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Community organizing in Phoenix, AZ using the desert’s most precious resource: water

Water is AZ’s most precious resource.  It is much more expensive than in other states.  That’s OK.  Everyone who lives in the desert understands that we must use the resource prudently.  However, Arizonans are hurting right now.  The housing collapse has directly or indirectly hurt everyone who lives here.  Last year, the water company raised rates by 9%.  This year they want another increase of 7% or $22.9 million.  What??????  Water rates have risen 40% in the last 5 years. 

Coincidentally, 303 city employees who were cut from other departments have been transferred  to the Water Department at a cost of $19.3 million.   I received an e-mail a couple of days ago from “cleansafewaterphoenix.com”.    The Phoenix Fire Fighters (public sector union) want me to join them in supporting responsible public policy.  If the rate increase is not passed, the city bond rating could be at stake if it fails to pay its bills.  if Phoenix fails to pay one bill, it affects our credit in other areas. I need to sign the petition for the “small water fee increase” to protect the city’s credit rating.  Not to mention the email comes from “cleansafewater.com”.  I guess we’ll be drinking sludge if the rate increase doesn’t go through.

Phoenix declared a “fiscal emergency” on Feb 2, 2010, passing a $50 million food tax with barely 24 hours notice, or else police and fire would be cut.  On June 23, the city granted $29.6 million for city staff in pay raises and bonuses.   Also in June, Phoenix declared another fiscal emergency saying that the secondary debt fund (used to pay off citizen debt) was in dire shape if the Council did not approve a huge property tax hike.  In July, the city shifted $18.9 million from the fund to pay employee and operational expenses.  They in effect created their own crisis.  What do you think the odds are that property taxes won’t be increased?

Phoenix Democrat Mayor Phil Gordon has been trained well by the Alinskyites.

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