For the third time in 15 years and four months, the board members of the Cucamonga Valley Water District have engineered for themselves an extra year in office without having to first obtain the consent of their constituents.
This week, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors approved the Cucamonga Valley Water District Board of Directors’ request to move its election dates from consolidated elections held in November of odd-numbered years to statewide general elections held in November of even-numbered years, commencing with the November 8, 2022 Statewide General Election.
The Cucamonga Valley Water District, which was previously known as the Cucamonga County Water District, historically held its board elections in odd-numbered years. This put the district out of step with many, though not all, of the other agencies, districts, governmental authorities and municipalities in San Bernardino County which held their elections in even-numbered years, which coincided with either the National Presidential/Congressional or State Gubernatorial/Congressional elections.
In October 2005, the Cucamonga County Water District Board of Directors, consisting of Robert Neufeld, Henry Stoy, Jerome Wilson, James Curatalo and Randall Reed, passed Resolution No. 2005-10-3, which dispensed with the 2007 election while changing the scheduling of the district’s elections from odd- to even-numbered years.
Because the county, the lion’s share of cities, school and water districts, as well as other governmental agencies in San Bernardino County hold their elections in even-numbered years, there is an economy of scale which lessens the cost for the individual entities to be included on even-year ballots in comparison to those entities holding their elections in odd years, when fewer elections are held and the agencies or governments involved must defray a larger percentage of the cost of printing ballots and manning voting places. The Cucamonga Valley Water District board members in 2005 asserted that the change was justified by the money the district would save as well as the increased voter participation that was anticipated by consolidating the district’s election with the other elections. The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors thereafter ratified the water district moving its elections to even-numbered years.
The month after the Cucamonga County Water District had resolved to make the change, in the November 2005 election Neufeld was reelected but the voters displaced Stoy in favor of Kathleen Tiegs.
Resolution No. 2005-10-3 consequentially extended the terms of the incumbent board members by one year, such that Wilson, Curatalo and Reed were not obliged to run for reelection in 2007. In 2008, Wilson opted out of seeking reelection. In an eight-candidate contest, Curatalo and Reed were reelected and Stoy finished third and ahead of five others, returning him to the board after a three-year absence.
In 2015, nearly ten years after the Cucamonga County Water District had moved to alter its election cycle, the City of Rancho Cucamonga put on the ballot a special initiative, known as Measure A, a proposal for a local tax increase to improve street lighting, parks and landscaping on the west side of the city. In order to get the measure passed, city officials had scheduled the vote for an odd-year election at which it was anticipated voter turnout would be limited and municipal officials hoped they could drive to the polls enough civic improvement supporters for the measure to prevail. This strategy called for drumming up support from as many other civic leaders as possible, including the board members of the water district, which at that point had converted its name to the Cucamonga Valley Water District. Rancho Cucamonga Mayor Dennis Michael and Deputy City Manager Lori Sassoon made a presentation to the water board at its September 22, 2015 meeting. At its October 13, 2015 meeting, the Cucamonga Valley Water District Board, at that time consisting of Reed, Curatalo, Tiegs, Luis Cetina and Oscar Gonzalez, passed Resolution No. 2015-10-1 in support of Measure A.
Measure A, however, was proving overwhelmingly unpopular with Rancho Cucamonga’s voters. In the closing weeks of the 2015 election season, the measure’s opponents were conducting an informational campaign blitz against the measure, and Rancho Cucamonga citizens groups had set up several social media sites on which an overwhelming number of residents were expressing disapproval of Measure A, with many advocating voting against the city council members and any other elected officials who were in support of the tax the next time they were to stand for reelection. Measure A and the local politicians who endorsed it appeared to be in for a shellacking, and that proved to be the case on November 3, 2015, when Measure A was overwhelmingly defeated 77.97 percent to 22.03 percent, with 2,289 votes in support and 8,103 votes against it.
Even before the proof of voter antipathy toward Rancho Cucamonga’s political leaders and their readiness to impose on the city’s residents higher taxes was proven at the polls, on October 27, 2015, at its last meeting before the 2015 election, the Cucamonga Valley Water District Board passed Resolution No. 2015-10-5 to return the district’s elections to odd years, and, consequentially, skip the election scheduled for November 2016. The stated reasons for the change spelled out in a district staff report were to increase voter participation and to save money on election expenses. Asubstantial number of Cucamongans, nevertheless, saw the move as one which was calculated to prevent the water board’s members from having to suffer the consequences of their support of Measure A and the water board’s collective support of tiered water rate hikes earlier that year.
In short order, a handful of Rancho Cucamonga residents took note of the change, questioning the move, seeing in it an effort by the water board to avoid the consequences of having sought to curry favor with municipal officials while deviating from the will of an overwhelming number of the constituents they represented. Moreover, the board’s assertion that moving the election to odd-numbered years would increase voter participation was a clear prevarication, as it was absolutely contrary to the established pattern of voter turnout going back more than a century in San Bernardino County, California and the nation, not to mention a contradiction of the rationale two of the board’s members – Reed and Curatalo – had given in 2005 when justifying the change to even-numbered year elections. Over a period of months, the ranks of skeptics grew, forming into a group calling itself Stop CVWD Election Abuse. Questioned were the obvious contradictions between the water board’s 2005 and 2015 actions, and what some residents asserted were inaccuracies that were slipped into the public record.
In defiance of the sentiment against the change, the water district board pressed ahead with the application, and the county board of supervisors and the county registrar of voters’ office approved and instituted the change in 2016. As a consequence, board members James Curatalo and Randall Reed, who had been reelected in 2012 and Luis Cetina, who had been elected for the first time in 2012, bypassed having to stand for reelection in 2016 and saw their four-year terms increased by one year until 2017, and Oscar Gonzales and Kathleen Tiegs, who had been reelected to their positions in 2014, had their terms extended one year to 2019.
The board’s triggering of the voting cycle alteration in October 2015, which was ultimately ratified by the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors in 2016 and conferred upon its five members the advantage of a one-year term extension, was carried out despite then-Governor Jerry Brown having signed nearly two months prior to the board initiating that action, on September 1, 2015, Senate Bill 415, the California Voters Rights Participation Act, which was passed by the California Legislature earlier that year. Among other provisions, Senate Bill 415 instituted a requirement that all state, county, municipal, district, and school district elections be held on an established election date and, as of January 1, 2018, prohibits a political subdivision from holding an election other than on a statewide election date if holding an election on a nonconcurrent date has previously resulted in voter turnout for a regularly scheduled election in that political subdivision being at least 25 percent less than the average voter turnout within the political subdivision for the previous four statewide general elections. Given that there had been woefully poor turnout of the Cucamonga County Water District’s voters in the years when the district was holding its elections in odd-numbered years, the board members with their October 2015 vote to change the district’s elections back to odd-numbered years was in violation of the law.
Nevertheless, no one intervened to stop the change, and in 2016 Curatalo, Reed and Cetina sidestepped the animus of Rancho Cucamonga’s voters, who were still irate over the Measure A debacle. The following year, local political tempers had cooled a bit and memory of Curatalo’s, Reed’s and Cetina’s sleight-of-hand had dimmed just enough for them to be reelected. Before 2017 was out, however, Curatalo, Reed and Cetina, along with Gonzalez and Tiegs and assisted by the water district’s general counsel, Jeff Ferre, would perpetuate another piece of political legerdemain relating to the district’s election cycles that raised a level of outrage dwarfing that which had occurred in 2015.
At the center of it were Curatalo, the district’s board president and Ferre, both scions of San Bernardino County political families.
Curatalo’s parents were James V. Curatalo, Sr. and Rosemary Curatalo, both of whom served on the Rancho Cucamonga City Council. Ferre’s mother’s is Maryetta Ferre, formerly a member of the Grand Terrace City Council and that city’s one-time mayor. His father was John Franklin “Frank” Ferre, a one-time member of the Colton Planning Commission, Colton School Board, and Riverside Highland Water Company Board of Directors. His grandfather was Albert Huntoon, at one time the mayor of Colton.
Ferre is an attorney with the law firm of Best Best & Krieger, which specializes in representing governmental agencies, that is, more than 250 public agencies including municipal and county governments, special districts, publicly owned utilities, school districts and regional public safety agencies throughout the United States, including eleven in San Bernardino County. Best Best & Krieger employs personnel who are devoted to staying on top of legislation relating to governmental function so that knowledge can be applied to the operations of the municipalities and public agencies its attorneys represent.
Best Best & Krieger’s attorneys conduct seminars, webinars and training on new legislation impacting government function, and the firm has a web page on its website devoted to new laws.
In 2017, the Cucamonga Valley Water District Board of Directors signaled that it wanted to again reverse course and return the district to even-numbered year elections, a bare two years after it had moved to odd-numbered year elections. In doing so, Gonzales and Tiegs were to again see their terms extended one further year, from 2019 to 2020, and Curatalo, Reed and Cetina, who were reelected that year, would have their terms extended from 2021 to 2022. Thus, Gonzales’ and Tiegs’ election in 2014, to what was then represented to be a four-year term, was to be extended into six-year terms for both. Curatalo’s, Reed’s and Cetina’s elections to what were represented to the voters as four-year terms in 2012 had already been transformed into five-year terms. If the change they were advocating was accepted, the four-year terms they had been elected to in 2017 would likewise become five year terms.
That was too much for a significant contingent of Rancho Cucamonga voters, including those who had been active as part of the Stop CVWD Election Abuse group in 2016, when they had importuned both the district’s directors, the district’s legal counsel, the county board of supervisors, and the registrar of voters not to institute the switch to the odd-numbered year elections at that time, only to be met by what they considered to be an arrogant defiance of their wishes, together with pronouncements that the election changeover was not only well-advised but warranted and legal. Particularly galling was that the district and its ratepayers were paying Ferre, who at that point had more than 25 years experience representing public clients on a variety of public law matters, and the firm for which he works, Best Best & Krieger, top dollar for legal advice. Ferre, whose assignment is to monitor all of the district’s activity and its governing board’s actions for legal compliance, signed off on the election change in 2015, and in 2016 told the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors that it had no legal grounds to block the election year shift for the district.
In 2017, claiming that he had not been aware of Senate Bill 415’s passage when he advised the Cucamonga Valley Water District Board of Directors in 2015 that they could proceed with moving the district’s election to odd-numbered years, Ferre insisted that a reversal of the action taken two years before was necessary because Senate Bill 415 left the district no choice but to switch its elections back to even-numbered years.
Among those crying foul was Mark Gibboney, a retired police officer and a 36-year resident of Rancho Cucamonga.
In 2016, Gibboney asserted that the Cucamonga Valley Water District resolution changing the district elections back to odd-numbered years adopted on October 27, 2015 was sprung on the community with no warning. Gibboney cited “erroneous statements of fact” made in presenting the resolution. “The staff report for that resolution indicated a recommendation was ‘Based on direction provided by the board.’ Minutes of previous meetings do not indicate any ‘direction’ given by the board on this subject,” Gibboney said.
Gibboney said the impetus for the board’s action was the overwhelming resident disapproval of Measure A and Curatalo’s, Cetina’s and Reed’s recognition that they were very likely to bear the hostility the voters had for their support of the taxing scheme at the next election. Curatalo, Cetina and Reed, along with Gonzalez and Tiegs, had involved themselves in “political shenanigans” aimed at benefiting themselves at the expense of their constituents, Gibboney said. The board members believed most of Rancho Cucamonga’s voters would forget about the underhanded action they had engaged in “with the passage of time,” Gibboney said. The board had tilted the electoral playing field to its advantage in 2015 with the change in the election cycle as well, Gibboney said, because “lower voter turnout favors incumbents.”
After the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors was presented with the request by the Cucamonga Valley Water District to shift its elections back to even-numbered years, that panel took up the matter at its March 20, 2018 meeting. At that meeting, Gibboney, in reaction to Ferre’s insistence that the board of supervisors had to go along with the water board members’ move to confer on themselves what would in essence be two extra years in office as “so much new hogwash.” Gibboney noted that the water district’s officials were backtracking and changing their story from what they had maintained previously in 2015 and 2016 when they had asked for the election year shift. Gibboney, who indicated his support for holding the district’s elections in even-numbered years, pointed out that the district and its directors had deviated from the best practice by requesting the change to odd-numbered year elections over the objections he and other residents of the district had made. Those forthrightly raising those objections, Gibboney said, had been bulldozed over by the district’s board members and Ferre. He suggested that the district’s request for a shift back to even-numbered year elections be granted, but with the modification that Gonzales and Tiegs, who at that point had last been elected in 2014, have their original terms set back to what they originally were, terminating in 2018 rather than in 2020, and that Curatalo, Reed and Cetina, who were reelected in 2017 after they were given a one-year term extension on the four-year term they had previously been elected to in 2012, have their then-ongoing term terminate in 2020. The board of supervisors, Gibboney asserted, had the authority to do just that under California Elections Code Section 10404, which states that a board of supervisors has the discretion to approve a resolution for a special district election within its jurisdiction being conducted on the dates specified by the board of supervisors. In this way, Gibboney said, directors Reed and Curatalo would have served their three latest terms lasting a total of 13 years, only one year more than a four-year average instead of the 15-year total or five year average they were requesting. Director Cetina would in that way serve two terms lasting a total of eight years, exactly what he was entitled to when he was elected, Gibboney said, and directors Gonzales and Tiegs would serve what was then their current term for four years, not the six years they were seeking with the election year shift they were requesting.
Ferre insisted that the law required that an elected official’s term could only be lengthened and not shortened. Under questioning by Supervisor Janice Rutherford, whose Second Supervisorial District encompasses the jurisdiction of the Cucamonga Valley Water District, Ferre, who in 2016 had asserted that the board of supervisors did not have the discretion to deny the water district’s request to shift its election cycle, sought to blame the county and the board of supervisors for having gone along with the district’s return to odd-numbered year elections.
“The request to change to odd-numbered years was worked in concert with county staff at the time, so it was not just us, it was county staff at the time, also, that came forward and said this is something that was going to be changed,” Ferre said.
This offended Rutherford, who asked Ferre how it was that the district had requested, through a resolution passed in October 2015, a change to odd-numbered year elections when a state law signed by the governor on September 1, 2015 called for the elimination of odd-numbered year elections.
“How did this request come to the board in 2016 without recognition of SB 415 at that time?” she asked. “How could the district have been unaware of the law?”
Paralyzed like a deer in highbeam headlights, the best Ferre could do was prevaricate. “We were unaware… We were, uh, uh… We were aware of it, but…” he said, his voice trailing off. He did not finish the sentence.
Rutherford said, “If this was the district’s decision, then you’ve got to own it fully. You can’t say county staff helped you accomplish that…”
Ferre interrupted Rutherford, “We did,” he claimed. “SB 415 required that we go through the analysis and make that decision on January 1, 2018. We did so. And that’s why we’re here today.”
Ferre nevertheless seemed unwilling to acknowledge that the district’s disregard for Senate Bill 415 in 2015 and 2016 conferred an extra year in office on all of the district’s elected officeholders and that the action the water district was requesting at that point would confer on its board members another year in office that they did not earn at the polls. He insisted that the supervisors had no choice but to go along with the water district’s plan to return its election cycle back to even-numbered years just two years after it had demanded that the board of supervisors ratify moving the district to odd-year elections, thereby politically benefiting the water district’s elected leadership twice for what he insisted was a simple mistake rather than a deliberate ploy to confound the democratic process.
“The item before you is simply to approve it, and you can only disapprove it if it won’t fit on the ballot,” Ferre said. “That’s good news for you, ’cause it’s really not in your discretion.” Ferre said any “blowback” from the change would be borne by the water district board members and not the county board of supervisors.
Michael Scarpello, who at that time was San Bernardino County’s registrar of voters and chief election officer, offered an overview of the issue.
“On October 25, 2005, the board of directors of the Cucamonga Valley Water District adopted a resolution to move its elections to even years and the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors approved the resolution,” Scarpello said. “On October 27, 2015, the board of directors of the district adopted a resolution to repeal its move to the even-year election cycle and this board approved the request on February 9, 2016. The result of the district’s move back to the odd-numbered year election cycle was that the terms of office for three directors whose terms were scheduled to end in 2016 were extended by one year to 2017. In addition, the terms of office for two directors whose terms were scheduled to end in 2018 were also extended by one year to 2019. California Elections Code section 10404(i) recognizes that this term extension will occur.”
Scarpello continued, “On December 20, 2017, the district’s board of directors adopted a third resolution. This resolution requested, for a second time, that the district’s elections move to even-numbered years, commencing with the November 2020 Presidential General Election. The district states it is making this request in order to comply with Senate Bill 415, which was enacted by the legislature in 2015 and requires that districts with low voter turnout in odd-year elections present a plan to move their elections to even-year elections no later than November 2022. The district’s request to move the election is being presented to you today for your consideration. The effect of approving this resolution is that three of the directors who appeared on the ballot and were reelected in 2017 and are scheduled to serve a term ending in 2021 will now have their term extended by one year and their term will now end in 2022. Two of the directors who were last elected in 2014 and are currently scheduled to end their terms in 2019 will have their terms extended an additional year and their terms will now end in 2020, the result being that these two directors will end up serving a six year term.”
Scarpello then indicated that it appeared the five members of the Cucamonga Valley Water District board were gaming the system to add years on to their elected terms without having to stand for election, but said the loophole in state election law presented them with the opportunity to do just that.
At that point, Rutherford sought to focus on the water district’s 2016 move in defiance of Senate Bill 415.
“You mentioned legislation, SB 415, that was passed in 2015,” Rutherford said.
“That’s correct,” said Scarpello.
“So, the district’s request in 2016 to this board, at which time county counsel told us we had no discretion at that point, how does the district explain that they made a request that was out of compliance with already passed state law?” Rutherford asked.
“I don’t believe that they have explained that to me,” Scarpello responded.
Rutherford said, “We’re now faced with a situation where they are extending their own terms far beyond what I believe the legislature envisioned and far beyond what is the appetite of the community. This is not how democracy is supposed to work. You don’t get to just extend your term over and over again.”
When the board of supervisors sought to explore, as Gibboney had suggested, whether it could grant the water district’s request to readopt even-year elections and adjust the terms to what they had been prior to the shift to odd-year elections that grew out of the district’s 2015 request ratified by the board in 2016, County Counsel Michelle Blakemore told the board of supervisors that “This board does not have discretion” to shorten terms. Those opposed to granting the water district’s board members the term extensions, she said, could “take it to court. The six-year term, if they want to challenge that, we really don’t know where a court would come out on that. The board has no authority to not approve the resolution.”
Supervisor Curt Hagman, while saying he felt that the board of supervisors was essentially bound by the law in having to support changing the district back to an even-year election cycle, suggested that the district’s voters should use their power of recall to remove the board members from office for the way in which they had manipulated the system to provide themselves with extended terms. Hagman then moved to ratify changing the Cucamonga Valley Water District’s election cycle back to even-numbered years beginning in 2020. When no others seconded the motion, then-Supervisor Robert Lovingood, as the board chairman, seconded it. The vote was cast, and the motion failed, with Lovingood and Hagman supporting it and Rutherford and then-supervisors Josie Gonzales and James Ramos opposed.
Curatalo in 2016 acknowledged to the Sentinel that he was the prime mover in bringing about the changeover to odd-numbered year elections.
Curatalo admitted in 2018 that the financial benefit the switch to odd-year balloting was predicated on did not materialize. “Some information has changed,” Curatalo said. “The costs projected are not what we thought they would be. There is not the cost savings we expected. Nevertheless, he insisted, the board’s intention was honorable and not tainted with venal political calculations. “The members of the board are good, honest people,” he said. “Every decision we make is made on behalf of the community. We try to make those decisions just like the other members of the community.” More important to him than the cost savings, he claimed, was the prospect of putting the water district elections into a stand-alone forum that would attract voters who were truly interested in what is going on in the water district and allow them to concentrate on the candidates for the board and the issues impacting the district without the “distraction” and clutter that normally occurs on the ballot during even-numbered years. “If you have a stand alone election, then that is going to engage voters who really care about what is going on in our community and with the water board,” Curatalo said. “The chances are that voters who show up and participate in a board election held in an off-year are going to be well informed on the issues.”
“We believed in that [returning to odd-year elections],” he said. “Except for the cost, I still think it is a good idea. If doing it had shortened our terms for a year, we would have done it because it seemed at the time to be the right thing to do.”
In 2018, Curatalo admitted that in hindsight he recognized it was an error to move the election to odd-numbered years, and recognized that the voters had been and were to be shortchanged as a consequence of the rescheduling of the elections. Nevertheless, he suggested the root of the problem lay with action taken in Sacramento rather than by local and county officials. He simultaneously insisted there was no venality involved or self-serving on the part of the district’s board members, and that any political benefit they received was an inadvertency that was a function of state law rather than any calculation by them on their own behalf.
“When we did what we did originally, it was with the honest intention of migrating the district’s elections from a crowded even-numbered year ballot to a less cluttered odd-numbered year ballot when there could be far greater focus by the voters on the issues impacting the district,” Curatalo said. “We honestly thought that once the migration took place, there would be enough voter interest and turnout would be high, and that would justify what we did. We will never know now, after the state did what it did.”
Curatalo two-and-a-half years ago described a series of actions by local government authorities and officials predicated upon ignorance or incompetence.
“We didn’t know about that law [Senate Bill 415] at the time, despite the fact that it was signed by the governor just before our agency filed with the registrar of voters to make that change,” he said. “No one in our agency knew about it. They [the registrar of voters’ office, which serves as the county’s election authority] did not know anything about it. We wouldn’t have made the request if we knew about it [Senate Bill 415] and the board of supervisors wouldn’t have approved our application if they knew about it. I know there are politicians out there who are saying something different, and I know it is a hard thing to believe, but what I’m telling you is the truth. I’m the guy who brought this [the 2015-2016 request to change to odd-numbered year elections] to the consideration of my agency. I heard about it somewhere in 2015, and I thought it sounded like a good idea, and that it would be good for the district. People said that we were doing it for our own purposes then. Now that we are changing it back, they are saying we are doing it again for selfish reasons. When I asked to change it, selfishness was the last thing on my agenda. I truly believed it was a better way to hold our elections. Do I wish it never happened? Yes. There is too much confusion now. We did what we did with good intentions.”
Curatalo insisted that giving himself and his colleagues two more years on the board for which they did not need to complete in the marketplace of democracy was “just a consequence of the change of the election cycle. That was not an aim. It was never our intention to get an extra year.”
In 2019, the Cucamonga Valley Water District changed from at-large elections to ward voting. In the district’s newly established Division 1, Kevin Kenley defeated Oscar Gonzalez, 990 votes or 51.94 percent to 916 votes or 48.06 percent. In Division 2, Gibboney defeated Kathleen Tiegs. 1,352 votes or 54.45 percent to 1,131 votes or 45.55 percent.
Last year, the Cucamonga Valley Water District renewed its request that the board of supervisors allow it to return to even-numbered year elections so that it could come into compliance with Senate Bill 415. This week, the board of supervisors considered that request and granted it, with the item relating to it being placed on the board’s consent calendar. No discussion of the item took place among the board of supervisors, which at this point has only two members – Rutherford and Hagman – who were board members in 2016, when the election switch to odd-numbered years was granted and in 2018, when the change back to even-numbered years was refused.
The board’s action this week granted all five current members of the water board – Curatalo, Reed, Cetina, Gibboney and Kenley – a one-year extension of their terms, the first three from 2021 until 2022 and the other two from 2023 until 2024.
Gibboney this week told the Sentinel, “I voted for our resolution to change our board elections back to even-numbered years, which was just approved by the board of supervisors, because state law, the California Voters Participation Rights Act, requires us to make that change and because it was the right thing to do. To leave our elections in odd years would be a waste of district finances and leave us in violation of State law. The change can be accomplished by either shortening or extending the terms of the board members. If you listen to the county counsel, which the board of supervisors obviously does, the only legal way to make the change is by extending terms. At present, the make-up of the water board is not the same as when the last change was made or when the last change was attempted. I had no preference for myself as to whether it should be by shortening or extending, but with one other new board member [Kenley], I see no moral or legal way to expect or even ask him to accept a shortened term in office for the actions of a previous board, a member of which he was elected to replace.”
Gibboney said, “The Cucamonga Valley Water District board passed a resolution in 2005 to change the district’s elections to even-numbered years to save money and increase voter participation, following a recommendation of the Little Hoover Commission. That recommendation eventually became law when the legislature passed Senate Bill 415 requiring elected boards and councils with elections in odd-numbered years having extremely low voter turnouts to consolidate their elections with general elections in even-numbered years. After the governor signed Senate Bill 415, the Cucamonga Valley Water District board, of which I was not then a member, passed a resolution to change their elections from even-numbered years to odd years to increase voter participation and to save money. I did not have a hand in making that change. I went to extraordinary measures to try and reverse that resolution and stop that change because I knew it would see voter turnout plummet and election costs increase considerably. I made every effort I could to inform the public, through social media and contacting newspapers, including the Sentinel. I spoke with the general manager of the Cucamonga Valley Water District to try and stop the change. I wrote letters to the board members and met with the president of the board. I spoke before the Cucamonga Valley Water District board on more than one occasion and outlined my opposition to the change, emphasized how Senate Bill 415 would just require they change back again, and urged them to rescind their resolution and ask the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors to do the same before it took effect. I spoke in opposition to the change before the Local Agency Formation Commission for San Bernardino County and County Board of Supervisors in 2016 to no avail.
“I have always been in favor of holding the board elections in even years,” Gibboney said in moving toward a conclusion. “Elections consolidated with the general elections in even-numbered years are less expensive for the district because when more offices and measures are on the ballot, as they usually are during the general elections in even years, the election costs are shared by more agencies and individuals. Also, voter turnout in odd-year elections is typically very low. I support increasing voter participation and that is easily accomplished by having our elections consolidated with the general elections in even-numbered years.”
For the third time in 15 years and four months, the board members of the Cucamonga Valley Water District have engineered for themselves an extra year in office without having to first obtain the consent of their constituents.