Monday, February 3, 2014

That Water Rate Protest Vote Number Might Not Be Good News For Pro-UUT Candidates Goss and Green

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The City's report on the final protest numbers in its latest water rate increase effort fairly crows about the success they had with the Prop 218 process. Or on the surface it does.

For a city government whose priorities are today almost entirely centered upon increasing their resident money take, done to fund current pension and benefit obligations to the municipal employee organizations it caters to, the need for more cash is paramount. No matter what the excuse, this effort takes up nearly all of their time now. There is not much else going on at City Hall as it has pretty much become a 24/7 effort in fundraising there. So the following news holds some deep significance for them.

Water and Sewer Rates Update - The Sierra Madre City Council held a Public Hearing on January 28, 2014 to receive oral and written testimony on the proposed water and sewer rate increases. At the close of the Public Hearing, all protest ballots were received and the final tabulation of protest ballots was completed. The total number of protest ballots received did not reach the quantity of 1,848 ballots for water rates or 1,591 for sewer rates that would be required under Proposition 218 to halt the rate increase proceedings. The City Council, based on the outcome of the protest vote, adopted Urgency Ordinance 1351-U, setting new water and sewer rates effective March 1, 2014 for the City of Sierra Madre.

The above press release, which was included in the City's "eBlast" last week, left out one very important detail about the protest vote. That being the exact size of it, which was 1,035 ballots. The word we have received here at The Tattler is that this was more than double what City Hall had internally projected the protest vote would be when opting to conduct their version of a Prop 218 "process" for this year's water rate increase effort. They were hoping for no more than 500 protests.

City Hall's previous water rate increase campaign, conducted under the shaky leadership of then Mayor Joe Mosca, threw the process open to the public instead, which resulted in a resident uprising and a near loss for City Hall.

By controlling the Prop 218 process themselves, the City had hoped to take the residents out of the equation as much as possible. The goal being to separate the water rate protest vote from that of April's  Measure UUT. Minimizing the water rate protest vote was a definite goal, and in that regard they came up short.

Erasing that 1,035 number from all City Hall press releases (link) and official communications, such as this "eBlast," was not an inadvertent omission or mistake. It was done deliberately. They were not at all happy about that figure, and would prefer that you not think about it too much.

What Prop 218 assumes is that 100% of the eligible voters are in play, and that enough of them could potentially cast enough "No" ballots through the mail to defeat a water rate increase. However, and as it is in many places, we live in a city where often less than 30% of the folks vote in local elections. Something that makes the level of resident participation needed to prevail in a case like this one nearly impossible to achieve.

In a Prop 218 election, it isn't a majority of voters that wins. It is a majority that includes people who haven't voted in a local election in decades. Which is somewhere around 50%. Plus anyone who is not an officially designated ratepayer is weeded out as well, cutting the number even farther. The odds by design are obviously stacked in favor of the taxer, and not the taxed.

All of which makes those 1,035 protest ballots very significant.

If you look at the 2012 four year seat vote results, you can see what the voter turnout would normally be in a City Council election here in Sierra Madre.

John Harabedian - 1364 votes 27.4%
John P. Capoccia - 1327 votes 26.6%
Maryann MacGillivray - 1148 votes 23.0%
Gene Goss - 1100 votes 22.1%
Bill Tice - 44 votes 0.9%

When you consider that the total population of this city is around 11,000, these numbers are obviously woefully small.

Which is why those 1,035 protest ballots have taken on such a significance among the denizens of the two political circles in town. So much so that City Staff won't dare to even mention that number in print.

Remember, just 1 person per rate paying household is allowed to submit a Prop 218 form, that being the individual whose name shows up on the water bill. Most households contain more than one voter, and in April's Measure UUT election everyone will be allowed to vote. Meaning that there is a rather large, and highly motivated, anti-tax base of voters in this town.

If 1,035 households each cast a single vote against the water rate hike, and under the restrictive and somewhat confusing conditions set by Prop 218 no less, they then can hardly be expected to vote for Measure UUT when they go to the polls this April.

We are talking about a potential base of roughly 2,000 motivated voters in Sierra Madre who are not in the mood to vote themselves tax or rate increases right now. Or nearly double what tax candidate Gene Goss received in 2012.

All of which looks like trouble for the Tax Me Twins to me.

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46 comments:

  1. By this analysis the one open race is for that third city council seat. Which makes it a Goss versus Green contest. I wonder if it will get dirty.

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    1. Noah Green is Joe Mosca in the sense that he like Joe is another "lawyer" who moved into town and immediately decided that because he's a "lawyer" he should run for Council because he "loves" the city and joined all the "in" committees and organizations and is just saying whatever he needs to say to get elected.

      Why can't he live here a few years before he decides that we need him to get involved?

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    2. I agree. There really should be a minimum amount of residency required. 5 years?

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    3. Sounds fair. Plus we need to know if the wannabe candidate belongs to any dangerous organizations. Like the COG, SCAG or the Sierra Madre branch of the Kiwanis.

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  2. we need a write in candidate.

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    1. Bill Tice. He's nice.

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    2. Bill is not well. We need to find someone else.

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    3. Sorry to hear that about Bill Tice. I was appreciative of his devotion to the city, even though at times I thought he was too much of a better person to understand how down and dirty the Investment Club members get. I wish him a good recovery.

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    4. So then we still need a write in candidate. Friends don't let friends vote for Goosie Green.

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    5. Or do we decide which one of those would do the least harm?

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    6. I doubt Goss or Green would ever vote differently on any issue. They're equally bad.

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  3. You bet it will 5:20. The investment club will be out in force as usual, no doubt about it. Just look at what went on in the last few years elections. There was so much dirt and deceit being slung around it should have been embarrassing for those lair's. I think they were actually proud of getting there people elected with lies. Unfortunately lies were told about long time respected residents. There should be no doubt that the same group is pushing Goss and Green in this election. We are being played as suckers for the likes of those trying to climb the social Sacramento ladder. Unfortunately we have only 4 candidates running for 3 spots.

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    1. anybody endorsed by the Buchanan posse will not get my vote

      Goss is a Buchanan buddy and Buchanan was one of the worst Councilmen in the history of SM - he did nothing but push a development agenda that benefit his SoCal Edision employer

      or he only sought out or tagged along on photo ops that stroked his ego

      SoCal Edison gave Buchanan unlimited time off when he was on the Council, they must hate that he is actually coming into work now

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    2. Good post 3:21. Completely accurate.

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    3. 3:21 I guess what development he pushed and how it benefited his employer

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  4. Goose and Green. A lotta G's.

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  5. I think this is good news, because it will be so clear. 2 candidates for the UUT, 2 candidates opposed to the UUT.

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    1. Yes, I agree. And I will not be voting for any candidates that support extending our very high utility taxes. We all agreed to it when we were told it was temporary, but that is now in the past.

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  6. Is there a list of what the candidates are for or when they will have coffee's.

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    1. Just call the candidates and have a head to head sit down.

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    2. Most candidates are very happy when people get in touch with them.

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    3. Great suggestion 11:08.
      Hope 10:06 does that, and then posts reactions.

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    4. Have you gone to their websites?

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    5. That would be a lot of initiative for some, 2:14. I will vote for the candidates that oppose Measure UUT. All the information I need.

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    6. It is a part of the process. But don't worry, we can help educate you. Be certain to fill out your question card. We will get to it as soon as we can.

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    7. Enjoy your services.

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  7. All you need to know is one of them is the Goose, Gene Goss, who is closely connected to the Doyalists......bad news.
    Other is a young newby attorney who lives up in the canyon, all his neighbors dislike him, he is also a Doyle plant, why not it worked 2 times in a row, Tonya Torres Joe Mosca .Both newby third rate attorneys who were just in it for the scam. Green is another one.......BAD NEWS.
    That leaves the other two ladies running, who are no Mary Ann MacGillivrays, but will have to do. Dicey at best, but it's the best we have. Denise and Rachelle.

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    1. Did they tell Noah it will help him become an Assemblyman? Mosca fell for that.

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    2. Lookey here, 10:54 am (user of improper ellipses), MaryAnn MacGillivray (notice correct spelling of name) cannot be cookie cutter copied. It's important to remember her style and stance evolved over time. Our most recent experiences with her were at the end of 12 years of governance. Denise Delmar has proved her metal chairing the General Plan Update Committee, standing up to Mosca, Buchanan and that loose cannon Nancy Walsh. She is entitled to her own candidacy. I applaud her resolve to run and win. I have watched Rachelle and am tentatively impressed with her views, attitude, and determination. She also, in my opinion, knows what's coming down the pike. So if you want another MaryAnn MacGillivray convince her to run and work for her election in the next cycle. In the interim don't tear down the only two candidates with whom we may have even a chance of electing.

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    3. Thank you. No more imported lawyers.

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    4. I wonder what they promised Noah. I am sure Joe was putty in their hands, but Noah? Maybe they got to him through his boss? A nice sheet of light green plexiglass for his desk maybe?

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    5. lawyers, for the most part, just argue and blather and when pushed, look to settle

      we really don't need another lawyer on the Council, especially a newcomer to the city

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    6. Out of town lawyers who move here and then run for city council next year are Zombie Candidates. I think Bart grows them in his garage.

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    7. Good one, 3:24.
      Anyone know why the neighbors having taken such a dislike to Green? Not asking for gossip, just some general remarks that would clarify....

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    8. He's a lawyer.

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  8. I beg your pardon. "Dicey at best"? You obviously don't know what the ### you are talking about.

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  9. The message for me: Yes on Measure UUT means more of the same. No on Measure UUT means change.

    This city needs to take another look on how things get done. The city just can't keep asking us for more money to fix their messes. We need to take back control of our affairs from people who are not accountable to the taxpayers.

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    1. Water mismanaged to the point of oblivion, a development boom that guarantees we'll be on this bad imported water forever, pampered and whiny staff that we'll have to support for the rest of their lives....yeah, the city needs to rethink how things are done.

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    2. Maybe we should just throw more money at them. Would it ease their pain?

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    3. Yes it would ease their pain. Increase ours, ease theirs.

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  10. Anyone else having trouble getting comments to stay?

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    1. I was earlier, but it seems to be better.

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  11. Yes 12:08 I had a comment not show up, I attributed it to my error, who knows.

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  12. Not sure if many in the canyon know Green. Immediate neighbors, maybe? I have lived there a long number of years and have never laid eyes on him. I would have been of "use" to him if it were not that the Prom Committee was running him, and I'm not in their good graces so I didn't get an invite to his launching party held at Nancy Walsh's home, if I heard correctly.

    Here is what that says to me: anyone who would think that having that ninny support your candadicy is likewise a ninny, no matter the law degree, no matter the choice to live in the canyon.

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    1. An out of town attorney encouraged to move here so he can run for city council. He is told where to go, who to see, who to get introduced to and, should he be elected, how to vote. He's a puppet. Just like the last one they brought in.

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    2. In Sierra Madre "Chamber of Commerce" is an oxymoron.

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