Thursday, July 22, 2010

Residents Enraged At Being Cheated Out Of Their Right To Pay More For Water

(Ed: Today's post is an attempt at anticipating this weekend's Looney Views News article on the water rate protest count. You know it's going to be the usual angry indignation, coupled with predictable hysteria and ad hominem attacks, so it shouldn't take too much crystal ball gazing to get a good read on this one. Here is our attempt at peering 3 days into the future.)

Residents Enraged At Being Cheated Out Of Their Right To Pay More For Water
By Belladonna Blunderbuss

The streets were filled with the outraged cries of hundreds of Sierra Madreans this weekend, angered by the realization that they could very well have been cheated out of their right to pay more money for water. "It's our water!" said one visibly angry resident. "Who dares to think that they have the right to tell us how much is too much to pay?" A sentiment that has found many adherents here.

One mother, her teenaged daughter visibly racked with sobs, told the harrowing story of how the frail and lonely child was subjected to the cruel taunts of her out of town schoolmates. "When they found out how little we're paying for water here in Sierra Madre, they turned on my daughter and shunned her. They told her she is no good because she drinks cheap water. Cheap water! This has been so humiliating, for all of us!"

The problem stems from the usual small group of individuals, people who used misinformation and intimidation to coerce unwitting residents into giving up their rights to high water rates by signing "documents." Many of these signers have now told this paper that they actually thought they were giving their approval for paying more. "Evian has nothing on Sierra Madre's water," said 42 year resident Bardley Blanderstone. "The only difference is you pay more for it, so you think it tastes better. By holding down the cost of our City water, these people have condemned us to a life of believing that our water is less flavorful. I for one can never forgive them for that."

At City Hall the recount has been going on around the clock for the last four days. City Manager Saywatcha Wannahear, gazing over a table filled with smudged and oftentimes indecipherable protest forms, gave what she feels is the most accurate reading of the results. "483 are signed with the names of dead people, with another 912 a mixture of dog and cat paw prints. The remainder are filled with doodles of stick figure guys drinking beer and chatting up women. As far as we have been able to tell, absolutely none of the signatures come from living water rate payers."

Sensing that there are many stories that need telling, we asked some of those out on Sierra Madre Boulevard today about their personal experiences in this series of tragic events. "I had to commit my twin sons to a special care institution this morning, " said one visibly aggrieved father. "When they discovered just how little I've been paying for their water, and how their beloved pet rabbit Hammy has been drinking that cheap stuff, they began to cry and cry. It went on for three days. I just couldn't take it anymore. I will now spend the rest of my life on Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena drinking wine out of a paper bag and whistling at office girls on their lunch hour."

An elderly couple walked up and told me the following heartbreaking story. "We've been in Sierra Madre for a long time. We raised our children here, retired here, and yes, this town has been good to us. But now there are those who are saying that we shouldn't be forced to pay more than what we can afford for water. Which will cause us to stay on here and not move. How will new houses be built if people like us are just allowed to hang on? By keeping water rates low, aren't these people denying us the significant life experience of extreme geriatric stress and displacement anxiety?"

The primary issues for those opposing the water hike seem to be that they don't like volunteers, firemen, the library, gardening, the Kiwanis Club, and people who are different. Since recommendations for a rate hike have been around for years, they really should have been used to it by now. That they aren't speaks volumes about their limited attention spans. There is no reason why the rest of us should continue to suffer the effects of their misplaced anger.

Beefy Sideburns, Executive Director of the Sierra Madre Commerce Club, took two opposing viewpoints simultaneously. "Many of our members are against the water hike, which to me indicates that they do feel we have been paying too little. I think that once they really understand that water costs money, they'll pay for it. Otherwise they'll just have to do like the rest of us and gladly write their checks to our All American City."

The Reverend Round Cannonball of the Contributional Church of Realty put it this way, "You only honor God's wondrous creations by paying fair value for them. When you underpay, you play with diabolical forces that harm you in ways that are unimaginable. And believe me, where you're going you'll beg to pay more for water. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to lunch with the Mayor."

I did briefly get a chance to speak with the Mayor. He informed me that water rates will not be going up before they do. "It is basically a process of reaching out and educating people about the needs of our town," he said. "We will be holding Powerpoint Parties and Lunch & Learns on alternating Saturdays over the next couple of weeks. Trust me, it is only after we've spoken about this in a meaningful meeting format with residents will we do what we want to do anyway."

Finally, outraged resident Gandy Dancer has taken his feelings on the matter straight to the streets. Standing in Kersting Court with clip board and papers in hand, he has asked residents to sign a pledge to volunteer to pay three times the amount of whatever their water bill might say. So far he has gathered an incredible 14,000 signatures in a town of less than 11,000. "Those people with their water rate protest need to be taught a lesson they won't easily forget. From now on we in the Coalition of the Water Willing (COWW) will be paying triple. If that doesn't teach them, then perhaps nothing ever will."

46 comments:

  1. Susan will have a hard time quoting the churches since St Rita, Bethany, and the Congregational Churches all signed the protest letters. Don't know about The Methodist Church or Episcopal Church. Sierra Madre school did not sign but the parents of students that attend sure did.

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  2. Funny!!!! I've not heard a "Gandy Dancer" refrence since Utah Phillips told the "Moose Turd Pie" story. Somehow it seems appropiate because the city is expecting the citizens to eat the "Moose Turd Pie", and say "It's Good Though..."
    http://www.themadmusicarchive.com/album_details.aspx?AlbumID=5910
    Neuroblast Films

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  3. If water rates go higher, that means we'll have a better view. People always pay more for that.

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  4. bunch of freeloaders!

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  5. People should conserve more. That way the water departments revenues will go down and they'll have to raise the rates.

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  6. MANAGER SAYWATCHA WANNAHEAR.....Elaines new name, perfect.....
    for our attorney: stillneedaraise

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  7. Don't forget Chief Wantcherdough Hiremore.

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  8. I've heard the rumor that the Mayor and the City Manager have a new count of approximately 1,400 protests based on an assessor's parcel list. Is that true? If this list wasn't made available to the City Clerk and the protestors, and it wasn't a part of the Guidelines for Submission and Tabulation of Protest and if the City Clerk is responsible for the tabulations and announcement, what legal standing does the City Manager to assume that function? Are we talking legal action here? Against the City Clerk? Against the City Manager? Will Mayor Mosca hang her out to dry?

    I'm confused...

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  9. 10:24, the city council is leading the city staff to MAKE AN ILLEGAL COUNT.
    Still confused?

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  10. It's politics. The Mayor and his brain the Mayor Pro Tem are trying to counter the political hiding they've been taking lately by attacking the City Clerk. And they're using City Staff to do it rather than soil their own delicate mittens. 4 months into this City Council and city govt is falling to pieces.

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  11. Just you wait, I say unto you, just you wait:
    Your pipes are corroded, your taps will dry up, all the water mains will break simultaneously, there will be a water Armageddon, and you rotten residents who distrust this fine fancy city council and the endless overspending that they like so much, will die of thirst.
    The end is coming the end is coming - unless you fork over 18 million dollars.
    Then we'll negotiaite until the next end is coming.

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  12. We need that crowd in the picture at our next CC meeting.

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  13. Preacher, some things that won't end are the bloated salaries we pay city staff, the incredible bills we pay the city attorney, and the retirement benefits we so generously provide them all.

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  14. I know that guy, 10:57. I'll see if I can't bring him and his family.

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  15. Good point Bad Karma.
    Don't anyone get misled that the City Manager is acting independently.
    All of these decisions are coming from the council.
    There are four people who are responsible for this shenanigan:
    Mosca, Buchanan, Moran and Walsh.

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  16. Ah yes. Moran and Walsh. Bob bob bobbing along behid their eminences.

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  17. The Council of 2010 looks like it's headed for the same infamy garnered by the Council of 2004.
    Something for the local historians to ponder - which council did the most damage.

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  18. I like the idea of the "Coalition of the Water Willing." I think that anyone who supports the water rate hike should be given the opportunity to pay more on a voluntary basis.

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  19. Amanda B. ReckonedwithJuly 22, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    Nearly half the commercial real estate in the U.S. is underwater ...

    http://www.planetizen.com/node/45161

    The "development depression" is on the way.

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  20. The City Manager and Mosca's "brain", Buchanan and the idiots following their lead could very well be in violation of the law.

    Tattler Attorneys!
    Please comment on this. We need your advice.

    Should we get a group together and go to the District Attorney?

    If it's true that the city is only now counting the parcels and have baited and switched on us....after we have PROOF they told the city clerk and the residents LIES about these lists.......then they have clearly violated the law.

    Stand up and fight, Sierra Madre residents...if you let this slide, we have lost all hope!

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  21. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  22. Sierra Madreans for Sane Financial PracticesJuly 22, 2010 at 12:31 PM

    We need a competency hearing for the check writers at city hall.

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  23. We should never lose hope. There is always the ballot.

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  24. The city clerk is the only one who can count the protests . She is the citizens elected official . Elain Aguilar the city mananger is only an employee and directed by the city council she does not have the authority to count them or anyone else in City hall. If Elaine Aguilar did not supply the city clerk with the correct information to count the votes which would entail a missing parcel owner list then they need to provide it ot her and have her count all over again. Also if in the original water rate hike notice they did not properly inform the citizens of how the protest were to be signed they must renotice and give the residents another 45 days. Call their bluff Elaine Aguilar can not count the protest and that is illegal. Go in to City Hall with a written protest writeen to Elaine Aguilar and the city attorney Sandra Levin. Nancy Shollenberger (city Clerk) should have always had the original protest and if they thought there was a problen the city needed to do a formal protest. Call their bluff because this is what they are doing they are bluffing the citizens who voted them in!!!

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  25. The rules are: they should use both lists. If it isn't found on the water customer bill, then the parcel list should be checked.
    The walkers were very careful about who signed.
    No way could there be only 1400 who signed protests. If it isn't closer to 1800, then there's something rotten in Sierra Madre.

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  26. Joe and his brain John are playing to the media now. They know they lost, but they
    want to shift attention away from the source
    of their failure, which is themselves.

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  27. They will not get away with thisJuly 22, 2010 at 1:16 PM

    The ballot is way tooooo expensive.

    We know Elaine has NO right to count nor touch the protest.
    They think we are dumb and they REALLY have a lot invested in the WATER rate hike because they want to build. They will do whatever they can get away with to make this protest go away.

    We have to call them on this.

    PROTEST ELAINE harrassing and touching the votes. Get her out of the picture. She never gave Nancy the parcel numbers.

    THE CITY MANAGER DOES NOT HAVE THE AUTHORITY.
    PERIOD.

    SHE HAS BROKEN THE LAW AND NEEDS TO BE FIRED!

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  28. 12:52 YOU ARE CORRECT!!

    THANK YOU!!!

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  29. Elaine only does what she is told to do.

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  30. That's right 1:18.Mosca, Buchanan, Walsh and Moran are the ones who are to blame.

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  31. One of the signs behind the protestors in the picture says GET OUT OF OUR TOWN

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  32. You can tell they're angry. Sometimes I
    think we're a little too sedate at our
    CC gatherings.

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  33. Monday morning quarterbackJuly 22, 2010 at 3:28 PM

    Sierra Madre was too civil for too long, and some camels got in the tent. If we had only been a little more suspicious, a little less civil. And kept an eye on the money.

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  34. transparency schmansparencyJuly 22, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    KGEM has not loaded up the 7/13 meeting yet, and it's been more than a week.

    SMTV3 replayed the water rate pep talk forever.

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  35. The propaganda arm of the Gang of 4 extends across a wide range of shoddy half assed media.

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  36. There is a photo gallery section, in the Pasadena Star News that shows two young guys poring over your protest letters FYI

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  37. Annon @ 4:1--I have seen the replay of July 13 on Channel 3. I saw myself speak and all the others, too. The volumn is down so low that when you bump it up and forget to lower it if you channel surf away you get a blown ear drum. The city has has several complaints--is it the level set for the replay or during the original taping? Those of you who haven't seen it--I am not sure of the time that I ran across it. The whole system really needs revamping.

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  38. I wonder who gave James Carlson the authority to check the water protest letters. I understood they were to be locked up in Nancy's file.

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  39. Rumor has it they brought in a lot of folks from memorial park to help out.

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  40. Never fear! The City Clerk has the original protest letters locked up tight. Young Jimmy Carlson was poring over photocopies.

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  41. Was Jimmy Olsen there? Boy reporter?

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  42. whoever that reporter was went to great pains to get a closeup of the most gnarly looking protest/form letter. Their perplexed looks gave me no assurance, these weren't really, extra terrestrial alien protest forms sent by non living extra dimensional beings masguerading as Sierra Madre seniors to defeat the great water rate bond god. Hence the isolation of the two young men..poor lads,

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  43. Today Friday every resident who can should write a letter address to the city attorney Sandra Levin, Elaine Aguilar-City manager & the council that the city staff needs to cease and dissesee reviewing and counting the water rate protest, and return that process to the elected city clerk and provide her with the parcel list that Elaine Aguilar refused to give her so the city clerk can properly check and count the protests per Proposition 218.

    The letters can be walked in to city Hall . Have whomever you give the letter to sign it, date it and return a copy to you.

    The city council meeting scheduled for Tuesday July 27th should not have any resolution on the agenda for the water rate hike till the protest can be properly counted by the City clerk with the parcel map numbers that have been illegally witheld from the citizen's elected City clerk.

    This is an out right hijacking of the water paying customers and the communities vote.Who gave Elaine Aguilar the right to ask for copies of the protest and to determine the validity of them. NO one because that is the City Clerks responsiblity and not the paid at will employee who takes direction from the city council (and is hired and fired by the city council) and can benefit from the increased city revenue from the water rate hike.
    (That is putting the fox in the hen house)

    Sierra Madrean's take back your vote!!!

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  44. wasn't Carlson speaking against Measure V at Council meetings?

    I'm sure he's unbiased.

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  45. The point is no one but Nancy and her appointed deputies should be counting those protest or determing what is valid or not. the city staff should not be looking and juding those votes only the city clerk and oh course they are biased.Since the city manager is witholding the parcel map list (one protest per parcel is all that is allowed to be counted per prop 218 and av 1260) then she is obstructing the peoples right to protest . District attorney anyone...

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  46. yes i'm a broken recordJuly 23, 2010 at 8:56 AM

    Carlson serves at the will of the council.

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