Friday, April 11, 2014

Sierra Madre Voter Opposition To The Measure UUT Tax Increase Ballot Measure Was No Fluke

(Mod: When I was down in the Slough Of Despond last Tuesday evening for the counting of our votes, I couldn't help but notice the reaction of the gathered City employees to the defeat of Measure UUT. They were clearly in a state of stunned disbelief. Apparently none of them saw this one coming. And since then there has been some conversation among the supporters of this tax hike scheme about how so bad of a loss could have happened here. It is good to see that they also can enjoy a good conspiracy theory or two. But was the defeat of Measure UUT really all that anomalous an event for a California city such as Sierra Madre? According to a new poll from the Public Policy Institute of California, the answer to that one would be a rather clearly defined "No.")

California’s Taxing Dilemma (PPIC link) - As the April 15 deadline for filing taxes looms, we asked Californians in the latest PPIC Statewide Survey how they view their state and local tax burden. Their responses point to a disconnect between public opinion and the views of many fiscal reformers.

A record-high 60 percent say that they pay more than they feel they should in state and local taxes. Just two years ago, 46 percent held this view. Today, six in 10 Californians also have the perception that California currently ranks above average or near the top in state and local tax burden per capita. And they are correct: A Tax Policy Center report recently ranked California’s 2011 state and local tax burden as the 11th highest in the nation.

Further, a record-low 50 percent of Californians say that the present state and local tax system is very or moderately fair. In contrast, 57 percent said it was at least moderately fair two years ago. Across income categories today, perceptions of the fairness hover around 50 percent.

What changed in the last two years? For one thing, voters passed Proposition 30, temporarily raising the state sales tax, as well as state income taxes on wealthy residents.

Today, eight in 10 Californians say that major or minor changes are needed in our state and local tax system. But their views of change don’t necessarily match those of fiscal reformers, who have argued for years that our state budget is too dependent on wealthy individuals with volatile income tax payments. Some reformers have argued that broadening the sales tax base to include services would be an effective way to avoid the extreme ups and downs in state revenues that play havoc with state and local government budgets.

But Californians appear to have little interest in changing the tax system in ways that may impact their pocketbooks. Among four types of state taxes that we asked about in our March 2014 survey, six in 10 oppose extending the sales tax to services that are not currently taxed, and fewer than half favor extending the sales tax to services even if it means lowering the overall state sales tax rate. However, six in 10 would support raising income taxes on the wealthy, while about half favor raising state taxes paid by California corporations.

Voter opposition to extending the sales taxes to services is higher among those who feel that they are already paying more than they should in taxes. Even the more popular proposals—raising corporate taxes and income taxes on the wealthy—are favored by fewer than half of the voters who feel they are paying more taxes than they should.


(Mod: Hopefully the "Yes On UUT" folks will see this report and stop taking things quite so personally.)

FBI initiates probe into Centinela Valley school district activities (Pasadena Star News  link) - The FBI is beginning to probe the activities of the Centinela Valley high school district at a time when the board has vowed to do a full investigation in the wake of Superintendent Jose Fernandez’s placement on paid leave this week.

School board member Gloria Ramos on Thursday said although she wasn’t aware that the FBI has contacted at least one person with close ties to Centinela, she hopes the district will hire an independent auditor to look into Fernandez’s compensation, which exceeded $663,000 last year.

“We have to do a full forensic investigation,” she said. “This means going deeper, confiscating computers and emails. It means you might have erased something, but they will find it.”

(Mod: $663,000 a year for a school superintendent? And people wonder why voters turn down tax increase initiatives.)

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

61 comments:

  1. It goes back to follow the money... The Employees are the only ones that benefit. Elaine is as corrupt as they come, We too need as stated: “We have to do a full forensic investigation,” she said. “This means going deeper, confiscating computers and emails. It means you might have erased something, but they will find it.” It is all part of the plan of Bart the Troll and his minions... Give Elaine what she wants and she will let us have what we want need and deserve... What the DIRT lost in the loss of the down town plan

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    1. why stunned?

      if inferior service and poor management is the norm, why be stunned when the public sends a message?

      shape up or ship out

      and take Susan Henderson with you

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    2. Take Rob Stockley along with her. Downtown investor, we nailed him and his pals with the passage of Measure V.

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    3. I too was stunned that the UUT measure went down for a couple of reasons: 1) the lies and misrepresentation from the City and City Council led people to believe the City would lose most services including our safety services and 2) most citizens were unaware of the taxes. I talked with one man who said when I asked what would be the most important change you would like to see in the City, he said "tone down the sirens of the fire trucks". When I asked if he would like to have the UUT reduced, he said, "what UUT". When I explained the 10% added to all of his utility bills each month, he was incredulous. He had no idea. He wasn't the only one I talked to, although some thought we had to keep the 10% so we could keep the paramedics.

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    4. you're right 11:03, Rob is a commercial banker and never recused himself from his obvious conflict of interest

      Rob also kept saying that the library was going to close and played that card a couple years ago when it was never the truth

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  2. The Centinela Valley School District and the amount they paid their superintendent - over - $663,000 - is just one more example of the corruption we are seeing in so many cities across the country. The Pasadena Star News also featured a story this morning about former Asst. City Manager Angela Spaccia being sentenced to 12 years in prison for her role in the city of Bell scandal. You had to love the emails between the police chief and her in which the newly hired Chief said he was looking forward to taking all of Bell's money (he too received an exorbitant salary) and Spaccia replying: "LOL,....well you can take your share of the pie....just like us. We will all get fat together." This is an extreme example of where you end up if the citizens are not vigilant about what the city workers are being paid. There are greater or lesser degrees of this kind of corruption. But this entitlement mindset is internalized in City Governments across the country. Whether the unions, city managers and facillitators on school boards and city councils overreach to the extent of what ultimately occured in Bell is one thing, but make no mistake about it, Sierra Madre faces the same impulses from its unions and city employees. On Tuesday, Sierra Madre residents stopped that train in its tracks. To all those who engage in that kind of corruption, be warned. We know what the public employee unions are trying to do and the taxpayers who pay your salaries, benefits and pensions and have allowed you to retire at 50 for a lifetime of Sundays, will not allow it any more.

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    1. Tell them I'll be Superintendent for only $500,000/year. Because I care.

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    2. Very well articulated friend. Unions in general, but particularly public employee unions, have quickly become the biggest enemy to anyone who exists in the private sector. The Bell situation is unfortunate, but it serves as a martyr to a greater cause of waking people up who would otherwise be oblivious. Much in the same way the moderator of this site is. Knowledge is power and we need to educate people on the greed that exists in the public sector. These bastards are feeding at the public trough with a shovel rather than a fork. I'm so glad that Rizzo and Spaccia are getting what they had coming to them, because every greedy public employee (including our own) has to know that if they push the envelope to far, they could end up with the same plight.

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    3. We don't need to look to Centinela for financial abuses....take a look at some of our own local school districts. Citrus College comes to mind...

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  3. Then, of course, you have Sierra Madre. Home of the $36,000 a year city employee health plan.

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  4. $600,000+ a year salary would be okay if the schools turned out students that can read and comprehend beyond a 4th grade level and are able to do simple arithmetic.

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  5. People in California think they are overtaxed? You know why that might be? Because they are. Maybe all Californians should be given a chance to vote on that like we here in Sierra Madre were. That would be really cool.

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    Replies
    1. Too Cool....It will never happen.Who in their right mind would vote to increase their taxes!!!. However, the closeness of the vote demonstrates there is a high count super sucker count intrenched within our community.

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    2. High count super sucker count!
      Love it!

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    3. Statewide tax referendum now! Let's start getting signatures. Probably only need a million signatures to get in on the ballot.

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    4. Who would vote to increase their taxes? Plenty. Just look at Prop 30 and idiot Brown's scare tactics that worked so well. All to keep the public employee ponzi scheme running like a finely oiled machine.

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    5. Just like a few people I ran into that told me, I'm voting Yes, I qualify for the low-income exemption so I won't have to pay the higher tax.

      Thanks a lot.

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    6. I like the all income exemption the voters approved.

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    7. 10:54. That person is both an idiot and selfish. First, he could always claim the low income exemption because it has always been part of the UUT law. Second, so he wants the rest of us to pay the increase and bear the cost just so long as he gets his discount. What a champ! I'm glad I don't know this guy.

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    8. His name is David Link I reside at the top of Sunnyside for the last 55 years. Bring it on big man!
      Your generalizations are comical you know nothing punk.............

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    9. If you've lived in this town for over 40 years you know him (me) if not be on your way and take your mother....

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    10. Sausage Link?

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    11. Thants me link sausage lol

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    12. Missing link.

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    13. Obviously you went to Sierra Madre Elementary? class of 64............

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    14. You've confused me with Lancelot Link.

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    15. I haven't heard those since Jr. High ( Wilson) Cute!

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    16. On the bLink.

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    17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    18. Gee wiz Why? It's fun to tease the animals!

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    19. Hah Hah That was so funny i forgot to laugh

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    20. If 3:18 has truly lived here for 55+ years and qualifies for a UUT exemption, then he's clearly never lit the world on fire with his career choices and should be pitied, not chastised.

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  6. Yes, there are several suckers in town. Some people I spoke to who voted yes told me that they were voting yes because then the city could save up the money for future debts. Right. Like the city will SAVE the money.

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    Replies
    1. Sierra Madre has a High Chump Factor (HCF). Fortunately the Smart Resident Factor (SRF) is higher.

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    2. Goss told me if the City raised too much money from the 25% UUT increase that Council would decrease the tax rate.

      Sure. What a maroon!

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    3. I like that 9:48.
      SRF was up against a lot of dirty money, but got the job done. The low information voters were fooled again,
      What won this and saved the town was the H.K. Factor. Lady who did the lion's share of the hard work fighting for NO on the UUT. Credit of course goes out to the generous contributions so we could send cards out.....ALL SMALL DONATIONS FROM RESIDENTS OF SIERRA MADRE. The SRFs.

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  7. What now as the city pushes developement at the monistary, looking to get taxes and fees rather than keep open space. A slip through of down zoning of Insitutional to residential swill be coming. Pc needs to say NO.
    No matter what castro or city attorney say

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    1. We will get no help from the city. Danny Castro, the Director of Devlepment, wouldn't have a job unless the town gets ruined by over-developmet. Think about that. Sierra Madre must get ruined in order for Danny Castro to keep getting a paycheck. To get a bigger paycheck, the city must be further ruined. So we already know where his loyalties lie. It will be up to the residents, planning commission and city council to stop any development at the Monastery.

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    2. why does Sierra Madre have a "director of development"?

      that position can be eliminated or refocused

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  8. UUT. Too bad, so sad. We need a complete housing cleaning starting at the top with Elaine and all of the directors.
    City Hall is not happy with the council results either.

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  9. I hear that enough signatures were gathered in Arcadia to put a total repeal of their UUT on the ballot. That should be interesting.

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    1. the realtors will be coming out in droves like the walking dead

      if there is any business that is overrated and overpaid, it's realtors

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    2. Maybe the beginnings of a Tax Revolt...It's long overdue!

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  10. A grateful Sierra MadreApril 11, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    589 hits before The Tattler reaches 2.25 MILLION hits.

    Congratulations, John Crawford. Well done.

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    1. Susan "I own a REAL newspaper" H.April 11, 2014 at 10:40 AM

      Go to h-e-double toothpicks, Tattler. You're killing my paper.

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    2. How many trees have to die to print up 300 copies of a 12 page paper?

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    3. Susan "I own a REAL newspaper" H.April 11, 2014 at 10:58 AM

      I get the last laugh. Do you have any idea how much $$ all those chumps running for council paid in advertising. Ha.

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    4. 26 to go. Gotta go to lunch so I'll miss the clock turning over.

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    5. The Tattler: 2.25 MILLION hits and counting

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  11. When we see the employees really working at their tasks and serve the public with a smile instead of acting like they are doing us a favor, then we might believe that they need a raise. To close our city hall and rec. center every Friday is a travesty. I understand the opening of City Hall will be Denise's first requests for discussion.

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  12. Why didn't the UUT vote require a 2/3 , I thought any tax increase required a 2/3 and not a simple majority. If city employees get more money will they only work 3 day a week!

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  13. Technically, they were not raising the tax, just extending it. Those lawyers think of everything.

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    1. I disagree. In 2012 the taxpayers voted to return the UUT back to 6% by 2016. In 2014 the city attempted to win a do-over vote on the 2012 vote, raising utility taxes back up to 10% well into the next decade. If they had been successful, that would have been an increase. Votes of the people do count, 12:58. Even when the city doesn't approve of the results. We not only beat a return to the highest UUT rates in California, we also defended democracy. Quite a victory.

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    2. Yeah. We actually got to enforce "with consent of the governed." Too bad its so rare these days.

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  14. Without our tax money, city hall would be just another small group of townies.

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    1. Yes! Isn't it great, we won

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    2. In the end we are in control. Tax money drives everything at city hall. And we just lowered their take.

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  15. Going to city hall is like a prison visit (or what I imagine one would be like). There is the check in proceedure at the front desk, and the small phalanx of workers at their desk ( a different one gets up to greet you depending on when you are there). A city official may in fact be waiting for you to meet with them (a phone call having made an "appointment") but then they are summoned to the counter to meet with you, a member of the public. It is like some quarenteen is in place and they are only safe with you in the foyer not in the confines of their office. What is up with that?

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  16. There are enough people who care in this city and God knows an abundance of senior citizens by any definition, so why don't we just turn every position at city hall into a volunteer position??? Man, we'd have such a surplus of dough, we'd be able to tear every street down to dirt and repave them all. Brand new water system too over the course of a few years. Far fetched, I know, but can't we fantasize for awhile?? A side benefit is that Elaine and crew would exit their positions like the building caught fire - lol.

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