_____________________________ ST. NORBERT CHURCH           RATES ________________________         EBOOK




By Rico Dizon


The Artesia City Council has been known for holding marathon meetings that last so long that sometimes a “side show” takes center stage instead of pressing items that regularly appear before the five member governing body.

This past week’s meeting was no exception.

Recently the Artesia City Council voted to send to voters a special ballot measure that specifically deals with a proposed Utility User’s Tax that will now be appearing before voters on the upcoming November 4 General Election.

During the decision on the ballot measure that would lower a proposed 5% Utility Users Tax to 4.9%, a lone speaker from the public unexpectedly amused the audience, council members and staff with his comments about the entire situation.

Stephen Eckles, a lifelong resident of Artesia, addressed the city leaders by saying “I am a neighbor of Sally Flowers and Tony Lima,” as he gestured toward the directions of council member and Artesia mayor, respectively.

Eckles continued to cite names of previous council members whom he grew up with them while scanning their pictures lined up on the chamber wall.  He said, “These are the people who instilled what Artesia is all about.  I am proud to be part of Artesia but when I heard about the Utility User’s Tax, I have to calm down.”

Then he casually trained his eyes back to the city council and addressing them, “Are you nuts? Are you nuts?  I read that we have a balanced budget of $7. 2 million and we even have a surplus. So why tax the residents more?”

Eckles then turned his attention to Councilman Victor Manalo when he said that he was quoted in another local bi-weekly publication as saying, “we need a consistent source of funds and the UUT will raise some $41 million.” To which Council Member Victor Manalo blurted in disbelief, “$41 million, and geez?”

In the foreground, City Manager William Rawlings was vigorously shaking his head.

At this point, Manalo asked Eckles where he got his numbers and the latter promptly replied, “From a local bi-weekly publication”

Eckles continued, “I also gathered that 54% of the city revenues come from property and sales taxes. “Why not just increase the sales tax? Why look at the pockets of residents. Maybe you can contribute 5% of your salaries to the city. Artesians for Artesia.”

Manalo quickly clarified, “we don’t have property tax in Artesia” to which the Eckles responded, “I apologize for the wrong numbers, you might have been misquoted (in the bi-weekly newspaper).”

Nobody from the city council and staff seem to take the name calling seriously except maybe Mayor Pro Tem Miguel Canales who asked Eckles, “So, do you still think we are nuts? If seeing to it that the city streets and parks in Artesia are well maintained and that the other basic services to residents are rendered with no interruption is considered nuts then I am nuts.” Eckles momentarily calmed down, “I appreciate your being able to control the people of Artesia but unlike Mayor Lima, he cannot control the residents and is making a lot of ordinances like parking fees, parking permits that are burdens to the people. “This is not Cerritos.”

Before going back to discussion, Manalo chided, “We should be saving the city about $125 if we contribute 5% of our salaries as city council members to everybody’s chuckle.

In a more serious note, Manalo said, “As I have mentioned before, we lack consistency of revenues, we over rely on sales tax. “Our city manager said we are low taxed. “We need to diversify if only to avoid cutting back on city services as we are still in state of fiscal emergency.” Mayor Lima said, “In my eight years as a council member of Artesia, I recall the year when we had a $10 million budget. It is now 2014 and we have a $7.5 million budget. The proceeds from the UUT will not be substantial, not after two to three years. “So, if we want future comfort in Artesia and a more stabilized economy in the city, it is a real necessity to place the proposed UUT into the ballots this coming November.”


During the meeting, it was explained by the ad-hoc committee that this year’s utility users tax will have a broader base that will include solid waste disposal , use of video services via satellite and internet, cellular phones and other new telecommunication devices introduced and used today. Council Member Ali Taj voiced out his sentiments, “I can see a great and urgent need to educate the residents regarding the repercussions of the new UUT measure before November to avoid gross misinformation.”



  • Council of Thieves says:

    Interesting, taking the councilman’s numbers of $125 and assuming that’s per year; that would mean the city council is paid $2,500 per year.

    As the resident is quoted as saying, “This is not Cerritos.”

    Would be a great article for this newspaper to show a comparison of what city councils, in their coverage area, make in pay and benefits. And maybe what they spent on council races.

  • M c M a h o n says:


    2013-14 Assessed Valuation by Jurisdiction

    Assessed Valuation % of

    Jurisdiction: in School District School District

    City of Artesia $ 1,359,239,177 10.91%

    City of Bellflower 4,022,462 0.03

    City of Cerritos 7,599,092,433 61.02

    City of Hawaiian Gardens 668,750,635 5.37

    City of La Mirada 625,401,971 5.02

    City of Lakewood 1,161,871,474 9.33

    City of Long Beach 128,146,591 1.03

    City of Norwalk 427,450,883 3.43

    City of Santa Fe Springs 437,717,667 3.51

    Unincorporated Los Angeles County 42,308,400 0.34

    Total District $12,454,001,693 100.00%

    Los Angeles County $12,454,001,693 100.00%

    Article it’s beginning to read like the Daily News from the City of Stockton and San Bernardino. Both of them filed bankruptcy.

    Maybe bankruptcy is the best for the both city of Cerritos –Artesia. Let accounting and expenditures made from the courthouse judges, and not behind back door deals.

    Cities can’t understand were in post recession, recession is just as bad in private homes, as compared to the flat tax basis of the city revenues. When the cities have drained counties hi sales tax,(9-10%) people have no money left over, to spend on personal items and residential hygiene. Cerritos-Artesia both want 3 Mello Roos Bonds levied as taxes on properties.

    What will they turn to next? Just like Stockton / San Bernardino, the city wives of Beverly Hills and the city husbands of Cota de Casa, have drained the city Piper’s dry.

    Interesting phrase was repeated in ABCUSD Mello Roos Bond Meeting, (7/15/2014) city residents and teachers, want ABCUSD schools to be CADILLAC SHOWROOMS. No one hardly drives Cadillacs in these cities; plus nearby Cadillac Dealerships are 15 mls from either city in: Long Beach or Fullerton. Maybe both cities can be happy w/ Cadillac Lifestyle and stop trying to be Roll Royce-Lexus mentality for spendings. Both Artesia and Cerritos housing stock hygiene is going thru urban menopause.