It’s not news that Cal-Am will do anything, say anything and spend pretty much any amount to dissuade Monterey Peninsula ratepayers from studying the feasibility of taking over the water system. They made that clear four years ago when they spent about $2.4 million to defeat Measure O.
Oddly, the intensity of Cal-Am’s opposition may be the best reason to believe a public buy-out will be feasible. After all, if it was really as impractical as they say, why would they be so desperate to block any serious study?
In any event, a no-holds-barred, no-expense-spared approach to defeating Measure J was always to be expected from Cal-Am. Yet the blizzard of delirious anti-Measure J flyers Cal-Am’s political consultants are currently fire-hosing into our mailboxes still manages to amaze. It’s as much a show of force as it is an effort to persuade. By now there’s probably a clear-cut somewhere with a plaque honoring Cal-Am’s dedication to preserving jobs in the Forest Products industry.
But what, exactly, is the message Cal-Am is spending so much to promote?
Sifting through the pile, we find glowing descriptions of Cal-Am’s love for the Monterey Peninsula and commitment to its prosperity side by side with deranged threats to go out of their way to financially destroy this same beloved community should its voters not do whatever Cal-Am tells them to. The more you read, the clearer and more familiar the message becomes. It’s something along the lines of, “we love you more than anyone else ever will and want to stay with you forever, but if you even think about breaking up with us we’ll bankrupt you and grind you in the dirt and it will be all your fault for making us do it.”
Now there’s certainly no reason why a private water company couldn’t try to persuade their customers to stay with them by providing high quality service and reasonable prices and, if their customers still wanted to go their own way, there’s certainly no reason they couldn’t simply negotiate a reasonable price and let them go.
Behaving like an abusive boyfriend is a choice and, in this case anyway, apparently a matter of corporate policy.
Ending an abusive relationship is dangerous, and Cal-Am is clearly serious about making a breakup as painful as possible, but staying in an abusive relationship is usually worse.
Are the voters now ready to stand up to Cal-Am? We’ll find out on November 6.