TO: The Honorable Eric K. Shinseki
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue
Washington, DC 20420
RE: Administration Policy Refusing Christmas Cards
Dear Secretary Shinseki:
The Veterans Administration policy requiring hospitals to refuse cards from schoolchildren that say “Merry Christmas” or “God bless you” is an offensive form of censorship that should be repealed.
This policy violates freedom of speech and religion, along with denying American people the opportunity to express gratitude and support to those who have fought to preserve our freedoms through the words and thoughts of their choosing.
Michael D. Antonovich
Supervisor, LA County
A Hidden Rate Increase
A few years ago our city asked us to reduce our water consumption 10% because of the drought. The public did better; we reduced our water consumption about 18%. With conservation, water revenue decreased and GWP was forced to reduce their overhead expenses to cover operating costs. As a reward to the public [for] being great conservationists, GWP went back to council and asked them to raise water rates 3.8% and passed a new $35 million water revenue bond to cover operating expenses.
[On] National Night Out – August 6, 2013 – Glendale City Council increased our electric rates 29.1% over the next five years. Additionally, council also approved a new concept called “Revenue De-Coupling Charges.” In the future, revenue de coupling will allow Glendale Water and Power, without voters’ approval, to assess an automatic rate increase to consumers if projected electric revenues fall below projected expenses.
The incentive to reduce electrical usage came this summer when consumers received their first scheduled 8% rate increase and a minimum of a 22% rate increase over the next five years. Council’s previously passed water rate increases will continue through 2015. [On] Dec. 17, 2013, council announced major flaws in previous water rate increases.
When the high cost of utilities continue to increase, families and businesses may reduce their water and electric usage. However, if electrical revenue decreases too much, our utility company will not need to go back to council for rate increases because “de-coupling” surcharges will kick in and be passed directly to the rate payers. Council members then can boast they were not responsible for these hidden rate increases.