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Letter -- Ted McConkey

January 27, 2001

Ted McConkey

Those who now claim that the Burbank City Council saved us from the

horrors of deregulation of our local utility and the resultant huge rate

increases, are lying to the public again.

To listen to council members Dave Golonski, Stacey Murphy and Bill

Wiggins, their courageous yearslong battle to protect the utility

ratepayers from open access is a wondrous example of leadership.

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Hardly.

The council has ignored every opportunity to say "no" to deregulation.

The current position is to neither endorse nor decide against open

access, thereby leaving the door open to a future decision to grant open

access and destroy our utility and our lower electric rates.

Having seen this same group in action on the airport expansion, is it

a wonder that some of us are less than reassured?

In any event, Burbank is at the moment contemplating a rate increase.

Further, it is pure fantasy to suppose that local rate payers will

escape paying for any state bailout of the private utilities.

So with or without open access, expect your rates and taxes to go up

astronomically. This isn't even considering the increased cost of

unregulated natural gas to operate our generators.

Meanwhile, every time the rates shoot up, the general fund reaps a

windfall, because the utilities user tax goes up -- not because of any

additional service provided, but because the UUT is based on the total

billing.

The city would have capped that tax long ago, except for the greed of

City Manager Bud Ovrom.

Utility deregulation was a terrible idea when first proposed and now

seriously threatens the state's economy and ratepayer's budgets.

With the council's do-nothing posture, it will continue to haunt us

until our local heroes take a principled stand and say no to open access.

Just as Golonski, Murphy and Wiggins did before they announced the

fatally flawed framework for settlement, they are dissembling again at

reelection time. That kind of willful deceit certainly should disqualify

Golonski and Murphy for another term in office.

How can we trust anything they tell us?

TED McCONKEY is a former Burbank councilman and is co-founder of

Restore Our Airport Rights.

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