Now, What About Our Water Tax Refund? Part 1: A Recap


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For 40 years the City of Fullerton has added a 10% tax to your water. The ostensible purpose was to pay for general city costs necessary to deliver water, like the City Manager and the City Attorney. In the beginning the rate was a small 2%. Then in 1970 the City Fathers realized nobody was watching and they bumped it to 10%. But the fee had nothing to do with infrastructure or anything else withing the purview of the Water Utility.

For the first 27 years it was just a scam – the City departments were already charging directly to the Water Fund – the 10% was just pure high-fat content bureaucratic gravy, ripped off from unsuspecting water users by ignorant and lubricious politicians and administrators; then in 1996 Proposition 218 was enacted, requiring that objective studies, approved in public, be the basis of these charges. At this point the annually rubber stamped water tax became illegal; but it was still there, happily rising whenever the cost of the water commodity itself went up – from 1997-2012.

In 2012 the City itself acknowledged the magnitude of the ill-gotten revenue – over $27,000,000 since 1997, a sum that went into the General Fund to pay for salaries and benefits of employees who have absolutely nothing to do with the procurement or transmission of water, as well as other fun stuff – like council junkets to four start hotels.

Last year, the previous council majority made a commitment to return as much of the graft as possible. The new council? Don’t hold your breath. Mrs. Flory, one of architects of the ripoff, and someone who, arrogantly, has never even bothered to proffer an apology for her heist, has claimed that the City can’t afford refunds of even the minimum amount prescribed by law.

Well, we’ll see how this plays out. In the meantime, stay tuned for Part II: How to Phony Up A Report.

 

 

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  1. #1 by E-TICKET on January 7, 2013

    By not issuing a refund of the illicit tax, Fullerton citizens will be entitled to interest accrued at an allowable 10% per year, pluse those members of city council that obstruct its refund will expose themselves to potential “constructive fraud” charges.

  2. #2 by Johnny Donut on January 7, 2013

    Didn’t that creepy guy who works for f Lackie, Dammeier & McGill file a claim against the city for the ripoff? He should just file suit.

    • #3 by Peaches on January 7, 2013

      A claim is the first step in the procedure; if claim is denied, then a lawsuit can be filed.

      Based on personal knowledge of how it works

  3. #4 by Concerned citizen on January 7, 2013

    Show us what you’re made of (in a good way this time) Jennifer.

    • #5 by Anonymous on January 7, 2013

      I doubt if she even understands the issue, but her instinct will be to back up the rip off in order to defend the bureaucracy.

  4. #6 by Kathleen C N on January 7, 2013

    Is it possible to start a peptition that Fullerton residents should get a refund for being over charged on there water bill?

    • #7 by Ryan Cantor on January 7, 2013

      Be sure to include renters and new residents– the people who would be paying for your refund but not receiving any benefit, in your petition.

      http://www.orangejuiceblog.com/2012/09/ryan-cantor-why-refunding-fullertons-water-tax-sucks/

      • #8 by Joe Sipowicx on January 7, 2013

        The guy who gets the refund is the guy who’s got the water meter on his property. The new residents who have to subsidize the old? Presumably they are getting whatever shaky benefit that 10% paid for all those years. The old residents are also going to have to pick up some of the tab.

        But the idea that the rate payers are somehow synonymous with the residents was always a slippery slope. Blurring the distinction was used by Flory & Co. to justify the ripoff.

        P.S. I’m not sure I like the idea of your pimping your blog since you didn’t see fit to link to my post.

        • #9 by Ryan Cantor on January 7, 2013

          Sorry Joe. I linked back to a FFFF post on another OJ post earlier today. Perhaps you’d like me to remove it. It’s had a handful of hits. Not many, but some.

          Come on now, let’s not start off on the wrong foot. I wrote this quite a while ago and it addressed Ms. Kathleen’s comment above. That’s fair, above board, and hardly pimping.

        • #10 by Greg Diamond on January 7, 2013

          “Sipowicx”? Do you really type in your name each time you post?

          Refunding money to landlords for money that they’ve already included in the cost of rent — as any economic model would suggests that they have — allows them to be reimbursed twice for the same expense, the second time with public funds. It would lead to lawsuits. Any plan should exclude reimbursing landlords for rental property.

          • #11 by Joe Sipowicz on January 7, 2013

            The guy who paid the bill gets the refund. Simple.

            I love how you and your tribe keep trying to make this more complicated than it is. The idea of resitution of a fraud perpetrated by the government is abhorrent to you, isn’t it?

            • #12 by Ryan Cantor on January 7, 2013

              An abrogation of my rights as a tax payer ought to be just as abhorrent to you, sir.

              Limited government balances how our rights get trampled. I’m surprised you’re willing to tolerate this kind of tyranny.

              • #13 by The Fullerton Harpoon on January 7, 2013

                Your rights as a taxpayer? And what are those, pray tell? How do those supersede the rights of the water ratepayer? See the problem?

                Sipowicz is dead on. As a property taxpayer of Fullerton you are indeed on the hook for the bad decisions of your electeds. Too bad the Water Fund was milked like a cash cow by Flory & Co. all these years, but any benefits accrue to you as a resident of Fullerton. If you don’t like the deal take it up with Flory and Chaffee and perhaps Fitzgerald.

                • #14 by Ryan Cantor on January 7, 2013

                  As a taxpayer, I have the right to fair and honest government.

                  As a taxpayer, I have the right to demand that public tax dollars be spent on public benefit.

                  As a taxpayer, I have a right to demand that public tax dollars not be used for private enrichment.

                  A water tax refund betrays these three rights. It proposes to trample on the backs of the poor and disenfranchised through an undemocratic tyrannical decision of the executive branch of government, a decision that can only be exercised by the judiciary, to enrich a few landowning rate payers– many of whom have experienced no actual economic loss.

                  These rights supersede the rights of the rate payer because the rate payer has no rights, other than those specified under ordinary contract law. The economic loss experienced by the rate payer is based on their voluntary participation in a contractual relationship with a publicly owned utility.

                  You don’t like your contract? You think the terms imposed upon you, which you agreed to pay (like it or not. You were welcome to move or turn your water off at any time,) then you sue. You don’t go complain to the government to right your wrong by stealing from your neighbor– who had absolutely nothing to do with the crime.

                • #15 by The Fullerton Harpoon on January 8, 2013

                  Pontificate onward. We want accountability, the most fundamental thing in a representative democracy.

                  No accountability, no reform.

                • #16 by Fullerton Lover on January 8, 2013

                  I’m not following your pretzel logic?

                • #17 by Ryan Cantor on January 8, 2013

                  Wrong.

                  The most fundamental thing in a democracy is the preservation of the rights of the electorate. We measure accountability by the years between elections. We measure violations of our rights by the second.

                  Sorry if you find that expression dogmatic.

                  I’ll accept accountability as a runner up and I’m all for it.

            • #18 by Fullerton Lover on January 7, 2013

              If the figure of 3% is the correct amount of overhead for administering our water, than 7% of what I’ve paid over the last 20 years is the amount that I should have the right to…

              1) either ask to be refunded.
              2) credited to future bills,.
              3) allow the city to keep my refund.

              In my case, 7% of what I’ve paid over the last 20 years is over $2,000.00

              Why should I want to give my $2,000 refund back to the city? Do I think that they would actually spend my refund on repairs to the infrastructure when they haven’t done that yet with the extra 7% of what I’ve been given them already?

              • #19 by cg on January 7, 2013

                I really like your thought process, on this issue. Give the residents the option. I would use it to pay for towards future water bills.

          • #20 by Shimon Mendel on January 7, 2013

            How ’bout refunding/crediting SFH, billed to residence accounts only?

            • #21 by Greg Diamond on January 7, 2013

              That’s reasonable. Evidently, some here think that landlords should make a profit on money they were already, in effect, paid by tenants. In all sorts of anti-tax arguments I hear “the price just gets passed onto consumers!” — except this one. It would embarrass anyone who had a sense of shame.

              • #22 by The Fullerton Harpoon on January 7, 2013

                Anyone who has a sense of shame would go out and get a job.

                • #23 by Greg Diamond on January 10, 2013

                  You make a stirring argument against self-employment there.

        • #24 by Stanley Fiala on January 7, 2013

          “I’m not sure I like the idea of your pimping your blog since you didn’t see fit to link to my post”…….. Hmmmmm

          Since Golem executed a hostile takeover of the OrangeJuceBlog (“OJB”) and expanded with bolsheviks like Cantor, the OJB should be ignored as a legitimate blog in the OC.

          • #25 by Ryan Cantor on January 7, 2013

            I’m now official, having been called a communist by Mr. Fiala.

            Thanks for the hug, sir.

            • #26 by Stanley Fiala on January 7, 2013

              “I’m now official, having been called a communist by Mr. Fiala”………. Hmmmmmm

              Do you see how stupid uneducated moron mongoloid Tatar you are!

              The Bolshevik = “a member of majority” in Russian.

              • #27 by Stanley Fiala on January 7, 2013

                I should add, you idiot, that the Menshevik = a “member of minority” in Russian.

            • #28 by Greg Diamond on January 7, 2013

              Bolshevism: you’re not doing it right, Ryan.

  5. #29 by van get it da artiste on January 7, 2013

    shame on Jan Flory for refusing to return what does not belong to the city. Flory definitely is not off to a good start as a representative of the good people of fullerton. As the saying goes, the worst thing that may happen to a person is having their prayers answered. By a margin of only a mere 28 votes, flory again , is thrust into the public spotlight. Only this time, the power of the internet gebnerates the most powerful spotlight ever. have fun, flory

    • #30 by Lifesaving Service on January 7, 2013

      Addicts and fools need to hit bottom before they can come to any form of realization.

      A backroom deal city, with cronyism, nepotism, favoritism, racism, fraud, physical abuse, mental abuse, murder, reckless disregard, reckless disregard for the condition of roadways and infrastructure, disregard for ethics oaths according to the law, murder after the fact, etc etc etc,
      it cant get too much worse before the world learns a great lesson, about the ethical dilemma of right and wrong. :( :)

    • #32 by Peaches on January 7, 2013

      Van – true story: there is a Flory Middle School in Moorpark

  6. #33 by nipsey on January 7, 2013

    I always thought that refunding a token amount to water customers as some symbolic act was a waste of time, so if that’s off the table then… Good. Better to dump that amount into repairing infrastructure.

    • #34 by Anonymous on January 7, 2013

      It’ll go toward pensions before a penny every hits any infrastructure.

    • #35 by Joe Sipowicz on January 7, 2013

      I find that attitude quite interesting. The only reason why the sum was diminshed was because there is some sort of law that says a government that has ripped you off for decades need only go back three years to pay you back. Of course the amount of the refund was always up to the council.

      Naturally the Boohoos tried make the amount seem “token “and more of a nuisance than anything else. $27,000,000 trivial? only in the rarified realm of government employment and liberal groupthink.

      Speaking of symbolic acts, what would you say to a heartfelt apology from Flory for stealing $27,000,000 to pay for the pensions of her dear “hearts” of Fullerton – the City bureaucracy?

      • #36 by nipsey on January 7, 2013

        The only thing interesting is that you pretend to misinterpret this argument. Why?

        The total $$ the city grifted over the years is staggering, it’s the amount that each ratepayer was going to be reimbursed that is token. Keep the $50 (or whatever) and start rebuilding the fund to fix the pipes.

        • #37 by Joe Sipowicz on January 7, 2013

          No, I’m simply saying that the comparatively small numbers were cooked up by the Flory crew to diminish the amount of the grift. I believe the whole $27,000,000 should be paid back. I also tink somebody should go to jail for the brazen heist.

          Hell I’d even settle for genuine contrition from Flory and Felz without any more bullshit obfuscation.

          You’re a smart guy. I know you get it.

        • #38 by Fullerton Lover on January 7, 2013

          They’ve been taking 10% over and above our bills for the last 40 years, and have failed to use this money appropriately in the past, so what makes you think the city of Fullerton is going to have a sudden change of heart and use the money for the purpose that it’s designated for?

          • #39 by nipsey on January 7, 2013

            Um, make them.

            • #40 by cg on January 7, 2013

              How do you make this happen? If the didn’t do the right before, why would they do the right thing now? Let us, the residents make their own mind up. I don’t care if I only get $5.00 back. I just want the city to give it back. BTW, I am a 34yr. resident.

  7. #41 by runningair on January 7, 2013

    Ryan Cantor said this:
    “I didn’t take anyone’s money, yet I’m being forced to provide restitution. On top of that, I’m being forced to provide restitution to individuals who no longer live or vote in Fullerton.”

    Wow.

    Just when you think Ryan’s argument sounds pretty reasonable, he proves what an assclown he really is.

    Boohooing about “restitution” in this context shows how stupid you are. Essentially what you’re saying is you’d prefer to discriminate against those who have moved out of Fullerton. Those folks are somehow inferior to current ratepayers, even though they were fleeced just the same.

    Nice, really nice.

    • #42 by Ryan Cantor on January 7, 2013

      Thanks for that.

      I’m saying that I shouldn’t be funding a refund for someone else’s bad decision.

      But yes, those folks are inferior to current voters and taxpayers based on the rights and privileges they enjoy in Fullerton. Some of our rights are assigned by our domicile. Sorry if that makes me an ass-clown. I would prefer ass-hat.

      • #43 by runningair on January 7, 2013

        Why don’t you take it a step further and say Mexicans and Asians are inferior and don’t deserve refunds either…well, just because. Your logic is deeply flawed.

        Everybody who was ripped off deserves to be compensated. Period.

      • #44 by Fred Alcazar on January 7, 2013

        Wrong, mate. Taxpayers pay for their electeds’ bad decisions all the time. I presume you think that 10% tax went for something beneficial. Why shouldn’t you pay for it?

        • #45 by Ryan Cantor on January 7, 2013

          Fred, why shouldn’t I pay for the refund?

          Your neighbor’s house is broken into and her TV is stolen. Is she justified in breaking into your house and stealing your TV to replace her TV?

          I think not. That’s why I shouldn’t be forced to pay someone else’s refund. I didn’t execute the crime, so I’m not liable for restitution.

          I don’t think the issue is as simple as it’s being made out to be, but I get why some folks do. It’s a real problem that ought to be addressed by the courts, the only institution that has the legal and moral authority to weigh your rights against mine. That’s what the judicial branch and civil suits are all about. Demanding action from the executive branch to address a judicial matter is to demand an abuse of government’s authority. Don’t tread on me, so to speak.

          Runningair, if you want to act like a jackass, that’s fine. I’m stating that local taxes paid ought to be spent on local problems. That has absolutely no legitimacy to being used to call me a racist, which is just ridiculous.

          There are many legitimate reasons to issue a refund to someone who no longer lives in Fullerton, such as stating a moral blemish inflicted by the state deserves to be removed no matter what jurisdiction boundaries need to be crossed. You have plenty to argue with; don’t resort to playing in the gutter.

          • #46 by runningair on January 7, 2013

            Your analogy is not helpful for this discussion.

            Essentially what you’re saying is that anytime the government overcharges, steals, or embezzles, it should never be forced to reimburse anybody because that would be “costly” to the taxpayers.

            There has to be consequences for these misdeeds. Not paying the money back lets them off the hook with virtually no consequences. And you know what that means … more corruption and more theft in the future. It is an implied waiver that Fullerton residents are okay with misdeeds. Not the right message to send.

            I apologize for attacking you earlier. That was totally uncalled for on my part.

            • #47 by Ryan Cantor on January 7, 2013

              Short answer, it depends.

              In this specific case, the remedy that’s the most popular (direct refund to the rate payer) places an unfair share of the burden on the poor.

              Renters and new residents get completely screwed for the sake of simplicity, which isn’t just.

              The real problem here is that we want to assign responsibility to someone for screwing us over. If the water utility were a privately owned company, that’d be very easy to do. The stock holder would shoulder the burden and could sue the company’s management for their mismanagement. As participation by the stock holder is voluntary and they have a partial remedy of their own, that seems right.

              Here the stock holder is the citizen, whose participation is mandatory. The same model can’t be applied with an expectation of a just result.

              I guess that’s what happens when the public sector assumes responsibilities of what should be the private world. People get screwed. Perhaps there’s some wisdom in divesting the utility.

              I guess that wasn’t so short. In the end, someone’s rights get a workover. The city council doesn’t have the authority to weigh our rights and dispense injustice. That’s the courts role and that’s where any refund ought to be decided.

  8. #48 by Office of Sadistic Review on January 7, 2013

    nipsey :
    The only thing interesting is that you pretend to misinterpret this argument. Why?
    The total $$ the city grifted over the years is staggering, it’s the amount that each ratepayer was going to be reimbursed that is token. Keep the $50 (or whatever) and start rebuilding the fund to fix the pipes.

    Promoting and condoning bad actions is what got the city into many bad situations.

  9. #49 by Barry Levinson on January 7, 2013

    Instead of having an intelligent discussion of the merits of the water tax refund, we have name calling. Anyone who has to respond with name calling really negates anything intelligent that person might utter afterwards.

    I for one believe that the 10% water tax should be given back to the ratepayers regardless of whether the mechanism to do so is perfect or not.

    • #50 by Ryan Cantor on January 7, 2013

      And renters, Mr. Levinson? What of them? Do you really expect property owners to do the right thing and appropriate doll out the refund to the real rate payers? How about prior tenants? Do you expect them to go back and cut checks for them?

      This is an issue for the courts, who are the only branch with the legal and moral authority to issue an imperfect solution that abrogates our rights.

  10. #51 by Anonymous on January 7, 2013

    Jan Flory is Edith Bunkers 1st cousin!!!!!

  11. #52 by cg on January 7, 2013

    “Flory” if your reading this. GIVE BACK THE MONEY, IT’S NOT YOURS….Your nothing but a low life lawyer, and as I hear it, your not very good at that.

  12. #53 by Franklin on January 7, 2013

    So now Flory is the big bad wolf now that she won the election… seems to me you all have short term memory loss when it comes to Norby and Nelson and all the others involved over the years. Your politics blinds you to the point of not taking your arguments seriously.

    • #54 by cg on January 7, 2013

      So, have you been listening to Flory for the pasted 8 months at the Council meetings? I don’t think so, if you had, you would have the same opinion. You did not hear her state that the public employees are more important, than the residents? Franklin wake up. She is not for the residents. She is just another Fullerton old twat…. She was a bad wolf long ago, and has always been one.

  13. #55 by Anonymous on January 7, 2013

    Speaking of water, how bout that tasty toxic flouride the three bald tires decided to poison us with.

    No flouride, its bad for us

  14. #56 by LeRoy Murray on January 11, 2013

    If the law requires a refund, even a minimal refund, then a refund should be made. Another way to look at it, is the city can afford to pay all the victims of police abuse, so they can afford to pay for the water rippoff. But this time, since the manager and council(s) were the thieves they should refund from their own pockets…yeah right.

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