If the enduring political hubbub in the tiny — pop. 11,000 — middle-class-to-affluent hamlet of Sierra Madre were writ large in other Southern California cities, we’d be the most electorally engaged place on the planet. If many readers have only visited for the Wisteria Festival or mountain trails access, they may not know that many of the same issues that affect us all are hotly debated there: Preservation vs. development. High utility taxes. Public pensions. How to pay to repair an aging infrastructure. Unusually, there are three open council seats this election, and four candidates with good ideas vying to join the council. Noah Green’s good ideas are mostly confined to the excellent one of promoting gray-water solutions to the drought problem, and he needs more time in town to understand issues.
We strongly endorse the other three: Rachelle Arizmendi, who has served on the Community Services Commission and understands budgets from her management job in a large nonprofit. She’s for fiscal discipline, laments the town’s polarization and wants the utility tax hike sunsetted. Denise Delmar chaired a general plan committee and would be an excellent advocate for it, and her professional career in human resources will help the small and cash-strapped City Hall staff. Gene Goss, an American government professor, has the longest experience in town, and is a consummate volunteer.
We recommend a No vote on extending a high 10 percent utility tax that citizens were promised would decline.
One other thing - I posted a link to this story on the City of Sierra Madre's Facebook page and it was quickly taken down. Too much good news perhaps? Is this community's so-called public bulletin board only for news that City Hall approves of? Apparently so.
Los Angeles Times article on California Taxes
Interesting news from the L.A. Times (link).
California second only to New York in high taxes, study says - Californians pay the second-highest taxes in the nation, beat out only by New Yorkers. That's according to personal finance firm WalletHub, which took a look at how states stack up against each other when it comes to taxes.
Taxpayers in the states with the highest taxes pay about four times more than those in states with the lowest taxes, WalletHub said. Conservative states tend to impose lower taxes than their more liberal counterparts.
Those living in the Golden State shell out about $9,509 for state and local taxes, 36% more than the national average. New York residents pay $9,718, or nearly 40% more than what people pay on average in the country.
Wow. A $9,509 average for state and local taxes in California. That is a lot of lattes.
I guess since Sierra Madre residents are currently paying the highest utility taxes in this state, that certainly must put us into an extra special class. Maybe we're one of the top tax paying cities nationwide as well?
Of course, the situation here could soon change.