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Voice: Who are the experts?

July 06, 2001

The understood but seldom stated definition of an "expert"is "someone from out of town."

Based on that, the Imperial Irrigation District's "dream team" members, employed for water transfer purposes, are mostly experts (IID's chief legal counsel is local).

Collectively and individually, the Dream Team has played dominant roles in:

(1) Negotiating the transfer agreement

(2) Preparing the petition to transfer of water

(3) Directing the environmental impact studies

(4) Negotiating and drafting the Quantification Settlement Agreement terms

The QSA terms are so complicated that it would appear that the "dream team" members would have extensive ongoing roles in the transfer process. As I told the Water Conservation Advisory Board, IID needs to simplify its QSA terms or the "dream team" will benefit more from the transfer than IID.


Most recently, IID's chief legal counsel drafted a resolution that seeks support for the funding of the environmental impact from the water transfer on the Salton Sea. It was called the QSA resolution.

Even after three IID meetings and extensive discussion, and an amendment to the resolution, Stella Mendoza and Bruce Kuhn still voted "no" on the resolution based on IID committing itself to issues yet to be developed and which may end up not being in the Valley's public interest.

The IID is government. And it is important that we insist that the QSA terms be dealt with in a representative and democratic matter, i.e.

(1) The proposed QSA terms be introduced to the full board as an information item.

(2) The information be properly prepared. (The key terms which preceded the QSA terms were not property prepared.)

(3) There be public hearings and a written comment period.

(4) Staff shall respond to the basic comments in writing and these comments and responses shall become art of the board hearing information.

(5) There shall be a board hearing wherein this information shall be heard and acted upon.

Spurious information was introduced in the key terms hearings. Conversely, a most relevant key term, "defensive transfers" was not introduced. And most recently a new key term has emerged — "fallowing." Therefore, it is not asking too much to have a meaningful "agreement making" process.


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