July
21st 2011
The Public – Enemy Number One

Posted under That's Life Columns

Daddy war on bucks is back and boy is he pissed!

 

That’s right.  You, me, and anyone else who isn’t a member of some bureaucratic organization or governmental body is the enemy.  You don’t believe me?  As I have always said, don’t believe me, just look at the facts and make up your own mind.

 

Maybe you didn’t attend the redistricting hearings for Solano County where Supervisors Mike Reagan and John Vasquez pulled their “fast one” on Dixon by removing it from Reagan’s district.  Reagan is coming up for re-election and he not only doesn’t trust the town that didn’t vote for him in his last election but had the potential of fielding a candidate who actually works for the people.

 

Vasquez is no better, claiming that he has already helped those in Dixon in the past when he took over for Skip Thomson when Skip ran for the assessor’s position.  You want to know how much help either of these two clowns are to Dixon and their specific districts?  You have to look no further than the stretch of Interstate 80 that runs from North First Street west to the Leisure Town Road exit.

 

Wasn’t it last year that Daryl Halls of the Solano Transportation Authority announced that this last section of repaving would be accomplished over the next two years.  Work started last year.  In their infinite wisdom, those in charge of paving repaved what had already been paved from the Yolo County boundary past Pedrick stopping just short of North First Street while ignoring the collapsed and pitted roadway which was the real problem.

 

What exactly have either of these stupidvisors done to rectify the problem?  Do either of them even travel this section of the highway on their way out to meet with their constituents?  How long does it take after the summer starts to begin paving?  I traveled Interstate 5 north out of Sacramento and they are working on it.  So I assume it is the season.

 

Needless to say, I will have to take it upon myself to email Halls and carbon the other two to get the ball rolling.  It seems that Dixon is forgotten until election season approaches.  That won’t happen for another three years now thanks to Reagan and Vasquez.  Hope you have that long of an attention span and don’t mind the bumpy road …

* * * * *

I attended an Solano Irrigation District board meeting on Tuesday night.  On their agenda was a reconsideration resolution for action the board took at their prior meeting.  The reason this resolution was being considered was because the Dixon Chapter of the Solano County Taxpayers Association took exception to the way the meeting was noticed and because of the description of the agenda item.

 

The issue was the overhead rate that SID charges the cities of Dixon and Suisun City for work performed by their agency.  Currently that rate is 112%.  That is not 12% above a person’s hourly rate, it is 112%.  That means that for every $100 of labor performed by an employee, Dixon or Suisun would be charged $212.  They call this full cost recovery and it includes everything under the sun.  They can call it what they want but I have another name for it which you will just have to guess at as this is a “sometimes” family paper.

 

To show you how responsive the manager David Mansfield and his board is to the public, I need to tell you what happened all along the way.  The Dixon Solano Water Agency, the DSWA recently created joint powers authority held a Monday night meeting the day before SID’s regular board meeting.  At this meeting, Mansfield to his credit informed the council that the overhead rate would be discussed at the Tuesday meeting of his board.  What he failed to mention was that the time had been moved up from 7pm to 5pm, like anyone viewing the meeting including the council would know this.  Four members of his board sat silent.

 

As it turns out, three members of the Dixon Chapter including two councilmen, arrived in Vacaville to find the building unoccupied.  It seems the Board rapidly ran through their meeting’s agenda so that they could attend a Vacaville planning commission meeting where the rezoning of their former office site was being accomplished.  As those three were rather nonplused by this turn of events, they examined the SID website to see the agenda.  The amazing thing was that there was no agenda item specifically referencing the overhead rate.

 

What was found was an item approving a cost allocation study finalized December 31, 2009.  Does it really take this agency a year and a half to get around to approving a study?  The real point is it doesn’t identify the real subject matter of the debate.  Rather than agreeing with the DC-SCTA that the public was given poor information at best and therefore missed the opportunity to participate, they all got rather backed up by the head on demand that they “cure and correct” their action.

 

John D. Kluge, who I personally supported and who was supported by many within our community, took the hard line stance that notice had been properly given within the time lines established by government code.  It is the public’s fault and hard luck that we don’t either make the trip out to Vacaville to see what is posted on their office door at 5pm or later on the last day they have to notify the public of their meetings.  It is also our tough luck that we can’t translate or some how deduce what is really going to be discussed.

 

No, Mr. Kluge, it is you who has a problem understanding the difference between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law.  How do you in good conscience slap those who elected you and supported you in the face rather than accommodate them instead of forcing them to take legal action against your organization?  It would have been so simple to say “we did nothing wrong but if the public really wanted to weigh in on this topic or hear our discussions, I would have no problem rehearing the matter.”

 

Board member Glen Grant was only slightly better in saying that there were problems with the study with which the board was uncomfortable and that the board gave an increase to 119% on the condition this issue be brought back within 6 months.  Yes, that is right, 119% but you haven’t heard it all.  The study supposedly said the rate should be 139%.  I don’t know about you but I have a problem waiting six months while allowing this company to screw over their clients, not their partners as they claim we are, when they already had a year and a half to address the problem.

 

Not only that, but I met with David Mansfield and his finance person Cammie and they gave me a copy of the agenda item which was a half inch thick document.  Grant stated that “we need to study this some more”.  How much more can you study it?  Either the allocations make sense or they don’t.

 

The height of hypocrisy was when this board said they wanted to take action to have the public more involved.  Really?  Where was the agenda packet for this meeting for public review?  I didn’t see it in the room.

 

During the discussion of one agenda item related to Dixon, they spoke of Cal Water property and how the Pulte development area south of town was improperly or incorrectly de-annexed.  They had two large flat screen televisions in their expansive board rooms along with an overhead projector.  Are you telling me that these “professionals” are so technologically ignorant that they can’t operate either of these devices to include the few members of the public in their discussion?  As one member of my group said, “this is their way of giving a giant FU to the public.”

 

Is it that or are these people that oblivious to the implication of their actions?  Have they ignored the public so long that they don’t know how to include us any more?  By the way, I am sure that 139% rate includes depreciation on this $20 something million property we didn’t vote for them to purchase and they don’t know how to operate.

 

Not one to waste valuable time listening to the board, my fellow councilman stumbled onto something very interesting while searching with his I-pad for information on this organization.  In a document entitled “Information about your water bills” posted on the city’s website and pertaining to the last water rate study designed to increase water rates, the following explanation was given about SID assessments.

 

“The SID assessments from properties within the City of Dixon currently total approximately $450,000 annually. The average annual assessment on a single family residential property is about $100 per parcel. SID uses this money to continue to maintain the pipes, canals, and ditches that deliver irrigation water to properties around Dixon, helping to protect the groundwater aquifer beneath that the City depends on.”

 

The money is used to continue maintaining pipes, canals and ditches that deliver irrigation water to those of us in the city.  Wait a minute.  Are we paying for something we get no benefit from?  Wait a minute.  Didn’t they say they needed a rate increase to establish a rehabilitation fund for the pipes providing water to actual residents in Dixon?  So residents of Dixon not only have to pay for their own infrastructure but for that of farmers as well?

 

And yet no one challenges any of this because we all know the “professionals” wouldn’t cheat us …

* * * * *

One last game for you to consider.  How is it that the library commission finally came to their senses and listened to the public?  They moved to eliminate library policy 7020 stating that a former employee couldn’t apply for a commission seat for four years after terminating their position.  Easily, that’s how.

 

Shane Taber’s idea was to rescind the policy but not have it apply to Nancy Schrott, a former librarian who has publicly criticized the current district librarian, Greg Atkins.  Atkins attempted to have everyone believe that the action wouldn’t apply retroactively to Schrott who recently submitted her application within the appropriate time parameters.

 

Sorry but I believe you are wrong, Greg.  The applications haven’t been considered.  As the policy no longer exists, Schrott’s application is valid and she is well qualified.

 

Atkins took it upon himself to remove Schrott’s application from the group he submitted the next day.  Once again the public, that is those members of the public interested enough in coming down and insisting that this one man freak show be ended, were viewed as the enemy of not only the commission but their commander in chief.

 

The phrase use to be public enemy number one.  Now it is the public is enemy number one.  We want you to be involved as long as you just sit there silently or agree with what we are doing.  Anything other than that will not be tolerated.  And we will fight to the death to keep it that way …

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