The leadership of any community has every right to do what Westlake has done to get the best products and services for its residents. And it has the right to do this without threats and intimidation by its suppliers.
The attempted “waterboarding” of Westlake by the Cleveland Water Department with its planned imposition of outrageous fees is now before a judge with a decision expected in February.
It seems there are at least three questions:
Can Westlake be punished for merely considering to leave the Cleveland system? The implications in law, should the answer be “yes,” are mind blowing – just thinking about something would immediately make you responsible for doing it. (Lust in your heart, for example, could earn you jail time). It’s also unlikely that the preposterous charges would apply even if Westlake officially leaves the Cleveland system.
Can any business expect to summarily charge any customer for any investments it made to do its business? If so, wouldn’t all poorly run and/or bankrupt companies be permitted to charge all the money they invested to customers who stopped buying their products or services?
Can any quasi-public utility try tactics such as those attempted by the Cleveland Water Department against a community to intimidate it into continuing its relationship without being investigated by the Ohio attorney general’s office?
I’ll be writing to Mike DeWine and I hope other Westlake residents do too. (Attorney General Mike DeWine, 30 E. Broad St., Columbus, Ohio 43215 or online: www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/contact.)
Mel Maurer lives in Westlake.