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Kamala Harris Challenges Court Ruling on Water Rates

The office of California Attorney General Kamala Harris wants the California Supreme Court to depublish a ruling by the 4th District Court of Appeal that could be used to challenge tiered water-rate structures used by California cities.

The decision by the 4the district found that the city of San Juan Capistrano’s tiered water-rate structure was unconstitutional because the city charged more for water than the cost of supplying it to consumers, which violated Proposition 218. That ruling drew criticism from Governor Jerry Brown, according to the Orange County Register.

Harris’ office sent a seven-page letter last week to support the State Water Resources Control Board, arguing that the lower court’s decision used “unnecessary and overbroad language” that could make it more difficult for the state to limit water waste, according to the Los Angeles Times. Deputy Atty. Gen. William Jenkins wrote, “The opinion’s faulty reasoning and unsupported dicta are likely to create confusion and uncertainty in this important area of law.”

Benjamin T. Benumof, who represented the group that challenged the city of San Juan Capistrano, told the Times that Harris’s letter was “misplaced and unsubstantiated.”

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