush into a new proposal, take a little time to let the "water settle" and get resident input on ideas.

    TWO, It was suggested that "education on the proposal" was the reason it failed. Wrong! Education of a bad idea would not have propeled it forward.

    THREE, The Council seemed to miss the point that it was a lack of transparency and the deceite behind the "non vote is a yes vote" that sank the initiative. The whole process was seriously flawed.

    FOUR, If future development is needed, (and there is ample evidence that "eye sores" need attention), that water infrastructure should come as a cost to the developer not a cost to the residents.

    FIVE, Coupled with a rate increase a very defined prioritized list of needs must be prepared and presented, with cost estimates and expensed against water income revenues. (None of the 18 million "kitty" should ever be mentioned again) That smacks of disorganization and lazyness. Get the 10 million Fed Money if possible but it must be transparent.

    P.S. Someone needs to take our Legal Counsel to the woodshed and make the point that it is the residents of Sierra Madre (not the City Council) that pay their Fees and that their counsel should take that into account. Their counsel as evidenced last night was cynical and biased to a forgone conclusion not a balanced effort to inform and advise. As lawyers they are suspect.

  39. If Elaine Aguilar goes to the mat on this verification thing, and Sandy Levin suddenly shows up to try and rip the protest forms from Nancy, then we will know that this really was a BIA/CAR (etc) operation all along.

  40. I was sort of surprised to hear Bill Coburn speak out against the tax increase. Probably floored Buchanan and Mosca who thought they had him in their right pocket.

    Why didn't Susaan Henderson show up and speak. Pretty cowardly of her to hide behind her rabid rants of calling us "freeloaders" and 2nd class citizens in her puke laden editiorials, but she can't show up to a council meetings and do it to our face?

    I'm heading downtown to pick up a handful of her papers and toss them away in my recycle.

  41. The Gang of Four City Council is an occupation government.

  42. where's the moneyJuly 14, 2010 at 10:46 AM

    On all those charts that were outside city hall last night, I didn't see any CONSULTANT FEES.
    The water study cost how much - and who was it really for?
    City Hall has been wasting our money to a shocking degree. It's be nice to get back the quarter of a million plus spent on the dead dsp.
    Maybe we can let go of some staff to make up for all the losses due to consultants fees.

  43. Congratulations to all for obtaining the required number of protests....I can't recall this ever happening in Southern California before! Kudos to the hard work and effort, however I suspect the real battle is about to begin....I have little doubt that the "city" will try to invalidate a number of signatures and put the number of protests below the required threshold.

    Good luck and good work!

  44. Henderson is too clever a con to walk into a crowd that she knows she has lost.
    We can only hope that her intentionally twisted editorial on this issue helped more people open their eyes.

  45. Great idea 10:46!!!! For every consultant hired, let go of staff!!!!

  46. The city staff makes a better income than many of the residents.
    They won't take our money seriously, so we have to.

  47. City Hall is a hothouse for exotic vegetation. They would be aghast if they were to suddenly have to face the kinds of challenges many of us deal with on a daily basis.

  48. I have lived here for 12 years, and know that every other speech John Buchanan and his buddies make is a threat of imminent disaster - the water system, the library, the whole downtown - bad things are coming.
    I voted for him for his first term, but Mr. Buchanan has lost all credibility.

    If the city is lurching from crisis to crisis, something is wrong with the management of the city.

    Doesn't take a genius to figure that out.

  49. actions, not wordsJuly 14, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    Someone literate, help me out on this. There's a saying about you can tell how civilized a society is by how they treat the vulnerable - the old, the orphans, the poor.
    Looks like there's a part of SM that's not civil-ized no matter what they say

  50. The "regime" had better go with the will of the people or there may just be a revolt.
    Didn't a town east of here, was it West Covina" storm their city hall and demand the city council leave their chairs?

    If we have to go door to door again for a petition to get this on the ballot, every single canvasser will be toting 4 additional recall petitions.....Recall Buchanan, Recall Mosca, Recall Moran and Recall Walsh, we may as well kill two birds with one stone.

    if they try to trash these letters.....the public in mass numbers will call Nancy and ask if she has their name on the official list of qualified water customers.....if even one was "accidently" trashed by city hall and didn't get to Shollenberger.....I'll let you figure what's going to happen, Gil.
    Stay tuned, it will be fun to watch. I know if you lived in Sierra Madre, you would be marching with us.

  51. Even IF the city invalidates the petition numbers, they would be fools to proceed with the reading of the ordinance. The people have spoken, and if anyone besides MaryAnn was listening last night they know they should not push this rate through

  52. Buchanan has lost all credibility? When did Buchanan ever have any credibility?

  53. Buchanan's time in office has been riddled with disasters. Last night was not out of character for him.

  54. Lunch and Learn with Nancy Walsh? What an appetite suppressant!

  55. Sad to say, Buchanan had enough credibility to get elected twice.
    And get ready for him to be your mayor next.
    The return of Mayor Smut.

  56. My favorite quote of last night's meeting, July 13, 2010.

    "You can't make a City solvent by making its citizens insolvent."

    Caroline Brown (Canyon Zone Committee member, Fire Safe Council member, Mountain Conservancy leader,Tree Commisssion member, Friend of Sierra Madre RESIDENTS).

    Those wise words not only fit Sierra Madre, but fit California, the United States of America and the entire world!

  57. Well done fellow citizens.

    Re: People being driven out of town. This is a specific intention of Bart Doyle who was heard to complain several years ago about how some people who have lived in their homes for a long time and who have low taxes are freeloaders. He has determined that these people should be replaced with people who purchased at current values and thus pay greater taxes under the Prop. 13 scheme. So, it is not your imagination.

    I do not begrudge the city its money spent on parks or fire trucks. I do begrudge the city the money it has spent on unsupported developments and lawsuits designed to create an environment safe for development. I can easily account for about $1 million in bogus lawsuit defense and more if you count DSP money, etc. Watch out!! It's happening again right now. Pay attention to your general plan process, it's about to be hijacked right from under your noses.

    We have every reason to feel outraged. Probably the most outrageous part of this whole proposal was the notion that the City was going to improve the prospects for development on the backs of its own citizens. These people are not your friends.

  58. Thank you to everyone who signed a letter, carried a petition door to door, protested in Kersting Court, sat at tables at Albertsons and the donut shop, made phone calls, sent emails, posted on the Tattler, gave money for supplies, printed information, stuffed, stamped and mailed letters, spoke to friends, family, businesses and neighbors, and spoke at city council meetings.....THEY THOUGHT THEY HAD US BEAT BUT WE SHOWED THEM.

  59. Thanks, Dr. Staccato at 1:08.

    Least we forget who we are dealing with.

    We do have a large (and growing larger) group of dedicated activists who care as you do for Sierra Madre. I know you're proud of us and that means a lot.

  60. I sure hope some of this discussion makes it into real decisions.

  61. 1:41 They will if we stay motivated, work hard,
    and continue to get in City Hall's face. We
    can run this town. And we should because we
    pay the bills. But when people get lethargic
    and don't care, that is when the bad people
    take over. The result being things like 40% water rate hikes.

  62. If you thought 40% water bill hike was unacceptable, Bad Karma what about the fact that only 20% of the city council (her Honor MacGillivray) represents the majority of residents, who sadly forgot or were too complacent to go vote last April and voted in the 3 very poor candidates who are no more than puppets for the BIA and the CAR and Sacramento special interest crooks and bums!

    For two tough years 2006 and 2007 we had 40% of the city council representing 60% of the voters/residents. Don and Kurt still managed with the help of the people to pass Measure V.
    In 2008 and 2009 we had 60% of the council representing 60% of the residents. That's the way it should be!
    They accomplished a ton of good.
    The voters got lazy, didn't go to the polls...and the bad people got back in.
    Now we only have her Honor MaryAnn MacGillivray to speak for us on the council.
    Fortunately, for her Honor and for us, we now have our 60% majority of "awakened giants" back. The bad gang of 4 and their crooked handlers underestimated us, again.

  63. I agree with Dr. S. about the hijacking of the General Plan.
    Talk about the need for citizen input.
    And the council wants to control every bit of it.
    Anybody doubt that they want to make it more developer friendly?

  64. This water thing isn't over yet. They'll be back because they have to. No way you can build a BIA Candyland with the water infrastructure we have now. They won't stand for this kind of failure from their special boys.

  65. I went to Albertson's and a woman asked me if I knew about the Water Rate Hike. I knew nothing and was astounded.

    Now I know about this and have watched the council meeting last night. She also informed me about this website to get "another point of view."

    Thank all of you for taking the time to stand up and speak out for those of us who do not know.

  66. Thank you, 2:27

    Welcome to the board, here. We welcome all, we have lots of Sierra Madre folks, also many of our Tattler posters are from Pasadena, Arcadia, Monrovia, Temple City and El Monte, some from out of the SGV.

    John Crawford doesn't always tell the folks what they want to hear, but he always tell us the truth. Denial is a comfortable place to dwell, but it isn't exactly the most intgrous position to have, bad things can and do happen when people don't pay attention.

    Again, welcome to the board, please post often.

  67. Dear Tattlers, Just a note to some folks who aren't getting posted lately. Apparently the blog service is owned by google and have been experiencing problems with comments and comment counts since July 6, they say they are working on the problem.

    Also I made two comments on the water hike story in the Pasadena Star News this morning someone else made a comment about reading the tattler, they have replaced that story with an almost identical story that has two comments. So the juicy ones are on the first story. You know how those Rothchild advised papers are

  68. Sir Eric does not seem to have many fans in the print media.

  69. Prop 218 was never meant to give the voters a voice in rate/fees/or assessment increases. Getting 50% + 1 of the water users to formally protest is impossible in 99.99% of the cities in California. Our city was confident the task could not be done as voiced by the city attorney. The city staff will try to take over the verification process which legally belongs to the City Clerk. They knew a 15% increase was over the top but the odds were in their favor. Unfortunately now they will come back with something less (still more than they need) and the people will take it as a win. Just like with the DSP saying 4 stories at first and then lowering it to 3. This is only the beginning. Joe's street, landscaping, and lighting bonds are next.

  70. I heard someone say today that this is the first time anywhere people challenged a water rate hike under Prop 218 and won. Is this for real? If so, Sierra Madre made some real history!


    finally the two pompous mental dwarfs got put in their place

    both Mosca and Buchanan were putting their employer's interests and personal agenda over those of the city citizen and their scam about this tax increase wasn't about sinkholes etc, it was about building a infrastructure that benefits the developers at the projects that are still looming

    and party boy Josh Moran is all about how to help a new market for home loans and his Mommie's real estate sales commissions as a Councilman. heaven knows he hasn't been prepared once and makes lame quips and grandiose claims of importance in the community

  72. won't Joe Mosca just do us all a favor and move away?

    if he takes Buchanan with him that'd be a plus

    we are going to have to fight like this as long as those two are on the Council

    didn't I hear that Mrs. Walsh wasn't to agendize a discussion on giving a proclamation to the Square Dancing Association of San Gabriel Valley?

  73. Sierra Madre residentJuly 14, 2010 at 5:07 PM

    Getting that many signatures in that short a time was a hard effort. Required intense dedication.
    For a much larger population, it would be close to impossible, because so few people are willing to get informed, GET OUT AND GET ACTIVE.
    Irony intended.

  74. What happened with the emergency meeting resolution?? Did that get shelved too? That was the one that gave Elaine Aguilar absolute power to go over the $35,000 cap limit and make decisions on repairing Sierra Madre Blvd.
    No one person should have that power and any repairs need to be addressed one at a time and approved through council and public imput. This will give the manager a way to go after other funds to repair the piping and wouldn't you know it will be 4 inch instead of 2 inch which will accomodate the build out and the requirement for fire sprinklers.

  75. The replay should be on channel 3 tonight, starting at 5:30 - but then again, you never know.

  76. The cities water consultant:

    City of Sierra Madre - Federal Program Support Services
    City of Sierra Madre

    Federal Program Support Services 2009

    Bucknam & Associates is providing comprehensive Program Management Support to the City on it s ongoing federal water resource programs, including consultation on federal program authorization and appropriation requests through the USEPA and the US Army Corps of Engineers programs.

    City of Sierra Madre - Water Rate Analysis
    City of Sierra Madre
    Water Rate Analysis 2009

    The Firm is currently working with the City to prepare a Water Rate Analysis to update its 2005 Water Rate Analysis.

    This firm also did the Miramonte Reservoir study.So why did Kurt, MaryAnne Don W. not know this bond was coming due with this consultant firm doing our water study twice. Wouldn't it be Bruce Imans job and the finance director to keep the council and the city abreast of this.

  77. Bruce kept it quiet because Kurt, Don, and Maryann would have never allowed the city to try an ram rod this huge increase on the residents. Bruce waited until the new guard was in place. Then they all counted on not being able to get the number of NO protest letters.

  78. Ahh yes. The Shenanigan Years are back.

  79. On the Bucknam website, they list three water rate analysis projects, us, Norwalk and Pico.
    Be interesting to compare the studies, to see if there were just three variations on a theme.
    Tier 'em in Sierra Madre, tier 'em in Norwalk, and tier 'em in Pico.

  80. So Joe M. and his dream (or is it nightmare) team want to tackle lighting and street assessments next..they also apply to Prop. 218......

    Proposition 218 also applies to "benefits assessments," "special assessments" and "maintenance assessments," affecting street lighting and landscaping districts, landscape maintenance assessment districts and other assessment districts. In California, property has been assessed for a variety of things such as parks, playgrounds, street lighting, sidewalks, rapid transit, flood control, libraries, police and fire services. Local governments have created assessment districts to levy such assessments. In 1992, the California Supreme Court ruled that Proposition 13 was not intended to limit traditional benefit assessments and thus upheld the validity of a city's special assessment for park maintenance under the Landscaping and Lighting Act of 1972.[fn. 7]

    Approval. New notification and election procedures are required for the approval of new assessments and property related
    fees or increases in existing assessments and fees.
    For assessments, this includes a mail ballot to all affected property owners and required approval of property owners
    representing at least 50 percent of the total assessment
    value. In the case of fees, if the proposed fee or increase is
    not rejected by a majority of property owners in written
    protests, it needs approval in an election by either (a) a majority of property owners, or (b) two-thirds of all voters.
    Property-related fees for water, sewer and refuse collection do not require voter approval.

  81. We are most definitely not done with this Council's shenanigans. I agree, PLEASE GET ACTIVE. There are too few people trying to do so much. Come to the next Council meeting, July 27. I guarantee there will be more on the water, and more shenanigans with the General Plan Steering Committee. It doesn't do any good to stay at home and yell at the TV--the Council needs to know we ARE paying attention.

  82. I got a signature from a resident who moved into his new home 5 days before. He knew nothing. I wonder who the listing agent was? Disclosure???

  83. Good to see the Kersting Court "Protest the Water Hike" ladies in the KC this afternoon with a single sign:


    Lots of people honked, waved and were cheering the victory.
    Nice to recognize the people who sent in letters.

  84. so Susan Henderson believes that 1,941 citizens of Sierra Madre are freeloaders?

    maybe 1,941 citizens will pick up her paper from around town and toss it in the trash where Henderson's opinions and hateful rants belong - in the garbage.

    why in the world would brainless Joe and John now want to push a landscape agenda? the city is already looking for volunteers to maintain the cutouts and the city can't afford to maintain what we've got now.

    where is the logic of Mosca and Buchanan?

    It's up their rear ends.

  85. Remember who signed your NO letters because 6:06 is right. Lighting, landscaping, and street repairs will be the next Prop 218 NO protest.

    Too bad Joe, if you try it you will loose again.

  86. The arrogance and greed of the over-development group: ie:Joe, John, josh, nancy and bart has awakened a sleeping giant....the previously complacent non-voting residents.
    The "dirts" will no longer be able to fool the people anymore.

  87. The people in City Hall, Bruce Inman and Co now need to send out a letter to EVERY WATER PAYING CUSTOMER explaining that PROP 218 did not pass due to the volunteers who walked around and got the 50% plus one protest signatures as required by Law. This should also be put up on the C of SM Web Page so that everyone can see that there is indeed increased communication and last night there was sincere listening and understanding.

    Next, Together, with some volunteers from the Community, another letter needs to be drafted as to how the city is going to proceed with the next step and how the people will be fully informed as to the water hike and how the money will be spent, and the accounting will be done. It should haave transparency on the web-site.

    There should be banners put up on Baldwin as to when and where the meetings will be held and there must be MORE meetings so that everyone in town KNOWS and has as many opportunities as possible to listen, learn and ask questions.

    We cannot allow any more Prop 218 thinking or applications, EVER EVER EVER.

    The more I think about this speedy deal, and how seriously we all protested, the more evident it is that there must be DEMANDS that City Hall TELL US EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING.

    The pipes will be repaired. The people will pay when they know what they are paying for and why.
    The City is going to have to do double time to gain the trust they lost.

  88. Susan is just another Bart DoyleJuly 14, 2010 at 8:14 PM

    Thank you 7:40

    Maybe everyone will veto Susan Henderson.
    It is time she got seen as the aarogant and cruel person she is. How dare she assume that being agaiinst a water rate means you are a

    FREELOADER. Only she knows what it is to
    steal and freeload.

    There is another citizen who has lied to the people enough.

  89. Proposition 218 is a good thing and where there didn't use to be a majority protest or a way to stop a rate hike it provided at least one way for the citizens to overturn a rampant governing body.

  90. The truth of the matter is how can the residents of Sierra Madre ever trust this new council on anything anymore. Coming out of the gate they have endeavored to deceive their public. Oh course Joe Mosca started with his lie about slow growth and the Downtown Specific Plan.

  91. I nominate Jim Engel and Ed Vanderpool to the citizens' oversite committee on any and all water department finances.

  92. Add to that list Derek Bush.

  93. lifelong canyoniteJuly 14, 2010 at 10:00 PM

    "watching said...

    I nominate Jim Engel and Ed Vanderpool to the citizens' oversite committee on any and all water department finances."

    I nominate you to give up your lawn and start conserving water.

  94. Enjoy your pipe, LC.

  95. LC, what makes you think I have a lawn?