Retraction and Correction: Mesa Water Spent Public Money on Private Event, But GM Did Not Exceed His Authority

Retraction and Correction: Mesa Water Spent Public Money on Private Event, But GM Did Not Exceed His Authority

12 March 2013

My story published yesterday (Mesa Water’s Celebration: Misuse of Public Funds?), about Mesa Water’s plan for a private celebration utilizing public money, contained one very important error: it strongly implied that the Mesa Water board had not approved of $49,650 in labor and materials costs for the event. In fact, the event was listed is listed in the official minutes of the Nov. 27 board meeting as a “VIP event” and the board did vote to fund it 3-1-1, with Director James Atkinson voting no and Director Trudy Ohlig-Hall absent.

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Posted in Headlines, Water, Water Boarding2 Comments

Mesa Water’s Celebration: Misuse of Public Funds? Ratepayers Pay Thousands for ‘Private’ Event

Mesa Water’s Celebration: Misuse of Public Funds? Ratepayers Pay Thousands for ‘Private’ Event

12 March 2013

The Mesa Water District Board of Directors will throw a $49,650 VIPs (and selected press) only “private ceremony” to celebrate the completion of two years of renovations on its Colored Water Treatment Facility, according to an official announcement tucked deep within the district’s official website and a purchase order obtained by the Voice. But the closed event suggests that either the board has trouble controlling its general manager, Paul Shoenberger—who is the everyday boss of the district but is supposed to follow board policies—or in complying with California laws that prohibit using public funds for personal purposes, or both.

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Posted in Headlines, Water Boarding4 Comments

Book Review: ‘Slow Democracy’ Means Real Citizen Participation and Better Results

Book Review: ‘Slow Democracy’ Means Real Citizen Participation and Better Results

07 March 2013

Slow Democracy challenges us to implement real democracy at the local level through a prescription of deliberation. The deliberation as defined by Authors Susan Clark and Woden Teachout is long, careful and inclusive. Creative forums for communication and understanding are the foundation for better decisions. In Felton, California residents fighting dramatic water rate increases wanted to buy back their privatized water system. They mobilized to pass a bond measure and, under threat of eminent domain, were able to regain control. Along with lower water rates and increased transparency, they built a solar installation and preserved 250 acres of watershed. Citizen participation added tremendous value to the results.

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Posted in Headlines, Uncategorized0 Comments

‘Nowaterdeal’: Desal Plant Opponents Will Reach Out to Thousands of Orange County Voters

‘Nowaterdeal’: Desal Plant Opponents Will Reach Out to Thousands of Orange County Voters

21 February 2013

The opposition group, heralding online as www.nowaterdeal.com, plans to spend tens-of- thousands of dollars to inform other ratepayers in high propensity voting areas of the county about Poseidon's proposed "take or pay" contract, asking them to urge their local elected officials not to sign it. Nowaterdeal is a coalition of members of Residents for Responsible Desal and other local ratepayers who previously had been fighting an uphill battle against Poseidon’s well financed lobbying efforts and a marketing campaign (mostly unquestioned in the county's major daily newspaper) that depicts its desalination plant as a future fallback point in case of prolonged drought or a natural disaster that would disrupt the flow of water to the public.

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Posted in Energy, Environment, Headlines, MWD, MWDOC, Poseidon, Water, Water Boarding3 Comments

Can the Municipal Water District of Orange County Find A Reason to Exist?

Can the Municipal Water District of Orange County Find A Reason to Exist?

14 February 2013

"MWDOC holds seven redundant meetings a month, each of which guarantees a $221.62 daily payment to each of its seven directors, who typically attend all committee meetings and also receive benefits and health insurance. Directors also travel, with a budget over $30,000 a year to attend local, state and national conferences (not including their meeting payments). If you are one of the directors appointed to MET, you also get paid to attend MET meetings."

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Posted in Environment, Headlines, MWD, MWDOC, Water Boarding3 Comments

Commentary: Mesa Water Drops Fiduciary Duties as Ratepayers Pick Up the Tab

Commentary: Mesa Water Drops Fiduciary Duties as Ratepayers Pick Up the Tab

13 February 2013

During Mesa's change of guard, the agency forgot his fiduciary duty to the public and signed a letter of intent with Poseidon to buy water its ratepayers would never need, heralding a bond of cooperation to pursue approval of a huge but unneeded desalination plant that will add $5 billion in local water bills over the next 30 years. The Mesa board gave Shoenberger the go ahead to start a secretive organization that would lobby on behalf of the desalination industry and developers. The board turned a blind eye and Shoenberger spent staff time and money as he saw fit to create CalDesal.

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Posted in Environment, Headlines, Poseidon, Water Boarding1 Comment

Triple Toxic Whammy Threatens Food Web, Ocean Study Shows

Triple Toxic Whammy Threatens Food Web, Ocean Study Shows

30 January 2013

While plastic refuse on land is a familiar eyesore as litter and a burden on our landfills, in the marine environment it can be lethal to sea creatures by way of ingestion or entanglement. Now, an important new study1 adds to a growing body of evidence that ocean plastic debris is also a threat to humans because plastics are vehicles for introducing toxic chemicals of three sources into the ocean food web.

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Posted in Environment, Headlines, Water0 Comments

Merry Holidays from the Surf City Voice – Publication to resume after the holidays!

Merry Holidays from the Surf City Voice – Publication to resume after the holidays!

10 December 2012

The Surf City Voice wishes all its readers a wonderful winter holiday season. I will also be taking time off for the holiday season. Therefore, publication of the SCV will resume on January 2, 2013. John Earl Publisher Surf City Voice

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Posted in Headlines0 Comments

Water Flash: Poseidon Carlsbad Vote Passes

Water Flash: Poseidon Carlsbad Vote Passes

29 November 2012

Public comments have wrapped up and at the San Diego County Water Authority special board meeting to consider a 30-year water purchase agreement with Poseidon Resources Inc. to supply up to (but as yet unknown) 56,000 acre feet of water for San Diego County by desalinating up to 100 million gallons of ocean water to […]

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Posted in Energy, Environment, Headlines, Poseidon, Water4 Comments

Mesa Water Directors Fail to Censure Trudy Ohlig-Hall

Mesa Water Directors Fail to Censure Trudy Ohlig-Hall

26 November 2012

The Nov. 13 episode of the Mesa Consolidated Water District Board of Directors should make the public citizen wonder if that body is capable to handle the challenges of water management in the 21st Century when it barely knows how to run a board meeting. Censuring another board member would be “unprecedented in California water politics history,” President Bockmiller emphasized, “And there have been directors’ behaviors far more ludicrous than Director Ohlig-Hall’s behaviors.”

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Posted in Environment, Headlines, Water, Water Boarding1 Comment

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