Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Last Night's Sheriff Contracting Proposal Committee Continued The 12% UUT Astroturfing Process Begun By The UUT Oversight Committee


No surprises here. Last evening the 12% UUT Astroturfing Process (link) continued on its merry and predetermined way with a meeting of the Sheriff Contract Proposal Committee held at City Hall. As you likely know, the UUT Oversight Committee has already concluded that a 12% UUT is absolutely essential. Now this committee will decide that the largest consumer of those UUT taxes, the Sierra Madre Police Department, must remain both in place and untouched in any possible way.

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As with most political astroturfing operations this effort is designed to give certain members of the City Council the ability to claim that the decision to maintain law enforcement services in Sierra Madre as they are, and at an inevitable higher cost, is the will of others besides themselves. The message being that they're just going along with what the residents want. And as anyone familiar with the folks on this committee can attest, the chances of this bunch deciding to go with the much less expensive Sheriff's Department is zero.

Which is, of course, why they were chosen. Getting the highest utility taxes in California history on the ballot and passed by the voters will be no easy task. It takes a village. Or at least a select part of it.

In other words, this darling deck was carefully stacked. Throw in that merry maxi-taxer Gene Goss, along with the 30 or so residents who attended last night (the majority of whom were apparently veterans of that tax happy astroturfing outreach gathering held at the Fire Station last June and still don't have the faintest clue about the underlying financial aspects of the issues at hand), and the cupcake is complete.

A disappointed and skeptical Tattler stringer was on hand, and filed the following report.

I have to come to the conclusion that most of these people are not well informed about the cost of the police unions and CALPERS. Increase of $300,000 last year alone. I can't tell from the committee what they think. A couple of these people are really uninformed.

No one on the committee brought up the cost of the PD alone.  I am led to believe that the whole city is for the highest UUT in the state, that can be done plus donate all you can with no questions asked about what about next year and the next.

I watched the camaraderie among some at the end of the meeting. One man who spoke is a husband of a commissioner and called Goss Gene and Lambdin Glenn. Goss as the advisor may have made some calls. You know about Gene and his calls.

The Chief's questions to the Sheriff bordered on ridiculous. And he just finished them tonight?

The committee seems not to have been motivated to get things done in a timely manner. No one wants to write this report. Coburn keeps looking for help.

Other then Caroline Brown, Marguerite Shuster, Michael Paris and the Alcorns I have never seen any of these people at a meeting before. Nor have I ever seen anyone but Lambdin on the committee.

It sounded like the firehouse meeting-all of those people who were there and backed everything the CC wanted. All thousand of them right? Sure. Same thing tonight.

It was a really odd group of people. The committee kept referring to all of the audience wanting to save their Police Department.

Also, never really talked about in a year or two what would change? Would we still be asking for donations and a higher UUT? One other thing. Goss, who has always been for the library, seemed to have no problem throwing them under the bus if the UUT didn't pass.

On October 26, the Los Angeles Sheriff Department will be here to answer questions.

Of course, the real reason that any of this has come up is because City Hall was instructed by the residents to cut back on its spending. A message that was delivered by the voters in the most recent two elections, 2012 and 2014. Ballot measure votes where proposals to raise utility taxes were rejected. This is something the maxi-taxer City Hall crowd and the municipal employee unions calling the shots are loathe to accept.

Here is the actual reason why law enforcement costs in Sierra Madre need to be reformed (link). These are 2013 numbers, which are the most recent released by City Hall. It is a shame this committee did not care to discuss any of it.


When you have so many members of the Sierra Madre Police Department making well over six figures in total compensation, and in a small town of around 11,000 people no less, you are going to have to tax the hell out of the residents. And as we have pointed out before, the 12% utility tax rate the cop union subservient majority on the City Council wants to dun the citizens would be the highest in California history.

By the way, according to the Los Angeles Times (link), the median income for Sierra Madre residents is $88,000. Why does the Police Department have to be compensated at a much higher rate than the people whose taxes pay them?

We covered a lot of this a few weeks back in an article titled "So Who Are These People That Want Sierra Madre To Pay The Highest Utility Taxes In California History?" You can link to it here.

It seems obvious that City Hall lacks the will or desire to institute the kinds of financial reforms that are needed. Nor do they see any reason why they should adhere to the will of the voters.

Perhaps the only way this will ever be accomplished is if the voters take away the City's utility tax funding altogether.

So maybe Earl Richey was right after all.

Johnny GemCoins is being investigated by the FPPC

Wuo's woes continue. This from today's edition of the Pasadena Star News:


Feel free to check out the rest by clicking here.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

56 comments:

  1. Interesting comment from Chair Lambdin on that Facebook picture of the fat cop.

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  2. In the end it may be that, Sierra Madre should retain its own police department but at least least we should expect an honest discussion and analysis as to its merits. We are getting none of that from the committee that was formed. They were in the tank for the police union from the beginning. A 12% UUT tax is out of line no matter what happens with the police department. Something is out of whack somewhere if there is a need for that much additional revenue.

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    1. I despair.
      Let them have their 12% or 20%.
      The sooner we go BK the sooner some sanity will be restored.
      But it will e very painful for many.

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    2. 6:42, did you attend all of the meetings that the committee held the past two months? I believe there was a lot of discussion on both the plus and minus side during those meetings. This meeting last night was to gather as much info as they could from the citizens as to what to ask the sheriff department rep on the 26th to be able to make a presentation to the city council. There are three levels of service to consider and if the Council choses to go the sheriff's it also means they have to know what level of service the city wants. And, it means what level the citizens want to pay for. Some speak of the sheriff's department as if they are coming in here for free.

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    3. Match the service level, go with LASD and get rid of a boatload of future CalPERS payments and Workers Comp expenses. Yee haw!

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    4. Why didn't you say that last night, 2:25?

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  3. Is it spelled Glen or Glenn? Is the agenda spelling right?

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  4. The city has not been interested in fiscal responsibility from the very beginning of the UUT. I was there the night of the first commttee's first meeting and the staff report, delivered by Bruce Inman, stated they were NOT to look at cost savings but only to look for revenue inhancements. I told my husband later that evening and he said the entire committee should have gotten up and walked out.

    Last night I spoke with someone during the break who asked: when did we get an Assistant City Manager? Well, I couldn't say exactly except to note from which department she was promoted. (She DID do a masterful job of summarizing the process of the UUT to this point even though Councilmember Goss, Mayor Pro-tem, spun the last UUT vote "loosing only by '70' votes", failing to mention it failed for a second time, explaining to the newly assembled--many of the riled up in attendance having never been to a CC meeting before last night-- that it was not a "tax increase" but ONLY an extension of the UUT to the higher %!). What I could answer regarding to the cities hiring practices was something I know of in the past: the director of community servies went on pregnancy leave and her position was replaced by a very nice, very competent individual and when the director returned, instead of thanking the temporary replacement for her service, an assistant director of community services was created and the staff (city expenses) increased by one. I am thinking this had happened enough times across this city that no one has a real ideal of how to real in city spending, least of all our current city manager and the elected city council.

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    1. When the City "cut" positions, Director Cox was the Director of Community Services. This position was eliminated. She was became the new Deputy City Manager along will a nice raise of course.

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    2. Cox was the HR Director prior to being promoted to Deputy City Manager after about two years of discussion from Elaine to have an assistant. The Director of Community Services position was eliminated when Kristi McClure left and only a community services manager was left to manage the department. Community Services has been without a Director since 2011.

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  5. I'm not surprised to see Officer Berry receives the most overtime pay of any SMPD officer. I see him writing far more tickets in town than anyone else. Perhaps this is how he is rewarded?

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    1. Officer Berry is (was?) assigned to traffic control and parking violations.

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  6. Barry Gold said it and I believe it. We need a 10% UUT. I'm exempt due to my financial situation.

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    1. He actually said 9%. But Barry has also begun to consider doing away with the UUT altogether. Which means that everyone would then have the same deal that you do.

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  7. My husband went to this meeting armed with information about fiscal responsibility along with the bad history with have had with our police here. He was most livid with the unequal amounts of money going out to the police in SM compared to other areas of public safety.
    He returned home amazed at the group of people there ready and apparently "Happy" to come up with the 12%. It was not a safe atmosphere to speak out against the tax or the SM police budget.
    We may have to work harder to get rid of the UUT this time.

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    1. I agree. What's up with Earl Richey's 0% UUT ballot initiative petition?

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    2. What if everyone who posted here this morning went to the meeting last night and spoke out for the Sheriff's Department? What if you would all have sent in questions as the City asked instead of the questions you have stated here bordered on ridiculous? What if your husband wasn't intimidated and spoke out? Out of the 22 people who spoke, only 2 were sort of, kind of in favor of the Sheriff Department. This led to the statement towards the end of the meeting, "The overwhelming majority of the audience tonight was in favor of keeping our own PD."

      This means to keep our own PD, we have to pay for it one way or another. You decide. All this carping about cutting the budget won't cut it. It's either/or. A 10-12%UUT or Sheriff.

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  8. While the City holds these for-show-only meetings, it is currently recruiting a police sergeant. You'd think they might want to put a hiring freeze in place until the UUT vote, but they'd rather spend more money to make the situation look more dire.

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  9. I was also at the meeting. As a poster said, most of the faces were new and had never been to a public meeting. Makes me think they were all shills. You would have to be crazy to speak against the police unless you want a target on you, your family, and your cars. Most of the speakers had not read the report and kept talking about a 30 minute to 3 day response time. The response time would be the same since they would be next door to City Hall. The scariest thing about the speakers is that they will be the ones voting.

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    1. 8:34 Are you saying there was no angry mob behind you so you felt insecure, no mob mentality to support the only proper point of view yours?
      Gee imagine the citizenry voting their minds scarey!

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    2. The public did vote their minds, 9:16. Twice. Both in 2012 and 2014 they said no to raising utility taxes.

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    3. Have you or your family ever been threatened by a Sierra Madre police officer? I was at that meeting too and it did not have the feel of the old guard mentality where name calling abounded, and I felt fearful for MaryAnn. My spine did chill though when Bob Burnett called out Denise and Rachelle for being opposed to the UUT during the last election and suggested a better campaign to get in those who had more sense.

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    4. The dirty secret is only about half of the SMPD would pass muster with the LASD. The rest would be fired as mentally or physically deficient.

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  10. Must be Sierra Madre.

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    1. Hey Glen, you still calling SMPD officers fat?

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  11. Here's how "unbiased" the folks on this committee are. per the Transparent California pages, Marilyn Diaz receives a pension of (2014) $163,449.66 from Pasadena and $18,083.92 from Sierra Madre. Donald Handley, a retired LA Sheriff receives a pension of (2014) $143,385.24. Not to mention that Rosemary Burnett is married to Bob Burnett, a recent SM Firefighter, and Bill Coburn is Rosemary's brother. what a sham!

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    1. Bill Coburn will tell you there's no conflict. Yeah, sure.

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    2. Does Coburn even live in town anymore? I thought he moved out after his father-in-law sold the house he was living in on Lima St.

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    3. And Goss has always said he'd fight to keep SMPD. My BS meter is going off the top.

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    4. Not to mention that Coburn is severe math challenged. He does not understand simple numbers and percentages. explains why he kept insisting that going from an 8% UUT to a 10% UUT was only a 2% increase. Doh!

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    5. This meeting was a throwback to the bad old days. That Lambdin and Coburn chaired this unhappy mess speaks volumes.

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    6. Coburn's leadership capabilities are legendary. As Exec Director of the SM Chamber, he accomplished,um, oh, wait. Didn't the Chamber almost go BK when he ran the Festival?

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    7. Bill never quite grew up.

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    8. The meeting was to ask the public for input on whether or not we should have our local department or contract out. It had nothing to do with the makeup of the committee. I do suspect they packed the house with their supporters but how come the Tattlers didn't pack the house with our supporters.

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    9. Why? Because the process is a fraud. The only solution now is to kill the UUT at the ballot box.

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    10. Damned if they do, damned if they don't. A fraud would be if they made decisions in the back room and then said, this is what we think. Some said last night that this was the first time they heard about going to the sheriff or not. How many times have they discussed this at budget meetings, council meetings, and public meetings - 5 - 6 years? The Committee asked Elisa for more publicity. Really? More publicity? Scary to think that voters do not pay attention to what is going on.

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  12. When you see the deck stacked against the truth there is only one thing to do.

    See you at the polls.

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  13. One of the factors here is that we are trying to pay big town wages / pensions from a very small town population. And, I might mention, these are the same people who are trying to increase our population so that they can raise more money, thus needing more police and city employees. It is a real shame/sham that the facts are so distorted or, should we say only showing one side of the story.

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    1. Yes, good point. Run the city like its Los Angeles, and then tax everyone like it is Los Angeles, too!

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    2. It is always about the money.

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  14. It is pretty astonishing how tightly Harabedian, Goss and Capoccia are tied in with the old guard.

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  15. Why did this one, lone, committee meeting end up on the front page of the local rag? I'm sure the revenue or library committee's would like the same input. Watch the website for the chief's questions for the sheriff's department. I don't he spent much time dreaming them up. Only one brave soul stood up last night and said he had his problems with the chief. He spoke his mind as did everyone else in the room. He was attacked by one of the attendees for his right to an opinion. This was not a respectful forum in which to speak.

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    1. Sad to see that this kind of bad mentality is back. Why are these kinds of people so hostile? Looked to me like the same mob that showed up at city hall when Joe Mosca was reelected.

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  16. What were seeing here in SM is not new or unusual. People are afraid of City Hall and especially the Police Dept. The entire town is being held captive, it's just that some of them don't know it, in fact they are also helping preach the same one sided stories.

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    1. "People are afraid of City Hall and especially the Police Dept" That's laughable well maybe if you're a 14 yo skateboarder, a person of color,a drunk driver,a pedofile,or a criminal.

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    2. How do you know you just entered Sierra Madre? There is three cop cars, six cops and a black man sitting on the curb.

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    3. Pedophiles and owners of Child Porn have nothing to fear from SMPD. Ask Bob Matheson & the creep on Monte Vista who's spitting distance from St. Rita School?

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  17. The Revenue Committee of UUT Committee has no other choice but to dangle a carrot of change in front of the voters of Sierra Madre on the pretense that they will use this money to buy out contracts to make money saving changes along down the road and way into the future, but lets face it they don't have any intention in keeping their so called promises of change rather they just want the voters to sign a "evergreen contract" to pay the city their 12+% UUT fees into the future and beyond to keep the status quo the same as it has always been. Bait and switch.

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  18. Dear Mr. Mod,
    Can you ever remember a brother and sister team on a city committee? Bill Coburn and Rosemary Burnett. Yeah, that'll really help us get to the objective truth, huh.

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    1. Seems incestuous.

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    2. Findings to keep SMPD are a foregone conclusion.

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  19. The real test is in the voting booth. All the fluff meetings and "your ox is being gored, so show up to the first meeting of your 8, 15, 40+ years in town" is not going to fly when the folks who know hit the streets again this time, with the awareness that they 'only' 'prevailed' by '70' votes the last UUT election (rather the SECOND UUT ELECTION!).

    Love this small town atmosphere.

    Actually, what struck me the most last night was the "virtual gated community" that the assembled crowd imagined itself to live in. I hope to heck they never get on the freeway where the dreaded California Highway Patrol might have to come to their assistance or that they drive to Costco on Huntington Dr. through Duarte or to any place in the Temple City area, where they might have to have the Los Angeles County Sheriffs come to their aid.

    God forbid!

    (I just want to be sure that the SMPD comes to quiet my neighbor's annoying barking dog).

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  20. Did Lambden actually write that on facebook?

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    1. Oh yeah. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

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