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Oppose SB 625: Central Basin Municipal Water District: receivership (2020)

The Green Party of Los Angeles County (GPLAC) believes access to clean water is a human right -- and access to clean water should be governed by the people through democratically-elected bodies that are accountable to the people. 

For that reason, the GPLAC opposes SB 625.

According to SB 625's official analysis, this legislation would "dissolve the board of directors of the Central Basin Municipal Water District (CBMWD) and would provide that the November 3, 2020, election for directors of CBMWD shall not occur.

SB 625 would also require the Water Replenishment District of Southern California (WRD) to act as the receiver for CBMWD, would vest WRD with all necessary powers under the Municipal Water District Law of 1911 to take control of CBMWD, and would transfer all powers vested in the board of directors of CBMWD to the board of directors of WRD, except as specified. The bill would require CBMWD’s board of directors to surrender all control of CBMWD and its resources to WRD."

Finally SB 625 would require the Local Agency Formation Commission for the County of Los Angeles to conduct a municipal service review of CBMWD and to seek ideas through a public process for governance of CBMWD. Finally the bill would require the commission to report the results of those activities to the Legislature, as provided.

Whatever operating issues may or not be present in the conduct of the Central Basin Municipal Water District (CBMWD), the GPLAC does not believe the answer is to have less democracy. Therefore the GPLAC opposes cancelling the November 2020 CBMWD Board election, and/or putting the district into receivership, as SB 625 would allow for.

Even if reforms are needed in the operation of the CBMWD (and the GPLAC has no position on whether reform is necessary or not), the GPLAC believes the state legislature should not open the door to the possibility that the CBMWD would no longer have its own separate and democratically elected board, as SB 625 would allow for.

Because of this possibility, many opponents of SB 625 rightfully argue that the bill could open the way to privatization of the public's water supply in the CBMWD.  The GPLAC believes this would be unacceptable.

Therefore the GPLAC opposes SB 625 and believes at a minimum, that it should be amended so that it would ensure that the CBMWD would continue to have it's own publicly elected board as at present, and that the November 2020 CBMWD Board elections will be held as scheduled.


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