In November 2002, the Concerned Citizens Coalition of Stockton (CCCoS) qualified a ballot measure allowing the citizens of Stockton to decide whether or not they wanted a private company operating their municipal utilities. The campaign gathered signatures from more than 18,000 registered voters and Measure F was placed on the March, 2003 ballot. Measure F would require any operation and/or maintenance contracts in excess of $5 million to be placed before the voters.
On February 19, 2003, two weeks prior to the March 2003 election, Stockton’s City Council voted 4-3 to enter into a Service Contract for Wastewater, Water and Stormwater Utilities, Capital Improvements and Maintenance with OMI/Thames Water Stockton, Inc (OMI). By signing this contract prior to citizen vote, the contract would be exempt and the outcome of the election would apply only to contracts after the election date. This action pre-empted and ignored the wishes of the citizens to have a formal say in the outsourcing process.
Measure F passed overwhelmingly, 60% to 40%. Following the City Council action, CCCoS began circulating a referendum petition to overturn the Council’s action. The referendum effort failed to gather the required number of signatures within the 30-day time limit.
Along with the Sierra Club, the League of Women Voters of San Joaquin County, the CCCoS sued the City Of Stockton for failure to follow the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The City of Stockton has tried to separate the operation and maintenance of the city's water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities from the cost and build-out of the Initial Capital Improvements (ICI) in its interpretation of the . We are presently in litigation over the implications of their argument that the contract could be split. Below is a timeline of the legal proceedings: