Water torture in Santa Ana?

A few months ago Garden Grove residents went bonkers over the news that their water rates were about to go way up. Now Santa Ana residents are facing the same deal – but they are ALREADY paying more than their counterparts in Garden Grove.

You won’t get the truth by reading the City of Santa Ana’s notes on the water rate increase. Nor will you get it by reading the O.C. Register, which reported that “Homeowners would see their water bills go up by an average of about $4.25 a month under a revised water rate going before the City Council on Tuesday.” As usual, the Register reporter just regurgitated what the city told him.

I dug a bit deeper – and the truth is most unpleasant. Here is the link to the City of Santa Ana’s “Request for Council Action” for Item 75A. I will refer back to it in a moment. First we will have a look at a document produced by the Metropolitan Water District of Orange County, that focuses on Orange County water rates. It took me an hour of searching on the Internet to find it – but the information in it is solid gold. Take a look below at a water rates comparison, where you will find that water in Santa Ana is NOT cheap. We pay far more than our neighbors in Anaheim, Garden Grove and Orange.

Not a pretty picture. Remember that in Santa Ana WE HAVE AN UNDERGROUND WATER TABLE. Why are we paying so much for our water? Most cities have to pay for storage, or import everything. So how exactly are we blowing our money in Santa Ana? Glad you asked. See the table below. Note that we spend a massive 33% of our budget on administration.

This of course begs the question – how much do other districts spend on administration? I found a very good example. The Moulton Niguel Water District’s budget is comparable to Santa Ana’s. You will find it below. Note that they only spent 19% of their budget on administration. And they had to spend over three million on pumping. Santa Ana spent zero on pumping. They also spent almost double what Santa Ana did on capital improvements.

So how much do the residents served by the Moulton Niguel Water District pay for THEIR water? Take a look below. They pay A LOT LESS than we do in Santa Ana. Why is that I wonder? I know we won’t get the truth from our city administration.

I promised earlier to refer back to the Santa Ana document regarding their proposed water rate increase. There are some very poignant letters in the package from distraught residents who fear that the increase will have a very negative affect on them. One apartment landlord writes that the water rate increase is 11% for him, but he can only raise the rent by two to three percent as his renters are low income. There’s the rub – landlords will pass the increase on to their poor tenants. And rents will go up yet again.

Another resident writes that her income is less than $17,000 a year – and that has to cover her expenses plus another family member.

A retired resident by the name of Charles Covey scrawled a handwritten note that painfully states that his Social Security is already gone when he gets it, due to rent increases and other increases. He then asks “why don’t you cut all the waste by city government?” Why indeed.

Another resident complained that she received two notices, one for a person that does not live at her address. Her handwritten note states “please remove one of the two names – maybe this is why you need more money.” Burn!

Jose Santamaria and his wife sent in a very nicely typed letter protesting the changes for economic reasons. They mentioned that the increases would “certainly cause hardship.”

Mrs. McNeilly wrote a handwritten note that stated “this is a burden that will be difficult for me to bear. Please have a heart and make an exception for people like me. I have physical problems that require added expenses.”

Another resident sent a handwritten note on Calvary Chapel letterhead, stating that she received an empty envelope from the city. She wrote “I am returning it to you because maybe it is important.” Good grief! The city sent out empty notices of the water rate increase?!?

Clearly there are questions that need to be asked about Santa Ana’s water rates and the apparent misuse of their budget. But the O.C. Register won’t be asking them. And folks wonder why blogs are kicking the newspaper’s tails? I don’t even get paid for this public service! But someone has to keep the pressure up on the city. We have a City Council that is almost 100% Democratic, by registration, but you would never know it. Our City Council regularly robs from the poor to feed their rich friends. What a sad, sad joke Santa Ana is. And the joke is on us.

As if we needed another reason to vote no on the bogus term limits measure that will give these foul council members another four years in office, and our awful Mayor Miguel Pulido another sixteen years in office. Just say no!

And be sure to show up to the Council Meeting next Tuesday. “The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 20 Civic Center Plaza.” At least the Register told us that much.

About Admin

"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.