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Patrick Ward

PROPOSED: Sale of Providence Water Supply Board

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Anybody think this is a bad idea? Anybody think the City Council might be moving too fast on this?

I do.

PROVIDENCE

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This is probably more suited for a political board but, yes, it is a bad idea. Our electricity and natural gas companies are now privately owned. Deregulation was supposed to be good for consumers. In fact the opposite has happened. We have a monopoly in the state for electricity and natural gas and rates keep climbing.

We need to learn from history. When he was mayor of Cleveland, Dennis Kucinich refused to sell the city owned electricity company to a private competitor when the city was facing similar financial hardship. Thirty years later, that decision is credited with saving Cleveland residents close to $200 million in rate payments.

The gain with selling Providence Water would be very short-term if any. We as city residents need to propose solutions in addition to reacting to what we perceive as bad decisions. How do you pay your debts in a receding economy with state help dwindling?

Councilman Lombardi was quoted in the paper in saying that the deal would be a lot more complicated than as is currently being presented. I will make my feelings known to the council that this should not go forward. Hopefully, reason will prevail.

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This is probably more suited for a political board but, yes, it is a bad idea. Our electricity and natural gas companies are now privately owned. Deregulation was supposed to be good for consumers. In fact the opposite has happened. We have a monopoly in the state for electricity and natural gas and rates keep climbing.

We need to learn from history. When he was mayor of Cleveland, Dennis Kucinich refused to sell the city owned electricity company to a private competitor when the city was facing similar financial hardship. Thirty years later, that decision is credited with saving Cleveland residents close to $200 million in rate payments.

The gain with selling Providence Water would be very short-term if any. We as city residents need to propose solutions in addition to reacting to what we perceive as bad decisions. How do you pay your debts in a receding economy with state help dwindling?

Councilman Lombardi was quoted in the paper in saying that the deal would be a lot more complicated than as is currently being presented. I will make my feelings known to the council that this should not go forward. Hopefully, reason will prevail.

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what happens to all the people who work there, though? Does the city just absorb them elsewhere (thus the payroll and pension liability issue is moot) or do they get laid off?

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what happens to all the people who work there, though? Does the city just absorb them elsewhere (thus the payroll and pension liability issue is moot) or do they get laid off?

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This is Providence. Do you really think the Union will want to lose all those employees? Do you think the employees will want to lose all their sweet sweet benefits?

I think that for the right reasons it might be a good idea, but if it is for a one time payment that will stop the city's budgetary hemorrhaging, what is going to happen next year? Do we sell Roger Williams Park?

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This is Providence. Do you really think the Union will want to lose all those employees? Do you think the employees will want to lose all their sweet sweet benefits?

I think that for the right reasons it might be a good idea, but if it is for a one time payment that will stop the city's budgetary hemorrhaging, what is going to happen next year? Do we sell Roger Williams Park?

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Here's a novel idea.. And maybe I'm just spitballing here.. How about we no longer use pensions?

Isn't every pension ever created simply a Ponzi scheme? Why do we keep supporting these failed entities? You show me one successful pension ever, and I'll say give it 20 years.. It will fail because it has to..

The one thing that never ceases to amaze me is the support for these things; pension, social security, etc.. Its almost like us as people enjoy living a lie if it gives us a false sense of comfort for the future..

The system is broke NOW.. Why band aid it when it will only get worse? Why would a city sell a sustainable income producing inflation protected asset to fund an ever increasing ad infinitum liability?????

I would really like to understand these things so I can make sense of them.. But my mind does not work this way...

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This is Providence. Do you really think the Union will want to lose all those employees? Do you think the employees will want to lose all their sweet sweet benefits?

I think that for the right reasons it might be a good idea, but if it is for a one time payment that will stop the city's budgetary hemorrhaging, what is going to happen next year? Do we sell Roger Williams Park?

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I would think that whatever happened when the trash collection was privatized, might be a good indicator of what would happen to the employees of the water board, even tho it happened years ago.

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No the city does not absorb them. Since the private buyer will need people with institutional knowledge to run the whole thing most of them would go to work for the new owner. Having been through 2 acquisitions myself thats my best, and I think fairly accurate, guess anyway. With fewer people on the payroll thats good for the city. Bad for politicians because PWSB has always been a source of patronage jobs. (Again, another good thing for the city) But the pol's are also seeing a big payday with this sale and thats enough to make them take a good hard look at this.

I have been thinking about this for the last few days and can see some of the advantages to it. If you look around the country, especially out west where they don't have as much of a historical perspective as we do you see that other municipalities are doing it. I still need some time to figure out if this is a good or bad thing.

BTW - Kucinich did not sell the power company and Cleveland became the first American City to default on its financial obligations since the Great Depression. They eventually had to raise the income tax. And he lost his re-election campaign.

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How about if the city gets to sell its water? Right now, the city supplies water to other jurisdictions who are then allowed to sell it! But we can't! It's been brought up in the General Assembly numerous times and this restriction on getting a reasonable return on the city's asset is always maintained!

So before it gets turned over to a private company to loot and pillage (and what --- do we think a company is going to NOT charge the other users?) let's see how the city can better manage the resource.

But I despair of anyone on the City Council having the interest or attention span to pursue the economics of this issue.

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Anybody think this is a bad idea? Anybody think the City Council might be moving too fast on this?

I do.

PROVIDENCE

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Privatizing Water:

I find it interesting that the citizens of this state are given the opportunity to vote on the decision to build a Casino but do not have a say on whether or not to sell our public drinking water to a private corporation. The Scituate Reservoir provides drinking water to nearly 70% of our state's population. By privatizing this essential resource, you will be handing over control of not only our state's most precious resource, but you also will be entrusting a private corporation to the management of our lands, our safety, our economic stability, our health, and the right to life of every citizen in this state. The recent financial crisis has revealed the greed and incompetence of many of these corporate giants. Private corporations have only one goal: to increase shareholder's wealth. Public ownership, on the other hand, allows citizens to hold our public officials accountable. We have the power to challenge our representatives against rate hikes, failed systems, faulty fire hydrants, waste-water pollution, wetland and estuary preservation, and protection for union laborers. I understand that upgrades to our water systems are costly, and the need to expand service can present an economic burden, but I am certain that relinquishing control to a corporation is not the answer. Private water companies have been tested in a number of cities all over the world, including here in the United States. These cities were promised improvements to infrastructure, lower rates, and reduced public debt, but failed to deliver on these promises almost every time. Many of these corporations come with considerable debt. Companies like Suez carried debt close to 30 million dollars when it gained control of Atlanta's waterworks. Thus, in order for them to make a profit, they must cut cost to pay down their debt. This process usually translates into poor service and higher rates. Some things should not be for sale, and water is one of them. Water is not a commodity, but a necessity for life. I am extremely concerned that this seems to be a deal that is happening behind closed doors. The citizens of this state deserve the right to vote on such an important issue. I implore everyone reading this letter to research the numerous complications that other cities faced once they relinquished power to these multinational, billion-dollar corporations. Not only are you placing a price tag on our drinking water, but on our liberties as well. If you control the water, you can control a people. Below are two links which provide detailed information about the points I cited in this letter.

http://www.afsc.net/PDFFiles/Food&Wate...ivatization.pdf

http://www.tradewatch.org/documents/ACF9FB.pdf

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