Legal Action for Violating prop 218 Initiated by GCBG.
The Glendale Coalition for Better Government (GCBG) has retained Attorney Benjamin Benumof of the AlvaradoSmith law firm to challenge the 2014 water rate increase adopted by the Glendale City Council by the narrow vote of 3 to 2. (letter below)
Mr. Benumof is an expert in the field of water rate structuring and proposition 218. Proposition 218 is a constitutional amendment that requires water charges only be used to provide ratepayers with water at charges that do not exceed the proportional cost of providing the service to the ratepayer’s property. Mr. Bemunof has successfully obtained a court ruling* challenging a similar rate structure against the city of San Juan Capistrano.
The Coalition has yet again been compelled to seek legal recourse in its fight to advocate for a responsible government that complies with the law and preserves the Glendale Utility infrastructure for the benefit of Glendale Citizens. Prior to the adoption, the Coalition had raised many concerns regarding the legality, financial necessity, and fairness of the proposed 2014 water rate increase. These concerns were ignored and requests for explanation for issues raised went unanswered.
The concerns raised by the Coalition include:
- The legality of a rate structure that charges residents for water at more than the cost of providing the service as required by proposition 218. It should be noted that the current rate increase provides for replenishing of funds that have been siphoned in prior years by transfers from the GWP to the city’s general fund. That case is currently being litigated in court by the Coalition GCBG vs. City of Glendale BS14737 Dep. 85 Los Angeles Superior Court.
- The legality of a water fee structure that charges residents differently based on a tier system without providing any cost-of-service data to support the inequality of fees charged between four tiers.
- The legality and morality of charging different category of users of water arbitrarily so as to force one category to subsidize another. The City of Glendale with one of the highest peaking factor pays less than Master Metered Residential with the lowest peaking factor. The City of Glendale is effectively preying on the politically less involved and financial less affluent citizens to fund city costs.
The Coalition will diligently continue to pursue all legal redress to remedy violations of the law. The 2014 water rate increase is illegal and socially unjust. The attached letter by the coalition’s attorney lays out the legal violations in detail and seeks resolution in the hopes of avoiding litigation. We hope the city will address the concerns raised and avoid unnecessary and costly litigation.
Board of Directors of the Glendale Coalition for Better Government
For More information regarding the GCBG you may contact
Harry Zavos 818 547 3346 or
Roland Kedikian 818 409 8911
*The San Juan Capistrano case is currently on appeal by the city of San Juan Capistrano.