Tuesday, February 09, 2010

SDWD Scholarship Essay

Most people are unaware that SDWD ratepayers fund scholarships. This was posted to the ETA blog:

Here is the scholarship paper that my daughter drafted that was later thrown in the trash can by Phil Cotton.(2nd hand knowledge)

Special Districts

Today in California there are approximately 3,400 special districts. Each has a separate identity for their own specific interest. Each special district provides a variety of services from water distribution to fire protection. A board of directors governs each district. A special district can be defined as, “any agency of the state for the local performance of governmental or proprietary functions within limited boundaries.”

I believe the biggest benefit of special districts are the ability to serve specific needs of a community that might not be the needs of an adjacent community or a special district can fulfill the needs of several communities which might form to become one special district. The case in point is the San Dieguito Water District, which serves potable and recycled water to approximately 37,000 residents in Encinitas, Leucadia, and Cardiff by the Sea. These are three very different communities with the same need for a safe, reliable water supply for domestic, agriculture and industrial purposes.
There are two different types of special districts; dependent or independent. A dependent district is one in which either a city council or county board of supervisors directly controls the district. An independent special district is one in which the governing body is either directly elected by the voters or appointed for a fixed term of service, often by a board of supervisors. The San Dieguito Water District would be considered a dependent special district. Currently the board of directors for the San Dieguito Water District are members of the city council. Christy Guerin is the President and James Bond is the Vice-President.

For example, the San Dieguito Water district was independent before the incorporation with the City of Encinitas in 1986. Now that it is dependent, the City is the water board and ultimately the city council is the governing board that is suppose to look out for the best interest of the San Dieguito Water District and the customers they serve. The San Dieguito Water district was located on a property overlooking a 180 degree ocean view at 59 East D Street in Encinitas. This property was identified by the city as a location for a future library.

This property was sold below market value back to the city to accommodate a city library, when in fact this property could have been sold at a higher value and the income put directly into the coffers of the water district for future considerations, in turn keeping the cost of water down, maintaining a system, purchasing equipment and so on.

The original concept of incorporation seems in theory a positive step until you look deeper into the fact the interest is not in the water district, but in the construction of a library. Politics of building a mulit-million dollar library have taken precedence over the maintenance and delivery of safe drinking water. Currently the Water District now shares a property in Encinitas with the City of Encinitas street department. The two entities are now being combined to form part of a public works department, which operate out of one other satellite yard, which is, located next the human society on Requeza Avenue in Encinitas. The yard has been in a state of flux due to a long list of reasons not to construct a permanent yard that does not conflict with other city projects.

The San Dieguito Water District is reliant on not only its own budget but influenced by the budget constraints and citywide issues relating to City of Encinitas. The San Dieguito Water District is a non-profit organization, which receives revenue through the delivery of potable water. The City of Encinitas is reliant on sales tax, permitting fees and other related financing separate from the water district. Funds earmarked for the San Dieguito Water District projects ultimately have to be weighed in with the city council, which may or may not be in the best interest of the water district but may be in the best interest of the City of Encinitas. I have found there are times when there is a conflict of interest between the City of Encinitas and San Dieguito Water District, a difference created because SDWD is no longer an independent district. Prior to incorporation, the San Dieguito Water District was independent, and had its own budget concerns, which dealt with water related issues specifically.

Recently, the city council that governs the San Dieguito Water District had a priority session for all city projects. At this meeting it was decided in the order of importance that construction, renovation and expansion of the fire department was the first priority. Borrowing money from other city projects to begin the construction of a library, which has come in over budget, due to the rising cost of building materials, was the second priority and the construction of a public works yard, was third. Even though the San Dieguito Water District is renting space on a vacant schoolyard, which is due to expire this summer, they have no dedicated property that has been identified specific to the needs of the San Dieguito Water District, and the City of Encinitas Street Maintenance Division.

My conclusion is that the methodology of an independent district is run more efficiently with the best interest of their customers because of the dynamics and sometimes politics between dependent versus independent districts.

Blogger's note: By comparing the costs of the Cardiff Sanitation District, run by the city, and the LWD, which is independent of the city we can see that being run by the City Council does not guarantee cheaper rates.


  1. That is a very nice Essay. Your Daughter is very bright and one day runs for council.

  2. Every customer of the SDWD should read this essay. It is very accurate. Like most politicians our city is using the ratepayers to subsidize their enormous spending habit.

  3. I wonder if Daddy helped with this Essay?

  4. Very well written and researched. Everyone needs to send in a written objection to the proposed rate increases by SDWD. It is taxation without representation. The City Council doesn't have to get voters to approve new taxes when it can simply raise the rates on water. How clever!

  5. I agree with bbondi. The SDWD should be a separate entity, run by people other than the City Council. That's how the Olevenhein Water District does it.

  6. Carrot Colored DownstairsFebruary 09, 2010 9:05 AM

    PEOPLE?!? Hello? The SDWD shouldn't be using our water money to pay for kids' essays.

  7. anon 905,

    Sounds like you want to help free the water district.

  8. Thanks anon 905

    I agree with your objection to the water district funding scholarships.

    How and why can they legally divert ratepayer funds to a scholarship? How does granting scolarships fit within the districts goals and how does it benefit the ratepayers?

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. The water district has a long-standing association with our schools. They know that kids who understand our water sources and conservation needs will be more likely to use this precious resource without wasting it. I support the scholarship program. This essay is not what the City Council wants to know, but it wouldn't have been researched and written without the scholarship program. Thanks to both this student and to the scholarship program.

  11. Various StupidityFebruary 09, 2010 2:47 PM

    They should ask us on our water bill if we'd like to contribute and extra $1 to "various stupid causes" ... sorta like they do on our federal tax return.

    Or they should disclose how much lower our water bill would be if they didn't already give our money to "various stupid causes."

    Or even better, tell us what part of this 13% increase will go to "various stupid causes."

  12. anon 230,

    Bless you for your positive thinking. The reality is the essays are not about conservation. The essay topic that is required is about special districts.

    If the objective of expending the $500-$1000 dollars for the scholarships is to generate conservation, maybe there are better ways to do it using that money. Only a couple kids write essays and they rarely discuss conservation.

    Anyhow, there is no water shortage. There is enough water for another million people in San Diego according to your water agencies.

  13. There is always a water shortage in San Diego. This is an arid region. Read Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner so you know of what you speak.

  14. the public is so stupid they keep electing this sell out politicians.

    The water issue is a sad joke. The politicians sell out to the developers and union bosses right Danny? Right Jerome? I would say right James, but he can't remember what he did last week, so I will go easy on grandpa Simpson.

  15. Anon 703,

    According to SANDAG, the San Diego County Water Authority says that a million more people will not be a problem for our water supply.

    Sounds like there is a disconnect, no?

  16. SANDAG has their head up their ass because their board is elected officials from each of the county's Cities who are mostly on the dole from developers and unions.....

    Of course they say there is plenty of water and space on our freeways. Thats how they are directed to say and vote by the developers and union bosses.

    Do your City and country a favor, never vote for an incumbent! Will the public ever learn?

  17. there is NO water shortage in San diego county. support the de-sal plant in Carlsbad and oppose any and all things endorsed by surfrider foundation.

  18. You mean like protecting the ocean, beach access, and waves?

    Why would I oppose those issues.

    Surfrider's goal is also to educate.
    I will gladly continue to support Surfrider.

    Maybe someday, I hope you too will become educated.

    I will take the oath, "I, Anon, will never vote for an incumbent as long as I live."

  19. Anon 1:57_ name one wave protected by surfrider and how did they protect it??

    If surfrider really wanted to protect the ocean, they would move to ban surfing, as it is a dangerous activity with known individuals that have a propensity to violence.

  20. Maybe.... but then they would encroach on their other organization.....


  21. Anon4:09- the object of any organization should be to be so good at what they do as not not be needed. Hopefully surfrider will be gone in the not to distant future.

  22. If there is no water shortage why support desal?

  23. If we put treated water back into lake hodges I'll bet we could lower our water rates. We would have plenty of water. We could build at least a million more homes in North County.


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