In 2013, newly elected officials of the Vallecitos Water District broadened their scope to include growing the economy.
“The District’s interest has to do with providing basic services, sewer and water, at the best price. That’s all it is. It has nothing to do with helping out developers.” Jim Poltl, Former Director of the Board.
In response, “I look at the bigger picture – economic stimulus. Smaller governmental agencies … make that happen.” Hal Martin, Director of the Board.
Would the economy have grown without the breaks given to developers? Did we pay more for water to stimulate the economy? Or did we just bolster developer profit margins?
The Friendship of Vallecitos Customers (FVC), a group of Vallecitos Water District (VWD) customers, potential political candidates, past board members, and community leaders, formed to have a unified voice to influence the VWD Board of Directors (the Board) to maintain a ratepayer focus. Since the 2012 elections, the development community has had majority control of the Board. Developer influence and financial mismanagement have resulted in ratepayers paying as much as $52.3 million towards developer obligations. Ratepayers have not had either the will or ability to financially contribute, and therefore win favor, to the extent that developers have financially contributed to the Board.
A word about the development community
Our purpose is not to villainize developers/builders and the Building Industry Association. Many builders have a charitable presence in our community. They also serve to satisfy much-needed housing in communities like ours. Developers can pay up to scores of thousands of dollars in municipal and utility permitting and fees to build a house before even driving a stake in the ground. As business leaders, they have every right to try and maintain their fees as low as possible. Developers may not be aware of the negative consequences political favoritism towards them has had on ratepayers. We hope that developers work with political leaders to find ways to pay for their impacts other than through Vallecitos customer rate increases.
Gerald (Gerry) Buckosky was born in Oakland California. He graduated from Riverview High School in Riverview Michigan before attending and graduating from the United States Military Academy, West Point New York. He served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force before attending and graduating from the University of Michigan Law School. He retired as an Air Force Reserve Civil Engineering Officer and retired from the practice of law. He relocated from Novato CA to Carlsbad in 2006. For the past dozen years or so he has had an account with Vallecitos Water District.
As a ratepayer, and retired employee of Vallecitos Water District I have concerns that the current board is not serving the community as much as they are serving their own political campaigns. Some board members have been giving developers special favors, and concessions on fees. In exchange, developers are donating to campaigns, and promoting these same board members. The previous boards have always worked with staff, ratepayers, and developers in an equitable way, but there appears to be a shift that favors developers, and board members (themselves). I believe the ratepayers should always come first. That is why I have become involved to help inform our friends, the ratepayers of Vallecitos Water District. Donna Nickel, Ratepayer
As VWD’s former Assistant General Manager and CFO, I am very familiar with the politics that led VWD away from ratepayer representation and to rate increases that could have been avoided. As a member of executive management, I was tasked with carrying out the will of the Board. Much more can be done to restore equity as an informed ratepayer activist. I pledge to do just that. Tom Scaglione, Ratepayer View Biography
It all started in 2012 with a sewer density impact fee that I voted in favor of for developers to pay their impacts. We all [Board Members] voted for it, and we all had targets on our backs – management too. The developer-backed politicians that unseated us were not from the water industry. I knew this would happen . Tim Shell, Ratepayer View Biography
A.J. van de Ven, President, Calsense, Ratepayer
FVC’s vision is to have a Vallecitos Water District Board of Directors who put aside self-interests, govern with dignity and the highest ethical standards, and effectively perform their duties and fulfill their responsibilities.
FVC’s mission is to influence the Vallecitos Water District’s Board of Directors to timely restore amounts paid by ratepayers for developer obligations and maintain equitable water and sewer rates, by bringing an awareness and understanding to all ratepayers as to what caused the shift in ratepayer money to developers, and how amounts paid by ratepayers can be restored.
- Bring an awareness of Vallecitos Water District (VWD) political favoritism towards developers to as many Vallecitos Customers as possible.
- Influence the VWD Board of Directors and administration to focus on ratepayers, not developers. We need thousands of Vallecitos customers to join FVC to show a growing concern by an influential number of voters. If these politicians feel a threat to their candidacy, they may take appropriate action to restore subsidies paid by ratepayers, and stop raiding ratepayer reserves to pay for developer obligations.
- Pursue a legal challenge to the rates – Go to RATEPAYER EQUITY COALITION for details.
- Elect officials that represent ratepayer interests.
- Join FVC.
- Attend VWD Board Meetings.
- Protest the 2020 water and sewer rate increase.
- Nominate VWD for the San Diego Taxpayers’ Golden Fleece Award.
- Elect officials that represent ratepayer interest.
Go to ACTION THROUGH ADVOCACY for details .