Candidates Plead Their Case
On Wednesday, October 3, there was a great turnout if mainly by all the six candidates running for three open seats on the Newberry Community Services District (CSD),in alphabetical order Steve Miller, Vickie Paulsen, Robert Shaw, Robert Springer, Ted Stimpfel, and Jack Unger.
After the opportunity for each candidate to tell us a little about themselves,there were four questions listed on the schedule of which all candidates had forewarnig. The questions and answers to these questions were generally political in nature
The question producing the most caustic answer was "As a team, Directors often do not unanimously agree on an issue. If you are on the minority side of an issue; can you agree to disagree? After the vote is taken, how would you treat the issue?"
The implication from some currently seated Directors was that there may be a lack of teamwork on the part of an individual or individuals, and another that some Directors may be deciding issues outside of a formal meeting, a violation of the Brown Act.
The answers to these questions as well as some later posed by the audience were occasionally caustic, but in the main rather civil those considering the tendency of individual candidates to criticize their opponents.
Subsequent written questions submitted by the audience ranged widely in content.
Most of the candidates responded to the question sbout supporting the commodities distribution program with reservation because the CSD forbidden by law to expend property tax revenues supporting such efforts.
One question "How do you feel about the CSD being ramped down below what a minimal producer is allowed to pump?", showed all candidates being against such a thing as if there was any real possibility of the Fire Department or the community park being deprived by the Mojave Water Agency of enough water to fight a fire or irrigate the ball field?
A question near and dear to everyone's heart was "How do you feel about District transparency?" Of course all the candidates were over the top in favor of such transparency so perhaps the community will begin to see CSD meeting minutes that more adequately describe the actual goings-on at their monthly meetings.
"How can the CSD improve our water situation?" was answered in general by a suggestion that the CSD acquire water powers that they do not currently possess. Of course this is unlikely considering the past reluctance of LAFCO (Local Agency Formation Commission) to honor such requests unless the requestor district is an actual purveyor of water.
All in all, the session was very informative and would definitely had influenced the community vote with mail ballots arriving in less that a week, if a higher number of local voters had been in attendance.
Perhaps next time.