Thin veneer (September 21, 2015)

Look at all the problems we have in California: High taxes, high gas prices, high real estate prices, over-regulation, cap-and-trade, the Crazy Train, Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station waste on our beaches and in our air, massive illegal immigration, special payouts and privileges to illegal aliens, pandering to every special interest group at the expense of the people who actually pay the bills, budget shortfalls and municipal bankruptcies, the drought, wild fires, earthquakes, etc. You name it, we got it.

But here in the Town of Apple Valley, we’re supposed to have A Better Way of Life. It’s even the town motto. It’s a great one, and probably resonated with some who were looking for a new place to live, and choose Apple Valley. Judging by recent comments by a small but vocal minority, though, the motto’s thin veneer is peeling away.

Those in this minority now claim they wish they’d never moved to Apple Valley (some saying they’d leave if they could), not for any of the reasons listed above, but because the state has mandated that they be charged for over-using water. And who is to blame? Not the state, but rather Apple Valley Ranchos, for being our water provider.

Egging on this minority are our own Town Council members, with the support of the Town managers and Town attorney.

On the Town’s Facebook page, water hogs who complain about their water bills are feted. Those who have taken conservation and the seriousness of the drought to heart are ignored. Maybe my memory is failing, but I don’t remember the Town pushing water conservation, or thanking the community for exceeding the water savings mandated by the state, and heaven forbid they join forces with Ranchos to get the word out about the drought.

Instead, the Town takes every opportunity to create discord between residents and Ranchos, even going so far as to hire a PR firm (starting contract: $150,000) to promote the idea that life in Apple Valley — far from being better — is worse, all because of Ranchos.

I’m not saying that Apple Valley doesn’t have problems. What I’m saying is that Ranchos isn’t one of them. And the more you look at other actions by the Town leaders, the more it appears that demonizing Ranchos is a diversionary tactic, designed to keep residents from seeing those problems, and doing something substantive about them.

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