Why so hell-bent?

May 5, 2017

by Lawrence Samuels

George Riley and his crew of anti-water advocates say they want to save money for ratepayers by seizing control of Cal Am and turning it into a government agency.Well, the opposite will happen if such a measure passes. Since Cal Am has no intention of selling, ratepayers will have to pay attorney’s fees to prevent the takeover. On the other side, taxpayers will pay attorney fees to a government agency to pursue the eminent domain procedures against Cal Am.

Most citizens will pay for both attorneys, on both sides. The court battle could last for a decade, costing tens of millions of dollars or more.

Why spend so much money to exchange one monopoly with another? If Cal Am had been a government entity, ratepayers would still have to pay higher water rates due to the State of California’s order to sell less water. Moreover, there would still be a huge cost of building the desal plant.

Why is Riley so hell-bent on taking over companies by force, like the leaders of Italy and Germany in the 1930s and 1940s? Why would anyone want to emulate such horrendous ideologies? Whatever the motive, Riley’s actions will be extremely expensive.

(Letter to editor published in the Carmel Pine Cone concerning a 2018 ballot measure to eminent domain the local water company.)