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Orange County | ORANGE COUNTY ELECTIONS 2002

Water Rates Key in Westminster

For voters, the restructuring of charges and a proposed $15-million cultural center are hot topics, in addition to mayoral and City Council races.

October 25, 2002|Vivian Le Tran | Times Staff Writer

Ed and Janet Pace don't own a swimming pool, and they were careful to conserve water by installing water-efficient toilets in their Westminster home.

So when their latest water bill arrived, the Westminster couple couldn't understand why their bill was $106--nearly double what they typically pay.

"I was surprised, and I'm upset by it," said Ed Pace, 73, who has never paid such a high water bill in his 46 years in Westminster. "We're conscious of how much water we use, and we try not to be wasteful. But the city's really sticking it to homeowners."

Rising water rates have emerged as one of the top issues in Westminster, along with plans for a $15-million cultural center.

Six candidates will appear on the Nov. 5 ballot: two are vying for the mayor's seat, and four others are seeking two City Council seats.

The city this year changed the way it calculates water rates in an effort to encourage conservation. Some residents found that their rates almost doubled.

Some candidates back the plan.

"The restructured water rates is something that had to be done to get people to think about conservation with California at the threat of a drought," said Councilman Russell Paris, who is running for his first full council term.

But another candidate, Navy veteran Bob Crossley, said the rates are unfair and should be changed.

Crossley also questions the wisdom of the cultural center project during a poor economy. The project, to begin 2003, includes a 425-seat live theater and a 500-seat banquet hall.

Some residents agree.

"The way the economy is right now, this cultural center is not a good way to spend taxpayers' money," said Jim Evans, 79. "It annoys me that they're taking our money for this center when they can use it for other necessities. We need to vote on this to be heard."

Others, however, believe the center would provide important services for the public.

*

Who's appearing on the ballot Candidates for City of Westminster in the Nov. 5 election:

*--* Mayor Bob Crossley, U.S. Navy Veteran Margie L. Rice*, Mayor, City of Westminster

*--*

*--* City Council (2 seats) Russell C. Paris*, Appointed Westminster Councilman Andy Quach, Planning Commissioner/Businessman Stephen Nevarez, Real Estate Broker Joy L. Neugebauer, Businesswoman/Community Volunteer

* Incumbent

*--*

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