Thanks to Mayor Vo and Councilmembers Nagel, Collins and Brothers, everyone in Fountain Valley is paying more for trash collection services
There are six challengers and three incumbents running for the Fountain Valley City Council on the Nov. 4, 2014 ballot.
Incumbent Mayor Michael Vo and longtime City Council Member John Collins recently joined with City Council Members Cheryl Brothers and Steve Nagel, in voting to give away a renewal for the city’s trash hauling to Rainbow Disposal WITHOUT a competitive bid. Rates went up. These same four had accepted campaign contributions this cycle from Rainbow as confirmed to us by the City Clerk.
Bidding this opportunity would have cost the city virtually nothing, and likely would have lowered rates instead of increasing them for an elderly population, many on fixed incomes. Clearly, the four voting to foster their political resumes, pump their campaign accounts and not serve their constituents need replacement. Fountain Valley has never bid this “evergreen” contract even tho Orange County has at least five other haulers which could readily compete for it.
The Wintersburg flood control channel should have been concrete-lined and otherwise improved years ago, but the County bankruptcy caused funding to disappear.
We will give Collins a little credit for FINALLY looking for some relief on an issue fairly unique to the city. Northwest FV has been declared in a flood zone by US Army Corps of Engineers. Mortgaged homes in the zone are required by lenders to carry federal flood insurance, often for more than $1,000 annually. Fountain Valley has never gotten aggressive with the OC Flood Control department which can influence the Army, and especially deal with the cause of the issue: the unimproved, mostly rocks and dirt, Wintersburg flood channel.
This issue’s plagued hundreds of FV homeowners for over 30 years, and the city’s never formally stepped up on anyone’s behalf to mitigate it. Otoh, Collins (and Brothers) have been on and off this Council for years before some weak term limits were set, and to our knowledge neither has ever addressed the flood insurance expense until he discovered it might be a good campaign issue. Both have extensive political connections with County government — Collins once worked for Supervisor John Moorlach, and Brothers is well compensated for sitting on a number of non-elected Boards (and including Boards which should never had been formed like Vector Control).
Of the new candidates we’d encourage support for Patrick Harper, a Planning Commissioner, businessman and accountant. Harper writes a column for the Register and has the business acumen to prevent no-bid situation as happened with Rainbow Disposal from ever re-occurring. Harper is also endorsed by former FV Mayor Larry Crandall, and we believe Harper can bring some fairness and business sense to this too-comfortable City Council.
We’d also like to see a candidate come out for cancellation of the city staff policy that creates a “9/80” work week for administrative staff. Every-other-Friday OFF does not well serve 50k+ city taxpayers and residents. Police and Fire don’t do it, and such a perk is unnecessary for regular staff. Costa Mesa Mayor Jim Righeimer has loudly criticized this same policy in his city, and this cut in service applies in FV as well.
Fountain Valley also needs to free itself and drop its five-figure membership in the onerous California League of Cities. The League leans well to the left — these psuedo-governments provides no benefit to city taxpayers and work hard to exclude voters from participation in them. The City dumped is membership in ACC-OC for the same lack of value. As well, Fountain Valley need NEVER join SCAG.
There’s plenty of new folks to choose from in November, and it’s important to good government that two Council Members be replaced for supporting a trash hauler that’s overcharging and not operating in the best interest of the city.
9/4/14 Update: Only Michael Vo pursued an endorsement from the OC GOP Endorsements Committee at their meetings this week. John Collins did not seek an endorsement. From OC Political.com, here is their discussion on Vo:
7:37 PM: McCurdy (both a committee member and a Fountain Valley Councilman) asks his Council colleague Michael Vo about his votes on redevelopment.
Vo says McCurdy voted for benefits for himself while Vo opposed it. McCurdy says Vo has supported redevelopment. Vo says he would not bring it back. McCurdy says he must have changed his mind. McCurdy says Vo had voted for evergreen contracts and garbage rate increases. Vo says he has voted in the best interests of the City. McCurdy asks about his opinion on red light cameras. Vo says there is a misconception that license plates are used for tracking citizens. McCurdy expresses concern that the information is stored by a private company. Huang expresses concern about Vo voting for an evergreen contract for Rainbow Disposal three years ago. Vo says he would not vote for it again. He says at the time it was necessary to secure low interest rates. McCurdy says Vo voted for it again just a few months ago.
McCurdy moves for neutrality with Matthews seconding. Resident David Pruyne says Vo is a nice man but has voted for higher water rates and regulation. He says Vo supported increased home cottage food regulations in Fountain Valley when the State was decreasing these regulations. Gordon says Vo is okay but not enough to get recommended for endorsement. He expresses concern about the evergreen contract. Bucher expresses concern that Vo’s voting record does not match his rhetoric.
NEUTRAL RECOMMENDATION FOR FOUNTAIN VALLEY CITY COUNCIL.
9/15/14 Update: Michael Vo’s endorsement by the OC GOP was reconsidered by the Endorsements Committee again this week. Again from OC Political.com, here is the result:
Steve Nagel moves and Peggy Huang seconds the endorsement of Michael Vo for Fountain Valley City Council. He notes that the OC GOP endorsed McCurdy, Vo, and John Collins four years ago. Scott Peotter notes that Vo supported evergreen contracts and likes various Democrats on his Facebook page.
NO SECOND ENDORSEMENT FOR FOUNTAIN VALLEY CITY COUNCIL.