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LDPCSD Regular Board Meeting, Monday, October 20th, 2014
Staff and all directors present with exception of Emery Ross.
Director Comment made in the Regular Meeting just before adjournment for a Closed Session discussion. >>>>>>>>>>>>>
DIRECTOR COMMENT by Lew Richardson, VP
The intentional disregard for an equal opportunity recruitment process, initiated by a director with obvious conflicting interests, was never-the-less utilized by four members of this public agency Board on October 3, 2014 to accept the only management proposal that could have possibly been presented which was the specific objective of that unethical closed recruitment process.
Perhaps this should be of no surprise considering this district’s history of shameful incidents, including but not limited to: the Grand Jury removal of a director for providing false information; replacement of the board president for highly inappropriate conduct (same director who orchestrated the closed recruitment process); confidential/privileged district information relayed to the public; a sitting director’s water meter being installed backwards so it would not read consumption; concealment, fabrication and destruction of official district records; outright fabrications of the truth contained in director written reports; vandalism of district equipment; and the total destruction by fire of our district administrative office during a record search regarding outside Place Of Use water diversions.
There are thousands of district customers that do not attend meetings who are never-the-less entitled to fair, objective and ethical leadership from their board of directors. Sadly this will never occur when such behind the scene director micro-managing is accepted, tolerated, and allowed to flourish unabated.
My best to you and yours, Lew
CORRECTION ON THE VOTE HIRING KAMPA COMPANY (Oct 15th, 2014)
WELL, just listened to some of the audio of the Friday, Oct 3, 2014 LDPCSD meeting. As previously noted I missed that vote due to walking out of the board room in absolute disgust and feeling sick to my stomach with the continuing “behind the scene” conduct by Emery Ross. Evidently no one really cares.
Was I the ONLY DIRECTOR not talking about the confidential/privileged information sent to me about the coming GM vacancy?
ANYWAY, listening to the audio I was surprised to discover the information communicated to me by Chuck Day regarding the vote was either misunderstood or misrepresented some way. Day told me he was against immediately accepting the proposal (which was clear in the meeting) but in actuality he voted in favor of the “surprise proposal” contingent upon his suggestion that our CSD attorney approve the contract.
CORRECTION: So the actual vote for approving Pete Kamp’s company to conduct the business of this district until a permanent GM can be recruited and hired was 4-0, not 3-1 as I had understood. I apologize for this misunderstanding. This is really not a big surprise since Mr. Day has much time left on the board (I do not envy him one bit) and starting off voting against the new manager would undoubtedly be used against him. It was painfully clear Ross, Afanasiev and Johnson were going through with accepting the proposal. Can’t beat them, join them?
President Day’s suggestion of making an immediate appointment contingent upon our CSD attorney ultimately approving the contract DID NOT confront my objection as to the process used to insert that proposal into the agenda. There was no public transparency of that process.
HOW COULD A MANAGEMENT PROPOSAL BE SUBMITTED AND ACCEPTED BEFORE THE GM VACANCY WAS ANNOUNCED?
Leslie Farrow, part of the “hire immediately group” made a statement with the unintended result of actually confirming and supplying evidence as to my concern that confidential information was wrongfully relayed by Ross to the benefit of one particular company looking for such business.
Although dismissing my concerns of Director Ross divulging confidential information as being “ridiculous” and attempting to provide yet another defense for Emery’s consistent micro-managing of district business behind the scenes, Ms Farrow accidently confirmed the reality.
Leslie Farrow: “I think the contingency plan is the best course of action, get him (KAMPA) in here get it down the road….but the one thing I want to say that’s unexcusable and if he (RICHARDSON) had stayed here what I was going to tell him is that, you know, unfortunately this is a small community and he (ROSS) got a phone call that he retired (GM RALPH FELIX). Let me tell you, all day long at the Coyote Fest everybody there knew that he retired (laughing by Ross – cross talk) so, you know, (cross talk) this is, this is ridiculous that he (Richardson) thinks that he (ROSS) was micro-managing that was, that was out five minutes after it happened.”
The Coyote Fest was held on September 27th, 2014, and KAMPA’s management proposal for the Lake Don Pedro Community Service District was already in the works on September 25th, 2014.
“That was out five minutes after it happened” ???
Thanks for the information Leslie.
NOW BACK TO THE ORIGINAL POSTING>>>>
Here is the simple explanation as to why there has been so much fighting and arguing through the years about water service in this area. Section 6.0 of the Merced Irrigation District water contract with our Lake Don Pedro CSD clearly identifies where Merced River water can be legally served.
INSERT MIDPOU SECTION 6.0:
Isn’t it interesting that EMERY and BETSIE ROSS do not reside in the legal service area of this special district?
How can EMERY even be a director on the board with such a special/conflicting interest?
How can he vote on ANY ISSUE concerning outside MIDPOU water service? Or personally recruit the “new” manager who once worked here and has supported such expansion in the past?
How can water intended for domestic residential use in the subdivision be diverted to run a private for-profit foothill cattle ranch?
Why is this ground well water – from our one well (that was specifically constructed to serve outside POU properties and is the necessary “other source” for diversions outside the POU), paid for by the 99% of customers who live (or own property) in the legal service area of the Lake Don Pedro subdivision?
Is it really any surprise EMERY and BETSIE ROSS have diligently fought to expand district service boundaries in an effort to distract attention from their own outside PLACE OF USE business?
So, how did the ROSS’s obtain a water meter for their cattle ranch? Apparently by wrongfully claiming a meter from another contract that had NOTHING TO DO WITH THEIR RANCH and THEY WERE CLEARLY ADVISED OF THIS FACT AT THE TIME THEY PURCHASED THE RANCH PROPERTY – (last paragraph page one). That first meter was subsequently removed due to the complaint of the rightful owner but how did they obtain a replacement? Even without a meaningless/sham of an annexation?
INSERT STURTEVANT RANCH LETTER RE ROSS METER
INSERT GM KENT LETTER:
LOTS OF CONFUSION? Hardly confusion. It was clearly intentional.
Emery once accused me of calling him a “WATER THIEF” which I never did – he himself coined that term —– (regarding the apparent unaccounted for water from an undocumented water line running through his ranch serving other outside MIDPOU ranches) gosh, who would know better what his motives/actions truly were when he “liberated” the Sturtevant Ranch meter for his own use? Perhaps some might consider “water thief” an accurate description in a number of matters with which Emery has been intimately involved through the decades?
Ironically, Emery’s obtaining that meter and then getting caught essentially “Blew the whistle” on several other properties that had also wrongfully claimed/obtained Sturtevant Ranch meters under that 1969 agreement. Emery’s meter was installed in 1993, but he wasn’t even busted for that appropriation for another nine years!
SO AGAIN, I ask, why should 99% of the legal customers subsidize the ROSS CATTLE RANCH or ANY OTHER OUTSIDE MIDPOU PROPERTY?
Why don’t outside POU properties simply pay for the added costs for that SPECIAL BENEFIT of ground water substitution for surface water (lake) transfers? Oh. Too expensive for them, but OK to pass the costs to legitimate users of Merced River water?
Think about this, EMERY and BETSIE ROSS support the concept of installing more ground wells to expand outside POU service and believe since all customers already pay for the old well they should be required to also pay for the installation, maintenance, repair and replacement of several more. Can you imagine the expense?
Now can you guess what our ”new contract manager”, PETER KAMPA, did just before leaving Lake Don Pedro back in 1997 and going to McCloud CSD up in northern California? (That’s where he negotiated a contract with the Nestle Corporation for a water bottling plant which was ultimately abandoned and left that community in absolute bitter turmoil.)
CUSTOMERS, (residents AND water availability properties in the subdivision) you had better wake up and smell the chlorine before you end up footing a massive funding project for future and extremely expensive ground wells to supply water t0 many more outside MIDPOU properties. There are only 35 properties on the list right now but many more wanting water service. (Go figure in this drought prone foothill environment.) Imagine what sort of service expansion will occur if there is suddenly more ground water available for the increased profit dreams of Emery and his followers? (Don’t forget some of his supporters can vote in district elections even though they don’t receive water, legally cannot receive water, and don’t pay a single penny to the district! What a racket.)
We only have one ground well right now on Ranchito Drive that was specifically installed to permit the continued water service to existing properties outside the MIDPOU. (Wells in this fractured rock geology can be pretty undependable also.) Even now there are those who are discussing the possibility of rescinding the recent district resolution which prevents further outside MIDPOU water service. That resolution was based on the sound evidence of a complicated well study and the professional opinions of our engineer and attorney.
Perhaps it is not too late to stop, or at least slow, this affront to fairness by generating some letters to county and state agencies and/or your governmental representatives? Let them know you are against this continuing attempt at expansion of our service boundaries that will certainly occur AT YOUR EXPENSE. Complaints to the county district attorneys of Tuolumne and Mariposa? Requests for investigation by their respective Grand Juries? Ask the Merced Irrigation District (MID) why they allow this to continue. Maybe even the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) might take notice if enough of you get involved and write to them questioning what the heck is happening in Lake Don Pedro?
Seriously, does it seem fair or reasonable to expand our service area when the water license and contract with MID clearly prohibits such outside service? Isn’t that putting the CART BEFORE THE HORSE …..once again? Do you want this surface water treatment plant to be transformed into ground water substitution scheme for surface water (lake) transfers to other properties not entitled to our licensed water? Just to make their properties more valuable while jeopardizing the water service for everyone?
You probably already know what I’m going to say……so say it with me…..only those properties receiving the special benefit of outside MIDPOU water service should be required to pay for those added costs! Other than that,
LET THE WATER FLOW!
My best to you and yours, Lew
Oh yeah, to be posted soon…. How Emery Ross once threatened the district with criminal charges that would be very expensive for the district but he would be willing to “settle” the matter; how he vowed to make lives miserable with his presence at board meetings (he sure has been successful in that endeavor on both sides of the dais), how a previous attorney advised the board not to respond to his questions, and even warned him not to harass district employees, and much, much more.
Almost forgot, did you know when he was president, he personally racked up approximately $10,000 in telephone calls to state departments with ridiculous questions he could have researched for himself?
I’m exhausted, later.
I was curious as to how that contract PETE KAMPA negotiated between the McCloud CSD as its General Manager and the Nestle corporation, which wanted to purchase 200 million gallons of local water for bottling, turned out a few years back. NOTE: Pete Kampa worked for the McCloud CSD for 7 years.
Read the short paragraph below and note the method of operation – quick board action without sufficient investigation and research.
Many assumed a discussion would be had, questions fielded, and the community would then work together to assess options. They thought they were there to hear about a proposal. But after Kampa and Palais did their PowerPoints, the crowd was dumbfounded when the gavel struck and Dragseth and the other four board members voted unanimously to sign the contract right then and there. The deal was done.
Very familiar as to how PETE KAMPA’s management contract was approved at last Firday’s Oct 3, 2014 LDPCSD meeting. No real discussion of options or alternatives. Just DIRECTOR EMERY ROSS micromanaging again and calling his old friend and former co-worker PETE KAMPA, and secretly relaying that the Lake Don Pedro Community Services District General Manager’s position was open – even though the information was confidential/privileged for directors only.
WITHOUT ANY PUBLIC NOTICE OR ADVERTISING OF THE GM OPENING, KAMPA had a FIRST STRIKE management proposal and CONTRACT READY FOR SIGNING at the meeting only two days later.
Three directors signed it, one voted no, the other walked out “sick to his stomach” with the typical non-transparent governmental action and favoritism typical of DIRECTOR EMERY ROSS. Yes, my stomach feels better thank you.
No research into Mr. Kampa’s previous employment took place regarding our LDPCSD or other locations like McCloud CSD or Tuolumne Utilities District (where his employment was terminated). There was no opportunity to question KAMPA about the circumstances of his prior resignation from our LDPCSD or the complaints from customers shortly before he left. No chance to ask about his expanding the District’s SOI (Sphere of Influence) through Mariposa County even though such service outside the legal Place of Use under License 11395 is clearly prohibited.
Anyway, seems our new LDPCSD manager PETE KAMPA, has a history of such behind the scene behavior up in Siskiyou County as well. Unfortunately, I now believe KAMPA was definitely working with ROSS on his CLOSED RECRUITMENT FOR CRONIES CRAP, but of course that is just my opinion.
READ MORE ABOUT THIS: Stop NESTLE WATERS
My best to you and yours, Lew
Hey folks, I was poking around the internet last night after giving my almost 10 year old German Shepherd Dog a bath – which is becoming a more regular part of our routine now. You know, it must be some kind of canine instinct to dread a bath. Perhaps because they lose their “hunting scent” or “normal odor” yet every single time the seemingly unpleasant deed is done and they resume life with a squeaky clean body – it is quite obvious they feel and certainly act so much happier.
After a bath my dogs have always run circles around me while communicating with more “non bark” vocalizations, you know, playful growling, woofs, and yaps…the crouching on front legs and pouncing off in different directions. Often they will impulsively pick up a stick, piece of bark or scrap of ANYTHING and attempt to goat me into a game of “keep away”. Chase me! Chase me! (Which of course I will always participate.)
Tara still becomes quite playful and vocal after a bath and though she can no longer move about as she once did, she clearly communicates her pleasure, comfort, and appreciation. For so many years I would slowly shake off a night’s sleep and as previously vivid dreams evaporated into nothingness and lost memory – they were simultaneously replaced with the steady upbeat cadence of a thumping tail signaling the excitement of a new day. It certainly was a great way to start the day. I dearly miss that thumping tail, but the ears and eyes still talk volumes.
ANYWAY….although by no means representative of everything on the internet regarding this matter, I did run across some information about our new manager that I thought should be shared.
HERE’S SOME INFO FROM ZOOMINFO: http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Pete-Kampa/35187507
Employment History mentions PETE KAMPA was to be the next California Special Districts Association president (but had to resign evidently due to the later employment termination at TUD-(Tuolumne Utilities District); General Manager at TUD; General Manager at Technische Universiteit Delft; Manager at Technische Unversiteit Delft; and General Manager of Twain Harte Community Services District.
LEW’S NOTE: Didn’t see any mention of Lake Don Pedro Community Services District and his time spent here as plant manager or his work towards expanding our district service boundaries to include properties OUTSIDE THE LEGAL PLACE OF USE UNDER WATER LICENSE 11395! Somewhat of a conflicted career – the exploitation of water resources for those not entitled here in Don Pedro, assisting in the exporting of good clean American water to foreign countries for cash in McCloud, but then transforming into a leader in protecting and conserving our precious water resources.
LEW’s NOTE: LOOKED IT UP ON THE ONLINE DICTIONARY:
Delft University of Technology (Dutch: Technische Universiteit Delft [?t??.ni.s? ?y.ni.v?r.si.?t?i?t ?d??(?)ft]), also known as TU Delft, is the largest and oldest Dutch public technical university, located in Delft, Netherlands. With eight faculties and numerous research institutes it hosts over 19,000 students (undergraduate and postgraduate), more than 3,300 scientists and more than 2,200 people in the support and management staff.
The university was established on January 8, 1842 by King William II of the Netherlands as a Royal Academy, with the main purpose of training civil servants for the Dutch East Indies. The school rapidly expanded its research and education curriculum, becoming first a Polytechnic School in 1864, Institute of Technology in 1905, gaining full university rights, and finally changing its name to Delft University of Technology in 1986.
LEW’S NOTE: FINALLY, HERE’S A PIECE OF AN ARTICLE FROM THE SONORA UNION DEMOCRAT ON October 10th, 2006 THAT MENTIONS US……
Kampa is new TUD manager…….
….Kampa, 44, is the former operations manager for the Lake Don Pedro Community Services District. He also worked for seven years as the general manager of McCloud Community Services District in Siskiyou County before getting the Twain Harte job in May 2005.
Kampa said he planned to give the Twain Harte district notice today and that advertising for his replacement will begin immediately. (GOING TO TUD)
LEW’s NOTE: “ADVERTISING FOR HIS REPLACEMENT WILL BEGIN IMMEDIATELY”???
Wow. See? KAMPA knows how GM recruitment is supposed to work – advertising for replacement is immediate……not immediate replacement without advertising.
Sure was expedient and convenient to have friends like Director EMERY & Betsie ROSS who can circumvent annoying rules or procedures that get in their way.
Of course none of this could have been accomplished without assistance from Directors Victor Afanasiev and Danny Johnson who apparently also didn’t think advertising the GM position was necessary for fair competition to select the best qualified GM.
There was no serious researching of the sole applicant solicited by DIRECTIOR E&B ROSS. Wasn’t necessary. ROSS knows what he wants.
AFTERALL, ROSS IS THE BOSS, RIGHT HOSS?
“act first, analyze later’ approach”????
Typical modus operandi of E&B ROSS and followers!
This old article was evidently written before Mr. KAMPA became concerned about keeping clean California water as a local resource treasure – back then I guess it was just a money maker.
I took the liberty of highlighting some of the parts concerning MR. KAMPA’s work while at the McCLOUD COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT (MCSD) in Siskiyou County up north.
Interesting connection between the two GMs and Twain Harte CSD huh? Sure wonder about the other connections.
Spring / Summer 2007
Petition to California Supreme Court
by Diane Lowe and Betsy Phair, Concerned McCloud Citizens
Nestlé water draw would reduce flows to the McCloud River – photo by Mark Gibson
In the latest legal effort to prevent the privatization of our precious water supply, Don Mooney, attorney for Concerned McCloud Citizens (CMC), filed a Petition for Review with the California Supreme Court. The Petition challenges the Appellate Court decision of January 2007, which reinstated the contract between the McCloud Community Services District (MCSD) and Nestlé Waters North America and reversed our initial victory. The contract, signed in October 2003 without due public process and environmental reviews, has been the subject of ongoing legal proceedings since March, 2004. This latest Petition is considered to be a long shot, as only a small percentage of cases are accepted to be reviewed by the Supreme Court. A decision on whether the Court will review the case is expected soon, possibly by the end of April, 2007.
In his Petition, Mooney wrote “Nestlé received an entitlement to ‘proceed,’ without an analysis of the environmental impacts under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) first… The Court allowed the respondent agency to approve a large withdrawal of water in an extremely sensitive environmental setting by conditioning the approval on compliance with CEQA at a later date. By doing so, the court endorsed the ‘act first, analyze later’ approach to CEQA.”
If the January 2007Appellate Court decision goes unchallenged, it could impact the timing of approvals of similar projects. We are concerned that this ruling could be construed to permit public agencies and others to enter into long term project agreements prior to a CEQA analysis.
Previously, the Siskiyou Superior Court declared the contract (for the purchase and sale of spring water between Nestlé and the MCSD) null and void. The court stated …that the approval of the agreement constitutes an initial and integral stage of the ‘proposed project’. Nestlé appealed the Superior Court decision in the 3rd Appellate District Court. The Appellate Court reversed the trial courts opinion and ruled against CMC in January 2007. “The court concluded the District’s approval and execution of the agreement with Nestlé did not constitute approval of a project within the meaning of CEQA. On the positive side, however, the Appellate Court also ruled that the Nestlé contract was a “tentative” contract with a 5-year contingency period in which Nestlé must secure all discretionary permits (including CEQA documentation), reviews, and approvals “along with final adjudication of any legal challenges based on CEQA.” The contingency period for contract ends on October 1, 2008.Environmental Review of the Nestlé Project
On July 14, 2006, Pacific Municipal Consultants and the County Planning Department released the three-volume Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) on the proposed Nestlé project in McCloud. In spite of the short time allowed for public review of the huge document, environmental attorneys, hydrologists, CMC, and other groups and citizens found that it was very inadequate, because it lacked the cumulative data for decision makers to make informed decisions. An EIR must have a detailed project description and include potentially significant environmental impacts associated with it. The County reputedly received over 2000 comments from citizens and local environmental groups, including the Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center.
These comments expressed concern about the potential impacts to McCloud, the region and state, considering the lack of cumulative hydrological information of the Squaw Valley, Mud Creeks, and the McCloud River Basin. Moreover, the proposed factory building would be one million square feet; it is estimated that every structure in McCloud could fit inside it. This would have major impacts on the town, both visually and environmentally. The contract also allows for segregated pipes from the community-owned springs to bring water directly to the Nestlé plant, affecting much of the McCloud community’s spring water supply. Other concerns include: carbon emissions, traffic, property value decline, destruction of old mill buildings, water rights, and the potential effects of global climate change on future water supplies.
The Final Environmental Impact Report is expected soon. It is possible that a supplement to the initial Draft Environmental Impact Report may be released first. When the Final EIR is released, the public will have a brief time to respond, followed by County Planning Commission review and the Siskiyou County Supervisors’ CEQA Public Hearing.
McCloud’s Managers, Negotiators and Board Changes
Many of the decision makers and employees involved with the contract, signed in 2003, have moved out of the area. It seems ironic that the former district manager and chief negotiator of the contract, Pete Kampa, is no longer in McCloud. The manager who replaced Kampa in McCloud, has also moved on to again replace Pete Kampa, this time in Twain Harte, CA.
During this critical time, the MCSD is functioning without a manager. Only one board member of the five remains from the Board that signed the contract with Nestlé for this massive water mining, bottling and distribution center. The only other negotiator remaining is the current MCSD attorney, Sacramento-based David McMurchie, who was hired to negotiate the contract just two months before it was signed.
When a new manager is hired, many residents hope that the MCSD board and manager will concentrate on the responsibilites and authorities granted to the District: primarily providing services to the District rate payers, such as water, sewer, parks, library, and garbage. The previous manager publicly stated his goal as getting the Nestlé project going at all costs, including apparently the neglect of other MCSD responsibilities. The Nestlé issue has polarized this small community, demonstrating how a large corporation can adversely influence small town politics.
Water Issues Nationwide
Profound and long term water issues are currently creating conflict throughout the country and the world. Large corporations, such as Nestlé Waters of North America and its parent company Nestlé Waters France, are moving quickly to take advantage of what is often the last remaining resource of many struggling and financially strapped communities. Under the guise of solving the communities’ dilemmas, they usually catch the citizens off guard. Often it is only after the corporate plants are in operation that the public sadly develops a true understanding of the issues. This has happened in Maine, Michigan, Florida, and California. When lower courts rule against this corporate take-over, the corporations appeal and the cases eventually wind up in the higher courts. Whatever the legal arguments, the looming questions remain: Who, if anyone, has a right to mine the people’s water and haul it away to distant locations for excessive profit? Who really owns the water and who should remain the custodian of that water?
We remain deeply concerned about the potential negative impacts of a huge Nestlé water-bottling plant to our natural resources, our environment, and our town.
$ $ $ $ $ $ $
YUP, I saw a video years ago about what Nestle was doing in other parts of the United States – basically exploiting local water resources and exporting our best water to other countries.
Heck, China is doing the same thing: their gigantic cargo freighters fill our Walmarts, Targets, etc., with cheap crap and their empty ships have returned to China pulling long strings of huge “plastic bladders” of fresh, clean water from the USA to replenish their suffering aquifers back home.
Everyone wants something.
Why does EMERY and BETSIE ROSS want PETE KAMPA back here so badly?
All that cheap unimproved ranchland that with only a good supply of water could be transformed into great wealth for buddy property owners?
Maybe a host of planned residential developments proposed by some acquaintances desperately in need of that “liquid gold” to create untold riches? (Ground wells are expensive you know, that’s why these developers don’t want to drill their own and that’s why EMERY & Betsie ROSS & Company want to pass those significant costs on to all customers of the LDPCSD! Makes the profit margin much better!)
Will PETE KAMPA simply continue his attempt to exploit our Water License resources to other properties outside the legal Place of Use and possibly jeopardize water service to the 99% of legal customers in the subdivision? Then maybe just leave again for better hunting grounds?
What a small world and getting smaller all the time, huh? Sure seems as though some of these GMs are dancing all over the place crisscrossing paths while leaving a trail of water exploitation and community turmoil. Ahh, a disorganized and vulnerable community — just the way micro-managing directors like EMERY (& Betsie) ROSS prefer.
I have only scratched the surface here—there is so much more and soon, unfortunately, there will be more time to address it properly.
I know there are some that do not care for this blog or my rambling opinions and attempts at humor and that is fine, but please log off and go do something else equally undesirable for yourself. What I have to say is only for those who might actually give a rat’s ass as to why our Community Services District continues to be misdirected by particular disingenuous individuals with obvious special and conflicting interests concerning the proper functioning of this district.
Victor Afanasiev and Danny Johnson you should both be ashamed of yourselves for jumping into yet another one of EMERY & BETSIE ROSS’s surreptitious and duplicitous schemes without a shred of adequate investigation and research into the matter.
You were either hoodwinked, don’t care or support such dishonesty because I know you are not stupid.
I believe you betrayed your sworn/affirmed oath to a public you claim to serve by taking the easy (but very dangerous) path of following Emery and Betsie’s call. Very confusing as the three of you would likely have achieved your choice of GM anyway had you only performed your duties as intended under the BROWN ACT – with the transparency of government action open to the public for review and participation. (Just because someone like Cal Limbocker who claims to be trained in HUMAN RESOURCES supported such rash action (and is a candidate for the LDPCSD Board in next month’s election) it is no excuse not to perform your duties with an unbiased approach.
Public transparency? Oh please, even the board president and vice president were excluded and kept in the dark concerning your plans of hiring Kampa. What chance does the public have?
Perhaps you wanted to rush this through in hopes no one would notice you were slack on the job and just followers of a director with such conflicted interests someone should write a book about his crazy antics which assisted in creating this Merced Irrigation District Place of Use nightmare in the first place.
Oh yes, wait to you understand that tidbit.
Perhaps it is simply that — just cowardly apprehension that even a little due diligence might have revealed dishonorable personal, business, or political motives by others?
I really don’t know how you sleep at night.
My best to you and yours, Lew
Haste (According to online Merriam-Webster):
speed of motion or action: quickness or eagerness that can result in mistakes:
1) rapidity of motion
2) rash or headlong action
3) undue eagerness to act
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
You know folks, I need to “take a deep breath” and “slow down” myself. I have a lot going on right now but am compelled to get this information out, so please excuse if there are mistakes. I’m distracted and exhausted.
ANYWAY, I recognize no one starts with the same information or understanding of any given subject. So, perhaps the best place to proceed is by posting the agenda packet material which prompted my emphatic objections that the entire process was improper and unethical.
NOTE: Since the management proposal (and contract ready for immediate signature) was in the board packet for public dissemination, I can only believe Mr. PETE KAMPA has no concerns about any terms being confidential or privileged so I will post all the pages and cite a few in support my questioning and concerns.
I have already spoken with one customer who felt the maximum of 20 work hours a week [PAGE 19 under General Management Responsibilities] and the compensation of $75,000 for the first year plus possible incidentals, [PAGE 18, bottom paragraph] was a great deal for KAMPA but not so wonderful for the DISTRICT.
Anyway, I do have some questions and maybe after viewing this, you folks might have some of your own. Here we go:
Why did Directors Emery Ross, Victor Afanasiew and Danny Johnson ignore the professional advice of GM Ralph Felix on how to proceed with the recruitment and selection process for a new GM? [PAGE 16 LDPCSD STAFF REPORT by GM]
Directors VICTOR AFANASIEV and DANNY JOHNSON were aware of the correct procedures to select a replacement GM – they participated with the CEA (California Employer’s Association) in selecting Ralph Felix. The CEA helps protect a public agency such as ours from improperly conducting recruitment which could result in serious problems…..ahhh, down stream you might say.
Why was the Personnel Committee not tasked with responsibility of recruitment?
When did these three directors decide to forego normal recruitment of a GM?
When did they first learn of the KAMPA management proposal?
Why were Directors EMERY ROSS, VICTOR AFANASIEV, and DANNY JOHNSON so determined to push through and approve only one proposal by PETE KAMPA which was solicited by Director ROSS?
Should EMERY ROSS have recused himself from voting on the matter because of his continuing friendship and past working relationship with PETE KAMPA?
JUST BEFORE THE CLOCK STRUCK TWELVE!
The KAMPA PROPOSAL was sent to the CSD OFFICE and EMERY ROSS on Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 at 1158 PM – only two minutes before midnight. [PAGE 17]
Note that Kampa does not indicate how he came to “understand that your District manager has resigned effective the end of this week”.
The original agenda had no mention of the KAMPA PROPOSAL and was printed on or before September 30th, because I received one on Tuesday, September 30th with the CSD project list. Then it was suddenly changed on Oct 1st to include the proposal for a meeting on Oct 3rd! Who pushed that change?
During the Friday, Oct 3rd Special Meeting I questioned EMERY ROSS as to telephoning PETE KAMPA and divulging confidential information concerning the GM resignation. ROSS stated he had not read the September 23rd email sent to him by the GM and had only heard about the GM resigning from some citizen. Then he called KAMPA with the news.
QUESTION: WHO WAS THIS CITIZEN WITH CONFIDENTIAL/PRIVILEGED INFORMAITON who thought they should advise a micro-managing director that the GM had resigned?
THINKING CAP TIME FOLKS! lol
If you were a director on a board and some citizen told you your GM had resigned, and you didn’t know a thing about the matter, wouldn’t you first check your emails/telephone messages, etc. from the office or at least place a call to the office and/or GM to find out what the heck was going on?
Does it seem reasonable, responsible, or proper that the first person EMERY ROSS telephoned was his old friend and co-worker PETE KAMPA who just happened to be the GM of his own consulting management firm looking for more business?
[PAGE 18: NOTE the job name and date under the KAMPA COMMUNITY SOLUTIONS, LLC letterhead: Lake Don Pedro Community Services District, and under that?
September 25, 2014 !
This appears to be evidence that PETE KAMPA was certainly aware of the GM vacancy at least FIVE DAYS prior to sending in his very late night proposal on September 30th.
Did it take five days to create that “boilerplate” type pdf proposal - working feverishly until almost midnight on Tuesday?
COULD KAMPA have, (in concert with and per the instructions of EMERY & maybe BETSIE ROSS), intentionally withheld sending the email to bolster EMERY ROSS’s story of hearing about the resignation some time after the confidential email in hopes of indicating a last minute process and not violating the confidential/privileged nature of the communication?
OBVIOUSLY PETE KAMPA KNEW ABOUT THE RESIGNATION ONLY TWO DAYS AFTER DIRECTORS RECEIVED THE GM’S CONFIDENTIAL RESIGNATION LETTER!
Why wasn’t the proposal sent September 25th, when there would have been sufficient time for all directors to study the proposal, schedule a meeting to discuss, and then make a decision?
IS KAMPA EMERY ROSS’S TYPE OF GM? – GROW THE DISTRICT OUTSIDE THE MIDPOU LEGAL PLACE OF USE BOUNDARIES AND SPREAD THE COST WITH THOSE WHO DON’T EVEN RECEIVE THAT EXPENSIVE BENEFIT!
Yup, good ‘ol EMERY ROSS has done it again. Naturally he wants KAMPA to come back to the LDPCSD.
I wonder if EMERY ROSS, VICTOR AFANASIEV or DANNY JOHNSON BEFORE THEY VOTED TO ACCEPT THE KAMPA PROPOSAL were aware of the whole story about his prior employment at our LDPCSD?
According to my sources there were a number of customer complaints that were to be filed against PETE KAMPA right before he resigned in the Fall of 1997. The board certainly didn’t discuss this at last Friday’s Special Board Meeting. There was no prior or substantive discussion regarding KAMPA’s prior employment or difficulties while with the LDPCSD at all.
Were these directors aware PETE KAMPA, right before he resigned as Plant Manager for the LDPCSD, pushed for and received authorization to proceed with Sphere of Influence boundary adjustments to include other outside the LEGAL Place of Use properties for potential future water service customers?
THE ONLY WAY to supply that water is to drill many more ground wells to provide another source of water other than Lake McClure (which you should know by now, cannot be used by outside MIDPOU (Merced Irrigation District Place Of Use) properties due to restrictions in Water License 11395…..say it!….Water License 11395.
Is this management proposal evidence of PETE KAMPA’s continued program of district expansion just like EMERY ROSS desires, along with all those folks who pay nothing to the district yet vote in district elections? There’s much more to this folks, but I have some happy/sad work to perform.
My best to you and yours, Lew
PETE KAMPA MANAGEMENT PROPOSAL BELOW GM STAFF REPORT
My best to you and yours, Lew
My best to you and yours, Lew
Thanks for your thoughts.
LDPCSD is a California Special District, right? A public agency accountable to the taxpayers and citizens it is supposed to ethically and honorably represent, right? I mean they take a sworn (or affirmed) Oath of Office to do that, right? A public agency which you would naturally assume to be an EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER, right?
NOT WHEN EMERY ROSS aka “MUMBLES THE COYBOY” IS INVOLVED
AS BOARD PRESIDENT
DUE TO A GRAND JURY REQUEST
TAUGHT THIS WANNA BE ATV COWBOY
ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT HIS
Director Emery Ross has once again decided to flex his micro-managing muscle and personally orchestrate a situation where his long time friend and former LDPCSD co-worker was the ONLY APPLICANT TO FILL A VACANT IGM POSITION THAT NO ONE WAS SUPPOSED TO KNOW ABOUT. THAT’S the kicker….the vacancy was only announced in a privileged and confidential email to the LDPCSD Directors.
Loose lips sink ships right? (Or maybe a lucrative contract?)
The notice at the bottom of the September 23, 2014 email which contained the attached resignation letter stated:
“The information contained in this email transmission is legally privileged and confidential information intended only for the use of the individual or entity to whom it is addressed. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, or copying of this email message is strictly prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please do not read, copy, or retransmit this communication, but destroy it immediately. Thank you.”
During Friday’s meeting Emery said he hadn’t seen the GM’s resignation email but merely heard the news from someone else…..Sounds more like the typical EMERY ROSS “the dog ate my homework excuse”. Not too believable, but it would fit with the late night faxing of A FIRST STRIKE PROPOSAL BASED ON INSIDER INFORMATION.
But why would Emery take it upon himself to call his friend with this “heads-up” confidential information (resignation wasn’t publically announced) when the agenda was already prepared? Come to think of it, how was that agenda so suddenly and covertly changed to have Emery’s friend’s proposal with prepared contract ready for signature in a public agenda board packet?
QUESTION: HOW CAN ANYONE APPLY/SUBMIT A PROPOSAL FOR A JOB WHEN THE OPEN POSITION HASN’T EVEN BEEN OFFICIALLY NOTICED YET?
ANSWER: HAVE ONE OR MORE DIRECTORS ON THE BOARD WHO DON’T UNDERSTAND (OR CARE) ABOUT THE OATH OF OFFICE THEY TOOK.
NEVER MET HIM TO MY KNOWLEDGE
I’ve read and watched some information about Kampa’s personal energy in the field of water treatment and for the most part thought it quite complimentary. I agreed with some of his ideas and comments. The fact Kampa was terminated from his position at TUD (Tuolumne Utilities District) about a year ago really wasn’t too earth shattering for me since the voting public often does not understand the issues and the hard unpopular decisions that must be made in order to keep the water flowing. I always figured it was a local political thing, similar to our situation here in Lake Don Pedro.
A handful of people that don’t know their assets from a hole in the ground call all their friends and acquaintances telling them who the best candidate is who won’t raise their rates and give them everything they want for Christmas!
Then POOF! An otherwise competent and goal oriented GM/DIRECTOR hits the road because of rumors and disinformation. But now, after meeting him for the first time and observing the connection with EMERY ROSS, perhaps my natural inclination to believe the best in people was misplaced in this situation? Just like it was with EMERY ROSS.
THINK ABOUT THIS
As the former GM of TUD (Tuolumne Utilities District) Mr. Kampa was obviously all too familiar with the often cumbersome restrictions and regulations of the Brown Act, Request For Proposals, standard operating procedures, etc. . He is familiar with the typical district and how transparency in government is crucial to public trust — especially when about the only news a customer gets is the notice of a rate increase.
Perhaps there is no hard core illegality going on here, but face it, there is clear evidence that smacks of favoritism in a governmental process of recruiting the best person/company for a very important job. Kampa may be the best solution for the position, but thwarting an honest above board recruitment process that is open to all who might be interested is cause for pause.
A SNEAKY PETE OR NOT? (I really don’t know)
Didn’t any alarm bells go off in Kampa’s head? I mean, his long time friend DIRECTOR EMERY ROSS was providing him with “insider trading” type information. The Board could have met and determined going with Kampa may have been the best thing to do, but when things are done contrary to the norm and in secrecy, I get nervous.
When Emery is involved I know there is a reason to slow down and consider things carefully because, frankly, Emery is less than candid. Didn’t Kampa wonder or worry how Emery might try to assist him and fix things behind the scene? Seriously, Kampa has known Emery for two decades and anyone who knows Emery is aware that he pretty much does and says as he pleases with little or no accountability. If you personally speak with him for a while you would understand this. Shouldn’t Kampa have wondered why a sitting Director on a CSD Board would provide him WITH FIRST STRIKE OPPORTUNITY TO GET HIS PROPOSAL in before others? Didn’t Kampa sense something was wrong when he sent such information to EMERY ROSS personally at 1158 PM on September 30th – the same day the original agenda was prepared and distributed but then quickly changed to include only Kampa’s proposal?
Did Kampa even know his proposal was set up to be THE ONLY ONE THAT COULD HAVE POSSIBLY BEEN CONSIDERED?
Again, there may not be any hard and fast illegalities here calling for jail time or anything, but in my mind it was in violation of CSD policy regarding director conduct, and policy as to how the agenda is created (the President of the board had no idea of the agenda changes), surreptitious, under-handed, sneaky, unethical, but most of all —- all too typical for THE EMERY ROSS METHODOLOGY OF MICRO-MANAGEMENT. I have so much more to share on this later.
YES, I DID WALK OUT OF FRIDAY’S MEETING
Perfect attendance for almost four years (four year term up in December). Never missed a meeting. Have never been late for a meeting. Friday was however a breaking point. Emery and Betsie have obstructed positive district progress since they arrived in Don Pedro and started cattle ranching with water they KNEW FOR A FACT THEY WERE NOT ENTITLED UNDER THE WATER LICENSE, yet they have cultivated the false appearance as victims of a greedy selfish water district. Now they apparently plan to insulated themselves further with their long time friend as the new IGM.
When I realized precious time was being wasted discussing something three directors had already made up their minds to accomplish, and that once again EMERY and BETSIE ROSS were the instigators of another plot to help conceal how they actually wrongfully started a foothill cattle ranch using treated water unquestionably intended for domestic human consumption and in direct violation of Water License 11395, I did honestly feel sick to my stomach. Oh sure, I was angry also and that’s not healthy either.
I believe I have abstained from voting only once because the evidence in support of the motion was weak, but the results would have been significant.
On Friday I could not vote “YES” for Mr. Kampa’s proposal because as Emery spoke I recognized it was just another MUCKED UP SITUATION BECAUSE OF HIS CONSTANT INTERMEDELING AND MICRO-MANAGING OF DISTRICT BUSINESS. Certainly I couldn’t vote yes knowing that it was another EMERY ROSS CHEAT.
How could I vote no in light of the positive things I had heard about Kampa? Listening to Emery and observing his typical orchestrated theatre of a few supporters in the audience was slowly eroding any confidence in Kampa’s proposal. My belief that Mr. Kampa had undeservingly been terminated from TUD because of dirty politics was being tainted with the known underhandedness and dirty politics so typical of Emery Ross.
Yup, I felt sick to my stomach that such nonsense continues unabated.
Have much to do in a short period of time so excuse spelling, grammar, style, etc. , but until later and as always-
My Best To You And Yours, Lew
PS: MUCH MORE on all this later, but for now here is the information request I sent to the CSD office today – perhaps we can figure out what happened together?
Hello Syndie, could you please also include (with the previous request):
1) the LDPCSD policy/procedure for hiring independent contractors;
2) the standard operating procedure for solicitation and acceptance of management/consultant services;
3) the current established committees and their assigned personnel;
4) all committee meetings/reports regarding the GM vacancy
5) all LDPCSD emails (including Director and Staff) FAXES, reports, telephone messages etc., following the resignation of Ralph Felix
6) all communications with CEA (California Employer’s Association – who assisted in our last GM hiring) since the resignation letter
7) what personnel and/or Directors were involved with the preparation of the October 3rd 2014 Agenda?
8. what personnel and/or Directors were involved with changing DISCUSSION / ACTION item c. to include “management proposal from Pete Kampa”?
Seems to me what occurred at the Friday, October 3rd, 2014 Special Meeting was an intentionally constructed closed recruitment process orchestrated by Director Emery Ross to have the Lake Don Pedro Community Services District specifically contract with a personal friend of his to be the new IGM. How could any other “independent contractors” possibly compete for the position if Emery Ross didn’t call them with the news of a GM vacancy also? Why was the Board President and Vice President not notified that Director Ross was going to personally choose the next IGM? Why didn’t the LDPCSD advertise for a new IGM/GM as originally proposed in the first agenda? I cannot help but believe since Emery Ross made a point of saying I was against OUTSIDE PLACE OF USE WATER SERVICE that his personal choice for a new IGM might be more comfortable with Director Ross living outside the LEGAL PLACE OF USE under Merced Irrigation District Water License 11395 while supporting his cattle ranch with treated chlorinated water that was clearly intended for domestic residential consumption.
You know Syndie, I had hoped to sit back and quietly ride out another few months and finish my four year term without incident and just chalk it up to local political corruption and decades of cultivated low information resident apathy. My days are pretty busy taking care of Tara as she slowly fades away. I have never done so much laundry in my life! So sad, cannot use her front legs now but is in great spirits, no pain, and loves to go on cart pulls and still plays catch. I know our time is short but this latest self serving, micro-managing stunt by Emery has caused me to change my plans a bit. Obviously Ross didn’t learn anything from being removed as Board President a couple of years ago by the Grand Jury for such behavior.
Lew Richardson, Vice President, LDPCSD
Every time this has happened I am ashamed and embarrassed because I know better. You would think after the first time, or even the second time at most, a person would get the message, learn their lesson and make the appropriate changes to insure such a situation does not occur again. Although the fact patterns may be quite different, I never-the-less picked up another DWI last month and the only person deserving of blame looks back at me in the mirror. There is no escape from who is responsible.
Having had previous experience with such matters I was painfully aware of the embarrassment that would follow and fully anticipated a compounding of that humiliation because I still had 5 months to serve on my four year term with the Community Services District as a public official. (Thanks to intervention by a neighbor during the last episode the negative consequences were undoubtedly reduced.)
I predicted this last one was going to carry a much heavier financial burden than prior incidents and I was absolutely correct. Ouch! Taking responsibility for one’s action or omission to act is not only legally required but necessary in the healing process of forgiving yourself and moving forward with life. Such was the case yesterday when I put a good dent in my plastic credit card by paying what I owed. I swore to be more diligent in the future.
As with most things in life that we would probably prefer not to be involved, if one looks hard enough you might discover a silver lining to an otherwise negative experience. Although apprehensive that someone might not read carefully, understand my thought process, or appreciate my form of expression, I post this blog with the hope it may help others avoid the pitfalls of momentary inattention which can carry punishing results, both emotionally and financially.
“Over-riding” the preset on an irrigation timer by loosening the bleed screw might be a quick and easy way to provide temporary “off schedule” water to thirsty trees (on permitted watering days of course), however, being distracted by something else and forgetting to tighten it back down defeats the whole purpose of installing the equipment in the first place.
All the dedicated conservation efforts and resulting savings for a month or so can easily be lost with only one Distracted While Irrigating incident.
Despite the fact my Leland Cypress trees have not looked better in years (the silver lining that there was at least a beneficial use to the accident) I would have never considered using that much water for their continued survival.
I hereby officially “reset the clock” on my conservation efforts with the following personal caveat:
THOU SHALT NOT LOOSEN THE BLEED SCREW WITHOUT REMAINING AT THAT LOCATION UNTIL RETIGHTENING!
My best to you and yours, Lew
While reading a recent agenda packet for the Mariposa County Board of Supervisors I discovered a submitted support letter for trail indemnification by one who had previously advocated there was nothing wrong with asphalt paving and dual use of Pedestrian & Equestrian Trails with motor vehicles (despite the prohibition of such under Mariposa County Ordinance 950).
Obviously Mr. Alfier is referring to P&E, not E&P Trails. Citing this real estate term backwards would not be an earth shattering mistake if committed by an average individual unfamiliar with real estate jargon, however, Mr. Alfier has represented for decades that he is a professional real estate business owner very familiar with the Lake Don Pedro area – in fact his company’s motto is: “Serving the Lake Don Pedro area since 1968”. Two observations immediately became apparent to me after reading Mr. Alfier’s letter, bare in mind this is only my personal opinion.
1) Mr. Alfier’s comments regarding this proposed indemnity program not only evidences his confusion of the subject matter but reeks of hypocrisy considering his past support in the paving of a P&E Trail that is on his property and serves as a motor vehicle “driveway” for his formerly proposed home site; and,
2) What Harry Alfier actually served in Lake Don Pedro was Harry Alfier.
This observation is especially repugnant when you consider he doesn’t live here but routinely refers to the area as “our community” as if he shares in such problems as an average resident rather than a perpetrator and/or benefactor. Mr. Alfier resides in Modesto California yet now attempts to evade potential liability for an absolute mess he helped facilitate regarding an extremely dangerous road serving his Alamo Drive property.
[Incidentally, that property is now for sale and that dangerous nightmare of a road is advertised as a "large asphalt semi-private driveway". Perhaps a bit misleading since there is no mention of the fact this "driveway" is located on top of a dedicated P&E Trail open for public use. Prospective purchasers might not know or care for the fact a public easement is approximately 10 feet from the previously proposed residence which was never constructed. (A sign on one of the neighboring properties compromised by this road and indicating the location of the trail somehow mysteriously disappeared - right around the time the property went up for sale - imagine that.) Here is an old blog about that ad which might more accurately be renamed: POTENTIAL LIABILITY FOR SALE?]
Certainly the possession of such a dangerous nuisance on one’s property could produce a “law suit anxiety” for any owner, resident or absentee, because it is only a matter of time before someone is injured, killed or private property damaged or destroyed as a direct result of using that pathetic excuse for a traditional conforming roadway. [When considering liability issues do not forget property damage - ie, vehicle damage from a wheel abruptly leaving the drop off roadway surface or accidently starting a grass fire with a hot catalytic converter, etc.. Foothill fires are something of which every resident in the area should be concerned - fire does not recognize the limits of particular property lines.]
REAL ESTATE LETTERHEAD CORRESPONDENCE
So as not to be confusing, I will clearly identify Mr. Alfier’s comments in red, and my personal comments in BLUE CAPATILIZED LETTERS.
April 28th, 2014
The issue of liability of a property owner regarding the equestrian-pedestrian trails in our subdivision is very important.
(LEW’S VIEW) I CAN CERTAINLY UNDERSTAND WHY THIS ISSUE IS ESPECIALLY “VERY IMPORTANT” TO MR. ALFIER SINCE HIS PROPERTY IS ACCESSED BY ONE OF THE MOST DANGEROUS DEVELOPER CONVENIENCE ROADS THAT WERE CONSTRUCTED 12 YEARS AFTER THE 1991 STATE RESPONSIBILITY AREA (SRA) MINIMUM ROADWAY STANDARDS WERE ESTABLISHED. THOSE REGULATIONS WERE SPECIFICALLY CREATED TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY LOSS IN A DESIGNATED HIGH FIRE SEVERITY ZONE. MR. ALFIER’S ROAD IS NON COMPLIANT WITH SEVEN (7) OF THOSE PUBLIC SAFETY FIRE SAFE REGULATIONS.
1) NARROW ROADWAY/SRA SECTION 1273.01
2) RADIUS OF ROADWAY TURN/SRA SECTION 1273.04
3) ROADWAY SURFACE/SRA SECTION 1273.02
4) ROADWAY GRADE/SRA SECTION 1273.03
5) ROADWAY TURNOUT/SRA SECTION 1273.06
6) ROADWAY TURNAROUND/SRA 1273.05
7) DEAD-END ROAD/SRA SECTION 1273.09
The trails are definitely an asset to our community and should be protected and maintained.
(LEW’S VIEW) THERE’S THAT “OUR COMMUNITY” MISREPRESENTATION AGAIN, ALTHOUGH I CERTAINLY AGREE THE TRAIL ON ALFIER’S LOT (AND OTHERS) SHOULD HAVE BEEN PROTECTED FROM UNCONTROLLED DEVELOPMENT, THEY WERE NOT. [THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OBTAINING A PROPER GRADING PERMIT FOR ROADWAY CONSTRUCTION WHICH WOULD HAVE REQUIRED A CALFIRE INSPECTION PRIOR TO ANY WORK VERSUS OBTAINING A SIMPLE ENCROACHMENT PERMIT FOR A TRADITIONAL DRIVEWAY AND THEN CONSTRUCTING A 1,600 FOOT INFERIOR AND DANGEROUS PAVED ROAD ACCESSING MULTIPLE PROPERTIES.] MR. ALFIER’S STATED CONCERN REGARDING THE PROTECTION AND MAINTENANCE OF PEDESTRIAN & ESQUESTRIAN TRAILS SEEMS TO HAVE MATERIALZED ONLY AFTER THE LIABILITY ISSUE BECAME MORE APPARENT AND PERHAPS PERSONAL TO MR. ALFIER.
That being said, I support the idea of Mariposa County joining Tuolumne County in providing indemnity coverage for these public trails in their county.
(LEW’S VIEW) NOT A BIG SURPIRSE AND PERFECTLY UNDERSTANDABLE MR. ALFIER WOULD SUPPORT ANYTHING – OR ANYONE – THAT MIGHT ABSOLVE OR MINIMIZE HIS LIABILITY EXPOSURE FOR INJURY OR DEATH RESULTING FROM HIS DANGEROUS “LARGE ASPHALT SEMI-PRIVATE DRIVEWAY”. PLEASE DO NOT FORGET IT WAS HIS PREVIOUS “SUPPORT” FOR SUCH ROADS THAT ASSISTED IN CREATING THE PROBLEM HE NOW SEEKS TO AVOID WITH SOMEONE ELSE’S MONEY. [ALSO REMEMBER THIS IS NOT A DRIVEWAY, BUT A ROADWAY SINCE IT WAS SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED AND CONSTRUCTED TO SERVE MULTIPLE RESIDENCES. CALFIRE IS ON RECORD AS NOT RECOGNIZING IT AS A NECESSARY ACCESS ROAD; NOT HAVING THE OPPORTUNITY TO INSPECT PRIOR TO CONSTRUCTION AS IS THE NORMAL PROCEDURE FOR ROAD CONSTRUCTION; AND WOULD NEVER HAVE APPROVED IT AS A COMPLIANT ROADWAY UNDER SRA FIRE SAFE REGULATIONS.]
Respectfully yours, Harry Alfier
I realize the quality and production of the below video is quite poor but hope it will suffice to get the general idea of just how dangerous this road is and why it reasonably represents potential liability to the owners of properties it traverses.
VIDEO LINK: ROAD SERVING MR. ALFIER’S PROPERTY
This is the point: such a dangerous road COULD NEVER HAVE BEEN CONSTRUCTED IN THE FIRST PLACE IF PERTINENT LAWS, CODES, AND REGULATIONS DESIGNED TO PROTECT PUBLIC SAFETY WERE FOLLOWED. As in the past, I publically challenge ANYONE to drive that roadway and tell me with a straight face it is reasonably safe for the terrain and intended purpose of serving several homes in a designated high fire severity zone. Looks more like a golf cart path meandering through a grassy hillside. How comfortable would you sleep at night knowing the types of accidents which could result and the financial loss you might face as the property owner?
INITIALLY THOUGHT INDEMNIFICATION WAS A GOOD IDEA
When I first learned of this indemnity concept (where property owners who have a P&E Trail on their land would be insured by the County of Mariposa against injuries, death, and property damage resulting from trail use) I thought it was a reasonable request. Unfortunately, after reading Mr. Alfier’s comments I believe I now understand the true motive involved. I whole heartedly agree with, and support, County Administrative Officer Rick Benson and County Counsel Steve Dahlem’s recommendation that the County NOT pursue this liability insurance business because it simply is not fair.
Here is that July 17th letter to the Mariposa County Board of Supervisors.
Even if such a program were to be developed it should exclude all properties with such major modifications to a trail that obviously creates a greater liability exposure, such as Mr. Alfier’s advertised “large asphalt semi-private driveway” which is open to the public. Personally I believe those who circumvent established regulations designed for public safety and compromise a public trail with the intent to profit from such activity should be required to bear the resulting negative consequences of their actions. But sadly, most of us are aware of this modus operandi … intentionally violate regulations for convenience and profit then mitigate the negative consequences for compliance which usually entails some kind of detriment to other innocent parties.
Property owners who advocate Mariposa should furnish indemnification like Tuolumne County overlook a very important distinction between the two counties: Tuolumne County did not permit such developer convenience road construction on their side of the subdivision and thus effectively prevented the enhanced danger to public users. Typical isn’t it? Only a few ruin it for the vast majority who had done nothing wrong.
It is not fair for public tax dollars received from everyone in Mariposa County to be used in creating a special benefit for only those in Lake Don Pedro who have a P&E Trail on their property. This seems to be a pretty straight forward and reasonable argument.
ALREADY GOT AWAY WITH IT INITIALLY
When I complained to the Mariposa County Grand Jury about not being able to obtain work order records from the Public Works Department (which used public funds to clean up that disastrous erosion problem on Alamo Drive which affected a public roadway drainage system due to Deerwood’s redirecting of hillside natural runoff for his [and Mr. Alfier’s] developer convenience road), I was advised no such records were available. How convenient.
FOIA (Freedom Of Information Act) requests are meaningless if evidence is intentionally destroyed by a public agency to conceal wrongful activity benefitting private concerns. No records? Case closed. “Move on – nothing to see here folks”, while every taxpayer in Mariposa once again paid for an environmental clean up perpetrated by a private profit driven land development corporation exploiting the natural resources of our foothill community. Naturally, the first line of defense, that being our owners’ association, did absolutely nothing because the voting power of the land development corporation had already packed the board with supporters who betrayed their fiduciary duty to every single property owner now and for perpetuity. Dirty local politics my friends and Mr. Harry Alfier has been up to his eyeballs in such stuff since day one – in my opinion.
That “multi-million dollar corporation” was unconcerned with potential liability, much less the safety of any person who will ever use that road, when it created those convenience roads during its uncontrolled tunnel vision pursuit of profit. Why should every innocent taxpayer in the County of Mariposa again be responsible for this resulting liability exposure?
SAME ARGUMENT, JUST ANOTHER EXAMPLE
So, everyone should not be financially responsible for a special benefit to a select class if everyone does not share in that benefit? Doesn’t this seem similar to the argument I have repeatedly used against having 99% of our legal users (and future legal users) of water in the Lake Don Pedro Community Services District paying for expensive ground wells to serve 36 properties not legally entitled to such?
Does it seem fair that property owners who chose not to live in a Community Interest Development with the all too familiar constraining CC&Rs, annual assessments, board of directors, etc., can never-the-less obtain one of the greatest benefits of purchasing property in a planned community development – that being potable water?
When a recently elected CSD director announced during a board meeting that he had concluded from his experience and research that those 36 consumers OUTSIDE THE LEGAL AREA OF SERVICE UNDER THE WATER LICENSE COULD BE PAYING LESS FOR THEIR WATER than the 99% of legal users in the subdivision, well, I almost fell out of my chair.
Make no mistake, this isn’t just about 36 properties outside the legal place of use and future ground wells to supply that current demand – it is only a “foot in the door” for massive expansion plans. There are countless other properties and tens of millions of dollars in profit to be made if otherwise dry, drought prone foothill land could receive water – especially if subsidized by 99% of legal users who are ignorant as to what is really at stake for their future CSD account billing. Ever wonder why property owners outside the legal service area that do not receive water or financially contribute to the district can participate in district elections anyway? How fair does that seem?
Let me make something perfectly clear – once again. Contrary to what these current and wannabe “special benefit consumers” might spread through the community, I am not, nor have I ever been, against development around Lake Don Pedro. I do not wish to discontinue service to ANYONE either, however, I sincerely believe those who receive this special benefit of water service outside the legal place of use should be required to pay the additional costs of supplying that valuable benefit themselves.
Doesn’t that make sense?
Much more on this later, but until then, and as always -
My best to you and yours, Lew
My best to you and yours, Lew