Tuesday, February 24, 2015

This Evening's Sierra Madre City Council Meeting Will Deal With The Demolition Moratorium

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New: NBC LA video added below.

(Mod: The following e-mail went out to all of the people on the Preserve Sierra Madre list. I thought I should reprint that here in case you are not on their list and haven't seen it. This explains exactly what is at stake tonight.)

Dear City Council Members:

At your Tuesday, February 24th City Council Meeting, among other items on the agenda, will be a discussion about extending the demolition moratorium and enacting further historical preservation measures.

We have read through the Agenda Report relating to these items.  It is quite evident that the City Staff did an outstanding job in their analysis of these issues, in presenting the various alternatives in response to concerns about historical preservation and in their recommendations.

Preserve Sierra Madre urges you to stay the course and continue your courageous efforts towards preserving the small-town character of our village in the foothills that is manifested in the historical nature of its architecture.

Specifically, we hope that you will take the following actions:

1. Take the City Staff's recommendation and extend the demolition moratorium for an additional six months.  This will allow City Staff time to enact specific details of one of the four recommended alternatives.

2. Direct City Staff to move forward towards implementation of Alternative 1: Comprehensive Historic Preservation Program.

With teardowns, mansionization and other development threats affecting so many cities in the San Gabriel Valley and with most cities only reacting after significant and irreparable damage has already been done, we feel that, out of the four alternatives presented by Staff, that Alternative 1 offers the best chance for preserving what's best about Sierra Madre.

We have only to look no further than our immediate neighbor Arcadia to know that we need to be proactive rather than reactive to the challenges facing Sierra Madre.  The Historical Context Statement and Historic Survey found in this alternative are critical to any serious effort at preservation.

Again, Preserve Sierra Madre appreciates this City Council's actions thus far and sincerely hopes that, as Maude Ann Taylor said at an earlier City Council Meeting, you will continue to be "bold" in your efforts.

Steering Committee
Preserve Sierra Madre

There are still a lot of unanswered questions about water use penalties.

(ModAPPEALS OF WATER CONSERVATION TARGETS - This might have somehow made it all the way to the Consent Calendar, but a lot of unanswered questions remain and needs further discussion. Here are my top 10 questions.)

1) It requires that the city obtain info from the appellant so the number of units can be calculated. Specifically, what "info" is being required?

2) The "info" they refer to needs to be specified in the resolution. The questions could be too invasive. There is NO sample appeal form included. So, would the questions could change over time?

3) The current application states that a customer can only appeal once. Will the new application state the same thing?

4) If one of your adult kids moves back home, will you be able to appeal again?

5) The City claims they are basing this on 65 gallons per day, per person, for indoor use. Is that enough water for indoor use?

6) Is more water needed for outdoor use? How much more? That outdoor amount should be in the resolution.

7) Where is the Water Budget Calculator? If there is no calculator (formula) included, the city can change the calculator at whim.

8) How is it "voluntary" when a customer cannot get a higher number without complying with an inspection? Specifically, what is the city going to inspect? Exact verbiage needed here. Limitations should be in place so the city cannot cite a customer on other infractions.

9) Some appellants' requests may actually result in lower numbers. (It has already happened once.) Are these appellants going to be forced to take the lower number?

10) At their last meeting, the City Council discussed: when a customer appeals their number, the city will use the water calculator to give them a new target number. If the customer isn't satisfied, the city will use the Water Budget Calculator to make a recommendation. If the customer isn't satisfied with that, then the customer will be mandated to do a home inspection. But in looking at the written resolution, there is nothing in Section 3 that guarantees a customer will be given the new target number BEFORE having to comply to a mandatory inspection.

(Mod: Obviously here are a lot of questions remaining. This was not quite ready for the Constant Calendar yet. Hopefully someone on the Council will ask that this item be pulled out and the conversation reopened.)

NBC LA news video: Sierra Madre Mulls Water-Waste Fines

 Link to video here.

What happened to this one?


A recent City Manager Report had the obviously politically inspired "Consolidating Municipal Elections" question front and center. However, it appears to have been pulled and is not being discussed tonight. What is up with that?

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

73 comments:

  1. Thanks for reminder mod. Important information from Preserve Sierra Madre.
    Thanks also for exposing the political hack for attacking Sandra Siraganian with accusations of racism. .....when these politicians take to slanderous lies....The Tattler calls them out.
    Thank you Sierra Madre for defending this single mom who wants to fight for our children's education!

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    Replies
    1. Sierra Madre rises above the developers and the political machine.

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    2. Yes we do.
      Residents here will stand up against careless and greedy over development. We have a history of this and we will fight. It's what we do.

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    3. Sierra Madre is the world's only 3 square mile hornets nest.

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  2. The City Council will now be taking up issues that pertain not just to over-development but bear directly on historical preservation. We all know about the house at 126 E. Monte - that 1907 Crsftsman known as the "Henry A. Darling House" which still has a date with the wrecking ball unless we can intervene. Does any one know where the Sierra Madre Historical Society comes down on all of this? Who leads that organization? They need to do something at this point and hopefully, as a historical society, come down on the side of historical preservation. Isn't that the whole point of having an historical society. Some national group gave Sierra Madre a grade of C+ when it comes to historical preservation. That's is not right for our little city. The City Council is now talking about doing the long-overdue Historical Survey that's been called for in various General Plans since at least 1996. This basically will tell us what we have in our city that may be historical. The only reason it hasn't been done is because our "historical" society has been asleep at the wheel and hasn't pushed for it. Sorry for being so harsh but perhaps someone can explain why the Sierra Madre Historical Society has been invisible in these discussions. Maybe they ae fighting behind the scenes but I haven't seen it.

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    1. I think you do not know what the reason for the Society is .

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    2. A group that chronicles the history of trail donkeys?

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    3. Telling the Lizzie's Tail Inn saga another one hundred times?

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    4. Has the Sierra Madre Historical Society even took a position on whether the City Council should do that Historical Survey that they will be discussing tongiht? Or do they not believe that its important to find out what Sierra Madre has that is of possible historic significance?

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    5. If 7:09 can please tell us what the reason for the Society is that would be helpful. It does contact the word "historical" and the city is dealing with "historical" issues right now. If everything historical gets demolished, there probably won't be any need for a Historical Society but perhaps 7:09 knows the hidden purpose for the organization.

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    6. From their face book page , Why can"t anybody on this site look things up?
      The purposes of the Society are the collection, preservation, and exhibition of historical documents and artifacts pertaining to the founding and subsequent development of Sierra Madre, California and its surrounding community; the gathering and cataloging of current history for future generations; provision of archival access for research purposes; and the continuation of the restoration and preservation of Lizzie's Trail Inn and the Richardson House.

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    7. I guess that is carved in stone like the Ten Commandments in thecstory of Moses. If any of them should venture an opinion about saving historic homes, do they get struck by lightning?

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  3. Here is a question. Would you allow city inspectors into your house? Even with the supposed safeguards the city council has discussed?

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    Replies
    1. Let me think a minute:

      Hell No!

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  4. What if instead of going into the General Fund or Water Co., the water fines were donated to a charity? Like City of Hope?

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  5. This resolution "shall remain in effect until super ceded by future City Council Resolutions or until the water emergency has ended as determined by the City Council."

    This resolution needs a SUNSET CLAUSE. Even if it rains for months, those fines and mandatory home inspections will remain in effect in perpetuity. A sunset clause forces the Council and city staff to re-evaluate the water situation in the future. Attend tonight's meeting and demand a sunset clause!

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    Replies
    1. Yes. It becomes a permanent new tax.

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    2. The Water Calculator spreadsheet is being hidden from us. There must be a reason. Something is wrong with this picture.

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    3. The Water Issue is a monument to Inman's incompetence and selective plagiarism.There are other Cities in S.California that have already implemented intelligent Water Ordinances. Why not just copy+paste as a basis for our own Ordinance? http://www.mnwd.com/understanding-water-budget-based-rates/
      The answer is that malevolent Aguilar wants to insert extreme control over the whole subject. That is why we are to be inspected in our own homes by these Platinum Pensioned Peeping Toms.

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  6. The staff report for the water item is suspiciously brief. Why isn't Bruce's formula included? The city could change it in a year and we wouldn't even know it.

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    Replies
    1. Gosh. Who wouldn't trust Bruce?

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    2. Two words: Rusty pipes.

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    3. Here is a simple and I hope constructive answer:
      1. The water rationing system has to be transparent and understandable.
      I challenge you to find anyone in town who can explain the proposed system/fines/targets to you. How can you expect a system nobody understands to work?

      2.The ration has to be fair.
      People with unusual situations need to have their Appeals handled promptly and intelligently - not just a belated apology letter & no action over 4 months later ! If you propose a stupid,bewildering system there will be many,many appeals.

      3.The ration has to be reasonable.
      Water hogs can easily reduce their glutenous consumption by 30% .Those who have been frugal for years can not. A system that 'rewards' the water hogs and dings the water misers is the opposite of what is(?) intended !

      4. Go after the biggest sinners first.
      There are 62 people using 50+ units over their target.Some are 100 units over their alreay very high Target! Yet Inman wants to ding people with a target of merely 12 units for going over by 2 or 3 units!

      5. And if you don't let Inman's Peeping Tom's snoop all over your house for 1-1/2 hours(that IS the proposal) you won't get any Appeal considered.

      Give us a reasonable target and let US figure out how we want to use it.Inman and his Staff are the last people to entrust with helping us decide how to use water wisely. Particularly when it is being used as an excuse to snoop in your home. Tattler to the rescue?

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    4. I don't have anything to hide except the dust and cobwebs, so come on in, Bruce. Actually Bruce is not the one to inspect, but a certified member of the staff.

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    5. Hiding is not the point.And it ain't trivial either.
      Every American citizen in this wonderful country has a legal right to be free of "unreasonable search & seizure". We fought a horrible war to settle that issue and a few others besides.
      No other City but Sierra Madre requires you surrender this right to get a water allocation. This is tyranny ! Bring back King George and the Brits ?

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  7. Specifically, what is included in a home inspection? Shouldn't that be included in the wording of the resolution?

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    Replies
    1. Old Enough To Know BetterFebruary 24, 2015 at 7:50 AM

      The home inspection resolution should be tabled. This is an invasive program from which no good will result.

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    2. Once these Inman's voyeurs from the Water Dept. are in your home how are you going to protect any privacy ? Be serious! This is just a thin disguise for a snoop over all your stuff, code violations, your bedroom, your bathroom. Tell me one other democratic country where the Govt has such powers? What happened to "Unreasonable Search and Siezure" protection?
      NO Inman Peeping Toms in any home in Sierra Madre ! It is an open invitation for perverts on the pretext of water conservation

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  8. Every single government is desperate to collect taxes any way the can.Sierra Madre is no exception
    This is the results of big central government socialism. The entire world pays....taxes to support big government. Benefit....politicians and bankers and big corporations. Losers.....the people.

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    Replies
    1. Gotta pay for those Platinum Pensions somehow. You voters don't understand. That's why you voted down the UUT increase...twice!

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    2. Someday I am going to make a time line of every rate hike, tax hike, fine schedule and fee hike over the last 10 years. It will stagger you.

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  9. What kind of water allowances will these new McMansions get? Is that shown in this Water Calculator formula?

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  10. There is a local NBC TV video about Sierra Madre water fines up on their website.

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    Replies
    1. I can't find it. Could you please post the link? Thank you!

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  11. I really dislike the way this discussion is evolving. It smacks of paranoia about Big Government,angst about gratuitous intrusion on privacy and an irrational obsession with vilifying the City Manager,Aguilar and Director of Public Works, Inman.
    As a homeowner or resident I should be able to reasonably rely on City staff to be looking after the interests of the City - not just their inflated benefits package.
    Aguilar and Inman bring this on themselves. In Council meetings their answers are often devious and deceitful. Yet Council do not 'call' then on it. We have to rely in milquetoast Goss.Thank you Mr.Goss !
    Elaine Aguilar clearly stated that if you do not use your water budget, you may have it reduced by negotiation with her ! WHAT?They go through the whole calculation thing and then if you are very economical ,she personally will reduce your budget and you'll have to grovel at her feet(if you can find them) for your allowance. Wake up Sierra Madre, this is madness and you are just responding with apathy.If you dobt my account of Aguilar - it is all on the tape of the last Council meeting!

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    Replies
    1. Old Enough To Know BetterFebruary 24, 2015 at 12:09 PM

      "As a homeowner or resident I should be able to reasonably rely on City staff to be looking after the interests of the City - not just their inflated benefits package."

      Hahahahahahahahahaha. That's a good one.

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    2. Aguilar and Inman should be fired. Period!

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    3. Paranoia reigns in Sierra Madre.

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  12. The only way we can stop this insanity is by attending the Council meeting tonight. EN MASSE!

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  13. For a tax fighter John Capoccia is sure big on increasing the city's cash take.

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    Replies
    1. Johnny C is lovin' him some big government fees, fines and taxes!

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  14. Simple.
    Which other City in California punishes you for asking for a revised water allocation by "inspecting" your home ?
    Answer(& please corrrect me with a link to written evidence)
    The only City that has Inman and Aguilar !

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    Replies
    1. How do our permit and fee costs stack up against other cities.

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    2. As high as our #1 UUT tax.

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    3. We're Number One!

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  15. I viewed the video. It's PR. I think it's unfair that NBC didn't show any residents who were against the fines. And there was no mention of the home inspections, of course. Biased reporting.

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    1. I wonder who set it up.

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    2. Good point 2:33, Did staff call NBC for a fluff piece?

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    3. A little something for the townies.

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  16. Mr. Mod, will you be live blogging from Council Chambers tonight?

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    Replies
    1. Don't know yet. Might be stuck at the salt mines.

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  17. Off the subject, but Sandi Siraganian faced a hostile crowd at the Kiwanis Club forum today, It probably doesn't matter because she wouldn't have changed any minds, but did give the opposition some grist for the mill. Torres is sure a smooth talker. He answered every question with "I'm for the kids". The proceeded to spend the two minutes answer time with how he loves kids and hopes they can make it in this world. Ugh.

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    Replies
    1. That is what you get at an Iguanas debate. A half-filled room with people who only want a pat on the head and reassurance that they're nice.

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    2. If Torres "loves the children" so much, why is the school he runs such a disaster? If he really "loved the children" he'd help them to be successful.

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    3. Being a member of the school board requires more than "just loving the children". A school board member is charged with the proper stewardship of the taxpayers' money and oversight of a proper education for the children so that they will grow up to be responsible and productive adults. A school board member is responsible/accountable to all the citizens, not "just the children".

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    4. Who's my daddy?

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  18. I would like to know what Mr. Inman, & Ms. Agulair water use is! Plain and simple, how much water do Bruce & Elaine use in their home towns. I know they do not live in Sierra Madre, but what difference should that make. Our City Manager considers Sierra Madre her serfdom. Our village is her piggy bank. What is this...Nazi Germany. Elaine needs to go!!! When are we going to say enough is enough?!!!

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  19. A word of advice...based on research. The government can NOT come into your house without a search warrant, unless you are stupid enough to invite them in. If you do, this is what could happen to you.
    The City of Sierra Madre is on a quest to increase their property tax base. Once they are in your house, they have carte blanche and there are multiple actions they can take. They may cite water violations, hoarding, whatever they deem a nuisance, they can write a violation for. (Remember Elaine and Nell the Pig?) If you are a hoarder (the majority of hoarders are older people), the perfect scenario as a ploy, is to bring the water department/code enforcement officer to your door. The City then files an action against you, the home owner. Their first cause of action is to say, we will help you. They bring in a Receiver to abate the public nuisance, "your personal property". In order to “abate” whatever the City deemed a violation (and they are very creative), the Receiver takes out loans and places liens on your property.
    Ultimately the Receiver’s fees add up quickly at $500 per hour. Although you asked for help, because you thought they were there to help you, you now have no way to pay the Receiver fees or the liens that have been placed on your property. When you can’t pay, the Receiver, who has a close working relationship with the City Attorney , and derives the majority of his income from this relationship, takes you to court for payment of these fees. The Court forces you to sell your home, which was likely paid off. And you are now on the street. The City is happy, because the new Owner pays a higher property tax.
    Trust me, this is a ploy. Do not! I repeat, do not allow government into your house. Especially Sierra Madre government! They cannot be trusted!!!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for this advice...6:40!

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    2. But if you don't "invite" them, you don't get your water allocation appealed.
      No inspection= any water allocation they want to stick to you!
      And if you do not use your allocation (isn't that what we want??) ,Elaine can negotiate with you to decrease your allocation because you didn't need it!

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    3. Pay them back. Vote to end the UUT.

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  20. Weird. I can watch the meeting on my iphone but I can't watch it on my computer.

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  21. The city council is playing God.
    1) The city council is dictation how much water you can use.
    2) The city council is playing favoritism.
    3) the west part of towns fine go into effect 30 days prior than the east part of town!
    4) just think,
    a) the city charges you for water
    b) the city charges you for a four tiered water charge
    c) the city charges tax upon taxes called UUT TAXES
    d) now the city wants to charge you for water you use in excess of what the city allots you
    3) JUST THINK, the city has mortgaged all city properties and does not even pay for the city water use age through the city's 59 water meters...
    a) that not so bad, the facts are the facts, the city has failed to conserve any city water use age, then why in the hell should we conserve water when we pay for our water usage which goes back in the Arcadia water reservoir?
    b) by the city residents using less water, the city will have another water income money short fall, that is the reason for city hall screwing its residents again out of their money, the residents who pay staffs salaries....

    Enough is enough, the entire city management and council needs to be replaced at once!!!!!!

    ANY ONE WANT TO CHALLENANGE ANY STATEMENT OTHER THAN THE CITY EMPLOYEES?

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    Replies
    1. Better. Support the initiative to do away with the UUT. It is coming soon.

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  22. You are a month late and several $ short.
    Tonight's Council meeting is for "Consent" discussion is over.

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    Replies
    1. You're wrong, of course. The CC could have pulled this out for further discussion, or they could have sent it back to staff for further review. But they didn't. They never intended for this to be anything more than another revenue source.

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  23. 7:53 post
    I think you missed a topic, lets call it
    5) why does the city demand different water use ages for property owner having the exact size lots, lets say 7500 sqrft?
    6) why has the city failed to account for all water income and mix the water incomes monies up and use those water income monies for non related use ages? such as payment of toilet paper - salaries and pensions and $40k health benefit packages per city employee?

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    1. The City wants everyone on the GIS System. Historical water usage numbers are not of value. Everyone must eventually be on the GIS grid. Little by little they will get rid of historical usage numbers that residents have as your water usage allotment will be determined by the calculator used to determine the GIS allotment. You may get more water allotment but it will be tied to the inspection clause. Historical usage numbers are going to GIS. This is a fundamental change happening right before your eyes.

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  24. Remember that I have discovered and shared these issues with you for the past 6 years, but no one listened! Why....

    2) these were the issues which new city council members used for their election platform....
    the city council members changed their mind to defend the city tax payers,
    now the city council is again raising costs at the expense of the mouths who feed their employees! WHY

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  25. Why is KGEM so bad?

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  26. HERES THE SOLUTION...

    We the city residents need to excite the Chinese developer and its money partner to defend their legal right to build mc man chins, causing the filing of a new law suit!

    Now the city will have to defend an un favorable issue - a property owners legal right to build on his own property!

    another law suit is coming near...
    The Hildreaths law suit against the city is near and I am hoping that the legal system defends the Hildreaths and hits the city with a huge judgment!

    God Bless the Hildreaths for caring the torch for each one of us!

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  27. it is my opinion the john c is running this city in the ground!

    think about it?
    can you ever think of or recall any ordinance which city hall wanted to pass, that john c argued against - that was not in the benefit of any city resident who pays city halls employees salaries?
    it appears that john c wants to continue to make friends with city hall and pass all future ,money ordinances... why?

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