Supervisors vote against controversial water district formation

June 18, 2014
Frank Mecham

Frank Mecham

By KAREN VELIE

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors changed its position and voted to only support legislation to form a water district to manage the Paso Robles aquifer if it was based on the democratic principle of one person one vote.

Following a change of position by SLO County Supervisor Frank Mecham, the board voted 3-2 to oppose the bill unless it is amended to change how the district is formed. In its current form, the bill would create a so-called “hybrid” district in which a small group of people would have the power to tax, regulate, and enforce water usage within a North County area with yet-undetermined boundaries.

SLO County Supervisor Debbie Arnold told CalCoastNews she is surprised and delighted at the board’s action.

“I am happy for my constituents,” Arnold said.

Multiple groups including the California Sierra Club, the Farm Bureau and the Teamsters Union have voiced their opposition to the bill because of its voting structure. More than 50 people spoke against Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian’s bill during Tuesday’s board meeting.

After receiving approval by the Assembly, the bill moved on to the Senate Governance and Finance Committee which asked that the bill be amended to allow renters living in the district to have a few seats on the proposed water board. After Achadjian sought approval for the changes from the San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors, board president Bruce Gibson responded that prior approvals were sufficient.

Last week, Debbie Arnold derided Gibson’s unilateral move as “bullying” and made a motion that the matter come back before the board. The board then voted unanimously to support Arnold’s motion to have the issue voted on during Tuesday’s meeting after a hesitant Frank Mecham endorsed it.

In two separate votes at Tuesday’s board meeting, supervisors Mecham, Arnold and Caren Ray voted against the bill unless it is amended to have a one person one vote while supervisors Gibson and Adam Hill voted in favor of the bill.

Even so, Achadjian plans to proceed with the bill and ask senators to approve the proposed changes during a Senate Governance and Finance Committee meeting on Wednesday, said Ross Buckley, Capitol Director for Achadjian


19 Comments

  1. Pelican1 says:

    Isn’t that amazing….one person, one vote. It seems to me that’s EXACTLY how they got there. Simply remarkable

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  2. Jon Tatro says:

    Good “Politicians” listen to both sides of an argument and try an decide on what they think is best for everyone. There were some good reasons to go with the Alliance and some bad reasons. In the end Frank Meecham did what ultimately all politicians should do, listen to and represent your continuants.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

    • kayaknut says:

      It may be what politicians should do but seldom is the case. The ones they listen to, constituents or not, are the ones that give them the most money or power, or in many cases they only listen to the ones that think like they do.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  3. slojustice says:

    I sure hope that Katcho does not choke on the pistachios,justin wine and Fuji water that Stuart is shoving down his throat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  4. ryguy says:

    I had a feeling Frank would do the right thing. This is a case where the rich and powerful saw an opportunity and put their money in quick and tried to manipulate the story spreading fear that the outsiders would take our water away if we didn’t go with their plan quick. They were at Atascadero Rotary with a slick PowerPoint and a folksy Stanford educated presenter. Now time has passed and the whole story is coming out.. The medium information voters have risen up and Frank has listened. That’s how Democracy works. Plus us Long time North County citizens don’t like Sac sticking their noses in our business. Katcho will kill this behind the scenes

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

    • TacomaRose says:

      Baloney !!!!!

      Mecham didnt do the right thing because he wanted to. He did it because he knew people in the NC were pissed off and his political future was in the balance. It is the oldest story in the book.

      I guarantee you that Mecham he conferred with his buddy Katcho and was assured that the bill would move foreward even if he (Mecham) changed his local position.

      Keep in mind that it wont be to long before Katcho is termed out so it is no skin off his back.

      Like most politicians … Frank Mecham you are a phony !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

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