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Letter: Mayoral candidate discusses water rates, homelessness, cannabis 

letter to the editor

To the editor,

In 1787 the delegates to the Constitutional Convention were just leaving Independence Hall having decided on the general structure for the new United States. A crowd had gathered on the steps, eager to hear the news. A sturdy old woman wearing a shawl, approached Benjamin Franklin and asked him, “well, Doctor, what do we have, a republic or a monarchy?” Franklin replied sagely, “a republic, if you can keep it.”

A republic is the best defense against the tyranny of the elite or a majority, but today we see some local politicians, including the current mayor, using consultants, study groups, and unscientific polls to abdicate their responsibility to govern courageously. Here are some examples:

This week we were told that Paso Robles water rates are increasing dramatically and that there will be a public hearing on Dec. 20. Not coincidentally, the public hearing will be irrelevant because only “if” more than 50% of ratepayers take the time to mail a formal objection to the city by Dec. 20 could the increase be stopped. This opposition must be mailed and include the parcel number or address of the property in question and a clear statement that you who reside at the address are opposed to the rate increase. Will those in opposition take this step and make their opposition known? I hope so.

Last summer, at taxpayer expense, a consultant was hired to lead a group of citizens to study the “future of homelessness”. The study group’s recommendations were presented formally and in writing to the mayor and city council, yet nothing has been done to implement the citizen’s recommendations. This is odd especially when you observe that under this mayor homelessness has doubled. You would think this would be at the highest priority for this city especially as this cancer continues to metastasize.

In July, the city hired a cannabis consulting firm to write a cannabis survey. The survey was biased and unscientific. It was open to anyone with internet access, as opposed to polling a representative sample of Paso Robles residents. People who use cannabis are religious in their support for the drug, and will flock to participate in any survey that leads to more cannabis use and normalization. It appears the survey yielded the pro-pot results desired by the current mayor and the cannabis consultants. It also appears the consultants stand to win a hefty percentage of future tax revenue generated by retail cannabis storefronts. The residents stand to lose the charm for which Paso Robles is known, and to respond to the cannabis-induced psychosis, crime, and homelessness associated with youth-targeted, neurotoxic candies, cookies, gummies and THC-infused drinks.

If I am elected mayor I won’t shirk from my responsibilities. I won’t deflect the hard decisions onto consultants, surveys, or citizen study groups. My job will be to do what is in the long-term interest of Paso Roblans, and not just what is popular. I will work tirelessly to fix the roads, keep taxes, fees, and rates low, work to end homelessness, work to protect our youth from addiction and support public safety.

I respectfully ask for your vote on or before November 8.

Michael Rivera
Candidate for Mayor of Paso Robles


Editor’s note: Opinion pieces and letters to the editor are the personal opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Paso Robles Daily News or its staff. We welcome letters from local residents regarding relevant local topics. To submit one, click here.

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