Time to clean house in Paso Robles

September 5, 2010

Opinion By JIM REED

I’d like to give you an update on the issue of our civil servants cramming hundreds of millions of dollars in spending down our throats after the people of Paso Robles voted down the water rate increase last November. The rate increase is being hung up in the courts by the City Attorney. What was supposed to be a quick issue to get in front of a judge, has been drug out as long as possible by the City Attorney.

Even if the courts throw out the current rate increase, I expect that our civil servants will just change a couple of words in the rate increase notice and force the same old plan on us again.

There is a real problem with the people we have hired to work for us in Paso Robles. It seems that decisions are made based on some agenda, even if it is contrary to citizens’ wishes.

City Councilmen Ed Steinbeck, Nick Gilman and Mayor Duane Picanco, on August 19th, voted unanimously to hire the same law firm employed by the City of Bell. You may have heard the recent news story about the City of Bell’s corrupt city representatives.

This law firm allowed the elected officials and City employees to pillage the General Fund for their own benefit, contrary to the rights and interests of the citizens. We are already paying several City employees $12,000 per month with equally ridiculous benefits and pensions. What does this say about our elected representatives?

I believe most residents are like me. We elect people we believe have our best interest in mind. Over the last few years I have seen that nothing is farther from the truth. The people we have elected have lost track of the fact that “the City” exists to protect and deliver services to the citizens. To them it is some all-important ideal they strive to cultivate and improve according to their agenda. They have forgotten that they are elected to represent the citizens.

We have an election coming up in November. We have the opportunity to elect some responsible, principled people to represent us. If we elect more people from within this system, we will get more of the same type of government. We need to look at where the new candidates stand. Will they lawfully represent the citizens of the city? Or, are they happy with the way things are being run?

We have stood together in the past and have made real significant changes in important matters that are going to affect our lives for years to come. There are several thousand citizens that made their voice heard on the water issue, more than enough votes to make a change in our city government.

Please come out and vote for a democratic representative governing body for Paso Robles instead of the tyrannical leadership that exists now.

Jim Reed is a longtime resident of Paso Robles.


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30 Comments

  1. whatisup says:

    pasoobserver – Here is something to observe and get you going in the right direction:

    California Government Code Section 65584
    (a) (1) For the fourth and subsequent revisions of the
    housing element pursuant to Section 65588, the department shall
    determine the existing and projected need for housing for each region
    pursuant to this article. For purposes of subdivision (a) of Section
    65583, the share of a city or county of the regional housing need
    shall include that share of the housing need of persons at all income
    levels within the area significantly affected by the general plan of
    the city or county.
    (2) While it is the intent of the Legislature that cities,
    counties, and cities and counties should undertake all necessary
    actions to encourage, promote, and facilitate the development of
    housing to accommodate the entire regional housing need, it is
    recognized, however, that future housing production may not equal the
    regional housing need established for planning purposes.
    (b) The department, in consultation with each council of
    governments, shall determine each region’s existing and projected
    housing need pursuant to Section 65584.01 at least two years prior to
    the scheduled revision required pursuant to Section 65588. The
    appropriate council of governments, or for cities and counties
    without a council of governments, the department, shall adopt a final
    regional housing need plan that allocates a share of the regional
    housing need to each city, county, or city and county at least one
    year prior to the scheduled revision for the region required by
    Section 65588. The allocation plan prepared by a council of
    governments shall be prepared pursuant to Sections 65584.04 and
    65584.05 with the advice of the department.
    (c) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the due dates for
    the determinations of the department or for the council of
    governments, respectively, regarding the regional housing need may be
    extended by the department by not more than 60 days if the extension
    will enable access to more recent critical population or housing
    data from a pending or recent release of the United States Census
    Bureau or the Department of Finance. If the due date for the
    determination of the department or the council of governments is
    extended for this reason, the department shall extend the
    corresponding housing element revision deadline pursuant to Section
    65588 by not more than 60 days.
    (d) The regional housing needs allocation plan shall be consistent
    with all of the following objectives:
    (1) Increasing the housing supply and the mix of housing types,
    tenure, and affordability in all cities and counties within the
    region in an equitable manner, which shall result in each
    jurisdiction receiving an allocation of units for low- and very low
    income households.
    (2) Promoting infill development and socioeconomic equity, the
    protection of environmental and agricultural resources, and the
    encouragement of efficient development patterns.
    (3) Promoting an improved intraregional relationship between jobs
    and housing.
    (4) Allocating a lower proportion of housing need to an income
    category when a jurisdiction already has a disproportionately high
    share of households in that income category, as compared to the
    countywide distribution of households in that category from the most
    recent decennial United States census.
    (e) For purposes of this section, “household income levels” are as
    determined by the department as of the most recent decennial census
    pursuant to the following code sections:
    (1) Very low incomes as defined by Section 50105 of the Health and
    Safety Code.
    (2) Lower incomes, as defined by Section 50079.5 of the Health and
    Safety Code.
    (3) Moderate incomes, as defined by Section 50093 of the Health
    and Safety Code.
    (4) Above moderate incomes are those exceeding the moderate-income
    level of Section 50093 of the Health and Safety Code.
    (f) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, determinations
    made by the department, a council of governments, or a city or county
    pursuant to this section or Section 65584.01, 65584.02, 65584.03,
    65584.04, 65584.05, 65584.06, 65584.07, or 65584.08 are exempt from
    the California Environmental Quality Act (Division 13 (commencing
    with Section 21000) of the Public Resources Code).

    (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  2. pasoobserver says:

    To whatisup —- First of all, I reviewed AB 602 Assembly Bill. Thanks. I am sorry to inform you but AB 602 is not the LAW as you so stated in your blog. I contacted the Deputy Chief Council’s office in Sacramento handling AB 602 to confirm your misstatement of facts. You know,in the English language, It shouldn’t be so difficult to answer some simple questions with a “YES” or “NO” answer. Yet, you are reluctant to do so, but you go on and on with a thesis along with some rhetoric. I never talked about a court suit over the “water issue”, I asked YOU, not about waiting for a court decision. Maybe, you did with some other people. Also, I was not ranting about the wineries usage of water. My response to you on your vague question about “there are people not paying their fair share for their use of water”. I related, are you talking about the wineries? I am well aware that most of the wineries are outside the city limits using the same aquifer. You took my question out of context., nice try! You are just being a popinjay and rhetorical. Also, you didn’t answer another question about “what is the unit cost of water” in Templeton? as compared to Paso Robles.

    (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
    • whatisup says:

      I am on a well. I am sure you are capable of doing your own homework. I also am quite sure if you really contacted the Deputy Chief Counsel’s Office you have been set straight. What I gave you is a proposed small adjustment in the wide range of laws that make up the California Housing element. I assumed you could stumble onto the facts based on what I gave you. By the way, I believe you can review the Paso Robles Housing element plan on the City’s website or at the Library. The California Housing Element Laws that all cities and counties have to follow have been in place for almost 25 years. I realize you don’t actually have a clue how to look the laws up. Either educate yourself or keep making a fool of yourself, your choice. A simple Google search of California Housing Element Laws will get you going. Good Luck!

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

    TO WHATISUP — I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHAT LAW YOU ARE REFERRING TO THAT SAYS “WE” THE PEOPLE HAVE TO SUBSIDIZE NEW DEVELOPMENT? AGAIN, FOR THE THIRD TIME, YOU FAILED TO ANSWER MY QUESTIONS POSED TO YOU IN MY PRIOR RESPONSES TO YOU ON SEPT.10TH &11TH. IS THERE A REASON WHY YOU DON’T WANT TO ANSWER THEM? YOU DO WHAT OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS DO SO WELL, AND THAT IS “IN ONE EAR AND OUT OF THE OTHER EAR” IT SEEMS TO ME THAT YOU ARE EITHER EMPLOYED BY THE CITY OR YOU HAVE OTHER DEALING WITH THE CITY, SO BE IT. IT APPEARS TO ME THAT YOU THINK THE CITY DOES EVERYTHING RIGHT. APPARENTLY, YOU PRESENT YOURSELF AS BEING VERY BIAS ON CITY DECISIONS. IT LIKE THEY CAN’T DO ANYTHING WRONG ACCORDING TO YOUR LOGIC. THEY KNOW WHAT IS BEST FOR THE CITIZENS OF PASO,THAT IS A GOOD EXAMPLE OF ARROGANCE ALONG WITH NARCISSISM.
    WHAT PEOPLE ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT THAT DOESN’T PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE OF WATER? ARE YOU REFERRING TO THE WINERIES USING THE SAME AQUIFER?
    I BELIEVE YOU RELATED THAT YOU RESIDE IN TEMPLETON, BUT YOU OWN PROPERTY IN PASO. BY THE WAY, WHAT IS THE COST PER UNIT OF WATER USAGE IN TEMPLETON COMPARED TO PASO? OF COURSE, TEMPLETON IS IN AN UNINCORPORATED AREA (COUNTY JURISDICTION).
    WELL, I GAVE YOU SOME SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO PAY FOR THE NACIMIENTO WATER PIPELINE AND SEWER TREATMENT PLANT. ALSO, REMEMBER IT’S THE CITIZENS’ MONEY THAT IS BEING SPENT. WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL, IS LET THE CITIZENS OF PASO DECIDE WITH THEIR VOTE ON HOW TO FINANCE THIS HUGE CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECT EXPENDITURE. JUST BE IN COMPLIANCE WITH STATE PROPOSITION 218 AND STOP CIRCUMVENTING THE LAW.
    WOULD YOU OBJECT TO HAVING TO FINANCE SOME NEW BONDS ON YOUR PROPERTY TAX BILL AS A ” SPECIAL TAX” OR AN ASSESSMENT TAX” TO PAY FOR THE NACIMIENTO WATER PIPELINE AND SEWER TREATMENT PLANT? A PERCENTAGE OF PASO CITIZENS FINANCE LOCAL SCHOOL BONDS ON THEIR PROPERTY TAX BILL AND DON’T HAVE ANY KIDS GOING TO SCHOOL. HOW ABOUT THAT COMPARISON FOR YOU TO THINK ABOUT? WHAT SAY YOU?

    (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
    • Moderator says:

      I say less CapsLock, please.

      (8) 10 Total Votes - 9 up - 1 down
    • whatisup says:

      I have answered your questions. I have been quite detailed in my answers and I am sorry if you can’t deal with the detail. I guess it is your inconvenient truth. You do seem to like to deflect and go around in circles. Another example, now you are ranting about the wineries using the same aquaifier as the City.

      Let me be clear for you, I don’t like the amount of water the wineries are using. However, the wineries are in the County, not in the City and the City can’t do anything about it. They wineries are allowed to take the water they are taking even if it drops the City’s water levels in their wells. You need to complain to Sacramento. It sounds like you just don’t want to pay anything for the infrastructure because you really just don’t want it built.

      Several of your observations of my opinions are bizarre considering I have stated several times I believe the Courts need to decide if Paso Robles has, or has not followed the rules as to funding the infrastucture. Obviously, as I have stated before, if the City loses the lawsuit the infrastructure will have to be paid out of the City’s General Fund until a new method of payment is voted on by the Citizens of Paso Robles. Pretty clear.

      Your idea of charging based on a special assesment rather than the amount of water a property uses means that people who use little water, but live on a more expensive property will pay more than their share, based on their water usage. In addition, how do you deal with a rental unit where the renter is supposed to pay the water bill? Your idea is inherantly unfair, but my guess is it will favor you, so you don’t care if it is unfair and other people would pay part of your share.

      You also have decided that since I have alternative ideas to yours I must work for, or have business with the City of Paso Robles, another attempt to deflect from the issue. However, once again, I have never worked for the City or have ever done business with the City and don’t expect to ever do business with the City. I do own property in the City which is why I pay attention.

      Finally, it turns out there needs to be a fix to the housing element laws, the existance of which you are questioning. As I understand it the fix to the housing elemnt laws is because of some lawsuit. This should give you all the information you need to educate yourself on the California Housing Element laws that every city and county in California has to follow:

      BILL ANALYSIS

      ————————————————————
      |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE | AB 602|
      |Office of Senate Floor Analyses | |
      |1020 N Street, Suite 524 | |
      |(916) 651-1520 Fax: (916) | |
      |327-4478 | |
      ————————————————————

      THIRD READING

      Bill No: AB 602
      Author: Feuer (D), et al
      Amended: 8/20/10 in Senate
      Vote: 21

      SENATE TRANSPORTATION & HOUSING COMM : 6-3, 6/29/10
      AYES: Lowenthal, DeSaulnier, Kehoe, Pavley, Simitian, Wolk
      NOES: Huff, Ashburn, Harman

      ASSEMBLY FLOOR : Not relevant

      SUBJECT : Statute of limitations on housing element
      challenges

      SOURCE : California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation
      Housing California

      DIGEST : This bill states the intent of the Legislature
      in enacting this bill to modify the courts opinion in Urban
      Habitat Program v. City of Pleasanton (2008) 164
      Cal.App.4th 1561, with respect to the interpretation of
      Section 65009 of the Government Code, and revises and
      clarifies statute of limitations and remedies for specified
      housing related challenges.

      Senate Floor Amendments of 8/20/10 revise the statute of
      limitations and remedies for specified housing-related
      challenges.

      ANALYSIS : The Planning and Zoning Law requires cities
      and counties to prepare and adopt a general plan, including
      CONTINUED

      AB 602
      Page
      2

      a housing element, to guide the future growth of a
      community. Following a staggered statutory schedule,
      cities and counties located within the territory of a
      metropolitan planning organization (MPO) must revise their
      housing elements every eight years, and cities and counties
      in rural non-MPO regions must revise their housing elements
      every five years. These five- and eight-year periods are
      known as the housing element planning period.

      Before each revision, each community is assigned its fair
      share of housing for each income category through the
      regional housing needs assessment (RHNA) process. A
      housing element must identify and analyze existing and
      projected housing needs, identify adequate sites with
      appropriate zoning to meet its share of the RHNA, and
      ensure that regulatory systems provide opportunities for,
      and do not unduly constrain, housing development. The
      Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD)
      reviews both draft and adopted housing elements to
      determine whether or not they are in substantial compliance
      with the law.

      The Planning and Zoning Law and the Subdivision Map Act
      also includes a number of sections governing zoning and
      entitlements specifically related to housing, including:

      ? The Housing Accountability Act, which requires a city or
      county to make one or more specified findings in order to
      disapprove a particular housing development.

      ? A provision requiring cities and counties, when adopting
      an ordinance which limits the number of housing units
      which may be constructed on an annual basis, to make
      findings as to the public health, safety, and welfare
      benefits that justify reducing the housing opportunities
      of the region.

      ? Density bonus law, which requires cities and counties to
      grant a developer a density bonus, incentives, and
      concessions when the developer proposes to include
      specified percentages of affordable housing within a
      development.

      ? The Least Cost Zoning Law, which requires cities and

      AB 602
      Page
      3

      counties to designate and zone sufficient vacant land for
      residential use with appropriate standards to meet
      housing needs for all income categories and to contribute
      to producing housing at the lowest possible cost.

      ? A requirement that, when determining whether to approve a
      tentative subdivision map, a city or county shall apply
      only those ordinances, policies, and standards in effect
      as of the date the developer’s application is deemed
      complete.

      Prior to a recent court decision, it was understood that
      current law allowed a party to challenge the adequacy of a
      city’s or county’s housing element at any time during a
      planning period, provided that the challenger brought the
      action “in support of or to encourage or facilitate the
      development of housing that would increase the community’s
      supply of [affordable] housing.” The challenging party was
      required first to serve the city or county with a notice
      identifying the deficiencies in the housing element. After
      60 days or the date on which the city or county took final
      action in response to the notice, whichever occurred first,
      the challenging party had one year to file the action in
      court. This process and statute of limitations also
      applied to actions brought pursuant to the housing-related
      statutes listed above.

      In 2006 Urban Habitat Program brought suit to challenge the
      City of Pleasanton’s housing policies, including the city’s
      annual cap on housing permits and the city’s cap on the
      aggregate number of permissible housing units, both of
      which Urban Habitat claimed were insufficient to allow the
      city to meet its RHNA obligation. In 2008, the First
      District California Court of Appeals issued an unpublished
      decision in the case of Urban Habitat Program v. City of
      Pleasanton allowing the case to proceed with respect to
      some causes of action, but ruling that the challenge to the
      housing element itself was time-barred. The court stated:

      Although the statute does not specify the time within
      which [a deficiency] notice must be given, it is our
      conclusion that the statute must be interpreted as
      containing a time limit within which this requirement
      must be met? In sum, a party bringing a challenge

      AB 602
      Page
      4

      governed by section 65009, subdivision (d), has 90
      days from the date a legislative action is taken or
      approval is given to notify the local land use
      authority of any claimed deficiencies in such an
      action or approval. Its claim then accrues 60 days
      after it gives this notice.

      In other words, instead of being able to initiate a
      challenge to a deficient housing element at any time during
      the planning period, housing advocates and other interested
      parties may now only initiate such a challenge by
      submitting a deficiency notice within 90 days of the
      housing element’s adoption.

      This bill:

      1.Removes from the current list of city or county actions
      which may be challenged pursuant to Government Code 65009
      notice and accrual provisions those actions related to
      the Housing Accountability Act, the Subdivision Map Act,
      and the application of a Density Bonus ordinance to a
      particular project, all of which are project-specific
      actions. The bill maintains the ability to use these
      notice and accrual provisions to challenge the adequacy
      of a city’s or county’s density bonus ordinance
      generally.

      2.Extends lengthening the time in which a deficiency notice
      may be served to cover all remaining city or county
      actions described in this section of law, as opposed to
      just housing element challenges. In other words, the
      amendments apply the longer timeframe to serve the
      deficiency notice to actions relating to the Least Cost
      Zoning Law, annual limits on housing permits, and the
      adequacy of a density bonus ordinance, in addition to
      housing element law.

      3.Provides that an entity challenging such an action in
      support of affordable housing may serve the deficiency
      notice up to five years after the city’s or county’s
      action. After 60 days or the date on which the city or
      county takes final action in response to the notice,
      whichever occurs first, the challenging party has one
      year to file an action in court, except that the lawsuit

      AB 602
      Page
      5

      may not be filed more than five years after the city’s or
      county’s action. In other words, the entity must file
      the lawsuit within one year of the expiration of the
      deficiency notice or within five years of the city’s or
      county’s action, whichever occurs first.

      4.Provides that a housing element from a prior planning
      period may not be challenged if the city or county has
      adopted a revised housing element for the new planning
      period.

      Government Code 65755 . Current law requires a court, if it
      finds any portion of a general plan, including a housing
      element, out of compliance with the law, to include within
      its order or judgment one or more of the following remedies
      for any or all types of developments or any or all
      geographic segments of the city or county until the city or
      county has complied with the law:

      ? Suspend the authority of the city or county to
      issue building permits.
      ? Suspend the authority of the city or county to
      grant zoning changes and/or variances.

      ? Suspend the authority of the city or county to
      grant subdivision map approvals.
      ? Mandate the approval of building permits for
      residential housing that meet specified criteria.
      ? Mandate the approval of final subdivision maps for
      housing projects that meet specified criteria.
      ? Mandate the approval of tentative subdivision maps
      for residential housing projects that meet specified
      criteria.

      This bill clarifies that in any action or proceeding
      brought pursuant to the notice and accrual provisions of
      Government Code Section 65009 described above, neither the
      court remedies described above nor any injunction against
      the development of a housing project shall abrogate,
      impair, or otherwise interfere with the full exercise of
      the rights and protections granted to an applicant for a
      tentative map or a vesting tentative map under specified
      provisions of the Subdivision Map Act or to a developer
      under a specified provision relating to development

      AB 602
      Page
      6

      agreements.

      Under current law, HCD operates a number of grant programs
      to which cities and counties may apply. In many cases, the
      law requires a city or county to have an HCD-approved
      housing element in order to be eligible for funding.

      This bill provides that if a third-party challenges the
      adequacy of a housing element in court and the court finds
      that the housing element substantially complies with all of
      the requirements of housing element law, the element shall
      be deemed to be in compliance for purposes of state housing
      grant programs.

      Background

      The statutory language interpreted by the court and at
      issue in this bill was added to statute by AB 998 (Waters),
      Chapter 1138, Statutes of 1983, a bill sponsored by the
      League of California Cities and the California Building
      Industry Association. AB 998 created a short statute of
      limitations period for land use decisions generally but
      provided a specific exception to protect the ability to
      challenge deficient housing elements. The Senate Housing
      and Land Use Committee and the Senate Third Reading
      analysis of the bill stated that the bill:

      Specifies that for challenges in support of low- and
      moderate-income housing requirements, the petitioner
      shall notice local government 60 days prior to filing
      action. The [one-year] statute of limitations then
      begins on the first day the legislative body fails to
      act.

      In the intervening 25 years prior to the Urban Habitat
      ruling, housing advocates filed and successfully settled at
      least ten cases in which the 60-day deficiency notice was
      sent more than 90 days after adoption of the city’s or
      county’s housing element. In none of these cases was the
      timeliness on the advocates’ suit contested. Likewise, six
      bills amended other portions of this statute during those
      intervening years, and there was never any controversy
      surrounding the lack of a deadline for housing advocates to
      serve a deficiency notice nor any attempt to change the

      AB 602
      Page
      7

      statute in this regard.

      Current level of housing element compliance . According to
      HCD’s website as of June 7, 2010, only 46 percent of cities
      and counties have adopted an HCD-approved housing element
      for the current planning period that began in 2005 for the
      San Diego region, 2008 for the Southern California, Fresno,
      Kern, and Sacramento regions, and the summer of 2009 for
      the remaining areas of the state.

      Unlocking the private market . The purpose of housing
      element law is to create opportunities for the private
      housing market to function. Builders cannot build without
      access to appropriately zoned land, and current land use
      plans in many cities and counties in California fail to
      provide sufficient opportunities to accommodate projected
      population growth. The San Diego Association of
      Governments’ Regional Comprehensive Plan describes this
      typical California paradox in the following way:

      Under current plans and policies, more than 90 percent
      of [the San Diego region’s] remaining vacant land
      designated for housing is planned for densities of
      less than one home per acre, and most is in the rural
      back country areas dependent upon scarce groundwater
      supplies. And of the remaining vacant land planned for
      housing in the 18 incorporated cities, only about
      seven percent is planned for multifamily housing. When
      taken together, the current land use plans of the 19
      local jurisdictions do not accommodate the amount of
      growth anticipated in our region. SANDAG’s population
      forecast, which reflects the current adopted local
      land use plans in the region, projects that while
      population will increase by 37 percent by 2030,
      housing will grow by just 30 percent. The forecast
      shows that if local plans are not changed, demand for
      housing will continue to outpace the supply, just as
      it does today.

      Housing element law addresses this problem directly by
      requiring cities and counties to zone land at appropriate
      densities to accommodate the projected housing needs of all
      income groups and to remove constraints that prevent such
      sites from being developed at the allowed densities.

      AB 602
      Page
      8

      Cities and counties, however, are not required to build
      housing because that is the role of private developers.
      The law holds cities and counties accountable only for that
      which they control: zoning and land use entitlements.
      Without the ability to enforce housing element law, the
      market’s ability to meet housing demand may well remain
      locked up.

      FISCAL EFFECT : Appropriation: No Fiscal Com.: No
      Local: No

      SUPPORT : (Verified 8/23/10)

      California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation (co-source)
      Housing California (co-source)
      Advocates for Affordable Homes in Fremont
      California Association of Realtors
      California Building Industry Association
      California Coalition for Rural Housing
      City of Oakland
      Community Housing Improvement Program
      Community Housing Works
      Eden Housing
      Fair Housing of Marin
      Grassroots Leadership Network of Marin
      Kennedy Commission
      Mercy Housing California
      Planning and Conservation League
      Public Advocates, Inc
      Sacramento Housing Alliance
      San Diego Housing Federation
      Self-Help Enterprises
      Sierra Club of California
      Silicon Valley Leadership Group
      Transform
      Urban Habitat
      Western Center on Law and Poverty

      OPPOSITION : (Verified 8/23/10)

      American Planning Association, California Chapter
      California State Association of Counties
      Civil Justice Association of California
      League of California Cities

      AB 602
      Page
      9

      JA:nl 8/23/10 Senate Floor Analyses

      SUPPORT/OPPOSITION: SEE ABOVE

      **** END ****

      (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
  4. pasoobserver says:

    To whatisup — Thank you for your response to my comments. However, you failed to answer some of my questions that I mentioned to you. It’s almost like dealing with some City officials. They just let the public vent at their bimonthly council meetings. In my opinion, it’s difficult to deal with narcissism and arrogance. Over the years, there has been some very good input to our elected officials on how to proceed on the Nacimiento water pipeline,but it fell on deaf ears. You wanted me to answer some of your questions,but you did not answer some of my questions. Again, are you willing to subsidize new development?,Yes?or No?, are you willing to pay for a commodity that you are not receiving? Yes?or No? and another question for you. Are you willing to pay over 300% on your water bills within the five (5) year plan that the City has proposed? Also, the water rates will be subject to later increases too. By the way, I do concur with the city’s plan of “you pay for the amount of water units you use”. (748 gal=one unit). However, the higher water rates are not good for our senior citizens on fixed incomes and other struggling families in our community. My first suggestion years ago was desalination. The response was it was too expensive. Of course, now it is more expensive. I would suggest that our elected officials recall the existing bonds (The bonds can be recalled early). The City council can explain to the citizens in detail with financing of new bonds at a lower interest rate as of now for the sewer plant and Nacimiento water pipeline and present their new proposal in compliance with Proposition 218. Let the citizens of Paso VOTE on the financing bonds for their approval. Most of the citizens,that I had spoken to were not happy with the way our City Council handled the Nacimiento water pipeline project. The citizens of Paso didn’t give our City Council a “BLANK CHECK” for $176 million to spend without voter approval. I would suggest that it be a “special tax” or “an assessment” be levied on our property taxes. A percentage of those bonds can be deducted on Federal Income taxes. As it is now, a” fee” on a capital funding project is not deductible. Of course, there are homeowners would not go for this suggestion due to our poor economy. My analogy mentioned above would be, you would get something back on a “special tax” or an “assessment” verses nothing on a “fee”. What say you?

    (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
    • whatisup says:

      Unfortunately the law says we have to subsidize new development in California. I don’t like it, but it is the law.

      I know paying using the property taxes was bandied about. The argument against it was it would mean some would be paying for water they aren’t using and others could be big water users, but pay a small special assessment on their property taxes. I think the decision that was made to base it on usage was out of fairness. It seems to me if people are using water and not paying their share of the costs it is not fair.

      The Senior issue is very difficult. If someone is retired for twenty years is it realistic to think prices don’t go up during the 20 years of retirement. Think what prices were in 1990 compared to today. Should Seniors never have to pay for capital improvements? Paso Robles also had very low water rates. Rates that are no longer possible given the circumstances.

      Desalination will happen eventually. California is out of water. If you want to pay $1,000,000 a gallon there is no more allotable water of any consequence in California. The expense will be tremendous — still have to build a desalination plant, still have to build a pipeline. I don’t know if the plant has to be built along the ocean or if the salt water could be piped over to Paso Robles. If it has to be built along the ocean, Paso Robles doesn’t own land on the ocean and, in any case, the environmentalists will keep it in courts for years as they have done so for other proposed desalination plants in Southern California. Eventually necessity will force desalination past the environmentalists, but not yet.

      (-1) 3 Total Votes - 1 up - 2 down
      • pasojim says:

        Whatisup – On one of your previous post you made the comment you haven’t heard any of the legal suggestions for the water issue, But you obviously have. That is a good thing. So we can move the discussion ahead.

        Once, again this was handled incorrectly by our city custodians from the beginning. And now here we are. The public is not supporting this very expensive, very limited benefit project. As you said, until a plan is developed that the public can support, things don’t look good.

        All this discussion about the water issue has only reinforced my opinion the issue hasn’t been about water, only how the plan should be paid for. Or more specifically, to what extent do we allow our elected custodians and our un-elected GOD tzar decide which laws they will follow and which laws they will ignore.

        When the City GOD tzar tell citizens at a council meeting if we don’t agree with the City’s plan, then we should just sue him, and when the City Attorney explains to a citizen at a City Council meeting that she does have to respond to their questions because she does NOT work for them. When the project is voted down by the citizens and the council brings it right back up, it is clear that our elected representatives are not doing their job providing direction to their employees and listening to and representing the CITIZENS.

        The subject of the original post was the need to elect different representation. I think with all the conversation made on this post, as well as the post on Cal Coast about the hiring of the new legal firm you were involved in, Supports my original opinion.

        (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down

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