3 Seats on La Habra Heights Water District Board up for Election

Update August 21, 2009 Candidates Statements

Due to no one else filing, appointed, unelected member Pam McVicar will automatically retain the seat for the remaining two years.

Two 4 year seats are up for election. Three candidates are running. Their statements can be seen below.

Candidate Statements
Brad Cooke
George Edwards
Jeff Heintz


Update August 8, 2009: Open Government Advocate and past Council Candidate George Edwards filed papers for a four year seat on the Water Board.


Election is November 3, 2009.

Candidate Filing takes place at the Los Angeles County Election Information Section on the second floor, Room 2013, 12400 Imperial Highway, Norwalk.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The last day to file is Friday August 7, 2009, 5 p.m..

Position

The Board meets the third Tuesday of each month.

Meetings last approximately 2 hours, depending on the agenda.

Board members receive a stipend of $100 per meeting, up to 3 meetings per month.
There are no other benefits or compensation according to the District.

The Board oversees a budget of about $3 million per year.
In comparison, the City of La Habra Heights General Fund Budget is about $2.9 million for 2009-10.

The Water District consists of the City of La Habra Heights and a couple of Los Angeles County islands.

There are 6 water reservoirs, three upper zone; Skyline, Skyline Trail, and top of Reposado; and 3 lower zone, Picaacho, Reposado at Greenview, and Coban.

The Water District is currently installing a 2 million gallon tank at the Skyline location, which is a Capital project expenditure.

Most of the water comes from wells at the San Gabriel River and is pumped up from that 155 foot elevation to La Habra Heights.

Incumbents

Four year seats of incumbent Brad Cook and unelected, appointed member Jeffrey Heintz are up, as well as a two year seat for unelected, appointed member Pam McVicar.

Pam McVicar is President of the La Habra Heights Improvement Association.
Jeffrey Heintz is Treasurer of the La Habra Heights Improvement Association.

The La Habra Heights Improvement Association has been rocked by controversy in recent months.

The Improvement Association Vice President was arrested in May, and still in jail, unable to post $2.5 million bail, for 144 charges including fraud and identity theft, though the District Attorney has not announced charges related to activity on the Improvement Association.

The Improvement Association stonewalled inquiries about the safety of members' personal information for over a month, finally stating that the Vice President had not had contact with members' financial or personal data.

Each year, the Improvement Association holds board elections at their annual Members Meeting, as was announced in the June Heights Life.

When members arrived at the meeting, the Improvement Association Board announced winners of the election that had been secretly held amongst the board members only. Members were not allowed to vote.

When questioned, President Pam McVicar admitted that they had changed their by-laws, out of public view, but would not let any Association members see them, saying that only the Board could see them.

Association annual financial reports were typically released and passed out to Improvement Association members at the annual meeting. However, Treasurer Jeffrey Heintz refused to share the financial report with members at the meeting.

The Improvement Association is a 501 (c)3 non-profit, and such organizations are typically forthcoming with financial reports and by-laws so as not to lose non-profit status and to show contributors that funds are used and managed wisely.

The Improvement Association receives contributions from members and public funds from Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe.

At a 2007 Improvement Association meeting subsequent to the annual "Jingle Bell Ball", Treasurer Jeffrey Heintz reported that the Ball had "broken even", after shifting leftover Music in the Park money to cover the Ball shortfall.

Some in the audience grimaced at that type of "accounting".

Voters' Choice

If any challengers run, voters will have to decide if records of closed door governance, stonewalling, and unusual accounting methods should be brought to the Water District Board.