Wednesday August 17, 2022

Monterey Herald

From the beginning of Monday night’s discussion about whether to begin the process of appraising the value of California American Water Co. to acquire the investor-owned utility, there was little doubt about what the end result would be.

The board of directors of the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District unanimously approved spending roughly $315,000 to hire a set of appraisers to determine the value of Cal Am’s water system so the district would be able to make a legitimate offer to acquire those assets, as it was mandated to do by the passage of Measure J in 2018.

But battle lines have been drawn. No local water expert believes any offer, regardless of amount, would be accepted by Cal Am, which has previously stated it has no interest in selling to the public water district. That means there will be a condemnation court hearing where a judge will determine a fair price for an eminent domain action. Josh Stratton, manager of external affairs for Cal Am, said all that means is more money being spent on litigation.

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