Mon. Jun 24th, 2024

By Guest Columnist, Michael Ceremello, Former Vice Mayor/Councilmember of the City of Dixon.



Exactly how many times do you have to be shot before you realize you are in a war? What do you do when your representatives prove to you that they do what they want while ignoring your call for a vote so you can’t bind their hands? The aristocracy of Dixon is once again leading you down a road to an even more costly end despite having been shown alternatives.

So you don’t believe me? Over forty three hundred of Dixon citizens signed one of the referenda or petitions circulating to repeal the sewer rate increase. We are now called “a renegade band of taxpayers” or “tax haters”.

This is coming from the liars who are lawyers and their allies at an on-line website. We are at war and lying to justify your stance is typical of the Left who despise the “rule of law”.

The following is from the city’s court brief: “Plaintiff/Petitioner CITY OF DIXON (the “City”) seeks an order of this court removing an initiative measure from the ballot prior to the election. Such judicial intervention is reserved for the most extreme circumstances, which is precisely the situation before the court. A small, renegade band of Dixon residents refuses to pay a single cent for an expensive clean-up of the City’s ground water that was ordered by the State of California (the “State”). Ironically, these self-proclaimed taxpayer advocates (“Real Parties in Interest” or the “Taxpayers”) would force the City to pay tens of thousands of dollars in penalties to the State every week in perpetuity, in addition to wasting another $200,000.00 on a futile special election.” (emphasis added)

So where are the lies? The most obvious is the intent to minimize the opposition. How are over 4,300 of Dixon citizens a small renegade band? The Dixon Chapter of the Solano County Taxpayers Association has been the most responsible group in this town, far better in representing the will of the people than the city council. The DC-SCTA agreed to the last rate increase designed to fund current rate payers obligations for rehabilitating the sewer plant. So not wanting to pay a single cent is not born out by fact. When did the special election’s cost jump from $133,000 as stated by Dixon city clerk Suellen Johnston to $200,000 and why is it “futile” to oppose what we know is wrong?

Want more lies? “The State mandated a rational and cost-effective solution to the City’s chronic contamination of its ground water: an upgrade to the City’s wastewater treatment plant (the “Plant”). The City hired an engineering firm to conduct a study of what those upgrades would cost, and then held a Proposition 218 election on the necessary increases in sewer rates. The citizens of Dixon approved the rate increase.”

The Proposition 218 process does not call for an election. It allows for a “protest vote”. The citizens don’t go to a polling booth or receive a ballot. It isn’t even the citizens voting on this but the property parcel owner and each owner has only one vote. This is hardly an election. “Chronic contamination” is also not factually correct as the groundwater beneath the treatment plant is “dirtier” than what we percolate into it. Rather than making this argument, Batchelor and his bullies want to force you to accept the lie of contamination so they can bow down to the State. But there is more …

“That should have been the end of it. But the Taxpayers, who lost the Proposition 218 vote fair and square, want another bite of the apple. The dispute between the City and the Taxpayers has now reached a critical juncture that requires the immediate intervention of this court. The rate rollback called for in the initiative will not allow the State-mandated upgrade of the Plant. It also would force the City to continue to pay penalties to the State.”

Again, there was no vote. We are guaranteed by the California Constitution the ability to use the initiative process because the voters and the property owners are not the same group. The fact that many were not informed, chose not to be informed, or were just too busy to be informed justifies this additional process. The “State mandated upgrade of the Plant” is incorrect because THE STATE DOESN’T TELL YOU HOW TO UPGRADE THE PLANT OR WHAT PROCESS TO USE, it simply tells you what limits you have for residual water constituents and that you have the proven ability to handle your flow.

The rate rollback won’t allow for the upgrades that Batchelor and cronies decided to do despite advice to the contrary from the advisory committee which examined activated sludge in detail. That is the point. We don’t want a project costing some $25 million which does little and will be followed by tertiary treatment at a cost of $60 million or more.

As for “continu(ing) to pay penalties to the State”, I wasn’t aware that we were paying anything at this time. We were fined once, vindictively by the executive officer of the State Water Board, for telling them that the project to which they agreed was “flawed” and a “band aid” solution. Now Batchelor has put us exactly in this same position once again.

“Because the initiative is clearly illegal, the City requests the extraordinary step of pre-election removal.” There is nothing illegal about this initiative except in the mind of the legal apparatchiks of Batchelor. Case law from Fresno with citations from other cases came to the conclusion the citizens have a right to vote before ramifications of that vote are taken up by the court. This case law was presented to the council and city attorney Doug White and it was ignored.

Next, we have the other army we are fighting, the faux or fake legal media. Simply parroting the city’s brief without interviewing the opponents or stating their views is patently poor journalism.

FAIRFIELD, Calif. (CN) – A “renegade band” of tax-haters could cost a California city millions by refusing to pay “a single cent” to clean up carcinogenic groundwater despite a state order, the city says in court. “CN is Courthouse News Service (which is) a nationwide news service for lawyers and the news media. Based in Pasadena, California, Courthouse News focuses on civil litigation, from the date of filing through the appellate level. Unlike other Internet-based publishers that simply aggregate information prepared by other content providers, Courthouse News publishes its own original news content prepared by its staff of reporters and editors based across the country.”

I only have one response to this garbage. Since when did our groundwater become carcinogenic (cancer causing) and how does putting the same material into the groundwater in diluted form suddenly become acceptable? A scientific background doesn’t seem to be a requisite for bashing the citizens of Dixon.

Okay, hopefully I haven’t bored you out of your minds with these factual, documented statements. I have been persuaded by my neighbor to simplify the whole issue because he still doesn’t understand it. I can do that.

We have a sewer treatment plant. There are two separate issues. One is the repair of the existing plant. The other is new 100 year old technology the city wants to substitute for our pond system. To sell you on the latter, they have combined these issues into one.

The repair of the head works, a new lab building, and replacement of stainless steel pipes is in the first category.

The head works not only needs to be made “earthquake proof” but needs to be expanded to accommodate flows from future development. Batchelor and his buddy Herb Cross want you to pay future development’s cost but don’t want to repay you once development arrives. The fact is in 2008, a three year rate increase was granted but never stopped. This increase was to fund improvements which are the responsibility of those living in Dixon right now.

The second issue, activated sludge, simply allows rapid bio-degradation of sewage thereby preserving water from evaporating. That sounds too complex. It allows the bugs to do their job more rapidly. What the city isn’t telling you is that there are ongoing costs for energy to run the system as well as the hauling away of not only new sludgebut the sludge from all of our current ponds. They also aren’t telling you that because boron’s concentration isn’t being reduced, tertiary treatment will be required at a cost of at least $60 million. Batchelor will be tripling your rates again because of this. Hope you will be happy paying $120 per month just for sewer. The simple solution is a combination of technologies. It is up to the city engineer to act independently of Batchelor and his pet monkey Jim Lindley to propose a solution which actually addresses the problem. The city engineer, if truly independent, could also challenge the misinterpretation of data by the State. However, we the citizens see noneof this. Just pay up and shut up.

I am not endorsing any one technological solution. I am aware of several. None of it is free. Some reduces operating costs, some create several products from the waste, and all address the concerns of the State. So am I against increasing taxes to pay for it? No one has ever said that. What we have said is the solution should be long term and final.

I was listening to Mark Levin after the young woman was gunned down in San Fran-sick-o by another darling of the Left, an illegal, felony ridden immigrant. Levin’s continuing accurate complaints about the Left and their hypocritical abuse of the law by ignoring it when it is to their advantage is well demonstrated by this product of their illogic. You either have the “rule of law” or you don’t. Yet Obama and his democrat minions such as Feinstein, Pelosi, and Boxer want a double standard.

Wasn’t it Batchelor and Rick Fuller who opposed “medical marijuana” facilities on the basis that marijuana was deemed illegal by the Feds? Why didn’t Dixon follow San Fran’s lead and declare our sovereignty from Federal law? Evidently the Feds get to ignore illegal immigration as well as encourage a continuing flood of aliens across our southern border. How do you have “sanctuary cities” when there is a federal law prohibiting this conduct. Even the Feds don’t obey their own laws. So now we have to endure murder because the person perpetrating it is part of a “protected” group?

What does this have to do with sewage and Batchelor? The California Constitution says we have the right to petition through the initiative process. The city attorney, at the direction of Batchelor, is ignoring the law just as these other entities are ignoring law. Batchelor and his three stooges are all criminals in this regard, as are the elected officials in San Francisco and throughout the State and Nation who choose to destroy the America we know and love. We don’t have to put up with this in Dixon as long as the right to vote is confirmed by the court.

When the election is held on September 22nd or 29th, you need to vote Yes to not only repeal the sewer rate increase but to send a loud message to all of the elected liars as well as those hired by them to do their dirty work. A final point I would like to make about all of the statements you just read. You don’t see the taxpayers making these statements of desperation and fear. Expect much more in the way of scare tactics. There is some good news, though.

We have heard it all before, Chicken Little … and the sky isn’t falling …

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