Posts by Lew

How did such a photo end up in the Hawk folder?

Reading Time: 1

I can easily imagine a spontaneous BIG MISUNDERSTANDING if “we” were going through the Hawk photos and this one popped up on the monitor.

Seriously.  I was all by my lonesome when checking out that day’s photos/video of the Hawks (parents and two immatures) and was quite surprised to see that image.  I kid you not.  There were a couple of seconds of shear panic.  What the heck happened out there?

Short (1 minute, 14 second) video explanation:

My best to you and yours,  Lew
Categories: Uncategorized.


Reading Time: 1


Approximately 100 supporters of newly elected District II Mariposa County Supervisor MERLIN JONES participated in a congratulatory B-B-Q on Sunday June 10th, 2012.
The outdoor function was held at Merlin and Miriam’s Greely Hill home in a celebration of, and thank you for,  the June 5th voter turnout.

Merlin and Miriam Jones, Greeley Hill




My best to you and yours, Lew

Categories: Uncategorized.




LDPOA 06092012 Meeting

My girlfriend and I arrived at the Hacienda facility (LDPOA office and facilities – 5182 Fuentes De Flores) shortly before the start of the meeting, which was 1000hrs.  Ultimately there were 10 audience members present which included two previous directors.   As you know from the last blog this morning, the Agenda Item was VII NEW BUSINESS; 1.  Community Pipeline Publication-Lou Richards-Discussion/Action/Vote.

We sat patiently and quietly with not even a whisper between us, except for reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, just waiting for the agenda to run its course.  Then during Ron Hunt’s presentation of item VI OLD BUSINESS; 3.  Purchase of chairs and racks:  Ron Hunt – Items necessary and price Discussion/Action/Vote, a comment by President Sherri Flosi did elicit a few comments.


Now I can appreciate how everyone has a different concept of what they believe is funny.  You know, what makes them spontaneously laugh out loud, shake their head with a big smile, or chuckle.   Particular types of humor will be embraced by some, rejected by others.   Some will steadfastly avoid the classics: race, religion and politics.  Others may “knee slap” to hard hitting political satire, comical observations regarding human sexual behavior, or even a simple bar joke.  Some are even partial to traditional blonde jokes implying stupidity, ignorance, vanity, etc., which now I think about it – could this explain Sherri Flosi’s personalized vehicle license plate?   OOPS!  I had better drop the blonde joke stuff or my girlfriend might introduce me to a form of her blonde humor which I won’t think so funny. Lol)

Anyway, if you are like me when you hear a good joke you pass it on to others so they might also enjoy the healthy and stress relieving properties of a good laugh.  This of course presupposes that we are referring to what most would consider a “clean joke” without vulgarity, profanity, or ugly nasty words directed at a particular group or individual.  You know, where the punch line is not contingent upon insult, harm or injury to another.   That is an entirely different form of humor and those that create, circulate or condone such, merely speak volumes about their own ethics, morals and behavior.

Below is the transcript of that portion of the meeting.  Actually today was the first time I have ever left an LDPOA meeting prior to its formal conclusion out of respect for the board’s preparation and time required for presentation, however, after once again experiencing this group’s all too common derogatory comments, we left after the Discoverer-Community Pipeline discussion.

So for those of you who think implying that a person who honestly served their community on a board of directors had stolen an Association table is funny, here’s the joke Sherri Flosi wanted to share with those in attendance at the meeting.
Ron Hunt: Then also, I didn’t, I don’t want to step on Carolyn on this but the purchase, we need, we need ah, is important we need ah one round table.  Lifetime also makes that same thing its matching to these tables but its round, I don’t have an exact price on that but I think It’s a little over $200 and if I was going to make this purchase from them I’d order that in at the same time.  So ah…
(cross talk)
Ron Hunt:  The total price that we’d be looking at is about $1,450 for the two carts and the ah the, chairs, that’s the chairs for – I’m not sure on the shipping until we find out exactly if we put a round table on there it’s probably I would guess two twenty five or so, so we’d be, we’re going to be pushing by shipping and everything, $2,000 to
Carolyn Bartholomew: Ron do you have any idea what size this round table would be?  Don’t tell me round either.  (laughter)
Ron Hunt: I believe, I believe its six foot, I believe they’ve got one standard size of that round table that they make.  Ah that, I mean they have smaller, like real small ones but ah
Carolyn:  We need something we can all sit around
Ron Hunt: Right OK, but ah
Sherri Flosi:  We do have the round table meeting (laughter)
Ron Hunt:  So ah, we evidently had one of those at one time this is a replacement, its ah
Sherri Flosi:  Disappeared
Ron Hunt:  Disappeared, so ah
Sherri Flosi: Is it in your yard Lew?
Lew Richardson:  I beg your pardon?
Leanne (girlfriend repeats):  IS the table in your yard?
Lew Richardson: Oh that’s real funny (not amused at all)
(Laughter by board and audience)
Lew Richardson:  Seems like a lot more things have been missing from the past and current present than ever happened during our watch.
(multiple voices, laughter, inaudible)
Ron Hunt: Anyway if we get all those items were looking right in the neighborhood of $2,000.

{Presentation continues regarding purchasing tables and chairs- board approved purchases.  The next item was installation of a handicap pool lift which Ron Hunt stated was required by state law.  The lift runs approximately $3,200 and with accessories would run around $4,027.77.  Further research is required regarding engineering for the foundation of the chair lift on the pool deck.  $800 just to bolt it to the deck, however, Hunt believes a block of concrete underground will be required to support the chair lift at an estimated cost of $1,500-$2,000.  Hunt stated he would like to go ahead and order the chair and while waiting for delivery get more information on how to properly install the equipment.  Hunt suggested approving $4,100 to be safe.  The board approved the purchase.}

VII NEW BUSINESS: 1. Community Pipeline Publication-Lou Richards-Discussion/Action/Vote

Sherri Flosi:  Lew, you’re up.
Lew Richardson:  Ah, there was a letter presented and it’s self explanatory.
Sherri Flosi:  Ok, ah, question from the board?
Phyllis Cotta:  Did everybody get a copy of Lew’s letter?
[NOTE: Prior to the meeting I noticed that the letter from the CSD Public Relations Committee was not  furnished with the agenda and other supporting materials so I requested other copies be made for those in the audience who might want to read the request for themselves.] Sherri Flosi:  Uhm, the only question I have Lew is uhm can’t the Foothill Express, the paper itself, insert your publication into their paper so that it doesn’t
Lew Richardson:  I would imagine that would be possible also
Sherri Flosi:  Have you talked to them about it?
Lew Richardson: Oh yeah, I’ve talked to Lorri a couple of times
Sherri FLosi:  And were they open to it or?
Lew Richardson:  Sure, yeah, they gave us a ah, an estimate of placing it in per copy.  It just seems like land and water go together, our two organizations again it’s all in the letter it’s pretty self explanatory.  You guys represent the land issues of the, of the property owners of the Association, CSD represents the water issues, they go hand in hand.  The Discoverer reaches 99% of the CSD customers, ah, you’ve already got the mailing availability and everything is already set up for it, it would be a simple insert and we serve both our organizations in the community.  And reduce costs.
Sherri Flosi:  But if it’s already insert, the Foothill, (inaudible) if the Foothill has already inserted it their publication and it comes to us, I mean, the Pipeline’s inserted, the Discoverer is inserted, then what, I mean, we would, it would be mailed anyway.
Lew Richardson: Right, right
Sherri Flosi: So,
Lew Richardson:  It was just, it was just running it by you folks because
Sherri Flosi: Why, why would we need permission
Lew Richardson: yeah, it was just kind of a, you know acknowledgement of you folks supporting it and going forward with the two organizations to reach their customer base.  That’s all, because I heard a lot of people saying oh no this should never be done.  So you folks have no objections then?
Ron Hunt: Well I have an objection to us being involved in it at all.  And the reason I say that is because we have a contract with the, the ah, Lake Don Pedro Community Services District at this time that they totally have ignored.
Lew Richardson:  And what is this?
Ron Hunt:  That’s for Gregoris Pond.
Lew Richardson: Well that’s a completely separate issue.
Ron Hunt: No, it’s a contract that we have with the water district and they refuse to honor that contract therefore I’m not interested in getting involved with any kind
Lew Richardson: I’m not aware the last year I’ve been on the board anything’s been brought up about that.
Ron Hunt: I’ve, since you’ve been on the board I went in and spoke once to the board about this, I’ve spoken to two general managers that have been there, and we have managed, one of them did manage to get some tulles cleaned up but there is significant damage to the dam and the maintenance of that is supposed to be, by contract, by the community services district.
Lew Richardson: Have you talked with John Turner?
Ron Hunt:  Have I talked with John Turner?
Lew Richardson:  Yeah, he’s the interim general manager
Ron Hunt:  No, like I’ve said, I’ve already spoke to two of them (laughter) I, to me
Lew Richardson:  Well you ought to try and talk to John because he is the current IGM
Ron Hunt: Well what needs to happen at this point, it needs
Lew Richardson:  Have you sent a letter, have you sent a letter to the office?
Ron Hunt: No I haven’t
Lew Richardson:  Well then
Ron Hunt: When I come in and speak to you as a board I expect not to be ignored.  And I, like I said I did go in and speak to two general managers that you had and it seems to be of no significance to you.  So I’m not, I’m not interested in getting involved in anything with you.
Lew Richardson:  Well, as ah Mrs. Flosi  just pointed out, I guess it really is not an issue if it goes in the Foothill Express right?
Sherri Flosi:  Well,
Lew Richardson: OK, then there’s no problem.
Sherri Flosi:  I mean if the Foothill Express says yes, you know we’ll put your publication as an insert and, I mean that’s not increasing our postage or anything right?
(Unknown):  No
Lew Richardson: No
Sherri Flosi:  And it’s not affiliating
Lew Richardson:  Right, right and there would be a disclaimer in it that it’s not affiliated with the LDPOA or anything like that.
Ron Hunt:  And it’s not going in our Discoverer, you’re not asking for it to go in the Discoverer
Lew Richardson: Well, see that would be the best, when somebody gets the Foothill Express, an absentee owner, and they open it up and get the Discoverer they know that has to do with their land, and if they opened up the Discoverer there was another insert they know that has to do with their water.
Sherri Flosi: Right but that has nothing to do with
Lew Richardson: but it would be nice if it was in the Discoverer so that both the land and water issues came in one package.
Phyllis Cotta:  The way I understand it would be two separate, one would be a Pipeline, one would be the Discoverer.
Lew Richardson:  Right
Phyllis Cotta: So it’s not really together they’re to separate publications
Lew Richardson: Right, but since they do the inserting right?  Foothill?
[Multiple “no” answers from board – male and female voices] Phyllis Cotta: Oh, oh, yes they do, I’m sorry
Lew Richardson: Yeah, because I think it was 8 cents a copy to insert something, so rather than just insert it into the Foothill, it could be inserted into the Discoverer, that way both land and water issues are contained in one little packet.
Heidi Russell:  I, I, I’m a little confused on it because I look at the water as a business, they’re selling water we’re paying for I don’t look at it any different than I look at an AT&T or PG&E or anything else whose putting out information about what they’re doing or what they’re going to be doing or what they’re improving, so I’m looking at a business.
Lew Richardson:  Ah-hum, a nonprofit enterprise.
Heidi Russell:  It might be but it’s still and you’re going to be telling the people who are purchasing that water what you have been doing to improving in that
Lew Richardson:  And what we need to do
Heidi Russell: Pa, yes,
Lew Richardson: WE have a lot of CIPs
Heidi Russell: there’s a lot of things all of us should be doing, but so that that’s the only thing I have to say on that is how I’m personally looking at it.  So Foothill to me looks like it’s the best way to go as far as putting that information in there.
Lew Richardson: So then you would object to having it inserted in the Discoverer?
Ron Hunt:  I would.
Lew Richardson:  OK.  So you would object?
Heidi Russell: I personally would, I cannot
Lew Richardson:  Phyllis?
Phyllis Cotta: I have a question and ah excuse me if I’m a little ignorant on it but what exactly would be in this pipeline I mean, like your Treasurer’s Report your opinion on what your board should do?
Lew Richardson:  Oh no, no, no, no, no, no – mostly it would be written by the IGM and it would have things like you know, how to check for leaks, repair leaks, facts about, recently John came out with this chart that was really interesting talking about converting a leak drips per minute into actual cash, what it costs you a lot of people.  We have a lot of leaks out there, not just in our district but on the customer side and things like that because the water publications all over the state of California have a lot of information and we can draw from those and put this in the publication and tune it so affects our area which is the foothills, drought prone, and our water issues.    It’s not going to be a political thing it’s more, this is where we are, these are the CIPs we need to get to so we don’t run into what we’ve had recently of running out of cash to continue to supply water.
Phyllis Cotta:  So this would be the same thing that you, as a ah director of the wa, you would present to the board to try and get an opinion on, I mean you wouldn’t use the publication to get your, what you want from the water board?
Lew Richardson:  No, no, no, no.  This is an information thing to the customers so they are aware of what’s going on.  In light of, you know, the Prop 218, the Prop 26 all the things that have gone are going on …. On how to rate rates and how it affects you financially and our water company I think the customers need to be aware of it.
Heidi Russell:  So why would you want to do just a little flyer that’s going in, cuz the Foothill Express, the Discoverer goes into the Foothill Express and it is shipped out to everybody, why go that way creating more work than just put it in the Foothill Express?
Lew Richardson: You get charged, you get charged the 8 cents regardless
Heidi Russell: The flyer has to be put in to the Discoverer, and which, which well we’re, we’re having to label all the Foothill Expresses right now so
Lew Richardson: Oh, I did that for a year or so, I know
Heidi Russell:   You know about that, and then this is going to have to be inserted into that also
Lew Richardson:  That would be done on the Foothill end.  You, when you received your papers when you get your stack and you start your labeling, it will already be in there.
Phyllis Cotta:  I’m still confused, there would be three separate things
Lew Richardson:  Three separate publications wrapped
(Multiple voices – inaudible)
Phyllis Cotta: There would be another one similar to this that that would say Pipeline and it wouldn’t be part of the Discoverer in anyway
Lew Richardson: No, no, it would be a separate thing.
Phyllis Cotta:  Totally.
Heidi Russell: Then, then my question to you, if it’s, if it’s already in the Foothill and we receive it for labeling, why are you asking for our permission?
Lew Richardson: I just wanted to know if there’s any objections because I heard there were objections from the board of anything to do with the water company in in close proximity to the Discoverer and I thought it was peculiar, so I was just here to kind of poll the board, is there a problem and what….Ruth has a question.
Ruth Smith: You know, when I was at the meeting that day when you brought this letter up, and you know, and ah, you was asking the board to approve this letter, uhm I asked a question and I, I it was brand new then, and it was just getting started
Lew Richardson:  Right
Ruth Smith: and I asked the question of who was going to stuff this
Lew Richardson:  right
Ruth Smith:  in the Discoverer, uhm, and uhm, Lori said that she had offered you an article section in the Foothill Express
Lew Richardson:  right
Ruth Smith:  that would go out at the same time and it wouldn’t have to be a flyer stuffed in the paper.
Lew Richardson:  Right
Ruth Smith: So why
Lew Richardson:  That was space available.  That was space available.
Ruth Smith:  Well she told me she offered you space
Lew Richardson:  Yes, she did, she’s been very generous about articles and stuff, but it wouldn’t be a regular publication that the customer could count on, it would be sporadic whenever space was available in their paper.  So
Sherri Flosi:  So, so here’s what, here’s what I envision,  I envision we got, we got the Foothill Express, we have the Discoverer insert in the Foothill Express then we’ll have the Community Services District insert.
Lew Richardson:  Right
Sherri Flosi: So ahm, I don’t see
Lew Richardson: It doesn’t
Sherri Flosi:  I don’t see that we have any control
Lew Richardson: OK, great, great, then there’s no problem
(Multiple voices)
Sherri Flosi:  It’s up to the Foothill Express I mean that’s up to the Foothill Express what they put in their paper
(Multiple voices)
Phyllis Cotta:  Like putting in a grocery ad
(Multiple voices)
Lew Richardson:  yeah right
(Multiple voices)
Sherri Flosi: (inaudible) we have our Discoverer portion
Lew Richardson:  Good, good that clears it up, then
Heidi Russell: Then my question is why have you gone to all this problem in creating this when we had no idea, all you want to know is if we give a damn whether it’s in there
Lew Richardson:  No
Heidi Russell:  if you give a damn
Lew Richardson: if you folks were going to stop it
(Unknown) we don’t have any control over it
Sherri Flosi:  How could we stop it?
Lew Richardson:  I was told that you didn’t want it, that’s all.  There’s no problem, if there’s no problem, we’ll continue on then
Multiple voices-cross talk
(Unknown audience member): There’s a lot of animosity here
Lew Richardson:  Well, I think the animosity, yeah, you could see that when you made the enuendo that I was a thief of your table I mean you started that right off
Sherri Flosi: I, I, I apologize
Lew Richardson: I mean that was really uncalled for
Sherri Flosi: OK Lew, I apologize for that
Lew Richardson: But that’s alright
Heidi Russell: I’m sorry Lew and I do apologize
Sherri Flosi:  Excuse me Heidi, I, I know you did not steal anything from here I was just joking
Lew Richardson: Then why would you say such a thing?
Sherri Flosi: It would be like saying Bob, do you have our round table?
Lew Richardson:  No it wouldn’t be the same.  In the same way that an official letter from the CSD which does not even contain my name, is put on your agenda with somebody else’s name.
Unknown:  What?
Phyllis Cotta: Well I did that, I thought that was you.  I just assumed that.
Lew Richardson:  Well, you know what they say about assuming.
Carolyn Bartholomew: Yes, but you presented it to the board Lew.  You presented it to our board.
Phyllis Cotta:  But didn’t you bring it in?
Lew Richardson:  Have you read the letter?
Carolyn Bartholomew:  Yes I have, I was at that meeting (NOTE: LDPCSD MEETING) and you presented it to the board.
Lew Richardson: And how is it signed?
(Cross talk)
Lew Richardson:  How is it signed?
Sherri Flosi:  It’s from the Public Relations Committee.
Lew Richardson:  Thank you.  How did Lou Richards end up on your agenda?
Phyllis Cotta:  Well I, I – guilty (humorously) I didn’t know.  I was just ass..
Lew Richardson: That’s what’s making this personal, this isn’t personal, like I said the letter speaks for itself.  I was told that there were members of your board that would see to it that any publication of the CSD was never in the paper with your Discoverer.
Phyllis Cotta:  Now I’m curious, and you don’t want to say, but
(Multiple voices-cross talk)
Phyllis Cotta:  we all got a copy of the letter, we’re all now discussing it
Lew Richardson:  right
Phyllis Cotta:  how would this get out that that, we, our opinion.  Do we know our opinion?
Lew Richardson:  That’s why I was asking.  You’re against it
Phyllis Cotta:  I’m not against it – some are against it
Lew Richardson:  Ron is against it
Ron Hunt: Whoa, whoa, whoa, no.  Ron is against any shape or form of it being inserted inside of this paper.
Lew Richardson: OK, but no objections to it being in the Foothill?  OK, great, any objections?
Sherri Flosi: No, no, no
Lew Richardson: Good, then we’re done
Sherri Flosi: That’s what, I think what happened was when we got this letter it was a publication to be part of the Discoverer that’s how we interpreted it.  So, uhm and of course as you know our policy is is the Discoverer is just owners’ association business period and nothing else.
Lew Richardson: That’s right, that’s right
Sherri FLosi:  and so, I mean, we have no control over the Foothill
Lew Richardson:  Great, so there would be no boycott or threatened or anything, good, good, good, well that’s good
Ron Hunt:  but like I said we will have a problem if they insert it in our paper then that’s
Lew Richardson:  OK
Phyllis Cotta: Could I go a little further?
Lew Richardson:  Sure
Phyllis Cotta: You offered to pay, why would you offer, I mean it doesn’t cost you anything right?
Lew Richardson:  What do you mean cost me anything?
Phyllis Cotta: Well you offered to pay postage our share of the postage costs
Lew Richardson:  Yeah, if, if you, if that was an objection cuz that was one of the things I heard – it’s going to cost us more money, I don’t, I talked to Lori and it’s not going to cost any more money all it costs is for the insert and we would pay for that.
Phyllis Cotta: So you’ll come every month and help us insert (laughter)
Lew Richardson: You know, I, I would have been doing it still except for  the recall, so you know, you guys did that.
Sherri Flosi: But there is no insertion its – that’s all done
Phyllis Cotta: I was kidding
Lew Richardson: Yeah about the labels – great.  Then we have no problems at all, fantastic thank you for your time.
Phyllis Cotta:  And I don’t know why I put your name on that, I just assumed
Lew Richardson: Well that’s not my name but that’s OK
[There was no action by the board because they have no control over how things are inserted in the Foothill Express, although, some directors obviously do not want an LDPCSD insert in their LDPOA Discoverer.]


There will be much more on this later but for now, I find it curious Mr. Hunt, a former Deerwood Corporation golf course employee, states his complaint about Gregoris pond (which is used to furnish water to the golf course) was ignored yet simultaneously admits work was indeed performed by the CSD, but just not to his satisfaction.   You would think the existence of substantial damage to anything would generate a formal letter of record by the injured or affected party (Association or the Deerwood Corporation?) along with a conscientious follow-up for resolution.

Heck, I’ve had a number of written items for discussion/action by the board forgotten, lost, ignored, whatever, and not placed on the agenda at the CSD.  I didn’t throw my hands up, quit, and refuse to co-operate in other matters of community importance.   You persevere while creating a paper trail.   I stand by my suggestion of contacting the IGM through written correspondence.

My best to you and yours, Lew

PS:  While on the subject of humor…… some might even believe Mr. Hunt’s pond matter is a bit humorous since the golf course has been closed for some time; is not receiving water from the district; and currently presents a wild fire potential with any iron approach shot to a  green.


Categories: Uncategorized.


Reading Time: 2 minutes

Phyllis Cotta, Secretary for the Lake Don Pedro Owners’ Association, telephoned me about a week ago advising the Discoverer-Community Pipeline proposal (letter below) was to be on the next agenda.

While getting ready for this morning’s LDPOA meeting I logged on to to check out the agenda and there it was:


  1. Community Pipeline Publication-Lou Richards-Discussion/Action/Vote”

<<<Original letter proposal>>>

March 13, 2012

Lake Don Pedro Owners’ Association

5182 Fuentes de Flores

La Grange, CA 95329

(209) 852-2312

Board of Directors,

The Lake Don Pedro Community Services District (LDPCSD) is investigating the feasibility of re-establishing the COMMUNITY PIPELINE publication to reach its water customers. You may recall this was a simple 11×17 folded newsletter containing important information regarding the district’s treatment, storage and distribution of water within our community. Unfortunately, due to financial difficulties of the past that publication was discontinued.

Maintaining, repairing, and replacing components of our forty year old water system infrastructure will continue to be an expensive proposition. Obviously Lake Don Pedro’s future depends upon the availability of quality drinking water and there could be no better time than now to educate property owners/customers as to what will be required.

The Lake Don Pedro Owners’ Association (LDPOA) currently provides its monthly corporation newsletter, THE DISCOVERER, to its membership of over 3,100 subdivision property owners through the FOOTHILL EXPRESS newspaper and would be the perfect vehicle to reach our LDPCSD customers as well. Approximately 99% of LDPCSD customers, whether local residents who pay monthly service and consumption fees or absentee unimproved property owners who pay availability fees with their property taxes, could be reached through THE DISCOVERER.

Both our organizations are designed to serve this community and co-operation in furthering our respective missions by utilizing your publication seems logical and the most efficient use of our funds. Naturally the COMMUNITY PIPELINE would be responsible for its own printing, insertion, and share of postage costs. Naturally it will be an independent publication responsible for its own content and would contain the appropriate disclaimer indicating no legal affiliation with the LDPOA or Foothill Express.

This project is only in the preliminary stage of development; however, the LDPCSD Public Relations Committee is interested in meeting with your representatives at your earliest convenience.

Thank you,



Took some time to address the issue, but I look forward to the discussion.

My best to you and yours, Lew

PS – Can’t wait to meet this Lou Richards guy …. sounds like we have a lot in common. LOL!


Categories: Uncategorized.


Reading Time: 4 minutes

Some things never cease to amaze me.


The other day I was driving to the valley for two new tires and an alignment and experienced a flat tire on HWY 132. Fortunately it was the right front that was to be replaced anyway but having never changed a tire on this truck I was initially a bit concerned. Where were tools? How do I get the tire out from under the bed? Thanks to the owner’s manual in the glove box the process actually went quite well with the exception of some sore muscles from lifting the tire into the bed of the truck. Heck, I was even able to recover a wheel chock on the return trip that I had inadvertently left on the roadside where I changed the tire. Though a bit inconvenient the “emergency” off road stop was much easier than say, HWY 49 between Coulterville and Mariposa, Hornitos Road, Bear Valley, etc.. The terrain was flat with sufficient easement to safely get off the road and become quite dirty. lol


I’ve had satellite internet service for years and only a few times has it been interrupted, but the timing and actual reason for the down time is perplexing. Even during the worst storms with high winds and heavy precipitation it worked yet every time it has gone down the weather has been fairly nice. [Even during a four day power outage a few years ago I was able to run on generator which revealed the surprising fact most viewers were out of area.]

A couple of days ago (after a brief period of high winds and precipitation) sure enough I lost service. [Don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone huh?] After a telephone call with the company representative and an online diagnosis, it was determined the signal strength was below minimum requirements (I had 54-55 with 60 as the minimum). An appointment for a service call was made for today with the understanding the company would provide a 50% discount due to it having been adjusted at full price two years ago. OK. This morning I was surprised to discover all modem lights were functioning and I had service despite 54-56 signal strength. Humm.

Guess I’ll keep the appointment and pay the half priced fee because something is clearly not working properly and it might avoid another inconvenient interruption. [I missed two free online training classes sponsored by RCAC (Rural Community Assistance Corporation) which are funded by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) but I can pick those up on the fall schedule.


Very likely the two “immature Hawks” have left the nest. I was hoping to record some of their first flights but was only able to capture fluttering from branch to branch and tree to neighboring tree. Last week I observed what I thought was a “flight lesson”. Two adults were slowly circling above while following a smaller immature that was flapping wings like there was no tomorrow – in a straight line. No gliding or circling that I saw, just sustained power flight in a straight line headed towards La Grange, however, both of “my chicks” were accounted for that night. I guess it either made it back to the nest after the excursion or it was from another family all together. Who knows?

I spent a couple of hours last night watching the nest – nothing. Only saw one adult briefly but heard Hawk calls to the north. This morning I observed three Hawks (also to the north) flying together with one pretty much leading the other two. (The leader also exhibited some atypical flight patterns such as the sustained wing flapping without appreciably increasing altitude.) Were they two adults following their offspring? After the tech appointment I’ll try to check on the nest. I knew the time for leaving the nest was growing near because of the increasing distance from the nest on their “adventures” and diminishing parental presence at the nest and involvement with feeding. Towards the end it was just a quick lizard, snake, or gopher delivery and the parent was off leaving the “chicks” to fight over the meal.

Yes, it is kind of sad to see that empty nest which formerly contained two fuzzy white Eyases stumbling around with gigantic feet, little wing flaps, and curious looks as one or both parents monitored their antics. Observing how a parent would return to the nest and hold a leafy branch over the chicks to shade them from the hot afternoon sun. How the parents would gradually shape the chick’s behavior into approaching the meal by decreasing the distance they would furnish tidbits of the kill. (Thus making them approach the food brought to the nest by the parents – leading up to the simple parental “fly by – food drop”.) Sibling expressions and reactions to new experiences such as car alarms, rain, dive bombing by other birds, people setting up telescopes and cameras to watch them, etc.……lol

Sad, but rewarding. I will in the future always wonder if one of the common Hawk visitors might be from that actual nest. (I have an Owl that occasionally flies over to a branch within 15-20 feet of the back deck and quietly watches whatever is going on.)


Due to the failed internet connection I missed the opportunity of logging on to the Mariposa County Elections Department and monitoring the votes after the June 5th election – with particular interest (and serious concern) as to the outcome for Mariposa County District II Supervisor. I received a telephone call yesterday morning with the good news and just confirmed it on the election office website:

Votes and percentage

Merlin Jones: 471, 53.22%

Gene Dalton: 128, 14.46%

Dwight Mueller:  107, 12.09%

Kathleen Love: 77, 8.70%

Emery Ross: 64, 7.23%

Kenneth Willey: 38, 4.29%



newly elected


Although this is certainly excellent news for the residents of District II (and the county board of supervisors – therefore the entire county population), make no mistake, there will always be unethical and surreptitious influences attempting to redirect public policy toward private business benefit and away from the intended public good. Lake Don Pedro has experienced more than its share of such corruption in the past and should not again be allowed to fall prey to such despicable and counterproductive activity. These election results are extremely encouraging and a reassuring indication that voters are indeed paying attention. Lake Don Pedro has rounded another important corner on its way to achieving honest representation that will benefit the public as a whole along with this particular geographical area.

[NOTE: The preceding is a personal opinion based on my own experience regarding the two local offerings for that position and in no way is intended to reference the other three candidates.]

My best to you and yours, Lew

Categories: Uncategorized.

May 21 2012 LDPCSD Monthly Meeting

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Hope you folks had a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend.  Here are some phtos of our old administration office and the new fire station being constructed next door –  then on to my report on the last LDPCSD regular monthly meeting held on Monday May 21st, 2012.


May 21st, 2012 Regular Monthly LDPCSD Meeting

Present: President Bill Kinsella, Directors Mark Skoien, Victor Afanasiev and VP Lew Richardson.

Absent: Director Emery Ross due to difficulties regarding the birth of a calf on his ranch.

Also present: IGM John Turner and Board Secretary Charise Reeves.

Pledge of allegiance. No public comment.


Jeff Biggs, Project Manager with Pinnacle Emergency Management, briefed the board and public on the continuing progress of re-establishing a permanent office. Two bids for the building replacement have been submitted for consideration one of which was quite comprehensive and furnished by the original building provider. The site drawings have been completed, reviewed by our engineer (Binkley and Associates), and will be submitted to the county on Tuesday. Demolition and removal of the burned out administration office will likely start next week and the new building is anticipated to be moved in by the first to middle of July. Due to underground pipes, the building (and flag pole) will be relocated approximately 12 feet back and we will lose the shade tree. The replacement building will be the same size and a new interior configuration has been carefully considered by staff which will include; a third office, a window between offices, more efficient work areas, better visibility for customers who enter, storage and file areas, etc. Mr. Biggs advised there were a few details not included in the first building, such as lap siding, which would greatly add to the appearance. Mr. Biggs advised the concept was to make the customer service area more appealing.

Director Victor Afanasiev asked questions about roadway transportation of the buildings (demolished and replacement), and CHP/public notice as to possible traffic delays. IGM John Turner advised he would follow up on those matters. Jeff Biggs advised the presented schedule was tentative but very close to anticipated completion times.

Customer Billing Representative Syndie Marchesiello asked how the building would be demolished. Biggs advised originally they planned to haul it out in one piece, however, due to the crumbling nature of what is left they will demolish it on site and then remove the debris. Temporary fencing will be furnished when existing fencing is taken down for the demolition process and building placement. (The shade tree will likely also be replaced through insurance.)

Discussion ensued regarding information that a fire suppression system was not required for the new building (only smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors) because it was under 1,500 square feet. Merlin Jones, candidate for District II Mariposa County Supervisor, suggested double checking with the fire department just to be safe. (Merlin, and his wife, have attended a number of LDPCSD Board meetings during the last few months.) Mr. Biggs stated he would further research the subject.


President Bill Kinsella introduced John Turner to the public as the new Interim General Manager and offered him the opportunity to “blow his horn”. (laughter) Mr. Turner said the meeting was his first as IGM and he was getting to know everybody, what they do, how they do it and that his biggest goal was customer service. Mr. Turner also stated, in regards to the treatment plant, he wanted to understand where all the numbers were coming from. He advised a recent State Department of Health inspection went well although a particular area could use some fencing. Turner said he would continue familiarizing himself with the operations of the district.

Wes Barton cautioned that the numbers presented in the packet were misleading because two months were reported due to the fire recovery and questioned why the tank level report was not in the packet because it was useful in analyzing the “shrinkage” (water loss) which was previously estimated to be up to 30%. Barton said it was previously stated the new meter reading system would bring that loss down to 10%. The IGM advised he would eventually convert such information into graph form. Turner also said he had prior experience with water conservation and unaccounted for water and his main concern was how much water was purchased, and how much was sold because any difference was non-revenue. He added loss over 7% required action and he believed our loss was much higher. He agreed the new meters would help reduce this loss but leaks also had to be addressed.

VP Lew Richardson mentioned the report indicated the Ranchito Well produced .47 acre feet although the usage outside MIDPOU was .65 and it was his understanding well production must equal or exceed usage. IGM Turner advised he would attend to the matter.


Financial Administrator Charise Reeves stated there was $558,128 total from all accounts (restricted/unrestricted accounts) and we had received the second out of three teeter payments from the counties, the third expected in June. Charise said she would make it simple and asked if there were any questions.

Sally Punte asked if the county was now charging a fee for our liens which Reeves confirmed stating it was a new charge. Ruth Smith questioned payments to the Merced Sun star and Mariposa Gazette newspaper to which Reeves explained those were for advertisements for the utility worker position which also included the Modesto Bee, Sonora Union Democrat and the Foothill Express. Smith also questioned fuel expenses which Reeves explained had to do with the two large generators used to fill tanks during power outages. Ruth also asked about the Hughes.Net monthly service charges to which Reeves explained nothing could be done until she received the files from the document recovery service. (She could not proceed with canceling the redundant service without the account number). Mrs. Smith pointed out the matter was raised prior to the office fire.

Wes Barton questioned why a previously discussed retirement accrual was not integrated in the report to which Reeves responded she thought it best to make that change at the beginning of the fiscal year. (Monthly versus yearly accrual reporting.) Barton stated $18,000 was a more accurate statement of income profit than the reported $140,000 when considering this retirement accrual.

Director Mark Skoien questioned the previously reported bank errors which Reeves advised still have not been completely resolved. Skoien also asked about an amount budgeted for general engineering which regarded a proposed project that had been abandoned. Reeves advised the prior IGM felt the district should pay for the charges since there was no contract and water was not ultimately supplied.

President Kinsella questioned whether district equipment is marked. IGM Turner stated it has not been but will in the future and on the smaller tools he could engrave or stamp district information. Director Skoien asked if all equipment would also be the responsibility of the employee assigned a particular vehicle which Turner advised it would. (This involves a vehicle assignment procedure IGM Turner has implemented for district vehicles.)

Wes Barton recalled that the board had agreed not to spend money on any projects until the Ranchito Well sustainability report had been completed and suggested someone must have approved the work performed by the engineers. (Three corners project/Bonds Flat and HWY 132)

Director Victor Afanasiev questioned an engineering cost which was listed under Director Emery Ross’s name but Charise Reeves stated the charge had nothing to do with Director Ross – he only requested the information. Afanasiev also questioned how depreciation was calculated with the budget.

Director Skoien asked for some clarification of the outstanding legal fees.

The Board of Directors approved the May Treasurer’s Report for the April Period; payment to Springbrook for $9,236.51 for the annual license and maintenance; and payment to legal counsel for $3,274.36.


Charise Reeves acknowledged she incorrectly recorded that Director Emery Ross was present at the March 13, 2012 meetings and made corrections to the motions and votes (also included Director Skoien and a committee meeting).

VP Lew Richardson requested correction with the reported wording for his proposed commendation to Billing Officer Syndie Marchesiello in the recovery of $40,000+ from Public Works for the under billing of the waste water facility which was acknowledged and corrected.

The Minutes, and changes, were approved by the board.

Following discussion, commendation resolution 2012-4 for S Marchesiello was approved by the board.

The board approved resolution 2012-5 updating the Bank signature cards to indicate removal of the prior IGM and a new resolution will be made upon completion of the background check for the new IGM.

Board Secretary Reeves suggested a recess before the Closed Session to telephone Director Emery Ross to see if he could attend the meeting, President Kinsella agreed.

Close open portion of the meeting at 1417hrs.

Consensus of board to continue with closed session and to have IGM John Turner participate.

Wes Barton questioned if the board had any idea of how much the cases might conceivably cost the district – no estimate on such potential losses.

CLOSED SESSION 1437hrs [Director Emery Ross arrived after the start of meeting: 1502hrs]


Conference with Legal Counsel – Pending litigation Agee vs. LDPCSD;

Conference with legal counsel – Pending litigation Kent/Topie vs LDPCSD;

Closed Session: Public employment: General Manager.


Agee vs LDPCSD: No board action pending Agee’s decision whether to pursue action

Kent/Topie vs LDPCSD: Board will follow legal counsel advice for non-binding mediation

General Manager: John Turner will provide a list of references and board will reconvene within 120 days

Board Secretary Charise Reeves, with board consensus, advised the corrected Minutes will be placed in next month’s packet.

Meeting adjourned at 1611 hours


Alright then, with that meeting out of the way it’s back to Hawk watching and Summer clean up.

Check him out!  Every day the larger chick (believed to be male) gets just a little futher away from the nest.   Mom and Dad only stop by to deliver food now and I suspicion pretty soon they will deliver still living prey.  New videos are located on the home page under the top bar menu RED TAILED HAWK.

My best to you and yours, Lew

Categories: Uncategorized.


Reading Time: 1

Tried to capture the “Super Moon” last night in stills and video – still haven’t worked out the audio situation yet but have some ideas.  Here’s the link:


Also, for updates on the Red Tailed Hawk Nest and how the eyases are doing check the top bar menu link under “Buteo Jamaicensis aka Red Tailed Hawk”.

My best to you and yours, Lew

Categories: Uncategorized.


Reading Time: 1

Shot some video of Mrs. Redtail feeding her chicks this afternoon.  They are growing so fast!  Again, not crystal clear but not too bad.  Just click the link below.

Mama providing shade.

Shifting position around nest to maximize the shade.

Close to Mom.

Wings-check.  Flaps-check.   Practice soaring-check.  

Talk about being watched like a Hawk!

My best to you and yours, Lew


Categories: Uncategorized.


Reading Time: 2 minutes

Yes, I know and apologize – the photos are a bit out of focus but they were the best out of MANY ATTEMPTS.  Just holding the digital camera up to the telescope lens, aligning the image, adjusting the camera to the best zoom setting, taking a deep breath, trying to remain still and hoping for the best apparently isn’t enough – LOL.  The clarity through the telescope (especially with a more powerful eye piece) provides a “ring side seat” into the nest environment without interrupting the “nature of it all”.   Lizard and snake skin, fur from rodents, bones, types of branches used in nest construction, etc.,  all much easier to discern with the scope rather than binoculars.

BELOW: Mom and Dad are both out hunting for the next meal leaving the eyases to explore the nest.

[Below] The larger chick stands up for a better look and to evidently speak its mind.  Perhaps impatient with the wait for a snack?    Unfortunately, this is also the stance it uses before suddenly turning and taking a whack at its nest mate.  POW!  Right in the head with a well placed peck.  Sometimes it will take a bite and violently shake the other’s neck.  Tough nest but all part of nature and learning to survive I guess.  (Even when the parents are present they seem oblivious to the rough-housing.)

“See anything yet?”  Watching for the folks.

(BELOW) Occassionally one of the little guys will step up to the top edge of the nest and slowly exercise their forming wings.  Cute, but made us a bit nervous wondering how often one of these balls of fluff gets too carried away and accidently falls out?   The chick in the foreground (looking right into camera) is the one that gets “pecked on” by its slightly larger sibbling.  


VIDEO: Here’s a short video I shot when a Harley Davidson passed by and Mr. Hawk seemed to follow the bike down the road – likely to snag some unsuspecting mouse or lizard frighted by the movement and noise.   (Like when Owls hunt along side roads at night by vehicle headlights?)

Ahhh, Spring.

My best to you and yours, Lew

Categories: Uncategorized.


Reading Time: 16 minutes

Customer: Ahhh, what’ve you got?

Store Clerk: Whiskey, Scotch, Vodka, Gin, Tequila, assorted liqueurs, domestic and imported beer

Customer: Ahhhh,

Store Clerk: Let’s see some ID.

Customer: Ahhh, how about a shot of the liquid hand sanitizer and a blue mint mouthwash chaser?

NOTE: The above is, in no way, intended to encourage or condone substance abuse by anyone or minimize the harmful health effects of such use. Listening to the national news the other day I heard this hand sanitizer consumption was increasing and thought it a good example of strange behavior by some.

Apparently liquid hand sanitizer (which can contain 63% Ethyl Alcohol), sometimes combined with mouthwash, has replaced the old time Vanilla extract as a preferred underage cocktail. Good grief! Traditional alcohol consumption is bad enough but how very sad that an individual (however old) would become so desperate to escape reality that they would drink such stuff. I understand such consumption could also cause serious injury (which is evidently why procedures are used to consume only the alcohol). Wasn’t inappropriate drinking one of the reasons wood alcohol is used for many purposes rather than grain (alcohol)? What about the old time sterno sippers? Aerosol huffing? Pruno? Raisin-Jack? Used chewing gum wrapped in a moldy banana peel?   LOL

I guess desperation is the mother of invention and in the current fad some imaginative adolescent read the label and did some simple math. Ethyl alcohol + desire for intoxication = drinking hand sanitizer and mouthwash. Cheers!

Can’t help but wonder if the government will now require age identification prior to purchase like with glue, paint and other similar products? Look what happened to over-the-counter cold medications because they are used in the production of meth? Maybe we should limit how many ounces the average hand washing germophobic citizen might actually require? (Amount calculated during the flu season naturally.) Lick any toads lately?

Wonder if the California Highway Patrol has heard any excuses regarding this new buzz trend yet?

“Actually no officer (hiccup) I definitely have not be drinking (hiccup) …just bathing my filthy f@(king tongue in soap and inad (hiccup)…. Inadverted….(hiccup) accidently swallowed the (hiccup) stuff when the tree hitted my bumper [hiccups, pukes on the officer’s boots, passes out and begins a very unpleasant journey through the criminal justice system with 99.99% germ free minty breath]

Anyway, I imagine most people understand the motive for drinking this exterior use liquid germ killer, however, it sure doesn’t explain all peculiar human behavior, which reminds me of the point of this posting ….. here is the LEW VIEW report on the last meeting.

Have a great weekend!



Directors present: Emery Ross, Mark Skoien, Victor Afanasiev and VP Lew Richardson (President Bill Kinsella absent due to illness), also present: Interim General Manager Dan Tynan and Financial Administrator/Treasurer/Board Secretary Charise Reeves. VP Richardson acknowledged the 6 audience attendees and opened the meeting at 1002hrs. Following the Pledge of Allegiance the first agenda item was addressed.


Tynan advised he would be resigning on April 30th, 2012 from the IGM position that he had held for 17 months. Tynan stated he found himself in an unworkable situation because he believed current Director Bill Kinsella, prior director Wes Barton, and Finance Manager Charise Reeves were pursuing their own personal agendas rather than the district’s best interest. Tynan stated he had done his best while at the LDPCSD and believed he achieved a lot but the aforementioned individuals were the reason he sought employment elsewhere. Tynan stated he hoped there would be a change in attitude and focus regarding State compliance matters, education, safety, security and experience in running a water district. Tynan suggested the hiring of new employee John Turner as the next IGM citing Turner’s 31 years of water experience stating the district would be lucky to have him. VP Richardson stated that matter could be discussed more under agenda item C, General Manager Position.

VP Richardson asked Board Secretary Charise Reeves if there were extra copies of Mr. Turner’s submitted packet [62 pages of information which included copies of water licenses and training certificates] and asked Mr. Turner, who was in the audience, if he had any objections to copies being made, which Turner advised he did not. [NOTE, this material was submitted to directors at the last board meeting but without being on the agenda was not officially addressed.]

Director Emery Ross objected stating he had communicated with the CSD attorney and it was improper to discuss an employee’s Personnel File in public and it had to be discussed in closed session and suggested moving on to the next agenda item. Director Afanasiev and IGM Tynan disagreed stating it was merely part of Mr. Turner’s resume. VP Richardson stated he also had spoken with Mr. Carlson and understood the matter could be discussed and decided in open session. Ross stated he had a case supporting his position yet when Director Afanasiev asked about the material Ross refused to elaborate.

Director Mark Skoien commented it was nice to see the extensive material but questioned how current it was and asked about Turner’s work history. Director Ross again stated the board should not discuss the matter in open session. IGM Tynan stated he had placed Turner’s resume in every director’s mail box and had confirmed through the state that Turner’s T-4 and D-4 licenses were current. Richardson again stated the issue could be discussed under item C. Ross stated it was a personnel issue and should be in closed session but Richardson stated further discussion could take place later on the agenda and opened item B, Interim General Manager’s Reimbursement, for discussion.

ITEM B: Request: Reimbursement of funds for the Cross Connection course, hotel expense, and vacation days from the IGM. As IGM Dan Tynan began to discuss the matter Director Emery Ross interrupted stating he believed the item appeared to be punitive and disciplinary in nature and should not be discussed. Richardson agreed it appeared to be more of a personnel issue yet after talking with the attorney that morning stated it was proper for the board to make a decision on the agendized request. Ross said if the board wanted to make a policy regarding reimbursement for educational training that was fine but should not discuss the matter in open session. Director Skoien felt the matter was moot and since he (President Kinsella) was not present the board should move on to the next agenda item. IGM Tynan requested the opportunity for clarification of President Kinsella’s letter. Ross asked if the board had to do that. Richardson stated the item was on the agenda for reimbursement of funds which was something both President Kinsella and Charise Reeves had presented for discussion, however, Mrs. Reeves stated she only provided the information requested by President Kinsella due to a discrepancy between what had been stated in a meeting by Tynan and what actually transpired regarding payment for the training class. Richardson clarified that the matter had started some time before which Reeves acknowledged stating it was standard procedure to go over credit card charges and checking the meeting tape confirmed that Tynan originally stated he would pay for the class himself.

Director Ross asked if the information would end up in Tynan’s Personnel File to which Reeves stated it would not characterizing it (if the board decided to have Tynan pay for the class and hotel room) as a simple reversal on payroll (vacation time). VP Richardson acknowledged the suggestion of bypassing the matter and moving on through the agenda but commented the issue would only linger on and questioned whether the board might adjudicate the matter now. Director Skoien stated Dan was moving on, had a right to do so and had stated his reasons for the resignation and suggested everyone else move on as well.

Tynan disputed President Kinsella’s assertion (in a letter) that the district received no benefit for Tynan’s training class citing a number of violations within the district which Tynan discovered because of the training. Director Skoien confirmed that approximately the same amount of money spent on the training class had been billed through the district. Richardson clarified that Tynan had paid for one training class himself and planned on doing the same for the second class but after realizing the financial benefit to the district (along with meeting requirements of state regulations) later changed his mind and charged the training to the credit card. [NOTE: Tynan had previously agreed to abide by whatever the board decided.]

Richardson stated boards often made the mistake of trying to save money by not providing training to employees due to the fear they might move on to another agency yet such training should be provided and if an employee did move on to another position it was just a cost of doing business. Ross suggested a policy stating if an employee left within one month of a district paid training course the employee be required to reimburse the district. Richardson agreed stating such would be similar to the current policy regarding clothing and boots but it could not be retroactive. The board consensus was to drop the matter and use the situation as the basis for a possible future policy.

ITEM C: General Manager Position: Decide on actions to fill the General Manager Position.

Director Ross passed out a proposal of his to the board that encouraged hiring an IGM but still advertising for the General Manager’s position. He stated he was waiting for the attorney to approve his proposal. Director Skoien stated the district had to meet the requirement of advertising for the position but VP Richardson disagreed stating he had spoken with the attorney and the board could appoint an IGM from the existing employee pool without advertising. Richardson confirmed through the board secretary that advertising costs were approximately $1,000 in four local newspapers.

Director Afanasiev stated he believed the board needed to make an appointment but was unsure if the district needed to advertise for the position. Richardson reiterated his conversation with the attorney that such advertisement was not necessary and the board could indeed appoint an IGM. Director Skoien said the district should probably run an advertisement but doubted we would find anyone as qualified as Mr. Turner. Richardson disagreed with the offered theory by Director Afanasiev that the district could not appoint a GM until conclusion of the ongoing wrongful termination lawsuit by a previous general manager. Harry Alfier also pointed out that a previous IGM was promoted to GM during the wait for lawsuit conclusions. Director Skoien stated he did not recall any information that the previous GM (with a pending lawsuit against the district) even wanted the position. Tynan confirmed that Jeff Mann had been appointed IGM and then later GM by a previous board.

Director Ross felt the district needed an IGM prior to appointing a permanent GM. Ross felt IGM Tynan had the responsibility but not the authority as an IGM. Ross also stated:

“I think in this interim period until, I mean, I don’t think you’re going to get a, a regular general manager going in the short amount of time so you need to pick from somebody, whoever, Charise, him, you know, Syndie whoever it is, Randy, somebody, me…(laughter) you know, until the 30th until we get a few applications from this response that we’re talking about if the board wants to do interim. I think it’s time to take it more positive about it because that’s really Dan’s prob, had that problem for all that time that he was a, had the responsibility of all this stuff but not really the authority to do what he need to do”.

Tynan stated his hands were tied.

Richardson stated most people could recognize that Tynan was placed in an untenable position due to politics that had been going on for quite some time before his arrival here as an employee and he was thrown right smack dab into the middle of something that I don’t think anybody really stood a fair chance. Directors agreed Tynan had done a good job. Ross said there were some things Tynan did that he wasn’t happy about like the painting but it looks good now. Richardson suggested with all the discussion one of the first things the board might inquire was whether Mr. Turner was even interested in something like that.

John Turner stated in the last ten days he had spoken with many people from all sides and that his whole career was based on, whether in the Marine Corps or working for water agencies, bringing people together. He said it was like our family away from family. He said his upmost priorities were to protect the community liability and keeping the people safe. Turner emphasized working together, referring to his past experience and training, stated he knew how to run the district.

VP Richardson commented that it was high time the board supported the district IGM/GM and proposed tentatively appointing Mr. Turner to the position with the same hiring conditions as Dan Tynan and using the next 10 days for orientation and verification of resume information. He said barring any disqualifying information Mr. Turner could take the position upon Tynan’s last day on April 30th and with a successful evaluation later be appointed to GM. Richardson also felt the plan would be in line with past Mariposa County Grand Jury recommendations the last two years.

Director Ross again stated he believed it was a personnel issue that should be discussed in closed session scheduled in the future. Richardson again stated he had specifically confirmed with the CSD attorney as to the board’s authority to appoint in open session emphasizing the salary issue should never be discussed in closed session. He continued to say an open meeting was transparency (of government) and it was a shame there were not more people in attendance. Richardson characterized the situation as an opportunity for a new office, new IGM, and potentially a new start and direction for the district.

Director Ross questioned how the board could hire someone without seeing his application or resume. Ross stated he didn’t even know if Turner had ever been gainfully employed in the State of California to which Richardson suggested he ask Turner which Ross refused to do stating he would only talk with Turner in closed session. Richardson again stated the attorney advised the board could appoint in open session yet Ross stated the attorney told him the same thing but then did a 360 last night saying the district could be sued for discussing personnel issues in a public session. [I believe Mr. Ross meant 180 degrees which would be a U-turn compass heading.]

Ruth Smith asked how many directors were authorized to speak with the attorney stating it was no wonder the legal fees were so high. Ross stated he emailed the attorney to which Mrs. Smith stated the district gets charged the same. Richardson stated that in all fairness when a director, GM or staff had a legal question the attorney is exactly the person to be contacted. Harry Alfier questioned what happened to the idea of contracting with the Tuolumne County Counsel’s office for routine questions to which Charise Reeves responded the proposal was never approved by the board.

Richardson suggested getting back to the topic of replacement of the IGM, congratulated Tynan on his new employment and stated Tynan had done a lot of good things for the district despite the turmoil. Director Skoien asked Ross about his proposal wondering if it too was a personnel issue. Ross stated it was only a concept that the attorney might approve today and disapprove tomorrow depending upon which way the wind blows. Director Afanasiev asked if he could make a motion, Richardson said yes but asked if there were any further comments from the public.

Wes Barton stated when the previous board hired a previous IGM they used the engineering firm for an evaluation and suggested the same in the present situation because, 1) helps the district choose the right person and 2) it puts the blame on somebody else. Barton also felt there should be specific goals set for the IGM and recommended the board in the next six months set such goals to be achieved. Barton also felt understanding the district’s financial situation has been a problem for past IGM/GMs and discussed the reporting hierarchy and mentioned the possibility that the financial administrator might report directly to the board of directors. (Barton emphasized it was only a suggestion and he was not necessarily advocating such a procedure.) He stressed goal setting by the board was the priority (with outside technical advice) and without such, failure would again result.

Director Ross said the government code states the GM is responsible for finance and like the County Board of Supervisors, which appoints individuals to fill various positions even though the supervisors themselves may not have personal experience, the board must have faith in their appointees. Ross disagreed with having the engineer evaluate the GM because the engineer works for the GM. IGM Tynan said he was able to complete 3 of the 14 capital improvement projects furnished to the prior GM. Director Skoien commented that the GM would naturally be in contact with the engineer and did not care for the suggestion of a separation of financial matters from the GM to the board. Mr. Barton stated it was his personal take on the matter from reading the government code and also mentioned the timing issue of the appointment. He stated use of consultants might be useful, specifically the engineer. IGM Tynan stated a consultant previously used by the district would no longer be available.

Director Afanasiev made the motion to promote John Turner as the interim GM with verification of his certificates from the state within 120 days. Richardson asked if Director Afanasiev might amend his motion to include the Turner’s hiring with the same conditions (salary and long term benefits) as used with Dan Tynan effective May 1st. VP Richardson made the second.

Director Skoien confirmed the motion for appointment did not include any advertisement but thought Ross’s proposal of a temporary appointment during an advertisement period the way to go. Director Afanasiev stated the district could appoint internally, Richardson agreed stating, with no offense to Mr. Turner at all, employees are at will and he had read in past minutes where one individual was appointed as GM in one meeting, but another person was the GM at the next. Richardson stated the appointment was not set in stone without any options if things did not turn out as anticipated.

Director Ross stated there was a motion without a second but was advised a second had been made. Ross then said he would not vote for the motion because he had not seen Turner’s employment application and it could only be discussed “in there”, referring to a closed session. Ross said he didn’t know if Turner had been a bus driver or maybe a rancher. Richardson again asked Director Ross if he had reviewed the information regarding Turner’s employment and educational background yet Ross stated he did not want to discuss the issue. Ross again stated he had not seen an employment application to which Director Afanasiev explained it was a promotion from the ranks not a job application. John Turner advised he could do whatever the board requested but Afanasiev advised it was not necessary for a promotion. Richardson asked if Director Ross had seen Turner’s resume to which Ross replied he hadn’t seen anything. Afanasiev, Skoien and Richardson had reviewed it, and Richardson advised he knew President Kinsella had requested the resume a while back. Tynan said he confirmed Turner’s 31 years job experience and license status.

Director Skoien asked about Turner’s previous experience. Mr. Turner advised he had worked for Golden State Water which is a privately owned New York Stock Exchange Company which serves 1 out of every 33 people up and down the state. He started down in Arizona-New Mexico for 14 years, transferred to the East Bay where he worked another 13-14 years and was then promoted to water conservation coordinator that covered many communities.

Richardson commented Turner’s 30+ years experience was very valuable along with his T-4 and D-4 License Grades (Treatment and Distribution) and the fact he was already an employee precluded expensive advertising. He continued by saying it was his understanding Mr. Turner had already committed himself to this community by purchasing a house which Turner affirmatively acknowledged. Richardson said he thought it was the perfect opportunity to appoint the gentleman as IGM to work with the general contractor and insurance company in establishing the new office from the ground up. He also thought it advantageous that Turner would himself hire future CSD employees with whom he would work. Richardson said he would really like to see everybody support the motion but if there were objections – voice the apprehensions on the record because it had been a long time since a district IGM/GM received the full support of the board. He said even if a director had reluctance in certain areas the board should give Turner a chance and try for a new start for the district.

Director Ross asked Turner how many years of finance experience he had as a finance manager – what did he know about finance. Turner responded that as far as being a finance manager that was never his title but he had taken the Harvard (Ross interrupted adding to his question: “in a public agency – cuz it’s different than a private”. Turner replied stating: in the private, we serve the public. He continued by saying he didn’t like to “toot his own – kind of thing” but he had been chosen by management to participate in rate school training and had taken the Harvard Financial Competence Class, budgets and rates and as a lead operator whenever the superintendent stepped aside he came in as assistant and would run the budget. He advised he would learn from the current employees and they would learn from him and everyone would come up to another level. He further stated he did not come here needing a job but after retirement he could only take six months of fishing (laughter). Richardson commented whatever experience he might be lacking in the public sector could be cleared up with a Brown Act training class real quick.

Director Afanasiev said the Brown Act only applied to officials and Richardson agreed and he mentioned the training class only because Director Ross had made the distinction between public and private agencies. Richardson stated Afanasiev’s motion stood and asked if there were any further comments. Ruth Smith asked if the man was already qualified and an employee of the district why spend the money for an engineer, consultant or advertisement, why not just do it (appoint) and get it over with? Richardson agreed stating as IGM Mr. Turner would naturally consult with the engineers on different projects and the attorney on legal matters. Harry Alfier commented that the board was running a good meeting and that he supported John and thought him a Godsend for the district and hoped the board would support him as well. Emery Ross said there were three votes – Afanasiev stated Ross didn’t know that- Richardson said the comment was kind of out of order and laughed.

Ruth Smith asked if IGM Tynan put the information in Ross’s mailbox was it fair for Ross to vote no to Turner just because Ross hasn’t checked his mail? Ross said the votes were there and he could vote the way he wanted. With no further comments VP Richardson called for the vote, Director Skoien asked for a reading of the motion:

Charise Reeves: Motion is, for the most part, to promote John Turner on an interim basis ah to position as interim general manager with verification on his certifications from the state, and this is where I don’t have it word for word, but additional verifications within 120 days on his background, I’ll get it word for word off the tape, and ah, at the same salary and conditions as Dan was at effective May first.

Ayes, Richardson, Afanasiev, and Skoien (the later vote qualified with so long as running an advertisement was not required). Nays, Ross (because he had not interviewed the person in closed session and had not seen the application.)

Director Skoien stated he agreed with Director Ross on how it had been done in the past with the best case scenario but he (Skoien) was also considering the time frame and like with any other vote hoped it was the right decision.

Richardson agreed and said, again John with no insult meant to you at all if things don’t work out you could be gone as quickly as you came in….(laughter) I hope that’s not the case, I hope in the next ten days you and Dan can work together and come up you know to speed on more things here. I’d like to see some active involvement if we hire Pinnacle and Mr. Grover to be the general contractor – some good work in there with him and you have the chance to

John Turner: get things in gear

VP Richardson: Exactly, exactly and get a good start on the ground floor of what will hopefully be a new CSD with a new agenda. OK, with that done we’re looking at the Closed Session so we’ll close this meeting at 1113.

Director Afanasiev: can we take a break?

VP Richardson: Certainly

Director Ross: See you later I’m going home

VP Richardson: Whoa – Emery, we have a closed session.

Director Ross: I know, I have to leave, I don’t like the way you’re running this (laughter)

VP Richardson: But, OK, you may not like the way I’m running it but are you going to just abdicate your responsibility and not attend a closed session with the attorney counsel?

Director Ross: Well Raymond told me one thing and you’re telling me

VP Richardson: Well this would be the perfect opportunity for you to ask him on the telephone then.

Director Ross: Well no because you’re obstinate and impossible to talk to, you don’t listen, you just did a whole stupid thing

VP Richardson: Listen Emery the attorney is going to be on the phone and you’ll have the opportunity to talk to him

(inaudible – Director Emery Ross leaves the board room)

VP Richardson: (laughs) Let’s take a recess (laughter)


D) Conference with Legal Counsel – Existing Litigation Government Code Section 54956.9 – Kent/Topie vs. LDPCSD

Conference to be rescheduled so the entire board could be present.

E) Government Code Section 54957(b)(2) – Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release/Specific Complaints – Continuation

No action taken due to the matter being Overtaken By Events (OBE) since one of the complainants is leaving the district it is no longer a legal issue but as a practical matter no action will be taken on that.

Charise Reeves made the following for the record comment: “I was not happy with the way this whole thing proceeded, obviously the initial ahm grievance was submitted seven months ago and over seven or eight meetings ago

VP Richardson: OK, well you know that, that works both ways but

Charise Reeves: I’m allowed to make a statement for the record

VP Richardson: You are?

Charise Reeves: Yeah, anybody in the community is and so I’m not happy with how long it took, you know I understand the determination but I do want the directors to know that I stand by what I initially put in the grievance.

VP Richardson: OK,

Charise Reeves: You know harassment

Director Skoien: But you understand the termination because the employee is leaving?

Charise Reeves: I do, I do

Director Skoien: You’re just expressing your disgust

Charise Reeves: I’m just….exactly, I, I was not happy that it took this long, that it wasn’t resolved, and had something happened a whole lot sooner, ahm, and that ah, you know, the initial items that I stated I still stand by. You know?

VP Richardson: Well I think both parties

Charise Reeves: I understand the determination and the ah action so

VP Richardson: I think both parties standby what they’ve said but it’s, it’s done. OK, so we’ll call the end of this meeting ah thank you all for, all three of you for returning, the time is 1202.


My best to you and yours, Lew

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