Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, March 29, 2014

MVNews this week:  Page 3

Mountain Views-News Saturday, March 29, 2014 3 Mountain Views-News Saturday, March 29, 2014 3 

An easy and fun way to get involved in our community is to volunteer for a shift at the annual Friends 
of the Sierra Madre Library Art Fair. Not only do you help the Friends, but you get to see and chat 
with your Sierra Madre neighbors who visit the Fair. This year’s Art Fair is being held in Memorial 
Park on Saturday, May 3, 2014 from 9:30am to 6:00pm and Sunday, May 4, 2014 from 9:30am to 
5:00pm. Volunteers are needed to act as area hosts and hostesses, to serve at the Friends Booth and 
the Friends Food Booth, to work at the wine and beer garden, and to work at the Silent Auction. 

Volunteer shifts are short (two hours) and since there are so many people coming through, the time 
passes quickly. Area hosts and hostesses are assigned an area and are responsible for visiting the 
vendors in the booths in that area to see if they need anything and to sit at their booth if they need to 
take a break. The Friends Booth is where people can get information about the organization and can 
buy an Art Fair t-shirt. Brochures explaining what it means to be a member of the Friends will be 
at the booth and should provide the answer to any questions people have. The Friends Food Booth 
is where our popular sweet breads are sold. You’ll be very busy there! We’re going to have a Silent 
Auction again this year and volunteers are needed to help keep track of the items being auctioned and 
to explain the bidding process. You’ll be given information that should answer any questions bidders 
should ask. The wine and beer garden is new this year and we’ll need people to sell tickets, check IDs, 
attach wristbands, secure the area, and serve the wine and beer. 

Does volunteering at the Art Fair sound like something you’d like to do? Contact Fran Garbaccio at 
355-6536 or by email at We also need pop ups and if you have one that you’d 
be willing to loan the Friends for the weekend, please contact Janet Emery at 355-6499 or by email at 


(cont. from page 1) 

from its high in 2010, due 
to the trend of customers 
disconnecting their land-linesin favor of mobile phones,
and because of the rise in data 
services, which are not taxed, in 
favor of voice communications. 
Trends in telecommunications 
may continue downward, andthere’s uncertainty regardingcable TV, as many disconnect infavor of streaming from Netflix,
Hulu and other services, andalso because of increasing costsof sports packaging, and theunwillingness of consumers tobear those costs. 

Yes, electricity rates are boundto go up, and overall there islikely to be an increase in taxrevenue from water and sewer 
revenue in the outer years of the 
rate implementation plan, butthe bottom line is that overall 
utility tax revenue has beenflat and is likely to remain so. 
Even if there is an increase in 
revenue, it will be insufficient tomeaningfully offset the effect of 
a UUT sunset to 6%. 

Property Tax: Likewise, therewill not be a revenue windfall 
from increasing home values.
There are three factors that 
influence property tax revenue:
Property valuation, turnover 
rate, and inflation factor. 
Under Proposition 13, the 
yearly increase in property taxis limited to the lesser of 2% or 
the California Consumer Price 
Index (CCPI). For fiscal year2013/2014, this is the first timesince 2008 that Sierra Madre 
will get the full 2% increase on 
property. For 2014/2015, theState Board of Equalization hasnotified municipalities that theinflation rate to be applied isless than ½ of 1%. 

Property values have been 
increasing, and turnover hasincreased recently, but on 
average, the assessment hasnot increased enough to make 
a substantial difference. I 
recently did my own study ofthe last fifty-two residentialsingle family properties thathave sold. The average pricewas $925,000, and the averageassessed value prior to the sale 
was $519,000, with an increase 
of assessed value of $406,000.
Assuming a healthy turnoverof 120 houses in a year (99 weresold in fiscal year 2012/2013),
this yields an increase in 
revenue of $100,000. Combine 
that with the paltry 0.05% CCPIon remaining homes, General 
Fund revenue will increase byless than $120,000, and thisis a good year when prices arebooming! At best, this will helpto offset rising costs. It will not 
help close the gap if the UUTtax sunsets with the resultant 
annual loss of $1,000,000 in 

Sales Tax: Sales tax revenue 
represents only 2% of GF 
revenue, or approximately$200,000. I’ve been listeningto many wonderful ideas overthe years on how we’re goingto stimulate business in town 
to increase sales tax revenue. 
Despite best efforts, the trendis the same - Absolutely flat. 
We’d need a WalMart or Targethere in town to bend the sales 
tax curve! 

Likewise, Franchise fees andBusiness License fees representa small portion of the revenuestream and are not likely toincrease significantly. 

In conclusion, the revenue 
forecast in the current 
2013/2015 budget is accuratelyrepresented, and a meaningfuldeviation is extremely unlikely. 

The Case for Healthy Reserves: 
If you’ve been following eventsin the news regarding SierraMadre, you recognize that there 
are other significant challengesthat we must address. Without 
specifically mentioning these 
sensitive, publicly disclosed 
threats, let’s suffice it to saythat we’re in a better positionto defend our collective interest 
when we have healthy financial 
reserves. If we can’t afford 
to defend and protect our 
interests, we’ll more easily bepressured to concede. With 
a loss of $1,000,000 annual 
revenue if Measure UUT fails, 
the potential to eat away ourreserves is very real. 

Healthy reserves are a goodthing. In the past, reserves were 
used to build the municipalpool, and purchase mountain 
property to protect our 
watershed wilderness amongother things. All of us should 
think for a few minutes how 
better reserves could have 
helped us to take advantage ofhillside opportunities in therecent past, and what we mightbe able to do in the future. 

I should also remind readers 
that the City Council 
removed the funding for theNational Pollution DischargeElimination System (NPDES)
from the sewer rate study(keeping your sewer rate 
increase as low as possible).
The funding will now comefrom unallocated reserves and 
gas tax funding (less money is 
now available for street repair),
and is unfunded beyond thenext two fiscal years. 

What Can We Afford? We 
conservatives often talk about 
“living within our means”. 
Sierra Madre’s Median 
Household Income is $83,875compared to LA County’s$53,880. Among our neighbors,
only Bradbury, La Canada andSan Marino are higher. Our 

city’s finances should reflectour collective “means”. Since 
we don’t have a Walmart or an 
Auto Mall, there’s no one elseto pay for our streets, programs 
and public safety but ourselves. 

Former Mayor and 
Councilmember GeorgeMaurer was quoted in MicheleZack’s Southern California 
Story – Seeking the Better Life 
in Sierra Madre: “We used to 
just make a realistic – and thisbeing Sierra Madre, that means 
conservative – budget, and thenwould adjust property tax ratesto cover what we needed. It 
was much easier and we alwayshad money to repair streetsand so forth.” Today, evenat the current 10% UUT rate,
we’re challenged when it comesto properly maintaining our 
streets. How will we do that if 
the tax rate sunsets to 6% and 
we lose $1,000,000 in annual 

As a member of our CityCouncil, I strive to ensure thatour precious tax dollars arespent wisely and for the benefitof the community. How we 
take care of our city reflectsour common values, similar to 
the way our homes and otherpossessions reflect our values.
Sierra Madre’s citizens want 
to keep their city safe. We 
want streets that are properlymaintained. We want level, 
contiguous sidewalks. We 
want trees that are trimmed 
and properly maintained. Wewant a library that is reasonablywell-stocked and staffed, thatoffers enticing programs, andis open to serve the communityat convenient hours. We want 
quick response time from our 
Police, Fire and Paramedics.
We want a visible policepresence to discourage the bad 
guys. Our citizens are sensitive 
to the needs of our Seniors, wesupport our youth by strivingto have programs that providegrowth, camaraderie and thatwill provide them with lifelong 
friendships. We supportcommunity programs that areessential to maintaining ourtight sense of identity that isspecial to Sierra Madre and 
sorely lacking in so manysurrounding communities. 

It is for all these reasons that we 
choose to make Sierra Madre 
our home. Let’s take care of 
our home by cherishing ourlegacy, providing for the future 
and keeping our finances strong 
and stable by Voting YES onMeasure UUT. 

It’s Your City, and Your Choice. 

Thanks for listening, and asalways, feel free to call me 
on 355-6407 or email me at 

Sierra Madre Police Blotter 

FOR THE PERIOD MARCH 16, 2014 TO MARCH 23, 2014 

During the week of Sunday, March 16, to Sunday March 23rd, the Sierra Madre Police Department 
responded to approximately 283 calls for service. 

Tuesday March 18, 2014 
At 12:18 pm, Sierra Madre Police responded to a disturbance call in the 500 block of E. Sierra Madre 
Blvd. Reporting party advised that there was a male subject at location, trespassing and verbally 
threatening a staff member. Officers contacted the subject and advised him not to return to location. 

Wednesday March 19, 2014 
At 8:56 pm, Sierra Madre Police responded to a suspicious back pack that was left hanging on the 
mailbox in the 00 block of Suffolk Av. Residents were asked to evacuate do to the suspicious nature 
of the back pack. Los Angeles County Sheriff ’s Bomb Squad responded to the scene. Los Angeles 
County Bomb Squad determined, that there was no threat or harm, and that it would not impose any 
danger to the surrounding residence. The entire incident lasted approximately two hours, at that time 
residence were clear to return their homes. 

 Friday March 21, 2014 
At 7:30 am, Sierra Madre Police responded to the 400 block of San Gabriel Court, regarding a theft
from an unlocked vehicle. Victim advised that the incident occurred sometime between Thursday 
March 20th evening hours through early morning hours on Friday March 21st. 

Friday March 21, 2014 
At 8:54 am, Sierra Madre Police responded to the 100 block of W. Montecito, regarding a welfare 
check on a male subject. After further investigation, Sierra Madre Police determined that one male 
physically assaulted another individual at the location. Suspect was taken into custody for battery. 

Saturday March 22, 2014 
At 5:31 pm, Sierra Madre Police responded to the 100 block of Sierra Madre regarding a possible 
sexual assault. After contacting victim it was determined the incident occurred on Mt. Wilson Trail. 
Suspect was described as a male Hispanic, approximately 36 years old, short brown hair, black eyes. 
Investigation still pending. 


and a Library Board Trustee. In addition, he has DATE CHANGED TO MAY 30, volunteered for the local AYSO, coached Sierra 
2014 Madre Little League and Pony League teams, 

and presently serves as a Board of Trustee for the 

Sierra Madre, CA. - March 25, 2014 - Sierra 

Sierra Madre United Methodist Church. 

Madre will be honoring Dick Johnson as the 
2014 Sierra Madre Older American of the Year Each year the President of the United States, 
at a local reception held at the Hart Park House the Governor of California and the Los Angeles 
Senior Center on Friday, May 30, 2014 from 4:30-County Board of Supervisors designate the 

6:00 PM 
month of May as Older American Month. In 
recognition of Dick Johnson’s dedicated volunteer 
The City of Sierra Madre Community Services 

service to the community, Sierra Madre will be 

Department and the Senior Community 

honoring him at a local reception held at the 

Commission are happy to announce that Richard 

Hart Park House Senior Center on Friday, May 

‘Dick’ Johnson has been selected as the 2014 

30, 2014 from 4:30-6:00 PM. 

Sierra Madre Older American of the Year. Mr. 
Johnson’s contributions to the community have For more information on the Older American 
been numerous over the years including his Reception or on how you can assist with honoring 
service as Chairman for the Annual Art Fair, Dick Johnson, please contact the Senior Services 

President of the Historical Preservation Society, 
Desk at (626) 355-7394.