Time for the Town Council to listen for a change (January 15, 2017)

Your editorial urging conciliation between the Apple Valley Town Council and Liberty Utilities was curiously unhelpful (Our View: Time for foes to sit down and talk, Daily Press, January 15, 2017).

At odds doesn’t begin to describe the relationship between the Town Council and Liberty Utilities or Apple Valley Ranchos. Since at least 2011, the Town Council has had designs on our water utility, and has attacked Ranchos and Liberty Utilities using every means fair and foul. The volume of lies and deception coming from Town Hall on this issue can scarcely be catalogued, let alone addressed. At least you grant Liberty Utilities the right to defend itself: The Town Council and its supporters don’t.

The cause, however, is not water rates, which are comparable to those in surrounding areas, but rather water revenues. The Town of Apple Valley is in serious financial straits, and aside from slurping up every grant it can, its only slim chance of survival is to seize control of the water system, in the hopes that the cash flow will allow it to paper over its problems and keep the peasants from charging Town Hall with their pitchforks.

Throughout this, Ranchos (and now Liberty Utilities) have sought a collegial relationship with the Town, only to be rebuffed time and again.

Liberty Utilities is not the foe here: That role is amply filled by the Town Council. To make the friction go away, all it has to do is stop attacking Liberty Utilities. Of course, that will entail the Town Council listening instead of lying, which is why it probably won’t happen until it is beaten into the ground the way Claremont was, at a monstrous cost to the ratepayers and residents of Apple Valley.

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

Published: Daily Press, January 23, 2017