People not being heard on Paso water issue

June 7, 2010

By NOEL FOERST

We the people, reside in a Republic and have the right to peaceful and productive dissent. Let me say, before I opine, that residing in Paso Robles these past 20 years, I can surely support my local City Council on most issues.

However, the citizens of  Paso Robles are very dissatisfied with the way our current City Council has handled the Nacimiento water project. If this current City Council would have followed the good example of our City Council back in 1998, measure D-98, we would not be in this current fiasco over the Nacimiento water pipeline project.

This City is not being run as a democracy but as an oligarchy led by a few unelected public employees and elected businessmen that are not listening to their constituents. Even though the Mayor and the City Council let the public vent at the bimonthly council meetings,they seem not to listen and at times display extreme arrogance and impatience with the citizens.

Paso Robles City’s new slogan is “you pay for the units of water you use”. Well, that sounds very reasonable. However, under the new consumption rate plan, a person will be paying more for less. Our current rate for water is $1.32 per unit (748 gal.) of water.

The new proposed rate will increase annually until it reaches $4.40 per unit, the $4.40 per unit cost will continue forever (until they want to increase rates again)! So, from the current rate of $1.32 to $4.40 is a 333 percent increase in water charges.

This is a basic math computation and not “fuzzy” math as some would indicate.

Another distraction that is being used is the $18 infrastructure charge that is being taken off the water bill. This charge was always a separate charge from the consumption rates. Some want you to think,you are saving money by rescinding the infrastructure charge, that was for new development.

The public needs to know that a treatment plant hasn’t been built yet to filter Nacimiento lake water. So, lake water will not be flowing to Paso Robles water customers until then. Therefore, are you willing to pay for a commodity that you are not receiving? The answer is NO!

We must not forget about the many senior citizens that are on fixed incomes and the many struggling families that will be unable to afford these high water rates imposed by the City.

Finally, there are two major issues that are being overlooked by the Paso Robles City Council. First, it’s about following the State Constitution. Second,it’s about the rights of Paso Robles citizens to vote on financing a major capital funding project. We the people do not want to give the city council a blank check for approximately $220 million to spend without voter approval.

Noel Foerst is a retired law enforcement officer living in Paso Robles


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7 Comments

  1. pasoobserver says:

    For ncdude —– Well, it’s been a day now, no comment from someone who seems to have a lot to say. It sounds like you are taking the 5th and do not want to tell the readers about your recent contract with the City of Paso Robles for $26,428. That’s okay, it’s public record. You are just a “spinmeister”. Maybe, you should try some kool-aid, it just might help you.
    You sure have a lot of chutzpah to criticize Mr. Borst for exercising his rights to disagree with our local
    City officials for some of their poor decisions.
    Mr.Borst has saved the citizens of Paso Robles approximately $40 million, yes $40 million while you and others sat on your derrieres and did nothing. The main issue is the Paso Robles City Council circumvented the legal system and denied the citizens of Paso Robles their rights to vote on a huge expenditure for the Nacimiento water project. The project is now in excess of $200 million to be paid off. Maybe, you should start evaluating your own behavior. There is a known maxim,’ money talks,bullshit walks’.

    (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
  2. pasoobserver says:

    For ncdude —– Well, it’s been a day now, no comment from someone who seems to have a lot to say. It sounds like you are taking the 5th and do not want to tell the readers about your recent contract with the City of Paso Robles for $26,428. That’s okay, it’s public record. You are just a “spinmeister”. Maybe, you should try some kool-aid, it just might help you.
    You sure have a lot of hutzpah to criticize M
    Mr. Borst for exercising his rights to disagree with our local officials for some of their poor decisions.
    Mr.Borst has saved the citizens of Paso Robles approximately $40 million,yes $40 million while you and others sat on your derrieres and did nothing. The main issue is that the Paso Robles City Council circumvented the legal system and denied the citizens of Paso Robles their rights to vote on a huge amount of money for the Nacimiento water project. The project is now in excess of $200 million to be paid off. It’s outrageous!
    Maybe, you should start evaluating your own behavior. There is a known maxim, money talks,bullshit walks.

    (-1) 3 Total Votes - 1 up - 2 down
  3. pasoobserver says:

    Furious Citizen There is another famous quote by Thomas Jefferson. “one man (person) with courage
    is a majority” Keep exercising your freedom of speech. The citizens of Paso Robles did not give the P.R City Council the authority to spend over 200 million dollars. The City denied the citizens the right to vote on this huge expenditure. It’s outrageous! Hopefully, the court will make the right decision for the citizens of Paso Robles. We must stop the excessive spending by our local politicians.

    (4) 6 Total Votes - 5 up - 1 down
  4. FuriousCitizen says:

    I like the “KoolAid” and you should too.

    Thomas Jefferson is quoted as saying: “We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude.”

    On the issue of the Nacimiento Project our elected SLO county and city representatives have chosen profusion and servitude for the people. How else can one explain their committing the citizenry to 30 years of DEBT SERVICE — without voter approval — for a project in which I and others will receive NO measurable benefit!

    In November vote the liberal taxing bastards out of office!

    (3) 7 Total Votes - 5 up - 2 down
  5. pasoobserver says:

    to ncdude If you are the person, I think you are. Maybe, you can explain to the readers about a
    recent earmark that you and your company just received from the city of Paso Robles for $26,428.
    Maybe, this a reason why you are supporting the City regardless how wrong they are in violating
    citizens rights to vote on a major capital funding project and circumventing the State Constitution.

    (-1) 9 Total Votes - 4 up - 5 down
  6. hotdog says:

    I wish I could say ‘there goes that north county again’ but the issues mentioned in the article are oh-so-true for SLO as well (though I don’t know if the article or ncdude is correct in their squabble). But I had to comment because the issue of a CC not doing the right thing has been an endemic hassle down here in SLO for so long it is almost accepted as the norm. Though our present council is at least courteous the last one and I suppose the majority of this one seem hell bent to remake our town into just like any other town, destroying our unique character in the process. Tear down the historic buildings for new plastic ones that will tower over all else, sell off our land to developers for pennies on the dollar and then charge us to replace the facilities we will lose (like parking lots etc). They seem to ignore any commentary to the contrary.
    Sure, we can throw the bums out but that is years down the road and difficult to do, and so much damage can be done in the meantime. Tough situation, I don’t know any way around it but try to get folks in there with bigger hearts.
    About water, a huge issue. I do know from personal experience that most people waste oodles of it-through ignorance, laziness and greed. Ignorance of what their automatic sprinklers are throwing out into the street, laziness and greed because most of us will not strive to save every drop-its just too much trouble. One way around all those is to charge a lot for usage, at least you pay for your sloth. The messages in the water bills are probably never read, or heeded. What we need are water cops to educate the public on wise use, and then enforcement of conservation ordinances (of which we have none-stupid americans-why not?) Carrot and the stick, we must employ stronger measures for conservation. Automatic sprinklers come on in the rain, the wind blows away soft arial spray, broken fittings flood the streets. Take a walk some early morning, you’ll see what I mean. That neighbor washing his car without a shut off nozzle on the hose, huge lawns sucking thousands of gallons to keep them green in hot climates.
    Another option is a low flat rate for a measured amount and then increasingly steep usage rates to punish the heavy users. But that can penalize those with lush gardens, we don’t want to do that. Lots of greenery is healthy for a town, so some allowance should be afforded in that regard.

    (1) 9 Total Votes - 5 up - 4 down
  7. ncdude says:

    This opinion unfortunately misrepresents the facts. The City has been listening to the citizens for the past 2 years on the water rate issue and has proposed 5 rate structures the last of which was the uniform consumption rate where you pay for what you use.
    The claim of the 333% increase is a misrepresentation of the facts as it omits the previous $18 per month flat rate in the calculation. This is not fuzzy math, this is just plain false.
    The sad thing is that a very small number of people have taken this issue way beyond reason. They did some good a first by pointing out some flaws in the first rate structure, but now seem to be drinking the John Borst Koolaide and have lost their perspective. Funny how sometimes people get so caught up in their beliefs that they can’t back off even when they are wrong. This issue has been beaten to death by this small group of dissidents. They have sued the City twice and are backed by a law firm in LA who specialize in harrassing cities for a settlement.
    This may be the price we pay for living in a democracy, that a small group of people can hijack a community, but it is not right.

    (7) 23 Total Votes - 15 up - 8 down

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