La Mesa Citizen Oversight Group's Blog (25)

City to Outsource 2016 Oktoberfest Management

The La Mesa Oktoberfest has been a La Mesa Village fall tradition for many years. As the cost of running a city increased with fewer spare dollars to go around, local event organizers were required to pay for the costs of city expenses in producing the event. This was substantial and cut into the after expense revenues of the primary event organizer. Unfortunately, years of mismanagement and squabbling between local merchant groups and the city about who would pay for what, had left the…

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Added by La Mesa Citizen Oversight Group on July 5, 2016 at 7:47pm — No Comments

BUILDING CODES REVIEW BOARD ELIMINATED!

At it's June 14, 2016 meeting, the City Council voted to discontinue the Building Codes Review Board. Since the City follows the State and national mandated codes, and rarely makes exceptions to these codes, the Council decided the Board was no longer needed!

The Council also combined the Commission on Ageing and Veterans with Human Relations Commission.

The La Mesa Citizen Oversight Group gives these changes a Thumbs Up!…

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Added by La Mesa Citizen Oversight Group on June 19, 2016 at 10:29am — 1 Comment

$800,000 Sewage Fine-Many questions, but few answers so far!

The recently agreed-to fine of $800k for 2010 sewage spills is troubling. It's true, the fine could be cut in half depending in certain efforts by the city, but either way this is a major hit on the city budget. We call on the city council to provide a full transparency and accountability on everything leading up to, and flowing from this environmental mess. What happened between 1998, when the problems became known because of heavy rains, and 2010 when another heavy rain caused the problems…

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Added by La Mesa Citizen Oversight Group on December 14, 2013 at 8:10am — No Comments

Holding the Bag-Pensions

            Our first two “Holding the Bag” articles put the spotlight on a common yet irresponsible financial management practice – making promises to public sector employees to pay for health care after retirement, without putting money aside to cover their cost. Accountants call that an “unfunded…

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Added by La Mesa Citizen Oversight Group on September 3, 2013 at 9:18pm — No Comments

Holding the Bag - There's More

Last week we pointed out that the La Mesa Spring Valley School District has an unfunded liability for retiree health care of almost $24,000,000. That amount of money should have been set aside to pay for promises to provide for health care after retirement - but it was not. We decided, in the interest of fai rness and requested by some taxpayers, to look at two other local…

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Added by La Mesa Citizen Oversight Group on August 21, 2013 at 6:00am — 10 Comments

Who Is Left Holding LMSV $24 Million Bag?

  The La Mesa Citizen Oversight Group strongly advocates that public sector governing bodies practice sound financial management. Among other things that means paying for current services with current revenues. It is far too easy for public officials, when money is tight, to avoid making tough decisions by deferring costs into the future. One instance…

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Added by La Mesa Citizen Oversight Group on August 11, 2013 at 9:00pm — 5 Comments

Madrid tops SANDAG payments list with $45,650.00

We decided to follow the lead of the Mayor from a few council meetings ago in reporting on the payments of another elected official by MTS. SANDAG, the San Diego Association of Governments, has provided information on all stipend payments since 2003. Mayor Art Madrid tops the list with $45,650. In that same time period the other payments are Dave Allan $6,700, Ruth Sterling $2,950, Barry Jantz $2,600, and Mark Arapostathis $1,550. The entire report is available here. …

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Added by La Mesa Citizen Oversight Group on July 27, 2013 at 6:58am — 5 Comments

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the…

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Added by La Mesa Citizen Oversight Group on July 4, 2013 at 6:01am — 4 Comments

April 9 La Mesa City Council Meeting is cancelled. Was it the right thing to do?

On Friday April 5th at approximately 4PM the La Mesa City Clerk issued a notice that the April 9 4PM City Council Meeting was cancelled due to "a lack of agenda items." We find this curious! For one regular agenda item, the open public comments portion of every meeting, the City has no way to measure interest outside of actually providing this vital forum. It seems here that because the elected officials could not come up with their own items to discuss, then the…

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Added by La Mesa Citizen Oversight Group on April 9, 2013 at 4:30pm — 17 Comments

Helix Water District Check Register, Del Mar School District pays big $ for hiding emails!

The LMCOG has obtained the Helix Water District check register for payments of expenses through March 2013. We encourage our local agencies to be forthcoming and timely in request of public records such as these.

The Del Mar union School district recently lost a court case over public records and, sadly, has to use taxpayer money to pay the $42,500 in legal fees of the plaintiff. Let's hope our own local agencies do not ignore the open government and…

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Added by La Mesa Citizen Oversight Group on April 7, 2013 at 3:28pm — 1 Comment

Pay & Benefits For Part-time La Mesa City Officials

The La Mesa City Clerk has provided a listing of pay and benefits for La Mesa's part time mayor and city council officials. Also included is a list showing stipends received for the various outside meetings they may attend.

Council%20Salaries%20%20Benefits%202012.pdf…

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Added by La Mesa Citizen Oversight Group on March 21, 2013 at 8:30am — 2 Comments

Mayor Again Tops List For Travel Expenses!

La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid has again outdistanced other city council members in travel for the first half of fiscal year 2012-2013 with just under $5,000 expended. The list of expenses was provided by the La Mesa City Clerk. The locations include Boston, Massachusetts and the luxurious Ahwahnee Lodge in Yosemite Valley California.

The La Mesa Citizen Oversight Group maintains a…

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Added by La Mesa Citizen Oversight Group on January 31, 2013 at 10:30am — No Comments

2013 kicks off with Barona Casino retreat junket for local Politicos

On February 6-9 the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) will host an all expense paid retreat for the Board of Directors that includes the La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid and Lemon Grove Mayor Mary Sessom. A January 8, 2013…

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Added by La Mesa Citizen Oversight Group on January 23, 2013 at 5:48am — 1 Comment

Resolve to Take Action this Year!

Interested In Being Part Of Our Team?

Want to help in promoting open, accountable, cost-effective, efficient government, and in opposing unnecessary taxes, fees, regulations, and policies?

Membership in the

La Mesa Citizen Oversight Group is FREE!

Email us at lamesacitizenoversightgroup@gmail.com

or

Simply LIKE us on…

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Added by La Mesa Citizen Oversight Group on December 29, 2012 at 7:30am — No Comments

Controller Chiang Launches New Public Pay Website, Releases Community College Compensation

In November, State Controller John Chiang launched a completely redesigned website showing wage and benefit data for public employees across California. The renamed site – publicpay.ca.gov – offers maps, search functions and custom report-building tools.  It also includes the latest compensation data available, and allows users to download raw data for their own research.

"Real accountability begins with empowering the public with easy access to…

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Added by La Mesa Citizen Oversight Group on December 10, 2012 at 1:03pm — No Comments

LMCOG La Mesa City Council Recommendation-Laura Lothian

Over the past month LMCOG has had the opportunity to meet with each of the five candidates for City Council to discuss their ideas for the future of our City. We appreciate their willingness to meet with us and to serve the citizens of La Mesa should they be elected. A common thread among the candidates is their love for our city and interest in seeing it continue to be a desirable place to live and raise a family. Too, each of them seems able to discuss differences in a civil manner - and…

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Added by La Mesa Citizen Oversight Group on October 18, 2012 at 3:14pm — No Comments

LMCOG Proposition Recommendations

Proposition 32: Stop Special Interest Money Now.

LMCOG recommends a YES vote on Proposition 32.         

This proposition allows employees to decide whether or not they want their money to be used to support political causes. At present, mandatory union dues are used to support political causes (in…

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Added by La Mesa Citizen Oversight Group on September 26, 2012 at 7:47am — No Comments

Questions for Helix Water District Board Candidate Lori Kern

In an effort to begin a dialog on political issues for the residents of La Mesa, the La Mesa Citizen Oversight Group recently sent a questionnaire to all of the candidates for the Helix Water District Governing Board. Today we will link the responses from Lori…

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Added by La Mesa Citizen Oversight Group on September 22, 2012 at 6:45pm — No Comments

Pension Reform Legislation - A Fig Leaf For A Tax Increase

Pension Reform Legislation - A Fig Leaf For A Tax Increase is how one publication described the recent California "pension reform" legislation.  The Wall Street Journal agreed, opining, (Governor) "Brown's pension deal is little more than grease for a tax increase." How can one disagree? The fundamental unfairness and unaffordability of California's public sector pensions have been well established, yet employee organizations made every obtuse…

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Added by La Mesa Citizen Oversight Group on September 14, 2012 at 8:16pm — No Comments

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