December 19th, 2011 Meeting Continued

Hello! I hope the New Year is treating you all well. Difficult to believe a year has passed already – that is until I take personal inventory of all the new aches, pains, frustrations, and ramifications of getting older. Last weekend I finally got around to replacing a 10+ year old “temporary” walkway bridge which was actually just a deteriorating painted wood pallet over a drainage ditch. (Funny how those “temporary fixes” remain so long.) Yup, muscles are still pretty sore but at least they remind me that something was accomplished.

Here’s another installment of the December 19th, 2011 Board Meeting.


Vice President Bill Kinsella: OK, let’s open it up, and it’s nomination for board president.

Director Lew Richardson: I’d like to nominate Bill Kinsella

VP Kinsella: OK, any other nominations? I don’t want to win by default.

Director Emery Ross: (inaudible) laughter

VP Kinsella: There are no other nominations?

Director Ross: Get it by default

VP Kinsella: OK then (multiple voices) to make it legal I have to call for a vote, all in favor?

Director Victor Afanasiev: You need a second first

Multiple voices

Unknown: I’ll second it

VP Kinsella: No, no you don’t

Multiple voices/cross talk

Director Afanasiev: (inaudible) nomination…and I’ll make a second

VP Kinsella: OK, who made the second?

Director Afanasiev: I did

VP Kinsella: OK, any comments from the audience?

Director Afanasiev: Wes Barton, no comment?

VP Kinsella: Huh?

Director Afanasiev: No comment from Mr. Barton

VP Kinsella: OK I’ll call for the question, all in favor say “Aye”

Director Richardson: Aye

Director Afanasiev: You mean for a vote?

VP Kinsella: Yeah, in favor of me

Board Secretary Charise Reeves: a yes….

Director Ross: Don’t need to vote you’ve got it by default

Multiple voices/ cross talk

VP Kinsella: (inaudible) got it by default

Secretary Charise Reeves: So did we need a vote?

Director Ross: Nope, there’s only one person that’s

Director Richardson: Well we didn’t need one but it was still three to two

Director Ross: No it wasn’t

Secretary Reeves: OK

Director Richardson: Oh, how was it not?

Secretary Reeves: I need to record this guys

Director Ross: I didn’t vote

Director Richardson: Victor voted, I voted, Bill voted, that’s three

Director Ross: He got it by default, there is no vote

Director Afanasiev: We still need a vote

Director Richardson: What is your vote Emery?

Director Ross: I’m not voting because he got it by default

Director Richardson: OK, so you’re abstaining?

Secretary Reeves: What about Mark?

Director Richardson: I don’t know?

Director Mark Skoien: I’ll abstain, he’s the only candidate

Director Ross: He’s the only candidate that’s it, ah

Director Richardson: Well it would be a nice show of support

Director Ross: Vice President next

Multiple voices

President Kinsella: OK, ah, I’ll open it up for nomination for vice president.

Director Skoien: I’ll nominate Emery

President Kinsella: OK, I nominate Lew Richardson, Victor you have any comments?

Sally Punte (Former Board Member in audience): Can I interrupt?

President Kinsella: Huh?

Sally Punte: May I interrupt?

President Kinsella: Go ahead

Sally Punte: I don’t know that Emery is electable…

Director Ross: I’m electable

Sally Punte: because of the Grand Jury

Director Ross: No, no, that’s the president, not vice president

Sally Punte: Well yes but that would mean

Director Ross: Different – different board

Sally Punte: in the absence of a president guess who that would be?

Director Skoien: That was a different board

Multiple voices

Director Richardson: Good point

Director Skoien: Different year

Director Ross: Well Lew’s not supposed to write on his blog either, those were recommendations.

Director Richardson: No, that’s not true.

President Kinsella: Oh boy

Multiple voices

Director Richardson: Get your facts straight.

Director Ross: (inaudible) let them vote

President Kinsella: You’re right

Sally Punte: I know

Director Ross: Let them vote, take the vote

Director Skoien: He followed the recommendation when they ah said he (Emery Ross) should resign as president

Sally Punte: That’s true but

Director Ross: the grand jury

Sally Punte: you see my point Mark

Director Ross: the Grand Jury

President Kinsella: Well OK

Director Ross: Call for the vote

President Kinsella: I am, all in favor of Emery raise your hand or say aye

Director Skoien: aye

President Kinsella: Emery did you vote?

Director Ross: No

President Kinsella: Just Mark

Secretary Reeves: OK

President Kinsella: all in favor of Lew? Aye

Director Afanasiev: Aye

Director Richardson: Aye, three to two?

Director Ross: I didn’t vote

President Kinsella: Huh?

Director Ross: I didn’t vote

Director Richardson: Abstained

President Kinsella: I know you didn’t vote

Director Richardson: Abstain?

Director Ross: That’s a vote, it’s voting, if I abstain it’s a vote, I didn’t vote -not abstaining.

President Kinsella: Well Emery don’t be

Multiple voices/cross talk

Director Ross: Mark

Director Skoien: What?

Board Secretary: OK, wait a minute

Director Ross: Mark voted

Board Secretary: For the first nomination (Ross talking in background) for Emery we had an aye for Mark

Director Ross: Right

Board Secretary: Emery you did not vote so that means you abstained

Director Ross: Whatever you’ve got to call it

Board Secretary Reeves: But the three of you, were those nays?

President Kinsella: Yes

Board Secretary Reeves: Victor, Bill and Lew?

President Kinsella: Yes

Board Secretary Reeves: OK, and then for a Lew it was Bill, Victor and Lew for an aye, Emery abstained, and Mark

Director Skoien: No

Board Secretary: OK, OK, so Bill is our President and Lew is our Vice President.

President Kinsella: My sympathies Mr. Richardson

VP Richardson: Well I threw you into the fire

President Kinsella: (laughing) OK, now comes the issue of committees.

Director Afanasiev: Ah what (inaudible)

President Kinsella: What?

Director Ross: Committees are always part of it ah Victor

Director Afanasiev: Yes

President Kinsella: It’s in the same line Victor, board reorganization, and president and vice president and committees.

Director Afanasiev: OK

President Kinsella: We need somebody for finance?

(After long silent pause …. laughter)

VP Richardson: Listen to everybody….

President Kinsella: I can, I can certainly, can’t hear anything for the (inaudible) you know. I guess the president should be that huh?

Board Secretary: Yep

President Kinsella: That’s a standing committee, Operations?

Board Secretary: Don’t we usually do two board members per committee?

President Kinsella: I’d love to have two board members per committee, but ah, I know how it’s going to… Emery would you be a board member, I mean would you be a committee member?

Director Ross: No I told you I don’t do committees because they’re not legal.

President Kinsella: OK. Mark? Would you be a committee member?

Director Skoien: Not finance, I’ll do Operations again.

President Kinsella: Victor?

Director Afanasiev: Not finance, no, that’s not my bailiwick.

President Kinsella: Lew you’re it

VP Richardson: I guess it’s me

Board Secretary Reeves: OK

VP Richardson: I can balance my checkbook – (laughter)

President Kinsella: Operations

Director Skoien: Well you’re qualified

VP Richardson: Probably not qualified but if it balances I’m happy (laughing)

President Kinsella: Operations

Director Skoien: I’ll do that again I don’t have a problem

President Kinsella: I’m already listed down there so we can do that

Board Secretary: Bill and Mark on Operations, OK

President Kinsella: Personnel? Ah, Lew and I are listed down there, do you want to change?

VP Richardson: I don’t know, is someone else interested in it or….

Director Skoien: I’d say with what we’re in the middle of I think it should stay the same, but that’s just my opinion.

VP Richardson: That makes sense. Makes sense.

Director Afanasiev: I agree with Mark, remain the same.

President Kinsella: Public Relations, Lew, you and I are listed on this thing but I’d like to drop off it because

VP Richardson: Well Victor has since come aboard, so

President Kinsella: Yeah, Victor would you do that?

Director Afanasiev: What Public Relations?

President Kinsella: Yeah

Director Afanasiev: Not really, I’m not very good at Public Relations

VP Richardson: Well I thought you said you would?

Director Afanasiev: No, I don’t agree to (inaudible) in Public Relations (laughter)

Multiple voices/cross talk

President Kinsella: You have to have two, you should have two so

VP Richardson: Well then you’re still in

President Kinsella: I guess I am

VP Richardson: Well – with all the support here, you know…

President Kinsella: Area Planning, got me listed on that, I think I’d

Board Secretary: We didn’t

President Kinsella: like to drop off on that one.

Director Afanasiev: I’ll take that one

President Kinsella: Ah Victor (inaudible)

VP Richardson: Alright

Board Secretary: And who’s our second?

President Kinsella: Mark? Would you like to be on that?

Director Skoien: No

Board Secretary Reeves: It’s a temporary advisory committee; I don’t even know what that really applies to

President Kinsella: It’s a temporary advisory committee, Lew?

VP Richardson: Sure, I’ll go, Victor’s Chairman right?

President Kinsella: Yeah

VP Richardson: OK

President Kinsella: Long Range Benefit Committee. I don’t think we can have an employee on that – can we -?

Board Secretary Reeves: Actually yeah, that one you need two employees, two directors and two employees and you guys kind of hash out what the policies that have to do with employee long range benefits and then you bring that to the board.

President Kinsella: OK, Victor, how about that one?

Director Afanasiev: That’s fine.

Board Secretary Reeves: Bill you’re on that one too?

President Kinsella: Yeah, I can’t dump everything

Board Secretary Reeves: We do need to get a second employee on that one because ah Syndie is our only remaining employee

President Kinsella: Well, but

Director Afanasiev: This is long range (multiple voices/cross talk)

President Kinsella: Well, there’s only you, and ah,

Board Secretary Reeves: Me, and Syndie, well there’s Dave and Randy…

Unknown: Yeah we know more about the ah, the

Board Secretary Reeves: OK, so we can assign me and Syndie as employee representatives

President Kinsella: Yeah, Dan will you question some of your people to see if they would sit on this

Interim General Manager Dan Tynan: Yeah I can ask the guys, yeah.

President Kinsella: Huh?

IGM Tynan: I can ask one of the guys, well the guys

Director Skoien: Can it be Dan?

Director Afanasiev: Or ladies?

President Kinsella: Well, if he wants to do it, he can do it

IGM Tynan: Actually I think Syndie and ah Charise would be very good at it

President Kinsella: I think Charise has enough to do (laughter) but I’d like to, my philosophy is that if we get the guys in the plant or the outside guys involved in this thing we get a better overall picture of what’s going on and they would, they would feel that they have a say in (inaudible)

IGM Tynan: OK, I’ll give – I’ll ask them

President Kinsella: Say again?

IGM Tynan: I’ll ask them

President Kinsella: Ok, thank you. MID, Kinsella drops off, and Afanasiev goes on.

VP Richardson: You’re still on that?

Director Afanasiev: Yes

VP Richardson: OK

President Kinsella: Plaza by the Lake?

Multiple voices questioning committees

Director Skoien: Why are these next three even (multiple voices/cross talk) unless someone, unless they come up, I mean

VP Richardson: What do you call it – decommissioned?

Board Secretary Reeves: I don’t know what it’s technically called

VP Richardson: Dissolved?

Board Secretary Reeves: like to eliminate those three committees, (multiple voices) so is there consensus by the board to eliminate Sierra Foothills, South Shore and Plaza by the Lakes?

Multiple voices

Director Skoien: Yeah, temporary ah, eliminate them until a need arises or something

Director Afanasiev: Charise, which, no, I got Plaza by the Lake (multiple voices)

Board Secretary Reeves: Sierra Foothills and South Shore

Director Afanasiev: Ah, I wouldn’t eliminate South Shore there is a big question with Merced Irrigation District regarding South Shore, they’re very concerned about it.

VP Richardson: Well, could we make, since it’s a temp advisory, could we throw that into the MID or something?

President Kinsella: I think we should eliminate it and if a need arises then we could reinstitute it.

Director Afanasiev: Well we could throw it to MID Committee because they are extremely concerned about South Shore

VP Richardson: Right, it came up a number of times

Director Afanasiev: Yes

Board Secretary Reeves: So eliminate the three and then, kind of anything with South Shore ties into MID?

President Kinsella: Yeah, right, OK

Board Secretary Reeves: OK is there consensus by the whole board to eliminate those three committees, temporary advisory committees?

President Kinsella: Mark says yes

Board Secretary Reeves: Mark says yes

Director Afanasiev: I have no problem with it

Director Ross: I don’t have nothing to do with committees

President Kinsella: I didn’t ask you to be on a committee, do you…

Director Ross: I said I don’t comment on committees

Board Secretary Reeves: OK, so it’s Victor, Bill, Lew and Mark consensus.

President Kinsella: Right, Emery abstained again. Waste Water? That’s going to be a big problem, we, can we refer that to the – ah MID Committee, no.

Board Secretary Reeves: No it’s totally different

President Kinsella: but it’s entirely different, yeah.

VP Richardson: It would probably go more with area planning wouldn’t it?

Sally Punte: And LAFCo

VP Richardson: But we don’t have a LAFCo

Director Afanasiev: What do you mean we don’t have a LAFCo, yes we do have a LAFCo

Director Skoien: No, not one on LAFCo

Multiple voices/cross talk

President Kinsella: (inaudible) put that into Area Planning

Board Secretary Reeves: OK, so Waste Water becomes part of Area Planning?

President Kinsella: Yeah

Board Secretary Reeves: How do you see that? If it, are you talking about Waste Water as in the Waste Water bill issue? Are you talking about in taking it over at some point, what?

Sally Punte: (inaudible) that was..

Board Secretary Reeves: That’s what that was, was originally taken

Multiple voices/cross talk

Director Skoien: Eliminate, we aint taking over that

President Kinsella: It would still be Area Planning

Board Secretary Reeves: Huh? So in the context of what it was originally designed for that goes away because, until they come to us and say, hey, we want you to take it.

President Kinsella: Well they wanted us to take it in the beginning

Board Secretary Reeves: Yes but we’ve heard nothing, at least in the three years I’ve been here, nothing’s been said about it

VP Richardson: We were organized, Sally wasn’t this district organized under the presumption that we would be taking over the Waste Water Plant?

Sally Punte: Right, and there is a file I wanted to give to you but I haven’t because I’ve dumped so much on you that I thought that I really should hang on to it

VP Richardson: Bring it on, bring it on

President Kinsella: Everybody is pick – everybody is picking on Lew

VP Richardson: But, I, you know ah, I’ve talked to someone up at the county and I asked them and I never got really a straight answer as to whether they still want us to take that in the future or not

Board Secretary Reeves: I’m sure they would love for us to take it over right now since we would owe ourselves (NOTE: reference to the outstanding $45,000 bill for the Waste Water facility that serves the golf course and homes around the course)

Director Skoien: Yeah

VP Richardson: Yeah, yeah that’s true

Sally Punte: (inaudible) I suspect (inaudible) this place is floundering (multiple voices) and so they’re not trying (inaudible)

VP Richardson: We need to handle our water first before getting into sewage

Director Skoien: Or eliminate it

President Kinsella: Yeah. So where are we going with that

VP Richardson: Well I don’t know

Director Afanasiev: I agree with Mark, let’s eliminate it

Multiple voices

Board Secretary Reeves: At this point, and, if, when it comes up (multiple voices – inaudible)

President Kinsella: Re-establish the committee

Director Afanasiev: If in the future, if there’s a need for it we can discuss it, but (multiple voices – inaudible) let the county handle it

Board Secretary Reeves: (inaudible) eliminate until the need arises again

President Kinsella: OK, that’s fine. Any comments from the audience?

Board Secretary Reeves: And that was consensus by the four of you again.

President Kinsella: Any comments from the audience? Back to the board – Interim General Manager’s Report, Mr. Tynan you’re up.


I’ll try to get back to the December 19th, 2011 meeting soon but with more of a quick paraphrase approach as to what transpired with the agenda items. This verbatim transcript stuff takes time but is sometimes necessary to adequately, and fairly, report what individuals actually say while simultaneously reducing the probability that I will be accused of misinterpreting their words.

Let’s see what else? Still participating in free online training courses and have signed up for another 20 or so up through June. I recently attended a free 6 hour workshop in Madera regarding Regulation Basics of drinking water. [Treatment, distribution, reporting, etc.. For those of you interested these regulations can be found in Titles 17 & 22 of the California Code of Regulations.]

I obtained an SDWA (Safe Drinking Water Act) poster regarding water related topics such as Inorganic/Organic Chemicals, Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts, Microbiological Contaminants, Future Regulations, Secondary Standards, Maximum Contaminant Levels, known Health Effects of particular contaminants, Monitoring requirements, reporting, etc. [Naturally this poster was added to my growing collection of district related materials – my garage is rapidly becoming a water library and sprawling map room. LOL]

The information presented was pretty overwhelming especially when considering safe drinking water is something most of us just take for granted. Frightening as well – consider this partial list of health effects if water is not properly treated for consumption: increased blood pressure, intestinal lesions, gastrointestinal difficulties/liver/kidney damage, thyroid/neurological effects, bone disease, adrenal gland problems, reproductive system problems, ocular problems, stomach difficulties, anemia, nervous system problems, and of course, the infamous catch-all, the “Big C” – cancer. This is precisely why MCL (Maximum Contaminant Levels) have been established by health departments and agencies of the government – to protect the public from preventable illness/injury/death.

Naturally some of these MCL quantities are extremely small and an enormous amount of contaminated water would have to be consumed multiple times a day for many decades to appreciably influence the probability of serious health issues. [And we of course all know how many of these Maximum Contaminant Levels are established – through the use of laboratory animals such as mice.]

Reminds me of an old joke:

Health scientists recently added human saliva to the known list of cancer-causing agents, however, the public should not be alarmed because there is no serious danger unless consumed in small amounts over a long period of time.

My best to you and yours, Lew

PS: Think I’ll take a chance on a cold beer regardless of what might be in it!


There were actually five Deer that had crossed the road but a small one was evidently camera shy and just jumped out of the photo.

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