Well Water Metering in town of Mendocino
To whom it may concern:
Mendocino Community Services District (MCCSD) is planning to hold public meetings on April 16 and 27th to consider adoption of the well water metering program. Currently our community is sheltering at home, and these hearings have been scheduled to take place online.
WE ASK THAT MCCSD POSTPONE THESE HEARINGS UNTIL THEY CAN TAKE PLACE IN PERSON, FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS:
1) All people wanting to attend may not have reasonable access.
2) The March board meeting used this online meeting format and it was difficult to understand people, and people were cut off. That meeting consisted of 6 people doing the majority of the talking. The last public hearing regarding the issue of well water metering, a couple months ago, had 20-30 people present, and all wanted to speak about many different issues.
3) The online format is not an equivalent situation to an in-person meeting. If people have concerns or comments they deserve to have face-to-face opportunities to express them.
4) Any people wanting to organize or petition for or against this action are very much hindered in their efforts as they legally cannot leave their houses to do so.
5) The people of Mendocino are rightfully occupied with altering their routines and functions to adhere to new safety guidelines for our current Covid-19 pandemic. Asking them to participate in MCCSD hearings, to ensure MCCSD preforms them in a fair and democratic way, is a burden that likely will result in lowered participation due to resource and mobility barriers of the our current situation.
6) There is considerable discussion to be had about this issue that has not taken place yet. This will be the third time in less than a year that MCCSD has tried to get these metering ordinances passed, and both previous attempts were ended when MCCSD failed to get enough Board support to move forward. Issues of this magnitude should be postponed until a properly accessible, in-person public hearing can occur.
7) MCCSD has already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting a lawsuit where it was determined by a judge, in a court of law, that MCCSD did not follow proper procedures for public hearings. If MCCSD holds these hearings online, as planned, we worry they will create a similarly unlawful procedure that will cost the town's taxpayers more money and create similar frustrations for those who feel they haven't had the chance to give their input to MCCSD's representative Board.
8) We believe MCCSD should do the MOST they can to hear and discuss issues from the community. We believe this current course of action will be the MINIMUM necessary and will not give people an adequate opportunity to consider the issue and/or express their concerns regarding it.
9) MCCSD has had months since the last hearing (which failed to move forward to to lack of Board support) during which they could have taken the time to interact with the public and learn more about their concerns. Instead they chose to cancel Board meetings and wait until now to try for a third time.
10) During the previous two hearings, the people who voiced frustration and opposition to the well water metering program, expressed that it affected their way of life. This is important to them. Yet, MCCSD has acted, and continues to act, as if the opposition is simply an obstacle to overcome in the quickest and easiest way possible. MCCSD has not done their job of representing the community in whole; trying, in earnest, to create good healthy communication and relationships with ALL members of its community no matter where their position on this issue lies.