Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, November 2, 2019

MVNews this week:  Page 4

ON MEASURE S (continued from page 1)

the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments.

Why was this done now on a special election?

Waiting would have run the risk of there being a 
competing Sales Tax measure on the 2020 General 
Election. If both a Sierra Madre measure and 
a competing measure were to pass, it’s likely that 
the revenue would be split between the competing 
entities putting forth a measure, or it could 
be lost altogether to the competing measure.

What is the current breakdown of Sales Tax in 
Sierra Madre?

6.25% goes to the State of California, (With 
some local County return for Public Safety, 
Health, Social Services and Transportation)

1.00% is for Sierra Madre General Fund

2.25% is for additional Districts, such as LA 

9.50% Total

What are the taxable LA County Districts?

Currently, there is one district that affects the 
sales tax rate in Sierra Madre, and that’s LA 
County. A city is also considered a district, and 
entities such as the Southern California Air 
Quality Management District, which is considering 
a sales tax measure. Currently the breakdown 
of District sales taxes that apply in Sierra 
Madre are:

LA County Transportation Commission 

 (Prop A) 0.50%

LA County Transportation Commission 

 (Prop C) 0.50%

LA County Metro Transportation Authority 
(Measure R) 0.50%

LA County Traffic Improvement Plan 

 (Measure M) 0.50%

LA County Homeless Services Tax 

 (Measure H) 0.25%

 District Total 2.25%

Is there a limit on District Taxes?

Yes, the limit on district sales tax is 2.00%. However, 
the State granted exemptions to the district 
limit for Measure R and Measure M, so the total 
amount subject to the limit is 1.25% leaving 
0.75% headroom” for additional Sales Tax.

Could the State raise the limit beyond 10.25%?

It’s possible, but I believe it’s unlikely. I can’t 
speak for other organizations, but there would 
certainly be a significant backlash from groups 
such as the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, 
business groups and possibly the League of 
California Cities and San Gabriel Valley Council 
of Governments, and other LA County Councils 
of Government.

Do other LA County Cities collect a higher 

Yes. Of the 88 LA County cities, at least 18 cities 
have additional sales taxes that completely 
consume the 0.75% “headroom”, where the total 
sales tax in these cities is 10.25%. An additional 
seven cities are at the 10% tax level.

 Several of these cities passed a sales tax increase 
to the maximum 10.25% in 2018, including Arcadia, 
Burbank, Covina, Cudahy, Culver City, El 
Segundo, Glendale, Glendora, Huntington Park, 
La Puente, Lawndale, Pasadena and Pomona.

Cities such as Duarte, Monrovia, San Gabriel, 
South Pasadena and Claremont have already decided 
to place a sales tax increase on the ballot, 
or are considering to do so. There may be others 
as well.

Why are these cities considering increases to 
their sales tax?

Arcadia, Glendora and possibly others have declared 
a “fiscal emergency”. The extra revenue is 
needed by these cities to balance municipal budgets 
for various reasons. Most other cities have 
revenue needs, but it’s not known whether the 
needs constitute “fiscal emergencies”. It should 
be noted that there is no criteria for declaring a 
“fiscal emergency” - it is so, if the City Council 
says it is so! However, these cities have also discussed 
the need to bring the sales tax to the limit 
before another district imposes a tax increase, 
which would foreclose on the ability of these cities 
to use the tax revenue for their own benefit,

as is the case here for Sierra Madre.

Why was it necessary to collect signatures to 
place the measure on the ballot?

Normally, signatures are necessary to qualify for 
a special election. An exception is where the City

Council declares a “fiscal emergency”. Sierra 
Madre could have waited and placed the intiative 
on a General Election (2020), but at the risk 
of losing revenue to another district.

Why didn’t Sierra Madre declare a fiscal 

Because we don’t have one. Sierra Madre’s finances 
are in great shape, certainly better than most 
cities in LA County. A recently released State 
Audit scored Sierra Madre “Low Risk”, and in 
better financial shape than all of our immediate 
neighbors such as Arcadia, Pasadena, Monrovia, 
San Gabriel, San Marino and South Pasadena. 
Because the Sierra Madre City Council could 
not in good faith declare a fiscal emergency, an 
initiative to place Measure S on the November 
2019 ballot became necessary. Fortunately,

Sierra Madre residents Pat and De Alcorn, Gary 
Hood and David Williams stepped up to lead 
a citizen’s effort to collect signatures to qualify 
Measure S.

How many signatures were collected?

A group of volunteers collected over 900 signatures. 
Approximately 815 signatures were 

If Measure S passes, how will the extra $225k 
annually be used?

The City Council would decide how to allocate 
the funds during the normal bugeting process. 
The General Fund provides for Public Safety including 
Police, Fire and Paramedic, Public Parks, 
Open Space and Recreation, Tree Maintenance 
and Replacement, Roads and Sidewalks, Maintenance 
of Public Buildings, Library Services, and 
Administratve functions such as maintaining 
our Municipal Code and Zoning Ordinances. 
A possibility is to also pay down a portion our 
Unfunded Pension Liability. Recently, it’s become 
apparent that an aggressive prepayment 
program provides an outstanding rate of

return with the potential of further solidifying 
city finances.

Also, please remember that everytime you go 
to Old Town, Target, Ghanal Lumber, Westfield 
Mall and other shopping destinations in Pasadena 
and Arcadia, you support our neighbor’s 
respective general

funds. Measure S will match our sales tax to 
theirs, so when Pasadenans and Arcadians visit 
Arnolds or eat at our great resturants (which 
they do), they will reciprocate by paying into 
OUR general fund.

One could argue that Sierra Madre doesn’t 
“need” the extra revenue. It’s true that Sierra 
Madre’s Council, City Manager and staff have 
kept our finances in order, despite the fact that 
we don’t have revenue from big box stores, hotel 
taxes, or property assements as do our neighbors. 
However, it would be tragic for Sierra 
Madre’s residents to eventually pay the increased 
sales tax and get no direct benefit, when that 
money could be used in so many meaningful 
ways here in Sierre Madre! 

Please VOTE YES on Measure S!

John Capoccia, Mayor Pro-Tem


Mountain Views-News Saturday, November 2, 2019 


 by Deanne Davis

“Today’s good mood is sponsored by coffee.”

“May your coffee be strong and your Monday be 

“As long as there is coffee in the world, how bad can 
things be?”

“Coffee is a hug in a mug.”

Happy day or so after Halloween. We’ve survived 
another one, friends and neighbors and, once again, 
Alegria was the place to be for one amazing display after 
another. The Parkers, who grow the giant pumpkins, 
outdid themselves with the pterodactyl mom and her 
babies, the terrifyingly tall Mr. Pumpkinhead and so 
much more. The carving on everybody’s pumpkins 
was so creative and blue ribbons are hereby awarded to 
everyone on the street. 

All these displays brought to mind that part in the 
Old Testament about Ezekiel. Remember? God took 
Ezekiel down into the valley of the dry bones and told 
him to “Prophesy to these bones!” So Ezekiel did and 
next thing you know, dem old bones came to life and 
became a vast army. And, of course, you’ve heard that 
song about dry bones, written by African-American 
author and composer, James Weldon Johnson, 
somewhere around 1928. The reason I’m bringing 
all these dry bones to mind is because that valley of 
dry bones was pretty much what Sierra Madre looked 
like this past week. Skeletons everywhere you cast 
your eyes! And spiders! The Giant Spider Store must 
be totally sold out as there were giant spiders on just 
about every fence, wall and roof in town. It’s so neat the 
way our town does its scary best to make Halloween a 
noteworthy event. 

Another exciting event took place last Saturday; 
the ribbon-cutting and official opening of the long-
awaited Syndicate Bakery & Coffee, on the south side 
of Sierra Madre Blvd. directly across from Kersting 
Court. Daughter, Leah, and son-in-law, Chuck Seitz, 
were present at the ribbon cutting as were a whole 
bunch of our local Chamber of Commerce folks, 
including Luther Tsinoglou, President of the Chamber, 
Carol Canterbury, Chamber VP, and Chamber 
Treasuer and Mountain Views News Editor Susan 
Henderson. Kathryn Barger (5th District Suprvisor) 
and Congresswoman Judy Chu sent certificates and 
representatives. An auspicious beginning, I would say. 
Not only that, but once the festivities were concluded, 
Leah and Chuck shared a raspberry scone that they 
pronounced delicious. Not too sweet but just right, 
as co-owner, Alex Novack confided, they didn’t 
want sugar to overwhelm the quality ingredients – 
raspberries – inside. 

Alex and his partner, Andrew, are currently only doing 
pastries and coffee. Pastries are all made, in-house, 
early in the morning every day and they can even offer 
you gluten-free and vegan versions of these goodies.

As far as the coffee is concerned, serious coffee 
aficionados will like Syndicate’s handling of the 
precious beans. Not over-roasted, which allows true 
flavors to emerge and it’s Unity Coffee, direct trade 
ethically sourced coffee. Alex, Andrew and Nolan 
Pearson, relationships manager and coffee roaster 
shared that the coffee is roasted in Los Angeles on a 
zero-emission roaster. They know each and every one 
of their coffee producers and here’s Syndicate’s motto: 
“Vibrant Coffees from Producers We Love.” I like that. 
It’s not all nameless stuff out of a big vat somewhere 
unknown, but each coffee is carefully selected from one 
particular source. Unusual!

Syndicate Coffee is only available right here in Sierra 
Madre and at another location in Pasadena. It’s for sale 
by the bag, as well as the cup and it is all produced “third 
way” which means each facet of the coffee production 
is scientifically engineered, which requires specialized 
grinders, next generation espresso machines and 
everything as modern and new-school as possible to 
create coffees that will delight your nose, and coffee-
tasting senses.

Here’s another neat thing about Syndicate: Any pastries 
still on hand at the end of the day end up at one of 
our local shelters. I like that. No waste. If you haven’t 
been in to Syndicate yet for a cup of coffee, a latte, or 
a cappuccino and a Danish with house-made mixed 
berry jam and lightly sautéd blueberries, a brioche 
cinnamon roll, or maybe a Black Forest ham and 
gruyere croissant, you’re not being good to yourself! 

They are open Tues - Fri: 7am - 4pm. Sat & Sun: 8am - 
4pm and closed Mondays. 

“Life is too short for bad coffee.”

My book page: Deanne Davis


Kindle readers, give yourself the gift of the Emma 
Gainsworth Adventures:

“Just Dessert: A Fall Fantasy” – “The Intergalactic 
Pumpkin Battle” – “The Lost Amulets”

 They’re on on my book page!

Follow me on Twitter, too!



 The Sierra Madre Search and Rescue Team 
(SMSR) stands ready to go “anywhere in the wilderness 
someone needs help” but they also work 
in town to provide preventative search and rescue 
(PSAR) education in an effort to keep hikers from 
ever needing their services. The Team has been 
busy in the past months with lessons for groups of 
children, appearances at community events, and 
presentations for local organizations.


 One of the core components of the Team’s PSAR 
efforts are the Hug-A-Tree presentations they give 
to children between the ages of 5 and 12. These 
30-60 minute presentations are designed to teach 
children what to do if they get lost in the wilderness. 

 The Hug-A-Tree program was created after a 9 
year old boy in San Diego died of hypothermia 
after getting lost in the wilderness during a family 
camping trip. He was found just a couple of 
miles away from his campsite after a massive 4 day 
search. Many people were impacted by this tragedy 
and wanted to make sure it never happened 

 Now children can watch a short video and hear 
from team members about what to do to keep 
from getting lost, how to stay comfortable if they 
are lost, and how they can help get themselves 
found. The key is to hug a tree! By staying still 
children (and adults) can increase their odds of 
being found quickly.

 Kids also walk away from their Hug-A-Tree 
lesson with a whistle kit. The kit includes a card 
reminding them of everything that they learned, 
a large trash bag (that can be used to stay warm, 
dry, or shaded in an emergency) and a whistle to 
carry with them on all of their hikes. Hundreds 
of these “whistles kits” have been given to kids by 

Community Events

 SMSR also makes appearances at community 
events. These are valuable opportunities to connect 
with a large number of people. Whether it is 
a short conversation with a new hiker, or a trail 
runner who reads one of their sign boards, the 
messages of the team are getting out to the public. 

 Most recently the Team participated in the 
Southern California Children’s Museum Touch 
a Truck event and the Sierra Madre Professional 
Firefighter Association’s car show. 

Local Organizations

 The Team has presented to Rotary Clubs about 
who the Team is and what they do, and they have 
provided wilderness safety training to the local 
scouting leaders. Every one of these interactions 
is a valuable opportunity to share their knowledge 
and possibly prevent a future call for help to 
search and rescue. 

 Since 1951, the all-volunteer Sierra Madre Search 
and Rescue Team has responded to calls for help 
in the local mountains and beyond. SMSR also 
provides a range of wilderness safety programs. 
The Team never charges for any of these services, 
and is funded entirely by charitable donations. 
For more information, to donate, or to arrange a 
wilderness safety demonstration for your school 
or group, visit 

KATIE Tse....This and That

Before you get grossed 
out, this article’s 
more about unusual 
decorations and 
accessories left in 
restrooms. A title like 
that is pregnant with 
possibilities, but I try 
to keep it clean over 
here at “This & That.”

This article’s 
inspiration came 
when I used one of the 
bathrooms at work that I don’t 
typically use. I work at a school, 
not that it matters, but I suppose 
you have to keep the context 
in mind. The bathrooms aren’t 
temperature-controlled, and this 
one’s always hot and muggy. And 
it’s got a tennis racket.

When I moved to this campus, 
I assumed someone just forgot 
their racket in there (between 
matches?). But it’s been four years now, so I’m 
thinking it’s a permanent fixture. 

Begs the question, “Was this done intentionally?” 
Besides the tennis racket, the bathroom’s empty 
save for the usual assortment of air fresheners. 
No balls. No other racket. Clearly the idea 
isn’t to spend a few carefree minutes batting 
something back and forth against the wall. So 
what’s the point?

I suspect rackets aren’t all that cheap. Seems odd 
someone would intentionally leave it there. Is it 
supposed to double as a weapon? 

I didn’t think my school was in such a bad 
neighborhood, but I guess you never know. 
Maybe that’s why it’s locked up in a staff 
bathroom where kids can’t get at it. Something 
along the lines of, “We all know that in case of 
emergencies there’s a tennis racket in the E wing 
women’s bathroom. Just pop in there and come 
out swinging.”

At one of my mom’s old schools they had a life-
size cut out of Tom Selleck from his Magnum PI 
days. I can see that...

I like the bathroom decor at Smitty’s in Pasadena. 
They’ve got Marlon Brando (circa “Stella!”) and 
Paul Newman. Newman was always such a 
hottie. They’ve also got 
Burt Reynolds grinning 
in the buff on a bear skin 
rug. I was never really 
into Burt Reynolds, but 
the pose is eye catching.

Another somewhat odd 
thing you sometimes 
see in bathrooms are 
couches. I actually don’t 
think that’s such a bad 
idea. Don’t we all need 
somewhere to collapse for a minute before facing 
the world again? I know I do. 

The only consideration would be how often the 
cushions get cleaned. If the length of time that 
tennis racket has spent in my school bathroom is 
any indication, I’d say it could be a while. But I 
suppose a little filth is worth the chance to plop 
down and escape. If only for a moment.

*Looking for something to read in the bathroom? 
Check out my novel, “A Year at Apex!” It’s got all 
the humor, romance, and commentary on the 
human condition you need to make time in the 
loo more enjoyable

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: