|Pro-UUT solicitors out campaigning|
Nor do they seem to care whether what they're saying is all that true or not. Which does not speak well of their opinion of those they consider to be political allies in town. Seems disrespectful. It also reminds me of the line about mushrooms being kept in the dark and what those things are actually fed.
Another point is that you can pretty much tell who is winning a campaign by whether or not their secrets are being kept. The following e-mail is now being forwarded all over town, and to people who were most definitely not the original target audience. And it comes from none other than a father of the debt-ridden interest payment only 2003 Water Bonds, the Downtown Specific Plan, and the least likely man to win a popularity contest in El Monte, Bart Doyle.
From: Bart Doyle
Sent: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 3:02 PM
To: Bart Doyle
Subject: Sierra Madre UUT Campaign
If the measure on the April 8 ballot fails, the utility tax rate will drop from the current 10% to 6%, and annual City revenues will drop a little over $1 million, triggering immediate massive cuts to ALL public services. If you are willing to place a sign in your yard, please contact Nancy Walsh and provide her with your street address at XXXXX@aol.com.
Please contact me if you have any questions are (sic) concerns. ---- BART DOYLE
A couple of issues here that need airing out. First, the UUT has already been cut, and that was done with over 60% of your votes in April of 2012. What Doyle is actually trying to do here is raise your utility taxes back up to 10% with a do-over vote. Which, in 2015 when the UUT is supposed to drop to 8% per the stated wishes of an overwhelming majority of Sierra Madreans, would represent a 25% increase in your utility taxes. It gets even worse in 2016.
And will this trigger "immediate massive cuts" to the services provided by City Hall? Of course not. The UUT rate was at 6% in 2008, and somehow the City managed to survive.
What is really at stake here are the runaway entitlements and benefit plans that are being offered to city employees. $30,000 plus dollar health care packages being a good example of what happens when a city government has way too much money on its hands. If anything voting down Measure UUT will force the budgetary reforms in this town that are both needed and obviously way overdue.
There is also this from current Councilman John Capoccia, writing in 2012 for his Patch blog about the effects of a return of UUT rates back to their 2008 level of 6%.
For the upcoming April 10 election, Sierra Madre voters will weigh in on two Ballot Measures. Measure 12-1 will authorize an increase to the Utility Users Tax (UUT) from the current ten percent to twelve percent on July 1, 2013 and delay the sunset dates by four years. Measure 12-2 is a companion “advisory” measure, which is intended to allow voters to advise the council to spend the increase in the UUT on public safety.
As a candidate for Sierra Madre City Council, I want voters to know where I stand - I recommend a NO vote on both measures. Now is NOT the time for voters to authorize the increase and extend the sunset. Let me make one thing perfectly clear – Voting NO on Measure 12-1 WILL NOT reduce the current UUT revenue stream, and it WILL NOT jeopardize Public Safety in any way!
A return to fiscal sanity in Sierra Madre will not jeopardize public safety services in Sierra Madre. We're not going to see the Police Department disappear, nor will we lose the Fire Department. We had public safety services before we went to double digit utility taxes in 2008, and we will have them after that supposedly temporary increase does what it was designed to do and disappears. We were told by City Hall in 2008 that this was to be a short term increase designed to deal with certain specific problems. We need to hold them to their word.
These kinds of scare tactics are the actions of supposed community leaders who just don't believe they need to tell you the truth in order to get more money out of you. It is disrespectful, uncivil and abusive.
Though I have to admit I am a little tickled that the pro-UUT campaign is now being led by Bart Doyle. Albeit it in a quiet behind-the-secenes sort of way. Or at least it was supposed to be.
It certainly does look like his cover has now been blown.
A great letter in the Pasadena Star News
(Mod: Somebody is grumbling about this letter over on Bill Coburn's blog, so I figured I should post it here in order to keep the record straight. It is a great opinion piece, eloquently written, and hits on some very good points.)
No to extending Sierra Madre utility tax (link)
Here we go again. In next month’s Sierra Madre municipal election, we voters will be filling three empty council seats. Hardly earthshaking. But wait, there’s more! We again will be asked to increase our already high utility user tax. It was only two years ago that we said no to a similar request. The City Council and city staff just don’t seem to get it.
In the two years since we voters told the city that it has to live within its means, the only major change has been to reduce the hours that City Hall is open for business. That is what they point to as cost-cutting. And still, they tell us that the taxes they collect are not enough.
It is time for the city of Sierra Madre, and all its residents, to come to grips with the fact that this is no longer the 1930s (or even the 1960s). Back then, the costs and effort necessary to provide municipal services were far less than today. Back then, a town this size could afford to maintain 100 percent of the overhead for all those services. Times have changed, but the city’s mindset hasn’t. You couldn’t point to another city in this (or any adjoining) county with the same size and tax base that pulls the entire train on its own.
The biggest favor the people of Sierra Madre can do for themselves is to again vote no on Measure UUT. This will finally force the council, all of whose members campaign as the one ready to “make those tough decisions,” to actually start making those tough decisions. Other than parks and recreation, and planning and building, the city’s services should be contracted out to those whose only business is providing those services — and whose overhead is spread among the many others they serve. The City Council is in fact the board of directors for a municipal corporation, and like the board of any such entity — public or private — they have a fiduciary duty to safeguard the fiscal interests of its constituent shareholders. Sierra Madre will never make prudent decisions as long as the tax spigot flows freely.
— Don Handley, Sierra Madre