Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tomorrow Is July 1st And It Will Be An Historic Day For Sierra Madre

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Why is July 1st now such important day for Sierra Madre? What makes it different from every other day on the calendar for the Foothill Village? And in any year for that matter?

For the first time in the history of this town taxes will actually go down. This has never happened before in the City of Sierra Madre.

This took two elections and the hard work of a lot of people to make happen. It is also not over. The cash greedy city government agency here still has not given up. It looks like City Hall will now try go to the ballot box for an unprecedented third time to undo all of that heavy lifting. Unhappy, self-interested and eternal killjoys that they are.

Certainly there is no rage quite like that of a city government deprived of your tax money.

But no matter, history has already been made. That cannot be taken away. Tomorrow utility taxes go from being amongst the very highest in the State of California at 10%, and fall to 8%. And fairly soon after that they will fall again to 6%. All because the people demanded it.

Expect to hear a lot of wailing and the gnashing of teeth. That tiny yellow fellow, Chicken Little, will be dancing up a storm. Again.

Maybe we should call it Tax Day. Because no standing tax in Sierra Madre has ever gone down before. Never. Think about just how rare and unlikely this was.

Heck, taxes hardly ever go down anywhere. But they will here. On July, 1st, 2015. And you are the responsible party. And while they try real hard to never show anything, they are hopping mad at you for doing this. They're taking it personally. You would not believe.

So how did this happen? It took two election victories to defeat what were utility tax hikes here. Once in 2012, and again in 2014. Here are the results. First 2012:


And 2014:


No matter what the future may hold, and no matter how much frankly untrue garbage City Hall may throw at you over how much of your money they believe they deserve, and as quickly as possible, you made something happen here that has never occurred before. Your vote made taxes in Sierra Madre go down. That has never happened before.

Enjoy the moment. City Hall won't talk about it, of course. There won't be an e-mail blast or Facebook post on any city controlled site. Councilmembers Gene Goss and John Harabedian won't be out shaking hands in front of Starbucks.

Nor will any celebratory purple vinyl banners be seen stretched out across Baldwin Avenue. I also do not expect that there will any commemorations at the Library, despite the importance of similar tax controversies in this history of this country.

And this most certainly won't be written about in the Mountain Views News or on the Sierra Madre News.net website. Apparently they've decided that this is an event nobody should even dare to talk about.

It could be that The Tattler will be the only place this occasion will ever get mentioned. Anywhere. But this is still an historic event, despite the supercilious official neglect of what was a most democratic expression of the will of the people. The very folks whose tax dollars sustain this city.

July 1st, tomorrow, will be the day taxes actually go down in Sierra Madre. For the first time ever.

It also may never happen again.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

46 comments:

  1. This tax decrease is the only bright spot in what has been a week of horrible news from our state and federal governments. finally, at least for the moment, the people, and not the government, have triumphed!

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    1. Fellow Tattlers,
      We preach to the choir a lot. I doubt any Tattler would vote in favor of a Tax increase here. So why not try to coax your uninformed neighbor to vote against a tax increase also?
      A couple of my neighbors went to the Fire Station indoctrination session recently. Lovely people ,totally pro-smal-town-Sierra Madre.They are born and raised here. Should be on our side,right? After drinking the Cool-Aid at the Fire Station they were convinced that increased taxes were the only way to "Save the Library", keep good City employees, lock out the para-military Sheriffs.
      This is what we are up against. If we don't get the truth out on these issues ,we will fail to block this latest attempt to get into our wallets.
      Talk to your neighbor over the 4th ?

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  2. That will be an historic day indeed - taxes actually going down. But the forces of ever-larger government will never stop and that's why we will have another UUT Tax on the ballot. Government will never live within its means and elected officals will never make the tough decisions. It will keep expanding to the amount of money you give it. When the UUT was first put up for a vote, that percentage of a tax was going to do all these good things. But, as usual, its never enough, the money just keeps getting spent until another "emergency" is created and then the residents are asked to increase the tax or the sky will start falling in. The justification will always be that police response times will increase, paramedics will have to be cut, the library will have to close down - these same justifications are used in every city. Its the "firemen first rule". The tax raisers will always try to scare you with the most painful cuts imaginable. What they will never say is that if you don't increase the UUT tax or whatever tax is needed, then we will have to cut all government waste, inefficiency, bloated salaries and extravagant pensions. You will never hear that. Instead, the parks will have to be closed and the senior services will have to be cut. We will see if the residents will fall for it. They have not fallen for it on two occasions. Let's hope three times a charm.

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    1. AMEN!!!! 6:16. We need to make sure all our friends and neighbors hear this truth

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  3. City Hall is doing funny stuff. Like saying the gathering of a few dozen tax supporters at the firehouse was more important than two elections. Obviously democracy is not as important for them as their fat five digit health care plans.

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  4. I truly feel that many of those working in governmental positions have nothing but contempt for those they serve

    it's evident with Elaine

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  5. Does anyone know what John Buchanan is doing for Tax Day?

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    1. Getting his marching orders from SCE?

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    2. The more money city hall takes in, the more money Edison gets to charge. It is no coincidence that Sierra Madre has no solar energy capacity. An odd legacy for a former Mayor that proclaimed himself to be "green."

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    3. How many cities in the SGV have no city owned solar power? Can it be Sierra Madre is the only one? It saves money and protects the environment.

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    4. Heard he is going to make a third run for the CC.

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    5. How much money will he get from overseas McMansion builders do you think? $25,000? $30,000?

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    6. oh no, 8:55 I hope that's not true

      he was one of the worst of the worst - lied to us several times, tried to sell city property to developers and did nothing but bid for developers

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    7. And her was really booooooooring to listen to, as well.

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  6. It's not a lot of money in our household, but it's most definitely going to help to have fewer taxes!

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  7. For me it is not so much the actual money. It is more the anger I feel at being spoken to like I'm an idiot.

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    1. You should be used to it by now

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    2. The best payback is a NO vote. Right now I think the city could win a third tax increase initiative. But I am also confident that in time they will screw it up. They always do.

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  8. Please remember that the MOU with the SMPD expires today.
    http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com/2015/06/sierra-madres-memorandum-of.html

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  9. Every post here has incredible merit. That being said, there are many among us that feel tax and spend is just fine. They are too busy with their jobs or social life that is easier not to be informed and just vote for something so something you need is not taken away. I heard an older couple saying that they were all for an increase in the UUT. Do they qualify for funding so it doesn't impact them? Do renters feel the same way about who pays what as a homeowner? Do the young feel as we did about having a home with a bit of land? Or are they conditioned to accept high impact living spaces with high population density? Look around you...mass transportation once looked like a great thing. Now you see the mass housing going up around the routes. Don't drive your car live next to the railway. The bullet train? Do some research about the massive housing going along side the route. I can deal with change, but I believe it must be slow to allow for adjustment. This change is too rapid. Developers rule, the press no longer are journalists that take pride in their work. I drove around Arcadia over the weekend, and every block had a tear down or a structure going up. The attack on the Highlands is up and running. Then I drove around Sierra Madre and I saw the 4th of July bunting, the small town feel, people walking, people at the park enjoying the concert. What an enormous feeling of pride I had in knowing that there are people working hard to keep what we have. It's a big fight against a city manager who has no value for this community and a City Council that refuses to listen to its citizens.

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    1. One should never assume that if a person has gray hair, they are in favor of a tax because it doesn't affect them. There are lots of us who are on a fixed income who don't like to pay taxes any more than you do, however it doesn't mean we are getting a tax break. We voted no on the UUT all three times and even campaigned against it because we believed the City was not doing enough to cut costs and didn't believe they would close the library, close the community services department, or fire all of our police. Which they didn't.

      For us, it was a wait and see how much they would cut and how much would come it. Well, we see that the projections the no people made did not come through. This time is different. If you carefully look at all the information they have given us, it is clear that they won't close the library, or go to the sheriff department but it is apparent that the city needs a fixed source of income, and the UUT seems to be it. What that amount would be is open for debate, but let's face it, there will be some form of tax to support the city.

      Instead of campaigning against a no on a UUT, you should campaign in setting it at a firm amount you think the city could function without going into debt. Otherwise, you are going to get a 12% on the ballot, and based on what I have heard on the streets, this time it will pass.

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    2. The problem as I see it is the amount of money some people are being compensated. Police Sgts in Sierra Madre are making $160,000 per year, or double the median income of the residents in town. I would like to see city wages pegged to what the people who are paying them make. Once that is done a 6% UUT will be more than sufficient.

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    3. 11:13, 6% would be a good "firm" amount. Which is what it will be, permanently, on July 1, 2016.

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    4. Naïve and impossible to peg city wages to the median income of the residents. That does not happen in any city or state, and it won't happen here. And if you think Sierra Madre could be a trend setter, think again.

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    5. So who works for who?

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    6. 2:39, so you're saying the City employees are "entitled" to bigger incomes and pensions than the citizenry. You sound like someone who has one of those Platinum Pensions.

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    7. 11:13. then you best put on your walking shoes and go knock on every door in town to tell them NO on a UUT increase

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    8. I never assumed that all older people get some rebate. I mentioned one couple and wondered if they got a rebate as many do. I agree that there should be a sustainable tax source. But I feel I have the right to know where that money is earmarked and where it actually goes. If the city didn't overspend, and kept to a budget, we wouldn't be in this mess.

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  10. I tried to post a link to this article on the City of Sierra Madre Facebook page and it was blocked. Does anyone know why that is?

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    1. There is no truth but Elaine's truth. Even Gene Goss knows that.

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    2. Everyday we need to ask ourselves this question. What would Elaine do?

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  11. 'A' historic, not 'an' historic!

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    1. A historic or an historic?
      "A historic is more common in both American and British English, but both usages are sufficiently common to be considered correct."
      http://www.betterwritingskills.com/tip-w005.html

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    2. It's "a."
      The purpose of the rule is for pronunciation - two vowels said together can be mistaken as one word, so the "n" is placed between them for clarity in speech.

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    3. Three examples where "an historic" is used.

      The very possibility of it marks an historic turning point for the entire region. [New Republic]

      At least one of Lord Hutton’s recommendations will mark an historic departure. [Guardian]

      And, from an historical perspective, Greece’s track record as a creditor is checkered. [Wall Street Journal]

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    4. "Language is the most massive and inclusive art we know, a mountainous and anonymous work of unconscious generations." - Edward Sapir Language (1921)

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    5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    6. It sure was an hot day today. I'm going to grill an hot dog. Have an happy evening.

      'An historic' is never correct. People continue the mistake because they don't know any better.

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    7. The experts don't agree with you all the time. But you probably get that a lot.

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    8. That was a honorable comment. You must be a expert, an happy one.

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  12. What is happening is exactly what the people voted for when the current UUT was passed. City Hall knew this and never made any plans to tighten their belts. Too bad. So sad.

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  13. Where have taxes ever gone down before? They always go up. Sierra Madre is one of a kind!

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  14. Good to see the City of Sierra Madre and it's City Council keep the promise made to the citizens in 2008:
    "Tax rate will sunset to 8% on July 1, 2015."

    Too bad it took TWO defeats of tax increases (April, 2012 & April, 2014) to make them keep that promise.

    Happy Independence Day!!

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  15. Thank you Tattler! You just made my day!!

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