When you have an inflated sense of self-worth it must be hard to come up against a wall of objective facts that square with the reality everyone else sees. Thus narcissists and paranoiacs must concoct a narrative that seems to embrace those facts and yet tell the myth you want everyone to believe about yourself.
And so we have Jan Flory: a rigid, humorless, sometimes near-hysterical defender of an ideology that has placed California on the edge of financial insolvency. Think Greece.
Flory’s ridiculous muumuus and wooden beads are symbolic of a much more sinister problem: a fundamental dishonesty about herself and her corrupt mind set.
But don’t take my word for it. Lets examine Flory’s own Facebook rants. Like this latest, with added commentary by me.
DRIP, DRIP, DRIP
At 12:15 a.m. last night, the City Council took up the question of how to refund $7.3 million to people who overpaid their water bills in our city over the past 3 years. Mayor Sharon Quirk moved to continue the matter to the next city council meeting because of the late hour. Doug Chaffee concurred. Bruce Whitaker, Travis Kiger and Greg Sebourn voted to go forward no matter how late or how tired the council members. It also might have had something to do with the fact that the audience had dwindled to a handful by that time. So much for transparency and accountability.
Or it might have had something to do with the fact that hours and hours of time had been unnecessarily wasted by Quirk and Chaffee promoting the candidacy of Danny Hughes as Chief, despite the fact that the Council had already decided it wanted to do a wide recruitment instead of ramming home the inside goon. Transparency? Check. Accountability? Check.
Reality? If Flory is tired and can’t stay up past Murder She Wrote reruns on cable she shouldn’t be on any city council.
A little history first: To begin with, the water fee was never an “illegal water tax”.
Lie number one. Keep counting.
The water tax was first adopted in 1968 at 2% of the water bill. The purpose of the tax was to pass through to the ratepayers (you and me) the city’s cost of getting water to your tap. Fair enough. The tax increased to 10% in 1970. We had aging reservoirs, pumps and water lines that needed replacement and ongoing maintenance. The water fee was a way to do that.
Now that’s just another series of outright lies. But let’s not let the facts stand in the way of a good story, right? The 10% was originally cooked up to divert revenue into the General Fund to pay for the City Attorney and City Administrator. IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH ONGOING MAINTENANCE AND AGING INFRASTRUCTURE. Flory could have actually read the ordinance but that wouldn’t have been as fun making something up.
In any case there was never any accounting to see how bad the rip off really was, and in the old days water was dirt cheap, right?
In 1996, the California voters passed Proposition 218 which required there be a connection between a fee charged and the services rendered. In other words, you couldn’t just pull a number (like 10%) out of the air.
One truth accidentally tumbles out!
Proposition 218 was tested and upheld by the courts beginning in 2002.
Aha! Flory slips in a date to give herself an alibi for her own approval of the illegal tax for six years! Too bad that upon learning the truth she and her cohorts continued to steal the 10% each and every year for the next NINE YEARS. No talk about fixing the rip-off, apologizing to the ratepayers, trying to reclaim even a small mole hill of moral ground. Nope.
The Water Rate Study Committee was authorized by the OLD council long before the Recall to address concerns about the 10% charge to the Water Fund.
And at whose behest? Not city staff or you, Flory, we can be sure of that. It was political pressure that did it.
Ultimately, the study committee determined this summer that the city should have been charging in the neighborhood of 7% rather than 10% in order to comply with 218.
Another outright lie. The Committee determined no such thing. The staff-chosen consultant cooked up a phoney number to keep as much of the rip-off as possible including exorbitant rents paid to the City! Even Quirk said it was ridiculous!
The committee relied on the work of an independent financial consultant, Municipal Financial Services Group (MFSG), to determine the City’s cost in providing water to its customers, and outside legal counsel (Best, Best & Krieger) to make sure that the outcome comported with Proposition 218.
Independent? Now that’s just comical!
The results were even submitted to the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association that concurred with the methodology used in the study.
Wrong, again. But by now is anybody counting?
The NEW council majority threw all that out the window, disregarded the recommendations of the Water Rate Study Committee, and completely eliminated the “in lieu” fee. That will have the effect of reducing city revenues annually by $1.7 million which could have properly been charged by the city to bring water to our homes.
Let’s all gloss over the fact that no one has ever said a proper water rate shouldn’t cover costs of maintenance and infrastructure. If it doesn’t Flory has only her own beloved staff to blame – those same incompetent bureaucrats like Chis Meyer and Joe Felz who have let the City’s infrastructure go to hell as they feathered their own nests handsomely. In the meantime, the “in-lieu” fee had no legal rationale for existing since it wan an obvious triple dip. Step one was to get rid of it. Step two is find out what the true costs of running the water utility really is, and charge it to the ratepayers.
Because the city had charged its water customers 10% (rather than 7%), the Water Rate Study Committee found that the city had overcharged the rate payers the sum of $7.3 million over the last 3 years.
Once again, those were the cooked up findings of the hired “consultant.”
It recommended that the overpayment of the water fee be accomplished by an incremental transfer from the General Fund to the Water Fund to be used for infrastructure repairs,–something that desperately needs addressing. This would also avoid the City’s incurring debt to pay the debt.
Um, see comment above. How did the water infrastructure get so bad, Mrs. Flory? You were on the City Council for eight long years. Do want to take responsibility for that? What? Speak up!
What did the new Libertarian majority do? It voted to rebate the entire $7.3 million back to the rate payers. It is estimated that this will be a onetime payment of $100 to $400 per household depending on how much water was used during the 3 years.
The horror. Government giving back something it stole!
It’s an accounting nightmare for several reasons. The overpayment has to be calculated for each household in the city. Some residents have moved or died; thus, creating the dilemma of finding out where to send the money.
But Jan, are you saying your beloved staff can’t figure out a way to print and send out some checks? Hell, they manage to send out the water and trash bills every month.
Finally, the question of where the money is to come from must be determined. We don’t have enough in the General Fund to pay the lump sum. Staff suggested that a debt issuance might be necessary, with an estimated yearly debt service of $500,000.
Put away the violin Mrs. Flory. Step up and take your medicine. You and Bankhead and Jones and McKinley ripped us off for 15 years. YOU figure out how to make it right!
So now we not only have a decrease of $1.7 million in revenue, but we need to add $500,000 for debt service. This totals $2.2 million if you’re counting.
See, it’s all about government revenue, the altar at which the egregious muumuu clad priestess Flory worships. Yes we can count and we know whose balance sheet this belongs on – even though it’s on ours.
Last night, the council majority (Whitaker, Kiger and Sebourn) directed staff to find “creative ways” to pay off the debt such as selling off surplus properties. In other words, asking city staff to remove the rope the council majority had put around its own neck.
Wrong, again, Flory. They are asking city staff to do the right thing, and remove the rope YOU put around our necks for all those years.
Change on the Council cannot come quickly enough. Drip, drip, drip.
It’s coming all right. be careful of what you wish for.