Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Today Is Election Day In Pasadena - Is Everybody Just As Excited About That As Bill Bogaard Appears To Be?

Obviously Bill is not amused. -

I didn't think so. Since only around 1 in 5 (or 6) registered voters in Pasadena is expected to show up for this train wreck of an election today, it appears that even the people actually living there couldn't care less. And if you think about it, why should they? There are just so many far more fabulous things for them to be doing than drive to some stuffy old school foyer and vote for one of the two Mayor wannabe Councilcritters who snoozed through the biggest embezzlement scandal in that city's history. And then blamed it all on city staff, of course.

Here is an interesting Pasadena fact. According to CityData.com (link), the average household income in Pasadena in 2012 was $65,423.00. Which is actually somewhat above what the average California household is making these days. But not that much. Here is the helpful two-toned graphic CityData supplied to illustrate this important data for us.


Transparent California puts that PeeDee median household income number at $55,809.00. So let's drop it in near the middle and agree on $60,000.00.

Either way, I don't know how a household living in the Rose City could get by on that little dough. What with the price of a new Lexus these days. Not to mention the cost of pastry at Euro Pane.

But Pasadena actually does have its less well-off citizens. You just are not encouraged to view them for any length of time. Besides, they're too busy running for their lives from members of a gun happy Police Department who are making an average of $175,000.00 per year. And are currently conducting labor actions for even more.

So what exactly does the average City government employee make in Pasadena? The following figures are supplied to us by Transparent California (link), who obtained this information through a PRA request to the Home of the Dome.


That average city employee compensation figure would be $128,040.90, or approximately double what a typical resident household in Pasadena takes home. Outrageously out of balance I know, and a telling indication of just how badly the city government there is ripping its taxpayers off.

Not that too many seem to mind enough to actually go to the polls and throw the bums out, mind you.

However, those crazy out of whack numbers do make sense if you happen to be newly elected PUSD Board of Education member Patrick Cahalan. Here is how he attempted to explain this troubling math yesterday to the readers of the near informative Pasadena Politics Facebook page.

The problem is that you're only doing a first-order analysis on that data and thus you're not really finding out anything.

Yes, we have a 137,000 residents according to the 2010 census. Pasadena has a decent number of folks who live here and work elsewhere (mostly downtown). 

We also have a significant incoming commuter population. Back in 2000 I seem to remember seeing a traffic analysis that suggested that about half of our working age population are exports to other local working areas (folks with commutes > 30 minutes) and about half of our working population is inbound on the freeway every day. 

Can't find the citation, I thought it was somewhere in my pile of 210 extension docs, but the tag line was something along the lines of "Pasadena has a living population of 135,000 and a working population of 180,000 and most of the folks that work here don't live here and vice-versa".

Searched for it just now and can't find it, so I'm trusting memory here and I could very well be wrong.

But it points out a serious flaw in trying to draw out anything from what our resident population is v. what we pay for city government. Also, as I previously mentioned, it ignores a lot of nuance in Pasadena, such as revenue streams from things other than taxes (e.g., the Rose Bowl).

We also have a lot of municipal employees that other cities don't have, who provide services that are given by the private sector in those cities. For example, the link you keep posting? If you scroll through that list you'll find all sorts of folks employed by Pasadena Water and Power. Arcadia gets their power from SoCal Edison, so that entire tree of expenditures wouldn't even show up under their list of city services.

Now, yes, maybe you think PWP should be privatized, but the fact is that it's not, at the moment, and thus the numbers for Pasadena that result in it making it into your "top 10 most expensive city payrolls" are misleading, because you're comparing apples to internal combustion engines.

Everybody get all that? Is this crystal clear now? Good. Because Patrick is going to be making a lot of important decisions for you as a voting member of the Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education over the next four years. Spending your tax money, and for the well-being of your kids.

Just so you know, Patrick was referring to this figure:


For a family of 4 that would come out to right around $6,200,00 a year. Or, for that average Pasadena family with a yearly income of approximately $60,000,00 (averaged out), around a tenth of everything they earn. Before taxes, of course.

And yes, that is the 10th highest city government employee compensation cost per resident in all of California. I do hope they enjoy their services.

One candidate in the runoff for a Pasadena City Council seat actually became a millionaire on the public dime. I kid you not. And now he wants to get elected so he can make sure a lot of other oppressed city workers will become millionaires as well. Which is why the city employee unions there are throwing mad stacks at him.

It's a gold rush, and all on the backs of families making an average of $60,000 a year. His name is Calvin Wells, and here is what he pulled down in his last two years of serving the people.


Yep. That is well over half a million dollars in 2012 and 2013 alone. After which he retired on a yearly pension that could choke a plow horse. How awesome is that?

A lot of unfortunate things can happen when you're off at the Cheesecake Factory pounding down fatty snacks instead of doing your civic duty and voting.

Now if you were a Pasadena City Hall worker hauling down a cool six figure salary, this next example of the Rose City Misery Index for the average wage earner would not trouble you. Why? Because, as the recipient of compensation far above that of mere taxpaying residents, you would be sending your sprouts and tads off to private school. Right? Of course you would. Most of them do.

One website of note has just published its "Best School Districts for Your Buck in California" list for the year. They rank 375 Cali public school districts by using various insightful criteria, all of which is explained in some depth here.

So would you care to see the Bottom 10 Schools Districts in the State of California?

Here they are.


Not bad for one of the most heavily taxed cities in California, right? And with among the most lavishly compensated city employees to boot. Maybe we can get recently elected PUSD Board of Ed member Patrick Cahalan to explain that to us as well.

Be sure to bring along some tinfoil.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

56 comments:

  1. You can see why no one wants to get out and vote. Just kind of makes ya sick.

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    1. Yes 5:51, but all the more reason to vote. Heck, even write in something....

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    2. Peter Paul Almond Joy

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    3. Oooh. That is going to be hard to top.

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    4. Thank you. I'm here all week.

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  2. Patrick Board MemberApril 21, 2015 at 5:51 AM

    Don't pick on PUSD! We're TWO spots better than LAUSD. As Board Member I plan on pushing PUSD up to 366! I just know we can catch up to SFO schools in the next 4 years!

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    1. Wherever you have big income disparities in a community, it'll produce these kind of dismal results in schools. Pasadena has always had this problem.

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    2. If Pasadena cut its employee salaries in half those people would be forced to send their kids to PUSD schools instead of private. A win-win if you're asking me.

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    3. Don't kid yourself. I bet that over 50% of Pasadena City employees including fire & police don't live in town. Only an idiot would pay the taxes Pasadena charges to feed those civil "servants".

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    4. Patrick Board MemberApril 21, 2015 at 7:58 AM

      I'm practicing my cheer: "We're number 366!!"

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    5. 7:57 - Kind of like Sierra Madre.

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  3. "Searched for it just now and can't find it, so I'm trusting memory here and I could very well be wrong."

    Obviously Patrick is a fine replacement for Nappin' Renatta.

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    1. He might even make less sense.

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  4. I guess that's why Sierra Madre needs to raise its UUT rates. So we can be like Pasadena.

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    1. We HAVE to raise our UUT rates.

      If we don't, come July 1 with the UUT sun-setting to 8%, Sierra Madre will no longer be #1 for the highest UUT tax (and most categories taxed) rate in CA. Ouch!

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    2. A high UUT is what the political circles Johnny wants to join call a sign of real leadership.

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    3. Platinum Pensions for everyone! That is, except for the taxpayers.

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  5. Those figures are just disgraceful. However, its not the public employees' fault. They will ride that gravy train as long and as far as they can. Where else can you make that kind of money and then be able to retire at the ripe old age of 50 with about 90% of what you made while working. Its the fault of the taxpayers for not rising up and "throwing the bums" out as they say. Pasadena needs some courageous politicians who are willing to roll back all of the ill-gotten gains that have been handed out at the taxpayer's expense. Mayor Bogaard had complained about it a couple of years ago and expressed concern in a Star News article that over 70% of Pasadena's entire budget was going towards employee salaries, benefits and pensions. It didn't leave much for everything else that needed to be done in the city. But did he do anything about it?.....no of course not. Why cause problems and have a labor fight during his time in office. So he kicked the can down the road just like other politicans are able to do when you have deifined benefit pension plans that allow city council members to make big promises to the unions that end up exploding and causing bankrupcies down the road on someone else's watch. Bogaard is getting out just in time before the whole pyramid scheme collapses. I don't like Tornek very much but Robinson is taking all the union money for her campaign. The unions have now compromised her making her unable to negotiate union salaries, benefits and pensions on behalf of the taxpayers. Does anybody think after accepting all that money from the unions, that Robinson is going to drive a hard bargain with the unions if she gets elected? Or course not! Why do you think the unions are giving her the money in the first place? They expect something in return. And so ultimately its the taxpayers who will pay that bill and essentially the taxpayers who paid for Robinson to be elected so that she can spend more of the taxpayer's money. What a scam.

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    1. Pyramid scheme is exactly what it is.

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    2. this is why unions outside of the public sector really don't have much of an impact because in the public sector there isn't a business or industry fighting back - it's a total scam and bankrupting cities and school systems

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  6. That cost per resident figure is staggering. Transparent California is really doing a great job at exposing what's going on here. Most people have their heads down and shell out their tax money with no concept of where its going. Every UUT tax in every city is going towards propping up this leviathan. Sierra Madre is not as bad as Pasadena but the same concepts apply to a greater or lesser degree. If taxpayers want to pay for the city employees to make over $100,000 per year and retire at ever-younger ages with large pensions, cost of living increases and health benefits for life, I guess that's their perogative. But nobody should be under any illusions about who's working for who. The public employees should no longer be considered "public servants". They have now become our masters. And yet we are told that we need to increase the UUT tax to pay for fixing potholes and to maintain police response times. Why do people keeping falling for it?

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    1. People keep falling for it because of inertia. But we may be getting closer and closer to the tipping point.

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    2. Pasadena kind of reminds me of the movie Time Machine. The residents are Eloi, and their government Morlocks.

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  7. the only thing keeping PUSD schools from ranking lower than LA schools are the test scores from the Sierra Madre schools.

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  8. Bill Bogaard is counting the days 'til that fat Executive Director of League of CA Cities job salary starts. Woot!

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    1. After years of dragging Pasadena down to the level of dirt, Bill will now get to tell every city in California how to screw things up.

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    2. Bet Bill gets to phone it in from Pasadena. Who'd want to live in the cow town of Sacramento?

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    3. "Hello, this is Bill Bogaard from the League of California Cities. My advice is to give in to the unions every opportunity you get, and then raise all taxes, rates and fees to the residents. Please leave a message at the beep."

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  9. The person representing themselves as me upthread is not, in fact, me.

    For anyone who would like to see the full conversation surrounding this post, the comment thread in question is here:


    https://www.facebook.com/groups/pasadenapolitics/permalink/808876039183121/

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    1. Pat - I know you're not a big humor kind of guy, but the person you are complaining about "upthread" was making fun of you. That is OK here. As a matter of fact, I encourage it.

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    2. Patrick Board MemberApril 21, 2015 at 9:40 AM

      Pat,
      Where do you want me to ship the Kleenex to? You sound like you're going to cry.

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    3. Did somebody hurt Board of Education representative Cahalan's feelings?

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    4. Mod,
      I'm thinking these two Pats may be the same person. Have we ever seen them together?

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    5. Wonder how far up in the school rankings the REAL Pat Cahalan thinks he can move PUSD?

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    6. If he is anywhere near as dumb as those comments indicate, Oakland here we come!

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    7. Looks like a race to the bottom to me.

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    8. Sounds like we need to approve another School Bond issue!

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    9. I'm sure Bart is itching to write that one up.

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    10. Maybe Bart Doyle could help PUSD get one of those interest-only bonds? The low payments really helped out the Sierra Madre Water Dept. Well, not really.

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    11. Bart specializes in "Live For Today" bonds. Those in on the joke make lots of money, and years later the whole debt ridden mess gets dumped on the taxpayers. How do we stop these kinds of shenanigans? Always vote no on anything to do with money.

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    12. with Bart Doyle, what did we expect when we elected a building industry lobbyist - or when we elected two utility company mouthpiece blowhard lawyers or at the time a commercial banker or a mortgage salesman or construction company owner?

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  10. I resorted the LOCAL school ranking data per SAT score, and you can see how the ranking was moved around to account for affordable housing alone. Which is kind of a trick, because schools with high scores have always been in expensive residential areas. I think the original table was an attempt to suss out where you can get better education per lowest median housing value, but that doesn't really work. You can't break that linkage. Although this does show that middle-class parents are better off living in Temple City if they want their kids to go public.

    87 La Canada Unified $1,000,000 1853 403 97.60% 21.68
    70 San Marino Unified $1,000,000 1831 412 99.30% 21.26
    26 Arcadia Unified $792,900 1789 399 98.30% 22.91
    52 South Pas Unified $820,200 1761 402 97.20% 23.38
    31 Temple City Unified $584,500 1713 387 94.60% 25.21
    189 San Gabriel Unified $574,500 1587 373 89.00% 23.48
    111 Alhambra Unified $421,000 1547 369 91.40% 25
    154 Alhambra Unified $489,200 1547 369 91.40% 25
    367 Pasadena Unified $600,600 1338 330 82.80% 20.44

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  11. If a PUSD board member such as Pat Cahalan is reading and commenting on this blog, it is a good thing. Let’s engage in some constructive conversation.

    Speaking of construction, the PUSD board members need to respond to the potential delay in the Sierra Madre Middle School construction that could result from the new PUSD Facilities Chief “cleaning house” by not renewing the contracts of key project personnel. See

    https://www.facebook.com/OrganizeSierraMadreSchools

    7 years after the passage of Measure TT that promised to bring a modern middle school to this community, we are just a few months project completion. This school needs to be ready to open this fall!

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    1. You don't think poor voter turn out, insane city spending and runaway taxes are legitimate issues?

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  12. It strikes me that Pasadena is spending a LOT of money for poor results, partly because of the top-heavy administration and also the fact that the mantra around here has always "live in Pasadena and send the kids private". What happens is that even with high taxes on lots of wealthy residents, there's not much buy-in or support for the public schools, and the attitude is that they're a dumping ground. More so now than in the past, when Muir and PHS were much better with neighborhood schools before the bussing happened. And the bureaucracy took advantage of that to overpay at the top. Just like the City of Pasadena. It's an attitude problem that lots of people buy into.

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    1. Failed school district like the PUSD basically exist now to launder tax money for special interests. Labor, bond salesmen, construction outfits and the like. The kids are basically being held hostage.

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    2. 10:38, you're absolutely right. I'm an architect that got sucked into the Measure Y deal and have observed the Measure TT fiasco and tried to fight the corruption on steroids that resulted thanks to the control of the whole state system under Sacramento, under cover of the Field Act (structural design). Even the Citizen Oversight Committee for Measure Y couldn't get the School Board in line. And Measure TT was a total joke, foxes guarding the henhouse.

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  13. Avg full-career pension for
    PASADENA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT - $66,383.35
    http://transparentcalifornia.com/pensions/2014/calstrs/employers/

    Avg full-career pension for:
    CITY OF PASADENA - $76,041.76
    http://transparentcalifornia.com/pensions/2013/calpers/employers/

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  14. There are two Pasadenas, one rich and one poor. The rich claim they care about the poor and run their candidates in their name. Then, after the election is over, the rich get paid and the poor? Well, some of them get shot.

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  15. I noted in the La Times a Court decision the declared the "tired warer system" unconstitional. Does that mean the Sierra Madre's tiered system is in question? And might we expect a revaluation of our userous overcharging sysgtem?

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    1. Here is something I ran on this story when it first began. August 2013. More soon.
      http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com/2013/08/shocker-oc-register-tiered-water-rates.html

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