Missed every point (October 30, 2015)

It’s good to see Blue Ribbon Water Committee (BRWC) members such as William E. McDaniel are still involved in the water issue here in Apple Valley (Ranchos’ rate hike, Daily Press, October 30, 2015). As a member of the BRWC, McDaniel had eight months to inform himself regarding all aspects of water delivery here in the high desert, and ultimately recommend against the Town purchasing Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company. Now, unfortunately, just about every data point he cites is wrong.

First, the 28.7 percent increase is for those who refuse to reduce water usage to reasonable levels. As the CPUC’s proposed decision reads, an average residential customer that achieves the conservation goals set by the Governor’s Executive Order will see its [bi-monthly] bill increase by $3.41 and 2.64 percent only.

Second, the total cost of water delivery in Apple Valley is lower than in Hesperia and Victorville.

Third, CPUC’s consideration of operating costs is very much in the real world. To be otherwise would create an unsustainable system.

Fourth, Ranchos is compelled by law to publish its financials each year, and those annual reports are available online to anyone. Also, the CPUC process generates extensive documentation, which is also available to everyone online.

Fifth, Ranchos is not for sale separately. It’s part of a package deal. When selling your car, you would reject an offer to sell just the headliner. When selling your house, you would reject an offer to sell just your kitchen. Those are package deals, too.

Sixth, your water bill is not for how much you’ve cut, it’s for how much you’re still using. If you see a drought surcharge on your water bill, you are still using a lot of water. Mr. McDaniel apparently used 106 units. My wife and I used 3 units total on our last bill, which was for $57.31.

Seventh, there is no evidence to support Mr. McDaniel’s contention that Ranchos’ main replacements are questionable, or that Ranchos has secret books. In fact, Mr. McDaniel should be more cautious in his terminology, lest he been seen as libeling Ranchos. It might prove very difficult for him to prove that he had not damaged Ranchos’ business and reputation.

Finally, while there are indications that the federal government and a class-action law firm may be in our future, the target will almost certainly not be Ranchos.

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