New Case Study Exposes Faulty Condemnation Narrative in Visalia

Truth from the Tap has added a new resource to its Condemnation Toolkit – a case study on the failed condemnation effort in Visalia, California.

The water system in Visalia has been owned and operated by California Water Service (Cal Water) since 1926. Cal Water employs more than 60 water professionals in Visalia who together leverage more than 800 years of combined experience operating and managing water systems.

Yet, in 2015, a handful of activists began calling for condemnation, or a hostile government takeover, of the Visalia water system. The activists falsely argued that Visalia residents were paying far more for water service than residents of neighboring systems. In response, Cal Water aggressively and successfully defended its strong record in Visalia, which includes investing millions to keep the system safe and reliable.

In December 2015, a public opinion survey showed Visalia voters opposed a government takeover of the water system by a margin of more than 3 to 1, with 77% agreeing that government agencies should not use condemntation without serious cause. Recognizing the Visalia community was overwhelmingly opposed, the city dropped the takeover effort.

The experience in Visalia should serve as a cautionary tale for other communities, as it shows how condemnation proponents often present a dishonest takeover narrative to the public. Read more about the failed condemnation effort in Visalia in our Condemnation Toolkit.

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