ATTORNEY SENDS PUBLIC RECORDS REQUEST TO DESCANSO COMMUNITY WATER DISTRICT

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By Sharon Penny

March 28, 2014 (Descanso) – Attorney Marco Gonzalez of the Coast Law Group has sent a request to the Descanso Community Water District for inspection of documents, based upon the California Public Records Act.

According to Gonzalez, his firm is representing various ratepayers and other interested entities concerned with management and operation of the District. He is seeking access to public documents that, he says, are “virtually impossible at this time for any member of the public to deduce where such documents are stored.”

The Descanso Community Water District did not address this issue at its Board meeting of March 18.

Gonzalez is seeking public records that specifically pertain to the following:

  • Email communications between District General Manager Dan DeMoss and District President Lee Johnson
  • Documents related to an amendment for an as-needed civil engineering contract
  • Documents relating to any allegations for a potential conflict of interest resulting from the board’s Vice President, Jeff Ortmeier’s employment with the California Rural Water Association and/or Specialized Utilities Services Program (SUSP)
  • Agendas and meeting minutes for all District meetings since January 2012
  • Documents related to a n office/trailer on district property (since removed)

Per a footnote in Gonzalez’s request, he finds that not having “documents related to an agenda item distributed less than 72 hours before a regular meeting is highly problematic.” It went on to note that his correspondence should be considered “formal notice of possible legal action should the District fail to provide the public a reasonably accessible location in which to review late agenda materials.”

The District’s attorneys, Best, Best and Krieger, provided a final response to Gonzalez early last week by providing a disk of electronic versions of all public documents.