Golden State Claims

Misinformation, front organizations, dirty tricks and PR firms are what big companies use when they can’t come up with truthful arguments to support their claims. Golden State Water Company and their supporters are no different. So that you can “peel that onion” and get to the truth, we have listed below rebuttals to claims made by Golden State and organizations that are in support of them. These rebuttals have been by written by non paid Ojai citizens that want the truth to be known. We leave it to you to decide which to believe. If you have questions please feel free to contact us.


Golden State Myths Revealed, A compilation of many myths with real facts noted.


May 17, 2013, OVN page A7, Featured letter to editor by Andy Bressler, Proposed Casitas Water District bond funding mechanism is not equitable.

  1. Claim –
    Disagree with Casitas Municipal Water District proposal to fund the Golden State Water Company proposal to fund the Golden State Water Company takeover via a parcel tax that is determined solely by property size. A parcel 1 acre or larger will incur a total of $84,908 in supplemental parcel taxes over a 30-year bond period regardless of water usage.

    Rebuttal –

    The featured letter from Andy Bressler in the May 17, 2013, OVN was an embarrassment, as was an earlier letter from a Mr. Krause, who signed in at the Casitas public meeting as being “affiliated“ with Golden State Water Company. Both deliberately failed to mention, as does Golden State itself, the savings that residents will receive from the lower Casitas water rates. That’s why it’s a no-brainer, and why we can well afford to buy the Golden State operations in Ojai.

    Fact: Casitas rates are typically 1/3 of those charged by Golden State.

    Fact: Golden State rate increases over the last 22 years have been nearly double those of Casitas (8% for Golden State vs. 4.4% for Casitas).

    Fact: For the vast majority of properties, the cost of the bond will be completely offset starting in the first year, and those ratepayers will make money every year thereafter.

    Fact: Nearly everybody will save money when we Vote Yes and Casitas buys Golden State.

    These are the facts that Golden State, and apparently Mr. Bressler and Mr. Krause, don’t want you to know. These are the facts that the following organizations understand, and the reasons why they support the Ojai FLOW/Casitas plan to buy the Golden State water operations in Ojai: The City of Ojai….The Ojai Unified School District….The Ojai Valley Chamber of Commerce….The Ojai Valley Defense Fund….The Ojai Valley Board of Realtors….The Ojai Valley Green Coalition ….The Ojai Valley Democratic Club….The Surfrider Foundation….and nearly 2,000 Ojai residents who asked Casitas to buy Golden State.

    If we don’t buy Golden State, our school district will lose $65,000 in savings the first year and more than $7 million over the 30-year bond period. We voters in Ojai simply can’t afford not to buy Golden State.


April 12, 2013, OVN page A7, Letter to editor by Franceen Francett: Doubting the takeover:

  1. Claim –
    The lien will have to be dealt with when the property is sold.
    Rebuttal –

    Nothing special will have to be done because of the bond. It will be handled just like the Casitas Dam project bond. In this case however, the bond will be paid for/offset by lower water rates from Casitas. More importantly, is if we don’t buy the Golden State Water operation in Ojai, realtors will have reveal to the unusually high water rates we must pay Golden State which will lower our property values. This is already being done by some realtors. Just FYI, in the 30 years of the proposed bond, Golden States water costs will be ten times which Casitas will charge. This equates to more than one $ thousand a month for many rate payers.

  2. Claim –
    Only registered voters get to vote. Renters have no stake in the game.
    Rebuttal –

    This is totally untrue. Landlords have a long history of passing on costs to their renters. In this case however, if the landlord pays the water the cost of the bond most likely is completely offset by lower cost water provided by Casitas. Water rates from Casitas will NOT go up as much as if the supplier were Golden State, e.g. 4.4% average annual increase for Casitas vs. 8% for Golden State.

  3. Claim –
    Concerned because the total cost of the takeover has increased from $30 million to $60.
    Rebuttal –

    It is obvious Ms. Francett has not read the Ojai FLOW Citizen prepared feasibility study or the Casitas Board Package of January 29th, 2013 which explains the detailed Casitas buyout plans and figures. The two estimates are very similar at about $42-$47 million. The difference between these and the $60 million is simply the amount that could be borrowed if a less conservative interest rate were used.


Golden State Water Company Flyer sent to Ojai Ratepayers the week of 12-12-2012.

  1. Claim –
    Many claims are made (see flyer)

    Rebuttal –

    This audio of Claremont’s City Manager is from Claremont’s City Council meeting on December 11, 2012. He is discussing actions taken by Golden State in Claremont that are similar to those taken in Ojai.

    He says River City Communications In Sacramento is leading Golden State’s PR efforts. The Claremont City Manager goes on to say that the owner of that firm, Mark Mlikotin, is also the president of the Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights. This is the same group that sent mailers to all of us in Ojai and paid for a full page ad in the Ojai Valley News on November 28, 2012 (see GS Claims) about the evils of eminent domain, and is suggesting Golden State should not abide by Section 8 of the Ojai City Franchise Agreement that Golden State has been operating under since 1967.

    Except for the second to last paragraph on the page signed by Denise Kruger, the information is misleading and simply not true. We are waiting for Casitas to announce the exact amount of the bond, at which time we will all know exactly how much each of us will save when we buy out Golden State. We expect Casitas to announce the amount of the bond in January. At that time, the exact numbers will be available for comparison between what customers are currently paying under Golden State and what they will be paying under Casitas.

    With regard to the claim that the Felton water takeover did not benefit their community, we say ask the people of Felton and don’t take our word for it. Please read the two editorials made by Felton FLOW last year which can be found under FELTON FLOW on our web page Reference Info.. And, Felton recently just saved money on the bond they passed to buy out the water company. Below is an e-mail we received from Felton FLOW on 12-2-2012 stating that by re-financing the bond at today’s lower interest rates, the average ratepayer will save an additional $60 per year. The message here is not that Felton made a bad decision, as Golden State would want you to believe, but rather the opposite. Felton is an example of a community that stood up to their water company is now better for it.

    From: Felton FLOW (feltonflow@sbcglobal.net)
    Subject: FLOW–water bond refinanced, tax bill to drop $60
    Date: December 2, 2012 10:15:04 AM PST
    To: undisclosed-recipients:

    Friends of Locally Owned Water (Felton FLOW)
    The Press-Banner reported last week the announcement by Supervisor Mark Stone that the county successfully refinanced the bond for our purchase of the Felton water system from CalAm. The 30-year bond was refinanced from 5.1% to 3.4%, with no extension of the bond’s maturity date, August 15, 2035. This will result in a $60 reduction in the annual property tax bill for each property owner within the Felton water district (now part of SLV Water District). This tax reduction will first appear on our property tax bills next year.

    Thanks to Supervisor Stone and the County Administrator for their vigilance in this matter.

    Thank you,
    Felton FLOW
    Email: info@feltonflow.org
    Website: http://feltonflow.org

    With regard to the second to last paragraph where they mention a projected rate reduction for the average Ojai Customer in 2013, we have no idea what they are talking about. We suggest you contact Golden State at 1-800-999-4033 or visit their Ojai office at 408 Bryant Circle, Suite G Ojai, CA 93023 and ask them what YOUR rates will be in 2013. Write a letter about your contact to the Ojai Valley News, the Ventura Star, and the View. We are sure all ratepayers would like to know how much our rates will go down.


California Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights November 28, 2012

  1. Claim –
    On the day of the farewell party for Golden State Water company, this group placed a full page add in the Ojai Valley News. They also posted a blog entry to the news article written on the OVN. Their main claim in both as well as on their web site is that Ojai FLOW is a front for Food and Water Watch, which is not true.

    Rebuttal –

    Ojai FLOW posted a rebuttal on the OVN blog, send a letter to the Editor of the Ojai Valley New that was published as “Two Groups are very different” on page 13 of the OVN on 12-6-2012 and sent the following letter in an e-mail and in hard copy to the California Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights:

    December 3, 2012

    California Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights
    2795 E. Bidwell St. #100-119
    Folsom, CA 95630

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    I am writing in response to your full page ad in the Ojai Valley News (OVN) on November 28, 2012, your comment on the OVN blog with regard to the OVN article “F.L.O.W. uses Inn event to mobilize voter base” and comments on your web site about Ojai FLOW.

    The current Ojai FLOW is in no way associated with the Ojai FLOW you are referring to. The current Ojai FLOW was registered with the California Secretary State – Political Reform division on March 10, 2011. The press release you refer to was issued in 2007, several years prior to that date. As we say on our web site www.OjaiFLOW.com under “ABOUT US”, a prior organization with the same name did exist. What relationship they had with Food and Water Watch is unknown, and I suggest you contact the members of that group. The current Ojai FLOW steering committee does not have any of the same members as the previous Ojai FLOW.

    The state registered Ojai FLOW has never been, nor ever will be affiliated with Food and Water Watch, or any other organization. Each member of Ojai FLOW is volunteering his or her time with only the best interests of our community at heart. Any assertion to the contrary is completely false. We request that you refrain from making any assertion or implication that the current, state registered, Ojai FLOW is in any way affiliated with Food and Water Watch and that you correct your website to reflect this information.

    Pat McPherson
    Chair – Ojai FLOW
    info@ojaiflow.com


John Turner rockyroad6591@hotmail.com e-mail to info@OjaiFlow.com April 6, 2012

  1. Claim –
    We are getting very tired of you and your negativity. You are costing everyone higher blood pressure and time (money).

    We are also going to forward this to the PUC and Casitas Water. At the end of all of this we will look at the documentation of time and money your negative group has cost all of us (the customers) and seek financial restitution in a Court of Law.

    Rebuttal –
    Dear Mr. Turner, I am responding to your email to Ojai flow about negativity. We take your e-mail very seriously and would be glad to look into what you say and make corrections if warranted. But first, we need more specific information what you are referring to.

    I have blind copied this e-mail to the Ojai FLOW core group, and the responsible people at Casitas, the City of Ojai, and the Ojai Valley News.
    Sincerely,

    Pat McPherson


California Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights, 2011 www.calpropertyrights.com. Before you begin, we leave it to you to decide how this “independent” organization got the name of every Ojai Golden States rate payer to put on their flyers. That may be a question to ask Golden State. Here is what California Alliance has to say:

  1. Claim –
    1. “The City of Ojai supports efforts to use eminent domain to forcibly seize Golden State’s Water system – property Not for Sale.”
    2. “Eminent Domain: Bad for Ojai Taxpayers.”
    3. “The takeover scheme is eminent domain abuse – plain and simple!”

     

    Rebuttal
    The City of Ojai has the right to “acquire the property of the Grantee hereof either by purchase of through the exercise of the right of eminent domain….” under section 8 of the franchise agreement that Golden State has agreed to and has operated under with the City of Ojai since 1967. It is Golden State that is making it bad for the taxpayers because Golden State says they are “Not for Sale” and are forcing the City of Ojai at taxpayer’s expense to use eminent domain. This is not eminent domain abuse.
  2. Claim –
    “Takeover supporters are wrong on the true cost of the system”.
    Rebuttal
    They give no facts what is wrong with the costs. The Ojai FLOW plan was prepared by Richard Hajas, Ojai resident, water professional with over 35 year experience in water, and past General Manager of a local Water District. He has no reason not to tell the truth. See his resume under About Us. Many highly qualified people reviewed and approved the Ojai FLOW plan before and after it was made public. Like anything, the only true cost is what someone is willing to pay, and we won’t know that until it’s done.
  3. Claim
    “The takeover could raise your property taxes just to fund the cost of the acquisition”.
    Rebuttal
    They fail to mention that any taxes/bond use to buy Golden State Water Company will result in a reduction in water rates far in excess of any tax. See details in the Summary Flyer. They also fail to mention the “tax” (it will really be a bond) will also pay the principal and one day we will own the system and not have the bond. Their argument is like a rental landlord arguing that people should never buy their house.
  4. Claim –
    “Even After the takeover, there is no guarantees on current or future water rates.”
    Rebuttal
    Golden State Water Company makes no guarantees for their future water rates either. They conveniently fail to mention that using 20 years of rate history, Golden State rates have been and are projected to grow at 5 times faster than what publically owned Casitas Municipal water rates will be. See the chart at the top center of page 2 of the Summary Flyer. They also fail to say Ojai rate payers will be paying Golden State twice as much as we do today in seven years if Golden State gets the rate increases they have most recently requested.