Crestview’s recent rate increase announcement was appropriately on a red card because what it says right after the new rates is a flagrant foul–denying the truth that the rate increase was due solely to the board’s mismanagement of Well #4 and falsely blaming it on the Well #7 fiasco.
Well #4 was shut down August 14, 2021 due to declining water levels. That required an early shift to costly imported water and the rate increase to pay for it. The general manager had been warning about the declining productivity of Well #4 and proposing plans to extend its life since January 2019. If the board had decided two or three years ago, or even last year to lower the pump in Well #4, it would not have been shut down this year and the rates would not have been raised. Shame on them.
The Ventura County Board of Supervisors unanimously denied Crestview’s conditional use permit application for Well #7 on September 14, 2021. That was an appeal of a unanimous denial by the Planning Commission in June 2020 and a non-decision by the Director of Planning in March 2020. Crestview made its case three times to 11 officials and never got a single vote for this misguided and doomed project. At the September 14 hearing, Crestview begged for yet another hearing to argue its case a fourth time. Well #7 was the board’s great white whale.
CRITICAL FACT: Even if the Well #7 permit had been granted by the Planning Commission in June 2020, it still would not be online today because that would take at least two years, according to the general manager. Thus, it was never possible that drilling Well #7 could be a substitute for proper stewardship of Well #4. If there is any connection between the two, it is probably that the board decided that having Well #4 go “dry” before the September 2021 hearing would generate political support for Well #7. The board should be red-carded for attempting to deflect responsibility for its own negligence.
We described the Well #4 pump-lowering project here. President Sol Chooljian has not responded to our invitation to comment, and the end-of-year goal for doing the down-hole inspection is not going to be met. A new schedule has not been announced.
New to this newsletter? Click on the Home tab and read earlier posts. If this newsletter is useful to you, please forward it to other Crestview shareholders so they can sign up to receive future posts directly. Shareholders may comment below.