Venus says, “get off your ass and write that letter to the CPUC!”

At 6am you can see Venus, Jupiter and Mars lined up right across the Eastern sky.

At 6am Venus, Jupiter and Mars are lined up in a trio, like three lanterns crossing the morning sky.  If you look really close here you can see Jupiter there to the lower left of Venus, but Mars was too shy to get in the picture. 

Orion is standing up very tall in the West, and this morning Taurus charged out in all his glory. The Sisters are very bright, standing behind Taurus, I think they’re giggling.

Sheesh, I just drank my coffee so fast I don’t remember what it tasted like. I try to get up early, give myself a chance to wake up before the day comes roaring in. The freeway’s already so loud I have to shut my windows. 

I’ve been taking a few minutes here and there to work on my protest letter to the CPUC over this latest Cal Water rate hike proposal. I was perusing the CPUC website for instructions when I found this disheartening reading material:

I’ll give it to you in a nutshell – the CPUC is proposing a system by which water rates are raised regularly, so rate increases are less noticeable. Yeah, that’s right – CPUC is proposing this scam, for the benefit of Cal Water and other water service companies.

Ever feel just plain beat?  Whenever I’m feeling beat, I know – you’re on the down Juanita Girl, you better get ready for THE UP!

Because, as you probably know, life is a series of ups and downs. It’s just plain science, it’s the law, and if you don’t understand that, you’re likely to get a serious case of motion sickness. 

God, I hate fucking quitters, don’t even come to me with that shit. Here’s what we gotta do – we must point out that while we want Cal Water to have plenty of funds to take care of infrastructure and maintenance, and to pay reasonable salaries, we should not have to pay for stockholder profits or for employee pensions.

Yes, it’s smart to have a regular formula by which you raise your prices when you offer a service. That way, you don’t have to come to your customers when you have a big expense and shock their socks off – you’ve already saved up money for emergencies. That’s a smart way to manage rates and expenses. Of course, in a model like that, rates should go down when expenses are paid off. When was the last time you ever heard anything like that out of Cal Water?

An emergency fund is one thing. Is it really okay to allow stockholders to profit in a utility company, even when the company repeatedly turns to it’s ratepayers with demands for more money? Is it okay to pay stockholders when a company complains they can’t keep up with costs? 

I do believe it’s okay to offer your employees decent salaries.  Poorly paid employees have little to contribute to the community at large because they don’t have any discretionary income and have to turn to the public teat when they need healthcare or have some other crisis.  Chico Area Recreation District, for example, creates poverty by paying most of their employees below subsistence wages and cutting hours to avoid  paying Obamacare. 

But, nobody at Cal Water is suffering from poverty, the lowest salaries at $77,000/year – that’s almost twice the median income in Chico.  Out of salaries ranging from $77,000 – $115,000, they pay NOTHING toward their own retirement or their defined benefits pension packages. 

We also need to point out, while we’ve cut our usage, our bills have gone sky-high. I hope you’ve saved your bills, if not, look through your check book register and old bank statements. You can ask Cal Water for your usage history – tell them you want the water amounts, not the money amounts. Go back three or more years. 

Really people, get off your asses, the enemy is coming up your front drive.


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