What else don’t you know, Barb? (October 28, 2015)

Dear Barb [Stanton, Council member
Town of Apple Valley],

You in many ways have been put forward as the face of the Town’s proposed hostile takeover of Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company. Any reasonable person would assume, therefore, that you are well-informed on this matter, not only because it represents an attack on the Town’s oldest business, but also because seizing Ranchos will cost the ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Even a failed effort could cost ten million dollars.

As someone in our community who strives to be informed about this issue, I found some of your comments at last night’s Town council meeting dismaying in the extreme.

First, you seemed mystified that your water bill was still high even though you had cut back water use by 50 percent. How could you not understand that it doesn’t matter how much you’ve cut back, it only matters what you’re still using?

Second, you said you don’t get the drought surcharge on your bill. How could you not understand that if you are seeing a drought surcharge, you are using a lot of water?

Third, you weren’t aware of Ranchos’ programs that provides exemptions based on landscaping, etc.

Fourth, you weren’t aware of Ranchos’ water audit program.

Last but not least, you actually asked, So you’re saying the drought surcharge is all about my usage? How could you have missed the fact that the whole point of the drought surcharge was to get residents to use less water?

Running a water utility is an extremely complex endeavor, and given the Town’s abysmal track records in finance and financial reporting, there’s simply no way the Town could step into Ranchos’ shoes. Your lack of knowledge about the basics of one minor, simple aspect of water delivery makes me wonder what else you don’t know. Did you know, for instance, that 25 percent of Ranchos’ customers qualify for low-income rate assistance, which the Town will not be able to provide due to restrictions in place through Prop. 218?

Others have accused me of being repetitive on the issue of our water service, but at the risk of repeating myself, I’ll say again what I’ve told you before: You need to fire the Town managers and the Town attorney, because clearly they are not doing their jobs, which is to keep you informed about what is going out over your name. If you care about your name, your reputation, your legacy, or your integrity, you absolutely must get better Town managers, and grill them when they bring something to you. Likewise with the Town attorney.

You used to be against this type of behavior in government officials before you became a part of it. The Barb Stanton Show would have had each of the parties to this issue on to present his position, and you would have doggedly tried to get to the bottom of what is going on.

We desperately need the old Barb back.

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