By Rex A. Schildhouse
There is a lot running around concerning Ramona Municipal Water District and its board — a lot of misstatements and a lot of emotion.
My life has been interesting and I miss my Dad. He would frequently stop doing something and ponder a thought, then speak one or two sentences, and go back to work. Many of those comments went into the brain matter without impact until they were triggered years later. A bit of advice can be powerful, regardless of the timing.
Mistakes are as common as free advice, and sometimes taking advice is a mistake. When I was elected to the RMWD board in 2012, I heeded the advice of General Manager Barnum and the guidance of Director Beck. It was a mistake I did not realize until several blocks were in place building a big, clear, image. I believe RMWD is controlled by a bloc for the benefit of the district over the ratepayers.
California Government Code Section 54950, commonly referred to as the Ralph M. Brown Act, states “Declaration, intent; sovereignty — In enacting this chapter, the Legislature finds and declares that the public commissions, boards and councils and the other public agencies in this State exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business. It is the intent of the law that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly.
The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they retain control over the instruments they created.”
It is my opinion that when a decision is made to inconvenience the ratepayer in preference of the district employees this statement is violated. RMWD becomes the dominator and the ratepayer becomes the dominated.
RMWD has been the subject of two grand jury reports concluding in 1987 and 1991. Some say these documents are too old to be relevant. An important paragraph in the Recommendations of both documents states [RMWD should] “Conduct its meetings in an atmosphere conducive to good order and discipline, and avoid personal attacks and hostile relationships.”
Director Beck has stated on numerous occasions that he must comply with the rules controlling and the recommendations of the grand jury in running the board, yet he appears to instigate and allow attacks on board members by members of his bloc. While directors Beck and Zenovic maintain their cool during their coordinated attacks, I do not maintain mine in my response. I will work on that. That is a mistake. However, I will not stop fighting for this grand jury statement to be honored and respected.
The other day I had made a decision. Someone called me and discussed it and offered one piece of advice. I am going to follow it. I will continue to attend RMWD board meetings. I will continue to put evening meetings on the agenda. I will continue to put the ratepayers of RMWD above the bloc and the convenience of the district.
I will post grand jury and RMWD documents on http://www.schildhouse.com/rmwd.html. The only released RMWD e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org, not good for this purpose.
If you would like to influence the board meeting time of RMWD, you can write a letter to “All Directors of RMWD” and send it to RMWD, 105 Earlham Street, Ramona, CA 92065. You can also drop it off in the Payment Box or at the desk of RMWD. Online postings are of little value.
This may well be my last statement of this matter as the local media usually do a good job of covering the board meetings and events.
Rex A. Schildhouse represents Division 3 on the Ramona Municipal Water District Board.