Friday, August 28, 2009

Seven Elected Water Board Bill Passes State Senate

The Santa Clara Valley Water District Board was successful in bulldozing its way through the legislature and managed a nearly unanimous vote on AB 466(Cot0), with Senator Simitian of Palo Alto being the only No vote.

Lobbying against the bottomless bank accounts of the Golden Spigot (as Scott Herhold of the SJ Mercury likes to call it) would have been a wasted effort to appear at the hearings in Sacramento to try to stop this effort. But I continued to post a better alternative in my blog and posted a link to Senator Simitian web site to send him comments. At least one of the County's Sacramento delegation is awake and understands bad politics when he sees it.

For the record, the following is the Legislative Analyst's description of the impact of the new bill and the record of votes in the Assembly and the Senate:

Bill No: AB 466
Author: Coto (D)
Amended: 6/30/09 in Senate
Vote: 21

AYES: Wiggins, Cox, Aanestad, Kehoe, Wolk


ASSEMBLY FLOOR : 73-0, 5/14/09 - See last page for vote

SUBJECT : Santa Clara Valley Water District

SOURCE : Santa Clara Valley Water District

This bill changes the composition and
representation of the Santa Clara Valley Water District
Board effective December 3, 2010, expands a district
exemption from special fees, and makes other governance

Senate Floor Amendments of 6/30/09 clarify when District
directors' terms start.


I. Board of Directors . A seven-member board of
directors governs the Santa Clara Valley Water District
(District), reflecting a compromise that combined the
former Santa Clara Valley Water Conservation District,
the former Santa Clara County Flood Control and Water
Conservation District, and two other water districts.
The former Santa Clara Valley Water Conservation
District had an elected five-member board. The Santa
Clara County Board of Supervisors was the ex officio
board of the former Santa Clara County Flood Control
and Water Conservation district. The two other water
districts had their own elected boards. The District's
current seven-member board has five elected members;
one from each supervisorial district. The county
supervisors appoint the two other directors who must be
voters within the two former water districts. When the
District wants to reduce the board to five elected
members, the Legislature eliminated the appointed
members of the District's board of directors effective
on January 1, 2010, by enacting AB 2435 (Coto), Chapter
279, Statutes of 2006.

This bill repeals the statutes which will reduce the
size of the District's existing seven-member board of
directors to five elected directors on January 1, 2010.

This bill enacts a new governance scheme:

1. Until December 3, 2020, the board consists of:

A. The two appointed directors who served on
the board on December 31, 2008.

B. The five elected directors. The two
directors who were elected in 2006 serve until
December 5, 2010. The three directors who were
elected in 2008 serve until December 7, 2012.

2. Starting December 3, 2010, the board of
directors consists of seven elected directors.

This bill requires the board of directors to adopt by
June 30, 2010, a resolution that creates the seven
electoral districts. Voters elect directors by these
electoral divisions to four-year terms for four
designated seats in November 2010 and the three other
seats in November 2012. The District's elections and
the directors' terms must follow the Uniform District
Elections Law. The board must reapportion the
electoral districts by November 1 of the year following
each decennial census. The bill renumbers the current
provisions for filling board vacancies and recalling

II. Compensation . The District's directors receive $100
for each day's service, but not more than $600 a month,
plus actual and necessary expenses. State law requires
local governments to adopt reimbursement policies and
disclose payments (AB 1234 [Salinas], Chapter 700,
Statutes of 2005). This bill requires the District to
place quarterly expense reimbursement reports on the
board's agenda and to determine if the reimbursements
comply with the board's policies. This bill prohibits
a member of the District's board of directors from
seeking or accepting compensated employment with the
District while a director, and for one year after the
director's term of office.

III. Governance . This bill requires the District's board
by July 1, 2010, to adopt lobbying regulations that
include registration, reporting, and disclosure
requirements. This bill prohibits directors from
contacting the District's staff on behalf of contract
bidders. This bill prohibits the District's board from
authorizing severance pay when an appointed employee
leaves voluntarily. This bill requires the District
board's minutes to include a public report of actions
taken in closed sessions under the Brown Act.

IV. Reports. The Ralph M. Brown Act requires local
governments to post their agendas, including brief
general descriptions of each item, at least 72 hours
before their regular meeting. The Brown Act provides
that writings which are distributed to a majority of
the legislative body are public records and must be
made available upon request without delay. With five
specific exceptions, this bill requires that reports
prepared by the District's staff that recommended
action by the board at a regular public meeting or
public hearing must be available to the public at least
six days before the meeting or hearing. This bill
declares that this requirement does not require public
release of documents that the California Public Records
Act exempts from disclosure. If a staff report's
recommendation changes because of direction from a
director, the report must disclose that revision.

V. Special Taxes . When the District levies special taxes
that are subject to a 2/3-voter approval, it may charge
minimum uniform rates based on land use category and
size. When levying these special taxes, the District
can exempt residential parcels that are owned and
occupied by taxpayers who are 65 years or older (AB 88
[Alquist], Chapter 63, Statutes of 2001). This bill
also allows the District to exempt residential parcels
that are owned and occupied by taxpayers who qualify as
totally disabled under the federal Social Security Act.

VI. District Budgets . By June 15, the District's board
must meet to consider its proposed budget and hear
public comments. At the same meeting, this bill
requires the board to review its financial reserves and
its reserve management policy.


More than 40 years after the district took over the
County's flood control duties, local officials continue to
discuss how the District should operate. Since the
enactment of AB 2435 (Coto), local officials have continued
to debate the District's governance. This bill is the
result of the latest round of discussions about how to
improve the District's accountability, transparency, and

FISCAL EFFECT : Appropriation: No; Fiscal Com.: Yes Local: Yes

SUPPORT : (Verified 7/1/09)

Santa Clara Valley Water District (source)
Association of California Water Agencies
California Special Districts Association
Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce
San Jose/Silicon Valley Branch of the National Association
for the Advancement of Colored People

AYES: Adams, Anderson, Arambula, Beall, Bill Berryhill,
Tom Berryhill, Blakeslee, Block, Blumenfield, Brownley,
Buchanan, Caballero, Charles Calderon, Carter, Chesbro,
Conway, Cook, Coto, Davis, De La Torre, De Leon, DeVore,
Duvall, Emmerson, Eng, Evans, Feuer, Fletcher, Fong,
Fuller, Furutani, Galgiani, Gilmore, Hagman, Hall,
Harkey, Hayashi, Hernandez, Hill, Huber, Huffman,
Jeffries, Jones, Knight, Krekorian, Lieu, Logue, Bonnie
Lowenthal, Ma, Mendoza, Miller, Monning, Nava, Nestande,
Niello, Nielsen, John A. Perez, V. Manuel Perez,
Portantino, Price, Ruskin, Salas, Silva, Skinner,
Solorio, Audra Strickland, Swanson, Torlakson, Torres,
Torrico, Tran, Villines, Yamada
NO VOTE RECORDED: Ammiano, Fuentes, Gaines, Garrick,
Saldana, Smyth, Bass

AGB:cm 7/1/09 Senate Floor Analyses

TOPIC: Santa Clara Valley Water District.
DATE: 08/27/2009
MOTION: Assembly 3rd Reading AB466 Coto By Maldonado
(AYES 32. NOES 1.) (PASS)


Aanestad Alquist Ashburn Benoit
Cogdill Corbett Correa Cox
Denham Ducheny Dutton Florez
Hancock Harman Hollingsworth Huff
Kehoe Leno Liu Lowenthal
Maldonado Negrete McLeod Pavley Romero
Steinberg Strickland Walters Wiggins
Wolk Wright Wyland Yee




Calderon Cedillo DeSaulnier Oropeza
Padilla Price Runner

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