Friday, November 5, 2010

Have California Taxpayers Turned Their Backs On Our Heroes?

With the secretive negotiations between the Sierra Madre Police Officers Association and our dauntless City Officials coming to some sort of conclusion soon (I assume), it is possible that big news will become available in the near future. And that news could very well be that the City has decided to award our Police Department another raise, along with a more competitive benefits and retirement package tacked on as well. Something that could end up costing the taxpayers here in town quite a bit of additional cash.

There are several factors at work here. First of all the voters of Sierra Madre voted themselves a very large Utility Tax hike to cover a Police pay raise in 2008, which is the last time this matter came up. The assumption at City Hall could be that we have remained a soft touch. Secondly, 80% of the current City Council are doctrinaire Los Angeles County Democrats, and as such politicians closely aligned with public employee unions. Therefore not being very likely to take the taxpayer's side on this one.

Plus it seems fairly obvious that the Joe Mosca led Bobblehead Ticket had the support of all our professional public safety organizations in Sierra Madre during the most recent City Council elections. I'm certain those members up for raises now are fully expecting Mosca to reward them for their loyalty.

But can it be that things have changed here? Would the taxpayers be as eager to vote themselves a Utility Tax hike now as they were in April of 2008 with Measure U? Are residents going to want to award the SMPD their second substantial pay raise in 3 years? Along with a substantial improvement in benefits along with a pension package? I'm not that sure.

Local initiative election results from all over California last Tuesday could be an indication that perceptions on the needs of public safety employees have changed.

An article appearing today in the San Jose Mercury News sheds substantial light on this picture. And what can be deduced here is that taxpayers have grown tired of handing over to public safety organizations the kinds of raises and benefits they have in the past.

Here is how the article describes this:

Voters draw line on public safety pay and pensions - Support for police officers and firefighters once seemed boundless to a nation wounded by 9/11. But on Tuesday, voters throughout California declared there is a limit to their loyalty.

In a stinging revolt against six-figure public safety paychecks and pensions, voters in nine out of 10 communities solidly supported measures to limit public employee costs, especially the more generous benefits afforded to police officers and firefighters.

"The luster is definitely off of public safety," said Marcia Fritz, president of the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility, a Sacramento-area group pushing for public employee pension reform. "It started with the $100,000 pension club. When you really look at what they are getting at such young ages, that gets people's attention and they start to see where their tax money is going. Voters are rising up and standing up in a big way.

Now to say that the Sierra Madre Police Department is in that $100,000 club would be a bit of a stretch. They certainly are not. But how much of a Utility Tax increase would the voters here be willing to take on this time around, if any? Will the changing mood on public safety pay raises and pensions elsewhere in California also show up here should Mayor Mosca put a Utility Tax hike on the ballot in order to pay for such a thing?

Here is the list of public safety employee defeats in last Tuesday's election:

- San Diego Proposition D: Half-cent sales tax tied to promises of pension reforms.
- San Jose Measure W: Allows city to offer future workers reduced retirement benefits.
- Bakersfield Measure D: Rolls back public safety retirement benefits for new hires.
- Carlsbad Measure G: Limits increases in public safety retirement benefits.
- Redding Measure A: Calls for phasing in employee CalPers contributions.
- Redding Measure B: Calls for 5-year vesting for retiree health care.
- Menlo Park Measure L: Limits retirement for new hires, voter consent to raise.
- Pacific Grove Measure R: Limits city contributions to employee retirement.
- Riverside Measure L: Voter approval to change county public safety retirement.
- Riverside Measure M: Voter approval to raise county public safety retirement.
- San Jose Measure V: Limits arbitration awards to police and firefighters.
- Palo Alto Measure R: Firefighter union measure to prevent staffing cuts failed.

With these kinds of public safety employee setbacks having taken place here in California this week, it certainly does not bode well for Sierra Madre once again voting itself a tax hike in order to accommodate another SMPD raise. No matter how their political allies on the City Council might attempt to sell it.

A blog calling itself Calpensions has an interesting take. Click here.


  1. Ex public safety supporter.November 5, 2010 at 7:55 AM

    I do not believe with the excesses of the dishonesty of the elected and current city officials as shown by "waterbondgate", the average city taxpayer will be willing to be as generous in giving out pay increases.
    In fact, my guess is, when the UUT contract with the people goes to a ballot again, hell will need to have a snowstorm, to get it passed.
    Seeing the lack of enforcement witnessed by the residents with the wave of break ins, crime rates in Sierra Madre seems to have increased inspite of the pay raises, and expanded staffing.

  2. Crooked pols paying off politically friendly public employee unions with taxpayer dollars? My, we become more like Los Angeles everyday. Thanks Joe!

  3. Thanks for posting the Calpensions website in the last line of your column today.
    I heard this story on a early morning business channel.
    Seems the 9/1 (San Francisco voting wrong as usual) vote to curtail these out of control pensions was one of the FEW things the California voters got right.

    Spread the message of the Tattler, readers.
    John Crawford, telling us the TRUTH, whether we like it or not!

    The Dirt/Mosca/Bobblehead media, spreading BS as usual.
    If you can't get away with a lie, just don't print it. Mostly they just lie and then move on....Terry Miller, Susan Henderson et all.
    I think they call it the "drive by media".
    Supporting the Bobblehead regime, no matter what.

  4. Yeterday some police group call me about a donation. Yeah Right. Like that is going to happen.

    Time Warner Cable told me that Sierra Madre has the highest UUT rate in the area.

  5. I fell for it onceNovember 5, 2010 at 8:45 AM

    I don't know who called you RTH but in the past I've received phone calls from bogus groups falsely representing themselves as the PD. They are not. Do not donate to phone calls. Nothing to do with the SMPD.

  6. Hello...Are we living within the Twilight Zone?Caught somewhere during those halcyon days of easy credit,money,and never ending prosperity.Wake up,it's over.It's time for a serious "Reality Check".

  7. "the Joe Mosca led Bobblehead Ticket had the support of all our professional public safety organizations in Sierra Madre during the most recent City Council elections"
    and some members of those organizations joined in as smear campaign workers.

  8. LOL

    This is so true! Especially if you live in Sierra Madre!
    What the hell is the matter with the bobblehead regime? Oh yeah, they are doing it because they can! They figure the stupid voters who voted them in will keep drinking their "cool aid".
    How foolish of us to think any one of them gives a rat's ass about any of us.

  9. working for a livingNovember 5, 2010 at 9:05 AM

    It used to be that 'public service' did not pay as well as private industry, so it made sense that benefits and pensions were part of the deal.
    Times have changed, and many in private industry no longer have higher salaries and perks. In fact more and more people have to buy their own health care.

  10. All Mosca cares about is control. He has some kind of burning psychological jabberwacky to be fellow calling the shots. He'd make a deal with anyone or anything to make that happen. He sold the people of Sierra Madre out a long time ago.

  11. I agree 9:07.
    All Mosca can do for us is say "Thank you!" (con brio).

  12. getting blood from turnipsNovember 5, 2010 at 9:15 AM

    What happens to parasites who take too much life energy from hosts?
    They die because they killed their source of support.

    Maybe public safety folks look at the rich and think it's not fair that I protect them and they have so much more - but what about the majority of the citizens, the not rich working stiffs?

    I value the police and the firefighters, but I don't see why they are guaranteed more money than most people will have. And nobody said, "You have to take this job." They chose it.

  13. How can you say the PD is taking too much, 9:15? Isn't there that other 48% of the General Fund they don't have yet?

  14. The most frustrating part about following politics in Sierra Madre is all the contradictory rhetoric.
    We love our police department!/We can't afford our police department!
    We love our library and plan to beef it up!/We can't afford our library!
    We love our paramedics!/We'll be out of money to pay the paramedics next year!
    We love our water!/Our water debt will crush us soon!
    Why can't the CC-1 just say what it means? It's not the national stage ya know. Just spit it out. Let's be grown-ups and start using reason to address our very real problems.

  15. Quoting from book textNovember 5, 2010 at 9:28 AM

    "Some adults who suffer from a lack of control are diagnosed with intermittent explosive disorder, a psychological problem defined by extreme problems with impulse control. Individuals with IED are prone to aggressive outbursts under extreme duress. The perceive the stress as a threat, an insult, frustration, a vulnerability, or a combination of all these. There may be some unusual brain wave patterns as well as some 'soft' neurological findings in these people, but the disorder is primarily triggered when perceived needs are not met.

    ...having never developed a mature manner of reasoning during difficult or stressful situations, explodes in a fit of rage when things don't go his way."

  16. I concur with that diagnosis, 9:28

  17. Where I work we call it "mood swing management."

  18. Sierra Madre voters!
    You voted in the UUT
    You voted for raises for the police.
    You were cheated and lied to about bonds, now we owe millions and the bobblehead regime wants to float more, and then blame it on Elaine Aguilar?

    How much more can we stand? Most Tattler readers have had enough.
    My question is how much more can the naive Mosca, Buchanan, Walsh and Moron voters stand before they just can't stand by these crooks and creeps any longer?

    When is enough-enough Sierra Madre bobblehead voters and non-voters?

  19. How much money is this inept group of political puppets of Sacramento crooks going to have to blow before somebody says no mas?

  20. The Royal Court thinks leadership is taking care of their cronies in
    the development and public employee camps. The rest of us are
    only good for fund raising.

  21. I don't want to wish ill on anyone, but it would be helpful if somebody on that council was laid off from a cushy job, and had to taste a little of the real struggle that is going on.
    Wait, maybe Moran has to struggle. So will he step up and speak for the less economically advantaged, of which Sierra Madre has plenty?

  22. We gave the SMPD a raise, got a
    chief that makes them follow the rules, and do their jobs instead of sitting on their fat now they feel the need now to sue, sue, sue. When the police union shows Sierra Madre some loyalty, the citizens will do the same.

  23. The only thing Moran struggles with is his tongue. Which
    seems to be tied around his teeth.

  24. I am grateful for our police department, but also, c'mon, as far as police work goes, Sierra Madre is not a hard assignment. Matching their salaries and benefits with, say, the police who work in harder, bigger areas - isn't that based on a false comparison?

  25. I'm all for addressing this issue reasonably...If you are unable to maintain your current life style in the manner you have become use to;cut cost and adjust your budget accordingly.Cities throughout California are making cuts and adjustments to their budgets.It is disappointing that the City establishment continues to march on apparently oblivious to the interest of the property owners.

  26. All of this brings to mind '"The Goose That Laid The Golden Egg".

  27. I think that city governments like ours feel they should be immune to what is going on with the economy. So the consideration is never what can the taxpayer can bear to pay, rather it is how to get more money so that things run as they always have. Throw in a couple empire builders like Chief Diaz and a constant demand for more money becomes a chronic condition. I'm not sure this state can afford boutique city halls anymore. I certainly have doubts that we can.

  28. Feral Seniors, Talking Leaves, and Wild OnionsNovember 5, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    That Joe Pensioner sure cusses a lot. He is also a student of "winning through ignorant intimidation" I wonder if he realizes how much pension money was lost in the mortgage derivatives market by CalPers? He keeps repeating not going backwards. The feds are talking about taking pension money. Sunny California, getting a bit too crispy fried weather wise lately. Cluster habitat with electromagnetic ray repellant coating is right around the corner. Seniors who invested their lives and time here, have come to the realization that they can no longer live here and survive any more tax increases to feed a cannibalistic municipality and/or state.

    Don't go to Texas, those pesky zeta retillians say Texas will be under water, it warned not to get close to the border of Oklahoma and Texas cause all the survivors are going to crawl up there.

    Northeastern Oklahoma, Tahlequah if you can. It is a Sierra Madre type town, bring your snark

  29. Hot Enough For You?November 5, 2010 at 1:08 PM

    Why is it the need is never to spend less,
    always to spend more?

  30. There are people who have started moving services, they will move you out of California.
    Most of the migration is to Texas and Oklahoma.
    California has had a mass exodus of buisness for the past 2 years and no new business coming into California! What does that tell you?

    California will come back, eventually, but times are going to be problematic for some time.

    People in most other states hate us. I was shocked to find this out. I was always proud of being a Californian, but not anymore. People in other states think we are crazy, lazy and they sure don't want to pay their tax dollars to support the new, but same old regime in Sacramento.

  31. Hot Enough For You at 1:08.

    The "beast" can never be satisfied.
    The "Beast/Sacramento government" will always want more and more control.

    Their little minions, Joe and John and the bobbleheads and their drive by media and fool supporters will never want less control. Only more.
    That's the way these types work. Always.

  32. Perfectly well aware this might cause a bad reaction - I think our city manager does a good job, and that were she given the instructions from the council to cut costs drastically, to lay off staff til it went beyond hurting, that she would be equal to the task.
    I've heard til I'm sick of hearing it that her salary is chump change compared to other city managers, but it's much more chump change than many residents of this town will ever make.
    She's smart, her position is well paid by normal standards (and btw, maybe the other city managers are all overpaid), and if the council asked her stop hemorrhaging money, she'd figure it out.

  33. 1:11, you're a bit behind on the hatred for CA.
    Started decades ago.
    I was looking at a job in Seattle in the early 80's, and learned quick not to tell anyone that I was from Southern California.
    Then it was because of CA's overdevelopment, crowding and traffic.

  34. A little off topic, has anyone been down east montecito close to mountain trail to see the monstrosity of a deck that has been built in front of the house where the guy wanted to put wine tasting in his home? Uhh, the deck cantilevers over a public sidewalk, I'm no code expert, but this can't be to code. Also, read his little manifesto he has posted on the front of this eyesore....WOW!!!!

  35. You can yell,scream and blog all you want over this dismal affair.The City Establishment is confident in their ability to accomplish whatever scheme they have in mind.Our concerns and apprehensions over the proposed cost are of no concern to them.Constant attendance to the CC meetings are futile.The choice left is confront the City with determined appropriate action which might level the field.

  36. That's why the City Council retains a $250,000 a year lawyer. To protect them against the residents of the town they hope to exploit for their employers and friends.

  37. 1:28....Lets not gild the lily!

  38. This is so true and so sad, 2:59

    There is something people can do!
    Wait until they commit the evil deeds, then and only then will the naive residents wake up and fight for their town.
    There are places who have won these battles.
    We won Measure V, and we can defeat this evil Joe Mosca regime.
    We must choose our battles well.
    Hang in there neighbors, when the time is perfect, we will strike, and we'll get rid of these bastards once and for all.

  39. What you have to remember about Mosca is his utter lack of authenticity. Very little of what he says is on the level, it is always for a purpose. One that he does not wish to share with you.

  40. older, maybe wiserNovember 5, 2010 at 4:46 PM

    Those of us who were in the battles to stop Stonehouse and Carter learned all too well what the function of the city attorney is:
    to protect those who work for the city.
    The residents are irrelevant, except when it's time to pay the bill.

  41. What we need to do is reduce our taxes by 1/2, and then shrink our city government to match that budget. It would solve most of our problems here.

  42. 2:06, that is yet another instance in which the city is being sued I believe.

  43. That dude on Montecito has a three story hole under house house. I've seen it, it is immense. You got to hand it to him, he's got a lot of energy.

  44. Why is there no will to conserve resources (as in our financial resources) from the council that is supposed to be into conservation?

  45. The real story on the excavated basement is very hard to understand - but it looks like the city might have missed a form or filled out a form or served a form after a deadline or somehow else misinformed the guy.
    Anyway, it's probably up to lawyers and judges now.

  46. The story I heard is he planned to open a wine cellar there, but the city wouldn't let him because they had other plans for Montecito.

  47. Wake up 5:06! The Conservation Council that doesn't want you to conserve water really or the city will go bankrupt, the Conservation Council that likes hillside developments Stonehouse/gate, the Conservation Council that can't bend over fast enough to please SCAG, the Conservation Council that wants to redo all the streets to make sure we are never out of debt. Why on earth would you expect them to conserve money? That is not who they are.

  48. I totally support the Police Department. I hope they get every penny they were promised. We made the deal, now we must stick to the deal made. Get real liberals, stick to your word for a change!

  49. The story I heard was that the city told him, in writing, that he could do what he planned, before they started to say he couldn't.

  50. 5:20, I totally support contracting out to the sheriffs and living within our means.
    We can't afford our own police Department. Thank the people who have managed us into this mess.

  51. Raising taxes to pay public employee union pensions is "liberal,"
    5:20? I think you have your jackass on backwards.

    But I'll play. Who promised the Police Department another raise?

  52. 5:20, You must be on the wrong blog. The Tattler has readers and posters of every political persuasion.

  53. The story I heard, from the guy, was that a former Mayor told him not to build it the City wouldn't give him a permit, and that entire section of Montecito was going to be eminent domained for CRA. He told me that in 2003.

  54. If Mosca comes back to us with some mealy mouthed guilt trip about how we have to shell out more taxes so he could pay off the SMPD, then yeah. We fire the whole damned lot of 'em.

  55. The UUT will go to 12%, in a couple of months (?)
    The water rate hike will be in effect by January (?)
    The CC-1 will be begging and squealing for more money all the time (!)

    If you live in Sierra Madre, you better make more money.

  56. Montecito dodged a wrecking ball, that's for sure. Must have a good guardian angel.

  57. Who was Joe Mosca's campaign manager again? That's right, Kathy Childs. Owns a fair stretch of Montecito that one.

  58. Used to. Think she sold it.
    Who bought??????

  59. You're right about that, 5:48
    Kathy Childs is a big property owner on Montecito and she doesn't even live in Sierra Madre. She sure sticks her nose into city politics, she is a real dirt. Was a major opponent of Yes on Measure V. She is absolutely a member of the Downtown Investor's Club. Has some connection to the Howie's property or did.
    She was very concerned with getting Joe Mosca in as the mayor.

  60. You go PD! I agree with 5:20. The past city council agreed on the deal, and now we (citizens) have to support the decisions made, by our elected officials.

  61. The property owner on Montecito is an artistic gentleman with a dream that conflicts with the transit corridor fantasies of the development crowd. As I understand it, building the deck was throwing down the gauntlet to the city council, forcing them to honor the building permits that he has been granted, or go to court.

    From what I know as a resident and supporter of this blog, I believe that the city has lied to him, and he has decided to make the issue interestingly public.

  62. Joe had a campaign manager who didn't live in Sierra Madre? Do tell. She does own property here, though. Joe does have his priorities.

  63. Kathy Childs lives on Auburn and is registered to vote in Sierra Madre.

  64. Badge Out, Laid OffNovember 5, 2010 at 6:41 PM

    Who on this blog has a vested interest in overpaying for police protection?

  65. Complaining about taxes is uncivil.

  66. The gentleman on Montecito wanted to open a wine bar on Montecito over much neighborhood objection. It has nothing to do with the DSP. The city turned down his permit and he now has an unfinished, unpermitted cellar (unshorred)and still fighting the city. I think he is going to lose this one.

  67. Zenyatta and the Breeders Cup, thinking about you Old Kentucky.

  68. Thanks, TT
    That was a heartbreaker.
    I have a friend who had $100 to win on Blame and he was screaming his head off for Zenatta in that nose finish. He was near tears that she didn't win.
    He bet against her, because he didn't think she would like the Churchill main track. When she started running up that stretch, he forgot his bet on the other horse and was jumping up and down screaming ZENATTA!!!!!!!
    That was a race for the history books, for sure.
    Awesome, even in defeat.

  69. Maybe some of you readers don't know that champion mare Zenyatta's jockey Mike Smith is a Sierra Madrean. He is a regular at Sierra Donuts mornings he is not at the track.
    Like, his wonderful Zenyatta, Mike is still a champ in defeat.

  70. I just witnessed the Sierra Madre Fall Ball Minors Little League classic - Sierra Madre Grey vs Sierra Madre Black. Ended up an 11 to 11 tie.

    Good thing there was no betting.

  71. Hey Kentucky, that was a race!! She would have had him in two more strides, to come from the back like that, from like 6 lengths behind the pack, I was thinking oh no, and then bam she was in the middle to the front to the very front with blame, and she just about had him, her strides were magnificent! What a horse, god she still took it, to me. That was one for the history books.

    Oh Moderator, a tie is good, no betting but the parents are dangerous! Are we gray or black?

  72. TT Zenyatta, that is enduranceNovember 6, 2010 at 7:15 PM

    Tucky, I don't think she liked the cobblestones and the crowd, I thought she was going to try to bolt right before the paddock, did you see everybody say shush? She wasn't comfortable with the track or she was sight seeing, then boom, boom, boom, nobody will forget that race.