Time to pay attention: An open letter to Larry Cusack (December 18, 2016)
At your meet-the-candidates event at Johnnie D’s on November 1, 2016, I asked you if the problems with municipal water systems as seen in Adelanto and with the Los Angeles DWP were any cause for concern. Your response was that you didn’t know what was going on in other locales — you knew what was going on in Apple Valley.
This was a pretty astonishing statement coming from someone in your position, but it is particularly astonishing coming from you because you once told Chuck Hanson in a council meeting that you didn’t see any community discord arising out of the push-back to the Town council’s rule-or-ruin attacks on our water company. I find it difficult to believe you missed all the letters to the editor, e-mails, angry denouncements during the public comments period at Town council meetings, newspaper articles, and reports from your own staff, considering that you personally held community meetings to generate citizen support on this issue at the same time the Town council was telling us that 1) support for seizing Liberty Utilities was overwhelming, and 2) you were going to do whatever you wanted regardless.
So I wanted to take a moment to make certain you are up to date with what is going on, both locally and elsewhere.
First, there is
Adelanto again balks on water rate hikes in yesterday’s Daily Press. The issue here is that Adelanto city counselors have gotten themselves into a horrible situation with their water system (annual budget around $10 million) by making decisions for political reasons instead of for business reasons. This is exactly what the Apple Valley Town Council does — especially in the case of our water company — and no good ever comes of it. Even worse, these decisions are bad for residents in the long run. As in Flint, Michigan, this is clearly a case where
government-run does not equate to
Second, I direct your attention to
L.A.’s aging water pipes; a $1-billion dilemma (Los Angeles Times, February 16, 2015). DWP has been serving the Los Angeles area with water and electricity for more than 100 years. Yet even with an annual budget in excess of $828 million, through waste, incompetence, and corruption it has gotten itself into a position where its water system is out of date, and the money simply isn’t there to perform the necessary repairs and replacements. Despite the size and experience of the DWP, it still cannot run its utilities properly … or avoid scandal, for that matter. For extra credit, you could check into the massive issues DWP is having getting its electrical bills correct.
Third, voters in Apple Valley gained the right to vote yea or nay on projects such as the Town’s proposed eminent domain action against Liberty Utilities, thanks to the passage of Measure V with 67.40% of the votes. Given the Town council’s repeated references to local control, I’m surprised you opposed this one. Be that as it may, you are now bound by it.
Last but not least, there is the adverse decision in Claremont’s eminent domain action against Golden State Water (November 10, 2016). This litigation had several aspects in common with those in the Town council’s proposed hostile takeover, even down to representation by the same legal firm that represents Apple Valley: BB&K. Superior Court Judge Richard L. Fruin found many of BB&K’s arguments to be unconvincing or off-the-mark, just as the California Public Utilities Commission has many times found BB&K’s arguments to be weak and unpersuasive.
If any of this is news to you, you need to fire Town staff immediately and get someone in there who can inform council members factually in a timely manner.
Additionally, feel free to contact me should you need accurate information.
— Greg Raven is Co-Chair of Apple Valley Citizens for Government Accountability, and is concerned about quality of life issues.
Files related to Claremont
- 20150308 Acquiring AVRWC is right move for Apple Valley
- 20150314 Expense of possible AVRWC acquisition difficult to gauge
- 20150514 Claremont Water System — Supplement to 2012 Appraisal Report
- 20150905 Letter: Lawyers, water, and money (O’Neil)
- 20150918 TOAV fires back at Coupal
- 20150923 Editorial: Water, takeovers, and the people
- 20151015 Cities and private equity firms fight over ownership of water systems
- 20160712 Public records request (Manning)
- 20160721 Conflict of interest (Manning)
- 20160904 Letter: Peter Allen supporting Measure V (Nassif)
- 20161012 Claremont Set To Raise Rates For Utilities
- 20161018 Will Apple Valley become California’s Flint, MI?
- 20161110 Statement of tentative decision (Claremont v. Golden State Water)
- 20161110 Judge issues tentative decision against city in water system acquisition trial (Claremont v. Golden State Water)
- 20161114 Measures V and W
- 20161115 Polls and votes
- 20161116 Another false narrative
- 20161116 Liberty sees Claremont’s eminent-domain loss as sign of things to come in Apple Valley
- 20161121 Voters show they want a say in water takeover issue (Hanson)
- 20161215 Another costly day for Apple Valley
- 20161218 Time to pay attention: An open letter to Larry Cusack
- 20170111 Claremont city manager getting a $21,000 bonus
- 20170114 Price tag for Claremont’s failed attempt to take over water system keeps rising
- 20170115 Our View: Time for foes to sit down and talk
- Time for the Town Council to listen for a change
- Response to Thomas Lecoq (Carloni)
- Time for a second opinion? (Carloni)
- 20170209 Avoiding the Claremont disaster (video)
- 20170213 Valley Voices: Apple Valley would be wise to work with Liberty Utilities (Wright)
- 20170216 James Belna on the Claremont eminent domain disaster (video)
- 20170220 Claremont resident talks [about] avoiding ‘disaster’ in Apple Valley
- 20170220 Conflict of interest
- 20170220 Letter: Response to Thomas Rice (Belna)
- 20170226 Letter: James Belna’s visit (Hanson)
- 20170226 Letter: Rice rebuttal (Trozpek)
- Claremont public records request
- Truth not tricks (Carloni)
- Comments to the Town Council opposing the ballot measure
- 20170314 Town Council meeting (McCarthy)
- 20170322 Skewing the facts (Hanson)
- 20170323 Letter: Sit down and settle (Henard)
- 20170406 Guest commentary: Government takeovers of water systems don’t deliver results — study
- Who pays?
- Responding to claims made on Facebook
- 20170508 Liberty Utilities radio ad — Claremont (audio)
- Not paying attention
- 20171010 Claremont reaches $4.8 million settlement agreement with Golden State Water
- 20171017 Claremont settlement reignites Apple Valley water war
- 20171026 Claremont cuts ties with its city attorney, law firm