Wrong focus (September 24, 2015)

If a small group of litterbugs and people who advocated free dumping in the desert accused the Town of Apple Valley of oppressing them through the Town’s monopoly arrangement with Burrtec, I would like to think that neither the Daily Press (nor anyone else) would take the side of the litterbugs.

Yet, when the worst of the worst water hogs in Apple Valley appeal to the head hog — the Town itself — to take action to allow them to continue using truly astonishing amounts of water with few consequences, the Daily Press somehow manages to focus always on the plight of the poor, down-trodden hyper-users of our precious desert water. How could anyone, after all this time and discussion, not have noticed that the best way to deal with drought surcharges is to avoid them altogether by cutting water consumption to a normal and reasonable level?

I attended the council meeting that led to the feature story in Thursday’s paper (Residents irate over surcharge, Daily Press, September 24, 2015), and my question is how could the Daily Press have missed the big story, that being the total absence of the Town’s monthly Transparency Report? Not only did the Town not present the much-promised Transparency Report for September, it failed even to mention what the heck happened to it. Only later did I find out that the monthly reports promised by the assistant town manager and lauded by the mayor pro tem and council members, are gone, summarily replaced by what we’re now told will be a quarterly report. This bait-and-switch tactic was felt especially keenly by residents such as myself who attended this meeting specifically to get a copy of the new Report and point out failings in the previous month’s report.

So to the Town, I say You are judged by the company you keep. To the Daily Press, I say, Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.

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