Local control of water allows accountability

Regarding the editorial by Peter Weinberger, “Secret to reducing Claremont water bills: use less,” I believe a reply from a resident is necessary. This editorial mentions how facts and figures often become blurred when used to support opinions.

Looking at the “big picture” of this issue, I believe it is simply a matter of common sense. Local control allows accountability, and the elimination of Claremont residents funding GSW profits.

Mr. Weinberger’s argument that many people are not concerned about conserving water and can afford to pay their bill, whatever the rate, is suspect. I recommend Mr. Weinberger get out into the community and see how many residents are re-landscaping in an effort to relieve the pressure of the never-ending rate increases. 

I am not surprised that 38 percent of Claremont residents are in Tier 3. GSW is a corporation, and the sole purpose of a corporation is to maximize profits for its shareholders. The water rate concerns of Claremont residents fall secondary to maximizing profits. If you don’t believe that, check the history of proposed rate increases.

“Would Claremont’s price problems look different if we, as a city, simply used less water?” You’d think they would.   While Claremont residents support conservation, GSW has the right to seek rate increases due to a revenue shortfall, the common cause of which is conservation.  Thus, using less water can directly result in higher water rates. In reality, higher water rates are a certainty, regardless of one being a “super-user” or extreme conservationalist.

I believe what many Claremont residents seek is local control. 

Our water rates are controlled by a corporation with shareholders, and a profit motive. This works well in an open market, but our water company is a monopoly, and Claremont residents cannot seek an alternate provider if we feel our rates are disproportionately high.

It is ironic that this editorial appeared on a page opposite an article about Claremont seeking to maintain local control of the Wilderness Park, and an article lamenting the lack of local control for the Measure R transit plan. Published, no less, on the 5th of July, one day after the traditional celebration of our country taking “local control” from Great Britain. 

Christopher Becker