1 of 1
By Felix Adamo / The Californian
BY THEO DOUGLAS Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Faced with a resolution supporting a statewide water bond at this week's annual League of California Cities conference, fiscally conservative Bakersfield is recommending its delegate stay neutral during an expected vote Friday.
The Sacramento conference is a yearly get-together for member cities, for which the advocacy group offers a voice in state politics and legislation.
Cities pay to join, based on population.
Delegates from approximately 400 of California's 482 cities are expected to attend this year's gathering, which began Wednesday and ends Friday.
Bakersfield's delegate is Ward 2 Councilman Terry Maxwell. Its alternate delegate is Ward 6 Councilwoman Jacquie Sullivan.
The Bakersfield City Council recommended Maxwell stay neutral on a resolution from Los Angeles County cities, asking the governor and legislature to work with the League in providing adequate funding and to "prioritize water bonds."
It's for a worthy cause -- asking the state to work with cities to find funding for water conservation, recharging groundwater, and reusing storm water and urban runoff. But Assistant to the City Manager Rhonda Smiley said supporting a resolution that places a priority on a bond would be hard for city officials to justify.
"We are very reticent about supporting bond issues most of the time, because that means more than likely a bond or tax to our local taxpayers," Smiley said. "We know they're not always so enthused about that, so we try to make our decision on the side of conservatism."
Reached by telephone on his way to the conference, Maxwell said he's looking forward to hearing all sides of the issue.
"I know water is extremely important to the city of Bakersfield and the County of Kern, so it will be interesting to hear where the leadership is, and why they're at where they're at," Maxwell said.
Bakersfield taxpayers could get a chance to make their opinions heard on a statewide water bond as soon as next year.
An $11.1 billion bond proposed for the November 2014 ballot twice has been delayed, but will be discussed Tuesday by two state Senate committees.
The second resolution conference delegates will consider comes from a League committee. It asks governor and legislature to talk with the League and the California Police Chiefs Association about realignment issues, including getting full state funding.
The Bakersfield City Council recommended Maxwell vote in support of it.
Realignment, also known as AB 109, is a mandate to reduce prison overcrowding by sentencing inmates convicted of nonviolent, nonserious and nonsexual crimes to county supervision instead of state prison.
"We want to make sure we've got the resources to deal with what could be an increased level of safety risk in our cities," said Dan Carrigg, the League's senior director of legislative affairs. "That's really the heart of our resolution."