Meet the Candidates: Chuck Griffin

IWV Water District

Meet the Candidates: Chuck GriffinChuck Griffin was born and raised in Ridgecrest where he raises his six children and nine grandchildren with his wife Rhonda.

Griffin said he’s always wanted to serve his community. He is a former IWV Youth Football president and Ridgecrest Chamber of Commerce boardmember. Prior to COVID-19 restrictions, he coordinated the monthly Veterans Breakfast at the Historic USO Building.

He served one four-year term as director prior to an unsuccessful 2018 run. But he said he’s running again because he believes the Water District needs to play a bigger role with the IWV Groundwater Authority.

“I believe I can make a difference,” said Griffin. “I think I have a very strong voice and I’m not afraid to voice opposition.”

A critic of the replenishment fee, Griffin says the GA’s biggest challenge is fairly distributing water costs among all users in the valley.

“Right now with the replenishment fee, district customers will be paying the bulk of the fees,” he said. “I think the Water District should stand up and call for it to be repealed. They are the ones being affected and are the only large water user on the GA board.

“The Water District voted no on the fee, they’ve asked for years to have a finance committee – those things continue to be ignored.”

More specific to the Water District – Griffin said the district can do more to incentivize conservation through its water rates.

“Contractors can come in with their water trucks and buy water from the district because it’s cheaper than using a hydrant,” said Griffin. “I’m a contractor so I’m shooting myself in the foot … but someone can truck water out of town cheaper than it is for me to take a shower.”

Griffin is a licensed contractor and owner of Griffin Excavation & Paving. Prior to that, he was a Water District Employee for 5 years. He believes his time with the district – both as an employee and an elected official – along with his contracting expertise make him a well-candidate.

He said the GA should also be looking at “the broader picture” when it comes to water replenishment solutions.

“We need to come up with plans that will work without importation,” he said. “I’m not saying we don’t need any [imported water], but we have things locally we should look at. We should have sat down years ago and negotiated with the farmers, but now it’s turning into this big legal fiasco because of how little water they were allocated.”

While he thinks the Water District’s primary task is to represent the ratepayers at the GA level. Griffin thinks long-term the Authority needs to be an independent board of elected officials.

“The Water District General Manger needs to work for the Water District, not the GA,” he said. “Same with the attorneys. I believe each agency needs to represent themselves.

Story First Published: 2020-10-16