Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Does Sierra Madre Now Have Yet Another Mayor Who Will Not Tell The Truth About Sierra Madre's Massive Pension Debt Problem?

I'm not as hardcore on tax issues as I used to be. Some of those that I worked with on that issue in the past became pretty big disappointments to me in the last year or so, and I no longer feel any obligation to carry their ridiculous banners for them.

I can understand why taxpayers might want to dig a little deeper to save their city from financial ruin, and I'll admit that this is not necessarily a bad thing. But what does bother me are politicians who play upon the good will of residents, people who believe and trust in them, yet for whatever the reason refuse to tell them the actual truth for raising their taxes.

We saw that dishonesty in spades during the run up to last year's Measure UUT. Rather than confess to Sierra Madre's extraordinary debt problems, and how that drives the need for more taxation, voters received countless postcards telling them that the money was actually required to save things like the Library, the Huck Finn Fishing Derby, or even Baby Rhyme Time. Whatever that is.

Very cynical, and very much untrue. Below is the real reason why City Hall put Measure UUT on the ballot in 2016, and why they will be asking for even more taxes in 2018. This information comes from a website run out of Stanford University (link).


$40 million dollars in CalPERS debt is an enormous amount of money for a city of around 11,000. Throw in another $15 million or so in water bond debt and you're talking some serious money. And let's face it, unless City Hall finds more money somewhere there will be serious consequences. Bankruptcy being the very least of them.

Sierra Madre's new mayor will have to lead on the next round of tax increases. Hopefully this time around we will see leadership that will have the courage and integrity to tell the truth about why the City Council is going to ask for a second big tax increase in two years.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

45 comments:

  1. We have the best mayor and mayor pro tem in forever

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    1. They will prove that by leveling with the taxpayers about Sierra Madre's debt problems, and why that is the driving force behind any future tax increases.

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  2. And we heard that the only place in town will be given a business license to sell dope

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    1. I don't think they will ever sell dope, though they have been known to serve one once in a while.

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  3. Republicans exempt their own insurance from their latest health care proposal - Republican legislators want to keep popular Obamacare provisions for themselves and their staff.

    House Republicans appear to have included a provision that exempts Members of Congress and their staff from their latest health care plan.

    The new Republican amendment, introduced Tuesday night, would allow states to waive out of Obamacare’s ban on pre-existing conditions. This means that insurers could once again, under certain circumstances, charge sick people higher premiums than healthy people.

    Republican legislators liked this policy well enough to offer it in a new amendment. They do not, however, seem to like it enough to have it apply to themselves and their staff. A spokesperson for Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) who authored this amendment confirmed this was the case: members of Congress and their staff would get the guarantee of keeping this Obamacare regulations.

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/republicans-exempt-their-own-insurance-from-their-latest-health-care-proposal/ar-BBAnqI1?li=BBmkt5R&ocid=spartandhp

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    1. Trump Son In Law Jared Kushner Was Just Told To Lawyer Up Because He Committed A Crime

      http://www.politicususa.com/2017/04/25/trump-son-law-jared-kushner-told-lawyer-committed-crime.html

      Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) told Trump son in law Jared Kushner that he better hire a lawyer because he committed a crime when he lied about having contacts with foreign governments on his security clearance form.

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    2. Trolls get trumped again!

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    3. Sierra Madre has always stayed non partisan for a reason. The reason is our problems have been local and have no national political issues,.. non partisan issues There are plenty of other blogs that may meet your needs better.
      If you wish to persist, you will alienate half the town, and people will stop paying attention and move on.
      It is up to the managers of this blog as to whether to repurpose this blog into another subject matter, such as a national political editorial address.
      .

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  4. This mayor will be no different. There is a political agenda afoot and SM is the least of it. This has become an elitist town. Nothing gets done unless they approve. Half the city doesn't vote and have no idea what goes on in the city. The future, I guess.

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  5. No, sadly this mayor will not "tell" the reasons for higher taxes. The council will not "tell"the residents of Sierra Madre, why the need for a great deal of money from the residents will be necessary.
    The residents will stream into council, speaking on behalf of the Library and just how badly it is in need of repair and what a great asset it is to the community.
    The store fronts in the business district will continue to have vacancies, as to the very high business tax placed on them from the council. The majority of shops are owned by foreigners and owners not living in Sierra Madre.
    So much of the town is pieced out under contracts, no longer being run by the city.
    The council votes to spend money on items that I will admit, were shoved off into the future by past councils.
    Looking into rhe future and planning and building up the reserves, seems to be a thing of the past.
    This council looks at what is placed in front of them, has very little discussion from most of the members, instead, the shaking of heads in agreement of, time to ask the residents for more money. The cycle will continue.

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  6. I agree 7:25am. How often I hear, the older residents living on their prop 13 rax base, are finally dying off, and the younger generation with higher incomes, seek to become homeowners in this town, at any cost.

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  7. The can will get kicked down the road once again. Except now the city is getting near its dead end.

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  8. Now I am become Prop 13, destroyer of worlds.

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    1. Some find it easier to blame Prop 13 than CalPERS. Even though the effect is far less. Funny, that.

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  9. Wages, property prices, property taxes, and interest rates dictate how much home you can afford and what your monthly payment is. Prop 13 altered the equation by keeping property taxes relatively flat, but severely inflating property prices.

    The winners? Existing homeowners, who not only get a windfall from inflated value (that they can cash out by selling or borrowing) but also don't pay taxes commensurate to that inflated value. The losers? Succeeding generations of new buyers, who pay inflated prices and a disproportionate tax burden, and society with loses of government services, schools, and infrastructure.

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    1. Oh please! Prop. 13 was hard fought for and badly needed! You need to quit whining about what you don't get and do something about as many of us did way back when! You just keep voting for more taxation and appear to know nothing about CalPers-the mostly costly burden for all states and cities that have it. Do some research.

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    2. Much of the CalPers issue you complain about resulted from the need to pay more to public employees so they can afford to live in a state where property values are artificially high due to Prop 13.

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    3. 11:11A You must work for the State! Ask yourself what the reason for Prop 13 was in the first place! It's not Prop 13 that is the problem it is government that spins more than they have. The train to nowhere is a prime example.

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    4. It was designed to give property owners a windfall and to foist the costs of government/infrastructure etc on future generations.

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    5. 1:50...you must not have been around when Prop. 13 passed. Back then, every city, county, school and other special districts levied their own property tax. Each entity would put together their budget each year and then imposed whatever level of tax was necessary to fund it. Under that system, taxes grew disproportionately each year and in 1978, when Prop. 13 passed, the total property tax bill in some places had reached nearly 10 percent. People on fixed incomes actually were losing their homes to tax liens because the taxes were so high.

      Prop. 13 was designed to help people hang on to their homes and to get a message through to the politicians that their gravy train had come to the end of the line. The first part is still effective. Part two is becoming less effective as the politicians keep making end runs around the provisions of Prop. 13 and find more and more ways to raise taxes.

      If you don't think YOUR taxes are high enough, then feel free to get out your checkbook and write some chits to whichever level(s) of government you want to pay more to.

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  10. With CalPERS, employees are advanced into promitions, months before their retirement. The employees then, are guaranteed to collect their highest earnings rolled over into CalPERS. If these employees put in overtime, this translates into 100%the of their salary paid to them upon their retirement at the age of fifty, for the rest of their lives.
    Politicians and attorneys really do have "your" best interests in mind, when certain laws are passed, especially if "you"have contributed to their campaigns and if "you" are a city and state employee.
    Smell test? Doesn't pass.
    Residents saying, I wasn't aware. Make time to get involved, it is your money that is taken from you and given out to support a CalPERS "neighbor".

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  11. 8:30am. You are so right. Be dammed with grandparents, they have out lived their usefulness, they no longer work and bring in an income to the town.
    The days of World War II folks are too be read in history books only, those still living should do us all a favor and die off quickly. After all, "our" parents birthed "us", now just go away, "we"selfish self absorbed children are tired of supporting you.

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    1. Yeah, younger generations should not only pay for others' poor planning but should also give the poor planners a windfall.

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    2. 0853, you have your facts all wrong. For a promotion to roll into CalPers you have to do that job for at least a year. Overtime is not included in CalPers retirement calculations, only your regular pay. Age 50 does not guarantee the highest possible calculation, it is a combo of age and years of service. New employees must now be either 55 or 57 to retire.

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    3. I hope this is sarcasm. If not, you really scare me!

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    4. No sarcasm here, these are facts. They don't get 100% when they turn 50. That calculation is false. There is a formula calculated at 3% at age 50, another calculated at 2.75% at age 55 and yet another calculated at 2.75% at age 57. Look into it. Overtime is not calculated, and their retirement pay is based on their last (highest out their last three years) regular pay. Educate yourself on this before you start babbling about it.

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  12. Mod: if you slipped in one update discussing the proper use of quotation marks, the comments would be eminently more readable.

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  13. Let me get this straight, you complain about taxes being raised and water penalties (which are also a tax), but you are clamoring for property taxes to be raised? The one tax that is not based on use or income, you want it to go up, so retirees would have to leave their homes. I know some of you think you are Mensa members, but try some logic on for size. Yes doing away with prop 13 would lower property values, because people could not afford current values, causing a housing crash. The net result would be less money for the government, not more. That does nothing for affordability, because its a sliding scale. Your either paying more for a mortgage and less for taxes, or more for taxes and less for mortgage. The biggest problem, is that a mortgage can be payed off, taxes are forever, and they continue to increase, because the government says so. Property taxes are the most ridiculous and regressive tax there is. It's about as progressive as linking the minimum wage to the consumer price index. Zero sum gain to those it's supposed to help, and misery for everyone else.

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  14. The bottom line is that homeowners' monthly wages provide a certain amount that can be spent every month for mortgage (principal and interest) and property taxes.

    Higher property taxes tends to depress property values (and therefore mortgage loan amounts), but the total monthly payment amount remains the same because it is based on monthly wages.

    Prop 13 keeps the taxes low and thus inflates the value of the property. The result is that a greater percentage of all homeowners' monthly payments now goes to the Wall St mortgage holders (due to larger mortgage loans) than to taxes for state and local infrastructure and schools. Rather than stay in the state or local community and improve our lives, the money goes to the already rich bankers.

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  15. I like the new tax code being moved forward by President Trump.
    Single people continue to get screwed with the deductions being given to married couples with families, not sure what that says for younger generations and their planning on marriage or cohabitation plans for their future.

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  16. 9:56am. Thank you. Your entire text should be "quoted" often.

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  17. Take, for example, LI. High NY taxes but you can get a nice home on a quarter acre in a nice Sierra Madre-like community for $500k or even less. Your monthly payments for principal, interest, and property taxes will be the same as in SM but a higher percentage of your SM payments go to the Wall St banks. A higher percentage of your LI payments go to taxes, but the schools are far, far better, the local infrastructure better, and the govt employees can actually afford to live in the communities they serve. More money stays local.

    (I know, some clown will distract by saying "move there then.")

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  18. No distraction, if the monies paid into the city had been used for infrastructure, schools also receive a percentage of development fees; then Sierra Madre would not be in such sad shape.
    Utilizing a twenty year comparison of cost and replacement, the city should explain why beyond the forevee UUT, the city says it is brook.

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    1. Measure UUT was sold as a solution for all city hall's problems. It wasn't.

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    2. Measure UUT was sold as a temporary solution. All of the Council agreed it would not solve the problem in the long run. We have a very smart cookie as our Mayor and hopefully she will continue to set the city on the right course.

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    3. 2:15—the Council may have sold themselves on the UUT being a temporary solution, but the $10K then spent on the slick brochure about it sold the VOTERS on it being the be-all, end-all solution to the city's financial woes. You probably never read it though.

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    4. It will be interesting to see how the next tax will be sold. Is there anything they didn't use last time?

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    5. Not only did I read the brochure I walked neighborhoods to explain.. I always answered questions honestly . So did the council and if you atattended the council meetings you would have heard that discussion.

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    6. They never once mentioned pension debt. Not once. That is called lying by omission.

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  19. Cigarette tax and the lottery money, what is the state spending this money on? Don't forget the plastic bag tax, hey didnt someone print that whole taxed to death list already? and how that's working fer ya in the grand scheme of things that are spiraling out of control, and then...just add on more costs and tax that for good measure.

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  20. Let's try a positive aspect to this State sponsored Ponzi scheme and shake-down racket ?
    Where can you move to with a good climate that has honest,efficient local government ?
    Is there anywhere in California? Some of our group baled for Tennessee - wonder how that worked out?
    And if there are no great alternatives, what can e do to fix the problem beyond the obvious voter education/turnout proposal ?

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  21. The city should explain where the brook went! Why is the current water system continuing to give brown/tan water and why are we being taxed for that added color?

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    1. 1:31?? My water was as orange as Trump and left strange pinkish mineral deposits, but it's been back to normal for more than six months.

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  22. Good article on death of middle class:

    http://www.rawstory.com/2017/04/corporations-used-racism-to-destroy-the-middle-class-and-turn-the-us-into-a-developing-nation/

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