Is transparency a one-way street? (February 10, 2016)

The recent news stories and letters regarding the Town’s Transparency Report of current costs to acquire the water company all have quotes and some misused the information provided at a public meeting by the Town Finance Manager. That’s fine, the information is there to be examined, twisted and turned.

But where is the transparency from the water company?

Ranchos material says all is revealed in their frequent California Public Utility Commission filings. Now there’s a hoot. We doubt even the CPUC Commissioners know how to read one of those documents, let alone a member of the general public. Folks are asked to believe the Town is hiding expenses or playing games with funds to acquire the water company. Yet, only through court proceedings in Montana where the same water company is losing their fight against the local City Council, was it revealed the former Ranchos/Park CEO was making $250,000 a year and that Ranchos/Park/Carlyle anticipated a $10 million revenue stream from the Apple Valley operation.

We can well understand why there is little transparency about profits, bonuses and salaries when the company is out promoting a voter initiative claiming we can’t trust our elected officials to spend wisely. The plain fact is the water company, and whoever owns it today, has no duty to reveal their operating profits or salaries nor do they, as we have learned, have to listen to any advice from their customers about pricing or transparency. It’s not like we can elect the people who control the water company and its rate structure, now is it?

By the way, you won’t have Ranchos Water to kick around anymore. The company trucks and signs are being changed to Liberty Utilities, Apple Valley. Another symbol of a bygone era disappears into corporate oblivion. Perhaps a new name will make everyone just feel better.

We’ll see when the next bill arrives.


Source: Pat Orr, Apple Valley Review,