Municipal water works

Prior to my election to the California State Assembly in November 2012, I served over 23 years on the Pasadena City Council.  I was elected to the state assembly the same year Pasadena Water and Power celebrated 100 years of providing high quality, reliable municipal water service in Pasadena.

Countless water-related decisions were made during my tenure on the city council and because Pasadena Water and Power is a community-owned utility our collective focus was on the customer, and not profit.

I first became acquainted with the frustrations of Claremont residents during a PUC field hearing that was held at Taylor Hall in December 2011. The venue was filled with residents frustrated by the frequent, large and confusing rate increases and surcharges requested by Golden State Water Company.  The issue of control and high rates that the residents of Claremont have raised is one that in the recent past received attention by the California Joint Legislative Audit Committee, because Californians face considerably higher water rates by for-profit water companies in comparison with municipal water providers.

Today, Pasadena Water and Power delivers water to over 36,000 households and businesses in Pasadena and adjacent communities in the San Gabriel Valley.  Local control of water has worked for Pasadena. In fact, local control works for 85 percent of Californians. So, I applaud the council and staff of Claremont for convening the town hall meeting on November 6, 2013, to provide the public an update on the possible acquisition of the Claremont water system.

This open meeting is an excellent example of how local control can benefit Claremont residents.

I support an open and transparent process as a means of informing Claremont residents about the benefits and risks of establishing municipal water services in Claremont. I am hopeful that this important dialogue can take place and that the best interests of  Claremont residents remains the primary focus.

Chris Holden

Assemblyman, 41st district