April 25, 2012
Subject: Repeal all 2011 Water Rate Increases or allow Sierra Madre registered voters the right to vote on the matter
Honorable Council Members
John P. Capoccia
Sierra Madre Tattler
Mt. Views News
Sierra Madre News.net
San Gabriel Valley Tribune
1) That the City Council repeal the adopting of all (2011) water rate increases, OR:
2) That the City Council allow all registered voters the Right to Vote - Yes or No, on the November 2012 ballot regarding the (2011) City Council Passage of the Water Rate Increase(s).
3) I further request that this letter be agendized and put up for discussion with the residents of the City of Sierra Madre at the next convenient City Council meeting.
There is an old expression that even the dumbest dog knows the difference between being accidentally tripped and being kicked ... many of us, raising a second or third generation of Sierra Madreans, feel that our City Council has believed in the past that we are dumber than the proverbial dumbest dog.
The tranquility and serenity of Sierra Madre had been disrupted by the appearance of the (2011) City Council and City Manager using a change in the water rate structure to apparently fund non-water related expenses, which lead to the disclosure that the City Council had not stated in a completely forthcoming way the purposes for the water rate increase. Using instead our water reserves as a slush fund to cover other expenses. This disregard clearly influenced the April 2012 election, leading to the overwhelming defeat of Measures 12-1 and 12-2, lawsuits and friction between neighbors and friends.
The perception that the then City Council had been less than transparent and candid on a matter related to the ratepayers' money, coupled with that City Council jury-rigging the Prop 218 opposition process, only further inflamed the anger in the community. These perceptions can only be properly addressed and alleviated by allowing the citizens of Sierra Madre the opportunity to exert their rightful influence and control via the ballot.
In addition to the $1.97 per unit water rate charge, the City Council imposed a 9% Utility Tax, a 37% Water Rate Increase, and brought in a convoluted and Byzantine Tiered Fee pricing system. Something that even today few ratepayers can truly understand.
The Supreme Court may say we can or cannot live without "ObamaCare," but we all know we cannot live long without water. That does not mean that the City Council can tax our ability to live with a disregard to our rights. Water fees, charges and reserves should be used for water related expenditures only.
Let us use this as an opportunity to resolve the discord and misconceptions, restore trust in our elected officials, and allow the voters to finally have their say on each of these changes this November.