The truth shall set you free (June 4, 2016)

A letter by David Christman recently charged Liberty Apple Valley with telling whoppers. After reading Christman’s letter, though, it appears that for some reason he is actually talking about Burger King’s Whopper hamburger, because what he labels as lies are actually truthful statements (Liberty Utility whopper, Daily Press, June 3, 2016).

Is the typical household paying about the same per billing cycle for water now as it was in 2013, as Liberty claims? The answer is yes. Liberty has done an analysis on Apple Valley water bills, which revealed that the typical residential customer pays about the same for their water bill today as they did three years ago. (See also, Liberty says bills ‘relatively flat’ over 3-year period, Daily Press, April 11, 2016)

Does Liberty Apple Valley forget to mention the baseline year was 2013, as Christman claims? No, this fact is mentioned in the third paragraph of the letter (quoted above), as well as in the sub-heading and in the first paragraph (twice!) of the Daily Press article about this matter.

Is it bad for consumers to pay previously-granted surcharges to Liberty Apple Valley, as Christman claims? Christman says yes, but consumers ultimately benefit from having a well-maintained water system, run by professionals, that delivers clean water at a fair price. The only way that can happen in Apple Valley is if Liberty Utilities is compensated for the massive investment of time, effort, and money required by such a water system. The Town of Apple Valley has zero expertise in running a water utility, is fiscally irresponsible (if not corrupt), and cannot even maintain the parks and buildings it already has. Any reasonable person would agree that the Town is manifestly unequipped to run a water utility. (Visit YouTube and search for Kerry Henard for more details.)

Are Liberty Apple Valley’s water rates high, as Christman claims? No, in fact, they are among the lowest in our area once you take into account all revenue streams, making this, too, an accurate and truthful statement. Christman claims to have produced documentation to the contrary, but it is nowhere to be found. Christman also seems a little confused as to where he lives, as he includes San Bernardino, Corona, Riverside, Rancho Cucamonga, and Palm Springs in his purported comparison. As a one-time member of the Blue Ribbon Water Committee he should know this, but we get our water from an aquifer, and combined with being almost 3,000 feet higher in altitude than these other areas of the state, there are huge differences between our region and other distant regions.

But then, Christman also seems not to think that the Mojave Desert is a real desert, so maybe he is unable to grasp distinctions large or small.

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