Monday, October 27, 2014

The San Gabriel Valley Metropolitan Water District Bus Junket To The Pump House Last Friday: Was It A Paid City Hall Political Event Supporting Proposition 1?

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(Mod: Here is some boilerplate paradiddle from our very own Tom Love regarding last Friday's City Hall bus junket to the SGVMWD's pump house and PowerPoint Propaganda Parlor. It comes from the City of Sierra Madre website, and I guess should be taken as a kind of political endorsement. As is made clear by Love's spiel below, obviously this was a campaign stunt cooked up to support the "Yes! On Prop 1" effort, the $7.5 billion dollar bond issue on the ballot this November. Ostensibly about water shortages, it is actually about as pork laden a Sacramento con job as we've seen in quite some time. One that cynically exploits the drought in order to line the pockets of some very special interests. A question to ask here is who paid for this bus junket? The "Yes On Prop 1" campaign? Then why haven't they said so? And what is partisan Prop 1 campaign advocacy doing at City Hall? Or on a taxpayer supported city website? Is that even remotely legal?)

Know Your H2O! 2014 San Gabriel Valley Water Forum Highlights Water Bond and Drought Solutions By Thomas A. Love President, Board of Directors San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District (link)


The 2014 San Gabriel Valley Water Forum, held October 2 at Fairplex Conference Center in Pomona, was an educational and informational success as nearly 300 people from Sierra Madre and neighboring cities attended the third annual event. Teachers, students, elected officials, business leaders, city employees, water industry professionals, community leaders and environmental leaders all agreed this year’s Forum, entitled “Are We Ready for the Impacts of the Severe Drought,” was the best Forum yet.

Attendees learned from expert speakers on the subjects of the drought and long-term climate change, and impacts from the drought ranging from water shortages, to flooding, to fires, to earthquakes, to cost of living increases, to job losses.

The keynote presentation featured Secretary John Laird, California Natural Resources Agency, and Assemblymember Anthony Rendon, author of the 2014 Water Bond, discussing the Water Bond and landmark groundwater management legislation. The Water Bond discussion was extremely timely as a $7.5 billion Water Bond will be on the ballot this Election Day, November 4.

The Board of Directors for the San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District, which assists the City of Sierra Madre with its water supply, water conservation and special funding, has passed a resolution supporting the Water Bond and encourages all residents to learn more about the Water Bond and water issues so they can vote intelligently this November 4. If approved by voters, the Water Bond, which is Proposition 1 on the ballot, will provide funding for water improvement projects throughout California and San Gabriel Valley dealing with water storage/reservoirs, water conservation, groundwater quality and sustainability, watershed protection, and flood and storm water management.

(Mod: The final chapter of this taxpayer funded campaign event comes Tuesday evening as certain of our City Councilmembers, some of whom apparently participated in this political stunt, will jump for joy, declare it all a true revelation and that everyone should vote Yes! On Prop 1. Since City Hall is now functioning as a campaign headquarters for Prop 1, and doesn't really care to share any contrary opinions on this topic, I thought I should offer you some information from a differing perspective. Because if you think another $14.4 billion dollars - with interest - should be added to Sacramento's already massive debt load, and done to reward huge corporate agribusinesses and other especially generous donors to certain politically privileged persuasions, then you are desperately in need of an update. This from the Modesto Bee - link.)

Proposition 1 adds a big debt for little new water - Tim Quinn, director of the Association of California Water Agencies, recently said, “We’ve got to get the public out of this mindset that ‘If I spend the money, I get lots more water.’ ”

That’s why we oppose Proposition 1, the California water bond. It is poor public policy to burden taxpayers with $14.4 billion (including interest) for a water bond that nets very little new water. Prop. 1 adds to our $770 billion in taxpayer indebtedness and will crowd out funding for public schools, roads, health and safety.

Prop. 1 does next to nothing to address near-term drought relief. It dedicates just 13 percent of its funding to conservation, stormwater capture and treatment, and recycling for the entire state. Prop. 1 marks $2.7 billion for “continuous funding,” meaning the funds flow without legislative oversight for three dams that will increase the state’s water supply by 1 percent – in 10 to 15 years, when the projects would be completed.

If Prop. 1 passes, the state will spend $360 million a year for the next 40 years to build projects that will not solve our water problems, but will benefit wealthy agriculture corporations who want more access to water. California taxpayers should not go into debt to build projects for billion-dollar farming conglomerates.

According to a June 3, 2014, report in The Sacramento Bee, Temperance Flat, Sites Reservoir and an elevated Shasta Dam will only net 316,000 acre-feet of new water in an average year for a total cost of $7.5 billion. The feasibility study for Temperance Flat allocated 73 percent of the costs to taxpayers, saying the dam will benefit salmon. The idea that we build dams for fish is ludicrous. The real beneficiaries would be private agribusiness interests who will receive water from Temperance Flat.

Funding for Temperance Flat and the other two dam projects is a bad public investment. The water takers don’t want to pay for these dams because they know the benefits are minimal. They are happy to foist the cost onto taxpayers.

Prop. 1 also contains $1.5 billion for “conservancies,” much of it pork spending that produces no new water and is unrelated to water: bike trails, hiking trails and agency administrative costs. Hundreds of millions in pork was included to win specific legislators’ votes. And there’s no language specifying how it is to be spent.

Prop. 1 forces taxpayers to buy water the public already owns to protect fish. That water will be used to increase supplies for export to huge agribusinesses. Whether or not Fresno area residents believe that more water should be sent through the Delta to their region, the idea that specific industrial farming operations would be shifting to taxpayers nearly $1 billion in general obligation debt to fix the damage they cause does not square with the notion of fiscal prudence.

Prop. 1 shortchanges sensible measures like water recycling and groundwater cleanup that would have provided new water. These projects were slashed by 36 percent in the final bond.

Prop. 1 misspends the money needed for investments in water infrastructure throughout California. It is fiscally irresponsible to build new dams and fund bike trails while leaving local water pipes to leak up to 10 percent of the water we currently have. It makes more sense to stop leaking water before spending to build new dams and bike trails. Prop. 1 sabotages, delays and diverts funding from meaningful efforts to address California’s continuing water crisis.

Bottom line: Proposition 1 panders to special interests at the expense of the public. It provides no drought relief, it eliminates public oversight, and it steals funds from essential public programs – including education and road maintenance. It is pure pork. California taxpayers must not be forced to assume additional debt and sacrifice their access to public water, their fisheries and recreational waterways simply to build infrastructure for politically connected farming conglomerates.

(Mod: You have to wonder why this information isn't on the city website as well. Well, OK, you don't really. The answer is actually quite obvious. City Hall is working for the Yes! On Prop 1 campaign. But again, is this kind of partisan political advocacy actually legal in a taxpayer supported forum? … Oh, and here's another intriguing fact. Who was the 2013-2014 Chair of the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership? None other than the Godfather of Sierra Madre water bond debt, Bart Doyle! - link. Small world, isn't it?)

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

30 comments:

  1. Anything that Bart Doyle and Tom Love are in favor of, has to be looked at further. Thanks to the Tattler for doing so. Sounds like a massive fraud on the residents of California once again.

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  2. I'd like to say "What severe drought?" If we believed Tom Love from just a few months ago, there is no drought and Sierra Madre has plenty of water. Back then, Tom Love said things that were patently untrue because he wanted to stop the moratorium train in its tracks. Now he's quoted on the City's website referring to some great forum on the "severe drought" we suddenly have in California. Which is it Mr. Love. Or did you have so much egg on your face because of your comments at the City Council meeting that you are still backpeddling from that rosy picture you presented to the City Council. I don't trust anything coming from Mr. Love.

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    1. Tom Love said there was water before he said there wasn't any water.

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    2. That's part of the process.

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    3. The process means never having to say you're sorry.

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  3. Kind of a rule of thumb in these parts. If there are debt heavy water bonds being talked about, Bart is in there somewhere.

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    1. How's that interest only Sierra Madre 2003 water bond working for ya?

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    2. I want a mortgage like that 2003 water bond.

      Let me see, Mr. Banker, I want a mortgage like this:
      I borrow a million dollars from you in 2003, but I only pay you interest thru 2020 (17 years.). Then I PROMISE I'll pay everything back by 2033. Really!

      Do we have a deal?

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    3. One thing you can say about Mr. Banker, he has our interest. Truckloads of it!

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  4. Editing note for city staff: When Tom sent you the picture of those three bond salespeople with all that writing beneath, I believe he assumed that you would know to edit out the word "caption." That's why the rest of the text was put in italics, but that particular word is not.

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    1. There are a lot of suits in that picture. You sure they're from Sierra Madre?

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    2. Probably people associated with various San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership businesses and agencies. I doubt they rode the bus.

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  5. Does anyone know how many staff hours were used putting Tom's article up on the city's website? What was the final chargeback amount?

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    1. It was put up over the weekend, so I think the chargeback fee would be higher than it usually is.

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    2. You're kidding. City staff doesn't work weekends. They don't even do mornings!

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    3. CC is going over the salaries with elaine in a closed hearing tomorrow night. love to be a fly on the wall.

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    4. The holy of holies.

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  6. THE CITY HALL IS LOOKING TO OBTAIN MASSIVE LONG TERM DEBT! and guess who will have to pay for it? the people living in sierra madre!

    I heard our famous city manager got a $50,000 a year raise, is that true?

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    Replies
    1. really, it was only $49,999. Quit exaggerating.

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  7. The city now has a new way to get more money from us. Check out item 5, Property Sale Inspection Program, on tomorrow night’s city council agenda. They want to start inspecting every house when it is sold, FOR A FEE OF COURSE, to make sure, among other things; our smoke detectors are working, under the guise of protecting our health.

    Big Brother‘s appetite has no limit. There will never be enough money for them. The things they want to charge us to inspect are already being done under State law. Every homeowner must check the smoke detectors, hot water heater bracing, earthquake shutoff on the gas meter, etc. Every homeowner must disclose all defects and unpermitted conditions to the buyer. Escrow cannot close until this is done.

    So, three guesses why the city wants to start inspecting every house that is sold and the first two don’t count.

    Someone please speak against this tomorrow night. It is conveniently the last item on the agenda.

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    1. There are all kinds of state/national/local requirements in place when a house is sold, including verifying working smoke alarms. This grab by the city is nonsense.

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    2. It is, as always, all about the money. City Hall is funding their retirements. All they ever care about.

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  8. It's got my vote, thanx Sparky!

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  9. Most of the houses that need to be inspected are the really old ones that will be torn down to make room for a McMansion, so why bother to inspect them.

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    1. Because they can charge for it. Of course.

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  10. i noticed in the city rag, there was a pot house up on Grandview. i find it hard to believe a judge denied a search warrant.
    of course the rag did not give details as to why they were denied.

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    1. The Loony Views News does try very hard to be shocking.

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  11. When are the residents of sierra madre going to have a re call... The 3 city council members & city management!

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