Local control (May 26, 2015)

  • Proposed remarks for tonight’s Town Council meeting.

My name is Greg Raven, and I live here in Apple Valley.

I wish I had time for a point-by-point refutation of the misinformation you disseminated at the April 28th Town Hall Presentation, but Apple Valley is all about local control, so I have only three minutes to try to influence what you do for the other 43,797 minutes this month.

I am opposed to the Town spending one more minute or one more penny on acquiring Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company. Under the current arrangement, if Ranchos wants to raise rates, they have to apply for a rate increase to the California Public Utilities Commission. When that happens the Office of Ratepayer Advocates also gets involved. I can talk to them all I want. And the taxes I pay allow you to send high-priced attorneys to Sacramento to talk them them too, supposedly on my behalf. Everybody gets to talk.

Under the proposed seizure of Ranchos, you on the council will set the rates. If you want to raise the rates, I won’t be able to count on a single one of you to go to bat for me. The same is true for the town manager, the assistant manager, the town attorney, and on down the line. Unless I can get the support of 40 percent or more of the Town, you get to keep on running things to suit yourselves. This is what you have the gall to call local control.

Of course, at the next election I could vote for a candidate who said she opposed what the Town is doing, but the last time I did, that person voted in favor of the very thing she campaigned against, as soon as she got into office. I voted for local control once, and all I got was a lousy golf course.

And please, don’t even start with me about how much money ratepayers supposedly will save, because you’ve already stated that you will NOT be lowering rates, and you won’t even commit to limiting future rate increases. Yet, you say you are willing to spend $200 million dollars or more to force the sale of Ranchos to the Town.

I have a four-step counter proposal that will resolve this issue immediately:

  1. Fire the town manager for cause, fire the assistant managers for cause, replace the town attorney and his firm, and censure whichever council members have been pushing this hare-brained scheme.
  2. Stop your attacks on Ranchos Water Company.
  3. Pass a resolution prohibiting any council member or Town employee — past or present — from having any financial interest in any entity that supplies water to the Town.
  4. Get a new attorney to help claw back at least some of the million plus dollars you’ve spent so far on salaries, fees, and expenses related to this takeover.

I urge the Town Council to learn from its past financial misadventures, and forgo immediately any future attempts to acquire Ranchos Water Company.

Greg Raven is Co-Chair of Apple Valley Citizens for Government Accountability, and is concerned about quality of life issues.