And should it turn out that you, the earnest and hardworking citizen, do not always agree with their opinions, chances are you are going to be left out in the cold. Why? Because you do not have the resources City Hall has. Resources that, ironically enough, you pay for, and are regularly taken out of your own pocket.
And as you might have heard, City Hall will grant private meetings to any developer, right there in the City Manager's office with luncheon served by staff. But you, the financial facilitator of all this, can't even get in that building until 11AM because they're just too busy for you. 11AM being a time when you ordinarily have to be at work. All so you can pay taxes to a city that says it can enable the building of McMansions all across your town, and do so no matter what you, or anyone else, might care to think.
So who said the world is fair?
The Sierra Madre Weekly has come up with some excellent reporting on yesterday's big event downtown. That being the filing of the necessary paperwork to begin putting an initiative on November's ballot to repeal the remaining 6% of our supposedly temporary Utility Users Tax that somehow forgot to ever go away.
In an edition that hits our storied streets today, here is some of what they're saying (link):
Three local residents file notice of intention to repeal utility users (“UUT”) tax in Sierra Madre - The California Tax Limitation Committee’s “TAX REVOLT” continued this week in the City of Sierra Madre where local citizens filed a formal Notice of Intent to circulate a local initiative calling for the repeal the city’s onerous $2.4 million annual Utility Users Tax (UUT).
Sierra Madre residents Shirley Moore, David McMonigle and Earl Richey are the official proponents of this local tax initiative and have informally associated themselves as the Sierra Madre Tax Limitation Committee. Asked why he was seeking the repeal of the UUT, longtime Sierra Madre resident Maury Whitaker said, “The City of Sierra Madre is out of control just like every city. It’s being run for the financial benefit of public employees and the unions rather than the citizens. In these tough times it’s only fair that government share some of the pain and learn how to live within its means.”
Sierra Madre’s effort follows on the heels of a successful effort in Arcadia where the Arcadia Tax Limitation Committee headed by Carolyn Papp, Larry Papp and Greg Welborn recently qualified their own UUT repeal for the ballot. If approved by the voters, citizens of Arcadia will receive over $35-40 million in tax relief over a five year period.
I think it is interesting to note here that Arcadia's Greg Welborn is the author of a weekly column in the rabidly pro-UUT Mountain Views News. Pro-UUT since so much of the revenue this sketchy weekly paper receives comes out of the pockets of we the taxpayers in the form of City Hall's legal advertising. And nothing upsets old Harriet Susan Carter Poole Henderson more than anyone possibly getting between her and her golf money.
And just this week the City Council of Arcadia, who are reported to be less than happy with life right now, pronounced Greg's efforts to help repeal the UUT there as being "unconstitutional." How filing the paperwork and signatures necessary to give voters there a chance go to the polls and repeal unwanted taxation, and this in a nation that was founded upon a tax revolt against a similarly entitled imperial governmental body, can be called "unconstitutional" defies most belief.
The consensus opinion being that the City Attorney there is sandbagging in order to see if the signatories to Arcadia's tax challenge will lawyer up and fight back. Which apparently they are, and will.
All of which should make for a very interesting Greg Welborn op-ed column. The only problem being, will H.S.C.P. Henderson actually allow it to be published in her paper? I guess we shall see. It certainly would be an appropriate story for this weekend's special Independence Day edition.
Another thing. The latest hot rumor on this rapidly spreading UUT tax revolt is that the government of the City of Sierra Madre, along with Pasadena and Arcadia, are now pooling some of their legal and cash resources to fight it. Something that includes the hiring of a large and quite expensive law firm.
I don't recall this ever being discussed in any City Council meetings, so I am not sure who would have authorized the funding for such an effort. Maybe it will be added to the agenda for next Tuesday's City Council meeting? If so, that should spice up an already momentous evening.
I also wonder, how much in legal fees is that going to cost us? And is it really in our interest as taxpayers to defend a way of doing business that includes giving city government workers things like $36,000 a year health care plans?
Do you have a $36,000 a year health care plan? Probably not. So very few do.
Like I said at the beginning, City Hall has lawyers, paid for with our tax money, to help defend their interests against those of the taxpayers.
Is that constitutional?
When it comes to defending the funding for their platinum pensions and Cadillac health care plans, City Hall will spare us no expense.