The SAWS Act PAC announced that it will not continue its petition drive for a November election, but intends to make SAWS accountability one of the top three issues in the May election for Mayor and City Council. They will use their lists of voters – the 14,000 who signed the SAWS petition before the deadline – together with thousands of signatures that continue to come in – to inform voters as to where 81 candidates running for ten City Council seats really stand on SAWS accountability. Candidate responses are due on March 9, and will be posted in real time as they are submitted to the PAC.
The questionnaire asks candidates where they stand on the five provisions of the SAWS Accountability Act. The PAC asks candidates to pledge to within 30 days of election, move to pass an ordinance ordering a performance audit of Vista Ridge pipeline, the driver of 58% (so far) rate hikes and an investigation into the expensive stealth legal attacks on their petition by SAWS. The questionnaire also seeks to turn up the heat on SAWS by asking candidates where they stand on election of the SAWS Board of Trustees and expansion of the board to include representation for ratepayers throughout the service area, whether they live the City proper or not.
The SAWS Act PAC released to the candidates and to the public a copy of their candidate questionnaire (posted here page 2 excerpt) and a nearly 5,500 word analysis documenting their claims for accountability measures needed at SAWS.
Reinette King, a spokesperson for the SAWS Act PAC, said, “Our opponents have really stepped on a rattlesnake, that is, our right to petition for something we should have received two years ago when we politely asked the council for transparency at SAWS and an independent performance audit of Vista Ridge. I’m going to remain an activist here in District 10 for this May election to ensure that our petition drive pays off by making SAWS accountability the top issue here and throughout the city in this election.”
Stan Mitchell, Treasurer for the SAWS Act PAC, and fiscal watchdog, said: “SAWS’ management attacked our petition with impunity because not even the City’s Audit and Accountability Committee will stand up to them. My own Council Member, John Courage, has stood by and watched SAWS and CPS attack our right to petition – using who knows how many of our own tax dollars in a frivolous and failed lawsuit and even now is trying to control Public Comments by simply leaving them off his agenda.”
George Alejos of LULAC Concilio Zapatista 4383, said,
“Our communities are going through a very frightening time. The last thing we need is continued tone deafness at City Hall. It is our hope that voters and local organizations will use our questionnaire to form their own opinions about the candidates. After this May election, and hopefully with COVID behind us, will come our next stage in the battle to bring the public back into our public utilities.”
The SAWS Act PAC questionnaire can be viewed on their homepage. Candidate answers are due on March 9 and will be immediately posted as they are received.