Port Hueneme City Council Votes Against Stronger Water Quality Study

ColumnLogo-1By Tom Dunn

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On Monday night, 10/3/16, several SS4 (beach condos) residents were at the Port Hueneme City Council meeting Many were appalled at the vote of the council to vote down a much-needed comprehensive water study to improve PH water delivery system, water quality and public health, safety and welfare. (Agenda item 8: AUTHORIZATION TO SOLICIT REQUESTS FOR PROPOSALS FOR A COST OF SERVICE AND RATE STUDY (WATER FINANCIAL ANALYSIS))
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For over a year the council has failed to address the city’s need to improve all aspects of our water system.  We currently pay the highest water rates in Ventura County and our water quality has greatly deteriorated.  Also, the city has had the PH water users pay the cost of the city’s water use by having higher rates than needed. The cost to PH water users has been $3.5 million over the last ten years and it has gone on longer than that. 
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Councilman Tom Figg  has pursued including the above issues in a detailed water usage study that has been delayed for over a year.  Also, he wants a detailed report on what the cost of capital improvements to the outdated water delivery system would be and how long it would take to complete.  All of this is critical to our water quality, amount of water available, your health due to current water quality levels,which is dropping as we continue to have no rain to replenish our normal sources.  Councilman Jim Hensley voted along with Figg to have the council approve the plan and start working on improving the water we might drink and use at a reasonable cost to each of us. 
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Councilmember John Sharkey and Sylvia Schnoop voted against this improved and detailed water study and to continue on a program that has been stalled for over one year.  The SS4 residents after the meeting asked if this was normal for council members to vote against issues that could improve their lives and save money.  Unfortunately, I say yes it is on almost every issue.  Just to remind you,  the council did nothing for nine months when the low income residents of city run Mar Vista apartments asked that filthy vents be cleaned that affected the air quality.  It took the residents coming back after nine months to again ask the council to act.  Finally, action was taken although the city dragged its feet and tried to delay starting the work, it was finally done. 
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It’s time for voters to pay attention as to whom has their best interest in mind.  The fiscal status ( $15 million loss of general reserves)  and quality of life (i.e.:  water) in PH has decreased over the last eight years.  The same people who were in charge at the City Council and City Manager level for the last eight years are not the ones we want looking after our money and welfare again.   “More of the same is not acceptable”.  Thanks to SS4 residents that attended and saw how city hall operates in many situations.         
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Oct. 3, 2016 Council meeting
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Editor’s note: At about 1:19 on the meeting video, Councilman Tom Figg proposed a change in scope of the RFP to encompass the rate impact of what he said was higher than market interest rates being charged to ratepayers, and what he said was the improper charging to ratepayers of water used by the city, as well as charging them for a quality of water not actually received. Sharkey and Schnopp refused to go along with this.

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Port Hueneme Coalition of Concerned Citizens Periodic Videos and Newsletters Covering Issues of Importance for DunnTomthe Citizens of Port Hueneme
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Tom Dunn is a Port Hueneme civic activist working to restore PH financial and governmental stability. He heads the Port Hueneme Coalition of Concerned Citizens (PHCCC). He is retired- was a sales executive for major health care manufacturers and a small business owner.
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Eileen Tracy
Eileen Tracy
4 years ago

What continualy confuses me with this council is when any member votes no to another council member’s suggestions; they never offer any other solutions to the unaddressed problems and seldom tell us what their reason is to vote against the suggestion. It just seems like serious problems just continue unaddressed. Why do people run for council if they don’t want to tackle the problems in the city?