13-percent increase forecast for spring
NCT San Dieguito district to present budget update
...District officials now expect to spend nearly $102 million in 2009-10 and bring in $99 million...
Two years ago, the City of Encinitas conducted business like the City of Patterson. That ended after Council Member Barth began protesting closed door meetings.
CalAware President Emeritus's Richard McKee's intervention led to the Patterson City Council's acknowledgment this week that it had overstepped the limits of California’s open-meeting rules, and a pledge to comply more fully with the law in the future, reports James Leonard in the Patterson Irrigator. McGee expressed admiration for the city attorney's grace under fire.
After learning of potential Brown Act violations by the council from a Nov. 5 Irrigator editorial, (McKee) sent the council a letter outlining those and other violations and demanding four specific changes.
The council acknowledged and agreed to all four:
* Post special meeting notices that invite people to comment on agenda items before or during the council’s consideration of those items at that special meeting.
* Announce the “existing facts and circumstances” of anticipated litigation before closed-session discussion, as required by the Brown Act.
* Announce each council member’s vote when reporting action taken in closed session.
* Post regular meeting agendas that allow for public comment on closed-session items before closed sessions.
“These omissions were not intentional, but simply an oversight or a misunderstanding of the correct procedure to follow,” the city said in a statement Monday, Nov. 9. “These changes have been implemented and will take effect immediately.”
Logan later recommended that the city adopt all of Californians Aware’s demands — which included allowing comment before closed-session items at all meetings. However, he emphasized that, at times, the Brown Act allows for some secrecy.
In researching violations after the Oct. 26 meeting, . . . McKee found that in the first 10 months of 2009, the council had eight special meetings that included only closed-session items. None of those meeting agendas allowed for public comment.
McKee also found that the council consistently conducted closed sessions during regular meetings without allowing comments beforehand.
Mayor Becky Campo said the council didn’t do anything particularly different during the Oct. 26 meeting, but the unusual attention the meeting elicited drew attention to the violations. She said she takes responsibility for the oversights and suggested that it might be beneficial for the council to brush up regularly on the Brown Act.
McKee said that when such violations are spotted, his group uses a city’s reaction to the challenges to determine whether they were intentional. He said Logan’s reaction, along with the city’s promise to make the requested changes, leads him to believe the breaches were not.
“It is gratifying to find a city attorney so willing to share his perspectives on open-government issues,” McKee said. “It is even more pleasing to find one willing to make changes to better protect the public’s right to be informed and involved in its city government.”
Due to Barth's efforts, this issue has been cleaned up in Encinitas. There are dozens of other open government issues that remain dirty.
A Must Read: Council (4-1) votes against seeking an open government ordinance.
From their report: "Stop the half truths, unfunded mandates and budgetary gimmicks. We can no longer promise what we cannot afford. The task force herein recommends several near term solutions but we must stay focused on the bigger problem; the practice of making promises that we do not properly fund or pay for -- or history will likely repeat itself."
VoSD There is no more cheap water.
...But apply that increase across every way water is used at home -- the lawn, the laundry, the dishes -- and the increase is more striking. The average San Diegan's monthly water bill was $43.13 in January 2007. By next July, it'll be $68.45 -- a 58 percent increase for the same amount of use...
Reduced usage, the delta issue, subsidies to Poseidon, and the cost of increasing storage capacity will be carried by ratepayers. The cost of untreated water is expected to double by 2020.
NCTD Good chance NCTD to outsource staff
The district's board on Thursday is expected to approve a plan to outsource its nearly 325 bus workers, including about 240 drivers and 85 mechanics and maintenance workers to Ohio-based transit operator First Transit.