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November 6, 2018 — California General Election
Special District

Indian Wells Valley Water DistrictCandidate for Director

Photo of Peter E. Brown

Peter E. Brown

Incumbent
3,530 votes (20%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Keep our Financial status as strong as it is now. S&P AA-. Chair the Groundwater Sustainability Agency next year and finish our Sustainability plan early. Trim GSA budget as much as possible. Continue working with our state officials
  • Chairing the Groundwater Sustainability Agency will allow me to focus and refine our process prevent spending money for redundant work by consultants.
  • Continue the Capital Improvement programs at the district on time and on budget.

Experience

Experience

Profession:A licensed Contractor for 38 years
Owner, Earth Landscaping (1980–current)
Director and president of the Indian Wells Valley Water District, Indian Wells Valley Water District — Elected position (1995–2018)

Education

Cerro Coso Community College 2 years Cerro Coso Community College, General Education for AA (1980)

Community Activities

Member, President, Assistant Governor, Humanitarian trips India and Africa, Rotary Club of China Lake (1995–current)

Biography

Living in the Indian Wells Valley for over 58 years, I’ve developed a keen understanding of our extreme desert climate and needs. I have extensive knowledge, licenses, and certifications for managing WATER. I have been privileged to serve you as director of the Indian Wells Valley Water District for 24 years. I FULLY understand the issues and challenges with LOCAL & STATE governments and have managed to build relationships with key state agencies.   Besides being a ratepayer, I also manage my own well, so I understand the concerns of private well owners. Self-employed for 38 years, I know what it takes to keep a business running, in good and bad times. My greatest strength is problem-solving and working collaboratively to achieve the optimal outcome. Despite many challenges, we have reduced water consumption by 30% while keeping the District financially strong. One of my priorities is the shared investigation to quantify and develop our local brackish water resources as a supplemental water supply to meet our future needs. As the District’s representative to the new Groundwater Sustainability Agency, my goal is to create a sustainable water supply for generations to come while achieving controlled economic growth and viability.

Who supports this candidate?

Elected Officials (1)

  • Kern County Supervisor Mick Gleason

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

My philosophy is teach a man to fish, do not give him a fish. I keep that object as simple as possible and run my business and life based on the same principles.

My philosophy when making decisions is to use facts, logic, and reason first. In the absence of specific facts, I use the most probable/realistic premise to form an opinion and eventually a decision. I believe working with a five-member board with differing personalities assist’s in refining those opinions. While I do consider the emotion on an issue, I cannot allow that to override what is right or what is the best course of action for the whole.

My job as a director is to establish and enforce policy, manage the General manager and to approve the rates and expenditures each year. As directors, we are also expected to be forward thinking. At least 20 years ahead. Looking this far ahead gives birth to a long-term capital improvement plan to implement over time. We review this every year to make sure our projects are still relevant. We also record our assumptions, so future board members will know why we made those decisions. In this case, my philosophy is to look to the future as we are acting today.

My philosophy on water rates is to capture our fixed cost with a fixed fee. Front loading the rates to cover the daily operations of producing water. Covering fixed cost in addition to usage allows us to have a stable, predictable source of revenue. In the past, our income was heavily tied to consumption. When the governor told us to reduce our usage by 20%, it made a massive ripple in our revenue. In one year and we had to use our reserves and cut staff by 30% to remain operational. A precious lesson in our current world of reduce, reduce, reduce. One I will not allow to happen again while I am on the board.    

My Philosophy of forward thinking is always to be prepared for disasters. In our case, we are overdue for some significant earthquakes. To that end, I have promoted the installation of emergency generators at all our primary well sites as well as the water district office. If our pipes are intact, we will be able to produce water from one or all our wells with the backup generators.

Continually looking for ways to lower our operating cost is also important. Any time we can upgrade our technology and facilities to run more efficiently we head in that direction. This saves millions of dollars which would have to be paid for by higher rates. Our last major investment in a solar farm will save 9.38 Million dollars over the 30-year life of the project and lower our electrical consumption by 63%. One of our highest operating costs. My philosophy is to be progressive and be financially ready to seize cost saving opportunities as they arise.

Communication with our public and ratepayer are one of the most critical responsibilities. My philosophy is to continually reach out on all media to allow others to see what we are doing. Our website contains all our meetings, Calendars, minutes, financials, budgets, and essential documents that can be referred too by the push of a button. We send direct mailers to inform our ratepayers of this while making special announcements. We also record our meetings and post an audio recording of each session on our website as well.

My Philosophy is to talk directly with the agencies that write the water laws and oversee compliance of the new regulations. Communications with our state officials are vital, so they know who we are and what unique challenges we face living in the Mojave Desert, 60 miles from Death Valley. My new job has evolved into traveling to Sacramento and briefing their committees on what we are doing and why. Giving a face to our valley has proved to be very beneficial since they are the ones who write and approve our laws as well as enforce. Letting them know we use swamp coolers to cool our houses was a surprise to them since only people in dry climates can do this.  Knowing this gave them pause when asking all California’s to reduce their water usage to 55 gallons per day for inside use. Swamp coolers alone use 60 to 75 gallons per day. You can see where there is an obvious issue, but if we did not communicate conditions like this in person, they would not have understood why we should be given special consideration with the new law.

With the creation of the new Groundwater Sustainability Agency, my new goal is to ensure that every agency, ag interest, Co-op, and mutual extracting water from our basin, pay their share for the upcoming sustainability programs that will be implemented in the next 20 years. This process means that a uniform commodity cost will be paid. The more you extract, the more you will pay. My philosophy is to be fair. Assessing extraction cost based on volume will keep one person or entity from subsidizing others. It makes sense that everyone with a straw in the ground must share in the solution.

 

It may sound simple, but my purpose in life is to leave this world a better place. My actions are based on public needs, and water is the foundation for all life on earth. 

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