Shareholders should pay for dam removal

Letter, Monterey County Herald, June 22, 2012

Once again, partial truths support a special interest group, this time the Carmel River Steelhead Association. Brian LeNeve of the Carmel River Steelhead Association said removal of the San Clemente Dam would "increase the average water bill by less than $3 a month."

If that [were] the case, then over the 20 years of the loan, that would raise only $28.8 million (40,000 ratepayers times $3 per ratepayer times 12 months times 20 years) for a project that, according to The Herald, would cost about $137 million, including capital, interest and Cal Am profits.

So where would the remaining $108.2 million come from?

As for the rest of the story, treating the dam's removal as a capital improvement would raise [Cal Am's] fair market value from about $17 million to about $94 million, all at ratepayer expense.

WaterPlus has nothing at all against removal of the dam. We just believe Cal Am shareholders who benefit so handsomely from it should pay for it.

Ron Weitzman

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