Look at it this way, why should our right to vote on something such as downtown development, or whether or not to redo the Utility User Tax at its present sky high rate, be downgraded to an advisory only level? Or even taken away altogether? After all, aren't we the people whose taxes pay the bills around here? And isn't that tax money the real source of power for any government entity? So why should we only be allowed to cast meaningless "advisory" type votes?
Personally I think this is all backwards. Since our fiduciary contributions are far more meaningful than the mere words that come from the Gang of 4 (-1), how about we put something on the ballot that corrects this terrible mistake?
Perhaps is time to make Sierra Madre's City Council an "advisory only" elective body. They can talk all they want, kiss babies, mug for the camera and whatever else they like to do, but when it comes to actual decision-making their contributions would be of the non-binding advisory kind. While ours, through the vote and various public outreach mechanisms, would be the real deal. After all, it is our money that they spend. And since we do the paying, then we shouldn't we also do the saying?
Tonight's City Council Scorecard
Rather than make too a big deal about tonight's City Council Agenda, I thought I would present it as a kind of scorecard instead. Most of the people who read this blog are plenty aware of what this stuff means, and hardly need me to belabor the obvious. So instead we're going to lay it out in a simple and easy to reference style. Nothing but the items themselves, along with a little obligatory commentary.
1) Consent Calendar: A little over $1 million big ones will be spent on salaries, the CRA, Library, water well repairs, various bills, and office services and supplies. If that seems like a lot of money, well, it is.
Also on the Consent Calendar is a Temporary Use Permit for the Candlelight Walk Procession. Which is a beautiful and moving spiritual experience for those who enjoy witnessing such things. Which I do. This procession is one of those moments that makes living here the great experience that it is.
2) Appointment To The General Services Commission: If anybody knows who is up for a position on one of the truly powerful commissions in this town, do share it with us. I have no idea.
3) Appointment To Pasadena Unified School Districting Task Force: This slot is now open because The Fly (who had previously appointed himself) is buzzing off. It doesn't have to go to a Councilmember though, and even you the unelected are qualified for this gig. Pay very close attention to this part of the meeting. As innocuous as this little exercise may seem now, what you will see tonight will move you in a deep and profound way. That is all I am allowed to say about this.
4) Extension of the Utility Users Tax Increase: This is one of three areas where the G4-1 will attempt to reduce the power of the voters to participate in important decision making here in Sierra Madre. While it is not likely that the City Council will accede to the wishes of City Staff and remove the current Sunset Clause altogether, it is very possible that Buchanan will lead a charge to reduce its impact. Which will result in you having a lot less of a say-so about paying the highest UUT rate in California.
5) Discussion Regarding Options To Fill A Council Member Vacancy: One of the consequences of the way Joe Fly stuck it to his pals on the City Council is that his departure has put their majority control in jeopardy. With Buchanan termed out, Josh Moran freaked out, and Nancy Walsh lights out, it is very possible that the good guys could take control of the City Council next April. The one way that the G3-1 could guarantee that this does not happen is by appointing a replacement for Joe. Of course, this would once again steal the vote from the residents of this town, and as such could be quite a controversial move. This is going to be very difficult moment for the Gang, and it will be fun to watch them sweat it out.
6) Discussion Of Option To Place Proposed Kesington (sic) Project On April 12, 2012 Ballot: As was reported here yesterday, City Staff is running a shaggy dog strategy designed to steal your right to a binding and robust Measure V vote on Billy Spear's mystery project. What they want is to diminish this to an advisory only ballot. Which is like no vote at all. Yet another attempt to rob you of your rights as a citizen.
7) Review Of Proposed Ordinance No. 1322, Updating The City's Mandatory Water Conservation Ordinance: Don't let them kid you, they want you to use as much water as you possibly can. They need the cash to cover some bad bond debts.
8) Strategic Plan From September 20, 2011, Retreat Update: The agenda says that this is to be received and filed. Correct me if I am wrong, but hasn't that been done already?
9) Discussion - Mayor And City Council Reports: This was called by MaryAnn to point out just how absurd this ritual has become. Rather than City Councilmembers talking about important things they have done to further the cause of our City, it has degenerated into a series of embarrassing incidents such as Nancy Walsh's freeform volunteer bash.
Today Is Election Day, So Get Out And Vote!
There is one big item for us to vote on today, and that is a seat on the Pasadena Community College's Board of Trustees. We here at The Tattler urge you to join us in our Rainbow Community of Many Fine Political Ideologies (RCMFPI) and cast your vote for Brian Fuller. This is truly a golden "throw the bum out" opportunity. Jeanette Mann is a classic example of what decades of unmerited entitlement and opposition-free elections can lead to. The students at PCC, many of whom have posted on this board over the last week or so about this election, deserve a break. It is tough enough out there as it is.
If you wish to vote but you don't know where your polling station is, there is a website that will help you find it. Click here and have at it.
As they say back in New Jersey (or in the Mann household for that matter), vote and vote often.