BY DONNA WESTFALL
The Prop 218 Protest signature collection process is over. 45 days have come and gone. City Clerk, Robin Patch, was presented with a box containing 22 bundles of 100 each. I went in with 2,202 at 6 pm. During public comment one more disgruntled apartment owner got up to the podium and spoke about how hard it is for her tenants to make ends meet, many of them on HUD. Not only that but she expressed how difficult it is for her as a property owner to run a business with rates going up, and up and up. After her public comment, she filled out a protest form and I added it to the box making 2,203.
6 years ago, we didn’t know what we were doing and our protest was unsuccessful in stopping the sewer rate from doubling. This is what we learned 6 years ago. We couldn’t trust the city to handle the protests honestly.
This evening, the City had Public Work Director Eric Wier go over his presentation, Interim Finance Director, Susan Mayer go over her presentation again, and then City Manager, Gene Palazzo added his two cents. All in all, gloom and doom if we don’t raise the rates. I call this a dog and pony show. County resident, John Stetson, raked Mayer over the coals. (Video to follow as soon as we can up upload it.)
The majority of the population served by City utilities cannot afford their grandiose plans. We have a vested interest in seeing that the rate increase does not go forward. Thus we were very proactive in securing protests and checking things out.
The City has a vested interest in seeing that the rates go up. When you have cross purposes, it’s best to keep control of the protest letters until the last minute. That’ what we did. I handed them a box of protest letters at the last possible minute. Now it’s up to them to preserve, secure and tabulate those protests accurately.
City resident, Jesse Salisbury, summed it up best when he said to the council members, “Why don’t you involve the public in helping to make these decisions? Why do you spring this on us?”
Another resident complained that with all the people out of work, why not have them involved in repairing and replacing the pipes?
After tabulating protests for an hour 1/2, the decision was made to end the council meeting and resume tabulating in the morning.
Observers John Stetson and Linda Sutter, volunteers from the Protest Group, are watching the count very carefully. Protest group organizer, Katherine Kelly had to leave Crescent City on family business, but has kept in touch through text and emails.
The next Council meeting will take place November 12th at 6 pm, at which time the final count will be announced.
I’d like to remind our local government that instead of inducing inflation there is also the concept of deflation. That’s where government reduce their expenses and learn to live within their budget. It’s time for payroll cuts guys. You’ve been putting it off long enough. Get that red pencil out and start cutting across the board. Do it enough on every line by line expense item and soon we’ll be in the black. Don’t forget you saved thousands of dollars each year by shutting off the HFSA/fluoride. What you forgot to do is calculate how much damage was done to our water delivery system by having that corrosive acid going through our pipes for 44 years. Convenient, I say. When it suits you (City Council), you just avoid the issue.
I’ll put in a public records request to preserve some of those pipes, fittings and values. Then see about sending them out to a lab for testing and know exactly what kind of HFSA/fluoride build- up is on them.