Candidate Scribes Water Ratepayer 'Bill of Rights'

Councilman Carl DeMaio said as mayor, he would veto any rate hike approved by Council

By Gene Cubbison and Lauren Steussy
|  Monday, May 21, 2012  |  Updated 9:10 PM PDT
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A 'Bill of Rights' for Water Ratepayers?

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Carl DeMaio said Monday he would use his mayor's veto power to shoot down certain Council-approved water-rate increases, if elected.

The first-term councilman issued a water ratepayer "Bill of Rights" on Monday. He says there's no time like the present to go on the warpath against water and sewer utility rate hikes that have nearly doubled over five years.

"We must respect the hard-earned money of working families in San Diego by insuring that water bills are kept to the bare minimum necessary to run the system," he said Monday.

DeMaio's ten-point "Bill of Rights" calls for a new, tiered rate structure, more streamlining and efficiencies, salary and pension reforms, managed competition and outsourcing.

As the city's next mayor, he said, he would veto any rate hike approved by the Council without a six-vote super majority.

A spokesman for current mayor Jerry Sanders, points out that water rate hikes are pass-down costs imposed by outside wholesale suppliers.

The San Diego County Water Authority has a lawsuit pending over that issue against the biggest supplier, Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District.

DeMaio's proposals garnered some push-back from the mayor's office.

"Everything that comes out of Carl DeMaio's mouth between now and election day is going to be disconnected from reality and is going to be sheer demagoguery in order to get votes," said Alex Roth, Deputy Mayoral Press Secretary. "And I think everybody should sort of consider it as such."

Local water agencies are looking at another 'pass-down' water rate hike that approaches ten percent. The mayor's office says it wouldn't come before the San Diego's City Council until December.

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