[env-trinity] Former Westlands Staffer Appointed to California Water Commission

Dan Bacher 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- 
lifts-order-blocking-increased-trinity-river-releases/ )

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  
Southern California.

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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