Thursday, March 17, 2016

More Pasadena Star News Coverage of Measure UUT

Michael Amerio
Yesterday's Pasadena Star News editorial calling on the voters of Sierra Madre to turn down Measure UUT was a big and pleasant surprise. If for some reason you haven't seen it yet, click here. It correctly links the city's attempt to somehow salvage the Sierra Madre Police Department with raising utility taxes by a hefty 66%. Something that seems hardly worth the bother given that the SMPD no longer has enough members to patrol the city for more than 12 hours a day. With even more police officers rumored to be leaving by the end of the month.

Here is how the Star News put it:

It’s a bit of a scramble. We understand the nostalgic reasons for wanting to hold onto a police force to call your own. But the practical reasons to do so have disappeared. So have many of the members of the force, down to 11 officers from the former 20. It’s time for Sierra Madreans to move on and be served by the Sheriff’s Department. And it’s time for City Hall to follow its own timeline on the utility tax and allow it to go back down to the level proposed rather than be hiked again.

You have to wonder why this level of logic escapes not only a large portion of the voters in Sierra Madre, but also the city's entire government agency. City Council included.

In an excellent article in today's edition of our local daily newspaper of record, the Pasadena Star News, reporter Claudia Palma also examines the tax struggle taking place in town. It is called "Election 2016: What’s a stake in Sierra Madre’s Utility Users Tax vote," and you can link to it in its entirety by clicking here.

In this piece you can read the usual stuff from Mayor Capoccia and Councilmember Harabedian. There is nothing much new in what they have to say, though the article does give you an opportunity to admire Mr. Harabedian's mastery of lawyerly bromides. Nobody can say absolutely nothing with more gravity and importance than the Councilman.

And so you know, Mayor Capoccia thinks that anyone who is opposed to passing Measure UUT is "completely illogical." I wonder if Capoccia is aware that his irascible way of communicating his thoughts to others might have contributed to the Pasadena Star News deciding to recommend a "NO" vote on Measure UUT.

That act really is getting old, and does not serve him well.

What makes this article as important as it is, however, is the coverage given to Michael Amerio. Michael, who is the sole individual running for the job of Sierra Madre City Treasurer, weighs in on the linked issues of community policing and higher utility taxes in an interesting and fresh way. Here is how his portion reads.

“There is a lot of opportunity to safely cut expenses. When that is done, I am good with taxes,” said Michael Amerio, a resident and city treasurer candidate who is running unopposed in the election. “I am good with a higher UUT. I am not good with a higher UUT with what I believe to be a little bit of reckless spending."

Amerio, a certified public accountant for more than 20 years, helped prepare the ballot argument against the UUT measure for this election, as well as in the 2014 election.

He noted during a candidate forum last week that the city claims to have reduced spending but the budget shows an increase of more than $1 million over the last three years.

One of the big ways opponents say the city can save money to make up for the revenue deficit is by contracting with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for police services, which would save about $800,000 a year.

“Our police department is great. This has nothing to do with the service of the police department, it simply has to do with, can we afford the police department?” Amerio said. “(Contracting with the Sheriff’s Department) would allow us to secure our financial stability. This will allow our UUT dollars to be used for tangible civic improvements.”

Reasonable and well-stated, right?

In case you are not aware, Michael Amerio runs one of the biggest accounting firms in the area. Here is how his gig is described on the company's website (link):

Michael is Lucas Horsfall’s Managing Partner. He has over 20 years of public accounting experience. He provides audit, income tax and business advisory services to privately held companies and individuals in a wide variety of industries, including manufacturing, construction, insurance brokerage and not-for-profit organizations. These services have been rendered to clients ranging in size from start-ups to middle market businesses. Additionally, Mike has substantial experience with employee benefit plan audits. 

Michael is a graduate of San Diego State University where he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting. His professional affiliations include memberships in the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and California Society of Certified Public Accountants. Mike is an active member in various business and civic community activities including volunteering with various youth sports leagues. He lives in Sierra Madre with his wife Cynthia and their three sons.

That line about "substantial experience with employee benefit plan audits" is an interesting one. As an elected official in charge of the city's finances Mr. Amerio will have complete access to all of the city's books. It will  be interesting to see how he deals with problems such as Sierra Madre's $9.6 million dollar CalPERS shortfall.

I'm not sure the City Manager is going to be too excited about that.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

54 comments:

  1. The truth is getting out. Thank God.

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  2. . . . Not to mention his brainMarch 17, 2016 at 6:17 AM

    Sad to see the mayor spilling nonsense about the savings due to the sheriff disappearing over time. If that were true la Canada's police costs would not be $700k less than Sierra Madre's.

    Mike is a great guy. If the mayor is smart he will befriend him and, in doing so, rediscover his spine.

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    1. he thinks our PS is great and it's not also about quality of service?

      I take it he's never been shot in the back by one of our elite officers.

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    2. The tag team I look forward to is Mike + Barry Gold ! Forget turn-coat Capoccia

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  3. Please write in Barry Gold. He is the one candidate you know who won't "change his mind" after being elected.

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    1. I notice that Barry Gold picked up more support- Metro Rail have a new billboard program that declares :
      "Discover Gold" !
      Where can I get one of those billboards for my front lawn?

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    2. Sierra Madre needs to go on the Gold Standard.

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    3. Let's make that a Golden Rule?

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    4. 12:52P Too funny!

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  4. Mr. Mod, I think your wrong about our City Manager Elaine. She has always said she can't afford to hire the best employees, now she will have one. I can't wait to see what the two of them come up with !

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    1. I think Elaine time in this city is getting shorter. An audit will only show her the door sooner

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    2. There is already ample evidence to disgrace and fire Elaine Aguilar. She is protected by Capoccia and Harabedian.Remember that when voting.

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    3. 6:27 - Michael Amerio wouldn't qualify as an Elaine Aguilar hire. He lives in Sierra Madre.

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  5. It seems politician's from Sierra Madre are the only one's that are not held responsible for what they say or do, why is that? maybe they are supported with propaganda data generated with in CITY HALL.

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  6. The "Yes On UUT Party" case is crumbling.

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  7. Two nights ago we had a very positive experience with the sheriffs department in our home. They were professional about their work and made us feel comfortable with the situation. Thank you Sheriffs.

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    1. I've heard that more than once since LASD started night patrols in Sierra Madre. It's time to hire them 24/7 for our mountain village.

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    2. They have made a very good impression in this community. You can sense the professionalism.

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    3. ...never mind that Lee Baca the former top LASD just pled guilty to federal charges of lying during an investigation into civil rights violations at the county jail

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    4. ...never mind that the SMPD has sued the city into oblivion, that we have to bring in the Sheriff's Dept for anything about a code violation and that we had a officer shoot an unarmed man in the back and subsequently got promoted

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    5. Baca retired out of LASD a few years ago. What's your point, if any?

      Guess we shouldn't mention the SMPD officers that have been terminated?

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    6. 9.02 Irrelevant to most citizens of Sierra Madre.
      When did we last read any justified praise for SMPD ? ....I'm waiting .....
      My last contact with SMPD -they could not even find the crime scene on a major street here.I had to walk them there around the corner to the address I had given them. And then they did nothing effective !
      And the "Detectives Bureau" -that round file to oblivion for most criminal cases in Sierra Madre. And the law suits against us.

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    7. When my house was robbed I couldn't even get a return call from the so-called detecitive department. The SMPD is a vanity police department that hardly even exists anymore.

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    8. You are not alone in this experience. That is what is so sad and disgraceful.It isn't as if the SMPD were so busy crime-busting. And I deeply regret having to say that.But it is the truth.

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    9. Point is that the LASD is corrupt from the top down. Probably just like the local chump cops.

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    10. I've always considered the SMPD one step up from Post Alarm

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    11. Except SMPD cost you more than $10/month !

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  8. How can we keep a police department where half the officers have quit and nobody wants their jobs?

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    1. Maybe if they advertise "day shift only"?

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    2. The SMPD fired itself.

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    3. And those Police that are still time-servers with SMPD would not pass any tests to join another P.D.
      The smarter and more capable ones have already gone.
      This is the just some of the mess that dishonest City Management creates.

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  9. The complaint that Sierra Madre needs the UUT because it has no sales tax base is BS - this town is over 100 years old and has never really had such a base. The simple truth is spending and debt have grown out of proportion because of recent mismanagement.

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    Replies
    1. and the Ferrari Pensions

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    2. Elaine said:
      "Red Mercedes convertible - please"!

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  10. Hey I know. In order to force the police department to close a few weeks earlier than it will anyway we should create a million dollar deficit in our city budget!

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    1. 9:29, repeating a lie often does not make it the truth.

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    2. are you aware of anyone in city government supporting the replacement of smpd in the event the uut passes?

      if so, please let us know, because the city is arguing that we need the increase to save smpd. unfortunately for the city, it seems that no one is too bothered about saving that particular hostage.

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    3. what was the budget percentage devoted to the SMPD in 2000, or 1990? or 1980, 1970-1930s? It all be on record. Betcha it's higher now then in any past decade for the last 100 years the the crime rate and population have largely remained unchanged.

      Claiming that property values will suffer without the SMPD is a hollow deception.

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    4. The value of my house is not dependent on the color of the uniform worn by law enforcement. Tan or blue it is all the same.

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    5. The local Police Office next to City Hall is remaining open regardless of the nonsense by some Posts here.
      The difference will be that the Officers inside will actually DO something about a crime.

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    6. I hear the LA Sheriff Dept. has real detectives, too!

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    7. 9:29, half the deficit goes away when we get the sheriff

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  11. The point made by 9:02 is a facetious one...therefore what? Stack up the numerous misdeeds by the SMPD (a bullet in the butt), but oh well, carry on...

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    1. 9:02's argument is 100% true! Exposing the cover-up of systematic civil rights abuses by elected authorities is just the kind of news article the Tattler brings to you on a regular basis. Why would you even consider dodging or hiding this horrible fact?

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  12. this issue remains un solved,

    its all about taxation and no infrastructure repairs,

    co po co - goss - hardbidien - city mgr and city attorney love to spend your hard earned money

    when your money is gone, the city hall employees will be living a great live in paradise on the pensions and health benefits which the defrauded taxpayer provided them

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  13. Two things: I heard the city is ready to go with the sheriff if the UUT doesn't pass. And, about the guy who said he got a postcard saying Mr. Gold said the city should file bankruptcy...did anyone see that flyer? Do these flyers exist?

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    1. The city is going to go with the Sheriffs whether MUUT passes or not. The SMPD is being used as vote bait. It is the last possible use they will ever be put to. M

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  14. Some of the people at the Woman's Club gave Mike a hard time. He presented the facts and they had no questions to ask or anything to add except to be rude. Mike is a good, honest guy. These people see through rose colored glasses. The moderator, who is a member of the Woman's Club, even gave her own opinion. Moderators are supposed to be neutral.

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    1. Poor old dears probably didn't understand a word he said.

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  15. Nothing will change for the betterment of our community until the cc men - the city manager - city attorney move on. In my opinion our city manager is unemploy able based on her past performance(S). I am not aware of a neighboring city who wants her and she surely has failed to keep a fully staffed police department. If she were honest, and states on her future resume that the Sierra madre police department walked off, I know of no city to find that as a plus.

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  16. I guess the man who said he received a flyer yesterday that had negative things to say about Mr. Gold, is a liar. Why do people resort to that kind of thing?

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  17. They are definitely out there.

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  18. I think Barry Gold is a well spoken reasonable king of guy which would be an asset to our cities city council. If I were able to cast my vote 10 times legally for Barry I would. We wish Barry sucess and the patience which will be required to help turn this city around. With out change. Co po co and others will continue to ruin this ciy as we once knew it!

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  19. I went to our newest nail salon in Sierra Madre today and found the perfect parking spot that had a sign stating 2HOURS ONLY.
    As a good citizen I should head parking rules... My only thought was "I'm in Sierra Madre no worries."
    2 1/2 hours later no ticket and no money for Sierra Madre.
    If I had been in Pasadena I know my car better get moved within the time allotted or feed the meter cause the parking police itake their job seriously and I'm assured net a nice little profit for the city.
    I wonder how much money has been lost in Sierra Madre due to the weekend bike touring set,middle school mommies,and other numerous groups because the police can't be bothered with meter maid duty.
    I bet if parking issues were actually attended to I'm betting robbers wouldn't feel as comfy as they are in little village.
    Just a thought.

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