Friday, April 20, 2007

CMWD Board Refuses to Drop Lawsuit

By Daryl Kelley
With swing vote Pete Kaiser swayed by the low cost of an appeal, directors of the Casitas Municipal Water District decided Thursday evening to pursue a costly two-year lawsuit to gain compensation for water the federal government ordered used for migration of the endangered steelhead trout.
Following a lengthy public hearing in which most speakers urged directors to drop the suit — recently weakened by a judge's decision — most Casitas directors voted instead to spend another $45,000 to appeal, setting the stage for a trial if they win. The case has cost the district about $500,000 so far.
The five-member board opted to make its decision in closed session because it was a legal matter. The decision, not the vote, was announced. But it was 3-2, interviews show.
Directors Russ Baggerly and Richard Handley said afterward that they still oppose the suit because it takes money away from key district operations and even a victory could undercut the federal Endangered Species Act.
And directors Bill Hicks and Jim Word, who voted to sue in 2005, said the suit should be pursued to completion because so much money has been spent and Casitas ratepayers should not have to pay for the steelhead migration without federal assistance.
That left Kaiser, who originally voted against the suit as a waste of money and who said again recently that it appeared doomed to failure. He said after the decision that his vote was influenced by financial considerations, specifically the low cost of an appeal.
“That was taken into consideration, yes,” he said, leaving the meeting and declining further comment. He could not be reached for elaboration Friday morning.

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Recall Kaiser said...

Is this "low cost" the same way it was advertised to cost less than $100K when this was snake oil was sold in December 2004?

The election in November 2008 is a year to long to wait.
Kaiser is a flip flopper and rather would be a pawn of the NeoCon agenda than a steward of the ratepayer money.
Time for a recall this year!

LakeLover said...

Kaiser rolls, the river flows, the money goes, goes, goes. $545,000 and counting. Is their a life preserver for such egos?

Anonymous said...

if he was in my district, i would vote to recall Kaiser.
he voted against the lawsuit because he knew there were 3 votes for it so he didn't have to shed his sheep skin. takes him three meeting to make up his mind, the last meeting being a sham, costing ratepayers a couple of grand in stiipends and salaries. then, he doesn't have the courage to vote in public. remember, he was FOR Weldon Canyon too.
you will never reach him for comment. his line is always busy, he does not take phone calls, and he ducks in and out of meetings.

LakeLover said...

I'm proud to say Richard Handley covers my district.

The fact that he supported Weldon Canyon speaks volumes of this closed mouth virtuoso of ineptitude.

Rich Handley said...

Casitas attorney Rob Sawyer did say the water district could become the "Poster Child" for some legal foundation seeking to get involved in the water takings case. I know because I was in the parking lot of the water district the night he said it to Russ Baggerly and I.

anonymous said...

Two points of clarification:

1. Pete Kaiser was not in a decision-making position at the time of the Weldon Canyon issue.

2. Pete Kaiser was never in favor of the use of Weldon Canyon as a landfill.