Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Yes On Measure UUT's Pasadena Campaign Manager Martin Truitt Once Sang A Different Tune On The Reasons For Sierra Madre's Approaching Financial Insolvency

The Untucked Taxman
Before he somehow decided to run the disingenuous campaign to hike utility taxes in Sierra Madre by 66%, campaign consultant and Pasadena resident Martin Truitt had quite a different viewpoint on things here in Sierra Madre. He exchanged a series of emails with The Tattler, and at that time was quite clear that the source of this city's approaching financial debacle is Sierra Madre's $9 million dollars in unfunded pension debt. With or without the cash bounty of Measure UUT.

Martin also supplied the research I used to write an article about Sierra Madre's CalPERS pension debt. Ironic when you consider that he has now been running around town singing a completely different tune into the pickled pink ears of Measure UUT supporters here. But then again, politics does make for strange bedfellows, and the sight of Mr. Truitt sidling up to some of Sierra Madre's most gullible and misinformed residents and telling them that Measure UUT is necessary to help rescue Sierra Madre's Water Department, the Library, or its feckless deserting Police Department, is amusing. You have to wonder if perhaps he has been politically channelling the equally pliable H. Susan Henderson (link). With a generous side helping of Elaine Aguilar, of course.

Here are two emails Martin Truitt sent my way that should give you the full flavor and depth of the man's cynicism. This first one deals with what he then saw as some of the consequences of Measure UUT going down, and was sent to me last December 22nd.


There you go. Shut down utility tax increases, dump the SMPD, bring on the Sheriffs and stop the ever increasing cop pension debt that is strangling Sierra Madre to death, and only then raise taxes. But just for the express purpose of actually fixing infrastructure. Something that previous tax increases were not used to accomplish. It would be the same with Measure UUT.

Makes a lot sense to me, though again I doubt this is the kind of information Martin is currently sharing with Mayor Capoccia, Chief Giannone, the Womans Club or, for that matter, the rather colorful Dr. Emerson.

Here is Martin Truitt's December assessment of the upcoming City Council election in Sierra Madre.


Perhaps Mayor Capoccia and Councilmember Johnny Process are using some of their richly endowed campaign war chests to pay for the political expertise of the celebrated Pasadena campaign manager Martin Truitt? I have heard that he does not come cheap. Loose lips and all.

On December 12 of last year I posted an article here called "CalPERS/GASB Debt Numbers and Facts: Sierra Madre, Arcadia and Pasadena" (link). The research for this article was provided to me by Martin Truitt, and the information he provided was both shocking and discouraging. It is also quite different from what he its now saying as the political consultant to the Yes On Measure UUT campaign.

Here is some of the product of our collaboration.

We've been writing on and off this week about the big news that cities such as Sierra Madre, Arcadia and Pasadena will soon have to put their unfunded pension obligations and debt data on all of their official yearly accounting paperwork. Some real and very significant transparency for a change, and on an extremely controversial and costly topic.

Cities will no longer be able to hide their financial mischief and unfunded pension obligations in the basement anymore. Those days are now forever gone. To put it in other more official sounding terms, under Governmental Accounting Standards Board No. 68 (GASB), government agencies will soon be required to record a “net pension liability” on all of their balance sheets. Right out there in the open where everybody who cares to can check it out.

These amounts must be disclosed on financial statements issued on or after June 30, 2015. Many local governments have a June 30 year end. Those financials are typically issued in December or January. So by next month the rapidly approaching insolvencies caused by the stupidity of politicians and the greed of public employees will be there for all to see.

The good news here is that for the first time ever Sierra Madre's vast "net pension liability" has actually been included in a city financial report. Per California's new laws on this stuff. We will be reporting on that soon.

But just in case you can't wait, here are some figures that were first provided to me by "Yes On Measure UUT" campaign manager Martin Truitt. Back when he was thinking differently.


Sierra Madre, in case you are concerned, is rapidly approaching technical insolvency. And the main driver of this financial clown car to hell is CalPERS pension debt. $9 million dollars of it. And while it is to the credit of Martin Truitt that he helped reveal this information here on The Tattler, it isn't what he is saying now in his role as the political muscle behind Measure UUT.

Not that anyone should ever be surprised.

Tonight's City Council Meeting

Apparently the City Council will happily authorize the spending of $400,000 in reserve cash to fund overnight LASD patrols of the streets of Sierra Madre. Necessary because half of the SMPD deserted the people of Sierra Madre. Even those ditzy darlings who love them.

This is being done to buy Chief Giannone some time to replace those fickle fleeing flatfeet. But if he can't get that done as quickly as the City Council hopes, that spend could go as high as $1.2 million. Just so you know. Not bad for a city whose leadership keeps telling the good people of Sierra Madre that yes, they have no bananas.

Of course, the City Council could cut to the chase and hire the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department on a full-time basis, and right now. In the process saving the taxpayers of Sierra Madre as much as $2 million dollars.

But it would make too much sense. And besides, the Mayor's dozen or so email pen pals would probably be very upset. Better to just raise taxes and spend like there is no tomorrow. Because with the likes of John "The Great Tax Fighter" Capoccia and his confidante City Manager Aguilar running the show, there probably isn't.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

74 comments:

  1. Martin is just like all the other unprincipled political hacks. He is readily sold to the highest bidder, or as my mother used to say " money on the wood makes the fiddlin' good."

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    1. ? the dude lives in Pasadena and he's meddling in our business?

      makes me vote NO even faster

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    2. Nancy Walsh was unavailable this year.

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    3. Give the guy a break! He is only trying to make a living. What does it cost to pay for Mike compared to the money the City makes if UUT wins.

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    4. Oh good. Someone from "the people don't have the right to know" crowd has chimed in.

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  2. Unfunded pension liability is the main cause of municipal bankruptcies. Sierra Madre is no different. We are simply paying our employees too much on the front end and the backend. We need to raise the retirement age to 60 or 65 so that it is more in line with what happens in the real world namely the private sector. Let these people do something for their pay and not retire as early as 50 with a huge pension. Its absurd. With police and fire, they should have to walk the beat or be on the front lines fighting fires but let them have a desk job after 50 or let them work security in our schools rather than pay them $100,000 for a lifetime of Sundays or supplement the income from the next job they take when they don't "retire".

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    1. Actually very simple. NO pension payouts if the retired employee obtains another job. NO double dipping!!!

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  3. Truiette is a hired gun who has no scruples. He'll take any position so long as he gets paid for it. Those emails reveal his true feelings. He is now getting paid to hoodwink the voters as he takes a diametrically opposite position.

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    1. He could careless if the UUT passes or not, Mike gets paid either way.

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    2. Who's Mike? Michael Jordan?

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  4. This is a standard move for Martin Truitt. First gin up a controversy, then find someone to pay you to make it go away. I would guarantee he's talking trash about the Tattler to his new clients. Probably telling them he's got the mid in his back pocket. Truitt is pond scum.

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    1. Words matter, Sir. You just insulted all pond scum.

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    2. Truitt has a problem with anyone who doesn't agree with him at the time. Of course, it is hard to keep track of where he is at from day to day.

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  5. Beware of well funded spokespersons! as they know only what they are paid to say or preach.

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  6. Three points.

    First, this explains why the yes on uut page is a dact free zone.

    Second, the size of that dude's tummy proves he is a banquet service politico.

    Third, it explains why a local politico, let's call her Sandra, approached me in the market a few weeks ago, suggested a get together with some secret folks to help with the inchoate no on uut campaign, and told me we would need at least $10k to defeat it. I think she was trolling business for her old campaign manager Martin. Since we can't pay him he sold himself to the other side.

    We have the facts on our side. We don't need to hire a hack tele tubbie to get the facts out. Be specific, courteous, and persistent. The police department is crowding out spending for parks, seniors and our library. Now go get 'me.

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    1. The aspersions you are casting on Sandra are incredibly wrong. Just so you know.

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    2. I dunno, 7:06 sounds about right with the local politico

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    3. Get Your Facts StraightFebruary 23, 2016 at 11:33 AM

      7:06 - I guess that is why she has a NO ON UUT increase sign at her home? Think and verify before you mouth off. What did you do to ward off the last two UUT increases other than to make it someone else's responsibility to oppose and fund the increase. Ya, that's what I thought. Loser.

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    4. Their, they're, there.

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  7. Martin Truitt is a CPA by trade, and this is tax time. How is it he is able to find the time to get involved in this stuff?

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    1. my guess would be income from rental properties but that's just me

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  8. Here's an idea for everyone in SM and other small cities with minimal sales and use tax collection:

    You're already paying sales taxes on much of what you buy, but most everything you buy, you buy out of town. So which cities get your sales tax dollars? Pasadena, Arcadia, Monrovia, etc.

    Perhaps it's time for sales tax dollars to be spread around a little more evenly, with some flowing to the city of residence of the purchaser.

    So let's say you're a Sierra Madre resident who goes to Best Buy in Pasadena to purchase that big screen TV you've been longing to spend much of your life with. SM, which gets none of your sales tax dollars, should get a share.

    It will require legislation, but it's certainly worth considering. Cities with large sales and use tax revenues that fight such legislation should be boycotted.

    An alternative may be to make your sales taxable purchases online so the sales tax is based on the place of purchase; i.e. your home. This, too, will likely require legislation to ensure that the city of residence gets a share.

    I know the use of the word tax may cause some to choke on their morning egg mcmuffen, but keep in mind that these are not new taxes--just SM getting a share of sales and use taxes already being paid to other cities by SM residents.

    Are there any tax gurus out there who know sales and use tax law, or is anyone willing to research whether this has been tried before? (I mean real research, not just intracranial "research.")

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  9. It seems greed rules the day and morality is a passé word. Get the word out people. Join Barry Gold on February 28 for a meet and greet and see what can be done for Sierra Madre.

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    1. Where is this taking place?

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    2. Where is what taking place?

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    3. Barry Gold's meet & greet.

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    4. Who's on first?

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  10. It's interesting that Sierra Madre residents walked the streets, obtained signatures to make city hall put Repeal the UUT tax on the ballot, and further Moore, our mayor chooses to wait almost three years to put the UUT tax on the ballot. This is voter supresion, our mayor needs to go

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    1. The "Wolf" needs to go...Recall the Wolf Mayor!

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    2. I'm fine with Capoccia. I'm looking to get Harbedian out.

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    3. I guess some of you have forgotten that there are five council members, all on whom have only one vote. All five voted to put the vote off for two years.

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    4. I'm not find with Capoccia, Harbedian or Gross. All need to go NOW!

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    5. Yes. All three cannot be trusted.

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  11. I love Sierra Madre politics. There is no other city like it. I hope it doesn't go out of business.

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  12. Martin was right before he was wrong.

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    1. A lot of us were right two years ago. But things have changed, although some of you refuse to even accept this fact. Some of us are now supporting a yes became we are able to discern what is the right thing to do at this time. By the way, Truitt has been consultant to at least two candidatess you have advidly supported.

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    2. A lot of us were right two years ago. But things have changed, although some of you refuse to even accept this fact. Some of us are now supporting a yes became we are able to discern what is the right thing to do at this time. By the way, Truitt has been consultant to at least two candidatess you have advidly supported.

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    3. A lot of us were right two years ago. But things have changed, although some of you refuse to even accept this fact. Some of us are now supporting a yes became we are able to discern what is the right thing to do at this time. By the way, Truitt has been consultant to at least two candidatess you have advidly supported.

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    4. I Voted for You! Woo. Woo.February 23, 2016 at 12:22 PM

      Pat, thank you for chiming in here. We really need to start talking to one another rather than posturing and yelling. Your appearance is a welcome development. Can you please educate us as to your position.

      Tell us what has changed?

      Tell us why you believe contracting with the sheriff and saving $800k a year and freeing up money to spend on parks, the library, and youth is to you problematic?

      Tell us why you believe SMPD, which has been decimated, which the city says will require a year to restock with rookie officer at a temp services cost of $100k a month, is superior to the sheriff whose proposal will provide 20% more patrol officers for 20% less money.

      I look forward to your responses, and applaud the moderator - referred to by some Kathy lady on the no on uut site as "the most hated man in sierra madre" - for making comments on all sides of the issue available on his blog. as I always say, the facts are what they are, and should be freely exchanged between friends and neighbors. Thanks
      Tell us why

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    5. Do you know what? If the city would just acknowledge its mistakes and apologize it would go a long ways with me. The reason I will probably will probably vote no is city hall acts like it is perfect. It is not. They have run this city into the ground. I am not against shelling out a few bucks to save the place. But don't go acting like these things are not the city's fault. They are, and we deserve an explanation.

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    6. Ain't.Gonna.Happen.

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    7. Well, evidently Martin has changed.

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    8. I'm reminded of a David Bowie song.

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    9. Truitt changed depending on whom was writing the checks. The facts haven't changed since the December email Truitt wrote.

      "You don’t need a weatherman
      To know which way the wind blows

      "You don’t need a weatherman
      To know which way the wind blows"
      ~ Bob Dylan

      http://www.bobdylan.com/us/songs/subterranean-homesick-blues#ixzz411tfPhqH

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    10. I would like to hear Pat's thoughts,too.

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  13. Money talks. The mouth goes to the highest bidder.

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  14. if they all put it off, then they all need to go!

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    1. I agree. Poor decision making and incompetence should not be rewarded with a fat pension for life.

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  15. My concern is our fiscal responsibility going in to the future. Based on what I understand that contracting the LA Sheriff's is the best solution, as is voting for the Utility Tax increase. However I will not vote for this tax increase if it is to be misspent on a SM Police department that is floundering with poor leadership and future rookies providing security. The current plan to temporarily hire the LA Sheriff's for night patrol and also to hope that the rookies are trained and experienced to safely patrol 24/7 in the allotted time frame is irresponsible use of our Sierra Madre funds. Please use your common sense. Yes it was a sweet ride with our own SM Police Department and a privilege to have them. It is now time however to bear the truth that our budget needs have changed to be able to secured our other assets that allow us to live in "our village".

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    1. When the old black & white TV came out, everyone had to have one. As time as moved along so has the quality of the TV. The Sierra Madre Police Department is the OLD Black & White. It is time to upgrade. That old black & white business model no longer works. It is now cheaper to buy a new HDTV then to repair the old one as our police department. Out with the old!

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  16. I meant to say "bare".

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  17. OK all you No on the UUT, it's time to put your money where your mouth is. Send your name and phone number to the blog and you will be contacted about your contribution . If funds are not collected, then you have no one to blame but yourself.

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    1. You are authorized BY JC to solicit donations?

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    2. First I am hearing of it. Please don't send me anything. I'm busy enough already.

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  18. Let's get transparent. Maybe the moderator can provide us with a blog site to post or names and contributions. Cheerd

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  19. 10% UUT with no sunset clause, no way. Fighting this one all the way to the bank. We need better management not more taxes. A permanent 10% UUT with no sunset will be followed with more taxes anyway so we might as well stop this crazy tax right now. This city council is not doing it's job, they are afraid of something.

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  20. NO MORE TAXES, NO MORE TAXES, for the third time NO MORE TAXES. It is time to stop taxing and start managing.

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  21. Capoccia is quoting an article about Fay Angus from the Mountain Views News. Fay despised Susan Henderson.

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  22. Wow. Pro-Sheriff speakers. Will wonders never cease? Where is Dr. Emerson?

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  23. Oh, here we go. The Sheriff's are "on an on call basis." Ill informed or just flat out lying.

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  24. This guy likes the city's cops. Which half? The ones who deserted or the ones that can't find jobs elsewhere?

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  25. Bruce Inman says they have finally contacted the 30 biggest water users. Why did that take 6 months?

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    1. Councilmamber Delmar just called Inman out on that. Good move. They had said they were going to do this months ago.

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  26. It's official. $9 million in CalPERS debt. Per the auditor. Good work for Sierra Madre!

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    1. No City Councilmember has asked for context. Of course.

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    2. Yep.$9 million CalPERS debt. Oh, thank you for doing such a nice job!

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    3. Cappocia is scolding. What an ass.

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    4. Let's keep SMPD and see if we can hit $18 million CalPERS debt. Woo hoo!

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  27. Nice talk from Barry Gold. Followed by some poor lady who incorrectly believes the Sheriffs would be based out of Temple City.

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  28. Capoccia is now stopping a resident from discussing the Sheriffs on the stationing issue.

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    1. Cranky old dude.

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    2. Cranky old dude ?
      More like Mr.Burns on The Simpsons .

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