The Misinformation of the Water Board Election
This week, candidate Jay Lewitt and supporters, demonstrated that that they are willing to say anything to win. The following are statements taken directly from their campaign materials, trying to mislead residents to gain their vote.
It’s up to each individual to make their own decision – but everyone’s decisions should be based on fact, not misinformation.
Please forward this to anyone you know in Agoura so that they can make an informed choice.
This is a perfect example of the information being misrepresented in an extraordinarily distorted way through very, very careful wording. The wording and qualification are so carefully done, they omit from the “average” they are using the instance where Director Glen Peterson’s charged the District to attend “a good friends’ funeral.”
Here are the facts …. Each board member is allowed and even encouraged to go to outside events. This is to learn, to network with other water agencies, and to bring back information … and often options … to the water district. They report to the other board members who they met, and what they learned of significance. Director Steinhardt is on the Region 8 Board of the Association of California Water Agencies, as well as Vice Chair of the Business Development committee. Note: It’s extraordinarily unusual for a water board member in any district to have reached this level of interagency cooperation, and office held at the regional level. This is a clear sign of Steinhardt’s ability to work collaboratively. As just one example, it’s widely believed that Barry’s involvement has and will be helpful in LMVWD’s dealings in the difficult situation with the EPA and the Malibu Creek watershed.
The “fuzzy” math. In the 2012/13 period, of the “other four Directors,” two board members decided not to go to any outside events, and therefore did no networking or learning on behalf of the District. One board member went to some events. And the fourth, Glen Peterson, went to the most events of any director, but the majority of his events were expensed to his LVMWD representation at MWD (our regional agency). As such, his events are conveniently not counted.
When you average two Directors doing nothing, one doing only a small amount, and one that isn’t fully counted by carefully wording and positioning, you can say deceitfully that Director Steinhardt, doing his job for the community, did more the double the average of the other four Directors.
As with any continuing education, and industry networking, $10,000 per year to educate a Director of an organization with a $61,525,956 budget (during that time frame) is a very small price to pay for educated decisions, and the opportunities that events such as these bring.
Misleading at best. Director Steinhardt said that in the unbelievably unlikely event of running out of water in the normal system, the District could obviously use the (already filtered once) reservoir water. Yes, the District would have to issue a boil water order — just as it has in other situations. The type of fire emergency they were talking about was beyond catastrophic (i.e., cataclysmic). The fires during the Northridge quake didn’t come even close — and the District is currently in compliance with fire regulations on the supply we need to have on hand.
Ask yourself this. If a cataclysmic event did happen, wouldn’t you want the water district to release all the water it had to fight it? If someone is telling you that’s a bad idea — ask them why they would let your house burn down!
Even more importantly, LVMWD runs the filtration plant 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from May through October. When LVMWD misleads you on “needing” the tank, they do not include the output of the filtration plant. And, at other points in the year, when water use is not as high, not even the filtration plant output is needed.
Candidates are ALREADY allowed to take anonymous donations under LVMWD’s rules — as long as they are under $50. But, LVMWD’s guidelines are not clear. They are not specified in the candidate handbook, and they are not well documented. Steinhardt simply proposed that the District adopt Los Angeles County’s well documented guidelines, and the county’s limit of $100.
This is factually incorrect in multiple ways.
First, the tank has never been shown to be needed — in fact, the District would not answer resident questions about the tank despite residents requesting that information for years.
Second, the Court did not rule in favor of the District on all points. The court simply said two things:
1) The plaintiff in the law suit should have been brought sooner, and
2) Because the State of California was in receipt of paperwork, the District’s errors in proper notice, discussion, environmental impact, etc… could not be challenged.
Third, the Board majority gave the District’s general counsel effectively an unrestricted budget — which is how the bill became the now recently inflated $90,000 number. By contrast, the ratepayers spent less than $7,500 in attorney fees and court costs.
The simple fact is that the District had to defend the law suit because the current Board majority would not answer questions regarding the need of the tank, misled the community, and as we all know, The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Bureau of Fraud and Corruption Prosecutions, Public Integrity Division confirmed they violated the open meeting laws when the illegally approved the tank project.