When people move to Idyllwild, Pine Cove, Fern Valley or environs, one of the first questions they ask is, “Why are there three water districts?” I mean, this isn’t a metropolis of cities with their own city councils and mayors to run water districts, etc. These are very tiny neighborhoods. A FVWD neighborhood can abut an IWD neighborhood and an IWD neighborhood can abut a PCWD neighborhood.
In Big Cedar Glen, some residents are in IWD and some are in PCWD.
Besides the water districts and the local fire department, our lowest level of government is way down in Riverside, the heart of Riverside County.
So Monday night, when Pine Cove residents came down hard on a consolidation committee formed by Idyllwild Water District to study goals of getting the three water districts to at least work together, I thought that was unfair.
They like to list all the problems of which IWD is burdened, i.e. not purchasing Paul Black’s wells, not using the water study plan like PCWD did to find new wells, putting sewer in Foster Lake.
The bad decisions IWD has made in the past are not caused by the current board.
What PCWD has is a better general manager. But believe me, the PCWD directors could not make the decisions Jerry Holldber has made over the years to provide great water to the people of Pine Cove.
Read 1973 in this week’s “Past Tense” on page A9. Then PCWD Manager Tom Wick blamed “pounding” water pipes on a “rinky-dink water system.”
So, current PC residents jumping on the current IWD board for past decisions is like saying those in Pine Cove with a “rinky-dink water system” are opposed to consolidation.
IWD has had a series of bad to relatively poor general managers. The only fault of the board in that case is hiring them. General managers are the ones who make the management decisions, like Jerry. The board can’t make those decisions.
PC customers who claim IWD wants to steal their radio tower money is like Trump saying the Mexicans are trying to take over the 2020 presidential election by sending people over the border.
Most of PCWD customers have no idea what Jerry and his staff do day-to-day. So, when they come to meetings arguing against consolidation, they’re masking objective thinking with personal issues.
Jerry is getting older. He won’t be around forever.
And when he isn’t, PCWD directors could make a bad decision and hire a Tom Lynch Jr. Then PC may be back to a “rinky-dink water system” and re-thinking their personal views about consolidation.
And, as to savings of not paying for three GMs and three office staff if a merger does take place, that doesn’t necessarily mean water rates and/or taxes will go down.
If Nebraska merged with Kansas, would that happen? It’s another thought, not a personal opinion.
I agree with Marge Muir that we need to put the past in the past and move forward. We also need to look to the future and not dwell in the present when it concerns both water and fire in our community.
After all, geographically, it’s all the same watershed.
Becky Clark, Editor