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FELTON FLOW HOSTING SHOWING OF "WATER MAKES MONEY" FEB. 8 AT SATELLITE TELEWORK CENTERS

January 31, 2011, Felton, Calif. - Felton Friends of Locally Owned Water (FLOW) will host a free showing of the German documentary "Water Makes Money" on Tuesday, February 8, at 7 p.m. at Satellite Telework Centers in Felton.

Filmmakers Leslie Franke and Herdolor Lorenz featured Felton's water battle in their 2005 documentary "H20 Up for Sale." Their new film examines public-private partnerships in which communities retain ownership of their water systems, but pay private companies like French firm Veolia to operate them.

The film has been shown more than 200 times around the world and the DVD has sold more than 1,000 copies. Veolia has filed a defamation lawsuit against the film in Paris, but the judge overseeing the case is allowing showings to continue until the time of the trial.

The showing is free, and any donations will be sent to the filmmakers, who financed the documentary's production cost with donations from sponsors and DVD sales. FLOW members will also provide an update on Felton's water system before the film starts.

For more information, visit http://www.feltonflow.org or call 831.234.4337.

February 12, 2009

Dear FLOW members,
The San Lorenzo Valley Water District has been managing Felton’s water system since last September. You’ve probably noticed that the two water bills you’ve received so far are substantially lower than what you paid under Cal-Am.

We’ve received several inquiries regarding the water district’s proposed rate hike and wanted to take a moment to compare what we are paying now vs. what we had been paying under Cal-Am.

Rates with SLVWD vs. Cal-Am
A typical Felton home using 20 units of water (about 15,000 gallons) is billed $80.75 bimonthly by the SLV Water District. Under Cal-Am, the bill would have been $161.68 bimonthly. A household using 40 units (about 30,000 gallons) is billed $131.75 bimonthly. The same water user was charged $297.77 under Cal-Am.

Looking at annual costs, a Felton household using 20 units pays $484.50 now (vs. $970.08 under Cal-Am) and a home using 40 units pays $790.50 now (vs. $1786.6 under Cal-Am.)

Clearly, acquiring the water system and having it managed by the SLV Water District has resulted in a 50% or greater reduction in our water bills.

Factoring in the Tax Payment
Of course the savings are offset by property tax payments we’re making to cover the cost of buying our water system (Measure W bond). For the vast majority of Felton households, the tax bill is $535 each year. Factoring in the tax payment, households using 20 units pay an additional $49.42 annually over what they would have paid under Cal-Am and homes using 40 units are already saving $398.12 annually.

Remember that before we acquired the water system, Cal-Am had applied to the California Public Utilities Commission for another rate hike (which was negated when we took control of the system). In communities like Monterey and Sacramento, Cal-Am is arguing for rate hikes as high as 70%. If we had not fought back, we could have expected more of the same.

SLVWD’s Proposed Rate Increase
Within the next few days, you will receive a letter from SLV Water District Board President Fred McPherson explaining – in detail -- the need for a three-year, 30% rate hike.

The letter also includes an invitation to a community meeting on Thursday, February 19, at the Ben Lomond Senior Center where members of the SLV Water District Board will discuss the proposed rate hike and take your comments.

FLOW encourages everyone with questions and concerns to attend this meeting. Meeting face to face with the decision-makers and letting them know where we stand was not something we could easily do when Cal-Am controlled our water system.

The SLV Water District Board will conduct its regular board meeting on Thursday, March 5 to vote on whether to proceed with the rate hike. We encourage people to attend this meeting as well.

View a rate comparison here.

WATER INDEPENDENCE DAY COMMUNITY CELEBRATION

  FLOW is planning a big party for the afternoon of Saturday, July 26, on the Gushee Street side of the Felton firehouse. 

Click on the image to the left to download the party flyer.

COMMEMORATIVE FLOW T-SHIRT - TAKING ORDERS NOW
Orders have been coming in steadily. To assure you get yours let us know by this Sunday evening, July 13. Your order will be available for payment and pick-up at the celebration on July 26. For other arrangements, email Susan (see below).

Color -- light blue with white lettering

The FLOW logo will be shown on both sides, smaller on the front, and larger on the back, with the following text (see the design on the FLOW website):

" Felton & San Lorenzo Valley Water District, Together We Did It !! "

" Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world -Margaret Mead "

$12 each
Sizes: Medium, Large, and X-Large

Place your order with Susan Merritt -- 831-335-9140 or susanmerritt@sbcglobal.net

RWE/Cal-Am touts new transparency with three pages of redacted text
graphic threeLawyers for RWE, American Water and Cal-Am are claiming that one of the benefits on an IPO is increased fiscal transparency at the same time they required the PUC's citizen watchdog group to black out three pages of testimony challenging the motives behind the IPO.

The PUC is scheduled to vote May 3 on a recommendationi to approve the planned IPO. Felton FLOW supporters will attend the PUC hearing.

The Division of Ratepayer Advocates filed a brief challenging the IPO vote, stating that minutes of a September 2005 RWE board of directors meeting indicated that there was a different reason for selling off the water holdings. RWE lawyers required the DRA to redact three pages of text that described discussions during the board meeting.

Among other benefits, according to RWE, is that new company will keep the same name. You can download the DRA brief here. (This link has been deleted at the request of FLOW's legal counsel). You can download the RWE response here.

graphic one

Cal-Am using same tactics against community group in Larkfield-Wikiup
Posted December 13, 2006
Recycling some of the same scare tactics it used in fighting public acquisition of Felton's water system, Cal-Am is attempting to influence Larkfield-Wikiup residents, who are studying a potential takeover of their water system. Download the flyer and accompanying letter from Evan Jacobs here. (Jacobs also serves as Community Relations Manager for Felton). The Reason Foundation, which has received funding from American Water, conducted a similarly questionable survey of Montara residents during the Felton water campaign.

Food & Water Watch releases report on American Water and RWE
(Posted June 21, 2006)
The Future of American Water profiles the RWE subsidiary American Water Works Company. As Germany-based utility company RWE prepares to sell American Water on Wall Street, communities around the country are resisting private ownership of water and complaining of poor service and rate increases by the company, according to a new report by Food & Water Watch. You can download a copy by clicking on this link. It is a PDF document.

FLOW NEWS
Dear Friends of FLOW:

It's time once again to ask for your help. Please take the time to write and send these email letters.

As you know, despite all our efforts, the PUC has ruled that they will not listen to any testimony about public acquisition of Felton's water system when deciding whether or not to approve RWE/Cal-Am's request to sell the company through an IPO (initial public stock offering). This is particularly shocking since they are required by the public utility code to find whether the IPO is in the public interest (Section 854(a)) and to consider alternatives when reviewing ownership changes (Section 854(d)). The relevant section of Public Utility Code Section 854(d) states:

"When reviewing a merger, acquisition, or control proposal, the commission shall consider reasonable options to the proposal recommended by other parties, including no new merger, acquisition, or control, to determine whether comparable short-term and long-term economic savings can be achieved through other means while avoiding the possible adverse consequences of the proposal."

Please send an email today to the PUC commissioners and copy our elected representatives, Sen. Simitian and Assemblymember Laird, expressing your outrage. Short is fine!

Subject line should be: Proceeding A0605025: Felton - RWE/Cal-Am IPO matter.
Email to all of these addresses:
dramail@cpuc.ca.gov
public.advisor@cpuc.ca.gov
senator.simitian@senate.ca.gov
assemblymember.laird@assembly.ca.gov

You might consider some of these points:

  1. The PUC is tasked with protecting the public's interest, and they will not even let us speak to what is in our interest.
  2. Section 854(d) specifically requires them to consider alternatives to the IPO. We have demonstrated public support for public acquisition with a 75% bond vote, we have funds available to buy the system, we have an efficient operator in SLVWD to run the system, our rates will be much lower, we will better be able to protect the watershed, and we will have local control. Why will they not follow the law?
  3. Their actions only demonstrate that they are more willing to protect a large corporation -- that already has the upper hand -- than a small town that truly needs their help.
  4. They may believe that we can just move through the eminent domain process, but without their help, this may take another year and a half and an extra million dollars or more -- none of which is in the public interest -- and may be the difference between success and failure.
    CalAm has said they will make this as onerous for us as possible to
  5. discourage other communities. This is just the type of situation that the PUC should be protecting us from. Why are they not?

Please send your emails right away!

Thanks,
Larry for FLOW

UCSC students film documentary on Felton's fight to acquire water system
(Posted April 6, 2006)
UCSC students Jen Lopez and Phoebe Boyd filmed a short documentary on Felton's efforts to acquire its water system from RWE/Cal-Am. They were kind enough to allow us to make it available to everyone.

The documentary interviews members of Felton FLOW and members of the community and examines the issue of local ownership of water. They put a lot of work into it and we think it came out very well.

You can download it here.

Corporate Water 95018 - online (ok, the first third of it)
Bob Evans is hosting the first third of Phyllis Macy's "Corporate Water 95018", a play written and performed to dramatize the problems surrounding private for profit ownership of a municipal water company in the small town of Felton, California.

After the town's water supply was purchased byCalifornia American Water Company (a subsidiary of RWE, a German corporation) their water rates were increased significantly.

Click here to check out the video.

Movie, tooUCSC students film documentary on Felton's fight to acquire water system
(Posted April 6, 2006)
UCSC students Jen Lopez and Phoebe Boyd filmed a short documentary on Felton's efforts to acquire its water system from RWE/Cal-Am. They were kind enough to allow us to make it available to everyone.

The documentary interviews members of Felton FLOW and members of the community and examines the issue of local ownership of water. They put a lot of work into it and we think it came out very well.

You can download it here.

Corporate Water 95018 - online (ok, the first third of it)
MovieBob Evans is hosting the first third of Phyllis Macy's "Corporate Water 95018", a play written and performed to dramatize the problems surrounding private for profit ownership of a municipal water company in the small town of Felton, California.

After the town's water supply was purchased byCalifornia American Water Company (a subsidiary of RWE, a German corporation) their water rates were increased significantly.

Click here to check out the video.

 

Friends of Locally Owned Water (FLOW) Urges You to
Vote No on Prop. 90

Prop. 90 would be bad for Felton, the SLV, and the state

FLOW (Felton Friends of Locally Owned Water) wants to warn voters against the deceptive Proposition 90.  It’s being sold as “eminent domain reform”, but the fine print allows virtually anyone to sue over basic laws that protect our environment and communities, simply by claiming a new law has caused economic loss to their property.  No matter how far-fetched the claim, taxpayers would pay.

For Felton, this proposition includes sneaky changes that would make it much more difficult and costly for us to buy our water system from the foreign corporation that took it over a few years ago.  The appraisal standard would change, requiring more than what a willing buyer and willing seller would negotiate.

The Sacramento Bee just reported that a New York City developer funded most of the Prop 90 campaign through “a network of tax-exempt groups.”  Don’t let him take over control of our communities.  Vote No on Prop. 90.

PUC HEARING
7 p.m. Wednesday September 27, Felton Community Hall
RWE's application to divest American Water Works (including Cal-Am) on the stock market is now being considered by PUC. This is our opportunity to remind the PUC that Felton ratepayers' interests will be served through local control of our water--how dis-satisfied we have been with Cal-Am rates and service, that we passed a bond measure to finance a fair sale, that the SLVWD is ready to take control with lower rates, and how further delays are costing us more money and dissatisfaction.

Let's have a large turnout. Please remind your neighbors and friends to attend, too.

Also, please come early and help us set up the chairs and tables.

URGENT REQUEST FOR A THIRD LETTER
Another urgent issue has emerged and FLOW needs to take action.  CPUC Administrative Law Judge McVicar has filed a proposed decision to deny Felton its intervenor compensation.  Those funds were to reimburse our attorneys for all their work fighting Cal-Am at the CPUC.

Click on the image to download the proposed decision.

ADDRESS PERSONAL LETTERS OR MAKE PHONE CALLS TO EACH COMMISSIONER SEPARATELY (same letter with different addressee):

There are five commissioners:
Michael R. Peevey, President
Geoffrey F. Brown
Dian M. Grueneich
John Bohn
Rachelle Chong

Commissioner XX
California Public Utilities Commission
505 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102
Telephone: 415-703-2782 (main office)
RE: April 27 Agenda Item A04-08-012

ALSO, BE SURE TO SEND A COPY           
TO: PUBLIC ADVISOR                   
Attention: Karen Miller  
505 Van Ness Ave., Room 2103 
San Francisco, CA 94102
public.advisor@cpuc.ca.gov     
Phone: 1-866-849-8390         

Suggested points:

  • We request that the commissioners reject the Administrative Law Judge's proposed decision or postpone the agenda item and hold a public hearing.
  • It is unfair and not logical to order a hearing to address issues raised by a citizen’s organization, then discourages their participation, saying that it is irrelevant to the decision.  Felton FLOW contributed substantially to the proceedings.
  • This is the type of case that CPUC should encourage citizen participation—where the case deals with citizens’ concerns and there is an active group representing the citizens’ interest.
  • Without Felton FLOW, citizens’ concerns would not have been heard.

Friends of Locally Owned Water invites you to an enjoyable afternoon of letter-writing in the park
Felton Covered Bridge Park
Sunday, April 30, 1 p.m. to 3:30 pm

Come eat cake, make a card for Donald Correll (new American Water CEO), and write letters to the PUC.

Who is Donald Correll? Before starting work at American Water, Mr. Correll was responsible for the $5 million lawsuit against the city of Nashua, NH - after voters agreed to buy out their water company for $121 million. He was also the CEO of United Water (operations and investment in 19 states, Canada, Mexico, and the UK), where he oversaw its sale to the French company Suez. American Water says, [Mr. Correll] has steered several companies through transitions, growth and expansion. This experience makes him a natural choice for American Water.

Join FLOW and other groups throughout the U.S. in making cards to send to Mr. Correll to let him know we are watching this situation and moving forward in our efforts to have a locally owned and operated system!

Help needed - letters to our state representatives regarding eminent domain bill SCA 20
(Updated April 8, 2006)
There are three bills relating to eminent domain in California that will be
reviewed by the State Senate Judiciary Committee in Sacramento on April 18. The worst one is SCA 20 (Senate Constitutional Amendment) by Senator Tom McClintock.  If passed, it would ban the use of eminent domain when used to maintain the present use by a different owner.  It would prevent San Lorenzo Valley Water District from acquiring the Felton water system.

Please take a moment to write a letter, or make a phone call to the state senators listed below.  Tell them why it is important to you to defeat SCA 20 and its companion bills.

LETTERS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED AS FOLLOWS:
      Senator______________,
      State Capitol
      Sacramento, CA 95814-4994 (include Senator Joe Simitian, our state senator)

TELEPHONE NUMBERS
Senator Joe Simitian: 916/445-6747 or 525-0401 in Santa Cruz
Senator Joseph Dunn: 916/4455-5831
Senator Dick Ackerman; 916/445-4264
Senator Martha Escutia: 916/445-3090

You can also fax a letter to the committee at: 1 916 445-8390

One supporter who's already sent letters to her represenatives gave us permission to reprint her letter.

Dear Senator,
I am an active supporter of Felton FLOW (Friends of Locallly Owned Water).  We have talked with some of you in person about our long struggle to meet the requirements for acquiring the Felton water system from its current operator, Cal/American.

At this time we are concerned about bill SCA20, sponsored by Tom McClintock., to be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 18.  This is one of the worst of the three bills about eminent domain in California.  If this should become law it would ban the use of eminent domain for the taking of private property if the property were to continue the same use under a new owner.  This means that Cal/Am’s Felton water system could not be taken over by neighboring San Lorenzo Valley Water District, thereby ending all efforts throughout the state (and there are several besides us) to publicly take over private water systems.  FLOW would then be “dead in the water.”

Supporters of SCA 20, led by Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn., and others, are right now out gathering signatures for a petition for “California Property Owners Protection Act” to be used in the next state election.  I am sure you can understand our need to defeat  legislaton that would change the current eminent domain laws in California.  We need help to defeat these proposals, and are seeking your support.

Felton residents who are customers of Cal/Am have suffered several very unreasonable rate hikes since Cal/Am purchased the system.  We get the runaround when we attempt to make complaints or inquiries.  Cal/Am botches street repairs and other “improvements” and is often slow to respond to customers’ problems.  It is not a company committed to good customer service.  We are convinced that the “common good” will be best achieved with San Lorenzo Valley Water District operates the Felton system.

I would appreciate getting your views on this matter, with emphasis on how we can work together to defeat SCA20 and ensure that FLOW will be able to reach its goal of locally owned and locally controlled water.

ACQUISITION UPDATES
New legislation on eminent domain a concern for Felton
Proposed state legislation called SCA20 (Senate Constitutional Amendment) introduced by State Senator Tom McClintock, is beginning to move and gather supporters. This amendment is important to FLOW because it would, among other things, prohibit the use of eminent domain for the taking of private property if the property were to continue the same use under a new owner (Cal/Am's Felton water system could not be taken over by SLVWD). If such an amendment should pass, it would end all efforts to publicly take over private water systems in California, using eminent domain.

Not certain whether SCA20 can make it through the legislative process, another form of SCA20 called "California Property Owners Protection Act" is sponsored by Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. and others. It is gathering signatures for use as a ballot initiative in the next state election.

We may need letters at a later date, but not yet. We will keep you informed.

FLOW Community Update Meeting, Wednesday, March 29 at the firehouse
FLOW will host a community meeting next Wednesday, March 29 at 6:30 p.m. at Felton firehouse meeting room (in the back).

A panel of FLOW members and San Lorenzo Valley Water District Directors will inform us about progress to acquire our water system since passage of Measure W last year. We'll hear about the SLVWD's work on annexation, appraisal, and other preparations to negotiate with Cal-Am, and an update on actions of the Public Utilities Commission and state legislature affecting Felton.

To make it easier for time-pressed people to attend, FLOW will provide pizza and soft drinks.

FELTON WELL OWNER EXEMPTION
Exemption letter and form for Felton well owners available for download
[posted 7.22.05]
Well owners in Felton who do not receive water from Cal-Am are not required to pay taxes for the purchase of the water system. We have posted the County's exemption letter and exemption form online. The letter begins as follows:

"If your property is located within Santa Cruz County Community Facilities District No. 1, Felton, but does not receive water from the California American Water Company and does not have a connection to California American Water Company as of July 26, 2005, your property will not be subject to taxes levied by the Community Facilities District."

Download the letter here. Download the exemption form here.

FLOW on EcoReview, Community TV Cable Channel 27, Oct. 11
The EcoReview show that includes FLOW's Jim Mosher giving an update on Felton's drive to establish local control of our water system, the show will be rebroadcast on Tuesdays on Oct.. 11 and Oct. 18 from 6-7 p.m. Jim Mosher is interviewed during the second half of the program, and described the history and current efforts of Felton to reduce Cal-Am's excesses at the PUC and get us into the SLVWD.

PUC rules against Monterey-Felton water district consolidation, OKs 30% rate hike
[posted 8.2.05]
We just learned that the California Public Utilities Commission has posted a preliminary decision opposing Cal-Am's proposed consolidation of the Felton and Monterey water districts. This decision validates FLOW's longtime position that a consolidation with Monterey would not benefit Felton ratepayers.

At the same time, the PUC is recommending that Cal-Am implement a 30% rate hike to Felton ratepayers. The PUC granted Cal-Am a 44% rate hike in May 2004, but directed the company to refrain from implementing the increased costs until after the PUC decided the consolidation issue.PUC commissioners are expected to vote on this recommendation in the Fall.

Here are some key quotes from the PUC decision:

"Consolidating Felton and Monterey Districts for ratemaking does not meet the guidelines' proximity criterion, rate comparability criterion, or water supply criterion."

"CalAm's proposal could widen, rather than narrow, today's rate disparity between Monterey and Felton Districts after the first few years."

"Consolidating Monterey and Felton Districts for ratemaking would generate no net operating efficiencies."

"If the districts were consolidated, CalAm would have to invest more effort in ensuring costs are accurately segregated between them, and thus CalAm's accounting expenses in this area would be higher than without consolidation."

"Consolidating Felton and Monterey Districts for ratemaking as proposed by CalAm does not offer substantial benefits in the public interest."

You can read the decision online at http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/Published/Comment_decision/48365-06.htm

74.8%!

Thank you, Felton!

Compare your water bill with our online rate calculator!
[posted 6.3.05]
FLOW has created an online water rate calculator that allows you to plug in your actual water bill, press a button and see how your rates will be affected by Cal-Am's 44% rate increase, its requested 114% rate hike and what you will pay under Measure W.

Try it for yourself here..

Overview of SLV Water District education and community support program
[posted 7.11.05]
San Lorenzo Valley Water District has a history of involvement and support for activities associated with management and protection of the environmental health of the San Lorenzo River Watershed. The District has implemented, sponsored or supported a variety of various education, community and environmental programs, activities and projects. Read more on their programs here...

New mystery groups and anonymous mailer in Felton
[posted 7.7.05]
A number of Felton residents have reported receiving an anonymous mailer listing organizations opposing Measure W. FLOW has more than 150 named individuals supporting Measure W, including Supervisor Mark Stone, State Senator Joe Simitian, Assemblywoman Anna Eshoo, the Sierra Club and the Valley Women's Club.

FLOW supporters Jim and Roxanne Graham have sent the following letter to the editor in response to this new anonymous mailer.

Valley Information Alliance declines invites to two radio debates
[posted 6.26.05]
The Valley Information Alliance have declined two requests to appear on radio shows with a representative from Friends of Locally Owned Water. FLOW accepted offers from KUSP and KSCO to debate representatives from the community opposing Measure W. A spokeswoman for the Valley Information Alliance referred the radio stations to Cal-Am's San Francisco-based public relations person. Pat Dugan, the head of the San Lorenzo Valley Property Owner's Association, reportedly did not return phone calls to the radio stations.

Yes On W yard signs available - more than 550 distributed!
[updated 7.7.05]
Would you like to have a Yes on Measure W yard sign posted at your home? We've already distributed more than 550! These new signs are different from the FLOW yard signs, and are an important expression of support in the election coming up soon. Let's get more posted. Please check around your neighborhoods and see who needs one. Then let us know if you or a neighbor needs a yard sign by calling FLOW at 335-3053 or emailing to feltonflow@aol.com .

Right the wrong - Control water locally
Santa Cruz Sentinel, July 3, 2005 (Letters to the Editor)
The people in Felton have been given a rare opportunity. Why should we allow our water to be controlled thousands of miles away, where your little water disconnection or sad story will fall on deaf ears, where you have no say in the use of such a vital resource?

Sierra Club endorses Measure W
[posted 6.10.05]
The Ventana Chapter of the Sierra Club has endorsed Measure W. We greatly appreciate their support. You can read their endorsement here.

"Thirst" documentary available at local video stores
[posted 2.10.05]
Copies of "Thirst", a documentary on the multinational corporations trying to control local water supplies and the citizens who are fighting them, are now available to rent at Video 9 in Boulder Creek, at Beacon Video in Felton, and in Santa Cruz at East Cliff Video and Cedar Street Video.

The Sierra Club also offers a study guide. This is an excellent video that relates directly to our battle to reclaim the Felton water system. All proceeds from the rentals are donated to FLOW.

Vandals egg FLOW supporter cars, uproot Yes on W signs - car broken into
[updated 7.1.05]
Individuals opposed to Measure W egged three cars with FLOW bumper stickers and Yes on Measure W signs were uprooted and tossed in bushes on Avila Way. The vandalism has been reported to the Sheriff's office.

Update! Two cars in the driveway of a FLOW organizer were broken into during the Swing Dance Saturday night. The individual had FLOW and Yes on Measure W signs in the front yard next to the driveway. This has also been reported to the Sheriff.

If someone steals your sign, email feltonflow@aol.com or call 335-3053 and we'll have a replace for you within 24 hours.

Get in the Swing - Go with the FLOW Bluegrass Grassroots Dance June 25
[posted 6.9.05]
Felton musicians Patti Maxine and Dave McClellan with their bands Word of Mouth and The Hobnobbers will be donating their talents and raising the rafters at the Swing Dance at the Felton Community Hall on Saturday, June 25 at 7:30pm. $13 in advance/ $15 at the door/$5 kids under 12. Tickets are available at the White Raven, Felton Farmers Market, and from FLOW. 335-3053. Free Swing dance lesson at 7:30 p.m.

The dance is a benefit for FLOW, Friends of Locally Owned Water, a deeply committed grassroots group of citizens of Felton seeking to buy back the water system from RWE/CalAm, a multi-national corporation.

Measure W public form to be held June 21 at Felton Community Hall
[posted 5.28.05]
FLOW is hosting a public forum on Measure W that will include speakers from the San Lorenzo Valley Water District, Montara (which successfully purchased its water system from Cal-Am and FLOW). The speakers will give short presentations and then open the floor to questions.

The forum is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. We'll be serving pizza, salad and drinks at 6:30 so you don't have to rush home to cook dinner. Everyone is welcome.

Vandal strikes FLOW info holder at New Leaf
[posted 6.3.05]
Sometime in the last week, someone removed a FLOW newsletter holder out of the wall outside New Leaf Market. It would have likely required a hammer to do it. The holder will be replaced.

Santa Cruz County has Measure W information online
[posted 5.13.05]
The County Elections Office has posted information on Measure W online on its VotesCount.com website.

Judge validates FLOW Measure W ballot statement
[posted 6.9.05]
Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge Art Danner today validated FLOW's ballot argument stating that Felton residents will be better off purchasing the water system from RWE/Cal-Am.

Pat Dugan, with support from Cal-Am, had filed a lawsuit challenging the wording of FLOW's Measure W ballot argument and Judge Danner rejected all of Dugan's claims except one, involving wording regarding whether Cal-Am is guaranteed a profit.

The original statement said:

"Our water will no longer be controlled by RWE/Cal Am, a corporate monopoly with no competitors and guaranteed profits no matter how poor the service or how high the price."

FLOW agreed to change the statement to read:

"Our water will no longer be controlled by RWE/Cal Am, a corporate monopoly with no competitors and the legal right to generate a profit no matter how poor the service or how high the price."

"If anything, this change makes our argument stronger," said Jim Mosher, head of the FLOW legal team. "We viewed this lawsuit from the start as just another tactic by Cal-Am to block our efforts to buy our water system. It was disappointing, but not unexpected."

FLOW has filed an anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) motion in this case. If we win, the court could require Dugan to pay our attorneys fees for this case. A hearing on the motion is set for June 27.

FLOW has begun a Legal Defense Fund in anticipation of more lawsuits from Cal-Am. If you would be interested in helping, contact us at Feltonflow@aol.com.

FLOW hosting free showing of "Willy Wonka" on Saturday, June 18 at the Grocery Outlet
[posted 6.3.05]
FLOW is resuming its free Friday night family movies on Saturiday, June 18 with a showing of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" on the side of the Grocery Outlet on Highway 9. Bring your chair and a blanket. John Fasolas will have his popcorn machine, too. The show will start around 8 p.m. when it gets dark.

Lawsuit hearing postponed to 8:30 a.m. Thursday, June 9
[posted 6.4.04]
We received word yesterday that the next hearing on Measure W ballot language lawsuit has been postponed until Thursday, June 9 at the Santa Cruz County courth house.It had originally been scheduled for Monday, June 6.

Felton Remembers Parade this Saturday
This year FLOW's segment of the parade will feature a large contingent of members in FLOW t-shirts carrying signs and banners, an antique car, Frank Adamson in a bathtub and a toilet-plunger drill team.

Please join us marching in the parade or in the drill team. Remember to wear your FLOW t-shirt. If you need one, please contact FLOW at 335-3053 to arrange a pickup and donation ($10 suggested).

FLOW and all other groups will assemble at 8:30 a.m. in the large vacant lot next to San Lorenzo Lumber. The drill team will be practicing some routines before the march begins, so come early. John Fasolas will supply the matching plungers. Please contact FLOW's drill team leader, Susan Renison at 335-5869.

Poems About Water contest winners to be honored Monday, May 23 at Felton Community Hall
[posted 5.13.05]
Winners of the FLOW-sponsored "Poems about Water" contest will be honored with a poetry reading on Monday, May 23, from 7-8 p.m. at Felton Community Hall. The public is invited. Come celebrate the importance of water and art in our lives.

La Bruschetta FLOW Benefit, Saturday, May 21, noon to 3 p.m.
[posted 5.1.05]
Enjoy an al fresco lunch of grilled steak, chicken, vegetables and more, plus a buffet of Italian specialties. Visit with friends while listening to live music under the trees--and all this to support a great cause! Reserve
your advance tickets ($20 each)by calling FLOW at 335-3053 or emailing feltonflow@aol.com.Tickets are $25 at the door.

Valley Women's Club to honor FLOW co-founders Frank & Fran Adamson May 22
[posted 5.3.05]
The Valley Women's Club will be honoring FLOW co-founders and stalwarts Frank and Frances Adamson with the Hammer-Marcum Award for community service at a luncheon on May 22. For more information, click here for the details.

Seniors Special Water Meeting Tuesday, May 17 to discuss Measure W
[posted 5.6.05]
If you are worried about the rising cost of your Cal-Am/RWE water bill, come meet with several FLOW experts, who will answer your questions and provide information to help you make an inforrmed decision on Measure W.

The meeting will be 2-4 p.m. on Tueday, May 17 at the Felton Firehouse meeting room. For more information, call the FLOW hotline at 335-3053.

PUC schedules hearing on Cal-Am's proposed105% rate hike TODAY at Community Center
[posted 4.21.05]
The California Public Utilities Commission has scheduled a public hearing for May 13 at the Felton Community Hall to take testimony on Cal-Am/RWE's proposed 105% rate hike.The PUC will take testimony at two hearings - 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Donations sought for annual FLOW yard sale on May 14
[posted 4.1.05]
The Great FLOW Yard Sale is coming up on Saturday, May 14. Please contribute to the array of goods! With enough supporters we can make this a significant fundraiser for our upcoming campaign.

If you have something you can contribute, please deliver your items during daylight hours between Saturday, May 7 and Friday, May 13 to the drop-off area in front of Larry Ford and Susan Merritt's garage at 5984 Plateau Drive (near corner of Ada Street). Pleasesort your items into labeled bags or boxes.

Here's a list of categories for sorting---thank you for your help in doing this:
- Books/CDs/Records
- Children's Clothes, Toys, Equipment
- Clothing (sort by men's and women's)
- Electronics
- Garden/Yard
- Household
- Kitchen
- Sporting goods

VOLUNTEER
You can help sort and price the collected items on Friday, May 13 or work the sale on Saturday. Volunteers will get first choice of sale items.

COME TO THE YARD SALE
The Great FLOW Yard Sale will be held Saturday, May 14, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 5984 Plateau Drive, Felton.

QUESTIONS
To volunteer or ask questions, call FLOW at 335-3053 or email feltonflow@aol.com .

ACTION ALERT!
Arambula withdraws sponsorship of Cal-Am legislation!
[posted 4.11.05]
We've received word that Juan Arambula, D-Fresno, has withdrawn AB1397, a bill that would have made it nearly impossible for Felton to pursue acquisition of our water system from CAl-Am/RWE.

Thank you to everyone who sent letters to Assemblyman Arambula and other state legislators. It made a tremendous difference and eliminates an almost insurmountable roadblock that Cal-Am/RWE would have used to prevent us from moving forward. See story below.

Public hearing on water system acquisition set for April 26 in Felton
[posted 3.12.05]
The County Board of Supervisors will conduct a public hearing on the Felton water system acquisition beginning 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 26 at the Felton Community Hall. After the hearing, the Board will enact the resolutions and set the date for the election, anticipated to be 90 days after April 26, about July 25. This will be a mail ballot, and we anticipate the ballots will be mailed to registered voters in the Felton district 30 days prior to the election.

Action Alert: Update on AB 1397
Dear FLOW supporters,
AB 1397, the CalAm/RWE bill that would effectively deny the use of eminent domain in cases involving private water companies, has been assigned to the Assembly Judiciary Committee. It will be heard sometime in April, although a specific date has not yet been sent. Assemblymember Arambula, the sponsor
of the bill, has promised an amendment of the bill, but has not divulged its text, and our position in any event is that the bill should be dropped, not amended.

This bill is a classic special interest big business piece of proposed legislation that is Cal Am's answer to our grassroots campaign. If it passes, our effort to gain control of our local water will be defeated. Felton FLOW is working hard to insure the bill's defeat.

We need your help. We need to flood the Judiciary Committee with letters of opposition. Many of you have already written letters to Assemblymember Arambula's office (thank you...). If you have done so, we need you to re-send that letter to the offices of Assemblymember Jones (the Chair of the Committee). Or write a new one. Faxed or mailed letters are preferable to email, but if you only have time for an email letter, then email will be sufficient.

John Laird, our local Assemblymember, sits on the Judicial Committee and is taking a leadership role in defeating AB 1397. Communications with Assemblymember Laird's office thanking him for his assistance would also be welcomed.

We also need to alert allies in other parts of the state who live in districts represented on the committee. We have attached a list of the committee members and the cities that they represent. If you have any contacts in these cities who would be willing to send a letter, please contact them or let us know at FLOW and we can follow up.

DIRECTIONS FOR WRITING AND SENDING LETTERS ARE HERE.

We will keep you posted and thank you for your assistance!

Running Dry: Documentary or Corporate Propaganda?
[posted 3.9.05]
American Water (the U.S. parent company of Cal-Am) and several other pro-privatization water industry companies have funded a film documentary called "Running Dry". These same companies took issue with the independent documentary "Thirst", which highlighted the problems caused around the world when private companies took over publicly owned water systems. You can read the Public Citizen commentary on "Running Dry" here.

Cal-Am legal maneuver backfires
[posted 3.4.05]
Cal-Am's attempt to have FLOW's testimony to the California Public Utilities Commission backfire recently when FLOW provided witnesses to support the testimony and point out new inconsistencies in Cal-Am's own statements.

Read the entire story on Tod Landis' site here...

ORA reports Cal-Am rate hike will cost $196 per household by June
[posted 2.15.05]
The Office of Ratepayer Advocates, an office within the state Public Utilities Commission that analyzes corporate rate hike requests, reported earlier this month that it is "very concerned" that Felton residents are not aware that they already owe Cal-Am for a rate hike that has already been approved but is not yet included in the water bills.

According to a report filed with the PUC, the ORA said it is "very concerned that many ratepayers in Felton do not realize that a rate increase of 44.2% has already been authorized and is essentially being charged to their (collective) account. By June when a Commission decision is expected on this matter, Cal Am estimates that the ratepayers of Felton will owe around $285,000 in deferrred rate increases, or about $196 per Felton customer."

You can read the ORA's complete report on Cal-Am's proposed merger of the Felton and Monterey water districts here (PDF).

Need a new FLOW sign for your yard? We've got 'em
[updated 2.8.05]
We've got about 30 FLOW yard signs available. If the winter weather has yours looking a little dingy or if you've never had one before, we're be more than happy to deliver one right to your doorstep. Call us at 335.3053 or send an email to Hugh Dalton at dalton_5@sbcglobal.net . Give us your address and where you'd like it in your yard and Hugh will happily deliver it and put it in the ground. Thanks for your support!

SLV water board meets March 3 to discuss Felton Joint Facilities Agreement
[posted 2.25.05]
The San Lorenzo Valley Water District meeting to discuss the Joint Facilities Agreement (concerning merger of Felton Water District with SLVWD) will be this Thursday, March 3, 7:30 p.m. at the Boulder Creek Fire Department (venue change: not the SLVWD office), 13230 Highway 9, Boulder Creek. We urge SLV water customers to attend and support the goal of unity of water service throughout the valley, and fair rates for all.

If you prefer to send an email, you may do so via the Secretary kstephens@slvwd.com who will forward it to the Directors.

POINTS TO CONSIDER
1. SLVWD will get nearly 25% more ratepayers to share costs of management and administration.
2. SLVWD gets a second treatment plant.
3. Felton in paying its water rates locally will help to support the local economy.
4. Felton ratepayers pay ALL of the purchase bond and costs relating to buying out Cal-Am.
5. Our valley's watershed will be better protected if managed by one water district.

Montara Water Board president sets the record straight on Cal-Am
[posted 1.26.05]
Montara water district president Scott Boyd writes that since gaining control of their system from Cal-Am, residents have been busy repairing damage, adding storage tanks and renovating equipment neglected during Cal-Am's tenure. Read the entire response, which ran as a Sentinel commentary, here.

Mysterious survey arrives in Montara mailboxes
[updated 1.19.05]
Montara residents have received a mysterious opinion poll (PDF) in the mail late last month. The survey, being conducted by The Reason Foundation, asks some rather one-sided questions relating to Montara's purchase of its water district from Cal Am. American Water - Cal Am's parent company - has provided funding to the Reason Foundation's Public Policy Institute and is "interested in" the results. Read the Coastsider story, this letter to the editor in the Half Moon Bay Review and this response from Reason's executive director.

Update on January 8 water outage
[posted 1.18.05]
We've received numerous emails and phone messages from Felton residents regarding the January 8 water outage and Cal-Am's lack of responsiveness to people wanting updates on what happened and when pressure would be restored. Read one ratepayer's experience here.

Cal-Am's "Selma" mailing - the rest of the story
[posted 1.15.05]
A few days before Christmas, Cal-Am mailed Felton ratepayers a copy of a news article from the Selma Enterprise describing a protest by 170 residents "rebelling" against the city council's interest in buying back its water system. The protest, it turns out, was entirely managed by the local water company, which brought in an outside PR consultant to oversee phone banks and mass mailings to oppose the council's inquiry. Read the whole story here.

Clearing up misleading info in Sentinel commentary
[posted 1.4.05]
A January 2 commentary in the Santa Cruz Sentinel titled "Felton can learn from Montara's water woes" contained some misleading comparisons between the the Montara water district purchase and local efforts to buy back the Felton water district. We set the record straight here.

FLOW supporters fill community hall for CPUC hearing
[posted 12.9.04]
Nearly 125 Felton residents attended the December 5 California Public Utilities hearing and 32 spoke out against on Cal Am’s proposed merger of the Felton and Monterey water districts. Read the Santa Cruz Sentinel story.

Cal Am files for 108% rate increase for Felton customers
[posted 12.9.04]
Cal Am filed a proposal with the California Public Utilities Commission on Dec. 6requesting a 108% rate increase for Felton customers. The draft proposal requests a 64% increase on top the 44% increase Cal Am received earlier this year, which was put on hold pending the outcome of the company’s plan to consolidate the Felton and Monterey water districts. Read the Sentinel story (Second article).