Counters Ochoa’s Points
[Glendale] City Manager Ochoa, in this newspaper, criticized the Glendale Coalition for Better Government for filing a lawsuit challenging the City’s transfer of electric revenues to pay for general services [Viewpoints, March 26]. His focus was on the implications of potential lost revenue for those services, ignoring the implications of a city government that does not follow the law.
If Mr. Ochoa believes that the transfers are legal, then there’s no basis for his doom-and-gloom concern or for taking the Coalition to task over potential budgetary impacts. His expressed concern only makes sense if the court decides that the transfers have been illegal all along.
If that’s the case, the fault for any budgetary impact must be laid squarely at the feet of city officials who have created a budget dependent on illegal transfer – dependent on the city violating the law.
Moreover, the city has legal avenues to increase revenues for general services. There’s nothing to stop it from informing the public of its needs and then seeking, at the ballot box, the public’s approval for increased taxes. It’s there that the citizens’ voice is ultimately heard, not in surveys.
Granted, if such a measure passed, some who now are asked to pay higher electric fees to cover the transfer would pay those increased taxes instead. But, they would be paying an upfront tax where they were able to exercise their constitutional right to have a voice concerning them. The current utility transfer is effectively a backdoor tax that deprives the public of that voice. Our city officials should seek to better inform the public of the facts and listen to their wishes expressed at the ballot box.
The Coalition lawsuit’s concern is to make sure city government follows the law. Hopefully City government officials, who wish Glendale’s citizens to be law abiding, would share that concern and set the example.
The court will decide the transfer’s legality. If it decides they are illegal, the consequences of that illegality must fall squarely on City officials that perpetuated that illegality, not on those who brought it to the court’s attention.
Glendale Coalition for Better Government