Trust in the city council

In last week’s COURIER, a reader wrote a “what-if” letter opposing Measure W by suggesting that if the city of Claremont controls the water district, it would be incapable of operating it in accord with “our best interests.”

The writer cites as examples of the city’s ineptness, the trial roundabout at Bonita and Indian Hill about 12 years ago and the recent “parking debacle” at the Mills entrance to the Wilderness Park.

I strongly disagree with the writer. In fact, these examples demonstrate why we should support Measure W. While the city makes mistakes, so do large corporations. But this council and past councils have been hypersensitive to our wants and needs. If they act against our best interests, they know we will show up at city hall in force, and they know we can vote them out of office. 

As for the Village roundabout experiment, the city dismantled it when residents complained. As for parking at the main entrance to the Wilderness Park, this spring council members created temporary permit-parking zones to meet the immediate needs of neighbors, who were protesting spillover parking on their streets. Not only did the council quickly react to solve this short-term problem, they also voted for a master plan, currently underway, to develop long-term solutions that balance the needs of all of the park’s stakeholders.

Compare these prompt and effective responses to the lack of response of the California Public Utilities Commission when local residents have protested water rate increases. Compare them to the degree of responsiveness of Golden State Water, which supplies 225,000 customers in 75 communities across 10 California counties. Then there’s its parent company, American States Water, which supplies water in five other states as well. And finally, consider the likelihood of responsiveness to Claremonters’ needs if a huge multinational or foreign corporation should take over American States Water.

The issue is not just water rates. The issues are power, accountability and trust. We need the power to control our most vital resource well into the future. With built-in local accountability and a community as deeply engaged in civic affairs as Claremont, I trust the city council and staff to do the right thing.
Lissa Petersen