The notice to the left was forwarded to me by a neighbor over the weekend. Apparently a rate increase for treating sewage (or turning it into "resources" if these guys are to be believed) is now going through a process of some sort. Just like the sewage does, I guess. And in order to stop this rate hike it would take 51% of the beneficiaries of this earthy service to get their Prop 218 protest votes in by, well, tomorrow. Did you send yours in yet? Because if you haven't, I regret to inform you that the opportunity for doing so has nearly passed you by.
I scoured the Internet for clues about this momentous event, looking in particular for news about how much this rate increase for sewage treatment will be setting we the people back. Sadly, there was only one article on the topic to be found, and it was published in the Whittier Daily News. Probably because that is the city where this so-called Public Hearing will be held early tomorrow afternoon. You can only imagine the ravening hordes that will be beating down the doors to get into this one. Here is the gist of it all (link).
Dave Bruns, assistant department head for financial management, said the rate increases would be imposed in much of Los Angeles County and raise about $9 million.
The additional money is needed to pay for routine maintenance of sewers and treatment plants, ensure that reclaimed waste water meets state standards and build a third discharge tunnel from Carson to Palos Verdes, Bruns said.
I have grown to dislike the Prop 218 protest process. A ballot vote by the people is far preferable in my opinion. Prop 218 assumes that there will be close to 100% participation by the afflicted rate payers, whereas a direct vote on a ballot initiative would only take 51% of those who actually bother to vote. An election based on an item like this odoriferous sewage rate hike would likely turn out only around 10% of those eligible to vote.
I doubt our recent water rate increase would have passed had it been put on the ballot for a public vote. And had City Hall been permitted to put Measure UUT up for a Prop 218 protest last April it probably would have survived. Not that people wanted it, mind you. The results show that a majority of those who cared enough to turn out and vote didn't want it.
It seems that anything put through the Prop 218 ringer just doesn't register with most folks. And for the opposing ratepayers to prevail 51% of everyone afflicted would have to vote their disagreement. This in a city where a 35% voter turnout is considered something to boot scoot over.
Prop 218 votes also get far less media coverage than anything put to a ballot vote. Such as in the case described above. One article in a newspaper that doesn't get distributed in Sierra Madre just isn't going to get that done here.
Tonight's City Council Meeting: Watch Out for Item 4
Downtown will be all un-abuzz this evening as the City Council convenes to agonize over the following issues:
a) ADOPTION OF RESOLUTION - No. 14-40 OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SIERRA MADRE APPROVING CERTAIN DEMANDS ($661,921.03)
b) COMMUNITY SHOWCASE VIDEO PROGRAM
c) AUTHORIZATION TO PURCHASE WATER CREDITS FROM SAN GABRIEL VALLEY WATER DISTRICT, EQUALING $361,500 ($1,023,421 total spend for meeting).
d) RECOMMENDED APPROPRIATION FROM WATER FUND RESERVES FOR THE REPLACEMENT OF LEAKING WATER MAIN ON WOODLAND DRIVE AT SIERRA MADRE WASH
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼2. PUBLIC HEARING – MUNICIPAL CODE TEXT AMENDMENT TO REVISE THE DEFINITION OF “BEDROOM” IN THE R-1 ZONE AND ADD A DEFINITION OF “BEDROOM” IN THE R-2, R-3, HILLSIDE MANAGEMENT, AND RESIDENTIAL CANYON ZONES
3. DISCUSSION – UTILITY USER TAX OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE REPORT FOR FISCAL YEAR END JUNE 30, 2013
4. DISCUSSION – GENERAL PLAN BUILD-OUT NUMBERS
5. DISCUSSION – PROPOSED LEGISLATION DESIGNATING VARIOUS AREAS WITHIN THE SAN GABRIEL VALLEY AS A NATIONAL RECREATION AREA, WILD AND SCENIC, AND WILDERNESS
6. FISCAL YEAR 2013-2014 MIDYEAR BUDGET ADJUSTMENTS AND CITY RESERVE POLICY
7. RECONSIDERATION OF REHABILITATION OF DUTY-MAN HOUSE AS RENTAL HOUSING
We discussed Item #4 a little bit yesterday. Something that, in my opinion, might very well be a stealth move designed to help push development at Mater Dolorosa and other similarly afflicted settings in town. You know how City Hall likes to keep its processes oblique when plugging for things the people they supposedly work for do not actually want.
Plus our lawyerly Mayor seems to have quite a flair for deliberately opaque language. We'll be seeing a lot of that sort of thing over the next year I suspect.
But here is a bigger question. If we can list 181 places where new development can occur (click here), and that includes 60 densely packed McMansions at Mater Dolorosa, how can we ever tell SCAG that we are built out? How are we going to convince those clowns to keep our RHNA numbers down?
Sign off on numbers as stupid as those and the state will demand huge new development in Sierra Madre quicker than you can say BIA (Hearts) CAR.
And couldn't that 60 McMansion number become a self-fulfilling prophecy when the lawyers for New Urban West come sniffing around?
There is also this. How can we tell any government agency that Sierra Madre has a water problem when we have voluntarily identified 181 sites for potential development? What becomes of any building moratorium then?
I believe it was John Capoccia who called for these higher numbers. You know, the guy who ran for office as a mighty tax fighter and slow growth die hard. What in God's name happened to John?
Did the Pod People get him?
Secret Developer Meetings At City Hall
Last week potential developers of the Mater Dolorosa site were privileged with a private meeting that included certain senior members of City Staff. Apparently there will now be another similar secret meeting this Thursday.
Ever feel like you're being left out of all the fun?