Saturday, March 19, 2016

Measure UUT Postcard Shocker: A Sierra Madre City Council Supports A Tax Increase

Silliest damn postcard yet. Where do they come up with this half crazy nonsense? Of course the entire City Council supports Measure UUT. It is a tax increase ballot initiative, and Sierra Madre's City Councils always support tax increase votes. It is a timeless Foothill Village tradition.

Even for those City Councils with members who ran for office as candidates opposed to utility tax increases. Which for this card is 60% of the smiling emojis pictured above. Also a Foothill Village tradition. It is some sort of a mysterious transformation that takes place once anti-utility tax increase candidates are elected and park their mighty fine selves behind the dais. They quickly develop tax hike ants in the pants, and Good Lord Almighty they sure wanna dance.

Maybe it is that pod people thing. Or somehow the City Manager has convinced them to turn over their eternal souls, which she then keeps under her desk in small dark blue bottles. Preserved in pickle brine, powdered batwing and Clorox. I hear she has quite the collection. Certainly that would explain her ability to hold onto that job while everything she touches crashes, burns, explodes, or just flat out fails.

But wait, there's more. Apparently the "Yes On UUT Party" has now spent so much money on these dotty cards that they've run out of money. Why? That Tattler bashing 4-page flyer their narcissistic Pasadena campaign manager spent $3,900 dollars on, done in a steaming hot snit because this blog dared to point out his utility tax flip-flopping ways, helped break the piggy bank.

So now they've been forced to hold a fundraiser. Over at Harabedian's house, of all places. An appropriate setting for dull and uninspiring tax cultists to gather and chew their cuds. Think of it as an exclusive tax hike party just for Measure UUT supporters, necessary because the Five Emojis and their preening campaign manager spent all of the money. Nothing new in that, right?

Did you get this e-mail recently via something called Mail Chimp?


You might want to think carefully about this. It is 2 hours of your life that you will never get back.

Also from today's "Yes On Measure UUT" postcard


I'm sorry, but that is flat-out untrue. A large portion of the funds that would be raised by Measure UUT will go to pay for things like Sierra Madre's over $9 million dollars in unfunded CalPERS debt. It is the elephant in the room that this City Council refuses to acknowledge. Probably because it might cause you to vote "NO."

Rachelle Arizmendi on tax hikes when she ran for office in 2014


"The City of Sierra Madre must learn to live within its means without tax increases."

Uh, sure. Also, apparently Rachelle's solution to "the city's unfunded pension liability ... a growing problem that must be solved" is Measure UUT. Meaning 100% of that money isn't going to stay in Sierra Madre to fund things such as the paramedics or library like it says on "Yes On Measure UUT's" deceptive postcard. Rather a big chunk of it is going to CalPERS, which is located in Sacramento.

Is Eric Olson "All Caps?"

Mod: Interesting exchange on the "No On UUT" Facebook page.


Some of you might remember Mr. Olson from his One Carter/Maranatha advocacy days. Good to see he hasn't gotten the least bit smarter with age.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

86 comments:

  1. The fact that the City Council needs to hold a fund raiser to push their Yes on UUT message because the have already spent all the very generous donations they have received proves that they are unable to manage other people's money properly. This alone is reason enough to vote NO on the UUT. The only way to make them be responsible is to take away the money they so flagrantly spend.

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    1. it'd help if they'd tell the honest truth also

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  2. So your solution is the city should refuse to pay its debts and go bankrupt ?

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    1. Making the departure of the SMPD official and replacing them with the Sheriffs, while also doing away with the additional $1 million in spending City Hall added in the last two years, would tidy things up nicely. Remember, the city has had since 2012 to clean up its messes. That is when the UUT increase was first voted down. They chose to do nothing. Why? Because they knew they would just keep asking for more every two years. They want your money. They do not want your opinions.

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    2. The only way you can force government at any level to live within its means is to deprive it of revenue. What they get, they will spend - expenses will always rise to meet the income. This is all about the public employee unions and increasing salaries, benefits and pensions for their members. Pretty soon they will be retiring at 40 with 90% of their salaries guaranteed for the rest of their lives. Its a scam and they want us to keep funding it.

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    3. They need to control spending. The reason they keep doing it is because the taxpayers keep bailing them out. Besides that, its all about getting more money for the employees.

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    4. Rachelle has to understand that Harabedian is using her to advance his career. He is no friend of Sierra Madre. He only thinks about his own ambitions. We are all just a pawn in those plans. Unfortunately, it costs us all money to advance those plans.

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    5. The guy who must be defeated is Harabedian. I can live with Capoccia who at least tries to do the right thing. People must write in Barry Gold. Harabedian must be defeated.

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    6. Don't people understand that Harabedian is using them. He is doing this to retain the political support of the public employee unions. If for no other reason, that's why we need the Sheriff's. We then won't have the police union meddling in our local politics.

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    7. As I warned people - you John - at the time Rachelle is a beta follower who would do nothing. You get who you vote for.

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    8. If Harabedian is re-elected it will be a disaster. Barry Gold needs to get on the Council.

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    9. 5.53 "So your solution is the city should refuse to pay its debts and go bankrupt ?"
      There is no choice in the real world. Ruin this City's finances and the same result is inevitable.Just a question of time and stupidity. Unless a grown-up takes charge of the situation.

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    10. Rochelle is a big girl, active in State political scene as well as Federal government. To think she was duped by Harabedian is split sides laughable.
      She is smarter than Harabedian by miles.

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    11. yes, I do think the city should bankrupt themselves. Those aren't MY DEBTS.

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    12. Yes, 9:38 is correct, Rochelle is a sharp one. Isn't her photo op on the front page of the Views News? Sierra Madre is just a stepping stone. Promise them anything to be elected, then vote for a UUT tax hike!

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  3. Spare the Feckless Five!March 19, 2016 at 6:04 AM

    I agree with 5:53.

    This 67% tax increase is a small price to pay in order to spare our delicate council members the agita associated with having to deal with any spending issues.

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    1. They are a bunch of hothouse orchids, aren't they?

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  4. And reducing Sierra Madre city services is good because why ? Because pushing the city into bankruptcy is fun?

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    1. How many of the city's services do you actually use? The City of Bradbury, one of the richest towns in the area, gets by with 4 employees and the Sheriffs. City Hall's contribution to this community is way overrated. This town succeeds because of its residents.

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    2. ...And the gated security entrance to keep out the rest of the world

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    3. If it keeps you out I'm fine with it.

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    4. Reducing what city services? You're defeating your own 66% tax increase argument. We'll still have police services with LA Sheriff Dept. , albeit with real detectives and investigative capabilities.

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    5. Re: 6:12's comment about bankruptcy. Have you noticed that the Yes on UUT crowd no longer claims that the library will close or that safety services will disappear. No, they have ramped it up to total bankruptcy of the city. 6:12, if you used your reason and logic and eschewed your hysteria, and looked at the facts, you would see that a 66% increase is not necessary. But, thanks for playing.

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    6. The Yes On UUT people are lying. Plain and simple.

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    7. The Yes people will say anything that will scare people the most. It changes according to what is the most scary. Its always the same. Usually people fall for it. I hope they see through it again this time.

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    8. 6:23 = idiot

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    9. I honestly think many of the Yes on UTT people just haven't been properly informed, or they can't see all the details of both sides; if they did I do believe they'd toss some of those yard signs in the recycle bin. Many of these people are thinking they are "doing the right thing" and feel good about it because their neighbors are putting out signs too. But, hopefully when it's voting time - everyone, not just purple sign people, get out to vote.

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  5. The City Council has not been truthful with us. That alone should guarantee your no vote on Measure UUT.

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    1. it started with the sneaky utility company lawyers using the situation to push their pet projects and hiding the actual facts from us

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  6. Once you get on the Council, you've joined the "inner circle" - the club so to speak. To be a member of that club and go to the right parties, you have to compromise your principals. Very few people are courageous enough to withstand the pressure.

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    1. In 2012 & 2014 the last two times an UUT increase failed, Council support was 4-1 for the tax jackup.

      Looks like all the 2016 council drank the look-aid.

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    2. Good question: If the 2012 City Council had done something about SMPD's & CalPERS' taking nearly 60% of the budget, we'd already have LA Sheriff Dept. coverage.

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    3. They all want to hobnob at the right parties. They join the "club" and then all campaign promises go out the window. Then the sole focus is on how do I get re-elected to stay in the club.

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    4. 6:14 AM Perhaps Mr. Gold will try and be different. He has taken no money for his campaign so he owes no one. He has been going door-to-door. Not sure others have. He seems to be honest, willing to listen, and succinct. Would be very interesting to see him voted on the CC, have the UUT pass and see what he does.

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    5. To 6:14. Maryann had that courage and look how they smeared her.

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  7. Actually the city council represents the residents of Sierra Madre.It's called democracy.

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    1. Blind obedience to government is not democracy. The people have the right to speak out about things that concern them, and challenge or even replace faithless elected officials. Perhaps you are confused and believe you are living in North Korea?

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    2. This city council with its spendthrift ways doesn't represent me

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    3. Dissent is patriotic!

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    4. 6.16 :"Actually the city council represents the residents of Sierra Madre.It's called democracy".
      Wrong
      The City Council was elected on their promise to stop the fiscal mess.Then they flip-flopped. They were lying .Lying to get elected is not Democracy -it is just lying.

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  8. If more than two council members attend this fundraiser, isn't that a Brown Act violation?

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    1. Sure it is. But no big deal, the city apparently is spending taxpayer dollars to support a tax increase, which is also illegal. At least they're consistent.

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  9. Theres more flipping on this city council than at a pancake breakfast.

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    1. It's not flipping. It's called "evolving". Which is what a flip-flopper is.

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  10. The entire Sierra Madre city council are nothing but puppets, they know nothing of which they speak since the city manager and finance director have pre programmed their speeches for public consumption etc.. When the UUT tax measure supported by city hall fails then their will be some tall explaining as to where the money has been spent and why, a forensic audit will be needed as was used in city of Bell, California crash.

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  11. I made a special trip to the Chantry Flat gate at the top of Santa Anita Ave. to see if the gate closure at 8 p.m. was added to and covered by the new nighttime patrol by the LA Country Sheriff's Department. There were two patrol cars, with the ingress gate closed and the egress gate opened for another 15 minutes until the two officers on duty would close the gate at 8 p.m. This was policing at it's best and better that the local force ever did. Frequently in the past I would drive by and it would be open far past 8 p.m. The residents in that area and all of Sierra Madre have been protected from brush fire starts by having that area closed overnight for the past 30 plus years. We took it seriously and got the city, county and US Forest Service to agree to night-time closure but the local PD took their own sweet time more often that not and put our efforts on the back burner. Bring on the Sheriff full-time in Sierra Madre and things will be a huge improvement. (Of course some wag will point out the difficulties in the LA Sheriff's Department as if that should be the big reason we would not want them here. Such illogic is easy to refute.)

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  12. Unfortunately many in Sierra Madre can't see the logic in bringing in the Sheriffs, saving a lot of money and getting improved services. Rather it is all about how they perceive themselves. Somehow the badly depleted boutique SMPD, which even when fully staffed barely attained mediocrity, was somehow seen as being a positive reflection on them. Apparently that is all that counts. It is a bizarre way of viewing the world.

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    1. When Sierra Madre contracts full time with LASD, we can put Sierra madre stickers on the LASD cars. Contract cities do that all the time.

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    2. Q: So Sir, will you tell the court what you were doing right before the SMPD officer shot you?

      A: Waking up in the back of my Nissan.

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    3. The special interest group that meddles the most in local politics are the police unions. They don't live in the city but they always spend money to influence the vote in favor of tax increases so that they can get higher pay, benefits and pensions and retire at ever-younger ages. Don't fall for it. There has never been a tax increase that the police union has not supported for these very reasons.

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    4. SMPD is just a protection racket.Tell me when they last did anything impressive -please.

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  13. The problem as I see it is this city govt thinks the people of Sierra Madre are idiots who are not smart enough to understand the real issues. And if Measure UUT passes, they'll be right.

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    1. The Great UnwashedMarch 19, 2016 at 8:12 AM

      That's what a lot of American politics is. That is, the "Anointed"(Ivy League educations, etc, etc) think the people are stupid, so the "Anointed" have to tell the stupid voters what's best for everyone.

      Gag me with a spoon!

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    2. Harabedian thinks that because he went to Yale, he is smarter than the rest of us. All he wants to do is advance his political career which is why he recently left the private sector and became a public employee himself complete with his own union. Where do you think his sympathies lie? I'm just disappointed that Denise and Rachelle fell for it. They started off so strong that we all thought real change was coming to Sierra Madre.

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    3. How about giving the cult of the UUT 2 options .

      1. Agree to a transparent forensic audit going back 7 years .

      2. No UUT increase goodbye Elaine and SMPD..

      I'm thinking number 2 because it's symbolic of what our city employees are full of and won't bring out the specious nature of city spending.

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  14. At least Noah Green had the decency to admit he wanted to raise the UUT.

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    1. Before or after his naked pictures were on Facebook?

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    2. the Yes Facebook page deletes any comments that are No.

      who's more democratic?

      the Yes campaign from day one attempt one has been distorted with misinformation and outright lies

      who's more democratic?

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    3. It was his way of being transparent.

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    4. That's a good point. Noah ran on that platform and was defeated. How are Denise and Rachelle any different from Noah? And now they are all going to Harabedian's house for champagne and caviar as they raise money to increase our taxes. Unbelievable.

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    5. Denise and Rachelle are far worse than Noah. Noah was honest about his intentions from the beginning. I don't agree with him but I respect his honesty. Denise and Rachelle.....I'll listen to your explanation about why you changed your minds.But no such explanation has been given.So in my eyes you are just 2 more dishonest petty pols.Convince me otherwise -please because I voted for you based on what you told me when you wanted my vote.

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    6. vote noah new tax

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  15. no surprise, Eric Olson is another blather mouth blah blah blah lawyer.

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  16. The 'dark forces' have made it harder to access this web page of true patriots rather those forces are redirecting inquires via the internet dead end links, the pressure must be getting to them is they take these kind of steps to hide the truth from inquiring minds.

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  17. I AM VOTING TO TAKE THE MONEY AWAY! City hall is swimming in the Taxpayers money's!

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  18. I heard that city hall is discussing the purchase of a new 2016 red mercedez convertible for the police chief and fire chief. Don't forget the light bar and sirene!

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    1. Every time I saw a Sierra Madre police vehicle, it's an SUV. Haven't had the luck to see a sedan yet.

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  19. I heard that city hall is discussing the purchase of a new 2016 red mercedez convertible for the police chief and fire chief. Don't forget the light bar and sirene! From a concerned taxpayer. Please don't forget a bag of dope for each one of them? I hear it's grown in the canyon....

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  20. So you think that Sierra Madre should not pay its debts? Do you have a legal basis for doing that other than forcing the city into municipal bankruptcy?

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    1. Pure Alinsky tactics. Nice work. No one writing this blog said the city shouldn't pay its debts.

      Now, p*ss off.

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    2. Getting those debts down to a manageable level would be nice. Between the pension and water bond debt we're talking ovef $30 million dollars. The madness has to stop somewhere.

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  21. You've gotta be kidding meMarch 19, 2016 at 12:09 PM

    The fact that these clowns can't even budget their own election propaganda properly demonstrates their incompetence than anything we ever could say.

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  22. Does anyone have proof of the hotty in the red convertible Mecedes Benz ?
    I have a hard time picturing our City Manager with her top down ... Sorry,car top down,hair flowing wildly in the wind,and wearing Hippster sun glasses.
    Clown Car yes,Benz no.

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  23. But I repeat myself... The night the first UUT committee met in the city council chambers, staff representative, Bruce Inmann, delivered the staff report, i.e. directions the committee should follow to look for more funding for the city. It was stated loud and clear, they were NOT to look for any areas to economize in...it was a stand up and leave the room moment that they missed. I talked to a couple of them later and that was their first urge but they were there to volunteer and soldiered on. Dang it!

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  24. Barry gold advocated for a 9 percent UUT in those meetings.

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  25. Barry also said the 9% uut would have to have a sunset.

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  26. and the UUT should sunset because one day Sierra Madre will explode with sales tax revenue right? Sierra Madre is the 4th most dependent city in the state on UUT revenue (out of 480 cities). Why should it ever sunset?

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    1. It's difficult to argue with people who don't understand what they are saying. The UUT itself doesn't "sunset," and that's not the argument. It's the amount. Sierra Madre's UUT was at 6% for more than 15 years. Same sales tax, same "4th most dependent" city. None of that is new. The city survived, flourished even, at 6%. (And it's important to note, even at 6%, the UUT now taps into a lot more money than it did back in 1993, long before we had iPhones and large data plans.) In 2008, the council came to the voters and said, look, times are unusually tough (we were, in fact, in the middle of a national economic meltdown). We need to ask you to TEMPORARILY authorize a higher percentage. That's where the term "sunset" was born re the UUT. The voters approved that temporary increase with the understanding that it would incrementally "sunset" back to where it ALWAYS WAS (6%). Now, with no national economic crisis, no specific explanation about what is consuming our tax funds at such a dramatic and unprecedented rate, no specific strategy, and no particulars about how the money will be spent, they are asking for a bump to 10%, and IN PERPETUITY. Frankly, at the very least it should have a sunset clause. At least then I would sense my dollars are really helping a well-contemplated strategy instead of going into an abyss (which is precisely what concerns our candidate for treasurer). I have already voted no, and did so specifically because there was no sunset clause.

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    2. Dear 9:38

      You explanation for the need for a sunset clause is the most articulate, concise, and logical reason I have ever heard. Thank you for so clearly pointing this out to us.

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    3. Wasn't there a gathering at Sierra Madre School with Mayor Clem a long time ago to discuss a temporary tax? Was that the UUT's formation? I thought that tax was supposed to terminate after a designated time. Anyone remember what that tax was?

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    4. wrong. The UUt was raised to help fund the police and paramedic services. at 6% Sierra Madre could not afford and did not have Paramedic services...so you want to close the police department and cutoff paramedic services to get us back to the good ol'6% days?

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    5. the UUT was never "temporary". it had a sunset clause to give the voters a chance on whether or not they wanted to continue funding the police department and paramedic services. The police department is closing itself naturally so at this point voting NO on Measure UUT is a vote to terminate paramedic services.

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    6. Your statement that the increase in the UUT was proposed as temporary because of the economic downturn is false. Reproduced below is the language from Sierra Madre's Measure U in 2008, which passed with 62.6%:

      Measure U: "Shall an Ordinance be adopted increasing the City's existing Utility Users' Tax by up to 6% in order to maintain general City services such as public safety services, including police and paramedic programs, and to reflect technological advances in communications, expand existing exemptions to low and very low income households, and establish a citizen's oversight committee?"

      Measure UA was also on the ballot and passed with 64%:
      Measure UA: "If Measure 'U', the increase in the Utility Users' Tax, is approved by the voters, should the additional revenue generated by that increase be used to fund public safety services including paramedic programs, police salaries and benefits and additional safety staffing?"

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    7. 6:32, your Alinsky is showing again. Nobody ever said that.

      PS: You really should go to those anger management classes.

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  27. No sunset clause = a no vote for me. I would have voted for no UUT had the City Council not hijacked and stalled the measure. A no UUT would have forced the City to stop their profligate spending.

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