How so? We have a lot of good friends who send information to The Tattler all the time. That includes things some might later wish they hadn't said. Where would we be without our friends?
It must also be pointed out that the sole reason why Transparent California only has 2013 figures up on their site is that City Hall has yet to cough up their 2014 numbers yet. Something that definitely does not flow with City Hall's claim that they really did want your input on taxes and salaries from the taxpayers.
The contradiction being that if the City actually wanted to hear the opinions of you the people on the topic of the budget, shouldn't they have supplied folks with the most current numbers? You'd think so, right? Perhaps this means that the city never was that interested? And instead they were merely engaging in reality creation and astroturfing?
In my near humble opinion the answer to that one is yes.
So here is the 2013 version of what some of the Sierra Madre PD are pulling down in total compensation yearly. The figure we are most concerned with is the one on the far right. That is the total yearly amount you the taxpayer is funding for these richly rewarded gentlemen.
Recently the Los Angeles Times published a feature (link) that ranked area communities by their median income. And despite what you might have heard, Sierra Madre is not anywheres near a top tier community in this regard. Rather this burgh comes in at a rather modest 51st place.
So there you go. If you multiply that $88,008.00 median income figure times two, you end up at $176,016.00. Or still less than what any Sierra Madre PD Sergeant pulled down in 2013. A pretty sobering statistic, right?
Now you might be wondering why it is that such a ridiculous disparity in income exists here in this town. And by a piece of luck we were forwarded a letter written by current Mayor John Capoccia that gives us some real insight into why this might be. We aren't going to publish the whole thing because much of it is not relevant to what is being discussed today. But here are a couple of interesting passages.
Now that is a loaded brace of paragraphs. First it reveals that Mayor Capoccia has already decided that a third utility tax measure will be going on the ballot. Which makes you wonder why the City Council is going to put everyone through the kinds of disingenuous charades we will see tonight.
Especially the one where the City Council establishes a committee of hand-selected though sincerely concerned residents to determine whether a tax hike is necessary or not. Like there is any doubt what their conclusion will be.
And it shows that Mayor Capoccia is also peddling that cooked up "astroturf" nonsense about how small groups of tax supporters showing up at places like Rob Stockley's house to advocate for utility tax increases somehow overturns the results of two official citywide elections.
But for the purposes of this post, the big line is found here:
I appreciate your suggestion to balance the budget, but it is not feasible. The majority of our personnel are represented, and even if they weren't, we still need to set compensation levels such that we can attract and retain competent employees.
And that is what the push to raise utility taxes to 12% (or more) is really all about.
"Represented" in this context means unionized. Proving that this was never about "services" or "The Library" or whatever other infant pablum is being spooned down the throats of this community's most credulous residents. It is, and always has been, about city employee union compensation.
Which is, of course, why the SMPD is making double what you, Mr. or Ms. Average Sierra Madre Wage Earner, are making these days.
So let me ask you this. Do you believe that is the way things are supposed to be? Or do you think that perhaps you've been screwed by years of dishonest and gutless City Councils that put the interests of out-of-town unionized municipal employees over yours? The person whose taxes pay all of the bills around here?
Unlike City Hall, I would actually be interested in hearing your opinion.
Here is what City Hall took from the Mount Wilson Trail race this year.
City Hall claimed it put in an incredible 703.25 hours on the Mt. Wilson Trail Race, and then charged back $35,921.00.