What is going on at West Valley Water???

Let me first off say that if you are a customer of West Valley Water you have to be concerned with your water provider being able to provide you with clean drinking water. Why would I say this? The entire time Clifford Young has been a Director of West Valley Water he has used West Valley funds to investigate and sue people who refuse to fall in line with his rule. Here is a short and not complete list of people he has spent rate payers money eithier investigating or suing since 2014:

  • Butch Ariza – Former West Valley Water GM and Candidate for the board Clifford used rate payer money to investigate if Mr. Ariza was legally allowed to run for the elected seat. Normally this is left to the Registrar of Voters but since Mr. Young hated Mr. Ariza he took matters into his own hands.

  • Board Member Alan Dyer – Mr. Dyer is another person that refused to go along with Clifford Young and his antics so he too was investigated with rate payer money on the validity of his residence. Now you may say this was more appropriate but no. When local Rialto City Council member Deborah Robertson investigated the validity of her fellow Council member Ed Palmer’s residence she sued him personally no taxpayer money was used.
  • Redwing and Sherill – Since this company was not connected to Mr. Young and his closest campaign contributors money and time was wasted looking over a long series of paid and unpaid bills.

  • The entire 2017 Executive Board – Given no public explanation even though the board members have publicly asked for one Dr. Clifford Young,Sr. has refused to justify yet another misuse of public funds as he descends onto another personal witch hunt.

The main constant here is that all of these Investigations or Suits have amounted to NOTHING!!!! Dr. Clifford Young,Sr. has not produced one shred of public evidence that these actions were warranted and no actions have come from the misuse of public funds. Normally when money is spent from the public funds there is some report able action that comes along even if it is a net loss something is brought forward. Not in the world of Mr. Young he uses the public’s funds at his own desire with no public accountability.
Here are a few more times where Mr. Young has repeatably taken liberties with the public’s funds:
  • Sources report that Mr. Young has all of his fellow directors book hotel stay’s and conference registrations with his personal credit card so that he can stack up extra cash back bonus points. Then he and the other directors are reimbursed from the Water District leaving Mr. Young with a windfall of cash back points. You may say who cares they don’t go to that many things right? WRONG they pad their pockets by attending meaningless meetings and functions so that they can earn more money. They are paid a fixed amount per event they attend on behalf of the Water District no matter how long they stay. Instead of using a district credit card to pay for expenses, Young uses his personal credit card for such expenses so he could earn credit rewards and Marriott points. It led to former district CFO Suzanne Cook being fired after bringing the matter to Young’s attention. Cook sued the district in July, and the case is still pending, court records show. (Sun)
  • Clifford Young is now on his fourth General Manager and Third Legal Counsel Firm in the four years since he has been a Director with West Valley Water. Let me tell you these contracts are not cheap to begin with and the clauses for removing them before their contract is up isn’t cheap either.
  • Since Mr. Young has been on the board he has not only raised Directors ability to make more money but has further limited the communities ability to interact with the Water Board click here to read more.
  • Lawsuits Clifford Young and West Valley Water currently find themselves up against the future liability of workplace harassment lawsuits as spelled out by Hardy Brown Senior (click here)
  • Six figure no-bid contracts are awarded to friends of the board.
  • Young routinely forced staff to hire colleagues from his former job at CSUSB, including paying one a salary of $260,000 a year with no job description.
  • Young regularly expensed alcohol and charged it to the agency & regularly expensed meals for his wife and charged the agency against policy. (click here)

What we found alarming when we first began reporting on West Valley Water and the mess that resides in the Elected body was the strong desire to control the release of information about what is going on there. Board Director Greg Young once tried to have Joise Gonzales the local Board Supervisor to silence us (see here) add to that the constant threats by Clifford Young to Sue Us for slander (never happened) there is a strong move to silence the media going on here and now we see why.

For the longest time Clifford Young was able to keep under the radar of bigger media sources (even though we tried hard to nudge them into looking into West Valley’s actions). Well with the recent elections where Clifford Young was able to fully secure 4 out of 5 board seats on the West Valley Board and has his eye on getting Mr. Olinger out of the Board in the coming election to secure complete control he forgot that his friend and now board director Mike Taylor has already secured a steady stream of media attention with his actions in Baldwin Park. Mr Young also lost sight of Mr Taylors bad deeds seeping into Rialto:

  1. When Baldwin Park rehired Michael Taylor as its police chief, the city included a provision in his contract that makes him exceedingly difficult to fire. Taylor can only be terminated from his $234,000-a-year job, according to the agreement, if he commits a felony. Baldwin Park leaders also prohibited themselves from giving Taylor annual performance evaluations. The agreement allows the council to place Taylor on administrative leave — but with pay. The contract term is only for one year. But if the council doesn’t renew it, Taylor gets a severance package worth three months’ salary.
  2. Taylor was recently elected board member at West Valley Water District in Rialto, about 39 miles from Baldwin Park, soon after returning as police chief. One of Taylor’s first actions as a new director on Dec. 7 was to vote for a new attorney to serve the district: Robert Tafoya, the Baldwin Park city attorney who weeks earlier presented the chief’s employment contract to that city’s council for approval.
  3. Taylor has taken money from a drug operation in Baldwin Park where he is the police chief to fund his campaign for West Valley Water Board. Taylor who received help from local republican and tea party groups on his campaign are the same groups who claim to be against drug legalization in California.
  4. Taylor is also accused of moving money around as a way to cover the origins of said money. In another story by the legal lens businesses that are known for using campaign contributions as a way to secure favorable contrasts within the city of Baldwin Park are now spending money here in the West Valley Water Races.
  5. A person of interest in the character assassination of Kareem Gongora when Kareem was running for special election for Fontana Unified School Board is the listed Treasurer for Mike Taylor. The same campaign that shifted money around and took drug money to win a campaign.
  6. Board President Clifford Young has misappropriated public funds and routinely engages in unfair hiring practices, with no regard to staff concerns and district policies and procedures. (Sun)
  7. Young, according to a memo, demanded the district hire people that he worked with at Cal State San Bernardino or had personal affiliations with. (Sun)
  8. Young awarded no-bid contracts to friends, including political lobbyist William Lowery and public relations expert Patrick O’Reilly. Additionally, Young received more than $42,000 in reimbursement for travel, meals and incidentals and more than $43,000 in director fees. He does not provide line item receipts to “ensure that the district is not paying for prohibited expenses such as alcohol,” (Sun)

So Rialto you have one question to ask yourselves. Why do we keep accepting this type of behavior and failed leadership? Don’t the people of West Valley Water deserve better? Where is the DA’s of Riverside, San Bernardino and LA Counties at? Are they going to allow failed leadership to break the rules with ZERO accountability?

 

Video

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

Image

Over $71 Thousand Donated to Fontana School Board Candidate

A collection of campaign contributions have come in for Fontana School Board member Mars Serna. Over $71 Thousand in campaign contributions have come in for a special election against one other person community advocate Kareem Gongora.

Now we all know that elections need money and normally the people giving money want something in return. So what do the people donating to Mars Serna’s campaign want? Well let’s look at who is donating:

  • Burrtec Waste Industries $20,000
  • Phil Cothran $4,579.38
  • Clifford Young Sr. $1,000
  • Constance Young $5,000
  • Academics in Art Charter $40,000
  • South Highland Management $500

Now what would a trash provider get out of donating to a small school board seat? Maybe a sweet deal on a contract? Even bigger than that is the $40 thousand dollars coming from a Charter School in Orange County believe us when we tell you this money does not come without massive strings attached.

This election is a special election that once the election is over and the winner is sworn in they will have less than a year until their seat is up for re-election. The real story here is a power grab by Warehouse Warren (aka Fontana Mayor Aquenetta Warren) she has two votes that will do her bidding on the School Board and since her third puppet is now on Fontana City Council she needs another one. Her pick is Mars Serna.

Speaking to Kareem Gongora the other candidate in this election isn’t taking donations like these he is relying on family, friends and the community to send him to the Fontana Board not large corporations and Charter Schools.

We have asked Mars Serna to sit down with us and he refuses so I guess he would rather leave us to make up our own minds about these dirty campaign contributions.

Image

Appointments Open for West Valley Water District

west-valley

So what happens when a local governing body is so fractured that no more than two people can agree with each other? Another governing body has to do your work for you.

There are few governing, publicly elected bodies like West Valley Water District that cover Rialto, Colton, Fontana, Bloomington and other unincorporated areas of San Bernardino County, and a portion of Jurupa Valley in Riverside County. West Valley Water fly’s under the radar of rate payers because until recently who cared about your water board right? Until the hyper controlling measures that state and local water agencies laid out on ratepayers nobody really took the time to watch what their water board is doing.

West Valley Water Board members Clifford Young, Linda Gonzles and Greg Young worked hard over the last two years to kick certain board members off the board, bring in new blood that wont question bad spending habits and fight to keep certain people from ever sitting on the board EVER…..

Well with twice appointed never elected board member Rafael Trujillo moving over to Rialto City Council there is once again a vacant seat. Normally the board has a politically charged person waiting in the wings but partisan politics coupled with a lack of ability to collectively agree on a person now has taken this choice out of their hands. The names that were floated around being considered were former Rilato Councilman Ed Palmer, Former Fontana Planning Commissioner Phil Cothran and Activist Irma Flores were just a few of the names that were talked about.

The community was ready to charge the doors of West Valley Water district if Phil Cothran was appointed to the water board. He is coming off a fresh election where he has been accused of trying to takeover the Fontana Woman’s Club, stories of failing to report campaign donations that Phil Cothran took from Young Homes prior to voting yes on their projects and running a local PAC that derailed some very good peoples chances of winning an elected seat. Apparently Ed Palmer who was supported by Clifford Young was not what Greg Young was looking for in a fellow board member. Greg Young didn’t want Ed Palmer’s drama from the recent election where he challenged current Mayor Deborah Robertson for her Mayor seat.

So since West Valley Water is punting this decision it is now up to the San Bernardino County Supervisors to make the appointment. The Board of Supervisors created a special advisory committee consisting of Second District Supervisor Janice Rutherford and Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales to interview the applicants and recommend an appointment to the full Board of Supervisors.

What is funny is that West Valley may have a Board member that they fought long and hard against two years ago wasting thousands of dollars and wasting rate payer time advocating for their choice in the election.

Image

West Valley Water Board Swears In New Members & Changes Rules

On Thursday December 3rd West Valley Water District ushers in a lot of change. With the coming changes the cloud of controversy that hangs over the sitting board remains.

The first order of business will be to administer the oath of office for the three board members that were elected in November. The three people include Greg Young, Alan Dyer and Donald Olinger. Greg Young was one of the three people that current Vice President of the West Valley Water Board was supporting which lays a layer of uncertainty over his seat on the Board. One of the people Greg Young replaced (Rafael Trujillo) appeared follow Clifford Young’s lead even when it led to potentially violating the Brown Act as well as possibly misappropriating funds and hiding information that the public inside closed session that should have been heard before the public. Alan Dyer the only sitting incumbent won re-election but not without being under extreme scrutiny by Clifford Young, Linda Gonzalez and the private counsel that is being paid public funds to investigate Mr. Dyers residency and secretly report back to the Water Board in closed session. Don Olinger is a common name in the city of Rialto as a former teacher, school board member and a former West Valley Water Board Director. Given the latest antics that the current board has underwent Mr Olinger has his work cut out for him.

The next major item on the board agenda is a change from the Roberts Rules of Order to the Rosenberg Rules of Order. Now you may say who cares what system they use. Well I would caution you to hold that thought it was Clifford Young who asked for this change and as he stated in the first meeting of November he is not at all happy with the increase of public participation that his actions have garnered lately. If you look below we copied some of the areas of the Rosenburg’s Rules of Order sections for you and the one that stood out the most was “a five-member body with a few members of the public in attendance” Clifford Young wants to use a system that works with low public participation.

If one is chairing or running a parliament, then Robert’s Rules of Order is a dandy and quite useful handbook for procedure in that complex setting. On the other hand, if one is running a meeting of say, a five-member body with a few members of the public in attendance, a simplified version of the rules of parliamentary procedure is in order.

Below it talks about these 21st Century rules have found a welcoming audience. How is this possible if its used to lower public attendance? We see the writting on the wall and more public elected boards will be doing what they can to get better control of what the public is ALLOWED to participate in.

These rules have been simplified for the smaller bodies we chair or in which we participate, slimmed down for the 21st Century, yet retaining the basic tenets of order to which we have grown accustomed. Interestingly enough, Rosenberg’s Rules has found a welcoming audience.

Finally this is the best part for Mr. Clifford Young he wants to be able to silence people that speak against him and his tactics.

The chair should always ensure that debate and discussion of an agenda item focuses on the item and the policy in question, not the personalities of the members of the body. Debate on policy is healthy, debate on personalities is not. The chair has the right to cut off discussion that is too personal, is too loud, or is too crude

It is unfair to ask someone to bottle up their passion for a given issue but when it comes to elected power and water issues nobody seems to want to play fair lately.

Join us:

WEST VALLEY WATER DISTRICT

855 West Base Line Road, Rialto, CA

BOARD MEETING AGENDA

Thursday, December 3, 2015 – 6:00 p.m.

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.

Advertisment

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………………..

 

Video

West Valley Water Board Vice President Young Lashes Out At Board CFO

On November 5th 2015 the West Valley Water Board held their regular meeting with their new six o’clock time. It became clear as the Board of Directors moved through the meeting that this was not going to be a nice evening. Apparently Vice President Young felt he was not getting the information that he requested in a timely fashion. According to his statements he has been denied the right to obtain needed information on a regular basis so he decided to have an emotional breakdown at a public meeting.

Vice President Clifford Young took the opportunity to rip into the West Valley Water Board CFO Rachelle Clayton in the meeting accusing her of withholding information and bringing her near tears. His rant spilled over onto other staff members as he asked for a performance review of General Manager Tom Crowley on the December 17th Closed session agenda. Vice President Young has caused many staff to play musical chairs with their work positions in an effort to remain off of Vice President Young’s radar those have said that are close to the West Valley Water District

 

Vice President Young is upset with people questioning his tactics and is taking it out on staff, rate payers and vendors for the District……

Video