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The following letter to the editor was published in the April 20, 2005 issue of the San Lorenzo Valley Press. It is reprinted here with the permission of the author.

FLOW Wants Openness, Dialogue
In his April 6, 2005 letter, Evan Jacobs (Felton's Public Information Officer of California American Water/RWE) calls for openness and dialogue in Felton's campaign to regain control of its water resources. We couldn't agree more.

The expenditures by Santa Cruz County and the San Lorenzo Valley Water District (SLVWD) on behalf of ratepayers cited by Mr. Evans are a matter of public record. These funds have been used to investigate ownership of Felton's water system and defend ratepayers from Cal Am/RWE's ill-advised proposals to more than double the cost of Felton's water and merge the Felton and Monterey water districts. The County and SLVWD are protecting us from Cal-Am's price gouging and poor service.

By contrast, Cal-Am/RWE refuses to disclose its expenditures on public relations and lobbying, relying on legal technicalities. And how much do we pay for Cal-Am/RWE attorneys, whose purpose is to raise our rates? At the most recent PUC hearing, the administrative judge chastised Cal-Am/RWE for its sloppy and misleading legal submissions in support of its 108 percent Felton rate increase proposal.

SLVWD is a public water district that has a local board, managers and workers who are accountable to their constituents. Service calls are taken by local service providers who know their neighbors and the water system. Our calls to Cal-Am are answered by a 450-person Call Center in Alton, Illinios. The SLV Water District is committed to low rates, good service and conservation. Profits are recycled into the system, not shipped to foreign investors, who operate a monopoly and are guaranteed profits no matter how bad the service.

Dialogue happens at local board meetings, with elected board members who are accountable to constituents, not with public relations spinmasters in the employ of those same foreign investors.

We look forward to the upcoming neighbor-to-neighbor dialogue regarding the public acquisition of the Felton water works and the benefits it will bring - lower cost, better service and local control.

James F. Mosher
Chair, Legal Committee
Felton FLOW, Felton
April 13