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La Mesa OKs Payment of $1.9 Million Under State Threat of 10% Late Fees

Mayor Madrid: “Local officials... get up there and drink the Kool-Aid and they become robots, stealing money from the people they say they represent. Mickey Mouse could do better.”

It’s not often than an issue not on the agenda rules the La Mesa City Council meeting, but that’s what took place Tuesday.

City Manager Dave Witt added consideration of what he called an urgent mandate, in which the state required the city to pay $1.9 million to make up for a loss in redevelopment revenues.

The mandate is fallout from AB 26, the redevelopment dissolution component of AB 1484, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on June 26.

The new bill enables the state’s Department of Finance to withhold tax revenues from cities, which would have been distributed had the state not done away with redevelopment agencies.

The timeline of the payments—which had to be made immediately lest the city be charged an additional late payment fee of 10 percent—shocked and angered the council, some who described the mandate as a form of “extortion.”

The funds are due Thursday, July 12.

“We’ve never encountered a situation where there was this kind of turnaround,” Witt said. “It’s pretty unprecedented.”

Councilman Mark Arapostathis said the state is essentially, “reaching down our throats to take out a vital organ,” when people in the city, especially those in the education field, are already doing more with less.

The council begrudgingly approved the payment by a 4-0 vote (Vice Mayor Ernie Ewin was absent), but not before Mayor Art Madrid also sounded off.

“There are 120 legislators in Sacramento,” Madrid said. “Seventy-nine of them are former local officials, yet they get up there and drink the Kool-Aid and they become robots, stealing money from the people they say they represent. Mickey Mouse could do better.”

It is unknown if the city will have to make any unexpected cuts in order to make up for the payment, but it is likely that the funds will come out of the city’s general fund.

Witt said cities similar to La Mesa are also feeling the pinch from Sacramento, with some having to pay from $3 million to $19 million.

Witt said the state had a goal of recouping about $1.7 billion in funds from various cities and municipalities, which the state is counting on as part of its revised budget.

In other council news, Mayor Madrid made the following recommendations for appointment to the city’s committees, boards and commissions, all of which were approved unanimously by the council for FY 2012-13:

  • Aging and Veterans Commission on Aging: Jeff Marsh, George Thomas
  • Building Codes Review Board: Darryl “Bunkee” Gorham
  • Community Services Commission: Gorham, Ginger Radenheimer, and an as yet to be determined representative from the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District
  • Design Review Board: David McCullough
  • Environmental Sustainability Commission: Charles Anacker, Mary Jane Bailey, Jon Wreschinsky
  • Historic Preservation Commission: Gordon Jones, John Schmitz
  • Human Relations Advisory Committee: Jesus “Jay” Diaz, Terri Pinnell
  • La Mesa Community Parking Commission: Vicki O’Neil, James Wieboldt
  • Local Committee for Real Estate Rehabilitation: Alfred Duran
  • Personnel Appeals Board: Deborah Ives
  • Planning Commission: Linda Keene, Dexter Levy (John Schmitz removed his name from consideration at the meeting)
  • Traffic Commission: Carol Neal

In two separate presentations:

  • La Mesa police Officer Dale Perry was named Police Officer of the Year and presented the recognition by Councilwoman Ruth Sterling. Perry is one of the top robbery investigators in the city, said Police Chief Ed Aceves. Perry’s work throughout the year on a series of robberies have led to arrests numbering in the double-digits.
  • The San Diego County Library received the 2012 Library Journal/Gale Cengage Library of the Year Award. Jose Aponte, head of the San Diego County Library system, said that there are more items circulated in the La Mesa branch than in the San Diego Downtown Branch.

 

CORRECTION: It was previously reported that John Schmitz removed his name from consideration from the Historic Preservation Commission. He was actually reappointed to this commission, not Terry Hovland. Schmitz removed his name from consideration for the Planning Commission.

Craig Maxwell July 13, 2012 at 12:15 AM
Art Madrid's protest against state politicians who are guilty of "stealing money from the people they say they represent" could hardly be more ironic. I mean, talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Art's been ripping off La Mesans for years...
KaraLamb July 13, 2012 at 12:55 AM
I agree with Craig, although it's a shame that the residents of La Mesa are reaping what Madrid has sown! Let's let him know we don't approve when voting time comes around. We really need a fresh change in the mayor's office. It's time for him to retire and let someone, a lot less inclined to corruption and bias have a shop at helping La Mesa reach its full potential. Honestly, if you know anything about La Mesa's political history, you'll recognize that Madrid acts/behaves like a Mafia don.
Scott H. Kidwell July 13, 2012 at 01:59 AM
La Mesa, like other local jurisdictions, is a subdivision of state government and derive their powers and authorities from that state government. The State giveth and the state taketh away be reason of their logic. See who at the state level voted for this here: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/face/billNavClient.xhtml;jsessionid=e0336b9fd01b9ae3804992eb4406 http://ca.opengovernment.org/votes/CAV00023105 But there is good news! The state has set up a system whereby locals may set up as many self taxing districts as they want to in order to make up for the spending and mismanagement at the state level. Pretty cool eh?
P. Biddington van Harrizach III July 13, 2012 at 02:52 AM
@morgfair Is this DM? If so finally? Waiting 4u 2 confirm u r receiving as Direct Message - just us
P. Biddington van Harrizach III July 13, 2012 at 03:03 AM
@ PublicEditor it is with most extreme urgency th@ I implore u2 "delete" the above sensitive communique which simply must N.O.T. remain on ur front page queue !!!1! Please replace it 4 the moment with the following tweat(sp?) I happen 2 hav @ hand. Amendments 2follo: "Good Sirs or Mesdames, We find ourselves moved by your plight. Dare I say a PBID is in order? PBIDs bring professional management and a unified voice to a region. Not only might a PBID prevent future robberies, but failing to consider it’s manifold additional benefits would be--and here I hope you forgive my humble attempt at levity—it would be, well, a...crime! A similar entity is being considered for the neglected inter-sections of Palm, Spring, and the on-ramp to State Highway Ninety Four, the primary debarcation point after a long pilgrimage through desert climes. While that PBID's "roving ambassadors" direct the most discerning clientele to your fine establishment, Imagine your PBID’s private part-time security telling local miscreants to refrain from utilizing their misapplied talents in your vicinity at the same time your very own(!) ambassadors hand them maps directing them to the intersection of 70th and University! We cordially invite you to share your tale at our next conclave. Perhaps you will also consider speaking out in favor of our current efforts to impose such beneficence on the run down "Village" immediately to your east?
P. Biddington van Harrizach III July 13, 2012 at 03:31 AM
"Good Sirs or Mesdames of the Council, We find ourselves moved by your plight. Dare I say a PBID is in order? PBIDs bring professional management and a unified voice to a region. Not only might a PBID prevent future state robberies, but failing to provide it’s manifold additional wonders to all La Mesans would, if you will, be a high crime! Similar entities are being contemplated at the neglected inter-sections of Palm, Spring, and the on-ramp to State Highway Ninety Four, the primary debarcation point after a long pilgrimage through desert climes, as well at Sam's Market and even 70th and University, western gateway to our Jewel of the Hills! As those PBIDs' "roving ambassadors" courteously--but firmly--direct the common man (and woman, to be clear!) to the next municipality, consider how an overlaid citywide PBID's marketing experts might extract maximum revenues from the more desirable elements it would attract at the same time as well-tended "Portland Loos" (loos sold separately) convey your succinct message to scheming Sacramento politicians who have lost sight of their constituents' needs . We cordially invite you to share your tale at our next conclave. Perhaps you will also consider voting in favor of our current efforts to impose such beneficence on the run down "Village" to which we have appended your structures? ~P~

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