But when he isn't walking his physical woes away Agenda Man is profoundly interested in the politics and governance of Sierra Madre, California. Who wouldn't be? And since this is a City Council meeting day, he feels duty bound to issue a report giving his prognostications on how this evening's august proceedings will unfold. Here is Agenda Man's observations on these important matters.
In the consent calendar portion of the meeting a grand total of $2,016,214.90 will be spent. A very handsome sum of money. Salaries and City Warrants account for about half of it. Then there is some chump change that goes to the library and CRA, which happens every meeting. Both are like those ne'er do well relatives that nickel and dime you every time they get the opportunity.
But you just can't beat the timing of the news regarding that other million dollars. You know that water bond debt we've been talking about? The immense monetary obligation this City Council is so painfully shy about discussing in regards to that nearly 40% water rate hike they have consumed so much oxygen pushing? Well, then you just need check out Consent Calendar item "C."
Authorization Of Payments On Behalf Of PFA - Recommendation that the City Council approve the $919,047.50 addition to the revolving note for the demands paid by the City on behalf of the Public Finance Authority.
Now in case you are not aware, what is being so obliquely discussed here, and in the most opaque language available in the English language, is the spending of even more funds than usual on our considerable water bond debt. In "addition" to what they don't really say. $335,000 is payment on the principle, and $92,250 is interest. With another $170,000 being additional water bond interest related payments. With the rest scattered about for similar considerations.
Oddly enough, PFA payments in the past were only a portion of what is being shelled out this evening. As examples, on April 22 of 2008 the sum was a mere $248,000. On April 27, 2010, that amount was $262,000. So why this extra spicy now? And what exactly is this in addition to? And why doesn't City Staff just identify these as payments on our sizable water bond debts? I'm telling you, it just seems so hush hush.
Oh, and by the way, we still haven't received the 2003 Water Bond information that was requested from the City under the California Public Records Act yet. I do hope we get that stuff before the big water rate meeting next week.
There are other items in the Consent Calendar as well, but they're kind of boring. One item is at least somewhat amusing, though. Apparently a resident is not happy about traffic at the corner of Highland and Baldwin. So much so that the person in question wants a four way stop put in because he (or she) feels the corner is dangerous. So City Staff has asked that a traffic study be initiated, one that engages the robust talents of Katz, Okitsu and Associates Traffic Engineers. Which I guess means that some gentlemen in tan Dockers and pale blue collared shirts will sit on that corner and count cars. There is no indication on the agenda about what this invaluable service will cost us, however. Though I suspect that after the study is concluded we will get a very neatly laid out report in a handsome and sturdy binder. Hopefully without any recommendations for stoplights.
Item Number 2 deals with the long involved process of approving the recommendations of the Canyon Zone Advisory Committee. This isn't the final meeting on this topic, of course. That would be too abrupt for the gradualist tastes of the decision making entity. And there are CEQA considerations that need to be taken care of first. Public testimony will be taken, so I guess we could once again hear the argument that regulating development up there hurts people's feelings and makes them snappish. After a half an hour of that kind of riveting testimony everything will be pushed over to the November 9th City Council meeting. Where most of the above will be repeated once again.
Next up is the CRA Public Hearing, aka Item # 3. After last week's revelations in the Los Angeles Times about just how incredibly in debt our Community Redevelopment Agency is, this little chit chat will be kind of like (and please forgive the cliche) rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Apparently there is a little unspent money left, and the City Council will be discussing exactly how best to spend it. There is also a report that will need to be approved so City Hall can inform Sacramento that there is not only a report, but it was also approved as well. How we are going to pay off all that debt will not be discussed, however. And probably won't be until we get a more fiscally responsible City Council.
Item # 4 is another General Plan update. My guess is Mayor Mosca will be happy to discuss how many times his newly appointed friends on the General Plan Steering Committee used the word "consultant" at their last get together. Some have estimated that John Hutt alone dropped the word 12 times. Joe will take this to mean that there is a clamoring to hire consultants (particularly on Land Use issues), a longing he will be more than happy to spend about $250,000 in our tax dollars to accommodate. But this is just speculation on my part. Joe might instead hold off on doing this until the next meeting.
Item # 5 will address the burning issue of bringing on yet another member to the Green Committee. After all, there can never be enough people using words like "sustainability" and "renewable" in a proper meeting setting. Hopefully after this important deliberation is concluded the City Council will move on to appointing people to the Blue and Purple Committees as well.
In-Lieu Fees make up the bulk of Item #6. This has to do with business owners paying for parking spaces on the street when their own accommodations don't meet the criteria set by city ordinances. It has become a particularly burning issue in town ever since Dr. Sami's recent triumph in getting the City Council to overrule the Planning Commission on the building of his new medical facility. Who knows, maybe they'll cut him some slack and lower that $2,000 per parking spot fee a little. The Doctor certainly does seem to be on a roll.
The crescendo of this carefully orchestrated evening will happen during the last item, which has to do with Proposition 22. This one is all about preventing Sacramento from stealing cash out of city piggy banks in order to keep from going into receivership. Or whatever it is state governments go into when they spend themselves into financial oblivion. Of course, our current City Council seems to be hellbent on imitating Sacramento's spending habits, so this whole exercise might be (to use a term) moot.
In a year or so I suspect the only thing Sacramento will be able to find in our cookie jar are IOUs.