YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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Bob Dunning

Bob Dunning: Donations could help ease water burden

By From page A2 | February 14, 2013

LESSENING THE IMPACT … if Measure I passes and brings with it significantly higher water costs for the foreseeable future, we’ll need a plan to help those Davisites who will struggle to make ends meet … there are many needs that we all have, but few are more fundamental to life than water … as laudable as it would be for the city to establish some sort of a baseline/lifeline program and not charge certain low-income families anything at all for the water they use, the strict language of Prop. 218 doesn’t allow this … since everyone is required to pay his fair share of the cost of delivering water, the neediest among us can be granted no favors …

According to an analysis by the Legislative Analyst’s Office, “This fee rate calculation requirement — sometimes called the ‘proportionality’ requirement — will make it difficult for local governments to continue certain programs, such as those that offer reduced rates to low-income residents.” … despite the restrictions imposed by Prop. 218, there is no prohibition from finding ways other than the rate structure to give low-income residents a break … this is where you and I come in …

Currently, if the city takes money from a program to fund a low-income subsidy for water users, something will suffer … but if enough of us feel strongly about this issue, a solution is at hand … simply have our water bills include a voluntary check-off box where citizens can agree to add 20 or 30 dollars a month to their bills with the ironclad understanding that every one of those dollars will go to fund a low-income subsidy … because it’s a voluntary donation, it won’t make anyone else’s water bill go higher and it won’t result in cutbacks for any existing city programs …

In short, this proposal is Prop. 218-proof … it doesn’t violate anything … we still would have to figure out a way to fairly distribute the donated funds, but where there’s a will, there’s a way … it shouldn’t be much of a problem … the city would have to agree, of course, that these donated dollars would not be gobbled up in administrative costs, staff salaries and overhead … if I could be assured my dollars were going directly to help pay the water bills of someone in need, I’d certainly sign up … I’m certain most of you would, too …

ABOUT THAT PAPAL PRONOUNCEMENT … I’ve had no end of people asking me what I think of Pope Benedict’s decision to scratch a 600-year-old church itch and resign his position as head of the church I call home … well first, I was glad to see the pope follow proper procedure and give two weeks’ notice … I think it’s a sign of great humility when a man realizes he can no longer perform the duties of the job he has been assigned and gives it all up so another can take over … I just hope that when a new pope is selected in a month or so that it’s not a no-burn day in Vatican City or they won’t be able to release that famous white smoke to a waiting world …

EVEN MORE PAPAL NEWS … my friend Adrienne says Catholics were eating “ex-Benedict” Monday morning, but she means no disrespect … The New York Times, meanwhile, reported that on the day of the pope’s resignation, “During an evening thunderstorm, a lightning bolt struck the dome of St. Peter’s, though the meaning, if any, was not immediately clear.” … “meaning” in a lightning bolt? … is the Times reporter reluctant to call this a mere coincidence for fear the next lightning bolt may be headed his way? …

— Reach Bob Dunning at [email protected]

Bob Dunning

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