Reading Time: 4 minutes

Not surprisingly I did not receive a personal invitation to Thomas Porter’s second recall movement of a duly elected Board of Directors held last Thursday (September 1st) at his Deerwood Corporation sales office complex located on Merced Falls Road.    I was, however, forwarded a copy of the original “blast email” by Heidi who just happens to be one of the three ladies recently appointed to the Lake Don Pedro Owners’ Association Board of Directors. 

Last year there was not even an LDPOA election due to the lack of candidates.  Apparently the LDPOA board simply recruited from their recall group of supporters again to fill vacancies because original members of the board with the “NEW VISION” quit because they did not attend meetings or actually intend to work for the members.  They just needed to destroy a good, honest hard working Board who were focused on the Association and its members rather than what was best for real estate and land development interests.    

Here’s what Heidi Russell, a current appointed Director on the LDPOA Board wrote:

Recall water board meeting Thursday @10:00 A M at Deerwood sales office On Merced Falls Rd.  Enough of the embarrassment of a non functioning water board , the lack of decorum, yelling, name calling, disrespect… sounds like our old LDPOA Board, well it is with Bill and Lew on the water board. Let’s get some people in who know what their doing and have respect for others and see the future of Lake Don Pedro. You can sit on your butt’s and complain or you can help change this community for the better.



Thank You



Just like in the first Porter Recall of the LDPOA Board, here’s one of the same instigators spewing disinformation for the sole purpose of fanning the flames of discontent and energizing the “rent a mob” as Emery Ross himself previously referred to that group.  A group he now evidently embraces as a potential source of votes for his dream of being a Mariposa County Supervisor.   A sitting director participating in a recall movement of fellow directors smacks of inappropriate activity, but with this group, apparently “anything goes”.   While on the subject of that particular “waking nightmare”, (Mr. Ross in a county position)  I find it to be in extremely poor taste, indeed disrespectful,  that Mr. Ross continues to bring up the District II position while current Supervisor Lyle Turpin, his family and friends are dealing with the serious consequences of that tragic ranch accident. 

Curiously, Heidi has RARELY attended CSD meetings yet makes a number of accusatory statements based on what?   What she wants to believe although personally oblivious to the facts?  What someone has told her are the facts to be repeated to a seething crowd stirred to action with other erroneous information?   Seems to me Heidi has in fact been sitting on her own butt and just complaining.  Who is she to chastise others for doing the same?


Heidi’s observations of embarrassment, a non-functioning water board, lack of decorum, yelling, name calling, and disrespect at meetings are absolutely valid.  But then, like the rest of the hard core Porte-ites”, she intentionally misrepresents those facts by attributing them to “Bill and Lew” rather than her own group which quite clearly causes such disturbances. 

[Something easily confirmed if she would “get off her butt” and bothered to attend meetings or listen to audio recordings of the same.   There is plenty of documentary evidence as to which individuals intentionally interrupt business meetings.] 

Come to think of it, Heidi was one of the, if not the most, discourteous speakers at that “Cartoon Recall” Hacienda meeting of the LDPOA as well.  (Likely a prerequisite for being one of the disinformation cheerleaders now)


Why would this individual intentionally misrepresent the facts in this way?  Who knows, but the following might be a clue. 

Heidi and her partner are close friends with Mr. Porter who provided a very nice reception, complete with use of Porter’s limo, for their domestic union ceremony at the golf course.  OK, I understand loyalty and appreciation for the kindness shown in providing such a splendid venue for your nuptial celebration but to intentionally fabricate the truth in an attempt to harm others is disingenuous at best and possibly just blind obedience at worst.     



Heidi advocates getting people in there that know what “their” doing.  Oh really?  I have worked very hard studying information concerning this district and water related issues in general.  Bill Kinsella has done the same.  I have availed myself to free online classes in order to familiarize myself with many of the related jobs and requirements of operating such a district.  Bill Kinsella has done the same.  Heidi, like the rest of the ilk for which she apparently speaks, does not want honest people with knowledge and dedication to this district and all ratepayers, she only wants people who support Thomas Porter and his plan for Pedro, which has quite obviously been an abysmal failure – not just for Porter and his land development corporation, but for the property values in Don Pedro in general.



Respect for others?  Oh please!  Nice sound bite but Heidi the hypocrite rides again.  Review the audio tapes of previous meetings (that Heidi did not attend) and then report the truth as to who was responsible for disrupting our business meetings with demands, accusations, and spurious insults to those who stand up to such inappropriate behavior.  

Playing games in the parking lot and suggesting vandalizing a director’s vehicle during a business meeting?  Oh yeah, you folks are a real class act.


My best to you and yours, Lew

Categories: Uncategorized.


Reading Time: 2 minutes

You know, I wanted to put this stuff away and attempt to enjoy the three day weekend (which I will anyway) but I admit it bothers me that the SO-GOSIPS are at it again due to their (apparently) anticipated loss of a director dedicated to their special interest agenda.   What do they know that the rest of us don’t? 

Do these folks possess a modicum of self-respect or integrity?   

What sort of person intentionally tries to harm another by telling lies?

I refuse to be intimidated by such despicable activity.

It has come to my attention another ludicrous fabrication of the truth is being spread within this “recall group” assembled by Mr. Thomas H. Porter and his Deerwood Corporation which has now evidently accussed me of some sort of conspiracy with a District Attorney Investigator to target an innocent sitting director on our CSD Board.   

I would suggest, or rather strongly encourage, the persons disseminating this information to immediately contact the appropriate government authorities and file a complaint as to this very serious charge.   

Here are a few hyperlinks that might be helpful:

California Department of Justice (Attorney General)      http://oag.ca.gov/contact

Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office       http://www.mariposacounty.org/index.aspx?nid=82

Mariposa County District Attorney     http://www.mariposacounty.org/index.aspx?nid=74

In other words:


[NOTE:  Recognize the same modus operandi?  Director Vicki Keefe did the same thing at the last meeting with Director Bill Kinsella.  Keefe made an accusation; stated she had the evidence to prove it;  when Kinsella demanded to see this evidence;  Keefe stated it was at home; when Kinsella suggested a recess to retrieve it; Keefe said she didn’t have time to get it.  (right)  Then why make such an accusation in a public meeting in the first place?  The only thing missing is her later excuse for not producing it:  “the dog ate it”.]


This is another perfect example of how the Porter Supporter Group operates:  innuendo, disinformation, and absolute lies.  Responding to their desperate attempts of continuing to conceal apparent wrongful activity by one of their group only elevates their despicable status as “spreaders of untruths”.  (There’s a real technical term.)

The problem is, I know exactly how such propaganda burns through this community and is often believed by those who do not have the time, or refuse,  to investigate for themselves, so I will respond.

1)      The investigator worked for the same Sheriff’s Office I did many years ago;

2)      We were co-workers who socialized in completely different circles;

3)      I had not spoken with this person in approximately 20 years and that contact was co-incidental in the parking lot of the Mariposa County Superior Court months ago;

4)      A Grand Jury inquiry was already in process prior to this causal meeting.


Each one of us is responsible for our own actions as individuals. Obviously public officials are also responsible to the citizens they serve.   I, nor anyone else, is responsible for the actions of another which violates the law.  That is their decision, not mine.  It is absurd to believe dishonesty can be excused through further false statements, claims of innocence, or that it is someone else’s fault.

Those who repeat such ridiculous information as an excuse for someone’s criminal behavior are either sadly mistaken, or absolute liars.

Perhaps Thomas Porter might consider recalling the Grand Jury?


My Best to You and Yours,  Lew   

PS:  There is much more to report, but for now, have a safe & enjoyable weekend.


Categories: Uncategorized.


Reading Time: 10 minutes

Setting up this new website provided the option of creating a short “catch phrase” to accompany the website’s name.  This posed an interesting question:  Why have I been writing since late 2004 about the Lake Don Pedro community and the forces that have greatly influenced this area? 

We’ll get to that in a moment but first I owe you an explanation as to this website’s hiatus for a few months, the new format, and absence of over five years of research and posting.  Although backups exist, time, effort, and the inevitable loss of hard drive space encourage me to just move forward from this point forward.  We can resurrect the past activity when necessary.  


When I first started to understand some of the political complexities of this area (an ongoing process) I discovered an online organization called AHRC, The American Homeowners’ Resource Center.  Home and property owners across the nation wrote to AHRC with questions, comments, and indeed horror stories of experiences with their CIDs (Common Interest Developments).  A common theme of these communications regarded the reasonable concept of property owners determining the future course of their investments and how such a concept could be so completely perverted by others – often companies and corporations with their own financial special interests at heart.    

$1,300 for a $20 LIST

I started posting my comments on AHRC about the Lake Don Pedro Owners Association and what I was learning about the domination of this community by two local real estate businesses in co-operation with a multi-million dollar land development corporation based in the Bay Area.  When I attempted to secure a membership list of owners as clearly permitted under Davis-Stirling (California Civil Code governing CIDs) the board at the time (spearheaded by a local real estate business owner who cannot obtain a real estate broker’s license due to past Department of Real Estate violations) simply refused to obey the law forcing me to either give up on the idea of contacting other members by “snail-mail” or going to court.    I chose court. 

Next thing you know legal material is being mailed to me with deadlines for responses and a court dates.  I consulted an attorney to make sure all my paperwork was in order, went to court by myself, and was victorious but learned a very big lesson about winning in court.  The Tuolumne County Superior Court Judge did not award attorney fees so my victory of obtaining what the law quite clearly said I had a right to anyway actually cost me around $1,300 out of my house construction fund.  What a deal huh? 

[Just think, every single LDPOA member pays for our legal representation, yet our attorneys at the time were being used by special interests on the LDPOA board to prevent members from receiving something the law stated they had a right to acquire.  What a racket!] 


Needless to say I was quite vocal about that matter on AHRC.  After writing for a while on that website, which was represented in every one of the 50 states, I was contacted by them and presented with the proposition of starting my own website.  I explained I was not familiar with computers and all that stuff, and essentially computer/website illiterate, but when offered free use of the software (only had to pay for the domain name), server and storage space as an affiliate of AHRC, LAKEDONPEDRO.ORG was born. 


You know, I’ve often laughed to myself at how this website was created.  If those Special Interests on the LDPOA Board had simply sold me a $20 membership list with thousands of names on it in the first place, the time and expense for paper, ink, envelopes, and postage would have kept me busy for a very, very long time.   Their intended “gotcha” of intentionally violating the law to conceal their highly unethical activities only gave birth to a different media with the capability of displaying photographs.    

LAKEDONPEDRO.ORG continued for over five years as an affiliate of AHRC.    I stopped posting for a few months after learning of another Mariposa County Grand Jury inquiry into CSD operations believing to do otherwise might somehow compromise their inquiry.  Shortly before the creation of this new website  I discovered AHRC no longer existed and I had lost free use of the software program and server.  Clicking a LAKEDONPEDRO.ORG icon only referenced a blank page and we all know what a wonderful and fulfilling experience that is.    


No pre-warning notice.  No hint of shutting down.  One day LAKEDONPEDRO.ORG was there, the next:  “WEBPAGE CAN NOT BE FOUND”,   Evidently the last renewing of server fees and such for AHRC was in 2007 for four years – then in mid 2011 – PRESTO!  AHRC and all its affiliates dropped off the internet.


AHRC for many years provided a sounding board for owners across America to express their opinions regarding one of the most common major investments a person can make – purchase of property and/or a home.  Yet often this purchase is tied to a contract involving a system of management and government which provides untold opportunities for the dishonest and unethical.    AHRC was instrumental in educating buyers and sellers as to some of the pitfalls of owning property in a Common Interest Development.  AHRC cautioned people to think very carefully about investing in an organization where you give up many of your rights and must abide by decisions of fellow owners whether or not they had the experience, education, or even basic integrity for the position.  [Frankly, I am almost to the point of believing there should be some form of competency examination.]

Ahhhh, memories, …just think how much we as owners have benefitted from the efforts of so many others who refused to idly set back and watch corruption flourish in their Associations and communities.     The law is continually updated and new laws written in an attempt to close the “grey areas” in which so many without ethics or morals seem to operate.   They play, the public pays.  What a sweet racket for the dishonest.  Well goodbye AHRC and all of you affiliates across the nation – you served well and encouraged others to stand up and oppose those who prey upon the innocent.  Caveat emptor my friends, “Buyer Beware”.   Yup, everything has its time but inevitably dies giving birth to something else.


SO ANYWAY, I had intended not to post anything while waiting for some kind of public acknowledgement as to what may or may not result from the Grand Jury referral of information to the Mariposa County District Attorney’s Office.   I was very disappointed about AHRC and its other affiliates but had already scheduled the “down time”.    I had someone redirect the site information and put together this basic website that will hopefully get better as I learn the software. 

Unfortunately, the stepped-up unethical activities by others has caused me to re-evaluate this course of action as it only seems to encourage even more outrageous behavior by those with apparent and absolute contempt for law, regulations, and appropriate public behavior.   

Question:  Why does this occur? 

Answer: Because law and regulations conflict with what they wish to achieve.

Why a Recall now?

Answer:  Who knows, but evidently this small and organized group is quite concerned about the distinct possibility that a board vacancy may open due to some sort of misconduct or criminal activity of a sitting director.  Not just any director, but one who has unequivocally supported real estate and land development interests in this area for a long time.  Naturally, that in itself is not inappropriate, but when it is contrary to the majority of owners/customers interest and violates the law, we have a problem.  


Rather than taking the position, as the former LDPOA Board did by not aggressively campaigning against the first “cartoon recall” by Thomas Porter and  hoping the community would see through the sham,  I refuse to step back and watch this group once again deceive and confuse this community with their all too familiar propaganda.    I realize this information only reaches a small number of customers and that the most promising hope for this community was the NEW DISCOVERER but I also know it was conveniently turned back into a minimal newsletter devoid of important issues affecting this community by this same group.

SAME OLD MODUS OPERANDI (Method of Operation)

Established rules are obstacles to their plans of personal and business financial gain.   They cannot defend their past activities or current erratic positions with truth, logic, or the facts so they resort to board meeting disruption complete with personal attacks, false accusations, and outright lies hurled at those who do not agree and question their activities.  

Question: What is their position again?

Answer:  Demanding special benefits for themselves that are simultaneously detrimental to the district and the overwhelming majority of ratepayers who have little knowledge as to what is happening within a Community Services District they must financially support.

 [Side Note: I still find it absurd that “out of area owners” pay availability fees for future water yet usually cannot vote in district elections due to voting registration requirements of the respective counties, while at the same time others here locally are considered within the district boundary and CAN VOTE even though they receive NO WATER and DO NOT PAY a thin dime to help support this CSD. 

Does it make sense that non-stakeholders vote in district elections?


Well, let’s start off with what they have already proven they do not want:

They do not want directors who take the time to read the water related periodicals like CSDA (California Special Districts Association), ACWA (Association of California Water Agencies), RCAC (Rural Community Assistance Corporation), etc. and participate in FREE online training classes to better educate themselves regarding water related issues.

They do not want directors who take an interest in what MID Water License 11395 states about where Lake McClure water can be legally used. 

They do not want directors who question unethical behavior or misconduct by others, especially a director they steadfastly support.  [The audio tape of that “rent-a-mob” (or SO GOSIP- Same Old Group of Special Interest People) meeting clearly documents the crowd yelling they did not care that Vicki Keefe may have violated CSD policy…..”WE CAN LIVE WITH IT!”]   

They do not want directors who ask questions about the many years of significantly under billed water consumption at the Lake Don Pedro Waste Water Facility that just happens to serve Tom Porter and/or The Deerwood Corporation’s golf course, residential, and unimproved properties around the course.  [A county designated special benefit sewer zone.] 


They only want directors who will “rubber stamp” whatever flavor of the day water resource they require for their property concerns. 

They want directors without the integrity to stand up and say “NO”

They want directors who when told to “JUMP!” – only ask “how high?” while hovering in the air.

They want complete domination and control over this area for their financial benefit.

They create dysfunction and turmoil at meetings with spurious accusations and insults then claim recall of their “director targets” as a reasonable solution to the controversy.


Please do not confuse honestly presented information, even if emotionally augmented, with being in the aforementioned group.  There are many customers (and potential customers) who have made good arguments before the board that were passionate, articulate and well-presented without disrespect to anyone.    Most obey the opening meeting request to use the podium and have the fortitude to address the podium properly and state their case even though public speaking isn’t all that enjoyable for most of us. 

They don’t sit in the audience from the comfort of their chair barking comments, insults, and accusations choreographed just at the right time to interrupt and distract from another’s recognized turn to speak.


“Board members should stop publishing documents privately (e.g., blogs) that do not promote or represent the Districts interest as a whole.”

Two sitting directors currently have blog web sites (another a “Ranching in Don Pedro column in the Foothill Express), one website is filled with a host of “anonymous comments” with accusations, nasty inuendos, and absolute lies.  The other is LAKEDONPEDRO.ORG where I (Lew Richardson) do not hide behind “anonymous” (any mouse) spewing hatred and disrespect for regulations, the law, or other individuals.  I stand by what I write and always will.   

The Grand Jury obviously does not appreciate the fact this community has suffered from a lack of accurate and unbiased reporting for many years and this failure continues today.  

How could any legitimate article about a public business meeting of the CSD leave out the little fact their Foothill Express author Mr. “Ranching In Don Pedro” Emery Ross himself, in yet another public display of childish tantrums and lack of control, tossed the gavel across the board table and resigned? 

NOTE: For those of you at home keeping score, I count three separate resignations thus far by Mr. Ross (but of course the day is still young):

  1. As a director completely immediately after being elected in 2005 without even attending his first official board meeting,
  2. March 21st, 2011, as president, when he tossed the gavel,  and,
  3. May 9th, 2011 upon recommendation of the Mariposa County Grand Jury after an interview with the CSD Board and GM on May 5th, 2011.  

The descriptive title “Resignation Ross” appears to have been earned.   

Is truthful information about the conduct of your elected representatives in the “Districts interest as a whole?”  I believe so.


I’ve been advised many times by viewers that they would prefer to have multiple short blogs rather than rambling novellas, so, with that suggestion in mind, let’s put this one to bed by returning to the initial subject:

Question: Why have I spent so many years writing about the Lake Don Pedro community?



My best to you and yours, Lew



Evidently yesterday there was a “Recall Bill and Lew from the CSD Rally” at (of all places) Tom Porter’s Deerwood Corporation sales office on Merced Falls Road.   The WHO’S WHO of the Special Interest Fan Club were present along with people who were curious about Porter’s second recall of a duly elected local board. 

IF ANYONE attended this meeting in hopes of hearing some truth, well, you were misled once again by the same people and for the same reasons.


It is no secret that Emery Ross has wanted to be a Mariposa County Supervisor for some time now and desperately hopes name recognition will somehow springboard him into such position someday.  Apparently it is immaterial whether that name recognition is positive or negative. 

I have been advised on good authority that Emery Ross at yesterday’s meeting indicated he would run for the Mariposa County District II Supervisor position because…….(are you ready for the newest Emery whopper?) 

I was planning on running?  

Seems to me this little cowboy has instigated yet another unnecessary stampede and trampling of the truth by the ever gullible Porter Supporters with yet one more piece of false information.  In other words,

“Resignation Ross” is full of what his bovines routinely deposit on the ranch.






You know, it was just a couple of meetings ago when Mr. Jesse Figueroa addressed the board concerning his request for emergency fire suppression water for a development he would like to pursue at the intersection of Bonds Flat Road and HWY 132.   During Figueroa’s presentation I found it totally inappropriate that Emery Ross would have the audacity to question him about whether he (Figueroa) was considering running for the District II position.   


What did that have to do with Figueroa’s request for water service?

What did that have to do with district business?     

What business is it of Emery’s what that gentleman’s political aspirations may or may not be?

Why did Emery run for the CSD Board and then the SDRMA Board in Sacramento?

Emery Ross appears to be more concerned, to the point of paranoia, that someone might challenge his dream position of respect when he should be focused on some of the serious problems his “leadership” has created here at our CSD and where he has already taken an oath of service.    


More later.



Categories: Uncategorized.


Reading Time: 3 minutes

Well, I don’t know where the nest is but I have at least one Owlet in the Leland Cypress “forest” just a little bit larger than my closed fist.   When I first approached the trees I thought there may have been another but it was difficult to discern with the numerous birds flying around in a localized area.  Here’s what happened. 

A Blue Jay had been screeching for some time in the tree and I recognized other “bird talk” in the same immediate area.  Through the Jay’s continuous protestations I heard the traditional  chatter of Hummingbirds, as when they attack and chase each other off at the  feeder;  the alarmed or panicked chirping from various smaller birds (Nut Hatches and sparrows), and one infrequent but clear voice that resembled the screech of Owlets I had heard while viewing  Youtube videos.


Pretty cool actually.  People put cameras in their Owl Boxes to monitor the nest resulting in documenting some pretty amazing behavior of adults and their young.  Because Owl eggs do not hatch all at once there are incremental ages and sizes within the brood.  Recall the drawings, paintings, and photographs of a parent Owl on a branch with a family of little ones in descending order of height and size?    These “Owl Box” videos also provide a rare glimpse of the more shocking aspect of animal life and death while simultaneously providing the opportunity for us to pause and contemplate our own existence in this miraculous circle of life. 


Anyway, I began looking through the trees where all the commotion was (into the Sun of course) and sure enough, there it was perched on a Leland branch about 15’ high, huddled next to the trunk of the tree.  Absolutely beautiful, dare I say, adorable.  Could almost inspire thoughts of holding such a cute, wide eyed, almost fuzzy creature in your hands close to your face for a better look, that is, until the thought of having a portion of your lip, nose or ear removed reminded you it is a wild animal.      


Have you ever seen an Owl expel a “pellet”?  The pellet is composed of undigested fur, feathers, bone etc. that is regurgitated after feeding and digesting the parts of the prey it can absorb.   I was working with a power saw under the Leland trees once and this Barn Owl was perched above my head about 12’ on a branch with one eye slightly open sleepily monitoring my work.  The noise didn’t seem to bother him one bit.  Between cuts with the saw I heard this “plop” next to me. Yup, a fresh wet Owl pellet on the ground next to my boot.  I looked up in time to see just how wide an Owl’s mouth is when it expelled the remainder of the first pellet.  I could not believe my eyes.  An Owl’s mouth is huge!  Just under that motionless face and sharp beak is a gigantic cavern dedicated to capturing, transporting, and processing prey.  Kind of like placing you index finger to your thumb (Owls mouth closed) then opening your hand as wide as you can (mouth open).


This little guy looks like it is related to the Great Horned Owl family.





Horned Owlet in LeLand tree



I’ve seen the parents around here for many years in addition to the common white faced Barn Owls for whom I intended the newly constructed Owl Box.  So anyway, here’s this small Owl huddled next to the trunk on a branch with those enormous big eyes wide open.  Although they may rule the area at night Owls need their day rest and he was getting none of that.      


I can see why Owls have such a high mortality rate in the wild (1-2 years although if “protected” can live much longer).   There were 5 (Five) Hummingbirds flying around its position in tight patterns; several larger sparrow type birds aggressively approaching its position and withdrawing;  and this big Jay only inches from the Owls face on the same branch forcing the Owl to cower and cringe against the trunk of the tree.   I believe the choir of aggressive chattering, screeching, and chirping was due to the recognition that this was a young predator and the various other birds wanted the Owl to leave the area likely in an attempt to protect their own families.  [Based on their normal feeding and flight patterns I’m almost positive the Hummingbirds have nests in those trees as well.]

Although I never actually observed the Jay physically touch the Owlet its beak came pretty close a few times while it pecked at the huddled and intimidated young Owl.  Eventually the Owlet flew to my neighbor’s tree with a squadron of various other birds hot on its tail in pursuit.   This morning it was back in the area, doing what Owls normally do.

Well, I need to get back to work, just wanted to take a break and share yesterday’s Owlet experience.

My best to you and yours, Lew

 Here’s a link to some interesting facts:  http://www.oregonzoo.org/Cards/BirdsOfPrey/greathornedowl.htm

Categories: Uncategorized.


Reading Time: 22 minutes



1.    CALL TO ORDER: Presiding Officer: Establish Quorum, Pledge of Allegiance


a.   Grand Jury Report (2 hours)

        Request – Response to the Grand Jury


Any Director may address the board on any item of interest that is within the subject matter and jurisdiction of the District.  Generally no discussion or comment by other Board members should be expected on non-agenda items, except to properly place the matter on a future agenda for review, discussion or action as appropriate.


NOTE:  Page two (2) of the thirty-one (31) page Board Packet contained the following information from Board Secretary Charise Reeves to all Directors:

 In the event the Board is unable to agree on a response by the August 29, 2011 date specified in Judge Parrish’s letter, District legal counsel has advised that the Board could authorize the District legal counsel to send a letter to the Court explaining that under the applicable Penal Code provision the District has 90 days in which to respond to the Final Report of the Grand jury rather than 60, and that therefore the District’s response is due on or about September 26, 2011.

Verbatim transcript of:

Special Meeting of the Board of Directors

Lake Don Pedro Community Services District

9751 Merced Falls Road

Friday, August 26, 2011 at 10:00 a.m.


Prepared by Lew Richardson from a digital audio recording

(NOTE: BOLD FACED material will be addressed and/or corrected later under separate Blog Posts)


President Vicki Keefe:  The Special Meeting for ah the Lake Don Pedro Community Services District Friday August 26 at approximately 10:09 is now called to order ah, let’s establish a quorum, Vicki Keefe here.

Director Emery Ross:  Ross here.

Director Mark Skoien:  Skoien here.

Director Bill Kinsella: Kinsella here.

Director Richardson: Richardson here.

President Vicki Keefe:  Ah please also note that ah Charise Reeves is here, the ah Financial Officer and Dan Tynan the GM.

Director Ross:  Interim

President Vicki Keefe: Interim GM, excuse me.  Ah, Emery would you lead the Pledge of Allegiance for us?

Director Emery Ross: Ah certainly.   (Pledge of Allegiance – 18 audience members)

President Vicki Keefe: The first and only thing on the agenda is the ah Grand Jury Report, the response to it, ah, we do have a response that the board had requested at a prior meeting to have the district attorney respond for us in this legal matter. 

Public Member:  District attorney?

President Vicki Keefe:  I’m sorry the ahh, (laughing) ah yes, the district’s attorney.  Sorry, Ah, OK, ah, do I have a motion to accept or not accept?

Director Ross:  Madam President I’ll make a motion that we accept the Grand Jury response as drafted by the ah our legal counsel and get it to the Grand Jury today, immediately, in a timely manner.

President Keefe:  Do I have a second?

Director Skoien:  I’ll second it.

President Keefe:  Any discussion?

Director Kinsella:  Yeah, the Grand Jury sent the repor….information to the board, not to the attorney, if we don’t have guts enough to reply on our own it should not be sent to the attorney for a third party input, the attorney was never present during the ahh, all of these meetings and his responses are superfluous and should not be handled.  There also is an issue here on page 37 of the Grand Jury Report, it says that not all issue, not all facts…let me read this thing…

Charise Reeves: That is, that is on page 24 of the packet

Director Kinsella:  Ok, page yeah,  “A portion of the findings, not included in this report, have been turned over to the District Attorney”, until we get a reply from the District Attorney as to what actions he is going to take we should not even consider adopting this report.

President Keefe:  Mark

Director Skoien:  That, anybody that has any questions about this report has had time to put his input to Raymond, and that thing is not part of this report that’s why it says it went on to wherever it went, it has nothing to do with this response.  That, that’s not going to be over in 60 days so how can you wait for it?

Director Kinsella:  It could be over in 30 days.

Director Skoien:  30 days from now which makes it late on our response. 

Director Kinsella:  It would make, it could be over in 30 days from the day the district attorney received it.

Director Skoien: OK, but it

Director Kinsella:  I’m not going to argue with you on it Mark.

Director Skoien:  But I’m just saying it’s not over so how can we wait for it and respond on time?  And it’s not part of the report.

Director Kinsella:  If the District Attorney, if the District Attorney decides to do something that could –

Director Skoien:  (Interrupting) It has nothing to do with the response to this report.

Director Kinsella: Why don’t you let me finish what I had to say?

Director Skoien:  Well you didn’t let me finish so I thought that that was the rule.

Director Kinsella:  I’m not even going to bother with….                              

President Keefe:  Any other comments?

Director Ross:  Ah 15 years Public Agency, we had many of these Grand Jury inquires, Betsies 30 years, many Grand Jury inquires.  We’re a Special District we did not answer this, we’re not lawyers, the attorneys always answer this stuff, we gave them input like we did here, they answered it, that’s it.  We don’t, you know, very foolish to think that we could answer this.  Now the one last time was simple they directed me and just, all it said was we’d be more professional, I mean I wrote that big deal.  It said be professional, I said we will. That’s it.  These these findings are complex this board will never agree on these findings and recommendations you see what Raymond put in there its way to complex that’s the reason you have a third party do it somebody who understands what Judge Walton is thinking when he reads this stuff.  Ah, we’ve already got,  I’ve been told, three at least ah Grand Jury complainants for next year, so, you know, we have plenty of time next year to play but we should get this over with now.        

President Keefe:  Well, I ah, remember that ah that when we decided and voted to send this to the ah attorney that ah we were all told we could have our comments and forward them to him.  Ah I tend to agree with you I think the attorney ah should handle this. And if there are any, are there any other comments before I go to the floor?  Yeah.

Director Richardson: Yeah, OK I’m going to read this because I don’t want to get tangled up in the moment, so this is for The Record and I will supply you a transcript

Board Secretary Charise Reeves:  OK

Director Richardson:  ….electronically so you don’t have to do it.  Mr. Raymond Carlson’s response to the Grand Jury is very well written, however, I still believe it was a responsibility directed to the Board of Directors who participated in the Grand Jury interview on May 5th because, after all, Mr. Carlson was not privy to the conduct of, or answers by, particular directors.  Responses to Finding F-9 that the Board of Directors lack knowledge of policies and procedures, and F-10 that the Board of Directors violated Ethics policies may have perhaps been more enlightening if answered by those who participated in that interview which resulted in recommendation R-3 that Director Emery Ross resign as president and Conclusion C-8 that a portion of the findings be turned over to the District Attorney for possible prosecution. 

[CLARIFICATION NOTE:  The actual Grand Jury statement read:  “The President of the Board should resign as President….”.  Although Emery Ross’s name was not mentioned in the report he did attend the Grand Jury interview on May 5th, 2011 as the District Board President.  Ross resigned on May 9, 2011 four days after the Grand Jury interview with all directors and the General Manager.  This resignation should not be confused with his first resignation as president on March 21, 2011 and subsequent re-election at another board meeting by himself and Directors Vicki Keefe and Mark Skoien.]

I am also concerned as to why Judge Parrish apparently shortened the normal 90 day answer period to 60 days.  Any response at this time would be premature considering a District Attorney criminal case, initiated by the same Grand Jury Report, remains unresolved.  Related to this are questions as to whether district funds have been utilized for criminal legal representation by one or more directors who acted outside the scope of their official capacity.  These questions remain unanswered and reimbursement of district funds remains a distinct possibility. 

You know, you’re right the three of you were the ones who decided to have the attorney do it and I can understand why because evidently two of you are the sus  subjects of the Grand Jury investigation.  I think it highly improper that you even have a vote in this matter.  Ahm, you folks have no idea what happened there – just as the community has no idea of what happens in these meetings.  They don’t know that a president lost his temper threw a gavel across the table and quit, and then later was advised by the Grand Jury to resign.  I mean, this is ridiculous, all this was unnecessary if Item S back in February 22 was addressed.  All you had to say is well let’s look at it, OK we looked at it we don’t think it reached the level of having to do anything, we investigated, its over.  That would have been it. It would have all been over – done, but instead, the three of you took the position to conceal wrongful behavior resulting in the Grand Jury investigation.

Director Skoien:  What are you talking about?

Director Ross:  What an absolute lie.

Director Richardson:  OK, alright, we shall see. 

Director Skoien: First of all, who concealed what?  I mean, your’re, I don’t…

Director Richardson:  You refused to investigate the allegation that there was misconduct by a director.

Director Skoien:  Well I don’t know if you could say I, I personally refused to investigate, am I, is that my job?

Director Richardson:  You voted for it.

Director Skoien: You two seem to think that investigation is your job

Director Richardson:  Oh certainly not

Director Skoien: …and you you couldn’t do it well enough (gavel bangs) when you supposedly got paid to do it so now you think you can do it (gavel bangs) here. 

(multiple voices)

Director Richardson:  Oh, oh, that’s a good one

(cross talk – multiple voices)

Director Skoien:  and this and this would have never ended

Director Richardson: And you are the one (gavel bangs)

Director Skoien: because you’re on the board (gavel bangs)

Director Richardson: And you’re the one speaking about interrupting.

President Keefe:  (gavel banging) Gentlemen, gentlemen, please one at a time.

(Background talking)

Director Richardson:  Again as I would remind Director Skoien talking about interrupting other people,  that is exactly what you just did.  Now going back to item S, that was a simple thing to do, it was a simple, simple thing to take care of  but the three of you knew exactly what was going on behind the scenes and you did everything you could to conceal it.  Well guess what?  Mr. Ross, your statement that the Grand Jury wouldn’t do anything was absolutely wrong.

Director Ross:  Previous question, previous question –that cuts off all (inaudible)

President Keefe:  Ahh, well I think you’re…

Director Ross:  (inaudible) respond to the previous question


Director Kinsella:  Point of Order, I think

President Keefe:  We’re going to go to the public

Director Kinsella:  You can’t go to the public they’re not listed here not on the agenda

Charise Reeves:  Public Comment…(inaudible) on the agenda

(Multiple voices)

Director Keefe:  Read the Brown Act

Director Kinsella:  Because you apparently are the object of an investigation of the district attorney’s office I don’t believe you should vote, you should recuse yourself.

(Multiple voices)

Public: How do you know?

Public:  How do you know that Bill?

Director Skoien:  That is not included in this report what are you talking, it’s not included in here Bill its not something – we’re voting on his recommendation.

Director Kinsella:  I don’t have, I don’t have to answer to anybody, I made the statement to Vicki.

Tom Porter, [President of the Deerwood Corporation]: (Interrupting from audience): You have to answer to all of the homeowners and…

Public: Ratepayers

Public:  Exactly

Tom Porter: …..property owners in this community Bill remember that

Director Kinsella:  I remember an awful lot.  I’m not the only one that’s, that’s aware of that.  Most of the people in this community are aware of what’s going on.  I’m getting telephone calls from people I’ve never even talked to wanting to know what the hell is happening.  Now there’s a problem there and I think to remove any any doubt Vicki should recuse herself.  And It’s not, it’s not me that made this statement other people have made statements including 

Tom Porter:  You’re speaking to me I think that all of us came here ah to to observe and so far its a circus and my belief is that we should be able to speak.

Director Kinsella:  Mr. Porter, Mr. Porter the majority of the meetings that we’ve had here in the past six months have been a circus so I agree with you there.

(multiple voices in audience agreeing)

President Keefe gaveling

Clem Brown:  And you two have been the clowns in the circus


Director Richardson: Oh Clem please, (Gaveling)

President Keefe: Please, this is going to go to the public and then it’ll come back to the board for further discussion if you’d like to speak

Director Kinsella:  Say again?

Board Secretary:  You have to go to the podium

President Keefe:   If you’d like to speak go up to the podium

Director Kinsella:  Let him

Kathy: Here we go again, this is appalling, my name is Kathy Agee, everybody knows me, you know, I’m bringing this in to what you guys are talking about ahum, and I’m just going to make this statement and I hope that you guys will just you know, Lew just give me a chance to talk don’t say this isn’t regarding  this it is, it will fit into it, just give me some time with this.  Bill at the last meeting you showed deep concern looking into some calls that were made by Vicki to the District lawyer and you indicated that these might be personal calls and that Vicki should pay for them ahh, and you said that you thought the ratepayers should not pay for them now I find that this statement of your concern for the ratepayers is less than sincere.  If it would not have been Vicki, Vicki doing this it wouldn’t have been brought up or so important in my opinion. Let me finish please, I know you want to respond to this and I hope you do.  But the reason being, that I feel this way is because the Board was given a lot of evidence of waste right down to the point of hundreds of phone calls and set in front of you as you, Bill and Lew, took those packets and just threw them up there on the edge as if you were not concerned.  That concern should have been equally you should have showed a lot of interest in that equally but of course Vicki’s name wasn’t on that. So I think anyone in this audience that’s been to any meeting can see what’s happening here.  Your vendetta your dislike for Vicki has consumed you and Lew to the point that you have not been representing us the ratepayers it has been focused on Vicki.  So you have not done the best of  your ability to represent us and at this time I am requesting that you both consider resigning from this board which would be in the best interests of this community.  (applause)

President Keefe:  Does ah anyone else want to speak?  Please come up to the podium.

Tom Porter:  It’s nice that ah Kathy came and spoke ah, I think that ah, we all know, oh and by the way my name is Tom Porter and I represent the Deerwood Corporation, ah we have a country in deep, deep trouble I’ve stated that before and here we come I used to think that the ah smaller the ah element of government the better it was.  Don Pedro seems to want to fight all the time.  We had a ah ah fight over at the homeowners’ association and had to recall all the all the members of the board.  Ah, and ah, and now it’s very smooth.  I met with one of the ah board members over there last night I spent three hours  with them it’s very smooth over there.  So, I don’t know where the trouble comes but ahh what we should do is try to do something to promote good will in the community and ah get off of these little tangents that really don’t mean anything in the whole total picture.  What we’re here to do is not to have meetings and argue out, whole reason for being is to serve people with water that’s the whole thing we’re supposed to be doing.  Serve people with water.  Ah and ah, I unfortunately didn’t attend the Grand Jury hearing ah and I do miss some meetings I ah have other offices ah but ah I certainly know that what I saw here this morning and I would second what Kathy has said ah Bill and Lew you should consider resigning.  If you don’t consider resigning then I personally will look into the idea of recalling the board ah, and that’s not a threat that’s just something I do intend, and I ah, I, I want a smooth running board that will serve water and ah, serve the people of this community and I support what Kathy Agee said and I also will ah put together a committee to to look into the idea of perhaps recalling the Board.  Ah, and  try to get somebody who ah, you know (laughing) you don’t make any money on this thing,  its just hard work but why should we have hard work and a bad time doing it?  (Laughter)  So, I say cheer up and let’s get past this thing and let’s do our jobs.  That’s what I have to say.  (Applause)

Director Kinsella:  We knew it was going to happen.

Harry Alfier:  Hello, my name is Harry Alfier and um I’d like to address something in the Grand Jury Report, that I found sort of interesting regarding ah, I think they were talking about Lew’s Blogs basically that its probably not appropriate for a sitting board member to ahh, and I see Raymond’s response is basically relying on the First Amendment, but I found something interesting I happened to look at his blog the other day and its regarding the under billing to the sewer plant, the county basically, and the fact I guess that the district never charged them for the original meter, and of course Lew decides that that’s some kind of conspiracy that all the people that live down around the golf course that they must have been  somehow been in kahootz or you know, that they’ve been receiving some kind of benefit cuz we’re a special benefit because cuz it has the word golf course in it.  And to me its just another example of Lew playing with the facts, you know, fast and loose with the truth.


Director Richardson:  Coming from a special interest

Harry Alfier: Yes, special interest all us real estate and golf course people you know we’re the scum of the Earth I guess

Director Richardson:  I never said that

Harry Alfier: I would have to agree with Mr. Porter and Kathy that ah it’s quite obvious what’s going on with Vicki and ah Bill and Lew here its nothing more than a vendetta I guess they blame her from getting recalled from the association board when it was no ones fault but their own. And ah I’d like to see the community support Vicki and ah maybe call the district attorney and let him know what’s really going on down here that this is nothing more than a vendetta.  Ah, two, two gentlemen that ah seem to have problems getting along with most people and ah put a big bull’s eye on Vicki.  Thank you.  (Applause)

President Keefe:  Are there any more comments?

Ruth Smith:  My name is Ruth Smith, and ah, Bill I have worked with you for many years on the board and on different committees and you were always (clears throat) excuse me, always level headed and and um, saw the right thing and saw good in people I don’t know what’s happened.  Um, you made the comment, ah, when ah, when Vicki first got on the board that you would have her off of here within 30 days. 

Director Kinsella:  Say that again?

Ruth Smith:  You made the comment, a remark, that you, that when Vicki got on the board that you would have her off in thirty days and its, its sad that this community has come to this that um that we have to take things to the Grand Jury to settle our problems ah, things could have been handled without going this far.  Ah, another thing is you keep saying Vicki.  Vicki and Emery I read that Grand Jury Report I didn’t see Vicki’s name or Emery’s name in there anywhere.  Ah, but everybody just seems to assume that its Vicki and Emery. Ah,  I’ve been coming to almost all the meetings and  it has been nothing but ah turmoil and a hassle at the meeting ah its, you, I can’t see that you’re doing anything for the community except arguing and fighting an and I think that’s sad.  We need to have somebody on this board that can work for the community and give us safe good drinking water.   (Applause)

Wes Barton:  I talk enough around here, but you know. I had to load this room up when I was trying to be censored, so that people would vote against the censorship doesn’t matter whether right or wrong just so the impression would be there.  Ah, Jason had to load the room up when he was ah ah about to lose his position to the secretary.  Some of you may not know what I’m talking about but a lot of people do.  Cuz the secretary was going to be made the general manager.

Board Secretary:  Not me!

Wes Barton:  Ah, no, no, not you, I’m not talking about you.  Ah, when we tried to raise prices and we tried to share the prices across the board, the room was loaded up with people that didn’t want the unimproved properties to be charged.  Ah, you can go on and on and on, frankly as far as I’m concerned, there isn’t a single person up here that should be on the board.  Not a one.  So I’m not playing favorites on any of them.  But you’re criticizing and you are saying that we shouldn’t play these games, that we should be in favor of ah, of ah Vicki and be against these two, and I’m saying the whole bunch has grossly failed the community.  The board before, grossly failed the community, and I was on it.  The board before grossly failed the community ah, it goes on back, I’m not sure how far back it goes OK

Tom Porter:  You’re not old enough (laughter)

Wes Barton:  but it goes way back OK  (multiple voices) and anytime you have an organization that doesn’t know what their job is, and a vision, Tom you ought to know this you run a big business, if you don’t have the the all of the stakeholders focused on the same vision it ain’t going work.  If you don’t have processes in place to make that vision happen it ain’t gonna work.  If you don’t have people trained to live and do those processes and have that vision it ain’t gonna work.  We haven’t had a single board, we haven’t had a general manager and I’ve probably gone for four years and I’ve missed almost no meetings and believe me, you folks out here haven’t been to all the meetings that I’ve been to.  We haven’t had anybody that understood that concept, those three steps I just talked about, not a one of them understood it, OK?  Let me tell you there’s a lot of blame to go around here, lots of blame.  And so, just keep all that in mind.  (Applause)

(Multiple voices, inaudible)

Wes Snyder:  Wasn’t going to, but I am.

Wes Barton:  I’ll be out of your way Wes.

Wes Snyder:     My name is Wes Snyder which all of you should know by now, I’m not going to berate this board they know what they’ve done wrong and what they should do, but when I went to the board the other day and made a couple of simple requests, I asked them to appoint a person or a committee to oversee MID’s relicensing to build the dam I made that request and it was not done.  I also made the request that they ask the secretary to pull up the license, the old license to build the dam and the original contract of the water company with the district, made that request of them and this was not done.  And with those two things you’ve got to have in your possession if you go up there to that board and say you want to talk about something.  Now what I’m talking about is the license to build and  operate McClure and McSwain Lakes and the dam states there will be water stored behind that dam for the subdivision as Boise Cascade develops it and a golf course.  Its right in the license, its spelled out.  Now I believe with that in there and with Bean Creek and different waters coming into that lake that we should not have to buy that water, we may have to pay the farmer rate down there and offset a little power generation, but I believe we have water in that lake and according to those contracts there is 5,000 AF with this subdivision.  And I believe that 5,000 AF should be able to be pumped out of that lake with our intakes at no cost to us to MID.  And I wanted to get on the board and a committee when we done the last contract and the board told me no they had an attorney that would take care of it well he took care of it alright and you’re the ones being hurt by that right now.  I believe they should appoint one person or a committee to look at the old contract to look at the original contract  with the water district and MID and to regenerate something, a committee or something in there to get it back on the agenda and get our existing contract reduced.  Now the other one I believe that this district due to the fact the golf course is listed in there for water, to be able to bring that water out of the lake pump it for power, charge 10% for wheeling it and deliver it to the golf course.  I believed that from day one and I believe it today. 

President Keefe:  Thank you Wes

Wes Snyder:  That way the golf course can get a fair rate for water.  Thank you.

Charise Reeves:  That, I do believe that will be an agenda item on the next regular meeting it was requested by the Directors in response to this.

President Keefe: Alright, if there are no further, oh I’m sorry, go ahead Betsie.  It’s going to be on the  agenda Wes.  (Applause)

Betsie Ross:  Well I wasn’t going to speak, I’m Betsie Ross,  I wasn’t going to speak but I just, because of some things Mr. Barton said I wanted to make some comments.  And I know that there’s been a lot of disagreements on the board meetings aren’t always pleasant when they happen, however you have to look at perspective I think.  And starting about a year ago the board really dug in um, they ah, made some changes to ah personnel, to policies, there are, you don’t see water running down the street anymore, there’s not all these leaks, there were 50 leaks a year ago now you hardly see a leak Dan gets on them right away.  We stopped all this water there was a river running down towards Merced that they managed to get that stopped.  Ah I think the drinking water here is safe and clean.  The plant expenses have been brought down because of ah the changes in the way they run the plant at night  during off peak there’s been a lot of reductions in expenses.  The board did have to increase water rates because there had been no incremental rate increases all along the way the rates hadn’t gone up in years, and there should have been little rate increases every year but there weren’t so the board had to make one big rate increase last year which brought the district now so it is financially stable again.  The prior boards had gotten loans and spent money on all kinds of stuff some of it was valid as the Grand Jury response said but ah but you know there wasn’t a lot of money here we were running out of money the board turned that around with the rate increase and through keeping expenses down.  I think if you look at the big picture this district is not in complete disaster we’ve got safe drinking water, it’s a little bit expensive but at least you’ve got water and you can’t have wells here, it’s safe water, there’s not a bunch of water loss leaks.  That’s all I have to say.  (Applause)

President Keefe:  Now I’m going to bring it back to the board no more comments.  OK, Ahhm, I love how certain directors make statements like they’re fact and certain directors decide they know more than the attorney.  I think we would be foolish not to follow the attorney’s recommendation.  And in regards to the February 22nd the reason that the board did not discuss it in an open board meeting is because it had to do with personnel and any director could have called a closed session but that was neither here nor there and gee Bill you ah wrote to the Grand Jury about me before I was even elected.

Director Kinsella:  What are you talking about?

Vicki Keefe:  Interesting. Anyway that’s all I have to say..

Director Kinsella:  Now wait a minute now…..you made a statement so back it up.  Just like every other thing that you have accused me of you don’t have any proof.

President Keefe:  Oh I do.

Director Kinsella:  Oh? Bring it forward.

President Keefe:  I will.

Director Kinsella:  OK, bring it, when can you get it?

President Keefe: I don’t have it its at home

Director Kinsella:  You want to take a recess and go home and get it?

President Keefe:  No, I don’t have the time to bring it.

Director Kinsella:  No?  You don’t have it.

President Keefe:  Right.  Ah, any other comments before we vote on this?

Director Kinsella:  Yes.  I have a comment for Ruth and I have a comment for Kathy.  Ruth, when Vicki was elected to the board I never said anything to you about Vicki the only time I knew that you were around is when I acknowledged you at these board meetings, so that statement that I was supposed to have made was wrong.  Kathy, you can turn around and you can ask Wes to confirm what I am doing.  Every time there has been a query on the attorney’s ah bill I made points to find out what the attorney bill was for.  I never accused anybody I asked questions.  There were questions that on the attorney’s bill regarding Vicki and the Grand Jury that’s fine.  I’m not accusing anybody I asked the questions she never,  I never got an answer.  I continue to ask questions I don’t care who it is.  It could be Lew, it could be Mark, it could be Emery.  The question is there.  Your spending money that doesn’t belong to you and if it is benefitting you as a person then we should know about it and if you are using district counsel for your own benefit then you have to repay.  I couldn’t care less, Vicki and I are not friends and never will be but I do respect her opinion, I may not agree with it, but I do respect her opinion.  So that’s the bottom line there.  Mr. Porter, you said

President Keefe:  Ah, we’re on back on the discussion

Director Kinsella:  Yeah, well I’m , I’m answering questions

President Keefe:  That’s not appropriate

Director Kinsella:  Mr. Porter  you you suggest that I resign?  Ain’t going to happen. 

Thomas Porter:  Well,

Director Kinsella: If you, if you feel if you feel that I ah should be recalled that’s, that’s your prerogative but it ain’t going to be as easy as the owners’ association.

Tom Porter:  Well, who knows ah? 

Director Kinsella:  Mr. Porter I’m not arguing with you and just telling you

Mr. Porter:  I know you are not arguing with me, but ah Bill, I believe you need to do something to straighten your life out.  (Laughter)   You really do.  Every time I see, every time I see you it’s adversarial to me.  For example

Director Kinsella:   No, no

Mr. Tom Porter:  Wait a minute here, you were president of the board you went to ah to trials ah between me and another owner in this project

Director Kinsella:  wha, wha…

Tom Porter:  you showed up to those meeting routinely.

Director Kinsella:  Would you repeat that again sir?

Tom Porter:  You routinely went to ahh court hearings ah regarding a ah lawsuit ah and and sat with ah people who were opposing me in a lawsuit.  We subsequently won that lawsuit gee you even went to Fresno to the appellate court (apparent gaveling)  so  you you just make the point to ah to insert yourself in things that just have nothing to do with you and we did win the lawsuit Harry won, I won ah because they were wrong not not because it was me and Harry it was because they were wrong.   And so  I’m I’m just saying that ah actually what I feel is we have five people six people here very intelligent people all.  But why do we have to fight why do we have to shout at each other and why can’t we  say hey that’s a good plan let’s go with it or let’s provide a meeting and get a plan going – something, but don’t have a big arguing session and that’s all.

Director Kinsella:  Mr. Porter I would like to talk with you about that situation that you just referred to away from here, it has nothing to do with this meeting.  And I think

President Keefe:  Hurry up….(cross talk, multiple voices)

Director Kinsella:  and I think that once once we understand, once you hear my side I think you’re understand what’s going on, but to follow nitpicking, no I don’t do that.  I can’t.  First of all I can’t afford to I don’t have the time and I don’t have the inclination to do it  (gaveling by President Keefe)  And I don’t need a mother either.

President Keefe:  We need to get back on topic

Director Kinsella:  That’s fine

President Keefe:  Ah is there any more discussion with the board on this motion?

Director Richardson:  Yes, you know I keep hearing about the board is bickering and the board doesn’t get anything done but it seems to be from the same group of people making those claims.  What you don’t realize is that there are hundreds and hundreds of other people that don’t come to these meetings and they do rely on these directors to represent their interests (interruption from attendee speaking from audience chair)  would you please just hold your tongue and let me finish then you can get up there and speak.  Now, what you  people have (attendee still talking) time and time again have said, well we want people to represent the ratepayers, no you don’t.  You want directors to do exactly what you want for your best interests not the interests of the ratepayers (gaveling by President Keefe) or the district.

President Keefe:  Lew….

(Interrupting attendee speaking from audience chair- known to me as Johnathan Oden):  OK, now I’ll respond

Director Richardson:  Why don’t you get up to the podium?

Oden: (Refusing to address podium) You can hear me, you can hear me you little bigot

Director Richardson: Bigot?

Johnathan Oden: Yes you’re a bigot

Director Richardson:  Get a dictionary

Johnathan Oden:  You are all bigots I came up here because you guys hate this lady here, do you know what a bigot is?

Director Richardson:  I don’t hate Vicki.  I don’t hate Vicki.

Johnathan Oden:  Ahhhh  (multiple voices, gaveling)

President Keefe:  Come on or I’ll have to take a break, now we need to stay on topic.

Board Secretary:  We have a motion on the floor

President Keefe:  And the motion is on the floor and it’s to the board.  Any more discussion on the motion before we vote?   Alright, All in favor? 

Board Secretary Charise Reeves:  Lew, Vicki and Emery

Director Richardson:  Beg your pardon?

Board Secretary:  I’m just repeating whose saying aye

Director Richardson:  I, I  didn’t say aye (laughing)

Board Secretary:  I’m sorry, Mark, Emery and Vicki

President Keefe:  All those opposed?

Board Secretary:  Lew and Bill

Director Kinsella:  My opposition has been stated in the past

Director Richardson:  All they did is just brought more trouble

Director Keefe:  Alright, last item, any directors comments?

Director Kinsella: we’ve had enough

Director Richardson: Yeah

(audience member) you’ve got that right

President Keefe:  Alright, this meeting is adjourned

Board Secretary:  10:47


 My best to you and yours, Lew

Categories: Uncategorized.


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That ‘ol Smoke Alarm went off again early this morning with flaring nostrils and a jolt of quick passing concern.  The strong aroma of burning wood sure can wake a person up fast.  You can see by the photographs taken this morning the atmosphere is considerably worse than last week’s incursion of smoke from Yosemite.

The “Motor Fire” name was derived from the fact the original ignition source was a burning motorhome.

This morning’s television news advised HWY 140 was closed at Cedar Lodge and portions of El Portal and Jerseydale were being evacuated.  I’m sure there will be continuing updates.  Here’s an article from MyMotherLode yesterday:  http://www.mymotherlode.com/news/local/1353088/Local-Resources-Assisting-With-Motor-Fire.html

My best to you and yours, Lew 
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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Mariposa County Courthouse Clock

Lake Don Pedro, like an untold number of other communities across this nation, is continuing to experience its share of home/property foreclosures.  The Mariposa Gazette newspaper public notice section documents this devastating fact in seemingly never ending columns of small black print containing legal statements, property descriptions, amounts owed, dates and times, and whether there is a required opening bid.

The phrase, “purchased on the courthouse steps” has been referred to recently during  LDPCSD meetings yet unless employed in the real estate industry or personally involved most of us are probably unfamiliar with the process.

On August 18, 2011 at 10am we stopped by the Mariposa County Courthouse to witness this all too common legal process while in route to shoot some video of the Merced River’s travel from Yosemite National Park to Lake McClure.

[NOTE: These video clips are contained under VIDEO on the home page Top Menu Bar. Just hover your cursor over VIDEO and then over “From where we get our water” and click the link for a short video about the Merced River. Yeah I know, the clarity isn’t that great but what can truly capture and reproduce such beauty?]

Anyway, back to the courthouse steps – essentially a representative of the title holder literally stands on the steps of the Courthouse and reads a prepared statement which is very similar to what is printed in the newspaper under Public Notice. They then entertain bids on the property with the typical auction lingo — “going once, going twice…..”.

This process must be verbally spoken out loud regardless if there is a lack of bidders or even human witnesses – so if you ever happen to see someone standing on the courthouse steps speaking out loud to no one, they are not necessarily incapacitated but likely just doing their job. Once completed, the representative telephones the title holder notifying them of the results. When a property does not receive a bid (as in this case) a new auction date can be set and the entire process starts again.

Here’s a short video clip of the Mariposa County Superior Courthouse for those unfamiliar with this piece of California history — 

 “http://www.youtube.com/embed/UwJoQGdDTIk?hl=en&fs=1”   [Yes I know, the clock chime was a bit early but what the heck at least its working!  Last time I was in Mariposa the clock was off by several hours.]

My best to you and yours, Lew

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Friday Morning’s Moon

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Get a chance to see this morning’s Moon?  Yup, I couldn’t resist trying the old “hold the camera to the telescope lens” trick.  Much better clarity than with the video camera zoom. 

August 19, 2011 Friday Morning Moon


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Pretty hard not to notice the change in air quality the last several days.  Know why?




Last week a fairly good night’s sleep was interrupted with the smell of smoke at 3 o’clock in the morning.  First question?  Where’s the fire?  Although there is usually a fire burning somewhere in the state this seemed rather close.  Check out this article by the National Park Service….sure answered my question.



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