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November 6, 2018 — California General Election
Special District

Inland Empire Utilities AgencyCandidate for Director, Division 3

Photo of Steve Elie

Steve Elie

Inland Empire Utilities Agency Member, Board of Directors
20,749 votes (51.05%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Maintaining reliable, affordable, and diversified water supplies for our community, including recycled water, and operating sustainable wastewater treatment facilities.
  • Continuing to keep administrative, legal, pension and energy costs low so IEUA's rates remain among the lowest in Southern California.
  • Maintaining strong working relationships with our elected leaders and their staff members, building upon my 7+ years in office and nearly 20 years as a water attorney representing public agencies.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Water Attorney/Director IEUA
Partner/Attorney, Musick, Peeler & Garrett LLP (1987–current)
Director, Inland Empire Utilities Agency, Division 3 — Elected position (2010–current)
Board Member (Chair and Vice Chair), Chino Basin Watermaster — Appointed position (2011–current)
Steering Committee, Water Now Alliance — Elected position (2017–current)
Board Member (Chair and Vice Chair), Chino Hills Community Foundation — Appointed position (2008–2014)
Board Member (Chair and Vice Chair), Measure M Bond Oversight Committee — Appointed position (2004–2008)

Education

University of California, Hastings College of the Law Juris Doctor, Law (1987)
State University of New York at Albany Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, Double Major Political Science and Psychology (1984)

Community Activities

Friend, Volunteer and Donor, The Let it Be Foundation (2009–current)
Board Member, Metro YMCA (2007–2018)
Founding Member/Volunteer, Oxford Preparatory Academy (2010–2015)
Volunteer, Coach, Referee, AYSO (2005–2013)

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Chino Mayor Eunice Ulloa
  • Chino Planning Commission Vice Chair Brandon Blanchard
  • Community Leader Dr. James Lally

Organizations (1)

  • Southern California Building Industry Association PAC

Elected Officials (31)

  • San Bernardino County Supervisor Curt Hagman
  • Senator Ling Ling Chang
  • Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez
  • Assemblyman Phil Chen
  • San Bernardino County Supervisor Gary Ovitt (Ret.)
  • San Bernardino County Supervisor Janice Rutherford
  • Retired Chino Valley School District Board Member Bill Klein
  • Retired Chino Hills City Councilman Ed Graham
  • Chino Valley School District Board Member Sylvia Orozco
  • Chino Valley Independent Fire Board Member Harvey Luth
  • Chino Valley Independent Fire Board Member Ed Gray
  • Chino Valley Independent Fire Board Member Sarah Ramos-Evinger
  • Chino Valley Independent Fire Board VP John DeMonaco
  • Chino Valley Independent Fire Board President Mike Kreeger
  • Chino Mayor Pro Tem Tom Haughey
  • Chino Councilman, Earl Elrod
  • Chino Councilman Gary George
  • Chino Councilman Paul Rodriguez,
  • Chino Hills Councilman Brian Johsz
  • Chino Hills Councilman Ray Marquez
  • Chino Hills Councilman Art Bennett
  • Chino Hills Vice Mayor Cynthia Moran
  • Chino Hills Mayor Peter Rogers
  • Inland Empire Utilities Agency Board Member Kati Parker
  • Inland Empire Utilities Agency Vice President Michael Camacho
  • Chino Basin Water Conservation District Board Member Gil Adalco
  • Chino Valley School District Board VP James Na
  • Monte Vista Water District Director G. MIchael Milhiser
  • Cucamonga Valley Water District Director Kathy Tiegs
  • Upland City Councilman Gino Fillippi
  • Chaffey Joint Union High School District Trustee Sue Ovitt

Individuals (3)

  • Chino Hills Planning Commissioner Michael W. Stover
  • Chino Planning Commissioner Walt Pocock
  • Chino Hills Parks and Recreation Commissioner Pat Hamomoto

Political Beliefs

Position Papers

“Quickly” Cleaning Up Historic Groundwater Contamination Requires Creative Solutions

Summary

This "paper" describes a creative, negotiated resolution of a significant Regional Problem instead of decades’ long litigation where water isn’t cleaned and only lawyers and consultants win. I am proud that I led IEUA and the others to a partnership-driven solution to this long-standing water contamination problem and hope more public agencies will follow suit.

I am an environmental attorney who regularly represents parties in groundwater contamination claims. As  A board Member and then President of IEUA, I pushed, prodded and ultimately was instrumental in setting the strategy and cleanup priorities in this matter.   This is the type of problem solving ability I bring to IEUA.

 

Water is on everyone’s lips these days:  conservation, reuse and cleaning up water pollution is important to a sustainable supply for all.  Unfortunately, we live in a world where legacy water pollutants are frequently allowed to languish despite the harm they cause because of the complexities associated with assigning responsibility for the creation of the problem and significant cleanup costs.  As a member of The Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA) Board, I was not willing to allow that to continue with a long-standing contamination plume in the Chino Groundwater Basin.  I had experienced too many cases as a lawyer like this one where the litigation dragged on without resolution.  Our Basin serves nearly one million water customers.  By focusing on a common-sense strategy that leveraged both local, state and federal partnerships for the cleanup of the plume, IEUA made a critical difference for our community, saving tax dollars, while demonstrating more sustainable water solutions for California and the nation.

 

No one disputed the extent of the plume, located in the center of Basin, which contains an industrial solvent used in the region from the 1940s through the 1970strichloroethylene or TCE. That chemical’s continued presence in groundwater (in some places at more than 10 times the state health standard) caused several private well owners to be dependent on an alternative water supply for nearly a decade and the loss of use of a significant portion of the Basin for public water suppliers.  Negotiations over the Plume’s cleanup were challenging due to the legacy nature of the pollution and the multiple parties that may have been involved. Lots of finger-pointing, but no one was raising a hand to take full or even partial responsibility.

 

With my leadership and direction, IEUA, however, raised its hand.  In 2013, we developed an innovative approach to address the problem. Even though IEUA had no liability for the Plume, we stepped forward to do the right thing for the region and offered to fund significant cleanup infrastructure costs to tie into existing resources.  The solution is to fund the additional costs of the planned expansion of existing regional groundwater desalter facilities, owned by the Chino Basin Desalter Authority (itself a collaborative effort of many public agencies), for the cleanup. IEUA ultimately leveraged $10 million in state and federal grants and over $200 million in existing infrastructure to jump-start the $12.5 million cleanup agreement, initially pledging its own funding while it submitted grant applications. The remaining funds were provided by the United States and private companies with facilities or former facilities in the Basin.

 

The core of this regional cleanup strategy is threefold: (1) to fund the additional costs to increase an already planned expansion of existing facilities; (2) to relocate existing and planned groundwater pumping near the center of the Plume; and, (3) to modify treatment facilities to treat the raw water for elevated TCE.  The project is expected to initiate cleanup in 2018, with full cleanup of the Plume expected to take 20-30 years.  Sale of the treated water is also expected to support the ongoing costs of the cleanup.   

 

Complex problems require creative, negotiated resolutions.  The alternative is decades’ long litigation where water isn’t cleaned and only lawyers and consultants win.  We at IEUA are proud of our partnership-driven solution to this long-standing water contamination problem and hope more public agencies will follow suit.  Truly a win-win-win.  Taxpayers win because the cleanup isn’t on them, water users win because otherwise unavailable water sources are made usable sooner, and the water agencies win by jumpstarting cleanup that includes new funding. 

 

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