Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Sierra Madre's City Council Blinks - Retreats from a 12% UUT (CalPERS Tax) to a 10% UUT

This high, but not quite that high.
The two big events in the ongoing UUT 3 drama last night were these. It was decided that an increase to 12% wasn't going to work and 10% would be easier to sell to the voters. Even though that 10% number was rejected in the previous two elections. And we are also going to get a discussion about the effects of Sierra Madre's more than $3 million dollars in up until now rather mysterious unfunded CalPERS obligations. Yes, that will finally take place, and right out there in public view. The real effects of all that financial woe has never been addressed by any City Council before.

Which is kind of crazy if you think about it. The true driving force behind keeping the UUT at 10%, and now for three elections in a row no less, has been personnel costs, salaries, benefits and CalPERS. That is pretty much where most of that utility tax money goes. Certainly it isn't being spent on water infrastructure.

Yet when dog & pony confabs like the UUT Oversight Committee proclaimed that utility taxes in Sierra Madre had to go to 12% or all the usual sacred cows (Library, Paramedics) would need to be slaughtered, CalPERS just wasn't a part of the mix.

Meaning that their report, and its rationales for putting record setting utility tax rates on the ballot this coming April, was pretty much useless. Apparently somebody at City Hall decided Sierra Madre's tender CalPERS situation was not really germane to the discussion, and as with all of those other UUT Oversight Committees and their reports, it was never to be mentioned.

Did I tell you that Sierra Madre's CalPERS obligations are over $3 million dollars? Maybe more? Funny how that elephant has never brought out into the open before. At least until now. Per Councilmember Denise Delmar's request, that discussion is about to take place.

Kind of historic. Bring popcorn. And a smart accountant. We're going to get some truth for a change.

The Los Angeles Sheriff Department's proposal for Sierra Madre is on-line

If you are fed up with all of the bull crap being delivered by Glenn Lambin and Gene Goss's quite (literally) incestuous "Sheriff’s Contract Proposal Review Committee," you might want to go and check out the actual proposal put out by the Sheriff Department for yourself by clicking here.

The SCPR Committee's entirely bogus conclusion, that no money would be saved by going with the LASD, becomes completely untenable once you take a good look at the real numbers.

Here is a chart from the LASD proposal that should whet your appetite for more.


Out of the eighty-eight cities in Los Angeles County forty-two of them contract with the Sheriff's Department for law enforcement. There are good reasons for that. Saving the taxpayers large amounts of money being among them.

Don't fall for the crazy nonsense being put out by this hand-picked committee of the Mayberry Mafia. They're just not being honest with you.

John Buchanan is running for City Council in 2016?

Not whistling Dixie?
That the author of so many of the serious problems Sierra Madre faces these days should be crawling out from under his space rock and running for office again is wild enough. That he would be running against John Capoccia and John Harabedian makes it even more so.

The question here being why would Buchanan want to run against them? What did the other Two Johns do that makes him want to toss one of them out of office?

What exactly did they do that pissed him off so badly?

It must have been something pretty awful in his eyes. I'd sure like to know what it was. Wouldn't you?

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

53 comments:

  1. So the Glenn Lambdin Circus committee did serve a purpose. It proposed a 12% UUT rate and the Council gets to look like reasonable folks by proposing only a 10% UUT. Ok, so at the current 8% rate that is a 25% increase and at the coming (July 2016) 6% UUT rate that is a 66% UUT rate INCREASE. And you can bet every dime will go to pay CalPers Pensions. Time to vote NO.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 5:16, Exactly true. You nailed that one!

      Delete
    2. Lambdin had nothing to do with the recommendation of the UUT rate. You're confusing the safety committee with the revenue committee which was chaired by Pat Holland and on which Barry Gold was a member.

      Delete
  2. Get more, pay lessOctober 14, 2015 at 5:28 AM

    The sheriff's baseline proposal will increase patrol coverage by 22% and reduce costs by $700k a year. It also includes insurance costs, separately stated under our city budget. The officers will be housed in their current building. And no more pension outlay.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If we contract out to LA Sheriff Dept., how much Human Resources personnel would the City need to keep? Goodness knows the Workers Comp costs would fall like a rock.

      Delete
  3. I don't think Capoccia will run again. I think he is tired of the HOT seat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm wondering if the Buchanan rumor is true (I don't think it is.) In my opinion, John B. would run only if Capoccia and/or Johnny Harabedian don't run for re-election.

      Delete
    2. Guess we will see. Maybe the Buchanan rumor is a sign that one of the other two won't run?

      Delete
  4. Don't fall for it. The plan was for a 10% UUT all along. We're supposed to be so thankful that it's "only" 10% that we vote yes.

    Yes, the City Council thinks you're that stupid.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah yes the old conspiracy theory.

      Delete
    2. Actually it's the Overton Window theory. You can google it if you know how.

      Delete
    3. Just looked it up. Not bad!

      Delete
    4. Very cleaver, you two. Always up for some good old fashioned sarcasm will get you everywhere.

      Delete
  5. Say what you will about the dueling John's, they have at least managed to tone down the rhetoric in the town. It would be truly a shame if Buchanan and the lack of civility from his days on the council were to return. His One Carter fiasco aside, the guy is truly divisive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If he runs, there will have to be an education effort about him. Neuroblast videos will come in handy.

      Delete
  6. The UUT tax in Sierra Madre, and in all other cities for that matter, is not about infrastructure repairs or funding the library. Its all about having enough money to pay the big salaries, benefits and pensions that arise from the constant rapacious appetites of of the public employee unions. Until you put a lid on that, the money will never be enough. There will always be a big hole in the budget. The most important step that can be taken to permanently correct this problem is to move from a defined benefit pension plan to a defined contribution pension plan like what exists in the private sector. Under a defined benefit plan, any city council can promise the world to the unions in exchange for "keeping the peace" during their time in office or as payback for the union's political support. The consequences of those lavish promises usually don't manifest themselves until long after the City Council that made the promise is out of office. That ends up being the unfunded pension liabilities that will eventually bankrupt every city in the nation. With the defined contribution pension plans on the other hand, a City Council cannot make irresponsible promises that saddle a future generation with a mountain of debt because whatever is promised must be budgeted for in that year's budget. Until a City Council has the courage to take that step, we will always have budget deficits and the need for ever higher utility taxes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The City Councils have created,supported and preserved a PONZI Scheme to benefit City employees.
      The City Council aided and abetted the looting of Sierra Madre to benefit these employees.
      The City Council allowed our services and infrastructure to decline while lavishing huge benefits on City employees.
      The way to give the City Council the "courage" to do the right thing is to recall the Ponzi promoters among them.

      Delete
  7. Uncivil John is stepping in because Tax Me More John is stepping out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have heard that Cappoccia and Harabedian will be running for reelection. Has anyone heard differently?

      Delete
    2. If Buchanan gets elected it is time to follow the example of Chris Koerber. Leave,permanently.That is what the smart money would do.

      Delete
    3. John Buchanan is the Donald Trump of Sierra Madre.

      Delete
    4. Oh not Buchanan....we suffered through years of his pomposity and then his behind the scenes direction of people like Walsh and Moran.

      Delete
    5. Buchanan has some big priorities to protect. CalPERS pensions, the rape of One Carter, a featherbedding senior city staff, getting all of that slow growth language out of the new General Plan, unleashing mansionization, building 50 vanity castles at Mater Dolorosa, the rights of developers to do whatever they want in spite of your rights, and promoting a green agenda except where things like solar interferes with the profitability of Edison. He's a man with a big mission.

      Delete
    6. 8:16 No, Buchanan is not the Donald Trump of Sierra Madre. Donald Trump is a very successful businessman and Jhn Buchanan is just a blowhard lawyer who works in a risk free job for a public utility.

      Delete
    7. 8:59, you forgot that we pay John Buchanan's salary every time we pay our SCE bills. Maybe I will go solar.

      Delete
    8. I hear Tennessee is beautiful this time of year.

      Delete
    9. I wonder if Buchanan ever had a job in the private sector? Bet not.

      Delete
    10. Buchanan.....A pompous gas bag

      Delete
    11. Good idea, 9:06. Vote with your roof.

      Delete
    12. If Buchanan is reelected will the qumquat return?

      Delete
    13. Buchanan wanted people who went solar to continue paying the same UT based on their prior edison use, sort of a tax on sunlight!

      Delete
    14. Then he better tax anyone that enjoys getting a tan in their back yard and anyone that hangs their clothes outside to drive. Get solar and stick it to the city. I'm tired of being taxed. The library can close as far as I am concerned . Yeah it needs to be open by law, one hr a week works for me. Charge a dollar a book as a check out surcharge . Call it the CalPers library fee. Let people pay for what they choose to use. Same for all community services.

      Delete
    15. Donald Trump and Johnny B are both pompous blowhards. To hell with both of 'em!

      Delete
  8. Looking at La Canada's figures above, it's very interesting.

    La Canada has just under TWICE Sierra Madre's population (and way bigger land area) but their budget is only 40% bigger than Sierra Madre's. Plus, on Foothill Blvd. I'm assuming there's way more sales tax income.

    Does La Canada even have a UUT? The small budget gives proof to the lie that Sierra Madre can't save money. Sierra Madre spends too much.

    ReplyDelete
  9. jeezum - John Buchanan.

    why won't this guy go away?

    move away?

    butt out of city politics?

    he did nothing but promote the interests of his employer SoCal Edison and primp for photo ops

    no more lawyers on the Council

    I'll make an exception for John Hutt or Kurt Zimmerman but never will I vote for John Buchanan again

    ReplyDelete
  10. 10% - I'm still voting NO.

    and I will every time on any tax measure, bond or whatever as long as the city, state and school system has the CalPers pension plan

    ReplyDelete
  11. good question

    if he does, why would Buchanan want to run again?

    he needs to lay out his points in writing

    regardless, I will never trust him again

    I'd vote for Noah Boo Hoo Green over Buchanan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How about Bill Eagle Tice over Buchanan?

      Delete
    2. Be careful for what you wish for. Green on Council may make Goss look like Einstein.

      Delete
  12. San Marino has a $20,000,000 unfunded CalPers obligation and it's going up daily!! It is important to save money somewhere when you have that sort of financil commitment!! If it's good enough for La Canada, Malibu, Rolling Hills Estates and Westlake Village then I don't understand why it could not be considered for either Sierra Madre or San Marino. What it tells me is that those cities had smarter City Councils who took financial matters seriously enough to save their residents thousands of dollars!! Isn't that the job of a City Council to to the best and most fiscally responsible job they can.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For those San Marino residents not in the know, there is a public City Meeting on Thursday October 15th (tomorrow) regarding the Safety and Utility Tax and the Fire Department negotiations which starts at 7.00PM at Crowell Public Library, 1890 E Huntington Dr in the Barth Conference Room. Remember that we're voting on the Safety Tax this November 3rd.

      Delete
    2. CHANGE OF VENUE
      San Marino City Meeting regarding the Safety and Utility Taxes the Meeting location has changed and will now be in the cafeteria at Huntington Middle School, 1700 E Huntington Dr. There will be signage at the Library and the Middle school so you can find the location.

      Delete
  13. 8:59, Yes, The Donald is a very successful businessman except for the multiple times he has declared bankruptcy and left his investors holding the bag (and he's even proud about doing it). A really great human being!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Success in life does not guarantee success in the afterlife.

      Delete
  14. Mayor Capoccia: Modern Day Hero!October 14, 2015 at 12:11 PM

    If Mayor Capoccia decides to leave it could be a positive.

    No longer would he live in fear of the police union and the possiblity that he would be denied the coveted Harabedian endorsement card!

    No longer would he be reduced to a tax collector for the CalPERS state!

    With pressure of reelection gone the Mayor would be able to fearlessly make good on his promise to correct our police services cost imbalance and deal with the budget in a meaningful way. He could actually lead on the issue, and become a modern day "profile in courage"!

    He would once again be a MAN!



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ain't.gonna.happen.

      Delete
    2. Capoccia enjoys the attention he gets from all the city staff. He spends an inordinate amount of time at city hall visiting with the city mgr. et al. I think he'll run again; he would miss the social interaction and deferential treatment way too much.

      Delete
  15. Did anyone catch the city's attorney mention of the discussion about changing the evaluation criteria for the city manager?

    ReplyDelete
  16. The old guard is quite nervous about one woman running and they should be shaking in their boots. She is smart and has integrity just like the two women who are already on the counsel.

    ReplyDelete
  17. The Wolf need not run he will loose

    ReplyDelete
  18. To get the truth, the whole truth contact this person's firm and you will be rewarded with all those documents Sierra Madre city hall is with holding from the public. http://www.robertsilversteinlaw.com/selected-cases.html

    ReplyDelete