I was planning on continuing my report of the SO GOSIP (Same Old Group Of Special Interest People) “free for all” disruption” of the October 21st, 2011 meeting [facilitated by an, as of yet, unknown individual who was represented as being an official investigator from the State Attorney General’s Office (lol)], but something happened yesterday that requires immediate reporting. I’ll continue the report on TUMMOTA’s [The Unidentified Male Member Of The Audience] performance after this.
The one item agenda for yesterday’s Special Meeting of the Board of Directors was noticed as:
- a. Filling Board Vacancy (20 minutes). Request – To attempt reconsider filling the Lake Don Pedro Community Services District Board of Director’s vacancy.
CSD Vice President Bill Kinsella summarized the reason for the meeting as being the failure of the board to fill the position in October. Kinsella advised the Mariposa County Board of Supervisors was scheduled to make the appointment the next day but due to a subsequent letter of intent submitted by a Mr. Marsh to the Board of Supervisors, the matter was postponed to a later date. He advised that a director had requested a Special Meeting to revisit the matter since the CSD was still within the 60 day limit to fill the position. Kinsella advised the County Clerk confirmed if the appointment could be made at the meeting, the matter would not proceed to the Board of Supervisors, however, if the CSD Board failed to make the appointment this date the Board of Supervisors had three options:
1. Appoint one of our two applicants
2. Appoint someone of their choice
3. Do nothing which could result in a special election costing the CSD approximately $10,000
Director Mark Skoien questioned whether the Board of Supervisors might just let it go to the next regular CSD election in 2012. Orb Hatton, owner of Tri County Realty (whose residential/commercial property is considered within the District Service boundary yet contributes nothing financially to the district in an “availability fee”) asked about the possibility of someone else putting their name in the hat to which VP Kinsella advised the application deadline had already been extended two weeks with only one person submitting an application to the Board of Supervisors.
Director Emery Ross advised he had a list of questions he would like to ask the candidates. The questions asked were:
What do you think the job of a board member is?
Define what the Brown Act means to you.
Do you know what 61000 of the Government Code is?
How many board meetings had the candidates attended?
Do you think the public has the right to complain about a staff member at a board meeting?
What are your ideas about keeping water rates down?
Director Skoien confirmed that Mr. Marsh had prior work experience with setting policy.
Director Lew Richardson commented Mr. Marsh had an impressive resume however questioned why he didn’t apply for the position when it was first announced to which Mr. Marsh stated he read about it in the Foothill Express but missed the deadline date.
Prior to the first vote Director Ross stated the Board should keep voting until a candidate was selected because the CSD could not afford to have a special election. VP Kinsella confirmed if a candidate was not selected this date it would proceed to the Mariposa County Board of Supervisors.
FIRST VOTE FOR VICTOR AFANASIEV: Directors Kinsella and Richardson: Aye. Opposed: Director Skoien, Director Ross abstained.
SECOND VOTE FOR RICHARD MARSH: Director Mark Skoien aye; opposed: Directors Kinsella and Richardson.
Director Emery Ross stated “So it comes down to me to make the decision right?” VP Kinsella agreed at which time Director Ross asked the candidates two more questions:
“A ratepayer calls you on the weekend and tells you there’s a big water leak on their street. No one answers the emergency number and no one returns the call when a message is left. You cannot contact any staff member, what do you say to the ratepayer?”
Following candidate responses Director Ross asked VP Kinsella “what do we do now?” Another vote.
Those in favor of Mr. Marsh? Directors Skoien and Ross. Opposed: Kinsella and Richardson.
Those in favor of Mr. Afanasiev? Directors Kinsella and Richardson. Opposed: Skoien
Director Ross requested both applicants to respond to the question why they would want to be on a board with all the troubles, with the Grand Jury and everything, why do you want to be on the board. Both candidates again responded with reasonable answers.
Director Ross: “Bill?”
VP Kinsella: “Yes Sir”
Director Ross: “Normally, when, when I’ve worked for a special district, these negotiations were also done in Closed Session, now they’re open but you two guys (Kinsella and Richardson) I don’t think are going to bend on…”
VP Kinsella: “Say what?”
Director Ross: “You two have said no on this gentleman here, right? You said opposed, so we’re going to have to, somebody’s going to compromise here, ah, because it will be two to two, I really like what he has said but we need to move on, ah, you know I think I’m willing to vote for Victor on this thing, I, because we don’t want to go to an election.”
VP Kinsella: “It’s, it’s getting right down to
Director Ross: “It’s down to the wire”
VP Kinsella: “It’s getting down to the wire and if we don’t, if it’s a two-two, I’m going to adjourn the meeting”
Director Ross: “I know, I know you will, ah, I like what he has said but if you guys aren’t going to move, this normally would be in Closed Session, so I’m being frank, you know, if you guys aren’t going to move on it, you both voted no, I don’t know, Mark is on it, but we need to, you know, wrap this up. We need to (multiple voices)
VP Kinsella: “Well I think… (multiple voices) What Mark?”
Director Skoien: “No, I’m just saying, ah, it’s, you’re saying it’s two-two and you’re going to adjourn the meeting so you’re obviously not going to consider anything else, I mean the man has a, I like his practical workingman experience, that’s all I’m going by, I mean I think he could help, but so you’re obviously not going to give, so…”
VP Kinsella: “Don’t tell me what I’m going to do”
Director Skoien: “Well you said you were going to close the meeting next time it’s two-two”
VP Kinsella: “If it’s a two-two there’s no sense in going any further, and I will adjourn the meeting and we will kick it over to the Board of Supervisors”
Director Ross: “You don’t want to do that Bill”
Orb Hatton: “You’re going to go against your conscience?”
VP Kinsella: “Well then do something, no comments from the audience”
Orb Hatton: “…go against your conscience because they won’t give? What kind of foolishness is that?”
Director Ross: “Well all ….”
VP Kinsella: “Orb, Orb, your, there’s no comments from the audience, thank you”
Orb Hatton: “(inaudible) … say more”
VP Kinsella: “Well you’re not going to make anymore”
Orb Hatton: (inaudible)
Multiple voices, cross talk
VP Kinsella: “You do it one more time I’m going to invite you to leave.”
Orb Hatton: “Well you can do whatever you like”
Director Skoien: “settle down”
VP Kinsella: (To Board Secretary) “Alright, would you call the Sheriff”
(Laughter from Orb Hatton and other members of the SO GOSIP)
VP Kinsella: “I’m not going to dink with these people”
(Continuing laughter from Orb Hatton and other SO GOSIP)
Director Ross: “What these people out here don’t know are the litigation things that we have and we really need to settle this problem. We’ve got, we’ve got a trial coming up that could cost us a lot of money with a former manager, and ah, the other problem that’s that’s lurking, litigation, and we, we, we just, we have to move forward with somebody on the board. And if you guys aren’t going to move, I guess that I’ll have to move because we need to have somebody today. Right?
Multiple voices in audience
Kathy Agee: “May I just ask a question Bill?”
VP Kinsella: “no”
Orb Hatton: “Say it. Ask him”
VP Kinsella: “No – no questions from the audience, thank you.”
Orb Hatton: “Aren’t you here to serve this community?”
Director Skoien: “Public meeting, there’s no audience ….”
VP Kinsella: “There’s no, there’s no, the public is not allowed to make an opinion about a special meeting”
Orb Hatton: (Inaudible) “…see you make a mistake”
Kathy Agee: “Bill I’m just gonna ask”
VP Kinsella: “ No, Kathy no”
Kathy Agee: “if you guys”
VP Kinsella: “No, one more outburst I’m going to clear the room – and I can do that”
(Boisterous laughter by Orb Hatton, Ron Howenstine and other members of the SO GOSIP)
VP Kinsella: “It ain’t funny sonny”
(Inaudible comments by Hatton and others)
VP Kinsella: “Alright, everybody out, we’ll recess the meeting, everybody out”
Secretary Reeves: “10:28”
[Reconvene at 11:47 hours- Mariposa County Deputy Sheriff standing at entrance]
VP Kinsella: “Everybody has the opportunity to speak for three minutes on this subject, any deviation from the subject or personal attack on any board member or any employee is not encouraged or is it welcome. So anybody who has anything to say, you want to take the podium, go ahead take – three minutes.”
Orb Hatton: “Well, otherwise, you know, I’m quiet. I am simply here to ask that you vote your conscience and not try to compromise in something that you in your heart feel is wrong. Ah, we have had a dysfunctional board forever here, I encourage you to listen to your community and not try to, what are you (inaudible) Bill? Did I say something wrong?, I encourage you to listen to the, the general public here whom you serve and try and serve the public and not have this battle between factions so that we can get on with this water board and treat it, and, and be part of this community leading it instead of having your own personal agendas that you fight. Vote your conscience, if you feel that what you, what your ah, that compromise is more important than your conscience – you’re giving up your own integrity. And that’s really all I have to say thank you.”
VP Kinsella: “Thank you, anybody else?”
Ron Howenstine: “Thank you for allowing me to speak.”
VP Kinsella: “You’re welcome”
Ron Howenstine: “Ahum, I would like to point out that all of these, for the last few years, the board has been split, two to three, three to two, always a problem. Today you would be voting in, possibly a quorum again, I would hope that the person that you look at could vote with an open mind, that’s one of the questions I would have asked, can you be fair? Can you be impartial, and can you not make this part of a clique? Can it be three of you? The other thing I would ask that when you vote, is that, you vote for, for the process not against the person. That’s the most important thing we’re looking at, so if we have people that are running, that are well qualified that’s the people we should be looking at and because you don’t know somebody, it might be the best person to vote for because you certainly know they don’t have a, a, a trail following them. Look for that person, look for the person who can give us something that has, that has been there with management, somebody who has been there and can be part of the team. And as a board we should be voting as a team, not against the team and that’s what we’ve had and I hope you’ll consider.”
VP Kinsella: “Thank you, anybody else?”
Harry Alfier: “Thank you. Ahum, I’d just like to ah throw my support behind Rich here I’ve read his resume and he just sounds like he might be a breath of fresh air for the board and, I don’t think anyone in the room’s surprised that you guys are probably deadlocked two to two. You know, I think anyone probably would have bet money on that before we came here today and I personally, if, if your conscience is still split two to two, I think the Board of Supervisors can probably talk to both Victor and Mr. Marsh here and I don’t think they’re going to hang us out to dry and make us spend forty thousand dollars or ten thousand dollars on a special election, I mean that seems to be hanging over our head that, that’s a reason today, is the drop dead day that the world’s going to come to an end if we don’t come to a decision. And I don’t know if you’ll come to a decision, again I trust the Board of Supervisors to look at both candidates and talk to them and you know they’ll see that Victor is very active in our community, has been for some time, does a lot of good works and I just think maybe it’s time to get some fresh blood and you know, hopefully not have a board that’s just three against two, that can, you know, all get together and vote for the best ideas, rather than personalities. So thank you very much.”
VP Kinsella: “Thank you. Anybody else?”
Kathy Agee: “Thank you, I agree, I think that ah, Rich has not been, he hasn’t been here a long time but yet he is ah, has a great ah, presence about himself and he has the resume as you’ve looked at his resume that I think could make some good decisions. He would not vote against, another director’s vote just because of who you were, he would really look at things seriously and do the, I feel make the best decision for our district and our community as a whole.”
VP Kinsella: “Thank you. Anybody else?”
Wes Barton: “I don’t want us to forget who Victor is over here because Victor has ah, bugged all of us but there’s one thing we can always say, that Victor is trustworthy and that he does his work, he’s been to almost all the meetings, he’s been involved in everything from the schools to the ah home owners, to the water district, and the Lions. Ah if it wasn’t part of an organization he’s been out there, at the time of fires, ah helping individuals, he is not scared to call people and find out what is really true and what isn’t true, ah, I haven’t seen Victor playing any favors for either, or any faction, he’s always ah voted and done things as he saw it, as he thought it was right, whether it was or wasn’t doesn’t – the point is is that he’s always done it independently. And I don’t think there’s much, I think everybody is asking for independence, and ah, Victor certainly has a long record of doing independent, being an independent thinker.”
VP Kinsella: “Thank you. Anybody else? OK. Public comment is closed, back to the board.”
Deputy Sheriff (Standing in entrance): “Can I address real quick?”
VP Kinsella: “Sure”
Deputy Sheriff: “Now the public is closed, nobody says anything or they’ll be removed ok? I’m not going to hang around for the rest of your board meeting, OK?”
VP Kinsella: “OK, thank you for coming.”
Deputy Sheriff: “Open?”
VP Kinsella: “Yeah, leave it open.”
Deputy Sheriff: “Open”
VP Kinsella: “Thank you for coming”
Deputy Sheriff: (Inaudible)
VP Kinsella: “OK, ready for a vote?”
Director Ross: “Comments or not? No comments?”
VP Kinsella: “You want to make a comment, fine, you can make a comment”
Director Ross: “Well Mr. Marsh, ahm, I did not know you before today. I, I liked your answers they, you know, I was impressed with your, I first applied for this board in 1992, and then I think probably in ’94, ’96 and several other times, I ran for election the last maybe two times. I eventually was elected, I think I stayed on for one or two months, quit ‘cuz I didn’t like that (inaudible) really made a lot of problems, but elected two times. There’s a long time, one thing that people like Kalvin Gile did when he was elected, is he said a lot of stuff, he, he, was always up at that podium and, and we had really good idea where Kal was coming from. I liked your presentation, I, you sound like you’d be good, but you’ve never said anything at these meetings. I don’t know where you’re coming from really and that’s my concern. Ah, I’d encourage you to run, you know for election, if they say they’re going to recall us you’d run then, cuz you sound really good. I liked your answers, there’s a couple I really did like. Ah, we have to make a decision today, we have to make a decision. This board was elected to, to make decisions, good or bad, up or down, make decisions. If these guys don’t compromise and Mark doesn’t compromise, one of us is going to have to, we need to have a full board here and that’s what’s going to happen today because we cannot go back to the Board of Supervisors, we have too many problems over there with the Grand Jury and then adding another one, or the DA, we don’t need more problems, so Bill, call for the vote.”
VP Kinsella: “Hang on a sec, Mark you have a comment? Lew?”
Director Richardson: “No”
VP Kinsella: “OK, I’ll call for the vote, all those in favor of Mr. Marsh signify by raising your hand. [Director Skoien aye] OK, all opposed to Mr. Marsh raise your hand [Kinsella, Richardson and Ross].
Board Secretary Charise Reeves: “Emery did you vote?”
Director Ross: “Yeah I did”
VP Kinsella: “Emery voted no”
Board Secretary Reeves: “OK”
VP Kinsella: “All those in favor of ah, Mr. Afanasiev, [Kinsella, Richardson and Ross]. Ah, Mark has a vote, do you want to vote no?”
Director Skoien: “I abstain from that one” (Laughter)
VP Kinsella: “The board recognizes that ah Mr. Afanasiev has been nominated, or has been, will join the board and ah, immediately and we can take the a Oath of Office now if you have –
Public: “So – this is a joke”
[Members of the SO GOSIP begin walking out during Victor’s Oath of Office. 9 people walked out of the 13 in attendance.]
VP Kinsella: “Thank you.”
Victor Afanasiev took the following Oath of Service administered by Board Secretary Charise Reeves:
“I (Victor Afanasiev) do solemnly swear or affirm that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies foreign and domestic that I will bare true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California. That I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter .”
Secretary: “OK, you are now appointed as a Board memb – director”
VP Kinsella: “Welcome aboard Victor, OK”
(inaudible – another voice)
VP Kinsella: “I’ll get you tomorrow. There being no further -”
Director Skoien: “Victor, nothing personal, glad to have you”
VP Kinsella: “There being no further business for the board
Director Ross: (inaudible)
VP Kinsella: “…I’ll entertain a motion to adjourn”
Director Skoien: “I’ll make that motion”
Director Richardson: “I second it”
VP Kinsella: “All in favor, adjourn, adjourned.”
Multiple voices [confirming vote – unanimous, 12:00]
GOOD RESULTS? BETTER LATE THAN NEVER!
Orb Hatton and his entourage were not permitted to disrupt another meeting with their interrupting comments barked from the comfort of their audience chairs. (Pack mentality?) A deputy sheriff was requested, arrived, stood by, and monitored the Public Comment portion of the meeting. Not surprisingly, what would have otherwise degraded into a much, much longer time period of personal attacks, insults, and accusations by the “whole gang” was actually condensed into a few short statements from the podium. Heck, not one of them even came close to using their entire three minutes. A similar situation occurred years ago when Hatton defiantly stood up at an LDPOA “Meet the Candidates Night” meeting in objection to the moderator’s admonishment stating he wasn’t going to stop talking and sit down until he was done. The “civil standby” Tuolumne County Deputy Sheriff at that time told him he was done. He sat down.
How can Mr. Hatton equate a handful of individuals who disrupt business meetings with the “general public” or “community”? These special interest folks really do not have the credibility to be talking about the integrity or conscience of others. Good grief! Only a little research in public records and media sources reveal much, but that’s another story. I find it particularly misleading how Mr. Alfier often uses inclusive words like “us”, “we” “our”, and “together” when he does not live here but only does real estate business in Lake Don Pedro. (Harry’s father, “Uncle Milt” and Lake Don Pedro Realty were doing business here decades ago in the early years of the Lake Don Pedro Subdivision development.)
But all that SO GOSIP nonsense aside, the best result was the appointment of Victor Afanasiev because a trusted and well known community volunteer of many years will continue his dedicated service as a director on YOUR Lake Don Pedro Community Services District Board.
Well guess I’ll get back to work on the previous “hi-jacked meeting” by the SO GOSIP on October 21st – Really deserving of an entire chapter – a number of KA-BOOMS! [RE: Wile E. Coyote Syndrome]
My best to you and yours, Lew