Compensation for all (March 8, 2018)

Liberty Utilities is wrong in arguing merely that it should not have to pay the Town of Apple Valley’s legal expenses in its California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) lawsuit (Liberty Utilities might challenge Apple Valley on fees, Daily Press, March 8, 2018).

Instead, Liberty Utilities should ask to be reimbursed for the money spent on this suit, and ask the court to direct the Town to compensate the concerned citizens who spent hours and hours trying to get the Town to issue a correct and complete Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to no avail.

The Town’s latest position — which was accepted by the court — is that the CEQA was not needed in the first place. Yet the Town made a huge deal about getting public input throughout the expensive CEQA process, with two draft EIRs being offered up for public review. Citizens such as myself poured over those reports, noting the many deficiencies (such as it was unnecessary, there was no specificity as to who was to run the water company after seizure, and the implication that any monies needed for future maintenance and repairs would come from additional bond measures), and attended meetings to get our voices heard. Virtually none of our objections was reflected in the final EIR.

If the CEQA process was unnecessary, why waste everyone’s time, and why did the Town Council wait until after receiving the final EIR to vote to seize the water company? The entire process has been reduced to a charade to trick citizens into believing their voices mattered to the Town Council.

In lieu of reimbursing citizens for this massive waste of time, money, and energy, I propose the Town Council stop the insanity and its eminent domain takeover attempt, and leave our water system in private hands where it belongs.

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