Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Why Is Susan Henderson So Excited And Happy About Us Paying More Taxes?

Week after week in the Mountain Views News we get the same steady drum beat about taxes. And what is that message? They're going up and there is nothing you can do about it. Nothing can change, no possible reform of City Hall can take place, and we are obligated to forever pay more and more money for services that frankly aren't as good as they should be, and show no clear sign of improving, either. Only becoming more expensive

And then there is Susan's red herring about "No new money." Unless somebody has been accusing City Hall of printing the stuff in a basement somewhere, it is really quite impossible to figure out where poor old Susan thinks "New Money" might have been coming from.

Now there is about $1,000,000 in previously unaccounted for money that turned up during the audits just completed. Audits that should have been done under the inept administrations of Joffe, Buchanan, and all those other people Susan supports so tirelessly. A breach in basic competence so egregious that the City was obligated to fork over $25,000 in fines to Sacramento. And had Sierra Madre continued the slack fiscal work ethic seen under those previous administrations so near and dear to the MVN, that money wouldn't have been identified and the surplus everyone is so proud of today might never have shown up on our books.

But, and as we can see from the following headline in the June 13th edition of the Mountain Views News (which hit the streets right on schedule June 14th), the canard continues, and in the largest possible type:

Sierra Madre State Of The City ... Mayor Confirms, "There Is No New Money"

No, and there are no flying pigs, abominable snowmen, werewolves, centaurs, firebirds, vampires, hydras, jabberwocks, orcs, rocs, or unicorns. And neither Odin nor The Mighty Zeus have paid us any visits lately, either. And I'm certain that if Susan had asked about the existence of any of those other equally mythological entities, Mayor MacGillivray would have denied their existence as well. As she should.

Nobody anywhere ever said there was "new money." This is nothing but an Urban Myth that Susan Henderson has invented so that she can actually discuss the fiscal accounting disaster left us from the Buchanan/Joffe shenanigan years. By constantly talking about an "extra million dollars" Susan is doing little more than attempting to avoid the elephant in the room. Which is that there was a million dollars in the accounts of Sierra Madre that the high solons of finance under those previous administrations didn't even know existed. It has only now been discovered because then Mayor Kurt Zimmerman, along with MaryAnn MacGillivray and Don Watts, got the job done.

And the major consequence of this "accounting correction," as the more politically correct prefer to term it? In April of 2008 the people of Sierra Madre went to the polls and voted themselves a 100% Utility User Tax increase based on numbers that were over $1,000,000 less than they should have been. They were told we had a deficit when in reality we had a surplus. That is the elephant that Susan Henderson doesn't want anyone to see, and why week after week she writes about this topic in the most delusional and bizarre of ways.

But all that aside, there is one other question here that needs to be asked. What is it that Susan Henderson is thinking? As we all know, Susan likes to consider herself to be the most profound of political managerial visionaries. And despite the defeats her two candidates experienced in 2008 (one of which was the first sitting Mayor to be unceremoniously dumped by the voters here in quite some time), she continues to maintain this most regal of poses.

So assuming that this woman of vast political wisdom is currently working on fashioning the electoral landscape for 2010, what is the message she is crafting for the poor fools unlucky enough to win her support? Well, from what I've been reading, it would seem to be something like the following:

"Taxes are going up, you're going to have to pay them, nothing can be done, nothing can be changed, there is no possible reform at City Hall, you voted for it, so shut up about it and prepare to dig deeper."

Now I certainly do not claim to be a political thinker of the caliber of Susan Henderson, but in an economy as lousy as this one, and in a State that is in both fiscal and political meltdown, that doesn't strike me as being quite the message of hope and optimism that people are going to want to hear very much of next year.


  1. I don't give a rat's ass what Henderson says about ANYTHING.
    I trust the wisdom of our Mayor, MaryAnn MacGillivray, our Mayor-Pro-tem, Don Watts and our former Mayor, Kurt Zimmerman to do the best possible job for Sierra Madre. That is why we voted for them, they have done what they promised.
    MCGILLIVRAY, WATTS and ZIMMERMAN WORK FOR THE RESIDENTS, they are experienced and quite frankly the best possible people for the job!
    Others, the little gang we all call the "dirts", which includes the disgraceful Henderson, of course do NOT work for our best interests.
    This isn't my "opinion", it is a proven fact.

  2. Perhaps if Susan actually owned a home here, or operated
    a business that turned a profit, tax increases would not be
    a source of happiness for her. I get the impression that
    for Susan this is just a spectator sport.

  3. OK,Sir eric has been exposing a criminal conspiracy now for a number of weeks and what action by the elected reps (with the brilliant exception of Zimmerman) taken to get to the bottom of this outrage? Nothing! Why not an audit? What are they hiding?How can a million dollars be overlooked and ignored?Lets stop using shenanigns and start using CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY instead!

  4. Susan is a hired hand,a pathetic fraud who will be dumped when she is no longer needed.Be real, her paper is a community joke!

  5. There continues to be a "private club" at city hall. Members include the fire dept, some of the police, some department heads, and others in key positions who are fighting for their lives and the lives of their supporters. Currently the majority of the council are making inroads to cleaning this mess up. The two "Js" on the council are doing whatever they can to stop Zimmerman, Watts, and Macgilvary. Susan Henderson takes her marching orders from past council members and those who stand to loose.

  6. Satisfying to think that the likes of Doyle and Buchanan have been propping this nutty old bird and her cage liner up for the last year or so, apparently unaware of what an albatross the MVN is going to be for whatever yes men they trot out to run for City Council next year. Watching them trying to distance themselves from some of Susan's loonier pronouncements while still getting their mugs on the front page is going to high comedy. Watching the likes of Stockley and Siberall suck up to Henderson is going to quite a sight.

  7. Orleans:

    I agree there was a conspiracy, but don't think it was an indivual or a few individuals who put the money from our General Fund in their pockets.
    It was a group of high level dirts who shuffled the money around in the General Fund to finance their Downtown Specific Plans and/or other development plans.
    I would bet that's what happened!

  8. City Hall need the extra UUT cash so they can fund things like the $300,000 General Plan consultant they are desperate for the City Council to hire. Which should be looked at as nothing more than a new Downtown Specific Plan. And why not/ The first DSP cost $50,000 less than this consultant.

    These individuals do not work for the people whose taxes pay their salaries.

  9. 9:51:
    Mayor MacGillivray, KURT ZIMMERMAN and DON WATTS are not going to approve a $300,000 consultant!
    I basically agree with you about city hall, but when you say city hall, let's not include the three councilmembers who do work for US, the RESIDENTS!
    The only way the dirts get away with this is to get back the majority vote in '010 election.
    Worry not, the residents will be INFORMED as to who is working for THEM and who is working for big development!
    The voters of Sierra Madre WILL BE INFORMED as to which city council candidates will be working for preserving and protecting Sierra Madre, and we don't want or need that old cheat, Harriet Susan Henderson's paper to promote our candidates.
    We will have super resources, super volunteers (the real ones) and super energy.
    We will WIN, just like we defeated Enid Joffe and Karma Bell, two little darlings of the cheif dirtman, Bart Doyle and little darlings of the disgraceful Susan Henderson.

  10. It isn't enough to control the city council, we also need to change the culture in City Hall. Their agenda must be in accord with the agenda of the majority of the people of Sierra
    Madre. It is rule by bureaucracy that has gotten this country into the financial mess it is today. $300,000 for a consultant my foot!

  11. Don't forget Howard Jarvis and Paul Ghann, without them we would have been taxed right out of our homes. California government has doubled in size in the last 10 years and we still have the worst schools, roads, and gridlock. We don't have enough water, Yet the BIA wants to build more.

  12. I want to know how much higher our property taxes are going up!
    I want to know why we have to pay a UUT tax based on an election with false facts about our financial status!
    I want to know why there is over 11% unemployment in California, yet Sierra Madre's city hall seems to have full employment?
    Seems like us taxpayers need to have a protest march on city hall if they ever hire anymore expensive consultants!

  13. 10:24 am, the protest should be before they hire the expensive consultants or the employees! We should have a hiring freeze at City Hall until we figure out what the employees do and who does what. We should have a freeze on hiring consultants as well! and a freeze on new CRA projects until we figure out an updated General Plan. We can afford to be fiscally conservative; we can't afford to be fiscally irresponsible!

  14. 10:24 and others

    Pull out your property tax bill and take a look at the taxes in addition to the property tax we pay. This bill does not include the new PUSD tax that just went through. We will all be paying over $500 in additional taxes to PSUD. If all of Sierra Madre got together and gave that $500 to our local kids, they could all go to private schools and we would all get value for our money.

  15. I have heard Zimmerman say several times that the voters did not have the information regarding the $1 million before them at the time they approved that tax increase. Kurt has never said that the City still has the $1 million dollars. Thank God for an honest politician like Kurt.

  16. Do we know what the News's circulation figures are? Nobody I know ever mentions it.

  17. Salish-- and others requesting an audit. Don't stop at an audit of the General Fund. The Redevelopment Agency money has been used for years improperly. For starters, as I recall, a public relations firm was hired to promote the DSP for about $48,000, paid from the Redevelopment Agency. Now that's a stretch even in Dirtville. So carry on with the audit but don't leave out the Redevelopment Agency. Eyes will open!!

  18. Thanks Doc!
    This is good information to know.
    You are always right on target!

  19. And while you're at it, have a long long talk with Elaine Aguilar. She was produced by the Dirt headhunter, Mathis, the Bart friend. She might be okay, but if she's managing the city--hiring people, etc., she could be a very important source of problems.

  20. 12:37, we do not know what the News' circulation figures are! It's not published anywhere in the weekly editions and I can't find it in the Legal Notices section. There was a time when advertising rates were based on circulation figures, and an adjudicated paper was required to post such stats. Apparently not anymore!

  21. Elaine was practically begging the CC to cough up the $300K for a Gen'l Plan consultant last week. All in the name of lightening the work load on the poor overworked staff. Which is such nonsense. The Dirt is looking for a new DSP to be included in the new GP. At that price we're talking massive change. The BIA not only wants Sierra Madre served up on a platter, they also want us to pay for the butcher as well.

  22. Yep, as for the circulation figures, they're a myth. There is no circulation. It's a throw-away. Her circulation figures are based on how many newspapers she prints and places in various locations to be picked up by those who need bird cage liners.

  23. The place to check circulation facts and figures for newspapers is the Audit Bureau of Circulation site. I checked there and there's nothing about either a Mountain Views Observer or News. Which means the paper never filed. If verified circulation figures are necessary for adjudication, then the MVN must have come in through the back door.

  24. BC
    didn't she buy into the adjudication via Steve Tobia?

    I sure wish there was a way to get our legals out of that paper.

    Doc Stacatto at 1:34! Damn Doc, you're not only a genius, but you're a comedian as well! LOL

  25. What is the Green Committee crap about?

  26. I think their job is to follow John and Joe around and tell them how wonderful they are for caring so deeply about green things. Like One Carter and whatever ecological disaster zone they have in mind for downtown. Also to take up a lot of city hall staff time so they can't do anything about the general plan.

  27. Sounds like a scandal to me.Why not,this was a sleeply little community ripe for a criminal consortium to overtake.Certainly,as concerned citizens we must demand an audit as well as an investigation of the City" transaction with the Redevelopment Agency.

  28. Lacy,
    thank you for identifying the DIRTS for what they really are....a CRIMINAL CONSORTIUM!

  29. Poster 1:57, you asked what this Green Committee crap is about. In answer to your question, I believe that the creation of a Green Committee is a clumsy attempt by Council Members Buchanan and Mosca to divert the attention of the other Council Members and the voters from the real issues (e.g., budget, lack of fiscal accountability, public safety etc). To their credit, former Mayor Zimmerman, current Mayor MacGillivray and Council Member Watts have been diligently tackling these real issues.

    The creation of such a Committee at the behest of those two Council Members is also the grossest example of hypocrisy. Both Council Members work for utilities that generate greenhouse gases. Both Council Members are also proponents of big development including construction of mega-condo complexes in our downtown that will consume millions of gallons of water and come with garages full of hundreds of smog-spewing autos.

    Call me cynical, but I'm sure the creation of the Green Committee will appear prominently on Council Member Mosca's re-election brochure and any brochure Council Member Buchanan puts out should he decide to run for higher office.

  30. Buchanan running for higher office? Ugh. Now if there is anything that could make me vote for a Republican, that would be it.

  31. 3:35

    The dirtmen, Mosca and Buchanan are trying their best to sabotage the Mayor's appointment of a General Plan Committee.

    The dirts will also try to get a few people named that we think are on our side but who won't be.
    Mayor MacGillivray, Kurt and very careful, please!
    CAUTION AIN'T THE WORD!!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. 3:35, I wish I could call you cynical - but your astute observations are clearly the work of a realist.
    Another bit of hypocrisy - during the noise ordinance discussions, Joe was heard saying that he couldn't garden without his machines. The green champion doesn't realize that his preferred mode of gardening is a part of the ungreen. And will that little feller learn not to make asinine remarks into the mike after someone speaks, before he's off the council?

  33. Nothing like burning a little petrol in the back yard to help stop global warming.

  34. As we all can see by watching neuroblast film's posting of Henderson on youtube, the gal wants badly to twist whatever Zimmerman says. With indignation no less. Zimmerman reported that there was a million dollar mistake, so Henderson came up with "no new money."
    If the council members are reading, hopefully we'll get that comprehensive audit going, forget about bringing in any consultant for the GP, and maybe downsize the staff. An experiment to see if they are complaining as much when they know they could lose their jobs. No problem for them to find positions with those huge salaries in other very small cities in the area, right?

  35. Liked you said 4;19...comprehensive audit,no consultant for the General Plan and cut the Staff..Start there first.If we need to economize,that is a very good place to begin.

  36. I like Don Watts idea, just invest a few bucks at Staples for some white out. Get a group of qualified people, appointed by Mayor MacGillivray and we'll have a new improved GP.
    Don's idea sure is better than Buchanan's.

  37. We didn't pay a consultant back in 1996, why should we now?
    We probably had more money in 1996, probably because we didn't pay consultants.


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