[env-trinity] Former Westlands Staffer Appointed to California Water Commission
danielbacher at fishsniffer.com
Sat Aug 24 10:37:47 PDT 2013
Here is my latest piece, posted on elkgrovenews.net and sacbee.com
Former Westlands Staffer Appointed to California Water Commission
Written By EGN on Friday, August 23, 2013 | 12:20
By Dan Bacher | August 23, 2013 | UPDATED |
The revolving door between corporate interests and California
government continues with the announcement of the appointment of a
former Westlands Water District staffer to the California Water
Governor Jerry Brown appointed David Orth, 55, of Clovis, to the
Commission on August 21. Orth has been general manager of the Kings
River Conservation District since 2002.
He was vice president of resource management at California Valley
Land Company Inc. from 2000 to 2002 and held multiple positions at
Westlands Water District from 1986 to 2000, including general manager
and director of finance.
Orth was deputy treasurer and principal accountant at the Fresno
County Auditor-Controller and Treasurer’s Office from 1982 to 1986.
This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is
$100 per diem. Orth is a Republican.
Orth's former employer, the Westlands Water District, is known as the
"Darth Vader" of California water politics. Westlands recently sued
the federal government to block increased releases of water on the
Trinity River to stop a fish kill on the lower Klamath River.
Fortunately, a federal judge Thursday lifted a temporary restraining
order blocking the releases, allowing the Bureau of Reclamation to
increase the flows. (http://www.fishsniffer.com/blogs/details/judge-
The appointment of Orth continues a long tradition of the domination
of California politics by corporate and "Big Money" interests. These
include Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's appointment of Catherine
Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association,
as chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue
Ribbon Task Force to create alleged "marine protected areas" in
The Governor also appointed Adan Ortega, 50, of Fullerton, a former
Metropolitan Water District employee, to the California Water
Ortega has been the sole proprietor of Adan Ortega Associated since
2009. He was deputy managing partner at Rose and Kindel from 2005 to
2008 and vice president of external affairs at the Metropolitan Water
District of Southern California from 1999 to 2005.
Ortega was chief deputy secretary of state at the Office of the
California Secretary of State from 1997 to 1999 and assistant general
manager at the West and Central Basin Municipal Water Districts from
1994 to 1997. He was vice president at the Dolphin Group from 1985 to
1993. Ortega is chair of Mujeres de La Tierra and an advisory council
member at Southern California Sustainable Conservation. This position
requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem.
Ortega is registered decline-to-state.
The California Water Commission consists of nine members appointed by
the Governor and subject to Senate confirmation. Its historical role
includes "advising the Director of the Department of Water Resources
on matters within the Department's jurisdiction, approving rules and
regulations, and monitoring and reporting on the construction of the
State Water Project."
The appointments to the Water Commission were made as Governor Brown
is fast-tracking the construction of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan
(BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels to deliver massive quantities
of northern California water to corporate agribusiness interests on
the west side of the San Joaquin Valley and to oil companies seeking
to expand the environmentally destructive practice of fracking in
Kern County and coastal areas.
The construction of the twin tunnels will not only hasten the
extinction of Central Valley Chinook salmon and steelhead, Delta
smelt, longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, but
threatens the salmon and steelhead runs of the Klamath and Trinity
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