Friday, March 4, 2016

Should Councilmember Harabedian Have Recused Himself From The Sheriff Vote?

Here is a potentially messy little downtown situation. Councilmember John Harabedian, who voted to bring in the Los Angeles County Sheriffs to patrol the dark cruel streets of Sierra Madre after the sun goes down, turns out to also be a law enforcement official employed by the County of Los Angeles. Of course, you might not have known that because you thought, and as it states on his City of Sierra Madre website biography, he was still employed by that annoying and intrusive do-gooder of a law firm Latham & Watkins.

Here is how that one reads (link):


But the thing is, he no longer works at Latham & Watkins. He moved on. Now he is working for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office. Check this out (link):


Apparently Councilmember Harabedian has moved up the political food chain a couple of notches, and is now putting together some work experience that will stand him well should he decide to run for political office in a bigger sort of way. And we're not just talking about the California State Assembly, either. My guess is Congress. Something big and national. And obviously he has the support of people with some political juice. People who may have chosen him for more important things.

But that is not what we're here to talk about today. My question here is should Councilmember Harabedian have recused himself when the time came to vote on hiring the Los Angeles County Sheriffs for their present Sierra Madre duties? As an employee of County of Los Angeles law enforcement, should he have been voting on hiring an organization equally a part of County of Los Angeles law enforcement?

Pretty much a Sierra Madre Tattler kind of question. Who knows, maybe John Harabedian made his job change because he wants to be eligible for CalPERS.

Scary Arcadia Statistics

The following numbers come to us from the folks who want to do away with utility taxes in Arcadia. As you can see, the CalPERS debt load is immense, and technically Arcadia is financially insolvent. All brought about by City Councils that included the profligate Bulldozer Bob Harbicht.


You can certainly see why Bulldozer Bob Harbicht has received the kind of fanatical support he has from Arcadia's municipal employee unions. The guy made them all rich, and at the taxpayers' expense.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

53 comments:

  1. Wow. Those salaries are almost unbelievable. And don't forget about the pensions they receive when they retire at the ripe old age of 50. The City Council Members get re-elected or elected as the case may be with public employee union money, the salaries, benefits and pensions for the members of the public employee unions keep going up and up, and meanwhile the taxpayers have to work harder and retire later to pay for all this. But remember if you want to reduce or cut the UUT tax, police response times will have to increase, the library will need to be shuttered and senior services will have to be cut. Sound familiar?

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    1. and don't forget while taxpayers are paying those pensions, they are also paying a salary of a current employee

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    2. In Los Angeles, the median Physician - Generalist salary is $188,223, as of February 22, 2016, with a range usually between $162,939-$210,554.

      Now compare that to the Arcadia Fire and Police salary.

      Something is out of wack in this city.

      Vote YES on Measure A and repeal the utility tax.

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  2. I feel sorry for Arcadia. Just remember that they need the whole sale destruction of their neighborhoods with McMansions in order to increase the tax base to pay for all these high salaries, pensions and benefits. Just another pernicious consequence of what the public employee unions have done to almost every city. The key figure to look at in any city budget is how much of the total budget is going towards salaries, benefits and pensions for the city employees. Once that reaches about 70% of the total budget, a city is in big trouble. And that 30% sure as hell does not leave much for fixing the potholes, maintaining the parks or any of the other things that residents need in a city. All of it gets squeezed out by the inflated salaries. Yet, when the need to solve the problem arises, the only, and I mean the only options that the residents are presented with, is to either increase our taxes or close down such things as the bathrooms in the parks, library, senior services - always those things that will most inconvenience or hurt the residents the most in order to soften them up to vote for the next tax increase.

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    1. True. Nothing like saying criminals will be rampant because there's no money for cops!

      The truth is there's no money because public safety salaries and pensions costs are the Pac-man gobbling up our tax dollars.

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    2. Big Bucks Bulldozer!!

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    3. You need to build a lot of McMansions to get the tax and fee money to pay for $300,000,000 in CalPERS debt. Damn!

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  3. Plain and simple; it's all messed up. Really messed up.

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  4. Johnny, say it's not so!!

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  5. How many of Arcadia's highly paid police or fire live in the city? It is expensive to live here but with extremely well paying jobs that excuse can't be used. The average salary of Arcadia residents is $87,000 a year. The APD union hack spoke at council, yet again, on Tuesday and brought up the defense that the cops aren't the highest paid in the area. Since they use that as a defense, will they let me use the excuse that other drivers were breaking the speed limit the next time they pull me over? Highly doubtful they'd even let me say it. Arcadia has very serious problems looming and it's precious snowflake workers don't care about anything but themselves. Maybe that's the reason they don't live here and they don't want to live in a city that has such high unfunded liabilities.

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    1. I'd like to know how much money the guy from the union makes who spoke up at the Council. These guys spend more time conniving about their salaries, pensions and union activities then they do fighting crime. I'm tired of them saying they aren't the highest paid in the area, and that in order to remain "competitive", we have to pay them more and raise our taxes to do so. The unions all follow the same playbook and that's why is become all too familiar. All they need is for a neighboring city to play fast and loose with the taxpayer's money by paying overly generous salaries and then all the neighboring city unions point to that as the new "going rate" that we have to match to remain competitive. That's how their salaries and pensions keep leapfrogging ahead. Its a scam. The taxpayers are getting fleeced. I'm the first person to appreciate the job they do, but it was not that long ago that people got into the game because they wanted to protect and serve. Now they are in it for the money and its become alot of money.

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    2. If Arcadia wants to control costs, they could get a quote from LASD

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    3. If anyone needs the LASD number to get a bid, Arcadia Council member Chandler has it.

      He already tried to give it to Sierra Madre Mayor Capoccia when Sierra Madre asked Arcadia PD for help.

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    4. Chandler laid a major putdown on Capoccia. It was embarrassing.

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  6. How many Arcadia workers use a city car?

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    1. How many of those cars also include a driver?

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    2. Yesterday an Arcadia city car was parked in the Pasadena Trader Joes lot. I wondered what city business was going on in Trader Joes.

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    3. They were investigating craft beers.

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  7. The only difference between SM and Arc is population and square miles. We face exactly the same thing they are facing. We're just a smaller version After the election I believe there will be some action at the monestary. That's why I will not vote for the non-sunset UUT in this city. As for Harabedian: of course he's being groomed for higher office. Refresh my memory, did he recuse himself when Athens came up for their contract? For, I believe, 25 years? How about his candidate picture with police officers? Again people deserve what they vote for. Or in SM don't bother to vote for. This city has become a city of unions and agendas-bought and paid for with your tax dollar.

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    1. The 2 Johns will flip on development after the election. They will want the millions in development impact fees Father Higgins keeps dangling before them. If you care about preserving Sierra Madre you need to write in Barry Gold. He is the only candidate you can be sure about.

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    2. You are 100% correct.The 2 Johns lie and will sell out Sierra Madre

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    3. While you're at it, why don't you crawl into the minds of the other council members and see what you forecast?

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    4. I see Johnny Harabedian having to explain why voting on the upcoming LA Sheriff Dept. proposal for full-time Police coverage in Sierra Madre doesn't conflict with Johnny having the same employer as all those nice Deputies.

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    5. Being special means never having to explain.

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  8. Does anyone know if more SMPD have left? Chief Giannone had said there was a possibility of more leaving. Anyone heard anything? I figure 3 or 4 more leave and there really isn;t an SMPD anymore.

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    1. At half-time schedule, 6 AM to 6PM, it's hard to say there's a Sierra Madre PD now. More like a part-time security guard company.

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    2. Ghost Cops.

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  9. The SMPD chief is an old man. The chief only works part time, you know 10 or so hours a week and is paid $255 a year. Larry also receives a full Pension from pdd. Larry is just another extension of the same problem. Just think ... If of city manager WS fired, is she really employable by another city, Monrovia has refused to hire her multiple times,

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    1. The Chief worked many years at Monterey Park PD, is he retired from there?

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    2. Really not on topic but again maybe it is. Just watched the Mayor's state of the city address. He really presents nothing new. He takes credit for the General Plan passing, new building code changes and preserving our town. I really think Preserve Sierra Madre should get credit for that. Without them maybe none of this would have been done. He says the audit just completed gave the city a perfect accounting record. It wasn't a forensic audit. So how would we know? He said pay for our PD was 20% below the cities around us. What? Cities with larger square miles, more population, more sales tax, etc. How can we compare with their salaries? How could a city of 11,000 possibly keep up with that? Well the UUT of course. To survive this years budget we need the UUT. What about 2017 or 2018? We will face the same problems. He offerred nothing for that future. He says the loss in pay with the PD helps pay for the sheriff at night. But in the same breath he mentions that we are actively recruiting. So how long will the PD loss in pay for the sheriff? He asks us to preserve more water. He only uses 4 units. The water problems came from the leaks. I think the citizens have done a good job so far. But we are asked for more. We contract with Monrovia FD for battalion chief. Did any of you know that? He also mentions the cost of a 25 million dollar debt in the future for the National Polutant Discharge System which is mandatory. Couple that with the bonds we owe and CalPERS, that's 43 million bucks! Where does that come from Mayor? Times have changed. 100 years ago there were not federal and state mandates for cities. Now there are. To keep SM exactly as it is may be impossible. Our revenue is poor in comparison with cities around us. We need to have more of the city positions filled by volunteers if we plan to keep all that we want. Will that happen? I doubt it. Mainly because the people that run the city want their pay.

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    3. The mayor volunteered many hours working on the general plan way before the preserve Sierra Madre was even a dream. His volunteer hours along with others saved the City thousands of dollars of consultant fees. The audit was done by an independent firm, and then sent to Sacramento. The only reason to do a forensic audit is to uncover criminal activity. If you believe there was any criminal activity being done in the current fiscal audit year, it is your duty to contact Sacramento and let them know.

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    4. Better to just do the forensic audit and leave Sacramento out of it. Starting with the water bonds, the dissolution of the CRA and how the hell Sierra Madre saddled itself with $9 million dollars in CalPERS debt.

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  10. It is time to write new contracts and it is time to look at a big problem. People need pensions because you can't live on social security alone. Lets fix the problems by starting out looking at some facts the FBI is working with.

    https://www.fbi.gov/sanfrancisco/press-releases/2014/former-calpers-ceo-pleads-guilty-to-corruption-conspiracy

    There really is a limit to how much you can tax people. It is past time for fixing the problems. Lets get corruption out of our pensions, government and pocket books.

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-calpers-bribery-20140808-story.html

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  11. We should make it a pledge by every government employ to uphold the law and to be honest and trustworthy. Oh wait, they already do sign for that in their employment contract, right?

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  12. The Fire Chief is for the most part the cities Safety Officer, why are we paying the Police Chief this kind of money, money for a position title that the 11,000 Sierra Madre residents cant afford and don't need.

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  13. The budget workshop tomorrow at the Fire Station is well staged. We know they will only be telling half the story, their half, the half where they need more $ to pay for a lot of bad decisions this group has made over the years. I'm voting NO on the UUT that's for sure. Not having a sunset clause is just feeding the same problems.

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  14. OUTRAGEOUS. DO NOT VOTE FOR HARBICHT. VOTE FOR VERLATO AND AMUNDSEN.

    Either no one in Arcadia city government cares about these costs and obligations, or there is no accountability. Term limits were supposed to ensure "fresh eyes" reviewed the budget and all aspects of governance, to prevent sky-rocketing costs and perpetual status quo. But term limits in Arcadia means a 2-yr "time out" allowing city councilmen like Bob Harbicht and Roger Chandler to hang around on the council for most of their adult lives.

    Arcadia need an infusion of fresh ideas, energy and enthusiasm to challenge the status quo that has led to the current fiscal challenges.

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  15. 9:21,,,, people need to earn a living to pay the taxes how are they going to volunteer / work for free? I do agree with a lot of what you are saying.

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    1. It is hard to volunteer. I agree with that. But if ya have kids who play sports, you're there anyway. If the baseball field needs a coat of paint, volunteer. If the library needs to be painted, volunteer. We have some hours on the weekend that we can give even if it's occasional. It's better than having the city bill 700 hours for the Trail Race. All they need to do is ask. Make it important. But here's the rub, if the city allows you to volunteer, they take a CalPERS job from someone. I'm all for employment but if people want to keep that small town feel it takes volunteers to be allowed to do that.

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  16. Is it possible to hold or bring down employees salaries and offer bonuses for reaching employment goals . Goals that are beneficial to the city not just the employees getting their salaries.

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  17. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-calpers-bribery-20140808-story.html

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  18. I worked in the private sector. If uniforms were required we had to pay for them. We also had to pay to clean them. If the job required special shoes, we paid for them. The city buys all uniforms. I have no idea what happens to them if someone leaves. It seems the newbie always gets new uniforms. We also pay to have them cleaned. That's around $600.00 to $700.00. We buy steel toed shoes, too. What other perks do these employee's get?

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  19. LA County DAs aren't in Calpers. What conflict exists if he is DA regarding sheriff or smpd? The DA is the prosecution for both

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    1. The SMPD does not work for LA County. The other two do.

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    2. 2:21, please say "Duh!" and save the rest of us from having to do it for you.

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    3. When is the last time the DA prosecuted anyone for the SMPD? I didn't know the DA did parking tickets.

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  20. Hey 4:21, why don't you do a little research and find out how many criminal cases the SMPD actually files with the DA's office? Also, are you slamming the DA's Office or the SMPD? Remember, you've got to be honest and extremely factual in order to meet the high standards set by the Tattler.

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  21. Just had to call the police because some vandals were having a little fun. Met a couple of great sheriffs, professional, thorough, and I am so glad they are here.

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    1. How was the response time?

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  22. I find the ultility tax that affords our police and fire to earn a decent salary the best money ever spent. I also find it hard to believe the median salary in Arcadia is $80k. It would be very difficult to rent an Arcadia Apt on $80k; and unless you bought pre 90s, it would be almost impossible to buy a house. A large number of Arcadians own sucessful businesses both here and abroad and should have no problem paying the utility tax. I also think there should be a monthly tax to build a mansion in Arcadia and not live in it to offset the lack of salestax generated by absentee owners. I just wish we could find a way to pay our teachers more, maybe an absentee owner tax is the answer.

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    1. If ignorance is bliss, you must be the happiest man on the planet.

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    2. Many police and fire personal making more than an average doctor is not decent salary but a daylight robbery of tax money by the Arcadia city administrators. Now they are fear-mongering with cuts in fire and police services. The city has a 35 million fund that can help to make the adjustments needed. Arcadia voters! Don't get robbed by the Arcadia city. Vote NO on measure A to repeal the utility tax.

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