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Lassen County Times
Susanville, California
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March 10, 2015     Lassen County Times
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March 10, 2015
 

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2A Tuesday, March 10, 2015 Lassen County Times Deputywatermaster reinstated for 30 days; Cabodi, ' Bartley call for board members' resignation Sam Williams Managin 9 Editor swilliarns@lassennews.com The Lassen County water wars continue, and the latest couple of skirmishes leave many insiders and outsiders alike scratching their heads in bewilderment. Deputy watermaster Jeff White, the at-will contractor whose contract with the Honey Lake Valley Resource Conservation District was terminated Feb. 25 --just ' three days before the irrigation season began -- is now back on the job, at least for the next 30 days. Just five days after voting tO terminate White, chair Jesse Claypool and board members Wayne Langston and Shaun Giese voted at the board's Monday, March 2 meeting to rein.state White's contract for 30 days while it investigates an alternative. Board member Larry Cabodi voted, no because he wanted the contract reinstated for a longer eriod of time. Before the vote, Giese asked, white if he would be willing to serve as the district's deputy watermaster for a month. "You know, it's bittersweet," white said: "I would do it for a month for the water users, but for this board, after the last four years, absolutely not. For the water users I would. I've been through every single hoop to make this program go. I have not been anything but forward motion on this thing. This board right here, through all the years, has been the problem with this program. For the water users, I'll be on the ground for them. Other than that, I think you guys are very disrespectful as to what's really gone on here. You two, Wayne and Shaun, you just got here. You have no clue, no clue what I've been through, what thisprogram's been through, and I think it!s very disrespectful to' treat me like some kind of don't-know- anything, half-hearted-dumb-ass out there doing the job for this program." After white's reinstatement, Langston said the board needs to look at the big picture and consider hiring a district manager to Jeff White oversee all the district's functions, including the watermaster service. He also suggested everyone involved needs to begin to work together. Langston made a motion the board negotiate with Dyer Engineer to provide technical advice to the district regarding the watermaster service. Claypool, Cabodi and Langston voted aye, and Giese abstained. Questioning the board's decision to terminate its contract with White Cabodi, the lone Honey Lake Valley Resource Conservation District director who voted against terminating White, asked his fellow board members what suggestions they were bringing forward at the meeting regarding an interim watermaster. "You guys don't have anything?" Cabodi asked. "I do not," Giese said. "I'm working on a couple of different possibilities," Langston said, "but nothing i confirmed just yet. I was told we might have a couple of proposals from a couple of terent eHtlm here today. Did thosec0ie thr0ugh or materialize?" "I've contacted Dyer Engineering," Claypool said. ,Last week I contacted Shane Dyer, and Dyer Engineering is interested and willing to submit a service contract for the season for deputy watermaster services. The last I heard Shane was going to be here, but I don't see Larry Cabodi him out there." Dyer arrived a few minutes after the meeting began, but he said his company was not interesting in being the watermaster. "I guess I don't believe what the hell I'm hearing," Cabodi said. "You guys voted to get rid of our watermaster three days before the water season without a plan in mind of how in the hell to deal with the watermaster." Cabodi said it would take at least a month for an experienced watermaster to learn the local system and about two years for an inexperienced person to learn the job. He said a committee has already formed to ask the state to take back the responsibility for the watermaster service, and the committee has already retained legal counsel to help with that effort. He blamed that development on his fellow board members. Cabodi said the watermaster service is the only source of funds for the district. The water users are satisfied with White's work, and he's been doing a good job, he said. "The RCD has been being drug down bythe watermaster service and to me you just put the nail in the coffin," Cabodi said. "I figured at least if you guys were going to vote and get rid of the watermaster, you had something in mind. So, I'm going to suggest two things ... that we reinstate the watermaster ... and my second motion is I think the Jesse Claypool three of you ought to resign because, to me, you've destroyed the RCD. It's been hanging by a hair the whole time, and you guys just shot it in the foot or in the gut, and it's over." He said he expected the other board members to have a solution in their "hip pocket," when they voted to terminate White's contract, and he was surprised they did not. "What you're telling me is total ineptness," Cabodi said. "You made a decision on data that just is wrong. You went after the watermaster without having a backup, and I just can't believe we're doing that ... " Mike Bartley, a member of the Watermaster Advisory Committee appointed by the RCD board, a landowner and a water user, also called for the three board members who voted for White's termination to resign. "What I'm about to say will probably cost me that seat (on the WAC), but I don't care," Bartley said. "I also came here today to call for you three to resign. What you pulled last week was one of the stupidest things I've ever seen ... and now you're heaping stupidity on top of stupidity. You had well over six months after the end of the last irrigation season to rectify this problem, and you waited until five days before the irrigation season to do what you did. You're hurting a whole hell of a lot of people and a lot more of them than are in this room right now with this stunt : ASKING Tina Cordoba Ashley Jones Noelle Haller-Riggs Lic. #01331513 Lic. #01894827 Lic. #00899115 310-2106 249-2109 260-1975 this house will not disappoint! This 3 bedroom, 2 1/4 bath home is loaded with upgrades including: Kitchen with Travertine tile, stainless steel appliances, a large pantry and eating bar. Formal dining room with hardwood flooring, spacious Travertine tile entry way. Large living room with natural gas log style heat (battery backup for heat when the power is out) sliding glass door out to a huge patio and beautifully landscaped yard with breath taking views. Large master suite with a slider to the patio, tiled bath with double sinks, large soaking tub, separate shower and a huge walk-in closet Additional bedrooms are spacious as well. Home has central forced air heat and air conditioning 6arage has built-in work bench and a pull down ladder to access additional storage. There is concrete around the entire house and expansive landscaping all on sprinklers and drip line. Shaun Giese that you've pulled, and I'm calling for your resignation. I'm also going to the board of supervisors and call for them to recall you." Bartley also asked the board to explain its dissatisfaction with White. "I think we have a right to know why you two (Giese and Langston) and you Mr. Claypool dislike him so much that you're willing to hurt every single one of us here and not here to keep this fiasco going. Please tell us that. What did he do that's made you so mad that you're willing to hurt every single one of us here?" Claypoot responded the board needed to focus on its agenda item and the motions on the floor. "We've deffmitely got some valid points and some valid concerns we have to address," Langston said. "That's the action that's been laid upon us, and that's what we have to do ... We need to step up to the plate. We need Wayne Langston to assume what options there are out there. I was under the impression there were going to be some options today.. Again, I'm hearing the concerns, and they're valid concerns, and we as a board need to step up and accommodate these. We need to get that done today." Giese acknowledged the error of the board's previous decision to terminate White's contract. "I think we put the cart before the horse," Giese said. "I thought there were more options. I'm trying to cooperate a little bit, I would back Larry's motion (to reinstate White) if it was for a month while we investigate our options, because we're in a little bit of mess here." The board also discussed extending the contract period for about four months until June 30, the end of the district's fiscal year, but it took no action on that proposal. District hears water users' Local rancher Jay bow wanted answers from the board and dominated the discussion by the water users at the Honey Lake Valley Resource Conservation District's Monday, March 2 meeting. He acknowledged White has both supporters and detractors, bdt he said out of 240 water users there are "four chronic complainers" as well as some board members who are unhappy with White. bow led the charge for the water users. "This room is packed with concerned water users right now, and I'm one of them," bow said. "We're two days into the water season, and I don't have stock water today. I've got a thousand mother cows mothering right now, and I don't know how I'm going to water them because it's just absolutely chaotic out there. Do you have an answer for me on that?" bow reminded the board of its responsibility to provide the water to which the users are legally entitled. "You've been appointed by the court to provide a watermaster service to the water users," bow said. "You're responsible, and your actions are just foolhardy at this stage of the game. So how am I going to get water to my cattle, let alone my decreed, adjudicated water rights to start the irrigation season? Can you answer that for me today?" "That's what we're considering today is an interim deputy to be able to ensure those thingS," Claypool said. "I have cattle right now that are going to be drinking out of mud puddles," bow said. "How would you like to See Ire, page 5A Probate Bankruptcy Business Law Estate Planning Family Law Trust Administration 125 South Lassen St. Susanville 530-257-4300 ,I