Mayor Joe Mosca is quoted today in an article in today's Pasadena Star News. Reflecting on the need for "investment," Joe said, "To those who think this is too expensive, it will be more expensive in the future if we do nothing now."
Correct me if I am wrong here, but isn't Mosca going into his fifth year on our City Council? Is this problem something that just happened? Did we suddenly discover that the pipes in question are from the 1920s? Was this a secret all along? And since the Department of Water has been doing patchwork on our pipes for years, why the sudden rush now? And if the danger is as great as has been said, is the sheer size of this increase a consequence of years of delay? If so, we're talking about something that our current Mayor bears full responsibility for, and needs to be called out on it next Tuesday night.
After being told for weeks that the rate hike was all about the need to repair broken water infrastructure and a new well, it was also revealed at the "Water Walk" by our Director of Finance that there are some issues regarding bond covenants from 1998 and 2003. And that unless we went for this rate hike we could be facing some unpleasant financial consequences for poor fiscal planning. Why is this information only coming out now? Isn't this just another instance of Sierra Madre's "lost million dollars" syndrome? Dark secrets from the past that suddenly float to the surface at the oddest of times?
There is also the issue of a complete accounting of just how this $18 million would be spent, and why that information was never delivered.
MaryAnn MacGillivray, also quoted in today's Pasadena Star News, made this observation: "I don't think the people of Sierra Madre are protesting the fact that we need money; they are protesting the way we are going about this." While I don't agree with former Mayor MacGillvray completely, her point about the lack of proper leadership is an important one. Instead of having this laid out in a straight forward and transparent way, we were fed a ration of scare tactics and "Chicken Little" style panic attacks that were both insulting and misleading. The people of Sierra Madre deserve so much better than that.
There is a 6:30PM public hearing at City Hall Tuesday evening. We need to all be there. This rate hike, as unfortunate as it is, is only one of the issues that needs to be brought up. Equally important is the failure of leadership we have seen from our City Council's longtime members. They were there when the bad decisions were made, and need to be called out for their bad faith.
Bonus Coverage: Amazing site that makes a clear connection between DSP development driven water demands and what we are seeing today. Click here.
Sunday Bonus Coverage: Interesting article on the Pasadena Crown City News site. Here's the lead in: Water Rates To Go Up To Fund Schools? The California legislature may vote as early as Monday on borrowing a percentage of property taxes from water and sewer districts to plug the state budget deficit as authorized under Prop 1-A (2004) when there is a declared "severe state fiscal hardship."
Sunday Bonus Coverage 2: Just in case you're wondering who really calls the shots in Sacramento, or how we got stuck with corporatist legislation like SB 375. San Francisco Chronicle: Lobbyists sponsor 39 percent of California bills. And then there is this. Oakland Tribune: How our laws are really made. It ain't just here in Sierra Madre. The rot in this state is from top to bottom.