In the Glendale News-Press on Wednesday there was a full-page ad from Caruso Affiliated proclaiming Rick Caruso’s belief in Glendale. He proposes to work with the city to create a process for his proposed project based on four principles.
One of these principles is to “work to protect the interests of the hotel’s employees.” I wonder if he could be more specific in regard to this principle.
City lagging in explaining transfer
Repeatedly, in person and by e-mail, I have made the case to the City Council that its annual Charter-authorized transfer of millions of dollars of water fees from Glendale Water & Power to the General Fund is unconstitutional.
Simply put, I have pointed out that: 1) the state Constitution, as amended by Proposition 218, requires that all fees for a property-related service imposed by local governmental Charter authority be limited to use only for that service.
2) Proposition 218 prohibits their use for general services (the kind supported by the General Fund) and 3) a 2006 California Supreme Court decision determined that water services are property-related within the meaning of Proposition 218.
Yet, based on its Charter-authorized transfer provision, since that 2006 decision, the city, in conflict with Proposition 218’s limitation and prohibition, has been transferring millions of dollars of water fees each year to the General Fund.
I have repeatedly asked the city for the legal basis for this course of conduct, which, on the face of it, is in direct conflict with Proposition 218. Based on my experience as a practicing lawyer, an answer should not take months or weeks, but days.
I first raised the issue in June. In August, I was told by the city attorney’s office that an outside consultant had been retained to help determine if there was a basis, other than the Charter-authorized transfer, to justify water fees going from Glendale Water & Power to the General Fund. I was told that the analysis should be completed and a report issued within two months (in October). At the Sept. 7 City Council meeting, I was told that the legal analysis of the constitutional issue would be part of that report.
After a November council meeting, at which I expressed impatience at the slow pace of receiving the legal analysis on the constitutionality of Charter-authorized water fee transfers, the city attorney’s office made it clear that that legal analysis had been completed, but was being withheld so as to be released along with the outside consultant’s analysis and a list of council options.
After several stalled releases, I called the city attorney’s office after it wasn’t listed on the Jan. 4 City Council agenda. I was told presentation was postponed to sometime in February.
This chronology strongly argues that the city be immediately forthcoming with its legal analysis on the constitutionality of Charter-authorized transfers of water fees, rather than holding it hostage to a report that played no part in generating a public demand for that analysis.
If in the future there is a report regarding other options for siphoning water fees to the General Fund, the council and the public, at that time, can respond. But for now, don’t make us continue to wait until that future date for the release of a long-prepared and long-awaited analysis of the constitutionality of Charter-mandated water fee transfers from Glendale Water & Power to the General Fund in the millions of dollars.