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We Need New Board Members at Helix Water District

Kristin Hobbs Kjaero: "Their vindictiveness towards Hedberg for not being “their kind” of team player led them to muzzle requests for information, skip her as Board Vice President, and remove her from outside boards."

To the editor:

The deadline to run for Board is August 10, and no challengers have returned papers. We need good candidates to replace incumbents.

This is the Board that CalAware forced to go back and restart a rate hike over a series of Brown Act violations*.

The bright spot on this rubberstamp board, Kathleen Hedberg, is the only Director to ask questions or appear to understand materials. The others exude paternalistic arrogance and dismiss anyone speaking at public meetings. Their vindictiveness towards Hedberg for not being “their kind” of team player led them to muzzle requests for information, skip her as Board Vice President, and remove her from outside boards.

Recently, Director [Charles] Muse proposed to prohibit Board Members from speaking with media. Thankfully the Constitution prevailed; they backtracked to “only” require personal opinion disclaimers. Do they really think people can’t tell the difference? Their opinion of the public is low.

Perhaps this explains why staff blatantly instructs “the Board adopt” resolutions, instead of posing questions. An August 1 resolution told Directors to extend – early – the Employees’ Association contract until 2015, on terms that may increase benefits if cost of living turns out to be over 2 percent. And how will the Healthcare Act affect options? Are you a gambler? Because  4 out of 5 on the Board decided to roll the dice on our behalf.

Why do this when public pensions are under scrutiny, and limit options early? Could it be because Employees walked precincts in past elections?

Directors Muse, [John] Linden and [Richard] Smith seek reelection. Do you live in their divisions? If so, run!

Kristin Hobbs Kjaero
La Mesa

(*Editor's Note: Kate Breece, senior public affairs representative for Helix Water District, contacted La Mesa-Mount Helix Patch Wednesday, refuting the claims of the letter writer about Brown Act violations.)

Breece said: "Ms. Kjaero’s statement, 'This is the Board that CalAware forced to go back and restart a rate hike over a series of Brown Act violations' is not factual. We believe the author of this editorial should be aware that no Brown Act violations were found, as she was a signatory on the CalAware letter to the District (05/13/09). A letter from Helix’s attorney regarding their incorrect allegations was sent to Californian’s Aware (06/10/09). No further action was taken."

Russell Buckley August 09, 2012 at 03:53 AM
Kristen is so right. With the exception of Kathleen, this Board consistently puts the interests of HWD employees over the interest of the rate payers. Benefits and salaries are far too generous - particularly pensions. There is no earthly reason why rate payers continue to pay the employee share of pension costs - already a much smaller part of costs than those that ratepayers pay. Nor is there a reason for the overly generous pension formula. Nor do HWD employees need to retire at age 55 with full benefits and medical for life. (just to mention a few). I experienced a recent example of the Boards callous disregard for the public when the Board President declined to read a letter I wrote to be read at the August first meeting (I had a planned vacation on that date and the Board Secretary assured me there would be no problem in having the letter read). The Board takes care of the good old boys and girls knowing that come election time they will do what is necessary to get them re-elected. We despertely need some new members who are willing to balance the interests of rate payers with those of the employees.
David Smith August 09, 2012 at 04:33 AM
Buckley is so wrong. I was at the Board meeting Mr. Buckley is referring to when he says he got an example of the the callous disregard for the public. Malarkey! The Board clearly discussed your letter in the meeting and made copies available to everyone in attendance. There were also four of your cronies present that could also have read the letter for you. Nice try at spinning the truth.

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