Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Would You Believe That Something Called the "Los Angeles County Clean Water, Clean Beaches Protection Measure" is Actually a New Tax?

There is just so much eccentric nonsense on the current SGVCOG Meeting Agenda that it is hard to know where to start. Of course, everyone here did post a bit yesterday about the COG's initiative to banish those members who dare to disagree with the Executive Director. But what we have here today is fairly close to that in the unmitigated outrage category. That being a proposal for a new property tax, one wallowing in so much water quality bromides and beach baloney that what it actually is nearly drowns.

On the SGVCOG Agenda, under Item 8.3, is something called the "L.A. County Flood Control District Water Quality Initiative." And the recommended action from Nick Conway for the SGVCOG's compliant membership is to approve the attached resolution of support for this "Initiative." You can view this item on the COG Agenda by clicking here and scrolling down towards the bottom.

Despite all the chipper language about clean water and protecting the beaches, what you'll be reading about there is actually a proposal for a new L.A. County wide property fee/tax assessment. This new tax, if approved by the concerned voters, would affect every property in the County.

While Conway tries to characterize the "average" yearly fee as being $54.00, if you review the supporting material it will probably by more like $85.00, with commercial properties, apartments etc. paying much higher amounts. Plus government parcels would also be assessed since they contribute to water runoff. So you would also be taxed even more on property you are taxed on already.

Here is how Conway attempts to sell this new tax to the membership at the SGVCOG:

The Los Angeles region faces critical and very costly stormwater and urban runoff water quality challenges. Often runoff containing trash, bacteria, metals and other pollutants drains into streams and waterways and ultimately to the ocean. Many water bodies in the Los Angeles region have been determined by the State and Regional Boards to not meet State and Federal water quality standards ...

The guilt trip goes on for quite awhile. If you need to see more, click here.

All of which is a very deceptive way of saying that you will be paying an entirely new property tax assessment for the familiar and ancient job known as sewage processing. The only difference being that this sewage comes from storm sewers instead of those other sewers.

And who knows, since you would then be paying a new property tax on storm sewage, maybe that could be turned into a new UUT category as well. If so, that would take our category count up to a state leading 10.

The process that is being loosed upon an unwitting public here is as follows. The SGVCOG will be among the first organizations in L.A. County to recommend approval for this new tax. Then it will go out to the individual cities where it will be put up for similar blessings by each City Council. All in the attempt to make this new tax seem popular and inevitable. And you can be assured that when this hits our City Council Agenda, it will be couched in lots and lots clean water and beach verbiage, but very little will be said about it being an entirely new property tax.

Oh, and if you think the $85 per home annual assessment isn't really all that high, and that the City Council of the City of Sierra Madre should approve this, please remember that it is a new tax. Once created it will go up. It is the only direction these things ever really go. Start low, aim high seems to be the process here.

If passed by the voters, this then approved new property tax would also create a myriad of new government commissions and agencies. Something that the Executive Director of the SGVCOG loves. There will also be the inevitable oversight boards as well, which will be called Watershed Area Groups, or "WAGS." Something that will provide yet more comfortable seats for local politicians and dignitaries to sit upon and receive a stipend.

This "election" will be a Prop 218 style vote where ballots are mailed to the targeted property owners only. And when these sheets are mailed out the tax proposal will be dressed up in some highly deceptive language. The "Los Angeles County Clean Water, Clean Beaches Protection Measure" is what it will be called.

I mean, who could ever vote against clean water and beaches? Of course, they could call it a new property assessment for processing water run-off sewage, but what fun would that be? It's not like you can expect these characters to tell the truth and call it what it really is, a brand new tax. That is not how they work.

Anyway, the SGVCOG and its Executive Director Nick Conway are working hard to keep this one way under the public radar. We thought we might try and make their job a little more difficult by talking to you about it here.

After all, that is what we do. Just ask the guys that wanted to raise your Sierra Madre utility taxes last week.

If you do not know who your representative on the SGVCOG Governing Board might be, and you are looking for somebody to complain to about this and everything else, you can access the entire roster by clicking here.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

56 comments:

  1. We all reside in the People's Republic of California.
    It's going to keep getting worse.

    I never thought people were dumb enough to let things get to this point......I was wrong, oh yeah, they are that dumb!
    That said, a sleeping giant, the people who never vote, has awakened.
    People in Sierra Madre just came out in droves and voted down an unfair tax last Tuesday.
    The people here can still reject these outrages.

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  2. Crawford?
    You're last paragraph? If we're looking for our representitive to complain to?

    Sierra Madre-Nancy Walsh?????????

    Is this some kind of joke?

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    Replies
    1. Nancy only. No alternate listed.

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    2. Right. Sierra Madre is essentially unrepresented on the SGVCOG. Taxation without representation as it were.

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    3. We need to get out of this dishonest SGVCOG. They do nothing for us but take our money.

      Nancy Walsh???? You've got to be kidding. That's like having no one. So....why do we still pay dues?

      Get out....NOW

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    4. I think I'll just call a bunch of those guys on the list and complain to them. I'll tell them I'm from their town. You never know, you might get a live one.

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    5. Good idea, 8:05, let's start a Tattler protest against this.

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    6. Better yet, 8:05 am, tell them you're in escrow for a house in their district and you're going to think twice if buying a house increases your taxes. I can tell you that they'll take your name, ask for your address, and check it against their constituent list before they pay much attention. All takes mere seconds!

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    7. Actually your name shows up on their telephone display unless you're "blocked". These people are slick.

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    8. How do you temporarily block your caller ID?

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  3. The people will vote for it, because it sounds good and makes you all comfy inside.
    No one ever pays attention to this stuff unless they get hit over the head with a brickbat.

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  4. Concerned Taxpayer,April 17, 2012 at 7:16 AM

    "Concerned Citizens Against Increasing TAXES" ,,,,, Stay tuned for the next meeting where we will discuss our position on all taxes, not just Sierra Madre. It is time to further unite Concerned Citizens Against Increasing TAXES, it is time to be heard, it is time to take action, let us hear your thoughts. Thank you.

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    Replies
    1. Count us in. We can stop all this abuse by the "central committee".
      We can and we will!

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  5. New and higher taxes and rates are coming in from all directions now. It is like being at the front and getting shelled.

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  6. If a member of the Governing Board votes against this new tax, do they get kicked out?

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  7. The wording of these things is straight out of Orwell and 1984.

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  8. Wow, that is a scary thought, I'll read that.

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  9. it's just another way to try and get around Prop. 13

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  10. The "Happy Daisies and Green Leafy Trees Initiative" is next. It will be a tax for new plant debris landfills.

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  11. I am not opposed to taxes. I am happy to chip in for the common good. The problem comes when the taxes are not spent wisely, or for the common good. A small example is buying lunch for the local pols who go to these meetings. I brown bag it to my job, why can't they?
    It's the same thing with our city - I will pay taxes that benefit us all, but I don't feel the need to have city administrators make twice as much as I do, I don't want money thrown away on law firms that do not represent the citizens, and until I see significant reform, I will always vote No on taxes they try to increase.

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    Replies
    1. Great post, 7:57 am. You speak for the majority of residents of Sierra Madre. Homeowners, renters, business owners, seniors,young families, all who live here and pay more rent, more taxes and more for their homes, because we have such a nice unique little town.
      All we ask is that our representitves and city officials work for our benefit, not special interests.

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  12. Perhaps, that great concerned citizen against tax increases will put up another banner on Sierra Madre Blvd?

    GET SIERRA MADRE OUT OF SGVCOG NOW!

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    Replies
    1. I surely could be wrong 8:01, but I'd wait a bit - people actually came out and voted, and might have used all the political energy that they have for the moment.

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    2. You're probably right. But people in Sierra Madre showed they are in a tax fighting mood.

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  13. Does anybody know what fund this tax will go into? How can we really be sure it will be used for the stated purpose?

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    Replies
    1. We can't be sure, 8:01. The politicians and their handlers have proven that to us, here in Sierra Madre. That's why they didn't get their tax increase....we don't trust them anymore.

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  14. One more time: California needs to split-roll Prop 13

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  15. The solution the every problem government faces. More taxes, more spending.

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    Replies
    1. That solution has near bankrupted the People's Republic of California, 8:10 AM
      UNSUSTAINABLE. These policies and "solutions" are UNSUSTAINABLE.

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  16. People are so tired of all this, one fight after another after another after another. Worn out, beat down and the bullies win. Some people like a good fight, many of us do the big fade. I for one refuse to be angry all the time. Somebody else's turn.

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    Replies
    1. Some of us do it because we enjoy it. And it has nothing to do with being angry, it is just business. The peoples business. It's not for everyone.

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  17. Nice to know that the SGVCOG members are doing important work - They aren't just feasting at the meetings on our dime and taking photos for future campaign material, they are secretly working to impose new taxes on us to further their own interests.

    Simply the worst public agency in the San Gabriel Valley.

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    Replies
    1. The COG sucks up tax money and gives nothing back. It is a puzzle factory. It's #1 product is confusion.

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  18. These taxes always start out very small. Then once they're snuck through they just grow and grow and grow. A couple lattes at a time.

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  19. There is a gentleman available from the Secret Service that knows how to throw a party and make the most of others tax dollars. He can even import "ladies" for enhanced activity. I think he is available for the "Clean Your Beaches Iniative" and will accept a reduced salary. When one Government door closes anodther opens as they say in Cartegna.

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    Replies
    1. There are also at least a dozen available ex-employees of the GSA available for hire. They'll be sure to party your tax money away responsibly - maybe we'll all be invited to the next bash, since it's our tax money they are utilizing for their leisure activity...

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  20. Perfect example of the infuriating and disrespectful use of tax dollars, 12:26.
    I don't get why our society produces such greedy, narcissistic losers.

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  21. How are these council of governments functioning in other parts of the state/states? Are we alone in this mess?

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    Replies
    1. They all march to the beat of the almighty dollar. State, Federal and corporate. Show them the green and they'll do or say anything you want. Just don't ask them to take the side of the citizens. No profit in that!

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  22. No more taxes
    No more taxes
    No more taxes
    No more taxes
    No more stupid, self serving politicians

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  23. It is time that we, the citizens, are allowed to vote on who will represent our interests at the SGVCOG. This nonsense of an agency being made up of officials that we do not get to select and who use the agency as their own personal piggy bank needs to stop. Take the time, go to some of the meetings. Voice your unhappiness to your local city officials and ask them to suspend their participation in this secret society!

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  24. This is what Sierra Madre needs to do, field trip to the next SGVCOG, with the press alerted.

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    Replies
    1. And a film crew!

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    2. The meeting is this Thursday.

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    3. I got the film crew covered....

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  25. Uh Oh, try as I might, I can't access the roster for COG using the link Crawford provided. Do you suppose Conway's long arm has reached into my computer so I can't complain? If the Meeting is Thursday, Nancy will still be our representative. Who knows who our next mayor Josh Moran will appoint.

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    1. The link works on my computer. Did you have Nick over for mixed drinks? He might have spilled one on your keyboard. The next rep Josh will appoint will have to be someone completely obediant and willing to turn a blind eye to shenanigans. Otherwise they'll be kicked out. My guess is Harabedian.

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  26. Not only does the link not work for me, it also kicks me off the Tattler. How's that for conspiracy?

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  27. This Thursday night is the Planning Commission:
    the Kensington
    the Meaglea McMansion
    and a variance on Windsor Lane.

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  28. Planning Commission and SGVCOG on same night, need split shifts.

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  29. You can really make a difference if you pack the room.

    It is really a spectacle to see pudgy council members from Alhambra eastward stuffing their faces on catered food that COG provides.

    When a citizen says something like: "You just violated the Brown Act." or "Your agenda has not been posted." you will be answered with words like "Idiot." or "So what." People have been ordered out of the room, and people who have no right to be in closed meetings are let in. It is an example of government completely out of control. YOU NEED TO BE THERE TO SEE IT. The same lap dogs eating it up, month after month talking about Water Quality, and scams to raise taxes. The seminal event is the signing of the check request for stipends for attending the meeting. Free food, free cash and Nick smiling all the way to the bank.

    Try to find out when they have the annual blow-out in Pasadena at the Mexican restaurant. COG throws a big party. But never is the event noticed to the public.

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  30. My impression from the 1 COG meeting I've ever been to is that almost nobody talks. A room full of elected officials who sit like sawdust filled dummies. It was very very weird. I get the point that these people are bought off by stipends, free food and the prospect of bring home a $3,000 grant to whatever dumb city they come from, but why so cheap? They've sold out their honor for not very much.

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    Replies
    1. I'd rather we win some reasonable RINA numbers!

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    2. Kind of an oxymoron, 8:29. The only winning RHNA number is zero.

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