After the election turmoil remains high for West Valley Water

After the dust settled after the most recent West Valley Water Board elections the turmoil has yet to settle. Many were surprised to see the current board that was left virtually in tact except for the election of new comer Channing Hawkins and that this board relinquished the seat of President to the newly elected Board Member Hawkins. So have said that this seems to be a trap to set Board Member Hawkins up to fail. We have reached out multiple times to speak with Board President Hawkins about this but have failed to speak to him.

West Valley Water District board member Channing Hawkins reaches after being voted in as President of the West Valley Water District, during a board meeting in Rialto, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. (Photo by John Valenzuela, Contributing Photographer)

Whatever the case Board Member Hawkins is the dully chosen Board President and seems to be on a course to make changes within the structure of the Water District. The most notable change is the live streaming of board meetings via Facebook Live and then posting a video recording to the Water Districts newly created YouTube channel. The recent implementation of these two sources have removed a large barrier between the Water Board and the Rate Payers as many people work long hours and have family obligations that make it difficult to show up to regular meetings let alone all the special meeting West Valley has had lately. Now rate payers can remain informed on what is going on without having to disrupt their already busy lives.

About the time that Board President Hawkins took the position of Board President many of the Water District Managers took that opportunity to deliver a letter of no confidence in West Valley Water GM Clarence Mansfield. The letter from the West Valley Managers demanded that he be fired because of poor leadership and alleged cronyism. This letter was put out suspiciously close to a SCNG investigation into a laundry list of problems since Mansfield was hired, they also pointed out his salary of $225k dollars as well.

As someone that has been covering this Water District long before the Southern California News Group. There have been problems for 6 to 8 years with West Valley Water Board where former Board President but still a current Board Member has been running the Water District into the ground and has been using questionable hiring practices since he sat on the Water Board. Another thing is I know Mr Mansfield and I haven’t spoken to him recently I can tell you he has learned the hard way to try and get his job done without running directly afoul of the elected people over him. He was railroaded at LA DWP years ago when questioned certain internal practices, then was made the scapegoat for the laundry list of failures in the sale of the City of Rialto’s Water and Waste Water to Veollia where he was the first GM to tackle that project. Now he is the GM for a Water District that was upside down in questionable behavior for years before he got there.

Board President Hawkins seems genuine in his interest to be transparent holding Facebook Lives to go over the agenda with constituents prior to meetings and there doesn’t appear to be any visible bias in the decisions he has led the district to make. Quite the opposite the oldest and most long standing Board Members have openly attacked Board President Hawkins for some of the preliminary moves he has taken.

Only time will tell what these changes will bring about and what if anything will change with the General Manager job for this struggling water agency.

Click here to read about Martin Piñon as Interim Human Resources and Risk Manager

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West Valley Water District Looks To Yet Another Consultant To Solve Internal Problems

On February 4th 2020 West Valley Water put out a press release on the hiring of yet another upper level manager and consultant to fix the laundry list of problems West Valley Water District has faced. The newest person that has claimed they will do what nobody else has been able to do is Martin Piñon who will be acting as the Interim Human Resources and Risk Manager. According to the press release, In addition to implementing best practices and standards for human resources, Piñon will manage the District’s personnel activities including salary and benefits administration, workers’ compensation, risk management, safety, training, employee relations, recruitment and selection. Pinion will also ensure that the District is in compliance with employment laws and work with management to correct employee deficiencies, apply disciplinary actions, address grievances and follow-up with complaints and inquiries.

Among his long list of experience and education the notable piece is that he has a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University San Bernardino. Now your asking yourself why is that the portion of Mr. Piñon you focus on? Well for years Board Member Clifford Young a fixture at Cal State San Bernardino appeared to be using his influence over the hiring process to gift high level positions to people he favored from said college.

Piñon said about his appointment “It’s not rocket science,” said Piñon. “We’re going to turn it all around.”

Board President Hawkins said that Piñon’s hiring was directly tied to his appointment as board president and the district’s “renewed, collective commitment to ratepayers.

All matters regarding employment have been taken off GM Clarence Mansfield’s plate and the recommendations from Piñon will fall to the 2 member committie of President Hawkins and Vice President Crowther. The hiring of additional staff isn’t over as Mr. Piñon has already stated that Legal Counsel and an additional HR firm will need to be hired to fix what is broken. Another very expense and time consuming item on Mr. Piñon’s agenda is a comp and class study to look at pay and wages.

Now we don’t know Mr Piñon and we hope he can accomplish everything he said he can, but knowing the track record of West Valley water over the last 8-10 years this just looks like more of the same and more wasted money being spent!

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Former West Valley Board President Betty Gosney Runs To Take Back Her Seat

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. There are two other seats up for election on November 5th with regards to West Valley Water. The 1st seat that is currently held by Director Kyle Crowther who is the Vice President on the board is up against two seasoned challengers. Former Board President Betty Gosney and Former Director Linda Gonzalez are running against Mr. Crowther.

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?

I was a board member with West Valley water District for 13 years president of the board for two years I left there at the end of my term for health reason

  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?

I am aware of most of the changes made by the board.  I don’t feel that they were in the interest of the District but the interest of the board at the time I don’t feel it was a good decision.

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

I would like to get back on this board.  A board that is a fair Board that does it’s job as it should be done not to micromanage.Not for self service.

  1. What is your political party affiliation?

This is a nonpartisan election. Political affiliation has no business as a board member for West Valley water District a board member should be open minded and fair to all.

  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?

I have never been denied money or support I’ve never ask I’ve never taken any monetary or non-monetary support from any group or any person nor any union or environmental groups I’ve never seeked  out money or support I have always been honest and work the best I could for what I thought was right in all things that I do.

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

No I am not being funded by any current or past west valley water board member.

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

I am only aware of corruption and or rumors in the past four years.

  1. Can you promise no new rate increases?

No I cannot promise no new rate increases, as rates were increased in 2013 due to a large increase in electric, gas,  which is needed to deliver water to our rate payers. Because of the raised  infrastructure all cost for the water  District had been raised we had no choice but to keep up with our expenses and as always cost to go up as does income.

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

Not sure about live Broadcast however not against it And yes meetings need to be recorded and saved. I do wish some of my past meetings were recorded.

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

No board member should ever use the staff district materials for any future elections or for any personal use.

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

 I feel I am an honest and fair person I’ve lived 74 years raised six boys have eight grand kids and 9 great grand kids they are my life.  I have spent several of my years working towards the betterment of my Surrounding areas. I have been on the Bloomington MAC for 20 some years still working towards the betterment of the county areas.

I encourage any ratepayer to email me at Gosneyb@gmail.com

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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.

Change of the guard at West Valley Water

Normally when we are writing about West Valley Water it is to talk about employees being fired and questionable actions from the organizations Board of Directors.

This week things took a change where some Like Diana Araiza are claiming a victory for ratepayers and transparency.

An Article penned by The IE Voice  said “After two years of ongoing controversy, West Valley Water District (WVWD) Board of Directors ousted President Dr. Clifford O. Young and Vice-President Greg Young at last Thursday’s board meeting”.

According to reports complaints about suspected misuse of ratepayer funds created by West Valley Water District Ratepayers Association were forwarded to the California Fair Political Practices Commission and eventually to the State Attorney General’s Office for investigation. No word has yet surfaced on what actions have come from these elevated complaints.

The West Valley Water District Ratepayers Association is just the latest group to call out questionable moves by West Valley Water Board led by Clifford Young and supported by Greg Young. For more than three years now local councilmen, community members, community advocates and ratepayers have been railing on this Elected Board to change what they call questionable tactics.

Many people that have been involved over the years have begun to loose faith that anything would be done about the perceived corruption because in the last election for the Board Clifford Young had stacked the deck to show he had a 4-1 margin against any opposition with the election of Michael Taylor and Kyle Crowther.

Yet last week Michael Taylor and Kyle Crowther proved everyone wrong when they took action to remove both Clifford Young from his role as president and Greg Young as Vice President joined by Don Olinger.

At the WVWD meeting last Thursday, board member Donald Olinger was joined by fellow board members Michael Taylor and Kyle Crowther to facilitate what some have described as nothing less than a coup. By a 3-2 vote they removed Clifford Young from his role as board president and also voted for the removal of Greg Young from his position as vice president. In their places, board member Michael Taylor was elected board president and Kyle Crowther assumed the role of vice president.

Taylor took immediate control of the board meeting and wasted no time charting a new way forward. He recommended that in the future, each director serve a two-year term as president and called for an annual review of the president’s performance by his peers on the board to make sure whoever is serving in the role of president is doing a good job.

He also called for legal to examine the decorum of the board members toward fellow board members and WVWD employees themselves. Taylor wasted no time expounding on exactly what he meant by this. “I don’t want them yelled at. I don’t want them cussed at. I don’t want them to have their jobs threatened.” He asserted adamantly. – IE Voice

For more on this story go to the IE Voice

 

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West Valley Water Hires More Of Mike Taylor’s Friends From Baldwin Park

Water Board Director Mike Taylor who has been accused of stacking West Valley Water with all of his dirty friends from Baldwin Park. Since the last election where Clifford Young gained near full control of all board members there has been a push to get rid of people who refuse to get in line with an out of control and abusive Board of Directors.

Prior to hiring the political friends of Board Member Mike Taylor Board Member Clifford Young hired his own friends from Cal State San Bernardino. So when we found out that more Baldwin Park Council Members & Former Cal State San Bernardino employees.

A Press Release that Board Member Greg Young posted under the guise of “transparency” is full of admissions of continued favoritism and abuse of normal hiring practices.

“West Valley Water District (WVWD), after a thorough public search that resulted in 25 applicants and multiple interviews, is pleased to announce the appointments of an Assistant General Manager and Chief Financial Officer, who were approved by the Board of Directors on March 29.”

West Valley Water may have taken applications for these positions but sources close to the main office know what it takes to get a job at West Valley and it isn’t fair and open to everyone. The path to obtaining a job is a long list of who you know, can you do as your told without question and do I owe you a favor. What people should know is that in its self is not enough to keep you employed you must go along with the will of Clifford Young no matter what.

“Ricardo Pacheco was named WVWD’s Assistant General Manager. He will oversee external affairs and begins work at the District in the first week of April.”

“In a whistleblower lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court this week, plaintiff David Salcedo alleges he was subject to harassment and retaliation during his brief tenure as chief. He said he was eventually fired when he refused to do favors for Councilman Ricardo Pacheco and complained about the requests.” LA Times Sept 2017

“Salcedo says he refused a request from Councilman Pacheco in March to fix a ticket. According to the suit, the councilman was incensed and eventually hung up on the chief while discussing the issue on the telephone. The lawsuit also claims Pacheco requested other favors, such as towing a truck that was legally parked, posting no-parking signs in violation of city laws and sending a patrol car to investigate a vacant house on the elected official’s street.” LA Times Sept 2017

Richard Pacheco was named Assistant Manager for West Valley Water the same person you see referenced above supporting Police Cheif/West Valley Water Board Member Mike Taylor’s never before seen no fire contract. This isn’t the 1st person Mike Taylor has brought from Baldwin Park he also brought Baldwin Park City Attorney  Robert Tafoya who wrote Mike Taylor’s bullet proof employment contract with the city of Baldwin Park.

Clifford Young has Mike Taylor run – Mike Taylor wins and gives Clifford access to his vote.

Robert Tafoya writes Mike Taylor a bullet proof contract – Mike Taylor walks Robert Tafoya into West Valley Water.

Looks like the path to employment at West Valley Water is like entering a crime family. It is less about what you can do for the Water District and more about what you can do for the Board of Directors.

 

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE:

West Valley Water District (WVWD), after a thorough public search that resulted in 25 applicants and multiple interviews, is pleased to announce the appointments of an Assistant General Manager and Chief Financial Officer, who were approved by the Board of Directors on March 29.

Ricardo Pacheco, who works as a project manager for Caltrans and ITT Corp., was named WVWD’s Assistant General Manager. He will oversee external affairs and begins work at the District in the first week of April.

Pacheco holds an engineering degree from California State University, Los Angeles. He has worked as Director of Public Works for the city of South Gate, Calif., an associate engineer for Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and a project manager for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Pacheco is in his fifth term as a councilman in Baldwin Park, where he has been instrumental in drawing redevelopment to the city.

Naisha Davis was appointed as the District’s Chief Financial Officer. She is a Certified Public Accountant, holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from California State University, San Bernardino, and is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Rialto.

For the last nine years, Davis has served as the accounting manager for Lifestream Blood Bank, where she oversaw an $80 million budget and all financial operations, including annual budget preparation, forecasting and cost control. She previously worked as the accounting and human resources manager at Caseworx Inc. in Redlands, Calif.

“Both of our new managers bring with them a depth of experience in their respective fields that will be a valuable asset to West Valley Water District,” General Manager Robert Christman said. “With Ricardo Pacheco’s knowledge of engineering and local government and Naisha Davis’ work in the non-profit sector, they round out a talented team that will contribute to the continued success of the District.”

The appointees were selected from field of applicants after the job openings were posted and advertised. The successful candidates were interviewed and vetted by a Board committee to ensure their competence and ability to support WVWD’s mission and values.

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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