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Courier 10.17.20

Courier 10.17.20

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Published by Claremont Courier
claremont, courier, newspaper, print, edition, 101712
claremont, courier, newspaper, print, edition, 101712

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Published by: Claremont Courier on Oct 18, 2012
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C
our er i
laremont
 
claremont-courier.com
New Mills Act guidelines adds a fee for registrants
Story on page 9
Wednesday 10-17-12
u
75 cents
9 days
 Your week in
      t
Calendar starts on page 14
A tribute to Karl Benjamin
A gathering to honor the acclaimed artist
Story on page 4
The golden age
Mountain Viewrings in 50 years
Story on page 12COURIER photos/Steven FelschundneffCurrent principal Clara Dehmer and Leonard Munter, Mountain View Elementaryʼs first principal, release 50 butterflies during the celebration of the schoolʼs 50th an-niversary on Friday. Mr. Munter served as principal from the schoolʼs opening in 1962 until 1968.
The golden age
 t
Water ownership
Story on page 3
 
The evolution of a water bill
Dear Editor:The explanation of our water billspublished in the COURIER on Wednes-day, October 10 induced me to runthrough my Excel budget files since1994. Here are the interesting results Idiscovered.From 1994 through 1997, I paid anaverage of $600 per year for water. In1998, the bill jumped to $800 per yearand then remained between $800 and$850 per year until 2006.In 2007, the bill rose to almost $1000followed by $1500, $1400, $1250,$1550 and $1750 anticipated this year.I believe that the jump in 1998 wasdue to the “energy crisis” that Texas en-trepreneurs were putting Californiathrough. I believe that the amazing jumps beginning in 2007 mark thetakeover of water delivery by GoldenState Water and its parent corporationAmerican States Water Company.The essence of our situation is that wehave lost any semblance of local controlover our water utility, and the PublicUtilities Commission that should be pro-tecting us from corporate greed is look-ing in the other direction.When GSW “defends” their ratehikes, they always announce that theyhave to replace infrastructure. We wouldall love to hear how much of our aginginfrastructure they have actually dealtwith so far.Interestingly, in our neighborhoodalong Mountain Avenue, we have beenthrough an “algae bloom” during the last2 years (May through July), which theyseem incapable of dealing with, whileour water tastes like it came from a pondand the shower smells like a sewer.As for the data above, I have lived inthe same house with pretty much thesame landscape watering needs for 35years. When I first came to live in Clare-mont in 1961, our water bills were ap-proximately $5 per month. Claremontwater came almost entirely from Mt.Baldy, and you could tell when westarted using Colorado River water in thefall of many years because it would leavea salty deposit on the sidewalk.Since the 1960s, we have lost controlof our own water because of the enor-mous amount of development (that hasmade a few people very rich) all over theInland Empire. Now we have lost furthercontrol because of a corporate buyout. Itis hard to believe, in the present politicaleconomy, that anything will be doneabout this.
Tad Beckman
Claremont
Candidate speaks out
Dear Editor:It is my duty to bring to your attentionimportant issues that concern you andthat directly affect us as Californians.Sacramento has not been doing its job of serving you and watching out for yourbest interests—this must stop.I am running for State Senate not as acareer politician, but as a concerned cit-izen who wants to cross the aisle to getthings done. I’ve been visiting with res-idents in Claremont who have expressedthat Sacramento has not addressed thatour broken education system will onlyhurt our future and that excessive spend-ing will bankrupt us.Current legislators do not have theright priorities and lack the vision neces-sary to turn around California’s econ-omy. Sacramento needs to wake up andrealize money comes from hardworkingtaxpayers who believe that substantialfiscal reform is the only path to eco-nomic stability.My priorities are jobs and education,because California was once the GoldenState where opportunities were plentiful.Putting us on the right track is why I amasking for your vote in November. Thelegislature has not focused on the valuesI promise I will bring to you—biparti-sanship, service to community, commit-ment to education and fiscalresponsibility.
Gil Gonzales
Pasadena
READERSʼ COMMENTS
continue on page 7
Claremont COURIER/Wednesday, October 17, 2012
2
The Claremont Courier (United States Postal Service 115-180) is published twice weekly by the Courier Graphics Corporationat 1420 N. Claremont Blvd., Ste. 205B, Claremont, California 91711-5003. The Courier is a newspaper of general circulationas defined by the political code of the state of California, entered as periodicals matter September 17, 1908 at the post office atClaremont, California under the act of March 3, 1879. Periodicals postage is paid at Claremont, California 91711-5003. Singlecopy: 75 cents. Annual subscription: $52.00. Annual online subscription: $47. Send all remittances and correspondence aboutsubscriptions, undelivered copies and changes of address to the Courier, 1420 N. Claremont Blvd., Ste. 205B, Claremont, Cal-ifornia 91711-5003. Telephone: 909-621-4761. Copyright © 2012. Claremont Courier
One hundred and fourth year, number 81
1
420 N. Claremont Blvd., Ste. 205BClaremont, CA 91711
(909) 621-4761Office hours: Monday-Friday9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Owner
Janis Weinberger
Editor and Publisher
Peter Weinberger
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editor@claremont-courier.com
Newsroom
City Reporter
Beth Hartnett
news@claremont-courier.com
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Sarah Torribio
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Chris Oakley
sports@claremont-courier.com
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Steven Felschundneff
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Jenelle Renschcalendar@claremont-courier.com
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Unfilled
 ADVENTURES
IN HAIKU
Pockets of pleasureFiliigree of alyssumsStreet corner plantings
—Helen Graziano
C
our er 
i
laremont
 
claremont-courier.com
Consider the source
ACCURACY:ACCURACY:
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Internet
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Wild West
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reliable sources
.Call us or go to our website tosubscribe and find out how theCOURIER informs you of thenews closest to home.
the quality or state of being correct or precise
In print and online: (909) 621-4761
READERS’ COMMENTS
 
F
or many Americans, water is thenew oil. It was a point raised byProfessor Brian Thomas at a dialogon water ownership held at Pomona Col-lege Monday evening, and hardly dis-puted by the crowd of city officials andcommunity members.
Along with the rising price of gas and property tax,water rates have doubled and in some cases tripled incities across the country. Fed up with rising rates amidwater company profits, many cities like Claremont areweighing their options when it comes to taking overtheir local water system from investor-owned watercompanies like Golden State Water.However, before taking the leap from private to pub-lic, Mr. Thomas warns it is vital for cities to really un-derstand the extent of the potential risks involved.“It’s important that you really know what you aregetting into,” Mr. Thomas said. “As you start to thinkabout acquisition, it is critical that you do a compre-hensive risk assessment.”Potential risks to be considered include those asso-ciated with the system’s operation, the influence of en-vironmental factors and ever-more-stringent waterregulations. It’s important to know the liabilities asso-ciated with infrastructure projects, such as understand-ing the elements that could affect a project’s scheduleand the costs involved.“The question of whether or not you are actuallygoing to end up with lower rates is going to really de-pend on how well that entity is operated,” Mr. Thomassaid. “At the end of the day, you are really going tohave to have a good management team, a good man-agement structure.”Mr. Thomas explored such questions during hisoverview of water ownership and governmental struc-tures, hosted by Sustainable Claremont. The commu-nity dialog was timely as the city moves forward withanalysis of the potential acquisition of its water system,due before the council next week. Mr. Thomas was ina unique position to talk on the topic of water, havingserved as assistant general manager and chief financialofficer of the Metropolitan Water District of SouthernCalifornia from 2000-2011. He currently works as themanaging director of a finance firm that representspublic companies as they decide whether or not to selltheir company.Just because a private water company boasts profitsdoes not necessarily signify a red flag, he asserted.“Profits are not a bad thing,” he said. “Profit moti-vates people to do good work, it motivates efficiencies.The [water companies] also have to pay taxes and feesthat could come to the benefit of the city.”While remaining neutral—and reiterating that he hasnot done research into Claremont’s situation—he notedthat while most other parts of the world have privateagencies distributing their water, there is a reason 80percent of our nation’s water is distributed by publicagencies.“Frankly, I think it’s because in the public sector we just do too good of a job,” Mr. Thomas said. “Therehasn’t been the need to privatize those systems.”While pointing out the potential risks, Mr. Thomasoutlined plausible benefits of local ownership as well.There are several perks, said Mr. Thomas, one beingthat public systems have the advantage of tax-exemptrates. If the city of Claremont were to borrow a bondto invest in its water system, the interest received onthat bond is free from taxes. While private companiesmust pay taxes, a public entity is able to directly investthe money saved from taxes and interest rates into itscapital.“So, the overall cost of capital is often lower for mu-nicipal agencies,” Mr. Thomas said.Another benefit is the community’s ability to play amore involved role in its rate increases. Proposition218 helps keep the public entity accountable, ensuringthat all taxes and most charges to property owners aresubject to voter approval. The public entity cannot justraise water rates, for example. Notification must besent out and, if a majority of Claremont residents donot want the increase, the increases will not happen.While the California Public Utility Commission(CPUC), an appointed body, currently has power overrate increases, the citizens would have control with alocally-owned system, emphasized Claremont MayorLarry Schroeder during a group discussion followingthe lecture. Mr. Thomas agreed.“It gives you that direct link to your utility,” henoted. “The PUC provides mostly objective analysisyou can get a lot of data from them and they will helpyou understand that information, but it’s a differenttype of regulatory structure and a different kind of po-litical structure.”The city would also have the flexibility to incor-porate other rate structures. One that received specialattention from Councilmember Sam Pedroza and oth-ers was that of budget-based billing. With this rate-paying system, a certain amount of water would beallotted to each household depending on its size. Any-thing used over that designated amount would cost asignificant amount more than the previous allottedamount. While recognizing that this system was ef-fective in more easily managing larger and smallerproperties, it proved to have more complex issues inthe end, Mr. Thomas noted.At the end of the day, Mr. Thomas maintains that itall comes down to management. Whether or not thewater company is owned by the public or private sec-tor, the key is the effectiveness with which the com-pany is organized and run.“You have public entities with the highest rates, be-cause of factors like geology or geography, but theyare really well run. And then you have those entitiesthat are poorly run but may have the lowest rates for adecade or 15 years and then things start to fall apart,”Mr. Thomas said. “You can never really get away frommanagement structure.”
—Beth Hartnett
news@claremont-courier.com
Claremont COURIER/Wednesday, October 17, 2012
3
CITY NEWS
With rewards come risks when owning water system
COURIER photos/Steven FelschundneffBrian Thomas delivers a speech titled Water System Ownership and Governance Structures on Monday at PomonaCollege. The talk, part of Sustainable Claremontʼs sustainability dialog series, was a non-partisan look at the differ-ences between public and investor-owned water systems.A slide provided by Sustainable Claremontʼs FreemanAllen shows the difference in water rates for Claremontand La Verne.
Meet-and-greet for ChrisHolden, assembly candidate
A meet-and-greet for Chris Holden, candidatefor the State Assembly, is scheduled for Sunday,October 21 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the home of JoeSalas, 1575 Beloit Ave., Claremont.To RSVP or for information, contact Matt Lieb-man at Matt.chrisholdenforassembly@gmail.com.
Ballot measure forum
The League of Women Voters of the ClaremontArea will present the pros and cons of the 11 stateballot measures in the meeting room of the Clare-mont Library tonight, Wednesday, October 17,from 6:45 to 7:45 p.m.Speakers will present the basic content of themeasures, as well as reasons to support or opposethe measures. There will be opportunity to askquestions.For voting information go to www.lavote.net orwww.cavote.org.

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