IMPORTANT: Participation Requested. EID is Proceeding

IMPORTANT: Participation Requested. EID is Proceeding

Sunday August 23, 2020

Dear Save the Canal Supporters,

Tomorrow, Monday August 24 at 9am, the EID Board of Directors will meet and vote to award a contract to fund the piping of the Upper Main Ditch. They are rushing to initiate construction before the Appeal we filed is even heard by the Court or we have a chance to vote out the current board members. 

VOTE Sue Taylor, Div 1 and Craig Schmidt, Div 3 this November for EID Board of Directors.

Here is the ZOOM meeting link:
https://zoom.us/j/94563608941 

If the Board votes to fund “piping the canal” then construction will start. This is very bad news…  The damage that will be done will be irreversible.  That’s exactly what Jim Abercrombie, the General Manager wants…

  • It is imperative that we, Save the Canal, and ALL of our supporters (and your friends) attend this ZOOM meeting.
  • MOST importantly YOU HAVE TO make a statement during the comment section of Agenda item 12. Others will be speaking so you’ll know the right time to comment.
  • There is a phone in option so you do not have to have a computer or high-speed internet to participate.

Let us be clear, THE ONLY WAY that the board will know you are present is if you JOIN the call AND COMMENT at the meeting.

EID will not be able to tally to the number of citizens against the project without a comment. It can be short and direct, state your name and comment against it.

We need to demonstrate that the community is united in its opposition to this project and this will require MANY voices to be heard.

We are grateful for your continued support,
Your friends at Save the Canal
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FEEL FREE TO MAKE WHATEVER STATEMENT YOU WANT HOWEVER WE HAVE INCLUDED A FEW CURRENT KEY POINTS IN CASE YOU NEED INSPIRATION.

Key Points:
  •  This project started at $3.4 million in 2013, with more than half of it paid for by grants. Now EID management has again increased the cost of the project from $13.2M to $15.4M (plus $2.3M already spent). That’s a 500% increase and who knows if it will stop there! (See cost estimates chart graphic above)
  •  Any “cost-benefit” to EID ratepayers of the Main Ditch project disappeared many, many millions of dollars ago. Yet the EID board continues to rubber-stamp “full speed” ahead.
  •  This project is out of control just like the Folsom Lake Intake Project ($17.7M to $42.7M) and the Forebay Dam project ($9M to $26M).  What will be the REAL COST of piping the canal if costs are going up in $2M increments in just a few months?
  •  EID has denied that the UMD has any value as a fuel break and firefighting resource, but common sense and evidence from the KING FIRE prove otherwise.  It’s obvious to everyone that all water resources and fuel breaks have value to mountain communities. What will it take for you to acknowledge the truth of this? All of our homes being burnt down? That will be too late. You can twist words but that doesn’t make the threat any less real.  This impact has not been adequately addressed in the EIR, and how will you, the Board, feel if Pollock Pines burns due to a lack of adequate infrastructure.
  • At a minimum, funding this project MUST await the Appeals Court ruling on the lawsuit before contractually committing $15.4 million of EID funds that could certainly be more wisely and securely spent on dozens of other EID project priorities. The lawsuit will likely result in additional mitigation measures being imposed to address significant project deficiencies and will further add to the burgeoning cost of this unnecessary project.  If construction is allowed to begin there will be no way to undo the damage EID will cause between now and then.

Financial Issues:

  • This project started at $3.4 million in 2013, with more than half of it paid for by grants. Now the board is being asked to approve over 17 million. That’s a 500% increase and who knows if it will stop there! (See cost estimates chart)
  • This is an ongoing pattern used by Jim Abercrombie and EID staff. Project costs are purposefully underestimated to deceive the Board, then once they get the Board to buy in, the price often quadruples or more.  This is true for the Forebay Dam project and the proposed Upper Main Ditch Piping and the Folsom Intake projects
  • You, the Board, should feel duped, and especially OUR Division 1 representative George Osborne, who has been doing it the longest.
  • We hear rosy projections of the economic sense of these projects, but our rates continue to skyrocket- this does not add up. If these projects make economic sense when do we see rate reductions?
  • The reality is that current ratepayers are shouldering the cost of building excess capacity for future development, primarily in the Eldorado Hills area.  EID has effectively subsidized the true cost of supplying water for developers, using our hard-earned dollars to finance it.
  • With the current economic downturn, we simply cannot have EID implementing double-digit rate hikes to fund these unnecessary projects.

UMD EIR/CEQA Lawsuit

  • The EIR was grossly inadequate and was based on unsubstantiated assertions and misleading information, or simply failed to address significant project impacts.
  • The plan to abandon the UMD without addressing the drainage issues created by this project is irresponsible and will not likely stand up in court.  Shifting the burden of handling the drainage problems to the adjacent landowners is not a viable plan, as we saw in the recent flooding in the Cedar Grove area, which was caused by abandoning the Middle Main Ditch.  There will be more lawsuits and more settlement costs for EID.
  • The water loss estimates presented in the EIR are gross exaggerations designed to mislead the public and the Board and give the appearance of greater project benefits.  The EIR purposefully misrepresented the water loss data, falsely claiming that it was based on extensive 2009-2016 data.  All of the data from 2009-2015 was invalid due to equipment failure and very limited, cherry-picked, 2016 data was used to “extrapolate” the potential losses over the period. (See loss estimates chart)
  • EID has denied that the UMD has any value as a fuel break and firefighting resource, but common sense and evidence from the KING FIRE prove otherwise.  Rural landscapes like those along the UMD have limited firefighting resources and one look outside will make clear the importance of retaining and improving our firefighting resources. It’s obvious to everyone that all water resources and fuel breaks have value to mountain communities. What will it take for you to acknowledge the truth of this? All of our homes being burnt down? That will be too late. You can twist words but that doesn’t make the threat any less real. This impact has not been adequately addressed in the EIR, and how will you, the Board, feel if Pollock Pines burns due to a lack of adequate infrastructure.
  • At a minimum, funding this project should be delayed until there is a resolution of the lawsuit.  The lawsuit will likely result in additional mitigation measures being imposed to address significant project deficiencies and will further add to the burgeoning cost of this unnecessary project. Entering into contractual relationships without a full picture of project costs is irresponsible.  How many times will it take to learn these lessons?

General Board Comments

  • As elected officials, the EID Board has the responsibility to represent the ratepayers and to provide the direction and fiscal responsibility to the management of EID.
  • Somehow the management of EID has become twisted such that the General Manager is setting the policy and priorities and the Board has been diminished to implementing the GM’s vision rather than the Board insisting on their authority to set policy and priorities.  It is time for the Board to live up to your responsibilities.  You do not work for Abercrombie – he works for you. The inefficient use of ratepayer money is on YOU.  We can’t vote Abercrombie out – it is your job to rein him in. Your recent contract extension for Abercrombie and Paulson, complete with guaranteed raises is shameful.
  • Director Osborne we are tired of you rubber stamping projects that do little or nothing to benefit your division while imposing massive rate hikes on us. We are all financially hurting in case you haven’t been paying attention. This reckless spending to support downhill development must end.
  • WE need leaders, not sheep!
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Directly after the consent calendar, our is item #12.
**This vote could happen pretty early in the meeting if no items are pulled from the Consent Calendar.
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8/24 BOARD MEETING PUBLIC PARTICIPATION INSTRUCTIONS:
** Please note that EID has previously changed the ZOOM address just prior to the meeting start time with no sufficient notice.
If they do this again, either use the “Telephone dial in” and/or we will post the New Meeting Link on Facebook pages Save the Canal and Debating El Dorado County Politics and on our website, http://savethecanal.info/
 
Instructions to join the Board Meeting by telephone only
  • No accompanying computer or mobile device required.
  • This option will allow participants to listen to Board meeting audio and address the Board during public comment periods by pressing *9 on the telephone keypad.
  • Dial 1.669.900.6833 and enter Meeting ID 945 6360 8941 when prompted.
 
Instructions to join the Board Meeting from your computer or mobile device 
Click the following join link or copy and paste into your browser
  • Please note that before joining a Zoom meeting on a computer or mobile device, you can download the Zoom app from https://zoom.us/download
  • If the device being used is equipped with a microphone and speaker, participants may view the presentation live and listen to Board meeting audio.
  • You may address the Board during public comment periods by clicking on the “raise a hand” button.
  • If the device being used is not equipped with a microphone, participants may view the presentation live and listen to Board meeting audio using the link above.
  • Participants may address the Board during public comment periods by using the call in instructions above and pressing *9 on the telephone keypad.
Otherwise, you will be prompted to download and install Zoom when you click a join link. You can also visit https://zoom.us/test at any time to familiarize yourself with Zoom.

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