There are several theories for why it might have come to this. The first being the SMPA had second thoughts about doing such a thing, and pulled back. They may have come to the conclusion that putting their "Prohibition Of Alternative Law Enforcement Service Providers" initiative on the ballot just wasn't going to fly with too many people, and that rather than helping their cause could have actually made things worse for them. To the point where they could have politically damaged the effort to pass Measure UUT, the City Hall initiative to raise utility taxes 66% here in order to pay for things like, you got it, the Sierra Madre Police Department.
The SMPD, along with its benefits, CalPERS pensions and lavish overtime pay, is the single most expensive employee cost this city has ever had to pay. And while there are a considerable amount of misguided people in town who believe Measure UUT exists to save things like the Sierra Madre Library, or repair water infrastructure, this utility tax hike initiative will almost exclusively go to cover the personnel expenses of costly city employees like the members of the SMPD.
Another possible cause for the failure of this SMPA initiative to get on the ballot would be the decline of the political organization that was its most obvious ally. The Buchanan/Moran/Walsh political satrapy that had been asked to gather the signatures necessary to put this initiative on the ballot just didn't come through. They no longer had the troops or motivation necessary to make it happen.
The third and last theory we have for this rather embarrassing SMPA failure is that they just didn't have it together enough to get the job done. This might also be a likely cause. Despite claims of somehow being organically connected to this community in ways that other law enforcement agencies could only hope to be, the SMPD's labor organization just isn't that politically an effective organization in town.
Out of town commuters all, few people here actually know the officers of the Sierra Madre Police Department. Nor do they know the residents.
This does leave the SMPD in a vulnerable position. Should Measure UUT fail this April, they are pretty much out the door. The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department would need to be hired in order to save the city $800,000 it no longer has. And without the SMPA's "Prohibition On Alternative Law Enforcement Service Providers" initiative in place there would be nothing to prevent this from happening.
One more thing before I wrap this up. What happened to all of those special people who showed up at City Hall a few months back to noisily proclaim their support for keeping the Sierra Madre Police Department? I recall some of them boldly stating that they would do whatever it takes to keep the SMPD here, no matter what the sacrifice.
My guess is that when it came time to live up to their edgy words, and actually get out there to knock on doors and obtain the necessary signatures, they just lacked the energy and motivation.
I for one am not that surprised.