Tuesday, February 25, 2014

There Is A City Council Meeting Tonight, You Know

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Everybody is just so excited about the upcoming election in April they have pretty much forgotten that our current City Council still gets together every couple of weeks to deliberate on some of the important issues facing our community. Of course, a lot of the more profound topics don't seem to get on the agenda much lately. I credit this to Mayor Walsh deciding that she's pretty much done all she intends to do, thank you very much. And if those other things are so damn important, then the next City Council can deal with them.

Nancy is still fairly fresh roasted about the ignominious fate of that unisex bathroom she wanted to see in Memorial Park. Along with the ping pong table storage room that has now become something akin to a PODS container. So she really doesn't want to hear too much from you guys anymore. Not now, and never again. You have all let her down and, as everyone surely understands by now, this Mayor does not forgive that easily.

So anyway, all of that said, here is the meeting agenda. Along with my percipient commentary and predictions of what is likely fated to be. I hope you are able to enjoy this evening's show.

ACTION ITEMS - 1. CONSENT
a) ADOPTION OF RESOLUTION No. 14- 15 OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SIERRA MADRE APPROVING CERTAIN DEMANDS: Our City spends a lot of dough, as I am certain you no doubt know. As residents paying the highest utility taxes in the state, you hardly need me to tell you that. And this week the outlay comes to a thumping' $550,566.71. Not quite as large as some previous spends, but hardly Neil feed, either. Third World Edison gets $41,018.63 for keeping the lights on, I guess. Athens receives a check of $7,592.45 for sweeping the streets. Axontech gets $4,765.64 for keeping the cities computers rolling, and Bob Wondries Ford receives $3,780.87 for fixing a vehicle. My question being was it a Police car that Bob fixed? I've heard some rather wild rumors about this one. Colantuono & Levin gets $24,085.00 for keeping us townies at a safe distance. It does go on.

b) RESOLUTION No. 14-17: TO ADOPT THE LOW INCOME WATER METER DISCOUNT RATES BASED UPON ORDINANCE No. 1351 WATER METER RATES: During the City Council's now legendary deliberations on their latest water rate increases, it was deemed appropriate that they give some later consideration to a low income water meter discount program. And that is exactly what they are going to do here. Just in case you might think City Hall doesn't care.

c) SECOND READING AND ADOPTION OF ORDINANCE No. 1303, AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL AMENDING CHAPTER 12.20 OF THE SIERRA MADRE MUNICIPAL CODE REGARDING PROTECTED TREES: This is the legacy tree matter that caused so much excitement on The Tattler a couple of weeks ago. You know, where you get to dedicate a tree to dear departed Aunt Hazel, thereby guaranteeing her essence will live on forever after in the guise of a tree. Something that I believe has its origins in Druidic mythology. However, nothing really lasts forever, and should you sell your property to somebody else, legacy tree and all, the new resident can send Aunt Hazel screaming into eternal oblivion by obtaining a permit from the city to cut down her legacy tree. And for free. Who says there isn't a lot of pain in this life? And after? Also included in this item is some 3rd World Edison hanky-panky, but when do they ever not get their way?

d) CONSIDERATION OF RESOLUTION No. 14-16: ADOPTION OF TITLE VI OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964 COMPLIANCE PROGRAM FOR TRANSPORTATION SERVICES - This is kind of quaint. You cannot be denied a seat on the Roundabout because of your race, creed or religious beliefs. But apparently Sierra Madre never signed off on the accompanying paperwork. I'm sure this is an oversight, but how exactly did Rosa Parks get overlooked in Sierra Madre for the last 60 years?

e) SECOND READING OF ORDINANCE No. 1353 AMENDING TITLE 8.24 OF THE SIERRA MADRE MUNICIPAL CODE RELATING TO FIREWORKS: Fireworks are illegal in this state, I am not sure that you are aware of that. Judging by the roar of low caliber explosives every 4th of July, many in this town obviously missed the memo. But what makes matters even more dicey today is that the mountains are bone dry from the drought, and should they catch on fire life could change radically for many of us living here. The City Council is going to finish jacking up fines for fireworks possession and use in this town, and by a whole lot. It's probably a good idea.

2. DISCUSSION –
ACCEPTANCE OF COMPREHENSIVE ANNUAL FINANCIAL REPORT (CAFR) FOR FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 2013: This will likely start out as a rather bold sales pitch by our Finance Director for you to vote Yes for Measure UUT. Whether the discussion stays on that tacky track or not depends on a number of factors. There are some big thumping cash amounts stuck in the CAFR that need to be aired out. Like did you know we owe $ 337,248.00 for some unexplained "open spaces" debt? Check out page 113 of the report for this item. It's in there, townie taxpayer. My take is that the "open spaces" in question are actually Goldberg Park. Hopefully some members of the City Council will raise these kinds of issues.

3. DISCUSSION –
CONSIDERATION OF PREPARATION OF ORDINANCE PROHIBITING SMOKING IN HOUSING MULTI-FAMILY HOUSING: As much as I hate cigarettes, I also hate being told what to do by well-meaning people who think that I am incapable of making good decisions on my own. On the other hand, having smoke blown into my living room by some neighboring idiot would irk me just about as much. So I don't know. Maybe the concerned parties should step outside and just have at each other with broom sticks.

4. DISCUSSION –
CITY HALL RE-LANDSCAPING PROJECT: Nancy Walsh wants to yank out all of that yellowed grass they have in front of City Hall and replace it with barrel cactus and other drought tolerant plants native to the Californias. The construction costs alone for this lulu could run as high as $50,000.00, though the City Mangler claims she can reduce that amount by using Public Works personnel to do some of the work. But to use the reasoning City Hall drags out every time they want to raise fees, aren't there real recuperable costs involved in using city labor? Hmm? The SGVMWD says they will kick in $8,000. Something that I guess could come out of our the high water rates they charge us.

5. DISCUSSION –
GRAYWATER SYSTEMS FOR NEW RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT: It is important for this community to save water. Especially now that we are incapable of generating very much of it on our own. This is something that needs to be looked at very carefully, and approved. Of course, should graywater systems be put into place and become prevalent, the Sierra Madre Water Enterprise could lose some appreciable amount of their billable revenue. That could be a consideration in the minds of some this evening, though they would be unlikely to admit it.

6. DISCUSSION –
STRATEGIC PLAN UPDATE FROM OCTOBER 15, 2013 RETREAT - It's back. Basically this is a pitch for increasing staff salaries and benefits. Every once in a while it gets tagged onto the end of a meeting just to remind everyone that we need to beef up staff salary and benefit spends. You know, otherwise they'll leave for other cities, and we will all suffer greatly. That is, if we even notice.

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122 comments:

  1. Staff salaries should be frozen at present levels so that the police can get a raise. What really needs to be done is reduce upper salaries to reflect performance. Also, more money needs to be taken out of salaries and put into the pension system.

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    1. $50,000 for landscaping around city hall? you gotta be kidding

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    2. Hey, Mayor Nancy spent $80,000.00 on hers at her home.

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  2. City hall need to reduce it's electric bill. Tennis courts, swimming pool, rec center and ball diamonds need to reduce lighting costs. Self pay for the tennis courts lighting would be a good start. How about leaving the lights on in rooms where no one is working. Automatic lights that go on or off if someone is or isn't in the room would be a good start.

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    1. Good ideas.
      And downsize staff.

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    2. Waterworks pays the pool electric bill. Youth sports pay a portion of the lighting bill. However, many nights the lights are on and no one is there. Self pay on tennis courts is a great idea.

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    3. or at the tennis courts the lights can be on a wind timer - only on when in use

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  3. Was there a police car involved accident at Sierra Madre and Baldwin this last week? Was excess speed the reason?

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    1. That is the rumor going around. Hopefully the city will tell us tonight what happened. We have a right to know.

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    2. I heard that the Bottle Shop was held up. SMPD had closed down the Blvd. Didn't see any mention of it on the police blotter.

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    3. Really? Didn't hear that.

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    4. the PD was speeding to help rescue Noah Green's reputation

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    5. Light speed wouldn't be fast enough to do that.

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    6. A full description of what happened has already been posted on this blog, no one got robbed, no one got hurt.

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  4. Axontech getting $4,765.64 for keeping the cities computers working seems a bit excessive. Apparently the $500,000 paid for that system was not such a good deal. Wonder what the real costs have been over the years? Sierra Madre has remained about the same in population but costs for service keeps going up. With so much being spent on computers and better equipment to run the city where is the savings. Staff having shorter hours at city hall is putting the burden on us residents, seems like we need better management from city hall not shorter hours.

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    1. City Staff prides itself on their negotiating skills. I can't for the life of me imagine why.

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    2. Staff has maneuvered the residents into giving them a very comfortable work load, and for some of them, a very comfortable retirement. I'd say that the thing they do best is negotiate feathering their own nests.

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    3. The number 1 priority at city hall is themselves.

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  5. Please dress appropriatlee

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    1. is it true that Noah is finally going to address us townies?

      aren't we lucky

      don't forget, he's a lawyer

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  6. With the population remaining about the same, how many employees did Sierra Madre have 30 years ago compared to now? What pension did city hall have 30 years ago compared to now? Are city employees in the best pension system for the money being spent? So many important items that costs the city money need to be well managed. If we get the right council leading the city can we preserve the quality of life we have here? Can we improve on our air quality, water and way of life with better leadership?

    We can only vote and hope.

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    1. how many lawsuits did the POA file against the city 30 years ago?

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    2. Why 30 years ago? How about right now?

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    3. How about a cumulative account? That would shock the residents.

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  7. The way the city is run now they spend too much and then scream about how they have to raise taxes. Time to put them on a strict diet. No more tax obesity.

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    1. Spend, scream, threaten the loss of everything, and all to a chorus of city workers whining about how they have too much to do.

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    2. NO on the UUT.

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    3. There are plenty of people, some residents too, who would take those jobs in a second - and work hard to keep them. Why do we put up with a crew that is so unwilling to work?

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  8. I know we have moved on to tonight's Council meeting, but I feel compelled to bring up just one more example of the the stellar and unbiased reporting done by our own dear Susan Henderson. In the latest issued she printed the Pro and Con arguments for the UUT. Susan always promises to print the items that will appear in the sample ballot exactly as they are, without any changes. well, whe did print the arguments exactly as presented, and she listed the names of the four councilmembers who support the UUT and listed their respective titles, too. However, when it came to the NO on UUT, Susan must have had to run out quickly for an appointment or something because she listed only two of the three signers and she neglected to note that Mr. Amerio is a CPA, yes, a Certified Public Accountant. She claimed that the third signature was unclear on the copy she received so she did not list it. Now, we all know, a responsible journalist would have picked up the phone and called the City Clerk to find out the name of this person, who, in fact, is John Lewis, and, he too, is a CPA. I guess having two CPAs sign onto the NO on UUT argument was just a bit too much for our dear Susan. Ah, those sins of omission will come back to haunt you.

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    1. After weeks of promising some kind of big report on the pros and cons of Measure UUT, all Susan did was reprint sample ballot statements. And even that she screwed up.

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    2. Why does the city give her our tax money?

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    3. Renatta's Naptime FundFebruary 25, 2014 at 7:26 AM

      they could give it to me

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    4. We pay Susan to lie to us. And lie about our friends.

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    5. No one ever accused Henderson of accuracy.

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    6. Susan has never seen a fact she didn't resent

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    7. Who do you believe: 4 city council members who are doing what staff says they need to do, or 2 CPA's who have reviewed the numbers? Poor Susan, once again, defeated by the facts she tries to hide.

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    8. Don't forget, 2 of the Council members who signed the "Yes" argument aren't even running!

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  9. Lots of Sierra Madre residents want to get rid of police and hire sheriff department

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    1. Is it too much to ask the City to be on a financial diet? You know, like the rest of the country has been on since the recession hit?

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  10. Our family doesn't want to get rid of our police. SM needs a better run Police Department, that's all. Better equipment and training should equate to better performance. As an example wouldn't better performance mean a cost savings on such things as lawsuits and damaged equipment. I'm sure we can all think of ways that better performance saves money.

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    1. I think a lot of people would like to get out from under the tax burden the 2008 MOU with the SMPOA put this city. If the UUT fails, the money won't be there. Rather than getting rid of the SMPD though, the City should renogotiate a deal that we can afford. Sierra Madre can't afford a City of Los Angeles kind of pension and benefit system. If the PD wants to stay, then they need to accept what we are. A small city of less than 11,000 people. We are not an ATM.

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    2. It would be nice if they arrested some crooks once in awhile. The Facebook SM page lists police blotter reports, and they never seem to catch anyone...but have plenty of reorts of our "crime wave". SMPD can't even get near the Mendoza Line. But if we bring in the Sheriffs dept, we will open up another big can of worms!

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    3. Police should stay if we can afford them. The Parameds should go and we should ask the County to provide them. If we request it, the County must provide Paramedic service.

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    1. Since our taxes cover the cost of the Sheriff,it's nuts not to use them.They are well trained professionals something our community seems to lack on all levels be it police or city management!

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  12. Govt. is usually more effective with less taxpayer money. Sierra Madre sure has been since 2012 when 61% of the voters said NO to a 20% UUT increase.

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    1. This year we'll say no to a 25% UUT increase.

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    2. We are going to finally free ourselves of 15 years of city government being run by out of towners who don;t like Sierra Madre.

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  13. I just read the Mountain View News. Trash and Burn by Susan Henderson owner of the paper was an insult. Ms. Henderson is doing what she is complaining about. We residents talk about the problems but Henderson talks about the towns "Wistaria Hysteria". Henderson's paper has always spoken down to our town and it gets old. If you look at who Henderson socializes with it's easier to understand where she is coming from. In case no one has noticed Henderson is always on the side of the money, not on the side of the residents. The majority of us residents are to busy raising a family and paying the bills to be socialites. We are too busy to whine and dine in the middle of the day. When we get home from a long day we just want to tuck the kids in, put our feet up and have a glass of wine.

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    1. Henderson is all upset because her handpicked candidate was exposed as being something of a wild man. It is not the fault of anyone in Sierra Madre that Noah Green posted pictures of himself naked on his Facebook page. Except maybe her for talking him into running.

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    2. None-the-less, there are lots of people in town who are low information voters who believe everything Henderson writes including her demonization of Crawford.

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  14. Everyone should remember that the UUT is not going away. The UUT is going to sunset as originally written and that if needed it can be voted on again. We need to let this UUT finish before we try and change it. Who much is this costing the us tax payers again?

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    1. The voters killed the 2008 version of the UUT in 2012. It is finished. It is just that City Hall doesn't think the voters have any rights in this town and they are entitled to a do-over vote.

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    2. The UUT started out being for medical care, then grew to include public safety, now the library has jumped on. Next UUT run it will be for the schools, then the parks, then what? What else will they blackmail us with?

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    3. It will be used for parks, library, subsidizing the YMCA program, Elaine's salary, and for any other project they want.

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  15. This'll be a great opportunity to see Noah no Green jeans at the podium. I'd be willing to bet he stands up during open mic to let us all know what a hard working young couple he and his wife are and how they'll work for the voters of Sierra Madre. For sure Goss will put in an appearance. After all, now is the time to appear Council ready.

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  16. I'm not that excited about the election in April

    Either way, we are stuck with Goss or Green, both dismal choices

    Maybe Noah can tell us why after two short years of living here he is all knowing about the city?

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    1. The first vote Noah will ever cast in Sierra Madre will be for himself.

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    2. A responsible person would withdraw from the race and apologize.

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  17. Nancy did get what she wanted - a storage room for the Hart House (which she claims belongs to the seniors but is inadequate, and "shame on Sierra Madre" for giving them such a tiny building.) The revamp of the rest room was thrown in because she knew the Community Services Commission would never stand for taking over all of the rest room space.

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  18. Just drove by Alverno, and the Sierra Madre Water Department workers are flushing a couple of fire hydrants. There's no water capture. Gushing streams of water are going down a storm drain or down a street.

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    1. I have seen that twice in the AM on Orange Grove on my way to work in the last week

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  19. I am always shocked by how difficult it is to find candidates that actually have integrity and character.

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  20. Noah is speaking about the Wistaria Festival.

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  21. Noah Green is speaking for the Wistaria Festival. I wonder what he will be wearing for the event?

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    1. A strategically placed bloom.

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    2. He seemed nervous.

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    3. I guess that is a strategic plan.

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    4. He is still learning to deal with all of his new found fame, 6:48.

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  22. Looks like the 3 minute clock does not apply yo Mr. Stockley.

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  23. I have wondered if Rob Stockly is so into the library as a kind of repentance - somewhere he must know what disastrous decisions he made for this town, and he's trying to make it up.

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  24. Karin Schnaider is giving her financial report and poor Mayor Nancy looks totally lost. thank goodness she's leaving the council!

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    1. "Are there any questions?" asked Nancy, praying there would be none.

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  25. $337,000 in debt for Goldberg Park?

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    1. Koerber is nailing it on Goldberg Park. It was bought with money we didn't have. That park is a financial albatross.

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    2. Karin is saying it was going to be paid for with One Carter development impact fees. That was a bad bet.

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    3. Enid Joffe's legacy. A bottomless pit for parks money.

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    4. That lot was way overpriced to begin with. Sell it.

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    5. Yep. Pay that debt off pronto.

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  26. Capoccia is asking questions and directed folks to a specific page and Nancy is just sitting with her hands folded. don't you think she could at least pretend?

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    1. She doesn't care. Nancy is a short timer who never acted like a long timer.

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  27. thanks Enid Joffe, your sweetheart deal with your friends the Goldbergs now keeps Sierra Madre from spending any m e on our other parks. Talk about counting your chickens before they are hatched......

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    1. It was a crony deal. Lousy park, too.

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    2. Enid's financial wizardry included horrendous deals with the police.
      Yeah, she's one of the members of the most damaging council we've had.

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    3. Enid had no ideas of her own. Outside of that park Doyle and Buchanan were giving her instructions.

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  28. That's nice, the auditor says Koerber's comments about the pension percentage of funding is correct.

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  29. Nice shout out to Dave and Leslee Hinton about funding the pensions appropriately. Maybe one of them should be on the council.

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  30. The city should thank Leslie Hinton for telling them that an 8% return was unrealistic.
    She always knows what she is talking about.

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  31. nancy is making snarky faces at Koerber. GUess she doesn't like what he's asking about monies the city spent.

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    1. She's afraid that if too much time is spent on this CAFR stuff they won't have enough time to talk about her $50K City Hall gardening.

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  32. oh boy, next up, the anti smoking crowd.

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  33. Biggest question how will a non-smoking ordinance be enforced? will the city need to appoint brown shirted monitors to capture and report on the miscreants? why don't the folks who don't like smoking move to another apartment? what law says they have to remain where they are?

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    1. Nah - public health is different.
      Second hand smoke does kill - so why does the smoker have the right to inflict danger on people around him or her without their consent?
      Hey, kind of makes me miss the cigarette kids. But only for a brief moment.

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    2. The right to breathe trumps the right to smoke.

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  34. Hey, we are not So. Pas, or Glendale, or Pasadena. we can do what we want.

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  35. wow 40 signatures from Sierra Madreans. Out of 11,000 residents. WWhat percentage is that? I believe it is statistically insignificant.

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    1. Just shows that the signature gatherers were not organized.

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  36. How nice to know that all is Sierra Madreans are interested on healthly lifestyles. I think this is a rather broad generalization. I have seen lots of unhealthy folks around town.....especially at the Buc.

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  37. Atty Doyle says cigarette smoke is demoralizing! who knew?

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    1. And here Doyle could have gone with a carcinogen....strange choice he made there.

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  38. once again, Harabedian does the politicians straddle. He's against it and then he's for it.

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  40. Butt Cops....coming to CBS this summer!

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  41. Butt Cops is cancelled.

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  42. Amazing. Nancy voted with Koerber and Cappocia. will miracles never end?

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  43. Absolutely right Koerber - that the thousands of dollars to "dress up city hall" would be much better spent on giving people incentives to get rid of their lawns.

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  44. Stop spending our money so foolishly!

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    1. But they think they are setting a good example. Like, hey you dumbos watch what revolutionary thing we're doing and then you do it too!
      Never mind that the only the residents who don't know about lawn replacement with native drought tolerant plants are in Pioneer Cemetery..

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  45. Wait, Josh just said we're not spending any tax money to do this. Is that true?

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    1. No. Josh is fibbing.

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    2. Nah. There will be money spent. They're just circling the issue. They'll get the design, and it will be so irresistible that they'll have to spend.

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  46. How did the cigarette vote end up? I fell asleep.

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  47. It was snuffed out.

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  48. Johnny just said "no brainer" three times in one minute.

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  49. I think the answer here is if you want a gray water system, just do it. Don't bother telling the city, they'll only demand their cash cut for doing nothing.

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