I am happy for this opportunity to explain some issues very relevant to our ratepayers.
In response to the second attack from Peter Gelblum. The public might not know that Mr. Gelblum is vice president at The Valley Woman‘s Club (VWC.) As a non-profit, they must not engage in political relationships. In my opinion, there is just too much of a consensus among VWC members to continue defending the guilty in these costly court cases. There are lawyers who narrowly focus on their clients’ needs only, and there are those with the ability to see beyond, and work for the truth and common good.
I’ve heard from many locals accusing the VWC for being too political. Is this just VWC members acting as private citizens, or does the VWC, as a whole, put influence onto the Water District? As soon as I got on this board, I knew this Vierra case was a complete waste of your money, and a futile attempt to protect someone who was guilty. I’ve always agreed with most of the positions the VWC has taken, until now.
I’m attacked for releasing a very general piece of information that was already known by the public. The Brown Act has clear requirements on what constitutes closed-session material, and the information I released does not even come close to meeting them. The entire Brown Act is much more about ensuring transparency, and all information is provided to the public, which does not meet this criteria.
Last April, board president Gene Ratcliffe first publicly exposed the Vierra letter’s existence and just about every other excuse from closed-session meetings. She revealed the Vierra letter; the public’s suspicion understandably grew about its contents. Accordingly, after that I started to speak up publicly for ratepayers deserving to see the letter, and expressed myself on this issue. We’ve been forced by directors Eric Hammer, Ratcliffe, Chuck Baughman, and Margaret Bruce to pay Vierra‘s expensive lawyers, so let‘s see the letter that possibly caused so much cost to ratepayers.
This may be a small, yet worthy expense as far as Mr. Gelblum is concerned, but could not this money been used to replace a leaking redwood tank instead? There’s nothing improper about my representation for ratepayers to see all the information about this case, including this letter, so they can come to an informed conclusion: That it is a complete waste of time, money and energy, when we need to rebuild the infrastructure now! Maintenance crews are running around, on overtime, fixing leaks on pipes and tanks that should have been replaced already. All these exorbitant “band-aid” repair costs will have gone for naught, because eventually these pipes and tanks will be replaced anyway!
And the waste continues with a second, two-part case: the District won the first judgment, but it is being legitimately appealed. There’s even more excuses and legal misinterpretations used to fight this case. First, allowing the obvious conflict-of-interest to occur at all raises of the question of “unfit to serve” of these former directors, not me, Mr. Gelblum. Second, if the district did not challenge these cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars ratepayer money would have not been wasted on attorneys. Vierra would have to give back the $10K in commission, and his insurance would have to pay back for a botched deal.
A Santa Cruz County Grand Jury investigated several years ago and reported several serious improprieties, including “insufficient transparency“. The board at that time, including Ms. Bruce, just replied that they “disagreed.” I welcome a second Grand Jury investigation. I am filing a complaint, and encourage others to so as well.