Captive audience

In a letter confessing confusion about the uncertainties involved in taking local control of our water system, Scott Grannis resorts to conservative principle: “I don’t like the idea of governments managing businesses, and I don’t like the idea of bureaucrats and politicians setting water rates.”

Unfortunately, this principle cannot apply here. Mr. Grannis fails to note that Golden State, like any water utility, can only be run as a monopoly. No competitor can exert market pressure on its rates, because only one set of pipes brings water to Claremont homes and businesses. For this reason, Mr. Grannis’ current water rates are set by the very “bureaucrats and politicians” he purports to distrust—specifically, the California Public Utilities Commission—because otherwise Golden State would have no ceiling to the rates it could demand.

In his free-market enthusiasm, Mr. Grannis fails to realize that our current water system is no free market. So the question becomes, how does being a captive profit-source for Golden State benefit Claremont?

Scott Banks, Claremont