1. CONSIDER RESOLUTION OPPOSING SENATE BILL 1529 TO DISSOLVE WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT
Meeting Date: June 16, 2004 Budgeted: N/A
Program/Line Item No.: N/A
Staff Contact: Fran Farina Cost Estimate: N/A
General Counsel Approval: Reviewed materials
Committee Recommendation: N/A
CEQA Compliance: N/A
SUMMARY: The Board will consider draft Resolution 2004-__, Opposing Enactment of Senate Bill 1529, which is attached as Exhibit 1-A. State Senator Bruce McPherson (R-Santa Cruz) introduced Senate Bill 1529 (SB 1529) in February 2004 for consideration by the State Legislature this year. Earlier versions of SB 1529 were similar to SB 149, introduced by Senator McPherson in 2003 and subsequently suspended at the end of the 2003 legislative session. The earlier focus was changing MPWMD governance by replacing directly elected directors with appointed members comprised of local mayors/supervisors or their designees, and removing the requirement for a public vote to approve an MPWMD-funded water supply project. The most recent (June 7, 2004) version of the bill repeals all sections of the MPWMD law and dissolves the District (Exhibit 1-B). No other information is provided except that SB 1529 “would become operative on the date on which the Secretary of State notifies Monterey County that the United States Attorney General has ‘precleared’ in accordance with a certain federal law, the provisions of the bill.”
The April 13, 2004 version of SB 1529 was passed by the State Senate on May 6, 2004 on a vote of 24-4. The June 7 version is now before the State Assembly and is scheduled for consideration by the Assembly Local Government Committee on June 16, 2004 at 1:30 PM. If the amended bill passes through the Assembly, it must be again be considered by the Senate before proceeding to the Governor’s Office. Related background and history is provided in Exhibit 1-C.
As shown in Exhibits 1-D and 1-E, the MPWMD Board has written Senator McPherson twice requesting a more public process and consideration of District concerns about SB 149 and early drafts of SB 1529. Three MPWMD Board members and the General Manager also met with Senator McPherson on April 17, 2004.
On March 31, 2004, the Board directed Chair Edwards to write a letter to Senator McPherson dated April 1, 2004 (Exhibit 1-D), expressing opposition to draft versions of SB 1529. The Board specifically requested that the existing structure and composition of the Board remain intact, without change. On April 19, 2004, the Board voted to: (a) oppose SB 1529, unless amended; (b) transmit a letter (Exhibit 1-E) to Senator McPherson advising him of District concerns; (c) form an ad hoc committee to meet with Senator McPherson and local mayors; and (d) retain a consultant in Sacramento to represent the District’s interests regarding SB 1529 as it makes it way through the legislative process. Exhibit 1-F is a commentary opposing SB 1529 requested by the Monterey Herald for its June 13, 2004 edition, submitted by Director Edwards as an individual. A commentary by Senator McPherson in favor of SB 1529 is not yet available and will be provided at the June 16, 2004 Board meeting. Exhibit 1-G provides several letters of support and opposition to SB 1529 received by the District.
RECOMMENDATION: The Board should consider approval of Resolution 2004-__ and may wish to suggest refinements to the text. The draft resolution is based on MPWMD Resolution 2003-01 (adopted May 2003) opposing SB 149 and Board direction at the March 31 and April 19, 2004 meetings.
The following summarizes views expressed by current Board members opposing SB 1529 as stated at recent public meetings or quoted in the news media:
Ø Current version of SB 1529 simply dissolves District and does not specify governance, powers or responsibilities of any successor entity;
Ø SB 1529 leaves District and community in limbo due to uncertain effective date;
Ø SB 1529 removes right to a public vote for water supply projects;
Ø SB 1529 lacks provision of a binding public vote to ratify changes to MPWMD governance made by this legislation;
Ø Dissolving District does not make current problems go away and hinders forward progress on water supply solutions;
Ø SB 1529 ignores many MPWMD successes and important functions;
Ø Measure B reflected frustration at governance in 2002; people voted for a change in 2003, and the new Board deserves a chance to act.
The following summarizes views expressed by current Board members supporting SB 1529 as stated at recent public meetings or quoted in the news media:
Ø Current agency structure has been shown to be ineffective in obtaining a secure water supply; extensive funds have been expended with limited results;
Ø Voters have denied two water projects to date and may never approve a project;
Ø Board policies can change dramatically with each election, limiting progress;
Ø Need to dissolve the District in order to create a new governance structure, possibly a Joint Powers Agency (JPA);
Ø SB 1529 reflects will of people as expressed by Measure B in November 2002.
A- Text of Draft Resolution 2004-__
B- Text of SB 1529 (June 7, 2004)
C- Background information on SB 1529
D- MPWMD letter dated April 1, 2004
E- MPWMD letter dated April 29, 2004
F- Herald commentary submitted by Alvin Edwards for June 13, 2004 issue (McPherson commentary not yet available)
G- Letters received by MPWMD in support and opposition to SB 1529