Update from Neighbors for Better Water

Dear Property Owner,

As most of you know, we have been working to replace the current management’s board of directorswith homeowners that will manage the Palo Alto Park Mutual Water Company responsibly. Thanks to the many of you who signed our proxies, the San Mateo County Superior Court, at our request, has ordered the company to have a board election. We took this action because current management prevented the shareholders from electing board members at the last shareholder meeting and refused our demand to hold a fair election.

You recently received mailings from the management of the company announcing the shareholder meeting on Tuesday, May 8, 2018, at 10:00 a.m.,and asking you to sign a proxy for them to vote on your behalf to preserve their control of the Company. Many of our neighbors have contacted us with concerns that these mailings were confusing, and that they stated that state funding and resulting customer savings depend on your signing the management’s proxy. Please know, this assertion is NOT true.

A supervisor of the State Water Resources Control Board Division of Drinking Water’s Santa Clara District Office has confirmed that, contrary to what management tells you, the Company is not“in the final stages of obtaining a GRANTfrom the state” to pay for all this long-delayed work.  In fact, NO FUNDShave been awarded for these projects, and the process of getting the grant that management promises could still take another year and a half.  He emphasized that “PAPMWC has not been approved for grant funding,” and that the “statement that they are is premature and possibly wishful thinking.” The company’s lack of maintenance has saddled us all with a 2-million-dollar backlog of undone work and no money to pay for it.

We urge you NOT to sign the management’s proxy, as you will be supporting the people who have created this mess.  Instead, either come to the shareholder meeting and vote yourself, or sign one of our proxies. It’s time for a change.

If you can attend the meeting and vote for change in person, please join us on Tuesday, May 8, at 10:00 a.m.

If you cannot attend the meeting, and you have not given us your proxy already, please join us in voting for change by giving us your proxy.  Download a Proxy sign it and mail it back to us.

Even if you have already signed the company proxy, you can still vote for change by either attending the meeting and voting in person, or signing and returning ourproxy form, making sure that you sign and date the proxy form at least one dayafter the date on which you signed the company proxy.

Neighbors for Better Water


Norm Picker

Hello my name is Norm Picker and I am a candidate for the Palo Alto Park Mutual Water Company board of directors.
I have resided in East Palo Alto since 1984 and have lived in the Palo Alto Park neighborhood since 1985.  I am a co-founder of Bayshore Christian Ministries, an organization that teaches, mentors and supports youth and their families.  Through this organization, I mentored a group of boys from the age 10-18.  I have coached soccer with RYAA and basketball with the YMCA.  My wife, Alissa, and I are proud to have raised our two children in this neighborhood that is very much my home.  Sadly, Alissa, passed away last year after a two year battle with brain cancer; we were married 30 years!

I care deeply about the people of our neighborhood and have always worked to the best of my ability to make it the best place possible.  Like many of you, I have been frustrated by the service provided by the Palo Alto Park Mutual Water Company.  One never knows if the water will be shut off without warning; if it will meet drinking water standards; if the equipment is being maintained properly; if we will ever get water that actually tastes good; if the system will provide adequate pressure and / or fire hydrant water when it is needed; if our yard will be destroyed by careless hydrant flushing; if an unusual and unjustified double-billing or special one-time assessment fees will be tacked on to our bills etc. etc.

I work as a Safety Engineer for SLAC (located at Stanford University).  I have a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Santa Clara University.   I have worked in the Environmental, Health and Safety field for 26 years.

Your vote for the slate of five candidates nominated by Neighbors for Better Water is greatly appreciated.  Together we can push forward and succeed.  Please come to the special election and cast your vote or be sure to sign our proxy so we can vote on your behalf.  Our candidates are:  Kumar Chaudhari, Delphine Hill, Ramiro Macias, Shannon Pekary, and me.


State Agency Says Help For PAPMWC is a Long Way Off

Eric Lacey, the head of the State Water Resources Control Board, had this to say about the water company’s plans for obtaining grant money from the state when I asked him to corroborate the company’s recent statements that they are about to receive a grant.

It’s my understanding that Rural California Assistance Corporation, RCAC, has been contracted to perform the income survey. I’ve heard they are backlogged and  it could take a year to a year and a half to complete the survey.  Only after it is completed will we know what state funding can be made available. 

The Division of Financial Assistance (DFA) has also agreed to perform an income survey for the Palo Alto Park MWC service area.  I’m not sure of the status, but I believe they have, or about to, award the contract to a third party consulting firm.  This is a lengthy process that could take many months to complete.  (The last one I saw completed for a 30 home system took 9 months!)  You’ll know that it is underway when community members get contacted directly about the income survey.  The completion of the income survey and its findings will determine if PAPMWC is qualified for a grant or loan, or a combination of the two.

As a side note, I learned last week that much of the grant funding that was once available has already been earmarked for other projects.  (We’re in that part of the funding cycle.)  At the moment, very little grant funds are currently available for new projects.

So, to answer your question: No, PAPMWC has not been approved for grant funding.  I believe that statement that they are is premature and possibly wishful thinking.