CitizensJournal.us- Letters to the Editor


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Since this is CITIZENS Journal, public opinion is especially important. We accept general letters here from the public, on varied topics in the form of comments, below. If you wish to respond to specific articles, scroll down to reader comments for the appropriate posting.  If you want them featured, include full name, address, phone number (the latter two will be kept confidential) and send to editor@citizensjournal.us).

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This page contains letters from Mid January, 2017 to December 2018

For previous letters, see http://citizensjournal.us/citizensjournalus-letters-to-the-editor/

2 Responses to CitizensJournal.us- Letters to the Editor

  1. Dotty Pringle March 14, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    Well researched and written!

    Reply
  2. Citizen Reporter March 1, 2017 at 10:58 pm

    Received from Alicia Percell, regarding the recently concluded Oxnard Utility Rate Advisory Panel work on wastewater rate review.

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Alicia Percell
    To: Ruth Osuna ; greg.nyhoff
    Sent: Wed, Mar 1, 2017 10:32 pm
    Subject: Corrections for memo to UTF

    Ms. Osuna, (bcc: city council members)

    I am writing to alert you and the Utilities Task Force members to a number of factual errors in the agenda packet (see attached) posted for the March 2 meeting of the UTF.

    1) Page 1 of your memo states, “Thus, the URAP held five meetings and most members also participated in a wastewater facility tour.” On slide 3 of the PowerPoint presentation, it again says there were five meetings, and it shows a schedule of 5 meetings. The January 30 tour of the OWTP was a special meeting, so there were 6 meetings.

    At the end of the February 1 URAP meeting, Aaron Starr mentioned that he had not received a 24-hour written notice for the January 30 meeting as required by the Brown Act, having only received written notice a mere 24 minutes prior. Your reaction was to argue that the tour was not a meeting, though the agenda posted online said it was a special meeting, and a majority of the URAP members were present, and they discussed subject matters within the jurisdiction of the URAP. Under the Brown Act, that is clearly a meeting, and I don’t understand your apparent aversion to acknowledging it as such, even now in this memo to the UTF, after you were shown a copy of the posted agenda for a special meeting.

    The URAP never received draft minutes from that January 30 meeting for approval, though they did approve minutes of the other meetings (with the exception of the final one).

    See the posted agenda for the January 30 tour of the OWTP as a special meeting of the URAP here:
    http://oxnard.granicus.com/DocumentViewer.php?file=oxnard_adc0d1806fba8ce33aa2d755e93f9e2e.pdf

    2) Page 2 of your memo states, “In addition to the above rate recommendation, the members of the URAP considered six motions…” There was a handout circulated by Aaron Starr with six motions on it, however, at the end of the final meeting he only chose to offer five of those motions for consideration by the URAP.

    There is a bullet list spanning pages 2-3 of the memo, and for the 5th bullet point the memo indicates that it failed due to a lack of a second. That is incorrect. This is the motion that Aaron decided to skip. Since he never made the motion, there was no request for a second, and it should not be reported that a motion never made was deemed to have failed.

    The same error occurs on slide 36 of the presentation, asserting that the motion failed due to a lack of a second, though it was never moved.

    3) The first bullet point on page 2 of your memo does not accurately reflect the amendments made during the meeting, which were to delete and insert a few words as follows:

    A motion to recommend that the City Council require that the Cost of Service Study list the planned emergency repairs and capital improvement projects, along with their expected costs and completion dates, and that the City Council establish a policy that each utility shall make an annual report to the Council regarding all such planned emergency repairs and capital improvement projects included in the most recent Cost of Service Study. The report shall itemize for each project the following:
    Construction status
    Original projected date of completion from the Cost of Service Study
    Revised projected date of completion
    Original projected costs from the Cost of Service Study
    Costs incurred to date
    Revised projected costs to completion

    4) Page 3 of your memo states, “One additional scenario (Scenario 6) was presented to the URAP at the February 22 meeting, which was not considered in discussing the final recommendations due to a lack of support for a very small CIP program, no IUF, and not meeting the City’s financial policies.”

    That’s incorrect in several ways.

    The Scenario 6 which Aaron Starr developed was not only discussed, but it was voted on. You can see the vote on it in this video at the 02:53:50 time stamp.

    http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/100233678

    The vote on the motion was 2 in favor, and 5 opposed.

    It is also interesting that your memo projects your own opinions of that scenario onto the members of the URAP. Your memo alleges that it was opposed, in part, because it contained no infrastructure use fee (IUF), yet a majority of the URAP later adopted a recommendation that the city stop charging the IUF.

    Your memo also claims that Scenario 6 did not meet the city’s financial policies. Which of the city’s presented financial policies did it fail to meet? It met the debt coverage and reserve requirements. Unlike EACH of the 9 scenarios developed by staff, Scenario 6 also met the council policies regarding using no more than 50% debt for long-term-asset financing, and that assets not be financed for more than 75% of their useful life. Your memo fails to even mention that Scenario 2.2B adopted by the URAP fails to meet those policies, and it falsely asserts that Scenario 6 didn’t meet the city’s policies.

    5) Slide 32 of the PowerPoint presentation incorrectly reports that the vote total for that motion was 5-0 with 1 abstention. As can be seen at the 02:57:55 time stamp in the same video linked above, the vote on this motion was 6-0.

    You and I may have differing opinions about what the council should do on this subject, but surely we can agree on the importance of accurately relaying facts to the decision makers.

    Alicia Percell

    Reply

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