Surviving the flood

Well, we were told to expect a deluge from Golden State Water (pun intended), and it is certainly arriving!

• Big No on W signs: Virtually all of these are on Golden State-owned property, clearly with the hope that they can make up in square-footage for what they lack in actual numbers of supporters (members recently acknowledged that the “No on W” group contains eight people).

• Illegally-placed signs: Like toad-stools, clusters of No signs have appeared throughout the city overnight,placed illegally in public areas by paid employees. (The city keeps removing them.)

• “Slate” mailers: These consist of a totally unrelated grouping or “slate” of candidates and initiatives, paid for by the advertisers, with the hope that if weagree with one of them, we will also beconvinced to vote no on W.

• Door hangers: These are an amazing confection of cherry-picked half-truths cleverly presented in the hope that we won’t read the complete information available—you have to admire their ability to make it sound like they have an earnest desire to present the truth (but of course, we aren’t fooled).

• Full page ads in the COURIER:These insist on championing poorly-conducted and unofficial cost “analyses.” (Which of course ignore the actual appraised value of $55 million.)

• Glossy mailers: Like the door hangers and ads, these are designed to mislead and frighten anyone who doesn’t read them with a critical eye or see who paid for them, and hasn’t been following the issue.

Goodness knows what will be next! Paid canvassers pretending to support W but really there to sow confusion? Phone banks near election time to give out false information? The GSW public relations firm is very well-funded, experienced at opposing threats to its clients, and creative. By the time this letter is published, there are sure to have been more expensive onslaughts on our good sense.

Curious about how much this is costing? Many hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent so far, with up to a million dollars set aside to fight passage of Measure W. And where is this money ultimately coming from? Us. Golden State will include this in their cost of doing business and pass it along through our water bills. Adding,of course, just under nine percent more on top of that to cover their guaranteed rate of return above costs.

We can only shake our heads in disbelief at Golden State’s attempts to misdirect us and at the same time to convince us that they have our best interests at heart. If they did, then why wouldn’t they have spent that million dollars to reduce our bills? Why have our rates doubled in the last five years? Why are Pomona and La Verne water bills over a third less than ours? Why hasn’t Golden State listened to our objections to their rate and charge increases during the last 10 years? Who can believe that working with us is anywhere in their list of priorities?

Private enterprise is an important part of our country’s foundation, but monopolies are not. When there is no competition and the regulatory agency favors the corporation, greed is likely to take the reins as it has with Golden State Water. We need to take charge of our water system and run it in our own interests. So, keep your sense of humor—the scare tactics are so over-the-top!

We can survive this “flood” and own our water system. The first step is passage of Measure W. Join us, and vote yes.

Helaine Goldwater