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Center for Biological Diversity AB 2453

Center for Biological Diversity AB 2453

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Published by CalCoastNews
The Center for Biological Diversity (Center), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, formally submits its opposition
to the proposed Assembly Bill 2453.
The Center for Biological Diversity (Center), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, formally submits its opposition
to the proposed Assembly Bill 2453.

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Categories:Types, Legal forms
Published by: CalCoastNews on May 06, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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 New Mexico
New York
 Washington, DC
Russell Howze
 Urban Wildlands Program
 351 California St., Suite 600
 San Francisco, CA 94104
: 415-436-9682 x306
: 415-436-9683
April 30, 2014 Chairman Katcho Achadjian Assembly Committee on Local Government 1020 N Street, Room 157 Sacramento, CA 95814 Fax: 916-319-3959 Re: Opposition to AB 2453 Chairman Achadjian and Committee Members: The Center for Biological Diversity (Center), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, formally submits its opposition to the proposed Assembly Bill 2453. If passed, AB 2453 will amend the state water code relevant to the creation of a California Water District (CWD) and allow the formation of a water district over the Paso Robles groundwater basin to be based solely upon an unreasonable vote by size-of-acreage owned within the proposed district. Instead of using a democratic one-person, one-vote method of creating the new CWD, this new scheme will disenfranchise small landowners in the Paso Robles basin and will create unsound policy that will set a negative precedent for future water districts. In the Paso Robles basin, ninety of the largest landowners control about two-thirds of the acreage. As the bill stands in your committee, the formation vote for a CWD will be based upon acreage. AB 2453 will allow as few as 35 landowners to creat the Paso Robles Basin Water District, and thus disenfranchise the thousands of registered voters in the district who will be taxed on the water that they use. On February 26, 2014, the
Cal Coast News
 reported that hundreds of rural landowners, represented by the Creston Advisory Board (CAB), have already voted to be excluded from this vote-by-size framework. CAB chairman Sheila Lyons states that “the formation vote for any water district should be based on one parcel, one vote.” If AB 2453 passes, “the majority of landowners will have their rights ‘taken’ from them.” The bill will begin the process of establishing the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin in San Luis Obispo County, but it will also create significant implications for all of California. Setting up a vote based upon size of property will set a precedent where wealthy landowners will be able to sieze control of a region’s local groundwater. Water is a shared resource, so concentrated control will effectively privatize water and disempower the public. The directors who would get elected to create the CWD will surely have the interests of the larger landowners at heart. Passing AB 2453 will also bring up legal issues of equal protection under the state Constitution. Media outlets in the San Luis Obispo region report that real estate investment groups are purchasing large acreage in the area. A CWD has not been formed in over 20 years. As speculators descend and are hopeful that the Paso Robles Basin Water District will have friendly directors on board based upon the bills’ hybrid voting structure, this committee has an opportunity to protect our shared

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