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Petty seated as Rainbow's new CWA rep


Last updated 10/13/2006 at Noon

Rua Petty was seated as the new Rainbow Municipal Water District representative to the San Diego County Water Authority board during the CWA’s September 28 board meeting.

Petty replaces Larry Sundram, who resigned from both the Rainbow board and the CWA board. “Larry was a positive influence on this board and certainly an active and intelligent participant,” said CWA board chair Jim Bond.

Petty’s first meeting on the CWA board began at 9:00 a.m. and ended at 4:35 p.m. “It’s a long day,” he said.

Board and committee discussion that day included a resolution approving the issuance of up to $350 million in tax-exempt commercial paper (a short-term, unsecured promissory note of debt which usually pays interest at maturity), whether to pursue an Attorney General’s opinion about whether the state’s doctrine on incompatible offices applies to member agency staff members, an agreement with the City of San Diego for reclaimed water incentives, and closed session regarding litigation over the Quantification Settlement Agreement.

“The issue about the agreement between San Diego, the City of San Diego, and the Authority, I think, was premature until I had better information because it is a precedent-setting decision,” said Petty, who supports the use of recycled water but expressed concern about the specifics of the subsidy agreement.

Petty was appointed to the CWA board by the unanimous vote of the Rainbow Municipal Water District trustees. “I’ve just shown an interest in it and the board saw fit to appoint me,” he said. “I think we have to have good representation from Rainbow, someone who will speak their mind, protect the interests of Rainbow.”

While local agency boards appoint CWA directors, the CWA board members have official six-year terms to which they can be reappointed after the term expires. Petty’s term expires on February 14, 2009. He is the fourth Rainbow representative to serve since that term began. “It could be the shortest term of all if I don’t get re-elected,” said Petty, who faces a re-election campaign for the November election.

Sundram replaced Bill Bopf as Rainbow’s CWA representative in April 2005. Bopf replaced Paul Christiansen in 2004.

Petty and his wife, Linda, own RJT Ranch in Rainbow. RJT Ranch grows proteas and avocados, and Petty is also the president of the International Protea Association. He is the first farmer to represent the Rainbow Municipal Water District on the CWA board since Russ Hatfield, who was Christiansen’s predecessor.

“I represent the district as a whole, and that’s how I think about it,” Petty said.

Although Petty desires to represent the entire Rainbow district and not just agricultural interests, his knowledge is expected to be an asset. “Certainly that’s something that I want to at least have a voice in,” he said.

More than 70 percent of the Rainbow Municipal Water District’s income is from agricultural sales. The only other farmer on the CWA board is Bill Knutson, who represents the Yuima Municipal Water District.

Petty was assigned to the CWA’s Engineering and Operations Committee and to the Water Planning Committee, the same two committees on which Sundram served, for the 2005-06 session. At the beginning of each two-year session the incoming CWA chair assigns board members to committees.

Petty was elected to the Rainbow Municipal Water District in a March 2005 special election to replace Bob Glick. Petty also serves on the Rainbow Community Planning Group board. Rua and Linda Petty purchased their Rainbow property ten years ago, and Rua Petty was in real estate management in Denver before moving to California six years ago and becoming a professional farmer. In addition to serving as the president of the International Protea Association, Petty is also the vice-president of the California Protea Association.


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