BY DONNA WESTFALL
With California taxes at record highs and local water/sewer rates at record highs, its time for public action. Organizing and operating our own Local Taxpayer Group to most effectively challenge unjust legislation. You can fight City Hall and WIN! We did it in 2012 with the moratorium that turned off the neurotoxin fluoride. That was a 5 year battle against a city council steeped in ignorance by continuing to think that drinking toxic industrial waste was somehow going to save our teeth and not affect the rest of our body, organs and brains.
We can do it again by stopping this upcoming sewer rate increase and all future water and sewer rate increases. Again, our City Council doesn’t recognize the death knoll put upon the businesses and residents of this city by continuing to increase rates… in a recession lasting 6 years with no end in sight.
Quoting from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, “A city or county taxpayer association can be a major force to keep taxes reasonable and local governments running
efficiently. A taxpayer organization can help keep local residents informed regarding how their dollars are spent, and can be a grassroots force to root out waste and corruption
and expose risky spending plans.”
Had there been a Crescent City – Del Norte County Taxpayers Association in 2007, surely the $42.5 million risky spending plan to upgrade and expand our sewer system would have been shoved in the faces of those politicians and city staff with a huge dose of reality. We could have afforded a $20 million fix. We have seen that we can’t afford the (now) $44 million fix.
On May 5th, forms were sent in to the Secretary of State along with a check from funds raised by local contributions to finally create the Crescent City – Del Norte County Taxpayers Association.
Announcements will be made soon for a series of meetings.
In addition to creating the local Taxpayers Association, a referendum will be circulated on or about June 18th. We’ve been waiting for City Hall to provide a copy of the most recent Ordinance 779 created to increase sewer rates once again to make absolutely sure that the language of the referendum matches the language in their Ordinance. According to Government Code section 6253; it states that “(a) Public records are open to inspection at all times during the office hours of the state or local agency and every person has a right to inspect any public record, except as hereafter provided.”
June 1st, I emailed our City Clerk, Robin Patch, for a copy of the approved Ordinance passed by the City Council in a 5-0 vote on May 19th. I went in to City Hall June 2nd and spoke to Brook to inspect a copy of the Ordinance. Brook deferred to Robin and since Robin was out of the office until noon or 1pm, I went back at 1 pm, and I didn’t get it. I emailed Robin again asking that she remember to email me a copy. Today is June 6th. I still have not gotten anything.
From my friend out of the area comes this remark, “Are you telling me that if the city clerk drops dead the city will close because they can not function? Next time you go to city hall take the Public Records Act (attached) with you and point to the law. Do you know how many times I have been told by a former city clerk ‘please come back I am busy.’ My reply? ‘Sorry, the law says I am entitled to inspect public records during business hours, it doesn’t say unless the city clerk is busy. I will sit here and read a magazine or play with my iphone until you are ready to comply with the law.’ Two-three minutes later I get the records. People need to know their rights and speak up. If we are afraid of our government then we have tyranny. I know you are not afraid. You need to learn your rights.”
And that’s why we’re forming a Taxpayers Association. We need to learn our rights and we need to enforce our rights. The City and County government work for us. We don’t work for them.
It’s that simple.