Meet the Candidates: Charles "Chuck" Cordell

IWV Water District

Meet the Candidates: Charles "Chuck" Cordell“Basically born here,” Charles “Chuck” Cordell has lived in Ridgecrest since 1955 when his dad was stationed at China Lake with the Marine Corps.

“I’ve been involved with the A-Team, BHS Boosters, Friends of the Fair, Salvation Army – all kinds of nonprofits,” said Cordell. “You name it, I’ve done it.”

“I’m running because I’m highly against this water replenishment fee and I want to see it end,” said Cordell. He said that during the public hearing, roughly 160 people called in to comment and the IWV Groundwater Authority only heard 21 of them. “That’s not, in my opinion, a public hearing.”

“This is going to go on for a while, and it’s probably going to go to court. I want to make sure the people get their input – because they haven’t yet.”

A BHS graduate, Cordell has worked in construction since 1972. His company – Cordell Construction – does general construction and underground work. He is running for his third four-year term on the Water District Board of Directors.

“I have knowledge of underground facilitates, equipment, piping and bidding practices,” said Cordell. “I’m more of a common-sense person. There’s a lot to be said for education, but there’s a lot to be said for hands-on experience. We’ve probably put in 200-300 miles of underground water piping before I was even on the water board.”

He said the Water District staff has “a lot of good people,” but that the GA needs to establish its own staff – if they can find the money.

“But right now, I’m opposed to the GA doing anything before there’s a finance committee that tells us where all the money is going,” said Cordell. “The fee is supposed to collect $52 million toward water replenishment, but they’re liable to spend $25 million of it on administration fees.

“The [Water District] ratepayers are my number-one priority, and they’re going to be the ones to ultimately pay for this. Any government entity that goes unchecked – well, goes unchecked. [The GA] approved an open-ended contract with it’s Water Resource Manager and said ‘just go to work.’ You can’t do that.”

Cordell said that more financial accountability is “the only way [the GA] is going to get any support from the valley.”

Cordell Construction has been one of the major players in a referendum to repeal the replenishment fee and place it on a future ballot.

“But everything I do has been as Chuck Cordell the citizen, and I’m keeping that way. I don’t know how politically involved [the Water District] can get. But we did oppose it – all five of us opposed the way the fee was done.

“I’m not saying in the future there won’t be fees – but I’m against the way they shoved it on us.”

Story First Published: 2020-10-16