No vote? No problem! (September 22, 2015)

Here’s a little Apple Valley political quiz for you. Who wrote the following position piece?

Publicly regulated utilities are a disaster. For profit companies who can get guaranteed pricing from un-elected political appointees. The public hearings thus far have been a joke. The companies will get the rate increase that they wanted and only then will they have a public hearing about it. The companies have guaranteed monopolies and they swindle the public in plain sight.

If the town of Apple Valley bought Rancho Water Co, if it even could happen, could lead to even higher rates. Municipal utilities are not known for their low rates. The entities with lowest rates are consumer owned utility corporations, also known as mutual utilities. These exist in California. They have elective governing boards.

I think that we need a panel of citizens from Apple Valley, from varying backgrounds, to look into the possible approaches to relieving the burden of extravagant rates on Apple valley residents. We need to get creative and maybe even join forces with citizens from other cities who face the same issue of excessive water rates, to lobby for deregulation or take other actions.

The town government can help the rate payers, not by blocking, but rather by allowing creative solutions. There are a lot of smart people in Apple Valley. We need to enlist their talents to solve this issue. It can be solved if we have a can-do, not a can’t-do approach.

Before I give you the answer, I’ll tell you why I’m asking. Certain Apple Valley Town council members have taken the position that there is no need for residents to vote on whether or not to assume hundreds of millions in debt in a hostile takeover of AVRWC because three of the incumbents just won re-election, and each ran on the platform favoring the seizure.

So, was the last election a mandate for the attacks on Ranchos?

In a word, no. The policy statement above came from Richard Bunck, one of the unsuccessful candidates. Bunck’s lack of success was due no doubt to the fact that he was relatively unknown, with the rest of it due to opponents taking great pains to label him a neo-Nazi. Nazi, Nazi, Nazi! No experience! Has no idea what he’s talking about, and we don’t want him running a Town as magnificent as Apple Valley!

One other unsuccessful candidate was Tom Piper. His campaign site is long gone, but if memory serves, he also supported the Town getting into the water business. Part of Piper’s problem was that he was really, really under-funded, with the rest of it due to the fact that Piper was running basically as an outspoken marijuana advocate (according to the Daily Press). His opponents pointed out he had no experience, had no idea what he was talking about, and had no idea how to run a Town as magnificent as Apple Valley.

So in the last council election, voters could choose the incumbents (who always have an advantage, merely because of name recognition), or they could vote for a neo-Nazi, or they could vote for a marijuana advocate.

What they couldn’t vote for was a candidate who didn’t want to take over Ranchos, if memory serves, and even if they did, I’d like to think that voters are interested in more than just a single issue.

What this also means is that our recently re-elected councilmembers, who are so proud of their victories that they believe there’s now no need to ask for votes on important issues such as this, were at the time aligned with what they called a neo-Nazi and a pot-head, neither of whom had any experience, and neither of whom had any idea how to run a Town as magnificent as Apple Valley. Yet somehow, our current Town Council did and does agree with the positions of these supposedly utterly unqualified candidates.

These are the tactics of demagogues.

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