Battle for Claremont water continues with GSW lawsuit; see documents

The city of Claremont has taken the next step in its battle for control of the local water system and filed an eminent domain lawsuit against its owner and operator, Golden State Water Company.

“There’s December 7, and then there’s December 9,” said water acquisition advocate Freeman Allen. “It’s a very memorable day in Claremont!”

The complaint for eminent domain was filed concurrently with Notice of Lis Pendens – Action in Eminent Domain on Tuesday, December 9 in Los Angeles Superior Court.

John Holloway, one of several attorneys representing Claremont, said Golden State’s legal counsel would not be served until Monday, after which the water company will have 30 days to respond.

The 43-page document (available online to COURIER subscribers) includes a categorical list of properties used and useful in operating and maintaining the Claremont water system, currently owned and operated by Golden State Water Company.

There were various items Claremont excluded from the list not deemed necessary. They were, but not limited to transportation vehicles, personnel or employee contracts, temporary cash investments, investments in associated companies or other investments, as well as cash on hand.

Although, given residents’ testimonies at the recent CPUC hearings, many Claremont residents might like the city to reconsider the later.

“We only request what is deemed necessary to operate the system,” explained Mr. Holloway.

By 71 percent, Claremont registered voters approved financing for the city’s acquisition of the water system through revenue bonds. Three weeks later, the Claremont City Council unanimously adopted two Resolutions of Necessity determining that acquisition of the Claremont water system by the city of Claremont was in the public interest.

As the eminent domain court proceedings move forward, a judge will rule on the legality of the acquisition and a jury will determine the value of the system.

Golden State Water Company spokesperson Julie Hooper said that although company officials had not yet seen the lawsuit, “the legal process will not distract Golden State Water from providing residents with reliable drinking water and dedicated customer service.”


—Angela Bailey


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