“Currently, LDPCSD does not have an alternate source of water.”

Well, as you may have seen in the previous post photograph the weed eater is down for a bit due to a cracked fuel primmer bulb. (I believe there is a way around this but don’t recall right now.)  So where were we??

INCORRECT INFORMATION TO STATE?

“Currently, LDPCSD does not have an alternate source of water.”

The above sentence was contained in the California Environmental Protection Agency State Water Resources Control Board Division of Water Rights Order approving Temporary Urgency (in stream flow and the LDPCSD pumping below Minimum Pool requirements) and is obviously incorrect.

The Order was included in the December 11, 2014 Board Packet on Page 51.  The ORDER is 11 pages long and on page 7 (under 6.1 Urgency of the Proposed Changes continued from page 6) the statement is made in the second sentence, second paragraph.

WHY INCORRECT?

Because the District has been using an alternate source of water (the Ranchito Drive ground well) to serve outside MID POU [Merced Irrigation District Place of Use] properties for over 20 years.

MID, CSD and others knew, did the SWRCB?

SPLITTING HAIRS?

Perhaps, but still surprising because precise language is usually extremely important when it comes to the law and ORDERS by State Regulating Departments and Agencies demanding parties to do one thing or another.

I read that paragraph several times thinking I missed a qualifying word to make that patently incorrect statement factual.  You know, something like the LDPCSD does not have: “an adequate alternate source”, OR, “a sufficient alternate source”, OR, “a satisfactory alternate source”, etc.  Nope, read it correctly.

KNEW RANCHITO WELL HAD BEEN INCLUDED

When still on the Board in late 2014 I recall specifically addressing this issue and arguing that the Ranchito Drive well issue should be mentioned in Resolution 2014-2, which it was, and can be found on Page 28 of the December 11, 2014 packet also.

SIDE NOTE: Have any of you noticed that the District often refers to those 36 properties as:  “a small number of service connections”, “approximately 36 properties”, etc. ?

Why such an ambiguous description?

Surely the district knows exactly how many properties it has allowed to violate the water license restrictions in the past.

Has the number of properties increased since that routine monthly outside MID POU report was discontinued from the meeting packet?

Heck, that report was required by, and submitted to MID to demonstrate compliance with restrictions.

Does the LDPCSD still even report this outside use to the Merced Irrigation District as previously required?

Was the SWRCB aware of this special circumstance of the LDPCSD?

Were the grantors of emergency funds for the ground wells?

Exhibit C, Resolution 2015-15, Stage III on page 39, included the qualifying word “adequate” again, affirming that an alternate water supply did exist.

WHY ONLY ONE WELL TO BEGIN WITH?

The LDPCSD Ranchito Drive well was specifically developed to serve those receiving water OUTSIDE the legal Place of Use under water license 11395.  It was the immediate alternate source remedy to keep the District out of “hot water” for wrongfully diverting Merced River water outside the legal use areas and violating License restrictions.

Actually MID, as the license holder, would have been the party to receive substantial daily fines for permitting violations to continue.

In fact, MID required the outside MID POU monthly report to protect itself from liability or SWRCB enforcement because of the LDPCSD’s reckless history of not following regulations.

SIDE NOTE:  When on the board I was shocked to discover even our CSD attorney had been deliberately “left out of the loop” concerning some past very pertinent outside MID POU information.

SURFACE WATER TREATMENT PLANT

Our plant pumps from Lake McClure which is fed by the Merced River (incidentally, some of the purest quality water in the State!) but if a requesting property was outside the permitted Place of Use, [and previous boards did their job] the answer HAD TO BE NO,  sorry.  Merced River water could not be diverted for their use.

Ground well water, however, is not Merced River water and our treatment plant simply pumped it from the Ranchito Drive well, mixed it with our Merced River water from Lake McClure, treated, stored and ultimately delivered it to those properties outside the MID POU.

FOOT IN  THE DOOR

Naturally, seeing this, other outside properties also demanded water service…..”The District did it for my neighbor…why not me?”  And thus began decades of turmoil and accusations of “selective enforcement” and “injustice” to those refused service.

A SPECIAL BENEFIT PAID FOR BY ALL ENTITLED USERS

This was a special benefit to Outside MID POU properties and a great inconvenience to the District in respect to maintenance, accounting, and treatment and circumvented the process of how our surface water treatment plant was designed and intended to function.    (Pump from lake, treat, store, and deliver to entitled properties.)

Q: When did this become an issue?

A: Twenty years ago when MID ran afoul of the SWRCB for incorrect environmental releases of water for wildlife.

THAT MISTAKE RESULTED IN AUDIT AND LDPCSD RESTRICTIONS

South Shore, I believe, is the only legitimate annexation to our district that that was approved by LAFCo, MID, and the State Water Resources Control Board.  772af of water set aside for this proposed development.  That was a water diversion for 2,010 acres but the 20+ year old proposed subdivision and golf course never developed.  However, it was during the South Shore annexation process where documents presented to the SWRCB by MID evidenced a mistake in the calculation of a non-related Environmental Water Release program by MID which resulted in an enforcement process with that water audit.  Things were different after that.

ILLEGAL  CONNECTIONS MUST BE ADDRESSED

Outside MID Place of Use properties became a hot topic for enforcement and a nightmare for both the district and water thirsty property owners not entitled to lake water like the subdivision was.  Multiple CSD boards have addressed and attempted to change or modify this water restriction with negative results.

The only way to continue providing water to those not specifically entitled to Merced River water was to use an “alternate source of water” which meant drilling a ground well along side Ranchito Drive.  That ground well “patched” existing violations of the water license.

 

EMERGENCY BACKUP NECESSITY

OR

JUST SERVICE EXPANSION PREPARATION?

So here’s the problem:  customers were told these wells were being constructed with grant funds (certainly won’t cover all costs) to ensure water service to the existing customers during this drought emergency, yet again the board appears ready to abolish Resolution  2013-4 which prohibits further expansion of Outside MID POU properties.

WHY DO I BELIEVE THE TRUE REASON WAS EXPANSION?

Check out the Minutes regarding BOD President Danny Johnson during the December 11, 2014 meeting:

President Johnson gave a verbal report. He thanked the public for taking the LDPCSD customer survey. The survey allowed customers that cannot attend our meeting to give their input. He commented that he felt one of the best things the board did was to drill the wells. From his perspective it was a good financial move in comparison to trucking water in for the community. He also wanted to commend staff and management for positioning this District to have the infrastructure in place to keep the community water running. He also thought the board should revisit the outside place of use restrictions resolution

“He also thought the board should revisit the outside place of use restrictions resolutions”

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  AGAIN?

Even with the new ground wells, during peak demand times we are still short of water according to our engineers yet President Johnson wants to revisit the restriction?  Why?

To expand service to other outside MID POU properties as you have advocated in the past? Come on Danny, seriously, who are you really representing here?  Are there still third party construction projects that desperately need our water to start development?

Why revisit this issue now?

Same issue.  Same drought.  And the money?

What has changed since June when the vote was 2-2?

TWO IMPORTANT VARIABLES

1)   Newly developed ground wells represent another “alternate source”, and

2)   New Directors on the board willing to “go with the flow”

If this expansion and reconfiguration of CSD operations is good for existing customers, why weren’t these plans included in the recent survey?

BY the way, how many responded?  How many were mailed?  The promised “review of the survey results” was a bit sketchy.   The survey could have simply asked customers:

Are you in favor of  expanding service to properties outside the limits of our water license with ground water production recently developed?

LDPOA SUBDIVISION RESIDENTS

Many people purchased property in the Lake Don Pedro Owners Association (LDPOA) not because it was a CID (Community Interest Development), or was governed by a POA (Property Owners Association) with differing CCRs regulating how property is to be developed, but rather because there was available WATER, electricity and maintained roads.  (Unfortunately, some areas of the subdivision in Tuolumne evidently have problems with roads.)

What about over half the subdivision absentee owners who pay availability fees?

Didn’t these DIRECTORS’ OATH OF OFFICE include these legitimate future users of District water?

Haven’t they been paying for that future water use benefit?

Why not protect the water service to existing customers, both consumers and availability properties?

Why furnish water to proposed  projects which we will then have to serve during the next drought or other water related emergency?

SORRY.  WATER WILL BE SHUT OFF

You can’t start providing water to someone then later say OOPS – SORRY, HAVE TO CUT IT OFF.  (Actually some of the past service connection contracts outside the POU specifically stated if the owner did not subsequently annex their property to the District the water service would be discontinued.  It was a condition of service.  But the water was not shut off.  Some property owners discovered they could not legally annex, so no water was delivered.  Others did annex but the district was still prevented from serving water under the License and water agreement.)

Mariposa LAFCo advised they were initially never told about the License restrictions by District representatives seeking annexations, however, the county eventually found out and began putting a disclaimer in their mid-1980s annexation paperwork that the county could not be held liable if an annexed property did not receive water from the District.

What a frigg’n mess huh?

WHAT IS THE LDPOA’s POSITION ON THIS?

From what I read the Owner’s Association may not even continue it’s monthly meetings any longer due to lack of business.  They are apparently flush with cash according to their financials.   Here is a serious situation concerning the subdivisions future water service -  why not help those owners who already pay good money for protection?

Since the LDPOA membership compromises the far majority of LDPCSD customers (3,128 last I saw versus the 36 outside MID POU customers) what is the Association’s position on this extension of water service to outside POU properties with our new and extremely expensive ground wells?

Will the Association step-up to help protect these innocent property owners from potentially losing their water service in the future?

Will the Association work with multiple property owners and assist them in joining properties together with only one assessment to help reduce future potential subdivision connections?

LDPCSD District engineers do not believe the new wells will even meet our peak demand times for existing customers so why even consider adding further service to properties outside the legal service area?

BETTER PROTECT YOURSELF – NO ONE ELSE WILL

You know, if the Resolution restriction preventing further service to outside MID POU properties is abolished and this District does indeed begin Empire Building with ground well water, subdivision owners might need need to protect themselves.

Absentee owners who pay availability fees to this Community Services District (and property assessments to the LDPOA), should organize and legally protect the interests for which they are paying.

 

INFORMATION OVERLOAD

Massive amounts of material, yet little time to digest and respond.  Even as a former director we often received the packet on a Friday before the Monday meeting.  This did not provide much time to read and study all the material and prepare meaningful questions for clarification much less adequately prepare for a board vote.  (Cannot contact office for additional information on a weekend.)

I was astounded by how some directors obviously, and routinely, did not read the entire packet which was clearly evidenced by their questions and ridiculous comments on the particular subject.  If directors are unprepared – how is a customer going to understand the issues?

ADMIT TO BEING SUSPICIOUS FROM THE START

Absolutely.  When a sitting director, who happens to be THE ICON for outside MID POU water use (cattle ranching for over 20 years using chlorinated water clearly intended for domestic residential consumption) surreptitiously contacts a friend in the water industry and advises him our GM position will open (prior to that explicitly confidential information being made public) – and that individual subsequently shows up at the next Board meeting with a management contract ready for approval – and the board fails to adequately consider the entire situation and on the spot selects him as the new IGM[1] – (who had a prior employment record at our CSD in the 1990s that clearly encouraged expansion outside license limits),  yes, I am suspicious.

 

CAN YOU FEEL YOUR FEET GETTING WARMER?

Decades of turmoil over non-permitted water use, most notably, real estate and land development interests.

This is really a simple equation.  Drought prone dry foothill property + water = $$$$.

Can you imagine the sums of money to be made by unscrupulous people if inside information that a particular project or area absent utilities will soon receive water?

CONNECT THE DOTS & FOLLOW THE MONEY

Someone burns down our nonprofit Administration Office (attempt to destroy regulatory history?)

A for-profit management company (Kampa Community Solutions) is ultimately hired under emergency drought conditions to keep the water flowing for existing customers.

This for-profit company president (our GM) immediately begins a process to secure an alternate source of water (ground wells) ostensibly for existing customers water sustainability, yet in actuality, to continue his plan to expand district service beyond License 11395 under which our CSD operates.

Sorry, but all I see is conspiracy and sophisticated camouflage concealing the hot plate CSD customers will be dancing on for perpetuity.

 

My best to you and yours, Lew

 

There is so much more – but it is another beautiful foothill day and the fast growing weeds are calling!

 

 

 


[1] Vote was 4-0 as I became sick to my stomach and walked out of that meeting in complete disgust.  This was the only time in four years of service I missed ANY PORTION OF A BOARD MEETING.

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INCORRECT CSD INFO PRESENTED TO STATE EPA & SWRCB?

POST TITLE THE “RECALL STIMULUS” FOR THE DUCK DANCE STORY?

Yes, that and a number of other issues spurred that horrible recollection of “one thing appearing as something else” however, I believe the following to be rather serious:

Incorrect information about our Lake Don Pedro Community Services District operations has apparently been provided and documented with the State of California Environmental Protection Agency and State Water Resources Control Board, and very likely, many other State, Federal and corporate water related entities.

INTENTIONAL MISDIRECTION OR SIMPLE MISTAKE?

I’m sorry but I do not believe for a nanosecond this was a mistake, and fear it was an intentional act by multiple parties in “threading some type of legal needle” through the maze of government requirements and obstacles in obtaining emergency grant funding and relief from established regulations.

Funding which is being used to offset the tremendous costs proposed in REDIRECTING the approved design, intent, and operation of our surface water treatment plant WITHOUT A VOTE of the over 3,125 existing customers who have financially supported this nonprofit Community Services District for decades.

SPECIFICITY OF LAW

Legal language is required to be precise and not willy-nilly APPROXIMATION as to what is actually being conveyed or what IS intended.  Blatantly incorrect information being cited in official State agency documents is outrageous and has a ripple effect with inter agency document reproduction.

NOTE: Lake Don Pedro Community Services District has it’s own history with fabricated records and many still wonder if the UNRESOLVED ARSON OF OUR ADMINISTRATION OFFICE was merely a “radical record destruction” policy of those INTERESTS displeased with District regulations and historical records of water use.

ONCE PROCESSED – FALSE INFORMATION ESSENTIALLY BECOMES FACT

Unfortunately, once INCORRECT INFORMATION is recorded in formal legal government documents it often appears to stay there uncorrected for many years, if not perpetuity.  (Example: Water License 11395 mentions a 55 acre golf course, yet I believe the former Lake Don Pedro Golf Club was more like 155 acres. – Perhaps there is some type of addendum or clarification note in the official file?

Still, without those subsequent corrections anyone reading the original water license would think it a very small golf course.   So once again, although incorrect, this “55 acre golf course” language remains and has been passed along through many other departments and agencies as evidence for one thing or another.  Very similar to the misinformation recorded with the State regarding the pond from where water was diverted to that golf course.  Many examples of false information that is treated as well known fact.)

MUCH WORK TO DO

It’s a cool and beautiful Foothill Friday up here in these rolling green Oak and rock studded hills.  Numerous shimmering pools of water glisten in the morning sunshine as testimony to the recent precipitation.   Primarily blue sky with scattered wisps of larger cloud fragments.

LISTEN CAREFULLY!   CAN YOU HEAR THAT?

Well maybe not hear, but hillside weeds are growing exponentially.

One of my planned chores today (and I really dislike this one) is to work on some small two cycle internal combustion engine equipment, specifically the weed eater.  If that goes well, two chainsaws should also be started. My shoulder aches with anticipation.  “Pull start” engines are often difficult to start.  Unfortunately, much like a slot machine in a casino, sometimes many attempts pay off!  LOL

For those of you familiar with this process:  YES INDEED!  I drained the fuel last year, or maybe it was the year before?  YES!  Fuel stabilizer had been added to the fuel mix and run through engine before storage.   We shall see……

Maybe some weed spraying?

I am still shaking off typical 1-2 day soreness associated with other routine yard work such as raking, shoveling, picking up stuff blown around by recent storm winds, and of course, moving rocks from point A to point B.

GRAVITY AND EROSION

Landscaping on a hillside is also challenging.  Rain runoff and wind blow material around and gravity summons it downhill for reorganization where Mother Nature dictates, unless disturbed by something else. That’s where I make a grand entrance.

“Why not rake, sort, load, and haul the sand and soil back uphill for fill around necessary low spots and start the process again – ready for the next rain?”     LOL

CRAP!  Got to get out of here — Already past noon!!!!!!!

 

My best to you and yours, Lew

 

 

PS:  Until later, think about this….

If proposed changes in the DISTRICT’S VISION 2020 STRATEGIC PLAN are legal and “above-board” (so to speak – lol/ wait till you read the GM admonishment to directors before public presentation) why is clearly false information about our District being provided/repeated to State regulators- you know, the folks you would LEAST LIKELY WANT TO PISS OFF?

 

STAGE APPROPRIATE EQUIPMENT

NATURALLY FORGOT TO PURCHASE EXTRA FUEL BULB

NEXT BATTER UP?

SPRAYER BACKUP

 

GOSH, NOW IT’S PAST 1300HRS!

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CUTE LITTLE DANCE OR SOMETHING ELSE?

Lately I have tried to understand some things that broadly fall under the category:  “NOT AS THEY APPEAR”.   I believe we have all experienced those circumstances when for one reason or another we believe, or were told, one thing – only to later discover our analysis was incorrect or we were deliberately misled.

Many years ago I read about an incident involving a business advertisement where dancing ducklings were displayed in a front display case window to catch the attention of passing pedestrian traffic.  [I believe it was a legal case but don’t recall if it was Tort based (a civil wrong for monetary damages) or, a criminal matter (animal abuse, code violation enforcement, etc.]

Apparently it was quite an attraction and gained the attention of many people especially after it was discovered the poor creatures were comically jumping around not because of music, but rather, the fact their dance floor was a disguised working hot plate!  Needless to say the public outcry was tremendous.

Torturing young animals in an attempt to increase business sales?  What sort of mind conjures up such a despicable plan?  What lengths will some people go in the attempt to achieve personal and/or business goals?

 

My best to you and yours, Lew

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LAST JANUARY 2016 STORM PASSING THROUGH

Cloud formations and rain slowly pass through the Central Valley at dusk on Sunday.

 

My best to you and yours, Lew

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CANCELLED WIDGETS

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines widget as “an unnamed article considered for purposes of hypothetical example”.

You may have seen the term used in legal discussions where the item of discussion is less important than the governing principles relating to that, and similar items.    I am using the term in this post to describe an actual product I was going to purchase online yet, due to what I felt were unfair selling techniques, cancelled the purchase.   Since I really do not know about the quality of the item I do not want to dissuade or negatively influence other potential purchasers with my comments about this item.   So widget will have to do.  You know, I still wonder if I may have passed on a good product but refuse to reward what I believe to be an unfair purchasing process.

[Gee, wouldn’t it be great if, as taxpayers, we did not have to financially support activities which intentionally circumvent and/or violate existing law and approved procedures?]

ALREADY OWNED A FEW BUT….

Actually I already owned a few of these widgets and although they all worked to one degree or another, they were manufactured by different companies and varied greatly as to quality, dependability and cost so I was already “passively looking” for one that possessed all the desirable qualities of a good, dependable “widget” at a reasonable price.

ADVERTISEMENT WAS IMPRESSIVE

Like any good ad, after reading the manufacturer’s claims I wanted to purchase one and started the online purchasing process.  The slightly different approach should have alerted me that something wasn’t right, but after all, to acquire such a great widget certain allowances might be made for the typical exaggerated claims of new technology, limited time offer, and discounts for multiple purchases – right?

The first page of the order process contained an initial confirmation that a customer wanted to purchase a widget at a greatly reduced price.  Essentially, “want to save N% on the purchase of this great item?”   The second page contained the more traditional questions in an order process:

1)      Select the number of widgets to purchase (another sliding scale discount increased with volume of widgets to be ordered)

2)      Contact information,  name, telephone number

3)      Shipping address, and of course,

4)      Credit card information.

PRETTY STANDARD HUH?

BUT THEN, after all the above information had been submitted, another page offered other desirable options for the widget(s) each with their additional costs.  Please realize these options were only made known AFTER credit card information had been entered and there was no opportunity to page back, modify, question, or even cancel the order and the seller already had all necessary information to complete a transaction.  [Except for one aspect which is crucial to an above-board legitimate sales process:  the purchaser’s clear understanding as to what was offered, purchased, and for what price.]

Suddenly, a customer is stuck in an order trap with nowhere to go but forward with each additional step (if accepted) increasing the purchase price.  No back button.  No second chance to confirm order.  No escape.

PERFORMED AS INTENDED?

You know, suddenly changing your mind about some aspect of an intended purchase is another BIG CLUE that should prompt more careful scrutiny as to what you’re doing.  When initially offered multiple widgets for a discounted price (selection must be made before continuing the process and learning more) I chose to get two instead of one.  But again, as mentioned above, AFTER SUBMITTING PAYMENT INFORMATION I was advised of other desirable options that, had I been aware of in the first place, would have resulted in the purchase of only one widget with all available options.  Ahhhh, too late!  There was no opportunity to return to the number of widgets selection so if these new and desirable options were to be added to the sale a customer would have to incur additional costs on every widget purchased at discount.  Not a fair or reasonable process at all.

MORE TRADITIONAL BAIT

Compare this with all the ads we see and hear on television for miscellaneous items – “BUT WAIT!  IF YOU ORDER RIGHT NOW WE WILL INCLUDE  …..  blah, blah, blah — for only blah blah blah! …. That’s a blah blah blah SAVINGS FOR YOU IF YOU ORDER NOW!”

But there’s the rub – the phrase “BUT WAIT” is followed by clearly disclosing what the additional options are PRIOR TO OBTAINING PAYMENT INFORMATION with a built-in guarantee of concluding a transaction up to that point regardless of option choice.

The only thing missing from this deal, which is very important in my mind, is the purchaser’s clear understanding as to what they were purchasing and for how much.  There was no “meeting of the minds” if you will.

WHAT NOW?

After searching for an escape route and finding none I abruptly left the site and immediately contacted my credit card company because I was concerned about the seller already possessing my credit card information.   Yup, you guessed it, even though I bailed on the rest of the process the charge had already been made for the purchase of two widgets up to that point.  I was pissed  and explained to the credit card representative exactly how the process worked and why I believed it was unethical.  The representative agreed with my position but since the transaction had already been received and processed if the seller would not voluntarily removed the charge I would have to dispute the transaction later – after payment.  Obviously the next step was to contact the seller through the listed telephone number on the website.

RING…..RING…..RING…..RING…..RING…..

I called the telephone number and waited for a human being to answer while repeatedly being offered the opportunity to just leave a message.  Are you kidding me?  If I don’t trust your sales techniques why would I believe you would actually call me back to hear a complaint?  Yes indeed, I wanted to speak with a living breathing representative of that company – besides I already had a very good idea as to why this company was currently experiencing a higher call volume.  Over forty minutes I waited during which time I “prepared my case” as to why the order should be cancelled.

ASTONISHED DISBELIEF

The representative started with disbelief as to my dissatisfaction with the ordering process since all components of a “good sale” were present.  I explained the problem was not WHAT information had been exchanged, but rather, it was the chronological order of the steps in the process that were unethical and essentially a purchase trap.  Eventually the representative agreed to cancel the order but not until making one last pitch for an even larger discount on the two widgets.  I must give them credit for tenacity but my distrust was solidified and I insisted on the cancellation.  I called my credit card company and confirmed the cancellation had been processed.

Here’s the final paragraph of a letter I subsequently wrote to the company.

“I was disappointed that a conscious effort to purchase “MADE IN USA” was over-shadowed with a feeling of being “had” with piecemeal information.  If this process was a result of a simple design or programming error on the website, it should be corrected ASAP.   If it was by design, shame, shame, shame.”

 

JUST HUMAN NATURE

Do you know what one of the major trademarks is of a good con job?  [Con refers to confidence which is required for the “Mark” or victim to take the bait.]   Answer:  The EMBARRASSMENT of admitting they fell for it in the first place!  That is precisely why so many such scams go unreported, and thus continue to exist.

“THERE’S A SUCKER BORN EVERY MINUTE”

[VICTIM: “Hey!  I paid $100 for this Rolex but it isn’t really gold and it stopped working completely!  I’ve been swindled!”   Law Enforcement Officer taking the report:  “Where did you buy this watch?”   VICTIM:  “From a guy in the alley behind the casino who desperately needed money for bus fare out of town because his wife and kids were …. “ ]

Ever hear the expressions:  “Larceny of the heart”, “You can’t cheat an honest person”, or “if it seems too good to be true it probably is”?  All revolve around the concept of a fair deal being understood on both sides of the equation, seller as well as the buyer.   If a buyer believes (or is encouraged to believe) they are getting away with something sneaky or ostensibly beneficial only to them, they also are not being honest and their own pursuit of greed actually facilitates their being cheated.  They had larceny of the heart.

THIS WAS A DIFFERENT FLAVOR

The widgets were not inexpensive (and may indeed be good products) but not disclosing available options PRIOR to selecting the number of items to purchase AND submitting payment information (with no modification or escape opportunity) were literally deal breakers for me.

SO WHAT’S THE POINT?

So what is the point of belaboring this insignificant cancelled purchase of a couple of widgets?

A few points actually.

I haven’t posted anything in a while and I thought the story made a good Caveat Emptor (let the buyer beware) reminder.  Heck, it might even help someone else avoid an unwanted purchase by recognizing a similar “purchase trap”.

The payment cancellation was a minor victory over one of the many things in life most would consider unfair, deceptive, or outright dishonest.  Unfortunately, many folks (for one reason or another) do not challenge such business tactics.  Maybe some feel the further frustration in such a challenge isn’t worth the trouble?  You know, “suck it up” as a lesson learned and be more careful next time.  I seriously considered that alternative but the question was:  Would simply letting the purchase go through, (less than $100), be easier than the exasperation experienced with multiple telephone calls, wait times, and speaking with a company sales representative trained to make objecting callers feel unreasonable?  For me the answer was no because I am pretty sure every time I would use one of those widgets (if they worked as advertised) I would chastise myself for not objecting right off instead of purchasing something I really did not want.

A good deal will sell itself just as unethical activity will breed customer distrust.

 

 

My best to you and yours, Lew

 

PS: This widget business also reminds me of the LAKE DON PEDRO COMMUNITY SERVICES’ DISTRICT (LDPCSD) aka [“the water company”] and how customers are apparently anticipated to just “suck it up” once again when it comes to a significant rate increase to fund the consequences of some questionable decisions.   Sounds like a subject requiring some illumination huh?

 

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HILLARY FOR WHAT?

I observed my first “Hillary for ” sign displayed in a central valley farmyard in late November of 2015.

Passing the sign in my truck I wasn’t sure at first what I had seen in the blur of red, white and blue or what it had actually advocated.  I did wonder however, who would publicly advertise their support for such a person to be president of the United States considering the ever increasing evidence that she does not tell the truth and likely jeopardized our country’s security with her intentional mishandling of secret information through her non-government private computer server.   (Recent national news reports now indicate Hillary’s server also included information with the designation SAP – Special Access Program – touted as the highest form of government top secret information.)

Continuing down the rural county road something bothered me about the sign – the word following “Hillary for” didn’t appear to be long enough for the traditional, and expected,  word “president” – but what the heck was it?

A U-turn, short back-track, and second look revealed the message.  I laughed, took a photograph, and returned home to look up the website.  Ultimately I ordered a few items (in addition to the yard sign) for my collection of humorous political advertisements.  Naturally, like with anything else in public demand, there was a bit of a wait in receiving the merchandise, but worth the time.

Hummm….  TIME.   Something Hillary probably should do.

BROKEN and/or USELESS TOOLS IN A DEAD TREE

My best to you and yours, Lew

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LAKE McCLURE: OLD MAP vs NEW MAP

TRADITIONAL MAP ILLUSTRATION OF LAKE McCLURE SOUTH OF HWY 132

MERCED RIVER ONLY ON NEW MAP (NOTE HORSESHOE BEND)

 

Although the old map (top) is a different type and scale I’m sure you still got the point – McClure is not illustrated or even noted on the new 2014 map.  Seems a bit harsh.  Surely it would not have distracted from the new map’s accuracy to simply note the lake’s prior existence parenthetically -   (former Lake McClure).

Oh well, maybe next year.  Or the year after that.  Or the following…..maybe…..

 

My best to you and yours, Lew

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MAPS AND WONDER

Maps have fascinated me since being introduced to them many years ago as a kid in the Boy Scouts.  Prior to adolescent boots scampering all over unfamiliar territory we were encouraged by leaders to “be prepared” for upcoming outdoor adventures by first studying the area via paper maps.

GOOD OR BAD INFORMATION

Obviously, understanding and appreciating where you physically occupy space could be a positive or negative realization depending upon the particular circumstances of your query.   [“Alright - we’ll make it to the next gas station” or, in the alternative, “Oh crap!  We missed the trail by at least three miles”]

Recently while exploring some areas on Google Earth I discovered a new map (March 2014) was available from the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, documenting Federal Wilderness Lands in California.   Sure sounded like an exquisite addition to my collection, but where to hang such a monster?

MADE SOME ROOM

Yup, a 54” x 62” chunk of paper takes considerable wall space but I eventually located the perfect spot with adequate lighting and room for “study movement”.  Removed what was already hanging there, secured my new prize to the wall with some push pins and stepped back to view the image – what a beautiful depiction of the land and management jurisdictions within our state.   Naturally the first place to check out was our local vicinity which has always been quite easy – find the approximate center of California and look a bit north for two adjacent large bodies of water and ….

SOME KIND OF BIG MISTAKE?

Initially I was astonished that such a monumental mistake could have been made on such a beautiful up to date map yet almost simultaneously that question, [of whether a mistake had been made], was answered given the reality of McClure’s current non-existence.

“Where the heck is Lake McClure – is this some kind of mistake?” he muttered to himself while admiring his enormous new wall map.

NO MISTAKE DUMB ASS – JUST REALITY

That’s right – technically it is no mistake because Lake McClure no longer exists as a large body of water next to Lake Don Pedro {Reservoir-whatever}.  Only the name LAKE McCLURE, photos/videos, and our memories remain – and on my new map not even the name is documented.

Other questions precipitously cascaded and flooded into my pool of swirling thoughts….

Will maps of California ever again illustrate and print the name Lake McClure?

Will I be blessed to live long enough to see McClure rise to full capacity?

How many years of above average snow packed mountains will it truly require?

Will the trickling Merced River once again roar with tremendous power through granite canyons, fill McClure, provide vast amounts of agricultural irrigation, environmental holdings and releases, and continue its voluminous journey to the Delta and Pacific?

Do I really have to go to the bathroom now?

 

My best to you and yours, Lew

 

WHERE IS LAKE McCLURE? Good question Grasshopper.

 

 

 

 

 

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NEED A “SORT OF” MINI-VACATION?

This morning I was checking out the ISS (International Space Station) live view website, which permits the viewer to not only see where the ISS is located in real time, but to also zoom up on previous images of the area.  WOW!  It’s like taking a mini-vacation.

So, guess what location I coincidentally observed at approximately 1059 hours this morning?

La Grange, Australia!

No fooling.   When I switched to the image of the area and zoomed up on the approximate ISS path, there it was, La Grange Australia.  The La Grange Bay airport is just east of the town and west of the Great Northern HWY. Check out the colorful waters and geography around the peninsula west of Red Islet, absolutely beautiful.  At 1108 hours it passed over Tasmania.  1110 hours between New Zealand and Adams Island. On to Europe! A 24/7 show.

My Best to You and Yours, Lew

The web address is http://iss.astroviewer.net

 

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RESCIND RESOLUTION 2013-4 @ THE JUNE 15th 2015 BOARD MEETING?

AGENDA ITEM h:
“APPROVAL OF A RESOLUTION RESCINDING RESOLUTION 2013-4 REGARDING THE PROHIBITION OF COMMITTING WATER SUPPLY OUTSIDE THE MERCED IRRIGATION DISTRICT’S LAKE McCLURE WATER SUPPLY PLACE OF USE.”

Hello folks—-Wow!  Maybe not a surprise but it sure didn’t take very long did it?  not so lol

NO MORE OMIDPOU REPORTS?

NO MORE LIMITATIONS ON OUTSIDE SERVICE?

Even though the traditional MIDPOU reports (previously contained in the monthly LDPCSD agenda packets that identified where and how much water was being used outside the legal areas approved by Merced Irrigation District) STOPPED IMMEDIATELY AFTER PETE KAMPA took the reins of district leadership, I honestly thought he and his water thirsty friends OUTSIDE THE LEGAL USE AREA would at least wait until the drought emergency was over. Or did they actually wait?

Come on now Lew….that isn’t actually correct.  Sure sometimes the monthly agenda packet didn’t have the Outside MIDPOU figures (November 10th & December 15th), but hey, a lot was going on with this EMERGENCY WATER SITUATION AND THE DROUGHT!  Besides the January 20th packet filled in those numbers with a complete accounting from December 2013 to December 2014!  Relax dude, enjoy life.

HAVE FURTHER OMIDPOU CONNECTIONS ALREADY BEEN MADE?

Were further OMIDPOU water service connections already installed on properties but the public was unaware since the OMIDPOU reports were suspiciously excluded from the public agenda? (This could easily be researched if appropriate records were kept and allowed to exist as public business records – yet based on past funny business I certainly wouldn’t hold my breath.)

Who knows what is going on but again,  just because the agenda packets for the February 19th, (which was a special meeting to replace the regular meeting which was to be held on Feb 16th), March 16th, April 20th, or May 18th 2015 meetings didn’t have the OMIDPOU reports -that doesn’t necessarily mean anything sneaky was taking place.  Come on now.  Everyone was busy with this blasted drought and trying to conserve our precious water.  Besides, who really cares about how much water is being used outside the legal place of use?

Is this proposed resolution to rescind Resolution 2013-4 (which prohibited further expansion) merely a legal formality to cover up recent violations of that prohibition? Please do not forget Resolution 2013-4 was clearly supported by our attorney, water engineers, ground well sustainability reports, basic common sense, not to mention every bill paying customer who believes only those properties specifically entitled to Merced River water should receive such.

Whether or not there are current plans to expand the district’s boundaries with these expensive ground wells which constitute “an alternative source of water” unless work has been completed in outside areas with CSD funds or water is already being delivered, it doesn’t matter.

True, it does seem a bit strange that after not having the OMIDPOU REPORT for four months — suddenly there is a proposal to rescind Resolution 2013-4, but again, who really cares?  So what if the district is expanded into outside MIDPOU areas and must develop more ground wells to supply that need?  You must remember, most of the customers up here simply do not care and are willing to pay more money for their water service to encourage the growth that comes with subsidized water.   Again, take a deep breath, relax.  Enjoy life.

MAYBE MID AND STATE AUTHORITIES HAVE CHANGED RULES?

Unless MID (Merced Irrigation District) has already rewritten the water service contract with the district under Water License 11395 issued to it (MID) by the SWRCB (State Water Resources Control Board) and the former has reinterpreted the prohibitions against serving Merced River water to outside MIDPOU properties, why on earth would the district do such a foolish thing during one of the worst droughts in California history with such obvious risky and extremely expensive ground wells?

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE GREED OF OTHERS

I incorrectly figured Pete Kampa and the Directors that follow and support his district water service expansion plans (clearly evidenced prior to Kampa leaving LDPCSD service the first time in the 1990s) would have at least waited to see if our community had enough water to sustain it through this unprecedented drought. You know, until the next rains actually materialized.

Serving 35 – 36 OMIDPOU properties that are already connected is one thing, but why commit further water service into other currently prohibited areas during this nasty drought?

Perhaps I underestimated the audacity, arrogance and corrupt politics of those individuals trusted with the management of this communities’ liquid gold?  Where’s the fiduciary duty to the district and its current customers?

EMERGENCY GROUND WATER WELLS -good money after bad?

The apparent use of these emergency ground water wells (that were ostensibly constructed to guarantee legal Merced River water users would have enough water during this drought) to just add more properties outside the legal use area is EXTREMELY DISINGENUOUS and EXACTLY what I feared and warned against.

True, the newly installed ground wells are an alternative source of water, but they were clearly constructed (and the public was repeatedly told this) under the concept of an ALTERNATIVE EMERGENCY WATER SOURCE needed to ensure water for the current customers – NOT TO EXPAND DISTRICT SERVICE TO PROPERTIES WITHOUT WATER OR ENTITLED TO MERCED RIVER WATER!
STANDING ON NEW DAM – OLD EXCHEQUER PEEKS OUT FROM DROPPING WATER IN 2013

CHECK OUT THE WATER DROP DIFFERENCE DOWN TO THE OLD DAM NOW

NOW COMPARE THE WATER DROP BETWEEN THE TWO DAMS IN 2015 [You will have to click on the photo and use the slide bar to position the image]

IS YOUR THINKING CAP ON AND FUNCTIONING?

SO what do you think will happen when many more properties are brought into district service using these “iffy” and expensive ground wells and they go dry? You got it! Once service is provided the district can’t take it away.  It will become a nightmare of reoccurring new well digging emergencies……

WELCOME GROUND WATER SUBSTITUTION FOR SURFACE WATER TRANSFERS FOR PERPETUITY!

Dig more wells, add more properties, dig more wells, add more properties, dig more….

All the while the basic honest customers (whose only mistake was buying property in an area where corruption and low information voting trumps common sense) will continue to pay the added costs for the increased property values of those OMIDPOU properties who finally got what they needed for exponential growth in business and personal wealth…..our water!  Best part for these water thirsty outsiders?  99% of the LDPCSD customers will continue to pay for the expansion – whether they want it or not.

TYPICAL BAIT AND SWITCH MODUS OPERANDII

Essentially, every legal water using customer in this district (along with the majority of availability customers- most out of area) will now be saddled with the added expenses of providing water to outside MIDPOU properties with a series of new ground water wells.

In other words: all district customers will subsidize this water service expansion WITHOUT EVER HAVING AN OPPORTUNITY TO VOTE ON THE MATTER OR EXPRESS THEIR OPINION.

Doesn’t that violate the concept of Proposition 218?

SPEAKING OF PROP 218 – DO YOU REALIZE NEW HIGHER WATER RATES ARE ON THE HORIZON?

Prior to completing my four year term on the board I specifically addressed this probability and received verbal assurances that such a BAIT AND SWITCH ALTERNATIVE WATER SOURCE scenario WOULD NEVER OCCUR because the proposed wells were for emergency water only.  Even DIRECTOR Emery Ross said he would never vote for using well water to expand OMIDPOU service.   We shall see.

Liar liars your pants are on fire
How will you extinguish the flames?
Emergency ground water was just the bait
A distracted community will bare the blame.

Like I have said many times, I am not against water service to areas outside the MIDPOU service area so long as those properties receiving that extra benefit pay for the added extra costs in providing that water.  What is so darn difficult to understand?  Hiding behind this drought emergency and expensive unreliable ground wells to provide water to properties that have no legal right to Merced River water, yet expecting all legal customers to pay for it is just plain sneaky, underhanded and unethical.  And then to propose raising our water rates even further on top of that?  Insult to injury!  But of course this is just my opinion.  What do you think now?  What will you think when your water rates go up so others can build new subdivisions, cattle ranches, maybe water theme parks, or whatever nonsensical project is the proposed money maker of the day?  Wake up!  Smell the chlorine!

My best to you and yours, Lew

Resolution 2013-4

Please note which director voted NO on that resolution:  The very one who suspiciously obtained a second OMIDPOU water meter to supply chlorinated water for a cattle ranch he was developing despite being unequivocally advised PRIOR TO THE RANCH PURCHASE he had no right to LDPCSD water. Then, even after loosing that second meter (because it had to be returned to the rightful owner) he some how obtained another replacement. Think I’d characterize that as something for the COWBOY HALL OF SHAME.

Decades of continuous fighting in attempts to supply water to those properties that had no legal right to Merced River water rather than focusing on the sustainability of water for those who did have, and paid for, that right to water. Decades and hundreds of thousands of YOUR DOLLARS wasted in delaying what should have been diligently pursued back in the 1990s -

THE Mc CLURE POINT

DEEP WATER PROJECT !

 

Poor Lew, just can’t get it into his thick head that no one cares about what it will cost all customers to continue pursuing a ground water substitution plan for even more surface water transfers.   (Every gallon of Lake McClure water that goes outside the MID permitted area must come from an alternative source, and for the LDPCSD that is ground water.)  I keep telling him to kick back, enjoy life and to not let this water business concern him any more.   No one else seems to care, why should he? Life is short.  Enjoy it as much as possible. Gee, what else is there to say?

Our best to you and yours.


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