San Diego’s water billing system has problems. City Councilman Carl DeMaio wanted to do something about it. In the wake of the latest news story on residents’ frustrations, DeMaio, who’s also running for mayor, asked colleague David Alvarez this week to hold a committee hearing on the issue.

“As elected leaders, it is our responsibility to ensure that taxpayers and ratepayers receive the level of customer service that they deserve, and we are currently not measuring up,” DeMaio said in a Tuesday memo to Alvarez.

Yesterday, Alvarez declined DeMaio’s request. Why? Because Alvarez, who chairs the natural resources committee, already held a hearing on the water billing problems last month.

DeMaio, a committee member, might have known about the discussion had he been there. A video recording shows DeMaio chatting with colleague Lorie Zapf, and then packing up his laptop and walking out just as Alvarez was introducing the topic. You can see DeMaio in the upper left corner around the 1 hour, 13 minute mark of the tape. The discussion on the billing problems lasted 45 minutes.

Update: Now you can watch it below.

“Many of the concerns listed in your memorandum were discussed at this hearing,” Alvarez told DeMaio in a memo.

I have a call in to DeMaio spokesman Jeff Powell and will update the post if I hear back.

Update: I just heard from DeMaio’s spokesman Jeff Powell. DeMaio isn’t backing off his request. “Our office is still receiving a large volume of calls from frustrated residents,” Powell wrote in an email. “Obviously problems in customer service are a major issue within the water department. Clearly this is an important issue and requires a larger hearing.”

Liam Dillon is a news reporter for voiceofsandiego.org. He covers San Diego City Hall, the 2012 mayor’s race and big building projects. What should he write about next?

Please contact him directly at liam.dillon@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5663.

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    Written by Liam Dillon

    Liam Dillon is senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He leads VOSD’s investigations and writes about how regular people interact with local government. What should he write about next? Please contact him directly at liam.dillon@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5663.

    10 comments
    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones subscriber

    The new system is a complete success and all customer complaints are a thing of the past since last month?

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones

    The new system is a complete success and all customer complaints are a thing of the past since last month?

    thomas morris
    thomas morris subscriber

    This is the same thing he did with the private trash pick up that affected a number of his constituents. He knew it was coming for a year, but waited until it was too late to be reversed and only then did he make a show of fake outrage for the attention.

    thomas
    thomas

    This is the same thing he did with the private trash pick up that affected a number of his constituents. He knew it was coming for a year, but waited until it was too late to be reversed and only then did he make a show of fake outrage for the attention.

    Joe Devan
    Joe Devan subscriber

    I don't want Carl for my mayor.

    Wolf
    Wolf

    I don't want Carl for my mayor.

    Lucas OConnor
    Lucas OConnor subscriber

    November 9th (the day of the hearing) was also the day that DeMaio was doing his media tour trumpeting CPR qualifying for the ballot. How could anyone expect him to stick around for a full work day when he had campaigning to do?

    lucasoconnor
    lucasoconnor

    November 9th (the day of the hearing) was also the day that DeMaio was doing his media tour trumpeting CPR qualifying for the ballot. How could anyone expect him to stick around for a full work day when he had campaigning to do?

    Doug Porter
    Doug Porter subscriber

    Since DeMaio already has a virtual candidate web site up and running (you can ask him pre-approved questions) perhaps he can set up a virtual web site featuring a virtual hearing, where DeMaio drops in --thanks to the magic of technology-- and gives his stump speech about too much government regulation. I'm sure the other City Council members won't mind. And the public will be amazed at seeing Carl do something besides stare at his lap top during a hearing....

    dougbob
    dougbob

    Since DeMaio already has a virtual candidate web site up and running (you can ask him pre-approved questions) perhaps he can set up a virtual web site featuring a virtual hearing, where DeMaio drops in --thanks to the magic of technology-- and gives his stump speech about too much government regulation. I'm sure the other City Council members won't mind. And the public will be amazed at seeing Carl do something besides stare at his lap top during a hearing....


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