CAN YOU SEE THE LIGHT?
An Insurance loss ratio of 288% over a baseline of 70% in the last five years of operation is understandable but shocking. The insurance rate getting bumped 10% and a zero deductible changing to $25,000 is very disheartening. This demoralizing information was made known after the most recent addition to this district’s list of financial embarrassments – a suspicious administrative office fire that was recently upgraded to arson according to a Sheriff’s interview reported in the Foothill Express.[And to think this country has been fighting a war on terrorism for years where and for what purpose? Heck, this area could use its own tasked satellite and maybe a few
surveillance drones on the side.] lol
Wes Barton’s comments, I believe, were right on the money, so to speak. If long running lawsuits are decided in favor of the district there might be some good news, on the
other hand, those unresolved cases and current employee complaints could theoretically
raise insurance rates even higher.
Obviously the tricky and determining word in such matters is “if”.
Q: What is your home worth?
A: Several million dollars if located in Hawaii (or where ever)
Q: Will the LDPCSD leadership make the necessary decisions to correct this financial and Public Relations nightmare of a “down spiral”?
A: Only IF the Board of Directors, GM/IGM, Staff, employees
and public work together to … blah, blah, blah
(Where’s the cheerleading/mascot outfit and disintegrating Pom-Poms when I need them? You know the routine – that youthful, optimistic, and cheerful “we can do it together” attitude? And if that doesn’t work, the negatively motivated: “We hang together or hang separately” philosophy. Regardless, this district will reflect only what this community permits, allows, tolerates, or demands.
RAH RAH REE – KICK ‘EM IN THE KNEE – RAH RAH RASS – KICK ‘EM
IN THE …..
Sure, the current board inherited some past issues which are being financially felt now and tangible progress in bringing rates back down will likely take years of no/loss- minimal/loss management. Rather like stopping a speeding Jet Ski or locomotive, just because you may immediately stop acceleration or apply the brakes to avoid an accident, there will still be some unwanted forward momentum already in play. The damage has, is, and will continue to occur for some time.
Yes, the light at the end of this particular insurance tunnel appears to be an oncoming train, but the situation is not entirely hopeless and with hard work, dedication and a common goal, our CSD can surely be put on the right track.
“Rah Rah not just luck” – “Rah Rah ……….” (you get the idea)
WATER IS A VERY COMPLICATED BUT INTERESTING SUBJECT
You know, I have learned so much in the last 14 months – especially about water issues in this State and how the Lake Don Pedro area plays a vital role in an expansive and intricate network of water projects and facilities that pump, treat, store and distribute water to Californians. The enormous mass storage as ice and snow in mountain water sheds, cyclical precipitation, surface reservoirs, hydroelectric power generation, environmental releases, recreation, agriculture, underground storage, percolation, runoff, return flows to the ocean, salinity, evaporation, maximum contaminant levels, it is all about what we take for granted as every day water consumers. Government, as trustee for natural resources of the people, attempts the most beneficial use for the greatest public benefit.
Sponsored online classes and access to publications from organizations such as RCAC (Rural Community Assistance Corporation), CSDA (California Special District Association), ACWA (Association of California Water Agencies), and others, have all been of great assistance in understanding the complexities of this precious fluid we need to survive.
Over the last seven years of posting detailed information about local governing board meetings along with my often verbose personal opinion posts as to its relevance to this community’s development or lack thereof, I have written from both heart and mind. Sure,
I take the liberty of informally expressing myself and often write things I think are humorous but others don’t – so what? Everyone has an opinion and I choose to express mine publically. I imagine the familiarity of my writing is fostered in the sense regular readers “should know me by now” concept. Some have been reading posts since 2004 during the AHRC days – been through a lot haven’t we?
I was surprised to learn the Finance Committee’s review of the Treasurer’s Report had not been actually approved by the auditor as an acceptable solution to a “check and balance” of Charise Reeve’s Treasurer’s Report since the suggestion evidently came from them. This is something that needs addressing. Considering some of the recent information, perhaps an entirely new financial management/record keeping/reporting system needs to be considered?
The Public Relations Committee report consisted of a draft letter to the LDPOA which I’ll post below. Unfortunately, in the hurry to get it out I failed to correct the
redundant use of the word “naturally”. Oh well, live and learn – naturally.
The letter is pretty much self-explanatory – a proposal to include a future CSD publication in the Discoverer thus board approval was necessary to send it to the LDPOA for their consideration. Here’s the letter:
March 13, 2012
Lake Don Pedro Owners’ Association
5182 Fuentes de Flores
La Grange, CA 95329
Board of Directors,
The Lake Don Pedro
Community Services District (LDPCSD) is investigating the feasibility of re-establishing the COMMUNITY PIPELINE publication to reach its water customers. You may recall this was a simple 11×17 folded newsletter containing important information regarding the district’s treatment, storage and distribution of water within our
community. Unfortunately, due to financial difficulties of the past that publication was discontinued.
Maintaining, repairing, and replacing components of our forty year old water system
infrastructure will continue to be an expensive proposition. Obviously Lake Don Pedro’s future depends upon the availability of quality drinking water and there could be no better time than now to educate property owners/customers as to what will be
The Lake Don Pedro Owners’ Association (LDPOA) currently provides its monthly corporation newsletter, THE DISCOVERER, to its membership of over 3,100 subdivision
property owners through the FOOTHILL EXPRESS newspaper and would be the perfect
vehicle to reach our LDPCSD customers as well. Approximately 99% of LDPCSD customers, whether local residents who pay monthly service and consumption fees or absentee unimproved property owners who pay availability fees with their property taxes, could be reached through THE DISCOVERER.
Both our organizations are designed to serve this community and co-operation in furthering our respective missions by utilizing your publication seems logical and the most efficient use of our funds. Naturally the COMMUNITY PIPELINE would be responsible for its own printing, insertion, and share of postage costs. Naturally
it will be an independent publication responsible for its own content and would
contain the appropriate disclaimer indicating no legal affiliation with the LDPOA or Foothill Express.
This project is only in the preliminary stage of development; however, the LDPCSD Public Relations Committee is interested in meeting with your representatives at your earliest convenience.
Just about every board training class I have had has emphasized public transparency of the government decision making process (Public Records Act, Brown Act, etc.) along with relevant and timely communication with customers. How can a solution be pursued
and obtained without a clear understanding of the problem? I’ve heard this time and time before: The last thing a district should do is communicate with their customers only when further financial support is required. Those who financially support this district have a right to know where their money is spent and for what purposes.
OFFICE FIRE UPDATE – OFFICE EQUIPMENT REPLACEMENT
What can anyone say? An office requires equipment, equipment requires an office, our office was gutted by fire and equipment destroyed and a new office and equipment must be replaced. A very good reason for every ratepayer of this district to be furious and demand answers: who would do such a thing and why? Who might have a motive to destroy or severely disrupt this district’s operation? Again, this latest incident is absolutely disgusting.
Although there was no fire investigation update available at the last board meeting, I just received my April edition of the Foothill Express newspaper which contained some very interesting information in an article by Lorri Wickenhauser titled “LDPCSD fire investigation points toward arson”. The article included a telephone statement by Mariposa County Sheriff Doug Bennewies regarding the office fire: “It definitely appears that arson is involved”. This announcement for many in the community was likely met
with some variation first blush response of “NO DUH”. (“Oh really?”, “Big surprise”, “Who thought otherwise?”, etc.) The sheriff also stated there were “a couple of people who are persons of interest” but “one of those (persons) is not cooperating”. No arrests have been made.
ANYTHING VALUABLE REQUIRES PROTECTION
I chose that introductory statement for this website because I believe it applies to Lake Don Pedro just like anything else. Despite our tumultuous history this foothill environment is a wonderful place to live and I honestly believe in time (probably
not my lifetime) it will blossom into a thriving place many more people will want to live and call home. With that said, without vigilant protection the damage already experienced in this subdivision due to uncontrolled growth and development will surely again occur
without organization of those who pay the bills.
POLITICAL SIGNS TARGETED BY VANDALS AND THIEVES
While on the subject of area protection, and as posted earlier, I am voting for Merlin JONES for District II Mariposa County Supervisor because I believe he will best serve the interests of the entire district as well as Lake Don Pedro. His interest and research into unfunded liability and resulting costs per County resident is appreciated and I look forward to him as a Supervisor facilitating answers to this literal “growing problem”.
I met Merlin Jones while he and his wife were canvassing Lake Don Pedro for support in his bid for District II Supervisor. I subsequently decided to publically support him and agreed to have a sign placed on my corner lot. That’s the way it’s supposed to be done….the candidate meets with the land owner and gets permission to place the sign. Obviously some candidates have not conformed to the rules and place signs anywhere they want hoping such a display will garner more votes. Perhaps it will have the opposite effect.
Isn’t it strange that the candidate who has followed the rules and done the “leg work” to obtain property owner’s permission to place election signs becomes the victim of vandalism and theft?
The Merlin Jones sign on Hayward Road was located on private property with the permission of the ranch owner yet someone decided to cut it down. True, a quick repair put it back up on the gate where it belonged but the question becomes what sort of person does such a thing? Why are they so afraid of allowing legal advertising for a particular candidate?
Like anything else a choice between multiple options often begins with the basic process of elimination. Understanding what you already know you DO NOT WANT. Now the following explanation is not meant to offend, insult or harm anyone. It is the truth and offered to voters in this district as they consider a number of different candidates as a public representative. I do not know the background of all the candidates, but I am well aware of the backgrounds of our two local offerings.
CAN’T SEE THE PARKS THROUGH THE TREES?
While serving on the Lake Don Pedro Owners’ Association Board of Directors, both Dwight Mueller and Orb Hatton (owner Tri County Realty) proposed selling some of the Association’s open/natural parks to developers. I was in the audience, heard their presentation and subsequently wrote much about their plan which was basically: the parks were unknown to most owners, rarely used, would never be missed, and represented a financial liability yet their sale would provide a great deal of operating revenue to the
Association for years to come.
Again, some folks might have considered selling our parks as a good idea and supported such but I was not one of them. I believed, and still do, such a plan displayed an amazing lack of vision and respect for future generations that will call Lake Don Pedro home. True, it might have generated some quick cash, but unfortunately, money like that often seems
to disappear through needless spending for ill-conceived projects simply because the money is there and available. (I am not suggesting anyone would have committed theft or embezzlement.)
It is also true that then, as now, residents may not notice if a few hundred acres of park land were developed, heck the subdivision is only half developed after over 40 years anyway. There’s lots of unimproved property right now, however, someday this
subdivision will be built out and most every lot will have a residence and associated buildings and improvements. It will be at that time, many, many years from now that future residents would miss open areas devoid of human construction and improvements. A place where what might remain of indigenous wildlife could live and travel. Without
a number of “dark areas” where stars and planets could be viewed at night or a resident could walk a quiet deer trail safe from motorized traffic, Lake Don Pedro would sadly, and irrevocably, be overdeveloped.
Another problem I had with Dwight Mueller (while he was on the LDPOA board) was his signing of a 15 year water contract for Gregoris Pond to supply water to the Tom Porter/Deerwood Corporation golf course when our Governing Documents clearly provide a 5 year contract limitation clause. Once again, there is no doubt there were supporters for this idea of “locking in a water contract” for Deerwood, but ignoring corporation regulations doesn’t seem to me like the way to proceed. Again, this is a simple difference of opinion regarding methods of operation to achieve goals.
I recall it was also Dwight Mueller and Orb Hatton who characterized a particular 1,600 foot developer convenience road (there are several) constructed by the Deerwood Corporation (which does not meet several fire safe public safety roadway standards) as a simple driveway dispute between Association members.
Then there was that $10,000 Hacienda party paid for with Association dues that entertained a limited number of members and their guests. There were a whole slew of
decisions and actions during Mr. Mueller’s Board service which appeared to cater to the special interests of real estate and land development over that of the average assessment paying property owner. The recent utilization of the closed Deerwood Corporation golf course facilities on March 31st for a Dwight Mueller candidate event is not surprising
nor is it wrong for Mr. Porter to back the candidate he anticipates could do him and his real estate interests the most good. That’s politics right?
Again, some people support such activities, but I happen to be one of those in opposition. A simple difference of opinion yet the reality is that this same individual now wants to bring his experience to the table and represent District II on the Mariposa County Board of Supervisors.
How can such signs advertise services not available to the public still remain in this community?
Well, it is a beautiful sunshine foothill day and I’ve got some weed slaughtering to get done – later
My best to you and yours, Lew