Monday, February 10, 2014

Tuesday Evening's City Council Meeting Will Achieve Little Of Lasting Importance

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It is kind of difficult to do if you think about it. A city that is facing as many challenges as this one can still hold a City Council meeting where very little of lasting importance will be on the agenda for discussion. You have to work hard to reach this level of irrelevance. But we do have the leadership needed to get that done.

Well, OK, there are a couple of things of importance, but don't bet your barn on the outcome. The water rate hike will be discussed again tomorrow. It was coerced from the residents through Prop 218, though apparently half of the community was completely disengaged from that so-called process. And think about it, what could possibly be more Sierra Madre City Hall than declaring a victory because a majority of the citizenry did nothing? At that rate this City Council should have all the victories they could ever want. And still find the time to cry for even more money.

Of course, nobody wants homeless housing downtown either, so this City's august leadership will celebrate their victory again on Tuesday by doing nothing about it. Doing nothing being how things get done here. We have no water, no pipes, no ability to stop drug addicts from moving in downtown and mingling with the neighborhood kids, and no money. Or at least money that hasn't already been spent on lawyers, leisure activities, bennies and pensions. It takes a lot of doing nothing to reach this level of futility.

They'll still spend a lot of money, of course. But will it help improve anything? Tomorrow evening's "approving certain demands" ceremony is supposed to be about recording spends that have already taken place. Some of them have been in place for years, and they just keep regenerating all by themselves. So technically the City Council still isn't doing anything. Hopefully they'll take a victory lap around the room, or give away some plaques and take some pictures.

CONSENT CALENDAR
a) ADOPTION OF RESOLUTION No. 14- 14 OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SIERRA MADRE APPROVING CERTAIN DEMANDS - $439,083.47 has gone out in the mail to this city's many vendors, and for what you ask? Good question. The Mountain Views News gets $1,024.43. Technically this is for city meeting notices and the such, but we all know it is to buy print media support for those candidates supporting Measure UUT. $2,520.08 goes for bathroom supplies. FedEx gets $143.35 for overnighting some things. Where I work capricious overnighting gets people into a lot of trouble, just so you know. Harlan Ulysses Hanson appears to be a private eye, and got $2,064.35 for doing background checks. Hopefully he found some really good stuff on people who already work downtown. SCAG gets $1,198 dollars in dues. We need to have a seat at that table so they can slap us down when we request lower RHNA numbers. Or tell us we have to accommodate large amounts of high density development in the middle of the worst drought in centuries (link). The list goes on and on.

b) INCORPORATED RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING APPLICATION OF FEDERAL EXCESS PERSONAL PROPERTY - In 1982 the SMFD borrowed an old International fire truck from the state. They used it until 2004, then they parked it in the Public Works Maintenance Yard. Now the state wants it back. Hopefully the chickens living in the cab will have moved out by the time it is to be given back.

c) CANCELLATION OF FIRST REGULAR CITY COUNCIL MEETING FOR THE MONTH OF APRIL - This meeting and the City Council election both fall on April 8. Holding both at the same time would involve a level of multi-tasking beyond the abilities of many city employees. It would be a lame duck council meeting, anyway. Maybe they should just cancel all of the remaining meetings. They could easily start with tomorrow's confab.

d) SECOND READING AND ADOPTION OF ORDINANCE No. 1351 SETTING WATER AND SEWER RATES FOR FISCAL YEARS ENDING 2014 THROUGH 2018 - Let them gloat. It isn't everyday that the City Council gets to raise rates. Then again, maybe it is. Can you think of anything they haven't raised over the last couple of years? Outside of their collective IQ, of course. We still don't have any water. Sounds like just the time for this City Council to go and propose building some new developments. Are there any untouched wooded areas around yet?

e) SECOND READING AND ADOPTION OF ORDINANCE No. 1352: MUNICIPAL CODE TEXT AMENDMENT TO ALLOW TRANSITIONAL AND SUPPORTIVE HOUSING AND EMERGENCY SHELTERS - Crazy people, psychopaths, alcoholics, guys who sell loose cigarettes for a dollar to children and drug addicts will now be able to get some free happy housing adjacent to downtown Sierra Madre. All the City Council had to do was nothing. They will do nothing about this on Tuesday night as well. It is an integral part of their skill set.

f) DISBANDING BROWN ACT COMMITTEES - If you volunteer for a committee or commission, and you are dealing with sensitive issues, you may find yourself being kept under Brown Act restrictions for years. Especially if it deals with topics that the City Manager would prefer you not talk about during an election year. Chris Koerber proposed this in hopes that his fellow 4 Councilmembers will do the right thing and set the captives free. They won't. They don't do anything except raise taxes and make themselves pretty for Elaine.

2. PUBLIC HEARING – PUBLIC HEARING AND FIRST READING OF ORDINANCE No. 1303, AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL AMENDING CHAPTER 12.20 OF THE SIERRA MADRE MUNICIPAL CODE REGARDING PROTECTED TREES - Trees are protected in Sierra Madre. Hopefully that won't change. I said earlier that nothing important was on the agenda for this meeting. Maybe I should have said except for this one item. Hopefully there isn't a catch, though there almost always is. And no, cutting down trees for the convenience of a developer and replacing them with saplings is not preserving our "urban forest."

3. PUBLIC HEARING – CONSIDERATION OF ORDINANCE No. 1353, AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL AMENDING TITLE 8.24 OF THE SIERRA MADRE MUNICIPAL CODE RELATING TO FIREWORKS - The City wants to raise the fines for being caught using fireworks. I didn't think there was anything left to raise. I guess I was wrong.

4. DISCUSSION – MEMORIAL PARK RESTROOM/STORAGE PROJECT - The only issue that Nancy Walsh is capable of truly appreciating is back. I suspect the City Manager will milk this one right up until Nancy finally leaves office. Just to be kind to the old girl. The big question here being where do we store pingpong tables. That one makes $20 million dollars in old water bond debt look like Yahtzee.

5. DISCUSSION – ACCEPTANCE OF COMPREHENSIVE ANNUAL FINANCIAL REPORT (CAFR) FOR FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 2013 - Staff will go on for nearly an hour about how horrible it will be if Measure UUT fails and they are forced to live on a budget. Hopefully this do-over UUT measure will meet the same fate as the previous one, and then we can hire people who know how to make finite financial resources work without asking for more money every few weeks.

6. DISCUSSION – RESOLUTION No. 14-12: APPROVING SIERRA MADRE PUBLIC LIBRARY STRATEGIC PLAN 2014-2017 - The world is going digital. I would hope this strategic plan will take that into account. Digital library lending is the way to go. I hope we keep up. Beyond that I suspect this will end up being more bellyaching about Measure UUT. They want to scare people into approving another 8 years of paying the highest utility taxes in California. The library being one of the damsels the Goosey Green Gang is tying to the railroad tracks.

Oh, and one other thing. Will we be hearing all about the secret trip to Washington DC?

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

47 comments:

  1. What is the procedure to promote a write in candidate for City Council?

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    1. That is a good question. You'd assume you just write someone's name in whether they like it or not. But that probably isn't how it works. I'll see if I can't find an ordinance or something.

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    2. check with the city clerk

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    3. can I scratch off anybody who has lived in the city for 2 yrs or less?

      or anybody that is a lawyer?

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    4. I would. One of the biggest regrets of my life is voting for Mosca in 2006. I practically throw up every time I think of it.

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  2. Because it's the same every meeting, they need more money, I think people just don't want to go to those CC meetings. I would just as soon see it on our local channel when it's working. One thing that can be said it will be a chance to see who is running for council. There is one lady who has over the years attended many council meetings and it's always good to see her checking in on what is going on. The rest, well you just don't see them till just before election, oh, you will see them hob nobbling at special meetings around town. They like to hang with the downtown investment group and other groups that have city council members in attendance. They like to be seen with what they think is the in crowed.

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    1. Not only does Denise Delmar attend the council meetings on a regular basis, she also attends the Planning Commission meetings. She has given valuable input to the Planning Commission about the General Plan. She is the only candidate that has the capability to make good informed decisions concerning the General Plan.

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    2. I'm voting for Denise, but she's rarely at Council Meetings. Actually, all 4 candidates are rarely at Council meetings. But they love this City!

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    3. Huh? I see her there all the time.

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    4. Urban Dictionary:
      1. Whatever - Used in an argument to admit that you are wrong without admitting it so the argument is over. 2. Whatever - Indifference to what a person is saying. Who cares? Get a Life!
      3. Whatever - I don't care.
      http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=whatever

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    5. You left out definition 4.

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    6. Several people attend the council meeting but sit closer to the back and are not on camera. Just because they don't get up and speak on every issue doesn't mean they are not there or are not interested. Denise is on camera more often these days because the issues coming before the council are on zoning or the general plan, of which she is an expert.

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    7. I see Goss at the city council meetings only when he gives a report for the library trustees, lately every 5 meetings. I have not seen Green at a meeting although someone reminded me he was there once because he applied for a spot on the planning commission, which most people believe is a stepping stone for running for city council. He didn't get it. Rachelle as far as I know has never attended a council meeting, at least I've never seen her at any of the 98% of the meetings I have attended.

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    8. 12:17 whatever

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  3. If the Washington DC trip was successful in any way, they'll open the meeting with it.
    If it wasn't successful, we'll just pay their bills.

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    1. They'll have a throw down about who gets to discuss it for the council member reports.
      Here's how the thinking will go: Walsh should have it, as her outgoing present, but Harabedian should have it as part of his prep into mayor hood. It'll be interesting to see who gets it.

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    2. Nothing wasn't accomplished in D.C. that could not have been done in Arcadia.

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    3. Better photo ops. Our people in our nation's capitol. Doing the peoples business at the highest levels of power. Arcadia just doesn't leave the same impression.

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  4. Why do we pay an organization like SCAG? I know that to the city staff the dues are peanuts, but that's a big part of our financial problem - they, and some council members, treat our money like it's Monopoly money. Let's pull back that thousand bucks from that worthless organization.

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    1. Same thing with the money spent on overnighting. I'm with the Mod on that one. Who missed a deadline, and why? Enough hundreds add up to thousands, enough thousands add up to tens of thousands....

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    2. I don't understand why the city pays the Mountain Views News one dime. The legal notices can just be put online, and posted outside city hall.

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    3. 9:41 maybe you should learn the rules on why and how of legal notices .

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    4. 9:41 they have no choice. The newspaper lobby will never allow legal notices to be published on line. It's money out of their pocket. It is always about the money/power.

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    5. Fake newspapers like the Mountain Views News would dry up and blow away without legals. In that way our tax dollars are being used to promote candidates that support issues you might not agree with. During the Prop 218 process not one sentence questioning the water rate increases was published there Not one. We might as well be living in Soviet Russia.

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  5. Background checks on who?
    Oh right, the constant staff we are perpetually hiring.

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    1. They needed to check and make sure that any new hires don't have any Tattler connections.

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  6. Is there any chance that this serious drought will impact development?

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    1. Koerber's put a 30% water reduction and also building moratorium on a future agenda. Will be interesting to see if Council takes action.

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    2. That is the state law - everyone has to reduce 30% in order for the development industry to take a breather. Obviously crafted by politicians who are in the developers' pockets.

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    3. How about a moratorium on new water accounts? So if an account has been used, it stays. if it hasn't been used or created, it's postponed.

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    4. I remember Aguilar saying as well as the 30% reduction, the moratorium could only be for 6 months.

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    5. I wonder why the water moratorium did not make this agenda.. I guess Nancy doesn't think a lack of water is that important in our town.

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    6. I think it is the next meeting.

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  7. I'm actually glad about a harsher punishment for using fireworks. It's fun to do, but you have to get away from the foothills to do it safely. They are not worth a wildfire.

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  8. What is the restroom obsession about?? Again with the storage issue? This item validates the Tattler's choice of title for the article.

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    1. It is very weird.

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    2. Nancy's seven seniors need a place to store a table and a ping pong table they don't have.

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    3. I sense the most important issue in a decade in that.

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    4. The time and energy they've put into storage issues - certainly there were more worthy projects for them to do.

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    5. Oh, but the seniors are privileged. Nancy in one of her tirades said "shame on you, Sierra Madre," for "giving" the seniors such a little building to have their activities. As if the Hart House belongs exclusively to them. If the seniors wanted to do something for the city, they would have spent their money on renovating the restrooms that are used for all who visit our parks. When they were denied the "family" restroom and the storage room, they took their money and went home. Shame on you Nancy and the Senior Commission.

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  9. Bookless libraries:
    http://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/bookless-all-digital-library-opens-in-texas/

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  10. Government meetings including our City Council do two things:
    1. Spend your money and want more.
    2. Pass rules, laws, and ordinances to tax you, or limit your freedom and rights.
    Anytime our City Councill is not meeting we are ahead.

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    1. Maybe they can be moved to a quarterly schedule.

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