Letter: Water and nerves (Mueller) (September 23, 2015)

Jon Coupal’s recent op-ed commentary in the Daily Press must have really hit a nerve. As a refresher, Mr. Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and he simply recommended that the people should know all the costs associated with the Town of Apple Valley’s proposed eminent domain seizure of the Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company. I say proposed, because the town hasn’t decided what they are going to do yet if you ask them, but they have spent over a million dollars just thinking about it.

I’ve heard members of the Town Council say that the people are in favor of this and that if they weren’t, the three current serving members wouldn’t have been re-elected. Mayor Larry Cusack mentions this often. Did Council members Scott Nassif, Curt Emick, and Barb Stanton run on a platform where they said they planned to use eminent domain to take a private company? I don’t believe so.

I think they all said something must be done about high water prices. Mr. Coupal’s letter included some facts wherein he said the Big Bear Council decision to use eminent domain ended up costing double what was said by the Council and resulted in both higher taxes and rate increases.

This stimulated Mayor Pro-Tem Stanton of Apple Valley to send a letter to the Daily Press and suggest that the Big Bear Council was all reelected, so the people couldn’t have been too upset. Unlike Councilman Nassif, who has been on the Apple Valley Council for what will be 16 years, the Big Bear Council of 1989 who made their decision on eminent domain, is long gone, so Stanton is misinformed. The people of Big Bear didn’t know immediately that both higher tax rates and water rates would occur.

The recent letters from both Stanton and Apple Valley resident Lance Arnt seem to imply a sort of indignation that someone outside of the town would inject themselves into town business. Mr. Arnt uses the phrase, Recently the Howard Jarvis Group was allowed to post a dubious opinion … It always worries me when some people want to allow other people the right to think freely and express themselves using their free speech rights. More opinion and more facts are needed concerning this issue. I’m wondering if Mr. Arnt is aware that two alternatives the town came up with to actually run the Ranchos in their just released DEIR study are to turn over the water operations to Hesperia or Victorville? How is that for local control?

David Mueller, Apple Valley

Source: Daily Press

Webmaster note: Barb Stanton also claims in her letter to the editor that the fact that Assemblyman Jay Obernolte’s was previously mayor of Big Bear is further evidence of voter satisfaction with the takeover of the water utility. According to Wikipedia and Obernolte’s state website, Obernolte was not elected to the city council of Big Bear until 2010.