Montebello passes budget without ranc...

Montebello passes budget without rancor this year

There are 198 comments on the Whittier Daily News story from Jun 27, 2013, titled Montebello passes budget without rancor this year. In it, Whittier Daily News reports that:

A year ago, the City Council needed a long, raucous meeting to approve a budget.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Whittier Daily News.

Bad guys identified

Reseda, CA

#103 Sep 1, 2013
Calpers and the Unions
"News flash: Cities are already in crisis"

For years, local government officials throughout California have given public employees more and more in the hope that their coffers would stay strong and support increases in pay and benefits.

Cracks in those coffers started to show following the economic collapse of 2008, but by then city employees were reluctant to agree to cuts in pay and benefits.
Now those cities are hoping to ride out the rest of the economic recovery using financial reserves and cutting back on services when possible.

San Bernardino went broke,
nearly missed payroll,
slashed city services and defied pension powerhouse CalPERS by suspending payments for a time.
It has been maybe the darkest year in that city’s history — but the way forward is clearer now.

A federal judge on Wednesday granted San Bernardino bankruptcy protection as it begins to reorganize and put itself on a path to solvency. The hearing brought an end to the city’s year-long fight for Chapter 9 protection against the objections of creditors,
namely the California Public Employees’ Retirement System.

Judge Meredith Jury was firm in her ruling, unswayed by CalPERS’ off-the-mark argument that the city was purposely “languishing” in bankruptcy with no desire to balance its budget.
Jury said she could find no evidence the city was disingenuous in its motives,
and why would she?

The city has suffered a massive “brain drain” since its Aug. 1, 2012, bankruptcy filing, losing more than 300 employees.

Jury also rejected CalPERS’ arguments that granting San Bernardino bankruptcy protection would entice other municipalities to “create” financial crises of their own to shirk their responsibilities.

News flash: Cities are already in crisis.
Trash Talk

Irvine, CA

#104 Sep 6, 2013
http://www.sgvtribune.com/opinion/20130904/fe...

Pension costs are strangling local governments, sucking away funds needed to employ workers. Absent reasonable pension cost controls, more public employees will lose their jobs.

If anything, the retirement law Brown signed a year ago does not go nearly far enough to control rising costs.
Controller

Ventura, CA

#105 Sep 10, 2013
Calif.(AP)— California’s controller has blasted the city, saying a poor accounting system and poor decisions led to its bankruptcy.

An 85-page audit released Monday by Controller John Chiang says 61 percent of accounting controls were ineffective, the city failed to heed warnings to curb spending and missed out on millions in government grants.

City Manager says the controller’s office exaggerated the problems and calls the report a politically-based hit piece that doesn’t take into account progress.

“Hilltop Park Above All”

Since: Sep 08

Montebello, CA

#106 Sep 10, 2013
Controller wrote:
Calif.(AP)— California’s controller has blasted the city, saying a poor accounting system and poor decisions led to its bankruptcy.
An 85-page audit released Monday by Controller John Chiang says 61 percent of accounting controls were ineffective, the city failed to heed warnings to curb spending and missed out on millions in government grants.
City Manager says the controller’s office exaggerated the problems and calls the report a politically-based hit piece that doesn’t take into account progress.
This story is for the city of STOCKTON. Wrong thread.
Controller

Ventura, CA

#107 Sep 10, 2013
Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.
or
If the shoe fits, wear it.
All audits prior to Fransceca and the State Controler are unreliable (bogus a hell game).
They do show the public safety unions ripping off the public with over a million dollars of illegal overtime expenses for over ten years.
City could sure use these funds back.
The millions of losses to the Hilton management and Ostrom are obscured.
Trash Talk

Ventura, CA

#108 Sep 10, 2013
I found that A.P. Story

about Stockton
"Chiang says the leadership wasn’t corrupt —
just mismanaged."

I do not remember Chaing saying that about Montebello so I guess Montebello was both corrupt and mismanaged.

The rest of the story sounds just like Montebello including City claiming all is just wonderful.

Play sounds of sweeping under rug.
Note the lack of transperity in the current budget claiming it's "balanced" and has a "surplus"
Only with accounting gimmicks and deferrals.

Which candidates are the most threats to Montebello's recovery?
Howard Jarvis

Ventura, CA

#109 Sep 11, 2013
...taxpayers must be alert to action by city councils, county boards of supervisors and other agencies that receive property tax revenue.

One can visualize the eyes of local officials bugging out when they see an uptick in the revenue stream.
Just as during the recent housing bubble, most of these local politicians and bureaucrats will be unable to resist the temptation to commit the newfound tax dollars to new programs as well as higher pay and benefits to government employees.

Their short-term thinking will result in pain next time property values decline, which they surely will.
Officials will respond to a less robust revenue stream by pushing for new parcel taxes, utility user taxes and sales taxes.



The last thing we need is for the local politicians to make commitments that overextend taxpayers so that the only choices in bad economic times are to raise taxes, cut services, or both.

Local officials need to be reminded that any revenue windfall should be used to pay off debt, contribute to a prudent reserve and fully fund one-time capital improvements because, even with Proposition 13, taxpayers are still vulnerable.

Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. www.hjta.org .

http://www.sgvtribune.com/opinion/20130910/ho...
Theolona Ranger

Ventura, CA

#110 Sep 12, 2013
do not miss the above post by "Howard Jarvis"
Los Angeles Economic Development Corp (LAEDC)new chief economist Robert A Kleinbenz spoke to the Duarte City council
Predicts slow economic recovery
Article in Rosemead Reader 9/9 but I do not see online
Full report here:
http://cdn.laedc.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/...
Those who do not learn from History are doomed to repeat it.
Those calling for more spending and more taxes in Montebello are way out of touch with reality.
A dangerous course, a quick fix and a quick high but withdrawal and payback can be fatal.
Montebello is still paying off the excesses of the previous administration.
There just are not more funds and it does not look that there will be anytime soon.
Those fleecing the city's stability and future should be...(insert here)
Good news is that pay as you go, paying off the debt, then building a reserve may work in the long run.
Trash talk

Ventura, CA

#111 Sep 13, 2013
Professional Investing does have some advantages...
Yesterday from Morningstar
http://news.morningstar.com/articlenet/articl...
Great Article on Muni bonds
Detroit's bankruptcy effects
The gang of three ruined Montebello's credit rating
Going to be tough to municipal finance anything for years at competitive rates.
That little TRAN was expensive but it was desperation time, turns out that it was not needed but thanks to Kosmont anyway. Not having the TRAN and any little glitch would have been disastrous- cheap insurance.

Broader Implications
... the bigger question for many investors may well be what effect the bankruptcy will have on the broader muni markets.

Morningstar's municipal bond analysts argue here that the Detroit bankruptcy isn't a sign of widespread credit risk in the muni markets.
However, its bankruptcy filing will, no doubt, have implications for muni investors.
That may already be happening.
While it's hard to isolate the impact of the Detroit filing, munis have been particularly hard-hit in the recent bond-market sell-off.

The filing has also shone a spotlight on the troubles that underfunded pensions can wreak on municipal finances.

Observers will be watching closely to see how Detroit's various creditors, and, in particular, pensioners and holders of its general-obligation debt, fare in federal bankruptcy court.
Theolona Ranger

Ventura, CA

#112 Sep 13, 2013
California Forecast
http://cdn.laedc.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/...
page 20
Looking over the next two years,
California’s overall economy should outpace
the U.S.,
with a growth rate of about three percent
(3%)this year,
accelerating to just under four percent next year.

Nonfarm employment gains this year and next
should come in at 1.7%.
Virtually all private sector industries will add jobs this year and next.

As the economy shows continued improvement, the fiscal situation at the state and local government levels will stabilize and improve.

Taxable retail sales will grow over the next two years by 3% to 5% per year.

Government jobs are expected to be flat this year and show a marginal gain in 2014.

Overall, the state economy will build on the gains of 2012 and expand over the next two years.

However, a fully recovered state economy and a normal labor
market appear to be at least two years off.

“Hilltop Park Above All”

Since: Sep 08

Montebello, CA

#113 Sep 16, 2013
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-3...

__________

37 Hawthorne families displaced as workers try to cap methane leak

__________

By Angel Jennings
September 15, 2013, 1:31 p.m.
Dozens of families have been displaced from their Hawthorne homes as a hazmat team and a prominent well-capping company worked Sunday to fix a methane gas leak on Imperial Highway.

Crews have been working since Thursday evening to cap the leak that was discovered when a water company was trying to plug a retired well, said Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Brian Jordan. Contractors found an unexpected outflow of water from the well on Imperial Highway between Truro and Condon avenues. Tests revealed that methane gas had mixed with the well water, Jordan said.

Thirty seven families in the immediate vicinity were evaculated as a precaution, he said. All have been staying in a hotel since Thursday.

Golden State Water Co. has hired the well-known capping company Boots & Coots International Well Control, Inc. to control the mixture of high-pressure water and methane gas being released on private property at about 3,000 gallons per minute.

Boots & Coots "will fabricate a metal structure to secure the well valve that is under high pressure," Jordan said in a prepared statement. "After the valve is secure, forward progress will continue."

Methane gas can be deadly if inhaled in a confined space, officials said, and can cause a massive explosion if ignited.

"We are bringing in the equipment, materials and other resources necessary to make repairs," said Patrick Scanlon, Golden State Water Co. vice president of operations. "Experts on site have made progress and are working to resolve the problem as soon as possible."

Official are unsure what caused the leak and how long residents will be displaced.

This a problem with ONE well head. The proposed Montebello Hills Condo Project would sit on top of 300 or so wells, and is partly underlaid by the decomissioned natural gas storage area.

This shows the need for a development plan along Whittier Blvd., and also the need for a modern General Plan emphasizing mixed use/retail/commercial development.
Trash Talk

Ventura, CA

#114 Sep 16, 2013
Spamming the threads 42 year?
But it is an important issue
At least 13 Montebello Homes have been destroyed by gas leaks.

For those of you that want it NOW or are wondering why we have a "do nothing" City council..

From an above post..
"However, a fully recovered state economy and a normal labor market appear to be at least two years off. "

Once the economy improves the City can move from "paycheck to paycheck" start funding reserves, emergency fund and pay back the "self insurance fund".
Then start fixing potholes and deferred maintence which, according to the City Engineer, is considerable.
It is doubtful that those elected next month will have enough surplus to do any "pet projects" during their terms.
What are your priorities?
What are the candidates?
What is Jack's secret agenda?
Wonder why

Los Angeles, CA

#115 Sep 16, 2013
Councilmember Hadjinian's thwarted plan to fill in the foundation area of the city's Taylor Ranch House Cultural Arts Center (at a cost of up to $200,000.00) because he didn't like the looks of the fence around the area certainly looked like a "pet project".
Trash talk

Ventura, CA

#116 Sep 18, 2013
The Greedy Big Money interests support and charm Jack. Can He be Charmed?
Who does he support in the election.
Wonder why

Los Angeles, CA

#117 Sep 18, 2013
Trash talk wrote:
The Greedy Big Money interests support and charm Jack. Can He be Charmed?
Who does he support in the election.
Can't forget that Councilmember Hadjinian supported the Central Basin Water District in their fight against Water Replenishment District (WRD) re:control of ground water storage. He went on record (as a Councilmember) opposing the bill in the state legislature that ultimately resolved the matter in favor of the WRD. And guess who voted against that bill, none other than Rom and Charles Calderon. Tom Calderon has been described as having worked unsuccessfully to defeat that bill. Why would a Montebello City Councilmember put himself in that position?
Theolona Ranger

Ventura, CA

#118 Sep 18, 2013
Jack in bed with the Claderons and their money/ connections, and the Disgraced Assessor? and the Ed/ Rosie Vasques clique?
Who would have thought that Jack should have been Lead Ashtray (sorry Mother, where are you?) so easily to vote against the citizens.
World Traveller

West Covina, CA

#119 Sep 18, 2013
Gee Whiz, I wonder if councilmember Hadjinian went to Sacramento to support the Calderon and Central Basin-backed position on the bill?

If he did, who paid for the trip?

Hadjinian's name is on the list of supporters on page 3 on the following:

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/sen/...
World Traveller

West Covina, CA

#120 Sep 18, 2013
While sitting here in First Class, I just had another thought.

Does this action make Jack a lobbyist for Central Basin?

Did he file the requisite lobbyist paperwork with anyone?

Was he paid for this lobbying activity, or did he just support Central Basin against the People of LA County out of sentimentality?

Was his use of the title of 'Cito of Montebello Councilmember' a proper use? Did he get a legal opinion from the city attorney for its use?

Many more questions about Jack Hadjinian than answers, but it all seems to fit into the Calderon, Noguez, Baca, Central Basin mix.
Theolona Ranger

Ventura, CA

#121 Sep 18, 2013
So it's just as important to vet anyone he supports as well as anyone Cortez supports?

Not going to have enough money to do much but could encumber the City for years by trying to allow a ticky tacky condo project in the hills. Much worse than Ostrom Drain on the treasuery..

http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/social-affair...

In what economists see as a positive trend, national median household income and poverty levels held steady in 2012 for the first time in five years,
but the country’s economy still has far to go to reach pre-recession levels,

...
“The economy hasn’t strengthened enough obviously to show rising income or falling poverty,
which obviously would be the more positive economic news.”

“I think the census report aligns with what we’ve seen develop in the local and national economy in the last several years,” he said.
“We are recovering from the recession,
but we’re still experiencing a lot of the damage imposed on both households and the economy in general.”
Water nymph

Alhambra, CA

#122 Sep 19, 2013
World Traveller wrote:
Gee Whiz, I wonder if councilmember Hadjinian went to Sacramento to support the Calderon and Central Basin-backed position on the bill?
If he did, who paid for the trip?
Hadjinian's name is on the list of supporters on page 3 on the following:
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/sen/...
Good link but Jack is listed among the OPPONENTS of SB1386:

OPPOSITION:(Verified 8/2/12)
-Central Basin MWD Board of Directors
-Cities of Bell Gardens, Downey, and Signal Hill
-City of Montebello Councilmember Jack Hadjinian
-San Gabriel Valley Water Company

The vote happened on 8/28/12. Senator Calderon voted "no" but the bill passed anyway.

Then, Central Basin approved a 8/29/12 "travel reimbursement" to Jack Hadjinian for $37!
Slide 21
http://www.centralbasin.org/board_agendas/522...

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