YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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Bob Dunning

Bob Dunning: Let us vote soon on water rates

By From page A2 | February 11, 2014

TO VOTE OR NOT TO VOTE … now that sufficient signatures have been turned in and verified to force a vote on our new water rates, it’s time for the attorney-laden Davis City Council to put the issue on the June ballot and let everyone decide this thing once and for all … and for all those who think we already voted on this last March, we didn’t … that vote was to approve the surface water project, nothing more … the rates have never been put to a vote of the people …

Admittedly, the legal bar to qualify this for the ballot is extremely low, but the law is the law … there are also a number of challenges available to the city that could delay a vote or perhaps even prevent it altogether … still, you’d think our elected leaders, who were unanimous in support of both the new water project and the sky-high rates that it necessitates, would want to know what the citizens of this town are thinking about all this … if you supported these rates, you shouldn’t be afraid to run on your record …

THREE’S A CROWD … given that three council members will have their political careers on the line in the June election, conventional wisdom suggests they might not want to gum up the works by allowing a vote on the water rates as well … Councilwoman Rochelle Swanson is running for re-election, while Mayor Joe Krovoza and Mayor Pro Tem Dan Wolk are running for the same 4th District seat in the California Assembly … all three were enthusiastic supporters of the water project …

Again, you’d think they’d be willing to run on their records, but only time tell … after all, if there is majority support for these rates, they have nothing to worry about … and if there’s not majority support for the rates, our city leaders should be willing to accept that fact and act accordingly …

THE PEOPLE SPEAK … my friend Glen fired off a guided missive aimed at all five council members urging that they “place the measure to repeal the city’s proposed water rates on the ballot as soon as possible, preferably in June, but no later than November of this year.” … Glen, like so many others I’ve heard from, thinks delaying the vote well over two years to 2016 as the city attorney has told the council is an available option, is straight-out unconscionable … agreed … I mean, what’s the point of an initiative if it’s not decided in a timely manner? …

As we sit here in early 2014, no one can seriously argue that 2016 is reasonable … Glen, in fact, says setting such a late date would be a “slap in the face” to those who worked hard to get the initiative on the ballot … the council might not like this particular monkey wrench in the water works, but they certainly ought to be supportive of the initiative process in general …

Adds Glen: “As disgruntled as some of you must be with this highly successful initiative effort, please bear in mind that it was the City Council’s unwise and calculated decision to leave rates off the ballot in March 2013 when we voted on Measure I.” … indeed, the city could have decided this entire thing once and for all last March by simply putting both the rates and the project on the same ballot … the council, however, steadfastly refused to do so …

“Consequently,” Glen adds, “the city is now forced — and rightfully so — to allow the voters of Davis to have their say about the incomprehensible and unacceptable CBFR water rates you unfortunately attempted to force on us.” … while it’s hard to judge which way the electorate ultimately might vote on this issue, clearly the right thing to do here is to allow us all to have a say as soon as possible … the council election this June makes a lot of sense for this measure, as well as the statewide general election in November … pushing the election to 2016 will prove the council is acting in bad faith …

— Reach Bob Dunning at [email protected]

Bob Dunning

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