Categorized | Headlines, OCWD, Water Boarding

Why Do Some OCWD Board Members Loathe Being Watched?

Why Do Some OCWD Board Members Loathe Being Watched?

By Debbie Cook
Special to the Surf City Voice

About a dozen members of the public attended the July 16 meeting of the Orange County Water District to support Director Jan Flory’s request that staff gather information on the cost of streaming board meetings on the Internet, something many other Orange County government bodies have done for years.

Flory sees streaming as an important way to improve transparency and increase the public’s participation in managing its water resources.

But the stars above must have been aligned against Flory that night because, even though her proposal won five out of eight possible votes, it lost.

In earthly terms, what happened?

The answer is in the shrewd, some might say cynical, use of the OCWD’s administrative code, which specifically requires an affirmative vote of the majority of the entire ten-member board (six votes) to pass a motion, regardless of whether those members abstain or show up at the meeting or not.

Board president Shawn Dewane, who had voted to recommend tabling Flory’s proposal at a previous (July 3) meeting of the Communications Committee (he wanted it tabled for a year), and Director Denis Bilodeau, who has remained silent on the topic, were both absent.

Directors Kathryn Barr, Cathy Green, and Roger Yoh, all openly hostile to streaming meetings for public viewing, abstained–not because they had a conflict of interest, the only ethically valid reason for abstaining (apparently, they don’t want to take responsibility, on record, for killing the proposal), but out of spite.

7 Responses to “Why Do Some OCWD Board Members Loathe Being Watched?”

  1. Devin Dwyer says:

    These Water Boards that are populated mostly with Republicans make me feel greasy. It stinks of Cronyism and abuse of power. It’s time for the Republican Party to stand up a explain that these people are working outside of our party platform.
    A Grand Jury investigation is more than warranted on all our water boards in Orange County. And this is coming from a fellow Republican and supporter of Poseidon.

  2. David Zenger says:

    Bilodeau certainly doesn’t want anybody to know that he is pulling down a six-figure salary at the County, plus a City of Orange stipend, plus a OCWD stipend (and who knows how many other finagles) all during the exact same 40 hour work week.

  3. Milt Dardis says:

    One of the basic themes in ethics is fairness. Favoritism and cronyism all interfere with fairness because they give undue advantage to someone who does not necessarily merit this treatment. In the OCWD sphere of influence, cronyism and favoritism undermines the common good. When someone is granted a position because of connections rather than because he or she has the best credentials and experience, the service that person provides to the public maybe inferior. This practice undercuts the transparency that should be part of OCWD process. Submitted by a Goldwater – Reagan Conservative.

  4. Joey Racano says:

    Nice snapshot of the OCWD shenanigans, 2014 style by Debbie Cook. I’d like to say ‘some things never change’, but with California being held hostage by persistent CO2 induced high pressure systems off to our NW holding precipitation at bay, things are indeed changing. We’re dry, and it’s going to get dryer. And the shady OCWD Board will only get more powerful as rain becomes as scarce as recycled water at a Poseidon convention.

    Keep up the great work, OC & Voice-

    Joey Racano, Director

    On Facebook: Stop the Diablo Canyon Seismic Testing


  1. […] Read and comment on this article from the […]

  2. […] feeds on public access, yet most of OCWD’s directors treated our requests for transparency, including live Internet streaming of their inconveniently scheduled and poorly attended meetings, with […]

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