Diana “De” Eskew is the new vice president of the Pine Cove Water District Board of Directors. She was elected unanimously at the Aug. 12 meeting. Robert Hewitt, former vice president, was chosen president at the July meeting, following the resignation of former President Michael Esnard.
Following the filling of its officer positions, the board held a long discussion on whether to recommend that directors submit to a Live Scan, which is an inkless, electronic means of capturing fingerprints in a digitized format.
The Live Scan operator checks the applicant’s identification, inputs the applicant’s personal descriptor information, captures the applicant’s fingerprints electronically and transmits the data to the California Department of Justice. Once the transaction is received by the DOJ, the fingerprint images are used to automatically search against all other fingerprint images in the fingerprint database.
Further discussion, including how to pay for the scan, was deferred to the September meeting. In general, board members endorsed the concept but differed on its application and who pays for it.
“We have nothing to hide. We are representing the public and can demonstrate we have no past that would compromise our representation,” Hewitt said, introducing the idea.
The newest board member, Tim Lange, said, “It’s a great idea. I’m for anything that supports transparency.”
After Hewitt said the board could not require directors to subject themselves to the investigation, new directors in the future would simply be subject to peer pressure to take the Live Scan.
Eskew made a motion recommending “Live Scan for all board members with the exception of how to pay for it.” Then Director Lou Padula objected, “I don’t think we need Live Scan for everybody, just [future] new members. Anybody new should get it done.”
Director Joel Palmer withdrew his second of the motion for the same reason, “It should be mandatory. If optional. I withdraw.”
Both Hewitt and General Manager Jerry Holdber stressed that having a Live Scan could not be made a mandatory condition for being a director.
Padula also had a second problem with the specifics of implementing the idea. He was opposed to requiring directors to donate the cost of their scan.
Marge Muir, a Pine Cove Realtor attending the meeting, noted that individuals may have criminal records for youthful indiscretions or may have served a sentence for whatever crime had been convicted. These issues have been settled, she said.
Hewitt, recognizing that no consensus or majority was going to form during this discussion, asked to table the item to the September meeting.
In water business, Holldber reported that July production was 2.9 million gallons, 20 percent less than the July 2014 production.
While the district’s production since January is about 4 percent less than the same period last year, production for the past 12 months is about 1 percent more than the prior 12 months.
When asked if customer conservation had contributed to the reduced consumption, Holldber concurred. He noted that for the May-June billing period, actual water sales also were lower this year despite the recent rate increases.
“Demand is down because of the people’s efforts. We sold less water this year,” he told the board.
Going forward, Holldber is optimistic that the recently completed leak detection program also will show an improvement. Thirteen leaks were identified and repaired, most characterized as “seepers,” but some were more substantial.
“Maybe we found a total of 10 gallons per minute. Most of the repairs were near the end of the month, a week before reading the meters,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll see a difference in October and a reduction in the unaccounted-for water.”
While the drought is four years old, Holldber reported that the district wells continue to be in very good condition. The district’s static well has fallen only 1 foot since May, he said, “It’s holding up very well compared to past droughts.”
In addition, the output of several wells was greater last month than in July 2014. He attributed this to the May and July rains.
After hearing about the status of the wells and production, Ian Tober, Pine Cove customer, said, “We’ve had no problem supplying water in the district during droughts. And there are probably few lots that can be developed, so water use is unlikely to grow much. It appears to me the district overall and into the future is in a great position.”