Sunday, January 12, 2014

We Don't Really Know How Many Prop 218 Water Rate Protest Ballots Have Been Received So Far @ City Hall

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I was reading through the staff reports for a few of the agenda items that are going to be discussed at Tuesday evening's City Council meeting, and something rather interesting jumped out at me. This involves the ballot count procedures for the Prop 218 water rate protest currently taking place. It would now appear that there has been some misunderstanding about how protest ballots are being tallied on a day to day basis. For those of you who are concerned about the quite substantial water and sewer rate increases this city is facing, and the exact levels of opposition to them within the community, the following information could very well make your day.

Check out this little slice of the downtown rhythm (link):

A question was asked at a previous Council meeting regarding the reporting of the number of protests submitted. The City Clerk has been maintaining a tally of the number of protest envelopes received, and has been providing the information. It should be noted that the number of protest envelopes will not be equal to the actual number of protests received because envelopes might contain more than one protest ballot, or an envelope could contain a "non-protest."

Pursuant to the City Council's formally approved tabulation process, written protests and the protest ballots are to remain sealed until tabulated. The protests will be tabulated in public view on January 28th, beginning at 9:00 am.

This puts things into quite a different perspective for us here at The Tattler. Until now we had been mistakenly posting our (almost) daily number as protest ballots being received at City Hall, not envelopes. As you likely know, there are quite a few firms and apartment complexes in town that are entitled to more than just one ballot. As these are businesses, and therefore have bottom line profit considerations to deal with, they are among the most likely to send their Prop 218 protest ballots to the city.

As of last Thursday, which was January 9, there have been 773 total Prop 218 water rate protest envelopes received at City Hall. How many actual protest ballots are in each of those envelopes is anybody's guess. The upshot being that we could be much closer to the 1,848 number needed to defeat these onerous water and sewer rate hikes than we previously knew.

The envelopes won't actually be opened until January 28, so this mystery will be with us for a little while longer.

With our new understanding of what is going on, we have corrected our Prop 218 tally to an envelope count. The countdown is located at the upper right hand corner of this page.

If you are a volunteer, it appears that the City really can "take you out."

This from the City of Sierra Madre's current policy guidelines on volunteers:

1.02 Definition of a Volunteer 
A ‘volunteer’ is anyone who without expectation of compensation beyond reimbursement, performs a task at the direction of and on behalf of the City. Any and all services provided to the City are donated to the City without contemplation of compensation or future employment, and are given for charitable reasons. A ‘volunteer’ must be officially accepted and enrolled by the City prior to performance of any task. Nothing in this policy shall be deemed to create a contract between the volunteer and the City of Sierra Madre (“City”).

The volunteer shall not be considered an employee at any time. Both the volunteer and the City have the right to terminate the volunteer’s service to the City at any time, for any reason, with or without cause and without right to appeal.

It appears that The Nancinator was not bluffing.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

64 comments:

  1. Not so funny is how some people don't even care that we have been lied to. These people are so brain washed that they are voting for the increase just in case the money is needed. Do you think that's what government counts on?

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    1. Yeah, that's exactly what they count on.
      Nancy Walsh tried to convince the Woman's Club ladies to believe the city's b s.

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    2. I am one of those who doesnt care if we have been lied too (or not) and NO we are not brainwashed. We agree with with ALL the council members an increase is the only chance to fix the problem.

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    3. While you are busy playing follow the leader many of us are concerned that the city has not been as forthcoming about the bond debt as they should be. $15 million dollars on the 2003 water bonds alone, with $9 million of it rung up by only paying the interest on that debt, is unconscionable. How do we know that the water rate hike is just to repair our Moody's bond rating so they can sell even more bonds? That question has never been answered.

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  2. Rule number 1.

    NEVER allow a already proven incompetent group of people to handle anything as sacred as a honest person voting ballot.

    That endangers their [city hall] life expectancy.

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  3. 7:29 if you keep paying for the city managers lies when will it stop, when will the problem ever get fixed? You must be new in town or just started looking at the problems. We have been lied to for decades, it has to stop some time. Those of us who have our children and grandchildren living here have heard all the lies and are tired of it. The water department has been a profit maker for ever and now city hall wants more money and that is not going to fix the problem. What will fix the problem is getting a smart city manager and getting rid of all the lying and miss led people in city hall.

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    1. I am not new to town been here over 50 years and not new to looking at the problem. I just have a different answer than you do

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    2. I am not new to town been here over 50 years and not new to looking at the problem. I just have a different answer than you do

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  4. 7:29 city council can only go on what the city manager tells them.

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    1. They should change the name of the meeting packet to "The Big Book of Think & Do."

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  5. Lawyers, there is another problem with city hall. We had 2 lawyers sitting on council and what do they do, hire very expensive lawyers, lawyers that are not for the residents but lawyers who are for Sacramento and the building industry. I'm guessing 7:29 is a lawyer.

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    1. Who is this Noah Green guy? A young attorney who is running for City Council only after moving here a short while ago? Where have we seen that scenario before? Noah Green? I Noah Nothing!

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    2. unless Kurt Zimmerman runs again, I will NEVer vote for another lawyer running for Council.

      its an inbreed profession and whats worse is when we elect utility company lawyers or one that scoffs at campaign ethics as if it's beneath him

      and I won't vote for anybody who moves into to town and immediately starts joining high profile civic groups (the IN crowd) and then decides he or she loves the city so much that the city needs his or her point of view and changes - remember Joe Mosca? John Buchanan, both did that and screwed us over

      hey Noah live here 10 years before you start screwing with the city

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    3. 8;00 , 7;51 This is the problem with anonymous blogs all the replys about me are wrong . I am not a lawyer just a retired blue collar worker who has been active in town since I was a kid

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    4. Then don't post anonymously, 11:13.

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  6. Based on what I'm reading Noah Green is another Mosca. Lawyer picks small town and gets elected because everyone thinks he's smart because he is a lawyer. Starting with Bart Doyle this city has been lied to and look who benefits, not us residents. Green could be the best person ever for council but I will never vote for another attorney again.

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    1. I am sure it would open a lot of career enhancing doors for a young attorney. Look at Mosca. He joined every regional government, transportation and planning organization he could =weasel his way into. Didn't go to the meetings, but it looked so nice on paper.

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    2. Noah Green is on the front page of the Looney Views News. He is the Chamber's candidate. Just like Paul "Prisoner Beater" Tanaka.

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    3. So Green and Goss appear to be the Dirt candidates. Love our little village and want to develop it in order to preserve it.

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    4. They're from the Orwell Party. They'll pay a lot of lip service to "preserving this beautiful town that we all cherish and love," yet if elected they will fall all over themselves to enable corrupt Sacramento mandated stack and pack development all over Sierra Madre. And yeah, they'll tell us it is to keep our community just like it has always been.

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    5. Green is another lawyer who is smarter than us and wants to prove it

      so, another clown moves into town and needs to fix us?

      jeez

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  7. Right 8:14 who is better at lying than an attorney. Put a nice smile on a good lair and you have a town with the problems we are facing. Bad debt and bad water as it turns out.

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    1. Bart Doyle and John Buchanan, two former Mayors who were also lawyers, are responsible for a lot of the problems this city is going through right now. Bond debt especially.

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    2. and both Doyle and Buchanan were / are directly employed as lawyers for a utility company and a building association?

      nah, we can trust them can't we?

      Buchanan was front and center on the lies that got us where we are today and still muddles with local politics - but the dude had all the free time from his SoCal Edision workday to show up at every photo op in town - Buchanan loves him some Buchanan

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  8. There were two good lawyers in town here, one was Kurt Zimmerman, who served a term as our Mayor. The other was Sierra Madre's good friend, Linda Thornton. They actually were honest and trustworthy. I'm sure there are others that I do not know, but I do know these two and they were not even in the same universe at the likes of the Buchanan, Mosca, Doyle thugs.

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    1. yeah but Joe loved the city didn't he?

      same guy who borrowed a dog for his campaign photo and we fell for it

      I guess Harabedian looked at Mosca's unethical campaign tactics and said "watch me" and one upped Mosca with his own version of lawyer sleaze

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  9. I don't get it. We can know how many envelopes have come in, but we cannot know what is in them? Is this the City Manager's idea of running a Prop 218 process? Is she afraid that people might find out how close the water rate increase is to being defeated? Where is the transparency? This stinks.

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    1. The idea of not opening the envelopes as they came in, was to promote transparency since we can monitor the votes as they are opened, not have them opened in secret. The number of ballots was also kept so the ballots wouldn't "disappear" between the time they came in and when they were counted.

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    2. Bosh. If we can't trust city hall to open envelopes and count the ballots as they come in what good are they?

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  10. Lawyers are like developers. For the most part, they live for one thing only: money, at any and all costs. However, there are exceptions. It's possible to find a good person who is a lawyer, and I hear it's possible to find a good person who is a developer. It's just rare.

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  11. If all we get are 4 candidates this year, and two of them are Bartlings, then I am going to find someone to write in.

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    1. can we vote "none of the above"?

      it's a numbers game, Doyle and his cronies (the real estate sales crowd) stack the elections with multiple candidates and know that it's a matter of default - they will always get elected favorable candidates

      regardless of qualifications, such as Josh and Nancy

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  12. How many lawyers are involved in this mess?

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/frustration-mounts-over-chemical-spill-in-west-virginia-water-supply/

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  13. 7:51 is right about the water department making money for the city. That went on for so long that it is common knowledge among many of the long term residents. The water department was the city's cash cow. That was until the city staff grew beyond our means to support it in the manner they've chosen.

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    1. Doyle killed the water department with his insane bond deal in 2003.

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    2. Yes. And now the city is trying to pay its way out of that mess without telling the ratepayers the truth about why they need all that additional money.

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  14. Linda Thornton and Kurt Zimmerman were fine upstanding attorneys and deserve my apology, please except it. Passion just got the best of me having seen what has been done to our town. It seems that everyone who comes here wants to build up this town. Most of us want to preserve what we have, others want to profit from it. Our town needs Thornton and Zimmerman back, they were smart, honest and worked for the town.

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    1. Kurt tried to simply ask the City Manager to audit it's legal notices contract because it was obvious that the the contract wasn't being honored and followed and because that paper had supporters on the Council and at city hall, the request was tabled and ignored - with the full knowledge that the city was just throwing away money and not being compliant with legal notice law

      no surprise that this "paper" was and still is a doormat for city press marketing

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  15. The water/sewer rate three step:
    1) Repair our junk level bond rating
    2) Float more bonds for infrastructure
    3) Infrastructure in place, throw the town open for unlimited development

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    1. what u expect when we keep electing the same old same old - Johnny come lately

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    2. The people who get elected to the city council are a direct reflection of the people who vote for them. Sierra Madre is not that different from most other towns when it comes to local politics. Most people just don't have a clue. It is only a minority of people who understand what City hall is doing, and why it is so bad for the taxpayers.

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  16. That sounds about right !

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  17. If you support the water rate increase, you are supporting over development.

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    1. one has nothing to do with the other

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    2. Here. I typed it slow for you.
      - Repair the city's bond ratings by raising rates 61%.
      - Use those repaired bond ratings to float more water bonds.
      - Use the money raised by selling more bonds to pay for the water infrastructure necessary for more development.
      It is important that you understand this. Otherwise you are going to be played for a fool.

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    3. 12;46 I think you are one being played a fool

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    4. They're counting on you, 1:25.

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    5. The endless borrowing and taxing just can't go on forever. And who said Development adds as much as it costs? This is the same type of thinking that got us into this place to begin with.

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    6. Yes, Dr. Staccato, you are so right. This is unsustainable. They know it, and don't care, take their ill gotten gains and leave town, leaving us with the destroyed land and the debt.
      This is what people like Bart Doyle specialize in. He is a specialist in being a corrupt bully.

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  18. Beefing up population density won't curb greenhouse gas emissions
    http://cironline.org/reports/beefing-population-density-wont-curb-greenhouse-gas-emissions-5740

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  19. Any way to bring in a neutral 3rd party to monitor the ballot countdown? Current events lead one to think that's the way to go. Using an abundance of caution and all.

    "Los Angeles Dept of Water & Power Chief Ron Nichols resigns as controversies mount." LA Times, 1/9/14. And then there's the FBI investigating the Ron Calderon mess, involving San Gabriel valley water agencies. One hand washes the other. Politics and Water and Power.

    Water, Water everywhere these days. Dirty water.

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    1. Our City Clerk, Nancy Shollenberger, is as honest as we can get, and she will be monitoring the count.

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    2. The ballots are a public record. If there becomes a question as to the count, a records request of all ballots received would be in order.

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

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

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    2. Y'know, we hadn't seen a whole lot from Steve ever since Josh hung it up ...

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  21. Pasadena ranked second ‘Gayest City in America’
    http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/general-news/20140107/pasadena-ranked-second-gayest-city-in-america
    Does this make Sierra Madre "second Gayest City in America" adjacent?

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    1. If you want it to yes.

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  22. The question is, would the city clerk like to keep her job?

    Many a city clerk has turned a blind eye in order to keep a richly paid position in city government.

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    1. In Sierra Madre the City Clerk job is an elective and volunteer position. I think that puts a large hole in your theory, sir.

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    2. The Sierra Madre City Clerk receives a small salary that in no way compensates her for her time. Hardly a richly paid position. The hours required for the "volunteer" position rival those of a full time City Clerk in neighboring cities.

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    3. 4:48 is yet another nonsensical troll.

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    4. You got that right 7:44 PM....Nancy makes very little or nothing for her work. She doesn't work for the money, never has. Nancy is well off, from what I know of her. She does this job, because like so few people left in town, Nancy does LOVE SIERRA MADRE. She dearly loves her town.
      Bart Doyle's gang has wanted to get rid of her for years....why? Because she is HONEST to a FAULT.
      I would bet my last dollar on that statement. Nancy Shollenberger is probably the most honest lady in this town or any town.

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