Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Attempting To Breathe Interest Into This Evening's City Council Meeting Is Not Easy

Shazam!
One thing that really stands out about Gene Goss's tenure as Mayor of Sierra Madre is it's just about as dull as anything can possibly get. But in the opinion of some that might actually be a good thing. The less interest in the mighty workings of this local government agency, the fewer troublesome citizens throwing monkey wrenches into their action.

However, we here at The Tattler do soldier on, no matter how daunting the odds. As discussed in yesterday's edition of the only daily news source in town, Item C on tonight's City Council meeting agenda, the poetically titled "RECOMMENDATION TO APPROVE PARTICIPATION IN US BUREAU OF RECLAMATION WATER SMART GRANT PROGRAM AND COMMITMENT OF $75,000 IN FUNDING FOR REQUIRED LOCAL MATCHING FUNDS," goes deep into local government snooper territory. Our question being just how much information is the Water Department entitled to know about your personal water usage.

One reader comment in particular on the $75,000 WaterSMART boondoggle pretty much nailed it.


I expect this will sail on to unanimous City Council approval with barely a peep from any of the City Councilmembers on the privacy issue. I doubt that any of them care at all about that. Apparently this is a topic that has been going around for a while, and the City Council had looked into it before. It's just that the solution is new.

This came out of a request from somewhere that residents be able to monitor their water usage in real time. The problem being the cost was prohibitive. The rationale for what is being considered tonight is this would be a way to make water monitoring affordable.

But at what cost to personal privacy? If you find this a matter for at least a little bit of concern, remember these two memorable paragraphs from a not exactly impartial website called WaterWorld.com (link). Apparently this is one of the key benefits they see for the city investing your hard earned taxpayer dollars in a WaterSMART "Advanced Metering Infrastructure" system.

For a municipal water system where customers are also constituents, customer service is critical. With the detailed usage data available in an AMI system, customer service representatives have immediate access to consumers’ consumption information. When a customer calls with a high water bill complaint, the CS representative can give him a complete picture of how and when he’s using water.

“I’m telling you, it’s a pretty powerful thing when somebody calls and says there’s no way the meter is right,” said Sweeney, “and I say, ‘You are an early riser. I see you take a shower at 5 AM.’” The ability to communicate this level of information to the customer not only adds validity to the accuracy of the meter, it makes for superior customer relationships when you can quickly resolve their questions.

I cannot for the life of me figure out how this could be a good thing. Why would anyone ever want to pay for that kind of abuse?

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

38 comments:

  1. I don't know. Usually you call the City and ask for your water usages information, nobody really knows. No one can explain how the City bills or how the City arrived at the allotted Water Units both Summer and Winter. Or why many of us continue to receive brown water. Then, the next thing you know is that your water is being turned off down at the street, while "you" are on the phone with someone at City Hall.
    So sure. Why not continue to throw good money after bad. This Council is spending as fast as it can, to make "our"busy lives easier.
    Better to catch the big water wasters at 5am in the shower, then to have them call City Hall.

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    1. Gotta burn through all that UUT money before asking for more.

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    2. Water wasters?
      5:45, My friend was fined for wasting water as it was running down the curb by her home. The water actually came from a neighbor up the street who watered early in the morning. My elderly friend paid the fine as she was afraid of the water dept. Sad to see the seniors fearing City Hall.

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    3. The big water wasters are at City Hall. Save the $75,000 to repair the infrastructure.

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    4. The water wasters know they are the culprits but don't care. After letters, phone calls and in person visits, the sad 200 say they don't care about the fines, they are going to use all the water they want. The City Council has turned down the idea of water restrictors several times, maybe it's time to bring the idea back again for those few who flaunt the conservation laws.

      I have talked to one of them, and they say they are making plans to move out of Sierra Madre because of the harassment about watering their lawn. lol I told them lots of luck finding a town in Southern California to move to.

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  2. Got my cable and internet back sometime late last night after being out since approximately 9:30 am. Spectrum stinks! I've had many mini outages since the changeover from Time Warner Cable.

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    1. Thanks for the blackout Spectrum. Not like we wanted to watch Monday Night Football or anything.

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    2. Spectrum is on the spectrum.
      http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=On%20the%20spectrum

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    3. Cable is dying. The former big operators like Time/Warner have now sold their interests off to second tier companies like Spectrum and Frontier. This is not a good thing.

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    4. we've had many before and after. hardly a difference in the crappy service.

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    5. This message dated yesterday is on the City's Facebook page.
      "The City of Sierra Madre is experiencing internet and telephone difficulties due to provider blackout. Emergency 911 services are fully functional as well as the non-emergency line at dispatch (626)355-1414."
      https://www.facebook.com/cityofsierramadre/posts/1265290453514436

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    6. I went to Arnold's yesterday and to purchase my items, I was given the choice of "pay cash or check only". No charging as the Internet is out! Thanks a lot Spectrum. Your service is deplorable!

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    7. 7:58,
      To me this service is worse than past providers. My bundle with TWC happen to end when Spectrum took over TWC and the rate went up $15. dollars. Spectrum said wait until next month, we will have new discount packages. Well, you guessed it, the next month NO new bundles were available. When complaining, the representative tried to bully me into upgrading to a more costlier package. So now I pay more money for the same package with poorer service.

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  3. So which is worse? A wild and crazy City Council like during the Walsh - Moran years? Or a crushingly dull one that puts everyone to sleep?

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    Replies
    1. and then while we're all asleep..... KA-BLAM!

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  4. The loss of privacy from Watersmart is but a leak compared to the deluge of information about us that continuously spews forth from our cell phones as we travel from place to place, our satellite and cable TV and music choices, our credit card purchases, and our internet searching habits.

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    Replies
    1. Does your cell phone keep track of how many times you flush your toilet?

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    2. It's part of my fitness app

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  5. The message on the City Web Site was not helpful, couldn't be viewed. Someone should have passed the info over to the poor guy working Police Dispatch. Not an emergency, but he had no idea the Web, T.V. and Landlines were out...AGAIN.

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    Replies
    1. Was the outage information on Sierra Madre Community Radio 1630 AM yesterday?

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    2. THE HORN Serves a purpose it was not utilized

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    3. Call me cynical, but I am not sure being cut off from Facebook for a few hours constitutes a horn blowing emergency.

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    4. the horn is for people that don't know how to use a smart phone

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  6. The funding was just dangling out there. Bruce thought it would be nice to help out ONLY 200 families, or the biggest water wasters in town. The Council agreed, these KNOWN water wasters could use a smart tool ($75,000.00 worth) with assisting them in their goal of cutting back. Now these BIGGEST WATER WASTERS IN TOWN, can view their graphing of WATER WASTE and determine were THEY should cut back. Dull is not the adjective I would use in defining this Council.

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  7. I've already requested a service call I know it will not help but will cost them money to come out. I suggest everyone do the same.

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  8. I'm waiting for the meeting when everybody on the City Council calls in from motels. SMTV3 could then focus on an empty dais all night. It would be kind of like the old TV broadcast of the yule log.

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  9. The horn could have been sounded 4 times yesterday meaning "internet out temporary don't be scared" George would be tickled pink!

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    Replies
    1. Like your thinking. How about when the HORN sounds anytime but Friday at five, check your radio ( with batteries) to 1630AM on dial, S.M. Community Radio

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    2. One time I heard a warning on how to avoid bears. The horn could scare them away too, especially if they were headed to Bean Town.

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    3. maybe we should relearn smoke signals. We could integrate smoke signals with the horn to get really important messages around town during outages.

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    4. Please. Enough with the horn already. That thing looks so decrepit if it blows too many times it will probably fall over.

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    5. people are already smart enough that if their internet/cable is out to use the radio or check with a neighbor

      horn is so useless

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  10. Switch to the DISH. It does not offer SMTV3, but the Yule Log can be seen. Great service no complaints.

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  11. This would have been a good time to check your emergency preparations to include communication ability. Bundling your phone, TV, and internet is not a good idea. It will cost more money but you will be prepared for the eventual disaster in one way or another.

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    Replies
    1. It's worse than that without Wifi I cant use my cell phone at home either. No home phone,no internet,no cell phone. I'm getting a HORN!

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    2. Nice. So while the whole world is falling apart around us there will be this loud ass horn sounding off. That will help.

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    3. Hopefully the earthquake will be so strong it will knock the horn over.

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    4. The goes great with my rotary phone and my Victrola.

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