Not the same family business (October 29, 2015)

Adolph Collaso writes that the Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company of today is not the same company it was back when the Wheeler family owned it (Keeping it local, Daily Press, October 29, 2015). He’s right, it’s not the same: It’s better.

Mr. Collaso’s misapprehension seems to come from the fact that he is focused only on where he thinks his water payments are going. That’s only part of the picture, though, because before those payments can go to outside investors, those outside investors have to put millions into Apple Valley. With the stock market crash in 2008, even though the Wheelers reinvested profits back into Ranchos, the system was in bad shape. Thanks to The Carlyle Group, capital investments have gone way up, and now instead of 4,000+ reported leaks per year (to take just one example), Ranchos is down to fewer than 500. Our water system is better than it was precisely because of foreign investment.

We have many big retailers in town, even though none of them has its headquarters here. Food, clothing, fuel, building supplies … you name it. Even other utilities have made substantial investments in Apple Valley in order to do business here. All that money originated outside our community.

And at the end of the day, don’t we want others to value our town as highly as we do ourselves?

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