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County counting on you not to respond to fee plan

Posted: January 13, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: January 13, 2013 2:00 a.m.

It’s been said that "You can’t fight city hall," and the latest tactic by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors regarding a homeowner fee for clean water proposed by the L.A. County Flood Control District makes that crystal clear.

The tactic, if not illegal, is at least unethical.

Let me explain: a great many years ago, some businesses made a practice of mailing their products to homes as a free trial.

There would be an accompanying letter explaining that the recipient had a certain number of days to try the product or return it.

Of course, many people who didn’t want, need or like the product failed to return it and were billed for the product.

Those companies knew it was in the nature of many people to forget to return the product, and they also knew that enough of those people would pay and that their deceptive practice would pay off.

Companies can’t do that anymore. It’s not legal, and yet the Board of Supervisors is doing it right now to all Los Angeles County homeowners.

Here’s how: We just received a letter from the supervisors explaining why they want to charge a new annual fee and that there would be a hearing Jan. 15 at their downtown palace.

Now, they know that not many people are going to travel downtown to make that hearing, so here’s their underhanded deal: the letter says that if you do not favor the annual fee, you can mail in a protest or bring one downtown.

The board will make the assumption that if there are not great numbers of protests (there won’t be because some people will not even read the letter and merely throw it away; others will, just like those who received products years ago, forget to take the action). Supervisors know this; they plan on it.

If the board really wanted to know how homeowners feel about this proposed fee, they could have included a pro or con ballot.

But make no mistake: Supervisors don’t want our input; they want to impose the fee.

The fee, by the way, is annual, and that will almost certainly mean it will be raised. How often and for how much we can only imagine.

There is certainly merit to working for clean waterways, but why not a one-time assessment that we can live with and not a fee that will be with us forever?

Richard Myers



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