In addition to all of the news published on the City of Sierra Madre site (link), there are two feature stories available right now from what passes for local news coverage in these troubled days. This first one comes from the local newsprint publication "The Mountain Views News," which can be found just outside the front door of many of this area's finest package goods stores.
I am not certain what a "Mayor Pro Tempe" is, but I am fairly certain it doesn't have anything to do with Arizona. You can read the entire MVN approximation of reality here. There is also yet another picture of a gnarly car crash, if you're into that sort of thing. But it is part of a different article in the paper.
Pasadena Now also has an article out, which oddly enough doesn't mention the $5 million dollar spend it took to achieve the savings proudly being boasted about. A lapse that in my opinion detracts from the overall piece. As pithy as it is.
These are a few questions I have. Here is a portion of the staff report that was available a few days before last Tuesday's City Council meeting. You can link to more about this by clicking here.
Does that 42% CalPERS pension obligation reduction Pasadena Now briefly discusses happen before or after the expected additional 32% payments increase over the next 5 years has kicked in? Anybody know? Is the reduction on the net liability, or that total payments figure? And is the $5 million lump sum payment included in that 42% reduction number?
I get it, these are probably just statistical semantics. So here is my more pressing concern. Since the taxpayers of Sierra Madre just kicked in $5 million dollars to hopefully help with this city's out of control pension debt mess, don't you think some kind of an explanation of how this all happened in the first place would now be in order?
Who exactly exposed the city to $28.5 million dollars (current figures) in pension and interest payment debt? Who thought that was a good idea? Or, who was so clueless that they didn't realize that they were setting Sierra Madre's city government on a path to potential insolvency? A threat so real that the City Council had to spend $5 million dollars last Tuesday to stave it off for a while?
Don't get me wrong, it is nice that the city is finally doing something to handle its #1 financial crisis. It has been a while since anyone dared to actually face the CalPERS mess. And it is good that City Hall has a City Manager that knows how to function as something of a financial fixer.
But judging by this weekend's media blitz, the overall cover-up remains firmly in place.
So let's ask these questions again. Who did this to you? What City Council critters from the not so distant past set in motion a series of CalPERS events that still threatens the city with financial disaster over the next decade or two? Despite what the City Council did last week?
Apparently that remains none of your beeswax.