Claremont November Ballot: $55 Million Bond to Steal Private Water Company via eminent Domain

When the city of Claremont in eastern Los Angeles County wants to steal private property they do it in the open. On the November ballot will be a $55 million bond measure ($110 million to pay it off). The purpose is to use eminent domain (legalized government theft) to take over the local private water company. Government claims the cost of water is too much—and that is possible.

But when government owns something you have less and higher costs. So while the private company pays taxes, the government ownership of the water means taxpayer subsidies, losses and higher rates—then can a private firm use eminent domain to steal the company from government?

By definition, government is theft—now a city is trying to steal a water company. If taxi’s cost too much will the city of Claremont steal them as well?

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Eminent domain funding to be on Claremont ballot

BY CHRIS HAIRE, LA Register, 6/11/14

CLAREMONT – A $55 million bond measure will be on the November ballot, giving voters a chance to decide whether the city should forcefully acquire its local water system from the private Golden State Water Co.

On Tuesday, the City Council voted unanimously to put the measure on the ballot. If approved, the money would be used to help purchase the 149.5 miles of water mains, 11,065 service connections, 22 groundwater wells, 10 reservoirs and all other facilities and equipment of the Claremont Water System owned by Golden State.

“Everything Golden State does is in their best interest,” said Mayor Joseph Lyons shortly before the vote. “Everything we do as a council has to be in the best interest of (the residents).”

The vote was another step in a yearslong process of trying to take control of the system from Golden State, a subsidiary of investor-owned American States Water Company, which has increased prices 100 percent since 2004.

The city of 35,000 residents is looking into using eminent domain to force Golden State to sell the water system after the company rebuffed two offers to sell the infrastructure – the last of which came in October 2013 for $55 million.

Claremont likely will not file the eminent domain lawsuit until after the November election because staff and council want to gauge public perception, said city spokeswoman Bevin Handel.

If the bond measure passes, though, it does not necessarily mean Claremont would need to use that money, City Attorney Sonia Carvalho said.

The city and Golden State have different opinions about how much the system is worth.

City staff members claim the system is worth $55 million, but the city has declined to release its assessment report. Golden State is suing the city under the California Public Records Act to obtain it.

“Existing water revenues from the system would be able to pay the cost with no rate increases,” Carvalho said. “But if the price goes higher and exceeds $80 million, the bond would be needed.”

That value would ultimately be determined in court. Golden State argues that the value is actually about $135 million, said Julie Hooper, a company spokeswoman. She urged the city to work with Golden State to find a compromise that would prevent eminent domain proceedings.

“Instead of disclosing the total borrowing and repayment with interest included in their plan, the city is trying to convince residents that the cost will only be $55 million,” Hooper said. “Golden State Water continues to believe that collaboration is better than conflict and has offered to work with the city to find alternatives to a costly takeover.”

 

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

Comments

  1. If I owned the water system and this theft by the government went through, I swear that I would find a way to destroy my entire system, pumping stations, storage tanks, pipelines, buildings, everything I could, before I’d turn it all over to the thieves in the government.
    Then let them build their own system.

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