Thursday, June 16, 2016

Letter to the Editor: The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Dispatch Fee and Measure UUT

Mod: For some there has been a sense of growing buyer's remorse over their support for the passage of Measure UUT. The following letter from a Sierra Madre resident is a good example.

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Dispatch Fee - The City of Sierra Madre recently passed a 10% UUT and prior to its passage the city sent out mailings and authorized others to make mailings promoting the UUT.  In most of those mailings they stated, and strongly implied, that the UUT would take care of the Fire Department and Paramedics, and get Sierra Madre out of deficit spending for those services.  The residents were convinced and voted in the 10% UUT, with the idea in mind that it would be the only new charge.

However, after the UUT passed, we residents recently received a notice from the city with our city utility bill, under the name of the Sierra Madre Fire Department,  that it would be adding an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Dispatch Fee, of $272.86 for each of the Paramedic dispatches, where the patient is not transported to the hospital.  In other words, this fee will be charged to all residents who have minor injuries that are attended to on sight by paramedics.  This additional fee was never mentioned to us by the city in any mailing or in any other fashion, to my knowledge.

That being the case, the city mislead us into voting for the UUT, by not giving full disclosure.  If we knew the city was going to add additional fees for other such services in addition to the 10% UUT on all of our utility bills, it is doubtful that the UUT would have passed.

The city is flagrant.  For example, it mentions the word "paramedics" 14 times in the city mailing, 2 times in the police department mailings, and another 2 times in the "Yes" mailings, for a total of 18 times, but does not mention anything about additional paramedic fees anywhere in any mailings at all.  That is grossly misleading and on purpose, and justification to throw out the election based on misrepresentation.  They cannot justify adding this additional fee for paramedics, or additional fees for anything else covered by the 10% UUT, and I think they are just testing the water.  We should call for them to either drop these add on taxes/fees, or set the election aside.

That's my opinion, how do you feel?

Sierra Madre Among the Safest Cities in California

Mod: Here is an upbeat item from the Sierra Madre Weekly (link): recently released their rankings for the safest cities in California (

This year, the City of Sierra Madre came in at number nine on the list, previously ranked at 24. The city has a Violent Crimes per 1,000 residents ratio of 1.17 and a Property Crimes per 1,000 residents ratio of 8.30.

The Golden State gives us the game-changing tech of Silicon Valley, the glamour of the red carpet, and the ideal picture of how to live a healthy, active lifestyle. From the Golden Gate Bridge to the Giant Dipper roller coaster at Mission Beach, California is a state full of iconic landmarks that have become part of the very fabric of America.

All of the cities on the list have more than 11,000 residents, which makes their outstanding safety records even more impressive. Over 50 percent of California’s safest cities had fewer than 20 violent crimes during the FBI’s most recent reporting period and 17 of the 20 cities reported zero incidents of murder. In 75 percent of these cities, the chance of falling victim to a violent crime is less than one in 1,000. When it comes to property crime, your chance of becoming a victim is less than 10 in 1,000 for 90 percent of the cities recognized.

Mod: What makes this feat even more remarkable is that great record for safety happened during a time when police pay here was at some of the lowest levels in the state, causing half of the Police Department to quit. City Hall then being forced to bring in the Sheriff's Department to patrol the city's streets at night. Go figure.


  1. Take heart, all you who were mislead by the City and it's falsehoods regarding the UUT 67% tax increase. Come this November, you can vote the UUT out of existence.

    1. Pretty sure that is November of 2018.

  2. To add to the misrepresentation the money collected for the EMS goes into the general fund. Does somebody know the answer to that? Does money collected go directly to the fire department or does it go directly into the general fund?

    1. General fund. That way it an be used to pay for CalPERS Platinum Pensions at 50.

    2. All fire department expenses come out of the general fund, so any incone should go into the general fund. The concil has been discussing that added fee for years so it shouldn't come as a great surprise. In addition, if you watched any of the council meetings prior to the ballot measure being put on the ballot, council members agreed that the 10% was not the end all of the budget problems.

    3. That is not what the Yes On Measure UUT were saying on all of those postcards they sent out. I am sure there are some stuffy little documents at city hall that say differently, but the public information was a horse of a different color.

  3. It's April 2018

  4. So you don't want higher taxes and you don't want user fees for services used (or misused in this case) what exactly do you want?

    1. I think you missed the point. It isn't the higher taxes that seems to bother the letter writer, it is the city's refusal to deliver on promises that were made. Measure UUT was presented as a panacea for all of the city's ills. It wasn't. Most of it is going to prop up the SMPD.

  5. Congratulations to the men and women of the SMPD for making Sierra Madre safer than ever. We appreciate your service.

    1. True. And the fewer there are the safer the city gets.

    2. Especially when SMPD doesn't work during the scary dark nighttime hours. Then LASD can take a bite out of crime.

  6. The Sheriff's are apparently learning from SMPD. Last evening they had Sierra Madre BL.closed at Michillinda to all traffic, lights blaring all to put a vehicle on a tow truck at the side of the road.

  7. I just read that Sierra Madre now ranks among the top 10 safest cities in California. And all this while the police department was at its lowest. They provide us service like the trash man does. But this town is safe and clean because of our citizenry. Not any self proclaimed heroes

    1. Thank the library.

    2. We have great trash service btw. These men (haven't seen a woman) do a great job above and beyond what they are required.

    3. Things are really picking up for Athens.

  8. You haven't seen anything yet. Remember all those fancy figures that the city put out in support of the UUT increase? Well, just to remind you all, her majesty provided funding figures to the Public Safety Committee during the LASD contract review that assumed a 2% increase each year for SMPD vs. a 5% increase for LASD.

    So, now that the UUT increase passed, the city gives a 6% raise to SMPD this year and another 6% next year. That's 12% (actually a fraction more since the second raise compounds on top of the first). That's six years of the increases shown on the fact-finding mission in only two years!!!

    When will people in this town finally realize that they are being flim-flammed? That 10% UUT is only the beginning. You can start the discussion now for how big you think the parcel tax will be that we are asked to approve in two years...$500...$1000...$1500?

    1. Great post. Thank you.

    2. 1:12 you ate so right. The savings the sheriff would given us according to the study commuter ( Lamdin's group, would be much bigger compared to the cost of our PD with the 6% annual I increases.

      They lied last year when they told us our PD cost would go up 2%/year.

      They knew it all the time. So sneaky.

  9. I think 50$ a year per assessed $100,000. value is fair. That way the good people that have owned their property for a long time and have not been reassessed get a break and the new homeowners in town who use all the services will pay out the !@#$%^

    1. Can't do that, illegal under CA law. Flat parcel tax is really the only option.

  10. A List Of 97 Taxes Americans Pay Every Year

    #1 Air Transportation Taxes (just look at how much you were charged the last time you flew)

    #2 Biodiesel Fuel Taxes

    #3 Building Permit Taxes

    #4 Business Registration Fees

    #5 Capital Gains Taxes

    #6 Cigarette Taxes

    #7 Court Fines (indirect taxes)

    #8 Disposal Fees

    #9 Dog License Taxes

    #10 Drivers License Fees (another form of taxation)

    #11 Employer Health Insurance Mandate Tax

    #12 Employer Medicare Taxes

    #13 Employer Social Security Taxes

    #14 Environmental Fees

    #15 Estate Taxes

    #16 Excise Taxes On Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans

    #17 Federal Corporate Taxes

    #18 Federal Income Taxes

    #19 Federal Unemployment Taxes

    #20 Fishing License Taxes

    #21 Flush Taxes (yes, this actually exists in some areas)

    #22 Food And Beverage License Fees

    #23 Franchise Business Taxes

    #24 Garbage Taxes

    #25 Gasoline Taxes

    #26 Gift Taxes

    #27 Gun Ownership Permits

    #28 Hazardous Material Disposal Fees

    #29 Highway Access Fees

    #30 Hotel Taxes (these are becoming quite large in some areas)

    #31 Hunting License Taxes

    #32 Import Taxes

    #33 Individual Health Insurance Mandate Taxes

    #34 Inheritance Taxes

    #35 Insect Control Hazardous Materials Licenses

    #36 Inspection Fees

    #37 Insurance Premium Taxes

    #38 Interstate User Diesel Fuel Taxes

    #39 Inventory Taxes

    #40 IRA Early Withdrawal Taxes

    #41 IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)

    #42 IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)

    #43 Library Taxes

    #44 License Plate Fees

    #45 Liquor Taxes

    #46 Local Corporate Taxes

    #47 Local Income Taxes

    #48 Local School Taxes

    #49 Local Unemployment Taxes

    #50 Luxury Taxes

    #51 Marriage License Taxes

    #52 Medicare Taxes

    #53 Medicare Tax Surcharge On High Earning Americans Under Obamacare

    #54 Obamacare Individual Mandate Excise Tax (if you don’t buy “qualifying” health insurance under Obamacare you will have to pay an additional tax)

    #55 Obamacare Surtax On Investment Income (a new 3.8% surtax on investment income)

    #56 Parking Meters

    #57 Passport Fees

    #58 Professional Licenses And Fees (another form of taxation)

    #59 Property Taxes

    #60 Real Estate Taxes

    #61 Recreational Vehicle Taxes

    #62 Registration Fees For New Businesses

    #63 Toll Booth Taxes

    #64 Sales Taxes

    #65 Self-Employment Taxes

    #66 Sewer & Water Taxes

    #67 School Taxes

    #68 Septic Permit Taxes

    #69 Service Charge Taxes

    #70 Social Security Taxes

    #71 Special Assessments For Road Repairs Or Construction

    #72 Sports Stadium Taxes

    #73 State Corporate Taxes

    #74 State Income Taxes

    #75 State Park Entrance Fees

    #76 State Unemployment Taxes (SUTA)

    #77 Tanning Taxes (a new Obamacare tax on tanning services)

    #78 Telephone 911 Service Taxes

    #79 Telephone Federal Excise Taxes

    #80 Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Taxes

    #81 Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Taxes

    #82 Telephone State And Local Taxes

    #83 Telephone Universal Access Taxes

    #84 The Alternative Minimum Tax

    #85 Tire Recycling Fees

    #86 Tire Taxes

    #87 Tolls (another form of taxation)

    #88 Traffic Fines (indirect taxation)

    #89 Use Taxes (Out of state purchases, etc.)

    #90 Utility Taxes

    #91 Vehicle Registration Taxes

    #92 Waste Management Taxes

    #93 Water Rights Fees

    #94 Watercraft Registration & Licensing Fees

    #95 Well Permit Fees

    #96 Workers Compensation Taxes

    #97 Zoning Permit Fee