Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Three Big Items On Tonight's Sierra Madre City Council Meeting Agenda

This isn't everything on the hit parade, but in my opinion these are the ones that count the most. Hopefully the City Council will actually take their time this evening and give these items the some of the attention they deserve. Their tendency for very brief discussions followed by automatic unanimous votes is giving these meetings a rubber stamp kind of ambience as of late. Whatever is the rush?

Number 1: The Library Survey Postcard.


The card as written now leaves the dubious impression that if the Library remains where it is, and the necessary repairs are made to bring it up to standards acceptable to various governmental agencies big and small, there is the distinct possibility increased property taxes will need to be instituted. On the other hand, should the Library property be sold and all of the Library's stuff be moved across town into a reconfigured and enlarged facility over by the community pool, no new taxes will ever be needed.

Which to me makes this survey card more of a push poll than a non-partisan survey of community sentiment. As was asked here on this blog November 22 (link): How do we know that no additional tax money will be needed to make the Library Board of Trustee's champaign dreams come true? Will the money raised by the sale of the current Library property really match what it is going to take to make it all happen at the Youth Activity Center?

The answer is no, we don't. No studies have been completed yet. As it stands now the wording of this card is at best an assumption, and at worst an attempt to convince people to do something that might not be in their best interests. It needs to be rewritten.

Number 2: City Hall just spent $16,000 on a postcard. So why are they trying to beat the City Clerk out of a measly few hundred dollars a month?


This mutt has been wandering around town for a couple of years. The City Clerk position is a difficult job that involves hours of mind numbing work doing things like transcribing the frothy bromides of the City Council into meeting minutes so that their words can be treasured for all times. So why are they contemplating the following?


This is rather insulting if you think about it. Is someone actually trying to make it difficult to find people who are willing to do this thankless job? Make this work a more expensive City Staff function? Remember, the City Clerk is an elective position. As such those who hold that job are beholden to the people, and not just whoever happens to be pulling the strings at City Hall at the time.

I'm sorry, but this smells awfully bad. The people behind it need to look ashamed.

Number 3: The ballot initiative to do away with Utility Taxes altogether.

I wrote a fine article about this one called "The Ballot Measure Repealing Sierra Madre's Utility User Tax Emerges from Limbo" (link), and posted it here last Friday. So I don't see the point in rewriting all of that again. But here is my favorite part of it:

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 city's mess. Unfortunately, the consequences of not doing so would likely be worse. Not a very pretty situation by anybody's 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.

This ballot measure was originally supposed to run in April of 2016, but was pushed back two years by the City Council. I am sure they would have bumped it even farther into the future if the law allowed for it. As such it is something of an artifact from another time.

Several of these attempts to do away with utility taxes ran in other cities, and all were shellacked at the polls. It doesn't stand a chance here, either.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

64 comments:

  1. I'm with you 100% on these issues, Mod. Readers, rather than posting your displeasure here, show up at the City Council meeting tonight. Ask questions, if you have them, let City Council know what you think. This is the best Council we've had and they do listen, but they are not mind readers.

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  2. So now Trump has insulted the Native American Code Talkers in a White House ceremony, by calling Elizabeth Warren Pocahontas, apropos of nothing. Usually I think he is just mentally ill, and the sooner he gets impeached the better, but now I wonder if he wants to see how much he can get away with before he is removed from office. After all, his outrageous comments got him elected.

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    Replies
    1. Trump has established a base within the GOP that responds to racist appeals. It might not be a big enough group to dominate nationally, but in Republican primaries it is enough.

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    2. Andrew Jackson was called Indian killer. Trump honored Navajos in front of his portrait.
      The prominent placement of an Andrew Jackson portrait during an event meant to honor a group of Native Americans at the Oval Office on Monday has raised questions about the White House’s message.
      Jackson is known for his harsh treatment of Native Americans as president, famously signing the Indian Removal Act, which led to thousands of Native American deaths as tens of thousands were forced to relocate. Some observers thought the juxtaposition of his portrait during the event with the stated purpose of honoring three Navajo code talkers was strange.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2017/11/28/andrew-jackson-was-called-indian-killer-trump-honored-navajos-in-front-of-his-portrait

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    3. Maybe that was Trump's "in-your-face" to Jackson...if it wasn't for the Native Americans, we might still be fighting (actively) in the Pacific.

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

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  3. Have we seen any designs or pictures of how an expanded YAC would look should the Library be moved there? What is the importance of a "community center?"

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    Replies
    1. The community "center" is on the outskirts of town.

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    2. It's the lawless lands out there.

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  4. Who is behind the "Rob the City Clerk's Compensation" effort? Is there anybody's name attached to it?

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    Replies
    1. Does the city clerk do the kind of work that Nancy Shollenberger did, or is it now the job of filing the electronic record with a table of contents?

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    2. Can you please explain what that entails?

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    3. A guess here, no dog in the fight - getting a copy of the CD, a hard copy of the agenda, and putting them on a shelf?

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    4. Action minutes don't include any of the discussion.

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    5. But they do capture the action.

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  5. Reducing the City Clerks pay to $250 is a joke and an insult to the voters of Sierra Madre. This smacks of the mean hatred we have experienced in the past with those trying to set up a closed door policy of info and representation. For $250 one of the John's couldn't even take family or clients out to dinner. Look at the person who suggested that and the group he represents and you see whats going on here. I can't imagine that happening, really. If anything they need to up the pay of that position.

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  6. I thought the City Clerk position was heading into the territory of non existent.
    With the State of California taking over how and when local and state elections will be held; and this council agreeing that the taped and televised recorded minutes meet all legal standards, I understood that position of City Clerk to be faded out within the next year or two.

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    Replies
    1. Who told you that? Do you really want Sacramento running everything?

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    2. 8:32 has a valid point. The minutes have been currently reduced to action minutes only, which are next to useless. Sacramento is already running everything, even our elections after April. But, our current City Clerk ran for election expecting legitimate salary, so let's keep it that way until her term is up.

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    3. If action minutes are useless then the city needs to go back to doing things the way they used to get done.

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    4. What type of minutes are legal in a lawsuit? Action minutes?

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    5. According to 8:15 all you'd have to do is play them a CD. Hopefully the Grateful Dead.

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    6. Unless the law in this State has changed, the salary of an elected official can't be modified DURING a term. If that is still the case, they can vote on any changes they want, but it can't take effect until the beginning of the subsequent elective term.

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    7. Is Rob Stockley behind this? I'm sure they hope she quits. They then can appoint one of their folks to take over the position. Then they will have another puppet to speak the party line. It's disgusting!

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  7. We need to see 3 estimates of the cost of bringing the Library up to code. Who did the present bid or bids and what are the variables?

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    1. I totally agree. How can you support either choice without knowing all the facts....costs, plans, tax increase, future costs, and timing. At this point, I can not support either choice.

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    2. I agree , we need the fact$. I'm sure that this was part of the design, get people to fill out the survey card without the facts.

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  8. Well thanks to the Obama style spending that the last City Manager and City Councils have mucked up; the possibility of a permanent UUT is up for debate.
    Not seeing that this council has made spending less any type of priority, where does it stop?
    The safe guard of having a SunSet clause was removed by this council; there is no accountability.
    Without a SunSet clause, the spending does not have to be addressed, just throw money at a problem, that will make it go away and not grow in size!

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  9. Why must the Library have a Community Room?
    Why can't the City Archives be moved somewhere else along with the Historical society records and side room displays?
    Lesson the load on the Librarian's, do they even keep the City Minutes?
    This was all done under the last City Manager as a way to I make the Library appear grandiose in its spending so much of the General Fund dollars over all these years.

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  10. The same people who gave us millions of dollars in water bond debt and chronic One Carter problems are the ones who now want to sell the Library property and run off the City Clerk. They just never go away.

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  11. 8:42am. Sacramento made this decision years ago, this was inorder to get move voters out to the ballot boxes and combined election years would "save" monies!
    You know how Sacramento loves to save our tax payers money!
    It appears to be a popular theme on this blog this morning; keep spending the tax payers money, just throw it at anything, it's bound to stick.

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  12. Will Sierra Madre Council address the sub contracting out of all of the old Parks and Recreation department that no longer exists?
    I can't believe that the Council can not find qualified individuals and teenagers to run those departments.
    Don't hire them with the retirement packages, but re work how having Sierra Madre citizens employed here is a good thing.

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  13. We Sierra Madreans are paying the price of poor City Management in the past.
    The lack of citizens showing up at city meetings, gave the green light for all of the bad decisions that came out of City Hall. Now those employees have a very nice retirement package and are employed elsewhere; they understood Sacramento's game plan for greed.

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  14. To bring the elephant out into the open. The development interests in town want to get rid of the city clerk because it is an office they can't easily control. If Karma Bell was in that seat the city clerk would be getting a raise.

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  15. 7:13am. So these same observers would rather put the emphasis on Andrew Jackson then on the Code Talkers? How very "white" of them! They must be related to that Native American Ms. Warren; NOT!

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    1. Trump hates Native Americans because they're kicking his immense butt in the casino business.

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  16. Karma Bell was friends with Bart Doyle, Doug Hayes, Rob Stockly and the schnanigan's group in town. It was just a paycheck for her to keep the lid on all the undermining happenings at City Hall.

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    1. Funny how the worst city council this city ever had has made itself a permanent fixture downtown. Nothing ever changes.

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  17. The worst city council members in years are all but retired, with very large retirement pensions. They are all about being seen in public; that's what attention seekers do.

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  18. North Korea is showing that it is closer to being a fully functional Nuclear Terrorists Country.
    Little Rocket Man just fired off a balistic missle.

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    Replies
    1. Israel has ‘em too.

      ‘Terrorists’ countries everywhere.

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  19. An act of aggression and violence from North Korea.
    Will the Reps and Dems no longer act in a bipartisan fashion in the Senate?
    China and United States will have some difficult decisions to make.

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    Replies
    1. Trump is going to get us all killed. Goddamn idiot.

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    2. And every Is drone strike is an act of aggression and violence... the cycle continues.

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    3. Trump is powerless.

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  20. 12:15pm. Spoken as a true addict; there is help for you.

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    Replies
    1. 12:38 is the fake news troll

      In 2000, Trump paid more than $1 million for an ad campaign that portrayed members of Indian tribe in upstate New York as cocaine traffickers and career criminals, according to The Washington Post.

      But even as he was attacking some tribes, he was striking deals with others when it suited his interests. He paid for a group to document its lineage and achieve recognized status as a tribe in exchange for a cut of casino profits, and he tried to cut a deal with a California tribe to run its casino.


      Troll fail

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  21. 11:46am. Iam putting my trust in President Trump.
    I'd say it was the Uranium one deal that put North America at risk.
    How much trade from Russia and China went on with North Korea with that necessary mineral needed to complete a nuke?
    Who in the US cleared the 20% to be sold to Russia?
    *clue; it wasn't the Orange One. That Nasty Woman was lurking around in dark government inner circles as she held title of Secretary of State.

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    Replies
    1. Ahh. Our friend from Russia is back.

      🇷🇺 Anybody got a match for that pretty flag?

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    2. We know your getting paid to propagandize here, but no one is falling for it. Except for the racist gun-oiling troll who posted earlier

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  22. Comrade, why would you burn your country's flag?
    It is clear how much you hate the United States and the President from your comments on this blog.

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    Replies
    1. Comrade - First we swaddle you with it, like a diaper.

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    2. 7:13am. You seem to lump all native people together.
      Code Talkers are of the Navajo Nation.
      The people of the Cherokee Nation were forced to walk the Trail of Tears, from fought wars lost; to new United States reservations.
      Not all Red people are alike; but then again, you only see black and white.

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    3. 7:13 is an excerpt from a Washington Post article about Trump's dog whistle race baiting of authentic WW2 heroes. Should we consider your comment a letter to the editor?

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    4. There were 33 different language groups (22 were First Nations Peoples, the one exception, Basque speakers) that formed "code" talking groups. The system was first used in WW1 with Choctaw speakers. When the system was finally declassified in the 1968 the men who developed this system were barely recognized. The power of using language as "code" was that you cannot break a language--you have to learn a language--but you can break a code.

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  23. FOS? Fresh out of Sweden.

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  24. S.O.S./Save our Services

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