Supervisors waffle on support for Paso Robles water bill

July 8, 2014
Debbie Arnold

Debbie Arnold

By DANIEL BLACKBURN

A heavily-amended legislative proposal to create a “hybrid” water district for controlling the Paso Robles water basin no longer has support from the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors following a circuitous, often testy discussion by the panel Tuesday.

An effort by Chairman Bruce Gibson to place an analysis of those amendments and further public comment on Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian’s bill on a future agenda failed. Supervisors Frank Mecham, Debbie Arnold and Adam Hill voted against Gibson’s motion.

Supervisor Caren Ray sided with Gibson in his attempt to maintain control of the North County’s water issue.

Achadjian (R-San Luis Obispo) said he plans to continue carrying the bill, AB 2453, and work to incorporate a host of new amendments attached by the Senate.

By their action in declining to maintain an active role in the bill’s metamorphosis, supervisors have chosen to wait and watch as the proposal moves through the legislative process.

At the same time, supervisors Mecham and Arnold, who represent the entire population of the proposed water district, have taken control of the water issue and will meet privately with Achadjian to determine the bill’s future.

Mecham said he thinks supervisors need to know more about the bill’s amended form “before we talk about it any more.”

The matter became fodder for supervisors’ discussion after a member of a water district advocacy group suggested Mecham and Arnold were responsible for derailing AB 2453 with the added amendment burden.

Bob Brown, a member of the Paso Robles Agricultural Alliance for Groundwater Solutions (PRAAGS), told the board his group withdrew its support for AB 2453, something that “was not done lightly.” PRAAGS is comprised primarily of large wine grape growers and ranching interests.

Another group calling itself PRO Water Equity also withdrew the support of its four members.

Arnold responded to Brown’s assertions by noting that she supports the notion of a water district to manage the Paso basin, but she said she wanted “from the very beginning of all this for the people affected to have a voice, and now they do.” Arnold repeated her concern that in the original proposal by PRAAGS, a proposed district enveloping 5,000 landowners could be formed and controlled by only 30 large landowners — many of whom do not even live in the county.

Mecham made it clear that he believes continuing discussions of a water district formation would prove useless until supervisors have a better comprehension of the amended bill.

Hill — who with Gibson had been leading proponents of PRAAGS’s original bill language — said “it appears this one has hit the skids.”

So, for the present, county staff has been instructed not to spend a minute trying to translate Achadjian’s evolving bill. Also, supervisors have suspended their support of the proposal, support which Achadjian has called critical for his bill’s survival.


7 Comments

  1. rogerfreberg says:

    “Caren Ray sided with Gibson”…. ew

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 9

  2. justchuck says:

    Also on the skids, Adam?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 6

  3. dogeatdog says:

    No statement from Caren, WOW. Maybe she is still doing to forensics on her window.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 28 Thumb down 14

  4. Jorge Estrada says:

    As ammened, the district’s ability to collect data. Can the district choose to place meters for that purpose and fund the needed studies? $$$ means yes!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

  5. SuperDave says:

    If the original sponsors of this bill have walked away from it, why do Katcho and Bruce Gibson still want it? Power over a block of voters perhaps? I will never get to show my support (or lack thereof for the Casanova of the Supervisors, but Kathy old buddy, you’ll never see a vote from the wife, kids, or me ever again! Bring on a new candidate!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 17

    • SanSimeonSam says:

      who’s Kathy. You don’t mean ole miss wanna cop-u-later (for the same 2 bits Gibson paid Gail Wilcox and his current squeeze) ???

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 19

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