Saturday, April 28, 2012

Earl Richey's Letter On the 2011 Water Rate Hike

(Mod: I received a letter from Earl Richey calling for either the rescinding of the 2011 water rate increases, or putting this matter on the November ballot. We are looking at a 7.5% second installation of the rate increases in July, eventually leading to a total 37% increase by 2015. It is a matter of great concern to Earl, and perhaps you as well. I personally believe he is on to something. Considering the deceptive way this increase was initiated under then Mayor Joe Mosca, along with the way the resulting Prop 218 protest was summarily dismissed by that administration, I think this is something owed to the residents of Sierra Madre. We now have a new City Council with three Councilmembers that were not there when this all went down. It is an opportunity for a fresh look.)

April 25, 2012

Subject: Repeal all 2011 Water Rate Increases or allow Sierra Madre registered voters the right to vote on the matter

Honorable Council Members
John P. Capoccia
John Harabedian
Chris Koerber
Josh Moran
Nancy Walsh

City Manager
Elaine Aguilar

City Attorney
Teresa Highsmith

City Clerk
Nancy Shollenberger

News Media
Sierra Madre Tattler
Mt. Views News
Sierra Madre News.net
San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Requesting:
1) That the City Council repeal the adopting of all (2011) water rate increases, OR:
2) That the City Council allow all registered voters the Right to Vote - Yes or No, on the November 2012 ballot regarding the (2011) City Council Passage of the Water Rate Increase(s).
3) I further request that this letter be agendized and put up for discussion with the residents of the City of Sierra Madre at the next convenient City Council meeting.

There is an old expression that even the dumbest dog knows the difference between being accidentally tripped and being kicked ... many of us, raising a second or third generation of Sierra Madreans, feel that our City Council has believed in the past that we are dumber than the proverbial dumbest dog.

The tranquility and serenity of Sierra Madre had been disrupted by the appearance of the (2011) City Council and City Manager using a change in the water rate structure to apparently fund non-water related expenses, which lead to the disclosure that the City Council had not stated in a completely forthcoming way the purposes for the water rate increase. Using instead our water reserves as a slush fund to cover other expenses. This disregard clearly influenced the April 2012 election, leading to the overwhelming defeat of Measures 12-1 and 12-2, lawsuits and friction between neighbors and friends.

The perception that the then City Council had been less than transparent and candid on a matter related to the ratepayers' money, coupled with that City Council jury-rigging the Prop 218 opposition process, only further inflamed the anger in the community. These perceptions can only be properly addressed and alleviated by allowing the citizens of Sierra Madre the opportunity to exert their rightful influence and control via the ballot.

In addition to the $1.97 per unit water rate charge, the City Council imposed a 9% Utility Tax, a 37% Water Rate Increase, and brought in a convoluted and Byzantine Tiered Fee pricing system. Something that even today few ratepayers can truly understand.

The Supreme Court may say we can or cannot live without "ObamaCare," but we all know we cannot live long without water. That does not mean that the City Council can tax our ability to live with a disregard to our rights. Water fees, charges and reserves should be used for water related expenditures only.

Let us use this as an opportunity to resolve the discord and misconceptions, restore trust in our elected officials, and allow the voters to finally have their say on each of these changes this November.

Earl Richey
eerichey@earthlink.net

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

70 comments:

  1. I agree with Earl, not because of the financial hit, which will adversely effect all those in town struggling to make ends meet, but in the dishonest way it was dishonestly manipulated.
    I have always believed we deserve the government we vote for.
    For years, unfortunately, we have been manipulated and spun.
    If our new city council is truly working for us, bringing this matter to the people for a vote, is the only ethical thing to do.
    When this issue gets agendized, I am wanting to see, who on the council will vote against it.

    It will speak volumes about who we have elected.

    Let there be a vote, and let the chips fall where they may.
    Thank you Earl, for standing up and fighting for this basic democratic principle.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree with Earl and Don. At least a hearing needs to be held about the shoddy way the water rate increase was carried out. First we were told it was because of the pipes, but then the residents found out it had something to do with bonds? That is a terrible way to treat the taxpayers of this town. We need an investigation!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was shameful what the city did!

      Delete
    2. As you recall...many Sierra Madreans demanded a forensic investigation. The city manager and city council held their grounds and would not allow such an investigation.

      Delete
  3. Democracy in action, what a concept. The 218 process was corrupted by the fugitive Joe Mosca. Time to right the wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It is time this wrong was rectified.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you Earl!!!

    Off topic or on topic, depending on how you view this. Had a friend stay the night. I called the Police Department to ask about over night parking. I was informed that the City now charges $1.00 or $5.00 a night to park in front of your own home. The person answering the phone didn't know the exact amount, he was new a the job. When did this fee charge take place? Sierra Madre the Town of "Increase Revenue" at all Cost. Now we have to pay to park in front of our own house, personally go to the police department to obtain a permit, and state who and how long they will be staying. This is outrageous!!! Next will be a strip search. Now wonder businesses in Sierra Madre barely survive. The conduct of the City Officials that we as citizens allow to run our town are corrupt. Trust me, Elaine doesn't have to jump through the same hoops in her home town as she makes us jump through in Sierra Madre. Nor does she have to pay the type of water rate increase she expects us to have to pay. IT IS OUTRAGEOUS!!!

    OUR CITY MANAGER NEEDS TO BE REPLACED.

    better yet FIRED for gross misconduct.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The rate for parking overnight was discussed many times at City Council meetings, I don't remember when it was enacted, but it has been awhile. No parking overnight has been a rule since I can remember. You now request an overnight parking permit on line, they don't like phone calls because the calls interfere with other police business. The cadet that answered the phone should have had the information. Not Elaine's fault this time. There are many more things we can blame her for though.

      I think despite the way it was handled, the water rate should be here to stay, I don't agree with Earl (or Don) that we should have a costly election just for revenge. Whether we have an election or not, we needed to have a rate raise. I can't afford it any more than anyone else, but it is, what it is.

      Delete
    2. neighborhood watcherApril 28, 2012 at 12:31 PM

      The overnight parking restrictions are very helpful in maintaining safety.

      Delete
    3. Hey 10:43, it's ok to raise the rates because it will cost money to put on a ballot?
      What about having done the process correctly in the first place.
      Would you rather see this go to court and cost many 100's of thousands in attorney's fees?
      Or tacking it on to a ballot for a few thousand dollars?
      Perhaps you can pay my water increase if you feel it was right.

      Delete
    4. We already paid big bucks for a law suit to no avail. If you want to take the issue to court, be my guest. I'm not contributing to your fund.

      Delete
    5. I heartily disagree that the law suit was to no avail. We didn't win, but it wasn't because the city staff and council majority were innocent. Good to expose shenanigans all the time - every time.

      Delete
  6. BEST QUOTE OF THE DAY SO FAR.....

    "The 218 process was corrupted by the FUGITIVE Joe Mosca".

    ReplyDelete
  7. We need to have it acknowledged that the city did not deal honorably with the people of Sierra Madre.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. never have never will

      Delete
    2. When the truth came out about the need to adhere to the bond covenant, MacGillivray offered a solution that would solve the problem and be fair to the people. A small increase to preserve the bond rating and then a redo of the 218 process based on the truth. It also would have raised an additional half million for water reserves. The G4 didn't trust the people of Sierra Madre like MacGillivray does.

      Delete
    3. Old Timers have a lot of stories to tell about the water department income. The most often repeated words are "cash cow"

      Delete
  8. Thanks to Earl Richey for initiating this.
    The part that bothered me the most was all the hide and seek of the necessary signatures that went on, and the shambles the city's record of water customers was in. Full of inaccuracies and uncertainties, the list was very difficult to work with, and that the volunteers got as many signatures as they did was an amazing thing - then to have them played with as valid/invalid by shifting criteria? Foul behavior to a hard working public.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Last time this topic came up, someone commented about the illegality of Mosca's calling for a recount after signatures had been accepted.
    What an expensive shenanigan stew this is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The FUGITIVE Mosca is one of the worse things that's happened to this town since Bart Doyle.

      Delete
  10. Some Qs:

    (1) When were the water bonds issued?
    (2) By what process? (SM council/SM voters?)
    (3) What are the principal amounts, interest rates, maturity dates, and monthly/yearly payments?
    (4) What is the source of funds for the monthly/yearly payments being made now and in the past?
    (5) Why is a new source of funds (e.g.7.5% increase) needed to make future payments? Is it needed to pay principal?
    (6) If a new source of funds is truly needed to make future payments, what alternative sources of funds are available to make the contractually required payments?

    I'm trying to get up to speed on the issue, so if this info has already been published here I'd appreciate a link or the date published. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Use the search box.

      Delete
    2. It's good know that Harabedian's research staff relies on The Tattler for reliable info. Sort of reminds me of "Steve's" style.

      Delete
    3. It does show a certain sense of entitlement that they ask you to do it for them, though.

      Delete
    4. if 9:28 is sincere, there are records of all of this in the library. You can check out dvd's of the relevant meetings and educate yourself.

      Delete
    5. It does show entitlement indeed, 10:24. It also shows ignorance of recent history in Sierra Madre politics. Hmmmm.

      Delete
  11. Maybe Mr. Koerber can answer succinctly. He knows finance.

    ReplyDelete
  12. It's not just the financing for the water supplies. The regional agencies have been at war for years and are now being audited by the State. They've been passing through their legal expenses for these fights, as well as other costs not associated with actually providing water.

    Click on link above.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I don't think the City Establishment really is concerned over our complaints.They are perfectly happy that the Tattler allows us to "Blow Off Steam".Perhaps,it is time to contact the California State Attorney General as it appears the corruption has become far too entrenched for citizens to overcome it through traditional means.The choice is up to us.Take it or Ante UP!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I disagree. I think a public hearing with the City Council and the residents discussing the wrongdoings that were committed would be a good experience for this city. I don't think that something as wrong as what was done by the city during the water rate increase process should just be allowed to slide by without notice. They lied, and it needs to be officially noted.

      Delete
    2. I would love to see the "Rats" scramble if we could get an outside legal agency involved.It would not be local anymore and the cozy in house buddy buddy system would be for naught.Let the light come in and exposed what a corrupt creepy little community this place has become!

      Delete
    3. What outside agency do you suggest? Remember the law suit that Crawford brought to the City? That's as close are you're going to get any satisfaction --- which in that case was none.

      Delete
    4. That law suit was warm up.

      Delete
    5. A public hearing and an admission of wrongdoing by the city would be a nice first step.

      Delete
  14. Is the PUSD Snoopy's foe?April 28, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    Remarkable typo on the front page of today's Looney Views News. Discussing the mess the PUSD has made of the Middle School, Susan describes the site as being "baron." And to think that this woman is still claiming she attended Cal State Berkeley.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan claims in her article that a big impact of Sacramento school budget cuts would be on Middle School construction. I guess she was not aware that the money for school construction comes from the bonds we voted into a existence several years back, and not Sacramento.

      Delete
    2. Cal Berkeley huh? Figures.

      Delete
    3. Right 4:40. If you're going to lie about going to a university, why not make it the best?

      Delete
  15. The bonds were passed by the pro-development council under Doyle.
    It never went to a public vote as it should have been.
    This why Watts is wanting the water rate increase to go on a ballot, so ALL the people can vote on it.... You know, like in a real "democracy"?.
    The bonds were meant to pay for the added development costs. The residents would absorb the costs for the needed infrastructure to develop the downtown high density construction rather than the investors.

    ReplyDelete
  16. That's the main reason why capitalism actually works (at least most of the time), 12:27: Externalize costs; privatize profits.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In other words, get the taxpayer to pick up your costs, and keep everything you make for yourself. Pretty much the purpose of the CRA for decades, right?

      Delete
  17. Not just through CRA - all for profit businesses operate in that manner to a greater or lesser degree.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. With a greater or lesser degree of integrity.
      Public service is supposed to mean something.
      There is such a thing as the common good - but perhaps you've never heard of it, 2:57.

      Delete
    2. Your last sentence, 6:05, suggests you somehow think my comments are against your viewpoint. I can't discern how you reached that conclusion.

      As to your first sentence, I'm not sure how one can externalize costs (i.e. make others pay the costs without sharing the resulting gain) with any integrity.

      Delete
    3. Fascinating, but back to the topic at hand - the city lied, the water rate hike is going through, it will stink until the city airs it out, fesses up, and behaves in a fashion that the residents can respect.

      Delete
    4. What has any of this to do with the old City Council lying about water rate increases? This needs to be discussed. Somebody has tipped their hand here. Somebody is very worried about the new City Council airing this miserable episode out in public. Thanks for the validation.

      Delete
    5. We will be cleaning up after Joe Mosca for years. God knows what other bodies are going to float to the surface.

      Delete
  18. Check out: Claremonters Against Outrageous Water Rates on Facebook. They are under Golden State Water company and when you go to that company site and look under rates you drag down to your city (I looked at Claremont, El Monte, Barstow and Arcadia) and look again for rates, where I found a paragraph about repayment for overcharging schedule.

    Water costs are a big deal and no one should sit by complacently anymore.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Calling for honesty in government is a beautiful thing. Thanks Mr. Richey!

    ReplyDelete
  20. If we can just bring the elephant out into the open, if only for a second? Maybe just for a peak? We have a new City Council with 3 new members who were not there when Joe lied about the reasons for raising water rates. This episode needs to be looked at by the City Council now. How is it that the previous City Council could blatantly lie about the reasons for raising water rates, and when caught just sweep it all under the carpet like nothing happened? That is what the new City Council needs to look at.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When John Buchanan and Joe Mosca were running their scam on the cititzens with the water repairs (hiding the bond payment issue) Josh and Nancy were just holding their breath and hoping no one would notice how little they understood or had to contribute to the discussion.

      Now they are our City Council "leaders" as mayor and mayor pro-tem and they better start pretending that they get it regarding the water concerns that Earl Richey is pounding them with.

      With the combined intelligence and experience of the three new council members we should be able to get some action now.

      Delete
  21. Well said 7:57.
    We had enough of liars succeeding during Mosca's time on the council - maybe too many people got used to letting lies slip by.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Remember when John Buchanan said that a forensic audit wouldn't help anything, because what had happened was over, there were no records (an employee bonfire of some kind), what was done was done, blahdeblah, and he wasn't responsible?
    He set a precedent for disclaiming responsibility as though that makes obligation disappear.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At the very heart of the Mosca and Buchanan ethical void was the conviction that they should never be held accountable for their actions.

      Delete
  23. Nothing is going to change as long as you have Colantuono & Levin and their lackey Elaine running things. Let's hope that the new Council realizes this and finally cleans house.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hey Crawford, if you don't put out a Sunday edition, I may have to cancel my subscription.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll more than make up for it with tomorrow's post. Got some good stuff to share. Some folks are gonna hate it a lot.

      Delete
    2. Can't wait, Tatt, can't wait!!

      Delete
  25. Yeah, I'm missing Crawford's Sunday edition, but figured he was on a family outting. which would be nice. Didn't you one time run and open thread so folks could just kevech about any old thing?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You mean to say there are people who don't post off-topic on The Tattler? Naw!

      Delete
  26. Someone posted that there was no Police Blotter to be read in Sierra Madre and the Moderator welcomed a reader to put one together.

    I looked on the City Website, clicked for the SMPD and got to a link for state-wide crimes where you put in your zip code. Information came up for Sierra Madre but the posting dates were as of the the previous week. I will check again today and see what the dates are.

    There is one Megan's Law posting, but not for Matheson yet!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Web site for crime report has you now put in an address. I put in mine and it cut off some of the city. I am going back and try the PD address, see if I get more of the city. Link is through City of Sierra Madre, Departments--Police, Crime Reporting (or something like that).

    ReplyDelete
  28. Three other Megan's Law postings, two for Hastings Ranch and one below SM Blvd, south of Albertson's.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thank you Earl! I am willing to picket and walk again this summer to once again let the citizens know how illegal the past CC acted against us to raise the water rates. They have not won anything. They lost respect and integrity.

    Now Mr. Harabedian: Where do you stand? For the people or the Dept of Lies and More Lies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Earl should replace josh on the cc. My parrot should replace low wattage walsh. Who in God's name ever told her that anyone liked the tapchicks must be blind Again, she has shown delusions of adequacy. Repeal the water rate hike & walsh!!!!!!

      Delete
  30. The night of the reorganization we were treated to MaryAnn's last report where she relayed the most recent southern California meeting she attended where there were issues of concern to the future of Sierra Madre. Nancy told us that the Tap Chicks would be performing at the Sierra Madre Playhouse, but although she would not be performing she would be in the audience with her dance instructor. Lawd have mercy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do not believe that the DIC contingent looks at Nancy and Josh and then has happy thoughts about the 2014 election.

      Delete
  31. Way to go, Mr. Richey!

    Are you single??

    ReplyDelete