Monday, December 28, 2015

Pasadena Star News: How Sierra Madre’s water issues went from bad to worse due to the drought

Mod: Big Sierra Madre article in today's issue of the Pasadena Star News that pretty much nails it. The problems here are far more complex than what most cities are facing.


Mod: For the rest of this article (and to view Bruce Inman's video) click here. It goes into the damage done to Sierra Madre's 80 year old pipes by chloramines, the massive amount of leaks, how this has affected the city's ability to reach its state mandated water usage goals, potential huge fines, plus a lot more.

Including some interesting funding questions.

One thing that this article does not explore is how it all got this bad, but then nobody has done that. Ancient pipes and all. That would require naming the names of people who now prefer to remain out of sight. Something they have successfully been able to do so far.

Be sure to check out the video. Is your water clear now?

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

63 comments:

  1. The article suggests that if the UUT increase goes through, some of the money will go to fix water infrastructure. Is this true? And if so, how much?

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    1. UUT money goes to the General Fund. None of it would EVER go to fix pipes.

      The water dept. is a separate entity. The huge water rate increases that started in 2014 are supposed to do that.

      In all likelihood the UUT increases will be spent to cover the ever increasing costs of CalPERS pensions. Aka the "CalPERS tax" moniker you'll see on here.

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    2. Those lines seem to get blurred in the minds of some residents.

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    3. Support the 20/20 proposalDecember 28, 2015 at 6:21 AM

      Read the whole article. The mayor suggests that the GF could be tapped to pay for infrastructure.

      That will be difficult since the city has no GF surplus, the council refuses to create $800k in savings by contacting with the sheriff under the 20/20 proposal, and, incredibly, not one council person has said the simple words "the smpd Union initiative is a bad idea that will kill the budget and must be defeated."

      Under these circumstances it appears the uut increase will be handed over to the smpd Union. It must be defeated.

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    4. He didn't mean water infrastructure? Seems very nonspecific.

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    5. In this context it would seem to indicate water infrastructure.

      "The council also increased its penalty fees for excessive water use, though it will offer a one-time penalty waiver for customers with water leaks, once those leaks are fixed. It also recently voted to add unpaid administrative fines to customer’s water bills for incidents such as watering outside of allowed days.

      The city has billed about $155,000 in penalties as of October, but not all have been collected. Capoccia hopes those monies will go toward fixing the city’s infrastructure, not the state fine."

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    6. Council "may consider borrowing from the general fund."

      Nothing to borrow. 47% goes directly to the police union. If the council accepts the 20/20 proposal there will be $800 k annually to fund baseball, books and bubbies. And to apply to water infrastructure.

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    7. Having a $9 million dollar obligation to CalPERS can put a city behind the financial 8 Ball.

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    8. That's a lot of lattes'.

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    9. To fix the pipes the city will have to float a bond. Just more and more debt placed on the citizens because of the city staff and council mismanagement.

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    10. Perhaps a better term would be to "sink a bond"

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  2. "Capoccia said he now sees things the city could have done years ago to help fix the infrastructure and better educate residents."

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    1. you mean when the city used water money for pet projects and kept lying to us about the UUT and our water infrastructure? it's a problem when the "education" is actually misinformation and bold face lies

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  3. I live on the north end of Sunnyside ave. In the last 3 weeks my water has greatly improved.No yellow,no putrid smell when I turn on a faucet that hasn't used recently,and I can smell chlorine,just like I used to for the last 50 years. This recharging I hope is a step towards getting our good water back.

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  4. The best solution is it rains a lot this winter and the city's wells are filled naturally.

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  5. We the taxpayer must have a honest city council. Not a city council built on false promises. We work hard for our money, I am tired of paying increased calpers pensions. Calipers Must go and all city council and staff who support it! Otherwise there will never be any money available to repair the watr in fracture whic the CC caused to ruin.

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    1. CALPERS WILL NOT GO! Get over it. We agreed to it, we a legally bound to our contracts that we make. We can try to reduce our liability but CalPers is here to stay. Offer tangible solutions or ST*U

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    2. Here is a tangible solution. Hire the Sheriffs and send the way over priced SMPD packing. $800,000 saved, and far more effective law enforcement.

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    3. Don't be too sure about the "far more effective law enforcement" part.

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  6. Lets see here when a average citizen or resident of Sierra Madre strays from a municipal code infraction or law they are held accountable but when ANY city hall official or city council person does the same or conspires to defraud the public they are give a 'free get of jail pass' the word pass means they are not held accountable for their action and the cost of their corruption and fraud is passed on to the tax payers to fix. Looks like the failures are mounting up tot he point that corrective action is needed, new city council people and a complete top to bottom house cleaning of city hall managers & employees.

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    1. 9:49: Please specify the particular codes or laws you believe have been violated by city hall officials and city council persons, the particular facts that lead you to believe there were violations and fraud, and who you believe committed the violations and fraud.

      Try to keep in mind that just because you don't like how something is handled does not make the person handling it guilty of code infractions or fraud.

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    2. 9:49 is like most of the annon commenters here, hates every city council even when they are put in place by his/her like minded friends,hates all city employees because they have pensions,can't accept any responsibility for his/her actions/inactions,must have somebody to blame for everything.,flings wild accusations.... Needs to "Man Up" and come up with some solutions instead of whimpering in an Anonymous forum

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    3. Amen. As I've said before, If you think you can do a better job, then you run for City Council. You'll find it is not as cut and dried as you think

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    4. Dear 10:25, why don't you screw your sanctimonious self. Free speech is free speech.

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    5. We're not talking about walking on water. We are talking a out telling some simple truth.

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    6. This is the best City Council we've ever had. If you don't think so, then you're not paying attention! They are trying to fix the ineptitude of previous councils, particularly the horrendous actions of John Buchanan, Joe Mosca, and the absolute worst - Nancy "I put you in and I can take you out" Walsh!

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    7. No. They are serving the same masters as Buchanan et al. The municipal employee unions. Not a dime's worth of difference.

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    8. 4:23, I agree with everything you say, except who is/was the worst.
      That is a tough decision, but I always had the feeling that wacky Nancy was just Buchanan's puppet, so she's not really at the top. Rob Stockly, the fraud who worked for a bank that was in bed with that hillside 'developer,' is in the running, John Buchanan, of course, and perhaps the Building Industry attorney who kicked off the pro-over-development phase in Sierra Madre, Doyle. And let's not forget the ladies, Joffee and Torres, who each did plenty of damage in their own ways. It's a grim fact that there are plenty of choices for "worst."

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  7. for starters
    1) City Council & the city manager made many public statements and provided documents to water paying customers that the water rates would be increased and the water infrastructure would be replaced! Then the entire cities wells ran dry. and then this failed to happen 2) the city manager lied and the city council followed - listened - and made no corrections to those lies by agreeing that the water enterprise had its own state of California corporate ID number, its own specific checking account and monthly bank statements, and further stated that the water and sewer fund monies were never commingled, but later stated that all water and sewer income monies were now placed in the "general fund". there are little truths at best unless challenged by the taxpayer himself> I believe this is no way to run any city when it is the taxpayer who feeds its employees who can always be replaced! I sat right there in city hall, at the city council meeting and heard the topic discussed, if this is un true statement and needs corrections, please ... lets get the words corrected or its agreed they are fully correct...

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    1. I get it. If we don't correct word the terrorists win.

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    2. All generalizations. What are the code/law violations? Where is the fraud you speak of?

      Once again: Please specify the particular codes or laws you believe have been violated by city hall officials and city council persons, the particular facts that lead you to believe there were violations and fraud, and who you believe committed the violations and fraud.

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    3. 12:06, you are a pain in the ass. You're not my boss, please piss off.

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    4. How can anyone look at the state of Sierra Madre's Water Enterprise and say a crime wasn't committed.

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    5. Sorry 11:43/12:53, I can help you try to think clearly and maybe help you understand the law, but I can't help you with the problem you report at 12:53. But in the end, I always wish you the best.

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    6. Well said. But seriously. How can you look at the godawful state of our water company, and the millions in interest only bond debt, and assure mecthat a crime was not committed. You mean to say that is how business is supposed to be done?

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    7. See 2:44, that's a fundamental flaw in the way you're approaching the issue. It's not up to me or anyone to prove that some unspecified crime occurred because some unspecified people committed some unspecified acts or omissions.

      It's up to those who are making the charges to prove that the violation or fraud occurred.

      The public record is there. Sure, it may take some work to figure out where the money went or if it went where it's supposed to go, but just because you don't know the answers doesn't mean that the people handling the money should be accused of crimes and fraud.

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    8. It's a blog, not a courtroom, Judge Anonymous. People say pretty much whatever they feel like. And you never did answer the question. Then again, who cares?

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    9. So charges of crimes and fraud should be based on feelings?

      How about starting with actual demonstrable facts showing who did what and when, not speculation and "feelings."

      And if you do have damaging acts or omissions and particular actors, perhaps, before making accusations of crime, you might want to consider A.C. Clarke's view: “Never attribute to malevolence what is merely due to incompetence.”

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    10. You don't have to make excuses for yourself. We accept you.

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    11. Thank you 4:38. I should have expected that. After all, you base your behavior and decisions on "feelings!"

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    12. Better my feelings than your malarkey.

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    13. Attention 12:06. If you don't agree with us then don't bother to post since we don't want to hear anything but our point of view.

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  8. FACT the johns and gooses are in over there heads!

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  9. Why would anyone want to give away the reasons for charges being brought against Sierra Madre officials before the long arm of the law has a chance to charge them, pull a 4 am raid and make them do a 'perp walk' what fun is it for them to know ahead of time? All they will do is Lawyer up and be using city tax funds to defend themselves along with others like the city of Bell got in to.

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    1. That quite a movie scenario someone is imagining.

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    2. More like reality TV.

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    3. Maybe the perps can prove their innocence through ordeal by water: those that sink are innocent; those that float are guilty.

      If any can actually walk on water, End Times will take your mind off your water bond woes.

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    4. If someone could walk on the Colorado River waters in Bruce's speading grounds these truly woukd be the glory days. Can we get Paulie Goosebumps to try?

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  10. 12.06 misrepresentation, comingling of funds, the sales of lead in potable water, do you get it now? you must be part of the problem???

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    1. "Yes, yes, I will give them lead! Lead I say. Bwa hahahahhahahha!" Is that what you imagine?

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    2. Substitute "30 million in water bond and CalPERs debt" for the word "lead" and you'd be on to something, Bunky.

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    3. 11:43 said the "water enterprise had its own state of California corporate ID number, its own specific checking account and monthly bank statements...."

      If this is true, does anyone know whether the speaker was referring to a separate cost center line item with its own account number rather than an entirely separate bank account? After all, governmental entities frequently have a general fund with many cost centers, each bearing their own cost center number and budgets.

      I.e. Are the water funds legally required to be in a separate restricted bank account?

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  11. Bart Doyle was fined $5,000 for voting on a proposal for street improvement that affected the location of his private residence on Baldwin. That is how City Council members can "break the law" and "pay for the consequences." Jim McRae, City Administrator before the term was changed to City Manager, was pressured by a group of citizens to exit stage left when their research showed that he used funding from one specific source to pay for projects elsewhere, small stuff like asphalt for the Bailey Canyon public restroom addition to patch a city road elsewhere. And on and on. If I can dig up the report I will be glad to pass it on if there is a new group out there willing to slog through the city files and expose what is happening now. We can do this contact through the Tattle Administrator as I intend to remain Anonymous.

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    1. So are you saying that unrelated things that may have occurred years ago show something wayward occurred with respect to SM water funds?

      Or are you just stating it as an axiom: public official therefore corrupt?

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  12. What 4:44 was pointing out goes hand in hand with the long held view that Sierra Madre Water Department was the cash flow for the city for a variety of other projects when those collected monies should have gone in to continuous infrastructure upgrades. Had that happened quite likely we would not have the deteriorating water system that we have today.

    There are people in town who have spent some serious money on filtering systems whiile the city delivered fouled water to them and others who have tried to cope by running their taps to try to get some drinkable water. Then there is the flushing and burping of city hydrants to the tune of a over use fine from which we might not be excused.

    Not fiddling while Rome burned but flushing while we all are crying "foul!"

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  13. I would love to go through the cities books but I'm not a forensic accountant. That is what it will take to get to the truth in the city.

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  14. 11.44 there is always a solution to reduce the calpers debt. It's called BK. Get over it!!!

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  15. Here's a good idea. The community got together and signed the petition to Repeal the UUT taxes. What do you think about filing a petition and ballot to Repeal All Pensions ... is this something you can live with?

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  16. 3.39 do you like drinking the yellow water with the lead in it? How many family members did you have?

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