Thursday, January 14, 2016

Measure UUT: The Rebuttal Statements

"Let there be taxes!"
Last week we posted ballot arguments both in favor and against the passage of Measure UUT. Today we are sharing the rebuttal statements, which will also be included in that voter guide the County of Los Angeles will be sending out for April's municipal elections in Sierra Madre. Fairly soon I hope. First we will print the rebuttal written in favor of Measure UUT. What is notable here is only two City Councilmembers signed off this time. The original pro-Measure UUT ballot statement sported the signatures of all five current council members. It is something that I consider to be significant.

Can it be the other three just couldn't find it in themselves to sign off on this series of agitated retorts? Would you have put your name to so hot-headed a document?


Two things that immediately jump out here. The first is that claim about $2 million dollars in cuts and savings. If City Hall had actually made this level of cuts, and hadn't merely shifted that money around instead, why would they need to try and raise utility taxes here for the third time? If actually made, wouldn't those cuts have twice offset the $1 million dollars in deficits cited by Capoccia and Goss?

The second unhappy mistake these two have made is citing that now infamous Sheriff's Proposal Review Committee meeting as a reason to vote for a 66% utility tax increase. In case anyone has forgotten, here is Pat Holland's letter to the Sierra Madre Weekly detailing how disgraceful and embarrassing an event that actually was (link).

Dear Editor: Rudeness at the Sierra Madre Meeting

I attended the Sierra Madre Sheriff’s Proposal Review Committee meeting on Monday, October 26, 2015, at the City Council Chambers.  The purpose of the Committee was to review the Sheriff’s three proposals to contract with the City of Sierra Madre in order to replace the existing Sierra Madre Police Department.  This is mainly due to the financial situation the City of Sierra Madre faces.  The Sheriff’s Department personnel from the Contract Cities Division were in attendance along with their Chief and the Captain from Temple Station.  The Sheriff’s personnel answered many questions as well as they could in a professional and courteous manner unlike some citizens of this City.  

I was embarrassed and disgusted with some citizens’ questions and non-questions that were posed.  There were a few citizens of this fine City who should be ashamed how they treated the Sheriff’s personnel.  One person who introduced herself as a doctor was absolutely rude and disrespectful.  She appeared to be a person who couldn’t care less about how people feel and are treated.  She was a disgrace to this City.  There was another person who never asked a question but went on and on bringing up ancient history and about how disgusted he was regarding how the Sheriff’s Department was corrupt and about things that happened over 20 to 30 years ago.

Some other people complained about response time and that the Sheriff could not respond as quickly as our current police department personnel can because they know the area.  I wonder if these people thought about when a new police officer comes to Sierra Madre if THEY know the area also?  Then there was a former Sheriff’s Volunteer who not only embarrassed himself by the way he disrespected the Lieutenant at the meeting, but he could not present any factual evidence on what he brought up.

Thank goodness there were some rational citizens who asked rational questions such as two longtime resident real estate agents.  They presented their positions and questions in a very professional manner.  There were other people who were courteous and asked questions or made statements in a very respectful manner.

Whether you are in favor of keeping the Sierra Madre Police Department or contracting with the Sheriff, they should have been treated with respect, just as you would want to be treated with respect.

-Pat Holland
SIERRA MADRE

As far as forcing "the disbanding of the Sierra Madre Police Department" goes, wouldn't that be the fault of those City Councils that agreed to overcompensate our cops by as much as $180,000 a year (link)? Something done by Councilmembers such as faux fiscal conservative John Capoccia? As any person familiar with math can tell you, that is far more than a small city of 11,000 can afford.

The second rebuttal statement was put together by three Sierra Madre residents opposed to this utility tax increase. An increase that, as I am sure you know, has already been voted down twice before. They too are focused on that apparently bogus $2 million in budget cuts claims cited by Mayor Capoccia and Mayor Pro Tem Goss.


Pretty much nails it, right? Once again City Hall cannot bring itself to tell us the real reasons why they need to raise utility taxes. After failing twice at the ballot box, you'd think they'd have learned their lesson by now.

Apparently not.

Speaking of the Devil

The Public Safety Committee, which is comprised of the same five people that ran the disreputable "Sierra Madre Sheriff’s Proposal Review Committee" meeting so deservedly trashed above, will be confabbing for the first time in 2016 this evening. 

Here is what their agenda looks like:


And that, my friends, is all of it. Not so very much. Should anyone decide to attend they will be treated to an hour or two of the windy and at times absurdly inaccurate opinions of Glen Lambdin on the topic of Measure UUT

I'm fairly certain this unhappy event will be carried out in front of the empty room it so richly deserves.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

36 comments:

  1. Tax Cutter John Cappoccia and his cohorts should have noted that the proposed 2016/2017 budget includes - you guessed it - another $230k in general fund spending increases. Where is it going? If you guessed for increased salaries for the police department and staff you win a signed Harabedian police union endorsement card!

    John, for entertainment purposes could you print Tax Cutter John's statement in opposition to the last uut tax increase. You know, the one before he met the police union on the road to Damascus.

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    Replies
    1. Got it right here.
      http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com/2016/01/john-capoccias-e-mails-opposing-uut.html

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    2. AnonymousJanuary 14, 2016 at 9:31 AM

      City hall failed to tell the complete truth! ,1) did city hall tell anyone how much new income was derived in year 2014 by taxing Sierra madre residents? 2) did city hall tell anyone that city hall created new taxes in year 2015 which brought in $1.5+ million more dollars 3) did city hall tell anyone that the average new water meter tax was $30.00 a water meter per billing period ( that's 4000 water meters times $30 which equals $120,000 times 6 billing periods, which equals $720,000 thousand dollars per year more money ) 4) city hall attitude is tax the hell out of all residents, create higher salarys and cadalic health benefits and death benifit plans at the Entire Expense of All city residents. We The Taxpayers need to process more Initiatives and take more money away from city hall until we can get city hall to cut spending. The city Machine is broken, if cc will not cut taxes by God the taxpayers will!

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  2. Why does the public safety committee need to discuss the UUT? Doesn't seem to really be within their purview.

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  3. Will the Pig Lady be there?

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  4. When you have a mayor who can publicly call out any citizen who disagrees with him, what do you expect? People like him are not put in their place in the present culture. It's not PC to call him out! Thank you Mr. Crawford for trying.

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    1. Capoccia need to Represent us ,not Rule us.
      He seems to think that getting elected on false promises is a mandate for dictatorship.

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    2. Capoccia works for staff.

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  5. So the council performed its "due diligence" with the convening of a public safety committee? Really? Does "due diligence" include creating a committee of a brother and sister (Coburn, Burnett) , the sister being married to Bob Burnett, a recent Fire Captain, and Glenn Lambdin, former council member of questionable mental stability? Just because they claim " due diligence" doesn't make it so.

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    1. Marilyn Diaz was on the Sheriff committee with these folks. Her CalPERS haul is immense.
      http://transparentcalifornia.com/pensions/pasadena-fire-and-police-employees-retirement-syst/

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    2. So are the legal bills we continue to pay.

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    3. Due diligence; a brother and sister, an ex fire captain, and a former council member of questionable mental stability. Sounds like a fair representation of the town folk to me.

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    4. 6:26 AM: You are erroneously citing M. Diaz's Pasadena retirement data which has nothing to do with CalPers.
      See http://transparentcalifornia.com/pensions/search/?a=calpers&q=Marilyn+Diaz&y=2014

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    5. "As of 5-4-01, The City of Pasadena has entered into a reciprocity agreement with CalPERS. Individuals transferring to LACERA after 5-4-01 who have worked for the City of Pasadena Fire and Police Retirement System may be eligible for reciprocity."
      http://www.lacera.com/benefits/Reciprocity/reciprocal_systems.html

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    6. "In a victory for the free speech rights of public union officials, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal revived a claim by a police officer that the City of Sierra Madre violated his First Amendment free speech rights. In the Ellins v. City of Sierra Madre case, plaintiff John Ellins, a police officer for the City of Sierra Madre, and President of the Sierra Madre Police Association, led a no-confidence vote of the police officers’ union against the Chief of Police, Marilyn Diaz. Diaz subsequently delayed a five percent salary increase for Ellins.

      The appeals court held that a jury could find that Ellins spoke in his capacity as a private citizen, not as a public employee, when he led the vote of no confidence. The court noted that collective personnel grievances raised by unions may be matters of public concern. In this case, the police union’s concerns were with the police chief’s leadership style and other department-wide problems, not private grievances.

      The appeals court also held that a jury could reasonably find that delaying and denying a portion of a pay increase was designed to retaliate against and chill Ellins’ political expression. The court rejected the police chief’s claim of 'qualified immunity' as a government official, since she acted unreasonably in light of clearly established law."
      http://www.unioncounsel.net/developments/public_sector/protection_of_union_official.html

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  6. Looking at the Transparent California compensation figures for Sierra Madre, why are the total benefits numbers so high? Some are over $60,000 for 2014. Why? I thought benefits were cut.

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  7. The pig lady is the "Doctor. ". She is pathetic.

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  8. Since the tax spigot was turned on NO ONE such as the professional politicians and city manager of Sierra Madre ever want it turned off, this revenue source for he city is also the life line of there political aspirations and livelihood. In a nut shell all those voting residents are about to remove that monkey off their backs as well.

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  9. If anyone deserves to have someone good running against him, it is John Capoccia.

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  10. The Rebuttal for Arguments in Favor of Measure UUT is scathing. Those pesky numbers tell the truth.

    It definitely shines a light on the voodoo economics aka "cost cutting" that Capoccia, et al claim to have made.

    Wonder how much of the "cuts" were done involuntarily when Gov. Moonbeam Brown took away the Redevelopment Funds honeypot? Hmmm?

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    Replies
    1. City Hall will not admit that they have screwed some things up badly over the years. So instead of the real story, we are getting warmed over fairy tales from the last 2 UUT misadventures. Crazy.

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  11. Hmm I didn't know an opinion could be inaccurate. Silly me.

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    Replies
    1. That sounds like an inaccurate opinion to me.

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    2. Inaccurate opinion sounds so much better than "lie" or "factual inaccuracy". LOL

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    3. Yes. And because it is an opinion you cannot argue with it.

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  12. City hall failed to tell the complete truth! ,1) did city hall tell anyone how much new income was derived in year 2014 by taxing Sierra madre residents? 2) did city hall tell anyone that city hall created new taxes in year 2015 which brought in $1.5+ million more dollars 3) did city hall tell anyone that the average new water meter tax was $30.00 a water meter per billing period ( that's 4000 water meters times $30 which equals $120,000 times 6 billing periods, which equals $720,000 thousand dollars per year more money ) 4) city hall attitude is tax the hell out of all residents, create higher salarys and cadalic health benefits and death benifit plans at the Entire Expense of All city residents. We The Taxpayers need to process more Initiatives and take more money away from city hall until we can get city hall to cut spending. The city Machine is broken, if cc will not cut taxes by God the taxpayers will!

    ReplyDelete
  13. There are some things I don't understand:

    1. Who came up with the names for the so called Public Safety Committee? It seems to me the only rational composition would have been to solicit interest, put the names in a hat, and pick randomly. Not one of the folks who has such influence over the City's safety has any experience to speak of in rational decision making, but much to commend their membership in the Civility Committee of some years back. Shame on you, City Council and Elaine. You've been once again unduly influenced by Bart Doyle and his cohorts.

    2. What does John Harabedian, John Capoccia, and Elaine have to hide by diverting the will of the people? If the state of the city is so dire why aren't they being open and frank? They continue to hide behind nonsense fantasy solutions and refuse to release information that would make for an informed voter decision.

    What are they hiding? To whom do they owe their souls?

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  14. Dispirited and discouragedJanuary 14, 2016 at 11:17 AM

    I've served on a number of these citizen committees. They are not designed for fact finding or truth telling. The committee members start their service by being instructed in restrictive parameters - what info they can or cannot request, what assumptions they can or cannot come to, and what recommendations they are allowed to make. The City Staff ALWAYS writes the final recommendation to the City Council which may or may not reflect the findings of the committee.

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    Replies
    1. It is considered a "best practice."

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  15. I'm confused. A blogger wants transparency from City Hall and complains the water department has brought in several thousands of $$ from additional taxes without our knowledge, however I wonder where (s)he was when the city discussed raising water rates and meter and sewer rates. I wonder where (s)he was when the council discussed the fact that the water department and the city government are separate entities and the water funds do not go into the general funds. I wonder why the complaint now, then we hear constantly (probably from the same blogger) that the city does not spend enough on fixing the water infrastructure and that is why we have so many water main breaks. Please tell us mr blogger where the 1.5 million dollars new taxes in 2015 came from? If the city created a new tax, then we should take legal action since I don't remember a 218 process during 2015.

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    1. There are probably 30 articles on this blog dealing with water rate and sewer fee increases. You must be new.

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    2. I think 2:12 may mean an anonymous commenter not a blogger? I'm confused

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    3. I need a drink.

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    4. Let 2:12 educate himself / herself. There's not enough time in the day.

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  16. Hey Mr confusion.... your right I am a new blogger, and I got new math skills.... go look at your June water bill. How much money did city hall charge you for the water meter ___?___ . Did you get a January water bill... If so how much did city hall charge you for your water meter bill? ___?___. Its easy, subtract the two, how much more are you being charged? _____ take the difference, multiply it times 4100 city water meters times 6 billing cycles. How much more money is city hall charging its water meter customers, almost $800,000 a year. you are right, There was No Prop 218 Vote. city hall is just a bunch of cry babies, city hall is rolling in money, just think, its your money. cheers

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