Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Civility Party Leaves Quietly

Even Paulie's "civilty" couldn't save them.
A couple of eventful things happened at last night's City Council meeting. The first and most positive came about during the initial public comment opportunity of the evening. Michael Amerio and John Lewis, the two CPAs who wrote the opposing argument to Measure UUT for the city produced sample ballot you hopefully received, went to the podium and efficiently leveled the arguments presented by those in favor of raising utility taxes in Sierra Madre. Their point being that the City's math just does not add up. There are additional significant revenue sources (massive development impact fees from the ALF being an example) that are producing handsome amounts of cash for City Hall, making their cries of poverty and impending doom seem disingenuous at best.

The era of the $37,000 city employee health plan is rapidly drawing to an end. Unfortunately for City Hall, Sierra Madre is populated by people who can add, subtract, and in the process actually make rational decisions all by themselves. Whatever credibility the city may have had on this matter is now long gone. With the impending re-defeat of double digit utility taxes, change is well on the way. For many living here there really is no other choice.

Later a moment of inverted joy was presented to the citizens of Sierra Madre when their elected officials decided to re-avow a utility tax break for certain categories of business. All while at the same time demanding that the residents of Sierra Madre vote themselves a huge increase in those same utility taxes. In effect subsidizing a favored class of business, and doing so with money confiscated from the working stiffs whose taxes keep this town afloat. Increased or not.

It is almost as if Nancy Walsh, John Harabedian and Josh Moran want to lose their Measure UUT initiative on April 8. The politics of capping utility water taxes for a favored class of ratepayer while at the same time asking the people whose money would subsidize this mess to vote themselves a tax increase is really quite counterintuitive. Or, to use a much shorter word, nuts.

And how ironic is this? Tom Love, the knowledgeable gentleman who sees to our water needs for the SGVMWD, followed with his presentation about the 500 year drought and just how bad that has become for our parched corner of the world.

So here local officialdom was having a large discussion regarding certain dire aspects of water in California and, of course, Sierra Madre, and just before this doomsday discussion the council had voted 3 - 2 to encourage businesses in town to use all the water they want since they will not have to pay very much in tax on it. I don't know about you, but to me this is a major logic lapse.

As one commenter pointed out, it is the kind of disconnectedness you usually only find in children and very old people.

Josh Moran then told Tom Love to demand that all those other cities conserve water. But didn't Josh just give away the store by capping the water utility tax for business in Sierra Madre? All so that they can use more painlessly?

At which point John Harabedian made what was perhaps the funniest remark of the evening by claiming there are no special interests in Sierra Madre. Somebody needs to put that one on a plaque.

A little later in the evening Nancy Walsh sustained yet another of her signature defeats when the rest of the City Council refused to spend vast sums of money for signs to help lost travelers find their way to some of Sierra Madre's most famed and desirable locations. Debt ridden Goldberg Park became the example. As Barbara Leigh pointed out, couldn't the $4,000 for the sign proposed for this largely unused pocket park be put to better use? Like replacing a few leaky pipes?

Nancy Walsh, who realized that yet another of her projects was circling the abattoir drain, lamented that she had spent four years working on this idea. For her it was the Memorial Park unisex bathroom failure all over again.

You may recall a Tattler post recently bemoaning the lack of acknowledgement on the City website events calendar of the Wistaria festival. It turns out that because of arcane city rules dealing with such matters, that sort of noticing is not allowed. Leading to the City appearing to claim that there were no events in town on the very day we honor the World's Largest Blossoming Plant by eating hot dogs purchased off of out-of-town gourmet food trucks.

Without any mention whatsoever of the Tattler, of course, the City Council addressed and remedied this lamentable situation. Making it possible for all media put out by City Hall to acknowledge the existence of our finest events.

I still feel good that we were able to point this problem out to the City in a way that caused them to take positive action.

With the end of this meeting the Civility Party folded up its pup tent and shuffled quietly off into history. The once celebrated team of Joe Mosca, Nancy Walsh and Josh Moran had finally run out of their allotted time, and their four year rule of our City ended.

I thought I would end today's post with a short five item list of the most notable events that occurred during their stewardship of Sierra Madre. Here they are:

1) Our state leading double digit Utility User Tax rate was put on the ballot twice, failing once and quite possibly on its way to going down for the second time in two years. Threats and public safety hostage taking not being enough to save the gravy train.

2) Water rates increased twice, and also went through rancorous Prop 218 challenges twice as well. Significant portions of the community actively opposed these combined 100% in increases. Their complaints were not only ignored, but at times reviled by Civility Party members.

3) Our related bond ratings were lowered significantly by Moody's Investment Services three times, and are currently mired at a junk level. This after members of the Civility Party had informed the public that the combined 100% increase in water rates would remedy this problem. It didn't.

4) Despite it being the #1 priority of Nancy Walsh, the decline of downtown Sierra Madre continued. Empty storefronts are now more prevalent than ever, this despite the $30,000 spent by the Civility Party on something called a "market demand study." Apparently there was little demand for it, especially in this market.

5) We ran out of water. And the chloramine treated stuff brought in from the SGVMWD to replace it turned yellow once it touched our pipes. Despite repeated claims that this situation is temporary and would soon dissipate, it didn't.

And now it is over. The Civility Party, which was neither civil or all that much of a party, is history.

Are we a better place because of their having run it these last four years? Apparently not. And look at it this way. Joe Mosca left early, leaving his post two years ahead of time for reasons that remain unknown to this day. Nancy Walsh and Josh Moran served one term only, neither of them wanting to risk a run for reelection.

It wasn't the best of times, and the consequences will be felt for years to come.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

61 comments:

  1. They did not leave Sierra Madre a better place. So good riddance to them. I hope the candidates we elect care about this city and are not running for for their own ego and ambition. Being on the city council should not be a stepping stone in some personal grand plan. Let's get people who have no ambition other than to improve the town we all love and represent the people who elected them.

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    Replies
    1. You stated this perfectly. With a focus on representing the people who elected them.

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    2. The biggest special interest in Sierra Madre right now is City Hall.

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    3. so in other words, Nancy Walsh in 4 years did nothing?

      That about sums her up.

      Don't forget, Ms Do Nothing endorses Noah Green.

      btw, if Susan Henderson knows so much, why doesn't she run for Council instead of goading new residents into runnnig?

      hmmmmmm

      NO on the UUT

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    4. 6:23, it's always ego and ambition or profiting themselves. Nobody can convince me that a mortage salesman, commercial lending banker, construction company owner or building lobbyist seeking and getting elected does not have a personal or profit agenda

      Toss in the ego factor like being a "lawyer" which makes a person special, the ego factor goes through the roof.

      We are stuck with Goss instead of Green and if Goss's ego was a earthquake fault like his ego would cause a 7.5 shaker

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    5. nobody could convince me that Gene Goss isn't seeking election for other than his own ego - he came in last place in the most recent election and decided that he should be elected..for what reason, other than his own

      when he saw he only competition was Noah Green, he gets elected by default but still not wanted on the Council

      we'd be better off with a 4 member Council than electing someone we all don't want on the Council but the alternative choice is another yak yak yak "I'm a lawyer" who only lived here 18 months and decided we needed his input

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  2. Seems to me that those double digit conflating councilmembers were all the proteges of former mayors and councilmembers Doyle and Buchanan. This cycle those same two Rasputins are marching Green and Goss up and down the debate circuit for your voting pleasure. Please, voters of Sierra Madre, return to reason and elect Rachelle and Denise, vote for Neil the Pig, and just say NO on UUT!@

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    1. whomever Doyle or Buchanan endorses, you can be guaranteed those candidates are not good for the city.

      I will write in a 3rd candidate, Mary Ann, Chris or Neil the Pig

      It will be a slap in the face of the yes on uut crowd and the self appointed power elite of SM that a pig gets more votes than their candidate

      the only downside is that Green might be elected, imagine the blubbering crying he'd do if he got elected and nobody wants him around

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    2. Maryann voted against the market study and all the frivolous spending. Has always been against the UUT. I'm writing her in too

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  3. Remember, without our money City Hall is just another small group of people with opinions. Keep them humble and friendly. Vote NO on Measure UUT.

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  4. show your support for simple math. Order up your NO on UUT sign today! Just let the mod know you want one.

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  5. thank you for pointing out all the contradictions that occurred at last night's meeting. it is apparent that the "civility party" wants more of our money so they can then have the power to bestow that largesse on favored groups. Wow, talk about your crony capitalism! And to the point made by MPT* Harabedian that the water rate is an incentive for businesses to move into town....would moving into a town that will let you use all the yellow water you want really be the thing that makes the deal? If it wasn't costing the citizens so much money, it would be funny.

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    Replies
    1. Harabedian is an idiot in my opinion. The next Council needs to rescind this moronic policy.

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    2. Taxing the residents for the benefit of others excites him. He thinks it is real power.

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    3. maybe we can just photoshop Harabeidian out of office?

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    4. Good idea. And then I'm certain he 'll thank you for all the hard work we've done and that we really did an excellent job and he really appreciates it.

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  6. It's not all about the money 7:45, it's the blatant disregard for the fact we are running out of water and all of us are trying to conserve while city hall is trying to get more money from new business. It's the do as I say not as I do tax.

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    Replies
    1. Municipal employee union negotiated health plans and benefits are driving almost everything at City Hall now.

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    2. bankrupt the pension plans and start over - those at retirement age (senior citizens) should be taken care of but anybody under the age of 60 and collecting a hefty pension from the city needs to be cut and they can go back to work and help the economy or work back at the city.

      It's absurd that we have "retired" middle age SMPD officers collecting pensions and health benefits and working security at the local mall or taking a 2nd job elsewhere

      Bankrupt the plan and fix it.

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  7. There is no leadership coming out of the council so the city manager can do what ever she wants. Or, maybe for her work for the council she can do what she wants. Which ever Sierra Madre has some of the highest taxes in the country.

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  8. How ironic was it that Mayor Nancy "let's get rid of all volunteers" Walsh was asking for volunteers for the Wistaria Festival next year?

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    Replies
    1. The Wistaria Festival is a Chamber Event. Let the Chamber and its members get the event pulled off. After all this is their fundraiser.

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    2. Hmm. Susan Henderson was in charge of rounding up the volunteers.

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    3. on behalf of Nancy Walsh, I will not volunteer at the Wisteria Festival and also because it is a Chamber event - that's helping out Susan Henderson and the realtor clan

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  9. Great blog today. The only change I would make is having boldface print highlighting "three" in the three times that Moody's downgraded our credit rating. Green and Goss give me little optimism in their ability to outdo this horrendously awful council we've had for the last four years.

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  10. The City should NOT be publicizing non government events.
    Let the Chamber, schools, and other businesses do their own publicity.
    Soon we will hear that staff needs someone to do this task.

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    Replies
    1. I don't see a problem with listing events like the Wistaria Festival on the city website. It isn't advertising, it is just a notice. Besides, the city is involved with these things. Notice all the SMPD that were there?

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  11. When life gives a business yellow water, business makes lemonade. In the tradition of past swines, vote Neil The Pig for CC!!! A pig in a poke.

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    Replies
    1. Neil is honest. You can't buy a pig in a poke. Everybody says that.

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    2. if Neil gets half the votes of Goss, it'll send a clear message that we'd rather listen to a pig than him on the Council

      he's endorsed by Nancy Walsh, Bart Doyle and John Buchanan - yucky endorsements.

      Delete
  12. Hey Mod,
    I think the best part of the Paulie Goosebumps picture (above) is the fact he misspelled "civility" as "civilty"!

    Sums up Nancy Walsh, Joe Mosca and Joshie Moran to a "t".

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    Replies
    1. As anyone who has witnessed his riveting oratory at public comment will tell you, Paulie is a genius.

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    2. Paulie is a Mensa candidate, fer sure.

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    3. Well that explains why Mosca, Walsh, and Josh were never civil. They thought they only had to be "civilty".

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  13. Yesterday was the deadline for declarations for write-in candidates. There are no certified write-in candidates.

    I would be very careful joking around voting and then writing in the names of random people/animals because you could accidentally spoil your ballot. For instance, if you vote for 3 candidates and write in a 4th then your ballot will be rejected and thrown out.

    Also, every election there are some absentee ballots that are not counted because they were not received by the city clerk by 8 pm on election day. If you mail in an absentee ballot too late and the clerk doesn't receive it on election day then it is not a valid vote and it isn't counted.

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    1. I disagree. Vote for Rachelle and Denise, then write in Santa Claus, Abe Lincoln, Moses, whatever comes to mind at the moment. Just don't give a vote to Noah Pants or Tax Me Goss.

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    2. I won't be voting for a 3rd candidate so I should be able to write in whomever or whatever animal I want

      Yes, I want to make a mockery out of this election cause the "Civility Party" has been doing that since the Bart Doyle era and up until this same election

      enough is enough

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    3. Things haven't been going the Bartster's way since he paid that FPPC conflict-of-interest fine for voting on the Baldwin utility undergrounding project that ran by his house. "Oops, I forgot I lived there."

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    4. Very few projects Bart involves himself in live.

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  14. you can undervote (vote for just 1 or 2 candidates instead of 3) and your votes will count but if you start screwing around with your ballot and scribbling names on it you take the risk of having it be rejected and then NONE of your votes will count. The clerk will also not report the names you write in because they aren't declared write-in candidates. so its just juvenile childish electoral masturbation at this point with the potential to disenfranchise yourself because you spoiled your ballot.

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    1. Bosh. You are just trying to convince people here to cast a third vote.

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    2. 11:08 is lying. If the round circles are filled out properly, the votes will count for the 2 candidates on the ballot that you vote for.

      The third vote for Neil The Pig, etc. will not count because write-in candidates must be filed with the City Clerk before 3/25. But it is way better than a vote for Goss or Green.

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    3. 11:08 sure does sound all rough 'n tough.

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    4. Sounds desperate.

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    5. 11:27 has trouble with reading comprehension which is usual for people that accuse people of "lying" or maybe they can read and they just like to bear false witness. 11:08 clearly says that you can vote for 1 or 2 candidates and your votes will count.

      If you want to act like a child and write in the name of a pig (that is in city limits in violation of the law) and take the risk of spoiling your ballot then be my guest.

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    6. No, pigs are legal. Hogs are not. Call Chief Giannone if you need any further clarification.

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    7. 11:46 hates Neil.

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    8. A hog is a pig that weighs more than 120 pounds. Neil weighs more than 120 pounds and is therefore a hog.

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    9. The Chief gave him a special Pig Pass. He's a potbelly pig, and therefore not a hog no matter what his weight.

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    10. 11:46 is an anti-porcine.

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    11. 11:08 sounds doofus like something Eric Olsen would write or say

      how would a 3rd write in vote cancel out two actual votes - that sounds illegal by the city and they haven't been opposed to being illegal in the past

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    12. even if the 3rd vote does not count it does send a message that neither Goss or Green are wanted

      Goss needs a clear message that his bombastic self grandizations are falling of deaf ears and that his actual opinon on the Council is below that of Neil the Pig

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    13. That is false. The chief claimed he wasn't a hog because he weighed less than 120 pounds. But Neil weighs more than 120 pounds. Is it funny when government officials refuse to enforce the law?

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    14. Neil got a pig pass from the Chief. That is the good thing about local govt agencies, they can bend to the will of the people. No matter what the rules. But what would you know. You're a heartless Neil hater. Shame on you!

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    15. All we are saying ...
      Is give Neil a chance.
      - John and Yoko

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    16. Can people get a pig pass?

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  15. I'm speculating that Rachelle and Denise heaved a sigh of relief when they found out the Mt. View News didn't endorse them. Green was so outclassed at the Senior Lunch that it looked like the two women found it hard to keep from laughing at his answers. All made up and fluff.

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    1. Looney Views Sue actually endorsed Rachelle. Along with Goss and Noah.LVS has a bee in her bonnet about Denise. Probably because Nancy Walsh hates Denise and still wants to take her out. Nancy and Susan are not all there.

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  16. 2,200,000 million hits and going strong. Nobody reads The Tattler.

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  17. Watching the debate right now - tune in!

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