Rice rebuttal (February 26, 2017)

With respect to the current Apple Valley water wars, I don’t have a dog in that fight. I live in Claremont.

However I can’t let some of the comments in a recent issue of the paper attributed to Apple Valley town attorney Thomas Rice to go unanswered.

Mr. Rice’s attempt to rebut Claremont resident Jim Belna’s comments at a Thursday meeting of a local citizens’ group is pathetic in its fecklessness.

Mr. Rice starts out with three ad hominem volleys; he states conclusions as facts; he imputes bad motives to Mr. Belna; without any factual basis, he tries to associate Mr. Belna to Apple Valley’s local water company; he asserts that he is in possession of better facts, which unfortunately he can’t share with the mere public; he then states the obvious: that Apple Valley is not Claremont, that San Bernardino Superior Court is not L.A., and that there will be a different judge.

I became acquainted with Mr. Belna only recently in the Claremont water fiasco. I have always found him to be thoughtful, careful, measured, informed, and well-prepared. He is not a bomb-thrower. He laid out for the Claremont City Council exactly the process and the probable outcomes more than three years ago. He identified weaknesses in the City’s arguments for them. And as the events transpired, he was proven correct at every turn. I did not attend the meeting at Victor Valley College where he spoke to your residents, but I am rather certain he did not express any opinion on whether the town should take the water company or not take it. But he would have provided a structure of issues that must prudently be considered.

The town and citizens of Apple Valley would do well to give his message serious consideration. It is deserving of better than the gassy blast from the town attorney, Mr. Rice.

Mr. Rice should instead do his utmost transparently to address some of the issues that Mr. Belna raised rather than shooting the messenger.

It may well be correct that Apple Valley is different from Claremont, but from what I’ve seen, in my brief contact, the way both municipalities operate with Best Best and Krieger behind the curtain, there are certainly many similarities.

Ludd A. Trozpek, Claremont

Source: Daily Press

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