imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

SNWA Whistleblower Shows Ratepayers Bilked for Spring Valley Ranches

by George Knapp Friday, Mar. 15, 2013 at 10:42 AM

The Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) has used rate hikes and government subsidies to purchase ranches at six times above market value to appear as landholders for water rights for their proposed pipeline. An employee of the SNWA turned whistleblower has come forward with evidence of bribery of local officials and yearly losses of money on the SNWA ranches. In related news Sen. Mike Roberson introduced SB 232 with bipartisan support to require greater transparency by the SNWA and would require the water authority to obtain approval from the PUC before increasing water rates.





The latest news from Nevada about the proposed SNWA pipeline is the ranching empire of the SNWA losing money and being pruchased above market value with the goal of obtaining water rights so they can heist the aquifer water from the Spring and Snake Valley. Indigenous nations, environmentalists, ranchers and the urban ratepayers of Clark County are against the pipeline as it will be used for development on cheaper land far north of Las Vegas and will deplete the aquifers and spring fed streams in only a few decades at most. However, developers like Harvey Whittemore and Albert Seeno will make tremendous profits from their Coyote Springs project with 100,000 planned homes and six golf courses, it just happens to parallel the proposed pipeline route. There is no other water available for Coyote Springs, any wonder why Whittemore himself started funding the SNWA pipeline project many years ago?

The purchase of rural ranches for water rights was the same trick used by Mulholland and the Owens Valley water grab that let to sprawl development in the San Fernando Valley at the expense of urban ratepayers in LA. The water from that heist didn't even reach LA for many years as it went directly to the suburban sprawl of the SFV developers. How soon we forget the mistakes made by previous generations, though there were warnings made about the draining of Owens Lake they were ignored in the rush to develop Southern California as quickly as possible without concern for the Owens Valley residents, including millions of migratory birds that dined on the plentiful brine shrimp of Owens Lake.

Likewise the spring fed ecosystems of the Snake and Spring Valleys of northern Nevada targeted by the SNWA are the foundation of the ecosystem and contain many endemic species found nowhere else on Earth. They include the Bonneville cutthroat trout, least chub and the spring snails that are all descendants from inhabitants of ancient Lake Bonneville. How sad that these unique beings have come so far and through climate changes that dried Lake Bonneville only to face extinction bcause of human greed. Thankfully people with ethics like whistleblowers and local politicians are standing up to this Owens Lake type repeat water grab in now in Nevada.





I-Team: Woman Speaks Out on Ranching Empire



Posted: Feb 26, 2013 2:38 PM EST Updated: Feb 27, 2013 2:08 PM EST

By George Knapp, Chief Investigative Reporter - bio | email

By Matt Adams, Chief Photojournalist - email



"SPRING VALLEY, Nev. -- The Southern Nevada Water Authority has spent huge sums of public money to gobble up a string of rural ranches because of the water underneath them. SNWA claims the ranches are operating in the black, but a whistleblower has come forward to tell a much different story.

The I-Team has reported previously about how much was spent to acquire the ranches, and it's quite a pile of money, but until now, no one on the inside was willing to talk about the operations of the ranches.

Debra Rivero worked for the water district for many years and was a valued employee but when she started working as office assistant at the ranches, she realized she had entered a world unto itself, one that we co-owners never get to see.

The SNWA owns seven rustic ranches in Spring Valley. The public may not know it, but they are in the ranching business because of a SNWA spending spree. The authority has spent nearly million to buy a string of ranches, tens of thousands of acres, plus cows, sheep and farm equipment.

As the I-Team first reported, SNWA paid many times the market value for the ranches. El Tejon ranch, valued at .1 million went for million. The Harbecke ranch, now headquarters for SNWA's empire, with a market value of a 0,000 fetched close to million from the water agency.

"I did everything, from paying the bills to weighing the trucks, every penny that came in, and every penny that came out, I was responsible for," said Debra Rivero, a former SNWA employee.

She worked for the water district in Las Vegas for 17 years before moving north to run the office for the ranches. From the beginning, she said, she was struck by how little oversight there was by SNWA.

"The whole operation is very secretive. They don't encourage anybody to come up and take a look and tour the place. It's just all very secretive."

How secretive? Rivero says the first ranch manager, who took the job after his ranch was purchased for six times its market value, was given a year's salary when he left, with the condition that he keep quiet.

Outspoken critic Hank Vogler who owns one of the few area ranches still in private hands, was offered a consulting contract if he would button his lip. Former White Pine District Attorney Richard Sears landed the best deal of all. He agreed to drop his planned opposition to the water grab in exchange for a brand new well on his ranch, plus irrigation equipment, plus nearly 400 acre feet of water per year, with a value of more than .5 million dollars.

"It's all in the contract," Rivero said. "Just so he'd be quiet and withdraw the protest. I think the worst thing was the payoffs for people to be quiet, to stop protesting. It was the most horrendous thing I've seen."

The ranch operations bled money for a few years but now, according to SNWA's accounting, they are in the black, earning 0,000 last year from sales of hay and beef. Neighboring ranchers scoff at the math, saying SNWA's deep pockets mean this ranching operation doesn't face the same challenges as an actual ranch, standing on its own.

What other rancher has nine committee meetings to pick a design for a brand, for instance or has a government sugar daddy to repair equipment or buy new trucks? Although the ranches supposedly made a profit, the costs to the public keep going up.

The operating budget was 0,000 a year in 2007, it went to 0,000 in 2008 and was bumped to 0,000 last year. Expenses that would count against a real rancher's bottom line are not included, Rivero said. For example, SNWA reported it sold million worth of hay.

"That doesn't include the fertilizer, the irrigation equipment, the employees time, everything else," Rivero said.

She adds, she was told by the current manager and others about suspected widespread theft by employees. Cows, sheep, equipment, even saddles disappeared but didn't show up on any ledger.

"I kept bringing it up. 'Hey there is unethical stuff going on up here' and the Vegas office didn't seem to want to hear it. They didn't want to talk to me about it. They didn't want to say anything."

Veteran rancher Dean Baker, an opponent of the water grab, says all of the public money being plowed into the ranches will be wasted once the pumping begins because Spring Valley will be sucked dry.

"It will kill the ranches when they pump it. If they don't know that, they are way stupider than I think they are," Baker said.

Scott Huntley, the chief public information officer for SNWA issued the following statement:



"The Southern Nevada Water Authority is committed to operating and maintaining its Spring Valley holdings in a responsible manner to protect both employees and equipment. As a not-for-profit public agency, the SNWA adheres to strict policies and procedures focused on preventing harassment, workplace violence and drug use. Senior officials from the agency are actively involved in managing the properties. Our Environmental Health and Safety and Corporate Security Department makes regular site visits along with our Fleet division, Finance and Facilities to conduct inspections and verify appropriate business practices. We maintain strict business practice and inventory controls and have had no verifiable reports of theft on the ranch properties."

Rivero told the I-Team a lot more about the operation of the ranches, and I-Team reporter George Knapp will report that information in the days ahead.

Rivero left the ranch operation because of what she said was a hostile work environment and has filed a complaint with federal authorities. Future I-Team reports will have explosive details about what happened to her, and what she saw."

http://www.8newsnow.com/story/21383444/i-team





Can SB 232 pass with bipartisan support and prevent the ecological disaster of the SNWA pipeline?



"In October 2011, we were surprised to see Clark County agree to give Pat Mulroy regular job reviews. Apparently, that's not enough oversight for a growing number of state lawmakers. They want to see more.

Last spring, SNWA faced enormous backlash over its water rate increases. It had been a long and tough slog for environmentalists to get Southern Nevadans to care about the fate of the rural agrarian community and ecosystem of Snake Valley. But when SNWA rammed through a plan to pay for its proposed Snake Valley pipeline by disproportionately raising water rates on working class families and small businesses while bailing out the region's biggest water wasters, Mulroy has been in the hot seat ever since.

So now, we have this.



[Senator Michael] Roberson’s [R-Henderson] bill would require the SNWA to obtain approval from the Public Utilities Commission, a three-member board appointed by Gov. Brian Sandoval, for any water rate increase on business or commercial customers of the utility.

The bill also would require the Public Utilities Commission to appoint a hearing officer to investigate the need for a proposed rate increase and issue a decision approving or declining the rate increase.

“Many in the Southern Nevada community believe the process failed to allow an adequate opportunity for public input,” Roberson said in a statement. “Southern Nevada residents and businesses will likely face future significant rate increases. This legislation will ensure that those rate increases occur in as fair and equitable manner as possible in a completely open process.”

Mulroy testified this past week that there was “massive public outreach” about the rate increases in 2012.

Roberson’s bill has support from Sens. David Parks, D-Las Vegas; Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka; Mark Manendo, D-Las Vegas; Scott Hammond, R-Las Vegas; Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas; James Settelmeyer, R-Minden; Joyce Woodhouse, D-Henderson; Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City; and Mark Hutchinson, R-Las Vegas.

So much for that "massive public outreach". SB 232 has attracted broad bipartisan support in Carson City so far. Rural Senators concerned about the impact of the Snake Valley pipeline on their communities and Clark County lawmakers angered over last year's rate increases may very well succeed in the first real challenge to the previously unchecked power of Mulroy and SNWA.

In years past, SNWA was able to cry "DROUGHT!" to silence critics demanding more accountability. That may not work this time. Last year, SNWA actually removed incentives for water conservation. And last November, SNWA reached a historic Colorado River water sharing agreement with several other Southwestern states and Mexico.

Now yes, Nevada is facing a real drought. We have climate change to thank for that. And we can't ignore the challenges that lie ahead with climate change and continuing drought. But really, how does stealing water from one region to fuel unnecessary real estate development in another region help? And how on earth can one justify repealing water conservation incentives?

So perhaps SNWA does need some more oversight. That's why the above mentioned legislators are coalescing behind SB 232. And that's why Pat Mulroy is running a bit more scared these days."

http://nvprogressive.blogspot.com/2013/03/nvleg-sets-sights-on-snwa.html







"CARSON CITY – Senate Republican leader Michael Roberson, R-Henderson, today introduced legislation to give the Nevada Public Utilities Commission oversight of the Southern Nevada Water Authority.

Senate Bill 232 increases transparency and accountability of the rulings made by the SNWA board. It requires SNWA to submit an application to obtain approval from the PUC for any increase in water rates.

Last summer, SNWA ruled that water rates would be significantly increased to cover the debts incurred by the agency. “Water rates were hiked some 300 percent last summer on small businesses in Southern Nevada,” stated Roberson. “Many in the southern Nevada community believe the process failed to allow an adequate opportunity for public input.”

“I am pleased to have bipartisan support on SB 232,” stated Roberson. “The primary sponsors of this legislation are Senators Parks, Goicoechea, Manendo, Hammond and myself. Senators Cegavske, Settelmeyer, Woodhouse, Hardy and Hutchison have also graciously agreed to cosponsor this important legislation to increase transparency and accountability in the Southern Nevada Water Authority.”

“Southern Nevada residents and businesses will likely face future significant rate increases. This legislation will ensure that those rate increases occur in as fair and equitable manner as possible in a completely open process,” commented Roberson."

http://thisisreno.com/2013/03/roberson-introduces-legislation-giving-nevada-public-utilities-commission-oversight-of-southern-nevada-water-authority/

Report this post as:

LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 1 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
SNWA Whistleblower Rivero Threatened with Cattle Prod SNWA Whistleblower Threatened Saturday, Apr. 06, 2013 at 10:20 AM

Local News

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 1:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 12:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 12:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 4:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J10 11:58PM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M30 10:20PM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 12:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 1:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 2:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 3:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 2:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 1:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 1:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 4:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 1:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A26 10:37PM

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

14 Disturbing Facts About Scott Gottlieb, Trump's FDA Head J20 10:47PM

Behind the scenes at fbi National Academy J20 2:47PM

Treasury Takes Aim at Shell Companies J20 11:18AM

Paraphysique de l'intelligence J20 9:08AM

Oklahoma GOP Senator Jim Inhofe's Bloody Record J20 4:01AM

Globalization: hope on the horizon despite Fake Liberals. J20 3:41AM

Sorry President Trump,Ted Cruz Texas Judicial System,is Worse Than Many Shithole Countries J19 4:49PM

The Shortwave Report 07/20/18 Listen Globally! J19 4:33PM

The System Question as a Survival Question J18 8:54PM

Nation's Largest Voting Machine Co., ESS, Admits Lying Re Having Installed Remote Control J18 11:55AM

Du pain et des jeux J18 9:53AM

Paraphysique de martyrologie J17 8:00AM

Children Incorporated Earns 4-Star Rating on Charity Navigator J16 11:24AM

Democratic Socialists of America J14 4:57PM

Leonard Peltier Non Violent Native American Political Prisoner since 1970's J14 4:18PM

Paraphysique miscellanées de l'aggiornamento J14 12:54AM

FBI Investigated LA County Sheriff Baca,Why Not Hank Skinner's Persecution? J13 3:52PM

Updated Partial List Of Famous Vegetarians, Vegans, & Fruitarians J13 2:59PM

The Shortwave Report 07136/18 Listen Globally! J12 4:36PM

Social Policy as Social Infrastructure J12 3:38AM

Vol I: 84 Varieties Of GOP Election Fraud J12 1:50AM

Texas Can Call it An Execution,But It is A State Sponsored Murder of Hank Skinner.. J11 6:48PM

June 2018 Honduras coup update J11 3:35PM

Maria Estrada doubles down on racist support J11 1:40PM

New York Women in Film & Television Announces 2018 NYWIFT Ha Phuong Scholarship Recipients J11 10:14AM

Trapps de la domination, trapps de l'aliénation J11 1:31AM

Please Work For The Defeat Of Brett Kavanaugh And Why J09 8:54PM

Transinhumanisme ( transe inhumanisme ) J09 12:44PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy