Correction: Steve Behmerwold notified the CCS that it was he who made and paid for the "I Stand with Sam" signs for the supporters of Sam Allevato who attended the September 17 council meeting (see photo below). The signs were inaccurately attributed to Jonathan Volzke, who handed out signs at the council meeting.
Residents Move to Recall Sam Allevato
Residents angry about Sam Allevato’s stance on water and spending served a Notice of Recall against him at the September 17 council meeting.
|SJC Councilman Sam Allevato|
Though only twenty signatures were needed, the recall petition was signed by thirty residents frustrated with Allevato’s votes to increase their water rates by nearly 50%, his vote to fight a lawsuit initiated by the Capistrano Taxpayers Association (“CTA”) challenging the City’s illegal water billing practices, and his subsequent vote to fight the court decision according to charges listed on the recall notice.
On August 6, Superior Court Judge Gregory Munoz ordered the City to abandon its current water rate structure and base all rates on cost of service in conformance with the California Constitution, Proposition 218. The Court also entered a judgment restraining the City from collecting water fees from residents for recycled water that they do not actually use and which is not immediately available to them.
The recall petition reads in part: “Water users have paid millions of dollars in illegal charges on their water bills over the past 3 years…”
“Councilman Allevato has repeatedly refused to modify the water rates and recycled water charges. Councilman Allevato insists on wasting taxpayer money by voting to appeal the court decision. His refusal to follow the law has cost the taxpayers approximately $500,000 dollars in attorney fees and court costs. Allevato’s actions have disregarded financial well-being of all San Juan Capistrano residents by overcharging for water.”
The full text of the recall notice can be read on our website at: www.ccsense.com under “Links”.
When asked why Sam Allevato was targeted for recall and not council members Larry Kramer and John Taylor, who joined Allevato in refusing to lower water rates and in fighting the water rate lawsuit, resident Melissa Kaffen pointed out that Allevato is the only remaining council member who in 2010 voted for the 40% increase plus automatic rate increases every year. “He’s tone deaf,” said Kaffen. “Residents have begged for relief from the high water rates but he stubbornly refuses to buy the water from the cheapest source, which could lower our water rates to about half of what they are now.”
Recall organizers have 120 days to collect signatures from 20% of registered voters in San Juan in order to qualify for the ballot. They are hoping to get it on the primary ballot in June but according to City Clerk Maria Morris, the City may call a special election in July. “In my opinion, the cost of a special election would be a drop in the bucket compared to the hundreds of thousands Sam Allevato has cost us in his support of that failed water plant,” said recall supporter Clint Worthington. .