Was the Hiring of Scott Ochoa, as Glendale City Manager, back in late 2011 a Good Choice for the City?
As Scott Ochoa settled into his new job as Glendale City Manager in January 2012, he said, “Being a generalist gave me a broad perspective of how a city works.” His dedication to city government wasn’t calculated, he said. It happened by chance. (1) I often wondered whether Ochoa’s selection as City Manager was calculated or happen by chance?
On March 25, 2014 Roland Kedikian wrote an Opt-Ed in the GNP, in response to Scott Ochoa’s personal Opt-Ed attack on Harry Zavos. Both are Board members of the, “Glendale Coalition for Better Government” (GCBG), that has a current lawsuit against the City on its Utilities Transfers in conjunction with Prop. 26 violations. Kedikian said that, “Personal attacks do nothing to resolve the legal dispute presented in court on the validity of the transfers to the General Fund. Further, GM Scott Ochoa’s op-ed of March 22, titled “Glendale’s City Charter is clear ,” is itself a collection of bad facts presented in a self-serving and condescending tone belittling the concerns of citizens who have the audacity to question the city by wanting their voices heard”. (2)
Since Ochoa was appointed City Manager, the City has weathered layoffs, early retirements with 5% bonuses in 2012 and early retirements in 2014 with six months additional compensation bonuses, that impacted mostly non-public safety and non-executive employees, including some roll backs in public services. The City has also sustained deficits over its last two fiscal years ending in 2012 and 2013. Ochoa defended the layoffs, saying they were tailored to increase efficiencies at the Grayson Power Plant, which faces severe infrastructure issues. Ochoa said “When folks get distressed, they get emotional. They also get a whole lot wrong,” . (3)
Ochoa is not only an Administrative Manager, but he is also an expert on Human emotions. What is clear, Ochoa is always right, and everyone else must always be wrong. I’ve never seen Ochoa take responsibility for being wrong. One of the phrases Ochoa likes to use is, “To paraphrase Daniel Patrick Moynihan, everyone is entitled to their own opinion; they’re just not entitled to their own facts”. Ochoa has an answer for everything. Henceforth the reason for his “Rumors vs. Facts” page on the City’s web-site (4) , allegedly used to eliminate misperceptions by his standards or to address comments that puts the city (his job performance) in a bad light. Others view it as a vehicle for him to misstate the facts by controlling public opinion with no opportunity for public rebuttal.
This is a sad commentary for someone unwilling to take responsibility and be accountable to City Officials as well as the Community. The more I hear him speak, including his Opt-Ed’s and Facts vs. Rumors, the more he’s becoming to look and sound like “Pinocchio”, that lacks integrity and moral authority. Since Ochoa became City Manager, the City appears to have become more and more “business unfriendly”. Don’t be fooled by the City’s attempt to promote itself as, “business friendly”, i.e. producing and submitting a professional video, at taxpayers’ expense, that ultimately helped the City become a finalist for an “Eddy Award” which recognizes cities in Los Angeles County that create a business-friendly climate through local programs.
- Prior to receiving the nomination, Glendale’s Economic Development Director Phil Lanzafame listed several outreach efforts the city said that it had implemented last year, i.e. the city’s business concierge program, which it supposedly assigned skilled project managers as a single point of contact for the city as well as offering on-site preinspections prior to a lease being signed. (5)
What really makes a City “Business Friendly”? Every year local lawmakers are flooded with studies purporting to tell them what makes their city a good (or in some cases, bad) place for business, i.e. this year San Jose ranked 1st in one ranking of “Best US Cities for Small Business” and 121st in another ranking of “Best Cities to Start a Business.” It can be difficult to keep track of all the different rankings straight. (6)
Actually, the real intent of the City’s participation in all of these award programs, is so they can boast about it on the City’s annual report, and in some cases posts a copy of the actual certificate awarded, i.e.
- Since 1995, the City of Glendale has been awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the GFOA. This award is a prestigious national award that recognizes conformity with the highest standards for preparation of state and local government awards.
- The City of Glendale will continue to publicize the ease of doing business in Glendale, such as our bid for the Los Angeles Economic Development Council’s “Most Business Friendly City” Award.
Rather than the City participating in the “Eddy Award”, by submitting a slick professionally made video, at tax payers’ expense, that provides a false impression and perception of the City, that it is not, City officials should strive to provide a survey to all business owners in the City, where they can articulate their thoughts and frustrations about the City based on a range of questions, that could actually improve city services, not just a multiple choice survey directed to get the answers they want, like they did with their employee survey, a few years ago, where the questions were designed for the answers to make management look good.
Thumbtack has developed an annual survey in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation that asks small business owners directly what they think makes for a friendly business environment. For the third year in a row, it found that service professionals valued three things above all others in their local government: (6)
- licensing system that is simple and makes compliance easy;
- a tax system that has clear rules and is easy to understand; and
- training and networking programs that help service professionals get their businesses up and running, comply with the local rules, and meet other professionals in their industries.
The City is entitled to its own opinion; they’re just not entitled to their own facts. A case in point! Gaucho Grill. Kevin Akcacki, President/Owner of Gauchos Village Brazilian Steakhouse was forced to relocate due to a new construction project demolishing his restaurant. He was assured by the City’s redevelopment agency officials that the transition to this new location would go smoothly, since the site had already housed a restaurant, there would be few if any regulatory requirements. They moved to the new location and were ready to open for business on August 6, 2014. Each time he and his team would complete the list of required corrections and request a final inspection, only to be handed a new list of requirements. Every time he needed a plan check, the City convince him to pay extra to expedite the process. (7)
- Ochoa wrote Kevin Akcacki back on September 19, 2014, suggesting that Mr. Akcacki was ill-prepared to tackle the conversion of the old La Cubana space, i.e. not having a project manager that resulted in not having close coordination with his contractor and city staff and that Glendale employees provided him with exceptional customer service. Ochoa attacked Mr. Akcacki’s character, by mentioning his social media campaign, accusing him of being ill informed, that by doing so he was cutting off his nose to spite his face. (7) What did Ochoa mean by these comments and was this a threat of future retribution?
Mr. Akcacki immediately replied back to Ochoa, that he was disappointed in his inconsistencies and inaccuracies contained in his letter, including his lack of integrity and professionalism on behalf of the city of Glendale, (6) i.e.
- He said that the entire tone of Ochoa’s letter was condescending and accusatory.
- Mr. Akcacki paid an additional $10,000 in expedited plan check costs, with nothing to show for it. The opening of his restaurant was still delayed by 6 weeks.
- Mr. Akcacki blamed the City’s unprofessional manner in which its inspection was conducted, and that the City plan checkers, Inspectors and the City’s redevelopment agency project managers were not available to ‘assist’ him in the process contrary to what Ochoa had suggested.
- It was Mr. Akcacki’s desire that Ochoa would have objectively investigated all of his concerns and acted appriopriately upon it, which apparently was not the case. Rather, Obama put the blame squarely on Mr. Akcacki and his construction team. (6)
Based on the foregoing, it appears that the city’s alleged “business concierge program”, that was suppose to assign a skilled project manager as a single point of contact for the city as well as offering on-site preinspections prior to a lease being signed, was missing in action .
If the City’s project manager had offered Mr. Akcacki an “on-site pre-inspection” prior to his signing the lease, he would have known beforehand his total out of pocket expenses, rather than having inspections done in an inefficient piece meal fashion. It appears at a minimum, that Mr. Akcacki has a claim against the City for his $10,000 paid for expedited plan checks that never materialized. (4)
- For the record, it is very condescending and inappropriate for Ochoa to put the problems encountered by Mr. Akcacki (Gaucho Grill) on the City’s website, under his “Facts vs. Rumors” web page, then turn around and defend the very City workers who whom Mr. Akcacki had problems with. Is this what Ochoa meant when he said, Mr. Akcacki, was cutting off his nose to spite his face? Is this Ochoa’s payback? Well, based on this type of retribution to the business community, it would be a joke if Glendale was given the “Eddy Award”.
This only demonstrates Ochoa’s inflexibility and unwillingness to address Community Concerns and work with the business community and community leaders, showing lack of integrity. Ochoa is probably the only City Manager with his own personal Facts vs. Rumor web page. The City Council has a moral obligation to shut down this self serving, propaganda web page.
Did Ochoa, as City Manager, put Steve Zurn in this dual role as head of both Public Works and GWP to cover up tracks, of some “ominous” misdeed or allegation committed by Glenn Steiger under his tenure as GWP General Manager, that may have come to light under a different outside leadership that would have had negative implications for Ochoa? What was apparent, Zurn lacked the education, qualifications, training and experience to be GWP General Manager. In addition, this was an about face, where city officials failed to do a Nationwide Search for a new City Manager, like they did before Steiger was hired.
In addition, Ochoa should take full credit and responsibility for the City’s current and pending lawsuits. The current lawsuit pertains to the electric rate increase, in conjunction with the money transfers from GWP to the GF, in violation of Proposition 26. Back in August 2013 when the City Council considered an electrical rate increase of 29%, compounded over five years through 2018, Ochoa used a scare tactic by warning that if the council didn’t approve an increase, members must seriously consider selling the utility which the city has owned for more than a century. Then Councilman Quintero, who opposes the rate increases, said Ochoa’s comments were overblown and totally ridiculous, given the fact that it has performed better than other utilities in the surrounding areas. (8)
- Ochoa failed to address several concerns raised by community leaders, citing several city and state violations if the proposed electrical rate increase was approved and adopted by the City Council, and what the possible repercussions would be.
- Ochoa contends, the City Charter allows for the City Council to transfer 25% of the utility’s operating revenues, but resident Harry Zavos, a former law professor, has argued that the transfer is supposed to come from the utility’s surplus funds if any exist at the end of the year. “We understand what the objections have been,” said City Manager Scott Ochoa. “We just don’t agree with them. (9)
- The City Council is concerned about the transfers. Ochoa said moving electricity money to General Fund ‘makes sense, that GWP as part of the overall organization, council over the years saw fit to increase that transfer to offset costs to the city’s services,”. He added, city officials can’t immediately make a drastic change to the transfer rate because it’s been in place for many years. It’s unwise, perhaps even irresponsible, to try to accomplish that all at once, and I would hope and expect that you would agree with that. Ochoa said, the city is committed to cutting the transfer amount over time, but this is no easy task. (10)
- Rather, Ochoa held to his staunch beliefs, as seen through his primrose glasses, and lead the City Council down the yellow brick road to the Wizard of Oz.
The second unprecedented pending lawsuit, pertains to the water rate increase in violation of State Proposition 218. Again, Ochoa was forewarned by several community residents, that the methodology first used by Willdam Financial Services in 2012, that later turned into a fiasco when the city lost 9 million dollars in projected revenue, and later by Bartell Wells Associates, in 2014, that was subsequently verified by Zurn and his high priced city staff, and supposedly other city experts, that all gave their blessings to the City Council for the Water rate increase based on the Cost of Service Analysis,(COSA) . Ochoa, rather than trying to work with community leaders to address, alleviate, and resolve these issues, he double down and hired an outside attorney, Colantuono & Levin, that is likely to cost the City millions of dollars more in unnecessary attorney fees.
- Steve Zurn, GWP General Manager and beholden to Ochoa for his dual promotion said, utility staff didn’t catch the consultant’s mistakes because officials at the time didn’t have the expertise to do so and were relying on Willdan Financial Service’s calculations. However, this time he assured that the rate plan created by a new consultant, Bartle Wells Associates, has been thoroughly vetted by a team of auditors and lawyers. (11)
- This is what the City gets when the City Manager puts an unqualified GWP General Manager at the helm who lacks the education and experience to know what the outside consultant is proposing, and whether it is consistent, with the City Charter, Constitution, State law, and Proposition 218.
I have observed Ochoa more frequently attempting to bypass the City’s competitive bid process, by putting on the City Council Agenda, resolutions to dispense with the competitive bid process, and authorize the City to commit to a contract with a specific vendor at a specific amount. i.e.
9/23/2014 Resolution dispensing with competitive bidding and authorizing a Power Purchase Agreement for the procurement of renewable solar power for a term of 25 years, for an amount not to exceed $731 million over the 25-year term (12)
Background Information: In December 2011, The City Council reluctantly agreed to spend $470,000 on consultants to study rehabilitating an aging part of the Grayson Power Plant — a project that the city may ultimately be unable to afford. City officials have been deferring maintenance in order to study whether to re-power the plant altogether, demolish and rebuild, or do nothing. Re-powering a plant could end up costing over $100-million, that last decades. It’s also loaded with Asbestos. However, Grayson plays an important role in the city’s renewable energy portfolio, and acts as a backup during disasters. About 20% of the city’s energy comes from the plant. Grayson is also where the city burns landfill gas from Scholl Canyon. Burning the gas turns it into renewable energy — an important part of Glendale’s energy portfolio as it increases the city’s percentage of renewable resources. The City’s problem is that by 2020, the city must use 33% renewable energy, according to state mandates. It’s currently at about 20%. (13)
Under the City’s Administrative Policy Manual, under PURCHASING PROCEDURES, CHAPTER 3, POLICY 3-12; No City Department or Section shall knowingly engage such vendor unless there is a competitive basis for doing so. Purchasing shall not release or otherwise issue any Purchase Orders or Service Authorizations without first conducting a competitive process
- City staff appear to be using Article VI, Section 9 of the Glendale City Charter, that authorizes the City Council to dispense with competitive bidding where it is in the City’s best interest to do so. In my opinion, this was a major misstep by the City Council to allow these shenanigans to go on, by frequently bypassing City Policy and internal controls built into the City’s structure for which they were intended to prevent exactly what is happening today.
It appears that City Council members are ill prepared to vote on many of these action items, when they are not presented with the meeting agenda and documentation support, until a few days before the next council meeting. This pattern goes on week after week, meeting after meeting. This inevitably will cost the City millions more in comparable contract work. With respect to City’s Power Purchase Agreement for the procurement of renewable solar power for a term of 25 years, for an amount not to exceed $731 million over the 25-year term.
The following information was provided by an insider.
1) The 25 year agreement was with Skylar Resources LP for the Purchase of Solar generated Electrical Power
a) The president of Skylar Resources LP is William O. Perkins III. (12) He is a one man show, high roller who takes risks, that the city should not be doing business with.
b) Bill Perkins is also owner of Skylar Capital Management LP, a Houston hedge fund, that launched July 2012, and spun off from Centarus Advisors LLC last year. He plans to raise $300 to $600 million for the fund. He used to work for the former owner of Centarus Advisors, John Arnold, now retired, that formed in 2002 with an $8 million bonus he earned while trading natural gas at Enron. In June 2013, Skylar Capital Management LP, hired Loftus Fitzwater to trade natural gas, who had also worked at Enron. (14)
2) This agreement was not taken before the city’s commission, the arm of the city council.
3) The City staff didn’t even take the time to investigate the company. They were only concern with the City’s Compliance with Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). i.e.
a) It required GWP and other public and private utilities to transition from conventional generation assets to renewable forms of energy generation.
b) SBx1-2, legislation passed in 2011, requires GWP to obtain 33% of all resources necessary to serve its retail load from renewable sources by 2020.
c) GWP currently faces a 20% RPS obligation in 2014-15, that increases to 25% in 2016 & 33% by 2020.
d) Currently GWP has long-term renewable contracts from wind, hydro, geothermal and landfill gas resources and a small amount of solar, that meets about 20% of its retail load. However, in 2014, the city terminated its participation in the development of a Purchase Power agreement at SCPPA associated with a new solar project that would hae been at lease $76/MWh, that apparently city staff and Ochoa believed would have exposed GWP to unknown risks of future increases, without citing any evidence thereof, and/or why other member cities of SCPPA didn’t terminate their participation.
Based on the foregoing, City Staff’s analysis determined that the procurement of 50 MW of firmed power from a solar plant facility, supposedly under development in Nevada (or equivalent replacement renewable energy source) provides GWP an opportunity ($731 million contract obligation over 25 years with no guarantee of delivery) for a chance of having, based on the opinion of city staff, cost-effective renewable power supply. Yet per the city staff’s recommendation, per the 9/23/2014 Agenda Item, on the proposed 25 year contract, was at a rate of 40-60 MWs per hour from renewable power source.
4) The 25 year agreement puts the City at risk as follows:
a) This obligates the City to purchase the energy over the next 25 years from Skylar Resources LP, if it is able to produce the energy.
b) There is no guarantee that the Company will be able to produce this energy, and nothing in the contract that penalizes the company if they cannot comply with the terms of agreement.
c) The contract limits the City’s options over the next 25 what it can and cannot do, and limits the City to committing just to short-term contracts at substantially higher rates in the future when Skylar Resources LP is unable to meet and deliver on the RPS energy specified in the contract.
The Insider suggested to me that he believes:
1. It may have been cheaper for the City to purchase solar power from Los Angeles
2. Ochoa is actually running the show at GWP. even though neither Ochoa nor Zurn had the financial background to recommend to the signing a $731 million contract
3. The City is relying on the expertise of paid outside consultants, i.e. as a member of SCPPA, Southern California Public Power Authority. Henceforth, its participation with SCPPA for its long-term renewable contracts for wind, hydro, geothermal and landfill gas resources comprising almost 20% of RPS
A. SCPPA is a joint powers authority consisting of eleven municipal utilities and one irrigation district. SCPPA members deliver electricity to approximately 2 million customers over an area of 7,000 square miles, with a total population of 4.8 million.
B. The Members include the municipal utilities of the cities of Anaheim, Azusa, Banning, Burbank, Cerritos, Colton, Glendale, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Riverside, Vernon and the Imperial Irrigation District.
C. SCPPA was formed in 1980 to finance the acquisition of generation and transmission resources for its members. Currently, SCPPA has five generation projects and three transmission projects, bringing power from Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Nevada. (15)
4. The Glendale City Council is rubber stamping many of the decisions made by SCPPA, not the GWP GM.
5. The insider also believes that someone is profiting from this agreement, making something under the table.
It is unfortunate, that Ochoa has chosen to mislead a clueless City Council, who follows his every lead since they have insufficient time to review each weeks City Council Agenda. “But it is what it is”. The City of Glendale is at a crossroads. It has created a situation for itself where it is too dependent on the City Manager who has full controls over the City Staff, other City Officials, as well as having undue influence over the City Council. There are no public officials with an independent voice. The City did away with the elected positions for City Controller and City Attorney in years past. Now these positions are beholden to the City Manager and the City Council.
Ochoa attempted to change the City Charter, with Measure B in 2013, by misrepresenting the facts. In his Opt-ED, he said, “As city manager, I am precluded from advocating for or against a ballot measure. Yet it is incumbent upon me to help ensure the public has reliable and factual information in voting on such measures”, adding
- “The problem is that the city’s charter, as it refers to the transfer and the accounting for GWP, is severely outdated. Relying solely on the accounting methodology contained in the charter would damage the city’s financial standing by creating an audit finding and denying the city an unqualified opinion of financial appropriateness”.
“That’s it in a nutshell; not an increase of the transfer, not the recalculation of the transfer; just the application of modern fund accounting to the city’s General Fund and GWP accounts” as Ochoa alluded. (16)
- Apparently, the electorate didn’t buy it, and Measure B lost. Lies only begets lies. The City is still receiving an “unqualified opinion” on its financial statements.
Ochoa has been a staunch supporter of the GWP transfers and maintaining the status quo. He said, “the declining economy had a major impact on the city’s General Fund — which pays for most public services, such as libraries, police and firefighters — so city officials tapped more electric funds to compensate”. “As [Glendale Water & Power] is part of the overall organization, council over the years saw fit to increase that transfer to offset costs to the city’s services,” Ochoa said. Also during that time, the water transfer was eliminated, which also put added pressure on the electric transfer. (17) Ochoa added: “Because we view this as one larger system providing services for all of Glendale, we have to find the answer that works best — not necessarily right, not necessarily wrong, but best.” (18)
Back in July 2012, Ochoa six months into the job as City Manager, when the City Council was considering raising the Electric rates, he said, “If we don’t transfer that money, the impact on the General Fund is so dramatic and so negative to the community [that] I don’t think the community would stand for it.” (19) Was that a scare tactic to justify continuation of the GWP transfers, regardless of whether or not there was any GWP surplus to make the transfer, reducing its reserves, and/or putting the Utility in the red? Take note, that the city council postponed the electric rate increase until 2013, because two council persons, Najarian and Friedman were up for reelection and they didn’t want to be at risk of voters backlash.
In the current lawsuit, on prop. 26 violations, on the raising electric rates, while continuing to transfer GWP revenue funds to the General Fund, and ignoring the City’s infrastructure by failing to set aside reserves for future replacement, without voter consent. Ochoa contends that the City’s transfer from GWP to the General Fund has remained unchanged since its implementation and that the City does not violate Prop 26 because that measure is not retroactive and specifically allows existing transfers, to continue so long as their methodology is unchanged. (20) According to recent court documents filed by Michael Colantuono, the City’s outside defense attorney, that the claims of illegal activity are canceled out because the transfer was approved decades before the constitutional provision, known as Proposition 26, was drafted. (21)
If this was the case, the City would have never attempted its deception with Measure B, attempting to deceive voters that the City Charter was outdated, archaic, etc……, that it only needed an application to comply with modern accounting, that without it, this would preclude the City from receiving an Unqualified Opinion on the City’s future annual Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAPRs). In reality The City attempted unsuccessfully to mislead voters to legalize its current illegal practice of transferring directly from GWP revenues to its General Fund Reserve, by eliminating the Charters GWP Surplus Account and other pertinent accounts .
In reality, the City does not follow the City Charter, that allows for only GWP surplus funds to be transferred to the General Fund, and only after all other GWP essential needs have been met, including setting aside an asset reserve for future infrastructure replacement costs.
- The charter only authorizes transfers from the GWP surplus fund — the repository of monies left over, if any, after all utility needs are met. (Art.XI, secs. 22 and 20).
- The City continued with its illegal transfer of GWP water revenues to the City’s General Fund, from 1996 until it stopped the practice in 2011 after a threat of a lawsuit by retired law professor Harry Zavos and current Board Member of (GCBG).
Even though the City stopped with its illegal GWP water revenue transfers to the General Fund, it is still remains part of the current lawsuit. Under the City’s constitution, there is a four year statute of limitations, which means that the City may have to rebate up to two years or $8 million dollars back to the GWP Water Reserve Fund to be used for future infrastructure and reduction of the recent 2014 water rate increase that factored in a $9 million water reserve deficit.
Residents and businesses may have to file for a separate class action lawsuit to recover the electrical rate overcharges.
The city currently extracts around $20 million annually from the electric utility to the General Fund, causing the utility to postpone infrastructure improvements. As the utility raises the rates and with the economic downturn, people start to conserve energy. That causes the utility to be even more pressed for cash. But the city continues to lie to the public and takes tens of millions more from the GWP cash account year after year, substantially reducing the utility’s cash reserves. Now that the state of the utility’s generation equipment is in dire disrepair and needs to borrow money to fix it (bonds). But the bond agencies want a guaranteed flow of revenue to pay for principal and interest. They demand for the City to raise electric rates. (22)
As a result of the $20 million in annual transfers and the City’s failure to set aside a reserve for future infrastructure, per the City’s Electric Revenue Public Meeting, July 16, 2012, the City is now in dire situation, where it now needs to fund $87.6 million in critical capital improvement over the next five years as follows: A) $41.2 million for a Distribution System; B) $30.9 million for Grayson Power Plant and Renewable Energy Development; and C) $15.5 million for modernization as noted in Glendale Today August 2013. (23)
These transfers amount to a hidden tax that is unlawful, violating Articles XIIIC and XIIID of the State Constitution as enacted by Propositions to 218 and 26 and for misappropriating GWP funds in violation of the Glendale Charter that only allows for GWP surplus funds, if any, to flow to the General Fund.. Based on the foregoing, the City cannot justify any future rate increase, by continuing with the illegal transfer, without submitting it to a vote of the electorate.
The trial on the current lawsuit, pertaining to the Electric Rate Increase, has already pass the demur where the City (defendant), was unsuccessful in trying to throw the lawsuit out in its entirety using its above line of reasoning. The Trial continues where both side are back in court Dec. 2 to set a trial date sometime in 2015.
A second lawsuit is forthcoming, regarding the legality, financial necessity, and fairness of the proposed 2014 water rate increase, that is almost a rehash of the 2012 water increase debacle. These concerns were ignored and requests for explanation for issues raised went unanswered. The (GCBG) has retained Attorney Benjamin Benumof of the AlvaradoSmith law firm to challenge the 2014 water rate increase adopted by the Glendale City Council by the narrow vote of 3 to 2. Mr. Benumof is an expert in the field of water rate structuring and proposition 218, a constitutional amendment that requires water charges only be used to provide ratepayers with water at charges that do not exceed the proportional cost of providing the service to the ratepayer’s property.
- The legality of a water fee structure that charges residents differently based on a tier system without providing any cost-of-service data to support the inequality of fees charged between four tiers, The legality and morality of charging different category of users of water arbitrarily so as to force one category to subsidize another. The 2014 water rate increase is illegal and socially unjust. (24)
it’s inevitable that the City will not only lose both lawsuits, but be liable for both its attorney’s fees, plaintiff’s attorney fees, including all expert witnesses, as well as be forced to rescind both electric and water rate increases, and rebate unlawful City transfers to the General Fund. Also, a separate lawsuit will follow for the City utility overcharges to residents and businesses since 2012.
The City will have to start the whole process over again. It’s not that the (GCBG) is against a utility rate increase for both Electric and Water. It’s just that the Coalition wants City Officials to make it fair and equitable, and to be in compliance with its own City charter and Constitution, State Propositions, and to just follow the law. When it’s all over, said and done, the City Council when reflecting back will need to ask itself whether the hiring of Scott Ochoa, as Glendale City Manager, back in late 2011 was a good Choice for the City?