click here), and Wednesday's Strategic Planning Retreat Special City Meeting. All of which adds up to two specials and a regular. A potpourri of city palaver designed to satisfy even the most ardent City Council junkie's need for this kind of stuff. And honestly, I'm not sure there are any of those in Sierra Madre. I'm going to follow this stuff, but only because I think I am supposed to at this point. You, the more fortunate partner in this deal, can decide whether it is worth your time or not.
Here is this week's Tuesday evening City Council meeting preview:
CONFERENCE WITH LEGAL COUNSEL: Pursuant to Calif. 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.
Existing Litigation: Case No. GC046442 Case Name: City of Sierra Madre v. Jeffrey M. Hildreth and Taryn N. Hildreth d/b/a The Sterling Oak; Suntrust Mortgage, Inc. a Virginia Corporation; and does 1-50 inclusive - For the first time in recent memory there is nothing to do with a Sierra Madre Police Officers Association lawsuit in the sub rosa session with a City Attorney. This is yet another episode in the City's vastly expensive effort to get Jeff Hildreth to fill in the hole he dug beneath his house. It is, of course, a secret meeting. Meaning we will continue to have no idea just how much the concerned City Attorneys are raking in on this effort, or how much longer they plan on keeping the gravy train rolling.
1 - CONSENT CALENDAR
a) ADOPTION OF RESOLUTION NO. 12-85 OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SIERRA MADRE RATIFYING CERTAIN DEMANDS - This evening's total spend comes to $662,770, rounded off. This mighty sum includes $73,241,47 for Southern California Edison, $11,952.88 to Aqua Metric for water meters that might or might not work, $1,300 to Arcadia Body Shop for the repair of a police vehicle, $15,906.05 to Colantuono & Levin, $249.60 for Tai Chi Chuan lessons, $18,045.39 to First Transit for the Dial A Ride and Gateway Coach, $7,500 to the Pasadena YMCA, $16,300 to Rogers, Anderson, Malady & Scott LLP for a CRA audit, $5,000 to the Ferguson Group, $29,000 to Tyler Technologies for downloading staff reports on to the city website, and $27,000 to Willdan Associates for inspecting buildings.
b) MOSQUITO AND VECTOR CONTROL DISTRICT LOCAL APPOINTMENT - This is meant to reappoint Dr. Janice Nelson to the esteemed position of City Bug Hunter. Seeing how she brought The Fly here, she is intimately familiar with insects. The particular purpose of this office is to warn people that if you get bit by a mosquito you might contract West Nile Disease. Something we can never hear too much about.
c) APPROVAL OF RESOLUTION NO. 12-84 OPPOSING THE TUNNEL ALETERNATIVE (sic) TO THE SR-710 EXTENSION STUDY - Proving that good things can be done, particularly when there is no money in it for anyone with special connections, the City Council will officially sign off on Sierra Madre's opposition to the 710 Tunnel. We still do not have our answer to what or whom exactly is pushing for this thing, however. I know we're supposed to be blaming Metro or even Caltrans, but the notion that those people would ever do anything without some considerable power center forcing them to seems unrealistic to me.
d) AWARD OF JANITORIAL SERVICE CONTRACT FOR FY’S 2012-2013 THROUGH 2014-2015 TO UNITED MAINTENANCE SYSTEMS - The big winner of Sierra Madre's lucrative janitorial contract is United Maintenance Systems. They get $3,358 per month for the remainder of this year, and then $43,000 per year for the next two fiscal years. $3,358 times 12 does not equal $43,000, so there must be something I am missing here. Unless we are getting a Christmas discount for the remainder of 2012. The big loser here is Jani King. Sorry Jani King, your bid was too high. Change your name to Jani Deuce.
e) AWARD OF CONTRACT FOR CITYWIDE LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE SERVICES TO MERCHANTS LANDSCAPE SERVICES - And the winner is ... Merchants Landscape Services. They were the low bidder. Plus, when the CRA money dried up, they were considerate enough to trim back (so to speak) their costs a little to accommodate our need for less costly landscape work. For the yearly total of $118,596 our parks will remain trim and tidy and our sparkling assessment districts second to none.
2. PUBLIC HEARING – CITIZENS OPTION FOR PUBLIC SAFETY (COPS) GRANT FUNDING FY 2012-2013 - This has to do with the $100,000 in law enforcement money being sent our way by Sacramento, also known as Bedlam on the American River (BAR). As it states above, COPS is the acronym for "Citizens Option for Public Safety." To which is added SLESF, which stands for "Supplemental Law Enforcement Service Funds." Very important information. Chief Giannone will speak to the matter, in particular about how this windfall is going to be spent. There is nothing regarding any seminars on how to register a sex offender convicted of child pornography possession by Canadians. We are getting some new Handheld Ticket Writers, however. Just so you know where the City's law enforcement priorities might be.
3. PUBLIC HEARING – ORDINANCE NO. 1332 – MUNICIPAL CODE TEXT AMENDMENT NO. 11-03: ADDING CHAPTER 12.34 TO REGULATE SPECIAL EVENTS OCCURING (sic) ON PUBLIC PROPERTY, REVISING CHAPTER 17.88 RELATING TO TEMPORARY USE PERMITS, CHAPTER 12.12 RELATING TO ENCROACHMENT PERMITS, AND CHAPTER 12.16 RELATING TO EXCAVATION PERMITS - This clarifies some of the more subtle nuances in the City's permits racket. A widely reviled scam that forces you the taxpayer to pay the City for services that you have already paid a ton of money in taxes to get. Everyone is familiar with the maxim, "There is no free lunch," right? In Sierra Madre you not only pay for the lunch, but you do so a second time as well.
4. DISCUSSION – DISCUSSION REGARDING THE CITY’S MEMBERSHIP IN THE SAN GABRIEL VALLEY COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS - The City Staff report is filled with SGVCOG generated rubbish detailing all of the supposed benefits we supposedly get for belonging to this corruption-wracked organization. Something that indicates to me that the City Manager is going to dig in her heels on this one. With the arrest of its Executive Director, Nick Conway, on four counts of felony conflicts of interest by the District Attorney's office, our liaison to this den of iniquity, John Harabedian, called for an examination of our role there. Last week the COG cut loose Nick Conway, something that those among the executive leadership there hailed as proof that they're not the dirtbags everyone seems to think they are. However, they also gave him a highly lucrative golden parachute worth hundreds of thousands of our taxpayer dollars. Proving that at the COG crime pays.
Additionally, Conway is also threatening to sue the COG to pay for his $1,000 an hour attorney, putting us at risk of having to shell out even more money. There is also a considerable danger that should Conway be convicted of any of those felony charges it could be established that money allocated to the COG by state and federal government agencies had been used for illegal purposes, and therefore must be returned. Something that would make the COG's member cities responsible for some rather extraordinary amounts of money. The City of Sierra Madre would have to be insane to remain a member of this extremely sketchy organization. Unfortunately, on this City Council insanity could very well have the votes.
5. DISCUSSION – CONSIDERATION OF ORDINANCE NO. 1333 REGARDING PROCEDURES FOR FILLING CITY COUNCIL MEMBER VACANCY - This is an important matter that somehow keeps getting kicked down the road. When Joe Mosca abruptly ran away from the City Council responsibilities he had committed himself to, it became apparent that there was not in place any set and proper way of replacing him. This establishes a procedure for doing so that removes the risk of crony appointments to the City Council in place of a vote by the people.
6. DISCUSSION – GREEN ADVISORY COMMITTEE TO COMMISSION: CURRENT INVENTORY OF GREEN PRACTICES/PROGRAMS AND CONSIDERATION OF POSSIBLE ROLES AS A COMMISSION - Falsely billed as a potential commission interested in environmental issues alone, this is in actuality an expensive and unnecessary boondoggle designed to give further impetus to the needs of the downtown development and real estate interests that control certain key aspects of this City's agenda. It would also become a lobby for certain rather specious "social equity" requirements. Something that could put you the taxpayer on the spot for low income housing, transit village development, homeless shelters, and other initiatives that would degrade the lives of those who have found a livable home in this small green (in the real sense) enclave of a town. There is also a thickly laid on politically correct guilt trip included in the Green Committee's tendentiously labeled "Accords." That being if you personally don't accept your responsibilities to care for the world's unfortunate here within the borders of our little town, you would need to be held accountable for possible prejudicial behavior towards those of ethnicities and economic classifications different from your own.
City Staff has presented the City Council 10 reasons why the Green Committee should become a Green Commission. They are mostly open ended and vague, probably by design. There is also the claim made by City Staff that establishing a Green Commission would be no further "direct cost" to the City in the way of funding as it has already been assigned a staff liaison. Correct me if I am wrong, but as a commission wouldn't they need to be assigned a City funded attorney as well? The Staff Report doesn't shed any light on this question.
7. DISCUSSION – PUBLIC SAFETY MASTER PLAN - Somebody wants to hire a consultant so we can figure out the meaning of things like "best practices," in particular regarding how they might relate to public safety. This would result in a report detailing what the public safety services the City supplies are, and how they can be made better. In reality this will cost a lot of money, and will produce a thick wad of paper that no one except maybe me and a few others would ever bother to read. There may also be an agenda at work here, one designed to alleviate some of the pressure to consider replacing the litigious and expensive SMPD.
8. DISCUSSION – UPDATE AND REPORT REGARDING CITY REORGANIZATION - Who knows if the Council will get to this one tomorrow night. This one has been pushed down the road so many times it really should apply for bonus miles. The purpose here is to give the City Manager an opportunity to once again explain just how much money she has saved the City through restructuring the responsibilities of the 60 some odd souls that work here. Obviously it has not been nearly enough.
Thank you for playing. You may pick up your coat and hat at the door.