FACTS WE NOW KNOW ABOUT LAGUNA LAKE by Barry Levinson


Barry Levinson

Barry Levinson

The below comments were made by Park and Recreation Committee member Barry Levinson at the September 14, 2015 committee meeting.

 

FACTS WE NOW KNOW ABOUT LAGUNA LAKE by Barry Levinson

 

  1. Per statistics I directly asked for and received from the City of Fullerton’s Water System Manager, Dave Schickling, water usage at Laguna Lake was almost identical over the last five years.

Therefore it begs the question why did the city not consider taking any action before now?  Why didn’t Mr. Schickling inform the Parks and Recreation Committee about this ongoing long-term water loss problem at Laguna Lake?

 

  1. We now know that the city of Fullerton has not been identifying the cost of water used by the city as a separate line item in the budget but rather passing all of its costs thru to the ratepayers in Fullerton.  Considering that water is one of the larger costs necessary to run the Parks and Recreation Department, it begs the following question:  Why did the city not identify this significant cost as part of the Park and Recreation budget?

 

The current pass thru method hides the true cost to run this department and for that reason it needs to be changed.

 

 

Going Forward:

 

I ask that Director Curiel invite Mr. Schickling to come before this committee next month to explain why the city ignored this water issue at Laguna Lake for many years and at the same time did not make it known to the public.  I also ask that we agendize a change in how water is accounted for by the Parks and Recreation Department.  Therefore, I would like to place a motion now that the Fullerton Parks and Recreation Department changes the way it accounts for its water usage from the current pass-thru method to Fullerton ratepayers to an itemized expense included in the costs for the Parks and Recreation Department.   As part of this motion I also request Mr. Schickling provide to us a written proposal for this conversion along with a specific time table to complete the task.   Do I have a second on this motion?

 

May the minutes of this meeting include all my comments on this subject?  Finally, for the record, I will be giving a copy of my comments to the Department to make it very easy for them to include accurately all my remarks into tonight’s meeting minutes.

 

That concluded my prepared remarks during the Parks and Recreation Committee meeting.

 

This most needed change would provide for an accurate accounting of all costs to run the department. The current pass-thru method hides the true cost of the Parks and Recreation Department.  In fact, if we had a proper accounting of the water costs used by the Parks and Recreation Department all along, anyone looking at the Parks and Recreation Department budgets would have clearly noticed the spike in water costs many, many years ago.  City government transparency must start with an accurate accounting of all costs required to run the city.  This agenda item should have the support of every Park and Recreation Committee member at the next committee meeting.

 

PS:  Back in June the city of Fullerton was seriously considering allowing the lake to go dry due to excessive loss of water.  If it was not for the many Fullerton residents who showed up at that city council meeting to clearly state their opposition to that plan, the lake would probably now be dry.  Why is that significant?   The lake was a source of water for the fire fighting helicopters for the recent W. Coyote Hills fire.  Without that water supply the damage caused by that fire could have been worse including loss of homes and maybe even lives.

 

I report, you decide.

  1. #1 by Joe Imbriano on September 15, 2015 - 8:37 am

    The pass thru cost method hides the cost of the 60,000 gallons a day that has been leaking out of Laguna Lake ever since they recklessly dredged the lake a decade ago. When they dredged the lake, they scraped the natural clay bottom away that was impermeable and acted as a liner for 90 years. They have hidden this from the public and by hiding the leak for 10 years, they have forgone any recourse the city would have had with the contractors and consultants that would have been available through litigation by letting the statute run. Now we as a community are dealing with a water emergency. Now we find out that for 10 years, they have been wasting a few hundred thousand a year on Laguna Lake water and hiding the cost by using a pass thru scheme to stick it to the taxpayers. The lake could have been redone right away at the expense of the contractors and consultants that screwed it up in the first place. This could have been accomplished through litigation. Now the city could face a 10 million dollar fine from the State if we miss our water conservation goal while this thing drains into who knows where all day everyday. While we all pay for your waste, your mismanagement, as we kill our lawns, watch the trees die and the vegetable gardens turn to rot, the city hides their misdeeds with this scam. Who knew about this and made the decision to keep stealing water from the ratepayers and let the city waste upwards of 20 million gallons of water a year?

  2. #2 by Anonymous on September 15, 2015 - 5:04 pm

    Where on earth did you get those figures on the lake’s water loss? If I am to understand you Mr. Levinson, this appears to be a matter of defrauding the ratepayers. How do we recover what has been taken from us? Will we get a refund?

  3. #3 by Say It Isn't So Joe on September 16, 2015 - 2:46 am

    Fullerton City Government makes fantasy a reality. Unfortunately for the citizens of Fullerton that fantasy all too often leaves the Fullerton taxpayer holding on to the very short end of the stick.

    First we learn a few short years ago that the city has been overcharging us for water for approximately 30 plus years but due to statutes of limitations we can only get reimbursed for a maximum of 3 years. Then “fiscal conservative” Jennifer Fitzgerald gets elected and votes with the majority to reduce the just voted for refund by about 2/3. Way to go Ms. Fitzgerald. The end result is that instead of the average long time water customer in Fullerton getting thousands of dollars each as a refund (for a 30 year refund, i.e what we were really overcharged by the city), it gets cut back to about 50 dollars per household.

    Now we learn that Laguna Lake has been leaking like a sieve for the last 5 – 10 years but our conscientous stewards at city hall decided not to tell us. For you see they were adding the entire city of Fullerton water usage cost directly to our water bills the entire time. Wasn’t that so nice of them allowing us unbeknownst to us to pay for all their water.

    Don’t you got to love Joe Felz and his merry band of public servants. Thank you so much Joe for looking out I guess for you. I heard he wants a raise. Don’t you just love him?

    So the city as our duly paid representatives did absolutely nothing to change the billing system or the major leak at Laguna Lake. I just starting humming the song….Freeeee Ride. Thanks City of Fullerton, we can always count on you.

    Gee if Love Fullerton was still going on, I would go out right now and start washing City of Fullerton vehicles, now knowing that not only is my labor free to them but I was donating more of my own water to them as well. You did not know that many of you were being charged for your volunteerism.

    I think I might move to Bell.

  4. #4 by Roger on September 16, 2015 - 7:08 am

    Thank you for your courageous 3 minutes last night. I have never heard anything about this major development until you spoke on the issue last night. Your colleague Mr. Imbriano also did a fine job as well. You two are what Fullerton needs.

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