Claremonters tired of dissembling by Golden State Water: Guest commentary

I’ve lived in Claremont since 1947. My children and grandchildren attended Claremont schools. I’ve served on the school board. I’ve taught at El Roble School. Yes, I have a Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University. And I’ve studied and advocated for buying our Claremont water service for 10 long years.

But I am tired of all the pussy-footing around Golden State’s irresponsible claims, self-serving “facts” and outright lies. Their officers refuse to order an appraisal by an accredited, certified appraiser to compare with the $55 million of the city’s official appraisal. Then they publish a hypothetical “cost” of $222 million, a sly appraisal based on complete replacement of the whole water system! Their $1.9 million and $1.4 million per year executives lie low and contract with an extravagant PR firm in Sacramento to generate more than a million dollars of expensive ads and mailers to confuse the voters — all paid for by us as rate-payers. Now sweet-voiced “surveyors” in Pennsylvania call dozens of Claremonters, ostensibly to ask if they will vote, and do they know about Measure W, then move on with “pseudo facts” such as: “Dr. so-and-so who has a Ph.D. in Economics says it will cost you increased taxes of $1,200 a year. Do you still favor paying $135 million which the city asks for the water company.” Lies, lies. Doing this will bring no new taxes. The city has never expected to pay $135 million, never said it will cost you $100 a month, has transparently published its acquisition study. But Golden State Water eschews any effort at accuracy.

There is one clear message: those opponents of Measure W are well paid from only one source: Golden State Water. All those shills who promote their cause are financed by GSW. They say they just don’t know where the money comes from. Well, we know. GSW is loading their expense account, adding their PUC approved 8.8 percent profit — at our expense! We pay for all those false ads against our will.

We want no more of GSW and its greed. We want a locally owned water company, with rates set in plain view of our citizens, paying only for the cost of supplying Claremont water customers. We will be grateful to our neighbors in the city of La Verne — which has successfully run their own water company for a hundred years and kept their rates far lower than ours — for helping set up our company. We will willingly pay for revenue bonds, at present-day low interest rates. We will save more storm water and increase the yield of our aquifer. We’ll proudly tell our children, “Look what we did for you! We won your freedom from Golden State. You will now own your own water system.”

Literally more than a thousand responsible citizens have already signed up in support of this effort. The Chamber of Commerce, the Claremont Courier, the League of Women Voters, Sustainable Claremont, the Interfaith Sustainability Council, Republicans, Democrats and people all between have signed up and posted signs and walked house-to-house to tell you: Vote Yes on Measure W!

We can do this, fellow Claremonters! Be proud of owning your own future.

Marilee Scaff is co-chair of the Water Task Force of the League of Women Voters, Claremont Area.