My View: Compromise on Water Hinged on Burning the Strawmen

Matt Williams and Donna Lemongello explain their rate structure to council more last time
Matt Williams and Donna Lemongello explain their rate structure to council one last time

One of the more dangerous public policy moves is to make decisions based on assumptions and partial knowledge of the facts. One of the pieces of partial knowledge that appeared throughout both the URAC and council rate setting processes, following the passage of Measure P,  is the assumption that the passage of Measure P was due a to rejection of CBFR.  While I wouldn’t want to rule that assumption out as a possibility, an analysis of the numbers suggests a different possibility.

If you look at the results in March 2013 and compare them to the results in June 2014, you realize something very interesting. In March 2013, No on Measure I received 6802 votes. In June of 2014, Yes on Measure P received 7058. It doesn’t take a degree in higher math to see that nearly the same number of people voted for Measure P as voted against Measure I.

What changed drastically is the fact that the side supporting the water project fell from 8000 votes in March 2013 to just under 6800 in June 2014. Fewer people voted in the June primary as voted in a March 2013 special election (14,614 vs. 14,832 respectively overall, but only 13,829 of the 14,614 actually cast ballots for Measure P).

Just as earlier we laid blame for the parcel tax polling numbers on the lack of campaigning by the Measure O campaign, we lay the same blame here. In March 2013, the supporters of Measure I hired a political consultant, Will Arnold, as campaign manager, identified their likely voters and mounted a robust campaign. The result was that 1000 more people voted in the special election than voted in the Measure P election.

That is a point that just about everyone should keep in mind for a number of things, but for our purposes here, it illustrates the point that the reason the water rates went down is not necessarily CBFR – which Bob Dunning campaigned against for sixty days leading up to the Measure I election – but, rather, complacency on the part of the water supporters.

A week ago, we wrote that there was no way to stop the water train wreck. But we didn’t anticipate cooler and wiser heads prevailing. We believe that a deal of some sort was struck last week that enabled the council to put forward 87-13, which we believe was actually their preferred alternative all along, with assurances that they would not be opening themselves up to legal challenge.

This has been spun by some people in the community as a blackmail or nefarious deal, but again, we believe what happened is actually the opposite. We believe that the majority on council preferred 87-13 but feared a number of factors that got brought up: drought protection, bond ratings, and finally a lawsuit filed by Michael Harrington.

One by one, those issues were stripped away and, with some assurance that there would be no lawsuit, the council was willing to take the chance and pass a more equitable split in the water rates.

In public comment on Wednesday Don Price argued that fear of legal action was a red herring. He explained, “The only reason that the council has been plagued with legal action this past year is that people didn’t like the experimental rates that the city council voted for before. I can’t imagine anyone bringing any kind of legal action or challenge to an 87-13 rate.”

On January 15, 2013, there was a letter to the city clerk from Nancy and Don Price writing, “We believe that the current rate system, adopted in 2010, and the new proposed structure unfairly charge some classes of uses differently than others, are terribly confusing and, for the many reasons outlined in the documents submitted to the Water Advisory Commission, city files, and the City Council, the current and proposed rates otherwise do not conform to law.”

So Don Price, who was party to the YRAPUS suit against the city, publicly stated that he could not imagine anyone bringing legal action over an 87-13 rate. That does not preclude legal action, but it would certainly help discredit a future effort.

New Mayor Dan Wolk was instrumental in helping to frame this discussion and we believe reached some sort of an agreement with Mr. Harrington.

In his comments from the dais on Wednesday Mayor Wolk stated, “I think I have been motivated on two things. One is finding a fair and viable rate structure and the second is honestly trying to find a global solution to this water issue. I feel that an adoption of a rate structure 60-40 does not address really either of those. It doesn’t appease a large group of our community and I think there is a real fairness issue about that 40-60 rate.”

Contrary to assertions by some on the council and the URAC Chair, these are not experimental rates. Matt Williams did his homework to demonstrate this.  87-13 fits right in with the rate structures of a number of cities throughout California.  San Francisco and Palo Alto are at 90-10, Arcata is at 87-13, Santa Rosa, Anaheim and Santa Ana are at 85-15, Santa Barbara, San Diego and Hayward are at 84-16, and Ventura is at 82-18.

Not only are there 10 examples of variable rates in the 80 to 90 percent range, but these are for the most part not small towns, these are major cities, some of them quite affluent, who all have large variable rate components. The idea that several million people live under these rates naturally takes some of the sting out from the notion that these are experimental.

Another key play was by someone who was not even at this meeting. At the previous meeting, outgoing Mayor Joe Krovoza dressed down Herb Niederberger for working contrary to the best interests of the city that employs him.

Mayor Krovoza told the utilities manager, “Everything I have heard, you have not worked with them to try to make it rate resilient. Everything I have heard is they have an idea, an idea I believe that matches our community’s values so much better and for weeks and weeks they’ve been stonewalled in being able to work with quality staff to figure out if they can make it workable.”

He argued that at this meeting they once again received the staff’s 60-40 presentation and were, “in my mind not getting a good faith effort to see if this rate structure could work for us.”

“I am terribly disappointed, I think that this is decision making at almost its very very worst at this point in time,” he said. “I am not going to support this [the motion by council member Lee to approve the 60-40 alternative]. We are moving forward toward a rate structure that is less conservation oriented than we have at this point in time.”

He would add that we are only at this point because staff has stonewalled for months and, “it is absolutely equitably unfair and even unconscionable.” He added, “This a huge step backwards for this city.”

This was critical because it opened the door for the first time for real analysis to occur.

May Krovoza’s comments caused Herb Niederberger to state, “We used all the same assumptions (for the rate comparisons), it’s just the revenue split (that’s different).”

That was his way of reluctantly stating that the rate structures and the assumptions were all the same, the revenue split was the only difference.

Doug Dove deserves a lot of credit here because, while he clearly supported a 60-40 split, on Wednesday night he gave a <u>fair and honest</u> presentation of all of the rate structures, which both complemented and fleshed out the presentation that followed by Matt Williams on the equity and financial strength of all three alternatives, and ultimately council was armed with enough truly comparable information that they were comfortable that they could put this to rest.

The key is that, now, this issue is likely coming to a close, we have a fair rate structure that even the Yes On Measure P opposition seems willing to live with. Hopefully the city really can get the state revolving loans and Davis can focus on economic sustainability rather than this divisive water issue.

There still is considerable concern as to whether city staff, who has not only opposed an 87-13 rate but has openly attempted to sabotage it, will attempt to stop this from going forward to a Prop 218 measure, but for the most part it appears that the writing there is on the wall and that once the Prop 218 Notice is finalized, we can finally put this issue to bed.

—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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72 Comments

  1. SODA

    Good summary, but my memory says that but for Joe’s last mtg and the ‘dressing down’ ,the CC almost passed the 60/40. I am happy with the 87/13 but think it was quite the turnaround. You may be right and the cards played as you say, but we almost got 60/40 and that would have ignited the community I think. What is interesting is that in the 87/13, the CC went against city staff, the consultant and the URAC chair. Might be a good story to explore this a bit…..

  2. SODA

    Good summary, but my memory says that but for Joe’s last mtg and the ‘dressing down’ ,the CC almost passed the 60/40. I am happy with the 87/13 but think it was quite the turnaround. You may be right and the cards played as you say, but we almost got 60/40 and that would have ignited the community I think. What is interesting is that in the 87/13, the CC went against city staff, the consultant and the URAC chair. Might be a good story to explore this a bit…..

  3. Jim Frame

    There is considerable concern as to whether city staff, who has not only opposed an 87-13 rate but has openly attempted to sabotage it, will attempt to stop this from going forward to a Prop 218 measure

    My impression is that staff reluctance to move away from 60/40 was based on the natural tendency to stick with a conservative structure that has already been tested in court. Once given clear direction from the executive branch to go with 87/13, what incentive is there for staff to block it? Doing so would seem to raise the likelihood of one or more senior staff members — at-will employees all — losing their jobs, the very thing that drives the conservative impulse. What am I missing?

  4. Jim Frame

    There is considerable concern as to whether city staff, who has not only opposed an 87-13 rate but has openly attempted to sabotage it, will attempt to stop this from going forward to a Prop 218 measure

    My impression is that staff reluctance to move away from 60/40 was based on the natural tendency to stick with a conservative structure that has already been tested in court. Once given clear direction from the executive branch to go with 87/13, what incentive is there for staff to block it? Doing so would seem to raise the likelihood of one or more senior staff members — at-will employees all — losing their jobs, the very thing that drives the conservative impulse. What am I missing?

  5. Anon

    “There is considerable concern as to whether city staff, who has not only opposed an 87-13 rate but has openly attempted to sabotage it, will attempt to stop this from going forward to a Prop 218 measure, but for the most part it appears that the writing there is on the wall and that we can finally put this issue to bed.”

    City staff did not “openly attempt to sabotage” an 87-13 rate. They definitely did not agree with it for good reason and explained why, because it will end up costing taxpayers more in the long run for the following reasons: 1) higher interest rate on debt service; 2) millions of dollars more that must be set aside in the reserve fund; and 3) high water users (irrigators) will pay more – the city and school district – funded by taxpayers. City staff will come forward with a Prop 218 notice, as directed, and will make this rate structure work, but at greater cost to all citizens, including low water users.

    1. David Greenwald

      Then why did Niederberger tell Doug Dove and Mark Northcross they couldn’t speak with Matt Williams even after council said they wanted Williams and Lemongello to get a full analysis?

    2. Matt Williams

      The comment above is conjecture, pure and simple. Unfounded conjecture to boot.

      1) Mark Northcross made it crystal clear in his testimony on Tuesday, June 24th that knowing what the Rating Agencies will do can not be known with any certainty, but urged caution for reasons that he outlined at the time. In Wednesday’s Staff presentation, Herb Niederberger, displayed a thorough quote from Mark Northcross that projected any interest rate increase in the “0.15% to 0.25%” range, and then ended with the following sentence, “It is possible that by mandating more actual cash reserves (rate stabilization fund) in the bond legal documents, that the rating downgrade could be eliminated, but no assurances can be provided in that regard.” For the record, 0.25% interest on a $100 million on a 30-year borrowing of $100 million amounts to $0.96 per month per account. If State Revolving Funds are procured, then the $100 million borrowing is cut to less than half and the 96 cents per month drops below 50 cents per month. So, Northcross’ assessment is that in the worst case it might cost each ratepayer one dollar per month. In slide 9 of the Bartle Wells presentation, Doug Dove showed a $6 per month savings for a 6 ccf single family residential customer. In slide 12 he showed an $11 per month savings for a 39 unit apartment. In slide 13 he showed an $56 per month savings for a 124 unit apartment. In slide 16 he showed an $57 per month savings for a dentist. In slide 17 he showed an $50 per month savings for a 163 ccf per month business complex. In slide 18 a small city irrigation account saved $42 per month.

      2) Doug Dove addressed the “millions of dollars more” issue in slide 5 of his presentation. That slide very clearly shows that 60/40 would have to set aside $5.7 million, 70/30 would have to set aside $6.6 million, and 87/13 would have to set aside $8.5 million. So “millions of dollars more” is actually $2.8 million more. The “cost of money” for that $2.8 million at 2% interest per year (the City probably gets less than 1%, but let’s be generous and call it 2%) is $56,000 per year, which works out to under 29 cents per month per account. Compare that cost to the substantial savings noted by Doug Dove in 1) above.

      3) Yes, the large gardens in the 95th percentile will cost $22 per month more, as shown in Doug Dove’s slide 11. And, yes a large school and/or park using 1,147 ccf per month will cost 10% more under 87/13, but that $384 per month increase will be spread across all 16,433 accounts, amounting to 2.3 cents per month per account. Again, compare that cost to the substantial savings noted by Doug Dove in 1) above.

      Your arguments are the same ones that Elaine Roberts Musser made in her empassioned public comment on Wednesday night, and before that in her role as Chair of the URAC. You may be just as passionate as elaine is, and if that is the case, then your passion is overwhelming your good sense, just as Elaine’s passion is overwhelming her good sense. Both of you have every right to your opinion. Both of you have every right to actively and loudly express that opinion. However, all that passion doesn’t change the facts on the ground.

      1. SODA

        Matt: Can you explain why city staff was/is negative about 87/13, and if David’s assertion is accurate, why staff stonewalled the progression with the consultants?

        1. Matt Williams

          SODA, I can only go by what they have said in public. They appear to believe that outside the box thinking is a threat to the status quo, and will result in either a bad outcome or increased work for an equal outcome. They also fear Mike Harrington, and the power of his ability to litigate. Some believe that “If it has always been done the same way, then that way must be best.” Dianna Jensen was an exception to that thinking.

          Some of them are also willing to live with the vagaries of politics.

          Bottom-line, I don’t think there is a simple, universal answer to your question.

  6. Anon

    “There is considerable concern as to whether city staff, who has not only opposed an 87-13 rate but has openly attempted to sabotage it, will attempt to stop this from going forward to a Prop 218 measure, but for the most part it appears that the writing there is on the wall and that we can finally put this issue to bed.”

    City staff did not “openly attempt to sabotage” an 87-13 rate. They definitely did not agree with it for good reason and explained why, because it will end up costing taxpayers more in the long run for the following reasons: 1) higher interest rate on debt service; 2) millions of dollars more that must be set aside in the reserve fund; and 3) high water users (irrigators) will pay more – the city and school district – funded by taxpayers. City staff will come forward with a Prop 218 notice, as directed, and will make this rate structure work, but at greater cost to all citizens, including low water users.

    1. David Greenwald

      Then why did Niederberger tell Doug Dove and Mark Northcross they couldn’t speak with Matt Williams even after council said they wanted Williams and Lemongello to get a full analysis?

    2. Matt Williams

      The comment above is conjecture, pure and simple. Unfounded conjecture to boot.

      1) Mark Northcross made it crystal clear in his testimony on Tuesday, June 24th that knowing what the Rating Agencies will do can not be known with any certainty, but urged caution for reasons that he outlined at the time. In Wednesday’s Staff presentation, Herb Niederberger, displayed a thorough quote from Mark Northcross that projected any interest rate increase in the “0.15% to 0.25%” range, and then ended with the following sentence, “It is possible that by mandating more actual cash reserves (rate stabilization fund) in the bond legal documents, that the rating downgrade could be eliminated, but no assurances can be provided in that regard.” For the record, 0.25% interest on a $100 million on a 30-year borrowing of $100 million amounts to $0.96 per month per account. If State Revolving Funds are procured, then the $100 million borrowing is cut to less than half and the 96 cents per month drops below 50 cents per month. So, Northcross’ assessment is that in the worst case it might cost each ratepayer one dollar per month. In slide 9 of the Bartle Wells presentation, Doug Dove showed a $6 per month savings for a 6 ccf single family residential customer. In slide 12 he showed an $11 per month savings for a 39 unit apartment. In slide 13 he showed an $56 per month savings for a 124 unit apartment. In slide 16 he showed an $57 per month savings for a dentist. In slide 17 he showed an $50 per month savings for a 163 ccf per month business complex. In slide 18 a small city irrigation account saved $42 per month.

      2) Doug Dove addressed the “millions of dollars more” issue in slide 5 of his presentation. That slide very clearly shows that 60/40 would have to set aside $5.7 million, 70/30 would have to set aside $6.6 million, and 87/13 would have to set aside $8.5 million. So “millions of dollars more” is actually $2.8 million more. The “cost of money” for that $2.8 million at 2% interest per year (the City probably gets less than 1%, but let’s be generous and call it 2%) is $56,000 per year, which works out to under 29 cents per month per account. Compare that cost to the substantial savings noted by Doug Dove in 1) above.

      3) Yes, the large gardens in the 95th percentile will cost $22 per month more, as shown in Doug Dove’s slide 11. And, yes a large school and/or park using 1,147 ccf per month will cost 10% more under 87/13, but that $384 per month increase will be spread across all 16,433 accounts, amounting to 2.3 cents per month per account. Again, compare that cost to the substantial savings noted by Doug Dove in 1) above.

      Your arguments are the same ones that Elaine Roberts Musser made in her empassioned public comment on Wednesday night, and before that in her role as Chair of the URAC. You may be just as passionate as elaine is, and if that is the case, then your passion is overwhelming your good sense, just as Elaine’s passion is overwhelming her good sense. Both of you have every right to your opinion. Both of you have every right to actively and loudly express that opinion. However, all that passion doesn’t change the facts on the ground.

      1. SODA

        Matt: Can you explain why city staff was/is negative about 87/13, and if David’s assertion is accurate, why staff stonewalled the progression with the consultants?

        1. Matt Williams

          SODA, I can only go by what they have said in public. They appear to believe that outside the box thinking is a threat to the status quo, and will result in either a bad outcome or increased work for an equal outcome. They also fear Mike Harrington, and the power of his ability to litigate. Some believe that “If it has always been done the same way, then that way must be best.” Dianna Jensen was an exception to that thinking.

          Some of them are also willing to live with the vagaries of politics.

          Bottom-line, I don’t think there is a simple, universal answer to your question.

  7. Rochelle eLee

    Matt, Surely you don’t expect us to believe you would work this hard to implement this rate structure unless something was in it for you. So putting “facts on the ground” and being upfront with the readers how exactly do you plan to profit from this?

    1. Dorte Jensen

      Dear Rochelle eLee,

      Sometimes people do things because they believe it is right. As the saying goes, “Virtue is its own reward.” Haven’t you heard or seen that?

    2. Matt Williams

      Rochelle. as anyone who knows my history on this, and many other efforts I have done for the community. I follow a “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” philosophy. I’d never been involved in anything remotely like this until moving to Davis in 1998. One of the first people to introduce herself to me was the well known Davis social services activist Dair Rausch, who told me that I “had to protect the senior citizens’ rights in El Macero from the dastardly machinations of the “cabal” that ran the El Macero Homeowners Association (EMHOA), and were railroading a fiscally burdensome “front entrance project” down the throats of the good citizens of El Macero.

      One of my faults is that I don’t know how to say “No” and Dair’s entreaty ultimately led to my joining the board of the EMHOA … which ended up being lots of work and no reward other than the pursuit of the greater good, which under my watch included my first foray into water when Katrina hit New Orleans, and lots of my neighbors expressed serious concern about being flooded if the Bypass levees and/or the Monticello Dam were breached during flood conditions. What I learned from Will Marshall and Rose Conroy would stand me in good stead later. More water issues followed as I voluntarily managed as the EMHOA President, in conjunction with Bill Dendy former Executive Director of the State Water Resources Control Board, the installation of water meters in El Macero.

      After five years on the ENHOA Board I stepped down, but within 12 months the Lynn Pomeroy/Dan Ramos proposal for The Vineyards At El Macero development proposal appeared on the scene. My wife and I led an objective, transparent effort encompassing El Macero, New Willlowbank, Old Willowbank, Willowbank 10 and San Marino that caused the County Supervisors to call an advisory mail-only vote on the proposal which had a one week turn around from ballot mailing to ballot return, and we got 69% voter turnout with an 84% – 16% result that the County Supervisors included in the General Plan Upadate. All volunteer … nothing in it for me other than the preservation of Class I prime and productive farmland.

      That process caused my wife and me to attend over 20 City of Davis Housing Element Steering Committee meetings as a member of the public. All part of doing homework. Getting 110 of my neighbors’ homes out of the erroneously drawn FEMA Flood Plain maps, helping all of Davis avoid the TANC debacle, and working on the Results Radio Tower process all followed … all with “greater good” results … all volunteer.

      In early summer 2011 Doby Fleeman approached me asking me to join him and some local citizens in meeting with Jacques DeBra about the “infamous” 14% Increase rates. I attended one meeting, which was shortly followed by the August approval of the rates, the creation of the WAC, the invention of CBFR (warts and all) with Frank Loge. Again, all volunteer activities … aimed at achieving the “greater good”

      So, believe whatever you want. That is your prerogative. My tombstone epitaph will read, “He never met a problem he didn’t like.” That probably sums up how I “plan to profit from this.” The intellectual challenge keeps my blood hot, my joints limber and my brain engaged. Solving problems is fun.

  8. Rochelle eLee

    Matt, Surely you don’t expect us to believe you would work this hard to implement this rate structure unless something was in it for you. So putting “facts on the ground” and being upfront with the readers how exactly do you plan to profit from this?

    1. Dorte Jensen

      Dear Rochelle eLee,

      Sometimes people do things because they believe it is right. As the saying goes, “Virtue is its own reward.” Haven’t you heard or seen that?

    2. Matt Williams

      Rochelle. as anyone who knows my history on this, and many other efforts I have done for the community. I follow a “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” philosophy. I’d never been involved in anything remotely like this until moving to Davis in 1998. One of the first people to introduce herself to me was the well known Davis social services activist Dair Rausch, who told me that I “had to protect the senior citizens’ rights in El Macero from the dastardly machinations of the “cabal” that ran the El Macero Homeowners Association (EMHOA), and were railroading a fiscally burdensome “front entrance project” down the throats of the good citizens of El Macero.

      One of my faults is that I don’t know how to say “No” and Dair’s entreaty ultimately led to my joining the board of the EMHOA … which ended up being lots of work and no reward other than the pursuit of the greater good, which under my watch included my first foray into water when Katrina hit New Orleans, and lots of my neighbors expressed serious concern about being flooded if the Bypass levees and/or the Monticello Dam were breached during flood conditions. What I learned from Will Marshall and Rose Conroy would stand me in good stead later. More water issues followed as I voluntarily managed as the EMHOA President, in conjunction with Bill Dendy former Executive Director of the State Water Resources Control Board, the installation of water meters in El Macero.

      After five years on the ENHOA Board I stepped down, but within 12 months the Lynn Pomeroy/Dan Ramos proposal for The Vineyards At El Macero development proposal appeared on the scene. My wife and I led an objective, transparent effort encompassing El Macero, New Willlowbank, Old Willowbank, Willowbank 10 and San Marino that caused the County Supervisors to call an advisory mail-only vote on the proposal which had a one week turn around from ballot mailing to ballot return, and we got 69% voter turnout with an 84% – 16% result that the County Supervisors included in the General Plan Upadate. All volunteer … nothing in it for me other than the preservation of Class I prime and productive farmland.

      That process caused my wife and me to attend over 20 City of Davis Housing Element Steering Committee meetings as a member of the public. All part of doing homework. Getting 110 of my neighbors’ homes out of the erroneously drawn FEMA Flood Plain maps, helping all of Davis avoid the TANC debacle, and working on the Results Radio Tower process all followed … all with “greater good” results … all volunteer.

      In early summer 2011 Doby Fleeman approached me asking me to join him and some local citizens in meeting with Jacques DeBra about the “infamous” 14% Increase rates. I attended one meeting, which was shortly followed by the August approval of the rates, the creation of the WAC, the invention of CBFR (warts and all) with Frank Loge. Again, all volunteer activities … aimed at achieving the “greater good”

      So, believe whatever you want. That is your prerogative. My tombstone epitaph will read, “He never met a problem he didn’t like.” That probably sums up how I “plan to profit from this.” The intellectual challenge keeps my blood hot, my joints limber and my brain engaged. Solving problems is fun.

  9. Jim Frame

    Matt, Surely you don’t expect us to believe you would work this hard to implement this rate structure unless something was in it for you.

    Matt, having comfortably retired from paying work, is driven by a desire to help the community make the best decision for the ratepayers. Though I can’t claim to know him well, I’ve spent enough time around him to believe firmly that he has no other motives.

  10. Jim Frame

    Matt, Surely you don’t expect us to believe you would work this hard to implement this rate structure unless something was in it for you.

    Matt, having comfortably retired from paying work, is driven by a desire to help the community make the best decision for the ratepayers. Though I can’t claim to know him well, I’ve spent enough time around him to believe firmly that he has no other motives.

  11. Tia Will

    Rochelle eLee

    Having known Matt from before he got involved in this, I can vouch for his having no financial interest in the outcome. Personal satisfaction …..well that is another matter. He may well be deriving that, but I suspect that is not what you meant.

    May I also ask what prompted the question ?

  12. Tia Will

    Rochelle eLee

    Having known Matt from before he got involved in this, I can vouch for his having no financial interest in the outcome. Personal satisfaction …..well that is another matter. He may well be deriving that, but I suspect that is not what you meant.

    May I also ask what prompted the question ?

  13. Rochelle eLee

    Matt, my husband didn’t pick up on it but I did. You lied in your presentation by cherry-picking different dates, then in another graph, you made your own rate look good when stacked up against others by adding the drought surcharge to your own graph and not the other rates. Burning up huge amounts of time Harassing staff endlessly. Working overtime and expecting absolutely nothing in return lol. So you can pull the halo off your head now. So hows it going to be matt? Water rate consultant for other cities perhaps?

    1. Tia Will

      “Harassing staff endlessly.”

      It would seem that one woman’s “harassing staff endlessly” is another woman’s “active citizen engagement”.
      Also, one could certainly see this in a different light. No “harassment” at all would have occurred had staff promptly offered to work with and fully cooperated with both their official consultants and Matt and Donna.

    2. Matt Williams

      Lied? Cherry picked different dates?

      First, other than modeling each of the rate structures on the exact same 2015 consumption and referencing the 2011 AWWA Water Rate Survey, there wasn’t a date in the entire presentation.

      Second, neither Staff nor the consultant provided any information regarding whether they were including a Revenue Stability Surcharge, let alone the details/numbers of said Surcharge. The first time either Donna or I saw Staff’s plan was when Doug Dove showed slide 22 of his presentation to Council. In fairness to Doug he was in all day meetings prior to arriving at 6:00 pm in Davis for the Council meeting. He didn’t have the opportunity to share the proposed surcharge information. So we produced the surplus or (deficit) slide with the information available to us … and then when displaying the graph during my presentation very clearly stated that the drought surcharge just described by Bartle Wells was not included in the 60/40 or 70/30 numbers or graph because it was not made available to us, and that the green line and the orange line would take a similar trajectory upward as the yellow line was taking. Further, Brett Lee called me back up to the podium to ask questions about that very question, and I reiterated my statement that the drought surcharge that was on slide 22 of the Bartle Wells presentation would move the green and orange lines upward. The video of the July 2nd Council meeting is not on the City website as yet, but when it is, I will come back here and post the time so that anyone and everyone can verify the truth.

      What staff has been harassed? The only staff member Donna and I have interacted with is Herb Niederberger.

    3. dlemongello

      Rochelle, I won’t mince words, you don’t know what you are talking about. I checked every calculation and every slide we presented. We and Doug Dove gave absolutely honest presentations, I would not dream of doing anything else. I have no idea why you have some bone to pick, but it is misplaced. I have spent so much time on this and have told friends, problem solving is fun. What has made it less fun is exactly what Joe finally let fly. It is not right that we were stonewalled. What was staff afraid of, ours looking good? So you can think what you want and you can be wrong all you want. You can attack me verbally if you want, it won’t matter, I know the truth.

      1. Tia Will

        dlemongello

        Thanks for the smile. I realized right off the bat when we spoke earlier that you “do not mince words” ! As someone who loves to “mince” and “play with” and “explore” words, I loved your clear, concise, and honest response.

  14. Rochelle eLee

    Matt, my husband didn’t pick up on it but I did. You lied in your presentation by cherry-picking different dates, then in another graph, you made your own rate look good when stacked up against others by adding the drought surcharge to your own graph and not the other rates. Burning up huge amounts of time Harassing staff endlessly. Working overtime and expecting absolutely nothing in return lol. So you can pull the halo off your head now. So hows it going to be matt? Water rate consultant for other cities perhaps?

    1. Tia Will

      “Harassing staff endlessly.”

      It would seem that one woman’s “harassing staff endlessly” is another woman’s “active citizen engagement”.
      Also, one could certainly see this in a different light. No “harassment” at all would have occurred had staff promptly offered to work with and fully cooperated with both their official consultants and Matt and Donna.

    2. Matt Williams

      Lied? Cherry picked different dates?

      First, other than modeling each of the rate structures on the exact same 2015 consumption and referencing the 2011 AWWA Water Rate Survey, there wasn’t a date in the entire presentation.

      Second, neither Staff nor the consultant provided any information regarding whether they were including a Revenue Stability Surcharge, let alone the details/numbers of said Surcharge. The first time either Donna or I saw Staff’s plan was when Doug Dove showed slide 22 of his presentation to Council. In fairness to Doug he was in all day meetings prior to arriving at 6:00 pm in Davis for the Council meeting. He didn’t have the opportunity to share the proposed surcharge information. So we produced the surplus or (deficit) slide with the information available to us … and then when displaying the graph during my presentation very clearly stated that the drought surcharge just described by Bartle Wells was not included in the 60/40 or 70/30 numbers or graph because it was not made available to us, and that the green line and the orange line would take a similar trajectory upward as the yellow line was taking. Further, Brett Lee called me back up to the podium to ask questions about that very question, and I reiterated my statement that the drought surcharge that was on slide 22 of the Bartle Wells presentation would move the green and orange lines upward. The video of the July 2nd Council meeting is not on the City website as yet, but when it is, I will come back here and post the time so that anyone and everyone can verify the truth.

      What staff has been harassed? The only staff member Donna and I have interacted with is Herb Niederberger.

    3. dlemongello

      Rochelle, I won’t mince words, you don’t know what you are talking about. I checked every calculation and every slide we presented. We and Doug Dove gave absolutely honest presentations, I would not dream of doing anything else. I have no idea why you have some bone to pick, but it is misplaced. I have spent so much time on this and have told friends, problem solving is fun. What has made it less fun is exactly what Joe finally let fly. It is not right that we were stonewalled. What was staff afraid of, ours looking good? So you can think what you want and you can be wrong all you want. You can attack me verbally if you want, it won’t matter, I know the truth.

      1. Tia Will

        dlemongello

        Thanks for the smile. I realized right off the bat when we spoke earlier that you “do not mince words” ! As someone who loves to “mince” and “play with” and “explore” words, I loved your clear, concise, and honest response.

  15. Tia Will

    Rochelle eLee

    Two questions :
    1) Are you aware of Matt applying for positions as a water consultant ?
    2) Do you object to individuals who have gained experience through their payed jobs or volunteer experience
    consulting for pay ? It seems like that would apply to many, many people …. not just Matt if that were to
    be his intent.

  16. Tia Will

    Rochelle eLee

    Two questions :
    1) Are you aware of Matt applying for positions as a water consultant ?
    2) Do you object to individuals who have gained experience through their payed jobs or volunteer experience
    consulting for pay ? It seems like that would apply to many, many people …. not just Matt if that were to
    be his intent.

  17. Rochelle eLee

    Tia, that is Matt’s and Joe Krovozas version of events. Speaking of which, Joe acted like a total jerk, unprofessional in conduct. Blasting staff publicly like a bully, cheap shotting them on his way out

    1. David Greenwald

      I need to add a couple of points:

      First, there is a string of emails that I have been privy to that backs Matt and Joe Krovoza’s version of event.

      But second, and more importantly we have seen this play out publicly on another issue. URAC Member Johannes Troost expressed concerns to council that the meetings were not being recorded and there was a need for council to have an accurate record. Council agreed and directed Herb Niederberger to make a full record. However, at the last URAC meeting, Niederberger said he talked to Harriet and he was not legally compelled to record the meetings. A true statement, but not the point in question. So there is a public example where he was given clear direction by council and ignored it.

    2. Tia Will

      Rochelle eLee

      “that is Matt’s and Joe Krovozas version of events”

      I don’t understand what the “that” is in your comment. I have not spoken to either Matt or Joe about this issue so I am not sure what in my comment elicited this response from you. Can you clarify ?

  18. Rochelle eLee

    Tia, that is Matt’s and Joe Krovozas version of events. Speaking of which, Joe acted like a total jerk, unprofessional in conduct. Blasting staff publicly like a bully, cheap shotting them on his way out

    1. David Greenwald

      I need to add a couple of points:

      First, there is a string of emails that I have been privy to that backs Matt and Joe Krovoza’s version of event.

      But second, and more importantly we have seen this play out publicly on another issue. URAC Member Johannes Troost expressed concerns to council that the meetings were not being recorded and there was a need for council to have an accurate record. Council agreed and directed Herb Niederberger to make a full record. However, at the last URAC meeting, Niederberger said he talked to Harriet and he was not legally compelled to record the meetings. A true statement, but not the point in question. So there is a public example where he was given clear direction by council and ignored it.

    2. Tia Will

      Rochelle eLee

      “that is Matt’s and Joe Krovozas version of events”

      I don’t understand what the “that” is in your comment. I have not spoken to either Matt or Joe about this issue so I am not sure what in my comment elicited this response from you. Can you clarify ?

  19. Rochelle eLee

    I’m just curious. What postion does matt hold as Water Czar? Who elected him or appointed him water expert? My husband asked a good question. Why work with matt since his CBFR Blew up in our faces? what credibility does he now have to dictate water rates?

    1. dlemongello

      Choices are always nice. The consultant put forth 5 60/40 alternatives. We put forth another option. You seem to have a problem with choices. You seem to feel it is wrong for a citizen to propose another option.

    2. Davis Progressive

      i’m curious why matt and donna putting up an alternative is such a threat to you and your “husband”? how does matt proposing a rate structure that differs from the bartle wells structure make him a szar?

    3. Matt Williams

      All of your questions are rhetorical, but for the record the answers to those rhetorical questions are … None … No one … Your husband is a wise man. I’d love to meet him some time … the whole rate structure, containing both 60/40 and CBFR, was rescinded, or to use your term, blew up in our faces … The credibility is in the numbers. They speak for themselves

      During the YRAPUS case much more time was spent by the plaintiffs attacking the Prop 218 proportionality of 60/40 than CBFR. Both 60/40 and CBFR had flaws. The democratic process brought on by Measure P clearly articulated the flaws in CBFR, and those flaws have been eliminated in the proposed 87/13 rates. The proportionality flaws of 60/40 continue unabated. Judge Maguire made it very clear in the Court Transcript that the Appeals Court precedent that had come down in October directly contradicted the clear language of Prop 218. Legal precedent rules constrain a trial judge with respect to appeals court precedents. In effect his hands were tied by those legal precedent rules, and by his decision he “kicked the case upstairs” to the appeals court level, where they can sort out how the application of proportionality at the class level is consistent with the language of Prop 218 which mandates the application of proportionality at the parcel level.

  20. Rochelle eLee

    I’m just curious. What postion does matt hold as Water Czar? Who elected him or appointed him water expert? My husband asked a good question. Why work with matt since his CBFR Blew up in our faces? what credibility does he now have to dictate water rates?

    1. dlemongello

      Choices are always nice. The consultant put forth 5 60/40 alternatives. We put forth another option. You seem to have a problem with choices. You seem to feel it is wrong for a citizen to propose another option.

    2. Davis Progressive

      i’m curious why matt and donna putting up an alternative is such a threat to you and your “husband”? how does matt proposing a rate structure that differs from the bartle wells structure make him a szar?

    3. Matt Williams

      All of your questions are rhetorical, but for the record the answers to those rhetorical questions are … None … No one … Your husband is a wise man. I’d love to meet him some time … the whole rate structure, containing both 60/40 and CBFR, was rescinded, or to use your term, blew up in our faces … The credibility is in the numbers. They speak for themselves

      During the YRAPUS case much more time was spent by the plaintiffs attacking the Prop 218 proportionality of 60/40 than CBFR. Both 60/40 and CBFR had flaws. The democratic process brought on by Measure P clearly articulated the flaws in CBFR, and those flaws have been eliminated in the proposed 87/13 rates. The proportionality flaws of 60/40 continue unabated. Judge Maguire made it very clear in the Court Transcript that the Appeals Court precedent that had come down in October directly contradicted the clear language of Prop 218. Legal precedent rules constrain a trial judge with respect to appeals court precedents. In effect his hands were tied by those legal precedent rules, and by his decision he “kicked the case upstairs” to the appeals court level, where they can sort out how the application of proportionality at the class level is consistent with the language of Prop 218 which mandates the application of proportionality at the parcel level.

  21. Tia Will

    Rochelle e Lee

    “What postion does matt hold as Water Czar?”

    The answer to the question that you have asked is, of course, absolutely none. I believe that Matt would be the first to confirm this. But let’s try changing the perspective a little.

    I see a huge difference between dictating and making alternative suggestions. An example from training many residents in surgery. I was indisputably in charge of the operation and completely responsible for the outcome.

    Having said that, if a resident saw me about to make a mistake, or even felt that another alternative would be better, I fully welcomed their advice and listened thoughtfully to their suggestions. Sometimes they were wrong and I would explain to them a complexity of the situation that their lack of experience did not allow them to appreciate. But, sometimes, they were right and their advice led to a better outcome for the patient.

    I don’t see that it makes any difference where the alternative idea comes from, city staff, paid consultant, city council member or concerned citizen. If an idea potentially has merit it should be carefully considered and the person putting it forth hopefully will not be demeaned as this may have a chilling effect on others with potentially better ideas.

  22. Tia Will

    Rochelle e Lee

    “What postion does matt hold as Water Czar?”

    The answer to the question that you have asked is, of course, absolutely none. I believe that Matt would be the first to confirm this. But let’s try changing the perspective a little.

    I see a huge difference between dictating and making alternative suggestions. An example from training many residents in surgery. I was indisputably in charge of the operation and completely responsible for the outcome.

    Having said that, if a resident saw me about to make a mistake, or even felt that another alternative would be better, I fully welcomed their advice and listened thoughtfully to their suggestions. Sometimes they were wrong and I would explain to them a complexity of the situation that their lack of experience did not allow them to appreciate. But, sometimes, they were right and their advice led to a better outcome for the patient.

    I don’t see that it makes any difference where the alternative idea comes from, city staff, paid consultant, city council member or concerned citizen. If an idea potentially has merit it should be carefully considered and the person putting it forth hopefully will not be demeaned as this may have a chilling effect on others with potentially better ideas.

  23. Rochelle eLee

    excuse me, dimongello but there were no choices. joe ordered staff to go along with what matt wanted and “to make it work” attempting to remove all options but matts rate structure.

    1. Davis Progressive

      joe ordered staff to allow the consultants to analyze their rate structure. staff then brought forward three rate designs last week and council picked one of them. joe did not attempt to remove all options but matt’s rate structure, there was never a motion or statement to that effect.

      1. SODA

        Agree DP; Joe was only insisting that the 87/13 be treated the same as the others and be brought back WITH THEM the next week.
        Why are you so angry, Rochelle eLee?

      2. Matt Williams

        DP, I thought Joe did make such a motion, and that it did not receive a second and died. However, on checking the video on the City website, when Joe weighs in at 4:40 on the video his strong comments were in opposition to Brett’s motion and he did not actually contain a motion of his own. After Joe finished, Lucas then weighed in at 4:46 adding his concurrence with Joe’s frustration and added examples of his own frustration. Joe than proposed a friendly amendment to Brett’s motion at 4:49 that Brett was unwilling to accept.

    2. Matt Williams

      Joe did indeed make that motion, and it died for lack of a second.

      Lucas was the one who directed staff to facilitate open communication between the consultants (Bartle Wells and Mark Northcross) and Donna and me.

      CORRECTION: The above comments by me are not factually correct. On checking the video on the City website, Joe did not actually make a motion, and Lucas concurred with Joe’s frustration with staff and joined Joe in directing staff to facilitate back and forth communication between the consultants, staff, and Williams/Lemongello.

    3. dlemongello

      After weeks went by and staff refused to include our proposals in the analysis, though they had already been directed to do so as of May 27th, finally a direct comparison of the 3 choices (after they narrowed it down from 7) is what was ordered by council, 5-0. When the 3 choices were presented, as HONEST comparisons, the council chose 87/13, again 5-0. The mayor does not dictate anything, he/she has 1 vote.

  24. Rochelle eLee

    excuse me, dimongello but there were no choices. joe ordered staff to go along with what matt wanted and “to make it work” attempting to remove all options but matts rate structure.

    1. Davis Progressive

      joe ordered staff to allow the consultants to analyze their rate structure. staff then brought forward three rate designs last week and council picked one of them. joe did not attempt to remove all options but matt’s rate structure, there was never a motion or statement to that effect.

      1. SODA

        Agree DP; Joe was only insisting that the 87/13 be treated the same as the others and be brought back WITH THEM the next week.
        Why are you so angry, Rochelle eLee?

      2. Matt Williams

        DP, I thought Joe did make such a motion, and that it did not receive a second and died. However, on checking the video on the City website, when Joe weighs in at 4:40 on the video his strong comments were in opposition to Brett’s motion and he did not actually contain a motion of his own. After Joe finished, Lucas then weighed in at 4:46 adding his concurrence with Joe’s frustration and added examples of his own frustration. Joe than proposed a friendly amendment to Brett’s motion at 4:49 that Brett was unwilling to accept.

    2. Matt Williams

      Joe did indeed make that motion, and it died for lack of a second.

      Lucas was the one who directed staff to facilitate open communication between the consultants (Bartle Wells and Mark Northcross) and Donna and me.

      CORRECTION: The above comments by me are not factually correct. On checking the video on the City website, Joe did not actually make a motion, and Lucas concurred with Joe’s frustration with staff and joined Joe in directing staff to facilitate back and forth communication between the consultants, staff, and Williams/Lemongello.

    3. dlemongello

      After weeks went by and staff refused to include our proposals in the analysis, though they had already been directed to do so as of May 27th, finally a direct comparison of the 3 choices (after they narrowed it down from 7) is what was ordered by council, 5-0. When the 3 choices were presented, as HONEST comparisons, the council chose 87/13, again 5-0. The mayor does not dictate anything, he/she has 1 vote.

  25. Tia Will

    Rochelle eLee

    ” there were no choices. joe ordered staff to go along with what matt wanted and “to make it work”

    Just as Matt is not a Water Czar, Joe was the Mayor, not the emperor. We have a weak Mayor form of city management. The Mayor is simply one of 5 votes with very limited ” dictatorial powers”. The mayor may make a strong statement of preference, but it takes a voter of 3 to “dictate” that something occur. I am not seeing this political reality reflected in your comments.

  26. Tia Will

    Rochelle eLee

    ” there were no choices. joe ordered staff to go along with what matt wanted and “to make it work”

    Just as Matt is not a Water Czar, Joe was the Mayor, not the emperor. We have a weak Mayor form of city management. The Mayor is simply one of 5 votes with very limited ” dictatorial powers”. The mayor may make a strong statement of preference, but it takes a voter of 3 to “dictate” that something occur. I am not seeing this political reality reflected in your comments.

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