By Brian Park

San Juan Capistrano City Councilman Derek Reeve. Photo by Brian Park
San Juan Capistrano City Councilman Derek Reeve. Photo by Brian Park

San Juan Capistrano City Councilman Derek Reeve is asking residents to send in letters of protest against the city’s plans to increase water rates.

In an email titled “Together We Can Fight City Hall!” sent to local media on Tuesday, May 13, Reeve urges water customers to fill out and submit forms to City Hall. He cited Proposition 218, a state law which requires rates to be relative to cost of service and for cities to hold public forums to discuss rate increases. If the majority of the city’s water customers protest, Reeve said the council cannot approve the rates.

Since January, the council and Utilities Commission have held several workshops to consider a new tiered rate structure put together by Raftelis Financial Consultants. Mayor Sam Allevato and Councilmen Larry Kramer and John Taylor voted to approve 5 percent increases over the next five years but also to increase the amount of water customers can use at the lowest tier.

The new rate structure will go into effect July 1.

The city’s current rate structure was declared illegal by an Orange County Superior Court judge last August in a lawsuit brought against the city by the Capistrano Taxpayers Association. The city has appealed the ruling and continues to charge customers based on that model.

The city is hosting two additional water forums to answer questions and receive public input on Thursday, May 29 and Tuesday, June 10, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at the Community Center.

The CTA is also hosting an informational meeting on Thursday, June 5, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Capistrano Community Church.

Reeve said residents must submit their protest forms before the end of the council’s June 17 meeting, when they are scheduled to conduct a public hearing about the rates.

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comments (4)

  • Mr. Reeves, you are overlooking what is happening around us. The Earth can sustain about two billion of us. We are now at seven billion and counting.

    Seventy percent of our world is covered by water, but only one-percent of the water is potable.

    Our reliance on fossil fuels has caused the Earth to warm, and this global warming is causing major changes in our climate. The results are more severe storms, severe to exceptional droughts, extended heat waves, longer fire seasons, and smaller snow packs each year.

    Our population is growing beyond the capabilities of the planet to provide for us. Lakes Powell and Mead are drying up. Look at the NASA/NOAA satellite photos taken annually since 1985. The lakes are less than 1/3 their 1985 size. Sometime between the end of the year and 2021, lakes Powell and Mead will be dry lake beds if our population continues to increase and the drought continues.

    Seventeen towns in Northern California are running out of water. Santa Cruz just announced a stage III crisis, limiting citizens water usage to just 50 gallons per day.

    Yet, despite the drought, the State is allowing hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to expand. Fracking a single well consumes between three- and five-MILLION gallons of water. You can frack a well up to 18 times, increasing the water consumed to 54 to 90 MILLION gallons of water. Drill 1,000 new wells and the water consumed increases to 54 to 90 BILLION gallons of water. That water comes out of the water coming down the aqueducts to Southern California, 70% of which goes to agriculture and the remaining 30% is for our use.

    We were told that the methane released in the Los Angeles basin was about 3%. It is actually 17%, which means additional heat will be trapped. The result most-likely will be the drought will continue.

    You complain about our water bills, but you don’t seem to have a problem purchasing bottled water at Ralphs or Vons at 900 times the cost of the same amount of water coming out of your water faucet at home.

    What do you think is going to happen when the our local water districts can no longer provide us the water we need to live? Not only will we be rationing water, but we’ll be paying higher prices for it.

    I have written you dozens of times asking you to pass the resolution to ban fracking in San Juan Capistrano. There is no fracking going on here. I know that, but I also know that if every city were pass a ban, Sacramento would have to rethink what it is doing to our state.

    The resolution is really quite simple and straight forward —

    “It is hereby resolved that the people of San Juan Capistrano, California, have a right to clean air, pure water and the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. San Juan Capistrano’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the City of San Juan Capistrano conserves and maintains them for the benefit of all the people. Therefore, it is resolved that the technology known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, used to recover oil and gas from shale formations, acidizing, as well as the use of injection wells for the storage of fracking waste water and fluids, are permanently banned within the city limits of San Juan Capistrano and adjacent ocean.”

    You could introduce it and get it passed, and the press would report on it, and Sacramento would get the message. Ask San Clemente and Dana point to do the same, and the message gets stronger. Do the right thing for a change.

  • Thank you for your letter in response to my May 24, 2014 CapistranoDispatch comment above and letter. I must admit that I was shocked by it. Such immaturity from an elected-official such as yourself was unexpected.

    REEVE BEGINS: “Dear Ms. Clark: I apologize for not responding sooner. This weekend I packed up the family, five cases of bottled water, non-organic pre-packaged food with saturated fat, a number of firearms including my AR-15, all into our SUV to go hunting.”

    CLARK: Five cases of bottled water and you’re complaining about monthly water bills? My God, man, is this how you define your manhood, by the number of firearms you own and an SUV. Perhaps if you didn’t spend so much time watching “God, Guns and Automobiles” or “Duck Dynasty,” you would have noticed the climatic changes taking place around the planet. And, by-the-way, you forgot to mention the dog. I hope you didn’t tie him to the roof of your SUV.

    REEVE CONTINUES: “Nevertheless when I returned and read your email, I must confess I was somewhat bewildered. You see approximately four years ago you emailed me that in 20 years [now 16] our beloved city would be underwater due to man-made global warming, I mean climate change. Now you are lecturing that our city will face perpetual drought and heat waves. I sincerely do not know whether I should invest in a snorkel and flippers or additional sun tan lotion.”

    CLARK: A lot can happen in 16 years, Mr. Reeve, so I wouldn’t bet the farm just yet.

    Despite your protests and denial, scientists know a great deal about the threat before us. The climate change debate is over, despite continuing protests by the merchants of doubt.

    Sea level rise is being driven today by the melting of the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, thermal expansion of the oceans and mountain glacier melting. Total loss of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets will result in a sea level rise of approximately 204 feet. Furthermore, sea level has been rising at an accelerating rate. If you doubt this, I suggest you visit the people of Tuvalu or the Inupiat villages of Shishmaref or Kivalina, and get their opinion as to whether or not sea-level is rising.

    MR. REEVE, CONTINUES: “You stated the planet cannot sustain more than 2 billion people. This statement alone is so absurd it is difficult to respond. Allow me to try nonetheless. This fear you express is based on a cultish belief that the root of all evil is the very existence of human life itself. In the 1960’s this same hysteria was pushed regarding how life could not be sustained beyond 6 billion. However with continued innovation by for profit corporations and the ingenuity of the American farmer, new methods of agriculture have greatly expanded food production.”

    CLARK: Mr. Reeve, have you bothered checking what’s happening to all the farms and ranches throughout the Mid- and Southwest, and the Central Valley of California. Farms and livestock need water, and without it crops and livestock die.

    The ramification of over six-billion people on Earth is NOT just about being able to provide food for them alone, BUT also the MAJOR detrimental environmental effects of six-billion people and counting! Loss of habitat for wildlife, thereby causing extinction and loss of biodiversity, major resource depletions from the planet, major pollution issues (water, air, and land), and competition for living space, just to name a few.

    MR. REEVE, CONTINUES: “Yet for the sake of argument let us assume your 2 billion figure is correct. What is your solution? Many progressives like yourself have historically introduced some “final” solutions. Which would meet your reduction of the population: Forced sterilization, forced abortions, extermination camps? I mean the planet cannot sustain more than 2 billion, so this is the inevitable solution, correct?”

    CLARK: The answer is simple – EDUCATION. If people were EDUCATED, with even a basic understanding of science, they would realize the damaging effects of overpopulation, not only for them, but for other life on the planet too!

    If equal education and career opportunities were made available to women, along with equal pay for equal work, we would see more career minded women entering the workforce. Career minded women tend to put off childbearing until later in life, which equates to fewer children. If every family could learn to get by with a single-child, our population would gradually shrink to pre-industrial age numbers by the end of this century.

    It’s not about the “Religious Right” following the Bible and “GOING FORTH AND MULTIPLYING” to no end in sight, its about overpopulation. While we may enjoy three meals a day, there are millions who are lucky just to get one meal and/or a single glass of disease free water a day.

    MR. REEVE, CONTINUES: “The same is true for energy. Solar, wind, nuclear, natural gas and yes fracking have greatly contributed to the energy needs of our nation. Fracking, which has been in use since 1949, has most recently contributed to altering the world oil market. Despite the Obama administration attempts to halt it, OPEC nations have reportedly reduced production due to the increase of supply brought on to the world market by American and Canadian fracking. Saudi Arabia alone reportedly had planned to increase oil production by 2.5 million barrels per day, but instead has reduced production by 250,000 barrels per day, all because of fracking.”

    CLARK: Mr. Reeve, did you ever consider that the Saudi’s and OPEC nations might be running out of oil? “On November 20, 2007, CG and Econoff met with Dr. Sadad al-Husseini, former Executive Vice President for Exploration and Production at Saudi Aramco. Al-Husseini, who maintains close ties to Aramco executives, believes that the Saudi oil company has oversold its ability to increase production and will be unable to reach the stated goal of 12.5 million b/d of sustainable capacity by 2009.” Al-Husseini believes “that Aramco’s reserves are overstated by as much as 300 billion bbls of speculative resources.” He believes that a “global output plateau will be reached in the next 5 to 10 years and will last some 15 years, until world oil production begins to decline.” Additionally, he expressed the view that “the recent surge in oil prices reflects the underlying reality that global demand has met supply, and is not due to artificial market distortions.” (Confidential memos obtained by WikiLeaks).

    MR. REEVE, CONTINUES: “As to fracking alone no credible evidence has been presented to support your position. In fact, former head of the EPA reportedly testified before congress that after 3 1/2 years of investigations no example of fracking being unsafe to the environment was discovered.”

    CLARK: Fracking consumes between 3 and 5 million gallons per frack. This water is mixed with some 586 different unidentified (the Halliburton exclusion) chemicals, virtually all toxic to every life form on the planet. A well can be fracked up to 18 times. According to Kern County newspapers, 1,000 new wells are planned. If that happens in the next year, then between 54 and 90 BILLION gallons of water will be consumed. Our rivers are at all-time lows, our reservoirs are at near minimum capacities, and our aquifers stressed to the maximum, so pray tell Mr. Reeve, if we allow all of this water to be consumed by fracking, where is the water for agriculture and human consumption going to come from?

    Pollution from fracking has been described “as not just a ‘bridge too nowhere,’ it turns out to be a highway to hell. The recent Cornell study makes clear that the widely-held perception that gas is the ‘cleaner’ darling of the fossil fuel trio is a myth. With total methane emissions factored in, shale gas turns out to have the greatest climate impact of all the fossil fuels.” Residents of Wise County, Texas, who began experiencing nausea, nosebleeds, difficulty breathing, ringing ears and rashes after the first wells were sunk near their homes, have been awarded almost $3 million in damages. But it doesn’t just end with air pollution. At least one almond farmer in the San Joaquin Valley lost his almond crop when fracking waste water migrated into the aquifer supplying his orchards.

    MR. REEVE CONTINUES: “I believe the greatest threat facing our society is the absence of God from our daily civic life. Sadly the vacuum left has been filled by a narcissus, egocentric belief that we alone can alter the weather and control life. Only God can grant life and with all frankness, neither you nor I have the power to control the weather.”

    CLARK: Which God, Mr. Reeve? Since the beginning of the human race, humankind has worshiped literally hundreds of different Gods, and humans have been killing each other in the name of God for tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of years.

    As for our altering the weather, we have been effectively altering climate for hundreds of years through deforestation and more-recently the burning of fossil fuels.

    MR. REEVE CLOSES: “Thank you for the countless number of emails over the years. I respect your right to have your opinion and communicate it.”

    CLARK: You’re welcome, but please keep this in mind, I also VOTE!

  • Renee Chevalier

    I read this and wonder if there are people who can actually think. This Joanna Clark seems to know what she is talking about. But it seems that people are denying that she does and for some reason attacking the messenger. The messenger is only bring up the science and scientific facts of this issue. So why are some so mean spirited and giving the people truly concerned about the health of the planet a hard time all the time.
    I am sorry I read write and do many other things but I keep coming back to this We as a human race need clean water without chemicals, Food that has no chemicals in it. And air that has oxygen in it but no chemicals.
    And with all the water use by California companies to Frack and do other things against nature where are we going to get more water for our consumption unless we follow Joanna Clarks lead and ban fracking in the state of California. Other wise we are doomed as a people and a human race. What is there to fight about? I really do not understand why people are so against putting restrictions on a company that is taking unfair advantage.

  • I’d like to voice my support for everything Joanna Clark says when it comes to energy, water, and climate change. I’ve worked around her at different times for the last 18 months and she as knowledgable as anyone I know in the field. I am part of Citizens Climate Lobby a volunteer organization working to create the political will for a stable climate. We have three PhD’s in our chapter, one from Chapman who has contributed to past IPCC Reports, a lead author with the IPCC from UCI and a scientist, a PhD, now at Fullerton who was 20 years at Berkley prior. They would all back up Ms Clark’s science. They would back her, along with every other scientist at those school if you asked them.

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