Town Hall Presentation (April 28, 2015)

The following are images taken from the PowerPoint presentation.

Presiding over the meeting were Alisha Winterswyk, Barb Stanton, Frank Robinson, Jason Ackerman, John Brown, Ken Macvey, Larry Cusack, and Marc Puckett.

Includes notes and commentary by Greg Raven.

Although Larry Cusack did give the welcome, he recused himself from the discussion, leaving Barb Stanton to run the remainder of the meeting.
Frank Robinson edified the TOAV's experts, just like they teach you in Amway.
You want lawyers? The TOAV's got lawyers. So many lawyers. Isn't it nice to know that somebody is making money off of this ongoing fiasco?
The statement that the community has voiced concerns is dangerously close to validating mob rule. If it’s wrong to do something, it doesn't matter how many persons say otherwise: It's still wrong. It's also disingenuous to complain about rates being too high when you yourself have no intention of reducing them. Finally, the ownership transfer of AVRWC is not unusual, or — more to the point — harmful to the residents of Apple Valley. The fact that there are outside investors means there are others who believe in our community, and are willing to invest in it. Each of these is a good thing.
This chart is eyewash. AVRWC kept its rates artificially low during the economic downturn for the benefit of the ratepayers, and now the TOAV is using that generosity against Ranchos. Furthermore, TOAV always misstates estimated increases to make AVRWC look bad, while again failing to mention that the TOAV has no intention of lowering water rates, should they ever come under the Town's control.
For context and comparison, see the 2010 water rate comparison table and the 2014 water rate comparison table, from AVRWC. See the more legible abridged version below.
May 2014 High Desert Water Rate Comparison
Water Provider Minimum monthly service charge Water usage charge for 10 CCF Water usage charge for 17 CCF Water usage charge for 28 CCF
AVRWC 22.84 24.80 49.43 86.80
Hesperia 19.63 9.00 19.85 36.90
Victorville 17.50 14.70 24.99 41.16
GSW 16.15 31.15 49.06 97.99
Note that while the Summary supposedly will cover Pros and Cons, the Cons are not mentioned. This is part and parcel of the way the TOAV is approaching this issue: It is going forward, no matter what. That's because this isn't about water, it's about money. AVRWC has cash flow, and the TOAV wants it. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
The TOAV’s portrayal of Park Water, Carlyle Group, and Liberty Utilities comes dangerously close to demagoguery, as it focuses on foreigners who have money. Furthermore, it ignores the fact that these foreign investors have put a lot of money into the water system in our community. Many successful cities want foreign investment. Apple Valley is not among them.
The average return on investment for privately-held water utilities is more than 12 percent. Park Water (The Carlyle Group) makes less than 10 percent, despite having to spend millions for infrastructure. If you want to see a business with real money-making potential, check out an auto parts store.
The monopoly accusation is one of the Big Lies put out by TOAV. The private monopoly is a bizarre extension of that lie. There is no such thing as a private monopoly, except in the case where a company is the only one providing a given product or service (such as Braille cell phones for left-handed dogs). All other monopolies are by definition government-protected, because otherwise anyone could start providing that product or service and compete for customers. In the case of water utilities, electrical utilities, and (formerly) telephone utilities, the investments in infrastructure needed to provide the service (and the blight that would come from having multiple competing services) make an argument for assigned service areas, which is not the same as a monopoly. Thus, AVRWC is not a monopoly — public or private. It’s not even the only way to get water! In fact, the only true monopoly in town is the Town government. By the way, Ranchos pays TOAV a franchise fee to do business in the town. Guess TOAV can’t be too upset about that whole monopoly thing, huh?
During the presentation of this information, the TOAV lied again about not being able to get information from AVRWC. All the Town has to do to get information it doesn’t already have is to sign non-disclosure agreements. Simple. To get information it already has, all it has to do is look in its files. That doesn’t sound too difficult, does it? The TOAV would have you believe otherwise. This slide also omits the rather key information that AVRWC owns the rights to 13,600 acre-feet of water. Oh, that’s right. This isn’t about water, it’s about money.
Can you believe these guys? They can’t even lie straight. Here, they tell you that MWC is terribly run and needs major repairs, but somehow it will be bad for PWC (read: Apple Valley) if Missoula buys the water system? Look, if MWC is so bad, then the Missoula purchase is good for Apple Valley.
AVRWC is not for sale. Why would its owners entertain offers or enter into negotiations? That’s like complaining that a women who doesn’t want to go on a date with a guy refuses to talk with him about it over dinner. Note to TOAV: Neediness is not attractive in persons or in organizations. AVRWC is not for sale. Get over it.
Another utterly misleading series of half-truths. What AVRWC asks for and what the CPUC allows it are two different things. TOAV knows this. TOAV has been told this repeatedly. And yet, it keeps regurgitating these same lies over and over again. You gotta wonder.
Ooh, look at all these horrible rate increases. We know they're horrible because now the TOAV says so. TOAV didn't bother fighting them when they were proposed, though. Maybe they weren't so horrible back then. Or maybe the TOAV needed these rate increases to go through so it could then seize AVRWC and then maintain the same rate structure for its own benefit. Hmm.
Don’t you wonder if the TOAV ever suffers from cognitive dissonance from complaining about rate increases at AVRWC, while TOAV raises sewer rates like crazy? You'd think if water rates were really the issue, that TOAV would not have planted so many water-consuming plants in the median of Apple Valley Road and elsewhere. Note also that TOAV attempts to promulgate Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt by quoting AVRWC's requested rate increases, which CPUC almost never grants.
Hypocrisy alert: An 11.65% rate increase is about what the TOAV just increased our sewer bill for 2015. If you think the TOAV is going to reduce your water rates or mitigate rate increases, you need to start paying attention. At least AVRWC’s rate increases go toward things like main replacement (very important if you don’t want your water system to look like the DWP), superior service, and a great product.
Clearly, we have a lot of water users who waste water in Apple Valley. Water wasters. Water hogs. Whatever you want to call them. And the head hog is the Town itself. No wonder it’s in a frenzy about having to cut back.
TOAV can’t figure out whether AVRWC is making way too much money, or whether it’s so inept it will be losing way too much money. Does anyone at TOAV actually read this cr*p before sending it out?
Didn’t TOAV just inform us that AVRWC was owned by Park Water, which is in turn owned by The Carlyle Group? How did Western Water Holdings get involved? Also, elsewhere TOAV has written, Based on our understanding of the announcement by Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp., the purchase price was $257 million ($327 less $70 million in assumed debt) …. Here, the purchase price (from whomever) is $250 million plus $75 million ($325 million total). What’s a million here or there when you’re going to be borrowing the whole amount anyway? And based on this we are supposed to believe that the TOAV’s finance department has any idea whatsoever what a reasonable price is? Please.
What seems to be untrue is the claim by TOAV that AVRWC has mounted a campaign of fear. Two AVRWC employees rose in the comment period to put the lie to this statement.
Here TOAV is saying that the government protections of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) are defective. TOAV’s fix for this is to eliminate the CPUC in favor of the Town itself, substituting yet more government for the government oversight it claims is deficient. In other words, the Town expects us to believe that if it wants a water rate increase after the takeover, the citizens will be better protected by the officials who want the increase, than by the CPUC and the Office of Ratepayer Advocates who currently protect them.
For a version of this you can actually read, click here.

PowerPoint version

Town Hall Presentation by gregraven