A tangled web (August 7, 2016)

Letter writer John Pedigo has become so tangled up in his own arguments it appears he can no longer keep them straight (Lies, arguments, and water, Daily Press, August 7, 2016). As a result, he has some harsh words to say about me because of a letter I wrote that was published on June 28th (Alternative water suppliers, Daily Press) did not appear in the June 21st edition of the paper, even though I wrote that it was published in the June 28th edition.

Back to the topic, though, Pedigo’s original point was that if we don’t like Liberty Utilities, we cannot change to another water company (Pretense and hypocrisy, Daily Press, May 17, 2016). My response was that while there might not be other water companies, there are other water options (Turning on fact-checking, Daily Press, May 23, 2016). Seeing as how this letter writer has repeatedly mentioned other water options, I hope he will agree that I was in fact correct on that point.

Perhaps, though, Pedigo was trying to make the claim that Liberty Utilities is a monopoly, which given the alternatives clearly is not the case. But has he ever wondered how Liberty became our water supplier? Perhaps he should check out Ordinance 13 (passed April 18, 1989), the title of which is:

An ordinance of the town council of the Town of Apple Valley, California, granting to Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company, a California corporation, its successors and assigns, the right, privilege and franchise to use and to construct and use, for transmitting and distributing water for any and all purposes, pipelines, services, fire services, fire hydrants, wells, reservoirs, and appurtenances, including communication circuits necessary or proper therefor, in, along, across, upon, over and under the public streets, ways, alleys and places with the Town of Apple Valley.

Liberty Utilities is, of course, the successor to Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company, and as such pays hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to the Town in franchise fees.

So if you want to talk about monopolies, you are left with the only monopoly in town — literally: The government of the Town of Apple Valley.

Even if Liberty Utilities were a monopoly, it is simply not a sincere argument to oppose Liberty Utilities on these grounds, and then propose that the remedy is to turn it over to another, bigger monopoly!

The Town Council just reneged on its long-promised local control (Town opts for own measure, Daily Press, July 29, 2016), and Mayor Barb Stanton is on record with the Daily Press as saying she believes water rates will go down once the town pays off a bond that would be used for the purchase, that is, 30 years after the date of the purchase (Assemblyman discusses benefits, pitfalls of water system acquisition, October 8, 2015).

For all these reasons and more, it makes no sense for the Town to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to buy something we already have.

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

Published: Daily Press