Nov 5, 2011
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Full story: www.lahabraheights.net
Voters are faced with interesting choices in this election.
The three incumbents are or appear to be running as a team. The majority of the Water Board was originally appointed, not elected. A self-selected group is typically not in the best interests of the community, as disagreements and thinking outside the box are less likely.
The proposed Rowland Water deal is an example. Rowland did some creative thinking to come up with an agreement, with plans to use the water flow from La Habra Height to generate electricity. Our Water Board has primarily been reactive and accommodating of Rowland’s ideas. The Water District’s budgets have been in deficit for two years in a row. When cutting Board pay and perks, including meeting at the country club, were mentioned at a recent meeting, one Board member said those were just “noise” in the budget and inconsequential to cut.
The matter also highlighted another issue, the lack of openness and transparency of the Board; no web site, no recording or televising of meetings, and meetings in the afternoon, inconvenient for most.
A public forum, held at 6 p.m. on October 24th filled the Multi-Purpose Room, showing the interest of the residents in Water Board activities, reportedly the first such event in decades.
The challenger, Judy Hathaway-Francis, was a council member for 13 years, and has worked for local Water Agencies. She has been a frequent proponent of open government, speaking out when it is threatened.
Although her challengers have made an issue of her $19,000 a year PERS retirement plan, the retired schoolteacher does not collect social security. Public records requests to the City and PERS attempting to verify information have not yielded any information as to how much if any cost is attributed to the City.
Weighing the positives and negatives of all, we recommend a vote for Judy Hathaway-Francis, to open up the Board, and add a different viewpoint. Vote for her alone to ensure a change.