Did Contra Costa Supervisors make decision on Clean Water Initiative before public hearing?

I attended the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors Public Hearing on February 7, 2012 at  10:00 AM to give input on the Clean Water Initiative, which will result in a significant tax increase to residents of Contra Costa County. (Link to the Initiative: http://www.cccleanwater.org/cleanwaterinitiative/).  I expected to hear the proposal presentation by the Public Works Department and the protests/objections by the public.

This initiative will assess property owners over a l0 year period for water services. In addtion the Clean Water fee revenues, to keep pace with the cost of operating and maintaining the clean water act,  will be increased annually by the CPI or 2% which ever is less.

The agenda clearly stated that the purpose of this hearing on the Clean Water initiative was “to consider protests … and to either set an election or terminate proceedings to seek approval of the fee.” I was there from 10 AM to 1:15 p.m. and this is what I observed.

First, two representatives of the Public Works Department presented this proposal to the Board. Then, public comments of three minutes each were heard by the board. Finally, the Board had a question and answer discussion with the Public Works Department representatives.

30 people spoke during the public comments portion of which 29 were opposed and 1 ( a representative of the League of Women Voters) was in favor. The Board was still in the 3rd step of a question and answer with the representatives of the Public Works Department when I left.

But When I returned home on that same night and checked my mail and discovered a fancy brochure promoting the Clean Water Initiative with a  PUBLISHED ELECTION SCHEDULE.

The brochure proclaimed that ballots will be sent out by February 21, 2012 (2 weeks from the hearing).

WHAT?

Clearly, the Clean Water Initiative promotion brochure was mailed before the supposed public hearing.

Clearly, the Board of Supervisors had already approved this election and lied to the public.

This was obviously a fixed deal and a sham performance by the Board of Supervisors and the Public Works Department.

Appalling behavior by the Board of Supervisors to rule from the top down.

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Comments

  1. Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette says

    I just received another propaganda piece from CCC Public Works on this so called “Clean Water Program”. This is the 3rd at taxpayer expense. Plus a full page add in the snooty Diablo Magazine.. The obviously corrupt Contra Costa Times had a big advertisement, disguised as news, on their front page, February 15th. I expect more will come.
    I admit there is trash everywhere. #1 Beer containers. #2 Plastic water bottles. #3 Fast food debris. #4 Junk food wrappers. Unless there’s a tornado or major flood, this junk won’t make it into any waterway.
    Why don’t they be real good totalitarians & put peoples names on things they might throw away, at point of purchase? Tax AmBev, McDonald’s, bottled water companies and other companies, who put things into non- biodegradable packaging . This will be a minor intrusion into peoples freedom to toss what they want, where they want.
    Nooo! They totalitarians want to tax me for the clean water that lands on my roof & drains into a frog pond. I have an incredibly green neighbor , who catches & reuses their rainwater & grey water. I will ask them what their “Clean Water Tax” will be.

  2. Jean says

    I contacted the Clean Water Initiative to complain about the flyer. They stated that it was their falt that it had gone out. It was stated that there was a change in staff and that the new member did not pay attention to the distribtuion date should the BOS approve the iniative. So before we all go blaming the BOS and assuming that they ‘plotted’…get some facts.

    Also, if you read the intiaiative in full – should the measure not pass the County will be fined up to $10,000 a day; which will come out of the general fund (not just County, but Cities as well). This could be a large problem when the County and Cities run out of monies!

    I don’t know about all of you, but my City can not afford to lose any more money.

    • says

      Consulting agencies always take the blame when client screws up. We need to stop electing legislators who allow these $10,000 per day retributions for their dubious projects.

    • Jean says

      It’s always easy to make a scapgoat without gaining the facts. I am not saying the BOS is perfect, shoot, no politician is perfect, but the mailer was not generated by the BOS and not sent out by the BOS – therefore, how can you blame the BOS?
      Food for thought.

    • Voter26 says

      This tax is a crock because we all pay $30.00 already for cleaning the storm drains. Look at your tax role people. CC-FED STRMWTR FEE DB (925) 313-2312 $30.00
      I do not even have any storm drains where I live yet I have to pay anyway. Now they want more, forget it. What irritates the hell out of me is that the flyers were already printed with my tax dollars BEFORE the BOS decision was to be made. Yes Jean, it is obviously a plot by moving forward before a BOS vote was made. This is so much a set up that was decided behind closed doors before the public even had a chance to weigh in.

  3. Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette says

    I wrote a letter to the editor of the Lamorinda Weekly on February 8th.They threw it in their dustbin.There is not one word about this tax/fee in their newspaper today.. It’s delivered to every home in this area, free of charge bi-weekly. .Last year they published every letter I wrote. Obviously someone in the government (past or present) has paid them off. This is the 3rd letter in a row that met their dustbin. Freedom of the press is bullshit. Ignorance rules. We have a few websites that tell the truth or let people comment without deletions. Thanks BGR

  4. Bruce R, Peterson, Lafayette says

    Sunday, I found someone from The Happy Valley Homeowners Association interested in having a meeting to oppose this tax. Jim Walberg from Danville knows what’s going on.
    Monday morning I found an extremely boring story on the front page of the obviously corrupt Contra Costa Times by Tom Barnidge & an unsigned editorial on page 6 Both stories had bits of facts, but mostly propaganda.
    I am expecting to get some facts from the nice Clerk of The Board of Supervisors. With my computer skills below those of an 8 year old. I won’t know how to post them.
    Thanks for the info on Mary Piepho. A typical politician who tells people what they want to hear. Then does the opposite. A young version of Gayle B. Uilkema..

  5. Larry Pines says

    This “election” process strikes me as something cooked up by George Orwell or Vladimir Putin. The taxing agency controls the flow of disinformation 100%. With BANG’s Voderbrueggen’s one-sided journalistic embarrassment, it’s clear the CC Times will push this tax (Have they ever opposed one?).

    Is there any organized group or stakeholder that will be making any effort to reach property owners and offer them the truth about the run-off rake-off?

    At a minimum, someone should be functioning as a clearing house for FACTS and information, so that email chains can deliver effective counter-propaganda. Direct mail is cost prohibitive. Email chains may be our only hope. Intelligent sounding LTE’s will be filtered out by BANG. TV/Radio would likely defeat the tax, but no single taxpayer (even Shell, etc.) has a big enough dog in this fight to fight back.

    The ballots arrive in about 1 week. This whole scheme was rolled out with no chance for tax opponents to organize. Smells of Tramutola.

  6. says

    Folks should note that the Franchise Tax Board stated that taxpayers will no longer be allowed to dduct property tax assessems added to pay for schools, sewers. lighting, etc. In many cases these adcded assessments are more than our basic property tax. Assemblyman Jim Silva of Huntington Beach plans to amend his recent legislation (AB1552) to remedy this mess to include ALL assessments to confform to state tax law which references federal law, interpreted to refer to all assessments being deductible. That state is awaiting an IRS opinion.

  7. Bruce R. Peterson Lafayette says

    I have had Barbara Zivaca’s LTTE on my refrigerator door since it was published.
    The announcement, that also looked like junk mail, that arrived by snail mail the day of the sham meeting, says the ballots will be sent out on February 21.
    Steve Weir said $1,000,000 had been squandered on propaganda. Steve said he has nothing to do with this election.
    I sat front & center & took notes at the February 7th meeting. Mary Piepho was the only Supervisor showing an once of intelligence. The salesmen in front were spewing BULLSHIT after public comments ended. The farmer sitting near me agreed. The supervisors were gobbling it up. How do we elect people this bad? The word in Lafayette was to send Gayle B. Uilkema to the county. Get her out of Lafayette. Now she is undergoing chemotherapy. That’s the reason she missed the meeting.

    • VOTER says

      I do not think Piepho’s no vote was genuine. Her reasoning for a no vote so people would vote on another tax ten times higher suggests she knew more how this one would turn out. Playing both sides is one of her traits. The entire show by Piepho was for publicity not for sincerity. Don’t be fooled by this woman. The only true alliance she has is with herself.

  8. says

    I protested via letter the clean water tax. I was told that, unlike what is posted above, that in regard to send out ballots Piepho voted no and Ulkema was absent. ?
    Why does the website above atgate DeSaulnier’s Select Committee? I’m not a supporter of his.

  9. Wendy Lack says

    In a county this size, the protest threshold is too high to realistically be reached. This is similar to the rate increase notices distributed by utilities — they end up in the trash so the utility service essentially has carte blanche over voters’ bank accounts.

    It would require a huge (read: expensive) opposition campaign to get sufficient numbers of voters to understand and follow through to file a protest. With a fee such as this one for “Clean Water”, for which voters won’t even receive the standard ballot pamphlet, the voting documents will most likely be tossed as junk mail.

    Not only is this particular fee proposal based on a junk-science sham, but the Prop 218 process is being misused. No one but the most informed voters will even know what’s going on with this voting process, which comes at an odd time of year when most people aren’t thinking about voting.

  10. Bruce R. Peterson Lafayette says

    I took the brochure resembling junk mail, that was mailed just before Christmas, around my neighborhood, to ask people what their proposed fee was. Not one person knew. Major property owner, Joan Bruzzone, was not home Monday.. She spoke at the Tuesday meeting. I have The Lamorinda Weekly’s home address in Moraga. I will visit them soon. This county & The City of Lafayette have been corrupt for decades. The man who calls himself “The Lafayette Taxpayers Association” is the biggest liar in Lafayette’s history. He’s supported 5 City Tax measures.The League of Women Voters & The Contra Costa Times act like they are working on commission to pass tax proposals. Fellow posting person Kris Hunt ignores my e-mails.I suspect she is just full of hot air, no action. like her friends at ACCT. I have filed more ballot arguments against tax measures than I can count. Some have been trumped. I have never had support or raised money. Hopefully these dirty tricks by county/city public works departments & the Board of Supervisors, will raise more people from the comatose conditions they are in.

  11. says

    There was little chance that there would have been enough protest votes. To meet the criteria to stop the election from going forward there would have had to have been 153,000 letters of protest. There were 451. However, it was not obvious to most people that what they received would require a letter. It looked more like an announcement. The Board could have made the decision not to go forward with the election if they chose not to. Of course, they were not going to do that.

  12. Bruce R, Peterson, Lafayette says

    I just spent the day with Steve W. of elections & June M. the clerk of the board of supervisors. June said the mailing was in error so it only looked like a sham.. June read the article in the CC Times while I was filling out a card to receive the info on the speakers, online. She said she is overwhelmed by new objections.. She said the Article in the CC Times by Lisa Voderbrueggen was “BULLSHIT.”. I am learning so much so fast, it giving me brain overload. I’ve met 3 very intelligent, interesting people this week. This is taxing the clean water that falls on your roof.The bigger your roof, the bigger your tax. I spent Wednesday afternoon with a man being taxed $601 per year. The water from his barns, water his sheep pasture.

  13. John says

    I think it was all a stage. Too many variables were seen while they were hearing it. This entire senario seemed to be pre planned. We could use some new supervisors.

  14. says

    I spoke against this initiative at the Supervisors public hearing and I, too, had an advertisement in my mail box for this measure when I got home. I was very disheartened to know that the public hearing was a sham. I will be very busy in the next 3 weeks alerting people to this ballot with some facts about it. I hope the ‘no’ vote is overwhelming.