Monday, January 20, 2014

Who Do You Trust More For Water Rate Information? The Mountain Views News Or A Robocaller?

Perhaps Mayor Walsh never saw this report?
H. Susan Poole-Henderson Carter (etc.), the erstwhile publisher of our adjudicated newspaper of record, The Mountain Views News, seems positively obsessed with the as yet unidentified robocallers that have been leaving messages around town lately regarding the City's draconian 61% water rate increases. Hardly an edition of that tiny pressrun titan of local canards hits the streets these days without at least one reference to those mysterious folks.

Which is fine with me. It keeps H. Susan from involving herself in some of the other important issues facing this community, which is a good thing. She doesn't really understand too much about what is going on, and anything H. Susan might print would likely be comically erroneous. Bad information that would only serve to confuse some very nice people.

Just for laughs on what for many of us is a day off from the salt mines, I thought I would run a fact check on what the robocallers have been saying versus the story H. Susan has been laying down in her only lightly published weekly newspaper. Or at least we think it might be hers. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County could have a somewhat different understanding (link).

Here is a portentous portion of the pitter patter of little minds to be found in this weekend's edition of the Mountain Views News.

Earlier the same day, Mayor Walsh, in her State of the City address before the Sierra Madre Kiwanis Club, also encouraged residents to support the increase. "Don't believe some dude on a robo call," said Walsh, referring to the recent rash of automated calls asking Sierra Madreans to reject the increase. To date, no one has been able to identify who is the sponsor of these calls which contain "misleading and inaccurate information" said the city manager Elaine Aguilar in an earlier conversation.

Now I don't know about you, but if I were to see "the city manager Elaine Aguilar" and H. Susan Henderson (link) walking down the street and heading my way, I'd be certain to take my wallet out of my back trousers pocket and move it to a front one. And has Mayor Walsh admitted yet in public that she is not running for re-election in April? Even though the deadline for filing is now way past its freshness dating? A strange thing, that one.

This is what was said in the last robocall left on the answering machine here at the Maundry Compound:

This is a public service message from Water For You. Many in Sierra Madre believe the water rate hike will fix the City's water service. It will not. The truth is most of the money will go to pay down almost $15 million dollars in old water bond debt from 2003.  The city has paid interest only on this debt for many years. They are wasting our money by not pursuing other alternatives.

The rate hike will not improve water service. The city needs to go back to the drawing board. Your water rates will increase 61% unless you send City Hall your ballot voting no. If you don't send it in, your vote is yes. If you don't have a ballot call the City at 355-7135. That is 355-7135. The deadline to submit your ballot is January 28.

As a way of judging this informal contest in truth dissemination we have culled from City Hall's website a rather sobering report titled "City of Sierra Madre - Debt Administration FY 2013-2015." You can find it there under that name. All you need to do is figure out how. The City's website can be a bit of a pill at times.

For your reviewing ease, we have pulled out the page that deals with the 2003 water bonds and its many millions in vanity debt and pasted it above. And by looking it over you can see that yes, the City of Sierra Madre's waterless water department has indeed been paying interest only on that particular bond since 2004. In the process accumulating a massive amount of the kinds of unnecessary debt you create by making interest only payments on things. All caused by the dudes (Nancy Walsh terminology) responsible for the City's financial idiocy ten years or so back.

I'm afraid beating H. Susan Henderson in a veracity contest isn't all that much of a feat. Susan's low impact humbugging being something that most anyone should be able to see through, and with only the most minimal amount of effort.

That said, and based on the City's own bond debt data as evidence, the score is now Robocallers 1, Mountain Views News 0.

The robocallers, whoever they may be, should be quite proud of their accomplishment.

Be sure to send in your Prop 218 ballot protesting the water rate increase by January 28. It will annoy all of the right people.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

45 comments:

  1. Is it possible that the group behind the robo calls is part of the reasons why all the incumbent councilmembers quit?
    They have the goods on the scam?

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    Replies
    1. It is disturbing that in the middle of a crisis all of the incimbents bailed out. What do they know?

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    2. Only Nancy doesn't have a legitimate excuse. And she doesn't have an excuse at all.

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    3. I find it very strange that Nancy never told Sierra Madre she wasn't running again. Is it true she is backing Noah Green?

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    4. Is Noah Green a Nancy Walsh puppet?

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    5. Noah Green recently moved into town - is a lawyer - immediately fell in "love" with the city and now HAS to run for Council because he knows the city so well and we just need his input and ideas

      ala Joe Mosca same old same old

      don't know why lawyers are so full of BS and themselves, it must be taught in law school

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    6. anybody endorsed by or part of the social circle of Walsh, Moran, Harabedian, Buchanan, Stockley or Doyle will not get my vote

      and nobody "new" in town either

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  2. Getting the truth out in Sierra Madre does take an extraordinary amount of effort.

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    Replies
    1. when the publisher of the paper embellishes her own resume and backstabs her own business partner and so called friend, it's no surprise that truth isn't much of a priority with the Mt View News

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  3. Since most of the candidates, if not all, are just more of the same???? We don't have much chance of getting anything positive done.

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    Replies
    1. The best thing we can do is make certain they have as little money as possible. That means defeating Measure UUT and sending in Prop 218 ballots. Without our money city hall is just another small group of people with opinions. Without our money they can't do anything bad.

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    2. Unless, these good people protesting the water scam continue to education the rather clueless voters.
      The Tattler, getting more readership is a good thing.
      Thank you, Crawford and concerned citizens.

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    3. 6:53 maybe the people who have a different opinion on the water rate hike than you are not clueless but have just come to a different idea than you on how to fix it

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    4. You may be right. But why couldn't the city tell us the origin of our water department financial crisis? And give us the names of the people who got us into this mess? Truth matters, especially when it involves money. I think that had the city told the truth from the get go you wouldn't have seen as much opposition. As always, it isn;t the crime, it is the cover up.

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    5. Kill the UUT increase on April 8, 2014. Less money in the city coffers = less chance for shenanigans.

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  4. I'd trust a 5 year old with a rock in his hand over Henderson, Walsh and Aguilar.

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    Replies
    1. I'd trust them over Officer Amos...well that may be pushing the trust

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  5. Even if half of all water ballots had two ballots, and most residences in Sierra Madre only have one water meter, the no vote would fall short. It seems that people who have not voted no have fallen asleep or have their head in the sand. A strong initial vote should have set the ground work for City Hall to really work at pushing the yes vote, but they have had to do little because so many people just don't seem to care. Guess they find out soon enough!
    People 0 City Hall WINS!!!

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    Replies
    1. It would be a dirty win. They had to lie hard to protect the guilty parties.

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  6. Starting in 2020 the water department will have to start paying $640,000 a year in combined principal and interest? What idiot thought that was a good idea?

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    Replies
    1. BART DOYLE. THE MOST EVIL ENITY IN SIERRA MADRE.
      HE DID THIS TO THE TOWN.

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    2. The 1998 bonds are paid in full in 2019. The $517,000 that was going to pay that debt is freed up to apply to the 2003 bonds in 2020. Actually $240k needs to be applied to meet the payments, and the other $277k can be used for capital improvements or repairs. In 2021 the interest free note matures. The $145,000 per year can then go towards paying the 2003 debt or towards capital improvements or repairs.

      The tattler would like those payments to not be applied to capital improvements but applied to debt, since paying interest on debt is hoodwinking the public, it is creating massive amounts of unnecesarry interest, it is an indication of horrible mismanagement. At least that's what I assume, since that's the only way this logic would remain consistent.

      Does anyone here have a point as to what money should have been used towards principal payment as compared to what it was used on? The loan was to build the MiraMonte reservoir. Should we have used the money to pay off the loan and simply not built the MiraMonte Reservoir? Not done repairs? Not done maintenance? Not paid employees? Or are we advocating that rates should have been raised a long time ago to pay the principal off faster?

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    3. The 1998 bond debt is immaterial here. As is the hardware. The issue is we are being asked to pay 61% more for water in large part to deal with debt that was accrued through making interest only payment payments on $6.75 million in water bond debt. It needs to be explained. How did this disaster happen? Who was responsible? It is simply splendid that some water tanks were built, but that is not the issue. It is transparency and honesty. The people who are expected to pay have a right to know how this happened, and who was responsible.

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    4. This is as much about the old boy network as anything else. The water rate hike is needed to get the city more money to pay off a huge amount of debt, deal with Moody's, while covering up the fannies of the people who got us into this mess.

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    5. My replay isn't posting, I'll try again. If the 2003 debt is the problem, then the water hike is needed to pay for the MiraMonte Reservoir, since that's what it was for. Changing the payout structure would change the overall cost by perhaps $40 over 30 years per ratepayer. If the debt is onerous, and unpayable by the ratepayer then there should be no MiraMonte Reservoir. $8 per month per meter is too pricey for it, and the consequences for not doing what was done to it would just have to be resolved when those problems happened, since there is no money available to address the issues now.

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    6. I think you meant reply. Again, the issue is how certain individuals in this community thought it was wise to ring up an extraordinary amount of debt by making interest only payments on the 2003 water bonds. And again, the people of this town need to know why this happened and who was responsible. Tell the truth, cease with the ridiculous red herrings, and come home to Sierra Madre. A community that is pretty fed up with your kinds of BS.

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    7. $640,000 and $145,000 to SGVMWD in 2020. Of course, that means the '98 bonds will be paid off. $785,000 a year is a helluva lot less than the nearly $1,000,000 we pay in 2014. Assuming future councils don't float more debt.

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    8. That is also a big concern. Moody's dropped our bond ratings to junk because they want this water rate increase to go through. If it does our water bond ratings will go back up. Will this permit the same kinds of idiots responsible for the 2003 water bond disaster to do it all over again? This is how Sierra Madre's debt level could easily end up doubled.

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    9. The best way to fight against additional bond debt would be the election of responsible people that won't burden us with more debt. The type of person(s) that won't spend money we don't have.

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    10. We are in the process of struggling with financial mistakes that were made more than 10 years ago. And even now the City won't fess up to it.

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  7. Rule number 1. never report bad information up the chain of command.

    Keep the top dogs dumb so they can protect your backside when the dam bursts and the public gets a hold of the information.

    Meaning, the city council is kept fat, dumb and happy so they can be good bobble heads and say NO, it's not true and everything's fine.

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    Replies
    1. That is pretty much their skill set.

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    2. In that way they are a true reflection of many residents here.

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    3. A article in Star News today front page about South Pas. and higher water rates.

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  8. There was once a beautiful local paper, created by Katina Dunn. Its shell remains, and whatever interest or charm the unsuspecting find in the Mountain Views News is the remnant.
    Henderson Poole Carter, whatever, just runs it for the revenue from the notices. Found herself some steady income.

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    Replies
    1. Henderson, who at one time was the #2 in command at the California Democratic Party and was forced out for lying about academic awards on her resume, has been reduced to living hand to mouth off of the low level political hustle she runs through her paper. How she ended up here is anybody's guess.

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    2. plus Henderson was buying her underwear on a corporate credit card and thought nothing of it until was caught

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  9. 4. I contend that for a nation to try to

    tax itself into prosperity is like a

    man standing in a bucket and

    trying to lift himself up by the

    handle. --Winston Churchill



    5. A government which robs Peter to

    pay Paul can always depend on

    the support of Paul. -- George

    Bernard Shaw

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  10. Interesting letter posted on SierraMadreNews.net

    No one wants their water bill to go up. On the other hand, everyone knows that the covenants we gave in connection with our water bonds are hopelessly in default and it is no surprise that our municipal credit rating stinks. We need to get our credit back.
    No one is very happy that we had to bring water in at what appeared to be an extravagant cost. To add insult to injury, the imported water discolored the local water in some areas.
    Are there capital expenditures that could be made that would make it possible to stretch our own Sierra Madre sources further?
    In addition to being old and precariously close to breaking, are our pipes leaking? Is there some way to detect leaks in the pipes?
    Would it be possible to capture more local water and put it into our water table?
    I understand some cities by smart metering are detecting water loss and saving customers money. Would that work here?
    What other things could we do?
    If we cannot increase our supplies do we need to take further draconian steps ?
    Do we need to impose new building moratoriums?
    Do we need to severely restrict outside watering?
    I have heard informally that our rates are materially higher than elsewhere nearby
    Is this true?
    Have we looked into the possibility of partnering with some other local entity?
    Have we considered selling our system to a water company that could make the necessary capital improvements as well as lower our rates?


    –Eric Olson
    Sierra Madre

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  11. 11:01, I did mean typo.

    I'd like to apologize to everyone, I've done the calculations and I was wrong. By paying interest only, ratepayers are being bilked $1.37cents a month in extra interest. This is clearly breaking us. Though we are paying 50 cents a month less now in debt payments using interest only methods, in 2020 this will all change, causing us to pay $1.87 cents extra per month per meter.

    Clearly paying interest only is the reason we are all in this terrible predicament. We had to pay $170 per meter to pay upfront for the repairs to the wells last year, but this pales in comparison to the horrors of the $6 in savings we received for the year by paying interest only, and will definitely not prepare us for the horrors of the additional $1.83 per month (Nearly $24 a year!) we will have pay in extra interest pay-offs starting in 2020.

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    Replies
    1. Can you tell me how many lattes that comes out to? And if it is so inconsequential, why did Moody's dump our bond ratings to junk?

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    2. Moody said it was because our politicians don't have the will to raise rates and our electorate refuses to.

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    3. The idiot 2002 City Council put us under the thumb of things like Moodys. So of course they can now dictate how we should run our affairs.

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  12. I'd trust the robocaller. But stacked up against the MVN, I'd trust a rattlesnake.

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