Water is the New Gold

Water is the new gold in California and after attending the North Yuba Water District’s (NYWD) monthly meetings for about a year now, I realize that there is a power grab going on for our irrigation water.


The general manager, Jeff Maupin, and three of the five directors - Dale Skinner, John Jacobson, and Don Forguson - who are his minions (to borrow a word from Buck Weckman) have, in my opinion, wanted to get rid of irrigation customers for years even though this special district was formed in 1952 as an irrigation district first with domestic water customers and power generation added later. Mr. Maupin and his support team decided that an 8 million dollar pipeline was needed and irrigation customers’ rates were to increase by 600%. I assume they thought that would get rid of us – because they had other plans for our water. They were shocked that we – both irrigation and domestic customers - fought the rate hike and won even though they put-up blocks to make this feat as difficult as possible for us.


It appears that they let the ditch go into disrepair on purpose and even though there is enough water this year for us to have had a full season of irrigation water – they couldn’t and wouldn’t deliver it to us and water was shut-off in July.


At the June meeting my husband gave a presentation of a product – concrete canvas – that is used all over the world for lining ditches and canals. It can be laid down without turning the water off and could have fixed the worse leaks. At that meeting Directors Jenny Cavaliere and Loren Olsen asked Jeff Maupin to hike along the ditch with them and show them the locations of the worst leaks and he agreed. The representative for this product agreed to also come. Although Jeff Maupin agreed to do the tour at the meeting, he refused to follow through. It’s obvious to me – irrigation water running in our canals is not in his future plans.


If you’ve been to a meeting it’s obvious that siding with Jeff Maupin and his three directors are some members of the Fellowship of Friends (FoF) who I believe would like to change zoning laws and develop “cluster housing” in the area. This type of development would need WATER. They supported the $8,000,000 pipeline and did not support us in our effort to fight the fee hike.


Also on the same side is Supervisor Randy Fletcher who is supported by FoF and who had been spotted having lunch with Dale Skinner at a local café down the road from the District office. When Mr. Skinner was questioned about this private meeting, he replied that it was a free world and he could have lunch with anyone he wanted.


Director Jenny Cavaliere - supported by Loren Olsen – is the only director that asks questions at the monthly meetings and wants accountability for their irresponsible spending. If it wasn’t for Jenny’s questions we – the public – would have no knowledge of what is going on. In my view this is DECEIT.


Under the Brown Act the five directors – TOGETHER – are to discuss issues and give direction to the general manager. This is absolutely NOT what is happening. They are so very disrespectful to her and to scare her into keeping quiet they decided to spend another $22,000 of taxpayers’ money to hire an investigator to research 4 allegations they came-up with against her. The special meeting in August to report the results of the investigation was a joke. It really showed me the extent of the desire of Director Don Forguson to harass Jenny. He repeatedly asked the lawyer, who was reporting the investigator’s results, how the board could censor Jenny on one of the allegations that was already revealed as untrue. Finally the lawyer told him, “It was an unfounded allegation so I wouldn’t recommend any action on an unfounded allegation.”


I write about all these points to give the public a glimpse of how unethical these meetings are. They do whatever they want with complete disregard for transparency and honesty. This is why the November elections are so important to us. Three of the five directors’ seats are up for election. We need to win all three seats to have any say in what happens.


If you have a dog in this fight – then you know how you will vote. If you don’t and you can sympathize with us – then we’re asking for your help if you are either in District 1, 2, or 3.

We need : Alton Wright to win in District 1,

Terry Brown to win in District 2,

and Jenny Cavaliere to win in District 3

Margaret Kangas

Oregon House, Ca.

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