Before I take off on my blog vacation I thought I should share a few observations. There are some shady items out there to watch out for. I think you will agree that these might be important.
1) Water Rate and Utility Tax Increases: You will hear a whole lot of things from City Hall about their requests that you pay more for what you have always gotten. Most of what they say will not be true. The reason for the Utility Tax increase is City Hall wants to become a kind of little Los Angeles. They want to pay their employees higher salaries, benefits and retirement. And it is expected that you will happily kick in for this. From now until forever. The world will not end if the UUT extension do-over planned for April of 2014 is shot down.
The Water Rate Increase has everything to do with $16 million dollars in bond and other debt. It doesn't have all that much to do with pipes. You are being asked to make good on some festering old debt that the City is having trouble dealing with right now. Your additional money will not make many of our water infrastructure problems go away. You'll just be paying for some of the terrible and irresponsible financial mistakes this City made back in 1998 and 2003.
2) Green Development is an oxymoron. Nothing is improved ecologically by packing in a bunch of generic infill redevelopment into our downtown. Or anywhere else in Sierra Madre for that matter. This is about nothing more than crass old school style development painted a nice new color. You are being told it is "green" because certain people do not respect your analytic abilities very much. In plain English, they think you are stupid and can be easily swayed by bogus save the world appeals to your emotions.
3) Jargon. If you hear a government elected official using terminology like "process," "best practices," "sustainable," "green practices," "framework," "scoping," "stakeholder," or "methodology," he or she is most likely trying to blow smoke up your posterior. Always be sure to ask jargon speakers what they mean by these words. Chances are pretty good they don't know themselves, and are just reading them off of something prepared for them by someone else. It's a part of the process.
Thanks to all who have helped out here. I am now officially on blog vacation. I have no idea how long it will last. I could be back in a week, or perhaps more than that. Like I said, I have some things I need to deal with. But I will see you around. And if you are looking for something to read, there are 1,354 posts and 75,709 comments here. That should be enough for now.