The Monday, April 23rd Upland City Council Meeting lasted until 3:40 in the morning on Tuesday, April 24th, where council voted to raise residential water rates by 57%. And Explosive Sentinel Front Page Article Here ~ “Over 100 Are Excluded From Chambers As Upland Solons Vote To Up Water Rates!”
I have been dumbfounded since the Monday 4/23 Upland City Council Meeting, trying to figure out why in the hell our elected leadership, choose to have an agenda which filled the chamber to maximum capacity, with 180 people forced to stand outside behind caution tape, that couldn’t gain access to the building according the Sentinel’s front page story, entitled, “Over 100 Excluded From Chambers As Upland Solons Vote To Up Water Rates.” Personally, I know Upland residents that waited over 3 hours to enter our Upland City Hall and they completely missed our Water Rate Public Hearing, entirely!
And after several days of reflecting on the bizarre timing of this completely self induced and self inflicted chaos, where our city decided to cram the 2 most highly contentious items of the year on the same agenda, I now believe our city council and their public relations consultant, did this solely to reduce both public comments and Upland residents, from being able to be present when our City Council VOTED 4-1, to raise our water bills by 57% + surreal surcharge rates.
And I am not alone in this conclusion, as the Sentinel provides such detailed findings of fact and journalistic integrity, that I am going to ask you to stop reading this now and start reading that, HERE! This incredible article has restored my faith in the word “newspaper” and in my opinion, there is now only one newspaper, who actually reports factual news happening in the City of Upland. Please do me a favor and read the Sentinel’s article first, then read the Daily Bulletin’s article reporting on the exact same Public Hearing!
Someone please tell me, what in the world is going on here! What’s worse, is for over a month, I have emailed the reporter at the Daily Bulletin who covers the City of Upland. I have done everything but get a bullhorn and drive over over there and yell into her ear, “Upland is increasing residential water bills by 57%,” without a single reply! And after this final story and insult to injury was published, I emailed her again the below, about her article entitled, “Here’s How Much More Residents Will Pay For Water In Upland.”
I read your article and you never stated how much more Upland residents will be paying for Upland water. You did state, that residents will see only a $19.00 increase in their bi-monthly water bill. Did you not hear the city’s consultant, tell Councilwoman Carol Timm, the cumulative increase will be 54%? In reality, it will be 57% as fully described below. The rates stated below are from the city’s notice they mailed Upland residents, yet failed to mail the 40% Upland Hispanic population, a copy in Spanish!
RATES NOW: Tier 1 Rate $1.52 + Water Meter $39.85 = $41.37
RATES AFTER INCREASE: Tier 1 Rate $2.24 + Increased Meter $62.75 = $64.99
To calculate the percentage increase: First: work out the difference (increase) between the two numbers you are comparing. Then divide the increase by the original number and then multiple the answer by 100.
$64.99 Increased Rate (Subtracted By) $41.37 Today Rate = $23.62 Rate Difference
$23.62 Amount of Increase (Divided By) The Original Rate $41.37 = .57% INCREASE
.57% (Multiplied By 100) IS 57% WATER BILL INCREASE!
To check this, please use the link below to an online calculator, which will do the math for you, by entering today’s rate of $41.37 and the increased rate of $64.99. https://www.marshu.com/articles/calculate-percentage-increase-decrease-percent-calculator.php
Finally, the only way an Upland resident will only see a $19.00 bi-monthly bill increase after a 57% rate increase, is if their water bill today is only $33.40. How is that possible? Where is the fact checking for your publication? Especially since I have been telling you this, in writing for several weeks. Please explain.”
The actual reality of the situation is NOT what the Bulletin has printed at all, which was residents will see a 17% increase on May 1st, 2018, a 9% increase January 2019 , a 9% increase January 2020, a 5% increase January 2021 and a 3% increase in January 2022. Let me explain how grossly misleading those fingers are. This is like a shady magic trick. The City of Upland and the Bulletin are saying that these will be our annual increased rates in our cost of our drinking water. And that is true, but that is only half the story.
What is really happening is Upland is raising the cost we pay for our drinking water by the tier amounts we use, which is a variable rate and changes with our monthly usage, as well as, raising the cost of our fixed rates for using their water system with our 5/8 inch pipes and the cost we pay for our water metering service, which are fixed costs and do not change.
So Upland and the Bulletin are saying the annual rate increases residents will pay for JUST WATER are going up 17% now, 9% in 2019, 9% in 2020, 5% in 2021 and 3% in 2021 is true, but they are completely omitting how much resident’s bi-monthly bills will be increasing, in addition to the above, because of the fixed rate increases we will also be paying, for other services besides the water that we use, that are NOT included in their numbers above.
Please allow me to try to explain this convoluted bunch of BS, that our city is hiding from you about the real increase(s) to your bi-monthly water bills, below. In green is our rate increase for just water, that our city and the Bulletin told you about, in purple is what they haven’t told you about! They are so deceptive, we have it sit here and split hairs over the words “Water Rates” and “Water Bills.” As today we pay;
TODAY WE PAY: Tier 1 Water Rate of $1.52 + Water Meter Fee of $39.85 = $41.37
1ST INCREASE 5/1/18: Tier 1 Water $1.76 + Water Meter $46.90 = $48.66 (17.6% Increase From The Rates We Pay Today).
2ND INCREASE 1/1/19: Tier 1 Water $1.91 + Water Meter $52.25 = $54.16 (30.91% Increase From The Rates We Pay Today). And our City & The Bulletin are only disclosing the increase in our Water Tier Rate, which increases by another 9% in 2019, but when added to our Water Meter Rate Increases, those 2 increases together is a 30.91% increase from the water bills we pay today. So from 5/1/18 to 1/1/2019, residential water bills will rise 30.91% in only 7 months!
3RD INCREASE 1/1/20: Tier 1 Water $2.07 + Water Meter $57.85 = $59.92 (44.84% Increase From The Rates We Pay Today).
4TH INCREASE 1/1/21: Tier 1 Water $2.18 + Water Meter $60.80 = $62.98 (52% Increase From The Rates We Pay Today).
5TH INCREASE 1/1/22: Tier 1 Water $2.34 + Water Meter $62.75 = $65.09 (57.34% Increase From The Rates We Pay Today).
PLUS WE WILL ALSO HAVE SURREAL SURCHARGE RATES, ADDED TO THE TIER RATE ABOVE, WHICH COUNCIL CAN DEMAND FROM US AT WILL!
In my humble opinion, the Bulletin article is omitting so many facts, it is bordering on a work of fiction, based on a true story. What in the hell is going on here??? After asking several well informed residents that very question, I repeatedly got the same answer which was, the City of Upland publishes all of their Public Notices in the Daily Bulletin and that is one of the Bulletin’s main sources of revenue. And with people buying less physical newspapers these days, they are not going to bite any hand that is still feeding them. But that is just unconfirmed local hearsay, being said by many residents all over Upland Social Media.
And if there is another explanation for sugar coating nearly everything happening in the City of Upland, to the sole benefit of the City of Upland, I would surely like to know what is it because this just seems highly irresponsible and misleading. And this hasn’t been just this one reporter, it was also the reporter before this, that covered Upland previously. And I was very hopeful when that former report was reassigned to another city, that this wouldn’t be an ongoing problem. And initially it looked very promising but if the Bulletin is not going to allow this new reporter the Journalistic freedom to do her job, may I suggest she move on to the Sentinel because I believe she is a talented writer, based on her first article on the beat in Upland and the problem is, she may just need to be unleashed.
As the Bulletin didn’t even report on any of the comments made from Upland Residents, that could actually get into the 4/23/18 meeting, who where opposed to our city raising our water rates for 10 straight years in a row and now by another 57%. And since well over a 100 people were stuck outside for hours and completely missed the Water Rate Public Hearing, only 11 people from Upland actually got to sign up to speak about Upland’s water rates increasing, because the chamber was packed to maximum capacity, with a very high percentage of people that were NOT from Upland. And I was one of the lucky 11, who either had to fight their way inside the building or arrived hours early trying to get inside, to witness their city council raise their residential water rates again, by another 57%.
And what a fight it was, being stranded with well over a hundred other people being held behind caution tape and a wall of Upland Police Officers, which is exactly where I stared the night. However, I managed to work my way up to the caution tape front-line and was face-to-face with Upland’s finest. By that I mean Upland Police Officers and certainly NOT our Mayor Debbie Stone and our Deputy City Manager & City Clerk Jeanette Vagnozzi, as those 2 would periodically parade around outside in front of the masses that they wouldn’t let inside the building, while having someone say something like, “At this time, make a line over here, if you have a filled out speaker card.”
The problem was, no one could get inside the building to get a speaker card, to be able to fill one out. So upon hearing this, I immediately started demanding speak cards from Vagnozzi for the crowd of angry residents, including myself. She waltzed around after hearing me, as I was only 5-6 feet away from her and then she would go back inside for an extended period of time and come back outside, completely emptied handled and then would repeat this insanity! And this woman is our City Clerk!
Upon her third appearance, I started yelling at her, “VAGNOZZI, WE NEED SPEAKERS CARDS NOW! She looked me in my face and said, “Okay, you don’t have to be so rude” and I said “Apparently I do!” Then she goes back inside and never returns. So now me and countless other Upland residents, have ZERO ACCESS to speaker cards to fill out, to allow us to get into a another line, to eventually gain access to our own Public Hearing, when others eventually left the building.
In a panic, seeing that we were surely going to miss our Water Rate Public Hearing, I started yelling at the police to get us some speaker cards and I’ll admit that was rude, as they were getting the brunt of everyone’s frustration including mine and even then, they went inside, they brought us out a stack of speakers cards and handled them to us, to pass out among ourselves and that was a very noble and nice thing to do. And to that, we all say thank you very much Upland Police Officers!!!!
Now with a speaker card finally in hand, there were just 3 problems, we were stuffed in the waiting pen like sardines, we had no flat surfaces to write on and we had a lack on available pens. Desperate to speak during the Water Rate Hearing, I asked the person standing next to me, “May I please fill this out on your back” as we were shoulder to shoulder and thankfully they said yes. And that is why this town is so worth saving because it is filled to the brim, with an un-measurable number of citizens just like that.
So I filled my speaker card out, using another resident’s back and afterwards, I ducked under a line of caution tape, to get in another line of caution tape, where people who had filled out speaker cards could wait to get in the building, after someone else left. And lucky for me, the other 180 people outside had no access to speaker cards either, so there was virtually no one in that line but me and a few other people lining up behind me, after finally getting a speaker card. Then I chicken-hawked the front door, watching for anyone to come out of the building and when they did, I ducked under the caution tape one last time and finally got into the building.
But I was extremely lucky, as well as, demanding and un-polite, as I am whenever our 1st Amendment Rights are chronically violated by the City of Upland and as many of you know, that is a daily occurrence. And I am not going to lie, I was hot under the collar and mad as a hornet when I finally got in there, for the completely self endued circus, that the City of Upland created and inflicted upon countless Upland residents that night, who were still locked out of the building by an agenda created to do exactly that!
But I didn’t have long to wait, to be able to fully unleash that frustration onto its rightful recipients being our Upland City Council, City Staff and City Consultants. And having nothing prepared, I just shot from the hip and thankfully the Sentinel was there to jot down exactly what I and many other Upland residents had to say, because that’s what a professional news-person, reporter and publisher does! And according to the Sentinel, I managed to say;
Then at 1 hour and 28 seconds HERE, Councilwoman Janice Elloitt got to question their fuzzy math. It was so embarrassing for our city staff, as Elliott pulls out detailed notes and calculations, finding, I believe, 2 times in the last year, where huge transfers where deposited into the general fund, from the water fund and our city staff was stone silent, providing no explanation. Then she finds a surplus, last year, not a shortfall and Councilwoman Janice Elliott was a CPA, with Ernst & Young.
While Rosemary Hoerning – Public Works Director, Jeanette Vagnozzi – Deputy City Manager & City Clerk, plus the city’s consultant, were off $40M about what they needed to be raised by the last 5 years of water rate increases from 2013 -2018 for pipeline replacement, yet didn’t do any pipeline replacement in those 5 years and now they need a second round for another 5 years of rate increases and are coming back for another 57% more. Shouldn’t they all should be fired????
And what shocked me the most, was here we are 3 month after the topic of raising our water rates was first discussed at a council meeting back in January and Carol Timm, still didn’t know what the total of these next 5 years of rate increases, was even going to be, the night she voted to enact them! Maybe a little meeting prep via private tutoring is in order and Carol and Janice could get together, so that Janice can teach Carol how to do it. Please listen to our incumbent Councilwoman and Mayor Pro Tem Carol Timm, not even know what the 5 years of rates hikes adds up to at 1:28.24, HERE.
And despite Janice Elliott, making a motion to reduce all rate hikes by 20% across the board for all Upland residents, she of course gets no second and then Mayor Debbie Stone, makes a motion to pass all rate hikes as written and gets her 3 hand-puppets being Sid Robinson, Gino Fillippi and Carol Timm to VOTE with her, to do that to all of us, at 2:00.35, HERE.
I am so disgusted and sickened in just remembering and rewriting the above, that I am going to wrap up this Upland Report now and will continue with the other absolutely insane events, that happening during this rest of this city council meeting, in another Upland Report to follow shortly! Those events worked perfectly to produce the desired event, which was to completely overshadow absolutely all of the above and as his website says, “Change The Conversation” which is what our city pays an Upland Resident $3,500 every month to do, in addition to monitoring all of us on social media everyday.
Finally, I want to add, in our RECALL ARTICLE ABOUT UPLAND MAYOR DEBBIE STONE published last Sunday, there has NOT BEEN ONE NEGATIVE COMMENT MADE FROM ANYONE AND NO ONE HAS EVEN DEFENDED OR SUPPORTED MAYOR STONE, on any Upland Social Media Group Page or in any emails to The Upland Report, to date. In addition, during the intermission breaks of the last city council meeting, Upland residents where chanting RECALL, RECALL, RECALL repeatedly! Everyone in Upland is tired of being Mayor Stone-walled and we’re taking our city back! To be continued….