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Candidates for EVMWD speak out

 

Last updated 10/27/2006 at Noon



Each of the candidates running for the EVMWD was asked three questions and was given the opportunity to answer them in their own words. Following are their answers.

Kristine Anderson

Why are you running for office?

“I feel that it is important to have a board member who has a business and professional degree in accounting who can question staff regarding the finances of the district. Each year the budgeting process gets longer and more cumbersome with it comes the responsibility to set rates. I can contribute insight regarding the district’s finances from the ratepayers’ point of view and not allow staff to burden customers with over inflated rate structures.

“I have the time and energy. With our exploding population and growth, I will demand that new development pay its own way.

“I have the time and enjoy helping people. I look forward to continuing to represent Wildomar and Murrieta at EVMWD.”

What are your views on the LEAPS project?

“The LEAPS project was started over 20 years ago by five cities who wanted to build the project and provide electricity for their use. EVMWD took over the project at that time because it was felt that if this project was to be built in our back yard then the community should receive the benefits from the project.

“I believe EVMWD needs to remain at the table to receive the financial benefits that this project will produce, such as funding for improvements as well as the water supply to Lake Elsinore, plus credits to each EVMWD water or sewer bill. If EVMWD is not involved with this project, another entity, such as SDG&E, can build a transmission line alone and there would be no benefits or local input and the lines would still be placed in our forest.

“This last summer saw electrical bills that skyrocketed and the call from the state was for more power generation. This project would benefit the reliability of power resulting in fewer black and brownouts.”

What other issues do you see facing EVMWD and how do your propose to improve them?

“One of the biggest issues that face local government is the continuation of the State of California to raid the property taxes that are assigned to local special districts. The last two years saw the state grab over $5.2 million of the property taxes that EVMWD was to receive. Just because the state can not balance their budget does not give them the right to take our money. EVMWD relies on this funding to pay their obligations and we need to fight to keep what is ours by working with legislators to insure this does not happen again.

“Water is vital to our everyday life. EVMWD must continue their long-range plans into the future to ensure that when each of us goes to take a shower or wants a drink, the water will be there. Planning and working with other water agencies is imperative to our future.”

Judy Guglielmana

Why are you running for office?

“I have been a Lake Elsinore resident since 1972 and local business owner for the past 28 years. I have always been aware of the importance of clean and reliable water.

“With all the many changes and growth in the valley, I think EVMWD has a challenge just trying to maintain the existing water and sewer system, along with trying to meet future demand. With my business experience I believe I can be a productive, alert and energized water board member that is willing to work for all the ratepayers.

“I want to give back to my community. Maintaining the safety of our water system will be my number one priority.”

What are your views on the LEAPS project?

“EVMWD has its hands full just trying to maintain its water and sewer systems, as well as planning for the tremendous growth we are experiencing in the greater Lake Elsinore Community. EVMWD should not enter the electric business.

“A lot of time, energy and money has been spent on this project. EVMWD should concentrate on selling water and providing sewer service, not trying to sell electricity.

“Maintaining the integrity of the lake is also very important to the Lake Elsinore community. I believe EVMWD should remain focused on supplying water and sewer to its customers at the cheapest rate possible. Unlike other Board Members, I live against the Ortega Mountains. This project directly impacts me and my family. What has been proposed for the alignment by FERC should never be built.”

What other issues do you see facing EVMWD and how do your propose to improve them?

“EVMWD is always challenged to provide multiple sources of water. [EVMWD needs to] guarantee a reliable supply of clean water to its customers. Taste and quality of the water is of major importance. No one likes the taste of chlorine in their drinking water.

“The rising costs of water and sewer is of great importance and being able to provide the best service at the cheapest cost to the ratepayer. Continuing to improve the water quality of the lake and keeping it to a manageable level. The tremendous growth we are experiencing and keeping up with it without making the ratepayers pay for it will be one of my goals. I am a firm believer in making builders pay their own way.

“I would carry these same concerns to the EVMWD Board of Directors. If elected I will work to refocus the Water District back to its core business, supplying water and sewer to its existing customers and preparing for future growth and needs. I will look to cut wasteful spending.”

Chris Hyland

Why are you running for office?

“I am running for office to represent the best interests of my constituents. I want to ensure that the ideas, suggestions and concerns of my constituents are heard, to speak on their behalf regarding cleaner drinking water, lower water rates, lower sewer rates and defeating the power lines [LEAPS] project.

“I will leave no stone unturned when questionable use of public funds comes to my attention until I have obtained documentary evidence to confirm any allegations which may have come forth and bring it to the public.”

What are your views on the LEAPS project?

“I am against the Lake Elsinore Advanced Pump Storage Project [LEAPS], as it serves no benefit to Lake Elsinore citizens. LEAPS calls for the construction of unsightly power lines throughout the now beautiful Cleveland Ridge Forest [under the guise of creating a fabulous energy source].

“The problem is that the communities in San Diego and Mexico will be the true benefactors of this new energy source. In the meantime, Lake Elsinore residents’ property values will be destroyed and the beautiful Cleveland Ridge mountain range and skyline will be overshadowed by giant steel structures, presenting great fire hazards.

“Children in Butterfield Elementary will suffer when the trenching required for the LEAPS project begins next door, possibly presenting serious health issues, including asthma or worse. At least 76 trucks per hour will travel Grand Avenue as well as Ortega Highway, creating additional traffic and unsafe travel routes. Citizens who enjoy hang gliding, hiking, horseback riding, cycling and camping in the Cleveland Ridge range will now have to maneuver around giant power lines.

“LEAPS has already cost the taxpayers $2.5 million to date to support a private company. If the project does not go through millions will be written off at the cost of the taxpayers, as stated by the EVMWD attorney.”

What other issues do you see facing EVMWD and how do your propose to improve them?

“EVMWD needs to recognize what the most important issue is that our community faces – a lack of clean water – and divert their energy into making clean, potable water the number one priority.

“Before we can create a plan to accommodate the increasing need for clean water for the population explosion, we first have to make sure that we will have viable resources available to offer; we have to make sure we have clean water 20 years down the line, unless the majority of the current EVMWD players are willing to refocus their energy from miscellaneous projects toward finding a timely, efficient and economically feasible solution to this most important priority of developing a clean, potable water source.

“The only way this can happen is if EVMWD will openly collaborate with the necessary agencies that maintain authority and responsibility for providing clean water and to do whatever it takes to resolve this issue.”

John Lloyd

Why are you running for office?

“I was asked to look into the LEAPS project and other issues within the EVMWD in the hopes that I would agree to run for the Division 5 seat. After reading through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commissions report on the LEAPS project and several departmental documents I agreed.

“I have many years of Engineering, Facilities and Project Management experience. I’ve managed several million dollars in projects on multiple sites concurrently. As the Site Services Manager for International Rectifier in Temecula, I currently manage several groups with a total headcount of 45 people.

“I’ve spent many years working to advance the community. As Chairman of the Parks Committee I worked closely with the County of Riverside and most of the local committees and organizations. I will represent Division 5 honorably from a position of experience.”

What are your views on the LEAPS project?

“I believe the LEAPS project has gotten out of control. The FERC report shows that it is financially unsound. The return on investment is too small to cover the cost of the capitol finances required.

“From the risks to the environment we would take on, by running a 500KV power line through the national forest, to the probable damage to the shoreline and the wetlands that are incurred by draining and refilling 10 percent of the lake on a daily basis. Add to that the damage to our vista by installing dozens of 170 foot power towers across the face of out foothills and you find that the project makes no sense.

“The power this project creates is for use in San Diego, not here. We will not control the power plant, nor will we receive any money from its use. We can’t tax it or charge a user fee for use of the lake. But most importantly, once the $1.3 billion has been spent to build the power plant there is no contingency to cover the costs of any damages this project could create. We’ll just have to live with them.”

What other issues do you see facing EVMWD and how do your propose to improve them?

“I would like to see a stronger focus on raising our water table back to its original level. Our aquifer is currently over 100 feet lower than it was a decade ago.

“While keeping the water level up in the lake makes the water quality easier to maintain, the main focus of the water board should be the quantity and the quality of the water we drink. Next should be the capability and effectiveness of our waste water treatment service.

“We need to learn water resource control from communities with fewer resources than ours, communities like Tucson and Phoenix in Arizona have learned ways to catch and store virtually all of their rainwater. By benchmarking other communities we can learn, advance and perfect our water management.”

Doug Pinnow

Why are you running for office?

“I’m a retired businessman/engineer with a PhD in physics and substantial experience in electrical power generation and transmission. About a year ago, I became interested in the hydroelectric power plant project that Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District [EVMWD] is currently promoting. After reviewing stacks of documents and attending many meetings, my opinion is that this power plant is not economically viable and it would be risky to the environment and to the economic interests of the Elsinore Valley. “Since it is evident that neither the current Board of Directors at the EVMWD nor the Federal Government will put the brakes on this boondoggle power plant project, I decided to join a slate of candidates, Hyland/Lloyd/Pinnow, that opposes it at the grassroots level. If all of the members of this slate are elected, we will control the five member Board of Directors at EVMWD and we will make a difference.”

What are your views on the LEAPS project?

“The LEAPS project is the power plant project I was referring to above.

“Based on findings of the Federal Government that were released in February of this year, the LEAPS hydroelectric power plant is not economically viable! It’s a boondoggle with a billion-dollar price tag! If built, taxpayers would be required to dig into their pockets to make the promoters and investors in the power plant rich. They want the Federal Government to guarantee them a hefty 14.5 percent annual rate of return on their investment. This would cost Californians about $100 million per year that would be collected by increasing the rates on our electric utility bills which have already skyrocketed. Complete details on this billion-dollar boondoggle can be found on http://www.CleanUpEVMWD.com. “In addition to being an economic disaster, the LEAPS project would substantially limit the surface area of the lake available for recreation.”

What other issues do you see facing EVMWD and how do your propose to improve them?

“The most important issue is ensuring a clean supply of water for EVMWD’s customers. Many have been disappointed by the recent performance of EVMWD that required consumer notification that the Water District had been cited for failure to meet minimum California State requirements for acceptable water quality. I believe that this reflects a failure of the current Board of Directors to focus the staff on their primary responsibility of providing the highest quality water at the most favorable rate. Too much attention has been diverted to the LEAPS project. I would insist on returning to basics.

“The harder issue will be that of ensuring a sufficient quantity of water to guarantee vibrant future growth in the Elsinore Valley. This will be a major challenge in our near desert environment and it will not be achieved by the spin of public relations but by serious engineering effort, including my contribution.”

W.R. “Ben” Wicke

Why are you running for office?

“I am running for office to continue to work on the many long-range capital improvement projects that I want to see finished. There are plans for new sewer lines and new water lines to keep up with growth. We also have plans to inject drinking water into our aquifer so we can pump it out in dry years. “These are exciting times in the Lake Elsinore area with all the new commercial development that will bring more housing development. Also, there have been substantial water quality improvements to Lake Elsinore and I want that to continue.”

What are your views on the LEAPS project?

“The Pump Storage Project and Transmission Line will bring substantial benefits to EVMWD and the City of Lake Elsinore. It will pay for lake management and lake stabilization. The viability of Lake Elsinore is a prime concern of mine with the lake being the center point of this valley. “The Pump Storage Project will guarantee a minimum water level of 1,240 with the upper reservoir full. This will ensure that the lake inlet channel always has water for competitive water sports. “My list of benefits given to the Board of Directors of EVMWD, dated back in 2002, is being negotiated for an operation agreement. We may not get all of these benefits but it should be $4.5 to $5 million per year to EVMWD with the City of Lake Elsinore being relieved of some of their current obligations. The California Independent Service Operator that manages the California Power Grid has stated that the Transmission Line and Pump Storage Project are necessary to keep up with growth and prevent blackouts and brownouts.”

What other issues do you see facing EVMWD and how do your propose to improve them?

“The Joint Power Authority, formed in 2000 with $15,000,000 for the San Jacinto Watershed, brought together the cities of Canyon Lake and Lake Elsinore, Riverside County, EVMWD and the Santa Ana Water Project Authority. All parties have worked together to study and improve water quality for Lake Elsinore and Canyon Lake. “The cooperation between the cities of Lake Elsinore and EVMWD has never been better. EVMWD also works closely with the Canyon Lake POA to maintain Canyon Lake as a drinking water reservoir. “The major issues and projects are stated in Questions 1 and 2 which amount to approximately $120 million of capital improvements. All of these projects must be moved forward to keep up with growth. “I am honored to be a member of the EVMWD Board of Directors and want to continue.”

 

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