Feb 10 2012

Opinion: Measure A Vote Sends a Message

Opponent of  Sewer Surcharge  (Measure A) Supports Future Good Governance and Financial Accountability:

I am grateful that Piedmonters voted down Measure A and, in doing so, posted a clear message that any future parcel tax will be a referendum on good governance, financial accountability and honesty. The Piedmont Post chose to attack me personally and disguised its editorial bias as news articles instead of using its widely read community forum to inform voters of both sides of the sewer tax issue. Instead of posting the careful investigation Tom Clark and I undertook, including direct communication with the EPA, our letters and my LWV Forum comments were grossly misstated, and neither of us was directly contacted by the Post.

I am grateful to Tom Clark, with his many years of public sector legal experience, for his invaluable contribution. MTRC member Ryan Gilbert deserves special recognition for critically looking at the complete picture and then opposing Measure A.

Perhaps our City Staff can also benefit from some of the investigation done, both by opponents and the careful piedmontcivic.org investigation into the sewer fund and related issues. Regardless of the failure of this unneeded tax, Piedmonters can be proud of continuing to do the right thing environmentally with our aggressive compliance program, due to be enacted July 15, 2012, both for EPA requirements and residential sewer lateral testing and replacement. By a 1993 EPA order, we were required to replace 48% of our mainline sewer, the leakiest sections, by 2014. By 2010 we had replaced 60%. The often heard “we are in the lead” is a reality other cities wish they could follow.

I am optimistic we can have an honest and transparent dialogue on future issues, especially those that are of financial concern. Using tax dollars judiciously means more resources for us to enjoy in this wonderful city.

Rick Schiller

Editor’s Note:  The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Piedmont Civic Association.

One Response to “Opinion: Measure A Vote Sends a Message”

  1. I commend Rick Schiller’s courage to stand up in the face of criticism, and I commend his and Tom Clark’s research.

    One reason our city is great is that it takes care of its public facilities and cares about its environment. Nevertheless, the City Council needed to know that voters don’t give it a blank check. The bad management that caused a $2 million mess-up with the undergrounding contract hasn’t been rectified. Blaming the now-retired City Clerk for managing a project she had no expertise in doesn’t get to the heart of the problem: who gave her that responsibility and why?

    The City Council needs to convince its citizens that public works projects going forward will not repeat similar errors of project management.

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