Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tonight's City Council Meeting Has Other Troubling Topics Besides Water

Some of these items are actually just as strange and confusing as the water agenda report we covered yesterday. As hard as that might be to believe. It seems to be that kind of a meeting, I suppose. We do get those sometimes.

Maybe this has something to do with the approaching end of the year? I don't know. But this week we really do get some wild and crazy moments. We're just going to have to take these one at a time. First we start with the question all of us need to know the answer to. Is .25 of an inch of rain enough to keep anything alive? And how will you know it is a quarter of an inch when you've seen it? Will there be an email blast letting us know this threshold has been achieved?


Look at the bright side. At least nobody will drown.

I think if this next item is passed, it will allow the City Manager and the Mayor to sign warrants. Their titles are being added to that of the Treasurer and all three will be able to sign checks. I'm wondering why this is being proposed. Why do we need more people to have the authority to sign checks? And (somewhere down the line in time), could the Treasurer be eliminated?


Can anyone think of a check signing situation so dire and immediate that the City Manager has to do it because the City Treasurer can't be located (link)?

This next passage raises a couple of questions. I can't claim to have seen its like anywhere. So if ONE section is found to be unconstitutional, the City still wants the remaining parts to be valid?


Interesting. I wonder what prompted this. Or maybe it's just something the City Attorney puts in every ordinance? Has the Constitutionality of anything passed by the Sierra Madre City Council ever been questioned before? This one takes four votes to pass, by the way.

OK, so is this next one Constitutional?


I read a lot of the fine print of the ordinance itself (link). I think this is what we are facing: if a customer does not pay their bill within 30 days, there will be an additional charge. And after a 24 hour notice, water service may be restricted. Water will not be turned on until the delinquent bill is paid. The water rates, charges, and penalties will be charged against the owner and that property. The customer will be charged a fee for turning the water off and on.  The City Council determines the amount of the fee.

1st violation: 2 x Tier 1 rate per unit
2nd violation (and future violations): 3x Tier 1 rate per unit
Citations: 1st violation $125, 2nd = $250, 3rd = $500

Does this mean the City will put a lien on your property if you don't pay your bill?


Next! It would appear that the difficulty of hiring a new officer for the Sierra Madre Police Department has become so acute that they are now taking what appears to be rather desperate measures.


Why is the City offering to pay $37,000 to hire police when we are on the brink of bankruptcy? If we switch to the Sheriffs in the next year or two, are they obligated to hire this person? And if not, won't we "lose" our investment (link)?

And who is going to pick this recruit? And how can you tell this candidate would be a worthy one if they haven't been through an academy yet?

Here is a stunning surprise.


$175,000 Head Librarian and all, this (link) now makes it a clean sweep for those committees who studied the possibility of outsourcing things that have traditionally been under city control. None went for it, including the SMPD one. Of course, should the SMPD's responsibilities be outsourced to the Sheriff's Department, none of these other outsourcing options would need to be considered.

In other words, all of this would be moot should the SMPD's outsourcing happen. There'd be plenty of money for everything else currently on the chopping block. But should that not happen, contracting out the Library would probably be just about the only way to save it (link).


Finally, the big enchilada makes it to an interesting milestone (link).


There will still be public safety agencies in town, of course. They will just be of the outsourced variety. The irony being that by not passing a 10% UUT, the city would end up with a superior level of law enforcement.

My personal take is that even with a 10% UUT the SMPD's responsibilities will need to be outsourced. And I think the City Council recognizes this, which is the real reason why this is going forward. In the end it will all come down to the numbers.

The Mayor's e-mail may be running 20 to 1 in favor of keeping the cops, but that is probably neither here nor there. The SMPD has simply become too expensive for a small town of 11,000. Meaning that bring in the Sheriff's Department is most likely a done deal.

Everything else is just herd management.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

43 comments:

  1. So it appears that the council is looking for a permanent UUT tax. I think that would take a 2/3 vote of the people to pass, a much higher bar than the 50% plus 1, that a tax with a sunset requires.

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    1. let me think about it........

      hmmmmmmmmmmm..........

      answer still is a NO vote.

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    2. Taxes are like drugs. Better to just say no.

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    3. So long as so many police officers are getting way too much overtime and libarians make over $150,000 per year, I am voting to eliminate the UUT.

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  2. Support the 20/20 proposalNovember 24, 2015 at 6:20 AM

    The city can immediately save 20% on police services ($800k annually) and receive 20% more patrol hours by accepting the sheriff's 20/20 proposal. This will leave money to fund all current city services, pay to improve our youth sports facilities, improve senior facilities, keep our highly compensated librarian, and make a down payment on water infrastructure improvements. The uut increase of 60% - 6% to 10% - is therefore not needed to fund public safety. It is needed only because of the city's failure to address its budget needs in an adult manner.

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    1. quit making sense. it confuses our City Manager

      dump the pension plan also

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    2. Most people are more drive by emotion than sense. Tell them high taxes hurt the Wistaria vine.

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  3. As the council apparently views leadership as counting e-mails, I encourage each of you to write the members in support of the sheriff's 20/20 proposal. If inclined, you could copy sir eric so that the letters can be published here.

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  4. Has Mayor Capoccia ever shared exactly how many emails he received? We could be talking about as few as 20 here.

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    1. How do we know that a person did not send in more than one email? My friend spoke to the Mayor in person, said he was for the Sheriff's Dept. So was that included in the count? The mayor's count means nothing.

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    2. He is just managing the crazies. The numbers don't add up to the SMPD saying.

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    3. Emails to councilmembers which are sent to their official city email address are public. You can request to see them. Council members private email that is subpoenaed is also public. Problem with that is is that all the emails on their private email will then become public. Could be embarrassing........

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    4. It wasn't for Hillary. Oops, I guess she got rid of the embarrassing ones.

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  5. Is the only reason they are agonizing over outsourcing the PD because the CC, or some of them, owe the union? Seems like a no brainer to me. As for the library, outsourcing it to the private concern gives more hours and less cost. We're facing huge fines with the state for water usage, mainly do to leaks. The project that was supposed to start on Skyland didn't happen because Elaine was not up to snuff and really didn't do her job, but the CC seems to love her and she can do no wrong. What a mess!

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  6. It is going to be an interesting 5 or 6 months.

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  7. We need to clean house and start all over again. And it starts at the top.

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  8. $37,000 to hire a Police Recruit? What are they thinking? That includes one per fiscal year. So where is the money to finance this? We are speaking of getting rid of the police department and city hall is racking up costs for new recruits. Is this not insane?

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    1. Good question to ask the City: Would the proposed recruit also be getting CalPERS credit while he/she goes to school? What a freaking deal!!!

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    2. "Why is the City offering to pay $37,000 to hire police when we are on the brink of bankruptcy?"
      You read this first on tattler a month ago .It came from no less an authority than Ex-Chief Diaz.
      The City management and most on the CC have no concept of reality. There is no end to their Empire building with more Staff,more Healthcare Benefits,more Pensions. The CC is incapable of fixing this mess they inherited from prior CC's.
      So eventually our creditors and particularly CalPers will force their hand into BK.
      Imagine the consequence for Sierra Madre Real Estate values -toxic water and BK !

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    3. After four years of hiring and paying for their education, I costs at least 200,000 a year plus benefits.

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  9. Just bring in the L.A. County Sheriff's Department to receive 22% more police protection saving $800,000 + a year along with non payments to CalPERS along with NO UUT anymore.

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  10. There's got to be a morning out there.

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  11. Why does out sourcing services drop an A bomb on the Village atmosphere? We out source trash, street cleaning, park and cleaning services, youth activities and child care, Dial a Ride, road repairs, cable TV, etc. The great thing about out sourcing is, that you get bids and you can fire the company if the do not perform. Personally I don't care who checks out my books or patrols our streets.

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    1. Outsourcing destroys the power over taxpayer money exerted by public employee unions and political parties. Example: Union contributions to politicians who make sure govt. pensions and pay is increased. It's an awfuul cycle. It does make it easy to become an outsourcing fan though.

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    2. I don't know why I have to take care of them for the rest of their lives. I already have children.

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  12. I he mayor, the city council, the city manager and staff all contribute with All of the city of Sierra madre problems. They are all incompetent and have shown to make continued incorrect decissions!

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    1. I'm guessing you voted for some of the council members, and if you sweep them out you still won't be happy with some of the decisions they have to make. Unless you want to run yourself. . .? Easy to be critical, harder to come up with a better plan. Close the library, get rid of the SMPD, contact out the fire department and paramedics, forget the CERT, forget the senior services, scrap the special events and what do you have? A different city that wouldn't be anything like Sierra Madre.

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    2. Support the 20/20 proposalNovember 24, 2015 at 5:49 PM

      The only change needed is to accept the sheriff's 20/20 proposal and the $800k in savings it will yield annually. This one change will enable the city to increase funding for all ot the services 4:53 identifies. In other words, we will still have the city we know and love, albeit with a less expensive police department.

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  13. If that's the case, why do we continue to let them run this town? That's a great statement! Why?

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  14. City Council meeting is starting late tonight. What is up in the back room do you think?

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  15. Elaine is making negotiations for the police union. There were no decisions made. Bruce is now making his water report. Status of water: june exceeded request, July not so much, aug-the same. Sept, state advised of potential fines. October, not good, nov. not so good. Oct. 23,494. penalties, November 35,995. in penalties. wells-aquifier down .

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  16. Harabedian: why are acqifiers going down? Inman, primarily our neighbors. Arizmendi- do we normally have this kind of water usage. Inman-it was a warm November-WHAT NO WATER LEAKS????? WILL THE CC ASK THAT QUESTIONS?Elaine says they are repeated offenders. 65 % are repeaters. Now have a list, and will start calling after Thanksgiving. Capoccia-when will we go to monthly billing? Elaine-will be brought back Jan. 26. Capoccia says it should be moved up and give other suggestions to get these people to comply. We may have to make regular citizens pay more. NO MENTION OF LEAKS. Delmar-seems like we're using less water, June we used 174, based on production from 2013.

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  17. Inman: state looks at cumulative report and it's getting worse.

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  18. Will Elaine get to sign city checks? Can you hardly wait to find out?

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  19. Capoccia concerned with library facility assessment. Delmar says it's mostly ADA stuff. Looks like Elaine gets to sign checks.Capoccia seems to be interested in paying for police to go to the academy. No comments on the consent calendar from the audience.

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  20. I don't understand these people. Or am I just stupid and don't understand?

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  21. I cannot believe the council just unanimously voted in that police recruit program! I'm not surprised at Cappocia. He's a turncoat.
    But what's wrong with Denise and Rachelle??

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  22. They should outsource the Library.

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  23. Go with the Sheriffs and there will be plenty of money for the Library.

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  24. Go for the Sherriffs contract and outsource the Librarian position, will make them geniuses for a change!! I don't even live there and stumbled upon your blog!! If a ship is sinking....you thank God you even have viable options and take all that make common sense!! And just do it and quit pussyfooting around....or else everyone goes down in a sinking ship!! Best of luck to your people and community services!!

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