Sunday, March 9, 2014

Councilmember John Capoccia Suggests His Claim In The Mountain Views News That "Measure UUT Is Not Raising Your Utility Tax" Might Not Be Entirely True

~ The Great Tax Fighter ~
I was included in an interesting exchange of emails yesterday between Councilmember John Capoccia and SierraMadreNews.net publisher Bill Coburn. Mr. Capoccia had forwarded the first part of his apparently 3 chapter screed on why Measure UUT is a good thing to both of us esteemed on-line publishers, and had requested that we run it on our respective news sites.

I don't know about Bill, but I had no idea that our city funded adjudicated and highly partisan weekly newspaper, "The Mountain Views News," was already running Capoccia's piece. Naturally when I later found out that was the case I was both a bit irked and very glad I didn't post it here. I should have been told, and it really does smack of a dirty trick.

As you might recall, John Capoccia ran for his City Council seat as a stalwart fiscal conservative who would bring the wild spending downtown under control. He was real big on that. And where he really stepped out and strutted his stuff was on the extension of the Utility User Tax. He was adamantly opposed to our having to pay the highest utility taxes in California, and in 2012 he rode that mighty wave all the way to political success and a City Council seat.

Sadly, once elected John Capoccia never met a rate, fee or tax increase he didn't want to vote for. He flipped way higher than Joe Mosca ever even dreamed of doing. And today he is pushing for Measure UUT like it is his own health benefits and retirement package that are at stake. Which, of course, is not the case.

Unlike the SMPOA and other municipal employee unions calling the shots on both this utility tax increase and at City Hall these days, the poor guy won't see a single thin dime of it.

The Great Tax Fighter's legacy will be, should he succeed, a city with eight more years of double digit utility taxes plus insanely high municipal employee health plan costs. Both of which lead the entire State of California.

Who could have imagined this would be the case when he was saying things like the following in March of 2012?

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!

Why should anyone be surprised that another Sierra Madre pol wasn't telling us the truth about his real intentions? The list of such people is a long and sad one.

But I digress. Let's get to yesterday's e-mail exchange, because that is where the new information is. It really is quite revealing. With Bill Coburn on copy, this is the request for publication that we received from John Capoccia. And then a bit more. Here John actually tells a little truth. It is good to see he stills knows what that is.

The sentence from John Capoccia's editorial being referred to here reads: "Measure UUT is not raising your utility tax rate."

Capoccia: Bill and John, Attached is the first of a three part editorial in support of Measure UUT. Please post on your respective website/blog as you feel appropriate. Please call if you have questions. Thanks.

Crawford: Here is a question. The 2012 vote is currently the law, put into place by a 60% vote of the people. That calls for an 8% UUT in 2015. How can this not be a UUT increase as you state in your second sentence? Going to 10% is a 25% increase. This seems misleading, to be generous. 

Coburn: And here all this time, I thought the UUT in 2012 was defeated.

Crawford: Good point. That is why the UUT starts to sunset in 2015, which was the stated will of 60% of the voters in this town. Some do find that inconvenient. It also makes the 2nd sentence in Councilmember Capoccia's " editorial" untrue. 

Coburn: He does have a point, though, John.  How do you counter that, Mr. Capoccia?

Crawford: It is as if the people who voted as Mr Capoccia wanted them to in 2012 no longer count. 

Capoccia: Sure, your point is well taken and it's out there.  I don't have a problem with you calling it a tax increase. I've made my argument, no need to repeat myself. Let the voters decide.  Perhaps some will change their mind and vote differently this time.

Crawford: It is a tax increase. To say otherwise is to deny the validity of the 60% of the people who killed the UUT extension in 2012. In my opinion that is what Measure UUT is really about. Employee contracts, benefits and pensions. The poor old library is just the hostage. 

Capoccia: I do understand your point of view, and I'm sure a lot of voters agree with you.

Tomorrow we will be discussing the "UUT Fact Sheet" that the City of Sierra Madre illegally included in the water bills of a lot of people in town. This so-called "fact sheet" being little more than partisan political propaganda designed to get the people of this town to vote themselves a 25% utility tax increase in a few weeks. With a lot of the claims made there being untrue.

Mr. Capoccia and others might "understand your point of view," but in the mad rush to fund city employee pensions and out of this world costly health benefits they have shown that there is little they will not do. City Hall has now revealed itself as being rather ruthless. Especially when it comes to confiscating your money.

In my opinion the people responsible for the inclusion of this political document in the water bills of many people in town have now opened Sierra Madre up to both lawsuits and a potential investigation by the District Attorney.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

48 comments:

  1. Way happened to this guy? Is that zaftig city manager really a CIA brainwash specialist? Was the first sign of distress his murder of his once perfect yard and conversion of it into a Tempe like wasteland? Is Korber next?

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    1. It is true. Very few people stay true to their word once they get elected to the City Council.

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    2. just another blowhard to me

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  2. This man, Capoccia is as big a plant as Joe Mosca was, maybe more so.
    I believe he was part of the plot that sabotaged the candidate for City Council in 2012, MaryAnn MacGillivray, while pretending to be her friend. He was an apologist for Mosca and Matheson.
    Bad guy, probably worse than Moran or even Walsh, because at least we knew exactly who and what they stood for.
    Sierra Madre is finished because of people like this John Capoccia. What a shame.

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  3. Sierra Madre sure has its portion of dishonest politicians.

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    1. and we keep electing them

      low level lawyers, commercial bankers, mortgage salesmen, utility company employees



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  4. mr. Capoccia's main goal is to have people like him. And right now he is "working" for the City, not the citizens, and so he needs to do something to make those city employees like him. That something is to raise the taxes of the citizens by 25%. it's too bad John thinks it's more important to have people think he's a swell guy than it is to have foundational principles on which to stand.

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    1. If that is the case then he has failed to achieve his goal.

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    2. if he's trying to get people to like him he's certainly not doing that

      oh yeah, he's there to make the "tough" decisions

      flip flopper

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    3. If the UUT increase goes through, his job will be much easier and all staff will like him.

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    4. Yes. He'd be a regular sugar daddy. Gifts for all the girls and boys.

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  5. Ya know, Capoccia is not the financial whiz he thinks he is. Getting more and more money out of the benighted taxpayer to pay for an ever expanding pool (first it was just the paramedics, now this money goes to police and the library) is not the way to solve the problem. cutting spending is. Of course, it takes someone with courage and number knowledge to do so. If Capoccia is the best this next council will have when it comes to finance, then I fear for this town.

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    1. What about Mayor John Harabedian? The ambitious young silver spoon wannabe Assemblyman who is a fully owned property of the L.A. County political machine? We could go from highest taxes in California to highest on the planet.

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    2. So what else is new.A deceptive petty small town pol who serves third party interest and in the process fleeces his constituents .He doesn't give it a thought..he's a big shot! Move on suckers!

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    3. I'm making the tough decisions. Translation: It is going to cost you.

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    4. The money is needed to pay benefits.

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    5. Measure UUT is about employee pensions, benefits and health care plans. Don't believe the taxers.

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  6. This happens all too often. People like Capoccia start getting to cozy with the City unions and they change their spots. What a disgrace. I'm glad the Tattler has quoted his exact words on his previous stance on the UUT tax. I'd like to know exactly what has changed his view on this issues since 2012 other than being corrupted by the unions. Do you think it is just a coincidence that in every city, and I mean every city that puts a utility tax on the ballot, it is always, and I mean always supported by the public employee unions including the police union. I challenge anyone to find an exception to that rule. Doesn't that tell you all you have to know about the underlying purpose of these taxes and who the money is going to really benefit. . Its to free up money for further extravagant salaries, benefits and pensions city employees. They always tell you that if you don't pass the tax, you have to cut something and what always needs to be cut is something that will be most painful to the residents/voters. In its many variations, its known as the "Fireman First" principle. While there are so many things that can be cut including inefficiencies throught the city government, proponents of the tax always come up with a cut that will most alarm or inconvenience the voters. Whether its cutting the library, or police or emergency response times, this is right out of the union playbook. I don't expect the unions to change their spots. I do expect our city council members to retain a modicum of integrity once they get into office and not serve to do the bidding of the public employee unions.

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  7. They'll close the library! No, really!

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    1. Good,
      "What's a library? Isn't that where they used to keep books before they all were on your phone?"
      Said: Every child.

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    2. no, really.

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    3. close the damn thing. or better yet, make it a book club where you rent the materials. user fee. if it can't earn it's worth, let it go. who cares?

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    4. They're going to turn the Hart Park House into a barn.

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    5. Great. we need somewhere to store our voting pigs, our chickens, gerbils, and chinchillas. We can also store Noah's pants there.

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    6. 100,000 books available on Gutenberg Project. 100,000. Free.
      The libraries need to stay open in a very different and reduced way - to provide internet access for all. For us, that would mean maybe 10 computer terminals.

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    7. We could call it Goss's Ark, 12:58. Only 4 legged creatures who endorse him will get to live there.

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  8. I love the weasel words Capoccia uses in his reply to the Mod: Capoccia says "I don't have a problem with you calling it a tax increase." This means nothing. And how generous of him to allow you to call it a tax increase. Of course, it's really because he can't defend his position of "tax extension" so he throws it out there for the public to decide. Well Public, what do call something when it is 10 and is supposed to go down to 8, but remains at 10? In my book, if something is supposed to be 8 and is 10, then it has INCREASED by 2.

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    1. Along with abandoning your supporters developing an air of condescension seems to be a definite city councilmember characteristic.

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    2. Sierra Madre Annual FundMarch 9, 2014 at 7:08 PM

      Raises over $100,000 a year, uses those funds fot everything EXCEPT for a librarian. Thus, the children have no access to the library. SO. If it isn't important to the public school system, why is it important to us?

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  9. Let me just start out saying two things. First, I think Mr. Capoccia is telling the truth as he see's it. I don't think he was or is a plant. Second, once elected your sitting on the other side of the fence. Your privy to more and different information than is available to the general public. With that being said I will still respect Mr. Capoccia for putting himself on the hot seat with his change of views. I worked for the federal government and then a local government for almost 40 years, I give you this info to try and give some clarity to the discussion at hand. Having worked that many years I have seen how the government mentality works and it's not pretty. The unfortunate thing is that when presented with a number of facts it becomes almost impossible go against your colleagues because you both are seeing the same numbers. The mentality were dealing with here is if we don't spend it we won't get it back next year. Also when dealing with the most outrageous price on something you are confronted with, that is the only place we can get it just like we want it. Couple that thought with the fact that no matter how much tax money you give government they will spend it all and want more. It takes a steadfast person to not be drawn into that fact based process. You can see how difficult it is to be shown how you as an individual thinker will be causing our town to go broke. Like a diet, it takes a strong person to loose weight and keep it off and not be tempted with all the deserts that are constantly in front of you. Hopefully we can get enough people on the council that will look at their own numbers and make it work to reverse this over taxing trend that is in place.

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    1. I don't see how any of that excuses an elected official who has broken his promises to those who put him in office. To me it means that person needs to be thrown out.

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    2. If baloney were for sale,you my friend would be set for life.What a crock! His performance has been devious,sneaky,underhanded as well as treacherous to the well being of this community ,not to mention their wallets.

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    3. You're, not 'your' - please use proper grammar.

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  10. Hopefully the DA digs into this and we get to see Elaine and a few of her pals walked out of city hall in handcuffs. Whatever day that happens should be declared a city holiday and celebrated every year.

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  11. Mr. Capoccia was against the UUT before he was for it.

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  12. semantics aside, extension vs increase, I will still be paying more in taxes if the UUT passes. And you can bet your last dollar, that the city will still not be satisfied: they never have enough money. well, frankly, I don't either, and I'd like to keep more of my own, thank you.

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  13. I like a person who gets into office and finds what the facts are and cane change his mind also did not Koerber also change his mind of the water and tax

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    1. So in your mind Capoccia was against the UUT in 2012 because he didn't know anything?

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    2. Actually, no. Koerber did not have an opinion on the water rates during the election. he did, however, have an opinion on the UUT and that was to allow it to sunset. And, he has stuck to his guns, he is still against the UUT increase. he was the only Councilmember to vote NO about putting it on the ballot.

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    3. As I recall the big issue in the 2012 Sierra Madre election was the UUT extension. Not so much water rates.

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  14. I have talked to John a couple of times and he is realistic about his role. He knows it's a popularity contest. He had told me that he doesn't like increases, but he also sees a debt that won't close without them. This was not a new development by any means; he said these things to me more than a year ago.

    Personally I support cutting everything out until the books balance, but I am not running for any city council (I prefer to wear my pants).

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  15. I did not say during the election He was for the water rate increase after seeing it was needed

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  16. 9:47, hate to burst your bubble but where does the DA get their pay check from, right, our taxes.

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    1. We need to outsource the DA.

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  17. EVERYONE, who thinks we need to increase taxes have obviously never had to cut expenses to the bone. It can be done and should be done. We can't always be nice when it comes to money. If everyday home owner doesn't cut costs the taxman/lawyers auction your stuff off to pay the bills. Sierra Madre city hall keeps making decisions that cost us more money. Don't you think its time intelligent decisions are made with our tax money? This spending will only go on for as long as the voters let it.

    If you don't vote you can't complain, if you vote, vote smart.

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  18. Both Harabedian and Capoccia are going to get the boot in 2016 when the full extent of their failures are revealed. They can begin with explaining why they support higher local taxes and why they haven't controlled city employee benefits.

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  19. I am really disappointed in you all for maligning Capoccia's character because he disagrees with you on the UUT. There should be room for disagreement on any side. John knew he would get some gaff about his decision to support the UUT this time but he did anyway because he thought it would be the right thing to do. He made some compromises when they wrote up the measure to be sure, but he took a stand when he was elected, and he is taking a stand now with what he believes is a good decision. If you don't agree, fine, but disagree with his decision, not his character.

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    1. I am sorry you are offended, but how else do you judge someone except by his word? John chose the popular side to run for office on. The UUT was very unpopular in 2012, and John walked to the front of that line and chose to be the leader. Yet when elected he switched sides and became the very thing his supporters voted against. I am sorry, but that is his character. I really don't see how you can separate that level of betrayal from who he really is. Sometimes the truth applies. This is one of those times.

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