City Water Restrictions End

At tonight’s City Council meeting, the mandatory water restrictions put in place in September were called off. Now that two of our three reservoirs are full, with a total supply of over 90%, mandatory restrictions are no longer believed to be necessary, and have given way to mere voluntary conservation. In the same meeting, Council approved new water prices as planned, setting the winter rates to $55.47 per thousand cubic feet, a marked increase over the normal $22 rate. Councilor Meredith Richards made a point of saying that, although the reservoirs are full, our groundwater levels remains quite low, and thus we would be wise to continue to conserve. Elizabeth Nelson has the story in today’s Progress.

57 thoughts on “City Water Restrictions End”

  1. $$$$$$ is all its about now. It makes no sense to punish those who made an effort to conserve by jacking up the damn rates. The drought is over and levels are great. Now we are supposed to pay for the lost revenue due to our forced (and in many situations VOLUNTARY) conservation.

  2. I haven’t seen a complete breakdown of the budget for production of a unit of water. But I do think that calling a price increase ‘punishment’ is nonsense.

    Water usage is down due to voluntary conservation (which is good), but the cost of producing a reduced output of water is the same as a typical output. You have to maintain the same equipment and facilities and pay the same staff. The same regular capital expenditures are needed at the same intervals. There’s just less water coming through that system with a corrospondingly low volume of revenues.

    Clearly, in order to keep producing water the prices need to come up. The production of water must be paid for and no one is going to wave a magic wand to make the extra money appear.

    It seems that the appropriate thing to do is not to price water based on what makes people happy, but rather to determine the natural cost and add something like 7% in anticipation of a repeat performance next year. This is the way to ensure that water will continue to be provided in the future.

    In the real world, budgets must be balanced and bills must be paid. The fact that it isn’t any fun doesn’t make it a rip-off.

  3. How cavalier you are with people’s money, Jack. This attitude is the very essence of why people have distrust in government. What should be done:

    1. Take away authority from a for-profit entity, RWSA. There’s no reason to line the pockets of some private investors for such a basic civilization need.

    2. Remove UVA subsidies. UVA is certainly not going to relocate because of this. In fact, what political conniving brought this arrangement forth? The university was not established 20 years ago, so why the subsidy? This is another abuse of political powers and a drain on our collective political will.

    3. Establish a mean rate that would stay consistent year-round. This would remove the disparity between residents and would establish belief that the water authority knows what it’s doing.

    4. Establish a 5 to 10% investment fund to add water retention capacity. The project would pull in the best technology available (at the best cost/benefit ratio). This surcharge would be completely explained and limited to x years. Although it is more than possible this investment fund would not be necessary due to the increase in revenues from UVA.

    5. Tax developers for new buildings added onto the community’s water service. This tax would establish a fund to add water resources for every x projected millions of gallons required to feed the new developments. Kickbacks should be made available for high-efficiency equipment installed, etc.

    Water policies should be transparent, well-studied and reviewed regularly. As a sidenote, just points 1 and 2 above could potentially REDUCE the price of water, while still planning well for the present and future.

  4. Take away authority from a for-profit entity, RWSA. There’s no reason to line the pockets of some private investors for such a basic civilization need.

    I would like very much to find out more about this. I’ve never looked into the RWSA’s business structure.

  5. I like your ideas #2 & 5 particularly. The city could really use a bit of leverage in future negotiations with the University over development issues. If we can reassess their water costs annually then that is an opportunity to assert the kind of control over city planning that any municipality ought to have anyway.

    Two birds with one stone is agreeable to me.

    But I’m not being particularly ‘cavalier with people’s money’. All I was suggesting is that the charge for water should reflect the natural cost rather than whimsy. If we can lower the natural cost, all the better.

  6. Sorry, but RWSA is not a for-profit entity. It’s a govenmental agency. No stock. No stockholders. No profit.

    There’s been a movement to privatize water distibution, mostly in Latin America and Eastern Europe and it hasn’t been a pretty picture. It’s mostly involved foreign investors buying water rights to produce one-shot income boosts to debtor nations in order to satisfy international bankers.

  7. 1. Pehaps

    2. Yes. There is NO REASON WHY the largest user of water gets a 1/2 price deal. Let em’ pay what we pay.

    3. Agree

    4. This would lend to accountability, and we just can’t have that. (Note sarcatic tone)

    5. This sounds fair. Developers are getting filthy rich building huge, over-priced homes that people can barely afford, anyway. Let them pay for part of the new water aquisition costs.

    I am not against a surcharge to pay for new water projects. But we have a RIGHT to know that this surcharge is indeed being spent on new water projects. My fear is we’ll pay all this money, and then if the rain slacks again they will be on television calling us all losers for using too much water, again.

    It’s their JOB to meet the demand. RWSA needs to get off their arses and start doing their job. They were negligent and dropped the ball in planning/preparing for this drought, and so far have done little real work in increasing our water capacity. Increasing our capacity is something that should have began years ago when Albemarle’s growth boom really started to pick up. They did nothing that I am aware of.

  8. While the popular opinion here, that UVA is receiving unwarranted subsidies, may well be correct, I wonder if there is something more to this beyond the usual distaste for anything UVA.

    Just offhand, I can think of several reasons why UVA would pay a lower rate than the rest of us. For example, UVA may be responsible for a significant amount of infrastructure that the city or county would otherwise have to provide. Or, perhaps UVA handles some of its own water treatment. Or, perhaps, UVA had the option at one point of receiving water from more than one source (if it straddles jurisdictional lines, perhaps) and it bid out the right to sell water.

    I could go on — but these are all unsubstantiated. Just as the notion that UVA’s different rate is unsubstantiated. Does anyone have inside knowledge as to why the difference exists, or know where to look? I would e-mail Ol’ Man Casteen, but I’d hazard that he’s got more compelling things on his desk right now than my e-mail.

  9. “Take away authority from a for-profit entity, RWSA. There’s no reason to line the pockets of some private investors for such a basic civilization need.”

    I’m kind of curious about your response to Harry’s point (in another response to your post) that RWSA is in fact not a for-profit entity that enriches private investors. I went to their website and indeed it appears that Harry is right–they’re a public agency. I’m curious about whether you, Sympatico, have other information to the contrary?

  10. Nah. Sympatico was, as usual, just making things up because they seemed so right as he was typing them. Anytime somebody suggests that a government or coorporation did something properly, he automatically takes up a contrary position.

    Which is swell of him because he makes the rest of us look so reasonable.

    We’re all still waiting for his big explanation of how he is going to reinvent government according to an entirely radical new system that is presently in his head (probably along with some fabulous ideas about perpetual motion and a great deal of oatmeal). This was promised some weeks ago and never seemed to materialize.

  11. But it isn’t a tax. You are welcome to stop or reduce your water purchases from the city. Just spend a bit of money on a cistern system that captures rainwater and you dramatically reduce your dependence on the water grid. Or have water trucked in if you like. People are really doing these things successfully. If the city is your chosen vendor and they raise their prices, that is not the same thing as a tax.

  12. It’s pretty easy to blame the government for every move it makes, but it’s much harder for government employees to supply services that everyone wants but doesn’t want to pay for.

    Look at this argument: "The gumment should have built a new reservoir before the 4 year drought."

    If they had said they were raising taxes on current residents to increase the supply a few years ago, what would you have said?

    "Why should current residents pay for water that will only be needed if more people move here?"

    "Why are we wasting taxpayer’s money on more water when we have enough?"

    If they had made developer’s pay money into a fund for new water supplies when they build large developments, what would people say?

    "This is a tax increase. That is always bad. It will kill the economy."

    And, about the higher water rates: they doubled the rates, but we’re using half the water. It sounds like we’re paying the same number of dollars as before. What’s the big deal? If your water bill is too high, don’t water your lawn.

  13. While the popular opinion here, that UVA is receiving unwarranted subsidies, may well be correct, I wonder if there is something more to this beyond the usual distaste for anything UVA.

    If memory serves from the first democrats’ debate (read as: “tea party”) for City Council, there was some discussion regarding the rates that UVa pays, and they’re pretty much locked into those rates. For X years (X being a very large number), they’re paying what they’re paying, and that’s pretty much that. To change that would involve violating a contract (or a gentleman’s agreement, or something), which nobody would want to do.

    Now that I’ve said all that, I’d be grateful if anybody had any real facts. :)

  14. <I>Look at this argument: "The gumment should have built a new reservoir before the 4 year drought."

    If they had said they were raising taxes on current residents to increase the supply a few years ago, what would you have said? </I>

    I don’t know about that – if the RSWA had exercised some modicum of fiduciary responsibility and had raised rates very modestly several years ago, which utilities do regularly, they would have been able to upgrade their systems to the point where the recent crisis would have been averted. I’ve read nothing that stated the lack of improvements was the result of a lack of funding. It seems to have been due to a lack of foresight, and a lack of responsibility to their customers.

  15. This is excerpted from the UVa web site at:

    (Posted November 12th to that site.)

    The city charges the University a special rate for the 94 percent of its water that runs through two metered mains to the University’s infrastructure. The city wants to increase this rate from $11.86 to $27 per 1,000 cubic feet of water.

    Under an agreement between the city and the University, Gomez said, the University’s water rate consists of the city’s wholesale water cost, plus 25 percent of the city’s costs for billing, maintenance and administration. The water comes directly from the Rivanna Authority to the University and does not enter the city’s pipes, incurring no city expense, Gomez said. The remaining 6 percent of the University’s water is supplied directly to University facilities from either the county or the city, at the full residential rate.

    So, the city gets 25% of what the water costs them directly from the RWSA in exchange for reading 2 meters for 94% of what UVa uses, and gets regular retail for the rest.

    In exchange the water doesn’t use the city’s infrastructure.

    25% doesn’t seem like a bad markup just for sending the bill.

  16. Note to Waldo:

    When a comment with no comment (but a subject) is submitted, the error returned is "No subject".

  17. Okay, that may be true. Then explain to me who has given this governmental agency the authority to DOUBLE rates to maintain what was described in the local media as an "income maintenance"? Doesn’t this require at the least town hall sessions, mayoral directives and all that jazz?

  18. I’m so sorry to have disappointed you: I guess you’ll have to wait a bit longer to read my life-changing directives. But fear not, my brother, you can still be reborn at a later time :-)

  19. "If the city is your chosen vendor"… bla bla bla. What about apartment dwellers? And other renters? How about those in bylawed communities? The Wild West is over: get over it.

  20. I pick up the trash alongside my road on a regular basis. Can I get a subsidy for services the "county would otherwise have to provide"?

    I am not part of those that rant against the University, as I am often heard stating it is the source of much of what makes Cville more livable than much of elsewhere in Virginia. But what I do advocate is TRANSPARENCY. This involves charging the same rate to everyone.

    Lastly, after what we’ve just experienced in terms of water reserves problems, it’s not the distribution system that’s costing so much, but the actual primary material, the water. Does UVA have their own private aquifer? Of course not! So they need to PAY for the water same as everyone else.

  21. I just read RWSA’s financial report for 2001 ( you pointed to, Cecil. They are indeed officially classified as a “regional non-profit public corporation”. Of course, if that is all it takes to muddle comprehension, then that’s that.

    But, after a quick study of their balance sheet, I will note:

    1. In 2001, the average income per employee is around $45K per year (3.3M$ / 73 employees). Now you can imagine that the 2 Filter Press Operators for Wastewater do not earn that much. So how much does the Director of Finance make? $100K? $200K? Nor bad for a “public servant”, eh!?

    2. A Board of Directors? Sound pretty hush – hush to me, especially since the “report [is] intended solely for the information and use of the Board of Directors, management and others within the organization, and is not intended to be and should not be used by anyone other than these specified parties.” Would that be a “private” privilege, that is to pay for reports and studies with public funds, and not display them on public records?

    3. Substantial monies are spent and do not seem reasonable: the Water Tank Painting cost $2,477,000. That’s 2 and a half MILLION dollars to paint a tank!? What is “Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition” for 4.3 MILLION dollars? It seems someone got paid big time last fiscal year for data that was not put to very good use this year (a snide remark, for sure).

    You know, it would not be the first time a few have taken advantage of the many by hiding under an “untouchable” status, would it? Do not be fooled by semantics and other deceptive facades!!!

  22. The Rivanna Sewer and Water Authority is governed by a board of directors. The RSWA was created and organized jointly by the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County.

    If you’re interested in the membership of that board, you can find some details in this week’s issue of C-ville Weekly (November 19-25, 2002, page 10). The story even includes photos, so you can congratulate or razz (your choice) the members for their hard work when you see them on the street.

  23. Big Al is exactly right, although there is one more factor in why RSWA lacks foresight and responsibility. It is (apparently) the Executive Director Larry Tropea. He is close to retirement, too old to get a new job, and he wants to keep this one.

    The RSWA Board of Directors has told him in effect "no more concrete." Actually they used more moderate language like "let’s explore alternatives," but he got the point.

    So the Buck Mountain dam which RSWA thought–and said–was a desperate need 25 years ago, has mysteriously lost its urgency. The numbers dished up to us are picked and cooked to serve the underlying objective of not building a new dam. So Larry can please his bosses on the Board of Directors and keep his job.

    I should caution that this is only opinion as to the cause. What is fact is the information RWSA has published on projected need versus supply is so badly cooked, so clumsily skewed, that it is self-contradictory.

  24. When a comment with no comment (but a subject) is submitted, the error returned is “No subject”.

    *sigh* Sorry about that. The development team that writes the code for this software, PostNuke, has fallen into disarray, and updates have been slow. I think I should look at moving to Slash, which was the original plan prior to the surprise move to PostNuke a few months ago.

  25. This is just idiotic and paranoid of you. From reading a completely straightforward, ordinary balance sheet you are just jumping to irrational, unfounded conclusions and accusations that have not the slightest basis in reality.

    You are accusing thie RWSA of fiscal and legal wrongdoing for absolutely no reason. If I worked for RWSA, I would be pretty pissed off at you right now. That post of yours was inflamatory and insulting without cause.

    You are characterizing their organization as ‘pretty hush-hush’ just because they have a board of directors? EVERY NONPROFIT HAS A BOARD OF DIRECTORS! It is required by law.

    You know absolutely nothing about the organization, management and accounting of a non-profit. You don’t have any idea as to what is proper or improper. You have no basis for comaparison.

    Since when do you have any experience in determining what is fair compensation for, say, a Director of Finance? Anyone who is qualified for that position will be highly sought after by for-profit companies. Non-profit groups generally have to offer somewhat less than what for-profit companies pay and depend somewhat on a prospective hire’s goodwill. If you offer too low a figure, you will get unqualified employees, which leads to mismanagement and then you would probably be criticising the same Board for failing to recruit properly.

    As to the water tank maintinance and supervisory control and data acquisition, you don’t know what those things really consist of. You have no idea what safety or regulatory issues are entailed there. You don’t even know what data you are talking about. So what makes you think that it is appropriate for you to start accusing RWSA of misappropriating funds?

    If you want to question these expenses publicly, do your homework first. Until then you are just tossing out slander to make yourself look big. Personally, I am willing to at least entertain all sorts of unusual ideas and proposals. But in this case the right thing for me to do is to speak up against your slander of innocent parties.

    In summary, you know nothing but are willing to accuse anyone of anything. Do us all a favor- keep your accusations to yourself unless you have some remote idea of what you are talking about.

  26. When does Larry Tropea intend to retire? How old is he? (I don’t know the answers to those questions, but assume that silkyzephyr does, if he believe that Mr. Tropea is "close to retirement" and "too old to get a new job".)

    By the way, it’s illegal to discriminate in hiring, based upon age, so I don’t think he’s "too old to get a new job". Competence counts, not age.

    As for Mr. Tropea wanting to "keep this (job)", is there something wrong with that? I assume that we all want to keep our jobs. Otherwise, we’d find another job and leave our current job.

    Is it silkyzephyr’s suggestion that it’s somehow inappropriate for an Executive Director to follow the policy decisions made by a Board of Directors? It’s my understanding that that’s the way it’s supposed to happen. The board sets policy and the staff implements it.

    Get off Larry Tropea’s case.

  27. Thank you for pointing out the damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don’t position that government employees and officials have to occupy.

  28. “If the city is your chosen vendor”… bla bla bla. What about apartment dwellers? And other renters? How about those in bylawed communities?

    You could say the same of any provider of services to a self-selected community. My apartment building only offers access via Adelphia. I cannot get a CFW/Ntelos connection. I’m not allowed to put a dish on my porch. I have to have my trash put into the collective building bin and taken away by their service — I cannot pay a private trash service to come pick up my trash. I’m not allowed to have a washer and dryer — I must use the building’s washers and dryers at $1.50/load. EVIL TAX MONGERS! MONOPOLISTS! HEATHENS!

  29. Harry is apparently a compassionate soul, and may be right that one ought not to name names.

    So I will say instead "a public official."

    A public official has put saving his job ahead of doing it. A public official has put our community’s future at risk. A public official has bet our water supply on the hope for "big storms," technologically unproven dredging, and a ten million dollar bladder that will not even increase capacity beyond what has already been lost to silting. A public official has failed to explain a 125% per gallon rate increase with only a 35-40% reduction in water use. For that matter the public official not explained why skyrocketing water rates are based on annual averages, when in one month we can go from frantic drought emergency to full reservoirs (as we just did). A public official has made no effort to change a billing system that penalizes citizens for conservation, and which puts his agency at risk of bankruptcy.

    I could go on with a very long list, but I will concede Harry’s point and try not to belabor mine.

  30. Didn’t you see Spiderman? It wouldn’t be ‘slander’ but ‘libel’.

    Tell me, Jack, with an email address, would you be connected somehow to this cozy administrative structure? Would you be trying to use scare tactics to prevent me from saying my [explained] opinions, by any chance? Your approach is typical of a person who wishes to keep things out of public view.

    Anyway, my whole point is that this RWSA Authority, having a legal status of a public non-profit entity, is protected against public scrutiny by employing the Board of Directors scheme. If RWSA were simply a department of Albemarle County, there would be no need for a separate (and expensive) Board of Directors, now would there? This seems to be a scheme for a few major local players to line their pockets with perfectly legal paychecks while doing ‘jack’ for the public they supposedly serve. I don’t care how prevalent this scheme is; that doesn’t make it worthwhile. In fact, it’s an indication something IS terribly wrong.

    Now if they had been doing their jobs, as in managing our water supply and investment funds well, we wouldn’t be even talking about them, would we? Then, AND ONLY THEN, would you have a chance of persuading me and the population at large that their competitive CFO, CEO, COB compensation packages (and other perks, I’m sure) is worth OUR freekin’ public money. IF they were providing plentiful / clean water at low rates, then they’d be worth their rewards, right? But when my children can’t even wash their hands in school after going to the toilet, for months on end, while these bozos are earning ‘competitive’ 6 figure incomes, I cry foul. And it’s not because they have managed to classify themselves as “public non-profit” that it makes any more sense.

    So on one side, you want to apply competitive market mechanisms (the Board of Director’s high incomes), but on another, they don’t need to provide competitive services. You know, most people in the ‘competitive’ sectors get fired when they miss the mark so miserably.

    This situation demonstrates exactly why I feel the “system” has failed and tweaking it is now no longer sufficient. When the head honchos can keep on high-rolling when the average person is subjected to their insufficiencies, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board. This is obvious, IMHO. Whether you like it or not.

  31. That’s right! Where I go up the wall is a proclaimed notion that everyone has a choice: ‘If it’s not to your liking, go elsewhere’. That is absolute bunk. The world is far too complex today for virtually anyone to make completely informed decisions on where to live, how to live (or even how to die).

    When I sign a mortgage contract, for instance, I am viewed as very unusual because I read all the fine print. Most people just sign off because they expect the system to be reasonable. This applies for ALL systems that carry a resemblance of ‘officiality’.

    Is it wrong for people to expect fairplay, as Americans mostly do, from basic necessities providers? Well, if you want to have time to have a life (like bearing children, having a career, etc.), you can’t spend it trying to find a non-existent perfect paradise, even IF you have the financial means to dedicate to this kind of unproductive effort.

    In conclusion, and although I deem it impossible today, I do respect a person who advocates getting rid of ALL government. No taxes, no laws, just live by your own rules. But with around 270 million Americans at this time, it doesn’t seem like a possible approach to me. So if we are going to have government, taxes and laws, then they should be well thought-out and especially fair. It’s as simple as that.

    In other words in our case here, if you move into an apartment complex, you should be able to expect that the services provided will be functional and reasonable. Having a choice between vendors of services is good, but this should not exempt the service providers from fair and sensible execution of said services. It is NOT reasonable to expect people to move every time a service provider fails.

  32. You say: ‘If I worked for RWSA, I would be pretty pissed off at you right now. That post of yours was inflamatory and insulting without cause’

    The RWSA should be pissed off at ME? THEY… pissed off at… ME?

    Yeah, and the world was once flat according to honorable officials like them (and you?)!

  33. "Tell me, Jack, with an email address, would you be connected somehow to this cozy administrative structure? Would you be trying to use scare tactics to prevent me from saying my [explained] opinions, by any chance? Your approach is typical of a person who wishes to keep things out of public view. "

    Sorry, but you’ve got to be kidding me. Just because you’re all ‘rage against the machine’ doesn’t mean you have to be totally freaking paranoid. Get off it.

  34. My God, I’m not sure if you are actually schizophrenic or just pretending.

    What would my email address or employment possibly have to do with the RWSA? What exactly are you accusing me of? None of what you are saying makes any sense at all.

    The Board of Directors for the RWSA consists of unpaid members. They do not receive any compensation. They are not scamming anyone. Again, you are just lying.

    We have had a drought for several years. That means there is less water entering the system. Are you now blaming these people for the weather? Throughout the crisis water was supplied for essential services and at no point was our health or standard of living compromised. The RWSA has my applause.

    As for investments, it isn’t clear what you are talking about. Are you also blaming the economic recession on the RWSA? I don’t believe for a second that you have even looked at their portfolio or even confirmed whether they have one.

    The finances of the RWSA are very much in public view, as is the case with most non-profit groups. Just because the cover sheet on one version of a balance sheet indicated that it is for the use of the board only (a standard cover memo that any CPA uses prior to audit) doesn’t mean that there is some kind of massive conspiracy or scheme.

    I am encouraging you to do your homework before you publicly accuse people of wrong doing. I encourage you to be responsible. Perhaps you should become familiar with the notion of research and background work. Perhaps read a book about the management of non-profits. Or learning about what kind of equipment and regulation are involved in water production. You know, the basic things that people do when they don’t want to sound like raving lunatics.

    You are inventing lies and accusations about things that you obviously know nothing about. You feel angry that there is less water for a while and you may have to pay more money for something. So you feel sure that *someone* must be to blame for this and you’re lashing out at any convenient target, however psychotic it may be. I am sure that in your next missive, you will have dreamed up some type of conspiracy in the insurance industry that I am part of which is controlling global warming and causing the drought. Insert references to the Cuban mafia, JFK and the Masons wherever you wish.

    Please remember at the end of the day that the people at the RWSA who you are lying about are human beings who are doing their best to keep you supplied with water under difficult circumstances. These are regular people- your neighbors, perhaps- who are good at their jobs and don’t need your kind of foolish anger publicly directed at them. Grow up.

  35. Tell me, Jack, with an email address, would you be connected somehow to this cozy administrative structure? Would you be trying to use scare tactics to prevent me from saying my [explained] opinions, by any chance?

    I know that you probably don’t intend it, but saying things like that makes you come across as completely and totally paranoid and insane. Plus, getting all ad hominem on us doesn’t really aid in the discussion. Even if Jack was secretly Larry Tropea, that would have no bearing on the validity of his points.

  36. "This is just idiotic and paranoid of you."

    "You are accusing thie RWSA of fiscal and legal wrongdoing "

    "If I worked for RWSA, I would be pretty pissed off at you right now."

    I didn’t see you posting a ‘Whoa’ on those words from Jack directed towards me, even though all I was doing was questioning the Status Quo, WHICH IS OBVIOUSLY IN DIRE QUESTION right now.

    Now it may seem ‘insane’ to you to take my position, that’s your absolute right, but don’t use your position as site admin to further imbalance the forces at work here. If you only want people that don’t really question things TO THE FULLEST, then just state that your site is for mild criticism only and you’ll be rid of me.

  37. Jack says: "I am sure that in your next missive, you will have dreamed up some type of conspiracy in the insurance industry that I am part of which is controlling global warming and causing the drought. Insert references to the Cuban mafia, JFK and the Masons wherever you wish."

    And the most vocal of you forum posters are calling ME paranoid? Sheesh!

    Jack says: "Are you now blaming these people for the weather? Throughout the crisis water was supplied for essential services and at no point was our health or standard of living compromised. The RWSA has my applause."

    You’ve got to be kidding, right? Some are calling me schizo, stupid and a bunch of other irrational qualifiers, and this guy invents criticisms I never made “blaming these people for the weather” and dismissing the long months of water restrictions that affected our everyday lives with “at no point was our health or standard of living compromised”! Good lord, why not just rewrite history books, Jack!

    Jack says: “Please remember at the end of the day that the people at the RWSA who you are lying about are human beings who are doing their best to keep you supplied with water under difficult circumstances”. Now let’s all act like Pollyanna, deal!? All is well in wonderland!

    The fact is, to all that feel a profound distaste for my opinions, that when there was a poll on whether we’d end up running out of water, I checked the ‘No’ without hesitation. Although it would be really bad if we did, that’s not the whole point here. The point is that we have people in charge that have no vision. There’s been droughts for years. Even Jack says so: “We have had a drought for several years.” So, is this all we can hope for, that is pray for rain? This is my whole point, goddammit! American standards and know-how have sunk to such degree that people can’t even see how incapable we’ve become as a nation. Other than a kick-ass military, America is behind in too many fields. Complacency, lip-service (another word for act like Pollyanna) and straight-out generalized incompetence have taken the place of the proud and innovative American spirit. Anyone over 40 KNOWS DAMN WELL what I’m talking about.

    So you can make me out as the enemy, but I am only really a messenger. And you know what Caesar does with the messenger of bad news? Well, at least I’m only available online to kill virtually. :-)

  38. "Yeah, but they’ll instate a "lube tax" on the lube."

    The democratic party has a long and distinguished history of lube taxing. They’re lube-crazy if you ask me. It’s nothing more than the lube lobby covering their bases.

    Thats why some people prefer to vote republican. That way they don’t tax you for the lube, and they make it quick so you have plenty of time left to go shopping before dinner.

    A rare few are communist, in their case there is supposed to be lube, but they cant afford any, so they use spit.

  39. “By the way, it’s illegal to discriminate in hiring, based upon age, so I don’t think he’s “too old to get a new job”. Competence counts, not age.”

    Spoken like a true baby boomer. You are correct, but misleading. To quote the age discrimination employment act of 1967;

    SEC. 631. [Section 12]

    (a) The prohibitions in this chapter [except the provisions of
    section 4(g)] shall be limited to individuals who are at least 40
    years of age.

    I am now old enough to be elected to the House of Representatives, Yet I can be told I can’t have a job or promotion because I’m too young. Geee, thanks old white dudes.

    While Newton was still under 25 years old, he began revolutionary advances in mathematics, optics, physics, and astronomy. He developed the foundation for differential and integral calculus in less than 2 years. His equations are STILL used today. No one has developed an alternative model of gravity. No, not even old white dudes.

    In 1905 (while working 9-5 in a patent office) Einstein published a series of remarkable scientific papers. They won him a Ph D – and also radically changed human understanding of the universe. He was only 26 years old. Einstein brought a new perspective to the relationships between light, time, space, matter and gravity. 1905 was also the year of his famous equation: E=mc2. Also at 26 years old. No, not and old guy with white hair.

    I could go on, Dirac, Bohr, Heisenberg, Pauli

    *sob* Why da man gotta keep us down?

  40. Yeah, I know, you’re right about age discrimination only applying to people over 40 years old and you make a good point.

    Understand though, that my comments were made in the context of a discussion of a particular person being "too old to get a new job". Apparently, even though the prohibition on age discrimination (for over-40s) has been the law of the land for some 35 years, there’s still a perception that it’s okay to discriminate on that basis.

    Whether it’s a question of age, sex, race, religion, sexual orientation or disability (did I miss anything?), put me down as being in favor of competence.

  41. I gotta go with Trisha here–Sympatico has pretty much lost all credibility even with me, who leans pretty far left. Sympatico was caught with its pants down re: blasting RWSA as a supposedly for-profit enterprise without having done its homework on the issue. This is how Sympatico deals with that misstep.

    (counting down to the incisive comeback from Sympatico..4…3…2…1…

  42. Look, there is a fine line between questioning the status quo and making baseless accusations, agreed? You tend to start out with the reasonable, thought-provoking questions and then end up far, far over the line into unfounded accusations.

    I could theorize: ‘Sympatico posts a lot during the middle of the day. He doesn’t seem to have any other responsibilities. He makes wild accusations and leaps to irrational conclusions before flying off the handle. Therefore he is probably an under medicated patient in a mental hospital with access to AOL in the day room.’

    But nah. I don’t actually think that you are a mental patient. In fact, it’d be just plain cruel and irresponsible of me to leap to conclusions like that about someone who I’ve never met, wouldn’t it? Even though that accusation technically fits the facts that I have about you (and others could be easily goaded into agreeing with it), it wouldn’t be reasonable to seriously voice it.

    That’s kind of how a lot of readers here seem to feel about the sort of things that you are posting. You’re crossing the line from questions into accusations before you’ve made a reasonable effort to answer the questions. It’s very ‘spanish inquisition’ of you.

    You may want to consider that Waldo has a really stellar track record for defending and defining free speech, as well as being an effective agent of questioning and change in Charlottesville. You’d be hard pressed to find someone in this area who has done more in defense of free speech than Waldo has. So when he makes a gentle suggestion or comment, you would do well to listen and perhaps presume that he knows what he’s talking about.

  43. It would only be ‘incisive’ if you actually cared, otherwise it just bounces off you like the rest.

    Let me ask you this: if certain people make very good incomes, yet provide substandard service, are they not ‘profitting’?

    This is another of my biggest pet-peeves today: people have little to no understanding of how the world works so those in power can very easily manipulate and control by simply using a vocabulary that SOUNDS okay. It is not because there’s semantic usage of ‘not for profit’ that all is okay. In this particular case, things have gone very wrong and yet those in control are continuing without any real form of accountability. You think them raising the rates 120% is accountability? For whom?

    When I got a letter from one of the responsable parties in the mail with my property taxes, back a few months ago, it got me angry. It was a message for conservation, bla bla bla. Okay, good. But is there anyone actually THINKING? Where were the projects and plans to solve this ONGOING, REPEAT problem year after year? Where are we, in Somalia? Just PRAYING it’ll rain enough for the next few months?

    But I do realize I am wasting my breath here.

  44. Sorry, my math skills aren’t so great…does this mean that everyone’s water bills are going to double?

  45. I made no "wild accusations" whatsoever. I never mentioned a single name when questioning budget allocations. There’s neither libel nor irrational conclusions.

    Look, you folk simply can’t break the mold in which you are cast. It’s very obvious.

    The facts, however, have not changed:

    1. The Charlottesville area has ongoing, repeated drought problems;

    2. The authority, the RWSA, has reacted publicly by asking the population to DRASTICALLY conserve water, by interrupting local businesses that depend on water AND by requiring young children to forgo washing their hands with soap and water while in school for several months (for instance);

    3. After obtaining the drastic conservation results the RWSA has requested (almost halving daily average consumption), they more than DOUBLE the rate to end users;

    4. There’s absolutely no public mention for a long-term plan to solve this problem;

    5. The RWSA is a non-profit public entity with a board of directors DOING WHAT THE F*** NOW??? Do we need a 5 member board of directors to raise rates and do no pro-active planning?

    Now I’m sure we’re all in a Thanksgiving mood, so I think I’ll go bye-bye. And remember, for your health, drink at least 3 full glasses of water each day. Make mine bottled. Cheers!

  46. Also…

    You theorizations are mostly inept. I can buy the “doesn’t seem to have any responsibilities” bit, even though there’s no reason for you to assume this, but me being an “under medicated patient in a mental hospital with access to AOL in the day room” is just plain fantasy.

    Now if I were responsible for your water supply, and I was crapping all over the job, then you’d be entitled to wonder what the f*** is my problem. No?

  47. Hmm..I’m definitely gonna keep conserving — even more than before! I’m certainly not gonna watch as my water bill doubles in size as thanks for the conserving I’ve done so far. I understand the requirement of budget-balancing, and yet I can’t *help* but feel like I’m getting punished for their lack of foresight.

  48. In the end, no matter how right I am versus the many here in these forums, it doesn’t matter. YOU are the vocal majority and YOU win. Some will say there’s no winning here, we’re just talking. But virtual life in these forums REFLECTS the real-world. The government we have is directly attributable to the political tendencies and will of the majority.

    The case here of our water supply is but one grain in a mound of grain. It is however, a strong suggestion of how things work and how they’ll end up. If anyone has read me before, they know I advocate a complete overhaul of our political system. A revolution that would allow for a clean slate, and without forgetting what has come before, we could build, unhindered, a real New World.

    Unfortunately, people are what they are. There’s no way around it. Americans rejected the Old World’s monarchies and established powers to create their own 200 years later. There’s an irrational reverence for the Establishment and the Powerful. Money is higher than Character.

    In other words, Americans deserve what they are getting and what they will continue to get: unrefined systems, grotesque leadership. Democracy may not be yielding the “correct” results, but it is working perfectly well, as I see it.

  49. In response to your point 4: this story is from today’s DP.

    The quote below comes from the story:

    “Saying that new storage capacity would be needed to avert future water crises and that these improvements would cost several million dollars, Tropea and other water officials contended that they need more revenue.

    The bill for Rivanna’s planned storage upgrades – $7.5 million for 4-foot crest controls, $1 million for dredging, $500,000 for the Mechums River Pump Station, $900,000 for related measures and another $3.3 million for maintenance – totals $13.2 million. ”

    I think they are making plans to avert future catastrophes, and I think that’s why the rate increase is here to stay. Arguably, if they had raised rates 3 years ago to make these changes back then, we might not have had the crisis we experienced this late summer. Is this not proactive planning?

  50. It ain’t about being "right", Sympatico. Everyone has their own opinions, and in general loves to debate ’em. Keeps the blood flowing, or something.

    But I’d say you’re not making any friends by trashing them, insulting them, or insulting our country when they don’t agree with you.

    If you want to propose an alternative, please do. If you do, you can also expect some debate over it, as people try to pick it apart and see how well it holds together.

    If you’re not going to propose an alternative, then all you’re effectively doing is whining. It is your right to do so, but don’t expect other people to enjoy it. ;)

  51. Lafe says: “But I’d say you’re not making any friends by”…

    Now hold on just one damn second here! You mean… if I play nice, try to make friends, be popular and say things people want to hear, then maybe they’ll LIKE me? Hey, that’s really cool. Maybe they’ll like me so much then maybe, they’ll make me mayor, or ah directa o’ da bored or someding like dat? Man, thanks Lafe! Now I know how to become successful in America!

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