Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Round #3 Of The Almost Endless Sierra Madre Utility Tax Increase Ballot "Process" Could Be The Wildest Yet

Every two years City Hall attempts to raise utility taxes in Sierra Madre. We're talking about 2012, 2014 and, when Mayor Harabedian gets his way, 2016. A kangaroo straight of UUT raising futility. No matter what, every even numbered year utility tax hikes go right back on the ballot.

It is kind of sad, really. No matter how many times the residents try and make their NO vote on utility tax increases stick, City Hall just ignores these decisions of the people and tries all over again. I'm not sure the city really cares what the taxpayers think, or even attempts to work within the budgets that those who actually pay for everything around here have given them. They just go back to the drawing board and come up with ridiculous new ways to ask for more money. Its become a full-time job.

Of course, it's not like this absurd mess is entirely without some laughs. Here is how one wisecracking  Tattler blog commentator described "the process" last Sunday:


And people ask me why I keep doing this blog. How would I ever replace you guys?

Yesterday our friend Earl Richey and two of his tax fighting pals began the process of putting the complete abolition of all Sierra Madre utility taxes on the ballot. Here is how the purpose and intention of this effort is described in a document they presented to City Clerk Nancy Shollenburger.


Here is how I see this playing out. Mayor John Harabedian, along with that lapsed fab foe of high utility taxes, Mayor Pro Tem John Capoccia, will plop their tax increase UUT measure on the ballot at the same time Earl Richey puts his there. The purpose being to play off Earl's efforts for what they are probably correctly assuming will be a political advantage.

Earl's UUT busting measure will give the Two Johns an opportunity to try and proclaim themselves the sweet voices of reason in this matter. That along with all of the other substance-lite nonsense they're always so eager to share.

But do you know what? You don't have to get sucked into any of that. There are actually three options here, not two. No matter what anyone tries to tell or sell you.

Here they are:

1) The Harabedian-Capoccia Option: Vote to increase utility taxes to 8% (or 9%) from the 6% the voters approved in 2012 and 2014.

2) The Earl Richey Option: Vote to get rid of utility taxes altogether and send City Hall packing.

3) The Third Option: Vote NO on both Option 1 and Option 2. That way utility taxes will still return to the 6% you voted for in 2012 and 2014.

After all, you really did mean 6% when you voted NO in the previous two elections, right?

So why would you want to change that now?

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

45 comments:

  1. does this mean the library is going to close?

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  2. The world is going to end you know. No, really!

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  3. This is where unions have placed us at the city, county and state level. As their employer, have we ever had the right to say whether our employees get to unionize? Do we have a say in their pay scale or benefit packages? No we get taxed or sued by them. That's what we get to do. I don't think anyone asked if we approved of that either.

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    1. And then they tell us it isabout the Library.

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    2. Gene Goss said it would be about all the unanswered 911 calls to the PD if the tax hike went down in April, 2014.

      I hope SMPD starts answering 911 calls soon.

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    3. Did he really?
      So instead of losing staff, they are contemplating letting residents die?

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    4. Gene wanted to be scary.

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    5. Gene is scary, all right. In an "I'm not that competent" way.

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  4. what percentage of Sierra Madre residents actually use the Library? Can we really afford it, There are other libraries very close by, Seems like a good place to cut city expenses.

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    1. I disagree. The Library is supported by many people in town with strong preservationist feelings for Sierra Madre. Don't split the good guys. The small village life we all want here isn't always practical. That is what makes the place what it is.

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    2. Mayor Johnny Harabedian and the other tax hikers are the ones splitting off the library. That's why they want a parcel tax for the library (which, by the way, they know will fail). The library has been thrown under the bus to pay for Platinum Pensions for Police and Parameds. Oh boy.

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    3. True, but I still think it is a very cynical divide and conquer stratagy. If you get the two preservationist communities in town at each other's throats, look who wins.

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    4. The terrorists win? Wow.

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    5. Drones over Sierra Madre!

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    6. It's all about prioritizing - so what is most necessary.

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    7. I agree. Let's not focus on the library. The library is part of the small town charm. Its the platinum pensions and health benefits for the union, that's the problem. I like the Tattler's third option. Be smart on this. Things are going our way. Why blow it up.

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    8. Don't feed the demagogues.

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    9. Tax the churches!

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  5. Another way to lower the UUT is to stop giving hundreds of residents a free pass on the UUT in the form of a low income waiver. Charge them a token amount, say 2%. It's be a dollar or two per month.

    As it is now, the people that don't pay it are happy to tax those of use who do pay it. How special is that?

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    1. I agree. Plus it creates a whole class of voter with no skin in the game.

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    2. Definitely. My guess is that the last two UUT votes would have gone done down by even bigger margins if everyone had to pay at least something.

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    3. Of course, there is a way where nobody has to pay anything. That would solve the problem as well.

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    4. Yes tax the low income earners that makes a lot of sense. And while we're at let's just make it an income tax and tax the high income folks 12%.

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    5. Is that no utility taxes for low income earners arrangement a form of Harabediancare?

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    6. Good try 8:01, but that was in place long before Harabedian participated in local politics.
      I agree that rather than a complete pass, low income residents could pay something - but maybe one flat fee, like $30 a year.

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    7. That would be fun to watch. The low income folks would scream loud and long.

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  6. That ballot would mark Sierra Madre's final descent into insanity for all the world to see

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    1. True. But it won't be boring.

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  7. Sierra Madre just has to live within its means. We don't need the UUT tax to increase. We just need to manage the money better. Delmar and Arizmendi have been moving us in that direction. There is no government entity that can't have their budget reduced by 10%. Because they know, they can always reach into the deep pockets of the taxpayers, there always exists the inefficiency, bloating and waste. Make them do more with less. Its done in the private sector all the time.

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    1. Harabedian has to give something to the unions or he won't have the political career he wants so badly. It is a one party county and govt employee unions cal the shots.

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  8. A 6% UUT is enough. If the city doesn't like it, then they should think about how unhappy they'd feel with a 0% UUT.

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  9. it is Elaine's job as City Manager to, as she has stated "sharpen her pencil" and find more ways to save on city expenses with a 6% level UUT. Once again, what is the additional revenue (UUT) from the increased water rates ( up 41% this year), the increased property taxes from real estate sales and the additional monies the city receives from the Kensington operation.
    Oh, and the "hostage" library? Some cities have found that contracting out the library has saved them lots of money and allowed the library to stay open for more hours. I think the Mod had a link to it a few days ago. This is what the city did with the pool and that seems to be working just fine.

    Come on Elaine, do your job! if your only solution is to ask for more money then you are not qualified to be a city manager.

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    1. I think we need a city manager who knows how to work with what they have, rather than one who believes the solution to every problem is demanding more tax money.

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    2. Elaine was hired not qualified. The City Manager wants to hire her way into being qualified as a City Manager. Look at what she brought to our village.
      The highest UUT rate in the state
      All fees and permits the city now charges us the highest in the state
      The highest health care costs charged to us, the taxpayers, in the state
      The shortest hours a city hall is opened to us to do our business
      Just to start with

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    3. We the residents only need to remember 1thing! The residents and the city employees agreed that the uut were for a short term and would expire to ZERO . want a solution... city staff can reduce their salaries and $40,k a yrsr health plans!
      Here's the residents opportunity to make it happen. God Bless those Patriots for helping us residents,!

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    4. 11:57 - The overreach of the unions has destroyed our state. Crying and hand wringing isn't going to solve anything. For those of you who continue to vote for the Dems that enable the unions to destroy us, keep clinging to your bleeding heart ideology and see where that gets us. Harabedian is a classic example of one who wants to please the unions, thus, the disrespect of the voters' will to sunset the UUT.

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  10. "For those of you who continue to vote for the Dems that enable the unions to destroy us, keep clinging to your bleeding heart ideology and see where that gets us." We shall we are a vast majority in the Union states,as opposed to the Confederacy . Thank You

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    1. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the dominant party in the slave holding Confederate States was the Democratic Party.

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    2. You are correct,but we are not discussing slavery.We are speaking of ideology.

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    3. 4:31 - We ARE speaking of slavery. I do not work 13 hour days to run my own business so that I can support deadbeats who don't work and suck off the public tit.

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  11. you have to hold the city council accountable for employing all of these bums! the residents Trust Funds "the monies, which the city receives" are mis applied - mis spent and the residents are always being asked for more money. We need a smaller city government!

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  12. The problem with the "Tattle Option " - - vote 'No' to both the Richey vs, Harabedian UUT proposals - is it splits our vote. Unless you think Earl's ballot will garner very few votes?

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    1. No, it doesn't really. Each one would be a completely separate ballot measure. If both lose then the UUT remains at 6%. Which is what the residents of Sierra Madre have voted for twice. That City Hall is now asking for more money a third time is ridiculous. They've reduced themselves to the status of beggars.

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  13. Beggars? That would be a moral upgrade. At least beggars allow you the option of paying or not.........

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