News Release from City Council, November 17, 2016
On November 10, 2016, the City of Claremont received a Statement of Tentative Decision from Judge Fruin of the Los Angeles Superior Court regarding the City’s water system eminent domain case. The Tentative Decision favors Golden State Water Company. In the tentative decision, the Judge states that it is in the public’s best interest for the system to remain in the hands of a private investor-owned company.
The City began its eminent domain trial in June 13, 2016. Over the course of six weeks, the City’s legal team presented the City’s case in favor of public ownership of the Claremont Water System. The legal team called to the stand experts in the fields of finance, engineering, municipal management, and economics, as well as City representatives and members of the community.
“I am confident our legal team presented a strong case for public ownership of the water system,” said Mayor Sam Pedroza. “It is disheartening that the court’s Tentative Decision did not reference the many hours of testimony and evidence that demonstrate that municipal ownership of the system is in the best interest of the public.”
On November 16, 2016, the City Council held a special City Council meeting to discuss the litigation in closed session. During the closed session, the Council conferred with the legal team on the City’s response to the Statement of Tentative Decision. The City Council directed legal counsel to prepare a response to the Tentative Decision identifying any inaccuracies, omissions, and errors of law. The City’s response will cite evidence and testimony presented during the trial supporting its proposed acquisition of the system and related benefits. The Judge will then have an opportunity to reevaluate the Tentative Decision and issue an order or judgement.
“This is a ground breaking eminent domain case,” said Mayor Pro Tem Larry Schroeder. “We are in uncharted legal territory and we always expected there would be challenges along the way. However, since the very beginning of this process, the City Council has had the support of the community and the conviction that pursuing the right to control our water future is worth the fight.”
While the City is hopeful that the Judge will re-evaluate the Tentative Decision, if a judgement is issued in Golden State Water Company’s favor, the City Council will meet to discuss the outcome of the case and consider future action. All decisions and updates will be posted to the City’s website at www.ci.claremont.ca.us