March 25, 2018 – You may hear about both sides of the Bear River and Centennial Dam controversy at the League of Women Voters, the Rotary Club, or the Nevada County Democrats; but one place you will not hear a balanced argument with complete information is at an NID Board Meeting.
On March 14th 2018, I approached NID Board President, Director Will Morebeck, and asked, in the interest of fairness, since we have seen a slide show and a video promoting Centennial Dam at the NID Board meetings, could we also show a video about the Bear River? We have a nice 13 minute video with drone footage of an aerial flyover of the section of the Bear River that would be inundated along with the voices of indigenous people, young people, residents, and others knowledgeable of the subject. This video was created by Tom and Debra Weistar and premiered at the PARC Wild and Scenic Film Festival in Auburn at the State Theatre. It can be accessed online at https://vimeo.com/257815472
Will has said that he can see both sides of the issue so I was not surprised when he said yes, that I should email him through the NID and request to show the video and he would put it on the agenda. He said that he plans the agendas with Rem Scherzinger, NID General Manager. They had already done the next 2 meetings but that they would be able to put it on the 3rd meeting. I followed his direction and sent an email request through NID. I received confirmation from Will as follows, “Good Morning, Dianna I have received your request. I will forward this information to General Manager Scherzinger for further assistance. Best, Will
I was hopeful that the NID Board may be taking a more open and collaborative path forward regarding this large infrastructure project (Centennial) by creating dialogue for a wider perspective and equitable exchange of information. Additionally, by showing the very landscape that would be inundated and lost along with those most affected who do not have a vote in NID matters, an important aspect of consideration would be on display for not only NID Board members, but their senior staff and interested ratepayers, taxpayers and general public. A reasonable person may think that this was important information for all to see and hear.
However you can imagine my dismay when I then received the following email,
After reviewing some comments made in the enclosed email chain regarding our conversation on March 13th , I believe I should ad clarification to our discussion. I mentioned that you could send a request to my NID email and I would review your request. I have reviewed the above referenced item and have decided not to place it on the agenda. I will ,however, offer to provide copies of this video to the other board of directors
Best, Will Morebeck”
According to NID Policy:
5020.2 Any member of the public may request that a matter directly related to District business be considered for placement on the agenda of a regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Directors, subject to the following conditions:
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5020.2.2 The General Manager shall be the sole judge of whether the request is or is not a “matter directly related to District business” in determining whether to place the matter on a meeting agenda. The person requesting the agenda addition may request that the Board of Directors reconsider the General Manager’s adverse decision at the next regular meeting of the Board of Directors. Notwithstanding the determination of the General Manager, any Director may request that the item be placed on the agenda of a regularly scheduled Board regular meeting at the earliest feasible date.
Director John Drew has used much more time during the Board Meetings talking and showing both a slide show and a video promoting Centennial Reservoir. Neither the General Manager nor any of the Directors has made any attempt to offer even handed information or opportunities for other viewpoints. Many people said, “What do you expect from that group of people?” Well, is that what we are willing to settle for in our community? Blindly following people uninterested in learning all sides of an issue? Is this the kind of leadership we want and need for our Water Future? Why has NID put an unelected person in charge of what information we all may see at their meetings?
This is a denial of the right of the citizens to be heard. One side of the debate is censored and not given the same platform as the pro Centennial side. To allow Director Drew to have unlimited time to show his promotional media, and then deny the public who have made a far better quality product at their own expense a platform, show terrible bias and lack of transparency. Let the NID board know that you expect an educated board up to the standards of the, the Rotary Club, the Nevada County Democrats, and the League of Women Voters.