Water for the public

It is amazing to me that a professor of economics does not know the difference between a tax and a revenue bond. Rodney Smith’s letter, sponsored and paid for by Golden State, proposes a “no” vote on the water tax. There is no water tax on the ballot. Measure W is a revenue bond, which will be repaid by savings in water system costs and by the water users.

The letter, sent to all of Claremont’s registered voters, indicates that the water company is going to cost upwards of $200 million; however, a consultant for the city evaluated the company to be worth $55 million. How does a $55 million system all of a sudden escalate more than three -and-a-half times its value?

Golden State’s parent company, American States Water Company, asserts in its mission statement that it “is committed to maximizing shareholder value through a combination of capital appreciation and cash dividends.” In other words, their mission is to make money from us; service is mentioned second.

Throwing scare tactic aften scare tactic, Mr. Smith refers to the water main break in Los Angeles, suggesting that it will happen here and cost as much to repair. First of all, our system is smaller, less complex and (most likely) younger.  Second, Golden State has told us over and over again how well they (and they alone) have taken care of the system. Third, it doesn’t matter who owns the system, the users will pay for the repairs. Golden State will pass those costs on to us and add on their profit.

When we purchase the water system, there will be no broker selling us water from our aquifer, and we can develop ways to reclaim and reuse water without giving it back to Golden State and buying it again. Well water is one-fifth of the cost of imported water. When comparing our costs to La Verne, we have not yet figured in the savings from using well water. We receive 50 percent or more of our water from local sources, whereas, La Verne imports two-thirds of theirs. Also there will be no WRAM charges to make up for lost profits when we conserve.

There is no logical reason not to own our water system unless, of course, you own stock in Golden State and are afraid of losing a “gold” mine. I suggest that those who do sell their stock and invest in local revenue bonds that will be available soon. As it has been so well said before: Water for the public, not for profit.
Elizabeth Smith