This November three seats will be up for grabs on the NID board, smack dab in the middle of the Plan for Water process. Once again it is important to point out that residents of Nevada City and Grass Valley are prohibited from voting for members of the NID Board of Directors. But do they drink, bathe, and wash with NID treated water? Do they sprinkle their lawns and flower beds and mini gardens with NID treated water? Of course – but in a mega structural flaw they purchase that water directly from their respective cities – who purchased it wholesale from NID – and are therefore “out of district.” No recent board has made any attempt to reach out to the cities to change this. So thousands of citizens as always simply have no say in important water issues.
But on March 9 a perhaps even more egregious affront to democracy took place. The board simply removed Director Laura Peters from the upcoming race – taking it completely out of the voter’s hands.
Here is a direct quote from a piece on KNCO: “A member of the Nevada Irrigation District Board will not be able to run for another term this year, under a redistricting resolution they approved. New boundaries for the five divisions, designed to maintain population balance and communities as whole as possible every ten years, mean Laura Peters no longer lives in Division Four. It covers the Lincoln area. The board voted 4-1 for the remapping, with Peters the only “no” vote. And she says the board was definitely aware of the impact. She says another similarly-balanced map could have kept her in the division.”
In the same piece Board President Chris Bierwagen indicated there was no intention to prevent Peters from seeking re-election. Director Peters added that rural Lincoln has historically always been in Division 4, and there were “some very interesting dynamics going on.”
In a YubaNet piece Peters said “While I am not surprised the board chose to redistrict me out of my division, I am disappointed. I have thoroughly enjoyed representing the constituents of Division 4 and I’m proud of the accomplishments made over the last four years.”
So Peters is standing tall. After a stellar career at the Department of Water Resources, she brought more understanding of California water, proper engineering protocol, and integrated planning procedures to NID than any other board member.
The board came close to approving Option D for the redistricting map on Feb 9. It filled the bill that all five divisions retain a population balance. But then Director Karen Hull suggested a fifth option be considered when the final vote would take place on March 9, “for variety.” This was Option E, which had a similar balance, but put Laura Peter’s home in Division 3.
If this stands wouldn’t it be considered a highly questionable and a most undemocratic outcome – with 4 people acting in total disregard for the thousands of voters in the previous Division 4 who elected her in 2018? And who will not have a chance to re-elect her in ’22?
Is this ethical?
Did Director Hull know when she suggested Option E that Laura Peters did not live within the boundaries?
Can Directors Hull, Heck, Johansen, and Bierwagen stand tall and feel good about this?
Have any of them suggested this was simply a big misunderstanding and should be rectified?
Why would Director Peters say she was not surprised or that there were some very interesting dynamics going on?
Has the Plan for Water process been poisoned by this?
Oh, and when is NID going to bring the good people of Grass Valley and Nevada City into the decision making process?