Despite big money donations from farmers opposed to the IID water policies to serve all Imperial County residents, Norma Sierra Galindo leaves her opponent in the dust.
Imperial County voters re-elected Norma Sierra Galindo to the Imperial Irrigation District’s board of directors, rejecting a bid from Carlos Zaragoza, who was backed by a handful of farmers seeking greater control over the region’s Colorado River water.
With all precincts reporting early Wednesday, Galindo had won 53 percent of the votes, compared to 47 percent for Zaragoza, a property tax consultant. Zaragoza declined to share his opinion on the Abatti lawsuit during the campaign, saying only that he would “support the law as determined by the courts.” He received at least $5,000 from farmers who had previously supported Imperial Valley First, a group that has fought IID over water rights and campaigned against sitting board members in several elections.
Zaragoza received $1,000 in campaign funds from Jimmy Abatti, Mike’s brother and the immediate past president of the Imperial County Farm Bureau, who has previously sued IID several times over its water policies. Zaragoza also got $1,000 each from farmers Kevin Grizzle, Mike Morgan, Jack Vessey and Doug Westmoreland. Separately, Morgan gave $5,000 to Imperial Valley First, which registered to campaign against Galindo.
The complete article can be accessed on the Desert Sun website by clicking here.
Passage of Proposition 3 is Dependent Upon Educating the Public
by Timothy Quinn
Oct 5, 2018
Voices on Water
With one month left before the Nov. 6 general election, water agencies should seriously consider making a concerted effort now to educate their communities about Proposition 3, if they have not already done so. Numerous reasons can be listed as examples of how passage of this water bond will not only benefit Californians, but their children and grandchildren. In the bigger picture, Proposition 3 builds on momentum from the passage of Proposition 68 passed in June, and it will require a tremendous amount of momentum to overcome the many challenges culminating within California water before our eyes.
Climate change, the increasingly catastrophic natural disasters that result from it and aging water infrastructure have compounded in the already uniquely challenging era in California water affecting us on a daily basis. Meanwhile, we remain well aware of the unacceptable fact that some disadvantaged communities lack access to safe drinking water – a problem that we strongly agree must be solved, but not through bad policy that leads to unanticipated consequences that benefit no one.
Written by George Gale Published: 26 September 2018
(The City of Calipatria the latest to support the IID)…The City Council adopted a resolution Tuesday.
The resolution supports and joins the Americus Brief to be filed by the Imperial Valley Coalition For Fair Sharing of Water in the Abatti Versus Imperial Irrigation District litigation. The litigation deals with the IID’s water rights for water distribution in Imperial County. The Abatti Lawsuit contends the District does not have the right to distribute the water and that the water rights belong to local growers. The District contends they hold the water in trust for all water users in the county. The City of Calipatria is the latest to side with the coalition and the Americus Brief they plan to file in support of the IID’s legal efforts. The Coalition says they will seek support from the County Board of Supervisors at one of their October meetings, either on the 2nd or the 9th.
The Imperial Irrigation District is working with the Bureau of Reclamation and the other Colorado River Basin States to create a Drought Contingency Plan (DCP). Below is a clip from the Imperial Valley Press regarding IID and the DCP:
IID representatives, along with members of the various Colorado River water contractors, on Sept. 17 and 18 participated in a basin states meeting in Las Vegas hosted by the bureau to explore the creation of a basin-wide DCP.
“I attended the Colorado River meeting in Las Vegas to discuss the drought contingency plan process with the two basins and seven states that are in this process and identify critical next steps,” IID Board President James C. Hanks, Division 3, said during the regular board meeting Tuesday afternoon. “These meetings were led by Reclamation Commissioner Brenda W. Burman, and I can report that while there is still no DCP, there is considerable interest on the part of the Bureau of Reclamation … in completing one before the year’s end.”
IID is exploring the creation of a DCP in concert with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California that would expand how much water it can store behind Hoover Dam in Lake Mead. The DCP would only be approved by IID if it were to ensure that such water can be withdrawn on demand, that the authority to unilaterally preside over local agricultural water conservation methods are solely the purview of IID and that such an agreement would not put the Salton Sea at further risk of drying up due to lower water inflow.
Holtville resident and former county supervisor Wally Leimgruber is encouraging Imperial County residents to back the Imperial Irrigation
District’s appeal to litigation he argues may jeopardize the district’s authority over precious Colorado River water.
“As a property owner with over 28 years in the farming industry and now involved in land-use consulting, I am respectfully requesting you join with me and other business and civic leaders in filing an amicus brief in support of IID’s position in the appeal,” Leimgruber wrote in a letter he is sharing with county residents.
… Meanwhile, members of the El Centro City Council at its Sept. 4 meeting voiced support for Leimgruber when he presented his group’s position.
“Without access to water there is no reason for Imperial Valley to exist,” Mayor Cheryl Viegas-Walker said, commenting from a remote location by
speakerphone. “Water must be held in trust for future generations. I personally endorse this amicus brief.”
Also offering encouragement, Council Member Efrain Silva said, “Without water Imperial Valley becomes the next Death Valley. Wally, you have my full support and we should go as far as we can go.”
While looking around the Internet we came across this great article on The Desert Review by Brian McNeece. Please read it as it is a very important take on the water in the Imperial Valley.
Some locals have asked, “What does it matter who controls the water?” It matters a lot. Farmers rightly claim that they contribute the majority of value to
the local economy. They also claim that if they were to control the water, the Imperial Valley would be in good hands….
If you are one of about 500 farmers here, being in control of the water sounds mighty sweet, but if you’re among the other 179,500 residents of Imperial County, you might want those decisions to be made by elected representatives sworn to uphold the public good.
One of the most important issues in the recent election of Imperial Irrigation District Directors is the management of IID’s Colorado River water. That water is held in trust by the IID for all of its users. There are some who would like to strip the duly elected directors of the right and power to allocate the water. But doing that doesn’t just impact the Imperial Valley, all seven Basin States that use Colorado River water would be effected too. Drought Contingency Plans must be developed in order to avoid federal mandatory restrictions that would reduce water allocations if Lake Mead drops below emergency levels.