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Guest Editorial

STUART KNOWLES Danville, Calif.

I am a long-time shareholder of Summit Water Distribution Company and currently a member of its board of directors. I am writing to clarify several of the items that were stated in The Park Record’s article "County commissioners crash Summit Water’s meeting," dated Dec. 10. The story generally reflects accurately the special shareholders meeting held on Dec. 8, but several points need clarification and correction. Summit Water welcomes its shareholders to each and every shareholder and board meeting. As a shareholder of Summit Water, the county and Mr. Richer are both welcome to come and express their views on matters relevant to the operations of the company. However, you can imagine the surprise of the shareholders when the county commissioners convened a board of commissioners meeting inside the Summit Water shareholders meeting. Most disappointing was the effort by Mr. Richer to advance an agenda that had very little, if anything, to do with the purpose of the special shareholder meeting. Nevertheless, Mr. Richer was allowed to complete his talking points from the microphone. Mr. Richer also received a decidedly negative response from every shareholder save one that was at the meeting. The condemnation attempt by the county was not the result of a refusal by the shareholders to sell the company to the county. The condemnation was an orchestrated sneak attack intended to blindside the company and its shareholders in furtherance of the county’s monopolization agenda. Prior to, during, and after the failed attempt to condemn the company, no discussions regarding the sale of the company to the county took place. The county did not even have the courtesy to contact Summit Water, its board of directors, or any of its shareholders to inform them that condemnation was under consideration. At the meeting at which the condemnation resolution was adopted, no representative of Summit Water was permitted to comment for the record. No one at Summit Water would have known of the vote of the commissioners to condemn until after the fact, but for a telephone call from Rick Brough of KPCW the evening before. The real problem is that the government of Summit County is engaging in unethical, underhanded, anti-competitive and ultimately illegal conduct. The harm caused by its actions has not only harmed Summit Water and its shareholders, but each and every resident of Summit County that bears directly or indirectly the costs incurred and to be incurred. Summit Water and its shareholders will gladly compete with Mountain Regional Water in providing the lowest cost, highest quality water to its shareholders on a fair and equitable basis. Give the public the choice of provider, provide no illegal incentives and no express or implied threats and see which water provider prevails. A better product at a lower cost served by ethical management will win every time.


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