Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Taking a couple of days off ... But first, let me share a few things

The big 4th of July weekend is just about upon us, and I'm going to shut The Tattler down for a few days. Haven't taken a break from this in about 10 months, so a little time off to recharge the batteries and get ready for the long summer ahead is in order. There is also a bunch of stuff that needs to be done around the house, and I am going to give myself a little time to do it. My "honey do" list is now starting to look more like a phonebook. Time to unplug the Apple.

Before I split I would like to point something out. The mood of this community towards tax increases and rate hikes was clearly on display at last night's City Council meeting. Despite what was a clear and strong call for raising the Utility User Tax to 12% by the UUT Oversight Committee, the City Council could not do it. Not that they didn't want to, because it seemed fairly obvious to me that they did. Certainly they had been building towards making that happen over the last few meetings. But politically it would have been disastrous for them. So they blinked. They have clearly heard your voices. And the message received was, "Enough!"

We have reached a tipping point in Sierra Madre. Does City government stay as it has for the last decade or so, or do we return to something smaller, less obtrusive and financially less demanding? Clearly we now have a City Council that believes in staying the big spending course, and grabbing every dime needed to remain there.

And if you don't believe me, please consider that last night they approved the spending of $30,000 (or was that $50,000?) for a consultant to study our grocery consumption habits. An ethically oblivious and absurd spend in a time when many of our neighbors are having trouble making ends meet, and the rest of us worry that we might soon be joining them. Life in the private sector is like that these days, in case they hadn't heard. They should also understand that nobody is immune.

But this City Council is also hearing footsteps. And if they want the voters to renew their commitment to double digit UUT rates next spring, then, as Chris Koerber pointed out, they had better not heed the UUT Oversight Committee's call for a tax increase. Because otherwise their UUT dreams will "go down in flames" at the hands of the voters next April. And with it large and expensive government in Sierra Madre.

No matter how much "conversation" they hope to have with the taxpayers.

The people of Sierra Madre won a big victory last night. Make no mistake about it. Now we will have some decisions to make. Things are changing, and I believe for the better. Like I said, we are at a tipping point.

I have had the incredible privilege of being asked to ride with John Shear, our world renowned Hometown Hero, in this year's 4th of July Parade. And I have humbly accepted that honor. The Shears are close and dear friends to me and my family, and have been with me on my great adventures (and misadventures) in the world of politics. And my victories, as well. True friendships are rare in life, and I have been blessed with some.

I look forward to seeing you all at the 4th of July Parade. Let's celebrate America together, and the coming rebirth of Sierra Madre as well.


  1. Uh, uh, I'm already experiencing Tattler withdrawal... Have a great 4th, John, we'll wave to you from the sidelines.

    Thanks for leading the charge last night. It couldn't have been done without you.

  2. The parade entry of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers is particpating in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps. Join us out there if you are an RPCV and would like to carry your flag from your service country. Call me at 355-9350.

  3. We will have many real heroes in the parade.
    All have given without a hidden agenda or personal gain. Which is more than I can say for the G4.

    J O H N S H E A R
    The Veterans
    John Crawford
    Peace Corp Volunteers
    and many others

    Thank you. You are all special people.

  4. Looks like we've gotten back to a real hometown parade for the 4th. Thanks Caroline and Don Watts for organizing the Peace Corps Volunteers and for all of you others who are going to make this parade the best -- despite the secretive 4th committee.

  5. The 4th of July Parade is a show of the true spirit of Sierra Madre. No matter what the Prom Committee has to say about it.

  6. Waiting on the ApocalypseJune 29, 2011 at 8:06 AM

    A glimmer of good news, a flash of hope, is this still 21st Century Sierra Madre?

  7. The 4th of July parade belongs to the people. It shouldn't be turned into an infomercial for gentrification.

  8. What will Sierra Madre do if Jerry Brown demands all that CRA money it is spending on underwear check consultants? We'll be up merde creek if that happens!

  9. I will attempt to take some nice pictures of the parade, but since Diane Shear is not exactly a good photographer, I'm sure hoping some of you will get some good pictures, not just of John Shear's car, but all of them.
    We'll be looking for Caroline Brown's PC entry.
    And, of course all the children's groups in the parade. These and the little doggies parading are my favorites.
    Again, John needs some good pictures to put on his facebook page. It's mostly racetrack friends, but many will be attending our parade.

    Enjoy the parade, everyone. Thanks to all who have helped make this possible.

  10. one can only hopeJune 29, 2011 at 8:48 AM

    Personally I hope it happens.
    I hope they have to return every penny that they wasted.
    I hope they have to cut staff, programs, and services.
    I hope the police dept has to go back to the staffing levels that were before chief Diaz.
    I hope the lose the new paid volunteer position that Susan Clifton occupies.
    I hope they close the under used and over staffed YAC.
    I hope the Farmer's Market goes down in flames.
    I hope Goldberg Park is returned to the kid friendly dirt lot that it was.
    I hope Levin looses big time in court.

  11. I disagree with your take on the UUT, Tattler. They didn't blink. They follwoed the script thwey've written, unbeknownst to the UUT committee.
    It seeemed that it was already agreed among the gang of 4 that they wouldn't kick it up, because they have to soften the suckers first. "We've shown good faith" is the way Mr. Moran put it. They're going for more money than they would get from a mere few years at 12%.

  12. I hope we do get a chance to revote the uut. I think it should be looked at as a referendum on our city government. If you like it, vote to fund. If you don't? Then end the uut. Simple as that.

  13. 9:08, I think you're correct. The CC-1 planted misleading info with the local sources to make it appear the Council would be raising the UUT to 12%. In order to appear fiscally conservative and responsive to taxpayers concerns they then failed to act on the UUT Oversight Committee recommendation.

  14. Thank you 9:08...They were too cool.Never let your guard down dealing with rats.Two steps forward,one step back and so on.They have the Agenda and they have focus.

  15. This is a good theory, but even if that was their strategy I don't see how they benefit. They look like they capitulated. All the while throwing their pals on the UUT comm under the bus. If this was a strategy, it was a dumb one.

  16. If the reaction to a utility tax hike was muted, they would have done it.

  17. Teacher of Greek LiteratureJune 29, 2011 at 10:18 AM

    Never think for one moment that the G4 would have tried to get away with all of this if there had not been opposition. They have been trying for a long time to do whatever they wanted. Now they knew they were up against STRONG opposition.

    Thank you Sir Eric. You began with the WORD and spread it beautifully. If only we could get it out more efficiently.

    You deserve some time off, but we all know your brain will be thinking like crazy and going going going full speed and you will be back at the Apple soon. Creative genius works that way, huh?

  18. How are the negotiations coming on the Post Office lease renewal?Understand the owner is playing hardball.Could he be awaiting the new downtown SM renewal plans!

  19. By holding the tax to 10% the shenaniganeers look like responsive caring representatives.
    It's called Public Relations.

  20. It was interesting when the UUT committee member asked the council why they weren't going to ask the commission anything, have some debate.
    Nope. No debate necessary.

  21. I think what we saw last night was the fall back position. Unfortunately for them they fell face first.

  22. Maybe they fell right where they wanted, 10:41.
    Now they will start the campaign to keep the UUT at 10% for the next 20 years, and if the citizens don't agree, there will be "serious pain", read, no paramedics. But they'll come at it as the nice guys on your side who didn't raise to 12% when they could.

  23. It is a new strategy. Agree always with resident concerns while continuing to work against them behind the scenes. Anybody here really believe what they said last naught?

  24. The UUT chairman said that the committee recommended
    1) raise the rate to 12% and
    2) determine how you would manage when the sunset clause took effect

    Without the increase, they said there were 2 solutions:
    1) cut city services or
    2) find a new source of revenue

    The council said, "Thanks."

  25. You know what I found weird? Well, one of the things I found weird. The chairman of the utility users tax oversight committee said they spent a bunch of time on the intent of the measure.Of all the unclear things that happen in Sierra Madre politics, I never found the intent of Measure U to be murky.It was to fund public safety, paramedics and police, wasn't it?What was up with so much study with the intent?

  26. Did anyone else notice a big increase in Mosca's energy level last night, a kind of con brio performance with his lengthy moment of inspiration?

    I do believe that we witnessed the beginning of his next campaign, platform ready made.

  27. Why would the paramedics be on the chopping block but the YAC would not?

  28. My favorite moment was when Josh and Joe had a rush to thank you throw down. That was really all Joe had to say, thank you and thank you. But Josh had a prepared speech that he was eager to say. That's why I agree with the posters who think the whole thing was prearranged.

  29. Because, 1:34 pm, the UUT funds the paramedics, not the YAC. The paramedic program is far more expensive than the YAC. The YAC had CRA money. Funds run the city government.

  30. And the silly twit walsh inviting the UUT oversight committee to sign up for the other committee/commission vacancies. Good job, UUT Committee, we won't use a thing you come up with, but join another committee so we can ignore your work there too.

  31. Yes 2:01, I heard that too.
    We have many openings you would be welcome to apply for!

  32. 1:40, Mr. Moran said he was true to a campaign pledge he made, saying he would spend every dollar as if it were his own. Had a mighty good month of his own I guess.

  33. council observerJune 29, 2011 at 2:31 PM

    It has always been just a matter of time before Joe Mosca steps up from this little pond, 1:30. Last night's co-opting of the moment of inspiration sounded like the unveiling of the new morphing Mosca.

  34. Joe is running for Assembly. His invocation talk was the inauguration of his campaign stump speech. That is what he plans to run on.

  35. I wonder if it will matter at all that Joe Mosca has lied repeatedly to the citizens of Sierra Madre. Talk about style over substance.

  36. There was a nice moment of comic relief during the discussion of the media contract.
    Mosca asked Aguilar if the SMTV3 committee had been consulted about the changes that resulted from the $3,000 savings.
    Aguilar said that no they had not, because the council had already approved the change when they did the budget.
    As in the council he is a member of, and the change he voted on.

  37. Council member MacGillivray gave a very knowledgable report about RHNA, and it was scary. The state trumps all local zoning or measures, is after "social equity adjustment," means to promote infill development, and will change the fabric of communities. And this is going on without any evaluations. So we're stuck in this mathematical construct that is not about reality, but about some theoretical projections, and there is no system of evaluation.

  38. woo-hoo!
    "Gov. Jerry Brown signs laws to ax redevelopment agencies"

  39. Unfortunately the only information Joe is comfortable with is nonsense that he makes up.

  40. Well, Elaine almost told the truth. The SMTV3 Committee was told about the cut before the council approved the budget, but there was no discussion -- it was a done deal. Besides that, the answer to Joe's question about what services were cut was clearly written in the agenda packet. Goes to show you Joe doesn't read the packet either.

  41. I guess Browns abolishing the RDAs means the city of Sierra Madre will now write an apology and a check for $650,000 to try and keep its own corrupt community redevelopment agency in business.

  42. The most important thing that happened last night was MaryAnn's effort to educate the council and the public about the insidious social engineering that has somehow become de rigueur in Californian politics.

  43. lol Mosca running for Assembly

    once somebody googles his name and record they'll find out that he lied repeatedly to the residents of Sierra Madre about the water tax hike

    and how one of his duties as Councilman was to attend SCAG meetings and he never went

    or how he told a Senior Citzen to "get a life"

    or how he borrowed a dog for a campaign photo

    or how he lied to about half the people that he was all for keepign Sierra Madre how it was and instead he's been pushing a agenda to double our population

    the list can go on for days....

    Mosca guarantees Im voting for his opponent, even if its a Communist

  44. does it bother Nancy Walsh that she's never prepared or has anything of substance to add to a conversation yet Mary Ann is well informed and level headed?

    Josh Moran is counting down the minutes of Council meetings to make sure he can hit Lucky Baldwins before it closes

    I heard Moran is aggravated because Council meetings conflict with Happy Hour drink specials

  45. Joe Mosca is a ken doll. There is absolutely no real substance to the man whatsoever. Sacramento is filled with these kind of guys. Just in case you wanted to know why California is a national economic basket case.


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