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Please join us in congratulating the Concerned Citizens Coalition of
Stockton on their hard-earned victory!
For Release: July 19, 2007
Victory for Democracy and Local Control of Water
Statement of Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter
This week we celebrate a victory for democracy and local control of
water. On July 17, the City Council of Stockton, CA, voted
unanimously to end the controversial privatization of the city’s
water and sewer systems, and restore them both to public control.
Food & Water Watch congratulates the Concerned Citizens Coalition of
Stockton, the Sierra Club, the League of Women Voters of San Joaquin
County, and all organizations and individuals who have worked
tirelessly to protect water as a public resource.
In 2003, when backroom deals ushered in an unpopular privatization
scheme, the Concerned Citizens Coalition of Stockton remained
steadfast in its advocacy for transparency and public participation
in decisions about its community’s water. In November 2006, a
California judged ruled that the 20-year, $600 million privatization
contract with OMI-Thames had skirted required environmental reviews
and was thus illegal.
The deal had been riddled with problems from the start. In 2003, the
City Council approved the contract with OMI-Thames two weeks before
voters passed with a 60% margin a ballot measure that would have
required voter approval of any water privatization contract. Since
2003, OMI-Thames has neglected water infrastructure—allowing sewage
spills—and has been criticized for non-compliance with the contract.
The Concerned Citizens Coalition also found that the City did an
inadequate job of monitoring the contract.
This week, members of the Stockton City Council took an important
step in the right direction by voting to rescind their appeal,
thereby restoring local control of a vital resource to their
constituents. Communities around the country will look to Stockton as
an example of what democracy can achieve, and why citizens are best
served when water is managed for the public good rather than for
Contact: Victoria Kaplan, 202-797-6556, water at fwwatch.org
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Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer rights organization that
challenges the corporate control and abuse of our food and water
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