Now here's a little excitement for the kids. Well, actually there could be a lot of reasons for excitement at next Tuesday's action packed City Council meeting. The above came from a Staff Report in part curated for this particular topic. The link is here. There is some interesting reading to be found if you like. Or not, it's up to you.
As an example, there was a not completely accurate Pasadena Star News article that emerged on the topic in March of 2016. It was titled "Who is behind an initiative to repeal utility taxes throughout the San Gabriel Valley?" Here is a portion (link).
This ballot initiative to entirely do away with utility taxes in Sierra Madre was designed to go before the voters in April of 2016, not 2018. The then City Council happily realized they had the option of deciding exactly when this would go on the ballot, and pushed it back as far as they legally could. Which is why it is now a part of Sierra Madre's next city election tilt in 2018.
Similar utility tax repeal efforts have already been voted on in other cities (Arcadia and South Pasadena come to mind), and were summarily crushed at the polls. The results weren't even close. Politically this has been a disaster for TeaPAC, and I am wondering how they're going to handle Sierra Madre's orphaned version next April.
The problem as I see it is taking away Sierra Madre's UUT in its entirety probably would put the Foothill Village into receivership. So heavy is Sierra Madre's debt load due to its tragically conceived CalPERS and water bond debacles (even with refinancing), the place would likely go belly up should all utility taxes be taken away.
The town could even end up in the hands of vampiric Los Angeles County, and good luck preserving anything then. To use John Capoccia's argument. Proving once again that even a broken clock is right a couple of times a day.
High utility taxes in Sierra Madre are a consequence of past bad financial management, and you the taxpayer are now being forced to clean up the mess. Unfortunately, the consequences of not doing so would likely be worse. Not a very pretty situation by any accounting.
As it stands right now I couldn't get behind TeaPAC's "No UUT" ballot measure. It is disruptive and destructive, and obviously we are seeing enough of that sort of thing in our country lately. This is Trumpism, and it must be stopped wherever possible.
However, there is a caveat to all of this joy. In the April of 2016 election there were several rather dishonest arguments put forward by some of this city's finest citizens in defense of Measure UUT. Egged on by an ambitious and extraordinarily cynical Republican Pasadena political consultant, this effort to raise utility taxes to their current lofty levels was sold as necessary to do things like (believe it or not), hang on to Sierra Madre's Library.
An irony today since many of those exact same people are now telling folks that the property the Library currently sits upon must be sold in order to save it. I don't recall any of those numerous Yes On UUT postcards saying the Library must be torn down to preserve it. Do you?
Besides, just how many times must this damsel in distress be rescued before she actually is saved?
So here is my take. If the leading lights of this city would just admit that 2016's Measure UUT wasn't about saving Baby Rhyme Time, or the Huck Finn Fishing Derby, or even the Wistaria Vine, but was actually about all of that CalPERS and bond debt they feared having to own up to, then I'm good.
And hopefully you will be as well. Otherwise, there is the option of a protest vote.
Time to come clean, City Council.