Mecham says Paso Robles water district dead

March 6, 2014
Frank Mecham

Frank Mecham


A controversial water district proposal sponsored by a group of vintners and ranchers and intended to manage the Paso Robles aquifer probably will not pass constitutional muster,  and its primary backer said he is “disheartened.”

“It looks like it’s dead,” said First District Supervisor Frank Mecham about the district plan upon his return from Sacramento, where he discussed the proposed district with Sen. Bill Monning, (D-Carmel),  Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian (R-San Luis Obispo) and staff members.

“I wish we’d heard about this problem earlier,” he added.

Mecham said the county contingent was told that legislation introduced recently by Achadjian appears to be in conflict with the state constitution. The most apparent issue, said the lawmakers, was the makeup of the governing board. The supervisor was accompanied by San Luis Obispo County Administrator Dan Buckshi and Public Works Director Paavo Ogren.

“We wanted to find out if this thing (the formation plan) was going anywhere,” said Mecham, “and what we heard was that ‘there might be some issues here.’”

Monning told the county group that they “may have hit a brick wall here,” Mecham said.

The proposed bill will be examined by the Office of Legislative Counsel, which Mecham said will then “offer an opinion.” That might take several months, he added.

Monning told the group that as the plan was examined in Sacramento, the concept for formation of the district’s governing body raised “red flags.”

Meacham suggested the county group was “blindsided” by the news.

“I’m not very optimistic that this is going to move,” said Mecham, who first expressed his concerns on KPRL Radio Thursday afternoon. He said he was taken off guard by the lawmakers’ assertions.

“This wasn’t my deal, I just tried to bring folks together on this,” Mecham said. He told members of two local groups who had been supporting the district formation plan about the potential problems Thursday morning.

Jerry Reaugh, chairman of the Paso Robles Agricultural Alliance for Groundwater Solutions (PRAAGS), did not return a phone call from CalCoastNews. His group has been planning the district since last summer.

The second advocacy group, PRO Water Equity (PWE), issued a statement late Thursday: “Initial feedback from our legislators makes it evident that special legislation to create a hybrid board of directors faces significant scrutiny in Sacramento. The new petition for a water district will not be filed with LAFCO until the bill has been fully vetted by Legislative Counsel and we have greater clarity on how best to move forward.”

Updated Friday at 8:40 a.m. to incorporate comments by PRO Water Equity.

Get Facebook up-to-date news on Paso Robles water issues, like CalCoastNews on Facebook.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

The only hope to change the decisions made by the Board of Supervisors on major water issues is to vote out those who supported the Paso GW Basin water district and vote in candidates who are for all of the people, not just the elites.

This includes Caren Ray who voted against the initial part of the three-part-vote for the water district–the vote on whether or not a water district would be formed, which was initially giving voting rights dependent on the size of the parcel owned by the voter–she has said that she would vote for the water district if the one-person-one-vote agreed to form a water district.

‘F the constitution, I’m Stewart Resnick goddammit!

Shouldn’t his last name be capitalized?

“The most apparent issue, said the lawmakers, was the makeup of the governing board.”

What a surprise, and they worked so hard to place just those people.

One Person-ONE VOTE Democracy

One land-owning, white, 35 year old male, one vote. Read your history. Stewie’s just trying to take that a little further.

“One Person-ONE VOTE Democracy”

Two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for lunch.

Mecham said ““I wish we’d heard about this problem earlier,”. This quote simply tells all of us that he is either asleep all time, stupid or on the take. How did he not know of the problem sooner?

No, he probably just trusted what the “experts” told him. Easy mistake, happens all the time.

He sat back and let the two bozo’s (Gibson and Hill) drive. And then to say “This wasn’t my deal, I just tried to bring folks together on this,” is a blatant lie. I sat there a couple of meetings back and he said he didn’t want to delay this any longer and while he would go long for the one week delay this was critical and he wanted to move forward as quickly as possible because this basin needed to be protected.

I was one of the key supporters behind this and voted YES at each turn and was upset with all the delays. He needs to go! Kudos to Debbie who had this right and stood on principle for the people.


I wouldn’t say he sat back; I would say he leaned over…

Are we talking about the same Frank Mecham who said that he did not know Paso Robles had a water problem to begin with?

Ah, who can ever forget The Tribune’s stubborn insistence on injecting their collective ignorance into the Paso water scenario, endorsing a foggy plan flawed from the very beginning, all the time pretending to know something when in fact, they knew nothing? Thanks to CCN for covering the many other sides of the issue. News reporting takes a beating around here. It’s ironic that KPRL has emerged as the only radio station around with a balanced local news presentation; KVEC had that distinction before CalCoastNews was banned from the airways by the station’s general manager Ron Roy.

Now, the mentally-challenged SLO city councilman John Ashbaugh, who helped browbeat Roy into that decision by saying he’d never go on a station show again until Karen Velie was deep-sixed, is back on the air. Does this stink?

Actually Blackburn has been on KVEC twice in the last month discussing CCN and his reporting on the water issue and he’ll be back on next week, as well. John Ashbaugh was given an opportunity to respond on the radio to criticism from his colleague Kathy Smith. You have a problem with that?

Yes, Dave. I “have a problem with that.” Your boss seems afraid of Sheriff Ian and axed Karen Velie from Hometown Radio because Sheriff Ian wrote a threatening letter. So yeah, “I have a problem with that.” You’re right, Dan Blackburn has been allowed to grace the airwaves at KVEC but not Karen Velie and that does stink.

You nailed it, PP5.

Agreed. And I don’t like Dave’s tone, either.

If Blackburn is acceptable for Dave’s show, then Velie should be, as well.

KVEC bent over for management, and I really take exception to Dave’s now trying to pretend and convince us that it really doesn’t matter that Velie was black-balled because of an over-bearing Parkinson being threatened by Velie simply telling the truth about his actions.

I used to listen several times a week. After Karen was axed, I turned off KVEC and listen to KPRL who is not afraid to report on hot topics. Sorry Dave, not your fault but why would anyone want to listen to a censored radio station.


Karen Velie has uncovered numerous issues of wrong doing by government staff and officals. So they threaten and complain for years to get her kicked off, and after the sheriff whines that he does not agree with her reporting, KVEC agrees.

The sheriff could give his side, but no he wants only his side provided to the public. He is working on a run for state office and is obsessed with his image.

Both Adam Hill and John Asbaugh have said for over a year they won’t go on your show until she is off because they do not want her reporting on CAPSLO to get on the airways, and the station agrees. Isn’t media supposed to be the watchdog of government, and KVEC wants only lapdogs.

Yes, you should have John on but Karen also. Shame on you and shame on Ron Roy. Dave, you are the face of KVEC and should be vocal about this instead of silent which shows either fear of KVEC management or support for their decision. Either way, not very attractive and not very ethical.

SloHeadInTheSand says: “So they threaten and complain for years to get her kicked off, and after the sheriff whines that he does not agree with her reporting, KVEC agrees.”

Yes, but the Sheriff was not alone in contacting KVEC about this. The others would surprise people and embarrass a publicly traded corporation that has had projects before the BOS supported by Adam Hill (but it was really just a personal opinion, sure it was).

And the plot thickens in Happy Town. Sorry Dave, this is all so wrong but I also understand your situation and the limited market for your wonderful skills. But still, cannot support it!

Sounds like First Solar knows how to do business in SLO County. Can’t blame ’em.

Worse, Dave now appears to be trying to excuse the shocking action of barring a reporter from appearing on the air simply because she told the truth about a powerful sheriff.

So Dave, what happened to you following?

Ah, always nice to hear from all the Anonymice on this site. Here’s the deal, guys (1) You need to man up and put your name to your opinion. If you don’t, it doesn’t mean squat and (2) You need to go public and email and explain your frustration/displeasure over how KVEC is treating Karen. That’s the only way she’s coming back.

However, most of you won’t do that. We haven’t heard a complaint in weeks. Why not? Because none of you are willing to grow a pair, contact management, and put your name on anything meaningful. You’d just rather hang out here with your monikers and take cheap shots at people.

How very sad. But until you speak up and speak out, only Blackburn is allowed on KVEC. You have no one to blame but yourselves.

Have a great weekend, guys!

There is a difference between “getting along” and rolling over for the banning of a reporter from the media simply because they reported the truth about a powerful official.

You should know better than that, Dan. I am disappointed in you.

Jesus Christ, if you aren’t willing to stand up for Karen Velie, what does that say about you?


You might want to stay away from sites that allow anomymous posting, it doesn’t appear to bring out the best on you.



Oscar Wilde: Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth

Dave, you think that because your username is “Dave” people know it’s Dave Congalton?

And then to go on about Anonymice?

He’s like “The Donald” here in SLO land, there is only one “Dave”

Sure, Dave. After watching what has happened to Karen Velie by telling the truth and also the players in town with actual clout who are afraid to speak up, I’m supposed to? Do you really think – for one moment – that my letter to Mr. Roy wouldn’t be handed over to Ian Parkinson?

I can’t afford a DUI for a .06. And, I would lose my job.

YOU – on the other hand – have a voice in the community and many of us rely on you to use it. As unfair as this may seem to you. I wish you had used it to fight for Karen and her right to be on air. You always offered her detractors a chance to rebut on air, as well, so I do not understand the need to silence her.

No question: this smacks of censorship and I will not listen to KVEC again until this changes.

Quoting Whyaduck: “I can’t afford a DUI for a .06. And, I would lose my job.”

YOWZER. Dave’s bending over for our abusive sheriff and KVEC management is shocking, especially when the sheriff has already demonstrated how he will seek retribution for anyone who speaks about the corruption and mismanagement in the Sheriffs Department.

None of us can afford to be harassed by the Sheriffs Department as Velie has been harassed by them. She is still dealing with the repercussions from the bogus DUI arrest. Worse, it has impacted the health and safety of her grandchildren, and this is something that will follow her throughout her lifetime.

If you have to support KVEC’s management to keep your job, I can understand you being hesitant to speak out against Parkinson and the way KVED’s management handled the situation.

What I cannot support is you attacking posters whose “anonymous” identities were absolutely no problem to you before the banning of Velie from KVEC occured, but now that they are speaking out against the issue, their “anonymous” opinions are suddenly unworthy because they don’t sign their legal names to it.

I wrote to all the powers, including you, at the time Karen was censored off the air. I will not waste my time as I didn’t even get one responsible back. I had two friends do the same. No one got a reply, explanation, “thank you for your email”, etc. I will try the new 93.1 in Morro Bay next, although the KPRL(1230) at 12:30 pm is a great local show and quote informative. I would suggest folks try it. And for your info, I donate to this site as I believe this site is one of the most informative jewels of this County and we are lucky to have this in our County.

Dave, Dave, Dave….when calling the kettle black, you should practice what you preach.”MANNING UP” is much more than putting a name to an opinion.

If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good.

Think about it!

Dave, when you are willing to bend over for management and attempt to make the argument that it doesn’t matter that Velie is no banned from KVEC because another reporter is still allowed…you have zero platform to stand on with your argument.

Your argument was flawed from the start, anyway. It doesn’t matter the identity of the person making the opinion. It is the content of the opinion that is the issue.

Your attempt at using an ad hominem attack on message board participants to make a point about their opinion is obvious and fallacious.

The vast majority of message board posters across the internet use anonymous names. Are all of their opinions to be discarded?

How about the opinions that support you and KVEC? I don’t EVER remember you criticizing an “anonymous” poster who supported the policies of KVEC and your actions.

Funny. The opinions of this website’s “anonymous” posters never bother you when the opinions are laudatory to you and KVEC.

I do have to give props to KPRL, despite being the “RIGHT choice for the RIGHT audience”, North County, Rush Limbaugh and all that… they do not censor like KVEC. I do not know of anyone, certainly not “Lefty”, who are banned from KPRL. And I far prefer listening to commercials than incessant, annoying PSA’s. Commercials can be annoying too but at least someone’s paying so that I can enjoy the programming.

You can get KPRL online, local talk in the morning and at noon. KVEC has dropped streaming online.

One reason for dropping live streaming is to allow the station staff to censor what was said on the show.

Yes there are big reasons why this ill conceived water district debate should have never happen! Again for the umpteenth time, WATER BANKING and EXPORTATION of SALINAS RIVER has been ongoing since the early 1940’s. The water hungry, at that time, City of San Luis Obispo was fortunate to ride the shirt-tails of a military budget and get Camp San Luis Obispo to start the building of the Salinas Dam (Santa Margarita Lake).

Once the war was over the Camp’s application was conveyed to the City of San Luis Obispo, currently NOT LICENSED, a big difference from their permit, it is only half built for starters. For this reason there are no unappropriate waters in the Salinas River, per the State of California, thence no more water to be export or promised.

The first concern, as I see it, is San Luis Obispo’s very real application and their dormant entitlement that could very easily trump anything down stream of their half constructed Salinas Reservoir (fact).

If truthful concern is over the Paso Robles Ground Water Basin, the antiquated application owned by The City of San Luis Obispo logically would need to be resolved. This must be done before ANYTHING DOWNSTREAM can be protected through a full recharge of the river, that which allows for the steelhead fisheries, another issue nobody wants to discuss.

Give it a break. Santa Margarita Dam has no impact on the Paso basin. After the recent rain someone asked me why all the water was being released from the dam. Because Santa Margarita Dam can retain no water until there is a live stream in the Salinas River at Paso. Everything that is stored would have gone to the ocean. Sorry that you rednecks thought you could just create Paso-Vino-Dollyworld thinking that you had God’s un-exhaustible basin. Why don’t you just buy a bunch of non-existent state water?

To accurately state your point, you should have said, “San Luis Obispo has no impact on the Paso basin.” Now try to sell that to those who agree water flows down hill. Remember, the Naciemento Dam was created largely for Monterey County and one use is to mitigate saltwater intrusion 80 miles downstream. In addition, although it is in San Luis Obispo County, Monterey County controls it’s recreational uses.

One more time, San Luis Obispo’s Dam (Santa Margarita Lake), 10 miles upstream from the Paso basin is exempt? I smell a SMART Gowther or something like that?

Thank you Dan Del Campo of KPRL and Dan Blackburn from CCN for continuing to report on this situation. On yesterday’s radio show, Supervisor Mecham repeatedly tried to dodge questions and skirt the issue w/some “Aw, gee…I’m not sure…it’s complicated” kind of responses. To his credit, Mr. Del Campo politely but firmly pressed Frank Mecham for some honest answers instead of more political B.S. Frank finally conceded that “there might be some issues” [understatement of the year] but it’s too late for me. I voted for Frank repeatedly for Paso mayor and again for supervisor but never again.


This is all so reminiscent of the 2000-2001 “energy crisis” when ENRON took advantage of deregulation,drought and deferred new construction everyone was scrambling to find other sources of electricity while we experienced rolling blackouts.

SOUND FAMILIAR? Simply substitute water for power….bingo.

I you don’t learn from history, you are destined to repeat it.