SB 625: Elected Officials, Organizations and Residents Sound Off on Bogus Asm. Garcia Bill That Will Privatize Water

Cristina Garcia
Cristina Garcia

Click HERE To See The Story at the Los Cerritos News Site

Dear Community

Central Basin is a community of 2 million people who are 70% Latino, 54% are disadvantaged communities.   As leaders in water conservation, education, water delivery throughout our service we have a mission to oversee the pumping of the basin and to be good stewards of the environment.

The following list is just a few of our recent accomplishments within our service area:

  1. CENTRAL BASIN RELEASED ITS COMPREHENSIVE ANNUAL FINANCIAL REPORT (CAFR) an independent auditor, issued an unmodified (“clean”) opinion with no findings on the District’s financial statements.
  2. Central Basin earned the Transparency Certificate of Excellence by the Special District Leadership Foundation.
  3. Clean & Affordable Water: Central Basin MWD’s Water Quality and Supply Remain Unaffected by The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19).
  4. Central Basin Achieves Recognition for Excellence in Financial Reporting.
  5. Central Basin Residents and Businesses Receive Over $9.2 Million in Conservation Rebates.

Central Basin is fiscally solvent and financially stable. Central Basin has about 100 million in assets. Central Basin has met all its financial obligations. Central Basin adopted a long-term financial plan with a 10-million-dollar budget and has made significant cuts in its budget to keep pace with California’s efforts to conserve water.

Senate Bill 625 does not take my communities needs into account.  It serves no purpose except to dissolve a democratic process that we as Americans consider sacred. SB625 is unconstitutional in eliminating the process of transparency and eliminating 5 public officials who were voted in by the constituents of the district.  All of this for the sake of a group of 10 Politicos of Color who do not care about my constituents.  Their need to set a precedent of stripping us from our voting rights is very horrific and Trumpian.  Their actions on paper have shown them to be racist and classist. Their 700’s show them to be in the pockets of private water companies and they no longer serve as examples of POC who serve the people.

Senate Bill 625 makes many misrepresentations. The bill states that Central Basin Municipal Water District does not have a General Manager, General Counsel nor a Board President.  When in fact a duly and lawfully appointed Interim General Manager and General Counsel were voted on and appointed on February 24, 2020.

The Board President was properly elected by a majority of the Board.  Central Basin’s administrative code section 2.2, “…then position of President shall be filled by the most senior member of the Board on a rotation process.”  The Board President was voted on in open session on January 30, 2020.  The vote was 4-3.  Unfortunately, the appointed board members who represent the private water companies did not agree to this duly elected chair who represents the people’s vote. Moreover, purveyors appointed to the board at the discretion of Assembly member Garcia are refusing to abide by the Board’s policy.

With regards to what constitutes a majority, in Central Basin’s administrative code section 2.4, states that should the code be in conflict that Brown Act will supersede.  Central Basin has been lawfully following the Brown Act.   Assembly member Garcia’s appointed officials do not represent the constituents of the district who voted for the 5 elected officials on the board.  The 3 appointed members of the board hold a position on our Board disregard our mission of serving the public.  Their conflicts as appointed directors have sustained a dysfunction that that has been openly hostile, assaultive, destructive, and dangerous to our existence as a public agency.

In addition, for the Legislature to propose a bill to dissolve the elected Board while there is pending litigation to address these issues, the bill is highly unnecessary and with the current COVID 19 pandemic a diversion of the Committee’s time and efforts.  The agenda of the author/coauthors should be sanctioned and viewed as a terrorist act upon my community of color.  This is a classist and racist move to inflict harm against the most vulnerable and prevent the process of the human right to water.  This power grab is a pattern set by these authors, to privatize water. Your motives and agenda are as bad as our 300 contaminated wells that are worse than Flint, Michigan’s water.

Respectfully,
Martha Camacho Rodriguez
Central Basin Municipal Water District Director Div.1

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Hello, my name is Sherry Lear and I am organizer for 350 South Bay Los Angeles as well as Steering Committee member for the Great SoCal 350 Legislative Committee which consist of members from 5 different 350.org related groups which work on state- wide legislation.

Our groups have membership in the Central Basin, which is home to many People of Color who are already facing the burdens of being front line communities to the fossil fuel industry and climate change. We recognize that water is life and that all people should have access to clean, fresh and safe water.

I was recently alerted to the GUT and AMEND done to SB625 by my personal State Senator Steve Bradford which would put the Central Basin Municipal Water District into receivership, dissolve the Board of Directors and cancel the upcoming November elections.

As our communities continue to deal with the COVID19 pandemic and now face civil unrest, this is NOT the time for our legislature to take drastic action without meaningful public dialogue and input or to disenfranchise voters who will be affected by this “emergency” legislation. 350SBLA is deeply concerned over what appears to be a draconian action which will undermine the democratic process and quite possibly lead to privatization of the water district against the wishes of the community.

This bill has raised concerns among community members, activists who have been working to improve the services of the CBMWD, environmental groups who focus on water issues, environmental justice groups and others.

350 South Bay Los Angeles opposes SB625 and requests that the Assembly take a serious pause before moving forward with this legislation.

Sherry Lear
Organizer, 350 South Bay Los Angeles

Click HERE To See The Story at the Los Cerritos News Site