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Avalon, California
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May 4, 2012     The Catalina Islander
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May 4, 2012
 

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Catalina Film Festival kicks off today The Catalina Film Festival, an annual celebration of film on Cata- lina, features more than 75 films, nightly events and entertainment. From Charlie Chaplin to Marilyn Monroe, celebrities and filmmakers have flocked to Catalina for inspira- tion. Clear blue water and coastal breezes provide the perfect backdrop for unparalleled premieres, yacht and mansion parties, industry net- working and discovering everything that the Island has to offer, just 26 miles off the coast of Los Angeles. Films are screened at multiple venues around the Island, includ- ing the iconic, art deco, 1,200-seat Avalon Theatre - the world's first sound thgatre. The festival is a competitive fes- tival with awards in up to 10 catego- ries, including the prestigious Ron- ald Reagan Presidential Foundation "GreatCommunicator" Award and the ISLA Earth Award; an honor presented b), the Festival's benefi- ciary, the Catalina Island Conser- vancy.-For more information, visit www.CatalinaFF.org. Stan Lee, the legendary comic book creator, will be honored at the festival. Lee Will Accept the Festival's Prestigious Ronald Reagan "Great Communicator" Award host Cata- lina premiere of: "With Great Power--The Stan Lee Story," and participate in the "The Anatomy of POW!" panel and introduce a spe-. cial screening of"The Avengers" For the schedule of events, see the website: catalinafilm.org. Robert Pattinson, left, will be seen in the film "Bel Ami." It is one of the films in the festival that is causing a buzz of anticipa- tion. Letters to the Editor Consortium supports judge's decision on Edison The Catalina Island Consortium, " representing all Catalina water us- ers, supports a judge's decision that disallows payments to Edison, which would have resulted in water rates on Catalina doubling. A judge determined that the lion's share of'Edison's expendi- tures are exorbitant and unneces- sary, and some, a breach of com- petitive bid procedure. Edison's defense of its failure "to properly maintain the infra- structure of Catalina's water sys- tem, then to over-engineer at an exorbitant cost so it can double water rates as it readies the ailing enterprise for sale, is a transparent attempt to mislead. In their reply to a notice of the judge's proposal by Norris Bishton, attorney for the Catalina Island Consortium, local representative Ron Hite and the firm's.publicist grossly mischarac- terize Mr. Bishton's role. Mr. Bishton represents all of "the ratepayers and water users on Catalina Island. The Consortium was formed in response to SCE's negligence over past decades, which resulted in a water system that h become increasingly un- affordable to those who depend on it for life and livelihood. As regards costs to Catalina ratepayers in an Island community that is already saddled with the highest water rates in California, Edison claims that the judge's pro- posed decision "recognizes that the majority of the capital upgrades on Catalina Island were necessary." In fact, the judge's decision dis- allows most of Edison's expendi- tures-more than $8 million dol- lars of the $14 million requested for capital improvements. Edison says it disagrees, that; as the judge ruled, some capital improvements were too expensive. But the judge's report calls most of Edison's ex- penditures exorbitant, unneces- sary, and a breach of competitive bid requirements. On one of the major expense items, the judge wrote: "In our opin ion the SCADA system is too expen- sive for this small water company. We deny the capital expenditure for the SCADA system. It is a system Founded 1913byEmestWind Executive Publisher Vince Bodiford vince@cinewS.us Editor Dennis Kaiser ed@cinews.us Advertising Pat Jamiesen advertising@cinews.us Office Manager Jennifer Leonhardi manager@cinews.us Accouuting Judy Murray judy@localnewspapers.org 101 MARILLA #6 AVALON, CA 9o7o4 1 13101 SlO-O9oO FAX: 13101 510-2882 Postmaster: Send address changes to " The Catalina Islander P.O. Box 428, Avalon, CA 90704 DEADUNES Calendar: Noon Monday J News: 5 p.m. Monday [ Display Advertising: 2 p.m. Tuesday ] Classified Advertising: Noon TuesdaY [ Legal/Public Notices: 5 p.m. Monday SUBSCRIPTIONS Send to manager@sinews.us One Year Subscription: Catalina .............................................. $39 Mainland ................................ , ........... $48 Subscrilons via First Class Mail are available for $80/year A Publication of CommanityMedla Corporation. CATALINA ISLANDER (USPS 093-140) Acceptance undel 39C, ER. 3464 periodicals postage pairi at Avalon, CA 90704 and other additional offices. Adjudication Decree No. 377598, Date of Adjudication: Oct. 4. 1934 Exact Name of Newspaper as shown in the Petition for Adjudication: The Catalina Isdander. Published weekly at 101 Madlia Avenue, #6 Avalon. CA 90704. The entire contents of The Catalina Islander are copyrighted by The Catalina Islander, No part may be reproduced in any fashion without written consent of the publisher. This publicotton is printed almost entirely on recycled paper. Contents Copyright 2012 and Title Registered, Catalina Islander. Irlc.. All Rights Reserved. / PROUD MEMBER OF THE CALIFORNIA NEWSPAPER PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION that cost $2,327,000 for a company whOse water revenue in 2009 was $3,843,870, a cost of almost $1,200 per customer, with NO discernable savings?' The judge further called the system "not necessary for the operation of the water company." He reprimanded SCE for having billed the system as something it would install to save ratepayers money, when in fact "SCE has not shown that [the system] saved the ratepayers one dollar." On this point the judge conclud- ed: "Merely because SCE spent the money does not make the ex- penditure reasonable. That is why we have reasonableness review hearings. SCE must demonstrate that the expenditure is reasonable: it has failed to do so" On its Pump House #2 Project, another of the most expensive proj- ects SCE wants to be reimbursed for, the judge wrote: "Our concern is the cost, especially the engineer- ing costs. We agree that the con- struction was necessary, but the engineering costs were excessive. "SCE charged $2,267,000 for engineering and project manage- ment by its own engineering de- partment out of a total cost of over $4,500,000. This was not part of a competitive bid?' In conclusion, the judge stated: "When possible we should avoid saddling ratepayers with facilities they cannot afford. The SCADA system is a prime ex- ample; the excessive pump house costs are another." In its retort to the judge's pro- posed decision, Edison character- izes Catalina as a"remote, isolated island" where costs are incom- parable to other locales. In fact, Catalina Island is nodifferent than other small communities in remote places served by small utilities that have to buy water to resell to their customers. On Catalina, SCE gets all its water for free! In its retort, Edison character- izes its acquisition of Catalina's water system as something they "inherited" that "William Wrigley designed and built for his family." In fact, SCE acquired the water and gas utility at the same time as the power utility over 50 years ago. The system was in fact built to serve the entire Island, which Mr. Wrigley envisioned as a bustling tourist destination. Edison has had five decades to improve and main- tain the water system, and instead chose to ignore regular mainte- nance and over-engineer at the 1 lth hour to try to make it saleable, so their continued excuse about how it was acquired' five decades ago simply doesn't hold water. It's always been Edison's charge to provide "safe and reli- able water," and, to do it so that it . doesn't cause an undue burden to Edison's constituents. Consider- ing that Catalina's water rates are currently the highest in California even before Edison's proposed doubling of rates, Edison is sorely remiss in meeting its responsibili- ties to its constituents. SCE has full responsibility for the current condition of the wa- ter utility they've controlled for five decades, and for having ne- glected infrastructure improve- ments over the 40 years previous to maintenance during the last decade. From testimony presented in related hearings, "From 1985 to ,. 2000, a period of 15 years, SCE spent $2,626,941, or $175,129 per year, on capital improvements. From 2000 to 2010, a period of 10 years, SCE spent $18,758,965, or $1,875,897 per year." Here the judge concludes, "Such spending is either as a result of ne- glect of the system in prior years or an attempt to make the utility more saleable, or a combination of the two" Also in the decision, the judge observed that the rate base value in 2005 was $5 million, increasing to $10 million in 2008. Today,. SCE seeks a rate base of $24 million, al- mos 5 times the value in 2005. The Consortium does share one hope in common with Edison: That when the California Public Utilities Commission takes up this issue, it will acknowledge the facts of this case and wll rule accordingly. The Catalina Island Consortiur representing all Catalina water users Fighting world hunger Just a few days ago Corner- Stone TeenCenter Kids and World Vision teamed up to fight world hunger. So many of you had a part in this. I really felt it was a great time to acknowledge our commu- nity effort. Eighteen youth and eight adults began a fast to raise money to fight world hunger at 1 p.m. on Friday, April 20. The 30-hour Famine is an annual event created by the in- ternational aid organization World Vision, to give kids the opportunity to make a difference in our world. Raising money through pledges, Letters, Page 4 2  Friday, May 4, 2012 THE CATAUNA ISLANDER