Saturday, June 23, 2018

Sierra Madre: It's Raises for Everybody All Over Again (Or: Did you hear the one where the city says it can no longer afford to fight mansionization?)

When Utility User Taxes were on the ballot in 2016, the word going around town from those claiming they needed the dough was that spending at City Hall had been cut as deeply as it possibly could, and that a firm hand would be guiding spending going into the future. Business as usual would no longer be an option in Sierra Madre.

It was also claimed that the money would be needed to rescue certain venerated at risk city institutions, the most famous of them being the Library. A 10% UUT forever tax would take care of such things. No, really. That is what they said. Though those holding positions of responsibility don't recall much about that now.

Remember, this was way before certain downtowners began advocating for the sale of the property the current Library sits on, or even seeking more money in the form of parcel taxes. Things that were somehow not discussed on any of those many informative "Yes on UUT" postcards sent out in early 2016. Which were mostly paid for by the same people now getting raises.

After all, this was the tax increase that was going to take care of just about everything. However, it was not quite the everything you were told about.

So let me ask you this. Have you heard any more lately about the urgently needed repairs to the Library now that those famous survey cards revealed only a relative few people outside of City Hall want to sell the property for several millions of dollars?  No, neither have I. That one has now grown rather quiet.

Apparently business as usual has become operational again. Even when it comes to capitulating on mansionization, which wasn't at all about the fees and other money the city anticipates getting. No, really. They haven't even added it up yet. That is what they are saying.

At Tuesday evening's City Council meeting it will be raises for just about everyone. It must be peace in our time all over again, to paraphrase Enid Joffe. Here are some curated passages from the relevant staff report, which you can access in its entirety here.


Why yes, of course. So, did you hear the one where the city claims it cannot afford to fight mansionization any longer? But can hand out raises to its employees?

Obviously they've picked their spending priorities. Or perhaps the concerned municipal employee organizations have already chosen them on their behalf?

It's getting kind of hard to tell.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

76 comments:

  1. The uut campaign never said it would solve all the cities problems forever. It did say the city would be harmed without if. And it sent out three pieces of mail not “many”.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Of course.

      Delete
    2. By "forever" I'm assuming you meant fewer than two years?

      Delete
    3. I knew people who supported the permananet 10% UUT who knew at the time that it would not begin to raise the money the city was in the habit of spending to keep all the departments going as "a full service city."

      Delete
    4. Just how much will these raises costs he tax payers? Personally I don’t understand why someone who continues to do the same job deserves a raise? What have ALL of these wonderful overworked staff people done to deserve a raise? Please explain it to me. I am just a resident who pays taxes. I have no say.

      Delete
    5. 9:54, what you have to do is go to the city meeting and tell the council. Then you can watch them make their pre-prepared speeches and carry on as though you never said anything at all.

      Delete

  2. Again, it’s CalPERS that hurts every city. Cities should band together to fight this. But they don’t. Small towns and cities will soon disappear as they can’t afford this monster. It is California after all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yeah, CalPERs is like the tail that keeps getting longer and fatter, but the head of the monster really doesn't change all that much. I mean, people do need a cost of living raise now and then or the world leaves em behind. But the costs of the pensions is what is sick.

      Delete
    2. City government in Sierra Madre now exists to pay for the retirement of its employees. Along the way things such as the library, or that small village character you've heard so much about, will need to be jettisoned so that city hall can get its most important job done.

      Delete
  3. I once trusted John Capoccia, but that went away long ago. I never trusted Gene Goss, and I certainly never trusted the slick John Harabedian. I did trust Ms. Arizmendi and Ms. Delmar. But that is starting to go away, too.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It has always been about securing more money for the poor over worked city employees, after all working a four day work week with the decreased city operational hours is tough.
    The residents need to send as much of their money and dip into their own retirements to make sure that the city employees can retire out at the top of their earnings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have had a couple of problems that the city staff had to work on. Let's just say, if I ran my business the way they did theirs, I would be out of business.

      Delete
  5. This is a do nothing council, all that i have seen coming from them is to spend as much money as possible.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Coluntino said it would take $200,000 to fight the CETT Developers, the city said we dont have that.
    What are the figures on the amout of salary increases that this council will all vote to give the city employees.
    Each and every Councilmember is a liar,and possible the new City Manager.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Disagree, 8:37.
      They are all noble public servants with one goal - money.

      Delete
  7. Sierra Madre is headed into bankruptcy, the UUT increase was only to buy time for the public employees to get increases.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great point! Right on the money! Wage increases mean higher CALpers payouts when retiring. $$$

      Delete
  8. The Council has only toyed with the idea of banning together with other cities and fight the CalPERS Goverment investment plan.
    This is a do nothing Council at its best.

    ReplyDelete
  9. We have a toxic City Council, all the members vote together as one, residents have not seen a tightening of the belt with expenditures.
    The City Manager has worked to make a difference with past bad bond debts, but if the Council votes to increase City Employees salaries then this only shows the residents that they have been had!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Given all this, can you really trust this city council to stand up to CETT? Or the monastery developer? You have to wonder who they really answer to. The people, or the SMPOA.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's no more standing up to developers. It turned out that there was a stalling tactic used, but I'm guessing that was more because the developers got chaotic with the bankruptcies etc., than that the city even stalled them.
      It's just in words that the city fights development, not actions. It's all going to go now.

      Delete
  11. False arguments were given for keeping the UUT.
    Sierra Madre is headed into bankruptcy and nothing can change this, so much for property values.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Let's see. Cave in to McMansion developers, then take the money and give it to city employees.

    Talk about ass-backwards.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Keeping the UUT was based on self interest and laziness from this council.
    Not once have any of them agendized for reductions in spending.
    It was pure luck that the Elaine retired out and that new management was needed, the knowledge of deep pockets of Sierra Madreans is no joke, this council is expediting this fact as fast as they can before residents hear, surprise the town is broke.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 9:17, there was a concerted effort to get a new city manager. He's a clever businessman and is working on getting the city into good financial shape. That means retaining workers with better salaries, and developing any open space that hasn't been federally protected.

      Delete
    2. Translation: The utility tax increase was based on various lies, and McMansions will be built here to help pay city employee pensions.

      Go celebrate with yourself, 10:10.

      Delete
  14. Congress can't pass immigration because this is a election year.
    Sierra Madre Council used the same tactics with the UUT inorder to get re-elected.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Congress can’t pass immigration because the laws are drafted by radical right-wing extremists that don’t follow the will of the people. Same reason Obamacare repeal failed.

      Delete
  15. The city will have a hard time raising taxes again. Too much of what was said last time turned out not to be true.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The majority of residents aren't paying attention.

      Delete
  16. Mexico beats South Korea, 2-1/ World Cup.

    ReplyDelete
  17. You people are laughable. Give me one good reason why a majority of the city council would be in thrall to city employees as you claim. These are residents who were elected by residents to represent residents. On the other hand, this blog is authored by a non-resident and is read mostly by non-residents.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is there a law that states if you run a blog you must live in the area that the blog routinely discusses?
      If the subject matter didn’t bother you you would not be objecting to the blog you meathead.

      Delete
    2. Sierra Madre has NO news media that comes from people living in town. None. Pretty pathetic if you think about it.

      Delete
  18. Nah, residents are too busy with their lives and dont pay attention, just throw good money after bad, this council knows this.
    When the Tattler announces that the city is insolvent at least the bloggers on this site will be the first to know.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Must be a councilmember, 10:17am.!
    Iam placing a wager today, that the entire City Council will vote as a unit to increase City Employees salaries.
    Then we will see who's laughing and who the liars are.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not going to bet against you, 11:21. It'll be another lockstep vote.

      Delete
    2. So you're saying that if 5 people independently reach the same conclusion, the conclusion must be wrong.

      What do you call your new form of logic?

      Delete
    3. I think 11:21 is being more specific than that, 12:16 - it's not a general theoretical statement. It's a prediction that these five people in this particular time and place will vote together on raising the city staff's pay. We can all watch Tuesday night and see if he's right.

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

      Delete
    5. It will be a 5-0 vote. This city council rarely deviates from the wishes of city staff.

      Delete
  20. The new city manager is an interesting guy, who gets along well with everybody. Charming, and directed, he's implementing his plans. Too bad if any residents don't like it - he has 100% support from the council.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree 11:47. He is a good guy and like the CC inherited a can of worms. I was very involved when the UUT was being suggested. No one said it would take care of everything. All they said was it would help for 2 years. Then it would have to be looked at again. This CC also inherited the same can of worms that Mr. Engeland inherited. They have done some good things. I feel they will try to do more. As far as development, I don’t believe they had much choice about Carter. The deal was done before they were on the the CC. Blame those people. We did manage to get changes o the house being built. That took the citizens as well as the marvelous Planning Commission as well as the CC. If you want to save what you have, you have to do what’s best. Encourage the CC to get more business in town. Taylor’s is a step in the right direction. It would be wonderful to see it back to the Howie days with a full kitchen, etc. Support them. Support the various clubs in town. They benefit all of us, including the kids. Get involved. Help the town become better. Go to meetings and make suggestions. If they don’t listen, go again. Say it again. Suggest it again. Get people interested. My family and I will do what we can to preserve the place, after years of hard work, that we chose to live.

      Delete
    2. 3:28, I think you're living in the make-believe Sierra Madre, but as long as nothing impacts you or your family directly, it's no big deal.

      Delete
  21. It's a funny thing that a council who had the reputation of being pro-preservation is ending up fulfilling the Downtown Dirts pro-development agendas. Wonder when the new and improved Downtown Specific Plan will be back...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Remember, we have to develop and expand city government in order to preserve.

      Delete
    2. Yes. Preserve the government. Which in this case is deeply in debt and looking for new revenue sources.

      Delete
    3. Yikes, the DSP. Manager Engeland would have loved it.

      Delete
  22. In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as 'right to work.' It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights. It is supported by Southern segregationists who are trying to keep us from achieving our civil rights and our right of equal job opportunity. Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone. Wherever these laws have been passed, wages are lower, job opportunities are fewer and there are no civil rights. We do not intend to let them do this to us. We demand this fraud be stopped.

    MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., speech to support sanitation workers on strike for union recognition in Memphis, Apr. 3, 1968

    ReplyDelete
  23. Although it is true that only about 20 percent of American workers are in unions, that 20 percent sets the standards across the board in salaries, benefits and working conditions. If you are making a decent salary in a non-union company, you owe that to the unions.

    MOLLY IVINS, attributed, "Labor's Fight is OUR Fight", Campaign for America's Future

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is a big difference between private and public sector unions.

      Delete
    2. The point is that unions help raise all wage and improve all working conditions.

      The middle class has been eroding due to the class warfare waged from above against unions and all workers, especially since Reagan. That includes the "accept what is offered or we'll ship your jobs overseas" and "give us tax breaks or we'll close the plant" extortion all too often practiced.

      Government employee unions may well be the last bulwark fighting a rear guard action against such lopsided warfare. Get rid of government employee unions and be prepared to watch ALL wages drop and the middle class completely disappear.

      Delete
    3. CalPERS is killing California cities. Municipal employee unions don't seem to give a damn. This isn't a partnership, it is a parasite/host relationship.

      Delete
    4. Elect officials who will change the law then. Oh, you can't? Looks like the majority has spoken.

      Now go pay taxes on your entire income, liked union wage earners do.

      Delete
    5. See? You couldn't care less. Proves my point.

      Delete
    6. Nice try (not really), but I care that unions have lifted all wages, working conditions, and standards of living. I also care that valid government contracts are not breached.

      It is you who does not care, wants to revert to some red state "right to work for low pay in unsafe conditions" hell, and expresses a desire to breach valid contracts.

      Grow up--pay your taxes!

      Delete
  24. Right 12:21pm the Sierra Madre Council is garbage, and yes, independently all five members have always voted as one, that was the push behind keeping the UUT at 10% forever, unless the five choose to raise it again without voters say so; they do have that option.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fake. Raising the uut from 10 percent. requires a vote.

      Delete
    2. Molly Ivins is dead. So is her pro-union BS.
      Non-taxpayer paid unions (Not Gov employee) are dying. The numbers don’t lie.

      Delete
  25. Hold on 11:47am. Just what do you mean by "too bad if we dont like it"? The residents have recall of the council a great recourse for this City Council, and it would be cheaper to show the new manager the front door and pay out his contract if this is the type of "business" he has brought to Sierra Madre. It would not be the first time that this would have to take place for a dishonest manager and council.

    ReplyDelete
  26. What is the plan from the new city manager? Will he continue down the road towards bankrupting the town? I thought he was trying to clean up the mess from past inefficient managers.
    Recently the budget was balanced, but that was due to money being owed to the town.

    ReplyDelete
  27. First of all your new city manager is an expert in pulling towns away from the edge of disaster but you have to let him have his way with types of revenue generation ideas.

    ReplyDelete
  28. On to the funny side of life, or to sad to be true or is it? You tell me, ok? https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/local/wp/2018/06/23/why-a-small-town-restaurant-owner-asked-sarah-huckabee-sanders-to-leave-and-would-do-it-again/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.d4ff7d90f90f

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it’s great. Supreme Court recently ruled that one doesn’t have to serve patrons who don’t conform to their religious views.

      Huckabee Sanders is a fake Christian and constantly violates Christian teachings.

      Ban her again. Send her to hobby lobby

      Delete
  29. 2:29pm you are joking right?
    You can not be that dumb.
    Jobs head over seas due government regulations, paying less in wages to overseas workers keeps your prices down when you make purchases back in the US.
    Now maybe you understand what the President is attempting to repair in this broken country.
    Getting rid of Government jobs and privatizing would be so much more efficient and time saving.
    Just take a course in economics that should help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Another with the “reguhlations” mantra. Yeah, if it weren’t for reguhlations you’d be a billionaire by now.

      People like you say California is the most regulated state but it’s the 5th largest economy on Earth. So it ain’t reguhlations, foo.

      Jobs don’t magically move overseas. They’re transferred there by greedy owners, like your greedy sociopathic president who sourced his shoddy goods overseas, who employs lower wage non-citizens, who builds with non-US steel, and who stiffs his workers, contractors, and suppliers via lawsuits and multiple bankruptcies.

      Remember: Maghats Are Getting Arrested

      The noose is tightening.

      Delete
    2. Trump doesn't know what he is doing, 5:30. And neither do you.

      Delete
  30. No Sierra Madre will not be Trinidad Colorado, no Pot Shops here 3:33pm

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tell us again what that quick sand sinking feeling, feels like? Or will you allow the UUT to increase to another percentage level?

      Delete
    2. Do you know what would make me laugh loud and long? If city hall said they need to raise the UUT again to 12% in order to save the library.

      Delete
  31. 3:38pm the never ending UUT had better help more than just two years, if not than no city employee raises, how dumb do you think the residents are?

    ReplyDelete
  32. That extra 2% would just cover the employees increases. The library will cost a lot more.

    ReplyDelete
  33. When is the lease up on the Howies/ Taylor property?

    ReplyDelete
  34. This is Sierra Madre's version of the swamp. City employees have everyone by the throat and no one wants to rock the boat. We pay higher salaries and get less services. That's what Pasadena is doing now to deal with their deficits. Salaries need to be rolled back - not increased for heaven's sake.

    ReplyDelete

The Tattler is a moderated blog. Annoying delays when posting comments can happen. Thank you for your patience and understanding.