Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Is The "Yes On UUT" Campaign Telling The Truth?

Your city government at work?
Apparently not. Nor is the City of Sierra Madre's very own City Hall.

Most people in town would tell you that the reason they are going to vote "Yes" on Measure UUT is because they want to save the Library, or what is left of the Sierra Madre Police Department, or the Paramedics, Water Department, that sort of thing.

And you really cannot blame them too much. After all, isn't that what they are being told by the people they've entrusted to run their city's affairs? So why should the residents not believe what these people are telling them? It is not like they would deliberately fudge any facts in order to get more money out of the taxpayers, right?

Then again, maybe they would.

Unfortunately, Measure UUT isn't going to pay for anything quite that useful. It isn't going to fix the pipes, repair the sidewalks, trim the trees or maintain any parks. Mostly it is going to be used to pay for employee salaries, benefits and, for the largest part, Sierra Madre's potentially crippling CalPERS municipal employee pension debt.

There is a very interesting website called Pension Tracker (link). It is run by a Dr. Joe Nation, who is the Project Director for the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. As in Stanford University in case you had any doubts, or feared some sort of conspiracy. Here is a screenshot from the site that displays just how immense California's government employee pension debt problem has become.


This $946.4 billion dollars in unfunded statewide liabilities is unequally divided among hundreds of California cities, Sierra Madre included. Here are the numbers for the town we're discussing today (link).


There are a lot of interesting and very large numbers there, including that $9,665,477 in "unfunded actuarial liability." What that means is the solons who run this city's affairs have committed to more than $9 and one half million dollars in CalPERS pension debt that they cannot otherwise pay for without first raising utility taxes here a full 66%. Out of an incredible total amount of $36,907,048. And, under California state law, the only way they can do that is to get you to vote for Measure UUT.

However, the political problem for these folks is that should the city share the real reason driving their need to get Measure UUT passed, paying for vast amounts of stupidly acquired pension debt the city cannot otherwise cover, they fear you will not vote for it. So instead City Hall, along with the mercenary-run and veracity free Pinocchio Posse' at the "Yes On UUT" campaign, have chosen to tell you that instead it is to "Save the Library," the Paramedics, etc.

None of which is actually true. Though yes, City Hall probably would fold the Library before reneging on their CalPERS obligations. 

According to Pension Tracker, every individual household in Sierra Madre owes $6,754.00 dollars in "unfunded market liability" CalPERS debt. That is what each family living in Sierra Madre is on the hook for right now. And it will go up even more. Measure UUT is how City Hall plans to collect on that debt to pay for its immense CalPERS liabilities.

And why would the city want to do this? Partly because it is their pensions that are at stake. How will they be able to retire if they don't? Or if the City of Sierra Madre slips into insolvency because it cannot pay this debt? Which, right now, it cannot. They're almost $10 million dollars in the hole.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of misinformed people out there who probably never will be able to wrap their heads around any of this. Or, as P.T. Barnum famously put it, "There's a sucker born every minute."

In Sierra Madre you can tell who they are by the purple signs in their yards.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

32 comments:

  1. So eac household owes over $6700.00 dollars to CalPers TODAY. And if the city does nothing regarding the way they hire personnel, it will only continue to increase. As we have seen, the city is still choosing to dig in its heels and refuses to change the way they operate. They have chosen, instead, to continue to squeeze the taxpayer for more and more money to go to someone who no longer works for the city and is instead sitting home collecting a very nice paycheck every month. There is something very wrong with this picture. Ineffective management and dupliticiousness has gotten us here.

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  2. You owe it to the police department. Especially the ones who left this city in the lurch.

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  3. How come I can't post on the Yes On UUT Facebook page? Is it censored?

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    Replies
    1. Good question. Are you being a jerk?

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    2. I tried that awhile back and my post was taken down. They monitor the site and apparently don't allow opposition.

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    3. 8:03 - I think the jerks run the Yes On UUT site.

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  4. how many times must we say no, only to have this come up again and again? library? who has time to actually use it? too busy working to pay the other taxes.

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  5. Face it, the city lies. Always has. Nothing has changed.

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  6. 'To tell the Truth' is this a new game show? Or was that 'What's my Line' ever since politician's stopped placing their hand on the Bible and accepting the oath of office there seems to be a lot more crooks slipping into office lately? Better yet why not swear them in at the begining of each public meeting - so help me God.

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    Replies
    1. As a citizen, if my political representatives do not tell me the truth - how can I make a rational choice?
      Answer : First find that truth elsewhere. Then the problem is solved.
      Truth is what Tattler delivers. For that I am very grateful.

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    2. City Hall has a serious credibility problem.

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    3. Who needs credibility when it's easier to instill fear in our large voting block of senior citizens .
      Just a personal observation.

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  7. Why don't those people who are always willing to "write a check" or I'll pay more just pay up and decrease the debt?

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    Replies
    1. Make your check payable to "City of Sierra Madre" and note "To pay CalPERS" on the lower LH side of your check. You can drop it off at City Hall.

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    2. How heart warming it would be if they would volunteer to write checks so that Officer Potato Salad can have a carefree and secure retirement.

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  8. Bill Engvall said it best.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBjelRDKHUk

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  9. No More Taxation, city hall must reduce their $24 Mioon dollar spending habit!

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  10. Has everyone seen how busy our maintainance people have been with sidewalk repair and tree trimming?
    I guess city hall got the message about obvious infrastructure issues.
    And so close to voting time ... Why is that?

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    Replies
    1. Actually I didn't.

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    2. they always try to do more before the wistaria fest

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    3. what was the attendance like this year?

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    4. Seemed pretty high when I was there mid day

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  11. While I was scouting out Wisteria Fest 2016 I happened to notice an incredibly large realtor "open house" contingency along with that was the large number of people going to these open houses and checking out our neighborhoods ... One couple I witnessed had a measuring tape and were measuring off the green patch at the back of the library.
    I'm wondering if they were thinking mc mansion wide or mc mansion high?
    Another issue I've come across is new home buyers ripping out part of their new homes and loading all of the debris in their garages and taking it away at night .
    It looks like some of our new to Sierra Madre residents didn't get the permit message.
    And we wonder why Sierra Madre doesn't have any money ?
    When I get a cut of the pensions and perks our city employees get I'll be more than willing to do part of the job for they seem to overlook or be over burdened by.

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    Replies
    1. Where are the taxpayers' Platinum Pensions?

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  12. Council Member Denise Delmar, who supports a Yes vote on Measure UUT, is a liar?

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    1. Council Member Rachelle Arizmendi who supports a Yes vote on Measure UUT is a liar and a sucker? Do you think Elaine really has that much power that she can fool these two smart women into believing this is all a scam to raise her salary? Think!

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    2. Actually you have now made 2 incorrect assumptions. The only liar and sucker here is you.

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    3. 12:18 is looking for human shields.

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    4. I don't think either lady is a liar. I believe DelMar didn't vote for the last UUT, mainly because there was a sunset. Not sure about Arizmendi. They are only 2 people. I will not vote for this UUT because it has no sunset. Long after DelMar is gone it will keep going up. The same with Arizmendi. We have little revenue. What can be done about that? Cut the high price where you can and that's the PD. It is ironic that Arcadia wants to take away the UUT, Sierra Madre wants to keep it. It would be funny for the Yes on UUT people if their fees keep going up. Only mine will, too, and I won't be laughing.

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    5. "Arcadia" does not want to take away the UUT. It is a small group of puppets for the California Tax Limitation Committee who are making up false numbers and sending out lies. Arcadia's citizen have all but put the move to remove the UUT down. Bad ideas are hard to sell, and lies don't last long when the truth gets out. The repeal of the UUT in Arcadia will die by a majority vote and the California Tax Limitation Committee will have to find another town to sell their bad idea in.

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  13. Great editorial in today's paper! http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/opinion/20160316/how-sierra-madre-voters-should-handle-measure-uut?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

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  14. What ended up happening with the Hildreth lawsuit against the city?

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