Carol Dean Confirmation letter-2-3-09-3

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Carol Dean Confirmation letter-2-3-09-3 Powered By Docstoc
					President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg
C/O Nettie Sabethaus
State Capitol
Senate Rules Committee Room #400
Sacramento, CA 95414

February 6, 2009


Re: California Senate Confirmation of Carol Dean as member of:
North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board

Russian River Watershed Protection Committee (RRWPC), formerly River
Citizens Sewer Committee, was formed as a California nonprofit corporation in
1980. Since that time, we have actively followed water and wastewater issues
that affect the lower Russian River, with particular emphasis on Santa Rosa’s
wastewater discharges into our drinking water supply. We have advocated
tirelessly for practices and policies that protect water quality.

Carol Dean served as a member of Santa Rosa’s Board of Public Utilities from
2003 to 2007. RRWPC attended about 80-90% of that Board’s meetings over those
years. We testified as to our concerns about many different project proposals
and numerous environmental impact reports during that time. We studied and
commented extensively on the water quality impacts of their activities; we have
commented in detail on their discharge permits to the Regional Board; we have
written many commentary and testimonial letters, speeches, newspaper articles,
etc.

RRWPC’s approximately 1400 supporters are mostly lower Russian River
property owners, many of who have their primary residence in various locations
around the Bay Area. Our work is also supported by many other residents,
business people, recreationists, artists, and others who love the Russian River.

We are writing because we oppose the confirmation of Carol Dean’s
appointment to the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional
Board). We do not believe that this position is an appropriate use of her skills.
During Dean’s time on the Board of Public Utilities, we don’t recall her ever
verbally advocating for water quality issues, in spite of the fact that Santa Rosa
discharges its wastewater into the Laguna de Santa Rosa, one of the most
impaired water bodies on the North Coast. The Laguna receives its flows from
all the many creeks running through Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, and Cotati. It is
heavily impaired for nitrogen, phosphorus, dissolved oxygen, temperature,
sediments, and mercury.
We had been informed by Carol herself that she read BPU packets and
influenced Board opinion “behind the scenes”, but did not like to speak publicly.
Her silence makes it difficult to evaluate her tenure on that Board. I never once
recall her asking a question or making a comment on water quality issues, of
which there were many.

For example, we (and others) had continually expressed concern about excessive
nutrients contributing to a massive invasive plant problem (Ludwigia) in the
vicinity of Santa Rosa’s discharge and Rohnert Park’s wastewater irrigation
runoff. (see picture)   New nutrient limits imposed by the Regional Board
motivated the City to threaten legal action against them for including limits in
the City’s most recent NPDES permit. Ms. Dean appeared to support this
aggressive stand without comment. We don’t recall her expressing any concerns
about wastewater nutrients and the invasive plants when the topic came up in
open session. Since almost all BPU votes are unanimous and Carol almost
always voted without comment, it is impossible to provide details of her tenure
on that board.

In a Press Democrat article on March 19, 2008, upon her being recommended for
appointment to the Board, they quoted her as saying that, “….she expects the
biggest issue the regional board will face during her tenure will be allocating water
among competing interests and developing the infrastructure to deliver it.” It appears
that she didn’t even know the tasks for which she would be responsible as a
Regional Board member. She did not seem to realize that it is the State Water
Board that is in charge of water permitting and supply issues and the Regional
Board is in charge of water quality matters. This is a very significant and
revealing misunderstanding on her part.

Then, in a Press Democrat article on April 30, 2008, she was quoted as saying,
“…..helping shape water policy in a time of potential cutbacks and increasingly strict
regulations was the determining factor in her decision to abandon her pledge not to run
for the seat to which she was appointed”. This latter refers to the situation where, out
of a field of 23 candidates, many of whom were eminently qualified, Carol was
appointed to fill the vacancy left by Councilmember Mike Martini’s resignation,
by promising not to run for the seat in the next election. Carol’s going back on
that pledge and breaking her vow, was in our view, a serious lapse of judgment
and should not be honored by a formal appointment to the NCWQCB.

In looking at the resume Carol produced for her candidacy (she lost by a
significant margin), one can see almost nothing indicating an interest in and/or
knowledge of water quality issues. Her only standing for this appointment is her
sitting on the BPU for about four years, during which time she did nothing
publicly as far as we can determine to further the cause of water quality in our
creeks and streams.

There are so many critical water quality issues now; species are disappearing at
an unprecedented rate, and our local streams, into which Santa Rosa discharges
their waste, are significantly impaired. We desperately need a Regional Board
that is knowledgeable about water quality problems. While she is a very nice
lady, we don’t think Carol brings the kind of understanding about water quality
that is so very necessary at this time.

Sincerely,




Brenda Adelman: Chair
Russian River Watershed Protection Committee
P.O. Box 501
Guerneville, CA 95446
(707) 869-0410
rrwpc@comcast.net


CC: Senator Pat Wiggins
    C/O Sean McNeil
    State Capitol Room 4081
    Sacramento, CA 95414

    Assembly Member Noreen Evans
    C/O Harry Ermoian
    P.O. Box 94249
    Sacramento, CA 94249