Diving into Measure W (October 25, 2016)
Once again, for purposes of clarity, I am personally a member of the founding team of H2O-Our Water Now, the support committee for Yes on Measure W. As such, I have talked to literally hundreds of folks about our water issue and while I am in no way impartial, I can give you both sides with a dollop of truth — as I see it.
Of course, by now, you should know this entire political
he-said, she-said argument over dueling water measures started with the town’s move to file eminent domain against Liberty Utilities which many independent observers feel will eventually result in a court awarding the town the right to purchase the water company as has been the exact same case in Missoula, Montana. The move to eminent domain was made after several attempts to buy the system were rejected by the last two private owners of the water company and residents were clamoring for action on skyrocketing water rates and surcharges. Ultimately, this is a court decision and no vote on Measure W or Measure V will stop that process from moving on.
Rather than just depend on good will, better friendships and lawyers to save their company, Liberty Utilities crafted a unique plan to put a ballot initiative before Apple Valley voters to do as much as possible to restrain the town from having the borrowing power to get the funding to buy the water company.
This reasoning has all the sex appeal to the average voter of a dead carp. All political campaigns and good advertisements need what I call
a good hook. The
hook for Liberty was to use the natural
I don’t trust the government to spend my money wisely argument to power a ballot initiative built on that suspicion that would force a future Town Council to hold a special election each time they wish to borrow money. Rather than get too specific about a large amount, the water company is expected to finally cost between $88 to $100 million (based on what Montana sold for) — Liberty decided on $10 million as the price point that stirred the most voter’s hearts. To reinforce the
we don’t trust government aspect of the undertaking, a focus on transparency (audited reports) and accountability (public hearings) was built into the initiative wording.
hook for Liberty and Measure V is
Your right to vote on debt. Yes, I have been critical of at least one of the proponents who is the face of Measure V because they do not pay Liberty’s outrageous water rates. I will give them their due that they really have been convinced this is a
right to vote issue. Knowing the full back-story of course, I disagree.
Measure W came into being because several of us — there are a grand total of five core members of H20 — felt that to run just a No campaign against the water company was a loser. You spend all your time on negative issues and never get to what good things will come out of town ownership of our water. We agreed up front that personal attacks were off limits. We literally begged the Council members we knew to keep it simple, and if possible, just make it a yes or no question on a proposed ballot initiative. The lawyers were restrained as much as possible and Measure W is the result.
Measure W established a series of audit markers and public hearings when the town wants to borrow in excess of $5 million for any project. Measure W does not require an expensive election each time the town wants to exceed that borrowing limit as does Measure V. We have tried to be very upfront that we believe, and the town has certified, that the current profits taken out of the water company by Liberty Utilities will pay the debt service on the required loan the town will take to buy the water company.
We have been assured water rates will be stabilized, if not immediately reduced and surcharges (many mandated on the private company by the state) will disappear. There are dozens of other issues about unfair fees, the possibility of future growth in North Apple Valley and on and on, but space is limited. Measure W exists because a foreign owned company has, in our opinion, bled us dry for several years and shows no signs of stopping. Liberty isn’t evil, they are in it to win it and keep their profits flowing. We are in it to keep the water flowing at affordable rates to existing and new businesses and homes that won’t come to Apple Valley under these circumstances.
You get to tell both sides which way you see our community moving.
Source: Pat Orr, Apple Valley Review, applevalley-review.com/diving-measure
Files related to Measure V
- 20150913 Commentary: Apple Valley water takeover plan: Know the full cost (Coupal)
- 20160621 Measure V
- 20160726 TOAV staff report on Measure V
- 20160831 Best supporters money can buy
- 20160831 Serious omission
- 20160831 Town paid more than $50K for ballot measure
- 20160904 Letter: Peter Allen supporting Measure V (Nassif)
- 20160906 Town business practices
- 20160908 Letter: Don’t waste your vote (Carloni)
- 20160911 Letter: Measure Waste (Carloni)
- 20160918 Our View: The right to vote on big projects
- 20160919 Support Measure V
- 20160923 Opinion: Measure V is for voting to ensure government is accountable (Mann)
- 20160924 Letter: Measure W (Piercy)
- 20160925 Opinion: Measure V respects Liberty Utilities customers’ rights (Sorensen)
- 20160929 Letter: Time to go (Varga)
- 20161002 Letter: Reject Measure W (Allan)
- 20161010 Letter: Truth about V and W (Bell)
- 20161011 Letter: The measure of a man (Varga)
- 20161018 Will Apple Valley become California’s Flint, MI?
- 20161020 Yes on Measure V (video)
- 20161023 Letter: Supports Measure V (Schappert)
- 20161025 Diving into the shallow waters of Measure W
- 20161102 Letter: Measure of a man (McCarthy)
- 20161102 No water in Measure W
- 20161103 More Measure W misdirection
- 20161103 No on W, Yes on V
- 20161105 Money flows like water
- 20161111 Letter: Diving into shallow ‘W’ater
- 20161111 Measure V garnered 2,319 more yes votes than Measure W
- 20161113 Tuesday’s election results
- 20161114 Measures V and W
- 20161115 Polls and votes
- 20161121 Voters show they want a say in water takeover issue (Hanson)