Council undermines respect for law

To close an $18-million budget gap, the city proposes cuts in some worthy services and [increase] user fees for others.

At the June 21 City Council meeting, a council member sought to shift the blame for these measures to those whose efforts resulted in City Council’s suspension of the unconstitutional $4.2-million Charter-authorized transfer of water fees to the General Fund. As one involved in that effort, I must comment.

The state Constitution, as amended by Proposition 218, mandates that water fees be used only to provide water service for the rate payers. Some members of the public have for months publicly pointed out that over the past few years, the council has made Charter-authorized transfers of water fees from the waterworks to the General Fund, where those fees are not used to provide water service to the ratepayers. In doing so, council members violated their oath of office, which requires them to uphold the state Constitution.

At the first of this year, in view of Proposition 218, the City Council finally suspended those transfers beginning with the 2011-12 budget. At the June 21 meeting, a council member indicated that cuts in city services and increased user fees were due to this suspension, and asserted he wished to focus any “outrage” (his word) for such cuts and user fees on those activists who pointed out the unconstitutionality of the water fee transfers.

This is a transparent attempt to shift the focus from the role city councils played in the current budget difficulty by approving employee pay, pensions and health benefits over 10 years at an increase that dramatically outpaced inflation and population growth. It also does a serious disservice to the rule of law.

For council members to suggest the public should find fault with citizens who speak against the City Council turning a blind eye to constitutional violations is to undermine respect for the law. How can the city have the moral authority to command from its citizens that they respect and obey the city’s laws if its council members demean individuals merely because they insist that the council obey the supreme law of the state?

To say to its citizens, “Do as I say, not as I do,” can only breed cynicism toward government. I would hope Glendale deserves, and will demand, better.

Harry Zavos


Galleria needs a mid-range store

The Americana at Brand is very nice and is comprised of mainly high-end stores. Now Nordstrom will be joining them (“Nordstrom will move to Americana,” March 16). How about a middle-level store in the old Nordstrom site?

Kohl’s would be a perfect replacement. People with moderate paychecks who are unable to spend at the Americana would be able to spend locally. Other than Target, there are no longer any moderate-priced retail stores in downtown Glendale since Mervyns closed.

JD Caberto



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