Fifteen years ago, at time when California was confronting a statewide power shortage, Hercules (a small town in Northern California) came up with a bold plan to provide safe, reliable, and cost-effective electric service to some of its residents - by creating the Hercules Municipal Utility (HMU) as an alternative to the existing service provided by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), a for-profit corporation.
On November 4, voters in Claremont will be asked whether to approve Measure W, the local water bond, which would authorize the city of Claremont to borrow up to $135 million to purchase the Claremont water system currently owned and operated by Golden State Water Company.
You’ll remember last June, the city council unanimously voted to place a revenue bond measure before voters for the purpose of acquiring the water system. The revenue bond is the end product of years of research and work done on behalf of the city council exploring alternatives to a privately-owned water system in Claremont.
Golden State has run a tough campaign in defense of their assets. While we don’t take issue with free market economics, we’re opposed to a company that makes a life necessity a vehicle for ever-increasing profit. For this reason, the Claremont COURIER newspaper staff urges Claremont residents to vote yes on Measure W.
For those of us who read the pages of the COURIER each week, we know that water has been a hot topic in Claremont for many years. I’ve stayed on the sidelines and, until now, have only shared my thoughts with family and close friends.
I’m writing this piece because Measure W, the $135 million bond measure on the November ballot, will cost Claremont families much more than we’re already paying today. Ask yourself, why would you place $135 million in debt on the community if it would result in higher water bills for all residents for decades?
Well, is anyone surprised that another Golden State-backed group (“Stop the Claremont Water Tax”—more on that name below) has emerged to oppose our buying the water system?
Unfortunately, like the former group, this one has also misunderstood the publicly-available information, resulting in misleading assertions in last week’s Viewpoint. If we conduct a “thoughtful engagement of issues based on facts,” as they suggest, it would show the following to be true.
This fall, Claremont residents will be asked to weigh in on a consequential ballot measure that, if passed, would result in water bills approximately $100 per month higher than they are today. The city is seeking voter support for a $135 million water bond.
A local coalition of community members, some of whom were born and raised in Claremont and all of whom have a vested interest in the future of our city, have joined together to oppose Measure W and educate the public about its harmful consequences.
With nearly eight in 10 California voters supporting improvements to the state’s initiative process that increases clarity and provides voters more information, SB 1253 (Steinberg) was approved by the California senate.
SB 1253, the Ballot Initiative Transparency Act (BITA), will create clearer initiatives, simpler ballots and better information for California voters. Introduced by Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, BITA is supported by a broad and diverse group of organizations that includes the League of Women Voters of California, California Common Cause, California NAACP and the California AARP, among others