How quickly we forget what is really at stake here, our Constitutional right to vote.  This was first brought to my attention when I arrived home from work on a Saturday in January 2010.  There was a flyer on my door step advertising a meeting about an oil project in our hills.  I was outraged that the City had even contemplated this.  Like most of you I thought when we voted for prop "A" to purchase the hills they would be protected forever.  Apparently the Whittier City Council had other plans.
 In 1992 and again 1995 the taxpayers of Los Angeles County exercised there Constitutional right (Amendment 26 sec. 1 of our Constitution) and voted to have approximately $20.00 per year added to their property tax. That proposition which is know as Prop "A" was for funding for our parks and to purchase land for Open Spaces not for the redevelopment of old oil fields. "We the People" voted for that. Instead, the Whittier City Council did not respect nor agree with the People's decision.  They made their own decision and developed their own interpretation of Prop “A” which they felt allowed them to override the publics vote.  As of today L.A. County has not agreed with the City’s interpretation.

So why did the Whittier City Council knowingly ignore what the people wanted?  Whatever the reason we may never know.    What we do know is 64% of L.A. County voted for prop "A".  Our politicians do not have any right to change our decisions.  We as citizens should be outraged that these part-time politicians took away what the public voted for. 
We have been told the City needs money, well so do a lot of other Cities.  Government has a tendency to get fat during the good times.  Now they need to lean themselves out.  Other Cities are doing it why not Whittier?  What makes Whittier special?
Unfortunately, what the City neglected to tell you is they started the oil project back in 2006 when the economy was robust.  From e-mails that we have acquired Matrix said it was their idea to drill in our hills.  Here is Bob Henderson's statement from a newspaper article dated April 29, 2009 and his revelation.
APRIL 29, 2009
The Derrick Next Door: Suburb Explores a Crude Solution to Its Budget
Bob Henderson
Bob Henderson, the town's mayor, had a revelation.
"I was sitting at home, just idly thinking about this possibility of oil drilling and suddenly thought: 'Oh, my God, when I purchased the old Chevron property, we demanded they give us the oil rights.'" The demand was made so Whittier could convert the area into a wilderness preserve. Says Mr. Henderson: "It's home to an awful lot of animals -- bobcats, coyotes, hundreds of birds."
Bittersweet Epiphany But oil, he says, could fuel a renewal for his town of 90,000. And even with oil now trading near $50 a barrel it's still enticing. "We know that at the time that the Chevron field stopped, they were producing 900 barrels a day." If they could coax the wells to put that out again, there could be a fortune.
According to the following e-mails dated November 14, 2006 and November 16, 2006.  The City of Whittier was already working on a deal with Matrix Oil.  On November 27, 2007 the City had signed a “Letter of Intent” with Matrix Oil for the Oil project.    Remember, this did not go out to bid until August 26, 2008.  The bid was awarded to Matrix who was the only bidder (October 28, 2008).  Bob Henderson makes his statement (above) almost six mounts to the day after the City signed a lease with Matrix Oil (April 29, 2009).  Why did he wait so long to make this statement?

 Now with the latest lawsuit from L.A. County (October 25, 2012) we have a clearer picture of our Council members and how they ignore contracts, leases and voter approved Propositions and do whatever they want.  With it looking more and more as if they are going to loose the lawsuits brought against them by both the State and the County the City could be facing bankruptcy.
Millions of dollars have been spent by the City that were supplied by the oil companies.  They will want that money back.  They will also want to be reimbursed for potential losses which could range in the millions or hundreds of dollars.  All because our City Council played by their own rules. 
What can we do to make sure this does not happen again?  Term limitations.  We have a person that has been a councilman for over 30 years.  That has been more a disadvantage then advantage.  Long term relationships can develop that over time can re-direct a persons focus on what they were elected to do.  Eight years period, should be a persons term.  It is too easy to get locked into the same old players.  It limits our town on getting fresh and new ideas.  It stifles our Community's growth.
Make sure on November 6, 2012 and future elections that you go out and exercise your Constitutional right to vote.  Remove those from office that don't respect your right.
Documents described here can be found on WHOW's website.

City Signed "Letter of Intent" with Matrix November 27, 2007
Size : 132.153 Kb
Type : pdf
Oil Project Goes to Bid August 26, 2008
Size : 115.305 Kb
Type : pdf