Sarah and Gwen: the Two-Headed Monster

This blog is about everything involving Lexington, KY or anything else we feel like yapping about.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Washout on Local Ownership of the Water Company

Those who attended the first LFUCG Council meeting with our newly elected council members were given their first taste of what it means to have a council overly influenced by one powerful business. Now that hefty campaign contributions from Kentucky American Water has assisted several new council members into office, those members assisted Kentucky American water with "No" votes placing condemnation proceedings on the ballot. In my opinion, that is not a bad return on their investment.

Last night's meeting was a return engagement of the Kentucky American Water Council. George Brown, Bill Farmer Jr., Ed Lane, Jay McChord, George Myers, Mike Scanlon, Kevin Stinnet and (our Councilman) Bill Cegelka voted once again to terminate legal proceedings in the case to condemn Kentucky American Water. Only Councilman Jacques Wiggington changed his vote on the issue. Wiggington believes the city should get a better deal than the one Vice Mayor Scanlon secretly arranged.

I expect Mayor Isaacs to veto the council vote. Thankfully, an 8-7 majority to end condemnation is not sufficient to accomplish the task if the Mayor uses her veto power. Wiggington's change of mind could mean the final council vote comes down to him. I can only hope he uses this new power in the best interest of the citizens he represents.

I will not speculate on why Vice Mayor Scanlon took it upon himself to agree to a deal with Kentucky American Water that is even less favorable than the terms the water company offered earlier. I will not suggest that the billboards Kentucky American Water displays showing what the costs to taxpayers are a decoy for the rate increase they have given consumers to cover their own costs in this lengthy battle. What I will say is that the council is wrong to take this out of the hands of the voters of Lexington.

If Scanlon really believes this is the best course of action let him make his case to the public. Convince all of us that it is right, and do so in the light of day instead of making back room deals with foreign investors. Kentucky American Water has lost its ties to Kentucky and America. The owners have no direct interest in Lexington's water supply. They are not dependent upon the water supply in Lexington, the citizens are, and it is our interest to have the final decision on this issue. Condemnation of a utility as basic to life as water may be the only way to protect it, if not, Scanlon has the duty to show us exactly how his method is better.


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