Difference between revisions of "City of Fresno Lower Water Bill Referendum, Measure W (November 2014)"

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===Editorials===
 
===Editorials===
* '''''Fresno Bee''''': The ''Fresno Bee'' editorial board wrote an editorial in which it expressed approval of the mayor's increased water rates and the improvements to the water infrastructure of the city for which the extra revenue was earmarked. The board, however, did criticize the mayor and the city for putting up a struggle against the referendum petitioners, arguing that the voters were smart enough to make the right decision themselves.
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* '''''Fresno Bee''''': The ''Fresno Bee'' editorial board wrote an editorial in which it expressed approval of the mayor's increased water rates and the improvements to the water infrastructure of the city for which the extra revenue was earmarked. The board, however, did criticize the mayor and the city for putting up a struggle against the referendum petitioners, arguing that the voters were smart enough to make the right decision themselves. An excerpt from the editorial is below:<ref name=mayor/>
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“We support the water-rate increases; they are vital to the city’s future. But with these stalling and blocking tactics, Swearengin sends a message that she doesn’t trust Fresno voters to do what’s best for the city."|author = ''Fresno Bee'' editorial board<ref name=mayor/>}}
  
 
==Path to the ballot==
 
==Path to the ballot==

Revision as of 11:10, 4 July 2014

Voting on Water
Water.jpg
Ballot Measures
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Not on ballot
A City of Fresno Lower Water Bill Referendum, Measure W ballot question may be on the November 4, 2014 election ballot for voters in the city of Fresno in Fresno County, California.

This referendum measure seeks to overturn a water rate hike proposed by Mayor Ashley Swearengin in August of 2013 that resulted in an average water bill of $48 per month in 2014 - double the rates from the previous year. The additional revenue was designed by the mayor's plan to fund a $410 million upgrade to the city's water system.

A group of taxpayers called "Citizens of Lower Water Bills — Yes on Measure W" ran the petition drive to put the mayor's water rate program to the test before voters at the fall general election. The petitioners survived multiple efforts from the city to stop the referendum, including a lawsuit.[1]

Support

Note: Those who oppose the water rate increase and support the repeal of that increase, which is the desired outcome of the referendum petitioners, are referred to as "supporters" in this article.

Supporters

The group behind the referendum petition is called "Citizens of Lower Water Bills — Yes on Measure W."

Former Fresno County Supervisor Doug Vagim was a leader in the petition drive for Measure W and is a strong advocate in the pro-Measure W campaign.[2]

Opposition

Note: Those who support the water rate increase and oppose the repeal of that increase, which is the desired outcome of the referendum petitioners, are referred to as "opponents" in this article.

Opponents

The Fresno City Council and Mayor Ashley Swearengin have vehemently opposed the effort to overturn their 2013 ordinance to increase the waters rates in the city.[2]

Arguments against

Those opposed to the referendum and supportive of the city's water rate hikes argue that the additional revenue is necessary to fund essential infrastructure improvements and updates for the city's water system. They propose that, if done before the system breaks down, these improvements and updates could save taxpayers large sums of money.[3]

Editorials

  • Fresno Bee: The Fresno Bee editorial board wrote an editorial in which it expressed approval of the mayor's increased water rates and the improvements to the water infrastructure of the city for which the extra revenue was earmarked. The board, however, did criticize the mayor and the city for putting up a struggle against the referendum petitioners, arguing that the voters were smart enough to make the right decision themselves. An excerpt from the editorial is below:[3]

“We support the water-rate increases; they are vital to the city’s future. But with these stalling and blocking tactics, Swearengin sends a message that she doesn’t trust Fresno voters to do what’s best for the city."[4]

Fresno Bee editorial board[3]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing local ballot measures in California

Signatures

On July 25, 2014, the "Citizens of Lower Water Bills - Yes on Measure W" submitted thousands of signatures to the city clerk.[2]

Doug Vagim said, “It feels great to have the support from fellow citizens as we move forward in our attempt to get on the Nov. 2014 ballot. The city did everything they could to prevent us from our goal but in the end we will prevail.”[2]

City delays

Lawsuits

Citizens of Lower Water Bills v. City of Fresno:

City of Fresno v. Citizens of Lower Water Bills:

Mayor Ashley Swearengin said, “The city of Fresno believes there is ample case law that indicates that a core public service is not subject to a referendum. I recognize the short-term pain of raising water rates in the city of Fresno. However, I believe this short-term pain will result in long-term gain for the people of Fresno.”[3]
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