Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How Will They Sell The Utility User Tax Increase This Time?

"We're not creating what is going to happen, we're creating what can happen." - noted mystic Josh Moran on forecasting the future

First we need to congratulate everyone on helping to beat back the Gang of Only 3 in their obvious desire to appoint Joe Mosca's replacement. I have no doubt that had there not been all of the conversation in this town about the need for City Councilmembers to be elected by the people, this City Council would have put their interests first and hand picked a like-minded individual to rubber stamp whatever it is they want. Instead they blinked, deciding to send this matter to the voters where it belongs. Once again Sierra Madre rose to the occasion and forced John Buchanan, Josh Moran and Nancy Walsh to recognize that they were up against something far too big for them to merely push around.

There are now three seats up for grabs next April, which means that the two year reign of the worst City Council regime in modern memory could very well be coming to an end.

Sandra Siraganian got the meeting off in proper style by delivering a couple of particularly important points at Public Comment. Her indignation over the appointment of Bart Doyle to a PUSD Committee seat was heard was loud and clear. That someone who was the COO of a redevelopment corporation currently under investigation by both the FBI and HUD, and who is also being sued by the City of El Monte on any number of issues related to that case, could be appointed by this City Council to a school board is beyond the pale. Sandra demanded that the City Council revoke this ill-considered appointment.

And then Ms. Siraganian also spoke about something we have repeatedly discussed on The Tattler. That being City Hall's refusal to make otherwise existing Staff Reports on items up for discussion at City Council meetings available on the town website. $40,000 was budgeted by the City Council to make this happen, yet the simple function of downloading black and white reports onto a very basic website remains beyond the current capabilities of City Hall.

The City Manager's response was the same as always. "Our schedule for doing that is this spring." Presumably by "this spring" Elaine is talking about after the election. Making this yet another case of oddly fortuitous timing.

Heather Allen brought up something rather amazing. Apparently Joe Mosca never signed his resignation papers. Heather asked if this means that Joe is still legally a member of the City Council. The City Attorney, who apparently doesn't believe needs have to answer any of Heather's questions directly, snapped, "It really doesn't matter that it wasn't signed." Heather found this to be an inadequate answer and attempted to press the Mayor for some better information. Buchanan also dodged, and seemingly implied that Heather should stop talking about it. Which struck some as being less than civil, or in any way transparent.

It is rather telling, however, that Joe's former colleagues did not seem to care whether he completed his paperwork or not. In their minds he is gone, and whether he finished this final duty to the people of Sierra Madre or not by properly resigning his office was of no concern to them. The important thing being that he is - in their minds - officially gone.

But this hardly means that we here at The Tattler are not curious about it. Why Joe Mosca wouldn't sign his resignation papers is an intriguing matter. Does this mean that Joe believes that he has legally left open the option of his returning, and that by not signing the resignation papers he never actually quit the Council? And that he can come back in the next year or two and demand to be seated?

The matter of putting the Utility User Tax back on the ballot for another 4 year run was the main round, and you could easily sense that John Buchanan's past has now come back to haunt him. Something that has left him with a major credibility problem when it comes to reselling what is just about highest UUT rate in the State of California. That is, if it stays at 10%. If it ever goes to its 12% maximum, it will set a new state record.

In 2008 the 6% increase in the Utility User Tax (which brought this tax up to a potential, though yet to be used, 12%), was presented to the voters as necessary to help the City provide fire, police and paramedic services. A good example of how this tax hike was marketed to the voters can be found in the ballot language of Measure UA itself. Check this out:

"If Measure U, the increase in the Utility Users' Tax is approved by the voters, should the additional revenue generated by that increase be used to fund public safety services including paramedic programs, police salaries and benefits, and additional safety staffing."

Measure UA was approved by an overwhelming majority, and that vote was driven by the desire to fulfill the monetary requirements of maintaining these services. And because of this the people of Sierra Madre have always believed that the extra money they now pay on a monthly basis for things like cell phone service and garbage collection goes for those emergency services alone.

But that is apparently not quite the case, and much of the language contained in both Measures U and UA is sadly deceptive. Both measures give the distinct impression that the money raised would go to things like paramedics and police salaries exclusively. But that is isn't the real deal here. Because of some very legalistic language contained in Measure U the funds raised through the UUT increase can actually be used for whatever the City prefers to use them on.

The City appeared uncomfortable at that suggestion, but gave no accounting of how that money has actually been used over the last few years at this meeting.

Fay Angus went to the podium and asked some very pointed questions about this situation. "Have the UUT funds been used exclusively for fire, police and paramedics, or has any of it been mingled with the General Fund?" As in Heather's case, Fay received no worthwhile answer to her questions.

Fay also had another good point. Both Josh Moran and Nancy Walsh have said that each City Hall is operating at a bare bones level, which, as Fay put it, "is rhetoric." She then asked, "What positions have been cut? What services have been eliminated? And what downsizing of salaries have been enacted?" The answer to each of these questions is none. The City cut $1 million dollars out of its budget and no demonstrable effects on its operations are apparent.

Which begs this question. If they could cut $1 million out of the budget and no jobs were lost and no services cut, what had they been spending it all on?

The 12% maximum UUT rate versus the 10% that is being charged now came up for considerable discussion. "The rate is 12%, we only collect 10%," being John and Josh's mantra. Something that they repeated over and over again as if it was a kind of magic juju to ward off MaryAnn's suggestion that the new version of the UUT increase be capped at its current 10% level. But they weren't having any of that, instead claiming they were defending the right of City Councils of the future to charge a 12% utility tax should that be their desire. Apparently in the minds of The Mayor and his sidekick The Pro Tem, future City Councils will have forgotten how to raise taxes on their own.

The City's marketing approach may have convinced a lot of people to vote themselves a tax increase here in town in 2008. Their advertising was ubiquitous, and the message of saving our Police Department and Paramedics was an emotional one, at time driven by fear tactics, and it hit home with many voters.

But how will people react to similar Measures next April once they've learned that the original versions were not exclusively about public safety services remains to be seen. Despite what John Buchanan believes the voters might have known last time, the Police and Paramedic issue was front and center all throughout the 2008 UUT election. But once in place that additional money raised went into the General Fund and could very well have been used for all sorts of other purposes as well. There was nothing legally binding in place to assure that this money went for what the vast majority of voters believed they had approved.

Comedic moment. The City Attorney, for whatever reasons, brought up our old friend from the water rate increase debacle, Prop 218. To which Josh hurriedly commented, "I don't necessarily want to get into any of those issues." I'm sure he doesn't.

Josh Moran also had his old nickel and dime windmill in gear. He elaborated, and again not for the first time, about how small the difference between paying 10% and 12% would be to the average UUT paying Sierra Madreano. Which is exactly the same argument he made for increasing water rates, or approving PUSD's failed Measure CC. Nickel and Dime Moran. The guy really does need to get some new material.

John Buchanan had a momentary message lapse that needs to be pointed out as well. Despite the deceptive language contained in the two 2008 UUT rate hike measures, Buchanan declared that "the voters were not confused." He then proclaimed that he was tired of hearing it said that the voters do not know what they want, and cannot see through things like the wording he succeeded in getting into those two April 2008 UUT ballot questions on this matter. But isn't this the same guy who famously declared that people often didn't know what it is they're signing when petitions were being passed around in opposition to the water rate hike, or to get Measure V on the ballot?

Talk about rhetoric. This is one that you just can't have both ways.

You can fool almost anybody once. But this attempt to renew the Utility User Tax increase will be the second go-around, and it might not be quite so easy this time. With the 2008 version now having been exposed for claiming to be something that it was not, how are you going to make this work all over again? The novelty is gone, and the message (to use a retro cliche'), now has more holes than a Swiss cheese factory.

(For more information see Monday's article, "The UUT Was Never Specifically For Public Safety." Click here.)

Without the emotional public safety issues and scare tactics available last time, the result in 2012 could very well be a much closer vote. I don't think people will be quite so moved by the argument that the City needs the money to fund employee pensions, or pay for City Council trips to League of California Cities conventions.

Of course, this isn't to say that some scary stuff won't be cooked up. Isn't that what they usually do?

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

85 comments:

  1. Great report on last night's council meeting, Mr. Crawford.
    I challenge the Patch, Sierra Madre Weekly, the Sierra Madre News Net, and the Mountain Views News to reprint this.

    I also challenge Tattler readers to make 10 copies of today's article and pass them out to people in town.
    When you see a naive person picking up a copy of the Mountain Views News in town....hand them a copy of today's Tattler.

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  2. The Tattler would make a fine MVN insert. Easily done since there are relatively few copies of Henderson's paper distributed downtown.

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  3. You know something? I think I am going to vote myself a tax cut. I deserve it.

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  4. I agree Tattler that if city hall could cut a million without feeling too much pain, there must have been a lot of waste going on - now let's get to some real cuts, and yes, Mr. Buchanan, I realize that means losing some services. OK. But not fire, police or paramedics. What else you got? Where's the next wasted million going to come from?

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  5. Moran needs some honest friends to pull him aside and explain to him that in the political realm, he's not supposed to couch everything in personal terms. He's always attacking MacGillivrey and he comes off like an emo.

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  6. Buchanan was absolutely talking out of both sides of his mouth on trusting the voters.
    He has said repeatedly that people didn't understand Measure V.
    And he was hanging tough with the 'advisory' only, not a full vote.
    Because he didn't trust the voters to come up with a 2/3 passing.

    Buchanan has situational trust.

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  7. Josh is very much a product of a certain segment of his generation. He really believes that people are as fascinated about his personal perspectives as he is. And that city business should be judged by so soft and vaguely unpleasant a standard.The "emo" remark is very accurate, 7:34.

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  8. "Advisory" gives Buchanan the right to take more of our money, and do with it as he pleases. Given his outright lies on the water rate increase why would we want to give him that level of trust on a 12% UUT?

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  9. Either the source of the rumor yesterday was lying or misunderstood what was said, about the PUSD task force knowing that Joe was going to be replaced by appointment, or the council did back off. I'll still wait and see what the notes of that meeting say....

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  10. Josh Moran - would you buy a used tax from this man?

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  11. A lot of money would be saved it City Staff did their work instead of High-priced consultants.

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  12. Interesting that you make that remark7:57, because council member Moran was selling his heart out last night. He really, really wants that 12% for a long time, even to the point of claiming that this new ordinance is exactly the same, exactly the same, exactly the same.
    No, it isn't.

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  13. A lot of money would be saved if the city hired some of the extremely talented and experienced retired business professionals living in Sierra Madre. Why we need to hire people from other places and outside organizations mystifies me. In a way they're all consultants down there. Some just being permanent.

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  14. 7:57, great point. It would be very interesting to see a list of what the city has spent on consultants in the last decade.

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  15. It would be interesting to see if some of those consultants make contributions to our elected officials, or are related to them.

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  16. Buchanan, Walsh and Moran need to get some large posters, paint "Repent! Safety Services will End!" on them, and walk around Kersting Court.

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  17. Each and every one of the consultants the city hires are League of California Cities approved and SB 375 compliant. We're paying for the rope they'll hang us with.

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  18. The service they'll try to scare everyone about are the paramedics. "Vote yes on Measure U or people will die."

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  19. two grateful and faithful readersNovember 23, 2011 at 8:16 AM

    Thank you, Mr, Crawford, speakers, and Tattlers. A breath of fresh air!

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  20. Mayor "smut" Buchanan was his typical obnoxious self last night. In his attempt to bully Healther Allen and Fay Angus.
    Bravo to them for putting him in his place.
    The community needs to realize what a vile rude person he is.

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  21. 8:12, I think the links are between city staff and consultants. There's a whole big industry supported by those relationships.

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  22. Yes, 8:18......
    I also have noticed at most every past meeting, that Buchanan, Mosca and now Moran seem try to BULLY and HARRASS WOMEN.
    Like most bullies they are COWARDS.

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  23. When I think of Worst Case Scenarios, I imagine Joe Mosca refusing to leave. And now we find he hasn't signed his resignation . . . muwhahaha . . . .

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  24. Joe not signing his resignation papers just show another example of our current City Manager not doing her Job. What do we pay her to do sit around, hire consultants and eat. Elaine needs to be fired. She is a parasite, lair and speaker of nothing but mistruths. Elaine works for the Troll and his minions and COG. Her next job cannot come soon enough for our sake.

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  25. I don't know if you can blame Elaine for Joe Mosca not signing the resignation papers. Joe is a very special boy, and I don't think it is right to blame the help for things that are really his fault. There was entirely too much of that in the past.

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  26. We need a complete accounting of the UUT. The City Council and Manager will never provide that information or allow that too happen. It will show that a very small amount actually was spend on what taxpayers thought we were voting for, police and fire, both of which are already over inflated. The only cut backs taking place are from our pocket so the City Administration can keep getting fatter at our expense. Every city in America are facing cutbacks, not ours. What is wrong with this picture? Corruption and Fat Cats. VOTE NO on the UUT!!!

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  27. Cuts
    The city is going to give $15,000 to the YMCA to take care of out of town kids so their parents can work. And at the same time everyone who goes to the YAC will now have to pay the YMCA $140 a month even if they go there once a week for a couple of hours.

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  28. 8:23 Can't help but point out how cowardly it is to post anonymous comments on a self-admittedly rumorous blog site. Case in point, my comment took no courage at all.

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  29. Felt good, didn't it 8:57?

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  30. re 8:14 Everyone has to die sometime. Why not in Sierra Madre without the paramedics.

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  31. Vote no on UUT! Absolutely, and please, Sierra Madre, please don't fall for the bulls**t you're going to get in the mail and canned calls.
    They will tell you that the Paramedic program and other emergency services will disappear.
    LIE. Total LIE. We will be on a 10% tax, highest in California and nothing will change.
    They just want the opening for the 12% so as to use the money for....you got it....DEVELOPMENT.
    They lied about the water rate hike and they will continue to lie about this.
    It is the duty of every good citizen to reject these dishonest tactics.

    REPEAT.......IF YOU REJECT THE NEW UUT ON NEXT APRIL'S BALLOT.
    YOU WILL STILL HAVE THE PARAMEDICS, THE FIRE DEPARTMENT and THE POLICE.
    THIS IS A FACT. DON'T BELIEVE ANYTHING ELSE.
    WHAT YOU HAVE NOW, will be in PLACE.

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  32. I may hold Sandy Siriganian at arm's length but I applaud her courage to make her outrage over Bart Doyle's appointment public. It is so great to see new faces at the podium and even better to hear a voice not necessarily associated with the Tattler. I can only hope that this is the beginning of a change in the tide of Sierra Madre politics.

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  33. Wow, the dirts are reading the Tattler this morning!

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  34. You got it all
    You got it all
    You got it all
    'Til the revolution comes

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  35. Politics sure make strange bed fellows. Maybe she has see the light.

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  36. Yes, 8:57, your comment didn't take courage, but it did take hubris. I take it the motivation was to illuminate others as to what you think they should do.
    8:23 might be yelling with the caps. but it has been routine for years, as long as Buchanan has been on the council, to treat public speakers rudely, unless they are engaged in boosterism for the party line.

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  37. Poor little dirts. What else is there to read in this town but The Tattler? What else can they do? Wait for the weekend so they can read two paragraphs of misspelled gibberish on this stuff from Susan Henderson?

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  38. 8:59, you doofus. When and where and from whom did you hear anyone say they don't want paramedics?
    Little reality might harsh your mellow, huh?

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  39. Ah, the downtown investment club slogan out in the open.

    Vote for the extension of the UUT or die.

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  40. Remember Don Watts was once the architect for Dorn Platz. He resigned and was never paid for his professional services as I recall. Don appologized to the community for his mistake signing on with Dorn Platz. I questioned Don back in 2006, asked him about this, he looked me in the eye repeated his comment and I believed him. I was right to do so. The community believed him, and they elected Don.
    Don was a good and honest councilman. It is a shame he didn't get re-elected.

    I'm sure Sandy Siriganian has come to the same conclusions Don Watts did.

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  41. And the support for the obscene websites and their authors, 9:19? That's all OK now too?

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  42. Let's also remember the crusade to defeat the hillside management zone.

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  43. I for one don't see the need for the paramedics. We did just fine with the EMT. Several years ago my daughter needed help and the EMTs got her to the hospital in no time flat. She even got a 911 teddy bear. All at no charge. Now the paramedics charge you or your insurance about $1000. We had no UUT for the EMT. I won't go on about how the paramedics can extend a dying persons life forcing the family to have to take their loved one off life support and watching them die before their eyes again. I am sure this comment will be deleted

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  44. I will not vote to extend the UUT at either 10% or 12%. If there was a way to get rid of it altogether, then I would be very happy to support that.

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  45. 9:29 Your absolutely right. Paramedics are not necessary for the 5 minute run to Methodist Hospital. It was a manufactured crisis from the start. EMT was adequate for our size town so near to a major hospital. That expense combined with all the shiney Police Cars, Truck, Suv and Mortorcyle, and their 31 drivers would be a fascinating study for a realistic cost to City size assessment.

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  46. Paramedics will be the way the city will try to get people to vote for this taxation. But the money will be spent on pensions.

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  47. The Police and Fire Depts take up over 50% of our budget. Why not say it like it is and officially designate the UUT to a special fund for Police and Fire? Logic tells us that the funds right now actually do go to the safety depts. And isn't what the UUT Committee does? Crawford you were on that committee, didn't you check to determine that the money only goes to the Police and Fire? If the City wants to create a slush fund if/when the UUT money exceeds the cost of the Police and Fire, then they can put a measure on the ballot to levy another (different) tax for their slush fund and lower the UUT. Simple.

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  48. 10:14 --- Yeah, I was. But the only information I ever saw was what city staff presented to the committee. I always felt that it was highly possible that there was other information, but the committee was never shown it. The entire process was under City Hall control. We had no freedom to go and independently root around in anyone's files or data system. I came away from the experience convinced that I had taken part in a dog and pony show set up to legitimize what is an extremely high Utility User Tax.

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  49. I am a Groucho Marxist. Whatever it is, I'm against it.

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  50. Q) Why did the turkey decide not to report what he had seen that night?

    A) He didn't want to stick his neck out.

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  51. Denise Delmar has a post up over on Patch. She tries to correct all the errors contained in an article about the GPUSC. What a mess that site is.

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  52. 11:22 What the heck are you talking about?
    Denise posted the date, place, and time of the next meeting. Sounds like you are trying to get people to read you crummy patch. I guess it worked. Tattlers don't waste your time. Poorly written article.

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  53. 1) Can Patch use the official logo of the City of Sierra Madre? 2) Looks like the reporter for Patch is as confused about the density issue as some of us are. Hutt wants to change R3 to 19 units per acre from 13 units per acre. This would mostly occur on Baldwin from SM Blvd to Carter. He also talks about changing the density on San Gabriel Court, Santa Anita Court areas. His math doesn't add up when he speaks at the Committee meetings, but makes it so confusing that none of us understand what he is talking about. Not only that, I for one think he has a conflict of interest when it comes to discussing zoning changes. Only my opinion.

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  54. Moderator, I am a conscientious objector to AOL, so could you please fill us in on what the Chair of the General Plan Committee wrote?

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  55. There is always the possibility that John Hutt doesn't make any sense because he doesn't know what he is talking about. Well spoken gibberish being just about as bad as the more pedestrian version.

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  56. "The committee meets on December 1 and December 6 not December 15. The meetings will begin at 6 pm and are held in City Chambers. Public is encouraged to attend and partcipate in the General Plan Update process." Denise

    apparently there were some errors that Denise corrected

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  57. My favorite moment last night was when John Buchanan told Heather Allen that the council understood her and heard her.

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  58. John knows exactly what he is talking about and how the changed will benefit developers.
    He wants bigger houses in the duplexes/R2 San Gabriel Ct, Mountain Trail, and Santa Anita Court.
    He wants 18 units per acre plus more for larger lots in the R3. This is the West SMB, north Baldwin and all R3 areas. Suffolk, Behind the Mariposa Parking lot.

    R3 is a large area that must stay 13 units per acre.

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  59. You know who is the most hurt by the departure opf Joe Mosca? Josh Moran. He now has to fill the empty space left by the verbose Joe, and he just isn;t up to it. And given Nancy Walsh's lack of sophistication on much of anything beyond the Dapper Field issue, there really isn't anyone else for Buchanan to turn to. Put into that far bigger role Josh comes off as smary and unpleasant.

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  60. I thought Nancy Walsh was excellent last night. I believe she spoke 4 times? And one of those times was to second the motion for adjournment.
    We all know she is going to vote however John Buchanan does, with no exception or deviation, with no independent thought, so less talking really is helpful to moving the meeting along.

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  61. The more Josh has to talk the worse he is going to look. His true nature comes out.

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  62. Thanks for the clarification 12:07.

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  63. A few suggestions:slash hours,shorter days,layoffs,furloughs,independent audits and a call to the Attorney General.You have a mess on your hands.Nothing adds up..you have been had!

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  64. I am still trying to make sense of the discussion about the $1MM in cuts in the last year to the general fund. I think I heard reductions of $30,000 for Community Services, $300,000 for police, $50,000 for the fire department and $25,000 for development services. That adds up to $405,000, so where did they cut the other $595,000??

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  65. You sure this isn't the missing million they're talking about?

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  66. Maybe they didn't cut a million. Maybe they just said they did. You know, like they did with the water rate hike. Just make up something that they think people want to hear.

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  67. 2:38, there was some quick mumbling about Administrative Services having cuts too.
    Why don't we drop the recreation department altogether, if times are tough? It is not essential to have people play sports on city property.
    But what do I know - I'm a working person who lives within my means.

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  68. If the UUT hike language is deceptive, possibly we ought to consider a judicial review of that language. It has many collateral benefits. If everybody flicked in a few hundred bucks we might be able to afford it.

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  69. The deception this time will be that the new UUT Measure whatever is necessary to save the paramedics. Watch.

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  70. 2:38 Hear, hear! I hate children too, and forget all those parents who use the rec center for reasonable day care so they also can be working people living within their means.

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  71. Let's do some math:

    5,000 households in Sierra Madre x $50/month UUT increase = $250,000

    I think you can easily cut that from the current budget, how much did the GP consultants cost again???

    I don't know about you, but right now I am hurting financial and $50 is the difference between taking my family out to dinner once a month (like we do know), and loosing that tradition. If I have to cut back, so should the city.

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  72. Good point, 3:57. And cutting that particular program while also funding a City Council trip to a 3 day lobbyist party in SF is equally beneficial. It did get the idjits out of town for a couple of days.

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  73. We need to take a look at the purchases made each month. Bet fat can be cut there.

    How about the field trips that the seniors take in City vans to for excursions.
    Big Bear October Fest
    Historic Castillo Isabella Castle Tour
    Candlelight Pavilion Christmas Show
    Historic Graber Olive House

    Come to think about it, why do the seniors need to have paid staff plan their activities. For most of their lives, our seniors were parents and youth leader who planned the activities. Just because they are older doesn't mean they can't think.

    The City could sell the vans and save on staff time to drive and insurance.

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  74. 3:57, yes, too bad that all of the babysitters in the world were wiped out by the....what was it that made baby sitters extinct?
    The only source of "reasonable day care" is a municipal one?

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  75. Watching the council mtg. last night was pure toRture when JB was droning on & on about the 12% WITH ONLY 10% COLLECTION. THEN HE SAYS (OVER HIS SHOULDER WITH A SMIRK & A HAND GESSTURE TO NASTY NANCY...NANCY....& as if by a flip of a switch..nasty nancy whirrrs into life & huffs & puffs & malevolently spews the script she has been given & memorized,,,,blah, blah,blah & if 12% blah, blah, blah low income can have a conversation, blah, blah, blah, & whirrrrrr, blip..end of tirade.
    Talk about a dog & pony show. Brown Act violation from start to finish G3. How obvious guys..is this the transparency that you won't give us in real matters??? God help us. Nancy grab your jammies we're taking you to Liesure World to live out your fantasies & delusion of adequacies. Spare us...pleeese!!!!

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  76. Kudos to Sandi Siraganian for keeping us up to date on the Bart Doyle PUSD Steering Committee situation. Thanks for calling it like it is!

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  77. If we don't want to give the city more money, we have to make cuts.
    People need to decide what "essential" means.

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  78. We need to return to community government like we had before the Doyle/Buchanan crowd showed up.

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  79. 5:13 I completely agree. In addition, we should look at getting rid of the Round-A-Bout as well. Too bad all of the personal drivers were wiped out by the... What was it that made the drivers extinct? The only means of getting around is a municipal one? Well, for your Tattler with the long hair it is.

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  80. While listening to the replay (there is some satisfaction in having no Joe Mosca to channgel surf past, ad nauseum) I polked into the part where Pro-tem was laying out his "understanding" of the concept of a sunset clause. Pretty much got it wrong! Quelle surprise!

    To my way of thinking, and we all need to be very clear on this: In public policy, a sunset provision or clause is a measure within a statute, regulation or other law that provides that the law shall cease to have effect after a specific date, unless further legislative action is taken to extend the law. Most laws do not have sunset clauses and therefore remain in force indefinitely.

    The UUT is governed by this definition, not the slanted rant of the troika!

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  81. The seniors pay for their excursions, In addition, the round-a-bout is paid for by state (or county I forget) funds. But, Also in the mix is the dial a ride which gives a great wervice to the seniors and disabled. That is also funded by the same organization that funds the round-a-bout. Lets do away with the little used round-a-bout and put all the funds into expanding the dial a ride. This would provide a great service to those seniors that need it and do away with a needless service.

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  82. There really is only one way to vote on the extension of the UUT - NO, NO, NO. I'm betting that the residents of Sierra Madre have gotten wise to the lies coming out of City Hall. Maybe with a new council in place come April, we can ask for Elaine's resignation, cut the salary for that position and find a reasonable replacement - perhaps a retiree who has city management experience and would be willing to work here for the reduced salary and relatively low stress; cut the police department staff in half; freeze travel by council members or any paid city staff at the expense of the city; freeze any further expenditures on consultants and require city staff to do this work. It would be a start, anyway...

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  83. After I learned that Joe did not turn in his resignation, I asked myself the following question: "How does this action further the DIC's agenda?" (I don't think Joe just forgot to turn it in.)

    The staff report states, "When a City Councilmember resigns, the vacancy is effective upon the date stated in the written resignation filed with the City Clerk." I knew the City Council had 60 days (from the date of resignation) to appoint someone or call a special election. But since Joe never turned in a signed/dated resignation, there was no official starting date for the 60 day period. It seemed unlikely to me that Buchanan, Walsh and Moran would call for a special election for Joe's seat. (They wouldn't want to run the risk of losing the majority in next April's election.) So then I speculated that they might be planning to appoint someone. Perhaps they were having a hard time finding a candidate. As long as Joe didn't turn in a dated resignation, they had an indefinite period of time in which to find a candidate.

    I was surprised and pleased when they chose to call for a special election . Perhaps the Tattler and public pressure forced them to change their minds.

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  84. You did the right thing to question this, Heather.
    You are a concerned citizen who puts effort into educating yourself as to what's going on in your city.
    If everyone paid even half as much attention as you do, we wouldn't be in these difficult times.

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  85. 9:02 Paid for by federal and state money is being paid for by tax payers money. That is you and me. The money comes from the extra tax money we are forced to pay a the pump. The people using these transportation services don't pay the gasoline tax. The people that pay the tax can't use the service.

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