Chutzpah (July 2, 2015)

Chutzpah is used to describe someone who exhibits audacity. In The Joys of Yiddish, Leo Rosten writes that quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan.

So pity the poor orphan embodied by the Town of Apple Valley (TOAV), which for the last few years has been prosecuting a no-holds-barred jihad against Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company (AVRWC).

AVRWC has actually been in business in our area longer than TOAV (by about 38 years). It’s getting to the point, though, where comprehending the level of ingratitude expressed by TOAV toward AVRWC would take that long again.

When TOAV (acting through Apple Valley Water District) couldn’t make a go of the water business 15 years ago, AVRWC bailed it out.

When TOAV needed water for James Woody Park, AVRWC cut them a deal. That didn’t stop TOAV criticizing AVRWC for its efforts.

When TOAV foolishly purchased the Apple Valley Country Club and then found out it had paid top dollar without understanding what it was buying, AVRWC cut them another deal. That didn’t stop TOAV’s hostile takeover plans for AVRWC. Nor did it make TOAV civil, truthful, or even fair in its presentation of the issue.

AVRWC has provided high-quality water to our community for 65 years. It pays taxes, hires local people, contributes to the community, and has announced plans to hire more people and bring more business to our area. Yet according to TOAV, AVRWC is evil incarnate. Murderous Communist dictators, ISIS, and criminal illegal aliens get better treatment in the press than TOAV is willing to grant AVRWC in its press releases.

TOAV’s actions have cost AVRWC more than money, as its prestige and standing in the community are harmed by the Town’s mendacious attacks. Now AVRWC has filed a request with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to end the special deal on water enjoyed by TOAV for James Woody Park. Predictably, TOAV has responded with the orphan defense.

TOAV complains it can’t afford to pay more for water; it has all these wonderful programs at the Park, and the Park needs that water. Yet TOAV has hundreds of thousands of dollars when it comes to attorneys and committees and studies and public relations and trips to Sacramento, when they can attack AVRWC. But now that they’ve spent so much money on these attacks that they can’t afford the water or the Park programs or concerts for the residents of Apple Valley, it acts hurt that it is being called to account for its wrongful actions.

Here’s a thought: TOAV should sell the water rights it got with the purchase of the Apple Valley Country Club to AVRWC. That would get them a couple million dollars to replace the funds they’ve already wasted on this harebrained quest, with money left over to pay for plenty of water. The community would benefit from not accruing yet more legal expenses (not to mention the millions that will be needed to for the actual purchase of AVRWC, when it comes to that), and we’d have have the grown-ups at AVRWC running our water system.

Greg Raven is Co-Chair of Apple Valley Citizens for Government Accountability, and is concerned about quality of life issues.