It’s time for transparency. Ratepayers deserve to know the facts when an agency is proposing a rate hike. This week, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and its Board of Directors continued on its mission of significantly raising water rates for millions of Southern Californians, while offering no reason for the rate increases and ignoring public demands for budget transparency.
While they continue to raise rates on Southern California water users, MWD refuses to tell the public why the increases are needed how they intend to spend hundreds of millions of dollars of public money.
In addition to this dismissive attitude toward its ratepayers, these latest rate increases also come at a time when there is a Superior Court ruling that MWD’s rates are illegal.
It’s long past time for MWD to be transparent and explain why the increases are needed and what the money will be used for. On behalf of its ratepayers, the San Diego County Water Authority has filed a Public Records Act request so we can see what MWD plans to spend our money on. While promising to comply with state open records laws, the MWD board continues to drag its feet, deliberately stalling as they run out the clock on the public’s right to know before Tuesday’s public hearing and the April 12 board vote scheduled to approve rate and tax increases.
The request being made by San Diego ratepayers of MWD is a simple one: Show us why you need to hike our water rates yet again, and what you plan to spend the money on. Show us that your rates conform to California’s cost of service law and Constitution. Using public money requires building public trust. By being more open and transparent in the way they do business, the MWD board can go a long way toward building some of that basic trust between the MWD and the ratepayers of Southern California.