Resident Concerns Ignored~ Undergrounding, May 24, 2018

Unanimous vote by City Council to underground Edison utility lines on “Key Evacuation Routes” by Ballot Measure, without first addressing the overwhelming concerns expressed by majority of residents aptly delivered during Public Comment. The opposition was well represented by a factual reasonable presentation delivered by the newly formed resident advocacy group STOP. Many concerned speakers brought forth substantive facts and valid concerns that should be reasonably considered and addressed by elected officials, prior to putting this measure to vote.

City has spent nearly half a million dollars and counting to advocate support of an under ground initiative but has ignored continued plea to consult with technological advancements by qualified energy professionals to deliver a comprehensive renewable sustainable energy plan to develop LB Solar City. To ignore available alternative energy sources is offensive toward the sustainable values of an environmentally sensitive aware community.

The city has been utilizing taxpayer money to advertise and promote their Under Grounding initiative using a cleverly designed emotional response delivered by a FIRE & FEAR Safety Campaign cleverly designed to corral sheep to favorable vote to increase Sales Tax to pay for Bonding the massive construction cost. A known business owner expressed his immediate concern.

The THIRD STREET construction debacle created a major disturbance, wait until Edison begins to trench the proposed “Key routes”. Edison has cleverly, with the assistance of the City, graciously agreed to allow taxpayers to be saddled with 100% of construction improvement cost for the aging infrastructure of EDISON, a multi billion privately owned company. Above ground utility poles don’t last forever. I find it particularly objectionable that a depreciating asset cost has not being factored into replacing archaic EDISON infrastructure. Where was the Fire & Fear campaign to underground the newly replaced poles, on LCR, 3 years ago?

Voter ignorance may win 2/3 vote, without STOP to advance an educational campaign regarding the financial risk of over spending that a debt liability of this magnitude will create for our village and the many other potential follies of cost over runs that are not being adequately addressed. I have suggested the city scale back the scope of the project to a reasonable level and include only MAIN Evacuation Routes of LCR and PCH. In this manner, city could pay as we go, using Measure LL Tax and Rule 20A credits to underground MAIN EVACUATION ROUTES.

It is reasonable to assume the intention of creating ‘Key ER’ is to gain voter favor, at the expense of those residents who have already “paid their fair share” to under ground their own neighborhoods. A misguided approach, but a clever effort to place the burden, on all taxpayers, to pay the share of key neighborhoods. Yes, this will benefit some, even specific City Council member, Toni Eisman had to recuse herself after the specific benefit was brought to attention of the city, by another resident.

One matter of particular concern is that the City must STOP (pun intended) the continued spending of the city taxpayer war chest to advocate and promote their advertising campaign designed to support the personal objective of City Council. California Government Code §54964(a) prohibits local governmental agencies from expending public funds to advocate for or against a ballot measure or other voting initiative, with some exceptions for educational/ informative materials.

In short, City Council is not adequately addressing resident concerns and are failing their constituents to reasonably explore advanced technological alternative energy sources and have refused to scale back the scope of the project to avoid assuming gross debt liability of cost over budget construction costs! We all know the government rarely comes in on budget for cost of construction.
CAUTION~BEWARE: City of Fresno went from 25M to 400M for bullet train under ground of utility lines!

Concerned Resident,
Lorene Laguna

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