|Earl, Shirley and David|
That is, repeal what is left of the UUT. This on the heels of the stunning defeat of Measure UUT last April. Finally making utility taxes in Sierra Madre, which originally were supposed to be only temporary, yet somehow never went away, a thing of the past. In the process bringing to an end the way things have been done around here for quite a while.
Once this petition is passed around town and the necessary amount of signatures gathered, it will be filed with the appropriate election authorities and, come this November, you'll be able to actually vote on whether or not City Hall will still be able to tax folks for things like cell phone usage, gas, water, trash removal and electricity. A stone cold peoples' verdict on taxation, just like what happens in real democracies. As opposed to what we find so often from that greedy pussyfooting one party oligarchy known as Los Angeles County.
Here is how this Notice of Intent reads:
The three signatories are Shirley, Earl and David. They will not have any problem getting the necessary signatures to put this on the ballot. There will be much controversy, histrionics and plain old bellyaching from all of the usual suspects, but it is going happen.
So do I think that their initiative will get enough votes to actually pass this November? As it stands right now, I doubt it. Measure UUT was defeated by a mere 76 votes, a very slim margin. It would not take that large of a change in the numbers to keep the remaining 6% UUT in place.
And even though much of the utility tax money paid to the City of Sierra Madre actually goes for things like platinum CalPERS pension accounts and $36,000 a year employee health care plans (an obscenely large sum and to date likely the most expensive of its kind in California), there are people here who will be led to believe that an end to utility taxes could deprive them of public safety services and whatever else it is that the City provides for them in return.
However, this isn't a completely hopeless case. There is one scenario where I could see this actually happening. And that is if this initiative were to become a kind of protest against something else. Particularly if it becomes a protest vote against the kinds of predatory development being pushed by the City. Specifically, the McMansion developments at One Carter, Stone House and Mater Dolorosa.
Look at it this way. We keep electing City Councilmembers that ran their races as slow growth advocates. Probably because they knew that is what most Sierra Madreans like to hear. Yet once in office they invariably flip and become enablers of the very kinds of development that they ran against.
There are notable exceptions of course. Some Councilmembers do keep their word and fight hard to keep this community the way people here actually prefer it. But somehow they are almost always in the minority.
So how can the people of this town stop overdevelopment and a wholesale destructive McMansionization of entire areas of this city? Good question. Apparently it cannot be done by electing City Councilmembers. Not enough of them ever seem to stay true to the promises they made on the topic when they first ran for office.
Which is why what we are being given today by Shirley, Earl and David offers the residents of Sierra Madre an option. Because if a majority of the City Council refuses to honor its slow growth election promises to protect Sierra Madre from McMansionization next Tuesday evening, and rather sells us out to the developers for development impact fees and other juicy financial considerations, then of what possible use are they to us?
In which case we might as well just take away their utility tax revenue. I mean, why would anyone want to pay perfectly good money to people who, once elected, refused to honor their promises on so important a matter? Who, for all intents and purposes, lied to us to get our votes? Especially when we are talking about preserving a way of life that most who live here value so dearly?
Quid pro quo. This for that.
I think we are going to learn many interesting things at that July 8 City Council meeting. It just might put everything into a brand new light for a whole lot of people.