GrokSurf's San Diego

Local observations on water, environment, technology, law & politics

San Diego: Friction with Taxpayers Association evident at Water Authority meeting

Posted by George J Janczyn on August 25, 2011

At the beginning of the marathon committee meeting sessions preceding the monthly board meeting of the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) today, General Manager Maureen Stapleton reported on her recent exchange about SDCWA labor costs with Lani Lutar, President/CEO of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association (SDCTA).

Ms. Stapleton described originally having provided voluminous data in response to requests from SDCTA as well as from the San Diego Taxpayers Education Foundation (SDTEF), an arm of SDCTA. The Foundation used that data to produce a draft study which was then submitted to SDCWA for review. SDCWA apparently found numerous errors which led to their response that “the majority of the “Key Findings” and table data points in the report are incorrect, and in some cases, grossly misleading.”

Stapleton described her exchange of correspondence with Ms. Lutar about the disputed material (copies were distributed at the meeting) and described some difficulties during that period. She concluded, however, that she’s optimistic that SDCTA has indicated willingness to engage in further discussions to examine the issues.

Discussion among board members ensued with many comments that were critical of SDCTA, including an angry director Dion saying he felt the SDCTA analysis was “not only convoluted, but intentionally fraudulent.”

I tweeted that quote and it turned out that Ms. Lutar saw it and decided to make an appearance at the board meeting (which made me feel awkward because I hadn’t intended to stir the pot — not that much, anyway!). When the board meeting began, she requested to speak during the public comment period. In a nutshell, she stated that she wanted to make sure everyone understands that SDCTA has every intention of working closely with SDCWA staff to make sure all the facts and data are accurate.

That’s basically what happened. I obtained a copy of the letters in question and scanned them, reproduced below:

 

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