Thursday, July 6, 2017

Sierra Madre City Manager Gabriel Engeland Explains

"Engaging the public can be difficult." - Gabriel Engeland

He might have one of the most autocorrect sensitive names of any area government official around, but that isn't really his fault. We'll just have to deal with it. That said, Gabriel Engeland is also the first Sierra Madre city employed official to actually try and make his case on The Tattler. In the comments section, no less. Something that has not been done here before. You can only wonder why it never occurred to anyone in the past.

The topic remains this city's rather massive debt problems, both the water bond and CalPERS variety. Whether you agree with him or not isn't so much the point right now. What is important here is the lines of communication are now open, and your questions will receive answers. If this is an indication of how the business of government is going to be conducted going forward in Sierra Madre, it really is quite a change. There have been a select few elected officials who have been open and sharing with this city's more sensitive secrets, but never someone actually employed at City Hall.

This will take some getting used to. Not on just the transparency tip, either. The notion that this city does have "sensitive secrets," and somehow they must be kept from the hard working people of Sierra Madre, has always been a problem here. It is why I started this blog. Maybe that is changing as well. We'll have to see.

There were two topics covered in the City Manager's comments yesterday. The first one is transparency. I had criticized the timing of the Village View "Special Edition" release of his water bond and CalPERS debt revelations. The day before the 4th of July holiday being a time when people might not be as focused as they could be. He responded that he had presented this all previously to the Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis, and the Rotary.

OK, so he's new here. They're all pretty much the same people.

Gabriel Engeland also stated that this topic had been discussed at a City Council meeting. And apparently it was. The meeting date was May 9, and the item was identified in the agenda by the ADD inducing title of "FISCAL YEAR 2017/2018 BUDGET OVERVIEW" (link). I promise you that had it been called something like, "Sierra Madre Has Lots Of Debt, And We Will Explain Why That Is Tonight On City Council Live," I would have watched. Maybe you would have, too.

Besides, Sierra Madre's debt issues hardly end in 2018. The water bond payments alone extend out well into the 2030s. Many of us will never live to see the day. Myself included.

But that wasn't the best part of yesterday's conversation. What follows was.

Here is what I asked:


Here is the reply I received.


So there you go. I don't agree with some of it, but all in all a pretty eye opening response, and a very good attempt at getting information out there. As an example, did you ever think you'd see the day when a City Manager in this town would actually state that those heavily debt-laden and quite controversial 2003 "Water EnterpriseBonds really were not handled all that very well?

I mean, what would Bart Doyle think?

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

41 comments:

  1. Sounds like we may have us a good City Manager who is going to take care of business. Is there an update on the lawsuit with Arcadia?

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    Replies
    1. There is no "law suit with Arcadia"

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    2. You mean Sierra Madre never sued Arcadia for poaching water? You sure about that?

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    3. That is correct and I am sure.

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    4. Can you share some evidence? Your statement and assurance is a little counterintuitive. At least for me. City Hall did make a big deal about getting their legal bad boy on over this. Half of Colantuono Etc turned out for that one.

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    5. I have no "evidence" of something that never happened nor am I here to make you feel "assured" or to be intuitive. Talk to your Council person, or "Half of Colantuono Etc." Good Day....

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  2. I pray the new city manager will protect and preserve our community like no other.

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    2. Now now. We're not going to start our day like that.

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  3. What will the city manager do to protect employees' (and presumably his) CALPERS rights and to honor CALPERS contracts?

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    Replies
    1. Hopefully NOTHING !

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  4. I like this guy Gabe. He still has to figure out how to get the money to pay these debts but if he is up front about it Sierra Madre may have a chance.

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    1. I don't see how the city has much of a choice. Sierra Madre has a long history of horrible management. Both elected and hired. Hopefully that has finally come to an end. The alternative is some sort of financial implosion.

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    2. She'll probably never get the credit she deserves, but Denise Delmar has become perhaps the most important elected official this city has ever had. This was her doing. Throw in the General Plan and you have quite a record of accomplishment. She has almost single-handedly saved this place. Give it some thought.

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    3. Yes, yes. Delmar moved into town, and then liked it enough to work for its well-being. She is a brilliant person.

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    4. 1:02, kind of the exact opposite of Joe Mosca.

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  5. I can not fathom how or why the Calpers contract with cities is so ironclad that it can't be revoked. Would a class action lawsuit by taxpayers force the issue? We are told by city employees, those that benefit from it that there is nothing that can be done. Nothing?

    If corporations can renegotiate pension plans, dismantle them and toss them in the garbage, why is the public sector ponzi pension plan so untouchable?

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    Replies
    1. So start a suit then

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    2. I'm two sleeves short.

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    3. I believe it

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    4. I'm completely tied up.

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  6. If the city manager can make it all work with the budget then EXCELLENT. If CM can maintain preserving our city and paying our way then don't Penalize those successes.

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  7. I agree 7:44. Most people will never know how much Delmar has done for SM. Just in Preservation alone she deserves a big thanks.

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    Replies
    1. She saw incompetence and corruption, and went after it. We need her.

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    2. We are in much better shape now. Think of it. A city manager that lives in town. Wild, right?

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  8. 7:44am. CalPERS is Government ponzi pension; what has Jerry Brown done for you lately?
    Anyway; yes, thank you Denise Delmar. She is one, among very few council members that has a good "read" on advancing this town forward.
    Many hard fought council meetings were argued about overdevelopment and zone changes aimed at padding the pockets of a few in this town; and done with the "assistance" of City Hall and a few rotten apples seating on council.
    It is not only refreshing, but (hoping) a brand new day at City Hall; welcome Mr.Gabe Engeland; auto correct, new City Manager and appearing to be "a good apple"
    Funny, the comparisons in council used to be "Apple's and Oranges".

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    Replies
    1. Trump troll, you really need to get a better job

      U so unhappy

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    2. Thank you, cop union troll.

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  9. Last post was meant for 7:56.

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  10. Where is Nancy Walsh? John Buchanan? Josh Moran? Enid Joffe? Joe Mosca? All gone. All forgotten. The damage they left behind is now being fixed. It turns out Sierra Madre was better than them. By around 60 votes.

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  11. I think this city manager is going to be effective. Hope we get to keep him for awhile.

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    Replies
    1. He's under contract. He can't escape, and the Downtown Investors Club can't fire him.

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  12. Is it too much to hope for that, thanks especially to the Council majority, the city government may now actually exist to protect the residents, and to preserve our beautiful town?

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  13. Bart Doyle would have hissy fits - when sober. He's the guy who put the For Sale sign on us.

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  14. So many disparaging comments earlier about the fellow and his past gig and marijuana

    Good to see everyone playing nice today.

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    Replies
    1. It is important that City Mngrs have a good understanding of marijuana issues. The drug is now legal in California, and there are complications.

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  15. 2:15pm. "You" selling the pot out the back door of City Hall today"....?

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    1. 2:15 is harshing my mellow.

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    2. Nope - not allowing in my city vegetable plot. Got rosemary tho

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    3. NIMBY, no way, maybe tomatoes, no pot!

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  16. Trump troll gets caught regurgitating fake news again:

    Trump supporter lawyer who accused Jane Sanders of bank fraud admits allegations were hearsay — from a GOP lawmaker

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