NID ponders grand bargain on Centennial Dam

GRASS VALLEY, Calif. April Fools, 2017 – The Nevada Irrigation District (NID) is considering a grand bargain worthy of a West Wing episode. The district hopes to gain community buy-in for the 275-foot tall dam by guaranteeing water connections to every home in the district – paid by NID.

Recently in the spotlight for refusing to livestream or even videotape their meetings, and faced with a growing opposition to the project, NID’s board of directors instructed General Manager Rem Scherzinger to evaluate the feasibility and cost of “incentivizing” community support.

An internal memo, obtained by YubaNet, instructs the Finance Department to present options to the board at their April 5 meeting, including a reallocation of a portion of the District’s $21 million in operating reserves to the District Financed Waterline Extensions (DFWLE.) The memo includes a directive to augment the district’s PR budget to send letters to all homeowners within the district, inviting them to attend a “signing ceremony to commemorate the ‘One Dam for US, Water For All’ agreement.”

A bribe by any other name?

Reaction to the leaked memo ranges from outrage to elation. The No Dam on the Bear group, a frequent critic of the district, stated in an email: “This attempt at bribing NID ratepayers is not only blatantly obvious, it is also illegal. Buying consent is about as low as you can get. We will fight this sham proposal.” The group plans to attend the next board meeting and stage a peaceful sit-in.

Meadow Vista Meddlers, a citizens group advocating against the proposed dam, did not mince words. Spokesman Odin Stromflut promised “a bonfire fueled by the mountains of useless pamphlets,” and went on to say their group would not only continue to fight the dam but also recruit candidates to replace the “myopic and greedy boardmembers and curtail the leaking of the lifeblood to fill Southern California swimming pools.”

Friends of NID, a newly-formed group in Nevada City, pointed to the obvious benefits for a large portion of residents within the district that are unable to afford connecting to the treated water lines. “We will take a close look at the proposal and make our recommendations to the board at the appropriate time,” said spokeswoman Laurie Overwoodser. “Maintaining the unique historical character of our neighborhoods requires landscaping in keeping with Gold Rush-era history. We applaud NID’s initiative to keep Nevada County beautiful and green. To the naysayers: We’ll see you in court!”

NID Board Chair Nick Wilcox was reluctant to comment on the story, stating his focus was on investigating how the internal memo ended up in the media’s hands.  “We value transparency and adhere to the Brown Act in all matters. But I am disappointed that we cannot explore options internally without a media outlet trying to influence our decision-making process by posting this for the world to see.”

General Manager Rem Scherzinger declined comment for the story, simply stating “You have to get out of here now.”

The next meeting of the NID Board of Directors is scheduled for April 12, starting at 9:00 am at the District office in Grass Valley. It will be livestreamed by YubaNet.

Editor’s note: Happy April Fools!

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