Dogging Ranchos (October 29, 2015)

David Christman sees hypocrisy where there is none because he’s not looking in the correct places (Hypocrisy defined, Daily Press, October 29, 2015).

First he decries public records requests submitted by concerned citizens who are working diligently, using their own time and money, to alert Town council members and the public to serious issues with the Town’s financial practices and reporting. Let’s also keep in mind that these are public records. They are supposed to be available to the public. The Town should be ready, willing, and able to provide them on request. The fact that they claim it costs thousands to provide documentation speaks volumes about how the Town does business. If Mr. Christman is just worried about the money angle, too bad he didn’t spot the $150,000+ contract with the public relations firm hired by the Town to convince residents to support the council members in a decision they claim they haven’t yet made, and this is just one of the Town’s many expenses on this issue alone!

Mr. Christman also makes the curious claims that Ranchos doesn’t have to submit any documentation to the public, and that it must reveal only costs to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which regulates Ranchos. In fact, Ranchos’ annual financial reports are readily available online, as are the majority of its interactions with the CPUC. It would be difficult to get any more transparent than that. If you’ve ever tried to get financial information from the Town, you know our local government doesn’t come even close in the transparency department.

Furthermore, you can call or write Ranchos, and someone will respond. I’ve tried calling, writing, and even going to council meetings in an attempt to get information from my so-called representatives, to no avail. I hope this isn’t what they mean by local control.

I’ll make Mr. Christman a promise: The minute Ranchos starts doing business the way the Town of Apple Valley does, I’ll start dogging them. In my experience, Ranchos has been open and honest; helpful and courteous; and knowledgeable and experienced; just the opposite of representatives from the Town of Apple Valley. Why anyone would want to replace the Ranchos corporate culture with the government mindset embodied by the Town of Apple Valley is beyond me.

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