The Gang of 3 Rides Again!

The 7 September 2006 issue of the Borrego Sun was a cornucopia of stories and examples illustrating the galloping goofiness that vitiates groundwater management efforts in the valley:

· BWD Director Roger Anderson's vacillating and Director Jerry Jones' flip-flopping on creation of a Community Facilities District in Borrego to support groundwater management

· Borrego Springs Park Community Services District Director Larry Lindner's stance on and rationale for excluding Santiago Estates voters from CSD elections

· BWD Board's vote to waive the 3:1 mitigation fee on Bill Wright’s project at the Roadrunner Club involving 241dwelling units and 365 RV lots (see below)

· A letter from the owner of a construction company in Borrego arguing that unfettered development alone will solve our groundwater problem

· An incredibly naive letter to the editor comparing efforts to manage groundwater in the basin to a "food-fight," and asking, ala Rodney King, "Why can't we all just get along?" on groundwater issues; but providing no real-world suggestions on how to do so

· Ellis Farms, Inc.'s "new and improved" ad speciously arguing that farmers have a right to continue mining the aquifer until it is exhausted because they have always been and continue to be important to the local economy and society

· Montesoro's (aka Rams Hill) bragging about its "series of two to four-acre lakes, interconnecting streams, waterfalls, and ponds" when each acre of water surface loses 5-6 ac/ft to evaporation each year in Borrego

· Steven Smiley's gratuitous nastygram complaining about the tone of discussions regarding groundwater in the valley for which he and other corporate agriculturists bear primary responsibility.

One random act of silliness, however, eclipses all others. BWD Directors Anderson, Jones, and Mendenhall (The Gang of 3) – all radical exponents of the dictum "consistency is the bugaboo of small minds" – again colluded to undermine groundwater management in the valley. They granted Mr. Bill Wright’s Road Runner Club project a wholesale exemption from the single, significant groundwater management measure the BWD has actually been able to pass after years of empty promises and posturing. In so doing, they opened a can of worms that, unless slammed shut, will make the District’s singular groundwater mitigation requirement a toothless, paper tiger and efforts at groundwater management in the valley meaningless.

On the flimsiest of evidence, against advice of District counsel and engineers, and without so-much-as a by your leave, the Gang of 3 summarily granted the exemption. In so doing, they betrayed the public trust vested in them and may well have breeched their fiduciary duty.

This decision must be rescinded immediately and the matter revisited for a thorough and open review. Failure to do so will further damage the BWD’s reputation and send efforts at groundwater management in the valley back to square one – again.


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