San Marino

On Tuesday November 7th, San Marino will elect three new city council members.  This is likely to be one of the most important elections in San Marino’s recent history since the City is facing a dire financial crisis which could lead to bankruptcy if action is not taken soon.  

We are urging San Marino residents to vote for three candidates who we believe are exceptionally qualified to deal with the fiscal crisis: Ken Ude, Gretchen Shepherd Romey and Susan Jakubowski.

Meet The Candidates


• Director, USC Marshall Family Business Program
• Proven track record with 30 plus years business operating experience
• Served as CEO of six different private, equity-backed, mid-size companies facing critical business challenges and made them financially successful
• Many years of community service including Foundation of the San Marino Community Church and the San Marino Schools Foundation


• J.D., UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law
• Practicing attorney for 10 years, including O’Melveny & Myers
• 20 plus years leading, serving and providing financial oversight of non-profits, including National Charity League, Girl Scouts, PTAs and the Huntington Library


• Advisor to San Marino Ad Hoc Committee to review City Hall, Park and Public Works and make recommendations to the City Council 2015-16
• Chair, San Marino Planning Commission
• 17 plus years in Administration for Los Angeles County
• Owner of a small business that manufactured in many countries in Asia
• 10 plus years with San Marino Schools Foundation

2016 Estimated Pension Debt
(from Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) – see

Depending on total years of employment, retired City employees can earn up to 90% of their salaries
for the rest of their lives, plus uncapped lifetime medical benefits for themselves and their

Does your employer provide similar generous retirement benefits?

The California Public Employees Retirement System grossly over estimates the investment returns on
assets needed to generate enough additional funds to cover these lifetime retirement payments.
CalPERS bases their calculations on a 7% rate of return, but the ten-year average is closer to
3.5%.  Stanford uses a 3.25% rate.

San Marino Pension Debt estimates:

• California Public Employees Retirement System estimate: $22.4 million
• Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research estimate: $92.8 million

Here are examples of just two of our retirees and their annual life-time retirement payments. If
you want to find out more, go to

Annual life-time retirement payment Total after 20 years
Retired Police Chief $150,883.80 $3,017,676
Retired Director of Planning & Building $108,885.96 $2,177,700

San Marino Finances
(from City of San Marino financial reports)

From 2009 to 2016:

Revenues and spending increased rapidly:

• Total revenues increased 19% from $23.2 million to $27.6 million
• Total expenditures increased 19% from $21.8 million to $25.9 million
• Yet unmet costs for infrastructure maintenance soared to at least $40 million

Other facts:

• Tax revenues increased 30% from $16.6 million to $21.4 million
• Public safety expenditures increased 42% from $8.3 million to $11.8 million.

San Marino City Employee Compensation Facts

Transparent California receives it’s data from the State Controllers Office who in turn receives
their data from the City. According to what the City reported to the State Controller’s Office,
full time employees receiving over $100,000 per year in pay and benefits:

• 2011 – 46%
• 2016 – 68%

From 2011 to 2016:

• Total employee compensation increased 17%.
• Number of employees earning over $100,000/year increased 13% (48 to 54).
• Median pay & benefits for full time employees increased 33% ($91,027 to $120,946).
• Total overtime pay increased 82% ($677,930 to $1,231,533).

MEASURE SA (a parcel tax) – November 3, 2015

Our Position: No
Essentially a property tax which extends the Public Safety Tax for 4 more years by a 2/3 vote.  It only passed by approximately 160 votes last time, so this is within reach to defeat.  They say if it doesn’t pass they will lose 14% of general fund revenues and will have to cut 12 police officer positions and 9 paramedics and firefighter positions.  We say it is actually about 7% of total revenues, and with year-over-year budget surpluses they do not need to cut any positions if they lose this tax.

Election results

Result Votes Percentage
Approved Yes 2,195        73.88%
No 776 26.12%

See more information on Measure SA here on BALLOTPEDIA


MEASURE U – November 3, 2015

Our Position: No
Extends the Utility Users Tax for 10 years by a 50% + 1 vote.  They are offering a reduction from a 6% to 5% tax on telecommunications, electricity, natural gas, water and video services.  Goes into General “Slush” Fund where it is used to hire more government employees and pay themselves more money.

Election results

Result Votes Percentage
Approved Yes 2,110 71.79%
No 829 28.21%

See more information on Measure U here on BALLOTPEDIA