Commentary: City Fumbles Tax Issue, But Tax Remains Only Viable Way Forward

walletOn Tuesday, the Davis City Council will vote to put a new tax measure on the ballot for June.  Two things are clear at this point in time: the city fumbled the ball in waiting until January to engage the public and waiting until the last possible moment to put the measure on the ballot.  Second, even supporters of the tax measure are doing so very reluctantly.

In his interview with the Vanguard, published on Wednesday, candidate Robb Davis told the Vanguard he is “regretfully supporting sales tax.”  He thinks sales taxes are “regressive” and wants any tax we approve “to come with accountability actions.”  He thinks a parcel tax will be required due to the roads backlog.  He wants to make sure that we are not adding infrastructure, but rather maintaining existing infrastructure, and believes that in addition there are further cuts that are necessary.

In an interview to be published on Friday, candidate Daniel Parrella used very similar terms to describe his reluctant support for the tax measure, particularly given his belief that young people are already being priced out of Davis due to high taxes and other cost of living issues.

At the same time, we have not seen a viable alternative.  One commenter suggested that we balance the city budget first and then talk about new taxes as backfill if needed for the long term, but given the necessary timelines and rules governing tax measures, that does not seem viable.

The question would be how to balance the budget without adding revenue.

In response to Tuesday’s criticism of the Davis Enterprise editorial’s outsourcing proposal, Rich Rifkin responds that our critique suggests that the Enterprise claims, “we can solve the entire budget problem with outsourcing.”  He argues, “It says no such thing. It simply says that there may be functions now being done in-house which could be done out-of-house more cheaply (and better in some cases), and these need to be explored as part of the solution.”

He adds, “As things now stand, the Council is set to raise taxes on Feb 11 without having exhausted all avenues for saving money without reducing levels of service. If outsourcing could save a little money, maybe the tax hike would not have to be so high.”

We do not disagree with that critique.  In addition to failing to engage the public until mid-January at best, the council also failed to put other measures on the table.  That said, the council has also made it clear that they have little appetite for additional cuts.

Outsourcing means laying off employees.  Saving any substantial chunk of money by recouping the amount the city spends on pensions and OPEB probably involves laying off 50 to 100 employees.

As a short term solution, you are asking for both organizational and political trouble by laying off a large number of employees and replacing them with outsourced labor.

At the same time, such a move would wrongly focus most of the blame on the employees, when in fact the past city management, city council and even the public are culpable in past mistakes.

“If Davis does not consider more affordable ways to provide services, but instead raises taxes on all of us to avert a calamity, it will be asking a lot of residents who don’t have such luxurious pensions or gold-plated medical plans to get by with less. Is that fair?” the Enterprise asks.

In our view, the voters of Davis were sleeping for about a decade as the pay and benefits were pushed out of balance.  The result is that, for the last seven years, we have asked city staff to take on more tasks with fewer employees and less pay.

In the end, if Mr. Rifkin only believes we can save some money by outsourcing, then the difference between the city adding a three-quarters cent sales tax versus a half-cent sales tax is probably minimal.

We support the notion of looking into all ways to save money, and it’s a reason we support the city examining the possibility of a POU as a way to save money.

That said, at this point, we see no way to avoid at least the June tax measure, without concrete alternatives.

This was illustrated well in the Brett Lee – Kemble Pope exchange.

Kemble Pope cited a survey of chamber members with more than half having no idea about this public shortfall and another 15 percent were only somewhat aware.  Only 14% wanted no further reductions in city services.

“People are willing to feel the pain,” he said, at least referring to chamber members.  “A good sixty percent said cut expenditures, keep cutting, we’re willing to give up services.  We’re willing to give up programs.  I don’t think that you understand truly the desire for the public to actually feel a little more heat rather than take on more and more debt for a bunch of goodies that people don’t think we actually need.”

He said to deal with the structural deficit and short term needs, “but this is, I don’t think, going to fly with the community.”

Elsewhere we have pointed out the flaws of Mr. Pope’s survey which seems leading at best and suggestive, if not outright directive, at worst.

The problem, as Brett Lee would quickly point out, is that there is no context for the respondents.

He then responded to Kemble Pope and suggested that, of course, the city should try to save money.  He then said, “Perhaps next time you do a survey maybe we can ask some specifics.  So when faced with a sizable deficit like the one we’re facing, perhaps you can ask your members if they would support closing a fire station and having a corresponding higher response time for various neighborhoods.”

“That’s the type of thing that would be required in order to bridge this deficit,” he continued.  “Or perhaps they would be willing to close all of the parks to stop all maintenance on them, close all the pools, and all recreation programs and see what the percentages are.”

“I think I could stand in front of the Safeway and ask people if they want a more efficient city government, I think I’d be surprised if I got many noes,” he added.  “I think on the other hand if I asked people if they were willing to pay more to maintain the current level of city services, such as fire and police, I think they would be supportive.”

So if the answer is don’t tax, we need to make that decision by Tuesday.  We then have about four months, maybe five to find $5.1 million in cuts.

As Rich Rifkin wrote, “There is no legal reason we could not outsource the fire service, placing all of it under the umbrella of the UCDFD.”

That is very true and elsewhere we figured out the city might be able to save about $3.25 million if the firefighters were compensated at the same rate as their UC Davis counterparts.

“If the DFD were closed and the UCDFD took over all 4 stations in town, Chief Trauernicht could hire a new staff for the other 3 stations. DFD employees who were interested could apply,” Mr. Rifkin wrote.

“Because the DFD union has chosen not to sign a contract with the City of Davis, this is a particularly auspicious time to merge the departments under the UCDFD umbrella. Of course, doing this would be a political challenge. But if we had the will, it could be done. And it would save the general fund millions and millions of dollars over the next several years.”

Mr. Rifkin understates the political challenge.  Merely proposed shared management resulted in two letters from other public officials in protest.  Laying off all of the firefighters in the city and having UC Davis hire replacements would be mutiny, recall, and perhaps revolution.

I jest only slightly here.  There is just no way that we can do that kind of action.  It is the kind of talk for barrooms, not council daises.

That brings us back to the need for a sales tax.

There is a practical reason for that, as well.  June 2014 is the only time they can do a sales tax increase.  A sales tax increase is the only revenue measure the city can pass that only requires a simple majority.  Waiting until the city balances the budget forces the city into the parcel tax – two-thirds majority route, that is just not practical to suggest.

I have asked this question before, and I will ask it again – does anyone have an alternative suggestion? You might want to come up with it before Tuesday.

One poster suggested that that is the job of the council to figure out, that we voted for them to deal with “these budget things.”  The truth is the council has figured it out and if the public wishes for them to change their mind, they have to come forward with a VIABLE alternative solution.

I have seen no viable solutions that avoid a sales tax measure in June.  I see some suggestions for ways that we might be able to reduce future taxes, but none that avoid a sales tax.

So to be clear, I fully support cost savings measures.  I would love to find enough savings to avoid a separate November election, but for all practical purposes, some of which are self-inflicted and the city will have to explain themselves there, I see no way to move forward without a sales tax increase in June.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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197 Comments

    1. Don Shor

      So just to clarify your position: you oppose all peripheral development, you oppose any new taxes, you think the city should cut the budget to achieve balance? I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but that seems to be the sum of your positions.

  1. hpierce

    We missed an opportunity… if 4000 of us had donated S200, pooled the money and taken the Seahawks by 30 points, we very well solved the fiscal problems. Woulda, coulda, shoulda.

  2. SouthofDavis

    David wrote:

    > I see no way to move forward without a sales tax increase in June.

    Sad that David thinks there is no other way since an increase in the sales tax will impact the poor in town (that David often says he cares about) more than any other type of tax increase. The rich buy most non food items on line (just about anything you can get at Target you can get for abut the same price on Amazon Prime without going to the store) and don’t pay sales tax on food…

      1. growth issue

        LOL, when something keeps creeping up on you inch by inch all of a sudden you realise it has become a yard. A school parcel tax here, another school parcel tax there, a parks tax, Measure O tax, coming plastic bag tax, coming parking tax, increased garbage fee tax, .5% 2006 sales tax, .25% CA sales tax increase as of 1/1/2013, library tax, etc…….

        Talk about getting impacted.

    1. Michelle Millet

      Of course taxes will impact the poor. That is a VERY unfortunate side effect of tax increases. But so is going bankrupt. Do you have another solution in mind?

      1. Michelle Millet

        I find it ironic that some only care about legislation that negatively impacts the poor when it also negatively impact them.

        Where is the concern for the poor when legislation benefits the wealthy and hurts the poor?

          1. Don Shor

            Or caught in the bushes somewhere, or in a farm field, getting exposed to UV rays and ultimately disintegrating.

          2. growth issue

            LOL Don, thanks for the laugh. Or maybe 2000 ft. in the air being blown by the westerly gale winds on its way to Hawaii.

  3. iPad Guy

    Does anybody had a list of city services, staff or infrastructure that are up for cutback consideration?

    I have one to look at: how much do we spend subsidizing the UCD bus system and what would happen if we reduced the subsidy for a couple years?

    1. David Greenwald

      It looks like most of the city contribution is the passing through of TDA and FTA grant money to unitrans. It looks like about $600,000 in TDA money and periodically up to $2 million with FTA money.

  4. keithvb

    I’m confused.
    They spent $400,000 and are borrowing $600,000 for studies on becoming a utility provider.
    I don’t remember voting on that.
    Perhaps we need to replace our city council…

        1. David Greenwald

          Since we saw what happened in 2006 when the SMUD issue was on the ballot, I think the voters are going to have to trust city staff and council over PG&E and it’s $10 million in campaign expenditures on this one.

          1. David Greenwald

            I don’t disagree that the timing and the city’s public outreach aspect here are quite bad. But that doesn’t make it a bad policy.

          2. keithvb

            Fortunately city council elections are coming in June.

            Maybe then we can do something about the bad timing of our current council.

          3. John Baldry

            Are you going to run keith?

            If no one else runs, which of the current candidates will you vote for?

          4. Michelle Millet

            I’m not sure the “timing” is going to be better for at least 10 years.

            For the sake or argument say that a 20% decrease in utility is possible, or lets say 10%.

            If it is confirm that this possible, I would ask, is there a wrong time to do this?

            Add that to the fact that the city, not PG&E will have control over how to spend $4.3 million dollars of PPP money.

            It seems fiscally irresponsible not to to further explore this, at any time.

          5. David Greenwald

            I agree with you. If the city can find a way to save money, they should. It would be interesting to see if PG&E will step up with a compromise here.

          6. David Greenwald

            Putting a measure on the ballot allows PG&E free rein to make their case with their huge monetary advantage over anything that the city or advocacy groups can muster. Leaving it in the hands of the council at least allows decisions in local hands.

          7. J.R.

            Where the ignorant rubes might be swayed by the PG&E money. Because unlike we enlightened elite who are too smart to be fooled, they are swayed by money.

          8. growth issue

            Dunning gets it:

            “GREEN, GREEN, IT’S GREEN THEY SAY … I realize this town’s well-heeled environmentalists are doing cartwheels over our proposed power grab, but for many hard-working young families in town, “going green” is a secondary consideration at best … if this mugging of PG&E doesn’t first and foremost lower personal power bills all over town, it should be a non-starter … if you can’t afford the power bill that arrives in your mailbox every month, it makes little difference if that power comes from the wind, the sun, the ocean, the rivers, the ground or from 6,000 monkeys furiously pedaling bicycles at the UC Davis Primate Center … if a city takeover of PG&E can lower our bills, then all the “green” stuff is wonderful frosting on the cake … but if it raises our bills, we shouldn’t even be considering it in the first place …”

          9. growth issue

            Dunning gets it:

            “POWER TO THE PEOPLE … just when you think you’ve laid one big issue to rest in this town, up pops another … I mean, we’ve yet to receive even a drop of water from the Sacramento River and already we’re planning to ambush PG&E from the backside and bring in our own personal Wichita Lineman to fill all our power needs …

            And while it’s unlikely PG&E has even one friend or ally in Davis, many of us are more than nervous about our humble little town taking on a project of this magnitude, especially one with so many uncertainties, most of them financial … if we put too many eggs in the power-to-the-people basket and our electric and gas rates go up anyway, the next school parcel tax requiring two-thirds approval will be dead in the water … and this issue has nothing at all to do with schools …”

          10. darelldd

            Dunning is right as usual. I mean he *totally* gets it. We should stop trying to improve anything in town. Things are great just the way they are, and the way they’ve always been. Don’t rock the boat!

            We completely missed the boat when SMUD would have been our partner. And I agree that it’s a bit scary to even consider doing this without the obvious advantages that SMUD’s experience and purchasing power brings to the table. At some point we need to make decisions based on something other than purchased scare tactics and/or the fear of change.

          11. iPad Guy

            Note to David: IMO, this column variation seems too narrow to read easily and lengthens the physical conversation incredibly.

          12. SouthofDavis

            I would like to follow the money behind “public” power since I bet there are a lot of “private” people that will make a lot of money if we dump PG&E (it was not long ago that I read about a well connected developer and his son in law talking about a solar farm near Davis)…

            P.S. I still don’t get why we are spending a million dollars to “study” the purchase of PG&E assets it seems like it would have been smart (and cost a lot less) to get a price first then “study” the numbers to see if we can save any money…

          13. Michelle Millet

            First we are not spending a million dollars to determine the purchase price of PG&E assets, there is a lot more to the process then determining that.

            Second PG&E does not want to sell, thus they are probably not going to be the ones determining the price, that my guess, will happen through litigation.

            It’s estimated that that the worth is 20 million, we may have to pay more, but we would do so with low interest long-term bonds, so this price isn’t going to effect the bottom line as much as future generation and distribution costs.

          14. growth issue

            I wonder how astronomical those court costs will be to wrestle away PG&E’s assets?

            I also wonder how astronomical going to green energy is going to be?

          15. Matt Williams

            G.I., you really need to change your screen name. It should be Fear Uncertainty and Doubt. Those three words are your best friends.

          16. growth issue

            LOL Matt, I just read this, very funny.
            You should change your screen name too, how about:

            notadavisresident

          17. Matt Williams

            Glad you liked it G.I. I tell you what. I’ll change mine to “Consultant To Davis Residents” if you change yours to “Fear Uncertainty and Doubt”

          18. growth issue

            No, I don’t think so, but if you went with “notadavisresident” I’d have to give it serious thought.

          19. darelldd

            Sounds really bad when you say it out-loud, doesn’t it? But sadly… ummm… yes. Except that even we “enlightened elite” get swayed by the money as well. If it didn’t work, the money wouldn’t be spent. Money wins. Why else is it front-page news when one candidate raises more campaign money than another? Money *shouldn’t* win. But it has won time and time again.

          20. David Greenwald

            Worked last time didn’t it. I just talked to someone on here who admits to falling for the PG&E scare tactics in 2006.

          21. darelldd

            Yes! Michelle admitted it publicly, which I thought was endearing, honest and brave. Clearly the glossy scare tactics worked on a LOT of people. Convincing people to “stay the course” by creating scary “what-if” scenarios is relatively easy. People are generally much happier with the devil they know.

          22. Mark West

            “I bought it hook, line, and sinker.”

            And this time you have done exactly the same thing with the consultant’s report.

          23. Matt Williams

            Mark, the difference is that the PG&E campaign was the “final word” while the consultant’s report is only the call to “saddle up” in the paddock. There is still a whole lot of detailed analysis that will be provided that validates and fleshes out the high level assessment of the consultant’s report.

            I went to a very interesting presentation this evening by a manager at California ISO (which is the impartial electrical grid operator for over 70% of the state of California’s power grid. Cal ISO provides/adjudicates access to the wholesale power market, balancing the need for higher transmission reliability with the need for lower costs, and acting as a key platform to achieve California’s clean energy goals.), who described how the electrical power infrastructure that we know and use today is undergoing some revolutionaly changes, and that in 5 to 10 years electrical transmission and distribution companies like PG&E may be operating in a totally different business model than they are operating in today. Their world may change just as much as Xerox’s and Kodak’s have in the last decade.

            In positioning Davis to look at its POU options, Steve Pinkerton appears to be seeing the future rather than being captive of the past.

          24. Michelle Millet

            I want to see the report reviewed by multiply independent sources, and I want any inaccuracy’s in the report to be addressed. I want to base my decisions this time on facts, not scare tactics or false claims.

    1. Day Man

      It’s a bad sign that an article about revenue measures (that only mentions a POU in passing) leads primarily to a spirited debate about the merits of a POU and whether our CC deserves to be recalled (really?) because of their decision to explore a POU. I think this thread is an ominous foreshadow of how the public campaign for the tax measures will go. The POU will distract from the real story.

      1. SouthofDavis

        The council is spending a lot of money on a “study”. If I had a brother in law looking at a $5K shortfall next year I would be less likely to loan or give him money if he just spent $1K to “study” if a solar system for his pool would save him any money in the future…

  5. Mr. Toad

    Well glory be the day David doesn’t think its a good idea to bust the FF’s union. David is more liberal than Rich Rifkin who sets a new low in anti-union pontification in the local scene.

  6. Mr. Toad

    PG&E is going to fight like hell to defeat this but if a fair value is placed on the assets that need to be bought from them it will be a no brainer when it pencils out. Public power passed in Davis but lost in the rest of the county. The council should use that vote as a mandate to proceed. As for myself it doesn’t matter one way or the other because I have a solar system on the roof. I wanted a galaxy but we couldn’t afford one. As long as the pro public power scene can hold the hybrid car and bicycle vote all the naysayers are simply background noise. Still at the end of the day it depends on the value of the PG&E assets. PG&E knows this which is why they are claiming their Yolo County assets are worth more than Headwaters Forest.

    1. Michelle Millet

      Still at the end of the day it depends on the value of the PG&E assets. PG&E knows this which is why they are claiming their Yolo County assets are worth more than Headwaters Forest.

      They can name whatever price they want, at the end of the day it won’t matter, because ultimately this decision will be take out of their hands.

  7. wdf1

    The way that the concept of affluenza is discussed in the media and courts these days suggests that taxing the affluent is an answer:

    Judge orders no jail for Ethan Couch, teen in fatal car wreck

    FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) – A judge on Wednesday ordered a Texas teenager who was sentenced to 10 years’ probation in a drunken-driving crash that killed four people to go to a rehabilitation facility paid for by his parents.

    Judge Jean Boyd again decided to give no jail time for Ethan Couch, defense attorney Reagan Wynn and prosecutors told reporters after the hearing, which was closed to the public. Prosecutors had asked Boyd to sentence him to 20 years in state custody on charges related to two people who were severely injured.

    The sentence stirred fierce debate, as has the testimony of a defense expert who says Couch’s wealthy parents coddled him into a sense of irresponsibility. The expert termed the condition “affluenza.”

    1. Mark West

      This is absolutely right. There is no point in discussing new taxes until the City makes available all of the financial details so we can evaluate what is truly needed. The City has had plenty of time to explain what is needed and demonstrate a commitment to creating a comprehensive solution to our fiscal problem. Instead they chosen to sit on the information until the last moment to artificially create a crisis of timing and thereby dictate their preferred solution. It is time we stop facilitating this dysfunctional process of jumping from one crisis to the next.

      1. Davis Progressive

        ” There is no point in discussing new taxes until the City makes available all of the financial details so we can evaluate what is truly needed. The City has had plenty of time to explain what is needed and
        demonstrate a commitment to creating a comprehensive solution to our fiscal problem. Instead they chosen to sit on the information until the last moment to artificially create a crisis of timing and thereby dictate their preferred solution. It is time we stop facilitating this dysfunctional process of jumping from one crisis to the next.”

        i agree with most of what you say, the problem is given timelines here, i think we have no other choice. i also believe that the citizens bear responsibility. you read the vanguard every day it would seem, as do i, why weren’t you and i hammering for the city to address this when it came up in june?

        1. Mark West

          “why weren’t you and i hammering for the city to address this when it came up in june?”

          Good question. For my part I was focused on trying to stop the CC from making the monumentally stupid decision they ultimately made regarding the Mace 391 property (another example of hiding the ball until the last minute then claiming we have no other choice).

          1. Mark West

            That may be true for one or two, but the majority were well aware and at least one was driving the effort.

    2. Ryan Kelly

      Nancy, At least you are making an attempt to wade in, but I think that this information – detailed reports – will be overwhelming to people. Wouldn’t a summary of each account be better to start? Do you really want every transaction – bill paid, every expense report reimbursed, every utility bill paid, every parking ticket paid, every permit fee collected, etc.?

          1. iPad Guy

            Didn’t you say awhile back that you’re actually still waiting for this information for a couple years? Hope it’s in a form you can share when it hits your mailbox.

          2. Michelle Millet

            If they already have it on a spreadsheet it would take no time to share it. Then they can let you figure out the sales tax data for yourself;-)

          3. Don Shor

            Ask them again. I asked in 2010 and in 2012. There are confidentiality issues, apparently, that mean that a staff person would have to assemble the data first. And I do understand they might be overburdened and consider this a low priority. But basically I’ve asked three times. So I think the ball is in their court now.

    3. Davis Progressive

      for the most part the city has, what it has not done is outreached to the community effective. i have heard that the city is shifting strategies, but will it be too late?

  8. Michael Harrington

    The real costs of the water project were kept from the Finance and Budget Commission.

    No one has done or seen an audit of how the City spends tax dollars.

    At the last moment, our CC suddenly thinks they have a huge deficit, and their knee jerk, and only reaction, is raise taxes.

    The sales tax is regressive and hurts the working poor left in Davis.

    So here our happy bunch of liberal CC members default over to a massive tax increase as the solution that they should have dealt with in the last 2-3 years?

    “Tax and spend liberals.” I think someone said that when I was in college at UCD. Nothing’s changed.

    Now, even Robb Davis, candidate for Mayor Wagstaff, defaults to increase our sales tax on an emergency basis, and he is now advocating for massive new construction and sprawl outside oif the current city limits. All of this on the heels of passage of the Cannery, a project that would fit well with the culture and attitudes of something approved in Lodi.

    I am sorry, but the parcel tax for fixing basic infrastructure needs should have been outlined and sent out to the public 6 months ago. I think many of us would vote for a parcel tax if it had sufficient justification and detailed lists of projects that needed funding.

    I am not going to reward the CC and staff for what I see is negligence in handling these things over the past couple of years. Saylor and the FFs set it up, but this CC has lacked the guts to make the cuts needed, or even outline and justifiy the needed tax increases until now, the last moment for the June ballot.

    1. Matt Williams

      Mike, one of the F&BC members was on the WAC. The “real” numbers were thoroughly explored transparently by the WAC. What “real costs” do you believe were withheld from the WAC and the F&BC? The WAC process was thoroughly open and transparent. Project costs were debated eight ways to Sunday and reduced substantially as a result of the WAC process. What would F&BC review of the WAC findings have done to the project costs?

      Regarding your attack on Robb Davis, perhaps you should look back on your own arguments that we have to honor our existing community character. That community character is built (in my opinion) on the two most prominent core competencies of the community … education/academic research and agriculture. The University by definition is combining and sharing ideas and talent. With its commitment to its 2020 Initiative: A Path to Academic Excellence and Economic Opportunity UCD is building on its existing strengths and resources to partner with the communities outside its borders in technology transfer so that the private sector can add capital and resources to maximize the value of UCD’s research products to society.

      While their trajectory of that technology transfer from UCD is known (agricultural innovation, applied mechanical engineering and healthcare being most prominent), the velocity of the transfer is not as clear. Part of the velocity uncertainty can be illustrated by a microeconomic supply/demand curve. By that I mean there is a robust supply of pure research and applied research “product” available within UCD, but the demand for the transfer of those research products has not been organized. Therefore, the research product either says on campus as a purely academic exercise, or it leapfrogs the Davis/Yolo/UCD community boundaries and goes to Texas or St. Louis or any one of a number of communities that are more committed than our community is to combining and sharing ideas, talent, and capital.

      That brings me full circle back to you (and all the Davis residents you act as a proxy for). If we are indeed a community whose core competencies are education/academic research and agriculture, then creating an organized infrastructure (an Innovation Park ecosystem) that articulates “demand” that matches UCD’s “supply” of technology transfer “products” is wholly consistent with, and honors our community character.

      On the other hand, if a business park is created that loses the Innovation focus and brings in businesses that do not synergize with and leverage the community’s core competencies, then the community character will not have been honored.

      I am firmly confident that with leadership like Robb Davis’ and Rob White’s we can avoid the “other hand” and make our community both better and more fiscally sustainable.

    2. Michelle Millet

      There are so many inflated, distorted, and misleading comments made in this diatribe I’m not sure where to begin.

      At the last moment, our CC suddenly thinks they have a huge deficit, and their knee jerk, and only reaction, is raise taxes.

      First, Are you questioning the existence of a budget deficit?

      Second, their only reaction is tax raises? Did they just not renegotiate labor contracts?

      Third, knee jerk? I believe a two council members have been working together for a while to come up tax increase proposal.

    3. Ryan Kelly

      What about peripheral development that would bring in additional industrial activity (sales tax)? That would have less of a burden on the poor working class in Davis and might even provide a few well-paying jobs to boot.

      1. Michelle Millet

        I have no problem with responsible peripheral development. I think Robb Davis has laid out a great set of ideas regarding conditions for this type of growth.

  9. Michelle Millet

    So here our happy bunch of liberal CC members default over to a massive tax increase as the solution that they should have dealt with in the last 2-3 years?

    Again does renegotiation of labor contract not constitute, at least in part, finding solutions?

  10. Michelle Millet

    Now, even Robb Davis, candidate for Mayor Wagstaff, defaults to increase our sales tax on an emergency basis, and he is now advocating for massive new construction and sprawl outside oif the current city limits.

    Massive is a relative term. And its use in this sentence completely distorts Robb’s positions on growth outside our city.

    So you slam Robb for promoting, what I would consider reasonable growth in hopes that it will generate revenue, and you slam him for supporting a tax increase.

    Where do you propose we get the money to meet our budget deficit, oh yeah I forgot, you don’t think we have one.

  11. Michelle Millet

    I am sorry, but the parcel tax for fixing basic infrastructure needs should have been outlined and sent out to the public 6 months ago. I think many of us would vote for a parcel tax if it had sufficient justification and detailed lists of projects that needed funding.

    I’ll give you this one.

  12. iPad Guy

    Why are we even talking about taking over a utility, let alone spending a million dollars of General Fund money (plus interest) to analyze the concept?

    For ten bucks and 2-1 odds, I’ll provide almost guaranteed analysis–Davis never will take over PG&E Davis customers. Save the money for firefighter overtime pay.

    This is a town that couldn’t even manage a small municipal utility, Davis Community Cable! Now that we sold it off and Comcast is charging us more than PG&E does, I’d prefer a takeover of their barely modern services. The city’s profit potential in Internet and cable television must be much greater than going for PG&E’s business.

  13. Michelle Millet

    For ten bucks and 2-1 odds, I’ll provide almost guaranteed analysis–Davis never will take over PG&E Davis customers.

    What leads you to draw this conclusion?

    1. iPad Guy

      It’s a monumental task. Davis doesn’t have the political power or will, the united populace or the money to invest in the fight such a takeover would require just to be competitive (let alone successful).

      Where is this idea even coming from? It certainly isn’t bubbling up from the masses. I don’t read every issue of The Enterprise or every story in the Vanguard, but this information came as a surprise. (In fact, I think even David didn’t realize that this $1-million expenditure has any impact on our shaky General Fund.)

      In addition, the timing is horrible.

      At the same time we’re voting for an increase in the sales tax to pull us out of a fiscal hole, we’re BORROWING money that the sales tax will have to help repay for every year for the next decade. Just the awareness of the irony could sink the sales tax vote. What if there are some other questionable borrowing and spending decisions that get revealed during a sales tax campaign?

      Who supports this quixotic initiative and will put up the money and time to make it happen? Who could end up fighting against it? Who is likely to win if it goes that far?

      Come to think of it, I’ll move to 4-1 odds against fruition.

      1. Michelle Millet

        Davis doesn’t have the political power or will, the united populace or the money to invest in the fight such a takeover would require just to be competitive (let alone successful).

        I think you misjudge the will.

        As far as the money, from what I understand getting the money to purchase PG&E’s infrastructure will not be a problem. This will be financed with long-term low interest bonds.

        1. iPad Guy

          Well, who is pushing this? If many of us hadn’t even heard of it until after $400,000 got spent, how is the will being publicly expressed?

          So we can finance a sale with long-term (low interest?) bonds. “Who is lined up to finance getting us to that point?” is my question?

          Of course, that’s just one of my misgivings. Why is now considered great timing to generate public support for this?

          1. David Greenwald

            I can tell you exactly who is pushing this: Pinkerton. I had a long conversation with him off the record about this last summer, they were trying to get as much done as possible before they had to go public because they knew how PG&E would respond.

          2. iPad Guy

            And, how did that work out for him? What might have looked like a good possibility a year ago appears to look less promising now.

            Now, we know how bad a fiscal situation we face and Pinkerton knows how unpleasant his future in Davis looks.

            I’d feel a lot better moving ahead if we were confident Pinkerton would be here a couple more years.

            Still, I’m not too impressed with a strategy to keep a city initiative secret from the public. And, just how long do we think it took for PG&E to get word that we were spending $400,000 to attack their assets?

            Who will be left to push this once Pinkerton departs? Maybe the NRC; it’s been pretty influential lately.

          3. David Greenwald

            From a policy perspective, I think Pinkerton was brilliant and forward thinking. From a PR standpoint, obviously a different story.

      2. Michelle Millet

        I don’t read every issue of The Enterprise or every story in the Vanguard, but this information came as a surprise.

        It’s not a new idea. It’s been at least 5 publicly posted agenda’s over the past year and half.

        Again I think more research needs to done to confirm findings of the report presented to council but if a 20% reduction in rates is possible and we get control over 4.3 million dollars of PPP funds, I think it’s fiscally irresponsible not to make this move.

        1. Mark West

          “It’s not a new idea. It’s been at least 5 publicly posted agenda’s over the past year and half.”

          Every time I hear or read a comment like this one, it reminds me of these lines from Douglas Adams:

          “There’s no point in acting all surprised about it. All the planning charts and demolition orders have been on display in your local planning department on Alpha Centauri for fifty of your Earth years, so you’ve had plenty of time to lodge any formal complaint and it’s far too late to start making a fuss about it now” Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

          It really doesn’t matter how many agendas the item has been on. If the CC isn’t communicating with the public about it, then as far as the public is concerned it isn’t happening.

          If the Mayor was upset the other night that no one knew about this ongoing project, he has no one to blame but himself. It is his job (along with the rest of the CC) to make sure that the public is aware of it. Putting an item on an agenda is not communicating.

          1. Michelle Millet

            To be fair, according to one council member, on Dec. 10, a council chambers full of people there to discuss the bathroom at central park cleared out before the presentation given on this topic.

            Krovoza had to assure the presenter that plenty of people were watching from home.

            Apparently not.

          2. Mark West

            I watched the entire presentation and discussion. Nobody mentioned we were spending $1 Million on the process at the same time we were facing a mounting multi-million dollar deficit.

        2. iPad Guy

          I got the impression that lots of people who certainly had good reason to have detailed knowledge about this initiative seemed ignorant when it came up.

          So, I don’t feel too guilty to ask you for links to Vanguard and Enterprise stories about the topic during 2013. Please help me out on this.

          “…but if a 20% reduction in rates is possible and we get control over 4.3 million dollars of PPP funds, I think it’s fiscally irresponsible not to make this move.”

          I sort of agree, but “if it’s possible” is too low a bar for more spending that requires General Fund repayment of $600,000 plus interest at this time. Hold that thought until we get the GF under control.

          Like you, I wish “fiscal responsibility” carried weight in decision-making at the city council level.

          Even with our support for open space barriers to future development, it was “fiscally irresponsible” for our council to sell off our ability for potential business park development along Mace forever for just a $1-million token amount. Doing so foregoes a big chance to improve the municipal fiscal picture.

          1. Don Shor

            it was “fiscally irresponsible” for our council to sell off our ability for potential business park development along Mace forever for just a $1-million token amount. Doing so foregoes a big chance to improve the municipal fiscal picture.

            There are other sites for economic development. Planning for those sites is moving forward. IMO there would be no movement on those sites if Mace 391 was still under discussion.

  14. growth issue

    How about we get PG&E to agree to lower our power rates by let’s say 10 to 15% and let them keep their business? We save all of the legal fees, buyout costs, don’t have to run a company, don’t have to maintain a system, and many other factors (headaches) on a long list of things we don’t need to take on.

    1. growth issue

      Or is this not an option with the local environmental zealots because imo it’s not about rates but more about having control over what energy sources (green) we use?

      1. Michelle Millet

        I would like the community to have a fact base rational conversation about this issue, labeling people as zealots works to marginalize people, if your wish is similar to mine, I would recommend you stop using inflammatory labels when engaging in these conversations.

        If your wish is not to have a rational conversation, but instead just express your dislike of a group of people, by all means keep up the inflammatory rhetoric.

        1. Mark West

          “I would like the community to have a fact base rational conversation about this issue…”

          Me too. Proselytizing while representing potential savings as if they are a certainty is not being ‘fact-based.’

          1. David Greenwald

            If that were the case – it were viewed as a certainty, we wouldn’t be spending $600,000 on the report. 20% is potential savings and I think well worth looking into at the cost of $66K per year.

          2. Mark West

            David: I was referring to Michelle’s proselytizing, which I thought was obvious since I responded to her post.

            The cost is $1 Million plus interest. Trying to hide that fact by discussing the annual cost of financing just makes you look like you are…well, hiding something…which just makes you a co-conspirator in the City’s dysfunction.

          3. David Greenwald

            My interface is a bit different than yours and so it’s hard for me to figure out who is responding to whom. That said, I think the a financing plan makes sense if you believe it is a way to bring forth additional savings.

          4. Michelle Millet

            I’m quoting from a report compiled by people who are considered experts in their field.

            Like David I think the 20% savings claims should be looked into and independently confirmed. I certainly will be advocating for this to happen.

            The 1 million spent has nothing to do with the purchasing of the infra-structure from PG&E with bonds, if I somehow implied there was a connection between the two it was unintentional and I apologize.

    2. Michelle Millet

      Rates are just one issue, another big one for me is PPP money. I’d like to see how much of the current 4.3 million dollars Davis business and residence pay is actually being spent in ways that directly effect our community. If anyone knows how to access this information I’d appreciate the lead.

      Let me pose you this question, would you care that city’s energy supply came increasingly from “green sources” under a POU, if rates stayed the same as they are with PG&E (this is hypothetical, so no need to argue wether is possible and or even likely).

      1. growth issue

        You need to answer my question first. This is being sold to us as a way to reduce our utility bills. So if PG&E would be willing to reduce our bills by 10 to 15% would you see that as a viable alternative to taking on a POU?

        1. Michelle Millet

          I would control over a good portion of the PPP money, and I’d want the city to have some say in where energy is coming from.

          I would also want the city to reap the finical benefits of choosing more energy efficient options.

          Right now, for instance, we are replacing a majority of city street lights, because of the way PG&E meters the lights it’s not cost effective for us to go with a more energy efficient type of lighting. So it does not make finical sense to do so. This would not be the case if we ran our POU.

        1. David Greenwald

          The Public Purpose Programs charge that appears on your monthly utility bill is assessed to pay for various programs required by California law and/or the California Public Utilities Commission. Those programs include renewable resource energy technologies; energy efficiency; research, development and demonstration; and low-income programs. Right now that figure is calculated for Davis at $4.34 million.

          1. Michelle Millet

            As I mentioned in a previous post I would like to see how much of this PPP money is currently being spent in Davis. My guess is that some is being used for low-income programs, which I imagine we would keep funding as a POU.

          2. iPad Guy

            How is the $4.34-million (annually?) being used now? Do we have good reason to criticize the current uses and to insist that we take control of the fund?

            Will I be able to find out anything about this issue or about the city’s POU initiative by searching The Vanguard?

          3. David Greenwald

            I did a story in December, I was really waiting until the city was ready to come out with their report.

          4. iPad Guy

            Are you saying you did a story, but didn’t publish?

            Has The Vanguard published anything on this major deal, one that Michelle assures us everyone should know about since it’s been publicly posted at least five times?

            Maybe the Mayor should be upset at The Vanguard instead of being pissed off at the people who appeared to be uninformed.

          5. David Greenwald

            I didn’t do a story, I got background information and waited. December was the first article we did. If the Mayor wants to be upset that’s fine, but it’s hard to write a story with no one on the record and no staff report.

          6. Michelle Millet

            How is the $4.34-million (annually?) being used now? Do we have good reason to criticize the current uses and to insist that we take control of the fund?

            I’d be curious to the answer to this too. I was planning on doing some research to see what I could find out. I’ve asked a couple people but haven’t found someone yet that knows the answer.,

            Did you publish an article on this David?

            Maybe I just haven’t asked the right person;-)

    3. Jim Frame

      How about we get PG&E to agree to lower our power rates by let’s say 10 to 15% and let them keep their business?

      PG&E would much rather spend millions in litigation and PR costs fighting a service area takeover than negotiate a price reduction. Doing the former gets them — even if they lose — a big stick to hold over the head of any other areas thinking about seceding, while doing the latter exposes them to “me too” claims from the rest of their customers. From a business perspective, it’s a no-brainer.

    1. Don Shor

      Given the precedent that would set for other communities, what likelihood do you think there is of them agreeing to give Davis a special lower rate — especially when their rate requests are overseen by the PUC?

      1. growth issue

        Don, I don’t think the PUC would balk if PG&E wanted to lower rates. Now as for the precedent of other communities wanting the same deal, you make a good point.

        1. Michelle Millet

          Davis is not growing, other municipalities that PG&E provide service to are, thus PG&E is purchasing new infrastructure to provide for this increased demands. The cost of this growth are being spread out over all it’s customers. So basically Davis customers are subsidizing other communities growth.

          PG&E is also facing financial fallout from a law suit over the gas line explosion in San Bruno. These cost will most likely translate into higher cost for its customers.

          The report presented to council predicts that PG&E rates will continue to rise, as they have in the past, at higher rates then inflation.

          1. Mark West

            “So basically Davis customers are subsidizing other communities growth.”

            That actually is perfectly appropriate. We have chosen not to grow and should expect to pay a price for not doing our share to supply housing for the people moving into the area.

          2. Michelle Millet

            I was not arguing wether it was appropriate or not. Just that it is a fact, and our rates reflect it. This would not be the case if we if we had a POU.

          3. Tia Will

            Mark

            I would not expect that price to be paid to a private company that has a monopoly on provision of a service. I fail to see how it is “appropriate” for one community to have to subsidize a private companies provision of services to another community.

  15. growth issue

    I still say Dunning says it best, and many in Davis also feel this way:

    “GREEN, GREEN, IT’S GREEN THEY SAY … I realize this town’s well-heeled environmentalists are doing cartwheels over our proposed power grab, but for many hard-working young families in town, “going green” is a secondary consideration at best … if this mugging of PG&E doesn’t first and foremost lower personal power bills all over town, it should be a non-starter … if you can’t afford the power bill that arrives in your mailbox every month, it makes little difference if that power comes from the wind, the sun, the ocean, the rivers, the ground or from 6,000 monkeys furiously pedaling bicycles at the UC Davis Primate Center … if a city takeover of PG&E can lower our bills, then all the “green” stuff is wonderful frosting on the cake … but if it raises our bills, we shouldn’t even be considering it in the first place …”

          1. growth issue

            Well, on some issues he does speak for the majority just as he doesn’t on other issues. Couldn’t that be said of almost everyone? So what’s your point?

          2. Michelle Millet

            I don’t care how many people he speaks for, as long as he does it in an honest way. I have a low tolerance for people who present information in a way that manipulates facts to support their claims. I find Dunning to be guilty of this, but he usually get a laugh out of me when he is doing so, so there is that.

          3. growth issue

            I agree with you. To be fair though did you also have low tolerance for the people who presented that Davis plastic bags make it all the way to the Pacific Ocean?

          4. Michelle Millet

            I think I need to make this clear, since my subtle efforts appear not to be working.

            If one stray bag from Davis never ended up in the ocean I would still support the ban plastic bags.

            There are problems associated with these bags that have nothing to do with them ending up in the ocean.

          5. growth issue

            Now you’re way off point, when talking about Dunning you started by saying “I have a low tolerance for people who present information in a way that manipulates facts to support their claims.” I came back with “To be fair though did you also have low tolerance for the people who presented that Davis plastic bags make it all the way to the Pacific Ocean?” We know that Davis plastic bags don’t make it to the ocean so I’m still asking do you have a low tolerance for the people that misrepresented that “FACT?” too?

          6. Michelle Millet

            I have little tolerance for anyone who misrepresents facts in order to support their position on an issue, especially when it is one I support. Doing so undermines legitimate concerns.

            As far as plastic bags from Davis ending up in the ocean, I’ve talked to various people about this and gotten different answers, so I’m not convinced that this can’t happen.

            I don’t think it is as big an issue here as it is in coastal communities though, thus I would have a problem with anyone claiming it is.

    1. Don Shor

      but if it raises our bills, we shouldn’t even be considering it in the first place …”

      I’m not sure how you would figure out if it would raise or lower our bills without going through a process of ‘considering’ it. My question really has to do with the cost of assessing it, why that has to be contracted out, whether it could be done by existing staff, and what cost or benefit there might be to simply shelving this idea for a year or so until we get a better sense of how the city’s fiscal situation is going to play out.

      It seems that, no matter how bad the financial situation is, there’s always money for consultants.

      1. growth issue

        Yes Dunning sometimes can distort the facts, but he’s not the only one. I distinctly remember being told that somehow our Davis Nugget plastic bags magically make their way to the Pacific Ocean. All sides have a tendency to distort to make a point.

        That being said please tell me what Dunning distorted in that paragraph besides his JOKE of “6,000 monkeys furiously pedaling bicycles at the UC Davis Primate Center?”

        I agree with everything he said, especially “if a city takeover of PG&E can lower our bills, then all the “green” stuff is wonderful frosting on the cake … but if it raises our bills, we shouldn’t even be considering it in the first place …”and I would add to that I don’t want green energy raising my bills in the future either.

          1. growth issue

            Come on Don, everyone knows a pigeon hooks into it and flies it all the way to the ocean. No distorting the facts there.

          2. iPad Guy

            They get picked up by litter crews. But, of course, most end up in bag recycling flows and landfills.

          3. Michelle Millet

            Best case scenario they get picked up by litter crews. What happens to the ones that don’t? Where do these bags made of plastic, a material that photo-biodegrades into smaller and smaller pieces, but takes up to 500 years to biodegrade end up?

            FYI-I believe only 3% of plastic bags are recycled.

          4. Don Shor

            Like many other things that don’t biodegrade, they just become smaller and smaller particles in soil, humus, and vegetative debris. Notice you don’t see them all over the place. They mostly disintegrate. It’s different than “biodegrading” but they do no harm, basically, as inert parts of soil and compost.

          5. Michelle Millet

            What about the chemicals that leach out of plastic? Do they do no harm? Do they become inert parts of the soil and compost?

          6. Don Shor

            You seriously have almost no reason to worry about that. Seriously. There are little bits of all kinds of inert things that end up in soil. “Chemicals that leach out of plastic” would practically be undetectable. As a practical matter: they do no harm. Basic principle of toxicology: the dose makes the poison. Even if there were chemicals “leaching” out of bits of plastic from bags disintegrating, the amounts would be trivial.
            If you want to spend your time worrying about toxic things, this wouldn’t be high on my list.

          7. Michelle Millet

            You don’t think I should worry about the drought either.

            I’m not convinced one way or another if there is nothing or something to worry about. We are not even sure what chemicals manufactures are using in plastic.

            We know more about the negative effects of fluoride then we know about the chemicals used in plastic, and plenty of people seemed to be worried about that.

          8. Don Shor

            No, Michelle, I think you should inform yourself about our water supplies before taking unnecessary and ill-advised actions in response to a single year of low rainfall.

            And I think you could answer the question about “what chemicals manufacturers are using in plastic” before you unnecessarily worry about tiny bits of plastic bags disintegrating into the soil.

            And you might want to get some perspective about the things you worry about.

            As to your fluoride example: we are exposed to fluoride much more directly, by ingestion and topical application, than we are to any of the chemicals that would emanate somehow from a plastic bag. So, again, some perspective and balance might be appropriate in directing your energies about toxic things in the environment.

          9. growth issue

            Michelle
            “Where do these bags made of plastic, a material that photo-biodegrades into smaller and smaller pieces, but takes up to 500 years to biodegrade end up?”

            Now wait a minute, didn’t you tell me just us few weeks ago that the degradation cycle of plastic bags is not an issue?

          10. growth issue

            I think I’ve got to go with Don when it comes to evaluating soil, after all he has a horticultural degree and owns a nursery.

          11. growth issue

            “bags made of plastic, a material that photo-biodegrades into smaller and smaller pieces, but takes up to 500 years to biodegrade”

            Plastic sandwich bags have only been around since the 1950’s and grocery store plastic bags since the 1980’s, so how do we know they take 500 years to degrade?

          12. Michelle Millet

            Plastic sandwich bags have only been around since the 1950′s and grocery store plastic bags since the 1980′s, so how do we know they take 500 years to degrade?

            Just this little thing called Chemistry.

          13. Michelle Millet

            The rate of plastic bag degradation is irrelevant for ones that end up in landfills. As I understand it once landfills are capped very few things in them degrade.

  16. Michael Harrington

    Michelle: is that your real name, BTW? Thanks for the comments. Sorry I am blunt, but that’s me. There is nothing to sugar coat as to these city budget issues. I’ve been in those closed sessions, up on the dais, drinks afterward. Cozy. Protect the status quo. Get along, get along. Been there, done that.

    Steve Pinkerton has done a good job with the shakeup and cutting that needed to be done. TImes are good, we all share. Times are bad, we private business people eat it, but not those with vested pensions and big comp packages. This has to change.

    Steve needs another couple of years to get us past the end game of the great economic depression since my mother was born in 1932.

    I know my comments are not liked by some, but I am right.

    1. Michelle Millet

      Sorry I am blunt, but that’s me.

      I love bluntness. I don’t like when people misrepresent situations, which is what I believe you have done. You may not like that I think this, but I am right.

      1. John Baldry

        Ms. Millet, don’t limit your criticisms of Mr. Harrington to misrepresentation. I doubt you like it when people manipulate situations either, which is what I believe Mr. Harrington has done. Machiavellian is another M word that applies.

        The best response that the citizens of Davis can give misrepresenting, manipulative, Machiavellian Michael is to soundly defeat the initiative in June. That is the best reason for the Council jumping through hoops in their February 11 Council meeting. Get this circus over with.

  17. Michael Harrington

    Water initiative qualified, BTW. 1800 validated, needed 1200, appx.

    Round one: fall 2011 referendum (city lost).

    Round two: Measure I (city won, but second clause not complete and City illegally spending your money ultra vires)

    Round 3: water rates case: (pending, but tentative decision for city, appeal likely, with Howard Jarvis maybe involved to protect their Prop 218)

    Round 4: water initiative to repeal the rates: qualified. Has to be on 2/11 CC agenda to get onto the Jun ballot

    More coming.

    1. Don Shor

      Doesn’t it have to be posted a certain number of days before the meeting? Is there time for them to get it on the agenda as an action item for the 2/11 meeting?

    1. Ryan Kelly

      I thought it was the University Mall (that peripheral mall that was going to kill downtown Davis)….or Richards Underpass…oh, no, it was building a shopping mall next to Central Park…oh no, it was Mace Ranch….wait, it was the shopping center on first street…and there was Wildhorse development…and you can’t forget Covell Village…or the Biolab…. or Target…

  18. Michael Harrington

    The City Council really should put this on the 2/11 agenda, the last one to add a ballot measure.

    A win for the city in June would firm up the validity of these rates, and would help them in the Court of Appeals, if there is an appeal. It might lead to lower costs for financing the construction.

    However, this initiative is a hot and stinky political potato for the three CC members running for office in June. Probably best for them that these rates are not on the same ballot.

    But certainly for the City ratepayers and for financial and legal considerations, the sooner the rates receive a political decision, the better.

    This is what they call a conflict of interest ….

    1. John Baldry

      Mr. Harrington, reading your comment above I am reminded of a sign that I once saw on a secretary’s desk.

      Your failure to plan ahead does not consitute an emergency on my part.

      Since it is clear from the validated signatures count that you had 150% of the required number of signatures, you easily could have filed your paperwork two weeks ago. Your failure to do so is your problem and your problem alone. Plan ahead next time.

  19. Michael Harrington

    John: I know that sign well: it’s all over the walls and cubicles of support staff in law offices!

    I dont know if you have had the privilege of working with a bunch of volunteers, but everyone works on their tasks as time permits, and it’s challenging to get the package together and filed as soon as some would like.

    1. John Baldry

      As long as you accept the fact that all you are providing are excuses Mr. Harrington, and that you take ownership of those excuses, then no harm is being done. If the initiative vote is in June it will be in June. If it is in November it will be in November.

      If it is in June the circus will be over earlier rather than later, which is my preference.

  20. Michael Harrington

    John, I agree with you that June 2014 is best. Get it over with. If rates voter approved, the City is in a much stronger position. If not, then they can get them fixed sooner rather than later. I dont know if I would say circus, but I might call it a water park (Raging Waters).

    I actually would like to work on something a little more interesting, like …. trash rates?? Not!

    How about knocking down Mace 200? Now, that is more interesting, I think.

  21. Michelle Millet

    I hate leaving a good debate, (and my doing so does not mean I think you are right;-) but I’ve got like 4 different ones going on with different people about different things, and my brain, and eyes are fried.

    I’m going to go read books with my kids.

    Looking forward to continuing all these wonderful discussions another time;-)

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