|Even Paulie's "civilty" couldn't save them.|
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.