Mailbag: Sewer fees, not taxes, were raised

Regarding claims in your newspaper by City Council candidate Emanuel Petrascu, ("Council upped property taxes," Sept. 3) I reviewed the agenda and minutes of April 20, did a little more research, and found that the City Council did not raise property taxes at that meeting or any other time.

Per the minutes, the council unanimously voted 5 to 0 to approve the following recommendation:

"Moved by Councilmember Egly, seconded by Councilmember Rollinger and carried unanimously 5 to 0 to initiate the steps to undertake about $24 million in capital improvements to the sewer system over the next two decades and seek solutions for funding for improvements by directing the city manager to (1) prepare for a 3.5% sewer increase in three consecutive fiscal years 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15 and (2) return to the council with an optional capital improvement program that reallocates $675,000 per year to the sewer system."

While the matter is somewhat complex, the facts are that the City Council did not raise property taxes, as demonstrated by their official vote. The reality is that the city does not have the legal authority to raise property taxes. Only the county — or a vote of the people — may cause this to occur.

The increase in sewer fees simply reflects the increased cost of these services, a pass-through cost of no profit to the city.

During this election, my hope is that all those running for office will have the integrity to stick to the facts.


Laguna Beach

[Greg Vail is a former Planning Commissioner for the City of Laguna Beach.]


It's amazing to walk or drive by Main Beach Park on a Saturday about 11a.m. and see a small group of mostly seniors protesting our wars. We have been at war nine years, and they have bankrupted us financially and morally. We were told we were going after the terrorists and 9/11 was our rationale or irrational reason for two needless wars.

Think about this: 4,416 U.S. troops and 141 journalists killed; 31,616 U.S. troops wounded, 20% of which are serious brain and spinal injuries; 9,571 Iraqi police and soldiers killed.

A U.N.-issued report dated Sept. 20, 2006, said Iraqi civilian casualties have been significantly under-reported. Casualties are reported at 50,000 to 100,000. Some informed estimates place Iraqi casualties at 600,000-plus. Iraqi insurgents killed is estimated to be 55,000. Iraqis displaced inside Iraq as of May 2007 is 2,255,000. Iraq refugees in Syria and Jordan — 2.1 million.

The typical U.S. combat soldier is 19. Personally, I don't think these two wars are worth losing one young Mexican man from downtown Santa Ana, and I hope more people join the war protests at Main Beach Park at 11 a.m. on Saturdays.


Laguna Beach

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