I attended the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors Public Hearing on February 7, 2012 at 10:00 AM to give input on the Clean Water Initiative, which will result in a significant tax increase to residents of Contra Costa County. (Link to the Initiative: http://www.cccleanwater.org/cleanwaterinitiative/). I expected to hear the proposal presentation by the Public Works Department and the protests/objections by the public.
This initiative will assess property owners over a l0 year period for water services. In addtion the Clean Water fee revenues, to keep pace with the cost of operating and maintaining the clean water act, will be increased annually by the CPI or 2% which ever is less.
The agenda clearly stated that the purpose of this hearing on the Clean Water initiative was “to consider protests … and to either set an election or terminate proceedings to seek approval of the fee.” I was there from 10 AM to 1:15 p.m. and this is what I observed.
First, two representatives of the Public Works Department presented this proposal to the Board. Then, public comments of three minutes each were heard by the board. Finally, the Board had a question and answer discussion with the Public Works Department representatives.
30 people spoke during the public comments portion of which 29 were opposed and 1 ( a representative of the League of Women Voters) was in favor. The Board was still in the 3rd step of a question and answer with the representatives of the Public Works Department when I left.
But When I returned home on that same night and checked my mail and discovered a fancy brochure promoting the Clean Water Initiative with a PUBLISHED ELECTION SCHEDULE.
The brochure proclaimed that ballots will be sent out by February 21, 2012 (2 weeks from the hearing).
Clearly, the Clean Water Initiative promotion brochure was mailed before the supposed public hearing.
Clearly, the Board of Supervisors had already approved this election and lied to the public.
This was obviously a fixed deal and a sham performance by the Board of Supervisors and the Public Works Department.
Appalling behavior by the Board of Supervisors to rule from the top down.