• Cal Am Attempts to Disrupt Public Water Now Petition Drive

    Over the weekend voters on the Monterey Peninsula received a mailer from Monterey Water Works paid for by California American Water. It asked them to withdraw their signature from the Public Water Now ballot petition based on what Cal Am claims are inaccurate and misleading statements made by Public Water Now (PWN). The mailing included a preprinted form for them to sign and a prepaid envelope.

    “With only two weeks left to collect signatures, we were appalled by Cal Am’s act of desperation,” says George Riley, Public Water Now Director. “It was sad to see how they had mischaracterized our intentions and the facts we had already published. We feel compelled to set the record straight.”
    The PWN initiative does NOT increase the cost of water on the Peninsula. Nor does the initiative in any way interfere with new water supplies or put our future water security at risk.
    The PWN initiative does NOT raise property taxes. The bond to buy Cal Am would be paid off on our water bills and offset by the $19 million annually that Cal Am now takes in corporate profit and pays in taxes.
    What does the PWN initiative really do? The initiative, if passed, requires the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (MPWMD) to conduct a feasibility study as a first step in getting the facts on a public buyout of Cal Am. If the facts show that a public buyout is financially feasible and in the public interest, then and only then, would a buyout of Cal Am by MPWMD be initiated. 
    “Despite how Cal Am tries to downplay it, the truth is the Monterey Peninsula does have the most expensive water in the country”, says Melodie Chrislock, Public Water Now Communications Director. “The Food & Water Watch study, done in 2015 and updated in 2017, looked at the 500 largest public and private water providers in the nation and found that the average annual cost of publicly owned water across the country was $315, while the average for privately owned water was $500. But the Peninsula’s annual cost was $1200, which is the most expensive water in the nation according to Food & Water Watch.”

    Cal Am has claimed that the study “used unrealistic usage numbers.” But Food & Water Watch based the study on a moderate monthly water use of 5,000 gallons, which would be a tier 2 water user under Cal Am. You can find the Food & Water Watch study links here. http://www.publicwaternow.org/most_expensive_water
    The experience of other communities who have taken their water back from private ownership support the fact that publicly owned water in less expensive. According to Felton Flow, their public buyout in 2008 has led to much lower rates than if they had stayed with Cal Am over the past 10 years. Public takeovers in the communities of Montara, in San Mateo county and Ojai, in southern California have led to lower water costs under public ownership. Missoula, Montana was able to set aside money annually for needed repairs and lower their water rates after their recent public buyout.
    “Public Water Now has been diligent in educating the community with the facts. We look forward to Cal Am doing the same,” says Riley. “Voters should ask themselves, why is Cal Am so opposed to a vote to get the facts on a public buyout? The answer is, follow the money!”

    posted to Cedar Street Times on March 19, 2018

    Topics: Front PG News


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