Sierra Madre City Clerk says not enough protests to defeat proposed water hike
Reversing an announcement she made last week, City Clerk Nancy Sue Shollenberger said Monday not enough valid protests were submitted by water customers to defeat a proposed water rate hike.
A total of 1,719 valid protests were received against the hike - 129 short of the 1,848 needed for a majority to defeat the proposal, Shollenberger said.
Now there will be those who will claim that by coming up 129 water rate payer signatures short that somehow those who invested some serious sweat equity into protesting this nearly 40% water rate hike lost. That City Hall got their pound of flesh, and the incredible wave of democratic fervor that swept Sierra Madre a few weeks back was all for naught. The powers that be had prevailed as they always do, and honestly, what was it you people were thinking?
But if the people of Sierra Madre had not flooded City Hall with hundreds upon hundreds of protests, if the Council Chambers had not been filled with people passionate in their belief that they are the ones who call the real shots in this community, would we have ever been able to read paragraphs like the ones that follow?
Mosca says he plans to propose at least five more community meetings where residents will have an opportunity to get more information and ask questions about the proposal.
The city could develop a new proposal, based on residents' concerns, he said, or "at the end of the day, maybe they will feel that the proposal we put on the table is a good one," he said.
"The upside of what has gone on so far is we have a lot of people paying attention to this and really wanting more information," Mosca said. "So now is the time to get out there and go on a listening tour, understand what their concerns are and address those concerns."
After that, the council can "come back in a couple of months with a proposal that makes sense to people," Mosca said.
Had we not gone out into the streets and spoken to people about this draconian water rate hike, had we not gone door to door and talked to our friends and neighbors about what was really going on (because it was obvious that no one else was going to do it, including our so-called adjudicated weekly newspaper), what we are hearing now from Mosca would never have been said. He'd just have taken the money and run.
This rate hike, which was dumped on the public with such small warning, would now be the law. And our water bills would already be reflecting this. The only thing that stopped this City Council from immediately passing this rate hike was Proposition 218 and the backbreaking work of 30 or so incredible people who refused to be treated like subjects in somebody's realm.
We won. We did something nobody thought we could do. The political will of the people of Sierra Madre stopped a nearly 40% water rate hike. And unless this City Council comes back with something realistic, and explains it in a way that is both timely and credible, we will stop it again.
Even if we have to go to the ballot next time to do it.