About that ‘scoping meeting’ (July 7, 2015)

The Town of Apple Valley’s alleged scoping meeting for the takeover of Ranchos Water was a farce and rivals Shakespeare’s A Comedy of Errors. It was a meeting which the town, per CEQA, has a DUTY to provide individuals with the opportunity to participate effectively in all steps of the process.

Step 1 — Notice of Participation — Signed by town 6/24/15 — Notice in Daily Press the morning of 7-3-15, after many left town for a long holiday weekend. Likewise Town Hall closed.

Step 2 — Seek Input on the 40 Page Initial Study — Not available to the public, not even the day of the meeting. Few copies at meeting (counter copies), who had time to read it at the meeting? Staff says a copy is at the Library (Closed for repairs). As the meeting proceeded attempts were being made to post it online — still not online after the meeting.

It was obviously an entirely defective process which needs to start over. A consultant, staff member, and legal counsel could not answer many of the questions from the 20 some members of the public.

Upon entering the meeting room public was told they would not be permitted to speak, so hopefully you had written comments to submit, for alleged review/evaluation in the unknown future??

Consultant makes a brief presentation and the intent is to split up the public to approach those there on behalf of the town to speak individually with the public, and answer questions, further minimizing dissemination of information to the public.

The public, however, was having none of that divide and conquer mentality. Responses were clearly coming from those who could not answer the inquiries. But even more troubling was the three women attempting to placate the public were put out as sacrificial lambs while the town manager tucked his tail between his legs and went to the room behind the dias.

The most important thing that struck me of the information was indecision by the Town as to their intent to run the water company themselves, or turn it over to a private company, or to another public agency. If they can’t properly notice/conduct a scoping meeting how can they run a water company? Or, how does turning it over to another private company eliminate profit as we have been told? Or, what public agency are they going to turn it over to, Victorville? Maybe DWP in LA and we can live the 3 leaks a day fiasco.

— Leane Lee, Apple Valley