Thursday, December 18, 2014

Bob Dunning: Proportionality is key to water ruling


From page A2 | January 16, 2014 |

WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE … as we wait with bated breath and low-flow toilets for Judge Dan Maguire’s ruling on the constitutionality of our new-and-improved water rates, a recent case in Southern California may shed some light on the situation … in a case decided several months ago, Orange County Superior Court Judge Gregory Munoz found the city of San Juan Capistrano’s water rates “invalid because the fees imposed on each parcel or property exceed the proportional cost of the services attributable to each parcel.” …

The notion of “proportionality” was front and center in our yet-to-be-decided Yolo County Superior Court case as well … while the two cases are not identical, they are similar in many key aspects … Maguire, of course, is not bound by the Orange County decision, but may well wish to consider Judge Munoz’s reasoning … the bottom line for the good citizens of San Juan Capistrano — who still turn out in droves every March 19 for the return of the swallows to the mission there — is that the city will have to go back to step one and come up with a plan that accurately charges the actual cost of providing water to its residents … whether we’ll suffer a similar fate in Davis is currently in Maguire’s capable hands …

THE CACTIFICATION OF DAVIS … judging by the condition of the lawns in my hardscrabble neighborhood, our new water rates have frightened just about everyone into stopping all outdoor watering … while conservation is laudable, a brownscape is not especially pleasing … I mean, are we going to have to rename our greenbelts as brownbelts? … the other problem with all this extreme conservation is what it’s likely to do to the city’s revenue projections … seems almost inevitable that our rates will have to be raised again to cover the shortfall …

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY … after years of reading the classifieds in this very newspaper, I have finally found a “Help Wanted” add that fits me like a well-worn shoe … “The UC Davis Nutrition Department is seeking research volunteers!” it begins, using one more exclamation point than necessary … “Volunteers will receive results on blood lipids and cholesterol, body composition, bone density, nutrient intake, and receive a $200 gift card.” … they, of course, don’t tell you if it’s a $200 gift card to McDonald’s or a $200 gift card to one of our many health clubs … given that it’s the Nutrition Department handing out these cards, I suspect it’s not the former …

Turns out participants must be “willing to consume 4 milkshakes on 4 different occasions.” … holy guacamole, count me in … if necessary, I can drink four milkshakes on one occasion … I just want to know if I have to bring my own French fries to dip in the shakes for that sweet-and-salty high or if fries will be provided … I’d give you the phone number to sign up, but I don’t want anyone to beat me to the punch …

EVEN MORE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES … reading further in the classifieds, I came across the question “Ever been called a workplace bully?” … well, since I generally type at home in my pajamas, it doesn’t happen often, but I do get grumpy if someone’s in the bathroom when I want to use it … “Help me share your story for my Ph.D. dissertation research.” … they’re passing out doctorates these days for first-person bullying stories? … might be time to get back into school and grab a degree …

“Missing from what we think we know about workplace bullying is a vital perspective — yours. Please help me to include your experience in this important research.” … there’s no mention of compensation, but I’m certain that this study — like all UC Davis studies — will include four milkshakes on four separate occasions … if so, count me in … in this town, I could use a Ph.D. behind my name …

— Reach Bob Dunning at



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