Saturday, October 19, 2013

Is Councilmember Josh Moran Now Badly Embarrassed By His So. Pasadena Water Rate Claims?

Josh: Not too warm and fuzzy
It was at a recent City Council meeting that Josh Moran made one of his famous peculiar comparisons. Kind of in the vein of his penchant for comparing rate increases to latte' prices, though now with a novel twist. This time Josh compared our latest potential water rate hike to a similar increase being talked about in another city. In this case South Pasadena. The context was the percentage of the water rate increases in each city, and it was an unhappy moment when Josh proclaimed that a 50% water rate increase here in Sierra Madre wouldn't be so bad because the rate increase in South Pasadena was going to be even more than that.

Sadly for the at times dyspeptic Mr. Moran, his unfortunate comparison is now no longer an operative one. This from Thursday's Pasadena Star News (link):

South Pasadena City Council may decrease water rate hikes Just as the City Council prepared to sanction mailing notices for an approved 11  percent water rate increase in January, Councilman Michael Cacciotti surprised his peers with a plea to find an alternative to the “devastating fees.”

He voted to approve the hike last month; Councilman Philip Putnam was lone no vote. But since then, Cacciotti said residents have made him change his mind.

“When I look at these rates, in a 3½-year period, it’s basically a 100   percent increase,” he said. “We got to find help for the citizens. They have to get relief.”

Since 2008, prices have gone up about 128 percent, with the highest hike occurring in 2011, when the council approved a 30 percent increase.

Delays in water structure improvements and bond debt has put South Pasadena in a taxing situation. The city’s water system was installed in 1914. Its 85 miles of pipelines have an average age of 80.

The network needs upgrades, and six out of its seven reservoirs — some of which have heavily corrugated metal, failing roofs and termite-eaten wooden beams — don’t meet current seismic standards.

In total, the work will cost about $54 million. But that amount doesn’t include the bond debt of about $430,000 that the city must pay by June 30, 2014.

After listening to Cacciotti’s presentation, Putnam reminded the audience that he had asked for alternative forms of revenue on Sept. 18.

“People are dying with the water rates,” he said.

Flies right into the face of what Josh Moran had been claiming, right? Look at it this way, if you combine the two Joe Mosca water rate hikes and then add them to Moran's "no big deal" 50% increase, you are talking about approximately 100% in rate hikes. In only a few short years, and just like in South Pasadena.

The difference today is that in South Pasadena they are now talking about the terrible effect these water rate increases are having on the people living there. Whereas here Josh thinks it has something to do with the prices at Starbucks.

By the way, Michael Cacciotti will be at next Tuesday's City Council meeting to talk on the topic of the Air Quality Management District. Perhaps while here he could take a few minutes and teach Councilmember Moran about the meaning of the word compassion? Josh could certainly use the information.

Is the City going to send out Prop 218 ballots? 

I think I've just been saved around $3,500 I don't really have. I had boldly stated here on the blog that if the City of Sierra Madre repeated the same vote suppression tactic they used the last time they raised water rates by again refusing to mail water ratepayers a Prop 218 ballot, I would cash in a couple of credit card checks and pay the cost of mailing it out myself.

I don't know how you feel, but many have paid with their lives to defend our rights as citizens to the vote. I would have a hard time sitting quietly by and allowing City Hall to once again dishonor their sacrifice. Compared to that $3,500 is a very small price to pay.

As you may recall, the City refused to mail out a water rate Prop 218 ballot in 2010, something that led to the sight of men and women as old as their late seventies going door to door with petitions, desperately trying to undo the theft of their right to a vote on the Joe Mosca water rate increases. Only to see many of those ballots later thrown out by a City Council contemptuous of their efforts.

If you click here you will be taken to the appropriate Agenda Report for next Tuesday's City Council meeting. This item is titled "Proposition 218 Process For Proposed Water And Sewage Rate Increase," and it details how this water rate increase might proceed towards enactment. And if you go to this report you will see that it calls for the mailing of a Prop 218 ballot. Which would allow the ratepayers to vote on the water rate increase.

It is quite a change from 2010 when the ratepayers were forced to fend for themselves.

Of course, this is only a staff generated meeting report, and there is a high likelihood that any Prop 218 water rate ballot mailing will need to be approved by the City Council. There are also certain members of this Council I suspect fear that the results of this vote will not go their way. And given their fear I have little doubt that three of them would have few misgivings about trying to steal our vote once again if they thought they could get away with it.

It is Item #7 on the agenda, which means it will be quite late before the City Council gets around to it. My advice would be to make some coffee and prepare to stay up. It is about as important a topic as you will ever see discussed in that place.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

55 comments:

  1. This time the citizens will have to think long and hard about a rate increase. It seems inevitable that the rate should go up, considering the state of our water system. But how much? That will depend on what the Council decides on Tuesday night. And, that my friends will help me decide if I campaign for a No vote, or let Josh have his Latte moment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If the 218 Process is number 7 on the agenda, I would hope that a council member would ask to have it moved up to item one or two. How about it guys?

      Delete
    2. I would hope they would. Otherwise it looks kinda like they might be doing something they are not very proud of...

      Delete
    3. The 218 mailing question should be the first item of the evening, and I think the tax trio might surprise you. "Voting is sacred" everyone will say, and ride that bit of populism for all it's worth.

      Delete
    4. I will have to see what they will be mailing out first. Sorry, just sending out a ballot won't be enough. They need to stop the lying as well.

      Delete
    5. 12:59, stop the lying? But that would necessitate admissions of lying.

      Delete
    6. City Hall is never wrong. Ever notice that? They always have to be right, even when it is obvious they've screwed up royally.

      Delete
    7. City Hall is never wrong, even when they are lying to us. And they have done that alot - shade the actual facts, send out misinformation and as about as transparent as a brick wall

      Delete
    8. Those running the city on the behalf of various land investors are carefully coached by consultants in the art of deception. It is a part of the service provided by consultants. It is also how our money works against us.

      Delete
  2. Note that this is just to approve the 218 process. The water rate increase has not yet been decided. If the Council decides to mail out ballots, it doesn't mean that the citizens will approve what Council decides is the rate increase. Our esteemed Mayor still wants to raise the rates to the max in a lookie here moment. Should they do that I will be one of those in the late 70's who will pound the streets again to educate the people to send in their NO ballots.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Don't forget that a water rate hike is also a utility tax increase. The more money that is charged for water the more utility taxes can be collected. This is a double whammy.

    ReplyDelete
  4. the only reason So. Pas. Councilman Cacciotti is concerned about the water rates is because he is currently running for reelection. Otherwise, I don't think he would be at all "distressed" by the increases.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe that is why they're going to "allow" us to have a water rate ballot. So that when it passes they can tell us it was all our doing next April.

      Delete
  5. South Pas has bond debt of only $434,000? Pikers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Much bigger population to pay it back, too. Why oh why didn't Bond Believer Bart land there, instead of here?

      Delete
    2. We were cheaper.

      Delete
  6. They're "devastating fees" in South Pasadena, here they're the price of a latte. Big difference.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always detected a sneer in the latte' charge. Like we're all self-indulgent rich people too cheap to give a few extra cents to their city. None of which is the truth.

      Delete
    2. I resent Moran's remark because I don't buy lattes. I have a thermos. It's called not spending money frivolously.

      Delete
    3. Jethro, excuse me, Josh wants to build up big cash reserves in the water department so they can float another bond. It is all tied to development and the realty business.

      Delete
  7. On the topic of water:
    When California golf courses require an average of a million gallons a day, and the Budweiser plant in Van Nuys uses as much water as the rest of the entire city each day. We are entitled to our share.

    Paul Bulcke the CEO of Nestle said in 2005 "the idea of water as a basic human right was "extreme," and that he believed water should have value like any foodstuff. "

    This will become alaw that requires pay to use drinking fountain, toilets, and sinks at State and Federal parks. This hydra has many heads that will become fines for private "over use" as we have seen in our fair town, to the next level of fascism rearing its wicked head in the form of criminal charges for those who are caught drinking from a corporate owned sprinkler or hose. Followed by property owners being fined for collecting rain water.

    There is an overt assault on a private persons ability to access water. Stand up and water your lawn, wash your car and your dog, spray your kids and let them run through the sprinklers.

    As Mark twain didn't say: “Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over”.

    Neuroblast Films

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great post Neuroblast. Thanks.

      Delete
  8. Moran and Walsh both constantly compare Sierra Madre to other cities to shore up their arguments for whatever weak-brained ideas they have.
    Very few cities can be used as a basis of comparison for Sierra Madre.
    We are unique in size and location.
    Why don't these "representatives" know that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thats exactly what the SMPD and it's scummy law firm did to the city. they compared themselves to San Marino and South Pas and other cities in the SGV that their pay should be comparable because of the cities near us and absolutely nothing about the actual job and it's danger (minimal in SM - we farm out all dangerous police actions to Pasadena or the County) - plus when faced with a sleeping danger, our PD shoots first and sorts out the facts later

      Delete
  9. The 218 ballot could easily be disguised to slide into the junk mail category.

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

      Delete
    2. It will come in a little fold over sheet that will guilt trip people into not opposing the water rate increase. We should send out our own anyway.

      Delete
    3. Don't know if we need to send out our own, but we had probably best send out something before the ballot arrives, to alert people to what is coming.

      Delete
    4. Whatever they send out, it is sure to be a crock.

      Delete
  10. The citizens of Sierra Madre voted to allow that massive water hog the Kensington. Do you think the majority on the city council are really worried that they won't get the votes they want?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have been driving by there a lot lately, and there has been dust abatement going on every time, with our drinking water.....

      Delete
    2. There is a double standard, that is for sure. They want big development, yet they want to fine us for using water. It makes no sense.

      Delete
  11. I wonder what reasoning process brought city hall to decide mailing out a 218 ballot this time would be the better path to take. The last time they didn't. What changed?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Good question, Anonymous at 1:21 pm.

    What changed?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Different consultant?

      Delete
    2. Mosca hated and distrusted the people of Sierra Madre. He is the one who ordered that ballots not be mailed out last time. And the ballot is no done deal this time either. Nancy hates everyone too.

      Delete
    3. None of the 4 who were on the Council wanted a ballot sent out, nor did they listen to MaryAnn who urged them to raise the rates higher than they did, but put a percentage into a reserve to pay off our bonds. Just because it was MaryAnn's idea, they voted it down. Nancy wants to tax us to the max because she is worried about the bond rating, not because she wants to pay off the bonds. Big difference.

      Delete
    4. Nancy wants to fix our bond rating by raising our water rates. The reason for this is she wants to float more bonds. Just like Doyle and Buchanan tell her she should. Mayor Walsh is little more than a puppet.

      Delete
  13. What happens if a resident does NOT return the 218 ballot? Does it count as a YES for the City's side?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you don't vote it means you are not protesting the water rate hike. To stop the Bondsy Triplets you need to make certain you mail in your ballot.

      Delete
    2. It certainly does, 1:35.

      Delete
  14. Who counts the ballots?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Colantuono and Levin. Still don't think the fix is in?

      Delete
  15. Does anyone know what agenda item #6 is about? "Contingency Planning for (a possible) UUT decrease"?

    I can't access the report on the city's website.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is part of a two step. This item details what City Hall loses if the UUT goes down to 6%. This then becomes the rationale for putting the UUT extension back on the ballot. That will be done at the Nov 12 meeting. My guess is they need to hurry up on this or lose their ballot slot. Here is the link: http://66.92.220.85:8090/tylercm/eagleweb/downloads/6___Contingency_Planning_for_Potential_UUT_Decrease.pdf?id=DOC93S23.A0&parent=DOC93S23

      Delete
    2. Very ambitious. Extending double digit utility taxes AND raising water rates 50%. Sierra Madre will have to be braindead and drunk to let them get away with all that.

      Delete
  16. Anonymous at 1:41 pm...There are new rules for the ballots...Check out the agenda report...An outside agency must be hired to count the ballots.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right. Colantuono and Levin.

      Delete
    2. Yup. The same people who "counted" them last time.

      Delete
    3. Lets make sure that C&L are Not the outside agency. Express your opinion during the discussion. Make sure it is legit this time. I don't want to walk the streets again for naught. And I'm sure we will need to go out and make everyone know what they're voting for (against). But, in the long run,

      I may not vote against the rate raise since there definitely needs to be a rate raise of some kind, we just have to wait and see what they decide. If Nancy gets her way, I'm putting on my walking shoes.

      Delete
  17. To answer the question - Is Josh embarrassed? I doubt it. The guy is about as sensitive as a toilet seat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Embarrassed, no. Exasperated, maybe. Annoyed that you bring this up? Undoubtedly.

      Delete
    2. Only one question remains: Porcelain, steel or wood?

      Delete
  18. this doofus is way beyond being embarrassed - he doesn't care unless it's benefiting him or his buddies

    thats why he ran - the only time we heard from him prior to this reinvention as a Council candidate, he should have been embarrased for basically saying he was opposed to the 1st admendment because he ranted for a boycott of advertisers, including Sierra Madre businessses because it affected his own income and his buddies and family.


    If he wasn't embarrassed when he said publically that he was going to use his position on the Council to appoint his friends and supporters frist to committees, etc...well he's beyond being embarrassed even when he stood along the previous Councils when they lied to us about the UUT and falsly claimed out entire water infrastructure was on the verge of instant collapse.


    ReplyDelete
  19. hey, if Josh wasn't embarrassed when as a Councilman he was reported overly tipsy at the Beer Garden - well Sierra Madre Council is sort of like a frat boy kegger isn't it?

    ReplyDelete

The Tattler is a moderated blog. Annoying delays when posting comments can happen. Thank you for your patience and understanding.