(PR): Taxpayer Advocate Linnea Warren is HJTA Taxfighter of the Year

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is proud to name Linnea Warren as HJTA Taxfighter of the Year.

“When Linnea Warren learned that she and other water ratepayers were being treated unfairly by the City of Pasadena, she did more than complain,” said HJTA President Jon Coupal.  “She took action.”

After learning in a news report that Pasadena transfers 6% of its water rate revenue to its General Fund, Linnea thought it unfair to nonresidents like her, who receive water from Pasadena but don’t receive General Fund services from the City.

She did some research and discovered that transferring rate revenue to the General Fund is not the only thing Pasadena does that is unfair to nonresidents.  It also charges nonresidents water rates that are 25 percent higher than resident rates.

Linnea contacted Pasadena Water and Power about these inequities, and was told that they are required by local ordinance.  So she wrote to the City Attorney, and addressed the City Council during the public comment period at one of their meetings, but had no success.  In fact, she was told that the rate differential is justified by additional costs the city incurs to serve nonresidents.

With full documentation in hand, she contacted the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association Legal Department.  She supplied HJTA with copies of her correspondence and the City’s responses, as well as copies of the City’s ordinances and documentation of the transfers.

But she didn’t stop there.  Linnea has continued to dig and find more evidence that will help HJTA lawyers make the case in court.  Some of the nonresident areas served by the City were once served by a private water company.  She has obtained copies of the contracts by which the City purchased and assumed control of those private companies, including land surveys that show the City acquired wells which now serve not just nonresidents, but also residents.

She has researched the City’s various other sources of water, its storage methods, and the physical design of its treatment and distribution system, and has supplied HJTA with documents and photos to show that the City’s service to nonresidents, and its costs, are no different from resident service and costs.  Linnea has invested scores of hours on this case and in many ways has already prepared the case for trial.

“While joining our countrymen in giving thanks at this time of year we at the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association especially want to remember those unsung souls who improve our lives by volunteering their time to act as watchdogs over government spending and who provide advice on making more efficient use of taxpayers’ dollars” said Coupal.