Thursday, October 27, 2005
RWE/CAL AM: LEAKY COMPANY?
The problems that plague Cal Am, the local division of the American Water Company, apparently are seeping down from the top.
Cal Am currently has a plan in front of the state Public Utilities Commission seeking to double water rates to help pay for failing infrastructure—including a silt-clogged reservoir and leaky pipes. The company also wants to fund the construction of a new water source—either, according to its proposal, a desalination plant or a new dam.
News reports this week predicting a sell-off of water holdings by RWE, the German-based utility giant that owns Cal Am, all cite similar company-wide infrastructure problems as a cause.
In a report Monday, the London Times claimed the sale is all but a done deal, and pointed to problems at Great Britain’s RWE-owned water company.
“There have been concerns that Thames Water and American Water Works will drain the parent company of funds in the next few years.
“Thames Water, Britain’s largest water company, has had the worst record for leaks in the UK for a long time and is in the middle of a significant programme of water mains replacement.”
Proponents of Measure W, a proposition aimed toward the public takeover of the water system, have complained that ownership by a multi-national corporation hurts local water users.
Cal Am reps, who were unavailable at press time, have dismissed the reports of an imminent sale. [EJ]
LAIRD TRIPS ON ELECTION RULES
Next year’s June Primary Election is a long way out. But Michael Morrison, Marina councilman and Republican candidate for the state’s 27th Assembly District seat, is seizing the moment.
Morrison is trying to make hay of the fact that incumbent John Laird, a Democrat, made an illegal contribution of $25,000 to a committee dedicated to battling Propositions 74, 75, 76 and 77.
“The man broke the law,” Morrison says. “You can’t tell me a two-term assembly member doesn’t know the rules.” According to Bill Maxfield, Laird’s spokesman, he didn’t.
Maxfield says the check was returned to Laird as soon as the committee found out about the mistake.
The limit for a contribution from one candidate-controlled committee to another is $3,300.
Maxfield makes his own political hay of the fact that Schwarzenegger’s Prop. 77 committee made the same mistake a few days later. The amount in question in his case was $1.75 million. [RV]