Twisted road to the Paso Robles water basin vote

March 11, 2016
Supervisor Bruce Gibson

Supervisor Bruce Gibson

By KAREN VELIE

Following their failed bid to form a Paso Robles water district, San Luis Obispo County supervisors Adam Hill and Bruce Gibson are wanting the state to take over management of the basin claiming county funds should not be used. A change in strategy as Hill and Gibson had previously battled to have the cost of funding the election transferred from its proponents to county taxpayers.

During the past decade, amid talks of the proposed water district, a group of large land owners and investment groups from throughout the United States began purchasing large swatches of the North County. Several decades earlier, a Kern County water district enabled some of the same players to make millions because of water banking and the sale of paper water.

In order to form another layer of taxpayer funded local government, proponents are generally required to bring their proposal and the signatures of 50 percent of the voters to the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO). The agency then requires a bond to be purchased to pay for the election should the measure fail.

However, in 2014, San Luis Obispo County supervisors Hill, Gibson and Frank Mecham asked Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian to draft a bill that would change the requirements for the proposed water district formation. In 2014, Assembly Bill 2453 passed permitting the proponents of the Paso Robles water district to circumvent the LAFCO process, wave the 50 percent signature requirement and allow the SLO County Board of Supervisors to have the taxpayers cover the almost $1 million cost of an election.

By doing so, the costs the proponents of the Paso Robles water district would have needed for the vote could be used for advertising. Proponents of the district then outspent opponents by more than $20 to $1.

The Paso Robles Agricultural Alliance for Groundwater Solutions and Yes on A-16 raised $436,708 to promote the district. An opposing group, The Paso Robles Water Integrity Network, raised $20,084, according to the latest filing with the county.

Supervisors Debbie Arnold and Lynn Compton, who were both opponents of the Paso Robles water district, believe the SLO County Public Works Department is fully capable of doing the work necessary to bring the basin into compliance with new laws at a fraction of the money the new district would have cost.


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30 Comments

  1. Jorge Estrada says:

    The State has not finished their GIS for existing wells and is not expected to have their maps ready for at least another year. Whenever they get their homework complete, they still will not want ours. The Sups need to stay home and fix our roads, quit spending our money on travel BS.

    (10) 10 Total Votes - 10 up - 0 down
  2. what the says:

    Can you imagine a SLO county without Team Adam Hill? Send Adam Hill back to New Jersey. Fire Adam Hill 2016.

    (22) 26 Total Votes - 24 up - 2 down
  3. mej says:

    Thank you Karen Velie and CCN. This is the only news source that delivers the whole truth.

    (24) 32 Total Votes - 28 up - 4 down
  4. pasodowny says:

    By a 77% margin, here is the will of the people: Bruce Gibson, for the umpteenth time, worry about your district and stay out of ours!

    (37) 39 Total Votes - 38 up - 1 down
  5. SamLouis says:

    I knew there was something rotten going on when salesman began buying up North County land with money from Harvard University’s $35 BILLION dollar endowment.

    http://calcoastnews.com/2014/04/water-district-booster-buying-land-harvard-u/

    Greedy snakes…

    (28) 30 Total Votes - 29 up - 1 down
  6. heybobareebob says:

    Real simple to do what’s required. The BIG BOYS in Monterey County already do it voluntarily. The BIG BOYS sell a whole hell of a lot more crops than the juicers down here. The BIG BOYS got everybody to monitor and report what was being taken from every well. They know they have a common asset that needs to be managed. Paso Basin overlyers need to suck it up and do the the same.

    (6) 16 Total Votes - 11 up - 5 down
  7. south says:

    What happened to that terrific Paso Robles mayor? Frank, Frank, wherefore art thou?

    (30) 42 Total Votes - 36 up - 6 down
  8. just the facts says:

    Vote Dan Carpenter for Supervisor on June 7. Check out Dan’s website:
    http://www.dancarpentersupervisor.com And you can find his latest radio ad on KVEC there!
    KVEC Radio Ad • Dan Carpenter Is The Best Choice

    (31) 51 Total Votes - 41 up - 10 down
    • TeeItUp says:

      Here is a direct link to the GREAT radio Ad by Dan Carpenter that is airing on KVEC

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROYC23GogD0

      Dan is the man!

      (11) 25 Total Votes - 18 up - 7 down
    • watsup says:

      yes, Yes! We need Dan Carpenter on the Board Of Supervisors of San Luis Obispo County! Dan is a man of integrity!
      He listens to the people !
      If elected this June he will help the people of the 3rd District attain the things their cities need: San Luis Obispo, Arroyo Grande, Avila Beach, Shell Beach, Pismo Beach and Grover Beach. Mark your Ballot this June for Dan Carpenter for Supervisor of the 3rd District. He is a man where Character matters.

      Email this man on the internet and let him know of your specific concerns!
      Dan will respond back or ask him to call you on your phone.

      Dan is your MAN for 3rd District Supervisor.

      watsup

      (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down

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