EBMUD wants even more of our money
EBMUD is asking for a rate increase again by 20 percent over the next two years.
It had rate increases of 7.5 percent in 2011 and 7.5 percent in 2012. The proposed rates for 2014 would be double what they were in 2007.
Part of the district's reasoning is that people are not using as much water, which decreases its revenue.
This year the district is claiming it needs money for seismic upgrades to Chabot Dam, replacing 53 miles of pipes over the next five years and upgrades to treatment plants. In 2006, it justified a 3.4 percent increase in rates to fund a five-year capital improvement and 10-year plan for seismic improvements.
Its current budget (posted on its website) shows $202 million for infrastructure improvements. The current total budget is $703 million, so plus 20 percent revenue is an additional $140 million, or 69 percent of its current capital improvement budget -- if all the additional money goes to capital improvements.
The interesting part is that EBMUD is not subject to public utilities regulation for some reason.
The public hearing is 1:15 p.m. June 11 in the EBMUD board room, 375 11th St., Oakland.
Don't let SoCal rob our water rights
Now the real truth as stated by Jerry Meral, deputy secretary at the California Natural Resources Agency, and the driving force pushing the twin tunnels, comes out and says that the Delta won't be helped at all by this project that is costing taxpayers $14 billion -- soon to be $18 billion, similar to the new super train the newspaper is fighting.
The super train won't even get near the Tri-Valley area except on our tax bill -- so why not train your guns on the super twin tunnels that will not protect or improve the Delta that is our only source of water. It's the old peripheral canal concept underground that we defeated in many elections over the past 50 years.
The $14 billion should be allocated to saving the Delta and the ecosystem that supports the whole Bay Area with clean water and stops salt water incursion into our only supply of safe drinking water.
Don't let Southern California interests rob our water rights.
More pain for medical center?
Recently, the First District Court of Appeals ruled against the Alameda Unified School District's Measure H parcel tax as being unlawful because commercial property owners are charged at different rates than residential property owners. Clearly, this may affect many parcel taxes passed by other school districts.
However, this case may also have major implications for Doctors Medical Center San Pablo, that in 2004 and 2011 benefited from the West Contra County Healthcare District parcel tax assessments. These parcel taxes may have the same unlawful assessment, where even small commercial property owners are taxed at rates that are 10 times higher than residential property owners.
Although it appears the case may be appealed to the California Supreme Court, if the appeals court ruling stands, Doctors Medical Center could be in for even more financial problems related to the refunding of these parcel taxes.
Express your individuality
As a high school sophomore, regular Times reader and a future applicant to next year's LIP Teen Board, I was somewhat disappointed by the April 21 article, "Today's teen fashionistas find inspiration on the Internet."
I feel this article is pushing the idea of listening to every word that the teenager in the YouTube video is saying instead of taking their views with a grain of salt and forming one's own opinion. It's all right to use their ideas, but mindlessly following their every fashion idea is not a form of inspiration.
Fashion should be a way to creatively express your own individuality, not parroting other people on YouTube.
Government is disarming us
It seems almost every day we read in the paper or see on broadcast news something about our government getting serious about sanctioning countries whose governments are guilty of gross human rights violations.
I'm absolutely OK with that. We should be paying attention and bringing attention to those bad actors.
There is one thing, however, all those governments have in common: They have disarmed their citizens by any means they could. Now our own government, a supposed champion of human rights, is doing everything it can, by hook or especially by crook, to disarm its own citizens in a similar manner. So what happens to us if they should succeed?