Laguna Hills Mayor refuses to recognize speaker on trash rate increases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 24, 2010

CONTACT: Barbara Kogerman, Kogerman4council@cox.net  , (949) 855-9889, (949) 422-6203 (cell)

Mayor’s arrogance could cost city millions in new fees

Laguna Hills Mayor refuses to recognize speaker on rate increases

Laguna Hills Mayor Randal Bressette’s refusal to let City Council candidate Barbara Kogerman address the council Tuesday night could cost the city’s rate payers millions in inflated disposal fees over the term of the city’s contract with its waste hauler, Kogerman says.

“I asked Bressette after the meeting why he didn’t allow me to speak, and he said the matter “ . . . wasn’t important,’” Kogerman says. “When I told him that disposal rates will escalate on July 1, he said, ‘What’s your point?’”

The point is, according to Kogerman, that the city’s disposal contractor CR&R plans to raise residential rates 11% and commercial/industrial rates 7% starting July 1. The new rates will exceed what CR&R is currently quoting other cities by 40% to 100%. And neither the city nor the contractor has given rate payers notice of their intent to raise rates, nor has the city agendized the issue for discussion.

“If the city does nothing now, Laguna Hills rate payers will end up paying millions of dollars more than rates being offered other cities for the same services,” Kogerman adds. “This was a no-bid contract. I intended to urge to council to immediately explore all lawful options to keep this increase from happening, and to put CR&R on notice now that they will consider other contractors when this contract expires. CR&R is taking advantage of our city, and our city needs to act.”

Bressette’s refusal to allow her to speak was “pure politics,” Kogerman says.

“It’s every citizen’s right to address the city council. Elected officials presiding over public meetings normally have the courtesy to hear the pleas of their citizens, particularly when they are exposing inequities in fees residents are being charged. Not in Laguna Hills. Mayor Bressette didn’t want to hear the facts—his mind was already made up. I guess Bressette figures taxpayers won’t complain if he muzzles public comments,” says Kogerman.

Kogerman plans to bring the matter up at the July 13 city council meeting, but laments the fact that Bressette’s discourtesy will put the council in a position of acting after the fact.

“He denied my right to speak, and his sad political ploy will be a rude awakening to our taxpaying residents, and especially our businesses when they realize they are being charged twice what the contractor is offering their neighbors in Mission Viejo.
“This is a further example of the transparency two-step this city likes to play—keep secrets and then deny responsibility,” Kogerman adds. “Our residents are not pleased with the City Manager compensation fiasco perpetrated by this council majority.

They will be equally displeased to discover that Laguna Hills has raised the bar on disparate disposal fees.”

The text of Kogerman’s letter of protest to the mayor and her remarks intended for last Tuesday’s meeting are attachedClick here to read the public comments.

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Barbara Kogerman
Barbara Kogerman for Laguna Hills City Council 2010
25231 Mawson Drive, Laguna Hills CA 92653
949-855-9889/cell 949-422-6203
ID # 1318852


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