Friday, February 10, 2006

Malcontents, They Got Our Back

Reject the Encinitas "Stormwater Runoff Tax"

In the next few weeks, Encinitas property owners will be asked via mail-in ballot to reinstate the NPDES Storm Drain Tax, which was illegally collected as a fee for 15 months from April 2004 through June 2005. California courts have struck down such taxes masquerading as fees when collected without voter approval, because they violate the State Constitution under Proposition 218. The city stopped collecting the tax only after being sued by two citizen watchdogs and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

Don’t be fooled by assertions of the Encinitas council and their lavish propaganda pamphlets, claiming that this tax is a Clean Water Regulatory Fee. It is a tax, period.

And the issue is not about clean water. It is about a greedy council and city management bent on empire building. If approved, this proposed new tax will squeeze more money out of you, so that your bloated city government can hire more people and so that city officials can pad their own salaries and lucrative pensions.

Before you cast your vote, I want to leave you with a few thoughts. The lawsuit by Donna Westbrook, Richard Nagy and the HJTA against the City of Encinitas on this issue was won for two important reasons:

(1) The "Clean Water Fee" is really a "Storm Water Runoff Tax." Being a tax it needs voter approval. Moreover, it requires a 2/3 approval, not a simple majority as proposed by council.

(2) The ill-conceived tax is imposed on water meters. There is no correlation between water meter ownership and storm runoff. The proposed tax punishes environmentally concerned citizens and rewards the real polluters who dump trash on large land parcels that may not even be serviced by water meters. Hence the tax is unfair, unlawful and unconstitutional.

For the city to bring this tax back to the voting public as a "fee" imposed on unrelated commodities is a criminal contempt of the law.

Voters also need to understand the following:

(1) The city’s "Clean Water Program," including maintenance of storm drains, as well as street cleanup and runoff control, has been funded from the General Fund for the last five years and needs no new taxes. The program will continue whether Proposition C is approved or not.

(2) The council spent over $110,000 on surveys and propaganda to convince people that the tax is good for them. They are also making it difficult for taxpayers to reclaim their share of over $1 million in illegally assessed and collected "fees." Taxpayers have to file individual claim forms and wait for the city to repay them.

When co-plaintiff Westbrook made a plea to the council for promptly reimbursing the
illegally collected tax to the property owners at the August 24, 2005 council hearing, she was rudely chastised by Deputy Mayor Christy Guerin.

In her customary, condescending tone, Ms. Guerin sternly chided this soft-spoken activist from her high pulpit, raised two fingers in the air, reminiscent of a certain obscene gesture, and pronounced: "We were challenged by TWO citizens. That's it, TWO!" Her implication was that the rest of the community was agreeable with the deceptive way in which the tax was collected.

She then continued pontificating on why she supported settling the lawsuit, adding, "The citizens weren't suing us with their OWN money ...that's the only reason. Otherwise I would have fought it."

If you are baffled by Ms. Guerin’s twisted logic, you are not alone. Why spend over
$110,000 to find out if the voters will support the tax, when she already knows that only two "malcontents" in the community oppose it?

If the city were truly interested in cleaning the storm water runoff, they should have spent the $110,000 for a better purpose – such as sampling the groundwater oozing out from under the city-owned Hall property into Rossini Creek, which enters the ocean at Cardiff Reef.

Tests performed over three years ago in the creek showed dangerously high concentrations of E-coli bacteria, petroleum products and metallic ions. Levels of arsenic were close to a million times above California EPA standards for drinking water. The outflow from the Hall site has not been tested since. Why is the city ignoring this dangerous health hazard?

My advice to Encinitas home owners: Reject Prop. C and insist on reimbursement of your share of the illegally collected "Clean Water Regulatory Fee." Don't let city bureaucrats brush you off. The lawsuit's settlement agreement entitles you to that money now, not when and if the voters reject reinstating the illegal tax.

Dietmar Rothe, Ph.D.
Research Scientist & Engineer
Author of "In Search of Truth and Freedom" (www.avilabooks.com)
Cosigner of Arguments against Prop. A

Cardiff

*Note- People like Donna Westbrook (whom I have never met) spend a lot time researching mind numbing, boring beaucratic red tape to find the truth about the shady shit that goes down in our town. Mayor Christy Guerin all other city players need to realize that behind every Westbrook are hundreds of concerned locals who don't have the time or the patience to sit through three hour long meetings or go down to the city hall and file request for obscure forms. We lean on out city watchdogs. I care about the town I grew up in and so do I all my friends, but we haven't been showing up to city council meetings and making our presence known. We all owe an apology to people like Donna for doing the dirty work for us. For my part, I will keep blogging.
USA! USA USA!

Jp St Pierre
Disco Malcontent

33 comments:

  1. you say you want a revolutionFebruary 11, 2006 6:32 AM

    It has become so obvious that we need a change at the city council. Guerin and Dalager come up for election in November and they are a major part of the problem.

    They have either approved, or stood silent as Kerry Miller took them down the bizzar and twisted path now called prop C. They watched him spend money to fool the voters, then more money to see how satisfied the voters were. They spent more money supporting an il conceived rental ban that was dropped when the going got rough. They subjected the city to a bitter battle known as Prop A because they lacked the back-bone to stand up to their largest campaign contributor. They proposed (and almost snuck through) the spending of $450,000 to study a parcel on Saxony for the PW yard that we dont own and that is zoned ag in perpituity.
    We need to start at the top to work our way down. Vote out Guerin and Dalager asap, Miller and Sabine need replacement as soon as the new council is seated. Resignations will follow from those in staff positions that get the idea that the party is over. They will see an end to four day work weeks, fat pensions and poor customer service.


    We need to get started.

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  2. I read about this website in the coastal newspaper. It rocks.

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  3. Steve is working on a response to Mr Rothe. He is our hero and he will show us all how Rothe can't be right.

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  4. Open your eyes, not your walletFebruary 11, 2006 3:57 PM

    Fantastic post, Dietmar, JP. Yes, there are many, many citizens who do rely on so-called "malcontents" to question corrupt authority.

    Yes, this ill conceived Prop C is about more than just maintaining our storm drains. It also is about the powers that be (bad) trying to twist the truth, put a spin on their motives, and in the process, increase their power, their influence, and their wealth, by stealing ours.

    We did try to go in to City Hall to get our refund for the illegal taxes collected on our EDCO bill. We were denied, could not even get a claim form!

    One man at a recent Council Meeting talked about how he refused to pay EDCO, then had his trash service cut off, but was able, finally, to get it reinstated. The City will not have to reimburse him the $70.00 dollars, as he never paid it!

    We tried to do that at first, but after speaking to the customer service rep. at EDCO, actually felt sorry that this company, which provides a needed service, was being forced to collect additional fees unrelated to that service. EDCO was coerced, plain and simple. If they did not hold our trash service hostage, they were directly threatened: the City would look to some other trash service provider, through an exclusive contract.

    Also, did anyone else notice that as soon as the "clean water fee" was discontinued from the trash bill, the EDCO bill itself went up nearly five dollars a month, anyway? Was that part of the payoff? The timing is certainly suspect.

    No, we just can't trust our elected officials. I stayed up until 11:00 p.m. watching last Wednesday's Council Meeting this past Thursday night. Yawn. Once again, Christy Guerin showed bias in supporting a wrongful interpretation of the rounding up/rounding down rule. The Council finally did make the right decision in voting that they should stick with Encinitas code, and the State's interpretation of the density bonus law, and not allow rounding up, to give developer's even more of a bonus than already provided.

    Personally, I believe we could find creative solutions to the affordable housing component of the housing element. I wouldn't want a city of only lower income "old-timers" and newbie millionaires.

    Also, why can't Council meet every week, publicly, at City Hall, so that some meetings don't have to stretch on so long? Many people just can't stay out this late, and important issues are relatively undebated, undiscussed. Council counts on this. It does not want public comment. Yet each Council Member can talk on and on, as long as he or she chooses, revisiting the same issue as many times as they want. Unfair. The voters are not being respected, honored, or heard, for the most part.

    Yes, I saw the article on the Leucadia.blogspot.com in the Coast News. I didn't like the way it ended, though. That last paragraph seemed like a plug for Aceti, to me. And I do wish the Coast News could come out for truth in government as North County Times has, through an editorial. As for Nanninga's editorial last week, he did explore both sides of the question, but seemed, to us, to come to an illogical conclusion!

    This is not an either/or situation, Bob N. You can be a treehugger and still support honest, open government. If you want more money for environmental uses, then you should want to give the people the right to decide fairly, and to know whether or not the extra taxes we are to be charged will be diverted to bigger staffs, bigger pensions, and bigger political ambitions of our elected and appointed officials.

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  5. Stand up for the truth!February 11, 2006 4:05 PM

    Yeah, great posts!

    Don't tread on us! We were happy that the Coastal Commission stood firm, despite "lobbying" from Encinitas Council, trying to stop the little guy from renting out a room, or a guesthouse, during Racetrack Season, for example.

    Yes, City Council, Kerry Miller, Manager, Patrick Murphy of Community Development are micro-managers, cramming their selfish, self-serving policies down our throats.

    The rental ban ordinance would have limited beach access for those who cannot afford the daily rates of the hotels and motels, that Christy Guerin kept insisting "have vacancies." It should not be Council's job to promote hotel accommodations by taking away the freedom of choice of the individual homeowner.

    Those condos that are the problems were grandfathered, anyway. The rental ban was a scam, just like Prop. C is. Vote no, if you haven't already. Vote out Bossypants Guerin, Lawnmowerman Dalager, come November.

    We deserve the truth! Stand up for your rights, or bow down, bend over.

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  6. I think of Donna kinda like one of Santa's elves. Always working away in solitude only to be recognized not for her effort but for the result. Most of us never see her. We only see the presents she brings us and we don't even know that she made them.

    She saw through this keystone council long before most of knew what was up. We should have started listening earlier, but we are here now.

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  7. A little help here steve.

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  8. Where is Steve Aceti? Not so copACETIc? Stevie, we need your thoughts. Please save us.

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  9. Can't a guy spend a day at Disneyland and watch a little Olympics. I'll be baaaack. Tomorrow.

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  10. Our leader gets divine inspiration at Fantasyland.

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  11. Are city officials working on a reply for him?

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  12. asceti fan club can't spell.

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  13. What the Hell? asceti fan club?
    Steve Aceti's a PRICK!!!
    When is he going to go back to new york?

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  14. P.J. has my response to "Malcontents ..." written by the seeker of truth and awareness, or the ETA - it's hard to tell.

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  15. You Call This "Truth and Awareness?"

    It's amazing to me that the same person who wrote a book entitled, "In Search of Truth and Awareness," could post a rant that pretends to sound authoritative about election law, municipal finance and other subjects of which he knows nothing about. His letters to local newspapers about beach erosion have always been off the mark and this most recent example of "if I sound knowledgeable, then maybe I am" is equally misguided.

    It's clear from the veiled threats made at public hearings, in the press and, more explicitly in this blog, that Prop C has gotten caught in the cross-hairs of next fall's City Council election and the ETA's efforts to use this ballot measure and Prop A as a springboard for candidates it wants to run against the two incumbents up for reelection. Strip the politics away from Prop C and here's what's left:

    (1) PROP C HAS WIDESPREAD SUPPORT

    When the city first proposed charging a small fee to help subsidize its Clean Water Program, many coastal cities in CA were already charging a similar fee to help pay for unfunded mandates that were unexpectedly thrust upon local governments by state and federal regulators. The public supported a clean water fee when it was originally passed by the City Council and the lawsuit by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (which earns a profit by bringing such lawsuits) hasn't changed a thing. A large majority of the public still supports the clean water fee. Last December, the city sent notices to 22,000 voters about the Prop C public hearing, which included clear instructions on how to file a written protest to oppose the ballot measure. If a majority of voters had protested the fee, the city would not have been authorized to place Prop C on the ballot. The city received only 20 protests.

    Despite what the ETA and its followers would have you believe, a large majority of Encinitas residents (64%) are satisfied with the job the city is doing across the board. The ETA represents a minority of thought in Encinitas.

    (2) THE CLEAN WATER FEE IS NOT A TAX

    The Clean Water Fee is not a tax and it only requires a simple majority to pass. That's in accordance with the settlement agreement reached by the city and the Jarvis group. If things were otherwise, the Jarvis " tax crusaders" would not have agreed to the election being held in this manner.

    (3) THE ELECTION IS LEGAL

    Mr. Rothe claims that "there is no correlation between water meter ownership and storm runoff," but he should talk to his neighbor and ETA founder Bob Bonde about why Bonde spoke in support of that method of collecting the fee when the proposal was before the City Council a couple of years ago. For Mr. Rothe to charge with a false air of authority that the city is in "criminal contempt of the law" for holding this election shows that he not only knows nothing about civil or criminal law but, even worse, he hasn't read the settlement agreement by which this election is guided.

    (4) DESPITE ALL THE HOOPLA, THE ISSUE IS A SIMPLE ONE

    The only issue in this election is whether or not voters want to pay $5 per month to help subsidize the city's Clean Water Program. Poll support in the 64% range, and the fact that only 20 people out of a possible 22,000 voters filed written protests, indicate they do. Prop C, like clean water ballot measures in Los Angeles, San Clemente, Santa Barbara and other coastal cities, will pass - as long as voters don't get distracted by the sideshow that is attempting to link Prop C to this fall's City Council election.

    Steven Aceti, JD
    Co-Chair
    Encinitas Citizens for a Clean Ocean
    yesonpropc.org

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  16. More horse manure from Steve Aceti. His reply makes no sense. Time will tell about this city farce of an election. Steve Aceti should buy his coaster ticket out of town soon.

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  17. Aceti has got spaghetti for brainsFebruary 14, 2006 12:24 AM

    Steve Aceti is the one who is ranting in his bogus reply/post. Dietmar Rothe is a respected member of our community. You aren't upstanding in my book, Steve Aceti; you're a low down snake. You twist the truth and try to make enemies out of those who would hold Council and staff to honoring their oaths, upholding the law, being open and honest with us citizens, voters.

    You, Mr. Aceti, are the one making not-so- veiled threats, slandering our character, twisting our unselfish motivations. Yes, we do want the incumbents out, because they use scum bags like you to promote their agenda, and because, by secrecy and misrepresentation they continue to attempt to hold us under their big fat thumbs. They've got the big guns; ask Bossypants Guerin, ex Sheriff, ongoing bully.

    Hey, Steve, if you know so much, did you get a copy of the public meeting hearing notice that you claim was sent to us all with clear instructions for filing a protest? I don't recall ever receiving one. Of course you wouldn't have, because you don't live in Encinitas, do you? That's right. And you're not from these parts, are you? No? Hey, accidentally shoot anyone in the face lately? No, you're too busy constructing lies and fabricating political BS.

    And, by the way, Mr. Aceti, did you look at a ballot carefully? Oh, that's right; you wouldn't have received one of those, either, because, again, you're not a voter, or citizen of Encinitas. The ballot is misleading; it says one water meter, one vote, right on the back of the ballot itself! Not one parcel one vote, which is how the election has been rigged. One active meter, one vote was the compromise that Bob Bonde and Donna Westbrook, among others, had agreed to. That's not what we got.

    But Mr. Rothe is right. We believe that the court would side with him, as the judge did for the Quality of Life Group re the improper Environmental Report at the Hall property. If you're so hot on the environment, Mr. Aceti, why are you disregarding the Environmental Reports on file with Judge Annello at the North County Courthouse? These reports were convincing to the Court. And the City, despite Glenn Sabine's complaining and pounding on the podium, like Khrushchev, got turned down flat. City tried to appeal, because they didn't want to have to pay Everett Delano's legal fees, but they changed their mind, finally, and had to pay most of the Quality of Life's attorney's fees, also.

    Naturally, the City was not too kind to Everett Delano when he came before Council on the LeucadiaCares appeal two weeks ago. Guerin is very vindictive; anyone who has had to deal with bossypants' ways know. She's admitted to Commissioner's, "I'll get even," talking about the Rothes. This is well known.

    You know what else, Mr. Aceti? You are the one who seems to know nothing about civil law, or criminal law. You are the one who likes to fool people into thinking you are a real attorney here in California. We all know that's a scam, now. What Dietmar Rothe does know about is science. He is able to put facts together to come up with real evidence and to reach logical conclusions. Yet he paid a lot of money to have an independent firm gather evidence of toxins, too. The facts, the truth, not spin, is able to debunk your bogus, hypocritical misrepresentations, Mr. Spinmaster.

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  18. Aceti, Integrity where art thou?February 14, 2006 12:45 AM

    I hope to God we can use the huge defeat of Prop A, a major victory, as a springboard to defeat Prop C, and to defeat Guerin and Dalager come November. What is any election if not political, you hypocrite, Steve Aceti.

    You cannot "strip politics away from Prop C," Mr. Yes-man. If it weren't for empire building political con-artists such as you and Mayor Guerin, Councilman Dalager, we wouldn't be in this fine mess your deceit has forced upon us. Who are the candidates you allege are trying to springboard, Aceti? Don't paint volunteers, many senior citizens, hard working activists as demons, Steve. That's something only a devil like you would do. You're the spending, political posturing devil trying to demonize us taxpayers.

    Ok, because very few people realized anything about the public hearings, or our ability to protest (we did send written protests, but we don't know if ours was one of those counted), the fact that your cheesy consulting firms were able to manipulate what the City called "a statistically valid survey," is more hogwash. I talked to one lady who said she had been called and said she would support clean water. After talking to a few of us, she pretty quickly has changed her mind. Stick that up your survey. We believe you are wrong, just as the City was dead wrong about Prop A support.

    1) Prop C does not have widespread support. If it squeaks by, and we don't think it will, there will be a lawsuit, as a parcel tax is a property tax, not a weighted fee. The Constitution says that property taxes should pass by a 2/3 majority.

    2) Therefore the storm drain program monies are for a tax. The Constitution now clearly says the vote can be by a simple majority of the affected owners. Those affected owners are the ones with water meters. That is according to the ballot itself. Yet all parcels get one vote, those with water meters, or not. Can't you put two and two together, Mr. Aceti? This is a tax, truly, and the courts will concur, because it is not weighted according to water meter. As Dietmar suggests, and we all know, all parcels are affected by the storm drain program. Either 2/3 of all of the residents who live here should have to vote to pass Prop C, or a majority of all of those owners of parcels with active water meters, those affected, or impacted, by the new fee. That was the compromise. If it has to go back to court, it will be simple to prove that the ballot is deceptive, and so has been Council.

    3) Mr. Aceti, you are not a judge. You are not an attorney. It is you who uses a false tone of authority to claim lies and deception are legal. The courts will decide the legality, if necessary. We hope we won't have to pay more of our taxpayer money when the City if found to be wrong once again, as on the Hall property, as on charging the fees on our EDCO trash bill.

    4) The issues are simple. Do we want to be used, lied to, manipulated by people masquerading as lawyers and/or "environmentalists?" The fact that these other cities are having elections goes to prove that the "fee" was illegally charged on our EDCO bills to begin with. This was supported by Guerin, Dalager and Houlihan. Apparently neither they nor you, Mr. Aceti, have read the precedent, Jarvis Taxpayers Assoc. vs. City of Salinas, which is case law, or read that part of our California Constitution, put into effect after Prop. 218 was passed in 1996, to insure that taxes are charged with the clear consent of the taxpayers.

    This Constitutional Amendment clearly provides (read it, we have!) that elections are to be held re weighted fees by a majority of affected property owners, or by a general election, which allows dissenting arguments and literature to be mailed, too, and which general election propositions must be passed by a 2/3 majority of all affected residents. All of the residents in this city are and will be affected by the storm drain program.

    Calling this a clean water fee is just one step in trying to get people to react, and vote in fear. We want them to know that water will remain clean whether or not this proposition passes.

    A No vote is a vote for honest governance, a vote for fiscal restraint. Most readers of this blog, and of the letters to the editor, most people who have a clue, know full well what you are full of Mr. Aceti. It isn't integrity.

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  19. Prop C will pass, there is no doubt in my mind that there will be an immediate lawsuit to overturn the will of the voters, just like the original suit that went against a fee that the public supported in the first place.

    I read the Dec 1 public hearing notice and it was very clear on the issue of would who be voting. The press also made that clear in articles about the proposed fee.

    The city did the right thing by sending ballots to owners of parcels who do not have meters. If they hadn't, there would have been a lawsuit alleging that they didn't include "the affected owners." The recent postings don't make sense: they complain that ballots were sent to too many people, then argue that they weren't sent to enough people because "everyone is affected by the storm drain program." So which is it? Did the city send out too many or too few ballots? There will probably be lawsuits alleging both.

    Although it's true that everyone benefits from the city's Clean Water Program, that's different than who is "affected" by the fee (parcels with one or more meters and parcels that may have a meter in the future)for purposes of the law.

    Notwithstanding the angst expressed in the blog entries, above, most of the city's residents are happy with the job the city is doing and they don't share your paranoia.

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  20. All future meetings of the fan club have been cancelled effective immediately and dues will be returned on a pro-rata basis. We have no idea what we will do with the pins and bumper stickers as they are now of no value.

    Boy were we wrong!!

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  21. To get the Steve Aceti fan club dues returned will I have to fill out a form? Where and when will the form be made available? You are probably going to tell me it's available at the same location as the forms for getting a refund on the illegally collected water fees right?

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  22. Steve - I have not read Dietmar’s book nor whatever books you may have written but certainly searching for truth and awareness consumes part of my daily life. The search is not simple and the
    answers often obfuscated for one reason or another. This does not make that search any less valid
    only more of a challenge, especially in convoluted fields such as municipal finance,
    redevelopment, conversion of agricultural preserves, short term rentals, the attempt to redefine
    our coastal zone, the preservation of community character, and certainly election law based on
    doctrine as unclear as Prop. 218. I do not know if the city is in “criminal contempt of the law” or if Prop. C meets the letter of the law in the Jarvis lawsuit settlement but my understanding is that the city went to a great deal of expense and effort in an attempt to comply and still find a way to obtain a decision favorable to the current city management team. One might ask if Prop C meets the spirit of the settlement and if the various sides in this issue are conducting themselves in a manner in keeping with the intent of FPPC. Of course Prop C, Prop A, short term vacation
    rentals, redefinition of the coastal zone, community character, density bonuses, and a myriad of
    other issues are intertwined with politics and inseparable. ETA, ECCO, ENCIT, and all the other
    splinter groups each represent a vocal minority with an agenda that speaks to each group. Then there are a few “loose cannons” such as myself, pulling at the short hairs of everyone, not to irritate, but to make sure that issues are aired so that the citizens understand what choices are available.

    What is left is:
    1) The public supports clean water. Everyone. It is not clear whether the public supports a new
    “fee” to supplement the general fund expense of paying for the program. The mini poll that finds
    64% of the residents satisfied with the job the city is doing really needs thoughtful analysis to
    understand what is happening in the community. I will try to write a blog piece for JP in the next
    week or two dissecting the poll from a paranoid loose cannon perspective.

    2) Regardless of the settlement, the dictionary uses fee and tax in the same breath when defining
    each other. It requires individuals who put JD after their names to split those two hairs.

    3) In reality, the correlation between water meter ownership and storm runoff is questionable at
    best. So many elements effect the runoff that reaches the ocean; irrigation practices, grade,
    existing waterways, springs, lot permeable surface area, bio-filters and their effectiveness, old septic systems retired and active, our alley-ways in the older parts of the city, public awareness, and the list goes on and on. At the time Mr Bonde spoke in support of meters as an equitable method for collecting fees, it may have been a good starting point. Today it may not serve the general good.

    4) The issue is not a simple one. Is the election as proposed going to allow 22,000 voters to voice
    their support or opposition to the proposed $5/month-$60/year property or water meter, tax or
    fee and do the citizens understand that the clean water program is mandated and will continue regardless of the outcome of this election? Do the voters understand that the current program is already
    being funded from their taxes and that this is a new tax/fee to subsidize the city so that general
    fund revenue can be directed to other areas of government at their expense for their potential benefit? Should the City have
    waited and placed the issue before the voters in the general election?

    As to Prop C getting caught in next fall’s City Council election it is more likely that the next
    election may be more contested than usual. I’m sure ETA, ECCO, ENCIT and the other voices
    in the community will either support the incumbents or those running in opposition. It is
    impossible to strip politics away from any issue in this city unless we elect a benevolent dictator to
    make all the decisions and I don’t see that happening.

    'nuff said.

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  23. Paranoid about false ProphetsFebruary 14, 2006 5:20 PM

    Ok, Steve Aceti, if you are so sure this will pass, why all the effort to block it through phony surveys, manipulating the public with the help of paid for with our taxes consultants?

    Besides letting people think you are a lawyer, with your JD (quack of jurisprudence?), you now want us to believe you can foresee the future? And if you can, why would you want another lawsuit to happen because of the deceptions involved, the lack of adherence to the clear letter of the settlement?

    That's right. You don't answer questions; just call more names, heap on more distractions. Do you know why some of us are paranoid? Because we have encountered the wrath of the corrupt powers that be, that's why. When you have been sued for a nonsense lawsuit for supposedly being a "public nuisance," a civil lawsuit, wherein you are not entitled to deep pocket attorneys, like the city has, come whining back to me about paranoia.

    City Council is misguided by the likes of our unelected, overpaid, empire building City Attorneys, and you, Aceti. You are not a truthful, honest guide, consultant, nor paid lobbyist. The impression with the name of your group is that you are the Coastal Commission. Is this confusion intentional? You are the coastal coalition, and are funded, often to battle the interests of the average citizen and the Coastal Commission, in the name of business interests, including public corporation cities, which should be our public servants, not the other way around.

    The public notice was not clear on who would be voting. You are dead wrong on that, as well. The ballot, itself, read it, is also unclear. Check out the back of the ballot! You can read, call something "clear." The courts will not agree, Mr. Sandman. Wish I could say that in a positive way, Steve. I hope the courts don't have to get involved, that the majority of the people will not be fooled, deceived by your campaign of fear and deception.

    When people object, you just call them paranoid, try to slander our character, our motivation, rather than answer, directly, the questions. You are also lying about the fact that there would have been a lawsuit if only those property owners that are going to have to pay the fee got to vote. That is exactly what Donna Westbrook and the Encinitas Taxpayers Association thought was to happen according to the terms of the settlement, which the City has broken, by relying on the wrongheaded advice that all parcel owners get one vote per parcel. This is trying to twist the vote count any way that might make the thing pass. It is not in accordance with the settlement, case law, or the State Constitution. Can you read, Mr. Aceti? Please look at the past posts, read them, don't just dismiss them because you are close minded and don't care about the truth. Spin is spin. The Constitution is clear on whether or not one can vote by a majority of affected property owners, according to a weighted fee, (thus per active water meter, according to the compromised settlement), or by a 2/3 majority of all residents affected by the storm drain program. There is obviously a difference here, whether something is a property tax, or weighted fee means the difference between a vote by all registered voter residents at a general election, which proposition would have to achieve a 2/3 majority to pass, or a simple majority of only one vote per owner of each parcel with an active water meter. Can you understand English, Aceti? Or only BS spin?

    Use your mind, your heart. Figure it out. A parcel tax is not a weighted fee. The courts will realize this. I pray that the voters will too, so we don't have to waste more time and money in court. Our corrupt city attorneys are paid by the hour. They win either way. Of course we are paranoid, after being bullied by Big Sister, for years.

    And by the way, Steve, you don't speak for us citizens. We are not happy with the way our City has been operating, those of us who keep up on what's happening, who have actually lived here, even worked for the incorporation of our city to slow growth, such as Bob Bonde, and Marjorie Gaines, now deceased. Rest in peace, Marjorie. I hope you are not turning over in your grave, weeping in the clouds. Yeah, I'll bet, Steve Aceti, she has plenty of angst about the current "litigation situations," the current deceit and hyperbole, the spin, PR you try to pass off as facts. We think people here are not sheeple. You can round us up, but you can't pull the wool over our eyes. Don't tread on us!

    Happy Valentine's Day, everyone. We still have plenty of hope for good government, with the consent of the governed, peace, love, harmony, and yes, fiscal balance.

    ReplyDelete
  24. paranoid about false prophets:

    We agree on wishing everyone a Happy Valentine's Day and the need for peace, love and harmony, but on the rest of this, it looks like we'll have to agree to disagree.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Steve, I agree, we do disagree. But I don't need your permission. After all your jive, don't patronize us!

    We will practice what we are putting out here; keep trying to get the truth out there, answer all questions. Wish you would, Mr. Aceti. When it gets down to the nitty gritty, you don't answer questions raised about the real difference between what the ballot says about one water meter one vote, or the difference between a parcel tax and a weighted fee.

    Yes, the truth
    will set us free,
    not spin or jive.

    Vote No on C,
    keep our victory
    on A alive!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Vote No on C, AcetiFebruary 15, 2006 5:11 PM

    If you think, Steve Aceti, that "There will probably be lawsuits alleging both," referring to both the fact that this should have been a general election, because all residents are affected by the storm drain program, which election requires a 2/3 majority for passage, or, conversely, according to the stipulated judgment of the court, this should be a weighted fee, voted upon by those property owners affected by the fee, that is those property owners with active water meters, then why in the world would you push for passage of a proposition that you predict will certainly lead to lawsuits?

    Are you saying we should throw out the courts entirely, because you don't want to have to uphold the law? The courts offer the only checks and balances we have right now in our City. Because Council and Staff like to act as judge, jury and executioner. Council seems to have unchecked power. And they don't have on their thinking caps. Their minds are made up long before any public hearings.

    Council pretty much dictates its decisions, such as pay raises and benefit increses, by just throwing a bunch of stuff on the consent calendar, almost always after having closed meetings, where the public is not allowed, and no minutes are published.

    Those people who do speak out, stand up at Council Meetings, such as Donna Westbrook, and Bob Bonde, one of our founding fathers, are generally ignored, not answered, and treated rudely. I know, I've been there. We agree with Dietmar Rothe, Gil Foerster, Just a Plumber, JP, Kevin Cummins, and all our other fellow citizens. Those who care, those who know, know to beware of the likes of you, to Vote No on C.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Rebuttal to Aceti’s spin on my blog (regarding Prop C)

    First, Steve Aceti does not seem to understand that my opposition to Prop C is not about the $5 or about clean water. It is about the conniving and the deceptive propaganda put forth by city management and council that obfuscate the real issues in an effort to circumvent the law.

    Second, he refers to my "letters to local newspapers about beach erosion" being "off the mark" and "misguided." Where does he get this nonsense? I never wrote any letters to newspapers about beach erosion. Steve, please provide me with the reference texts that you allegedly base your comments on.

    We all want unpolluted beaches, and we applaud Bay Keeper (which Mr. Aceti seems to be associated with) having sued the City of Encinitas, forcing it to clean up Cottonwood Creek that flows into Moonlight Beach. Money for purifying Cottonwood Creek water comes from the General Fund and ultimately from every taxpayer in the city, as it should be.

    The so-called "Clean Water Regulatory Fee" is a tax, no matter how you look at it. The City has no shortage of tax revenues, as property tax and sales tax revenues have soared at a phenomenal rate over the last few years, much faster than Encinitas’ population growth. The city is just plain greedy asking for new taxes, so that it can cover up its fiscal irresponsibility and mismanagement.

    By converting traditional taxes to "fees," the city tries to circumvent laws like Prop 13 and Prop 218 that require a 2/3 majority vote by the taxpaying public. Moreover, fees can be raised anytime without consulting or even notifying the public. Such taxes, masquerading as fees must be struck down, as the HJTA succeeded in doing.

    Remember the sewer tax? When the city illegally converted the sewer tax to a consumption fee, it set the stage for unlimited fee increases. Have you looked at your sewer tax lately? It has tripled over the last few years, with many residents paying over a thousand dollars per year. The city got away with this blatantly deceptive scheme only because nobody sued the scoundrels.

    In this connection, please note the following: Water and sanitation districts are not regulated by State or Federal utility commissions and can raise their rates anytime they want. The city realized this a long time ago and appropriated the operating facilities in these districts, leasing them back to the districts and setting the stage for milking the water and sanitation districts. The districts then raise water and sewer rates to milk the homeowners in turn.

    It is not generally known that the city has been playing that game for over a decade. You do not find this info on the city website. It is a well kept secret known to only a few insiders. Ask the City Manager, but don’t expect him to volunteer any city documents about this.

    The city then conspired to go one more step by creating the Encinitas Public Financing Authority (EPFA), which now owns the districts’ operating facilities. The EPFA then issues Revenue Lease Bonds instead of General Obligation Bonds to finance the city’s pet projects, again in a scheme to circumvent a public vote by the taxpaying homeowners, who ultimately have to repay the debt with interest. The EPF Authority then extorts the money to repay the bondholders from the water and sanitation districts by demanding ever increasing lease money for operating the publicly owned facilities. The water and sanitation districts then stick it to the residents by raising water and sewer rates. Do you smell something really fishy here? It’s because it is.

    An example are the $22.3 million Lease Revenue Bonds issued by the EPF Authority in 2001 to purchase the Hall property. Homeowners are now paying this debt down over 30 years, amounting to $45 million in principal and interest. Most of this money comes through the San Dieguito Water District, which is one of the principal agencies committed to the Authority under operating leases to repay the bonds. Now you know why your water rates and sewer rates are skyrocketing. The water and sanitation districts were flush with money and doing well before incorporation. Now they are constantly in the red struggling to keep up with their lease payments to keep the city tiger well fed.

    ReplyDelete
  28. malcontented taxpayerFebruary 16, 2006 2:57 AM

    Right on, Dietmar! Thank you for debunking Steve Aceti's nonsense.

    Some of us who had such dreams for slowing growth are so sad to realize what has happened through incorporation.

    How can we take back some control? First steps, pay attention, ask questions, participate, assert ourselves, don't be intimidated, arm ourselves with truth, be empowered by community.

    Here's a good quote:

    "The taxpayer - that's someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take the civil service examination."
    --Ronald Reagan

    We work for the City, too. We need Council members, staff, who will well and truly, with honesty and integrity, work for us! Come together, right now!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Wow, after reading about our City Manager, Kerry Miller's, bad financial decisions in South Lake Tahoe, and now the deceptive bonds issued by the Water District, no wonder our property taxes, including the horrible sewer fees charged on them, are going up faster than allowed by Prop 13.

    Isn't there some way we could still fight against illegal fee increases on our property tax bills? A class action suit? We are so grateful for groups like the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers' Association, and the Coastal Commission, too.

    And our water bill keeps going up, although we have cut down on our usage. The fat cats are getting fatter at the little guy's expense.

    God help us. The City won't; seems like Council is trying to make it impossible for us to afford to live here.

    ReplyDelete
  30. low income,

    If the Jarvis group and its local groupies were in charge (but none of them have ever run for public office - it's more fun to complain than to do the hard work of governing), wouldn't Encinitas be a great place to live? No parks, no library, state-managed beaches, no downtown StreetScape (which has resulted in a huge increase in sales tax revenue going to the city). City Hall hasn't made Encinitas an expensive place to live. The free market has done that. Don't Republicans, especially the Conservatives who hate taxes, support a free market system?

    Since you, Westbrook, Rothe, Bonde, Rodewald et al. think City Hall is doing such a bad job, I assume none of you visit downtown (at least the part that was improved by the StreetScape plan), go to the beaches in town (which have sand and clean water due to the city's efforts), use the parks (that have safe, modern equipment and are well-maintained)or will use the services provided by the new library.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Reclaimed poopy water in the storm drains is OK with Steve Aceti.

    ReplyDelete
  32. What's all this about "poopy water"? Are you guys talking about reclaimed water for irrigation?
    It's not the reclaimed water I worry about, it's the pesticides and fertilizer runoff that always gets me. Last time I surfed Moonlight (in front of Cotton Wood creek) for eyes were burning so bad I had to paddle in.

    ReplyDelete
  33. The reclaimed poopy water gets into the storm drains and drains out to the beach. A surfrider magazine article had some information about the human viruses found in reclaimed water in Orange County.

    The reclaimed water contains more than what the government reveals. A Jan. 30 LA Times article is about the traces of prescription drugs found in Southland aquifers where reclaimed water has been injected into the aquifers.

    Usually, there is a primary and secondary treatment of the wastewater. Primary - remove the large pieces of solids. Secondary -
    activated sludge. Chemicals are added and presto, the great sounding name of reclaimed water.

    Encinitas is putting in 96 inch storm drain pipes to handle the runoff from the Encinitas ranch, including the golf course. The golf course also uses reclaimed water. Is all the city landscaping watered with reclaimed water?

    More reclaimed poopy water will be flowing into Cottonwood Creek.

    ReplyDelete

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