BY BRIAN HEWS • May 27, 2020
Hews Media Group has learned that Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia is co-sponsoring a bill that would place Central Basin Municipal Water District, a public agency with elected officials, into receivership.
It is a brazen bill, the embattled agency is being prevented from operating properly by the very Directors who were appointed by Garicia’s AB 1794, passed in 2016.
Normally when a company is put into receivership it is in dire financial straits, that is not the case with CB.
CB has $8 million in reserves, the agency owns the building it operates from, which is worth upwards of $3 million, and according to sources, the agency is current with all accounts payable.
Revenues are down but that is the case with all watery agencies. Revenues could have increased substantially if the Garcia-appointed CB Directors did not attempt to block a small meter charge.
The Directors voted yes on the meter charge and then turned around and rallied area water purveyors, suing the agency for the very meter charge they voted yes for.
Joshuan “John” Oskoui, an appointed Director who is also the Assistant City Manager for Downey, is the lead plaintiff representing the city of Downey in the meter charge litigation.
Oskoui and other purveyors did not raise any objections when the Metropolitan Water District and the Water Replenishment District recently raised their rates.
The bill will likely cause a huge outcry among voters in CB’s service area and among and voting rights advocates all over the state.
The bill would dissolve the duly elected CB Board of Directors, who routinely garner over 30,000 votes in an election, and cancel the November 3, 2020, election.
WRD comes out the big winner, as the already massive agency would act as receiver and all powers and controls would be transferred to WRD’s Board.
The bill would require CB Board “to surrender all resources to the WRD,” resources owned by the public.
The Local Agency Formation Commission for the County of Los Angeles would conduct a municipal service review of CB and to seek ideas through a public process for governance of CB.
The bill would require the commission to report the results of those activities to the Legislature, and “make its provisions inoperative 18 months after the effective date of the bill and would repeal its provisions as of January 1 of the following year. By imposing additional duties on the board of directors of the CB, WRD, and the Local Agency Formation Commission for the County of Los Angeles, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.”
HMG has learned that Sen. Steve Bradford will carry the bill. The bill is co-sponsored by Garcia, Speaker Anthony Rendon, Asm. Ian Calderon, Reggie Sawyer, Wendy Carillo, Ed Chau, Mike Gipson, Sydney Kamlager, and Miguel Santiago.