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Murrieta, January 2018 - Public Hearing Notice Lacks Full Disclosure

There are three issues that appear to lack full disclosure for Waste Management rate increases. The Public Hearing is scheduled for February 6, 2018 at 6 pm.

Firstly, there is a difference of 8 cents in the proposed new rate that is not explained in the details of the Notice of Public Hearing letter. You have to go to the website address cited in the last line of the letter to see the 8 cents is an Adjustment. What the adjustment is for is not disclosed to the residents.

Secondly, the 52 cent increase cited under the “Recycling Material Offset Adjustment” appears to be proposed for residential customers to subsidize commercial customers. Based on the letter, commercial customers are mandated by law to recycle but it appears that residential customers are not.

Thirdly, based on the website spreadsheet, we do see a green waste charge as a separate fee. This too may be something that is optional for residential customers; however, they are not provided with sufficient information to agree to this fee either.

It is highly possible that residential customers could actually experience reduced waste truck traffic in their residential neighborhoods. Waste Management would also save costs by reducing from three trucks (green, grey, and red 96 gal barrel collection) to one truck per week coming down residential streets. If residents are not mandated by law to recycle, then all waste can be dumped into one truck. Those residents who wish to recycle can take their cans, plastic, and paper to recycling centers. Some customers may be able to reduce from three barrels per week to only one or two 96 gallon barrels. This would significantly reduce their monthly costs for trash pickup (approx. $7.50 per month per barrel not needed.

Before the City Council votes for this proposed rate increase they need to consider all the options available to their constituents. There are many more questions than answers given for the upcoming Public Hearing. Can residents eliminate paying for a grey container? Can residents eliminate paying for a green container? Can residents be relieved of subsidizing Commercial Recycling Costs. Is the additional 8 cents another undisclosed Commercial Subsidy “Adjustment”?

Less than full disclosure is BAD GOVERNMENT. Residents should expect a full explanation for their options. For this to be effective, a new date for the hearing should be scheduled in accordance with some answers provided in an amended letter pursuant to Government Codes cited in the letter.

Judicial Watch Reports: Governors Pardon Immigrants

Let’s look at a few of the newly pardoned immigrants. The Californians pardoned include two Cambodian men, Mony Neth of Modesto and Rottanak Kong of Davis, arrested in immigration sweeps a few months ago. The men, ages 42 and 39, came to the U.S. as children and were convicted of felonies as adults. The crimes include a weapons charge and association to a gang. Neth and Rottanak were scheduled to be deported in December along with dozens of other Cambodians convicted of crimes but a federal judge in southern California issued a temporary restraining order after their pro bono attorneys from a civil rights group filed an emergency motion. Nearly 2,000 Cambodians in the U.S. are subject to deportation, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) figures cited in a northern California newspaper. More than half of them have criminal convictions that stripped them of legal status.

The New York pardons include a 57-year-old Mexican transgender woman convicted of criminal facilitation, a 35-year-old man from Estonia convicted of larceny, and a 53-year-old Dominican man convicted of criminal sale of a controlled substance. According to Governor Cuomo, these immigrants deserve to stay in the U.S. for the following reasons: The Mexican national, Lorena Borjas, deserves to stay in the U.S. because she is a strong advocate for transgender and immigrant communities and runs HIV testing programs for transgender sex workers and a syringe exchange for transwomen taking hormone injections. The Estonian, Alexander Shilov, became a nurse and frequently gives talks on overcoming addiction. The Dominican, Freddy Perez, works as an electrician and takes care of his autistic younger brother. For these reasons, they deserve to remain in the U.S. despite their criminal histories, Cuomo says.

This appears to be part of a broader effort by local governments to protect criminal immigrants from deportation. Months ago, Judicial Watch reported that prosecutors in two major U.S. cities ordered staff not to charge illegal immigrants with minor, non-violent crimes because it could get the offenders deported. Brooklyn, New York District Attorney Eric Gonzalez was the first to issue the order creating two sets of rules involving local crimes. The goal, according to a statement issued by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, is “minimizing collateral immigration consequences of criminal convictions.”

Taxpayers in the busy New York City borough are also paying for two immigration attorneys to train all staff on immigration issues and advise prosecutors when making plea offers and sentencing recommendations. The idea is to avoid “disproportionate collateral consequences, such as deportation, while maintaining public safety.” Gonzalez, the Brooklyn District Attorney, says he’s committed to equal and fair justice for all Brooklyn residents—citizens, lawful residents and undocumented immigrants alike.

A few weeks after Brooklyn proudly disclosed its policy, prosecutors in Maryland’s largest city joined the bandwagon, albeit more quietly. There was no public announcement or celebratory press conference but a local newspaper got ahold of an internal memo sent by Baltimore’s Chief Deputy State’s Attorney instructing prosecutors to think twice before charging illegal immigrants with minor, non-violent crimes. The chief deputy, Michael Schatzow, used similar language in the memo, writing that the Trump administration’s deportation efforts “have increased the potential collateral consequences to certain immigrants of minor, non-violent criminal conduct.” Schatzow is second-in-command to Baltimore’s top prosecutor, Marilyn Mosby, and oversees major crimes at the state agency. “In considering the appropriate disposition of a minor, non-violent criminal case, please be certain to consider those potential consequences to the victim, witnesses, and the defendant,” Schatzow wrote to his staff.

Murrieta - Ongoing issues with Mosquitos and Complaints

Heavy rains exacerbate the mosquito problem in Riverside County and residents are advised to monitor and report mosquito breeding grounds in visible and hidden detention basins in their area.

One such visible detention basin in Murrieta is over 30 acres in size and located along Monroe and Jackson Ave. This huge detention basin, only one of many in Riverside county, saved developers millions of dollars in flood control infrastructure.

Some of these basins are not easily monitored as they are hidden below ground, such as one that was approved for the Meadowlane Condos on Adams Ave in Murrieta. According to the public hearings, the drainage channels on the property eventually drain to a grassy slope at the northerly corner of the project and fills a basin that when full will spill excess waters over into the Line E flood control channel on Adams Ave. Be especially watchful of these types of breeding grounds as they are not monitored nor under any mosquito abatement spraying program.

While the risk for West Nile, Zika, and malaria are currently low in Riverside County, it is advised to be proactive in protecting yourself, your family, and your pets from bites. Dead birds in the area are an indication of local disease carrying mosquito breeding grounds.

Residents are advised to call the Riverside Vector Control office at 951-766-9454 to report a mosquito problem.

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