Your Voice Means Nothing to City Hall

Nextdoor Water Rate Increase Notice

Last month Fullerton requested feedback via Nextdoor and elsewhere from citizens regarding the raising of our water rates because our city is incompetent and decided not to repair infrastructure over the last several decades and now the bill is coming due by way of broken and rotting pipes.

So what we paid for already we need to pay for again and this time they pinky swear they mean to fix things. For realsies.

Those of you familiar with this blog should know about the “7 Walls of Local Government” which is quite possibly one of the best series of posts on local government ever committed to words in the modern era. If you’re unfamiliar go give it a read and then come back.

The 7 Walls, to many people, is simply theoretical so I wanted to offer this Fullerton water rate issue as an example of the walls in practice.

So here we have a form of Local Government Wall #3 –The Performance.

With the current rate hike under consideration the city claimed that they wanted feedback and in order for your “protest” to be counted you needed to sign a letter and email or send it in to the city. One person per household or parcel so hopefully you weren’t a renter or had more than one opinion in your domicile.

Just emails wouldn’t count, social media posts wouldn’t count and ACTUALLY SPEAKING AGAINST the increase at council wouldn’t count. To quote the city’s own FAQ:

“However, oral comments at the Public Hearing will not qualify as a formal protest of the proposed rate action unless accompanied by a written protest setting forth the required information.”

Gee, it’s almost like they wanted to limit it as much as possible all while claiming to be doing far beyond the bare minimum that’s legally required by law.

But they totally cared about your opinions or so they’d like you to believe and even told council.

Being one to not trust bureaucrats I challenged them on the premise and requested what they did with the “protests” they received up to and during the council meeting in question.

Here is the response:

Water Rate Increase Protests

They “were received, recorded and read by Public Works” and council only got a “response letter”.

That “response letter” was prepared early in order to be included in the agenda packet for the city council meeting on 04 June 2019 and was released to the public at approximately 6:15pm on 30 May 2019.

What this means is that council never received your protest prior to voting and thus those making the decision to raise your rates never heard what you had to say before voting.

Better yet – staff RESPONDED TO your “protest” possibly before you even made it. Any protest that came in after 30 May 2019 and before the item closed on Tuesday was just totally ignored. (more…)

A Hill. Wrapped in Plastic

A few weeks ago while at a local eating establishment in the Downtown area a gentleman stopped me by name, which isn’t always a good thing in malcontentville, and asked me to inquire about the plastic sheeting up near the YMCA.

You may have seen it while driving North on Harbor Blvd:

YMCA-Plastic

So ask I did. Here is the recent answer according to some undisclosed source at the Public Works Department as communicated by the Clerk’s office:

YMCA-Plastic-Email

“Plastic sheeting the slope on Harbor Blvd is done with City staff and costs about $12,000. We have been sheeting the slope for 6+ years.”

I’ve not sent in followup requests for invoices or details about this particular project but I’m sure if somebody wanted to do so the city would be happy to explain why spending at least $72K for this particular issue/area is the best solution and has been the best solution for over half a decade.

What say you friends? Is this project worth $12k/year for who knows how long?

More for Less in Public Works

It looks like Fullerton is again in the business of paying more for less when it comes to hiring bureaucrats to bureaucrat. One of our newest hires, Mary “Meg” McWade, who is set to replace Don Hoppe is going to be paid $195,000 + bennies. This despite some questions about qualifications.

Being that the Director of Public Works is also the City of Fullerton’s “Civil Engineer” it is preferred that our Director be, well, a certified engineer.

If you look at the qualifications for this Director position you’ll find:

I suppose emphasis on preferred. (more…)

Crime Wave Continues

Rumors of increased criminal activity are wafting out of city hall again. A few employees of the Public Works department are in hot water for some sort of embezzlement/kick-back scheme down at the city yard. Criminal charges are in the offing.

Something stinks.

It’s not clear to us who was involved or what was stolen. City leaders are keeping quiet right now, but hopefully they will inform the public soon.

If you have any information to contribute, please drop us a line. Discretion is our thing.