Just one step … on a predetermined path (June 16, 2015)

Pat Orr makes some good points about who complains and when (So, what really happened?, Apple Valley Review, June 3, 2015), but falls prey to the misinformation campaign being run by the Town of Apple Valley.

He claims that people were fooled into thinking that the Apple Valley Town Council (TOAV) decided irreversibly to move forward on the seizure of Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company (AVRWC) at the Tuesday meeting (June 2, 2015), and quotes council member Scott Nassif as the voice of reason.

In fact, the irreversible decision seems to have been made long ago by TOAV to pursue a hostile takeover of AVRWC. The Tuesday vote was just a fig leaf so the TOAV can pretend to be proceeding cautiously.

This is the only deduction one can make based on the evidence before us. TOAV has taken out ads, decorated bus stops, printed fliers, and asked citizens of the town to side with it on this issue, while at the same time making one mendacious statement after another vilifying AVRWC and its parent corporation. These are not the actions of someone interested in negotiating in good faith. Nor are they the actions of someone who is prepared to back down, should that be the best action.

Nassif, a wealthy local businessman who had the audacity to accuse AVRWC of putting profits over people, likes to repeat the lie that there will be public input at each step. What that really means is that the public is allowed to speak for a couple of minutes at meetings, while the TOAV disregards them and does what it wants to do. It happened with the purchase of the Apple Valley Country Club, and it’s happening again.

As for the offer of just compensation, TOAV’s position is that its ridiculously low valuation of AVRWC is fair, even though it acknowledges that the valuation is based on a hopelessly cursory tour by TOAV’s so-called water expert. When confronted with the perfunctory nature of the evaluation process, TOAV’s response was priceless: It’s all the fault of those meanies at AVRWC! No wonder TOAV has yet to present its offer of just compensation to AVRWC. Keep in mind, too, that the term offer of just compensation is a legal one that one uses when anticipating the condemnation and eminent domain taking of the property of another.

As for AVRWC having a different valuation of its own worth, Orr is incorrect. AVRWC has not made a valuation of itself, because as it repeatedly says, it’s not for sale.

Finally, as everyone must certainly know by now, the hostile actions by TOAV cannot be motivated by concern over water rates, because TOAV has already said it will not lower rates once it seizes control of the water system, and will not commit to eliminating future rate increases.

Orr is accurate in saying that it’s anybody’s guess what will happen in the future on this issue, but one thing is certain: TOAV is going to spend whatever it takes to get what it wants, and AVRWC is going to have to spend comparable amounts to defend itself from the rapacious town leaders. Not one penny of this will produce even a single drop of water, yet someone will have to pay the bill when it comes due, and that will be the taxpayers and ratepayers of Apple Valley.

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