Vote no on the Town staff’s ballot measure proposal (July 26, 2016)

My name is Greg Raven and I live here in Apple Valley.

For years now, members of the Town staff and Town Council have ignored our history, our heritage, the gifts of free-market capitalism, the citizenry, the facts, common decency, and even their own experts in pursuit of the almighty dollar. The current target of the Town’s feckless spending and boundless avarice is Liberty Utilities.

While there is no way mere citizens can withstand the relentless efforts by the Town Council to spend whatever it takes to impose its will across a panoply of inappropriate actions and activities, citizens have made it clear — in meetings, in letters, in polls, and in the creation of a ballot initiative — that we want to be heard in the matter of the Town’s insane jihad against Liberty Utilities, which proposes to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to buy something we already have, and then turn over our beautiful, well-run water system to uncaring, know-nothing bureaucrats who can’t manage the Town’s existing facilities.

The lies and mischaracterizations employed by Town representatives in promoting this madness would be enough for all but the most venal of politicians. Now, Town representatives have announced their intent to show themselves to be in the upper echelons of small town demagogues by subverting the clear wishes of the citizens in this matter through confusion and obfuscation, the very antithesis of local control.

The Town already carries nearly $100 million in debt. Before you obligate residents to hundreds of millions of dollars of additional long-term debt, we citizens should have the right to vote … no conditions … no ifs, ands, or buts.

You did not respect voters or your own oaths of office enough to ask for consent before wasting millions of dollars attacking our local water system. You refused to participate in fora or debates on this issue. And despite repeated promises of transparency, you have gone to extraordinary lengths to remain utterly opaque.

The very least you could do now is show at least token respect by allowing the citizens’ initiative to stand on its own on the ballot. Placing your competing measure on the ballot may fool enough of the voters to allow you to continue your money-grubbing ways, but it will also show that you have zero confidence in your own propaganda, and are willing to resort to tricks and deception to continue on this road to ruin, which was created by you and you alone.

I urge you to vote no on the resolution to place a Town-sponsored ballot measure on the November 8, 2016, municipal election.

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