What To Do About The Illegal Water Tax


On Tuesday the City Council is scheduled to discuss what they want to do about the embarrassing fact that the City charged an illegal 10% tax on our water bill for fifteen years, amassing a total rip-off that easily topped $25,000,000. The funds were deposited in General Fund and mostly went to pay for salaries and pensions of City employees that had absolutely nothing to do with the acquisition and transmission of water – the ostensible purpose of the levy. It even went to pay for four-star hotels for Councilmembers’ League of City junkets.

Some folks think reparations are due, in some fashion, to the rate payers that got ripped off. But how? A check in the mail? Lowered rates in the future? Repayment from the General Fund to the Water Fund?

The City doesn’t have $25 mil laying around, and rebates in the future for past indiscretions would certainly create inequities. Going back just a few years for reparations may be a logical and practical step. Repayment from the General Fund over time may be the only recourse and would certainly address the original purpose of the “in-lieu fee” which was the cost of delivering water to the people and businesses of Fullerton. However it should be pointed out that the the 10% that was raked off was never connected to the true cost of the water in the first place.

Another question to be dealt with is what is an applicable rate for miscellaneous City costs that are currently unrecompensed by the Water Fund? There isn’t much unaccounted for, and the “consultant” for the Water rate Ad Hoc Committee tried to cook up some phony percentage between 6 and 7 based largely on the cost of the City charging the Water Fund rent!

This raises all sorts of embarrassing questions about why the Water Utility was not permitted to acquire all this valuable real estate in the first place, dirt cheap, if now it is to be treated as a separate entity; and how a landlord can negotiate rent with his tenant when they are both one and the same person. In any case there is a new council that is a lot less likely to cave in to this sort of nonsense than the old stumblebums.

In any case, I want to mention a couple of things. First, the perpetrators of the scam need to be identified and chastised for their complicity in the tax: they would be all of the former councilmen of the last 15 years who let this happen; the city managers Jim Armstrong, Chris Meyer, and Joe Felz, who participated in the scheme and who either knew or should have known it was illegal; and let’s not forget Richard Jones, Esq., the City Attorney, who was there every single step of the way and damn well knew it was illegal. Second, Joe Felz’ obvious strategy of stalling and temporizing on this issue, aided and abetted by the Three Hollow Logs and Sharon Quirk, protracted the rip-off by another full year and compounded the problem even more, even as they knew the jig was up.

It should be interesting to see if any of our aspiring council candidates show up to share their wisdom on this subject.

What do you think?

 

Email This Post To A Friend Email This Post To A Friend

  1. #1 by truthseeker on August 15, 2012

    7 years back and outfit every household with a good reverse osmosis system. Caffrs need to be gone through for once

  2. #2 by The Water Boy on August 15, 2012

    A partial rebate and a payback to the Water Fund.

    Next (separate process) assessment of the water infrastructure and an amortized cost applied to the water transmission rates.

    Pay rent to the City? That’s freakin’ crazy!

  3. #3 by Gin Fizzy on August 15, 2012

    Doan wanna talk ’bout wawa.

  4. #5 by to hear one who comforts on August 15, 2012

    Dear Writer of this posting: Sorry to be picky; but, you use the word ‘ostensible’ in your piece to convey that the illegal water tax was supposed to be directly related to our water supply. Ostensible is a wishy-washy word. Google it! How ’bout this sentence: The water tax was used for the illegal purpose of paying salaries, benefits, and even paid for 4 star hotel accomodations.

  5. #6 by Doublestandard on August 15, 2012

    Why not mention FFFF’s bitch boy bruce Whitaker? He has been on the counsil for two years but never said anything about the 10% tax until recently?? Funny how ffff covers for its own and blames everyone else!!!! Just like Chris Thompson, why no story on Chris Thompson and all the stupid stuff he has done lately?? Funny……. We haven’t heard from Chris lately?? What’s wrong Chris……. Cat gotcha your tongue????

  6. #7 by Christian on August 15, 2012

    That’s true.

  7. #8 by Hang um High on August 15, 2012

    Don’t leave Shawn Nelson and Chris Norby off your list…..

  8. #9 by Out of town on August 15, 2012

    Shawn Nelson and Chris Norby are still in office they also stold from the tax payers or stood by and did nothing while this theft occurred. They should be recalled and banned from future office.

  9. #10 by Anonymous on August 15, 2012

    Just get rid of the CROOKS.

  10. #11 by Mr. Peabody on August 15, 2012

    I don’t know what you’re saying. As far as the City was concerned the 10% was “ostensibly” for water related costs. In reality the money was just raked into the General Fund. I thought that was pretty clear.

  11. #12 by Fred Alcazar on August 15, 2012

    “Stold?”

    I see we have a GED FPOA prowler in our midst.

  12. #13 by JustUs on August 15, 2012

    Should there be refunds to the citizens for the illegal water tax??? Hell yes there should be. IT WAS AN ACT OF THEFT!!! If someone stole money from you and was caught afterwards wouldn’t he be ordered by the courts to pay restitution? Why should the City of Fullerton be any different? Do any of you know the definition of “ILLEGAL”??? You people should be damned mad and DEMAND your money back!!! NO EXCUSES EITHER!!!

  13. #14 by van get it da artiste on August 15, 2012

    send a clear message to the city of fullerton and all other municipal governments, declare bankruptcy and make null and void those salaries and pensions promised and given with illegal tax dollars to city of fullerton employees. I’m sure those employees who would oppose this measure may take their invaluable skills to the nearest food services or housekeeping employers. Why disneyland would welcome these wonderful people who want triple digit salaries and benefits

  14. #15 by JustUs on August 15, 2012

    Oh, btw…demand 10% interest tacked onto your refund of stolen loot too!!!

    Imagine if YOU took money illegally from the City of Fullerton. What would they do to you???

    Hell, they’d prosecute you and demand restitution which would include 10% interest on the stolen money!!

    What’s good for the goose is good for the gander!!!

    DEMAND WHAT YOU DESERVE. DON’T ALLOW THEM TO ROB YOU AND THEN KEEP THE MONEY!!!

  15. #16 by JustUs on August 15, 2012

    Oh, and don’t let them scam you and say “We’ll give you a one-time credit on your water bill”. Horsemanure! That’s a scam! Make them cut you a check in the full amount you paid into the illegal water tax PLUS 10% interest tacked on top of it. You should also demand restitution over and above that specified amount for the illegal act!!!

  16. #17 by Anonymous on August 15, 2012

    JustUs :
    Oh, btw…demand 10% interest tacked onto your refund of stolen loot too!!!
    Imagine if YOU took money illegally from the City of Fullerton. What would they do to you???
    Hell, they’d prosecute you and demand restitution which would include 10% interest on the stolen money!!
    What’s good for the goose is good for the gander!!!
    DEMAND WHAT YOU DESERVE. DON’T ALLOW THEM TO ROB YOU AND THEN KEEP THE MONEY!!!

    Penalty interest would be very high.

  17. #18 by Out of town on August 15, 2012

    Oops sorry for the misspelling Tony, does that make the theft by Norby and Nelson acceptable?

  18. #19 by Fullerton Lover on August 15, 2012

    Let’s also remember that if these bills weren’t paid within 30 days that the city would levy a hefty late fee onto your already bloated water bill. They could also file liens against your property if you didn’t pay in full.

    So why should I give the city a break on paying back what they willfully stole from me for 20 years? I figure that 10% of my bill over 20 years is around $2,000.00,maybe $2,500.00 with interest.

    I believe that the property owner of record should be refunded every last cent of his/her overpayment since the inception of the illegal tax just as soon as humanly possible.

    Would it help if we showed up in matching t-shirts to lobby the council next Tuesday?

  19. #20 by The Water Guy on August 15, 2012

    It’s not rocket science, it’s a question of honest government. The post omits that while the city was skimming 10% of the water revenues for the general fund, the city’s water pipes were neglected. This was uncovered as the city staff tried to get a citizens committee to rubber stamp a 6% rate increase to replace aging pipes. Politics aside, it was Sharon Quirk-Silva and Bob Whitaker who kept the citizen’s committee findings from getting buried. What to do? The council already took the right step of reducing water rates by 10%. Now the city should engage a real cost of service and capital study. Only a professional can determine real costs such as emergency responses and repairing street damage when pipes burst. We also need a trustworthy assessment of what it will cost to replace the necessary miles of old pipes each year. By applying the overcharges of the last three years to the pipe replacement program rate increases could be minimized. The city manager’s do-it-yourself method was an attempt to back-fill the general fund. If the council wishes to cover general fund expenses through our water bills they should openly ask the voters to consider a utility tax.

  20. #21 by JustUs on August 15, 2012

    “I believe that the property owner of record should be refunded every last cent of his/her overpayment since the inception of the illegal tax just as soon as humanly possible”

    Absotutely. PLUS 10% interest for those 20 years, PLUS a penalty for the illegal act. That’s what the government would do to a citizen if citizen stole money from them. In addition, the citizen would get prosecuted and very possibly do jail time with a conviction on his record for the rest of his life.

    Why should the government thugs be treated any differently?

    Do we have 2 sets of laws in America today? One for the government elite and another for the peasant citizens?

    Have we without doubt been transformed into a 3rd world banana republic?

  21. #22 by JustUs on August 15, 2012

    If they aren’t punished for their ILLEGAL BEHAVIOR what’s to stop them from doing it over and over and over and over again?

    Punishment is supposed to deter future illegal acts. Without punishment it just continues since the culprits know that they belong to a protected class.

    Whatever happened to “equality under the law”?

    Whatever happened to my country??? :(

  22. #23 by Justice for ALL on August 15, 2012

    @Out of town, You can’t spell, AND apparently, you also can’t read. Fred Alcazar wrote the comment above, NOT Tony.

    You really are a “GED FPOA prowler,” aren’t you? Fred Alcazar correctly called you out.

  23. #24 by Out of town on August 15, 2012

    Ok Tony, no response, not a shocker.

  24. #25 by Fred Alcazar on August 15, 2012

    Wrong he talked about it during the budget LAST year, his first as councilman. You really are an FPOA GED moron.

  25. #26 by The Water Guy on August 15, 2012

    A straight refund is plain common sense. Regretfully, this whole mess grew as previous council members went along with staff’s financial gymnastics. If refunds are issued under current financial conditions, what do we do about the crumbling plumbing? If the city were to go bust as some here suggest, the rate payers would be last in line to collect through the bankruptcy courts. We need ideas to prevent bankruptcy and break the cycle of band aids in the accounting books and our water system.

  26. #27 by Curious on August 15, 2012

    Refund to the rate payers for the last three years is a no brainier.

    The amount of money that’s been siphoned off for pensions for the prior 11 years needs to go back into the water fund.

    The city needs to make good on this deal or I smell trouble.

  27. #28 by E-TICKET on August 15, 2012

    With all the issues that the council has to address, this is another huge pandoras box. Once the State Attorneys office or the DOJ step into this, it’s going to get ugly and fast. Is this the route to take? Or does the new city council manage this issue internally and come up with a solution. The realities are if the siphoned funds were done so under fraud, then those funds are subject to clawback but to the extent that any statue of limitations applies. And even so, a judge can rule that the clawback(s) period could be extended or reduced. In Bernie Madoff’s case the judge only went back two years. Does the city want to spend the resources and exposure to track down every city administrator and manager – whom, predictably, will all going to claim ignorance and point the finger at anywhere but themselves – to find out the origins of this illegal tax? Or do we move on? The right thing to do is clawback those funds from the pension contributions, reset the contribution tables, offer up some kind of rebate for home improvements toward green inititiatives and sock whatever is left to pay for the much needed repairs to the city sewers and streets.

  28. #29 by The Water Guy on August 15, 2012

    There’s trouble brewing every week when employees of the water department announce no water service from 8-5. That has happened twice in the past several months in North Fullerton. There’s trouble brewing when pipes burst under a street, as one did during a weekend in June in East Fullerton. The city could not get a contractor to fix it for several days. There’s trouble brewing when a major business in Fullerton is told that they can’t conserve water because inefficiency is key for municipal revenue needs.

  29. #30 by The Water Guy on August 15, 2012

    Sorry..I meant the Mayor Pro-Tem Bruce Whitaker (not Bob) who is asking the tough questions about water, pensions and other financial challenges as they should be asked. I’m a non-partisan and also hold Mayor Quirk-Silva in high regard for defending the work of the adhoc committee on water rates although water as a topic is a yawner (until some one tries to take it).

  30. #31 by karma on August 15, 2012

    Tony must be a busy man keeping all his online personas straight. (that was sarcasm for your GED FPOA types)

    just because you might use 15 different monikers doesn’t mean Tony needs to.

    Just because your paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.

  31. #32 by Longtimefullertongirl on August 15, 2012

    #22: “Would it help if we showed up in matching t-shirts to lobby the council next Tuesday?” T-shirts would be good but costly…possibly a “SIGN” could help make the point, and cost less to make.

    #24: “I believe that the property owner of record should be refunded every last cent of his/her overpayment since the inception of the illegal tax just as soon as humanly possible”

    PLUS 10% interest, and possibly a % penalty for the illegal act. It is just highway robbery what has been happening in the city that I have grown up in and decided to live in. Our property has land and trees, and throughout the last 10 years or so, have just about lost all of the trees due to the cost of watering the property that we pay taxes on. And, then because the water bill was so high, sometimes did not have the cash to pay it timely, my mother who owns the property is in her 90′s…and with no grace of even a day, without a penalty. DOUBLE STANDARD….between the citizens of Fullerton and our City Government…and I am just plain SICK OF IT!!!

  32. #33 by Fred Alcazar on August 15, 2012

    Quirk has actually done the least she needed to. The in-lieu fee should have been suspended immediately a year ago. She gets no congrats from me.

    Disingenuous and confused. Alternating.

  33. #34 by Joe Sipowicz on August 15, 2012

    That is incorrect. Crumbling infrastructure has nothing to do with a refund. They are separate issues. The refund will come from the General Fund, not the Water Fund.

  34. #35 by karma on August 15, 2012

    I want every GD cent I overpaid, WITH interest! The city would demand the same (and much more) from me. Fair is fucking fair. Why the hell should the city get a break for bad behavior? I am sick and and damn tired of all the fucking excuses the city tries to fly past the citizens and somehow they get off scot-free? Screw you to everyone who participated in this charade in any degree. I don’t normally curse on this blog, as you might know, but i am madder than hell and won’t take it anymore. Even the idea we won’t get every red cent back is total and complete bull shit. Listen up November candidates.

  35. #36 by Fullerton Lover on August 15, 2012

    Yet we continue to watch those water fountains in front of City Hall gushing out water all day long, yet the rest of us are told to not to get caught watering our lawns between certain hours?

    I wonder how much money could be saved daily by the taxpayer if we suspend usage of those fountains?

    If the money that the city was collecting for a water tax wasn’t being used to maintain the water infrastructure in the past, what makes you believe that the revenue from a water tax would be used to maintain the infrastructure in the future?

  36. #37 by Fullerton Lover on August 15, 2012

    I was thinking that if we all wore our own red t-shirts to the meeting next week, that it would convey the anger and the frustrations that we as residents feel towards this illegal water assessment tax, resident solidarity, and that the color of red would convey the message to our City Manager and Councilman to stop this bullshit immediately or face political death.

  37. #38 by The Water Guy on August 15, 2012

    No water restrictions now. Use less, Pay More. With the slow economy and the drought that just ended water sales are down over 20%. Thus, if we save even more water, the city will have to raise rates so little money would be saved. See how twisted this is? Good catch: How can we trust that the money raised from higher water rates would go into maintaing the water system? Perhaps the Energy & Natural Resources Committee or the Infrastructure Committee should be promoted to a commission that oversees those things and blows the whistle. Since members of the city council appoint those folks the fundamental question is: Do we trust the City Council?

  38. #39 by Anonymous on August 15, 2012

    Before the recall, the tax was canceled. And if memory served me correct, Travis was the one who wrote the editorial. And we, citizens, were under the impression our money was going to be returned for the past three years. Why is this even up for debate? Is it possible the Golden Gods were told their promises will have to go empty handed, like all career politicians?

  39. #40 by The Water Guy on August 15, 2012

    Before the recall the council voted unanimously to stop transferring 10% of monthly water revenues to the general fund. The first action taken by the new council was to reduce the water rate by 10% officially stopping collection of the excess and illegal funds. After the election, city staff engaged the water rate adhoc committee to come up with a recommendation of what to do with the funds that were over collected. Little was resolved as the amount to be applied is in question. A statute of limitations of three years was set in a prior court case. The city’s consultants have advised that council bide by that. Yet the council could choose to refund for the entire amount of time (20 yrs or so) that the rate payers were being overcharged. That’s why it’s up for debate.

  40. #41 by karma on August 15, 2012

    3 year look back is a slap in the face to every citizen who has paid this for the last 15 years.

  41. #42 by Extraction Required on August 15, 2012

    Travis has one vote. It takes three.

    BTW, the tax was NOT canceled. The 10% didn’t go into the General Fund anymore, but it was still being collected. Patdown Pat McKinley & Co. didn’t want to knee-jerk anything.

  42. #43 by Fullerton Lover on August 15, 2012

    Agreed. Totally unacceptable. I’m sure that the County Recorders Office has the name and address of the property owner of each and every parcel of land in Fullerton.

  43. #44 by The Water Guy on August 15, 2012

    15 years is a fair amount of time to debate given the passage of proposition 218 that requires that any funds collected be spent on the services intended when adopted. As I understand it, the Franchise fee goes back to the late 1960′s.

  44. #45 by to hear one who comforts on August 15, 2012

    As far as the City was concerned the 10% was “ostensibly” for water related costs

    Ostenbilty means probably. It was, by law, exclusively, directly for Fullerton’s water supply expenses. Simply, no freshman college English vocab word needed. The current and past use was illegal. That says it all.

  45. #46 by to hear one who comforts on August 15, 2012

    Are you sure BK would viod the contracts? I dunno.

  46. #47 by to hear one who comforts on August 15, 2012

    In Fullerton, tenants of single family homes usually pay their own water bill.

  47. #48 by Alex Perry on August 15, 2012

    I think the money should be put to use in fixing the water system. Giving the money back to ratepayers is kind of dumb, I think. How much is it going to cost to refund that money? How about people who moved away? They don’t get nothing? It just more of a waste of time. Put it to use for what it should have been in the first place, fixing the water infrastructure. cap rates where they are at, transfer the 25 million over several years, and see were we at at the end.

  48. #49 by JustUs on August 15, 2012

    I think your comment is misguided and not well thought out.

    If someone illegally took money from you personally, was later caught and the government’s response was “Instead of ordering the thief to reimburse Alex let’s just have him pay the money into crime victim’s government fund that would help everyone instead of just Alex”. I bet you’d be fit to be tied, wouldn’t you, Alex?

  49. #50 by Stanley Fiala on August 15, 2012

    “What To Do About The Illegal Water Tax”……. Hmmmm

    When I find myself in times of trouble
    Mother Mary comes to me
    Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
    And in my hour of darkness
    She is standing right in front of me
    Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
    Let it be, let it be.
    Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

    And when the broken hearted people
    Living in the world agree,
    There will be an answer, let it be.
    For though they may be parted there is
    Still a chance that they will see
    There will be an answer, let it be.
    Let it be, let it be. Yeah
    There will be an answer, let it be.

    And when the night is cloudy,
    There is still a light that shines on me,
    Shine on until tomorrow, let it be.
    I wake up to the sound of music
    Mother Mary comes to me
    Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
    Let it be, let it be.
    There will be an answer, let it be.
    Let it be, let it be,
    Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

  50. #51 by Alex Perry on August 15, 2012

    So what about the people who moved away? How are they going to get their money back? The water system needs to be fixed. Instead of dicking around wasting more time by giving this money back only to come back and be told that rates are going up so we can give it back is dumb. Your analogy is bad. They only took the money because people let them. If I come up to you and say give me ten dollars so I can fix the water pipe, and then take the money and fix the street instead, you should have spoke up. You didn’t say anything so I continued fixing the street. Now you want to come back and whine about not fixing the water pipe and want your money back or you can make me do with it what I was supposed to. Your choice.

  51. #52 by Get Real on August 15, 2012

    I must say this was one of the more intelligent/less emotional discusion on a subject on this blog. I learned things and got a good dose of the many sides of this issue. Thank you all for contributing.

    BUT… The three issues we need to address at the City Council Meeting are:
    1. What is the true “cost of services” the City is eligible to charge the water fund. I can’t see charging for land or office space. Charge only for material costs.
    2. What to do with the overcharge for the last three years or whatever timeframe is legal. Yes it was an illegal tax and we the ratepayers have been overcharged. I see the logical (and challenges) of a rebate but I also see and advocate, whatever funds determined to be overcharged be used to start the repair of our infrastructure. It was suggested by the independent study that we would have to be charged 6% increase for 5 years or 30+% increase to fund the repair of the water pipes. I do not want my water bill to go up 30% in five years! along with the yearly rateincreases. I fear once an increase is enacted it takes a life of its own and becomes permanent! INstead this overcharge for say three years could be anywhere between $2.5M – $7.5M. That’s alot of waterpipes. Granted, it won’t pay for all the waerpipes needed, but it would make a good start!
    3. BUT the third issue regarding the overcharge is where is the money coming from? If it comes from our City Reserves ($8.5M), we then have no reserve. It could also come from the Water reserve!
    Regardless, the impact on our City budget must be reviewed and understood. We are talking serious money here and we need to take our time and understand what is the consequence of our actions.
    See you all Tuesday for another “circus”!!!!!

  52. #53 by karma on August 15, 2012

    Disingenuous is a perfect word for her.

    I am counting the minutes until she is outta here and I hope she pays for her part in the illegal tax scam. Karma is a bitch.

  53. #54 by nipsey on August 15, 2012

    Where do you get this stuff?

    It does not by any stretch of the imagination mean “probably”. It means something closer to supposedly.

    In this case “ostensibly” is perfect since it describes something that appeared to be for a certain purpose but, in fact, was not.

  54. #55 by The Fullerton Shadow on August 15, 2012

    “Counsil?” Really? Fullerton’s Finest?

  55. #56 by Anonymous on August 15, 2012

    Could be the amphibian, Dave Ellis.

  56. #57 by Mr. Peabody on August 15, 2012

    Ostensibly means “on the face of it; to outward appearances.”

    You should have taken college English.

  57. #58 by Mr. Peabody on August 15, 2012

    People who have moved away can apply for a refund if they find out about it.

    Not everyone will be made whole. And you can thank former city councilpersons, plus present City Manager Joe Felz and current City Attorney Richard Jones.

  58. #59 by Joe Sipowicz on August 15, 2012

    Alex you are dead wrong. None of the ratepayers knew anything about it because the 10% rip-off was never identified on any statements. It’s buried in the Municipal Code.

    The whole thing was a chickenshit con game perpetrated on the populace by its own government.

  59. #60 by Alex Perry on August 15, 2012

    Buried in the Municipal code? So it was there, you just didn’t bother to read it.
    Look I am not defending what they did, but demanding a refund? I mean really? What is it going to be? A couple hundred dollars at best? The time and energy and money can be better spent than on refunds.

  60. #61 by Alex Perry on August 15, 2012

    So how are they supposed to find out about it?. Have the city piss away more money to put out ads? How about people who have died? Maybe we can waste more money to find out who should inherit their rebate. Shit let’s spend another 25 million giving the money back. That’s a really good idea. It beats holding them accountable to do with the money what was supposed to have been done the first time. Fix the water infrastructure.

  61. #62 by JustUs on August 15, 2012

    Alex, just because someone broke into your home and you didn’t notice any items missing for several years does that mean you aren’t due restitution because you didn’t look?

    Those who lived in Fullerton during the time of the illegal tax could simply fill out a form with proof that they were the occupants of the home during a given time period to collect reimbursement. It’s not that hard, Alex. You are only choosing to make it difficult.

    The city could send notices to forwarding addresses left by former residents. It’s easy, Alex. It really is. You are throwing up unnecessary roadblocks here and thwarting justice.

    If a thief illegally took money from a person the victim is due a check to fully cover his losses plus interest plus penalty.

    That is the way civilization works, man. There are uncivilized nations in the world too that steal money from people and refuse to give it back. Is that how you want to live?

  62. #63 by to hear one who comforts on August 15, 2012

    I don’t know the distance between probably and supposedly, but – this is a definitely.

  63. #64 by to hear one who comforts on August 15, 2012

    Ever heard of passive vs. active voice. ‘Ostensibly’ is a passive, vague word. Illegal is an active word that completely, without any wiggle room describes the situation. Yes, I did take freshman English.

  64. #65 by Jt on August 15, 2012

    I vote “ostensibly.” :D

  65. #66 by Jt on August 15, 2012

    ” Cat gotcha your tongue????” is a rather amazing massacre of what is “ostensibly” English.

  66. #67 by Jt on August 15, 2012

    That’s true. Its not just property owners, but also tenants who got ripped off.

  67. #68 by Anonymous on August 15, 2012

    How many Fullerton water bills have you paid Alex?

  68. #69 by Joe Sipowicz on August 15, 2012

    That’s just foolish. I don’t read the whole Municipal Code to look for hidden taxes; or the State Administrative Codes, Government Code, Public Contracts Code, etc.

    A refund would be proportional to the amount billed. It could amount to a couple of hundred dollars per year for residential users. For big industrial water users and apartments it will easily be in the thousands per year.

    Whose time and energy can be better spent? Certainly not the City whose time and energy seems to be dedicated to hiding problems rather than fixing them.

  69. #70 by English Major on August 15, 2012

    There is nothing vague about “ostensible.” Its meaning is clear; and neither is it passive or active; these are “voices” reflected in sentence structure in the application of verbs to objects instead of subjects.

    Rather, the word ostensible, like illegal is an adjective, a word that is used to describe a noun.

    It is clear you are offended by the word ostensible. I don’t know why since you don’t know what it means.

  70. #71 by Alex Perry on August 15, 2012

    You will never get the 25 years refund this tax has been going on. Good luck. You will be lucky to get a few years at best. And guess what? The water infrastructure will still be…. broken. Maybe you should read the whole code. How else are you going to be informed? Listen to yourself. This tax was voted on in a public council meeting however many years ago, put in a municipal code and your are whining “I didn’t know.” Ignorance is no excuse. If you left your front door open to your house and people come in and steal everything you have, are you going to stand there and blame the police for not stopping it. (well maybe in Fullerton it was the police who ripped you off hahahaha) Lots of citizens were duped by this. We put those clowns there. It’s as much our fault for letting them get away with it as it was for them to run it through and keep it going.

    @At just us. If you didn’t notice the theft for a few years, statue of limitations will probably have run out on your house theft. And as far as throwing up roadblocks, really? You sound like those clowns that were just recalled. If someone moved away five years ago, you think the forwarding address form is still around? Good luck with that. And technically it wasn’t theft. It was misappropriation of funds, cause if they had spent the money on water infrastructure, we wouldn’t be having this conversation now.

    And I notice neither of you address the real issue, broken water infrastructure and how to fix it.

    I want to see the water infrastructure fixed. I’m sick off driving around watching water bubble up from under the streets because nothing is happening. Perhaps you are happy with the way it is now. Perhaps you want a refund and then watch rates bump 30% to finally fix the problem. I only offer that there is a better way. Like I said it’s your choice.

  71. #72 by Joe Friday on August 15, 2012

    I hope the current council can get this done before things change again. You could get whiplash following politics in this city.

  72. #73 by Random Taxpayer on August 15, 2012

    Alex is making sense. If rates are going to go up by some huge % to fix broken infrastructure what sense does it make to give refunds which are then offset by rate increases?

  73. #74 by JustUs on August 15, 2012

    Alex, what don’t you understand about the word “ILLEGAL”, my friend? We do not vote politicians into office to commit “ILLEGAL” acts. If they enact “ILLEGAL” taxes that is their sole responsibility since they are SWORN under OATH to obey and abide by the law. You cannot pass that one off on the taxpayers. It is the OBLIGATION of the elected official to determine whether a tax is legal or “ILLEGAL” before he votes in favor of it. What don’t you understand about that?

    Alot of people stay at the same residence for 5 years or longer. And if they leave forwarding addresses with the post office they are kept on file for many many years – so the mail continues to get forwarded from one address to the other.

    Taking money “ILLEGALLY” from another person is “THEFT” by definition. Go look it up in the dictionary.

    They can find money elsewhere to fix the water infrastructure. If they want to try to pass another tax to fund it – they can try. But they cannot force citizens to pay for it against their will or use stolen money to fund it without the authorization of those it was stolen from. That stolen money should be RETURNED to it’s rightful owners. And then of the owners want to spend it on water infrastructure – that is their choice. Let’s put the horse in front of the cart, okay?

    We are supposed to live in a civilized society, Alex. Dictating how money that was stolen from other people should be spent is not civilization. Returning stolen money from those it was stolen from is civilization. Do you want to live in a civilized or an uncivilized society, pal?

  74. #75 by Fullerton Lover on August 15, 2012

    I was driving over to the Doctor’s office today with my kids and I brought up this subject about the illegal water tax and wanting an honest opinion, I asked my kids for their thoughts on the subject?

    My 12 year old son looked at me and said in a very matter of fact way, “Dad, I think the city has embezzled everybody’s money.”

    Straight from the mouth of babes…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embezzlement

  75. #76 by JustUs on August 15, 2012

    You have a very smart son, Fullerton Lover.

    Just make sure he doesn’t choose a career in government. His brain will shrivel up to nothing within 5 years on the government payroll.

  76. #77 by Tuco Ramirez on August 16, 2012

    Just the Facts Joe, Just the Facts!

  77. #78 by Tuco Ramirez on August 16, 2012

    Re: Water tax refunds:

    There is a statute of Limitations on the number of years of restitution in criminal as well as civil cases. Find out how many years that is and limit the restitution to that exact number of years. The money can be easily found by reducing the Fullerton City budget by a similar amount since the money went mainly for salaries and benefits. Of course, the municipal unions and FPOA would be against this but it is plainly the taxpayers and ratepayers money that was grabbed and needs to be refunded.

  78. #79 by Greg Diamond on August 16, 2012

    Peabody is right about the word.

    One problem, though, is that the HJTA does not actually have the ability to determine that something is “illegal.” Why did no court decision ever come down on this?

    My suspicion is that it may be because only roughly a third of the tax was actually “illegal” — which messes up the storyline.

  79. #80 by Greg Diamond on August 16, 2012

    Good luck finding the renters onto whom landlords passed on the tax.

    Or — heywaitaminit! — was benefitting landlords who didn’t actually lose money due to the tax part of the plan here? Sly!

  80. #81 by Greg Diamond on August 16, 2012

    Which means that landlords who passed on the fee to renters, but are the “property owners of record,” would get a windfall — and people up there are demanding 10% interest for them!

    You guys are so sly! I’d almost imagine that someone involved with this site is a landlord. But no, that would be sort of transparently self-serving.

  81. #82 by The Fullerton Harpoon on August 16, 2012

    They did, dimwit. The City of Roseville was busted.

  82. #83 by The Fullerton Harpoon on August 16, 2012

    And another thing, dimwit. None of the 10% was ever justified via a Prop 218 fee analysis. None of it. That makes it all illegal. Damn, you’re ignorant. Good thing you aren’t running for anything.

  83. #84 by Fullerton Lover on August 16, 2012

    Thanks JustUs. He’s a good honest kid that wants to be a professional baseball player when he grows up, so I think we dodged a bullet this time on him making a career choice out of government.

  84. #86 by Greg Diamond on August 16, 2012

    Where’s the court decision saying that the 6.x% portion of the water tax (that I understand actually was going to water service) was illegal? Neither the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer’s Association nor the FFFF assemblage of kangaroos counts as a court qualified to give a definitive ruling re Prop 218.

    (Do the insults cheer you up or something? Because I just consider the source and brush them off.)

  85. #87 by thefinerpointsofreason on August 21, 2012

    Agreed. No rebates needed. Just get rid of the tax and be very wary if anyone tries this again.

Comments are closed.