One of the first questions asked at the Jan. 7 meeting co-sponsored by Paso Robles Agricultural Alliance for Groundwater Solutions and PRO Water Equity regarded the minority governing the majority. Both sponsors assured the attendees that the makeup of the board they developed would prevent that. I disagree.
The described board would consist of three directors elected by all registered voters in the basin, two by landowners with less than 40 acres, two by those owning between 40 and 399 acres, and two by those with more than 400 acres. The latter two categories will more than likely be aligned, equating to four directors favoring large owners. Voting rights in the second category is based on acreage, i.e. 1 acre, one vote; 39 acres, 39 votes. Enough said. Large owners could pick up more directors in the three at-large seats.
According to the SLO County website, there are 8,000 landowners in the basin. One of the last questions asked was what is the fewest number of signatures/voters needed to establish the water district, with voting based on acreage. The response: around 50. The minority will rule. I can understand PRAAGS wanting a water district, but not PRO Water Equity, formed by rural homeowners purporting to represent the same.
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