Saturday, September 5, 2015

So Who Are These People That Want Sierra Madre To Pay The Highest Utility Taxes In California History?

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The strategically placed very last item on the agenda for next Tuesday's City Council meeting deals with the so-called Community Input Meetings that were held in Sierra Madre last May and June. The issue on everyone's mind it appears was the sunsetting of the Utility Users Tax, with some of those attending demanding that an extremely high 12% UUT proposal be put on the ballot.

Attached to this last agenda item which is called, "Consideration of Follow-up Regarding Community Input for the 2015-2016 Budget," is a series of comments made by the tax-happy attendees at these Community Input meetings. Here are some of the things they had to say:







On and on it goes.

The problem is, there is no city in the entire state of California that has 12% utility taxes. Much less a 15% UUT. Not a single one. Here is a chart (link) that gives you a pretty good idea of how utility tax percentages break down in the State of California. Note again that there is no city with a 12% UUT. Never has been. That number is literally off the chart, with the highest amount now being 11%. And then only one city has it.


I don't know who these UUT 12%'ers might be, but I suspect it must be a small group of high tax advocates who showed up at most of these meetings and left comments like the ones you can see above.

Of course, there are some individuals within City Hall, or even on the City Council, who believe that anonymously left comments scribbled down at community input meetings by persons unknown should months later be taken as evidence of a new found community desire to pay the highest utility taxes in California. And that somehow these comments need to be given more credence than the certified election results of 2012 and 2014, where a majority of the voters not only said no to a 12% UUT, but a 10% one as well.

Obviously the reason this exercise has been included in Tuesday evening's agenda is to gin up some support for a ballot initiative with a utility tax proposal that, at 12%, would again make Sierra Madre the city with the highest utility taxes in the state. A dubious distinction that would not reflect well upon the financial sophistication of the residents of this city.

Funny that some on the City Council and staff would be looking to anonymous comments left at house parties rather than the certified results of two very recent official elections. House party comment tabulations apparently being much easier for them to win. Especially when certain anonymous people are voting often.

Some people at City Hall must want their raises really badly.

sierramadretattler.com

46 comments:

  1. There is no way I would vote to approve a 12% utility tax. You have to wonder what they're on at city hall.

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    1. For the 3rd time and eventually the 112th time, I'll vote NO.

      This entire conversation and tax imitative started with lies, misinformation and doomsday scenarios and it's still the same.

      Deal with the bloated pension plans - Calpers is a ponzi scheme.

      Our PD is overstaffed and under worked but racks in massive overtime. Doing what?

      The library isn't going to close - but our top two staff make over $ 200k a year for a little podunk library - we can evaluate whether absorbing the library into the Pasadena system makes sense and we can fund a branch - not an entire library infrastructure.

      We still haven't had any CC members take the courage to bring up the subject of reducing the size of our PD into a smaller force or contracting with the Sheriff's dept.

      When our city manager charges the Mt Wilson Trail Race for over 700 staff hours to pre-plan the same annual event, I suspect that incompetence or outright fraudulent mindset rules the system, so when I hear the propaganda spinning from City Hall or the Mt View News, I assume is a lie. That's how the city started the UUT - by lying to us until they got exposed by a blogger.

      So, I'm voting NO and will always vote NO.

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    2. You've got my vote

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    3. Well stated! Wow $200k, really?

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  2. It is quite clear there needs to be a whole sale city hall house cleaning by voters of Sierra Madre ASAP since the powers to be are incapable of making changes themselves once again voters have to do it for them.

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    1. When we keep getting lied to and insulted, I agree.

      In the real business world, Elaine would have been fired a long time ago. You don't lie to customers and keep your job.

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    2. Also, she'd be making half that salary. Without the pension.

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    3. City Hall is like a hothouse. Things grow there that wouldn't make it in the real world.

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  3. The whole CC as well as most of the committee are all for the 12%UUT. The additional revenue the city could raise is a drop in the bucket. No one wants to close the library or the police department. No one wants to run the city on a budget that will sustain it. They're talking about building a new water tunnel. Where is that money coming from? The UUT will go into the general fund and most probably absorbed by payroll and perks that no one can cut because of contracts. We do need to start with city hall. Clean it up. Get rid of people who do not have the cities welfare at heart. It won't happen.

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    1. I disagree with the first part of your comment. Not all CC members want the 12% UUT. If any kind of UUT increase ballot initiative passes it will be by a 3 to 2 vote.

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    2. How many city councilors have to vote for a utility tax increase ballot initiative for it to pass? Is it a 3 to 2 vote, or a 4 to 1 vote? I seem to recall the city manager saying it must be a unanimous vote. Anyone know?

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    3. I'm okay with the library closing. It's not the end all cure all. It's nice but the top payroll is pretty heavy for the actual job and size of the library.

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    4. 8:16, oops. The library is one of the sacred cows. Doesn't matter how quickly it is hurtling towards obsolescence.

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    5. Past votes for putting a UUT tax hike on the ballot?

      In 2012, Mary Ann MacGillivray voted "No". In 2014, Chris Koerber voted "No". I think a simple majority puts it on the ballot.

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  4. Some cities have managers that make do with what they have. Ours has management that never has enough and always feels it deserves more.

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    1. But when the purposely spin misinformation to mislead and distort the facts for those they represent - time for them to go.

      and get kicked hard to the curb

      and lose their pensions

      imagine we'll be paying Elaine for her nonsense for years to come and she probably believes she deserves the pension

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  5. I filled out that questionnaire . Why didn't they use my remarks? I heard a lot of grumbling about the UUT at that meeting.

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    1. The person who compiled that staff report has a pro-tax increase agenda.

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    2. Me too 7:52. They didn't use my remarks either.

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    3. it's not about infrastructure, it's about payroll and pensions

      sort of hard to trust those that are saying one thing and doing another

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    4. The staff report is actually a campaign document that advocates for higher taxes. Written by people who would personally benefit from a 12% UUT. But don't call it corruption. That would not be civil.

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    5. Ah, 8:01A, who controls all that Inman does? It's supposed to be the city manager. She has more power than the CC in most instances. A fish smells from it's head. Another leak was found on Grandview today. It was reported. Let's see if those dedicated water boys are out there today!

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  6. Closed session is to evaluate Elaine (I think) Will any member have the courage to take about the elephant in the room?

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    1. It might be Bruce Inman. I think his laziness and inability to get anything done has got the City Council PO'd.

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    2. Oh to be a fly on that wall.

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  7. I saw the fiasco first hand at the city fire department presentations (about 8-10 "information stations") where you roamed around to get the Fiscal Picture of our city.

    You could not possibly have absorbed all the information on these posters or heard the verbal explanations from the city staff and the council members that were at each station. Who ever dreamed up this delivery system has not one clue as to how to run a public outreach meeting.

    The end results, on which they will base their ballot measure, will not take into account the raw fact that when the rest of the public enters the voting booth, with the information told so truthfully in the Tattler regarding the ultra high UUT in Sierra Madre...

    Ahem, drum roll please...the vote wlll be NO again!

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  8. Our current 8% UUT is still on the high end of that chart.

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  9. You know why Harabedian and his sock puppets want to move Sierra Madre elections to November, right? That is when low information voters turn up to cast a ballot. The idea is they are more likely to vote themselves a tax hike.

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    1. Harabedian is just another John Buchanan clone

      lawyers are annoying twits

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  10. 7:52 A Don't agree with you. The only unknown to me is Arizmendi. Harabedian, Goss and Delmar have all said they favor 12% without a sunset. The Mayor will follow suit.

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    1. Not what I heard. Guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens Tuesday, right?

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    2. 9:46 is correct that Delmar, Goss and Harbedian support a UUT with NO sunset. Not sure if it's 8% or 12%, but all three want it to stay for good.

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    3. I may be wrong, but under the Jarvis Prop 13 related laws, they can't put in a permanent 12% tax increase without either a 55% or 2/3 Yes vote (can't remember which one). That's why they always sunset these things, so they only need 50% + 1 vote to raise taxes.

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    4. We'll know Tuesday night where the council members stand on the UUT.

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    5. Correct. The CC has had all summer to think about this. It will be intrresting to see where they all land. I hear Gene Goss has been getting a lot of calls.

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  11. Okay, I'll play. City, remember measure v? It was a bad law I voted for to defeat the far worse DSP. This time if you put this on the ballot I will back the kill the uut movement. Your friend, anonymous

    John, make a public records request for all comments to see if the boobs at city hall cherry picked please raise my taxes comments

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  12. After this expose by the inimitable Mr.Crawford, how could any CC member vote in favor of the highest taxes in the State with no sunset?
    Throw the bums out if they fail to represent us.That is real democracy ! It is also real life.If anyone screwed up like this where I work they would be fired immediately.And the rest if us remaining employees would cheer.

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  13. Under prop 218. The ciy council can not approve a ut tax increase . it requires a vote of the people and the people do not wat it¡¡!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The people need to get this yellow water under control of file a class action law suit against the city. This yellow water is eating holes in everyone pipes and ruining all hot water heaters.....

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  14. Interesting that City Council isn't proposing an 8% UUT (which would probably pass.)

    Does the UUT staff report mention the big ass increases in property tax Sierra Madre is getting each year? Bet they "forgot" to review that. Gotta pay for those Platinum Pensions.

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  15. Where are the taxpayers' Platinum Pensions?

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  16. An hour and a half after water leak made to police department, it is still leaking.

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  17. Well, I love the timing of this item. Notice it is on the agenda for a meeting that occurs on a Tuesday right after a three day (Monday) holiday. I'm certain it was placed here because fewer folks will be motivated to get up and out to a council meeting. That, and as the Mod noted, placing it at the end if the meeting means o e needs to wait a long time for it to come up and also face the possibility that it may, because of meeting time limits, be put off until the next meeting, which means that the good citizens must drag themselves out to another meeting. Ah, Elaine and Mayor Capoccia, you think you are s clever.

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