Monday, September 13, 2010

So How Exactly Do You Keep $23.2 Million In Water Bond Debt Safely Hidden From The Rate Payers?

(Note: I was going to post a City Council meeting preview today, but after some thought figured it would be more appropriate to go with this article first. The Water Rate Hike controversy is back in a big way, something I believe will become evident to everyone in a few days.)

The problems of city government can be challenging. In the matter of that nearly 40% water rate hike the City of Sierra Madre claimed it needed in order to raise $8 million dollars ($18 million when combined with a still unidentified Federal grant) and meet expenses, there were those stubborn residents who felt they just weren't getting the information needed to make an informed decision. But those in charge apparently believed all this had to be done in a way that wouldn't spook the herd. So rather than level about the sheer size of the water bond debt incurred over the last 12 or so years, which was always a key driving force behind the need for this substantial rate increase, we were treated instead to a lighter fare of "water walks," "walk and talks," "lunch and learns," visits to the pumphouse and pictures of Bruce Inman's celebrated rusty pipe.

I don't know exactly who handles City Hall's public relations for them, but the first thing I learned about that profession is never talk down to people whose money you want. The success of the "water protest" being a good indication of just how people react to such treatment. No matter how you try and disguise it, most people can smell condescension a mile away.

Since these sorts of things are rarely forthcoming from our City Hall, we went to the California State Treasurer's Office in Sacramento to obtain the $6,750,000 Sierra Madre Financing Authority Water Revenue Parity Bonds, Series 2003 file. (AKA "Official Statement.") The particular office this came from was the California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission, or CDIAC for anyone who enjoys alphabet soup. I unfortunately cannot link you to this file, but I will e-mail it your way. Send a request care of sierramadretattler@gmail.com and I will happily forward. I won't even ask you to pay a fee or fill out a form.

Here is how this rather large document is described:

The Sierra Madre Financing Authority Water Revenue Parity Bonds Series 2003 (the "Bonds") are being issued by the Sierra Madre Financing Authority (the "Authority") to finance certain improvements (the "Project") to the water production, treatment and distribution system of the City (the "Water Enterprise"), to fund a reserve fund for the Bonds, and to pay costs of issuance of the Bonds.

Now improving the City's water system is a good thing, and no one should ever believe that money need not be spent for required maintenance. However, that is not the issue here. What does need to be asked is why these water bonds and resulting debt were not included in the water rate hike notification sent out by City Hall on May 17th, and as required under Proposition 218. Which is, in case you are unaware, a voter approved Amendment to the California State Constitution. Here the City discussed items such as the state of our waterpipes, reservoirs and the various sizes of water gauges attached to our homes, but made no mentions whatsoever regarding the costs incurred through the servicing of all that bond debt. Something that is a considerable factor in the overall monetary challenges we now face. Denying the rate payers that information was an unfortunate lapse.

Apparently there was also a similar Water Bond from 1998. The principal on that one is $5,650,000, with $2.6 million in interest payments.

I am no expert on things such as Water Bonds. It is not what I do. So I sought the help of people who work with these things in their professional lives. After reviewing the available material, including the City's out of compliance Prop 218 water rate increase noticing effort, these good folks returned the following series of remarks and questions to me. I've inserted some observations here and there, but what you will see is largely as I received it.

1) The total due for the 1998 Water Bonds is $5,650,000 principal and $2,656,652 interest. Total combined is $8,306,652. The total due for the 2003 Water Bonds is $6,750,000 principal and $8,175,486 interest. Total due for 2003 combined comes to $14,925,486.

2) Combined total for all Sierra Madre 1998 and 2003 Water Bonds is $23,232,138.

3) On the 2003 bonds the City is making 'interest only' payments until 2019. The principal is not being paid down. (My note: This is similar to the predicament people got themselves into during the subprime loan era. The interest rate on our 2003 bonds averages 5.5%, which at the time must have seemed like a swell deal. Rates are far lower now, however. And what will our payments be after 2019, with everything due in 2030? A ticking time bomb, that one. Additionally: the Mayor in 2003 was Bart Doyle, the Mayor Pro Tem Rob Stockley. Rob was in the banking business at the time and should have known better. Assuming, of course, he actually had that flexability and wasn't just doing what he was told. But given the "get rich quick" mentality back then, who knows?)

4) According to the Official Statement on pg. 9: $619,029.38 was deposited in the reserve account which is held by the trustee. Is that money still there?

5) $5,645,000 was for acquisition and construction. What are the detailed expenses and projects, and when? (My note: Pipes that are old in 2010 were also old in 2003. Why were no waterpipe infrastructure repairs scheduled with this money? Was this money frittered away on some DSP nonsense? Why the sudden panic over pipes now?)

6) According to the Official Statement the Sierra Madre Financing Authority issued Water Revenue Bonds on or about Sept 11, 2003 in the amount of $6,750,000. Thirty year amortization. The purpose of these bonds was to finance certain improvements to the water production treatment and distribution system of the City, to fund a reserve fund for the Bonds, and to pay costs of the issuance of the Bonds.
Questions:
a) How was this money actually spent?
b) What happened to the money that was put into the trustee reserve account?
c) Did the City use the reserve account to make interest payments instead of making scheduled payments to cover interest payments? How much is in that account now? If less than the original amount, where did that money go?

7) Official Statement pg 11: "The Authority has covenanted in the Indenture that except for the Bonds, it will not incur any other indebtedness payable out of Revenues."

8) Official Statement pg 34. Why weren't the audits done and filings with the state made? (This is a reference to Sierra Madre's Standard & Poor's CRA's Bond Rating downgrade to "BBB," or "junk bonds" in 2006. Our CRA bond rating never again returned to the "AAA" status we had in 2003. This topic was covered by The Tattler on August 20. Links and more information can be found there.)

The only conclusion that I can come to here is all of this bond debt related information was deliberately kept out of the water rate increase notice sent to Sierra Madre's water rate payers on May 17 by the City. And as such the residents of Sierra Madre were not legally notified of an important - if not the most financially important - reason for the proposed nearly 40% water rate increase.

In other words, it might be said that we were being conned. And to get us to foot the bill for the serious fiscal mistakes made in 2003 without telling us. It was information that someone had to have decided we didn't need to know.

But now we do. And there is more.

11am update ...

I've received an e-mail from Don Watts, City Council member in Sierra Madre until recently. He has kindly given me permission to reprint his message here.

"I have been taken by surprise by this Bond issue, and I'm sure if you talk to Kurt, he would be as well. I could "feel" after Kurt and I were elected, something was not being talked about but I couldn't put my finger on it. This explains alot about the body language of Buchanan, Joffe, and some of the administrators. They deliberately withheld this from us. If I had been told about this, I guarantee you it would have been public a long time ago. I now feel convinced the city is in need of major house cleaning. Including the role the local papers have been complicit in. They have killed the public trust."
- Don Watts

105 comments:

  1. It is as I suspected all along. Bart Doyle and his puppet Bobby Stockly by design meant to break the City financially so as to make the people dance to the BIA tune.

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  2. This all seems so ... bizarre. Here? In Sierra Madre?

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  3. This was the best kept secret in the City, infact this information was witheld from the members of the council who fought against the DSP.
    I guess now those supporters of the pro-DSP council finally couldn't hide it anymore.
    Kudos to Bart, John B., Rob, Joe and the rest of our "trusted community leaders" for the hole they have dug us into.
    You get what you pay for.

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  4. This is what a lot of us suspected when we worked to get the signatures against the water rate hike.

    However....it's even much worse than we thought.
    Much worse.

    I listened to a radio program last night on KFI 640.
    A lady named Jill Stewart who is the editor of the L.A. Weekly was firing off one shocking report after another about the corruption in Los Angeles and Sacramento politics. At least 80% of the entire California State Legislature is corrupt and under the influence of lobbyists. ( not unlike our current city council of Sierra Madre....80% under the influence of the Sacramento legislature and their special interest lobbyists....only 1 member works for the residents of this town.) To think we previously had 3 councilmembers who worked for WE, THE PEOPLE, Zimmerman, Watts and MacGillivray!!!!!!!
    Congratulations apathetic voters of Sierra Madre.
    It was absolutely stunning. Again, much worse than even I thought possible.

    These people committed to the Bart Doyle/BIA/Sacramento lobbyist agendas are working hard to accomplish their goals right here in Sierra Madre.
    It's later than you think, Sierra Madre.

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  5. You mean we still owe $23,232,138 and the water users are expected to clean up this mess? City Hall is using the residents as their personal "bail out program".

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  6. Add Sierra Madre to the growing list of Rouge Cities within California.Nice going!!

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  7. Big spike in page views this morning. As of 8 am we were at 517. All day yesterday was 572.

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  8. This mess and Joe wants bonds to fix the streets? I say....no way Jose.

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  9. How can we find out how much money is in the Reserve Account?

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  10. Not just streets, 9:20. Sewage as well.

    Got to get the town ready for SB 375!

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  11. City Hall has so many dirty secrets.
    Thank you for exposing another big one.

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  12. The Shi! has hit the fan....September 13, 2010 at 9:39 AM

    In plain English. The city lied when they said what the rate increase was for. We own $23,232,138. The City has only been paying the interest on the 2003 Water Bond and not one penny to principle until 2019. That is 14 years of interest and not reducing the debt. Whose was the financial genius?

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  13. Disgusted and ready to demand people go to jailSeptember 13, 2010 at 9:45 AM

    $23 mil dollars... and no new pipes... just some reservoirs and pricey techy equipment at the City Yards...

    In my opinion? Time to go to the State Attorney General with this mess... criminal malfeasance... is their such a charge as criminal stupidity?

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  14. This needs to be read on Tuesday night so everyone can know what is really happening.

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  15. What can the citizens do?

    We need this exposed on the LA radio talk shows.

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  16. Now we have the real underlying reason for the cry to continue the UUT. We were supposed to have all the $$$ from the Carter Estates, the Stonehouse Estates, the 12% UTT that they tried to not sunset, the water rate increase. The destruction of City records to cover up the water bonds and general mismanagement of the CRA funds. State financial filings not being made. Screw things up so badly that they can't be sorted out and you win. Then add the condiments: the DSP and boulevard condos five and six stories tall. Is it that the Six Mayors thought they would get rich, or that they thought they could stay out of jail? I'm now thinking it's the latter.

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  17. This is all so unbelieveable. How could they do this??

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  18. All of the Water Bond documents for 2003 and 1998 must be demanded and we should not have to pay for copying. Several copies must be delivered to the library available for check out.

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  19. Call up Ms. Walk and Talk Aguilar and demand that the documents be made available immediately at the library. They're tough to slog through.

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  20. Look,
    when you have Sierra Madre councilmembers, past and present who hang with all the Sacramento politicians and lobbyists, what do you expect?

    As goes California, so goes Los Angeles, so goes Sierra Madre? Yes, that's the way it works these days.

    Hey, people, it didn't have to be this way, now did it?
    We could have voted for Don Watts, Pat Alcorn and John Crawford. Instead, most of us didn't vote, or were misguided into voting for Mosca, Moran and Walsh. Along with MaryAnn MacGillivray, they would have fought these horrible plans. They are not controlled by major political parties and lobbyists from Sacramento.

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  21. If we had not gotten all those protest signatures none of
    this would be coming out now.

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  22. The Council should have taken up Kurt Zimmerman's proposal for a forensic audit. That audit would have answered a number of the questions raised here.

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  23. ...now we know why they fought the forensic audit so hard. didn't want to see the buried bodies floating to the surface...

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  24. "The only conclusion that I can come to here is all of this bond debt related information was deliberately kept out of the water rate increase notice sent to Sierra Madre's water rate payers on May 17 by the City."

    Mr. Moderator, I concur, the real reason for the water rate increase is to comply with bond obligations and not to repair any pipes!

    We wuz conned!

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  25. Not to bring up a sensitive subject, but isn't a govt agency conning people on things like water rate hikes illegal?

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  26. Does this mean they can't use the water rate increase for the bonds?

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  27. Ding Dong...is BELL's mess ringing in Sierra Madre?

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  28. It sure as hell isn't Avon, 10:38.

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  29. So how long do we continue to allow the Hoodlums on City Council and in City Hall to mug us!Certainly there are actions Citizens can take to remedy this problem and seek relief!

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  30. Not sure if he would help, but California State Controller John Chiang has been very active in reviewing the procedures used in Bell. He ordered tax refunds and other measures related to illegal property tax payments.

    Might be worth contacting him and seeing if he would review the financial details.

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  31. Good question, 10:44

    Hoodlums, indeed. Get your hand out of my pocket!
    I want my money back!

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  32. Gilman,
    What else is going to be revealed? What else is involved?
    Is this just the tip of the iceberg?
    It brings to mind the need for a forensic audit.

    The crooks from the city of Bell are a good example.
    They were getting higher salaries than anyone else in California, anyone else in the United States and anyone else in the world, for those jobs they were doing or suppose to be doing?

    My question is:
    Were they getting additional money UNDER THE TABLE in the form of bribes, and other "favors"?

    My next question is:
    Were any Sierra Madre officials, elected or otherwise getting any money under the table in the form of bribes or favors? Or were we the taxpayers footing the bill alone?

    Again, the need for a forensic audit was obvious.

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  33. 11:12?
    Isn't the meeting Tuesday night?

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  34. There will be a City Council Meeting tomorrow night in Council Chambers beginning at 6:30 pm. Come down and demand an explanation of the Water Bond issue.

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  35. Yes, 11:17. It has been corrected above.

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  36. OMG!
    Someone just called me on the phone and said read the UPDATE Crawford just put up on this blog!

    Letter from former Councilman Don Watts!
    ALLICANSAYIS WOW! Thanks for this Don.

    You are a brave and stand up guy....so is Kurt Zimmerman!

    So is John Crawford.

    God Bless you boys!

    READ DON'S LETTER!!!!!!!!!

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  37. jeez, what a bunch of morons, thieves and liars we've elected in the past and present

    and we've got the queen of liars Susan Henderson - the self appointed journalism guru in town not mentioning a word of the wrongs that have been put upon us and not a peep about what we can do

    other than keep on spending and put blind trust in those that have and continually screw us over

    josh moran and nancy walsh's heads must be ready to expode, they had no idea they'd actually have to think, forumlate ideas and solutions - they thought being on the council was all parties and dancing

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  38. wow, john buchanan was hiding facts and city issues from his fellow councilmen?

    what a dangerous dweeb and is there a way for a lawsuit to be filed and expose buchanan for what he's done and is to the city?

    goes to prove he's been on the council not for the city he claims to love, but for the benefit of his employer

    same with joe mosca - except he's also in this for his resume padding

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  39. My guess is that the bobbleheads will be resigning shortly. Why should they be tarred with the 6 Mayors legacy of bond indebtedness or go to jail to support 10 years of illegal activities centered around City Hall. I'm thinking if we don't get some mea culpas and real explanations on Tuesday night that we should start the recall process on Wednesday, first thing.

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  40. No wonder Buchanan won his re-election by a landslide(relatively speaking) There was a big cover-up that many in town didn't want to see the light of day. And, I'm sure that's why there was the continuing attack on MaryAnn to discredit her. Civility indeed!

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  41. I sure miss Kurt and Don, but not as much as MaryAnn MacGillivray must do right about now.

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  42. The Reality show that is the Sierra Madre City Council (Real Councilmembers of Sierra Madre) is about to explode! Will Buchanan and Mosca take the rap for Doyle and Stockly? Is all hope of a high profile Sacramento lobbyist career over for Joey if he's proven to be complicit with Shenaniganeers? Can Buchanan hold his head up at the wine fest if he's under a cloud of suspicion? Will Doyle suddenly decide to join his expat wife in Jordan? And Stockly already tainted by his too cozy relatinship with Greg Gallatly, will he lose his teaching credential (can't be a felon and teach). Colantuono and Levin won't be taking this one on, right? Stay tuned!

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  43. Harri S. Poole won't print this in her "paper", but I remember Katina Dunn writing a story about how much money was donated to defeat Measure V, by the BIA and the CAR. She posted the exact amounts, I think. {This was back in 2007 during SMRRD's fight against Measure V. A fight Kurt Zimmerman and Don Watts and Kevin Dunn led. Thanks you guys}.
    Katina Dunn also printed in her paper that out of the $170,000+ they had to fight Yes on V........only a tiny fraction came from Sierra Madre residents, private citizens.

    That fact, in itself, sure indicated something was very wrong. The residents must have intuited it, because in spite of the dirty campaign and dirty money running it, the residents won, we still have Measure V in place, but for how long, people?
    We need to get rid of these thugs.

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  44. Wow, 11:53

    I sure like the way you explain the sitution.
    I'm sure stying tuned!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  45. Stay tuned. Politics can be so much fun in this town!

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  46. Dollars to donuts that former Mayors and Councilmembers from 1998 forward will 1) immediately deny any knowledge of the water bond shenanigans; and 2) stand firm in laying the blame on Moran and Walsh. Can a property owner retroactively remove campaign signs from their front yards?

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  47. Tammy Gates, Margy Tucker, John Davidson, and John Gillison. Bet they know a lot more about what went on than they're talking about... Glen Lambdin? How come he only stayed around for a single term? We'll find out won't we? When the Grand Jury convenes!

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  48. What else are they hidding?

    This is only the tip of the iceberg.

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  49. We have about reached the point where people without ethics turn on each other. Watch your backsides Council and Administrators past and present. So much to know.

    A name from the past George Mauer was the "water guru" for Sierra Madre. I bet he knows where most of the skeletons are burried. Will he talk?

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  50. I would like to know why Don and Kurt were kept in the dark, by Mosca, Buchanan and Joffe?

    Isn't that a violation of the Brown Act?

    The fact that the "bobbleheads" always nod up and down to whatever Buchanan says/directs them to, same with Mosca, proves to me that this gang of 4 are constantly violating the Brown Act. I've been to city council meetings and they treat MaryAnn MacGillivray like she isn't even there, or with obvious dread. It's obvious, MaryAnn MacGillivray is in the same unfortunate position former councilmember Kris Miller Fisher was in back in early 2000.
    They treated Kris so badly, her husband Marc moved the family out of Sierra Madre.
    Beth "buck" Greenfield was also the Harriet Susan Henderson of that era. She was horrible to poor Miller-Fisher, for no reason. They had 4 votes against her, Doyle, Stockley, Hayes and Lambdin.
    Sadistic s.o.b.'s.
    I remember asking Marc Fisher (Kris's husband) one day, what is Bart Doyle's agenda? His answer was one word, I never forgot it......WATER.
    There you go.

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  51. $339,345.00 a year in interest for 14 years.

    By 2019 we will have paid $5,090175 in interest since 2004 and still own the original amount of $6,750,000 on the 2003 bonds.

    I want to vomit.

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  52. From today's AP wireSeptember 13, 2010 at 12:20 PM

    HYANNIS, Mass. (AP) -- Actor Kevin McCarthy, who played the frantic doctor trying to save his friends and neighbors in the science-fiction movie classic "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," has died at age 96.

    His frantic shouting of "You're next!" to those in approaching cars became so well known among science-fiction fans that he was often asked to spoof the role. He more or less did that in the opening minutes of the 1978 remake, which starred Donald Sutherland as the hero menaced by the pod people.

    "Body Snatchers" flopped at the box office, considered too bleak for audiences of the time. It was elevated to classic status, and its star to iconic status, after such critics as Francois Truffaut hailed it and late-night television programmers embraced it.

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  53. Time to put your time and commitment where your blogging fingers are...Come to the General Plan Outreach Team meeting tonight, 7 pm, at The Church of the Ascension, Laurel and Baldwin, AND attend tomorrow's City Council meeting, 6:30 pm, City Hall. Bring neighbors and speak up. City Council feels totally empowered if they don't see us (or only the same few hardy souls)speaking out against their shenanigans. Oh, yeah, also apply for one of the other four positions on the General Plan Steering Committee, to be selected September 28, unless Joe moves up the selection to tomorrow night.

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  54. The best solution to our General Plan problems is to recall the crooks on the city council.

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  55. This makes the $300,000 for two Gateway vans and the $18,000 a month to transport 4 or 5 people at a time between Recreation Park and the Sierra Madre Villa Metro Station seem like small potatoes but it's all of a piece. Reckless spending of taxpayers money without thought of fiscal responsibility.

    The Water Rate Increase goes further: secret meetings and communiques; Brown Act violations; and deliberate withholding of information from elected officials and residents to benefit a small group who stood to personally benefit financially.

    Shameful. How can elected officials, members of the community, church members, mothers, fathers, parents, friends of the 11,500 residents of Sierra Madre ever again believe that we will support them?

    Resign today Buchanan, Mosca, Moran and Walsh. It's only going to get worse tomorrow.

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  56. The shenanigan era bodies are floating are floating to the surface.

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  57. Well, well, well, no wonder they didn't want a forensic audit. No wonder they're talking about rusty pipes. By the way, weren't the rusty pipes going to be repaired in 2003? Or was the 1999? I small a DA investigation coming because nothing is as it was promised. And all the development interests' brainchildren (DSP, Measure V, I-97-1, etc. etc.) were just supported out of the public trough based on a complete misrepresentation of what was actually going on.

    I distinctly remember Bart Doyle's attitude at the time--don't worry. You don't run City finances the way you would run your own household finances. You don't need savings, don't worry about your debt--you'll just roll it over when it falls due.

    I mean seriously. And the people of the City re-elected his ilk because they were worried about gay-bashing? Get serious. This "accident" has been done to you, citizens, intentionally and for the purpose of getting money to support the development theme.

    Get real. The money was probably partly spent to buy water from Arcadia and that's part of what any increase will be used for. Sierra Madre cannot afford the kind of development that brings stars to the eyes of these people and we better wake up. No comprehensive pipe repairs, no modern upgrades, etc were done and the work that was done comes nowhere near the amount that has been poured down the drain (sorry I couldn't resist the metaphor). Seriously, if we allow this to continue, we will deserve this. Isn't a recall coming to your minds just now? We've got about 1900 citizens who are seriously angry about the water increase, surely they would be happy to rid ourselves of these crooks.

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  58. How many times have the gang of 4 all voted the same way on any development/water issue?

    How many times has MaryAnn MacGillivray cast the lone dissenting vote?

    How can novice bobbleheads Nancy and Josh always vote with John and Joe?

    Violation of the Brown Act? You BETCHA!!!!!!!!!

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  59. Violation of the California State Constitution.

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  60. We just hit 1,000 page views for today on Google's "Stat Tracker." Up from 579 yesterday. Can't all be Sierra Madre.

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  61. Thank you Don Watts for your comments.
    I agree that it was clear Buchanan was doing a fan dance about audits, but the murkiness was all laid at the door of the criminal employee.
    Mr. Watts, your integrity and thoughtful words are sorely missed.

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  62. 9:39, the financial genius was banker R. Stockly, the banker who kept telling Alma Mays not to worry about the missing audits, the banker who worked for a bank that had a relationship with Greg Galletly, aka Dorn Platz, the Sierra Madre hillside developer.

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  63. Anonymous @ 9:56, great point, but there was never any real anticipation of significant money from the loss of the hillsides.
    City Manager Gillison explained quite clearly during one of the rase taxes pushes that after the state takes its cut, Stonehouse & Carter would yield only a few drops in the bucket.
    That land was destroyed for very little return to the city, and enormous liability.

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  64. What does the city attorney have to say about an omission that seems to violate Prop 218? The city attorney is a specialist on the Prop, right? So how could such a glaring omission get by her?
    She's no fool.

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  65. Just as the good doctor says, "get real"
    The people who have done such great damage to Sierra Madre,
    Doyle, Stockly, Joffee, Buchanan, and Mosca (Moran and Walsh have yet to realize their public selves)
    WERE ELECTED
    Heaven help us

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  66. Don, they didn't just kill the public trust. They murdered it.

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  67. Neuroblast has clips about the forensic audit - Zimmerman on the need for it, MacGillivrey assigning Buchanan the job of explaining it, and most entertaining of all, Buchanan giving his 'report'

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  68. John Buchanan's Shenanigan Era is the title of Buchanan's song and dance about why we did not need a forensic audit.

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  69. working for a livingSeptember 13, 2010 at 3:19 PM

    Help me understand the consequences of the choices made by these buffoons past and present: we have to pay, so we have to have that rate increases. That's it, right?

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  70. 2:44, Infrastructure Fees are $40K a property. Carter and Stonehouse combined would have brought in $3 to $4 million at minimum.

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  71. John Buchanan always protects his cronies.

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  72. So to Buchanan was left the job of Gatekeeper - in all of this -- to keep folks from opening the gate to the criminal behavior of Doyle, Lambdin, Stockly, Torres, Joffee, and, sadly, George Maurer, who will also be implicated. I guess Buchanan does in fact have a legacy.

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  73. this is depressing newsSeptember 13, 2010 at 3:23 PM

    Mr. Gecko @7:51 a.m., that is a rumor I heard many years ago, and it just seemed impossible to me. What kind of person would really want to bankrupt and sell the city.

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  74. John Buchanan's legacy for Sierra Madre is a reputation rivaling Bell.

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  75. the price of libertySeptember 13, 2010 at 3:29 PM

    The responsibility for Buchanan, Doyle, Mosca, Stockly and any of the other destructive city leaders Sierra Madre has lies with the citizens who either voted for them or who failed to vote at all.

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  76. One can only wonder if they told Sandy Levin about the $23 million in bond debt. Or did they only say we want to send out a rate increase? Being an expert on Prop 218 is not the same as being a forensic auditor; if the tail wagging miscreants of the dog of culpable Councilmembers and former City Administrators were intent on hiding past misdeeds it seems unlikely Sandy had all the facts in front of her. She may not have wanted to enter into criminal behavior to save the as**s of this bunch of jerks, after all she is an Officer of the Court and I should think not anxious to jeopardize her career.

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  77. What about just bankrupting the City's water department to sell it off? Could that have been the motivation? Doyle was only to anxious to hook us up with the SGVWD! He wasn't in to preserving the water tunnels and spreading grounds. No no no. Hook us up to bigger and better.

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  78. Good points, 3:36.
    Unless there is more to this that the trustworthy Sir Eric has been able to find out, maybe Levin has been blind-sided.
    There will be some interesting conversations between staff and council.

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  79. Are you people saying lawyers can't be crooks?

    Oh dear God...

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  80. No no 3:43 - just that Levin is smart, and its hard to see that she'd miss this and the repercussions on her.

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  81. From the Tattler's quotes on government column:
    "The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter." - Winston Churchill

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  82. Levin is paid a lot of money to protect those people, not us. That it is done with our taxes is a perc.

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  83. Where does Zimmerman stand on the water rate increase?

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  84. Right 3:51, but do you think she'd sacrifice herself?

    Anyone who has had any dealings with the city knows that city hall defends itself, and residents might be included in that serendipitously, but city hall is not for the residents.

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  85. 3:51, he spoke out against it at a City Council meeting.

    Apparently like former Council member Watts, he wasn't presented with any facts, while he was on the Council, that led him to believe that it was then or is now necessary.

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  86. The City Manager waited until Zimmerman and Watts were off the Council before agendizing the water rate increase with Mayor Mosca's approval.

    Can you say "sneaky."

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  87. First the UUT, then the water rate increase, and now sewer bonds.

    Which of you idiots reading this blog voted for Joe Mosca, Josh Moran and Nancy Walsh?

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  88. 3:57, you mean "not" then.
    I remember Mr. Zimmerman's remarks. He was clearly opposed to the rate hike, the manner in which it was being done, and the Looney News Views coverage of it.

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  89. This is what happens when childish, immature people are in charge.

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  90. I believe Mr. Zimmerman will have more to say on the subject in the very near future. Stay tuned to the Tattler, folks.

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  91. 4:02

    I would use a much stronger word than "sneaky"

    4:09
    Damn right, Zimmerman was against this. He showed up at city council meeting a few weeks back to fight for US, the people of Sierra Madre. And guess what....???? HE DIDN'T HAVE TO. But he did.

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  92. Will these excellent questions:
    "a) How was this money actually spent?
    b) What happened to the money that was put into the trustee reserve account?
    c) Did the City use the reserve account to make interest payments instead of making scheduled payments to cover interest payments? How much is in that account now? If less than the original amount, where did that money go?"
    ever have a chance of being answered, or is the deus ex dishonest city employee/litigation folderrol coming to the fore to prevent that?

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  93. I'll be the first one to admit I am not very literate financially, but can't a good forensic accountant figure out historical records, even when a city hall person has had a bonfire with the records under his/her control. The banks have got to have some records that were not available to burn, other employees have got checks, etc. Seems like a forensic accountant would have some skills for just this kind of situation.

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  94. So we get rid of the bums, including the bums who don't actually occupy seats on the council, get rid of the bum influences, and we still have to pay the higher water rates.

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  95. I'd pay an extra 40% for water if it came with the guarantee we'd get to see Mosca and Buchanan hauled off in a paddy wagon.

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  96. The city has lost its bond rating more than once. See link http://www.thefreelibrary.com/FITCH+WITHDRAWS+RATINGS+ON+BEVY+OF+CALIFORNIA+ISSUES+--+FITCH...-a016000799

    NEW YORKNew York, state, United States
    New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
    ..... Click the link for more information., Jan. 5 /PRNewswire/ --
    Ratings on the following bond issues are being withdrawn by Fitch for various reasons, including insufficient information, bonds refunded and ratings not requested, and lack of business relationship:

    Sierra Madre Financing Authority (CA) 1988 local agency rev bonds
    -0- 1/5/95

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  97. I'm with 4:51.
    I want them charged and convicted, don't want them to go to jail, just want to see them lose a lot of money and their reputations.
    I want their "careers" destroyed, so they can't keep hurting honest people and destroying property that doesn't belong to them.
    I would like to see Moran and Walsh recalled, because they obviously violate the Brown Act, they are stupid and incompetent and not fit to represent anyone in this town.

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  98. John in an orange jumpsuit doing a little public service by the
    210 would be nice.

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  99. Their popularity is DEADSeptember 13, 2010 at 7:39 PM

    Sociopaths do not think they do any wrong. Let us see them all doing community service.Them being fined and being told by a judge that they can no longer "practice" law, etc.

    Humility cannot be taught. But, being shamed and shown that they have wronged the people they "served" and maybe wearing a huge scarlett letter on their foreheads. L for LOOSER!

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  100. Everything you need to know you learned in KindergartenSeptember 13, 2010 at 7:43 PM

    All of the people involved need to sell their homes and their retirement and pay back the City of Sierra Madre. They robbed us of our money, they robbed us of our time.

    Josh and Nancy need to apologize to everyone they were duped and broke the Brown Act.

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  101. Show up at City Hall tomorrow night and support our lone representive, former Mayor MaryAnn MacGillivray.

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  102. 4:16 what do you mean? The last time Kurt Zimmerman had more to say about something we got Measure V. Can't wait to hear from him.

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  103. Susan Henderson wrote a misleading article suggesting that Kurt Zimmerman supported the rate hike. Of course, he did not.

    What's next?... An article claiming that he was responsible for approving the water bond even before he was elected to the City Council?

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  104. Susan hates Kurt Zimmerman because when he was Mayor he asked her to produce a bona fide list of subscribers (i.e., a prerequisite for newspaper adjudication). She refused to produce the list because she never had one.

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  105. We can dream, can't we. But the best line on this whole blog is "Can a property owner retroactively remove campaign signs from their front yards?" - anonymous 12:00 pm

    None-the-less, we are all going to be stuck with paying the bill in the long run. Be prepared for a rate raise. Also, keep a watch out for any other proposals for assessment districts for sewer, lighting and/or roads. Don't let them get away with more assessments. Attend Council Meetings and keep after them to stop spending our monies recklessly.

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