Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Apparently You Are Incapable Of Voting On A Taxation Issue Without First Reading A City Staff Report

City Council meetings are not ordinarily known for their moments of hilarity, spontaneous or otherwise. But there was a shining moment of unintended humor last night. Or two.

Apparently the justification for not putting this resident generated demand for a measure to get rid of the UUT on the ballot this coming April goes like this. Without city staff first creating a financial impact report to instruct the voters about what to do, people would be utterly helpless and incapable of making up their own minds. At least in a way the city would like. And this was all done with a straight face, like they actually believed what they were saying is true.

The delay caused by this report, which takes a full 30 days to create (staff is very busy), makes it somehow impossible to get the No UUT measure on the ballot for this April. Why both couldn't be done at the same time was not discussed.

Mayor Capoccia even stated that this financial report was being done for the benefit of the voters. Voters who, by his own actions, would now be prevented from voting.

Try and wrap your head around that one.

In other words, the City Council and staff are of the opinion that you the voter cannot possibly function on a thinking adult level without first being instructed by staff about how to properly conduct your civic affairs and duties. This despite the fact that very few people really give a damn about what city staff thinks, and if they do it could be so they can go in the exact opposite direction.

After all, aren't those writing this report about the potential financial effects of the loss of the UUT the very same people whose salaries and benefits are paid out of that money? Do you think there is a chance in the world that this report will not be written in the most dire terms possible? Is that worth delaying residents the opportunity to vote on getting rid of their utility taxes for two years? Does this initiative really have anything to do with the opinions of City Hall?

I don't know how the city could imply that they believe residents are clueless idiots in a more clear and concise manner. This cooked up baloney was done with only one purpose in mind, to keep the "Stop The Utility Users Tax Initiative" off of April's ballot and as far away from City Hall's own Measure UUT ballot initiative as possible.

Mayor Capoccia then went off dyspeptically about his run in with someone who was collecting signatures for the No UUT ballot initiative. This has become a fairly well known story in Sierra Madre, one we reported on a month or so back (link).


I guess this must have gotten under the Mayor's skin a bit. The above was posted on December 13th, a month ago now. Apparently it is still on his mind.

In case anyone is wondering what that huge librarian pension bit was all about, here is how that number is reported on the Transparent California site (link):


According to Mayor Capoccia's understanding of the situation, all city employees are now entitled to a $98,690.52 yearly pension?

Maybe he was just upset.

sierramadretattler.blogspot,com

63 comments:

  1. Good Luck Citizen Earl!January 13, 2016 at 4:54 AM

    Here is the study: the uut revenue figure of $1,596,800 turns into a ZERO. Stuff will have to cut.

    That is obvious to anyone - even the our very own financial wizard Tax Cutter John. Which is why I did not support Citizen Earl's proposal. I also do not support the city's 67% tax hike, which does nothing to attack the 47% police services spend making it impossible for us to make improvements to our parks, library and senior services.

    However, the council's treatment of Earl and his hundreds of co-signers has convinced me that the 0% uut must be supported when it finally hits the ballot.

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    1. Cut your nose to spite your face?

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    2. Going with the Sheriff's is more like a nose job. A definite improvement for most.

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  2. Ok, this makes the April vote very easy. Since the Council denied the citizens the right to vote on an initiative for such shallow reasons, then the only choice is to work hard and vote NO on the 10% UUT tax. It may not go to zero, but the tax payers will save 66% of their tax monies by voting NO on the 10% UUT. Don't let City Hall and arrogant Council members push you around!

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  3. I do believe what took place at and during Jan 12, 2016 city council meeting was called 'foot dragging' to slow the pace to take a last chance stab at explaining why and what the UUT is for in the first place? Yep it's a open piggy bank account the city manager can use to rob Peter and pay Paul.

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    1. same as when they were purposely sending misinformation the first time

      so if they were lying to us then what's different now?

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  4. Wasn't the librarian pensions one of the things Capoccia said the UUT petitioners were not being truthful about?

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    1. We need to move all of our employees to a defined contribution pension plan and get rid of the defined benefit pension plans that are causing all the problems. Until we do that, no one is serious about solving the problem of unfunded pension liabilities. Under the defined benefit pension plans, politicians can make overly generous promises in exchange for political support from the unions the bad consequences of which don't manifest themselves until the politicians who made the promise are safely out of office. Under the defined contribution pension plan, the politicians can't make empty promises but have to actually put money aside and budget for that promise each year....while they are still in office.
      Why doesn't anyone have the courage to talk about this. Afraid of the public employee unions perhaps?

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    2. Still it is even funnier that the city is paying a retiree to come back and be paid for a part time job operating the library, guess it's a case of LIBRARIANS RUNNING WILD!!!

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    3. Buckner will now get paid as the Intrim Director plus she will collect her $$$$$$$$ pension .
      Does the city have to pay CalPers on her salary? Will her pension go up since she is now in the system?

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  5. We have to vote no in April on measure UUT.

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    Replies
    1. for the 3rd time

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    2. Practice makes perfect.

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  6. I feel like there is more opposition to Richie's initiative than there even was to Measure V. Back then, at least the council allowed Measure V to be put on the ballot.

    What an injustice!

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    1. Wrong. The opposition to Measure V was much stronger and very well funded by outside interests.

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    2. The Sierra Madre Police Assoc is an outside interest.

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  7. A 2 year delay. 2018 before the No UUT measure will be on the ballot. Elaine did this.

    The only was to get the council to do what they should is to vote no on the UUT increase this April.

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  8. The city council is sworn to act in the way it believes to be beneficial to the residents of the city. Bankrupting the city is not in our best interests. An informed electorate is always a good thing. The self destruct measure will probably be on the June ballot so chillax.........

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    1. I'd be willing to chillax just fine if there was an obvious willingness to put the vote on the June ballot.
      That wasn't clear from the discussion last night. What was clear was the pandering once again to the whiny staff, "We can't do our jobs."

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    2. I hope you're right, 7:57. I am opposed to the 0% (and anything higher than 6%), but am very much in favor of the right to vote. If the council now moves quickly and directly to have the vote in June, it would help.

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    3. City Hall makes its own problems. Had they put this on the ballot it would have gotten about 25% of the vote and been forgotten. Now they've martyred it.

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    4. 7:57AM, your first sentence says it all. I don't want to see the city go bankrupt. If the CC did what your first sentence suggests we probably wouldn't be in the mess we're in.

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    5. If the city council just leveled with the people instead of feeding them all of that bullcrap they wouldn't have half the problems they have now. They are their own worst enemy.

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  9. Special Election?
    Recall Capoccia?
    This is much more serious than the UUT .City Hall (Elaine Aguilar) and her flunky Mayor Capoccia are obstructing due democratic process.
    Their explanation is that we are too stupid to understand the issue. Think about that for a moment. In what other countries does the Govt block the democratic process because it's electorate are too stupid to vote without an instruction from the Govt.? It is a frighteningly blatant abuse of our rights as voting citizens.

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    1. Have you got $10,000 and at least 30 good foot soldiers, 8:09? Recalls are hard and expensive, so unless you are willing to step up, it's not going to do any good to throw the word around.

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    2. So the librarian of our little city is going to get a pension of $98,000 per year for the rest of her life. I wonder if the librarian gets annual cost of living increases too. Just to put things in perspective, I would have to have an asset of $2,000,000 that kicks off 5% in annual income to generate what this librarian gets with her pension. We effectively made the librarian a multi millionaire. And that's just for a librarian. I refuse to support this any longer. As the Star News reported in an editorial recently, government employees are now getting better job security, higher salaries and better pensions than private sector workers. Just remember that while they get to retire at the ripe old agent of 50 in some cases, we are forced to work harder and retire later to pay for all this. If I'm lucky, I will be able to retire at 70 or 75. Or course, if taxes keep going up to pay for all these pensions including a small-town librarian making almost 100K a year for the rest of her life, then I may have to retire at 80 or 85. Some retirement. And John Capoccia wants to raise the UUT on me to pay for all this? I will vote no on all taxes every time until I can be convinced that the government is being run efficiently and cost effectively.....and such that librarians are not pulling in 100K per year in salary or pension and our cops aren't getting 30 percent or more of their total compensation paid in unneeded overtime.

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    3. There are actually 3 retired Librarians ! It is way worse than you thought.

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    4. Please tell me that little chart on the Tattler showing the pension costs of those 3 people aren't all librarians. I thought it was just one librarian getting a pension?

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    5. As I recall, Denise Delmar and Rachelle recommended to see if they can get the measure on the ballot in June, given that the city attorney and the city clerk said there was no time to get it on the ballot in April. Capoccia had nothing to do with it. It wasn't until the discussion was over that Capoccia expressed his displeasure about the signature gatherers.

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    6. You must have been drunk last evening.

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    7. Mayor Capoccia is wearing the same suit in both of those pictures. It must be his favorite.

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  10. Our city has taken the approach that increased spending is acceptable. Just some 7 years ago Sierra Madre's ciy income was 7 million dollars. At that time the city council created the Pensions and Cadallic insurance health benefits. Now the year is 2016, the city income is $25 million dollars and your telling me we don't have enough money to.pay our bills. If city hall can not find a way to reduce spending and fulfill their promise to provide in fracture, then we are at a crossroads, city employees must go and all city work must be sub contracted out. City council and city manager have created aHUGH Messs. Don't blame Earl Richie for making city council have to balance the city Halls Taxpayers check book$$$! I believe the taxpayers are on the right track, the cities money must be taken away to force city council to be held accountable with OUR MONEY $$$

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    1. Earl is the hero in all this. It can't have been his favorite thing to do - twice.
      We are in this mess because we elected fools who fell under Elaine's spell and betrayed the people who elected them.
      Until we get rid of Elaine and those on the CC who do her bidding, the problem will only get worse. If we, the electorate fail to act promptly and effectively, Bankruptcy Court takes over.At least we have a choice....

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  11. ENOUGH! I'm getting my Marijuana Lisc. and growing my 6 mature plants in the front yard.

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  12. JUST THINK... If we force city hall to correctly spend our money, maybe we can get rid of the Yellow / Red Leaded Water!!!! I have to pay city hall for this crapy water and then go to the super market to purchase 20 gallons of drinking water a week. Screw the city report, put the Repeal UUT Tax on the ballot I don't want to wait until 2018 !!!.

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    1. Everyone I have talked to from all parts of the city, their water is now clear. Looks like the last solution works.

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  13. My water has greatly improved over the last month no discoloration even tastes better and is once again cold. I run it through a carbon block filter,as I always have, and it tastes a lot like our old water.No lead worries because my pipes in the house are newer.
    Anyone else notice this?

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    Replies
    1. Our water has improved, too. But we had to put in a costly whole house water filtration system.

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  14. I believe this is a true statement. If pres oboma get paid $400k per year and oversees 400 million people, why is our city manager getting $325k to manage 11,000 people?

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    1. That certaily puts things in perspective. What a joke. These public employees have been taking us for a ride. They should never have been allowed to unionize. Do you know that the most powerful union in California is the prison guard union of all groups. That's because they have us by the throat. No one wants them to walk of the job and they know that. So does the police and fire employees. That's why even such staunch supporters of workers as Franklin Delano Roosevelt and LaGuardia out in New York did not feel that the public employees should be allowed to unionize. Its because we depend upon them for vital public services. In the private sector, the unions are somewhat constrained in their demands because if they demand too much, the company that pays their salaries will go bankrupt (even so, they often demand too much and the company does go bankrupt) but with the public sector unions there is no such constraint on their demands. They can just keep reaching into the pockets of the taxpayers and that's why salaries, benefits and pensions keep spiraling up with no end in site. The public employees will keep riding this gravy train until we get some courageous politicians who stop it or the citizens rise up and say no more. We are now at that point.

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    2. Please increase the UUT to 10% so the City can hand that money to our police department. Thank you, you City Overlord

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    3. I agree. If we don't they will leave. And then they'll be somewheres else and not here.

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  15. Yes, but have you checked your price for City Water? High right? Just wait until the City has to pay MWP for all the water they 'used' to re-create our original water. They dumped huge quantities of expensive MWD water onto our Spreading Grounds. A small amount of this finds it;s way to our well.Most goes to Arcadia who pump from the same aquifer and have a deeper straw.
    So long term our water rates will go up and we still have no improvement in water capture and storage. We are dependent on the weather and MWD. This mess brought to you by Bruce Inman and his lackey Chris Cimino .

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    1. Let's not forget Elaine.

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    2. The City Council has allocated $50,000 for the purchase of Power Ball tickets. City Staff will be making these purchases at The Bottle Shop 2pm this afternoon. Hopefully the city's financial problems will be solved.

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    3. You have to be in it to win it.

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  16. 8.41 yes there is lead water worries. The leaded water is in the cities pipes before it gets to your house. That was the speech which professor Inman made ///////

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  17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  18. Too much lead makes you real sick or can kill you. I have not seen the city statements as to the lead content in the water which city hall continues to provide us, have you?

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    1. Yes as of 2014 Bottom of page #2
      http://www.cityofsierramadre.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_212309/File/Departments/Public%20Works/water_quality_table_2014_20150528.pdf. Only source of lead detected is at home tap due to piping...........

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    2. A simple carbon block filter removes Lead that is present or not present if you're scared. You can also call the city 355.7135 if you're not afraid to speak to a human about your misconceptions

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    3. Lead is a serious issue. You'd have to be a complete fool to think otherwise.

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  19. Co po co needs to instruct the city hall to quit making checks payable to calphers. Let them sue us. We can clearly see this is an issue, we need to call Donald Trump to Help Make SierraMsdre Great Again!

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  20. Capoccia receives a phone company pension as a result of his union membership. This is why we is so fanatically devoted to big union pensions.

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  21. for those of you who have requested Donald Trump's email address, here it is djt@trumporg.com

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    1. Heaven help us. 11:59, are you serious?

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    2. Ugh. I hate that guy.

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  22. I watched the CC meeting on tv last night. I listened to Mr. Gold give his statement. The ladies answered respectfully. Then we come to the mayor who seemed to need to vent his anger on Mr. Gold. Does that mean we are no longer allowed to voice an opinion without his rancour as well as give up the right to make a choice in voting at the polls? And why does this initiative need to take 2 years? If no one votes for Capoccia in the election does that mean he will be elected by one vote; his own?

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    1. Bill "the Eagle" Tice. He is the only person I will be voting for. He has always respected the will of the people.

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    2. I too will fly with The Eagle.

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  23. If the UUT passes they are going to add police. Seriously.

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    1. The SMPD. The Blue Albatross.

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