TIP OF THE ICEBERG
When you access the amazing powers of your imaginary “thinking cap” and objectively look at the situation you might appreciate this resignation was only the “TIP OF THE ICEBERG” since others clearly condoned and supported the underlying activity which precipitated the resignation.
[Audio recordings of meetings clearly document those in the audience who dismissed the seriousness of potential director misconduct perpetrated by “one of their own”. As you know, the “hardcore” center of this group is a handful or two of people which include at least three real estate/land development business owners, their employees, those vying for more outside MIDPOU water connections, and those who support such a policy.]
[MIDPOU=Merced Irrigation District Place of Use]
WELCOME OPPOSING VIEWS AND OPINIONS
Differing perspectives are normal, expected, and indeed helpful in determining what might be best for any organization yet people of good conscience should be able to disagree without being disagreeable. I can certainly appreciate opposing views but when they are represented with incorrect information and expressed with personal attacks and spurious accusations, well, that causes me to carefully analyze what the foreseeable or expected outcomes of their proposals might be if adopted. Thus far I have observed a consistent pattern of special interest advocacy where some sort of a benefit is conferred to a minority at the majorities’ expense.
UPSIDE DOWN MORTGAGE
I can sympathize (not empathize because I have not experienced such frustration) with those who have found themselves paying more for their home/property than it is actually worth. I have compassion for those whose only realistic financial solution is to “walk away” from their investment which typically involves abandonment of the dream of home/property ownership, a sense of permanence, and stability in a rapidly changing world. The horrendous rippling effect of the national economy will be negatively felt in this area for many years to come. Those of us who can survive these continuing hardships, and choose to remain in Don Pedro, must be vigilant and protect our community interests. Safe, sustainable, and affordable drinking water is at the top of that list.
REPRESENTATING WHAT INTERESTS?
Taking the Oath of Office last December was very important to me because I was dedicating a large portion of my time to something I knew was not going to be easy. I knew exactly who and what kind of influence was at the heart of so many difficulties facing this community. Whatever side of the “development equation” you chose to support, please answer this:
If proposed development is truly in the public’s best interest, why would it be necessary to violate existing law, rules, and regulations specifically designed and established to protect the public from harm?
NO DISCONNECTION OF OUTSIDE MIDPOU
Contrary to what others may say, I do not in any fashion advocate disconnecting current outside MIDPOU customers. Those connections were “after the fact” made legal with a ground water substitution plan which incorporates the Ranchito Well.
[That well must pump an equal or greater amount of water than what is used by properties outside the MIDPOU. Since these properties cannot receive Lake McClure water, pumped ground water is comingled with lake water. NOTE: Ground water minerals and chemicals are actually harmful to some of the equipment at our SURFACE WATER TREATMENT PLANT.]
Although originally considered illegal connections, the corrective measure (ground water substitution) was taken in order to keep us within water license 11395 requirements. Some of these outside MIDPOU folks have been good paying water consuming customers for many years and should not worry about that changing at all. Others though, apparently do not financially contribute to the district and I believe this is wrong to all those that do.
NOT A REVOLVING DOOR
With that said, I do not favor increasing the number of accounts that violate 11395 simply because the Ranchito well is available and used for existing outside MIDPOU properties. The “ground water substitution for surface water transfers” was a quick fix to bring our CSD into compliance with the contract which quite clearly identifies where Lake McClure water can be legally used. It is not a revolving door which allows some properties to jump out and then others to jump in as Director Ross has suggested in the past.
HOPE THE CAPACITY IS ENORMOUS
Soon the Ranchito well will be evaluated for its sustainable capacity and I certainly hope it is good news. It would be interesting to know if the millions and millions of gallons of backwash water the CSD has discharged through the years might artificially recharge the aquifer. Wouldn’t that be a great unanticipated “recycle program”?
USE AS AN EMERGENCY WELL ALSO
Another aspect of the Ranchito Well that should be considered is its “emergency use” status. Even if the well does test out for satisfactory production, any projected reserve should be held as just that – standby for an emergency situation. If the transmission lines from McClure intake are down for some reason the Ranchito Well could be used to fill the raw water tank to continue water treatment.
NO COMMITTEES BECAUSE ROSS SAID SO?
Director Ross has clearly stated his opposition to committees. Personally I believe this to be incorrect on a number of levels. In addition to providing an opportunity for public involvement in the functioning of their own local government, CSD committees could play an invaluable role in helping this district proceed into the future by sharing the workload. [It goes without saying such committees should not become “advocacy groups” dedicated to any particular third party interest, but rather represent and work towards the best interests of the entire district and ALL PAYING CUSTOMERS.]
There has not been an active committee since the beginning of this board’s administration which also contradicts CSD policy- where are the standing committees such as personnel? NOTE: Such committees do not change policy or make regulations, but rather, investigate, research, and make recommendations to the board about a particular subject or matter.
RECORD WILL SUPPORT
I have questioned this “no committee” policy a number of times without success but will continue to do so with special emphasis on an MID Committee. How can ANYONE expect to ever correct this horrible outside MIDPOU matter without communication with the Merced Irrigation District which holds the license? A recent proposal for more commercial services in the area also hinged on this very matter and without resolution this community will continue to “limp” into the future with a patch work of contradictory decisions and policies.
Director Ross has quite clearly stated his opinion that MID could care less about this area and that we are nothing more than an inconvenience to them. Well, without agreeing with that entire statement, I would agree that it could be argued the Merced IRRIGATION District is likely more concerned with agricultural irrigation, power production at dams, and maintaining its facilities and infrastructure.
Be that as it may, Lake Don Pedro does exist and we have some serious problems regarding permitted use of Lake McClure water and the best remedy involves co-operation with MID. [Unless the LDPCSD Board obtains a majority that believes numerous unreliable ground water wells should be drilled to offset further proposed outside MIDPOU areas. But shouldn’t such a major financial decision like that be made by all the customers who will ultimately be financially responsible for that program which would benefit an extreme minority of property owners? NOTE: Outside MIDPOU customers currently represent about 1% of all paying customers.
Director Ross has apparently become a spokesman for this group which is understandable since his commercial cattle ranching business is made possible with his two outside MIDPOU water connections. The water license (as it applies to this area) identifies only domestic water use for the residential subdivision and irrigation of a golf course as permitted uses. How was cattle ranching considered domestic residential use?
HAVE PAST CSD ADMINS BURNED MID BRIDGES?
Could it be that MID indeed has been “turned off” by previous CSD administrations which apparently turned a blind eye to the water usage restrictions in License 11395? Have we already earned a reputation as a district that plays “fast and loose” with regulations? How could our CSD in good faith approach MID for assistance if we continue to violate the terms of the water contract?
THINKING CAP QUIZ: If you could be held financially responsible for breeches of a water contract by a third party, would you trust a district which had already exposed you to such risk by failing to abide by their own water contract?
YOU KNOW THE VARIATIONS OF THAT TUNE: Screw me once, shame on you. Screw me twice, shame on me.
Sure would be nice if every property supposedly in the district were indeed within the MIDPOU and financially supporting this district.
ONE LAST “THINKING CAP” QUESTION-
Why don’t those property owners who advocate the CSD venture further into the “ground water well business” just drill wells on their property for their own land development proposals?
My best to you and yours, Lew