I attend the Santa Ynez ID 1 Water District meetings regularly. For a small valley water district with agriculture, tourism, and residential interests, the water district and the customers it serves have engaged in many costly water wars.

Again, we are facing into costly legal battles on who may run for office on the ID 1 Board. Last week, Joe Holland, Santa Barbara County Registrar of Voters, opined that issues in dispute between ID 1 and the candidates must be decided after the election.

Unfortunately, this latest dispute most likely will cost the ratepayers of ID 1 thousands of dollars in additional litigation costs. Resolving the issue will become a Full Employment Act for the attorneys, and as always, the ratepayers will get an increase in their water rates.

It is unfortunate in that the whole issue should have been resolved amicably. ID 1 should make the requirements crystal clear for every one with the intention of running for office.

Further, all the candidates should do their due diligence and ask pertinent questions as to the requirements if he or she wishes to represent a division.

The ratepayers should try to understand the challenges of the water district: state unfunded mandates, Lake Cachuma contract renewal, ground water sustainability act, eight-year drought.

And Santa Barbara County and Mr. Holland should consider the cost to ratepayers to litigate the issue. Why the issue could not be considered and remedied before the ballot goes to press does not serve the ratepayers or the water district well.


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