Judge issues tentative decision against city in water system acquisition trial (Claremont v. Golden State Water) (November 10, 2016)


Contact: Tony Ramos, City Manager (909) 399-5441

Claremont, CA – The Honorable Judge Fruin of the Los Angeles Superior Court issued a tentative decision in the City’s eminent domain case to acquire the Claremont Water System today. Judge Fruin’s tentative decision favors Golden State Water, finding it is in the public’s best interest for the system to remain as a private investor-owned utility. The City has fifteen days to submit comments arguing against the tentative decision.

We are extremely disappointed in the court’s tentative decision, said Mayor Sam Pedroza. We hope the judge considers the City’s arguments and issues his final ruling to support the City’s request to acquire the system.

The trial is the culmination of several years of research, community meetings, and evaluation by the City. On November 4, 2014, Claremont voters approved the revenue bond by over 70%. The overwhelming majority of Claremont voters supported the City Council’s decision to acquire the water system in order to control our water future.

Following the City Council’s adoption of the Resolutions of Necessity on November 25, 2014, the City filed its Eminent Domain complaint in the Los Angeles Superior Court on December 9, 2014. At the hearings on the Resolutions of Necessity, City staff, legal counsel, and members of the community outlined a series of reasons why City ownership of the system is in the public’s best interest, including greater local control, transparency, rate setting decisions made with community input, and increased conservation and environmental efforts.

The trial began on June 13, 2016 and lasted more than six weeks. Judge Fruin issued his tentative decision on November 10, 2016. Because the decision is tentative, both parties will have fifteen days to submit comments on the decision. A final decision will be issued once Judge Fruin considers the comments submitted by both parties. Should the final decision be against the City, the City Manager will forward a recommendation to the City Council to begin the appeal process.

I cannot thank our community and Council members enough for their continued support and patience during this long and difficult process, said City Manager Tony Ramos. They have not faltered in their commitment to fighting for local control and belief that the future of our water resources is best protected by the public.

Information on water issues in the City is available on the City’s website at www.ci.claremont.ca.us.


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