BULLHEAD CITY — Calling EPCOR Water Arizona’s information campaign to fight a possible takeover of its Bullhead City holdings “propaganda,” a local political action committee has declared its mission “to educating voters on all the facts regarding the issue.”
Lori Fonzi, communications director for H2O Committee PAC of Bullhead City, said the organization is attempting to present information to help voters make up their own minds ahead of the Nov. 5 mail-in election for Proposition 415, which would authorize the City of Bullhead City to move forward in its attempt to acquire EPCOR’s Mohave and North Mohave system infrastructure. Fonzi joined the effort last week to serve as communications director.
“After viewing the information provided by Raftelis (a consulting firm hired by the city to evaluate the market value of EPCOR’s local holdings) and Mr. (Toby) Cotter, I am alarmed that the citizens of the community have taken EPCOR’s propaganda to heart,” Fonzi said. “Not only did I feel it’s important for everyone to know all the facts, I’ve joined the committee to help educate our community from a perspective other than EPCOR’s.
“Who would you rather have controlling your water utilities — your local nonprofit government or an out-of-the-country, for-profit private company?”
EPCOR is based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Its only shareholder is the City of Edmonton.
EPCOR formed its own political action committee last year. Taxpayers Against City Takeover was formed by EPCOR Water USA with the mission to help educate consumers.
“We’ve had citizens reach out to us,” Shawn Bradford, EPCOR Water Arizona Inc. vice president of corporate services, said last year. Bradford was listed as the chairperson for TACT, according to paperwork filed with the Arizona Secretary of State’s office. “We’ve got employees that are citizens of this city and they’re all concerned for their jobs. We’ve been meeting with some folks to form a coalition and to help educate people on the facts.”
Both sides have accused the other of misrepresenting or distorting facts.
The city, itself, cannot publicly advocate for or against Proposition 415. It can, however, present informational material to prospective voters. Part of that process is the city-sponsored pubication of a publicity pamphlet on Propostion 415. The city is accepting arguments both for and against the proposition.
Fonzi said H2O Committee PAC is in the process of developing a website; the organization already has a Facebook page.