To the Editor: Questions GA’s authority

The Indian Wells Valley Ground Water Authority is nothing more than a glorified multi-government study group under California. Law that was authorized only to submit a proposed plan to the State for approval to deal with the claimed overdraft of water in the IWV. The law that was passed by the California Legislature for the GA’s creation is nothing more than a scam, intended to frighten the local government bodies into giving away their constituents’ water rights over to the state.

Most of people in this valley would be surprised to find out they do not own the water rights to their property, approx. Some 99 percent of the private property in the valley the federal government owns the water rights, except property obtained through a patented claims. Basically the government granted reasonable water use to property owners.

The freighting thing is our local governments’ acceptance of the water responsibility allows the state can claim it is not an unfunded state mandate and place all the costs on the valley including any modifications they make to the plan. As tax payers we paid for water all across the state but may receive nothing. Don’t expect any help from the county we are the stepchild.

The law pertaining to the GSA does not allow the creation of an unelected a government body or grant it any authority to act as a government body, its only purpose is to create a mitigation plan for approval by the state. Any power claimed by this body is assumed without any lawful basis. It clearly is not an elected legislative body with the power to write law or collect taxes.

Even if the power and authority it is apparently claiming was granted by statute passed by the state legislature, it would be a violation of both the California and the U.S. Constitutions. The state Constitution does not authorize such a body, and under the U.S. Constitution each state is required to have a republic form of government Article IV, Sec. 4. Under a republic form of government the Legislative Branch cannot give away its legislative function, see Clinton v. City of New York, 524 U.S. 417 (1998).

Even if the GWA is allowed to collect taxes, the current process being used violates of state Constitution X113D – (Prop. 218), Sec. 6, that was written and intended to be used only for the cost of services provided for sewer, water, and refuse collection. The GSA hearing mailer identifies the funds collected are for a capital building fund which requires it be approved under X113D, Sec. 4, if it can be shown a distinct benefit is conferred on the property above that of the general public, “agency shall separate the general benefits from the special benefits conferred on a parcel” water is used by all.

Briefly stated Sec. 4 requires by sub. Sections — (a) identify all parcels which receive a special benefit, and the proportional benefit received; (c)&(d) parcel owner must be mailed hearing date with specific details of the proposed assessment , a ballot, amount to be accessed for the parcel and total amount to be collect for the district, how the ballots are going to be weighted& tabulated; (e) ballots shall be weighted according to the proportional financial obligation of the affected property. CA. constitutional requirements not addressed by GSA: (1) Sec. 2 (g), tenants who pay water bills were not included as required; “Sec.4 (a) the State or United States shall not be exempt from assessment unless they receive no special benefit, which is clearly not the case per the notice.

Ronald L. Porter

Story First Published: 2020-08-21