As a champion of the private sector,lower taxes and less government intervention in our lives, I abhor eminent domain by our government in almost all cases. It is my opinion, however, that Golden State Water has been racketeering in Claremont and that, since the PUC is allowing it, the citizens of Claremont need to take control.
We need to overwhelmingly vote “yes”on Measure W on November 4. As I said,the citizens of Claremont need to take control. However, on November 5, I do not necessarily believe that “control” means the“purchase” of the water system. I believe it is a certainty that Measure W will pass with a substantial margin and, after it does, the citizens will now have the control we need.
Armed with the cash after November 4 to be able to force the sale of the water system from Golden State, maybe we should then explore a binding and scalable water rate negotiation contract in lieu of a purchase. Both Upland and La Verne have enviable water rates from their municipally-owned water systems that I’m sure the vast majority of Claremont residents would accept in a heartbeat. Why not negotiate a binding controlled rate with Golden State based on the average of the rates paid by Upland and La Verne residents and businesses?
Within this averaged rate, we could also require that Golden State perform an equal percentage amount for the maintenance, repairs and replacement for their system as Upland and La Verne do. As part of the agreement, we could require Golden State to equal or exceed the water quality standards and service times of the public water companies in both Upland and La Verne.
Because of private sector efficiency vs.public sector efficiency, I believe Golden State could still make an acceptable profit and Claremont could continue to receive great quality water at a much-reduced price.
Golden State may simply refuse to negotiate and force our hand to pursue eminent domain, in which case, I believe we should go forward with eminent domain proceedings.
However, I believe the ultimate goal of Claremont citizens should be the ability to maintain control of competitive water rates in lieu of the ownership, maintenance and operation of their own public system.
Kris M. Meyer