Friday, November 26, 2010

MaryAnn MacGillivray's Remarks: A Key Moment At Tuesday Evening's City Council Meeting

At Tuesday evening's City Council meeting (proper) there was really only one topic, and that was the raising of the rates we will have to pay for water. That this decision - so called - would have been made during a week when the attention of many residents was directed at preparing for the Thanksgiving holiday was merely coincidental, I'm sure.

There was quite a bit of conversation on the topic from at least some of the elected officials, but most of it seemed pro forma and pat, as if everything had already been said and it was time that the long awaited decision be made. I mean, how much more of their nonsense on this topic could they possibly shovel our way?

Again, the "outreach process," which apparently only involved the participation of about .018% of the people living in this town (many of them not rate payers, or even adults for that matter), was cited as proof that their version of the truth had ignited a strong popular will to pay more for water. Even though much of that "process" was based on things that were later shown to be laughably untrue.

Needless to say, low farce hung heavily in the air. It was a thoroughly embarrassing spectacle.

MaryAnn MacGillivray gave her proposal to allow the people of Sierra Madre the right to meaningfully participate in the decision to take more of their money one more shot, but it was rapidly squashed by Mayor Mosca. Josh Moran, who briefly pronounced himself intrigued by her ideas, obediently snapped back into the bobblehead fold like a rubberband once the voting began. This City Council, basing the legitimacy of its decision on that minute portion of the city's overall population that participated in its (mis)informational water walks, pushed through what it had always intended to do. No matter what anyone had said along the way.

Something that I think many may have missed is MaryAnn's proposals on what exactly the people of Sierra Madre would be owed by this City Council should they be allowed to voluntarily acquiesce in the water rate increase. Here she laid out some cold hard truths for all to hear, and not just on the rate hike, either. She also gave some key insight into where her always opaque colleagues might actually be taking this town.

Here is what MaryAnn had to say:

The Council should acknowledge that the people of Sierra Madre, the ratepayers, were not entrusted with a full disclosure and information related to the need for water rate increases, leaving many, therefore, with the feeling that their intelligence and commitment had been challenged.

Needless to say, the look that passed over Joe Mosca's face upon hearing that was less than joyful. To have it stated from the Council dais that his 8 months of loopy machinations and manipulation on these matters were insulting to the intelligence of many Sierra Madreans can't be what he was hoping to hear that evening.

MaryAnn continued:

A citizen oversight committee should be appointed and meet at the end of the initial 6 month introductory period and every 6 months thereafter. Their purpose, much like the UUT Oversight Committee, would be to assess and assure appropriate tracking and use of funds. If there is an opportunity to lower the rate in a given year, the committee can make that recommendation.

Again, not what the Mayor, or his brain the Mayor Pro Tem, wanted to hear. I doubt that there will ever be an occasion where either one of them would ever wish to hear the words "lower the rate" spoken in their presence. But if they didn't enjoy hearing that, what came next would even further harsh their mellows.

As the Council enters the preliminary budget considerations after the first of the year, it should commit to this community that in return for "stepping up" during these difficult and uncertain times we will cut in any and all possible areas except those that compromise delivery of vital services. No new debt will be incurred during this period since that would destabilize the Water Enterprise Fund which defeats the intention of the increase in the first place.

John Buchanan's reaction to this part of MaryAnn's statement seemed nearly visceral to many in the room. His head dipped and he squinted sideways at her with a look of queasy antipathy. Because here she had clearly disparaged what will be the key thrust of his agenda when he becomes Mayor in a few months.

That John Buchanan will attempt to issue whatever bonds he deems necessary to raise the money it will take to make this town attractive to developers seems obvious to many observers. Street paving, sewer reworking and, of course, water infrastructure expansion being the items considered to be at the top of his list. The debt load for such things would be immense should all of that be allowed to happen, dwarfing by far what we now face as a consequence of the 2003 bond debt.

And then there is the $7 million for a library he is rumored to want to leave behind as his legacy. That such a personal vanity would come at the expense of 30 years of debt service to the rest of us being besides the point for our "live for today" Mayor Pro Tem, I suppose.

What must be made clear is that this water rate hike was always about the need to clean up the City's bond rating, something that was severely harmed in 2004. It is only by regaining the "AAA" rating that was squandered through bad business practices during the Shenanigan Era that this City Council will be able to sell even more bonds. Which apparently is what John Buchanan sees as the panacea for all of Sierra Madre's ills.

The fight to get back our rights to a Proposition 218 review of the water rate hike is hardly over. But even that is only a first step. Buchanan's agenda, backed up by three Council members willing to follow him no matter what the consequences to the City they claim to care about, comes at the cost of immense amounts of new debt.

For the good of Sierra Madre that has to be stopped.


  1. I hope everyone reading this who agrees with MaryAnn, Crawford and all the concerned residents will copy this article.


  2. Let's analyze out current city council.

    MaryAnn MacGillivray obviously is the most intelligent member on that board.
    MaryAnn MacGillivray has served her community with class and integrity for the past 3 decades.
    MaryAnn MacGillivray represents the residents of Sierra Madre.

    Joe Mosca, John Buchanan, Josh Moran, and Nancy Walsh NEVER VOTE WITH HER ON ISSUES of OVER-DEVELOPMENT such as BOND DEBT and illegal water rate hike notices. It's always a 4/1 vote.
    MaryAnn votes for Sierra Madre's people, votes for Sierra Madre's future as the small town we all live her for.
    She votes for common sense fiscal responsibility.

    Mosca, Buchanan vote for their special politician/developer/real estate interests on these issues 100% of the time. Walsh and Moran follow them, blindly, thoughtlessly, shamefully.

    To those of you reading this who were misguided and naively voted for Mosca, Buchanan, Moran and Walsh:
    I'm sure many of you regret your decision.
    It's done, now do something about it for your community. Get involved now. Join your concerned neighbors who will take back this town.It's not too late. We can do this!

  3. Brilliant solution MacGillivray.
    I would pay with that goal without a peep of protest.
    Buchanan, Moran and Mosca's bond dream funding?
    Sound financial practice?

  4. I was part of the 01.8% who went to a Water Walk presentation. I had also walked Sierra Madre gathering protest signatures, and walked again, verifying them after some of the signatures were challenged by City Hall. After learning the "facts," I still believe we should not have this deceitful increase, so that .018% of the City in favor of the increase, is not even accurate. It should be lower.

  5. Thanks for reporting this 9:00 am

    I've been hearing this from other people, so I know you're correct.

  6. Being incompetent will not winNovember 26, 2010 at 9:45 AM

    Being right never helps. You are preaching to the choir. We need to stop Susan,Joe,Josh,Nancy and John from lying to the people and creating more lies.

    It is called propaganda.
    Time for tougher measures.
    Another walk to collect for the attorney to sue the city for their deceit.

  7. As far as more water bonds we a safe. According to the bond documents there can be no more new debt to be financed by the water department. However, the city can issuue more bond debt without voter approval for any other project they want. Library, roads, public building, sewers, parks, etc. Also Karen Schneider said the time was running out for new CRA debt.
    We also new to be viligant about assessmnet districts. Lighting, sewers, roads, landscaping. They equal taxes on your property tax bill.

  8. MaryAnn had a lot more to say on Tuesday.

    She agrees that there should be a rate raise. Her proposal to raise the rates in January 3.5% and another in July 3.5% would help all of us to see what our bills would look like with a water hike, and help the city collect what they need in increased rates. Her idea, then to activate prop 218 to add the additional year rate rase (5 yrs instead of 4)would collect double what is currently proposed for infrastructure reserve. Her condition, then is to agree to NO NEW DEBT during those 5 years. I think we could all live with that. The gang of 4 are so hellbent on opposing anything MaryAnn puts out that they are cutting off their nose to spite their face. Of course, John as he said, would not to agree to no new debt obligations.

    Those of you that walked and talked to the citizens (and I am one of you) need to step back and see that there MUST be some kind of rate raise, and MaryAnn has the smartest compromise. Let's get behind her and encourage others to do the same.

  9. Good Listener, that your are.
    Can we get a ballot measure to require a public vote on any bond debt?

  10. Good reminder 10:05.

    Everyone please re-read 10:05.
    If we let these things will be too late.

  11. It's easy to say organize & walk door to door, much harder to do.
    Requires strength and a commitment through the long haul. Sorry to say but even on our side there are people who say they will work but then end up flaking out.
    We need to be good strategists - which has the best chance of success, a recall, a legal war chest for a suit, a ballot vote to remove the council's power.

  12. One thing is for sure,the CC-1,the 4/5,the bobbleheads and their brain,won from a dirty campaign of the worst kind of smear tactics,but well-planned you know.They did win.So the lies that got them on the council are still being spun.Somebody played it like a chess match,and our faith in honesty taking the day didn't pan out.Whoever was on that is no doubt making up the next cycle of lies.

  13. Buchanan had a cow when Mary Ann suggested the council promise no new bonds.
    He turned bright red and said something like I would never do that, as though she had made an indecent suggestion, and he was indignant.
    His thing is chicken little, and since the sky has been falling ever since he got on the council, he tried to get money from the hillsides at Stonehouse and Carter, Measure F, the UUT, the water rate hike, it'll just keep coming.
    For all that he has supporters who re-elected him, and that he comes off as avuncular or downright BigDaddy, he has really been bad for Sierra Madre.
    Really bad.

  14. 10:19, my bet is that everyone knows we have to pay more, or go belly up, thanks to all that previous council leadership that Mosca was so intent on praising. And I would agree 100% if MacGillivray was leading - but she's not. They stole the protest. Didn't hear a damn thing. Except to cull out certain people so they could pretend to listen.
    As Joe would say, it's mot anyway because it's done. But that doesn't mean they are trustworthy, honest or intelligent enough to govern.
    Crawford is right that their intention to put us in debt even further has to be stopped.

  15. Yes a measure like 2-30-13, bonds can be put to a manditory vote. You need 10% of the registered voters to have it on the next scheduled election or 15% to call a special election. The vote is the best way to do it because if it was an ordinance as Counci member MacGillivary suggesated could be undone by the City Council with a simple majority.

  16. Oh Lord, that misnamed Dickens Village time again.

    Hasn't anybody on the chamber ever READ Dickens?

    The fiercest of social critics, unflinching portraits of desperate poverty and shocking levels of hypocrisy.
    Falalalala and hohoho.

  17. Sir Eric, I do not frequent the Patch site, but I see in the column you put up to the right that Patch is carrying an article about Gutzon Borglum. Does it cover the fact that his dogs were poisoned?

  18. Good @11:26, if we were to get 10% of the voters to put a Financial Accountability Measure on the ballot, how about in the meantime? The bobbleheads could nod their way into our financial collapse following Bond Buchanan?

  19. This all seems so familiar to those who follow events in Washington and Sacramento. Borrowing money, be it through the issuance of bonds or foreign loans, has driven this country into historic levels of debt. Some European countries, Ireland being the latest, are on the verge of bankruptcy. What a tragedy it would be if our city were to become so deeply buried in debt that it would lose all of it's independence.

  20. You all who encouraged MaryAnn to stay on and take the beatings she has had to endure are not willing to listen. She has proposed a good compromise and we need to back her! She may not prevail but we will then have lots to work with when the next two elections come up.

    You that are wanting a ballot initiative, it has been said many times on this blog --it takes time, money and committment. We no longer have a backer with big bucks, nor (as we have found out in the past year)those who are willing to spend hours and hours going door to door, and talking with people. I estimate we need at least 50 willing and able volunteers and $50,000. Don't forget it's not just getting signatures, it is the campaign itself. And we don't have the backing of the local paper this time. Are you in? Lose and we will have no chance of electing some good people in 2012 and 2014. We will then be known as Josh puts it as sour grapes political hacks.

    Back MaryAnn's proposal and we can get a compromise for a couple of years - at least until the next election.

  21. 11:32 - the column to the right is run by a Google newsbot. It sweeps the Internet looking for anything with the keywords "Sierra Madre CA" in them and then, when they find one, it shows up in that column. Some of the stuff that appears there is quite besides the point. I have learned a lot about clear cutting of trees in the Sierra Madre Mtns of the Phillipines, as an example. You'll need to take your question over to Patchy. They're dying for posts over there, so I'm certain you'll get some quick service.

  22. Thank you 9:45 and 10:44.

    We need to ACT and stop the talking back and forth.

    Time to DO something. We all know this is bad and getting worse.

    ACTION now.
    Another plan must be made.

  23. I think a good first step is getting in John and Joe's face at the next city council meeting and demanding that they make a pledge not to raise taxes, not to initiate any new bonds and not to borrow money. They need to be asked directly and on the record.

  24. Joe Mosca, John Buchanan and Josh Moran are perfect examples of what is completely wrong with politics. All don't really care about who there supposedly serve, they are all in the Council for themselves, their employers and their few friends.

    At least Moran has been honest about his intent to use his Council position to benefit his friends and appoint them to Committees.

  25. sick of Mosca, Buchanan, Moran and WalshNovember 26, 2010 at 3:58 PM

    only a couple of blooming idiots like Mosca and Buchanan, in today's economic climate and era of political shift towards some semblence of responsibility would blatantly LIE to us about a impending doom and collapse of our water infrastructure and then have the unmitigatged gall to HIDE the fact that they were pushing for a rate hike for a 7 million dollar library and a City Hall renovation.

    bottom line is that the 4 aligned Councilmembers LIED to us, the people, about the reasoning for the tax hike and then continued to LIE and tried to hide their LIES with misdirection and incorrect facts and then when exposed...all of a sudden we find out the truth

    that they are LIARS - and bad ones at that

  26. Joe and John see the leaves waving in the breeze and they think that God agrees with them

    what a pair of egos and it was a dark day when both moved into Sierra Madre and decided that after a short time of living here, that they knew better than the rest of us and decided that their ideas were so damn important that they'd run for Council

    both are so transparent and slimy politicians, lawyers who couldn't make in the real world of being an attorney so they turned to public relations promotions

    has either of them seen the inside of a real courtroom?

  27. Unforunately, people will not realize just what they have done until after the fact.
    Wait until they get their big tax increases and start screaming.
    That will be unfortunate, but then and probably only then can we execute a good lawsuit and/or recall.
    And, 12:51?
    Actually, we do have some big $$$ backers.
    We are just going to wait until it's a sure shot that we can win. It will happen.

  28. The G4 is very aware of what this town can do. Why do you think
    they fib so much?

  29. I for one am opposed to any water rate increase before the City takes steps to lower the cost of management.Follow the lead of other local cities and business concerns:Shorter work hours,furloughs and lay offs.The current economic climate is not favorable for questionable boondoggles pandered by opportunistic dolts.

  30. Anyone who would saddle this town with new bond debt after raising water rates to pay for old bond debt cannot be in possession of all their marbles

  31. Yesterday @12:51, Councilmember MacGillivray's plan was already bypassed. It has been voted down. Actually, thoroughly ignored, so it is not an option.
    The council majority didn't even hear it. Except for Mayor Mosca, who gleefully asked her if she wanted to charge the residents more, more more. He could barely contain himself in capturing "MacGillivray wants more taxes". Good example of his twisting the truth.

  32. Joe will use that slogan against MaryAnn in his disinformation campaign.

  33. The 'council majority' fears the will of the people. They would rather pass up more rate payer money than risk being smacked down with another prop 218 rebellion. They're hiding behind Sandi Levin's skirts.

  34. 9:56, what the 4/5 fears is the ignorant rabble who are misinformed by some perennial hotheaded malcontents who don't want to come and drink wine with them.

  35. Has this, er, council ever followed MacGillivray's lead on anything?

    Has there been one good idea of hers that they have listened to?

  36. mosca is delusional

  37. Maybe MaryAnn should advocate for the things she is against,
    which would cause the Siamese Quadruples to vote her way.

  38. We need to make some effort to gain control of this madness.One option is to "throw the rascals out".Whatever choices are opened to us we need to put in place people who are committed to fiscal saneness.Certainly this is the manta of the times;so why aren't we putting some focus on changing the composition of the City Council in order to save our pocket books? Fight for Fiscal saneness and responsibility!

  39. You're right Appalled. And we need to see city hall take concrete measures to downsize, as 8:57 put it: Shorter work hours,furloughs and lay offs.

  40. hotheaded malcontentNovember 27, 2010 at 10:43 AM

    Every city council faces serious problems. When intellectually or emotionally challenged people are in leadership roles, the problems are only exacerbated. Let's hope Sierra Madre survives the Gang of Four.

  41. Appalled! I like your attitude!

    Count me in on any rebellion.
    We gambled on Measure V, against all odds, and we won.
    Hey, If MacGillivray and Zimmerman and Crawford are in on it, count me in. If all you posters against the current Gang of 4 regime are with us, we can win this.

    The "regime" is counting on us not having enough support in the form of financial and/or people willing to work hard and fight for Sierra Madre.

    I'm a fairly good gambler, and if this is planned and timed right, it can and will work, and I'll be proud to be involved anyway I can.
    Let's prove this "regime" has under estimated us......again!

  42. Old K, if you're involved, I know it will be a success.

  43. New Looney Views News is soiling the streets of Sierra Madre. Has a particularly vicious smear against MaryAnn MacGillivray.

  44. The smear campaign against MaryAnn during the last election (when she wasn't even running) was the worst I have ever seen in Sierra Madre.
    It wasn't enough they slandered MaryAnn and Nancy Shollenberger in the 2008 election, they had to continue to spread their disgusting lies last April.

  45. Susan actually defends Sharia Law? Is she in favor of hanging gay men and stoning women who have sex out of marriage? Weird doesn't define it.

  46. Susan Henderson is a crude and ignorant woman.

  47. thanks for reminding me about Henderson's paper, I'll head downtown and pick up a dozen copies and toss in the trash where Henderson's vile belongs - in the garbage where her ideas and twisted hatred belongs

    all we have to do is remember that Henderson got fired from her gig with the Democratic Party for embellizing and that she has been caught several times fabricating her resume'

    so, Henderson is a liar and she can't stop herself

  48. How about the people who are financing her?
    She did her job for them well, by spreading their filthy lie campaign against MaryAnn, against Kurt. Against Don Watts, John Crawford, Pat Alcorn, Nancy Shollenberger, and others in town.
    Her "columnists" are hateful gossips who spread the worst of rumors about decent people.
    Again, who supports this atrocious woman who actually HATES Sierra Madre and all it's decent honest residents.
    Susan is a convicted LIAR. She is a RACIST and a very sociopath mean spirited woman. She also is famous for writing bad checks.


    Dear City council members, city attorney, city manager...
    1) You have really done it this time!
    2) For having a mayor & city attorney on staff..... I believe you have failed to follow the law....
    3) The main reason for Prop 218 is to provide the city residents the "RIGHT TO VOTE"....
    4) You failed in every degree and denied the city residents their "RIGHT"
    5) The city Attorny & Mayor attorney needs to provide a definition of the word "Vote & Ballot"
    6) The city has failed to honor the residents its "RIGHT TO VOTE"
    7) Howard Jarvis office has been notified...and they stated they are ready to defend there Prop 218......

    from a concerned resident demanding my rights!

  50. Picking up the paper and throwing it away only lets her claim a vast circulation. Ignore it and let the copies pile up to show no one is reading it.

  51. I agree 11:45

    Do NOT go to her website and do NOT touch that vicious paper.

    Ever since this horrid woman came to Sierra Madre there has been bad things happen.

    She is no good, never has been, never will be.

    Don't touch the paper, no matter what. It's cursed.

  52. everybody knows that henderson makes up her circulation numbers just like she makes up her quotes, facts and sources

    henderson has never met a lie that she didn't like

    she's not doing too bad for a person that was found in contempt of court, was fired for embellzement and has been caught fabricating her resume'

    her entire existence in sierra madre has been predicated on a lie and that's her mode of operation - just lie baby

  53. Most people strive to make their life a prayer.
    Susan strives to make her life a falsehood, a lie.
    Congratulations, Susan, you have been successful.
    You are a lie.

  54. Joe and John and their downtown investor pals, developers and other special interest gang of crooks now to float us, the taxpayers, with bonds. Bonds of debt, we will pay via our taxes.
    They want to use this money to set up Sierra Madre for massive development. They want to double our current population and triple our debt. They don't care that this will destroy the city of Sierra Madre. They don't care, because they will have made their fortune of ill gotten gains at our expense. At the expense of the people of Sierra Madre, now and in the future.
    Shame on these criminals. I pray they will be stopped. It's just wrong.

  55. Concerned residents should googgle California Prop 218 and read the requirements....a "Ballot & Vote are required to raise the water rates"....
    Also you should read Prop 182...the city is not allowed to mislead it's residents...
    Further more
    1) there was no ballot
    2) there was no vote
    3) the city failed to raise a 2/3 Yes vote to defeat the NO's
    4) the city did mislead it's residents
    5) & as a results....the the city is in violation of Prop 218

    Looking for a response....

    this city staff & council appear to be on their way to bankrupt our city....

    who is going to stop them ?