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November 19, 2017

CITY CHRONICLES – There is no Water Crisis – City Emails


CITY CHRONICLES   COMMENTARY by: Jock MacGregor   PROBLEM: Folks, the Progressives from the White House to Hot Springs City Hall have used “Crisis” as the Judas Goat to lead the taxpayers down the garden path. In their hubris they believe that government ought to call the shots and the people should meekly submit to their betters. As Rahm Emanuel said “Never let a serious crisis go to waste.”  JSM’s Corollary: If you don’t have a crisis, make one up. Facts: Many of you will recall the City poohbahs trumpeting the Crisis that we were in because of a fabricated water shortage. The Board, led by Director Fale and City Manager Watkins cut off water to the County for development. Harps and Walmart Superstore come to mind. Myself, Bob Driggers and Don Morphew attended a Board Retreat at Garvan Gardens where the Walmart situation was discussed. As I recollect Director Fale, supported enthusiastically by Director Clark silenced consideration of an alternate path for Walmart proposed by the Mayor. Fale then proceeded to insist, because of the “Water Crisis” the Board needed to deny development in the County and proceed with plans for a new water processing plant located in Hot Springs County at Lake DeGray. With the exception of the Mayor, none of the attendees objected to Director Fale’s agenda. Below are emails obtained through the FOIA process which show that the staff knew that there was no “water crisis” that required drastic action. What the Board and the City Manager required was a fig leaf to make the “Crisis” real. The first is from Gary Carnahan on August 1, 2014 in which he admits that there is no “water Crisis” but offers a fig leaf of prudent measures to prevent a possible crisis in the future. On Aug 1, 2014, at 5:11 PM, “Gary Carnahan” <GCarnahan@cityhs.net> wrote: I hear that some want us to slow down the work on the next water source because we are not in a water emergency or a water crisis. Actually we are planning for future water needs and thankfully we are not in a crisis. I would think that folks would really be upset if we had waited until there was a crisis or emergency before we found a new water source. (emphasis mine) Whenever there is a crisis or emergency or disaster on TV in some part of the nation or world, this is usually followed by a special investigation to find out why the local government had not anticipated and planned for such a crisis before it happened. Gary Carnahan City of Hot Springs Engineering Department The next email is from C/M David Watkins, also on August 1, 2014 From: David Watkins Sent: Friday, August 01, 2014 5:56 PM To: Gary Carnahan Cc: Bill Burrough; Scott Bundy Subject: Re: Crisis Excellent point Gary Sincerely yours David Watkins City Manager The last in this series of emails is from Scott Bundy sent on Aug 5, 2014 From: Scott Bundy Sent: Tuesday, August 05, 2014 8:43 AM To: David Watkins; Gary Carnahan Cc: Bill Burrough Subject: RE: Crisis All – We need to all be on the same page when speaking about our water status. In terms of language, we are not in a crisis or emergency as classically defined by the AWWA, EPA or ADEQ. However, we clearly fall within the emergency planning criteria established by the aforementioned. Our immediate threat comes from a lack of reliable alternate source waters. Our source water vulnerability cannot be understated. This is a real threat that affects our customers today and every day. In addition, issues with our distribution system hydraulics, lack of active tank storage, and lower than understood treatment plant rating increase our vulnerability when it comes to delivering product to our customers. While none of us were here in decision making positions when these issues first surfaced, years of inaction have left us with an unwelcome inheritance. When writing or talking about our emergency and water crisis, emphasis should be placed on the here and now. Yes, it is important to let our customers that we are planning for their future. There is no shame in letting them know that we are also working to correct the immediate problems caused by past inaction. SCOTT J. BUNDY Utilities Director City of Hot Springs What the City Manager and the Board presented to the public was not a reasoned presentation of future needs, but a full blown crisis that needed immediate and draconian attention. Experts were hired, millions were spent, water was used as a bludgeon, and the public was, to be charitable, misdirected about the City’s real agenda; a water borne money source and control over the County’s development so that the City gets first call on the County’s resources. All of this in accordance with the City’s 2030 plan. The plan’s name has been changed to sound benevolent, because 2030 plan sounded too much like the UN’s “sustainable development” plan; it sounded too much like Agenda 2030 (the similarity in the plan and the City’s plan are striking). SOLUTION: Reform City government to make it more responsive to the people, as our State Constitution requires. Insist that Directors Fale and Ramick resign and be replaced by Directors voted on by the people, not by the other Board members . Give strong consideration to recall petitions for the remaining Directors if they refuse to listen to the people. Insist that the City stop playing control games with City policies (Water and Sewer, annexation, the Airport, Private/Public partnerships) and concentrate on the functions that are the Cities responsibility like roads, affordable, reliable water, and citizen safety (Police, Firefighters, and First Responders). Rein in Planning and Zoning and insist that they justify plans in light of the Citizens Property Rights and Liberty. Vote down Issue #3 on the November ballot as it will only make matters worse and will violate Article 2, §23 of the Arkansas Constitution “…the General Assembly may delegate the taxing power, with necessary restriction, to the State’s subordinate political and municipal corporations, to the extent of providing for their existence, maintenance and well being, but no further.” (emphasis mine). The long and the short of Issue #3 is: to change the Constitution to allow the State and Local governments (read the City of Hot Springs) to increase the amount of DEBT that the State and City can burden the Taxpayers with. They are wasting taxpayer resources now; can you imagine the potential for irresponsible behavior if their taxing ability was virtually unlimited.CITY CHRONICLES   COMMENTARY by: Jock MacGregor   PROBLEM: Folks, the Progressives from the White House to Hot Springs City Hall have used “Crisis” as the Judas Goat to lead the taxpayers down the garden path. In their hubris they believe that government ought to call the shots and the people should meekly submit to their betters. As Rahm Emanuel said “Never let a serious crisis go to waste.”  JSM’s Corollary: If you don’t have a crisis, make one up. Facts: Many of you will recall the City poohbahs trumpeting the Crisis that we were in because of a fabricated water shortage. The Board, led by Director Fale and City Manager Watkins cut off water to the County for development. Harps and Walmart Superstore come to mind. Myself, Bob Driggers and Don Morphew attended a Board Retreat at Garvan Gardens where the Walmart situation was discussed. As I recollect Director Fale, supported enthusiastically by Director Clark silenced consideration of an alternate path for Walmart proposed by the Mayor. Fale then proceeded to insist, because of the “Water Crisis” the Board needed to deny development in the County and proceed with plans for a new water processing plant located in Hot Springs County at Lake DeGray. With the exception of the Mayor, none of the attendees objected to Director Fale’s agenda. Below are emails obtained through the FOIA process which show that the staff knew that there was no “water crisis” that required drastic action. What the Board and the City Manager required was a fig leaf to make the “Crisis” real. The first is from Gary Carnahan on August 1, 2014 in which he admits that there is no “water Crisis” but offers a fig leaf of prudent measures to prevent a possible crisis in the future. On Aug 1, 2014, at 5:11 PM, “Gary Carnahan” <GCarnahan@cityhs.net> wrote: I hear that some want us to slow down the work on the next water source because we are not in a water emergency or a water crisis. Actually we are planning for future water needs and thankfully we are not in a crisis. I would think that folks would really be upset if we had waited until there was a crisis or emergency before we found a new water source. (emphasis mine) Whenever there is a crisis or emergency or disaster on TV in some part of the nation or world, this is usually followed by a special investigation to find out why the local government had not anticipated and planned for such a crisis before it happened. Gary Carnahan City of Hot Springs Engineering Department The next email is from C/M David Watkins, also on August 1, 2014 From: David Watkins Sent: Friday, August 01, 2014 5:56 PM To: Gary Carnahan Cc: Bill Burrough; Scott Bundy Subject: Re: Crisis Excellent point Gary Sincerely yours David Watkins City Manager The last in this series of emails is from Scott Bundy sent on Aug 5, 2014 From: Scott Bundy Sent: Tuesday, August 05, 2014 8:43 AM To: David Watkins; Gary Carnahan Cc: Bill Burrough Subject: RE: Crisis All – We need to all be on the same page when speaking about our water status. In terms of language, we are not in a crisis or emergency as classically defined by the AWWA, EPA or ADEQ. However, we clearly fall within the emergency planning criteria established by the aforementioned. Our immediate threat comes from a lack of reliable alternate source waters. Our source water vulnerability cannot be understated. This is a real threat that affects our customers today and every day. In addition, issues with our distribution system hydraulics, lack of active tank storage, and lower than understood treatment plant rating increase our vulnerability when it comes to delivering product to our customers. While none of us were here in decision making positions when these issues first surfaced, years of inaction have left us with an unwelcome inheritance. When writing or talking about our emergency and water crisis, emphasis should be placed on the here and now. Yes, it is important to let our customers that we are planning for their future. There is no shame in letting them know that we are also working to correct the immediate problems caused by past inaction. SCOTT J. BUNDY Utilities Director City of Hot Springs What the City Manager and the Board presented to the public was not a reasoned presentation of future needs, but a full blown crisis that needed immediate and draconian attention. Experts were hired, millions were spent, water was used as a bludgeon, and the public was, to be charitable, misdirected about the City’s real agenda; a water borne money source and control over the County’s development so that the City gets first call on the County’s resources. All of this in accordance with the City’s 2030 plan. The plan’s name has been changed to sound benevolent, because 2030 plan sounded too much like the UN’s “sustainable development” plan; it sounded too much like Agenda 2030 (the similarity in the plan and the City’s plan are striking). SOLUTION: Reform City government to make it more responsive to the people, as our State Constitution requires. Insist that Directors Fale and Ramick resign and be replaced by Directors voted on by the people, not by the other Board members . Give strong consideration to recall petitions for the remaining Directors if they refuse to listen to the people. Insist that the City stop playing control games with City policies (Water and Sewer, annexation, the Airport, Private/Public partnerships) and concentrate on the functions that are the Cities responsibility like roads, affordable, reliable water, and citizen safety (Police, Firefighters, and First Responders). Rein in Planning and Zoning and insist that they justify plans in light of the Citizens Property Rights and Liberty. Vote down Issue #3 on the November ballot as it will only make matters worse and will violate Article 2, §23 of the Arkansas Constitution “…the General Assembly may delegate the taxing power, with necessary restriction, to the State’s subordinate political and municipal corporations, to the extent of providing for their existence, maintenance and well being, but no further.” (emphasis mine). The long and the short of Issue #3 is: to change the Constitution to allow the State and Local governments (read the City of Hot Springs) to increase the amount of DEBT that the State and City can burden the Taxpayers with. They are wasting taxpayer resources now; can you imagine the potential for irresponsible behavior if their taxing ability was virtually unlimited.
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