Water questions

Dear Editor:

Jack Sultze made a thoughtful point in July 25 and August 18 Readers’ Comments:  If Claremont takes over the local water system, “The citizens of Claremont would be taking on the liability for future maintenance and replacement of the infrastructure—much of it 100 years old.”

He is right. And taking on that liability would be a reasonable thing to do. The system in La Verne is the same age, and they manage very well with a municipal water utility. When Golden State fixes something, we pay for it—and it costs more because they make a hefty profit. 

The water company says they maintain the system well, and why wouldn’t they? We pay for it, they own it, it increases the value, and they profit through depreciation at tax-time. In a recent mailer Golden State told us: “We invested more than $21 million since 2000 in expansion and upgrades to the Claremont water system.” (And since 2000 Claremont residents have paid an estimated $60 million more than we would have under La Verne rates.)

Provision for maintenance and repair is included in the water rates in La Verne, as it will be in Claremont. If we owned the system, a fraction of the millions saved each year would cover emergency repair costs.

Mr. Sultze also asks “If the takeover is such a great idea, why do they (the city) think it is necessary to spend $176,000 to hire a PR firm to sell it to us?” 

By law, the city cannot spend money to advocate a “yes” vote on the bond measure, but they can fund a program to help inform the community on the facts. Since Golden State is said to be spending over a million dollars to promote their version of the situation, would it be wise for the city to expect volunteers, such as Claremont FLOW, to take on the entire educational effort?

There is much to consider in this vote. Join in the discussion. Come to a Claremont FLOW coffee, listed at ClaremontFLOW.org, where the focus is on facts. A councilmember is expected to participate at each one.

Freeman Allen
Claremont