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OP/ED: Assembly Member Cristina Garcia Adjudicates Illegal Central Basin Board Member Appointments


The more things change the more they remain the same.

The circus will continue at Central Basin Water District (CB) tomorrow when Assembly member Cristina Garcia (D-Downey) will swear-in three new board members that were appointed under the rules of her own bill, AB 1794.

The swearing-in is questionable at the very least, with Garcia adjudicating the illegal actions of CB GM Kevin Hunt, who took it upon himself to swear-in the new Board members nine days ago, violating the Ralph M. Brown Act for open meeting laws.

And Federal officials and the do-nothing Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey continue to turn a blind eye to what is going on at the Commerce based water agency.

The first to be sworn in is William Gedney, VP of Golden State Water, which is a subsidiary of American States Water (ASW), a publicly traded company listed on the NYSE.

Any businessperson, Federal official or District Attorney would know that the goal of any officer who is employed by a publicly traded company is to “maximize shareholder value.”

Translation: Gedney was conflicted as soon as he was sworn-in (illegally) nine days ago, and Garcia’s actions today will not change that.

In addition, Golden State Water services 75% of the same cities that CB services.


Golden State’s area of service.




So not only will Gedney’s fiduciary duty to ASW place his own company goals over CB goals, but he will be forced to recuse himself 75% of the time when voting on CB projects.

The second Board member to be sworn in by Assembly member Garcia is John Oskoui, Assistant City Manager for Downey.

Oskoui managed to get nominated because GM Hunt “disqualified” another candidate on shaky legal grounds.

Hews Media Group has obtained a letter from the law firm of Alvarez-Glasman that is threatening legal action because Hunt rejected one candidate from Huntington Park (HP) in favor of Oskoui.

Click here to see letter.

The Alvarez-Glasman communication alleges that Hunt did not inform CB counsel and the Board of irregularities.

Hunt did not inform CB counsel and the Board that HP sent a letter objecting to Hunt’s disqualification of the candidate.



It was the exact reason President Hawkins, VP Pedro Aceituno, and Director Art Chacon called for an investigation of Hunt; Hunt manipulated the selection process.

No wonder Hunt swore the Board members in so fast, illegally.

Hunt and Nossaman, CB’s law firm, argued that the candidate was “not a representative of HP” even though he was appointed by the City to be its representative according to HP’s Vice Mayor, Marilyn Sanabria.

And Oskoui has the same conflict as Gedney; he is the Assistant City Manager of Downey, any projects in Downey or touching Downey and Oskoui will have to recuse himself.

Paging Jackie Lacy….incompatible offices..oh yes….the DA only prosecutes when the person is well-known.

The Assemblywoman will then swear-in another conflict of interest candidate and apparent clairvoyant, Mark Grajeda.

Grajeda is the GM of the Pico Rivera Water District.

Paging Jackie Lacy….incompatible offices….oh yes….the DA only prosecutes when the person is well-known.

Witness the very first vote of the “Gang Of Five.”

The new Board of Apodaca, Vasquez, Oskoui, Grajeda and Gedney  appointed Bob Apodaca, who cost CB over $1 million due to a sexual harassment lawsuit, to be President of the Board after they kicked out Phil Hawkins as president, who was in that position for only one month.

Grajeda told a local newspaper, “The issue for the new officers was that we saw the president (Phil Hawkins) throwing all the work we did out the window and not hearing (water utility officials). We just felt that we were going to have continual problems with that.”

Grajeda must have been clairvoyant saying, “We saw the president  throwing all the work we did out the window.”

How can Hawkins “throw all the work we did out the window” when Grajeda, Gedney and Oskoui were just appointed (illegally) two days ago?

Were they working with Hunt before they were nominated and then (illegally) appointed?

To add to the circus, Grajeda had to recuse himself on the very first vote of the new Gang of Five.

Talk about dysfunction.

Immediately after, the Gang of Five voted to stop an investigation on Hunt for fixing the selection process, which is the exact action questioned by the Alvarez Glasman letter.

Hunt is the new Art Aguilar on steroids; he has already pulled some legislative maneuvers, just today allowing items to be “approved orally” versus bringing to a vote of the board.

He is also allowing sole source contracts much like Aguilar did with Pacifica Services, to the tune of $5 million.

Hunt probably can’t wait until the Calderons get out of jail.

The more things change the more they remain the same