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|Sonoma County, CA||November 8, 2011 Election|
Common Questions and Answers - Why Run for the OCSD Board?
By Jeff TweddaleCandidate for Board Member; Occidental Community Services District
This information is provided by the candidate
This is a list of questions - with my answers - asked by numerous folks - Why Run for the OCSD Board?1. Have you attended a meeting of the Community Services District, read the bylaws or volunteered for the district in any way? Please explain.
I have attended numerous Board meetings over 10 years, have led the Water Conservation' sub-committee of the Board to create both tools and a new pricing formula to get our District into conformance with the state and regional water boards. As well, I created pricing and planning tools to achieve water planning in the future. I also have continued the last 5 years to participate in our sewage planning discussions with former Board President, Steve Mcneil, as a member of the Citizen's Advisory Committee on sewage.
2. Could you explain for us what community services are included in the Occidental Community Services District and what expertise you would bring to the management of these services?
Water, downtown lighting, activities, and oversight of sewer are all under the `domain' of the Board. Having designed, built, and managed complex systems (telecommunications, broadcast, cable TV, internet businesses among others), founded 2 companies, and served on 2 Board of Directors, I have the necessary skills to help with the tasks of the Board.
3. What solution do you favor for sewage disposal in Occidental?
A local zero-emission community storage system for re-percolation to the ground in summer months allowing 0 discharge to the creeks/streams, as we are working on with the County
4. Are you familiar with the water rights permits for Occidental Community Services District? How would you go about making sure that Occidental has all of the water rights agreements to serve current water customers and before giving "will serve" notices to new developments?
I am familiar with the issue, but do not see a clear line between issuing `serve notices' and failure to have the water permits, which are a 10-18 year process to finalize. I think water permits ought to be given out sparingly; with `good neighborly' intent; be limited to the traditional `downtown' area; and be done through fair and progressive tariffs and kook-up fees.
5. How would you go about developing a water rate structure that is conservation friendly and equitable? Are you familiar with the best management practices of the California Urban Water Conservation Council? If so, do you think it is important that the Occidental Community Services District comes into compliance with these practices before Sonoma county Water Agency officially diverts water to Occidental?
I have developed the appropriate structure and we have had 2 Board meetings and 2 general Public Meetings to share the plan, its fiscal impact, and the rationale for the tired approach we devised.
6. Occidental has a history of water loss in the past. What ideas to do have and how aggressive would you be in finding the sources and correcting this water loss?
Manage the meters, and improve collection system. We are now down to less than 3% loss on the last 3 years, so it's working.
7. How would you make sure that there is transparency and participation by the pubic in OCSD meetings? How would you handle requests by the pubic and rate-payers for access to public documents like bylaws, water rights agreements, accurate minutes of meetings, etc.?
The main `sustainable' program for Board `transparency' I will implement right away is a web-based use of document repository (minutes, by-laws, etc) as well as an agenda setting form for online management by all. The goal of opening up citizen participation is as much as cultural issue as a systematic one, though, and to this end I will be proactive to request and publicize involvement by District citizens. The one program we are still working on is the `water price' tariff, which is why I am running + to pass the change that allows OCSD on firm `water rights' footing with the state, as well as future price expectations as we conserve water + important for businesses.
8. Recently the Board passed two resolutions that were rescinded because outside consultants made proposals to the Board that were not fully understood. What skills would you bring to the Board in reading contracts and reviewing plans for new facilities, draft resolutions, proposals for assessments, estimates of costs for services, etc. in order to make decisions that benefit the rate-payers and common good?
Project management and close examination to contracts is a due diligence required by the Board. I write and examine extremely complicated contracts on a weekly basis, so I am comfortable helping in this role.
9. How would you make sure new connections pay their fair share of assessments for a buy-in to the district? Are you in favor of using assessment money to expand the district? Are you in favor of giving discounts to property owners like the CYO?
Paying a `fair share' is quite clearly documented in the public pricing documents, so no `mass deal' ought to be made that does not conform to published rate structures. `Volume' deals can make quite good business sense, yet any exception to a `buy in' costs ought to be publically vetted. If the CYO wishes to use water for a current use system, based on traditional use, then I think the `good neighbor' approach can allow hook-ups. However, I want the Board to clearly spell out a `serve notice' (which I believe is within its current power as allowed by the Sonoma County Water Agency) that the camp is to remain a camp and that water delivery will be terminated if use of the property or a sub-division of the property were to occur.
10. What is your opinion about the water, dam, pond and property on Bittner Road? Should it be sold or are there other ideas to preserve the water rights and retain control of the property for emergency situations?
Public lands are a valuable commodity and ought to NEVER be sold, or only with great strategic interest. My favorite use, as this point, for Bittner is as a public swimming hole.
11. Do you believe in public ownership of fire departments, water and sewer systems? Could you think of any reason why publicly owned fire departments, water, and sewer systems might be privatized, sold, and managed by private corporations?
I `believe' private use of public resources has occurred in our world (I can think of well-publicized cases in Bolivia and Uruguay, for example). But I think in all scenarios I have heard, it has been a disaster and is a poor public policy approach for fire, water and sewer systems.
12. Do you have any ideas about reducing energy use and selecting new equipment that could help to reduce global warming?
I have `general ` ideas such as use of renewable energy for all pumping activity in water and sewage, as these activities generate ~18% of California's total carbon output (I have read this quoted from 6-18%). This inefficient approach to moving water vast distances, I believe, can be offset by use of smart design and sustainable and `green' sourcing of pumping technology.
13. More than 150 agencies, districts and counties in California have implemented water management plans. Our county and cities have been urged to do just that by the Sonoma County Grand Jury. Despite this recommendation, some county and municipal leaders have said that a water management plan is unnecessary. What are your thought on this subject?
I think it is a basic role of government to protect our water supplies. Further, all government water and utilities ought to be planning and offering contingencies in the event of well-regarded threat scenarios, such as water shortages. So, yes, I hope Sonoma County adopts a more `forward-leaning' approach to water management county-wide.
14. What is your position on the creation of a countywide policy for sustainable groundwater management? What is your position on the need for specific groundwater management plans for each of the major groundwater basins in the County? How can the Water District for which you seek elected office influence the creation of water management plans for the groundwater basins in Sonoma County? What about surface water management plans?
I have no specific policy for groundwater designation regulations, except to keep it safe! I will have to reflect further on the issue before offering any serious ideas.
15. How are you going to win your election? How are you a viable candidate?
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