Readers comments 7.18.12
The cost of water
Should the city of Claremont purchase the local water utility? Many say yes, a few say no. When I buy something, the most important question I ask is: How much does it cost? The city is hiring consultants to help value the water company. I thought it would be interesting to do a few “back of the envelope” calculations.
We know exactly how much the Golden State Water’s parent company is worth. The stock is publicly traded and has a market capitalization of $777 million. According to the American States Water website they serve 256,000 customers. There are about 10,000 customers in Claremont. Doing the math, the Claremont portion of the water company is worth $30 million.
How much more than this should we be willing to pay? I think I am being overcharged about $50 per month compared to the charges in other local areas. It depends on usage and the time of year. It will also depend on the operating efficiencies our city leadership can obtain compared to current operators. For this example, if I am willing to invest this premium to buy the water company, and I get a 30-year loan at 4 percent with a $50 per month payment, I can purchase about $10,000 worth of water company. Since there are 10,000 households in Claremont, that would value the water company at $100 million.
So, if our city leadership, consultants and attorneys can get the water company for less than $30 million, I say yes, it’s a bargain for the citizens of Claremont.
If the price comes back over $100 million, it is probably not worth the expense and trouble. If the price is between those numbers, we would be paying a premium, but it might be worth it. It is my hope that our city leadership will be skillful and determined in their negotiations and get the price under $30 million.
Fat free Claremont
I am somewhat relieved that the city council did not ban smoking in Claremont. I have been smoking cigarettes for 50 years. I understand, perfectly, the health hazards of smoking. During those same 50 years of smoking, I also learned, perfectly, the political danger of allowing incremental change. The first small change has been made with approval of the no smoking resolution. I am deeply concerned by the council’s decision to publicly post my habituation to cigarettes as unhealthy and socially unacceptable in Claremont.
We all know cigarette smoking is unhealthy, and it has become increasingly socially unacceptable over the years. We should also know that it is no longer the number one killer in the United States, obesity is.
I would be uncomfortable seeing signs prominently posted outside of restaurants within the city with the profile of a fat person, circled, with a red “X” through it, reading, “Thank you for weighing in before being seated. If you are overweight, do not enter. The city of Claremont supports a fat-free environment.”
I am not fat, not even chubby. Such signs and city resolutions make no sense to me. Overweight individuals know they are overweight. They know all the accompanying health risks. They know they are providing a negative role model for young people, particularly if the overweight persons are in high profile positions. This is their state of being, their humanity. I see the impress of censure of my own humanity and personal freedom if signage were to be enacted, by the city, to publicly state the social unacceptability of being overweight.
By the same token, members of the city council should understand that by publicly censuring my right to be who I am, they have taken a step toward restriction of their own personal freedom to be who they are.
Before the argument is tendered, allow me to respond: secondhand smoke from cigarettes poses no health risks to others in an open area. I am a courteous smoker and never smoke in an enclosed area with non-smokers around.
Recent studies indicate that the 210 freeway, built one block away from my home, constitutes a clear and present danger to not only my health, but also to the health of thousands who live within its proximity, including children at Chaparral Elementary School and those who come to the adjoining park for weekends of soccer and baseball games.
Should the city council wish to continue its crusade to publicly state the obvious, perhaps signs all along the freeway should be posted in Claremont: “Danger! This freeway emits toxins known to cause cancer, asthma and upper respiratory disease. The city of Claremont supports a healthy environment.”
That makes no sense to me either, but it may to the Claremont City Council.
If the uber rich are “job creators,” why does the unemployment rate remain well above 8 percent? Let’s put some of those billions to work.
Maybe the Koch brothers, et al, should be financing public works rather than financing Mitt Romney. Oh, I know! If Romney is elected he’ll make sure the billionaires will be able to not only keep their billions, but go on making more while he tries to figure out a way to “create” jobs by downsizing government— including teachers, public safety personnel and government workers—while cutting welfare, education, Planned Parenthood and other services.
The only good idea I’ve heard from Romney is the Massachusetts Health Care Program, which he is trying to make disappear!
Since Obama’s election it has been the goal of the Republican Party to make sure he was a one-term president, even before “Obamney Care” was coined. Their M.O. has been non-cooperation with Obama until the election; then and only then will they make some kind of feeble effort to help the economy.
Since 2009 they have done everything in their power to make him fail—the people of America be damned!
Church and state
I was interested in the criticism of Douglas Lyon (Readers’ Comments, Wednesday, July 11). He labeled my article on Church and State of July 7, a “screed” (e.g., a long, monotonous harangue). He suggested that my source, “Americans for Separation of Church and State” should change its name to “Intolerant Americans for the Persecution of Christianity.”
I failed to explain that the organization is a nonprofit educational corporation dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of church-state separation.
For 65 years the organization has monitored federal and state rulings and activities and filed court briefs if it determined that they violated the First Amendment of the Constitution in endorsing or hindering a religion. He also wrote that the article “evinced an astonishing ignorance of our own American history.”
Perhaps it would have helped him to know that as an ordained clergyman for 60 years, and also as an instructor at Mt. San Antonio College for 31 of those years, I have regularly been involved with tax exempt and public organizations in such matters.
I have appreciated the fact that I need not worry whether any governmental agency does or does not approve of my religion. I also knew that I had no legal right (in the classroom) to advocate my religion to my public college students.
That’s the American history of which he claimed I have no understanding. He doesn’t realize how fortunate he has been.