Meet Channing Hawkins A Candidate for West Valley Water District

Well Rialto it is that time again time to VOTE! Now we all thought we had a break from this since everyone keeps talking about 2020 and the big presidential race. Sorry some agencies out there still run their elections on off years.

Today we come to you with one of our Q&A segments on someone looking for your vote. This election is for West Valley Water District and its boundaries are all over the place landing in both San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. Channing Hawkins is running for seat #4 which covers the communities of Fontana and Rialto.

This Q&A is simply a way for you to learn something you may not know about candidates seeking your vote. No matter who you choose please get out and cast your vote.

  1. Why do you feel qualified to sit on the West Valley Water Board?

In regard to my background, I am a graduate of Howard University
undergraduate school and Law School. While in law school I learned about public
policy and the law-making process. I have worked for a local Congressman and
Assemblymember, where I focused on constituent services and local
government. My first encounter with our local water issues began in 2005, when I
worked with federal and state agencies to help remediate the perchlorate
problem in our local water system. Since then, I have worked largely as an
advocate for civil rights, particularly for seniors and other vulnerable populations.
In my current job, I monitor county, city and water district budgets. I strategize on
long- term planning and negotiate contractual agreements on behalf of their
workforce. Therefore, I am familiar with budgeting, operations and long-term
planning in public agencies like West Valley Water District. I understand the need
of competent and forward-thinking leaders in government, who are willing to
learn and adapt to the challenges faced in delivering a quality public resource. I
am also experienced in addressing and adapting to technological changes.

  1. Are you aware of the boards changes to the open meeting laws over the last few years? How do you feel about those changes?

Unfortunately, West Valley does not operate in a manner that allows for input
from its ratepayers. Water is our most critical public resource and I am dedicated
to ensuring the affordability, safety and reliability of our local water system.
However, the biggest issue facing West Valley Water District is corruption,
unnecessary lawsuits and kickback schemes. I have spoken with a number of
rate payers who believe enough is enough. Ratepayers know they are not
receiving the quality of water or service they deserve. If elected, I plan to make
West Valley Water District more transparent, accountable and provide local
employment opportunities.

  1. What is your purpose for running for West Valley Water Board?

I am a Rialto resident who has a family that is served by West Valley Water
District. My kids literally brush their teeth and bathe in the water daily. My
concern for our district starts with my family and other families like mine, who rely
on the water to be safe, affordable and reliable.

  1. What is your political party affiliation?

This is a nonpartisan election. I will work with Republicans, Democrats, decline to
state, or anyone other party affiliation, as long as they are committed to
affordable, reliable and sustainable water.

  1. Have you taken any monetary or non-monetary support from large interest groups like unions or environmental groups? If not have you seeked out money or support and been denied?

The average donation for my campaign has been just over $75.00. Most of my
support has been from small business owners, attorneys, sole proprietors and a
few labor organizations.  I have not accepted any  money from current West
Valley Board Members or consultants.

  1. Are you being funded or supported by any current West Valley Water Board Members?

No. Unlike my opponent, who has received over 95% of his support from current
board members or consultants. I have refused endorsement or support from any
of the current board members.

  1. What is your take on the corruption rumors floating around for the last 8 years?

West Valley Water District ratepayers know that we deserve better. It is time to
put an end to the corruption, unnecessary lawsuits, financial mismanagement,
and shady hiring practices.  It is ridiculous that they spend over nearly $130
million a year with little to show for it. If elected, I plan to make the West Valley
more transparent, accountable and provide local employment opportunities.

  1. Can you promise no new rate increases?

I will not raise rates. I believe all budget matters should have hearing in local
community’s local communities, so ratepayers can have input on the budget and
help to set priorities for the district

  1. Do you support working to create a live broadcast of Board meetings and using a system to archive recorded meetings? Why?

Yes. My two biggest concerns regarding West Valley Water District are transparency and
accountability.  By live streaming and televising the meetings ratepayers like you can
have access to the meetings. I believe we should have budget hearings in the local
communities, so ratepayers can have input on the budget and help to set priorities for
the district. I also believe we should have an email alert system, so ratepayers like you
know when there is an issue with our system. I also believe in accountability at West
Valley Water District. We need to implement fair and open hiring practices, create new

financial controls and change board policy regarding contracting.  There has been zero
action by any of the board members to make West Valley more transparent or
accountable.

  1. Do you support creating rules that bar board members from using West Valley staff and Water District marking materials in future election advertising?

Absolutely.

  1. Any words you would like the Rialto Now readers to know about you?

Ratepayers are tired of the corruption and mismanagement at West Valley Water
District. We can't expect different results with any of the current
board members. Ratepayers need someone who will clean up the mess. The
power is in your hands to make a change at West Valley this November
5th. Vote Channing Hawkins for change.

I encourage any ratepayer to call me at directly at (909) 265-4418 or email channinghawkins2019@gmail.com. For more information www.channinghawkins.com.

Common Sense Says No To Measure M

TheREAL FACTS About Measure M
  • Measure M is a tax increase. The 8% Rialto Utility Users Tax (UUT) was given to the city council and all they did is abuse the tax and waste time and money. Now to remove any responsibility to the voters they are giving themselves a permanent TAX increase FOREVER!!!!!!!
  • This levy on utility bills provides roughly $14 million in revenue per year. These funds go into the General Fund and are abused by the city. The mayor and council play games with your taxes and name buildings and parks after their political allies. The council needs this money to cover the MILLIONS in Lawsuits that they have single handily brought on Rialto Tax Payers.
  • To scare you into voting for this measure the city is using the old scare tactic of taking away police and fire services. Councilman Ed Scott has been Quoted saying that rialto police the bottom of the barrel.
    • The police never respond to complaints and are causing more problems then they solve. Rialto Police are famous for the drive by they do when they respond to a call. This consists of cruising by the location at 45 MPH. Rialto Fire spends more time outside the city under a mutual aide agreement than they do inside the city. Also they are preparing to stack a Fire Tax on top of this one next year. ALL WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT!
    • Reducing the Public Works Department by 11 positions, will make little change since the city looks horrid as it is so nothing will change.
  • Had it not been for dedicated people like us the Council was HELL bent on charging this tax on all seniors!
  • Rialto Fire charges annual fees to pick you up in an emergency leading to more people avoiding calling for help and risking further injury by waiting or self transport.
  • Rialto charges you a TRASH TAX because BURRTEC trucks are too heavy for Rialto streets but we can’t charge BURRTEC for it because they are political allies of Mayor Robertson.
  • $100,000 a year is paid so that our elected leaders can travel all over the country on your DIME.
  • Even if this measure passes Rialto will still be bankrupt in 4 years. The only difference is you will be stuck with a Utility Users Tax that NEVER ENDS!!!!!
  • The people signed onto this TAX are doing so to keep the flow of your tax money into their pockets. A small handful have been bullied into signing on to this tax. Multiple people have reached out saying that the Mayor said get on board or else.

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Are the West Valley Water Board Members Getting Paid Too Much?

As Rialto area tax payers are going to be asked to tax the living HELL out of themselves in June we thought is was time to once again start to air the dirty laundry of local officials. We also would like to remind you that each time these people ran for office they SAID they were running for the people  to have a transparent voice yet all they seem to be doing at West Valley Water is getting fat off of the ratepayers.

West Valley Water District Received my freedom of information act documents concerning amounts paid to board members for the months of January and February 2018.

January           February

Kyle Crowther      1176.00            1470.00

Michael Taylor    1470.00          1470.00

Greg Young          1323.00           1470.00

Don Olinger          588.00             735.00

Clifford Young    1470.00           1470.00

Total                     5439.00           6615.00

This of course is only for meetings they attended, in addition Clifford Young get 530 + each month for Long Term Care with Cal Pers which brings his monthly amount to $2000, Mr. Olinger gets closer to what board members have received in past years and in fact if a board member went over $5000 in a year they had to justify the exceeded amount.

Good thing WV has 34 million in the bank.

West Valley Water Board Race Nasty As Ever

It seems as though nothing has changed when it comes to providing clean drinking water to 11 cities in 2 counties.

You may remember a few years ago when we covered corruption and misuse of funds on the West Valley Water District Board of Directors. Then Councilman Shawn O’Connell a resident of the water district called out blatant areas where funds were being misused, board members were being bullies and political lines were being drawn in the sand. It became so bad that groups that previously supported Councilman O’Connell threatened to pull their support of him if he didn’t stop his questions of board member Clifford Young.

Now Clifford Young is running for re-election and he is looking to buy residents votes, spreading lies about other candidates and turing on those who once supported him.

One Candidate and the former General Manager of West Valley Water posted this on his social media page earlier this week:

I’d like to respond to some of the attacks that have come out recently against Linda Gonzalez and myself. They are lies, plain and simple.

I’m proud of my 35 years of management of the district. During my time as manager we built two water treatment plants. We kept the water supply safe, despite the discovery of perchlorate pollution. Rates may have gone up in 2013 but that was because we refused to raise rates at all during the economic recession following 2009, and despite the rate increases our district’s water rates are lower than both Rialto and Fontana’s water rates. If the district had been mismanaged for 35 years, we wouldn’t be able to say any of that.

Regarding the claims made about Linda Gonzalez, I’ll just say this. I can provide anyone with records of Freedom of Information Act requests made to the district which show that in the last three years Linda Gonzalez has been paid $34,000 for her work on the board. In that same time Clifford Young was paid $97,000 for carrying out the same job. He did this by going to as many “business” lunches and trips as possible and by gaming the system to get extra perks.

So who is really trying to take all the money they can from the district? Butch Arizia.

Mr. Arizia is right he did an excellent job as the General Manager for West Valley Water. Not only did the Water District not steal millions from rate payers like Rialto Water did to clean up Perchlorate from the ground water. Rialto Water charged the residents Millions to clean up the water then spent over 50 million (Tax Money)on attorneys to sue the people responsible then settled for pennies on the dollar. Mr. Arizia also kept West Vally water from making a monumental mistake that would have done extreme damage to West Valley Water. When the Rialto City Council was forced to remove American Water as the preferred company to handle the selling off of a utility the council went to West Valley and more importantly Butch Arizia to see if West Valley wanted to step in. Butch Arizia took one look at the contract and knew it was a poorly put together plan that made delivering on the Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) impossible. He was right because Rialto Water customers still have water that is hard to drink, skyrocketing water rates and none of the Capital Projects completed and many are way behind schedule over 5 years later.

Another former General Manager from West Valley Water who worked under the regime of Clifford Young left and when we bumped into him he was beyond happy to be out of West Valley Water and out from under certain people’s thumbs.

One of our favorite stories we wrote on Clifford Young was when new board members were sworn in and Clifford Young took this opportunity to change the rules of open meetings making it harder for the public to address their elected officials. Another one we enjoyed was when Clifford Young ripped into water employees.

Some people are claiming that Clifford Young is buying votes with his latest campaign ad (see below).

If purchasing your vote isn’t bad remember Clifford Young is the person most responsible for giving support to Rafael Trujillio the Councilman from Rialto that worked behind the scenes to turn Rialto into a sanctuary city putting millions of dollars in Federal grants in jeopardy.

Cities that west valley water works in are:

CITY OF BLOOMINGTON, CITY OF COLTON, CITY OF FONTANA, CITY OF GRAND TERRACE, CITY OF HIGHGROVE, CITY OF JURUPA VALLEY, CITY OF MUSCOY, CITY OF RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CITY OF RIALTO, CITY OF RIVERSIDE & CITY OF SAN BERNARDINO

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West Valley Water Board Directors Not Prepared At Regularly Scheduled Meeting

On November 5th 2015 the West Valley Water Board held their regular meeting with their new 6pm. Even though the meeting time had changed the way the board acts towards vendors, staff, media and rate payers has not changed. Our staff was not in attendance mostly due to schedule conflicts and partly was we didn’t want to poke the tiger too much. The meeting from what we heard was well attended when compared to past meetings yet Vice President Young and Director Gonzales were upset to the point of bringing it up multiple times that we were not in attendance. The early part of the meeting things seemed a little tense.

Board Vice President Young, Gonzales & Trujillo were not prepared for this meeting. Time and time again they were asking to have business items tabled many into the last meeting of 2015 which was six weeks from the date of the last meeting of the 2015 year. At one point Board Director Linda Gonzales states that she works 8-5 and doesn’t have time to look over her board packet material?????? When did it become the rate payers responsibility to make sure you had enough time to do your job? Why did you run for a Civil Service position if your not prepared to put in the work? Director Gonzales didn’t have time to read her board packet but she had time to hobnob with various elected officials and complain about her dislike of the food they provided her.

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Join Paul Chabot for Coffee & Conversation November 19th

Join Paul Chabot for Coffee & Conversation November 19th

Second was they spend so much time fighting former General Managers and politicking from the dais that they are not paying bills in a timely fashion leaving space and bills unpaid which is beyond unfair. If you have a dispute over the costs have the client come to a meeting and ask your questions and them come to a majority consensus and pay what the vendor has coming to them. Vivian Moreno a Riverside Based activist asks the board why they act like the West Valley Water District doesn’t know what they are paying. Both President Gosney and General Manager spoke up after Mrs. Moreno asked them why they didn’t know what they were paying. President Gosney said that each bill came with a list of items for which the total bill represented.

The boards lack of direction and the constant fighting with vendors and ratepayers seems to be blowing up in their faces. It has already cost ratepayers a board director as President Gosney decided not to seek another term as a water board director. Vice President Young has asked that the 15 percent rate increases that are scheduled to be on the next two years be added to the last meeting of 2015.

Stay tuned for more on this as the saga seems far from over………………..

 

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Local Community Advocates Stop Water Meeting In It’s Tracks

WEST VALLEY

On Monday October 12th West Valley Water Board held a “SPECIAL” meeting to address issues that arose from the October 8th regular board meeting. We covered the “SPECIAL” meeting in a previous post to give the public a better idea of what was going to take place at noon on a Monday workday. At the meeting we saw a powder keg of emotions and Electioneering going on while the Water Board of Directors went into an early Closed Session meeting to come to an agreement to fire their current legal counsel from the firm Redwine and Sherrill and to proceed down a path of a dangerous General Public Agenda that from the talk in the crowd was ripe with violations of the Brown Act the very set of rules that dictates how elected boards are to be run and handle themselves. This meeting never made it past the first item on their public agenda.

Here are videos of people that choose to address the Water Board prior to their closed session:

The water Board legal counsel was not invited into the closed session we found out later it was because there had already been a decision to fire him and his firm possible Brown Act violation #1

The first general agenda item was listed as Appointment of Special Counsel. Many in the crowd had an issue with the vague nature of the item in question and once the public began speaking out it was more clear what this “SPECIAL COUNSEL” would be tasked to do. This special counsel was apparently going to be given marching orders to put a negative shade on two people currently running for the water board. Clifford Young the Vice President of the Board had a very angry look on his face and his comments and body language were very aggressive. I spoke on record about the costs of hiring an attorney just to sully the reputation weeks before an election of two people seeking seats on the board and asked how that was fair to the rate payers. I also spoke to Mr. Young and his aggressive posture and the message that was sending to the audience.

After I spoke Mr. Young got up and proved that he was out to cast negative shade over current Board Director Alan Dyer and Former West Valley Water District General Manager Butch Arizia who is running for one of the three seats open for this election. See the whole video below and watch it to the end where West Valley Water Board President Betty Gosney sets the record straight further showing the Vice Presidents true intentions.

Even though the attacks on Mr. Arizia were proven false still on social media the group out to take total control of the Water Board still post these types of statements:

Demwomen Sbc In December 2012 the West Valley Water District. Board members Betty Doshier Gosney
Earl Tilman,Jackie Cox,Alan Dyer, Don Olinger,
Approved a 75% increase on the water bills in our community

Bloomington, Rialto,north Fontana south Fontana. This was during a recession that hit the community, causing hard-working people that year 2012 to now, that are losing their homes and businesses going belly up!
This information is in the WVWD minutes December 2012.

You may call 909-875-1804 to get a copy of the minutes,pulled from the file these minutes dated December 20,2012 resolution 2012-23 article 21.

This meeting had about 20 local residents out asking a lot of good questions and the two words of the day were TRANSPARENCY & BROWN ACT VIOLATION. Mr. Young was affected by these mentions of the Brown Act and the potential violations that existed within the make up of the Special Meeting Agenda that he started to call out the people making the accusations and the people he was speaking too should know their Brown Act pretty well they all have had to abide by it pretty recently. These people were former Councilwoman Lynn Hirtz, Councilman Shawn O’Connell and Private Investigator Thompson all had words of caution for the board if they choose to proceed. Here is video of the rest of the board not falling in line with any more poor decisions and further Brown Act violations.

The list of potential Brown Act violations are listed here:

  1. The meeting itself and the timing of the meeting.
  2. The appearance of more than two Board Members meeting and deciding on the issue of firing the current legal counsel.
  3. Putting out information at a board meeting that would harm or sully the reputation of a fellow board member or other person running for a board seat.
  4. Calling for a vote on allowing the General Manager of the Water District to find alternate legal counsel for the Thursday regular meeting without it being on the agenda or calling the meeting a emergency meeting.
  5. The attempt to hire a person that would only report to the board of directors.

If you look at the agenda for tomorrow little has changed except the Confidential Assistant that will report only to the Water Board has gone from a public item to a Closed Session Item.

The meeting is tomorrow at 3pm at 855 West Baseline Road it appears this one will be just as exciting as Monday.

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The many reasons not to vote for Ed Scott

So it’s no secret that Mr. Ed Scott and I don’t agree on anything outside of our favorite football team. What I find appalling are his campaign signs “Proven Leadership”. What leadership? Do you pat the guy on the back that did everything in his power to drive rialto down the same road that San Bernardino now finds itself?

So since my last post about Mr. Ed Scott drove our numbers through the roof I thought it’s time to do a highlight of the Ed Scott Years. We will start with most recent Ed Scott blunders and let you decide if we want this type of “Proven Leadership” back in power in rialto:

  1. Most recently we are finding out the most expensive of the Ed Scott policy issues the Outsourcing of Rialto Water to Veolia. Now Veolia was not Ed Scott’s first choice to have our water company for the next 30 years. We now know that Ed Scott’s water pipeline infrastructure project was a like a local unfunded mandate meaning he dumped it into our laps and later we found that the money was not enough to complete most of the projects. When the residents forced American Water from the deal the proposal was handed to west valley water district and General Manager Butch Araiza wanted nothing to do with the water deal. Now residents are left with ever increasing water rates and Veolia is allowed to walk away without completing what was their part of the deal. This deal was written leaving the city of Rialto with no ability to back out if the project is not completed. Yet millions went to local consultants??????
  2. Under the direction and supervision of Mr. Ed Scott Rialto residents were forced into a battle that the Federal Government should have waged but because Mr. Ed Scott wanted to sue the involved companies on the backs of the Rialto Rate Payers. Those rate payers were promised a refund, yet no real refund ever came. People that only paid the rebate for a short time received funds that were meant for the people who lived there before them. Others Like Anne moved to another house both in Rialto both in the Rialto Water Services area and was not given the total refund due to her she received a small portion. Even residents that could not take the Rialto the Ed Scott built and moved out were left with nothing even though Ed Scott promised they would receive a refund.

“Between the two deals, Rialto residents will get back about $9 million in a perchlorate charges they have paid on bills since 2004, Rialto City Councilman Ed Scott said. The surcharge will stop in December or January, which is when rebate checks will be issued to current and former residents, he said.” JANET ZIMMERMAN / STAFF WRITER Published: Oct. 26, 2012 5:41 p.m.

“Councilman Ed Scott, who is on the perchlorate subcommittee” By Josh Dulaney, Staff Writer Posted: 09/26/12, 9:00 PM PDT

  1. Ed Scott & Jimmy Gutierrez had a very comfortable relationship so comfortable that it has been rumored that Jimmy is now Ed Scott’s attorney. Why is this another black mark on our former councilman? Jimmy Gutierrez was bleeding the city dry on attorney fee’s making $3.1 million one year as the part time attorney for rialto. Jimmy was brought to rialto by Ed Scott and was fed well while Ed Scott was on the Dias. It took forward thinking councilmembers O’Connell & Hirtz to take the contract out and find an attorney that is now saving the city $750,000 a year.
  2. Ed Scott has been labeled as the councilmember that abused the cities week travel policy the most. It was so bad that it took the current city council a year and a half to undo the damage and set the ship right.
  3. Last but not least let’s not forget that Ed Scott has tried numerous times to outsource our police department to the sheriff. The worst time was when we actually lost quality police staff because they didn’t want to be left to the uncertainty of having a job at the last minute. Ed Scott had one last hurrah when he began threatening to bring the topic of outsourcing back up and the residents formed a group named Rialto Residents for Rialto PD. They stormed the council meeting forcing Ed Scott to back down at the last minute and change his tone.

Rialto residents it is clear from this brief outline of some of the Top Ed Scott highlights that Mr. Scott is not the trusted or proven leader Rialto needs. The current council has found a groove and seems to be able to accomplish what needs to be done for the better of Rialto. If it isn’t broke don’t fix it.

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