Transparency at Liberty Utilities (October 10, 2016)

On Sunday, Sept. 25th, a commentary was written by a high-ranking official of Liberty Utilities who said, We will always be fully transparent … in how we’re investing customers’ dollars to ensure the system is reliable for generations to come.

The next evening, I attended the Liberty Utilities meeting at Granite Hills High School concerning our water rates. We were allowed to write down questions to which the panel of local Liberty executives would respond. My question was to bring assurances as to the security of our water in this time of lone wolf terrorist attacks. While on the Blue Ribbon Water Committee, we were given a short list of names of prominent investors in the Carlyle Group, the original group who purchased Apple Valley Ranchos and then sold it to Liberty’s parent company, Algonquin Power & Utilities in Canada. One of the names that stood out on the list as an investor was bin Laden. I asked, As in Osama bin Laden? The lawyers working with us said, his family. A quick search of the Internet confirmed that this was true. The family of a terrorist was a part owner of our water.

My question to the panel was simple, As a transparent company would you give us the names of your investors and their home countries? The representative of Liberty made light of the question as simply political and said This comes from the fact that the name bin Laden came up on a list of investors in the Carlyle Group. He went on to lead those in attendance at the meeting to believe that bin Laden is just as common a name as Smith or Jones. But to me and to many of those of us who call Apple Valley our home, it is not a joke.

Water is the lifeblood of our communities. To summarily dismiss my question showed a callous disregard for the security of this most vital of resources. My family has been here for 72 years and my grandchildren are the fifth generation to live here. Protecting them and the thousands of children and families who call Apple Valley their home should never be dismissed off hand for the sake of profits. Now, more than ever, I am convinced that we, the citizens of Apple Valley, need to take back our water; reject the deceptive and crippling Measure V and vote in favor of Measure W to take back our water system from foreign ownership.

Rick Piercy, Apple Valley

Source: Daily Press

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