Big Bear Lake MWD Sidesteps Controversy With Board Member’s Purchase Of Permit

Allegations that Big Bear Municipal Water District Board Member Larry Cooke engaged in unlicensed commercial activity at his place of business on Big Bear Lake was resolved this week after he agreed to secure a concession permit.
According to a staff report accompanying item 6A on the agenda for this week’s meeting of the water board, “It was brought to the district’s attention that Director Cooke has allegedly violated district policy regarding dock policy by working without a district-issued permit and has also been observed working on boats below the highwater line.”
Cooke owns Big Bear Dock & Marine. This year, he did not renew his district permit to conduct work on the lake. Cooke’s permit expired in April.
To ensure against the perception of favoritism being shown toward a district official, the district’s general manager, Mike Stephenson, as well as both members of the board’s administrative subcommittee, Director Bob Ludecke and Director Vince Smith, asked for the alleged violations of district policy and California Water Code 71660 to be discussed on the record.
The upshot of that discussion, Stephenson told the Sentinel, was that Cooke “agreed to buy a concession permit. He was doing work without a license, and that was the issue.”
The work Cooke engages in consists of activity below the lake’s water line, Stephenson said. Getting a permit to do so, Stephenson said, will require that Cooke show he has proper insurance relating to his operation.
“He said he would do that,” Stephenson said.
Cooke having insurance was a major issue in the matter, Stephenson said.
The Big Bear Municipal Water District is an independent special district functioning under the authority of the State of California. It is responsible for the overall management of Big Bear Lake.
-Mark Gutglueck

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