However, if you choose to believe what you can read in today's Pasadena Star News, maybe we are going to have to cast aside those illusions and replace them with more current hallucinations.
Because, you see, somewhere along the line, and perhaps when nobody was looking except possibly their consigliere, the Brown Council went and hired a consultant to work out the water rate hike details for them. I mean, isn't that what our tax money is for? We certainly wouldn't expect that kind of heavy lifting to be done in house, could we?
Here is how the account reads:
Sierra Madre staff to bring back water rate hike proposals: Sierra Madre staff members will work with consultants to bring back three water rate hike scenarios to the council at a future meeting following direction council members gave Tuesday night ... The proposals will aim to more evenly distribute water rate increases over a five-year period rather than have a larger increase upfront as originally proposed ...
Now I had watched this meeting pretty closely, and drank plenty of coffee throughout the proceedings so that I wouldn't miss even the slightest nuance of what went down. And for the life of me I cannot remember anyone up on the dais instructing city staff to hire consultants to cook up a few water rate increase strategies. Or anyone there voting on a budget to fund such studies. Can you?
Of course, maybe the paper got it wrong and this is the same old consultant that did the original water rate study. You know, that dude with the template and tiers. But wouldn't it take more money to rehire this guy? And shouldn't that consideration have been discussed and voted upon in a public forum?
The article goes on to share this important information:
The three scenarios will differ as to what year the city would get into compliance with bond covenants related to the issuance of its 2003 Water Revenue Parity Bonds - either by year two, three of five years of the proposal ... About $12.6 million in debt service from the 2003 bonds is still owed ...
Remember when the water rate hike was supposed to be all about repairing those old rusty pipes? Now it doesn't even get mentioned.
I am going to have to look into this a little bit and get back to you all. Important details like exactly what consultant was hired and just how much was spent to do so need to be uncovered so that we can share it with The Tattler readership. And right now nobody is talking about this one.
Now here's a City where people know how to get things done!
I don't know much about the City of Rowland Heights except that it is near Walnut. I can't even remember having ever been there, unless a freeway runs runs through the middle of it and I just drove on through. But when it comes to stopping unwanted development and sneaky changes to their General Plan, these good people have got it going on. Check out this bit of exciting news from the SGV Tribune:
Huge crowd causes cancellation of Rowland Heights planning meeting: County officials Wednesday night were forced to reschedule a hearing regarding a 537-unit development after hundreds of angry residents flooded the meeting's venue ... Los Angeles County Fire Department officials shut down the meeting at Los Angeles Royal Vista Golf Course in Walnut after almost 800 residents - double the maximum occupancy - showed up to voice their opinions regarding proposed Canyon Residences housing project in Rowland Heights ... The room echoed with emotional outbursts, jeers and stomps as residents chanted "We say no" to developer Trammell Crow Residentials proposed high density apartment complex ...
So besides the actual development itself, what were the issues that concerned the good people of Rowland Heights?
A majority are opposed because they said amending the (general) plan would lead to spot zoning and possible increases in crime, water costs and expanding development.
Nice to read about a community that knows how to get it done. And amending a general plan to accommodate outsized high density development? Oh gosh darn, that just isn't done now, is it?
You couldn't make this up if you tried ...
This wonderful article showed up yesterday on the L.A. Times "This Just In" webpage. I had to read it twice just to make sure I was comprehending the sheer mad genius of it all. It is that choice.
Irwindale officials spent lavishly during business trips to discuss housing for the poor - The Irwindale officials charged Wednesday with misappropriating public funds took lavish business trips to New York City, including meals at five-star restaurants, evenings at Broadway shows, chauffeured rides and nights at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, according to records obtained by The Times.
The spending came as leaders in Irwindale spent $87 million in affordable housing funds over eight years, but only built 42 homes. Two trips to New York were for the purpose of discussing bonds for housing the poor in the San Gabriel Valley city of about 1,500 people.
Astonishing chutzpah, and from officials straight out of Irwindale? Apparently the $38,000 in taxpayer cash spent on these little Fun City junkets bought our intrepid city officials seats at a matinee of "Jackie Mason Laughing Room Only," dinner at the Atelier, tickets to Phantom of the Opera, a hockey game, a couple baseball games, and an array of fine dining experiences at the very best Manhattan eateries.
One of those arrested, retired Irwindale City Manager Steve Blancarte, was involved at the time in something called "10-Year Strategy to End Homelessness." Perhaps Mr. Blancarte's strategy would be to have life's unfortunate vagabonds check into the Ritz Carlton?
I hope those poor and homeless people appreciated all the hard work these busy officials did for them when meeting with those bond bankers.