From Dick Shaikewitz
Thank you for publishing the long detailed article concerning Montecito’s Water Future written by Melinda Burns. The article is very factual and well written, but there are several areas where I strongly disagree with information she was given; two of them are:
I disagree with some of the information given by Phil Bernstein and Floyd Wicks concerning the $100,000 offer to have PERC, a private for-profit company, do a study and proposal. The District was informed of the $100,000 offer and we visited one of PERC’S facilities. We gave PERC the information they asked for, and later received a July 13, 2015 (Revised August 11, 2015) letter from them. The letter contained 12 Proposal Assumptions. Some bothered us.
But we asked PERC go ahead since someone else was paying the bill. PERC then asked us for, my recollection is, $100,000 to show our good faith. We felt this was wrong. Here was a for-profit company who solicitated us, said they would provide a proposal, and then, before they would give actual numbers on the cost, wanted a large sum of money from us. The second has to do with Bob Hazard saying “…during rationing, hundreds of customers who had accidental leaks on their properties ‘were dragged before both the ‘Leak Committee’ of the Board, and then paraded before the full Board to plead for relief.”
To help force conservation of water, the District had to both ration, and impose penalties for violations. Both Common Sense, and the Law requires an appeal process for penalties. The District frequently requested that customers read their water meters so that if they had a leak, they would detect it early on. Most of our customers did this. If they appealed a penalty, and had found and stopped the leak within a reasonable time, the penalty was forgiven.
No one had to appeal. No one was dragged or paraded before any committee. I don’t know where Bob’s opinion came from. I have no recollection of him ever attending an Appeals’ hearing. But his wife did when she appealed a leak penalty they had at their home. The hearing was pleasant. When asked where Bob was, she said she is the one who reads the water meter. Bob is not mechanical, and he can’t even change a light bulb. She discovered the leak within a reasonable time and had it repaired. Their penalty, as in most other cases, was excused.