Wednesday December 8, 2021

Monterey Herald

Despite overwhelming support from the public for the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District’s buyout of California American Water’s main distribution systems, despite a clear majority of voters supporting the buyout via a 2018 ballot measure, despite an inter-governmental agency’s own staff and paid consultants supporting the district’s financial feasibility of the acquisition, a majority of agency commissioners sided with Cal Am and voted to halt the process on Monday.

Measure J was crafted by Public Water Now and required the water district to acquire Cal Am. It passed in 2018 with 56% of the votes cast.

The Local Agency Formation Commission, or LAFCO, was charged with determining whether the district could exercise what’s called its latent powers — in short, whether the district has the operational and financial wherewithal to run a different operation like retail water distribution. LAFCO’s own independent analysis showed that it can.

LAFCO’s role is to encourage the orderly formation of local governmental agencies, preserve agricultural land resources, discourage urban sprawl and encourage the efficient delivery of local government services. Much of its work concerns cities annexing unincorporated areas into their boundaries.


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