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Troubled Water

Original post made on Jul 31, 2019

Almanac reporter Kate Bradshaw spent more than a year following the story of the Palo Alto Park Mutual Water Company and the resident group trying to get a new board elected, called Neighbors for Better Water.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, July 31, 2019, 11:23 AM

Comments (24)

15 people like this
Posted by Mark Dinan
a resident of another community
on Jul 31, 2019 at 12:28 pm

Excellent article that reflects the corrupt practices of the Palo Alto Park Water Company. East Palo Alto residents deserve so much better than dirty water from a corrupt and incompetent water company. Kudos to Kate Bradshaw for an great article which is well researched!


2 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 31, 2019 at 1:35 pm

Very interesting article. It seems to be that EPA has more than its share of problems like this. The Ravenswood School District seemed to have similar problems with nepotism, mismanagement and questionable spending as well as a lack of communication. Problems that will hopefully improve with the changes in the board and management. Now hopefully the people in the Water district, with the aid of the courts, can get changes to happen and the people who have been mismanaging the company will be force to make right all the over billing and what seems to be extortion of the residents.


16 people like this
Posted by Bobby
a resident of another community
on Jul 31, 2019 at 5:08 pm

Palo Alto Park residents get such a good deal. My monthly water bill is more than $160/month with average usage.


15 people like this
Posted by media essential to democracy
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 31, 2019 at 5:45 pm

Not sure where this case all leads to, but kudos to Embarcadero for still putting the resources into local investigative work.

With the failure of so many local news groups, along with industry consolidation, local investigation just isn't happening at a fracture of the way it used to be.

Along with fewer local papers, conglomerates like Sinclair on the "local" tv side of things forcing the stations to run corporate produced product of dubious value, and our local crooks get away with a lot more.


11 people like this
Posted by Concerned Resident
a resident of another community
on Jul 31, 2019 at 6:48 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


9 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 31, 2019 at 11:00 pm

Seems to me that the people running Palo Alto Park Mutual Water Company don't have much experience either, their main qualifications seems to be their related by blood. I also find it funny that the attacks on the article come from anonymous posters who won't even list their city. If I were a cynical person I would guess they are planted by the people working for or supporting the Water Company.

As for Kate Bradshaw, I have met her before as well as having been interviewed by her in the past. While I didn't always like what she wrote I will admit it was well written and accurate. I have no reason to doubt that this article was well researched and accurate.

DT, based on the article the courts have ordered changes and the water company has not obeyed those orders, hence the current lawsuit. Did you read the whole article?


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 1, 2019 at 3:05 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Excellent reporting.


This issue should deeply concern the residents:
"“This has been an ongoing battle,” Schapelhouman noted. While the water company seems “able to meet the need when we go check,” he added, the hydrants perform “at the bottom end of what we would consider to be acceptable.”

In the event of a multi unit fire in this area there simply will not be enough water capacity to fight those fires and trying to draw heavily from the system to fight fight multiple fire could actually permanently destroy the distribution system.


13 people like this
Posted by Big boy
a resident of another community
on Aug 1, 2019 at 9:51 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


7 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 1, 2019 at 10:39 am

DT,

I just reread the article, I received the paper version of the Almanac in the mail, and I circled several places where it was pointed out that lawsuits were made the the judgement came down against the Water Company. This leads me to believe that you either didn't bother to read the article or don't want to recognize the facts. With what the article points out there should be a criminal investigation, let's hope that actually happens.

Brian


13 people like this
Posted by S. Carter
a resident of another community
on Aug 1, 2019 at 10:40 am

Tampering with a public water system is a felony Shannon Pekary,


7 people like this
Posted by BH, EPA Resident, PAPMWC Shareholder
a resident of another community
on Aug 1, 2019 at 3:19 pm

DT: "even if 20% of the where true, the courts would have ordered changes..."
The court has ordered changes. The 1990s consent decree against impact fees. Also in the 1990s, the court ordered a court supervised election over very similar issues. The incumbent, corrupt board lost. Last year, the shareholders had to get the court involved to force a special shareholder meeting, because the incumbent board didn't follow the very clear water company bylaws on special meetings, let alone pretty clear state law on shareholders calling meetings. Because the board again was corrupt, the shareholders are again going back to the courts. So that's at least 3 cases where the courts sided with shareholders over the corrupt board, and I think we can all see the writing on the wall that the court will side with them again on this lawsuit, probably forcing another court supervised election where all this fraud, intimidation, etc. by the board won't be able to continue. And this is ignoring the numerous small claim suits the water company has lost over the years. The court records are all publically available, and the water company consistantly loses.

Concerned Resident: Your points are valid, but the current board with it's corruption and nepotism has got to go. A new board can hire the expertise needed from unbiased, trained professionals. The water will continue to flow. Look at another small water company in East Palo Alto / Menlo Park: O'Conner Tract Co-Op Water Company (Web Link). They're similar (though smaller), back from more agrarian times in our cities, and they've managed to direct employees to succesfully, and without corruption, run a small mutual water company.


10 people like this
Posted by Felonies
a resident of another community
on Aug 1, 2019 at 3:21 pm

Forgery, Voter Fraud and Extortion are also felonies...


9 people like this
Posted by Dt
a resident of another community
on Aug 1, 2019 at 9:32 pm

First of all , the community of EPA is not listed on this list, but my grandma lives on Glen Way, so you know I've been there for many years, she's been there for more than 40 years. I know the water is a little hard, but I've done my research and that s caused by manganese especially in well water systems so she has hard water, but now she has a softener and its just fine now, plus she had her house re-piped. oh by the way there was a fire a few weeks ago and I was watching the fireman do there job on Dumbarton Ave. looks to me they had plenty of pressure in the hoses leading to there trucks? it's makes me wonder if you all are getting this company confused with the other two companies in EPA. knowing what I know about East Palo Alto, you only report on the negative and not the positive thing that our happening in our community. for those who live in Menlo park, if you have a lot that you want to build a house on, call the city, Cal-water, and PG&E and see how much you are going to have to pay for getting connected (impact fee).


9 people like this
Posted by Iceberg
a resident of another community
on Aug 1, 2019 at 10:00 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


9 people like this
Posted by Iceberg
a resident of another community
on Aug 1, 2019 at 10:01 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


11 people like this
Posted by Jose
a resident of another community
on Aug 1, 2019 at 10:44 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


4 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 2, 2019 at 9:14 am

"if you have a lot that you want to build a house on, call the city, Cal-water, and PG&E and see how much you are going to have to pay for getting connected (impact fee)"

First off a connection fee is not the same as an impact fee. I just finished a pretty major addition to our house, you know how much of an impact fee I had to pay for CalWater and PG&E? $0. Not a single cent for Impact. You do bring up a good point, in the story the person doing an addition did call the city of EPA and they told hime he should not be charged an impact fee.

Jose, it seems based on the judgements against the water company and the number of proxies that NBW collected they are not the minority.


5 people like this
Posted by BH, EPA Resident, PAPMWC Shareholder
a resident of another community
on Aug 2, 2019 at 11:16 am

DT, Jose: I agree the arguments about water quality are overblown. You're right -- a water softener makes it fine out of the tap. Use that, and something like a Brita filter, and you can't tell it ever came from a well.

HOWEVER! The corruption of the current board is not overblown. The last two elections, which I've witnessed, were a sham. I wish the alternative were truly more neutral. You're right some members of NBW group (but not all) have a personal interest in the outcome. But their arguments on the lack of transparency (no published price list of rates, connection fees, or impact fees), the nepotism of the board and management, lack of response if you contact them, lack of transparency (published minutes of board meetings would be good start) and outright not following the companies own bylaws or California State Corporate code, are completely accurate. So their campaign to dislodge the current board as merit.

Lets have a transparent, open, fair, NON-FRAUDULENT election, and see what the shareholders really think. Wipe the slate clean of existing proxies, let both sides lobby the shareholders, let the shareholders vote, and have this monitored by the courts (or other independent entity) to ensure the integrity of the election and count.


8 people like this
Posted by EPA RESIDENT
a resident of another community
on Aug 2, 2019 at 1:18 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


10 people like this
Posted by member
a resident of another community
on Aug 2, 2019 at 2:52 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


6 people like this
Posted by Jose
a resident of another community
on Aug 2, 2019 at 5:05 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


6 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 2, 2019 at 8:36 pm

Does anyone else find it troubling that the same person was posting under multiple names and attacking the article? Makes me wonder who that person was and what their motivation is.

Moderator thanks for identifying them and letting people know the reason they were pulled instead of just removing the post altogether.


7 people like this
Posted by Mark
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 2, 2019 at 9:41 pm

Just wanted to chime in. The level of disinformation being spread by NFBW and the writer of this article is mind-boggling. Water quality concerns are bogus. Nothing about the water is "troubled." This is tabloid journalism at best.

I remember at the shareholders meeting, Justin, the former EPA resident, claimed the water made his dog sick. I almost laughed. Nevertheless, I hope readers can see the ulterior motives behind this group. They seem to be motived by their own self-interests, and not that of the public. They have to resort to making false allegations and spreading misinformation to try to sway public opinion.

Brian,
It seems like dissenting opinions are being deleted by Almanac staff. That's called censorship.


8 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Aug 3, 2019 at 11:11 am

Brian is a registered user.

Mark,

First off you put forth no additional information to counter what is in the article. There is nothing to back up your claim that "disinformation" is being spread. As I stated previously, I am familiar with many articles that Kate Bradshaw has written and I have been interviewed for her. Her articles are well researched and well written so I trust her, you are an unregistered user posting your opinion with no data to back you up, sorry but I don't give your word much credence.

As for "censorship" it seems that a single person was posting under multiple names trying to make it look like many people disagreed with the article. That was misleading and dishonest and that is why the posts got removed. If you want to express an opinion do it under your name and don't try to mislead readers. Do it that way and it won't get removed.


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