(Cypress, Ca, March 11, 2017, by Dave Emerson) Valley Vista Services wants to raise Cypress residents’ trash rates 10% due to “unanticipated costs.” That’s in addition to any Consumer Price Index related increase.
And that’s actually the “good news.” Valley View wants to raise their rates for Cypress businesses by 17%!
Here’s a summary from Cypress’ diligent citizen watchdog George Pardon:
Monday night’s Cypress City Council Agenda item 13 is both shocking and of great concern. Valley Vista Services (VVS) has requested an extraordinary rate increase of 10 percent for residential rates and 17 percent for commercial rates in addition to any annual CPI adjustment.
The agenda item proposes to establish a City Council Ad-Hoc Committee to study Valley Vista Services’ request for a Solid Waste Franchise Extraordinary Rate Increase. Valley Vista Services requested the extraordinary rate increase citing unanticipated costs associated with their operation including bulky item collection, special services such as graffiti removal, and the establishment of local solid waste operation facilities. VVS reports its costs to operate have exceeded their original estimates when they proposed to serve Cypress.
At this point the City Council is only being asked to appoint an ad hoc committee to investigate the request, and to hire a consultant to assist in the investigation. I’m wondering if that’s really necessary, or if the Council could just say no to the rate increase, without spending taxpayer dollars on a consultant.
Interestingly enough, California’s Fair Political Practices Commission levied the highest fine allowed for political money laundering against George Briggeman, who runs Valley Vista’s Cypress operations in October of 2015 for dealings with two current Cypress City Council Members, Mariellen Yarc and Rob Johnson. According to an article in the Orange County Register,
Briggeman used a Wyoming company, Green and Clean LLC, to funnel $13,200 into 2012 city council races in Anaheim, Lake Forest and Cypress, according to the FPPC. The money was transferred from Green and Clean to Taxpayers for Safer Neighborhoods, which made independent expenditures for six candidates and against three others in those three cities.
“This case involves a series of transactions calculated to intentionally prevent the public from learning the true source of funds,” according to the FPPC’s findings. “The violations here are especially egregious because they were intentional, deliberate and the activity associated with the violations was intended to circumvent the central purpose of the (state Political Reform) Act.”
Neither Council Member Yarc nor Johnson were fined, but they did support former Council Member Douglas Bailey’s move to mandate that Cypress could cancel the current Solid Waste Contract if Valley Vista fired Briggeman. They could demonstrate their independence from Mr. Briggeman by simply saying “No” to the proposed rate increase. Without assurances they would take such a position, one would hope they wouldn’t be appointed to the proposed ad hoc Committee.
If the Council does approve the consultant, they should direct staff first to make certain the firm has no links to Valley Vista, George Briggeman, or ay Waste Disposal Industry Groups. t In other words, that they’ll put the interests of the ratepayers ahead of the interests of the trash firm.
Other Interesting Council Agenda Items
Here are other items of interest on Monday’s two Council Meetings, also from George Pardon:
Workshop at 5:30: Review of Contribution Policy for Non-Profit Organizations and Non-Profit Grant Award Requests for FY 2017-18 and FY 2018-19
Regular Meeting at 7:
Public Hearing: Item 1 – SeaCoast Grace Church is requesting to replace a parking lot with a private park and convert the former school recreation area into a new parking lot. The modified site plan will meet City parking standards for the church use.
Public Hearing: Item 2 – Dominic’s Italian Restaurant is requesting to expand into the adjacent lease space. The expansion will include more table seating and a bar waiting area. The Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) license type will remain limited to on-site beer and wine with a food establishment.
Consent Calendar Item 5: This item proposes paying a 3% commission to the firm that is handling the sale of the City’s 13 acres on Katella.
Here is the link to this week’s Cypress City Council Agenda Item:
City Council Contact Info:
Email individual Council Members:
Mayor Paulo Morales firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayor Pro-Tem Jon Peat email@example.com
Council Member Stacy Berry firstname.lastname@example.org
Council Member Rob Johnson email@example.com
Council Member Mariellen Yarc firstname.lastname@example.org
For more on George Briggeman, Jr.’s Political Money Laundering: