Residents Deeply Involved In Water Concerns

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by Ric Hawthorne, recall supporter

Ray Pugel’s latest guest commentary was titled, “Community members must become involved” ... We are involved Mr. Pugel. More than 400 individuals signed our recall petitions for you and Mr. Lovetro and Mr. Calderon and Mr. Dickinson in only 21 days.

Twenty-one days, Mr. Pugel.

Gila County rules provide 120 days for the collection of recall signatures, and we collected more than double the required amount to force a recall election in 21 days.

Kind of telling, if you ask me.

Do you really think we could have accomplished as much as we did, in as short of time as we did, with misinformation, half truths, a $100 Web site and innuendo? Sorry. I don’t. To quote Max Foster from his recent letter to the editor, “Recall necessary,” Mr. Foster states “It is my opinion, the reasons the committee expressed for the recall are mostly all valid.”

“Mostly all valid.”

As a former reporter who has covered this district for the Roundup for many years, Mr. Foster would know if we are spouting distortions and “promulgating half truths,” as you put it.

Mr. Pugel, you state that members of the community must become involved. How many need to become involved before you cease belittling their efforts and calling them “discontents” and a “negative group”? We currently represent more than 400 community members, and given a few more weeks I assure you, from the response we have been getting, that number can be much, much higher. In fact, yesterday morning, I woke early for the sole purpose of meeting a Pine property owner who drove up from Phoenix for one reason, and one reason only ... signing the petitions. As soon as he had finished, he got back in his car and drove back down to Phoenix.

I would say we have a very involved community.

After speaking with many of our signors, it became quite clear that these people would love to be involved, but they are simply turned off to being repeatedly ignored at meetings or by the aggressive tone the board has taken with anyone who voiced a differing opinion.

Think back to the meeting hosted in March of this year by Ms. Tommie Cline Martin. She spoke of the need for the board members to take the lead from the people they represent. Did you? No.

We had a meeting to discuss possible rate increases where the overwhelming majority of people spoke out against rate increases and meter fees. Were they listened to? No. You would be amazed at what people say about the PSWID board — if you were only willing to listen. Too bad you only listen when people decide enough is enough, but as you clearly state in your resignation letter, rather than risk being removed from office by a small group of “malcontents” you choose to quit.

If we were such a small group, Mr. Pugel, why the need to resign?

Mr. Pugel, you state we have used half truths and deception to accomplish what we have, but you know that is untrue. I would like to simply and clearly address one of your many half truths.

Half truth — The leak detection survey did detect over 50 leaks as you stated.

Whole truth — What you failed to mention is that 38 of those more than 50 leaks were identified as coming from new meters that had just been installed. New meters, Mr. Pugel. That is how the report identifies them. Thirty-eight meters, identified as leaking 11.75 gallons per minute, 450 gallons per hour, 10,800 gallons per day, or ... wait for it ... 6,175,800 gallons per year! Almost half of the 12,483,000 gallons the survey says is currently being lost per year! And this total loss is still only 11.2 percent of the 111,016,171 gallons produced in the 2012-2013 season.

Could these new meters possibly be leaking from the fact that when the new meters were not fitting, your installers were being directed to cut the thread ends off of the meters to make them fit? Which, by the way, also voids the warranty of the new meters!

I could go on with more “whole truths” Mr. Pugel, but at this juncture, what is the point? You asked for community involvement, well, the community is involved ... and I think that is what you really find disturbing.

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