Login to Claremont COURIER

Readers comments 10-31-14

What’s in a name?

Dear Editor:

While I applaud the data-mining efforts of Richard O’Neill last week, like the city’s feasibility study, it is flawed based upon its first assumption. The city assumes we will be using more water every year for the next 30 years and Mr. O’Neill did research on the wrong corporation. Golden State Water is a subsidiary of (NYSE) AWR headquartered in San Dimas, California not (NYSE) AWK headquartered in New Jersey.

Further, Jeff Sterba is one of nearly 7,000 people in the US who share my last name. I have never met or communicated with Jeff and, based upon my research, we are not related.

Mark Sterba

Claremont

 

Propaganda defined

Dear Editor:

For the benefit of the Golden State Water Company, I quote from Wikipedia:

“Propaganda is information that is not impartial and used primarily to influence an audience and further an agenda, often by presenting facts selectively to encourage a particular synthesis, or using loaded messages to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented.”

You can buy a lot of propaganda with a budget of $300,000.

Most of the assertions made by Golden State Water are an insult to our intelligence. Every day, the mail brings fresh examples of their distortions. The most recent example suggests that there is something immoral about charging interest on a loan (“a guaranteed five percent annual profit to Wall Street bond holders”). How outrageous!

That’s pretty nervy for a corporation that enjoys an eight percent return on capital—guaranteed by the California Public Utilities Commission. Vote yes on W.

Marc Merritt

Claremont

 

Let’s not double-down

Dear Editor:

Listening to the opposition to Measure W puts me in mind of two quotations.

First: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (George Santayana).

In 2010, Golden State asked the Public Utilities Commission for an increase in revenues of 32.67 percent. In 2013, Golden State asked for a 24.54 percent increase. They were granted increases of more than half their requested amounts—double-digit increases. Our water rates have doubled in the last five years. Why would anyone think that this pattern will stop?

Second: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” (Albert Einstein)

We objected to every rate case brought by Golden State Water and still our rates went up in double digits, a tiered structure was introduced, we had a WRAM charge added, and we were lumped in with far-flung cities to form Region III. Why would anyone expect that continued objections to Golden State and the California Public Utilities Commission would get us anywhere?

Our memories are good and our sanity is just fine. Let’s eliminate the problem and ensure that the water system is run to benefit Claremont. Vote yes on Measure W.

Rick Rosenbluth

Claremont

 

Torlakson for State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Dear Editor:

One of the most important races on the ballot is the one that no one is talking about. The race for State Superintendent of Public Instruction will determine the future of public education in this state. It is a battle between public interests and private control.

Educator and incumbent Tom Torlakson is running against former hedge fund manager Marshall Tuck, former CEO of PLAS Charter Schools in Los Angeles, who was recently ignominiously asked to step down from his position.

Mr. Torlakson has been a teacher in both K-12 and college classrooms, and though Mr. Tuck lists himself as an educator on the ballot, he has never taught.

Mr. Torlakson supported Proposition 30 that restored funding to our public schools, while Mr. Tuck and many of his backers, like Eli Broad, did not.

Mr. Torlakson supports job protections for teachers—due process and seniority—while Mr. Tuck continues to campaign against them.

Mr. Torlakson has built his campaign on grassroots educational support, whereas Mr. Tuck’s campaign has been built with sizable contributions from the corporate sector. In recent months, sizable, out-of-state contributions have poured in from big donors who stand to profit from privatized education.

Claremont is an education town, many of us are educators and the local colleges define us. It’s necessary that we step up on election day and vote for keeping public education public. Vote Torlakson.

Pamela Nagler

Claremont

 

Measure W won’t lower bills

Dear Editor:

We’re longtime Claremont residents who care about this community. We own homes here and our children go to local schools. We have nothing to gain for voicing our opposition to Measure W, the $135 million bond on the November ballot.

It’s unfortunate that Peter Weinberger’s column in last week’s newspaper (Forget about the water numbers; October 24) ignores the reality of Measure W and its enormous cost to every Claremont household. This was the same mentality of cities such as Stockton and San Bernardino, before their finances crashed. We don’t want to be another city to face financial peril because of decisions based on emotional reasoning and not smart policy.

We’ve kept the focus on cost because that’s what this decision should come down to for voters.

We haven’t simply accepted statements by the city or Golden State about how much a takeover would cost residents. Over the last several months, we’ve worked tirelessly to review data and reports in order to inform voters about the cost of Measure W.

Our message has been clear: residents who are dissatisfied with water rates should identify a better solution than to pass a $135 million bond measure that would increase water bills by approximately $101 per month for the next 30 years. We are a smart community who can do better.

We’ve reviewed the city’s financial study, which the city commissioned. Our own independent research shows that the cost to pay off a $135 million debt obligation is massive. Each household’s share of the debt is $1,217 per year or $36,510 over 30 years.

If residents think Measure W will lower their water bills, they are mistaken. We have reviewed the city’s calculations and done the math ourselves. The truth is that water rates will increase dramatically. We will be paying much more to cover bond debt, ongoing operational costs and future costs to replace pipes and mains. Measure W is a bad deal for hard-working families and Claremont seniors.

What’s disappointing is that in a community like Claremont, where we strive for amicable discourse about important issues, people have resorted to personal attacks because they don’t have the facts on their side.

To ignore the numbers and disregard cost would be a mistake that our city cannot afford. Measure W means massive water rate increases. We urge residents to vote no on W.

Donna S. Lowe

Claremont

 

The long road with Golden State

Dear Editor:

As a longtime Claremont resident and professor of chemistry (Pomona College 1954-1994), with grandchildren growing up here, I have a keen interest in what living in Claremont will be like in coming years.

With projections of increasing temperatures and drought, our water supply will be vitally important. Will we be able to accommodate a growing population, or even the current one? We have been importing half of the water we use, but that may no longer be possible. What can be done, and who will be in control of our water future? These are immensely important questions. The future of our families depends in important ways on having honest, factual information about water, and on how we vote on Measure W.

Because of my concerns, I worked with the League of Women Voters on the report “Water Issues In Claremont 2005.” I helped write Claremont’s Sustainable City Plan, which calls for city-wide planning to use recycled water, and helped establish the community organization Sustainable Claremont, which I chair. 

A decade ago, when we were preparing the water report, we were invited to meet with Floyd Wicks, then-president of Golden State Water Company, and others, including regional VP Denise Kruger. We met several times and developed cordial relationships. Floyd Wicks liked to say the company was built like a three-legged stool, with community relations being one of the legs. 

There was talk of taking Claremont out of the regional rate structure so we could set our own rates, and of possibly giving their share of the Thompson Creek Spreading Grounds to Claremont to be used as a low-impact public park and as a means of increasing the capture of water to replenish the aquifer.

The Rivers and Mountains Conservancy funded a $200,000 grant to plan for the proposed park, but nothing came of it. Mr. Wicks retired. Golden State apparently lost interest in working with Claremont. Water rates soared. Claremonters became outraged. The city council voted unanimously to look into acquisition of the water system. We are now in contention with those who once called us “part of the family.”

I often wonder what the situation would be now if Golden State management had not changed. Was it a mistake on the part of the new management to focus so intently on increasing profit, or will it prove to be a wise decision for them in the long run? The vote on Measure W will determine that. 

Golden State has clearly become Claremont’s adversary. How sad it is to see them using a million dollars, paid for with our water bills, to mount a campaign against us, based on dishonest statements such as “it’s a tax,” “water bills will go up by $100 per month,” and “the system is worth over $200 million” (when the appraised value is $55 million). 

They clearly want to frighten us so they can keep monopoly control of our water future. As far as Mr. Wicks’ third leg of the stool, it’s collapsed. If Measure W fails, water rates under Golden State will soon be higher than they ever would have been with the purchase. 

What frightens me most is being helpless if Measure W does not pass. We will be at the mercy of Golden State management, and they may not have kindly feelings for Claremont. That’s why I am such a strong advocate for voting yes on Measure W!

Freeman Allen

Claremont

 

Reality check

Dear Editor

Many Claremont residents recently received flyers against Measure W under the title “Local Professors” with two quotes. One was from Rodney Smith, which simply repeats a dollar claim regarding costs that I have already made clear in a previous article is totally false and misleading.

The new element is a quote from a Pomona College politics professor, which states, “it would function like a new tax. Most unfairly, if all water users are assessed equally for that debt, the rates of the smallest and most careful users would rise by 200 percent or more.”

I am simply astounded by this statement for a number of reasons. No one, not members of Claremont’s City Council nor anyone associated with FLOW has ever suggested that any surcharge would be apportioned in the way this politics professor is suggesting.

The rates and the way any possible surcharge associated with the cost of buying the water system would be apportioned would be decided by our city council after public hearings and consultations with Claremont residents. The suggestion made in the above quote is a fantasy that has no basis in reality whatsoever.

Here is what would actually happen:

If the cost determined by the court (with or without a jury) is under $80 million there would be no increase in water rates at all. The extra revenue that Golden State now collects with the current rates would produce a surplus of some $8.4 million over the actual cost the city would bear to supply the water. This sum would be sufficient to service about $80 million in revenue bonds. (See my earlier article and the more complete analysis available on the FLOW website for details.) So, in the event that the price is under $80 million, the city would not have to raise rates at all, and could even lower them if the cost were closer to the $55 million appraisal.

If the cost set by the court is above $80 million, the surcharge (which is not a tax, despite all the Golden State and Rodney Smith statements to the contrary) to water users would be on a per-cubic-foot-of-water-used basis—not on a per-user basis. Small users would pay far less and heavy users more—exactly the opposite of what this politics professor suggests would happen.

Moreover, unlike a property tax, the water surcharge would apply to all users of water, even those who do not pay property taxes, such as churches and the Colleges. So this cost would be spread much more widely and fairly, and hence result in a lower per-cubic-foot rate.

People who save water would be rewarded, not punished as is suggested in the quote.

Moreover, the figure in the quote of 200 percent has no basis in reality whatsoever. Even if the very worst case occurred and the court set a price of $135 million, which is highly unlikely, the average residential user would pay only about $27 per month more on a current average cost of $138 per month. That  means the average user would see a temporary increase of 19.6 percent—nowhere near the figure of 200 percent claimed in the quote.

The users of less water would pay in proportion to the water they actually use and hence the percentage increase, if indeed there is any, would also be 19.6 percent. Citing this 200 percent figure is just a continuation of the falsely-based scare tactics Golden State Water, Rodney Smith, and now this politics professor, insist on using.

The point is that both statements by these professors in this mailing are completely false and misleading. 

Andy Winnick, PhD in Economics

Professor of economics and statistics

California State University, Los Angeles

Claremont resident since 1996

 

 

Rainy day fund, state budget reserves

Dear Editor:

The League of Women Voters supports Prop 2 because it takes an important step toward fiscal discipline in our state government. It requires the state to make contributions to its rainy day reserve fund and pay down debts and liabilities when times are good, with increased contributions in years when revenues spike upwards.

In bad times, those reserves can be used to reduce cuts in spending on schools, health care, public safety, and other vital services. Prop 2 requires joint action of the governor and the legislature to reduce the amount put in or to take money out of the rainy day fund.

The League’s state and local finances position, first adopted in 1969 and updated a number of times since then, emphasizes sufficiency and flexibility of revenues and fiscal management as well as meeting both current and future needs.

A number of California LWV positions in specific natural resources and social policy areas speak to the role of the state in providing for adequate, flexible, equitable and sustainable funding for governmental programs in those areas.

The principle behind Prop 2 is that when the economy is strong, state tax revenues rise and the state transfers to its reserves. When the economy weakens and total tax revenues drop, the state is able to draw on this reserve to balance the budget. Prop 2 is an improvement over the existing Budget Stabilization Account (rainy day fund) rules, established by Prop 58 in 2004, that have not served the state well.

This proposal modifies the existing reserve requirements in several ways. It reduces the size of the basic transfer required annually, but takes into account the volatility of state revenues by requiring capital gains tax revenue (the most volatile component of state income) over a threshold amount to be transferred into the reserve in years when capital gains are high.

For the first 15 years, half of the money set aside would be used to pay down public debt, such as retirement benefits and intergovernmental debts. In later years, whether to use the funds in this way would be a legislative decision. While paying down this debt more quickly reduces the amount available for other services in the short term, it frees money for other uses after debts are paid.

Prop 2 replaced another proposed constitutional amendment, ACA 4 of 2009, that was slated to be on this November 2014 ballot. The California LWV opposed ACA 4, in part because of its unwieldy mathematical regression model for calculating “unanticipated revenues” that would go to the reserve fund. 

Prop 2 would be a better way to stabilize state spending and increase the reserve to protect against draconian cuts to programs and painful middle-class tax increases during economic downturns.

Prop 2 requires that in some years, when capital gains revenues are high and certain other conditions are met, additional money would go into another state reserve for schools and community colleges (the Public School System Stabilization Account or PSSSA).

Because of the limited circumstances under which transfers to the PSSSA would be made, they are unlikely until at least 2020-2021, and in most years thereafter. Prop 2 does not change the long-term requirements for state funding of pre-K through 14 education.

If Prop 2 passes, a new law would go into effect with a requirement that would hold only in the year after a transfer to the PSSSA is made. It would cap the amount that school districts could keep in their reserves and thus force some districts to lower their reserves unless they were granted an exemption by the county office of education.

While Prop 2 itself is a constitutional amendment, this new cap is statutory and could be changed by a future legislature, with League support.

Ellen Taylor

VP for Advocacy

LWV of the Claremont Area

 

Surviving the flood

Dear Editor:

Well, we were told to expect a deluge from Golden State Water (pun intended), and it is certainly arriving!

• Big No on W signs: Virtually all of these are on Golden State-owned property, clearly with the hope that they can make up in square-footage for what they lack in actual numbers of supporters (members recently acknowledged that the “No on W” group contains eight people). 

• Illegally-placed signs: Like toadstools, clusters of No signs have appeared throughout the city overnight, placed illegally in public areas by paid employees.  (The city keeps removing them.)

• “Slate” mailers: These consist of a totally unrelated grouping or “slate” of candidates and initiatives, paid for by the advertisers, with the hope that if we agree with one of them, we will also be convinced to vote no on W.

• Door hangers: These are an amazing confection of cherry-picked half-truths cleverly presented in the hope that we won’t read the complete information available—you have to admire their ability to make it sound like they have an earnest desire to present the truth (but of course, we aren’t fooled).

• Full page ads in the COURIER:  These insist on championing poorly-conducted and unofficial cost “analyses.”  (Which of course ignore the actual appraised value of $55 million.)

• Glossy mailers: Like the door hangers and ads, these are designed to mislead and frighten anyone who doesn’t read them with a critical eye or see who paid for them, and hasn’t been following the issue.

Goodness knows what will be next!  Paid canvassers pretending to support W but really there to sow confusion? Phone banks near election time to give out false information? The GSW public relations firm is very well-funded, experienced at opposing threats to its clients, and creative. By the time this letter is published, there are sure to have been more expensive onslaughts on our good sense.

Curious about how much this is costing? Many hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent so far, with up to a million dollars set aside to fight passage of Measure W. And where is this money ultimately coming from? Us. Golden State will include this in their cost of doing business and pass it along through our water bills. Adding, of course, just under nine percent more on top of that to cover their guaranteed rate of return above costs.

We can only shake our heads in disbelief at Golden State’s attempts to misdirect us and at the same time to convince us that they have our best interests at heart. If they did, then why wouldn’t they have spent that million dollars to reduce our bills? Why have our rates doubled in the last five years? Why are Pomona and La Verne water bills over a third less than ours? Why hasn’t Golden State listened to our objections to their rate and charge increases during the last 10 years? Who can believe that working with us is anywhere in their list of priorities?

Private enterprise is an important part of our country’s foundation, but monopolies are not. When there is no competition and the regulatory agency favors the corporation, greed is likely to take the reins as it has with Golden State Water.  We need to take charge of our water system and run it in our own interests.

So, keep your sense of humor—the scare tactics are so over-the-top!

We can survive this “flood” and own our water system. The first step is passage of Measure W. Join us, and vote yes.

Helaine Goldwater

Claremont

 

Possibilities with Measure W

Dear Editor:

Purchasing the water company will put Claremont in a better position to deal with current and future water-related issues. If Claremont controlled the water company we could:

• Use Claremont’s public water hydrants not just for fighting fires but also to help water valuable street trees during extreme drought. 

• Have more incentive to clean up runoff and harvest rain water to sustain green infrastructure as well as recharge ground water for Claremont wells. 

• Eliminate obstacles which are disincentives to reclaiming waste water for irrigation. The Claremont Colleges are considering using reclaimed water, which can actually be better for irrigation than using chlorinated water that adversely affects soil microorganisms. Golden State wants to limit the amount of water reclaimed locally. 

• Improve the quality of our drinking water by using Claremont’s groundwater more effectively and refining purification processes. Golden State has no incentive to improve the quality of our water and would just as soon sell us imported water which costs more than our better-quality local ground water.

• Become water independent through conservation, reclamation and harvesting runoff.

• Avoid the rising cost of imported water. Diminishing snow pack, and future effects of over-pumping ground water, as well as raising sea level, will likely result in salt water intrusion in the Delta increasing the cost of imported water.

I urge Claremonters to vote yes on W to acquire the bonds necessary to purchase the water company.

Mark von Wodtke

Claremont

 

Economic benefits of buying our water system

Dear Editor:

Buying our local water system will bring economic benefit to the city of Claremont, if we apply the thinking of USC law professor Edward D. Kleinbard in his new book, We Are Better Than This: How Government Should Spend Our Money.

In last Sunday’s Los Angeles Times, a financial article by Michael Hiltzik explains the idea that increased government spending is always progressive, benefiting middle- and lower-income people more than the wealthy. These workers also spend their money mostly near home, building a more robust middle class and improving the productivity of the economy. Their spending reverberates throughout the local economy, benefiting us all.

Mr. Hiltzik says this viewpoint is both moral and farsighted. He quotes Mr. Kleinbard, “Because our national fiscal debate focuses on taxation rather than spending, we’re debating the wrong question. We ask how much pain we want to inflict on ourselves, and the answer is always ‘not very much.’ The question should be what useful things can we do together by way of investment and insurance to enhance out lives—and how much of that can we afford?”

His answer is that we can afford much more than we spend today. That’s because the return on government outlay is excellent, yet almost always ignored when the dollars and cents of fiscal policy are under discussion.

Now, apply this idea to Claremont’s purchase of the water company. We spend more than $8 million in rate payments to Golden State, over and above what we would spend if we paid rates similar to our neighboring cities. Golden State is milking this small town of $8 million a year for very high salaries for a few top executives, for dividends to persons owning stock listed on the NY stock exchange, and for federal taxes. Now they have earmarked a million dollars of our money for their campaign to keep us from stopping that flow of our money. We could spend it paying off the bonds. Benefits, however, go much farther.

Operating the local water company—whether managed in cooperation with La Verne or not—will be employing local workers at reasonable salaries to manage and run our water delivery system. We now pay those management costs to Golden State but, without transparency and local input, we do not reap the same benefits in the labor force.

From this point of view, when Measure W is passed, it makes little difference whether you call this money collected a “tax” or a “financial fee.” In both cases, it stays in California; its workers are our neighbors and their employment and presence strengthen our local economy. 

Local ownership, local management and local control with fairer rates set in our full view will enhance our local economy now, and even more during the lifetime of our children. Owning our water company will work for the economic benefit of the whole community.

We need to pass Measure W for its economic benefit.

Marilee Scaff

70-year Claremont

 

Measure W provides options

Dear Editor:

I just finished reading the last issue of the COURIER (I was out of town over the weekend and just got to it). I find yet another ad paid for by Golden State Water that says “Measure W will immediately raise water rates by 20 percent.”  This is utter malarkey.

What nobody has pointed out in all the discussion I have read is that Measure W only gives the city authorization to issue bonds to purchase the water system. Said bonds won’t be issued until they are needed, and then only in the amount needed. So, there can be no immediate rate increase (not by the city, that is. Golden State, on the other hand, is likely to raise our rates at any time).

The bonds might never even be issued—for example, if the water system ends up costing a gazillion dollars (as accurate an estimate as the numbers in Golden State’s propaganda), the city can decline to purchase it and therefore not need the bonds.

It might be best to think of Measure W as something akin to getting pre-approved for a mortgage when buying a house. Pre-approval does not mean you start making payments, nor does it mean you actually are forced to buy something. Similarly, Measure W will not cause the city to immediately issue bonds that we must begin paying for. Nor does it force the city to pay a price more than $135 million for the water system.

Jon Vavrus

Claremont

 

No on Measure W!

Dear Editor:

My husband and I have previous experience with the La Verne Water Department. When we purchased our home in 1972, we lived in a county area until being annexed into the city of Claremont in 1979. Prior to the annexation until 1988, the Piedmont Mesa area was serviced by the La Verne Water Department. 

During the 16 years of water service with La Verne, the homeowners saw their water bills increase and pumping charges were added to each parcel since we did not reside within the city of La Verne.

In 1987, the Piedmont Mesa homeowners became upset with rate increases.  The area petitioned the PUC to grant permission to discontinue water service with the La Verne Water Department, and transfer the area of service to Southern California Water Company. Southern California Water Company is now operating as Golden State Water Company.

The PUC approved the petition, and shortly thereafter homeowners started being serviced by Southern California Water Company. The water bills dropped significantly. There have been rate increases during the 28 years of service, but the amount of our bi-monthly bills, for many years, still lagged behind the rate we had been paying with La Verne.

In addition to our Golden State water bill, my husband and I presently pay water bills to two other companies in California that are city-owned; The city of Azusa Light and Water Department in Los Angeles County and a locally-owned water company in San Luis Obispo County.

The Azusa Light and Water Department, presently at Stage Three Water Rationing, implemented mandatory water rationing in the spring of this year. Water is a precious resource, the costs are increasing yearly and conservation is a must. The city of Azusa has always maintained their own water company.

If Measure W passes, the Claremont water entity will be vying to acquire water from the same suppliers Azusa and other municipalities are buying from. It has been well documented the Metropolitan Water Company has been over-selling the actual amount of water the company has. Rates are going to increase just due to the decreased supply and increased demand. 

As for the locally-owned water company in San Luis Obispo County, that area has been conserving water for several years. The rates are high, and a charge is added to each bill for capital improvements. There have been extended periods of time when we have not been able to spend anytime in that area.  Our most recent bi-monthly bill was in excess of $86; the amount of water consumed during the two month period was zero! The amount has dropped over the years from what was originally $140 for two months with zero water usage. The total amount of our water bill is for various fees, special bonds...aka taxes!

The dollar amount Claremont residents will use to purchase the shares from Golden State is just the beginning. Yes, there is mention of the amount being less if eminent domain is used.  Having said that, absolutely nothing has been stated that the purchase does indeed meet the criteria for an eminent domain takeover.

If Golden State were to fight the purchase, the case could be litigated for years with additional costs to the residents to cover legal fees. The proponents of Measure W have said “we,” the residents, will own the water company after the bond is paid in full 30 years from now. The infrastructure will be 30 years older than what it presently is now. 

Every water company in this state, and throughout the country, experiences broken pipes and water mains during a years time. The cost of the repairs to the pipes and water mains within the city limits are presently paid for by every parcel serviced by Golden State, not just the residents of the city of Claremont. Nothing from the Measure W bond dollar amount is being allocated for or set aside for future repairs. How will the repairs be paid for now and in the future? Additionally, Southern California Edison raises rates when necessary, not just to the homeowners, but to businesses as well.

The rate increases to Golden State for pumping charges are absorbed by everyone serviced by Golden State, not just the residents of the city of Claremont who would pay the increased costs in the future. The increases Golden State pays due to rate increases by suppliers are absorbed by all, not just the Claremont residents.  

The $135 million bond is just the tip of the iceberg. A buyout or takeover of the city of Claremont water portion needs additional research regarding the funding of an entire water system. For now, we feel the city just isn’t ready for that action.

Sally Khardin

Claremont

 

Looking out for number-one

Dear Editor:

Lots of pros and cons regarding the purchase of the Golden State Water Company. Both sides seem to agree that water will cost us more for the next 20 years or so until the debt is paid off.

My beef is that, at 84 years of age, I will not see any of the future benefits. I am not interested in footing the bill for future generations. Things are tough enough for me right now. Call me selfish if you want, but I have to look out for number one.

The city restored the roundabout and are working on the Wilderness Park debacle, but will Golden State buy back the water company if things don’t pan out?

John Schwartz

Claremont

 

Balanced Measure W info

Dear Editor:

Not sure which local group to believe in the Measure W battle? Check out Michael Hiltzik’s unbiased take on the situation from his October 26 Los Angeles Times article, “Golden State Water tries to drown Claremont ballot measure.”

Robert Bird

Claremont

 

The bottom line on Measure W

Dear Editor:

Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and business/economics journalist Michael Hiltzik, in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times business section, concludes his article on Claremont’s Measure W with the following observation:

“What should give Claremont voters pause is the scale of Golden State’s spending on this municipal election. It’s not unusual for both sides to put their thumbs on the scale. But Golden State’s 10-to-1 spending, in a community of 11,000 customers, is a very fat thumb. It’s standing up for its shareholders’ interests, and the voters shouldn’t forget that.”

Steve Duncan

Claremont

 

Apple$ and Orange$

Dear Editor:

Let’s do a little comparison on Measure W—Yes verses No.

How much is the water system worth?

Yes: The city has an estimate by a state- licensed appraiser for $55 million.

No: Golden State paid a retired PhD a large sum of money to say that it is worth at least $200 million. They also paid an engineering firm to come up with a total replacement price of nearly $223 million.

Apples vs. Oranges: That is like purchasing a new car for $55,000 versus going to the parts department and ordering it one piece at a time then hiring a mechanic to assemble it for four times the price.

Who should run the water system?

Yes: The city will run it with transparency by elected officials.

No: Golden State uses well-paid executives who answer to shareholders, not you.

Apples vs. Oranges: Wouldn’t you rather own your home? In doing so, you know how much your payments will be for the next 30 years and you can set your budget as such. While renting may be less expensive for the moment, there is no guarantee it will stay so. Your landlord can raise the rent at any time or sell to someone outside the area or country.  In a short time, you would probably be paying far more than if you had purchased your own home.

Who is paying for Measure W?

Yes: With over 1,300 endorsers, local residents have donated $29,623 as of October 18, 2014.

No: Eight individuals from Claremont have endorsed no and Golden State anteed up $367,556.34 through October 18, 2014.

Apples vs. Oranges: Residents of Claremont have donated $.08 to every dollar of rate money that Golden State threw into the No campaign. None of the eight endorsers for No have donated a single dollar to the cause.

Figures and information for this letter were compiled from the Form 460 that is filed with the Fair Political Practices Commission. Nowhere on that filing were any distributions to Rodney Smith or the engineering firm of Hatch Mott MacDonald, who made those extravagant statements as to the value of our water system, declared. Makes you wonder how they were paid.

Bill Buehler

Treasurer, Claremont FLOW

 

Poll

Claremont Courier on Social Media