Thursday, June 11, 2015

Resident Voting On City Employee Compensation - Doesn't This Sound Like It Might Be Needed In Sierra Madre?

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With a utility tax increase likely to go back on the ballot for a third time in April of next year, and during a time when Sierra Madre City Hall is in the middle of negotiating a big new contract with its lawsuit happy and already quite fatly compensated Police Department (just by coincidence), doesn't this sound like it might be useful? Somehow I think that the voters would make far more prudent decisions on whether to hand out large city employee raises, big benefits and platinum pensions, right? I mean, have you looked at where our elected officials have gotten us today? Broke and begging for more.

After all, don't we get to vote on tax hikes? So why not employee salaries and pensions? After all, that is where most of the tax hike money goes, right?

You really should check this out:


Wouldn't having the vote on something like this be a great way of controlling runaway employee compensation spending like we now see in Sierra Madre with the SMPD? And rather than just putting taxes on the ballot, wouldn't this city's taxpayers be in even better control of their destiny if City Hall was legally required to put its big salary increases and proposed pension packages there as well (link)?

Or would you be OK with just leaving these kinds of things in the soft and sweaty hands of, say, Gene Goss?

So few elected politicians seem to be able to control themselves when it comes to giving away the taxpayer funded store to the help. Maybe it really would be better if the public got to take a vote on this stuff instead. After all, it is their money.

It is certainly something I could get behind. I think I will.

Should Police Officers Be Disarmed In Cities Where Their Guns Are Rarely If Ever Used? - This is kind of interesting. A Councilmember in San Marino made a proposal recently that got a lot of attention in the press. If you have a Police Department that never uses its firearms, or at least only in the rarest of cases, wouldn't it just be safer for all concerned if those guns were just taken away from them? Certainly that could have saved the City of Sierra Madre a whole lot in legal and settlement fees in the Jason Jensen - Henry Amos case (link).

And let's face it, when is the last time you heard about a Sierra Madre cop using his (or her) gun in a situation that actually made some sense? Like never, right? It could be that the chances of an unfortunate accident happening far outweigh any problems that might occur if this city's officers were equipped with nothing more deadly than tasers.

Here is a portion of an article the Pasadena Star News ran about it (link):

San Marino councilman wants to explore a disarmed police force - In a town once concerned with bike paths and a farmers market attracting “riffraff,” one councilman wanted to explore becoming the first city in the nation to take guns away from police officers.

In the past five years, the San Marino Police Department has used force three times, pursued cars nine times and applied deadly force on a dog once, according to city records.

While America has a policing problem, Councilman Dennis Kneier said, he didn’t want that issue in his neighborhood. Kneier worries a misunderstanding or accident might turn into a “use of force” and become “a terrible stain on San Marino.” So he suggested staff explore a style of policing where patrol officers don’t carry firearms.

“I wouldn’t recommend this for Los Angeles or Oakland — not to pick on those places — but they’re not San Marino,” Kneier said. “I’m just wondering if we should do some research and see if our police has any appetite and our community has any appetite for almost thinking about a UK-method of policing so that an accident doesn’t happen.”

Kneier gave his comments after Police Chief John Incontro provided a report on the state of the Police Department during a May 29 meeting. His department, along with other local agencies, will go to bias policing training at the Museum of Tolerance in the fall.

There were a number of interesting comments attached to this article. Here are two, one from each side of the question.



So you know, Councilman Kneier has not been controversy free during his years on the San Marino City Council. As a matter of fact he was the target of a recall effort that we wrote about a number of years ago. His crimes included throwing dog poop on his neighbor's lawn.

Naturally we called the article "San Marino's Effort To Recall Dennis "Poopgate" Kneier." That effort failed, however. Click here for more details.

Kind of on the fence here. Are armed Police in small low crime cities a greater danger than unarmed ones? Are police officer initiated accidents in low crime towns like Sierra Madre more likely to happen than the kinds of crime requiring an armed response?

Not sure.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

58 comments:

  1. Mod, I actually think the police in San Marino, in order to make sure their rarely needed guns still work, should be fired at least once daily.

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  2. A gun free San Marino PD would be good for Sierra Madre. Mostly due to more crime moving to San Marino. Maybe they'll put up signs: Our cops are gun-free. Come rob & steal from us

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    1. Most of the crime in Sierra Madre involves parking violations. So maybe those people would go to San Marino and park illegally?

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    2. Bad guy with a gun commits a crime in San Marino. Unarmed cop shows up. Expalin to me how that's supposed to work?

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    3. I'd like to see the nutcases that belong to the NRA disarmed!

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    4. Show me the last time an NRA supporter (or any lawful gun owner) committed a gun crime. Don't be a dumb ass.

      Lawful gun owners stiop crimes every day.

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    5. I saw a movie once where only the Police and Military had guns.

      It was called Schindler's List.

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    6. With the horn controversy muted, that rattler needs a new subject to alarm the paranoiacs among us.

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    7. Trust me, the supply is endless.

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    8. Sorry mod, meant to say 'tattler'.

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  3. Can we vote our city employees a pay cut? Can the ballot be itemized?

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    1. Sure we can. Vote NO on whatever tax hike ballot initiative the city puts on the ballot next April.

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    2. Voting on employee compensation is a good idea. Why stop with just taxes?

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    3. Good point. Voting no on all taxes definitely cuts pay raises.

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    4. Voting no on all taxes will definitely bankrupt the city. The employees will still be paid.

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    5. No. The city needs to reduce its expenses. That is what the voters said they wanted when they capped utility taxes at 6% in 2012 and 2014.

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  4. Reference to UK policing...that is the entire country isn't it? San Marino is not baracaded from neighboring 'hoods' though it might like to be. Neither is Sierra Madre though it might like to be, too. My question for all these police forces, given the tragic killing of unarmed mentally deficient and others or gun drawn on teens in swim trunks and flip flops, how much continuous training should we expect so we don't shoot sleeping people in the butt?

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    1. Amos was later promoted to detective.

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    2. freak out, lose control, shoot an unarmed sleepy person in his back and get promoted

      yeah, if I ever need a crime solved who will I call?

      I'll call a criminal, I'll call Detective Amos

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    3. Tasers are enough.

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    4. Don't tase me, bro!

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  5. A UK method? Although local police sometimes don't carry firearms there is a military man on every corner in large cities with a fully automatic rifle

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    1. And they are subjects to a royal monarch for crying out loud. How utterly medieval.

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    2. You're right. Let's shoot them.

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  6. The Voter Empowerment Act is genius. I would so vote for that.

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  7. Thank goodness this isn't 1939 and if you don't get that then you really need read more and pay attention to what is going on. I don't carry a gun, but, if the police don't carry one then we may need to carry something. Weapons of destruction are cheap and easy to make, look what is going on with 3D printers. I want the protection I hire to be fully trained and properly armed. With fully trained I want an officer capable of physically being able to ward off any attacks on any of us. What are we paying these officers for anyway. Mental attitude with the physically capabilities to control and calm any given situation. My officers would not escalate a situation or create one.

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  8. Police dont need old style guns. I'm sure they will be arming them selves with the new Smatter Bolts, it never kills and incapacitates the the subject for 10 to 15 minutes, even then when they wake up they move very slow.

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  9. That's Herr Kneier of San Marino. He should have been tossed out of office for Poopgate. Now he wants to disarm San Marino citizens, a direct attack on the second amendment.

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    1. My reading of the article is that Councilmember Poopgate wants to disarm the San Marino PD, not the residents. That would be wrong. How would they be able to shoot their way into a sale at Nordstrom's?

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  10. As much as I love the copys, its become too much about the money for the police union and the rank and file. Sierra Madre is not South Central and the police should be compensated accordingly. Any job openings in Sierra Madre would receive a ton of applicants because its a relatively safe job in a nice community. We don't need to pay through the roof to attract applicants. We also need to switch to defined contribution pension plans from defined benefit pension plans. That will singlehandedly solve the unfunded pension liability crisis that has bankrupted so many cities.

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  11. So if the SMPD kills more people they should get raises?

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    1. Looks that way. Then the investigation is sealed as a personnel matter, lawyers paid and hush money sent to the victim. Followed by a promotion, which is done out of fairness.

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  12. Not sure any of you were paying attention, but shortly after elected, Denise and Rachelle did a great job of the reorganization by negotiating with powers at be. They were able to change health benefits and retirement. Of course it wasn't perfect since it was a negotiation. However better than before. The data you are looking at is years old and some of the employees are no longer here.

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    1. So you're saying 10:33 that we should look at 2015 data? oops.

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    2. One of the problems is City Hall does not give out information until they are required to do so by law. 2014 data will not become available until this fall, so 2013 is the best we have right now.

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    3. Not sure when the reorg took place - sometime in the fall - but there was a copious amount of information in the council report. There was also a special meeting as I recall, and there was a meeting of the commissioners to inform them of the transitions.

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    4. Right. But the city has yet to release its 2014 numbers. It is June of 2015. Why the delay?

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    5. Right, 11:24. 2013 data is before the changes. What voters don't understand is, it is up to them to elect representatives that will be responsible. Fortunately you did the right thing in electing Denise and Rachelle this time. Too bad Goss got in but, that was no fault of mine (or yours I'm guessing) There is a email thing going around that says something like this: Poor leadership is not the fault of the leaders, but the fault of the voters who put them in that position.

      If voters are not smart enough to elect good leaders, what makes you think they are smart enough to decide wages and pension plans?

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    6. When did you lose your faith in democracy, 1:15?

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    7. When Obama was elected. Not lost faith in democracy, but faith in dumb voters.

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    8. Local politics and national politics have little to do with each other.

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    9. 4:02PM I don't think Ben said those words. You are paraphrasing or you're wrong!

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    10. Obama is great.

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  13. One thing I have to deal with every day is the water coming out of my faucets. By now you have received your 2014 water quality report and the resident's confidence report. I never thougth to pay much attention to it before. I would like someone out there with some knowledge of water chemistry to see what this means now that we are on imported surface water MWD and not Sierra Madre water (wells/tunnels). The report is confusing.

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  14. The good citizens of SM have made their views know in the last few weeks. SM can not survive without a UUT of 8-12% or some form of other tax. I'm sure Rachelle and Denise will follow the will of the electorate and cast their votes accordingly.

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    1. You mean that small group of tax happy knuckleheads that showed up at the firehouse last weekend? That wasn't an election. There was no voting, therefore no electorate. The two elections where raising UUT rates was considered were in 2012 and 2014. The increase you want was voted down both times.

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    2. We shall see,you get what you pay for, as Ben Franklin often said.

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    3. Really 3:50PM? You consider 92 people the electorate? Are you the freak who said the city staff were our friends?

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    4. 3:50 - Sorry, make-believe elections don't count.

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    5. Electorate is defined as: all the people in a country or area who are entitled to vote in an election.
      We were fooled by a bunch of slick Howard Jarvis types twice. The third time will be the charm.

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    6. So you're saying it was a conspiracy? And not because people are sick of paying city employees more than they make?

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    7. 4:02 Did Honest Ben also say "A friend with weed is a friend indeed?"

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    8. Actually good intentioned people that are ignorant. I'm sorry if you've made poor life choices. You can get a discounted lunch at the senior center even if you're under 60 yo. Also there is a exemption for the poor to the UUT if you make under $66,400. as a family of four. There is also help from various county,state,and federal agencies. If you're a vet the VA will care for you in sickness and you possibly qualify for free Obama care! Good Luck we care alot.

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  15. Oh Wow, 3:50 must be part of the Cool-Aid gang. You buy them books you send them to school, what are you going to do.

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  16. Bad things happen when good people do nothing. In this case, it's good intentioned people without the facts are the one's who vote for more tax.

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    1. They seem to be gullible people. I wonder what they would think if they discovered they're not being told the truth?

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