Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Slightly Different City Council Meeting Preview

(Mod: I was going to go through the entire agenda and discuss each and every one of the items like I usually do. But then it occurred to me that after the meeting tonight I will do exactly the same thing all over again, except this time having actually witnessed these events. And so, armed with this fine new reason for not spending most of Monday evening writing about stuff that you yourself are perfectly capable of figuring out on your own, I thought I would just post tonight's meeting agenda. With comments added where required. Just to keep traditions alive. Here it is:)


AGENDA REGULAR MEETING SIERRA MADRE CITY COUNCIL

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 Closed Session – 6:00 pm Open Session - 6:30 pm

City Hall Council Chambers 232 W. Sierra Madre Boulevard Sierra Madre, California 91024

Josh Moran - Mayor, Nancy Walsh - Mayor Pro-Tem, Council Member John Capoccia, Council Member John Harabedian, Council Member Chris Koerber, City Clerk Nancy Shollenberger,  Richard Mays, City Treasurer

The Council will listen to the public on any item on the agenda. The City Council cannot legally take action on any item not scheduled on the agenda. Such items may be referred for administrative action or scheduled on a future agenda. Comments will generally be limited to three minutes per speaker.

PUBLIC COMMENT FOR ITEMS ON THE AGENDA:
Persons wishing to speak on any item on the agenda will be called at the time the agenda item is brought forward. Persons wishing to speak on closed session items have a choice of doing so either immediately prior to the closed session or at the time for comments on items at the open session.

PUBLIC COMMENT FOR ITEMS NOT ON THE AGENDA:
Time shall be devoted to audience participation early on the agenda. If additional time is needed, the Mayor will allow for same at the end of the agenda.

CLOSED SESSION

RECESS TO CLOSED SESSION REGARDING:

CONFERENCE WITH LEGAL COUNSEL
Mayor Moran, Mayor Pro Tem Walsh, Council Member Capoccia, Council Member Harabedian, and Council Member Koerber. Regarding Closed Session Items - Existing Litigation Pursuant to California Government Code Section 54956.9(a). The City Council/Agency finds, based on advice from legal counsel, that discussion in open session will prejudice the position of the local agency in the litigation. Jesse Toribio v City of Sierra Madre; Case number GC048667

CONFERENCE WITH LABOR NEGOTIATOR
Pursuant to California Government Code Section 54957.6. City Negotiators: Elaine Aguilar, City Manager, Elisa Weaver, Director of Human Resources, and Karin Schnaider, Finance Director. Employee Organization: Sierra Madre Police Officers Association

CALL TO ORDER/ROLL CALL

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE AND INVOCATION/INSPIRATION (John Harabedian to invocate and inspire.)

REPORT OUT FROM CLOSED SESSION (Mod: Since it was all SMPOA stuff, which is virtually endless, there will be nothing to report. Besides, you know it's all lawsuits and demands for raises, right?)

APPROVAL OF AGENDA 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL REPORTS

PUBLIC COMMENT (Mod: Public comment could get particularly interesting. Apparently those "smart" water meters the city spent a vast sum of money on transmit erroneous information back to the Mother Ship, with more and more people reporting having received absurdly inaccurate water bills because of that. The rumor is the City has known this for a while, but for some reason kept quiet about it. This cat is now out of the bag.)

ACTION ITEMS

1 - CONSENT CALENDAR

a) ADOPTION OF RESOLUTION NO. 12-79 OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SIERRA MADRE RATIFYING CERTAIN DEMANDS (Mod: The spend this week is a relatively modest $539,310. The total spend for September is $2,172,540, however, but that also includes those 2 weeks in August when no City Council meeting was held. Average daily spend is approximately $48,000.)

b) APPROVAL OF SECOND AMENDMENT AND EXTENSION OF TRANSPORTATION SERVICES AGREEMENT WITH FIRST TRANSIT, IN. (Mod: It apparently costs $18,431 a month to keep those mostly empty buses circling our community.)

c) CANCELLATION OF SECOND REGULAR CITY COUNCIL MEETING FOR THE MONTH OF DECEMBER (12/25/2012) (Mod: What exactly will people do this Christmas if they don't have a City Council meeting to attend?)

d) REFINANCING 1998 WATER BOND (Mod: The refinancing didn't work. No bank was interested. Back to the old water bond covenant shuffle.)

e) RESOLUTION NO. 12-76: A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL AMENDING THE SIERRA MADRE CONFLICT OF INTEREST AND DISCLOSURE MONITORING AGENCY CODE (Mod: This sounds like it might be something interesting, but it is basically a paperwork item. Happens every two years. Titles change, positions change, and therefore what somebody's skin in the game changes, too. This updates that picture.)

2. DISCUSSION – FINAL DRAFT TECHNICAL BACKGROUND REPORT – GENERAL PLAN UPDATE (Mod: If you look at the Staff Report for this item you will see an actual facsimile of this document. You can tell it was prepared by a consultant because it has a full color cover with pictures of buildings and landscapes. This is a checkmark item on our way to completing the General Plan Update. Cost us a fortune.)

3. DISCUSSION – CITY COUNCIL DISCUSSION OF FISCAL YEAR 2013-2015 BUDGET PLANNING (Mod: This will consume immense amounts of time. It involves how much the City will spend, and on what, during these 2 years. This versus exactly how much will actually be available to spend, a figure I suspect some will find kind of sobering. Think of it as making sausage.)

4. DISCUSSION – SIERRA MADRE STATE OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE (Mod: Since a significant portion of our spare cash goes towards servicing bond debt covenants, things like water pipes and related infrastructure often get kicked to the back of the bus. Ironic, isn't it? Bonds that once upon a time were supposed to help repair our infrastructure now make it impossible to do so.)

5. DISCUSSION – HOUSING ELEMENT REVISION (Mod: This is one of those RHNA compliance reports we must submit to the state showing that we submitted something to the state. Sacramento presumes to tell us what we need housing-wise, and even though their central planning mandates don't work for us, we legally have to issue a report telling them that we had a lovely time and can't wait to start building. Then we await their approval. This particular item has been back and forth with the state for several years now. City Staff hopes to finish this process before the next one starts.)

6. DISCUSSION – EARTHQUAKE INSURANCE FOR WATER SYSTEM (Mod: The cost of insuring City owned properties against earthquake devastation $116,209. The value of the property insured is $29,256,981. The total amount of money we will receive if everything is reduced to gravel by the "Big One" is $500 million.)

This concludes my report. I'd be glad to answer any questions.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

77 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. Some warm tea with honey would help.

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    2. Who in their right mind would be angry on a morning when the temperature and the humidity finally, finally dropped?

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    3. Some people got a hot and steamy head no matter what the season.

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    4. I don't get it Sparky, you remove a post that is ultimately posted by you, you are the admin right?, so do you not read them and post them then read them and un-post them, or, there is more than one admin and you have different value judgements on what gets posted, if this was an open blog, which it is not, then everything gets posted without review then maybe gets taken off,but the little qualifier says all posts are reviewed before approval, or, do you deem it acceptable when posted then one of your minions complains and you bend over and take it off? Gee, what is it Sparky, very inconsistent sloppy "journalism" at the very least, I'll hang up and wait for explanation, toodles!

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    5. Kind of a new policy. Somebody uses rotten and insulting language I first post them, and then I delete them. This allows anyone who wants to take pot shots at the miscreant to do so. I used to just delete them outright, but this is much better.

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    6. I know that I remove posts indiscriminately just to mix it up. Some days are sooooooo boring! By the way, Anonymous 2:50 pm, "very inconsistent sloppy "journalism" is your term. Here at Tattler HQ we just call it blogging.

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    7. 2:50 is a nitwit. And probably the guy who left the dirty post.

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    8. 2:50 is having a very slow day, with lots of time and energy to display dazzling intelligence.

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    9. There are some people who obsess about the blog's posting policies. Usually those who violate them.

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  2. Anyone recall anything of note in a report from a closed session? Talk about an empty ritual.

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    1. I think the City Attorney enjoys it. A kind of full employment act for her.

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  3. No bank was interested in refinancing the water bond? What did Bart Doyle have in mind for this situation when he led the charge for bonds?

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    1. I am sure there was great optimism when the 1998 water bond was pitched. It had to be done, it would pay for itself, it was the solution to all of Sierra Madre's problems. Now it just sits there like a large dead thing.

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    2. A hungry large dead thing.

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    3. A fiscal black hole that sucks in those few stars we are capable of producing.

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  4. The whole general Plan thing costs us a fortune, and I don't get why the cities ever allowed the state to force them into it in the first place. Talk about an unfunded mandate.

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    1. What are you, anti-consultant? General Plans keep consultants afloat!

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    2. The housing element cost us $50,000 if I heard right, but it's not acceptable anymore, or some other whim from SCAGian parts, so how much for the next one?

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    3. Let's see, what should we spend $50,000 on, a consultant or water main repairs? Such a hard choice.

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    4. If only it was a choice!

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    5. The city's priorities don't always seem to make sense.

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    6. Amen Brother @8:18. But in the general plan/housing stuff, there is no alternative but to do what the state says - or be ostracized from all state connections.

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    7. It is a kind of charade. We give them our pledge of RHNA allegiance, and they give us a pat on the head and don't hurt us. But all that RHNA stuff is just paper housing. Nothing gets built because none of it is realistic. Just Wizard of Oz stuff.

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    8. You can also tell the technical background report was written by a consultant because they still list the city's southern border as Orangewood street.

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    9. Orangewood? Argh! How much would accuracy cost us?

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    10. Sounds like it was written by someone from Nutwood Street.

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    11. We can't afford accuracy.

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    12. In that case, let's make sure our next housing consultant (does anyone doubt it will be the same as the last time around "She knows the material" Warner?) puts the RHNA potential developments on our fine Orangewood Street.

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  5. I like your new format. Your Monday report keeps us on our toes - reminds us to attend/tune in to what is sometimes the best comedy on TV, and sometimes the best drama! Regarding Item #2 - don't forget that the consultants would have cost us even more if it weren't for our wonderful volunteers, especially the Alcorns, who keep everything moving in town!

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    1. The city should sell advertising for the City Council broadcasts. "Your Sierra Madre City Council meeting. Sponsored by The Bottle Shop."

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    2. Nah, the Bottle Shop is busy on the Kensington Campaign.

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  6. If you google City of Sierra Madre City Council meeting agenda September 25, 2012 the first listed is today's Tattler (when I did it this morning it also stated 1 hour ago). The city website is 4th down. I did open it, too, and found it easy to locate. Hurrah,for the Tattler.

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    1. Google ranks are based on the amount of hits.

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  7. For all of those citizens who said we shouldn't have any worries about enough water (e.g. John Buchanan during discussion about the Stonehouse property development) should carefully read the state of infrastructure report. It is chilling. If it is only 1/2 right, we will be in dire straits in a couple of years. We need to put a moratorium on building right now -- today.

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    1. Stonehouse, Stonegate (once upon a time One Carter), The Kensington, we got water aplenty for it all!
      Don't worry your wee brains.
      There are some magic incantations that city hall knows.

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    2. Most of the people who tell us we have enough water don't live here.

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    3. So how many of the Tattler faithful will be "live blogging" their commentary during tonight's Council meeting? Should be more interesting than the meeting itself.

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    4. You should never assume a meeting is going to be boring. Alot of them are, mind you. But either Josh or Nancy could erupt at any time. You never know. They are random.

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    5. City council viewing is not for the feint of heart.

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    6. live blogging the council meeting begins in about a half hour.

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    7. There are boring, everyone must admit. However, watching Koerber and Capoccia go over specifics is a thing of beauty.

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  8. The big news tonight is water. The City is finally being forced to admit we are running out.

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    1. So let's get cracking on the ground breaking for the water guzzler Kensington.

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  9. So the SGVCOG is swimming along, according to Harabedian. Oh well. Perhaps I had hopes too high.

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    1. I think he needs to test the water before he swims in it.

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    2. Sounds like there won't be any water at all....

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  10. Did the mayor just say chewed up and spat out? And then liked it so much he said it again, and again?

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  11. Walsh liked the Technical Backgound Report.

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  12. They all love the Technical Background Report. Maybe they can have a gathering on Orangewood to celebrate.
    It turned into an opportunity for the pols to praise volunteers.

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  13. Hey, you can change the report however you like! The mayor just said get any changes to the city manager by the end of the week, and she'll get them in the document.
    When did the city manager become the General Plan Technical Background Report writer?

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    1. If all those good folks did all that volunteer work on the Tech Backround report, why did the consultant still get $50,000?

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    2. I think the consultant got a whole lot more than fifty thou.

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    3. Anybody know how much?

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  14. What is all this about commissions needing a view of everyone's budget? I didn't know commissions were big in the budgeting process, or that they were spending so much money that they need to be educated.

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    1. It's a PR move. They're thinking the UUT. The City will tell every commission how much they are going to get cut, then bring up the need for renewing the UUT, then pushing it to 12%. Community consensus building.

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  15. It's not pensions, health benefits, it's not bloated, never-to-be-smaller city hall employees taking up all the money. It's all those tree huggers spending money hand over fist, or that senior commission trying to pretty up for the oldsters. That's where the money is going.

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    1. This about the UUT. Harabedian spilled the beans.

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  16. Save $1 million a year. Bring in the Sheriffs.

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    1. Took the words right out of my mouth 7:44!
      Put the police depratment on the table.
      Anyone want to save a million dollars?

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  17. I am not going to play any violin solos for any city staff in Sierra Madre.

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  18. Bruce Inman has now stepped up to deliver the grimness.

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    1. Of course pointing out that he has been warning everyone for a long time.

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  19. This clarifies things: water has to go to the top of the list.
    Stop all non-essential services, prune staff to the most basic possible, ask volunteers to step up (we will), fire the police, hire the sheriff, what else? and spend money on water.

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    1. Yes, but the message the city will send out is they need more money. That is the campaign they kicked off tonight.

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  20. Why is it that every time we give them more money, they ask for more money?

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    1. How about this. The worse things get, the more money the people responsible want.

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  21. Josh and nancy are giving their best doomsday scenarios. Nancy's solution is for Sierra Madre to behave like Chicago.

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  22. So now we have a crisis. And all because previous councils did not do their homework. Shame on them.

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  23. Why is nancy talking so much?

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    1. Nancy was told to talk more or people might think she's out of it. So now she talks more and sounds like she's out of it.

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    2. Remember, she is the Mayor Pro Tem, and the Mayor repeated calls her that, and they are both reinforcing the ridiculous prospect of her becomming the Mayor!

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    3. Sierra Madre is the runaway train, Nancy is the 20 foot thick brick wall.

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  24. You have to remember that Bruce is the guy who ran around town with a piece of old rusty pipe claiming the water rate hike was needed to do pipe repair.

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  25. Didn't our water rates just increase by 7per cent recently?

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    1. Yeah, but that was just to service old bond debt. Our rates went up to pay for some old mistakes. It is doing us no real good now.

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