BY DONNA WESTFALL
In November, 2013, the protest against water rates lost by 936 votes.
In May, 2014 the protest against sewer rates lost by about 250 votes.
The margin of error is diminishing. The protestors are becoming highly organized. The next step is to form or obtain a 501(c)C, non-profit Taxpayers Association.
A Taxpayers Association allows the group to be interviewed for FREE on the radio. It allows the group to have reduced rates for advertising in the newspaper and on the radio.
It also allows members to sustain the organization so that it doesn’t fall to one person to continually lead the charge against wasteful government spending. Everytime I’ve been involved in the Prop 218 protest against utility rates, I’ve committed to 4 hours of sleep a night for 45 days. I don’t want to do that anymore.
Every time the City Council gets a report by their staff to increase rates on the water or sewer, they don’t stop to ask pertinent questions. The one question they forgot to ask was whether or not it was true that our RURAL town is tied in to the URBAN cost of living index to justify another rate increase.
Someone or someone’s out there in Del Norte County already established a Taxpayers Association. I don’t remember who, but it was a couple of years ago that I was told one existed.
Whoever knows about it’s existence, please contact me at (707) 951-3650 so that we can obtain it and reactivate it. Otherwise, we’ll have the expense of creating a new one which is not difficult….. it’s just one more expense.
What happens next?
Today at 4:30 p m, the group will meet to discuss, rehash and plan for the coming steps.
1. Start writing up a referendum. The referendum process allows citizens to refer a statute passed by a legislative body to the ballot so that voters can enact or repeal the measure. Once enough signatures are gathered on petitions, the council approval on an issue is stopped from going into effect, until the voters have decided the question. In a referendum you have 30 days to collect signatures of 10% of the voters. Since this will be only a city wide vote, the amount of signatures is very small. The people who can sign and vote on this issue are no longer property owners and rate payers. They have to be registered voters in the City of Crescent City. According to Alyssia Northrup, County Clerk, there were 1661 registered voters in the City. In the 2010 gubernatorial election only 890 people voted. That translates to 89 signatures needed on a referendum.
Now is the time to get registered to vote if you haven’t already done so. However, the deadline for the June primary has passed. The last day to register to vote was May 19th.
October 20, 2014 is the last day to register to vote for the November election.
2. Start fundraising to raise enough money to pay signature gatherers. Here’s the bottom line. If you allow the sewer rate to increase you will be paying an extra $30/year. The rate will never decrease in your lifetime. It is added on top of the doubling of the sewer rates from 2007. The City Council never wanted to tackle the issues of fraud and corruption in connection with the construction and EXPANSION of the sewer plant. So, one more time. Rate Payers, by law… according to California Proposition 218… are not responsible for expansion. The idiotic idea that expansion was limited to 11.8% is ludicrous. Do property owners and ratepayers prefer to spend $1 or more now to stop rate increases, or would they rather pay $30 and more and allow the increase to go forward.
That’s bottom line. So simple.