Wednesday, March 15, 2017

City Council: Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

Click here.

The next round of Sierra Madre tax increase appeals kicked off last night. These take place every two years or so, making it a biennial tax cycle that you can pretty much set your watch to. That is, if you still wear such a thing.

The new City Manager, Gabriel Engeland (not England as it is misspelled in the Library Facility Master Plan staff report - link), stepped into the role of chief staff tax cheerleader quite seamlessly. He didn't miss a beat, which I guess is why they hired him.

Since these biennial tax increase cycles happen so regularly, there really weren't too many surprises last night. And even though Measure UUT was supposed to save the Library for everyone's grandchildren (as that irksome cliche' goes), or guarantee Sierra Madre's safety services would be at their tip top protective peak at all times, there they all were last night. Shucking and jiving with hats in hand, begging for the same exact things they were begging for in 2016.

It seemed very much like an all too familiar TV rerun. Right down to Yukon John Cappocia barking at the assembled that as far as the Library goes, well, we either do this or just shut it down right now.
By gum.

The Library, of course, is quite used to playing the role of tax hostage. Sierra Madre's very own damsel in distress, it was tied to the exact same railroad tracks as the last time.

The actual reason for this next tax hit, which apparently John Harabedian believes will be of the parcel tax variety, is Sierra Madre's millions upon millions of dollars in CalPERS and water bond debt. Around $32 million to be roughly exact. Petty much as it was in 2016, 2014 and 2012.

But you'll never catch anyone on the City Council or City Staff admitting to anything like that. Even though it isn't exactly a secret, and hasn't been for years.

Instead it will be about the roof on the Library, or ADA compliant access ramps, or (strangely enough) asbestos. Or a place for kids to sit at the Fire Station. Or, of course, Baby Rhyme Time and the Huck Finn Fishing Derby.

That same tired disingenuous baloney, back yet again for another tax increase. Not a single thing has changed. Especially the folks who will fall for it.

And they will.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

56 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. You just slept through the first night of the next round of tax hikes.

      Delete
    2. The library aughta start their own green-cross medical caregiver shop out back where the book giveaway is. That'd get the young'uns back to the library, and get the library off the railroad tracks you speak of for hostage purposes.

      Delete
  2. Screw the city council members and their tax hikes and pensions.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The metronomic CC. Hense the Zzzzzzzzzzzzz. You would think with the new City Manager there for his first night there would have been an infusion of energy. Such circumspection.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Did anyone welcome the new City Manager and his family to their new town?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There was a city hall get together at 5 o'clock yesterday.

      Delete
  5. Government and salaries for government employees will continue to grow to meet the revenue you give to it. This will never change. The only way to force them to live within their means is to stop feeding it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. How soon before we start getting postcards?

    ReplyDelete
  7. There was a reception for the new City Manager. It was nice. The evening was warm. The Wistaria was in bloom. All... Is ... Well...

    ReplyDelete
  8. Mayor Goss gave his "State of the City" address recently. There was no mention of the city's debt there, either.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Is it a new parcel tax, or a parcel tax increase?

    ReplyDelete
  10. When you fight so hard for zero growth, this is what happens. Everybody pays more. You could control costs, but that would mean giving up things you are not willing to give up. But as is the modicum here, just bark, accuse and vilify from a place no one can see you, then run and hide. Do it all over again tomorrow. It works so well, and it's great for the Town psyche.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Doing a little vilification yourself I see.

      Delete
    2. It's the debt, 6:52. Not the messenger.

      Delete
    3. Maybe the city council could start calling the debt fake news.

      Delete
    4. But the population of this town hasn't really grown in half a century. Just need to make the budget match what it was then

      Delete
  11. Forensic Audit.
    Time to come clean and make a fresh start.
    Historical stroll down memory lane of past and present expenditures.
    Where do the tax spending citizens stand on their unlimited amount of "deep pockets"?
    Are there skeletons buried beneath City Hall?
    and why does Sierra Madre spell the World's largest flowering plant Wistaria, not Wisteria?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wistaria not wisteria.
      http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com/search?q=wistaria+not+wisteria

      Delete
  12. People are scared: Paranoia seizes Trumps White House - A culture of paranoia is consuming the Trump administration, with staffers increasingly preoccupied with perceived enemies—inside their own government.

    In interviews, nearly a dozen White House aides and federal agency staffers described a litany of suspicions: that rival factions in the administration are trying to embarrass them, that civil servants opposed to President Donald Trump are trying to undermine him, and even that a “deep state” of career military and intelligence officials is out to destroy them.

    Aides are going to great lengths to protect themselves. They’re turning off work-issued smartphones and putting them in drawers when they arrive home from work out of fear that they could be used to eavesdrop. They’re staying mum in meetings out of concern that their comments could be leaked to the press by foes.

    Many are using encrypted apps that automatically delete messages once they’ve been read, or are leaving their personal cell phones at home in case their bosses initiate phone checks of the sort that press secretary Sean Spicer deployed last month to identify leakers on his team.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/trump-white-house-paranoia-236069

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. According to Kelly Ann Conway, all White House staffers have to do is get rid of their microwaves! Or should I put it in quotes "get rid of," a la the Orange One. Sean Spicer would say I was just kidding, like Trump and his wire tapping (sic). It's no wonder the White House is in chaos - look at who is there - Breitbart honcho Bannon leading the way. If you are a white supremicist your life revolves around conspiracies.

      Delete
  13. It just goes to show, it isn't the City Manager, it's the City Council.

    ReplyDelete
  14. 6:52am. What do you mean, zero growth? Sierra Madre is three square miles and the population remains the same.
    Now with granny flats and bring the kids back home additions; the population will...remain about the same.
    Costs to live in town are increasingly growing, but what "are" we showing for the increases? We could control costs by givinng up things? "We"really have privatized just about every thing; "we" have already given up.
    Where are the Volunteers?
    Property values keep climbing, along with our water bills. Our services and public safty issues are suffering and still the hands are outstreched from City Hall.
    Are you wanting to bulldoze neighborhoods? Are you working off commissions?
    Should the town get rid of the business districts as they are not bringing in a working tax base for City Hall?
    I am confused about the zero growth remark; but I know how much I am asked to "give" to keep things the same, when everything seems to be outsourced.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The two costliest city services are not outsourced. Policy and Fire. We would save 500,000 a year to start. And then more as each year goes by.

      Delete
  15. Don't forget the Obama spy network and shadow government 7:19.

    Vast conspiracy or sheer incompetence?

    The answer is simple: Ocaam's Razor.

    Trump (a loser of hundreds of millions of dolllars despite using foreign steel and stiffing creditors) and his administration are incompetent.

    ReplyDelete
  16. 8:25am. Obviously you're white; so why the guilt?

    ReplyDelete
  17. More leaked info from United States Government.
    Make believe fake news, Ms. Maddow more than giddy to release private information stolen and released from the Department of IRS.
    I wonder what Harry Reid will paid out in his taxes this year? Benefits of retirement?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Zero growth as in no population growth. No residential construction growth. No business/commercial growth. But expenses continue to grow. You fought for measure v, you got it and now we have no chance of a viable supermarket or any other relevant business. That's a lot of basic and necessary revenue leaving town. No builder/investor/business person wants to work in this town because of the myopic and angry few who have created an atmosphere of vitriol and hate to all things they fear. Sierra madre is not a museum, it's supposed to be a city. It does not and should not turn into Pasadena or Glendale, but we need growth, logic and civility of which we have precious little, and we have ignorance fueled by misinformation to thank for it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Everyone enjoys the high property values. Please stop the name calling.

      Delete
    2. How can the residents be expected to allow a radical transformation of the city to pay for debt our elected officials refuse to acknowledge?

      Delete
    3. 10:33 it's the human size of Sierra Madre that has given us these property values.

      Delete
    4. 10:33, "you"?

      Delete
    5. 10:33. You don't know know anything about Measure V. If a project exceeds Measure V standards, all that is needed is approval by a majority of the voters. That's how the ALF got built. Read the document before you post misinformation.

      Delete
    6. Plus we are getting a family friendly pub. How cool is that?

      Delete
  19. 10:33am. Water moratorium still in place.
    Measure V will keep the three and four stories out of the downtown area.
    A Supermarket could be opened anywhere in town; if a business owner choose to do so.
    You are right, most of the land in thet business district is owned by foreigners and rental agreements are high, due in part of the City charging a higher business tax.
    Misinformation? Attend City Council meetings and become involved.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I called No one names, a courtesy not shown to me regularly on this blog. Nobody is calling for a radical transformation. We need a supermarket. We need more homes. We need to renovate decrepit structures. If that's considered radical than we really do have seriously unsolvable problems in this town.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Myopic" and "angry few" qualify as name calling. Your attempt to label slow growth Sierra Madreans as such also looks agenda driven.

      Delete
    2. The majority of the voters are not "the few."

      Delete
    3. we don't need a supermarket, we had one and it closed. you may want one because it sounds nice, but the we don't need one

      Delete
  21. I like Taylor's Meats and Howie's Market.
    If you give me the money, I'll build an addition and fix the place up. Especially if it's the human size of Sierra Madre that increases the property value.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Myopic is an adjective describing a view point. Angry is also describing a few people, if you feel as though you are one of them, then that is an association you are placing on yourself. As for slow growth... give me a break, I am for slow growth, most people on this blog advocate for zero. They even vilify those trying to renovate or remodel.
    @11:46 you need space for a supermarket, baldwin/sierra madre is/was the only place for that. No one in their right mind would go through the hassle of a city wide election for that purpose. The proposal that was presented there was very nice. It fit the neighborhood and would have been the perfect addition to that eye sore of a corner. I like Mr. Taylor, but we need a full service supermarket. Measure V has killed that and consequently any small business owner who wishes to renovate a downtown structure. It's just not reasonable. Far too much regulation with no benefit. You can establish hight and setback limitations, and visual guidelines without the need for the whole city to chime in on every project that requires a CUP. You can't run a city this way, unless you intend to run it into the ground, which is happening.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can understand why you might feel that way. As far as a supermarket on that corner, if there was one interested I am sure the LLC that owns the property would do back flips to make it happen. Unfortunately they have received no such offers.

      Delete
    2. That's my point, they have had no such recent offers, because no one wants to deal with this city. Fresh and Easy was the last and they ran for cover.

      Delete
    3. No one advocates for zero growth.
      The only time that comes up is when someone is vilifying the slow-growth perspective.

      Delete
    4. Measure V was a result of the Dreadful Specific Plan, in which some putzes from Orange County redesigned the town. 4 story buildings on the boulevard was the only way we could be "economically viable," sez they. "Not 4!" sez the never missed John Buchanan - "maybe three story buildings." That was the future they envisioned for this lovely town, and Joe Mosca was going to carry it through. Measure V was how they were forced to include the whole town if they were going to change the whole town.

      Delete
    5. What was presented on that corner ( Taylors. Homies) were 76 condominiums and 9000 sq ft of retain.

      Delete
    6. What's retain?

      Delete
    7. I disagree that we need a full service supermarket. Not weighing in on the no-growth stuff. I'm a big fan of improvement. But, Sierra Madre is a uniquely small and quiet city. I don't mind driving a few miles if it means sparing Sierra Madre from some of the more congested businesses (like a supermarket parking lot).

      Delete
  23. 2:27 - Fresh and Easy went out of business. Sierra Madre slow growthers had nothing to do with that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fresh and Easy was never serious about SM. Ever.

      Delete
    2. Good thing. Because we would now have a boarded up one at the corner of Baldwin and Sierra Madre Blvd.

      Delete
  24. 2:03pm. You should read Measure V. It is clear that you don't know what you are talking about.
    I also don't think you advocate for slow slow, growth; otherwise you wouldn't be repeating nonsense .
    It takes a bulldozer to clear any section of property within the business district; then you could build a two story, thirty foot high, thirteen units etc. if so inclined; kinda like what's downtown now.
    Never gonna see underground two story parking in Sierra Madre; as proposed at that site on Baldwin ave and Sierra Madre Bl.
    The Assisted Alzheimer Living Facility in downtown is a residential buildout in the business district; that required a 2/3rds vote from citizens to be built in the downtown business district.
    That area would have been a perfect place for a supermarket.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trader Joes looked at the ALF property and turned it down cold. No parking was only one of the reasons. If they couldn't make a go then no larger chain would either.

      Delete
  25. When I moved to Sierra Madre in 1973 there were two small markets, corner of Baldwin and Sierra Madre Blvd. and corner of Lima and Sierra Madre Blvd. There was Alberstons at Mitchellinda and Sierra Madre Blvd. and Vons (were Fresh and Easy came and went) and Ralphs (that may have been another chain) on Foothill at 2nd in Arcadia. Lots to choose from for several years. What the heck happen?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Roess' (Lima and Sierra Madre Blvd) and Green Frog (Howie's) (Baldwin and Sierra Madre Blvd) as well Taylor's Meat Market next to Albertsons sold great produce and meat but folks wanted cheaper or fancier so they trekked off to FedCo, then CostCo and Sam's Club, or Smart and Final. Remember Market Basket? Then came Walmart, Pavilions and the specialty ethnic and vegetable markets. Shoot, I even buy staples on line from Amazon. Same brands, no shipping, great prices. Now we have Sprouts, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, 99 Market. All good but market (no pun intended) driven. There have been many, many markets competing for buyers and their dollars.

      Delete