Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Is the Sierra Madre City Manager's Weekly Report Now a Thing of the Past?

I haven't seen the weekly report since Ex-City Manager Elaine Aguilar walked out of City Hall carrying cardboard boxes filled with mementos and drove off into the sunset. It used to be that her report occasionally offered key insights into what was going on downtown. However, since Ms. Aguilar's departure there hasn't been one. March 10 was the last edition. I've been checking.

Now being a civil and forgiving person you might have assumed that the reason for this was because the current City Manager, Gabriel Engeland, formerly of Trinidad "Rocky Mountain High" Colorado, is just getting settled in and hasn't found the time needed to get one done. And that would be a reasonable assessment of the situation. It is never easy starting a new job, especially in a town as complex as this one.

However, if you look on the City of Sierra Madre website, there are some disturbing indications that trouble might be afoot. The clues seem telling to me. Here are a couple for you to reflect upon.

As you can see to the left, the City Manager's Report is no longer dressed up with the words "administrative transparency." Rather it is now a "Weekly Report Archive." Archives, as you know, are places where things now considered to be a part of the past go. Here is how Wikipedia explains it (link):

"An archive is an accumulation of historical records or the physical place they are located. Archives contain primary source documents that have accumulated over the course of an individual or organization's lifetime, and are kept to show the function of that person or organization ... In general, archives consist of records that have been selected for permanent or long-term preservation on grounds of their enduring cultural, historical, or evidentiary value. Archival records are normally unpublished and almost always unique, unlike books or magazines for which many identical copies exist. This means that archives are quite distinct from libraries with regard to their functions and organization, although archival collections can often be found within library buildings.

You could easily get the impression that perhaps the City Manager's Report really is a thing of the past. There is also this disturbing screen shot (link):


There used to be a section on this page where a new report would be slotted in, along with its issue date. That is now gone. In its place is the invitation to subscribe to that strictly vanilla Sierra Madre City Newsletter e-mail blast instead. Hardly a replacement since it has already been around for quite some time.

If my suspicions are correct, these are not happy signs. Sierra Madre never has been celebrated for city agency transparency, and the loss of this report does little to make that unfortunate impression any less obvious.

My guess? Someone is advising the city to put out as little information as possible. The purpose being to choke off possible resident arguments against that anticipated big fat tax hike in the works for 2018. The second in two years.

I hope I'm wrong.

Last night's Sierra Madre City Council meeting

Click here to see the video.

As we predicted on Monday, this was a fairly quick public City Council confab, lasting all of an hour and seventeen affable minutes. Ed Chen, the former campaign manager of that now imprisoned LA County Sheriff candidate and thug, Paul Tanaka, stepped up to talk about a different kind of trash.

That stormwater bill certain screwballs in Sacramento are pushing for was unanimously opposed by the City Council, and a letter will be sent to the appropriate officials stating their unhappiness. If it becomes law, this bill would cost cities like Sierra Madre huge amounts of money they don't have.

The 710 Tunnel was written off, which is a very good thing. Have you seen the 210 Freeway lately? Chris Holden, who was for the tunnel before he was against it, was commended by John Capoccia for his ability to flip the correct way.

The City Council then headed off to that backroom with the large table and chairs to discuss a couple of potential land use lawsuits with the City Attorney. Something that was expected to take at least a couple of hours. Unfortunately, this was all secret stuff so there is nothing more to report.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

34 comments:

  1. So much for transparency.

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  2. Gone are the ways of the City Clerk. The Council voted in this change.
    Gone are the ways of the City Manager?
    Transparency vs. Cost saving measures and time saved from having to produce those lengthy and time consuming reports.
    Archives, could be that volunteers will be in charge of this area of "cost saving, record keeping" in the public Library?

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    1. The cost of producing the City Manager's report when compared to Sierra Madre's $9 million dollars in unfunded CalPERS debt is probably around .0000001%. Throw in the interest paid only water bond debt of $23 million and you'd need a whole lot more zeroes.

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    2. Nobody ever mentions Sierra Madre's debt problem. There was no mention of it in Mayor Goss's "State of the City" address. Why is this such a big secret? If the city wants more money, shouldn't they at least level with the people they expect to write the checks?

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    3. a couple of weed shops and our city finance problems would be over

      according to the past management decisions of our new city manager

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    4. Good question 8:16. I don't know why it's such a problem to tell us.

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    5. I've often thought that if the city would just level with people about its real financial problems such as debt it wouldn't experience the kinds of tax resistance it does. This debt is a serious problem and it needs to be fixed. All people need to hear is the truth.

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    6. "A Penny saved is a penny earned"
      "A friend with weed is a friend indeed"
      "You can't handle the truth"

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    7. The weed shops are on the way. In about eight months they'll be everywhere.

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  3. Gotta love Sierra Madre,I got up at 5am so a neighbor called the police. I feel all warm and safe :)

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    1. You must be the neighborhood watched.

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    2. Careful your neighbor might be troll #2 the racist gun nut

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    3. Your neighbor called the police because you were awake inside your home at 5am?

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    4. Is there a wake up curfew in Sierra Madre?

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    5. Yes. But neighbors with chickens do not respect that.

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    6. Don't pick on the chickens – they are just trying to get everyone to enjoy the day like they are. Chickens are wonderful - whether coocooing or on the barbecue

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    7. Chickens no Roosters.10:43 She apparently thought I was a burglar allegedly watching porn on the internet in the dark at 5am with my cat?

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    8. High speed internet must be so expensive, burglars are breaking into SM homes in the wee hours to steal WiFi for porn. And shame on kitty for not closing the blinds. (I shudder to think about the calls the SMPD puts up with from some of the residents around here...too bad they're not after real criminals like those hiding things in our government...keep up the good work, Mod).

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  4. Trump Might Be the First President in 100 Years Not to Throw the First Pitch at an MLB Game
    http://www.marieclaire.com/politics/features/a26231/trump-ceremonial-first-pitch/

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    Replies
    1. Trolls get trumped again

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    2. This would take place in Washington DC. A place where he carried around 4% of the vote. Marco Rubio even beat him in the primary.

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  5. He would be booed off the field,or worse yet assassinated.

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  6. Could it be that the City Manager's report was really so much pap and not an attempt at transparency at all. Dazzle with nothing of worth. We have all been around long enough to know what incompetence looks like and how it hides behind words, words and more words.

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    1. There was some good stuff in there from time to time. Remember, it was written for the City Council. Plus the list of items coming up over the next few months was also useful.

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    2. It wasn't thrilling reading, but now and then there were items the residents might need to take seriously. Kind of like a head's up.

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    3. A lot of times it required a little reading between the lines.

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  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  8. No one possesses the heart to do the right thing anymore.

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    Replies
    1. Another tough morning, Eeyore?

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    2. Yes, Piglet.

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  9. Regarding the change in the City Manager's report....excellent observation, Mod!

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    Replies
    1. Another old timer agrees with 9:14, good eye Mod, good eye!

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  10. What transparency? Hide all information, the needed parcel tax is coming.

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