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CCWD enters legislative advocacy arena

By SUNNY LOCKWOOD

Calaveras County Water District directors have decided to go straight to the source — lawmakers — to influence regulations affecting the district and its customers.

For the first time in CCWD's 57-year history, the board of directors yesterday approved a legislative platform designed to influence lawmaking and get help from elected state and federal representatives on issues important to the district.

"The platform is a jumping-off place for the district's legislative efforts," said district Assistant General Manager and Chief Counsel Alan Turner. "It will guide us in our search" for grants, other funding and regulations.

The four-page document describes three of the district's priorities:

• Preserving, protecting, enhancing and beneficially using the district's water.

• Repairing, replacing or improving aging district facilities.

• Obtaining funding for regulatory compliance.

Each priority has a set of steps to guide district action.

"The platform focuses on issues the board feels are important," said General Manager John Stewart. "We're breaking new ground as best we can."

The legislative platform is one tool the district is using to influence legislation. Others include hiring The Carmen Group Inc. — legislative advocates — and sending CCWD board president and assistant general manager to Washington, D.C., earlier this month to lobby for the district. The group is being paid $8,000 a month for its services.

Board President Jeff Davidson and Turner spent March 16-20 meeting with California congressmen and senators, members of the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee, the House Water and Power Subcommittee, the House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, the Bureau of Reclamation, the chief of programs for the Army Corps of Engineers and others who might help.

Using the presentation packets O'Connell prepared, Davis and Turner told CCWD's story to 12 different people in the position to funnel funds the district's way.


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