Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Most of the Library Options Being Discussed Tonight Would Involve the Establishment of a Parcel Tax

Yesterday we talked about the two competing potential parcel taxes gazing longingly down the barrel at Sierra Madre's residents. My guess being that the City Council appears to oppose the Los Angeles County version of a new parcel tax because they want to institute one of their own here. And given all of the evidence I am rolling out below, I'm happily sticking with that.

Late yesterday afternoon City Hall released a PowerPoint presentation detailing, among other things, the results of those famous Library survey cards. They clearly show that a majority of Sierra Madreans oppose both moving the Library poolside, and the establishment of a parcel tax to repair the existing building.

Here is a summary of those results, taken from that PowerPoint presentation. You can link to all of the information found there by clicking here.


Four options will be discussed tonight at the City Council/Library Board of Trustees Special Joint Meeting. Only the first ("Minimal Investment") would satisfy the wishes of those who sent back their Library survey cards. The rest would require the establishment of an unpopular parcel tax.


Here is the breakdown for Option Number 1. The only one currently under discussion that supports all of the resident wishes as shown in the survey results.


The remaining three options to be discussed tonight involve establishing a parcel tax. This seems fairly obvious since each of them is absurdly expensive. None of these three options are in any way supported by the survey card results described above.

The "Meaningful" option was somehow not included in the PowerPoint last evening when I put this all together, so only the remaining two are included here.



Here is a breakdown of how a parcel tax might pencil out for two of the three options requiring such a thing. Starting to pick up on a theme yet?


So what is going to happen tonight? My take is the always rather intense Library Board of Trustees members will pitch their little hearts out to the City Council for something more than that "Minimal" option. Which, should their dreams come true, would mean the imposition of a parcel tax.

That is, if residents would actually vote to approve it. Something the survey cards clearly show that only a minority of residents would care to do. I believe such a tax measure would require two-thirds of the vote to pass.

It should be quite an interesting spectacle. Hopefully the City Council will support the wishes of the residents, and not those of an entrenched and longstanding special interest group with entirely too much influence in town. At least in my opinion.

Be sure to tune in.    

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106 comments:

  1. Personally, I’m not interested in paying one cent for the library.
    The PUSD should kick in some major bucks because the library is used mainly by the schools on their little field trips. Those trips make up the majority of patrons.
    Also if a parcel tax was imposed, the current funding for the library repairs would be diverted to salaries and benefits.

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    Replies
    1. There is also tutoring going on there, both in the desks area and outside on the benches, which is fine as long as it's free. If those tutors charge, then they should pay rent.

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    2. I know that you can not use the tennis courts for private lessons. Same should go for the library.

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  2. It's Sierra Madre, Jake.

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  3. It'll be interesting to see what the council does with this. I really can't tell which way they'll fall. On the other hand, I'm quite sure I would vote NO on any parcel tax.

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    Replies
    1. No from me. I’m sure the city will have education sessions to educate the residents.

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  4. Look at the numbers in the chart. The amount needed for the must substantial option comes in far less than the $1.8 million/year we'll soon be sending to CalPERS for our "civil servants" lavish retirement packages ($1.2 million currently). Meaning that if we weren't funding that ridiculousness, we'd have more than enough money to pay for the most expensive library option and keep our current water rate structure and have plenty of money left over for infrastructure repairs. People in this town need to wake up and smell the coffee folks. This is an absolute joke any way I see it.

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  5. Did I read the chart correctly? To properly fix up the library will cost 31 million dollars?

    I must be reading this wrong.

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  6. Who is Joe Matthews?

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  7. I will ask again, if I missed this info, please let me know. How much money is in the Friends of the Library? What have they spent this money on? If they publish this info where do I look? Seems to me they make a lot of money over the years. I for one would gladly pay a parcel tax if it was going to fix the water pipes. Not for the library.

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  8. These charts are confusing. How many bids were gotten to come up with these amounts? Are they just cherry picked figures? Will we ever get to see the bids for these things? With a complete itemization of what is to be done? What does total operations cost mean? An increase obviously both in staff and facility. What is with this library board thinking we need this over other things that need to be done? I remember reading the report done for the future...what do they want to become? UCLA or a major university library? Are there no grants to be had? Has this board sought gifts from major businesses? Why do we need to foot this burden? Unrealistic.

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  9. Friend of the Sierra Madre Library's Baby Rhyme TimeJuly 10, 2018 at 8:18 AM

    What about the children?!? What about Baby Rhyme Time... We need to gut and build a new state of the art building, yesterday. Our children deserve better, so ya'll better pony up!

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    Replies
    1. Let the parents read to their own kids. It’s usually the nannies that go to rhyme time.

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    2. We could buy robots for less money and they could read to the little darlings.

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  10. At last reading the Friends of The Library had over $800,000 and were giving $55,000 a year to the Library Board and have been doing so for years it looks like.

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  11. Ya mean Pasadena City children 8:18am?
    Allow the stay at home mom's to read to their own kids, when the kids grow up, they hang out in Kersting Court for lack of anything to do in this town.
    Fix the mess the city made with the water pipes. NO PARCEL TAX.

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  12. The Library Board consists of a bunch of crooks, no one has ever held any of them accountable for the lavish amounts of money the city has directed their way.
    Where has all that large amount of money been spent?
    Check the city financial accounts over these many years of just how much has been given to the library.
    The town could have had a new working water system from the obscene amount of money funneled into the library.

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  13. Sell the empty back lot, it is an eyesore. The lot is a mindless reminder of how the residents on the Library Board have screwed things up.

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  14. When do the expensive solar panel's get installed down at the swimming pool park?
    This council could have saved the library if they had really wanted.

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  15. Schedule the Baby Rhyme Time at the Hart Park House, then the children could use the new equipment in the park for play time.

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  16. This council will vote for a Parcel TAX , that is what all of them do best.
    Mr. Capoccia has wanted a Parcel Tax since the day he was sworn in.

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    Replies
    1. He is the great tax fighter. Sort of

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    2. Absolutely NOT on any form of parcel tax!

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    3. I voted for Measure UUT. I will only vote for one tax increase a decade. I think that is fair.

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  17. Does the City of Sierra Madre really save money from contracting out everything?
    It seems that the City of Pasadena is running our town's business.

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  18. If Friends of the Library have over $800,00 how long have they had this amount and what does their club status say they are authorized to do with the money collected in the community for our Public Library. Have we had the ability to make our Library safe and haven't? Is this a long term project to just build a new Library and not maintain and preserve what we have???? There are a lot of questions that come to mind when you think about it. As a TAX payer I would like to know if the community is getting the most value for the $MONEY$ were being taxed?

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  19. Is there already a set of plans drawn up to look at?

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    Replies
    1. Yes.
      Fred Wesley and company proposed a re-do as part of the Downtown Specific Plan.
      Full plans were laid out on the PBWS Architects' website, but they seem to have been removed.

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    2. Here's the link - just a line about the concept of a replacement library, but there were more plans than that. And it would be surprising if the current board didn't have a few sets of plans.
      http://www.pbws.com/municipal.html

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  20. 9:03, please explain.

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  21. Prediction: only the Library's current board and a few selected parents of young children will show up to the City Council meeting.
    The Council has already made the determination that a city wide vote on a Parcel Tax is necessary.
    The Council has never had the guts to make any difficult decision on their own, they are in and out of chambers within an hour or two of each meeting.
    "We all lead busy lives" ya know!

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  22. Looks like the library receives $800,000 monthly, am i reading the City Warrants section correctly?

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    Replies
    1. Don’t forget that we are paying the full retirement package to 2 retired head librarians at about 20 K a month.

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  23. What do our library records show on just how many books actually do get checked out on a daily, monthly basis?

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    Replies
    1. The SM school kids check them out by the boat load. Not a good indication.

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    2. The checking out of library books is not a good measure of how many books are checked out.

      Nice TrumpSpeak. Rumsfeld is proud of you, too.

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    3. Rumsfeld, like most Bush people, hates Trump.

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    4. So what. Lots of liars hates other liars.

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  24. Oh, the council will vote to tax.
    They will say that the repairs are long over due and that the library is leaky, rusty and rodent infested.
    WHERE HAS ALL THE DAMN MONEY BEEN SPENT AFTER ALL THESE YEARS?

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    Replies
    1. Warm and fuzzy stuff. Not infrastructure.

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    2. I think the administrators at SM City College all got raises too and hired assistants and that sucked some of the money away too.

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    3. Sierra Madre City College administrators mostly shelter in that safe space known as Billy's Wine Tasting Room. After all, it was paid for with tax payer dollars.

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    4. Weren't they in the 4th of July parade?

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  25. Remember that any parcel tax would have to be put on the ballot and require a two thirds vote to pass. What are the odds of that happening?

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    1. Just imagine the propaganda mailers that will be mailed out. The stupid voters in this town will vote Yes on anything...especially to Save the Library.

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    2. Hopefully ZERO if the village idiots have any sense.

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    3. The village idiots have no sense. They love the library. Stupid is as stupid does.

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    4. Says the guy who hates the library. You might want to go there, 10:36, and study the concept of irony.

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  26. Desperately Seeking TransparancyJuly 10, 2018 at 9:39 AM

    It's probably a safe bet to say the city will air tonight's council meeting. But the library discussion is a separate ("special") joint session that follows the regular meeting. Will the city air it, as well? That remains to be seen.

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  27. Recently a resident in town said a few years back the library got over $20,000 to fix the roof. If that is the case the roof should not need replacing.

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  28. Wasn't Measure UUT supposed to take care of the Library?

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    Replies
    1. What was said then and now are two different thing. Then yes, now no.

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    2. The Big Tax Lie Machine must be warming up somewhere.

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    3. My thoughts, exactly. We were promised the UUT would sunset back down to 6%. As soon as that was "on the horizon", a dramatic campaign effort by the city was made to sell us on keeping the UUT @ 10% permanently. The residents turned that down twice, so the third time the city used scare tactics indicating we would lose our library and police department if it wasn't locked in. People were naïve (and dumb in many cases) and went for it. Now, in a position devoid of integrity, they come asking for another handout, like a beggar, in the form of a parcel tax to circumnavigate Prop 13, which was meant to protect us from this sort of thing. Outrageous, despicable, and insulting!

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    4. Exactly 10:54, agreed, circumvent Prop 13.so unjust!

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    5. 10:54’s sense of justice is for him to freeride off the higher taxes of newer purchasers. Bet he hates socialism and redistribution of wealth.

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  29. 9:52am. Not the Pasadena children attending Sierra Madre School, i would like to have a history on books checked out by Sierra Madre residents.

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  30. Same odds of passing a Parcel Tax as the forever 10% UUT Tax.

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    Replies
    1. I doubt it. Unless the Tea Party idiots get involved again.

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    2. Nothing helps tax increase fans up quite as much as the Green Street Idiots.

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    3. I'm finding that most Californians, like all unions, subscribe to the deplorable mentality of supporting any tax increase at any time for any reason. The only difference being that the unions hold this mindset out of a blood sucking, parasitic nature, while the Californians hold it out of ignorance and apathetic knowledge of the issues.

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    4. Someone sounds bu**hurt.

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    5. You sound like an expert.

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  31. The city spends more on the Library then on the Fire Department.

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

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  33. Remember Sierra Madreans have deep pockets.

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  34. The Sierra Madre Library is a money pit, why has it been so expensive to keep open all these years?

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  35. In the real world (meaning the private sector), libraries would slowly become extinct based on the sheer fact that an entire library's worth of books could fit on a single Blu-ray quite easily. They would go the way of Blockbuster Video, diminishing until out of sight. Proof that in the public sector, logic and sense don't have to enter the equation and it lives and breathes in a bubble outside of reality.

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    1. Right. Like coal and oil companies are out of business.

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    2. They're propped up with tax payer money, too.

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  36. The children's book room is out dated, i recall how expensive that expansion was.
    Did the Library Board purchase the children's books from the same publishing house?

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    Replies
    1. Yeah maybe they should let all the library employees go and keep volunteer docents. Turn the library into a library museum. It wouldn't have to change much. And the costs would come down.

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  37. Retirement of two Head Librarians or the retirement and rehire of the same person?

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    Replies
    1. Two different librarians. Caroline and her predecessor.

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  38. The council should get creative.
    Reduce library hours and employees along with expensive air conditioning until a go fund me pledge has been met for repairs.

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  39. 9:11am - Sierra Madre contracts with the City of Pasadena using the YMCA for all recreation programs and the Seniors Lunch Programs.
    Water Works runs the swimming pool park.

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  40. The say anything to keep their seat city council, unanimously voted for the permanent UUT Tax.
    Ever notice how they all "pass the buck";our bucks, without "real" decision-making discussions.

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    Replies
    1. The entire council is termed out. They are beyond the reach of the voters.

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  41. The council knows We need to have a property tax to fund water pipe replacement. They aren’t going to waste a bite at the tax apple on the library. The library is obsolete.

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  42. Wanna bet 1:34pm? This is a Tax as much as you can council, and blame it on past management. The council is part of the problem.

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  43. Maybe 6:21, 7:24, 8:26, and other cheapskates should shake down the kids in Kersting Ct for their lunch money and pocket change.

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    Replies
    1. Can they sell them wine by the sip?

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  44. To the extent we need to fix the library, infrastructure and other capital items, I'd much rather a bond measure than a parcel tax. That way the money only goes to build/fix things, not to subsidize salaries, and when it's paid for the tax rate automatically goes back down. A parcel tax is a permanent blank check.

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  45. Property tax not bond. Sierra Madre is too small relative to the need to get good bond rates.

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    Replies
    1. The City is going to issue a bond in either event, it's calculated in the staff report. The issue is whether it is funded by an ad valorem tax that expires automatically when the bond is paid off, or by a parcel tax that continues forever.

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  46. How about we just fix the Library in as inexpensive a way as possible and move on? The city should hire the same subcontractors the Kensington uses to avoid costly union labor.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah! More money for owners! To heck with employees who do the work!

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  47. lets face it folks!

    1) city hall has shown that it does not have the ability to run the pool, so the pool was leased out to an outside group!

    2) city hall has promised its residents if the water and sewer rates will be increased city hall will repair the water infrastructure -
    a) the water rates have been increased 6 or more times and the city water infrastructure has been failed to be replaced
    b) the famous UUT taxes have been increased numerous times and the money has not been spent correctly either!
    c) those residents / which are now city council members wanted "city residents to pay city employees CITY PENSIONS", well city hall has been failing to find enough monies to pay all cities bills and promised CITY PENSIONS,
    d) the lack of city hall monies is not about the library - its ALL ABOUT THE LACK OF CITY MONEY TO PAY THOSE CITY PENSIONS"
    e) I vote that the UUT taxes be taken away, the city Pensions be removed to some type of 401K,
    f) if the city employees want PENSIONS, go work for the federal government or save your own money, the young and old no longer want to participate in the city employees money dreams to be paid by its city residents...
    g) I vote NO PARCEL TAX, city hall needs to face the facts and reduce spending!
    the city council members need to represent the taxpayers and quit spending their money wastefully...

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  48. I do not want to be a participant any longer!!!!

    Go get a competent city council & reduce spending!

    THE RECESSION IS COMING AGAIN - GET PREPARED!

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  49. Union labor: The City Can’t do that. I think I mentioned a long time ago how Bill Sullivan Sr. was so mad. He volunteered to fix a broken city bench. City said NO, has to be specialized worker which of course costs more money. All the City knows is how to spend more of our money!

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    Replies
    1. Yeah and how much would you whine if the city allowed someone to repair city property, got hurt, and sued the city.

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    2. Is that why nobody fixes City property?

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    3. Can’t believe nobody done torn down the rusty old elevated.

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  50. Two consecutive quarters of negative growth is too small for a great man like Donald J Trump. He only know bigly so expect a full blown Depression.

    Putin & the Oligarchs want pay as little as possible for depressed American and European assets.

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  51. Taxes are the ace up the sleeve's of politicians who claim power but only lay he whip of oppression on the backs of the populas to do their bidding of failure cover up and 'kick the can down the road' once again! This is only a short term fix.

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  52. Just how many outstanding bonds does Sierra Madre still have? Has anything more than interest been paid towards the amounts owed?

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  53. THANK YOU 3:35pm, THANK YOU.

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  54. Saw a guy wearing a safety vest replacing a few city benches today, he was not a city employee.

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  55. Egads 11:53am. Fred Wesley designed the school on Canyon ave after his own home in Sierra Madre, how did that ever get approved?

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    1. Public schools are reviewed by the state school architect. City has no say.

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  56. Fred Wesley is no preservationists, he had the 200 year old Oak bulldozed and chopped down on the Sierra Mesa school grounds and then had it delivered to his home for personal use in his fireplace.

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  57. 10:23pm you missed all the community meetings at the school on public input then.

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    Replies
    1. You can have all the community meetings you want, city still can't do one thing about it. I suppose you can blame PUSD.

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  58. Can we please have safe, reliable, non-wasteful water delivery in town before we go off on a lark and OVERBUILD a library for a commuity that it may have to close when it is 'finally' discovered that it is in no way meeting the recreational reading/research/technology needs of this modest community.

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