Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Committee That Didn't Happen

Change does occasionally happen in the City Council world, and when it does you do need to take a closer look. Last night was one of those moments and, rare though it might have been, it really was a remarkable thing. I don't remember this ever happening before. It was a most unexpected surprise.

For as long as I can recall, resident committees have been the all-contingencies solution to those problems City Hall doesn't want to deal with. At least in a direct or personal kind of way. The UUT Oversight Committee would be a good example of that. The most recent version served a dual purpose in this year's attempt to raise utility taxes by 66%. It first rubber-stamped Measure UUT, then it proclaimed that the city's campaign to get it approved was "non-partisan." Which really is a leap of faith when you consider that the very people running the city's effort will benefit personally.

So when the following was dumped by the City Council last night, it really was quite a change in the way these things are done. Kind of unprecedented, actually.


That this item was unanimously voted down is also quite a statement. Who would have thought it?

What makes this even better is now the burden of all that work, along with the political onus, shifts onto the backs of the City Manager and her staff. Rather than attempt to create through the "committee process" the myth that future tax hikes are the will of the people who will actually have to pay for them, city staff now needs to prove that they are necessary. Only then will these matters be considered by the City Council.

Meaning that if the city is going to ask for property or parcel taxes increases starting in 2018, it is the City Manager that will need to do the talking. Live and on camera. Not a committee of untrained residents desperately trying to do the right thing.

I doubt Elaine Aguilar ever wanted to be put into that position.

The Chief and His Imaginary Police Department
The other moment that stood out for me last night was Chief Giannone's report on the state of law enforcement in town. As is usually the case it centered on two things. The remarkable work the department and its officers are doing, and how response times are the fastest anywhere.

Yes, it is a small city.

If you closed your eyes you might have believed that none of the events of the last few months ever happened.

Meanwhile rumors are circulating that even more officers are planning to depart at the end of this month. Which, if true, makes the Chief's report seem even more bizarre.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

81 comments:

  1. They Call Me Mister MayorMarch 9, 2016 at 5:17 AM

    Dear Tattler Customer Service Dept:
    I want to complain about late Tattler delivery this morning. You've promised 5 AM delivery and you were late.

    PS: I'll be damned if I'll pay your 66% price increase. That's just outrageous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please support our advertisers.

      Delete
    2. Tickled Wistaria Pink (uh Purple...)March 9, 2016 at 6:15 AM

      I would like to write a letter of support. 99% of delivery has been on time and at my internet doorstep every day. I don't believe the Tattler has changed delivery service companies to the best of my knowledge. I pay a very competitive rate for this product, and I have to say I am quite content. The editorial board and the opinion section on the other hand...

      Delete
    3. I here there is a Tattler recall petition being circulated in town.

      Delete
    4. Any truth to the rumor that the Tattler recall has the support of UUT Yes leader Martin Truitt and Mayor Capoccia?

      Delete
    5. Yes, but they prefer to work behind the scenes.

      Delete
  2. Creating this committee would have been an admission of long-term incompetence. This should be a continuing job description of the City Manager and staff and the focus of each department as they spend each and every dime of the hard-working residents of this city.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The officers of the Sierra Madre Police Department that can leave are still making plans to go, no money fix will solve this, no on UUT.

    One of the newest SMPD personnel is going to be employed by Monrovia Police Department next week; so bringing one or two new recruits in in the next year will not add to the department fast enough to provide enough personnel to operate this department 24/7. Gotta get this fixed!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Sheriff is moving in !
      This weekend one Sheriff rented in Sierra Madre, more to follow.I really like having Law Enforcement as a neighbor. It seems they will be more engaged than SMPD out-of-towners.

      Delete
    2. I think the writing is on the wall. The SMPD is kaputski. Maybe the Library can donate a room for a museum.

      Delete
    3. Let's name the history room the "SMPD room".

      Delete
  4. 9 times out of 10 it's the perpetrator's who caused the financial melt down are the last to be forced out since they are leeches they will not leave until the host is near dead.

    ReplyDelete
  5. It is all of those committees that have dragged this town down. Thank God the City Manager is there to hold everything together.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Ghost of Aguillar's Past. (Billing)March 9, 2016 at 7:20 AM

      I agree. As is the new tradition in city hall, I think we should have the manager get an award for service at the next city council meeting. She has kept busy, at least the billable hours show that.

      Delete
  6. I was surprised that they brought this up before the election. Just what we need, parcel taxes, or bonds. For those UUT people who think it's a small tax to pay-it is. But its never been about the money. It's where it goes. So you can vote for the UUT, that's your choice and vote for the write-in candidate in protest to all the spending.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And that is exactly what I believe many of us will do!

      Delete
    2. Bring your best pen to the polls. A back up one, too. Why the chances? And what ever you do, do not vote for either of the Two Johns. Don;t feed the beast.

      Delete
    3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
    4. I'm writing in Barry Gold and voting No on UUT

      Delete
    5. I'm writing in Barry Gold and voting Yes on UUT

      Delete
    6. I'm writing in Barry Gold and voting Yes and Ni on UUT

      Delete
  7. We need to recall thecutymgr and hergoofy city council. If there is no change, there will only be more taxation. The landlord's will be raising the rents and the tenants will be forced to pay the Taxation.

    ReplyDelete
  8. More taxation, higher rents

    ReplyDelete
  9. FIRE the City Manager:
    Past News Bulletin: Elaine Aguilar needs to be fired for incompetence and corruption. Current News: The City Council needs to do what they were elected to to do, make the hard decisions. The City Council needs to step it up. Do that tough, for some, one of the hardest job there is, to Fire someone. Do your JOB! Fire the City Manager!!!
    Future News Bulletin: Elaine Aguilar is finally let go as City Manager, a forensic audit to begin immediately!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He is right on !

      Delete
    2. Can this really happen though? It would be great if there was a thoughtful write-up of a way we the citizens could get rid of the manager. Does it really have to be a council decision. One Golden CC member can't stop all the problems

      Delete
    3. Again, please I beg of you. Tell us what the corruption at city hall is and the reason for a forensic audit, so we can immediately ask for a State investigation. Otherwise, stop your slurs on the city employees.

      Delete
    4. You are making some really unsophisticated assumptions here. The most unfortunate being that current employees are responsible for disastrous blunders like the 2003 water bonds or CalPERS. I'd think current employees would welcome a forensic audit if only to clearly establish their innocense and affix the blame on the real malefactors.

      Delete
    5. Elaine, shouldn't you be working off your Benz payments by now? And city employees are not golden sheep, they can and should be able to take a few slurs, unless they are nervous about some malpractice??

      Delete
    6. That was done years ago, and the real malefactor was fired.

      Delete
    7. I agree with you 11;32, We do need a forensic audit if only to tell us how misleading the info coming out of city hall.

      Delete
    8. 1:01 - will the malefactor be paying the $9 million?

      Delete
  10. S.O.S. another day...............

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tell the nurse you need a change.

      Delete
  11. A message needs to be sent to All Tenants / Renters, if the UUT taxes pas, the RENTS are going up to pay more rental property expenses! Vote no on the UUT tax increase!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hopefully your renters read the Tattler to know that you're a cheapo slum lord.

      Delete
    2. Exactly right.
      No on UUT people...go door to door to rentals...ask a preservation realtor to help you identify rentals...if people aren't registered to vote have a foem to give them. Get the NO votes out .

      Delete
    3. most tenants pay their own utility bills so this will have no real effect on rents

      Delete
    4. I'm a long term renter and will be writing in Mr. Gold and voting no on the UUT. Just because we rent doesn't mean we aren't actively following local politics.

      Delete
    5. 9:15, good idea, why don't you do that?

      Delete
  12. You guys are all idiots. Honestly. Services cost money and money has to come from somewhere. In government, that money comes from taxes. You get what you pay for. If you don't want to have a Police Department that will go out on a call to help an elderly woman fix her pipes, then have the Sheriff's come in. If you don't want your streets well kept, then vote No on the UUT. If you want to lose every reason you moved to Sierra Madre, then vote No on UUT and wait for the City to become so desolate that it becomes unincorporated LA County. You all can afford a tiny utility tax. Most cities don't need to rely on utility taxes for revenue because they have large shopping centers and car dealerships. Pick your poison. You live in Sierra Madre for Christ's sake, where a run-down shack costs over a million dollars to own. Stop being tight wads and realize that you're all going to make things worse for those who still have another 40 years to live in this City.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're out of touch, angry dude. The SMPD quit on this town. Half are gone and more are following. Plus the Sheriffs will actually live in this town and be our neighbors. The city made some completely unnecessary bad deals, including millions of dollars in water bond and CalPERS. Until they beg for forgiveness I am voting No.

      Delete
    2. If an old lady needs her pipes fixed call Gem Plumbing not the SMPD. If the SMPD are acting as plumbers then the problem is far worse than we thought.What is worse is that a citizen actually thinks SMPD should do gratis plumbing work.Please leave that to those of us who try to earn a living as plumbers on 1/4 the wages and benefits of SMPD.

      Delete
    3. Bruce -any more to share?

      Delete
    4. I moved her as it was close to work! The 'small' amount you refer to is over $50.00 a month for me so not so small. I don't go to Starbucks, I bring my lunch to work and I don't eat out. I have to cut my utility useage so my tax won't be as high..why can't the city cut more and save money with their budget? Why does everything fall on the tax payers to bail out over spending?? Out source (or close) the library, reduce the staffing hours of city employees, and get the Sheriffs!

      Delete
    5. If you want to close the library you can gladly leave. Sierra Madre doesn't need tight wads like you. If you've bought property in a city you can't afford to live in so that you need to eat bag lunches to make ends meet and can't afford a 10 dollar increase without calling for all civic institutions to be closed, then you need to go elsewhere. I am all for people voting NO on the UUT, but let's not shirk the main reason, philosophical differences, not that the city is out to bankrupt everyone. Geesh

      Delete
    6. I RENT by the way! I can't afford a million dollar home in SM on a single parent income but thanks for your advice. Out sourcing the Library is a viable option and not unrealistic. What is unrealistic is the city going into my pocket for out of control spending and PERS retirements. We all have to cut back and that includes the city.

      Delete
    7. Don't get your jammies in a knot. Nobody wants to close the Library. Just want to get a grip on the city's finances.

      Delete
    8. 9:34 are you a Prop 13 winner like Yes on UUT chair Edward Garcia? You don't sound like you bought a house for $1M and pay a base of $10,000 in property tax. the prop 13 winners want all of us to pay 66% more UUT tax when they don't pay half of what I pay in property tax.

      I LOVE when you talk about "disincorporation" if SMadre hits hard times. Horse hockey. City of Maywood couldn't afford their PD, almost went BK. What did they do? Contracted out all to LA County. Maywood PD? Buh-Bye!

      Delete
    9. If you think $50 a month is not worth living in Sierra Madre, then try living in another city with costs twice that high.

      Delete
    10. A little reality check, wild man. At 10% Sierra Madre would have just about the highest utility tax rates in California. Only Century City at 11% exceeds that.

      Delete
    11. So? Haven't you heard all of the reasons Sierra Madre needs a UUT? No sales tax base.

      Delete
    12. 9:34AM Again it is not about the money. The Mayor said yesterday that he was against the last UUT because of they it was written. Mr. Gold answered by using the Mayor's words for this UUT. I'm sure the guy who was shot in the back by SM finest feels great about pipes being fixed by the PD. 40 years down the road everything will be changed and you will be fighting the same battle if not worse. Don't pit old against young here. Again, do your homework. The sheriff's were called out night before last for a home invasion. They were there quickly, had the helicopter up and in less than 8 minutes had four back up cars, heat guns and the detectives were out there in the morning to follow-up. I'd like to know when a resident here had a visit from detectives from SMPD the next day. The blotter always says "it was referred to the detective bureau." I had a case that was sent to the detective bureau and never got a follow up.

      Delete
    13. Mr. Capoccia has said that they could have gone as high as 12% with the last UUT but decided to keep it 10%. He said the town was in great shape. Has he never heard save for a rainy day? Not very good futuristic thinking. I want someone on CC that will be honest. Mr. Capocccia says over and over that he is in office to do the will of the people. Just don't disagree with him on anything. People who disagree with you Mayor are your constituents, too. We do not need be called names because we disagree with you. And what about Mr. Harabedian? He's been awfully quiet. Did the people guiding him in his endeavor for bigger office tell him to lay low?

      Delete
    14. I honestly can't see these part timers from LAPD fixing plumbing for the elderly. LAPD has a terrible work ethic as compared to deps

      Delete
    15. If you can't afford to live in Sierra Madre, as a renter or a homeowner, then don't. It's really that simple. You're all complaining about paying for PERS. The City doesn't control the rates that PERS increases and it will cost more money to get rid of the system that is already in place. What if you worked for the City and people were talking about cutting your job like it was low hanging fruit? It's not as cut and dry as you're making it seem.

      Delete
    16. Wow if I can't afford to live here move?!? Really?!? I am third generation in this town and there hasn't been this kind of city financial problems like this in all the years I have lived here. I can afford to live here...the city can't afford the SMPD or the pers contributions. The city needs to reduce the budget and live within their means!

      Delete
    17. Dear 4:43,
      LA Sheriff's Dept. doesn't use CalPERS. When, not if, we go over to LASD, that will decrease the CalPERS annual ransom, I mean expense, drastically.

      But you know that.

      Remember, Yes on UUT supporters, that your repeating a lie many times does not make it Truth.

      Peace out.

      Delete
  13. SMPD Has No Naked Pics of Me!March 9, 2016 at 9:45 AM

    When I moved to SM ten years ago I never once said "gee, i'll go there because they have their very own police department." Since then I have never said isn't awesome to live there because of our police department. I am sure they are nice, but they are overpriced and we can't afford them. Now they are also by the city's admission incapable of performing their basic police function on a 24 hours basis. Ergo, adios.

    ReplyDelete
  14. 9.34 the way you talk you must be a big baller and not love money, you can make the UUT tax increase for all, I don't think you get the real picture, the city hall has mis managed the taxpayers moneys for years, now its time that city hall gets there crap together, if it's really a money issue, let the ciy hall employees take a cut in salaries and Cadallic pensions. Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  15. 9.17 tenants pay for their 1) cell phones 2) hard wire phones 3) cable tv 4) internet 5) gas 6) water for houses they live in & the increases expenses passed on to landlords

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. that is my point the landlord will not have to rase your rent because of the tax because you already will be paying it

      Delete
  16. I just read your comments, if the UtT increases go into effect, I will be raising all my rents to pay my added expenses

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Save California's Endangered Poor LandlordsMarch 9, 2016 at 10:31 AM

      Mind excusing yourself from the anonymity and publicizing your property? Or too cheap for that? I don't mean to be rude, but it kind of sounds skeezy to me.

      Delete
    2. Don't you have another blog you can post to? Or a place where you can seek help? Name Callers Anonymous or something?

      Delete
    3. Maybe it's Martin Truitt.

      Delete
    4. too afraid of smpd to use my nameMarch 9, 2016 at 11:26 AM

      the moderator is to be applauded for making this board open to all points of view. it is the only board in town that allows this.

      pat alcorn, who posted a couple of weeks ago, I know you are there! please answer the questions posed a couple of weeks ago. thanks!

      Delete
    5. So, what, $10. a month extra rent? I doubt if any of your tenants will move for that amount of money.

      Delete
    6. Tell me where I can find the questions and I will answer them. Sorry, I haven't kept up on all the blogs. Pat Alcorn

      Delete
    7. Pat Alcorn here again, I will be gone the rest of the day and most of tomorrow and Friday morning. If you send me the questions you will get your answers Friday afternoon. Crawford knows how to reach me.



      Delete
  17. The SMPD fired itself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. or quit. Same result.

      Delete
    2. Good riddance.

      Delete
  18. Maybe if we talk to the mayor and his secretary. Madam city manager, maybe we can begg them to offer new wanta bee cops to come work for the city of Sierra Madre for $1,000,000 ( One Million Dollars) a year each and we can also provide them with a new red mercedez as there company car to drive to and from work! Is this what you want from the broke tax payers?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Argh! I just got a robo call in support of the UUT! Argh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope the Yes on UUT folks robo call every day

      Delete
    2. Yes. Robocalls are about as popular as cancer in Sierra Madre. Martin Truitt is a genius.

      Delete
  20. I got 5 flyers in the mail from the police association. Must be good to have money!

    ReplyDelete