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News Blaze

Published on May 29, 2010

More Public Officials Urge Voters to Reject
Takeover of Novato

Yet another public official - a prominent Marin County water board director - has joined those opposing Measure F on the Novato ballot June 8.

Rick Fraites, Director, North Marin Water District has announced he is opposed to Veolia Water taking over wastewater operations at the Novato Sanitary District.

A large number of former and current Novato and Marin County elected officials are also endorsing a "No" vote on Measure F, expressing major concerns about turning over a new water treatment plant to a private company with a poor environmental record, and a history of raising rates for consumers.

One Bay Area mayor whose city is stuck in a contract with Veolia Water - which wants to run Novato Sanitary District plant - is warning Novato voters to not privatize their current public-owned facilities because it will cost ratepayers more. Veolia's promises to cut rates turned into a 47 percent increase since 2006 and are slated to rise 8 percent annually through 2014 - the highest rates in the East Bay.

"There are three wastewater treatment plants in Richmond. Ratepayers served by the Veolia plant are charged three to four times as much. I caution other cities of going down this same path," said Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, who endorsed a "No" vote on Measure F.

Others notables opposed to Measure F include former Novato mayor Jim Leland, Novato Planning Commissioner Peter Tiernan, Fairfax vice-mayor Lawrence Bragman, San Rafael city councilperson Greg Brockbank and Fairfax city councilperson Pam Hartwell-Herrero.

The Sierra Club of California has endorsed a "NO" vote on Measure F, which was placed on the ballot by outraged citizens - 4,000 voters, twice the number needed, signed a referendum to put the decision on the ballot after only two weeks of signature-gathering.

Veolia has the 4th worst record for sewage spills in California, according to the State Water Board. Burlingame was sued after a Veolia-operated plant reportedly dumped more than 10 million gallons of wastewater and untreated sewage into San Francisco Bay.

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