Thursday, October 6, 2005
W is for Water
California American Water’s parent company has a history of pollution, poor financial decision-making and dismal customer service, according to a recent report by Public Citizen, a national consumer advocacy group that favors publicly-owned water systems.
Sound familiar? Attend a “Yes on Measure W” forum 6pm, Oct. 6, at the Monterey Senior Center, 280 Dickman Ave., Monterey.
If approved by voters next month, Measure W will fund a study of a public buyout of the Peninsula’s water system, owned and operated by Cal Am.
Citizens for Public Water, a local group, will host the public forum, which will include a talk by Public Citizen’s Vicki Kaplan and a Q and A.
“Citizens lose local control and public accountability when their water system is privatized,” said Wenonah Hunter, director of Public Citizen’s Water for All Campaign, upon releasing the new report. “While Cal Am’s parent company sits on billions of dollars in profit, California consumers are getting stuck with ever-increasing rates that go directly into the company’s pocket. Instead of using those extra dollars to invest in your local community or to upgrade your existing system, your dollars are financing corporate bonuses.”
The report is available online, at www.citizen.org/cmep/RWE. For more information about the Measure W forum, call 659-5229. [JL]
Healthy Meals for Kids
A new law recently signed by Gov. Schwarzenegger will make it easier for low-income kids to receive free school meals.
AB 1385, the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004, requires any child receiving food stamps or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)-related assistance to be directly certified into school meal programs without an additional application. The law, authored by Central Coast Assemblyman John Laird, will modernize the way low-income kids are enrolled in free school meals in the state by directing the Department of Education and the Department of Health Services to create a computerized data-matching process using existing department databases.
“It’s a winning situation,” Laird says. “More kids—about 53,000 more kids—will receive nutritional school meals. It’s paid for almost entirely by federal funds. And it provides a potential market for California agriculture.” [JL]