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This letter to the editor, which was published in the January 12, 2005 issue of the San Lorenzo Valley Press, is reprinted with permission from the author.

Dear editor,
A few days before Christmas, Cal-Am Water sent its Felton customers a newspaper article from the Selma (Calif.) Enterprise. The article, "Amid stiff opposition, city drops Cal Water purchase", described an Oct. 18, 2004 Selma city council meeting where about 170 residents, wearing neon stickers and carrying protest signs, voiced their opposition to the council’s interest in buying back the community water system.

Evan Jacobs, Cal-Am’s Community Relations Director, claimed in his cover letter that Selma residents "rebelled" when they learned the true costs of buying the water system. Mr. Jacobs likened the Selma situation to efforts by Felton residents and Friends of Locally-Owned Water (FLOW) to buy back our local water system.

The reality, though, is a bit different. I spoke with Selma Mayor Dennis Lujan today (Dec. 28). Mayor Lujan said Cal Water executives told him they were prepared to spend $2 million to defeat the city’s buy-back effort. Cal Water brought in an outside PR consultant, set up phone banks and distributed mass mailings urging customers to oppose city leaders.

The night of the council meeting, Cal Water executives hosted a free dinner at their offices, handed the attendees "homemade" protest signs and walked them the two blocks to City Hall. This wasn’t so much a rebellion as it was a highly choreographed public relations stunt disguised to look like rebellion.


Jim Graham
FLOW supporter