Sunday, April 19, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Keep Davis water affordable under public operation

By
From page A11 | February 24, 2013 |

By Nancy and Don Price

Ken Wagstaff, former Davis mayor, claimed in his op-ed piece last Sunday that opponents of Measure I are guilty of myth-making when we say that the “Davis/Woodland municipal system will be ‘privatized’ because it will hire an operator.”

Unfortunately, it would seem that Wagstaff and supporters of Measure I, including a clutch of elected officials, are either responsible for creating their own myths or don’t fully understand what privatization means.

Worldwide, “privatization” is understood to include outright ownership, long-term lease or operation and management by a private, for-profit corporation under contract to a municipal government to provide water services over a determined number of years. This is precisely what the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency will do when the final contract is signed to design, build and operate the Woodland-Davis project.

In other words, Measure I will allow a private operator to sell water to Davis residents and earn a profit in the process, effectively turning a public good into a commodity subject to market forces.

Across this country and worldwide, this model of privatization, in particular of critical resources such as water, is completely discredited and resisted. Those who have experienced privatization have quickly become fed up with higher water rates used to pay corporate profits to investors and shareholders, and with reduced transparency, local democratic oversight and accountability.

The California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates privately owned utilities and services and rules on rate increases, generally allows private providers at least an 8 to 10 percent profit, so we can be sure that the contracted private operator of this project will earn at least this, though you won’t see it disclosed in financial documents or spreadsheets.

Moreover, handing over control to a private corporation puts us at great risk of further price hikes beyond what is built into the current proposed rate increase, which covers only five years. In fact, at any time, the corporate operator can make the case for a rate increase because “their” operating costs have gone up. This siphoning off of our and the city’s money to pay off corporate profits means less money for the common good such as parks, greenbelts, road maintenance, community facilities and more.

It should not be lost on Davis voters that throughout the world, municipalities are fighting to recover public control over privatized water utilities. Even Paris, France — home of some of the world’s largest private water utilities — recently “liberated” its water services from private operation to establish public, democratic water management. The results in the first year: The city saved $46 million and rates fell by 8 percent.

And what about oversight? As I understand it, the length of private operation of the project, whether for 15 or 20 years, is still undetermined. Yet, because there are only four votes on the Joint Powers Authority — two from Davis and Woodland each, either party could hold the other hostage on any matter by a single vote. And every year that we contract out to a private operator is a year squandered in terms of building public capacity and expertise — making the possibility of bringing the water back under public control more difficult.

Why should Davis endorse privatization when the trend is toward re-municipalization to keep water services public and affordable? Please join me in voting no on Measure I. We can meet our water needs for the next years without the Woodland-Davis project. This will give us time to craft a more affordable, cost-effective, public and environmentally sustainable alternative to meet Davis’ water needs.

— Nancy and Don Price are members of Yolo Ratepayers for Affordable Public Utility Services, and Don, a retired professor of Chinese history, taught a course on Chinese environmental history.

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

.

News

Aggie Pride on parade at UC Davis Picnic Day

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
City wants a study of sewer rates

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

Hard-of-hearing student needs community’s help

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
KDVS fund drive includes on-air pledging, plus parties and food

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Art helped sell California’s agriculture

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Sign up now for Celebrate Davis!

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

Students, families can get after-hours Internet access

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Lawyers seek resolution to Davis molest case

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

Garamendi hosts conference for women

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
‘Invaluable public servant’ retires after 20 years

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Your brain’s aging and a new report urges ways to stay sharp

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Injury-proof yourself for effective exercise

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Understanding risks can help women prevent leading health threats

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
Get some advice at Connections Café

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

Eyewitness speaks about Israel’s election

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Free gardening advice offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
Grad Night tickets on sale online

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

Schenker speaks about ‘Magical Mexico’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
Yolo County DA honors crime victims at annual tribute

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

Holman offers Publishing 101 seminar

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
Radio-controlled airplanes will race April 25-26

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

Vote with your dollars at Davis Food Co-op

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
Woodland bike rides set every Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

Join the 10,000-vegetable challenge!

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9Comments are off for this post

 
NAMI group offers family support

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Birding tour will benefit Putah Creek Council

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Watershed Wonders activities return to Putah Creek

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

Yolo County Neighborhood Court seeks new volunteers

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

 
UCD looks at building a better brain as we age

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

‘Vault’ highlights ‘Kathak’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Two drought-preparedness water bills pass out of Senate committees

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

Picnic Day favorites: dogs, bikes science

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A13 | Gallery

 
Strike up the band, and the bubbles!

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A14 | Gallery

.

Forum

 
John Cole cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: B6

 
Yolo Crisis Nursery still needs help

By Our View | From Page: B6

Drink up, kids, but make your choice a healthy one

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

 
Leash your dogs; it’s the law

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B6

Speak out

By Debbie Davis | From Page: B7

 
Let’s not turn our backs on the Earth

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B7

This Earth Day, make a pledge to cool your home

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B7

 
.

Sports

Fast Aggie start negated by 14-0 USC lacrosse run

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Stagnant second-half offense sinks Devil girls

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Over the hump? DHS baseball team wins late

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Lambdin, Marshall lead Aggies at Mt. SAC

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Republic FC gets another win at Bonney

By Evan Ream | From Page: B2

 
UCD roundup: Aggies sweep a water polo double dip

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Busy Clancy, Hall spark Devil tracksters at Mt. SAC

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Former DHS star Drexel returns to create havoc for Aggies

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B4 | Gallery

Sports briefs: Blue Devils split a pair of tennis matches

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B14 | Gallery

 
Pro baseball roundup: Oakland blanks Kansas City

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

Marrone Bio Innovations strengthens its sales team

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

 
New phase opens at Brookfield Cottages

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

Tucos closes; new Japanese, pizza, subs debut

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
WISH grant funds available to eligible homebuyers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

.

Obituaries

Jody Zewe

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Ruth Rodenbeck Stumpf

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Herman Timm

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Robert Leigh Cordrey

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Alice Catherine Micheltorena

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, April 19, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B8