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Re: “Fees in Flux

Has anyone actually looked at the water department budget? As the water department says, it is now supposed to be self-sustaining and function exactly like any other business. Unfortunately, that never has been true and we're going to see the situation continue to get worse with this latest increase. When businesses don't have the funds, they reduce costs (like marginally effective or unnecessary employees -- even many good and talented people). A business must live within its income. However, the water department tells us that they will save money by "not filling vacant positions." At least that's what they say in their radio commercials. "We're working harder without as many people so please be patient with us when you call for service. To save money, we're not going to fill our vacant jobs." What kind of reverse logic is that? In other words, they don't cut staff. They simply raise additional funds to pay salaries. That's management? Additionally, their internal "office supply and services" expenses would bankrupt a "regular" company. But that isn't changing, either. In fact, many of their expenditures are hidden in "lump sum" line items with labels that are indecipherable unless dismembered piece by piece and that is only possible if you're actually in the budgeting process in the water department. Citizens aren't. The budget is presented to the council and they merely say, "yes." But these numbers aren't scrutinized by the citizens who will be effected by these price increases. If the average citizen could see these costs they'd go ballistic and insist on somebody being accountable for these expenditures before rates are allowed to rise. In fact, many of the water department's internal processes and services also are in direct competition with local businesses and the additional costs to maintain the first-class internal functionality is unbelievable. Instead of buying these goods and services from local companies who really need the money, the water department has built an advertising and communications capability that is first-class -- one that a water department really doesn't need and shouldn't have. It's interesting to note that it's not called "advertising," it's called "customer education." Doing their own radio and television commercials, brochures, collateral materials, etc., has become too much fun to turn over to local professionals so they simply keep those funds to themselves. When they run out of money, they just raise the rates to do things that a water department sholdn't even being doing. And our local businesses go hungry. Additionally, managing and enhancing these internal "office supplies and services" requires staff not used in the normal water department processes. More costs. If they eliminated the tools used to create the "educational materials," they also could eliminate the staff and all support mechanisms that then would no longer be required. Shouldn't that be a first-step before raising rates by ten cents on each dollar? With the rate adjustments EACH YEAR for the past several years, this new one is a killer! And, with the present non-management philosophy, there will continue to be rate increases in the forseeable future. Why?

Years ago, our water department created and ran an extensive advertising program year after year called "Beat the Peak." Our department head, and even the mayor, had fun and laughed and joked in television commercials paid for by the taxpayers. The people in Tucson responded and saved water extraordinarily well. Yet, the water rates went up. Why? The water guru said that the rates had to go up to pay for the department's personnel and operating expenses because the use of water had gone down so dramatically that sufficient funds weren't being generated to meet operational costs. How novel. Use went down, yet costs went up to support the existing bloated internal structure. A Catch 22! They raised the rates to pay their existing expenses rather than reduce the size and cost of the business to accommodate the efficiencies they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising to create. And here we are again. When will someone go inside and tear out the wires holding this department together? Where is the accounting oversight? Where is the management? Everybody talks but nobody has the talent to run this thing like a real company. When does the taxpayer get the professionalism that he's paying increasingly larger sums of money to create?

Posted by Porter on 02/16/2010 at 10:37 AM

Re: “The Skinny

Here we go again. Blindly leaning into the wind and hearing "friendly" voices. John Munger? Do you actually KNOW anything about John? Before you blithely cast your mental support and residual vote for him, do some homework! Gabrielle? A nice young girl who is a nice young girl. She should be at home lighting the candles for her astronaut instead of pretending to know what's happening in Congress. Pleeeze. It's time to put a Republican in that chair. She's simply the traditional "rubber stamp" in Congress and that's no help at all. Steve Farley? What has he accomplished except acquire the disdain of his own party regulars for advocating and stubbornly supporting "stupid people tricks" in an attempt to appear to be a bright activist. Let's get some people in there who really know what's going on and are not just getting involved because they want to play politician. Where are all the professionals? Even the bad ones would be better than "Amateur Night at the Roxy."

Posted by Porter on 11/21/2009 at 12:22 PM

Re: “Unincorporated and Unrepresented

Why is this so confusing to the citizens of Marana? They're obviously unaware of the way in which our elected "representatives" work. They're elected but they're never really our "representatives" until it's time to be re-elected. The same is true for Tucson and all municipalities. In Tucson, we had an election that threw out one of the council members. Guess what? She was allowed to come back the day before her replacement was to be installed so she could vote FOR an issue to which the majority of our neighborhoods were opposed. Her vote was determined to be crucial to pass the measure created by a small group of activist neighbors. Does this make sense? On her way out she was going to be allowed to stab the neighborhoods in the back as an act of revenge for being removed from office by -- voters! What's wrong with this picture?! Yet, she was outraged that, while on vacation, the basic issue was modified slightly, without her knowledge, by the council, thus making her vote unnecessary. She went ballistic! And remember that this attitude was displayed the day before her replacement was to be installed! What arrogance! That's the image of our elected "representatives." Marana officials are no different. The next time there's an election, get anybody who can vote to throw them out so you can install folks who are dedicated to residents first and process second.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Porter on 11/21/2009 at 11:49 AM

Re: “Campaign Briefs

Ok. Taking something "out of the window" requires at least an attempt to "put something worthwhile back in."

Vote NO on 200
Ward 3 VOTE for anyone except Uhlich
Ward 5 VOTE for McClusky
Ward 6 VOTE for KOZ (anyone but Trasoff)
PROPS 401 AND 402 -- VOTE NO OR SEE YOUR TAXES GO THROUGH THE ROOF! TUSD is a dying albatross with the Legislature investing millions in Charter Schools. Even the Federal Government is turning into Charter School backers. The millions that 401 and 402 will give to TUSD will go into a gigantic hole for equipment and capital expenditures (buildings, salaries for inadequate teachers who already have been fired once, and more nonsense for a school system that continues to lose thousands of kids to Charter Schools each year). Every time TUSD fails to keep a student enrolled (the parents take the kids out and put them in Charter Schools) costs TUSD $5,000 per year. That is escalating into millions each year. That's why there is 401 and 402. If they can't get it from the legislature (those are the folks who are the legal supporters) they'll go to the public and get them to squeeze more money for taxes from their personal wallets to support already failed programs and people. VOTE NO

Posted by Porter on 11/02/2009 at 1:48 PM

Re: “Campaign Briefs

It's sad that a writer who has not done the necessary homework feels compelled to say Vote Yes or Vote No with such little information. It's even sadder that Tucson Weekly allows that kind of arrogance to be published.

Posted by Porter on 11/02/2009 at 1:38 PM

Re: “City Council Race: What's All This About Big Dicks?

C'mon, Jim. Let's not get into propagandistic nonsense. Why dredge up something like this instead of dealing with the overwhelming lack of capability of our Democrat ladies on the Council. Who cares whether the alternative is Republican or Democrat? I'm a Dem but we need anybody other that T and U! Everything else is inconsequential. Stick with the important stuff. Your subject will be dealt with by the people. Don't try to make it an issue at this juncture. Stick with the REAL issues.

Posted by Porter on 10/18/2009 at 9:38 PM

Re: “Mailbag

Props 401 and 402 are to increase our property taxes and give that money to TUSD for a huge new computer software program and new computer hardware plus a high speed connection throughout all schools and TUSD offices in the district. A terrible waste of taxpayer dollars. The people going over the software have not demonstrated a thorough understanding of precisely what each software vendor is offering. That system will cost millions of dollars -- just for the hardware and software upgrades. And 401 and 402 will run for years -- not just for one year. That's right. Not just one small, temporary tax hike to pay for new computers. Each year that tax will go to TUSD even AFTER the computers and software have been bought. And where will it go then? To provide the money to bring back many of the people the parents are running to Charter schools to get away from. Additionally, the judge in the 30-year old discrimination law suit commented recently that he couldn't understand why the attorneys for both sides didn't request an end to the suit years and years ago. In other words, TUSD could have ended the suit long ago and saved countless dollars that could have been used for the resources they want now to offer more "exceptional teaching" programs like their excursion into Hispanic History. Courses in Hispanic History actually qualify in TUSD for student credits as though they had taken American History. That's how they qualify for college if American History credits are necessary for college entrance. What's wrong with funding this picture? Charter Schools are taking children from TUSD by the truck load because the parents find the Charter system to be better. Additionally, the legislature is contemplating an investment in charter schools of $15 million dollars which will save the state tens of millions of dollars that they won't have to put into antiquated schools (and teachers?) in TUSD and other locales. Why do we need an override? To protect jobs that would seem to be better placed if they transition into Charter Schools and forget about raising our taxes to perpetuate TUSD.

Posted by Porter on 10/14/2009 at 4:03 PM

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