Monday, May 23, 2016

City Council Meeting: Promises Made During The Measure UUT Campaign Are Now Quickly Going Away

The "Yes On Measure UUT" campaign made a number of promises during the run up to last month's election that do not look like they are going to be kept. That is no surprise for us here at The Tattler, but apparently for a little over 70% of Sierra Madre's easily bamboozled voters, this is going to come as a big surprise. That is, of course, if they even notice. They might be entirely too consumed with other matters. What those might be I am not sure anyone should actually care enough to know.

At tomorrow evening's City Council meeting there are two items in particular that show the claims made by the "Yes On Measure UUT" crowd were kinda bogus. They could also have been baseless and even dishonest. Again, no surprise to anyone who reads this blog, but you know how that goes. Obviously there was a critical shortage of well-informed residents available to vote this year, and those fabulous postcards filled with wistaria colored bromides and unrealistic promises were enough to sway their none too heavily involved heads.

I'd like to thank the "Yes On Measure UUT" Facebook page for leaving the following two postcards up on their site. For the moment you can see them in situ by clicking here. Usually campaigns as fact-free as that one would pull such things down shortly after an election. Happily, they have left all this up for us to enjoy. Probably out of laziness, though arrogance might play a role as well. I am not certain they really give a damn about whatever you might think. They got the money and that is all that matters.

Here is the first of the two cards I lifted from that Facebook page.


We're looking at the bottom two items on this card. Those being "Community Services" and "Library." You know, the place that so many people love. Or (Heart) as those ironically non-verbal library signs put it.

At tomorrow night's City Council meeting there is an agenda item (link) dealing specifically with just these very two things. Both of which are now to be combined into one department in order to keep salaries low. Or at least lower than they are in other nearby cities. Places where salaries and benefits are more generous.


Now, and if the proponents of higher utility taxes were to be believed, Community Services and Library Services would remain untouched and pristine should adequate UUT monies be made available by the voters. Yet here we can see that these two departments are being combined in order to be able maintain below market personnel costs. Is that what you thought a 66% increase in utility taxes would do?

The next card deals with the tender topic of water infrastructure. Here is how it goes.


Please note this sentence. "Unless Measure UUT passes, our City Council will have to significantly reduce programs and services and will be forced to delay vital repairs to our infrastructure."

Certainly there is no infrastructure more vital than Sierra Madre's creaky and rusty water system, right? Obviously that is what was being referred to here. So if raising utility taxes was supposed to take care of all that, why is this following unhappy information to be found in a staff report for tomorrow's City Council meeting (link)?


So there you go. Despite the Measure UUT 66% utility tax increase those "vital repairs" to the city's water infrastructure remain unfunded. All $13 million dollars worth.

Anybody surprised? You shouldn't be.

This report then goes on to consider what measures would be needed to adequately fund those many millions of dollars in desperately needed water infrastructure replacement. They include new parcel taxes, a sales tax increase and, of course, another round of bonds. This would be on top of the $23 million or so in bond debt the City of Sierra Madre is already carrying. Much of which the city is still only making interest only payments on.

And did you know that there might be yet another round of water rate increases coming up as well? How about that, right? Apparently Measure UUT really was just only the beginning.

I'd hate to say we told you so. But we did.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

43 comments:

  1. At the meeting Monday, I would venture to say that 90% of the members of the commission, if not all, voted for the UUT and the two incumbents. The only serious concern seemed to be if the Librarian could handle all that work. That, and if they could go back to the old way if it didn't work. Like that would happen! There were many of the "old guard" represented at this meeting. I just wondered where their minds were.

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    1. at 120 grand a year and running our little puny library I don't think our precious Librarian is overworked and under compensated

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    2. It is crazy.

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  2. Hmm. $23 million in already existing bond debt, plus an additional $13 million to do the things the previous bonds were not used for. $36 million! Of course, that does not include the additional costs associated with floating a bond might take. And the way our guru in such matters, Bondsy Bart, does business the sky is the limit.

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    Replies
    1. Having our own water company has been a disaster for this community. We put people in charge who are incapable of running it, and we ended up with ancient dangerous equipment and a mountain of debt.

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  3. Crooked city council

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  4. Replies
    1. If you get bit petting a rattlesnake, what makes you think the next time it will be different?

      Come on, Mr. Doyle when elected was a lobbyist for the construction industry, he's just being the rattlesnake his is.

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    2. Bart and Capoccia seem close these days. Have they developed a mutual interest in whittling?

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  5. Politician's promises are all covered in blood they claim is their own for fighting for 'YOUR' future and well being but we all know it's number 5 food coloring and it's thick as water soon to dry up and blow away. In other words you all have been had, 'Wham Bam, thank you mam' that and two bucks will get you a cup of coffee.

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  6. Their minds were that this was going to happen no matter what they said. The meeting was stacked to only present what Elaine wanted and nothing elastic. There was NO alternative. No way can they advertise for a librarian/community services director and then change their minds in six months to a year if it doesn't work. This act is the ultimate betrayal.

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    Replies
    1. Sounds like it's time to contract out BOTH the library and community services.

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    2. How can they? You just had over 70% of the voters say that is exactly what they don't want!

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    3. Measure UUT: It's all about the Platinum Pensions!

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    4. City Hall took care of itself first. If the people who actually live here want clean potable water, they need to get ready to pay a lot.

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    5. library needs to be managed by Pasadena or the County - the branch would stay open and improve

      I don't get all "nostalgic" about it being a city service, it's a burden, top heavy with labor costs and inefficient.

      It's a social project for our local Santa Monica wannabees.

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  7. City hall spending is out of control... what are the lazy ciy rax payers going to do about it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hand them more money, of course. They will be given many opportunities to do so.

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  8. That's the beauty of living in a village.

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  9. Not one city council member fights for the residents.
    We need people like former Mayor MacGillivray. MaryAnn fought for us.
    So did Don Watts. So did Kurt Zimmerman.
    Where are are representitves now?
    They represent only themselves and special interests....they do not represent us
    Crooked city council!

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    Replies
    1. The good ones can't get elected any more.

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    2. Or leave in disgust.

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    3. The time for saving Sierra Madre as a free standing village may have past. Sure it will still be a pleasant neighborhood, but the decisions on things like land use and infrastructure will be made in Arcadia or Pasadena. It is teetering on the brink of insolvency and the only thing our elected officials have come up with is raising taxes to pay off the city's unions. Measure UUT was a total capitulation. Things do not look very good right now.

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    4. Sadly, I agree with 4:01's assessment. If only our councils had kept a control on the appropriately sized and paid staff of the past. Also would have helped to have preferential hiring for residents who wanted to see long term well being for the town. Too late now.

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  10. The staff report for the water system financing agenda item states that the current combined debt for the two water bonds is only $8,1650,000, not the $20,000,000 we keep hearing about.

    What's up with that?

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    Replies
    1. They left out the interest payments. When you are making interest only payments they lind of add up.

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    2. Sshhhh. You're not supposed to know that.

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  11. I just got off the phone and was told that the UUT was going to be raised in 2 years. Is that possible?

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  12. Sure, if we continue to live above our means, taxes need to be raised to make up the difference.

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    Replies
    1. yeah but when the biggest debt is the pension plan debt, now and future, then what and why?

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  13. Politicians promise anything to get elected
    Please vote against all incumbents

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  14. Measure UUT was for the SMPD. Nothing else. Congratulations, chumps.

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    Replies
    1. lucky us, I hear we are getting a wholesale invasion of fresh out of the academy officers.

      it'll be a revolving door because of the boredom



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  15. Obviously none of the CHUMPS read this blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We need a blog that uses wood blocks.

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  16. Wait! I thought that Elaine was evil and all she cared about was keeping salaries high?! You mean that she might actually be trying to do a good job? Say it ain't so! After all the moment you start working for a city you must be up to no good. And she's been working for the city for a long time, so she must be doubly up to no good.

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    Replies
    1. Elaine is trying to do a good job. She doesn't want to loose her chances at being a youngish millionaire when she retires!
      What she works hardest at, is inculcating a victim whine in city staff. Don't you know that they are all overworked, underpaid, and only working here from the goodness of their hearts? Never mind the facts; listen to the spiel.

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    2. Nothing wrong with saving money. What is wrong is telling the voters this wouldn't happen while planning for it all the while.

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  17. Great leading illustration Mod. Thanks for a good laugh.

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  18. I think the city is in a bad PR spot right now. It is too soon after Measure UUT to be pushing for another tax hike. So they're kind of circling around the issue like a dog at a fire hydrant. But yes, if you read these agenda reports there is a lot there about taxes.

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    1. lol it's well documented that the city spread misinformation and outright lies about the UUT, it's been that way since day one

      people gotta start turning off the cash machine but always voting NO or against anything that is sold to us to pay for something and at the same time the govt public sectors largest debt is its own pension plan and somehow that's my problem?

      I voted NO as a matter of principal, I've always felt our city leadership consistently over the past dozen years has been deceptive or self serving.

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    2. Here's my question. Besides asking for tax and rate increases, what exactly does City Hall do?

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  19. http://www.pasadenanow.com/main/house-unanimously-approves-rep-chu-bill-to-rename-sierra-madre-post-office-in-honor-of-veteran-and-immigrant-louis-van-iersel/#.V0To6zeX9B1

    This looks like good news!

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