Letter to the Editor-Government theft

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The Californian Department of Water greed is destroying the quality of life in California. Mark Weston who controls all 24 San Diego County Water Districts is the San Diego County Water Authority’s Board chairman and wants a 62 percent five year price increase. The current Helix Water Board controlled by John Linden (Division 1), Charles Muse (Division 3), and DeAna Verbekeare (Division 2) have already voted to increase water rates 56 percent over the next five years even though the governor has declared the California drought is over.

The Californian Department of Water greed is destroying the quality of life in California. Mark Weston who controls all 24 San Diego County Water Districts is the San Diego County Water Authority’s Board chairman and wants a 62 percent five year price increase. The current Helix Water Board controlled by John Linden (Division 1), Charles Muse (Division 3), and DeAna Verbekeare (Division 2) have already voted to increase water rates 56 percent over the next five years even though the governor has declared the California drought is over. Examine the current Helix Water Board of Director’s accomplishments over the past 10 years.

* Helix Water budget has increased 345 percent in the last 10 years.

* Unfunded mandates have skyrocketed to $30 million for retiree pension benefits and $23.9 million for retiree health benefits for Helix Water employees. At the current repayment rate it will take more than 71 years to pay for the damage of the last 10-year Board actions. Assumes a freeze on all costs.

* Major medical, optical, prescription drug and dental health care is free to the age of 67, 70, or life, depending on the hire date. Newer employees do have a $50 dental co-payment.

* The general manager makes $216,733 and his benefits approach $100,000 per year.

* At Helix Water the median salary is $80,566 and median benefits are $47,150 per year and growing every year. Compare this to the US Department of Labor statistics that the median household income in California is $58,509.

* At Helix Water, ratepayers pay $15,273 pension, and $6,041 Social Security Benefit per median employee this year. Compounded over the next 20 years you the ratepayer will pay more than $600,000 per median employee towards their retirement benefits and this does not include any factor for merit or salary increases nor extended employment.

* All Helix employees enjoy guaranteed cost of living increases and 7.5 percent guaranteed pension growth per year; paid days of per year (PTO) start at 36 days and increase with tenure; unused PTO days can be sold back to Helix Water for cash.

* This Board completely ignores ratepayer concerns and recommendations and sides with Helix Water 100 percent of the time. In the last year, the Helix Board did not turn down any Helix Water management request, not one.

This continued water rate increase insanity has to stop. This past month, August 2016, my gas, electric, and water bills exceeded my highest mortgage payment. What do you think the future value of your home or business will be when this becomes the norm for California? How many companies will want to locate to the San Diego vicinity with these outrageous costs? These costs are replicated when it comes to the electrical grid controlled by California Department of Water. Read the back of your utility bill. The time has come to reverse this trend and elect responsible individuals, which represent the California Rate payers and not California Department of Water.

I’m sure John Linden, Charles Muse and DeAna Verbekeare will reject all claims in this letter. I can provide documentation signed by Lisa Stoia, director Administrative Services, Helix Water District, to prove these facts. These three Helix Water Board members have to go. Their complete disregard for all ratepayers in favor of Helix employees, coupled with dereliction of duty, in not doing what they were elected to do is an example of government overreach with no benefit to the taxpayer. Water is a free commodity and supplied by Mother Nature. How does the continued rate hikes create more water? This transfer of wealth from the private sector to the government sector because of greed, incompetence, and or ignorance has to stop. Affordable water in California will never be seen in our lifetime unless the California State legislature intervenes and the ratepayers vote to halt this government theft.

While researching these board members I noticed that John Linden’s residence is listed on trulia.com as a farm/ranch on arivify.com as an agricultural preserve. Both web sites indicate the property size to be 0.54 acres. Upon checking with the County Property Assessor to have this listing you need to have 10 acres. Why is it okay for Linden to benefit on Property Tax at the expense of the rest of us?

Only through the voters knowing what the California Department of Water is doing can we begin to solve this problem. This water theft cost increase is rampant throughout the State of California. How many desalination plants could have been built and paid for in California with the already spent monies for the California bullet train? Answer 80 plus at $1 billion per plant.

Richard Malsbary

La Mesa

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