Feinstein continues to block necessary water project

cadiz water projectThe Democrats are at it again. They’re pushing back on the Republican controlled Congress, who is attempting to limit earmarks from being added to the omnibus spending bill. This action – known as policy riders – explains specifically what funding cannot be used on.

While Democrats relied on policy riders extensively in the past, especially in the area of “environmental protection,” having a Republican-controlled Congress has left the Democrats squalling at the practice. If the Republicans are going to undermine the Democratic agenda by implementing their own policy riders, the Democrats are completely against the practice all together, even though they have fought this fight for the last 15 years by using policy riders to protect the EPA.

These policy riders have had an absolutely detrimental impact on California, especially during the severe drought. Senator Feinstein has abused her position on the Appropriates Committee to make sure an important water project in Southern California, known as the Cadiz Valley Water Project, would fail to be built.

The Cadiz Valley Water Project is a no brainer for drought-stricken California.

According to the Environmental Impact Report, a requirement under California’s Environmental Quality Act of 1970, around 400,000 people could benefit from the project, which would provide over 16 million gallons of drinking water.

The Cadiz property is located in the Mohave Desert, between the I-10 and I-40 freeways. The plan calls for the construction of a 43-mile pipeline, which would supply water to the Colorado River Aqueduct from the Cadiz property.

When Cadiz attempted to start the project in the early 2000s with their original partner, Metropolitan Water District, Feinstein used policy riders in the fiscal year 2007 spending bill that blocked Cadiz from receiving any funding.

Senator Feinstein, however, has utilized policy riders in the annual federal spending bill in order to force the federal government to interfere with railroad property rights, which directly impacts Cadiz’s partner, the Arizona & California Railroad. She did this to block the Cadiz Valley Water Project’s funding for federal review, should one be required.

This is the definition of government overreach and politics as usual. Seemingly frustrated that the project’s review doesn’t include Washington bureaucrats, Feinstein has tried to sabotage a project that could provide Southern California with a new water supply. And at what cost?

Feinstein went out of her way to target Cadiz and their ultimate goal of supplying Southern California with water. She can’t attempt to argue against her blatant sabotage.

With California in desperate need of water to sustain our way of life – and no, I’m not talking about the fish – this project should have been pushed forward years ago. If it had been, we would have the added benefit to help battle the current drought.

Gov. Brown’s Delta tunnel plan draws outrage

Delta TunnelsTo his cherished high-speed rail project, Gov. Jerry Brown can now add his ambitious Delta tunnel project to the list of big plans arousing strong opposition.

Especially in the Delta region itself, public opinion has turned sharply against the scheme, which would cost over $15 billion dollars and reshape the area with massive infrastructure construction. “In recent weeks, opponents protested at the state Capitol and submitted volumes of critical comments to state and federal officials on the environmental impact of the plan,” the Sacramento Bee reported. “A wealthy Stockton-area farmer and food processor, Dean Cortopassi, qualified for the November 2016 ballot a measure that could complicate the project, if not stop it altogether.”

On the other hand, according to the Bee, the upheaval “didn’t appear to tilt controversy surrounding the project beyond its traditional bearings. Delta landowners, Northern Californians and many environmentalists have for years opposed a conveyance, while labor unions and building trades groups that stand to benefit from a project support it.”

But over the course of a public comment period on the proposal, Brown’s plan was subjected to withering criticism from a vocal minority of Californians. “By midday Friday, 2,340 unique letters had been submitted, along with 6,665 form letters and 19,047 letters that were the result of online petitions, a spokeswoman with the California Natural Resources Agency said. That’s in addition to about 2,000 unique letters and 10,000 form letters received last year in response to an earlier version of the tunnels plan,” Recordnet reported.

Big blowback

One such comment came from Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., who called the tunnel project a “multi-billion boondoggle,”according to the Appeal Democrat. “If we allow the Delta to be drained by a massive new plumbing system, it will put at risk many Delta jobs and forever change the Delta’s culture and quality of life,” he wrote.

Garamendi’s constituents have largely agreed. “The project to divert some Sacramento River water before it reaches the estuary is controversial, particularly in San Joaquin County and the rest of the Delta,” as Recordnet observed. “Opponents have relentlessly attacked the project from multiple fronts — questioning its economics, warning about its environmental impacts, and predicting hard times ahead for Delta farmers.”

But Brown has stuck to his guns, blasting the negative comments and vowing that the project would make a decisive and urgently needed difference in California’s distribution and consumption of water. “The delta pipeline is essential to […] protecting fish and water quality. Without this fix, San Joaquin farms, Silicon Valley and other vital centers of the California economy will suffer devastating losses in their water supply,” he said in a prepared statement. “Claims to the contrary are false, shameful and do a profound disservice to California’s future.”

Debating democracy

Instead of dissipating the tension, however, Brown’s words have only added to it, helping ensure that the issue will come to a head at the ballot box, when voters weigh in on Cortopassi’s initiative. He and his wife, the Bee noted, “have bankrolled the No Blank Checks Initiative ballot effort, pumping $4 million into the petition drive, consultants and other expenses since March.”

“Under his proposed ballot measure, any revenue bonds for public works involving the state would have to go to a public vote. That would complicate Brown’s planned strategy to pay for the twin tunnels, which rests on water users financing bonds to help fund the $15 billion project.”

As George Skelton suggested at the Los Angeles Times, some skepticism toward the initiative has centered around the potential problems inherent in turning over the fate of all similar large-scale projects to the whims of voters. “But the tunnel project was purposely set up to avoid the electorate. Politicians and their appointees are making all the decisions,” he noted.

Originally published by CalWatchdog.com

McCarthy: Use high-speed rail funds to quench California’s drought

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a persistent critic of California’s high-speed rail program, said that the funds for the project should be diverted to quench the state’s severe drought.

The California Republican made the proposal Wednesday after the Los Angeles Times reported that the system’s contractor pegged the cost of building the initial segment at 31 percent above the original estimate, but the California High Speed Rail Authority did not use that figure in its 2014 business plan.

The authority took issue with the newspaper’s report, saying that some costs in the $68 billion project have actually come down as bids have gone out.

That didn’t stop McCarthy from pitching a proposal that isn’t likely to happen.

Click here to read the full article

New Water-Saving Technique: Public Shaming

Shower head water droughtAfter a wave of new rules, regulations and crackdowns, many water-conserving Californians have evaded formal and informal punishment. With no end in sight, however, others have begun to face both forms of penalties.

The mood of the public and officials alike has tilted hard against outsized consumers. Although “water providers such as the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power have refused to divulge the names of California’s top residential water users,” the Los Angeles Times reported, “the DWP is now considering changes to its water conservation ordinance that would impose ‘substantial’ fines for excessive use and make the names public.”

Pressed by “public outrage, and questioning by Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz,” the Times noted, DWP would follow in the East Bay’s footsteps, where agency overusers recently confronted “an excessive-use penalty ordinance that allows it to fine and name water customers who consume more than four times the average household.”

From nagging to snitching

In the Bay Area, a culture of water shaming has developed from the ground up. In a report on “the domestic water police,” the New York Times recently identified “moms and dads, spouses and partners, children, even co-workers and neighbors” as among the residents “quick to wag a finger when they spot people squandering moisture, such as a faucet left running while they’re brushing their teeth, or using too much water to clean dinner plates in the sink. And showers? No lingering allowed.”

More nagging has gone hand in hand with more snitching. The Times reported that “state water agencies issued more than 70,000 warnings for overuse and more than 20,000 penalties” this June and July, with many issued when “someone’s neighbor ratted on them,” according to State Water Resources Control Board climate and conservation manager Max Gomberg.

Although those penalties landed on a relatively small group of die-hard squanderers, the state has now leveled substantial fines on whole cities that failed to meet conservation targets. “While most communities continue to hit mandated conservation targets, a few have consistently missed,” the Sacramento Bee noted. “All four were in Southern California: Beverly Hills, Indio, Redlands and Coachella Valley Water District. Each was fined $61,000.”

These sums could be only the beginning. “The penalties are based on the board’s authority to issue fines of $500 per day for violations of its emergency regulation,” according to the Press-Enterprise. “The board could also issue the providers a cease and desist order, which carries a fine up to $10,000 per day for non-compliance.”

A vicious circle

water meter 2The crackdown has come as agencies have hiked rates for users who do conserve. “Water providers in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and other parts of the state have recently told customers that rates will go up at least temporarily, as utilities struggle to pay for building and repairing pipes, buying water and other costs, even as customers cut back,” according to Reuters. Agencies have sometimes wound up a victim of their own success. “In Los Angeles, conservation led to a $111 million drop in revenues during the fiscal year that ended July 1, a period mostly before the mandatory cutbacks kicked into high gear, Department of Water and Power budget director Neil Guglielmo said Friday.”

But for now, regulators have tried to emphasize the positive. “Californians slashed their water use 26 percent in September, meeting Gov. Jerry Brown’s goal of 25 percent for the fourth straight month,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported, citing recently released state data. Though encouraged by the numbers, water agencies have strained to strike a messaging balance between threats and warnings on the one hand and encouragement and pride on the other, hoping to give savers a sense of reward without subtly encouraging a return to laxity. Utilities, noted the Chronicle, remained dedicated to “trying to keep the conservation message front and center after four dry years, especially as residents may be tempted to become less diligent with forecasts calling for a wetter-than-average winter.”

Originally published by CalWatchdog.com

Is CA ready for El Niño.

CA RainThe anticipation is building. Stories and news reports are popping up everywhere. Predictions and expectations fill coffee shops and social media. No, I’m not talking about the 2024 Olympics in Los Angeles. I am talking about El Niño. And, chances are that it will arrive this winter along with plenty of precipitation.

The winter months in California provide us with the rain and snow to support our way life for the whole year. As the eighth largest economy in the world, the most productive agricultural region in the country, and home to the technological revolution and millions of middle class families looking to live a free and prosperous life, California needs a secure and abundant water supply.

Unfortunately, four years of historic drought and decades of mismanaged water policy have threatened our water supply so much that communities are forced to ration usage. Some even have to rely on donated water because their supplies have been completely depleted. And beyond the humanitarian and economic hardship this drought has caused, our environment has also been impacted. Today, our soil is dry and our forests are thinned by the twin problems of fire and drought.

So it isn’t a surprise that predictions of El Niño were initially met with the hope that our drought might finally subside.

And with good reason.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts the current El Niño in the Pacific Ocean has a 95 percent chance of continuing through the 2015–2016 winter. NOAA goes on to state that this could be a strong El Niño, bringing heavy and much-need precipitation to our parched state in northern, central, and southern California.

Originally published at Medium. To read the rest of the article go here.

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California Residents Face Bigger Energy Bills For Using Less

Southern California residents who sacrificed by using less water are now suffering higher prices because the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has a $111 million shortfall in its latest revenue projections.

“We have no other way of recovering the revenue to maintain the system for our customers,” Neil Guglielmo, director of budget, rates and financial planning for the DWP, said Wednesday. The Board of Water and Power Commissioners approved a pass-through charge that will be applied to consumers beginning in 2016, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Los Angeles is not alone, however, as agencies throughout California have faced revenue shortfalls from the drought. Some regions in California have instituted a “drought surcharge” while others will simply double their service surcharge, reports The Los Angeles Times.

In L.A.’s case, the DWP’s long-term plan includes instituting an incremental five year rate hike that would increase the average user’s utility bill by roughly 3.4 percent each year. Residents are not thrilled with the action however, according to The Los Angeles Times, with one twitter user saying, “LADWP hikes rates because they aren’t making enough revenue. We’re saving water like we’re supposed to, U mad? I am.”

The paradox of less water use meaning higher costs is just one symptom of the drought that continues to plague California. Resident are hopeful however that the strongest El Nino in decades could bring much needed rain relief, reports Bloomberg. Alan Haynes, service coordination hydrologist at the California Nevada River Forecast Center in Sacramento noted however that, “If the wettest year were to occur, we still wouldn’t erase the deficit we have seen in the last four years.”

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Originally published by the Daily Caller News Foundation

Gov. Brown’s Attack on Prop. 218 Threatens to Hike Water Rates

Water Drought SprinklerGovernor Brown has foolishly decided to poke a hornets’ nest with his signing of Assembly Bill 401. While AB401 itself isn’t particularly controversial, as it merely authorizes a couple of state agencies to devise a plan by 2018 to assist low-income individuals with paying their water bills, the problem is what Brown wrote in the letter approving the bill.

Although not common, governors occasionally issue a statement when they approve a bill passed by the Legislature. In signing AB401, Governor Brown exposed his disdain for the taxpayer and ratepayer protections set forth in Proposition 218, a Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association initiative approved by voters in 1996. Brown stated that, “Proposition 218 … serves as an obstacle to thoughtful, sustainable water conservation pricing and necessary flood and stormwater system improvements.”

The governor could not be more wrong. Proposition 218 mandates that water rates be based on “cost of service” principles. Simply stated, “cost of service” means that you should not pay more for water, sewer or refuse collection than it costs to provide you with that service. The reason voters approved Proposition 218 in the first place is because politicians and bureaucrats had cleverly bypassed the property tax limits of Proposition 13 by imposing a myriad of fees, charges, assessments and other exactions to get money from taxpayers’ wallets.

Brown seems to be talking out of both sides of his mouth in his letter approving AB401. In blaming Prop. 218 as a major impediment to water conservation efforts, he ignores the fact that “cost of service” water rates actually encourage conservation. Conversely, water subsidies, which he expressly supports, are a disincentive to conservation.

What this means is that Brown believes water needs to be more expensive for the middle class in order to encourage conservation, as well as more expensive for wealth redistribution. And while he suggests that low-income people pay less than their fair share, he does not speak of conservation goals as they apply to these ratepayers. The kicker is that he wants the middle and upper classes to fund water service and to bear the burden of the majority of resource conservation. This isn’t fair at all and is precisely why voters enacted Proposition 218.

To those who believe that taxpayers are over-stating their case, consider this: Governor Brown wants to engage in the same sort of social engineering with water rates that he has with energy costs in California. It is painfully obvious that the results of these policies have been a disaster for California, particularly the middle class.

Let’s not let politicians like Brown force higher water rates on California’s ever shrinking number of working taxpayers and homeowners. Water rates should be based solely on the cost of providing that service without engaging in ill-fated social experimentation dreamed up by bureaucrats unhinged from the real world.

Originally published by HTJA.org

Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association — California’s largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers’ rights.

Marijuana Farmers Stuck in Middle of Increased Scrutiny and Cooperation

marijuana-leafCalifornia’s protracted drought has upended business as usual for many of the Golden State’s marijuana farmers, who now face both increased scrutiny and increased cooperation from regulators.

An uneasy partnership

With the prospect of a big ballot initiative on recreational marijuana coming next year, attention in Sacramento has resulted in new regulations and designated regulators. “Amid the state’s prolonged drought, Gov. Jerry Brown last year approved $3 million in funding to dispatch oversight officers and environmental scientists to identify and inspect water-thirsty pot gardens in sensitive natural settings,” the Sacramento Bee reported. “Officials from the State Water Resources Control Board and Department of Fish and Wildlife so far have visited 150 sites with growers’ approval. They have issued instructions on water conservation and filed 50 notices of environmental violations.”

The changes inaugurated a new compliance program that draws together officials from the state water board and the Department of Fish and Wildlife, according to the Bee. “Under pending legislation, the program stands to be expanded statewide,” although its reach is restricted to private farmers, not “outlaw growers surreptitiously using public lands[.]” Those illicit growers have come under fire in recent months for their very high rates of water consumption.

Trial by fire

Other drought-related circumstances have helped push the pot industry and state officials into closer company. Wildfires, for instance, have extended the threat of economic destruction to growers, who face their own particular problems as gray-market producers. “Marijuana farms suffer the same risks as other farmers in California — facing the potential loss of their crop, on top of the strain of the drought,” according to Alternet.

“The profitable Napa wine industry, too, is threatened by wildfires, with winemakers concerned that smoke-infused grape skins will alter the flavor of the wines. But some of those impacts are exacerbated for marijuana growers, who won’t get subsidies from the state if their crop is lost, and whose value per plant is much higher than that of many other plants.”

In from the shadows

At the same time, some California officials have set about trying to incorporate marijuana farms into a system of standardized water regulations. “California’s four-year drought has prompted authorities to broaden their approach to regulating cannabis cultivation with the aim of protecting sensitive watersheds,” the Bee noted. “In addition to the environmental compliance program, the state has begun issuing marijuana water permits and ramped up efforts to target environmental offenders through civil lawsuits.”

This month, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board overwhelmingly voted in fresh rules requiring farms in excess of 2,000 square feet either to register with itself or approved third-party agency or organization, the Guardianreported. “A number of issues including erosion control, water and wetlands buffers, irrigation runoff, chemical contamination and waste will be regulated under the new rules.”

Although the rules announced another substantial regulatory advance into marijuana farming, which has long operated under the radar, they also reflected the state’s increasingly accommodating attitude toward the once-illegal crop. “Those who don’t register but are discovered to qualify will be notified with 30 days to enroll before enforcement actions, including financial penalties, are pursued, board personnel said,” according to The Press Democrat.

Although some growers welcomed the opportunity to come out from the regulatory shadows at the state level, others cautioned that the apparent liberalization could have more dangerous consequences. “A major concern is that due to marijuana being illegal on the federal level, those farms prepared to comply and register could expose their activities to criminal charges on a federal level,” added the Guardian.

Notably, the regulations do not distinguish medical from recreational marijuana. Expectations have already arisen that the North Coast pilot program will “serve as a model for other regions, beginning with the neighboring Central Valley, whose board takes the matter up next month,” The Press Democrat noted.

Originally published by CalWatchdog.com

Long Road Ahead With Feinstein’s Drought Relief Bill

With the latest numbers showing a drop in California water consumption, attention has turned to a new drought relief bill introduced by Golden State U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.

water spigotThe figures eclipsed earlier embarrassments faced by water districts where consumption actually spiked, sometimes for unknown reasons. “California’s urban water districts cut consumption by 27.3 percent in June,” the Wall Street Journal observed, “exceeding a tough new state mandate to reduce their combined use by 25 percent amid a prolonged drought. The savings compared with the same month in 2013 came despite June being the hottest month on record in the Golden State, officials from the State Water Resources Control Board reported Thursday.”

Partisan jockeying

In a statement, Feinstein tried to tempter expectations behind her renewed push for relief. Some analysts expect Republican opposition over its high cost and environmental protections. “I’ve introduced a lot of bills over the years, and this one may be the most difficult, and a warming climate will only make things worse,” she said. “I’m hopeful the bill we’re introducing today will serve as a template for the kinds of short-term and long-term solutions California needs to address this devastating drought.”

But some Democrats have become concerned that Feinstein’s effort cedes excessive ground on environmental regulations, hewing too closely to previous relief plans that wound up losing Boxer’s support. Feinstein had determined that the drought crisis was severe enough to justify negotiating with House Republicans — a maneuver that undermined her support within her own party, causing her to abandon the push.

This time around, revealing Boxer’s support for the rejiggered bill “surprised some stakeholders who saw the negotiations fall apart late last year over proposed changes to endangered species protections,” according to E&E Daily. Although Boxer said she was “pleased to be sponsoring” Feinstein’s new bill “because of the enormity of this crisis,” other Democrats, such as Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Calif., warned they were “very concerned about some provisions included in the bill that are similar to the House Republican water legislation” that drove Boxer away to begin with.

A long road

That legislation was H.R. 2898, introduced by Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif. As the Sacramento Bee recounted, the bill would have supplied farmers south of the Delta with more water and sped up the federal approvals process, where stringent environmental rules can sometimes grind water and infrastructure plans to a virtual halt. Hurried along late last year during the lame-duck session of Congress, it sailed through the House with staunch Republican support, but provoked president Obama to threaten a veto, and drew strong criticism from California’s delegation of Democrats in both houses of Congress.

Feinstein herself finally caved. “There are several other provisions that would waive environmental protections that need to be changed before I could support them,” she explained, according to the Bee. “I have said all along that I will not support a bill that would waive these protections, and that remains true today.”

Now, her aim has been to replace “some provisions disliked by environmental groups” with “some of their priorities, such as a greater focus on recycling,” according to the Associated Press. “Feinstein said the shift changes the emphasis of the bill from a short-term effort to a long-term one. She said her bill would cost an estimated $1.3 billion over 10 years.”

But even assuming Feinstein could placate environmentalists and other Democrats, she recognized that the bill’s fate could well hinge on a single Republican colleague. In the machinations of Senate lawmaking, Feinstein’s objective has been to package her bill inside of planned legislation to be introduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, chairwoman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “That Murkowski bill is likely to serve as a vehicle for several state-specific drought relief measures, as well as overarching federal policy changes,” E&E Daily confirmed.

This article was originally published by CalWatchdog.com

DWP Rate Hike Plan Makes Customers Mad as Hell

Today I’m opening the mailbag to share comments from Valley residents about the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and its proposed five-year rate hike of 25-30 percent:

“The DWP needs to tighten their belts before they ask us for more money.”

“Cutbacks on the least important actions or redundancies should come first before asking for more money. That is how any true business would work.”

“The 8 percent of its gross revenues going to L.A. city treasury boggles the mind.”

“I find this so offensive. … It feels as though DWP is punishing me by increasing the rates because I am using less water. Why can’t the DWP employees take a 5 or 10 percent pay decrease in their salaries or be furloughed for 1 day per 2 week schedule, or maybe lay off a few employees — at least until the drought is over. This is not the time for DWP or the City Council or unions to be greedy at the expense of consumers/constituents.”

“We just celebrated our 50th anniversary and have lived in our Porter Ranch home for over 41 years. Our home is one-story, under 1,500 square feet, no pool and a now-brown lawn because of the drought. We try to avoid using the air conditioning or leave it at no lower than 78 degrees — sometimes 80. However, our DWP bills range from $350 to $400 in the winter to over $850 in the summer. We simply cannot afford those bills now and would be devastated if they were to go even higher. We don’t want to have to choose between turning off the air conditioner to afford our mortgage and medical bills or losing our home where we raised our family.”

“Prior to the installation of the 2nd meter, my domestic water usage was calculated and averaged more than 5 times my true usage. I’m certain that anyone who has not installed a 2nd meter is being inaccurately (almost fraudulently) charged more than 5 times what they are responsible for.”

“It seems like the DWP pays a far greater salary than the private sector and gets better retirement benefits, too. Something is wrong here.”

“The DWP should be run like a corporation, not a cozy club.”

“The DWP should be replaced with a new organization that places great value on keeping spending tight, watching everyone’s overtime, and eliminate waste and fraud. So far, the DWP has proven that it lacks leadership that responds to ratepayers, yet has policies that empower the employees.”

“Roll back all senior level DWP management salaries 10%. Appoint an independent auditing committee to oversee exactly what some of these positions are within the DWP structure and do away with the vast majority of them.”

“For the past four years, I have taken many measures in cutting back on my water usage but I continue to have extremely high bills. I have called DWP 3 times asking for an inspection and have been told that they don’t have time.”

“The DWP replaced our water meter, and the next bill was for $3,277.93!”

“NO matter what the citizens are doing to ‘save the planet,’ the more we do, the more we are punished for our complying with the requests.”

“That there is about $230 million of overcharging being sent to the City is a travesty. Of course, we get to pay a 10% City tax on that overcharging, so it is only compounded. Our DWP should not be a taxing authority!”

“I have been so upset with the excessive spending and loss of funds that have happened with the DWP, and now for them to have the nerve to say they must raise our bills. Why can’t they eliminate some of their unnecessary “management analysts” or reduce some of their outlandish salaries?”

“Giving money to the city of Los Angeles is outrageous … how did this happen??”

“We have lost two pine trees because of not watering in this drought. No rewards for conservation! Higher ‘taxes’ instead. Private business would tighten belt, but our government is increasing salaries!”

“The accumulated effects of continued cost increases and tax hikes are forcing me to leave the state.”

“In my opinion, DWP is nothing but a bloated, redundant, multilayered bureaucracy with little accountability.”

“I am sick & tired of additional fees, taxes, costs, gouging, etc.”

“Could you interview the DWP ‘Ratepayer Advocate,’ Fred Pickel? The public would like to know what he has been doing.”

Email your comments to me at the address below — everyone’s voice should be heard.

Susan Shelley is a San Fernando Valley author, a former television associate producer and twice a Republican candidate for the California Assembly. Reach her at Susan@SusanShelley.com, or follow her on Twitter: @Susan_Shelley.