GSD Requests Prompt Payment, Holds Closed Meeting on Alleged Whistleblower Situation, and Approves Contact Chamber Contract

Garberville water district

Garberville Sanitary District water treatment facility [Photo by Kelley Lincoln]

At the March Board of Directors meeting, GSD’s Board approved the above ground contact chamber contract and communicated their frustration with those ratepayers who wait until the last minute to pay their water bills.

However, the March meeting of the GSD Board of Directors began with a closed session on impending litigation brought by Administrative Assistant Tina Stillwell who alleges she was fired after showing the auditor financial irregularities she had observed.

Stillwell’s March 7 filing in the Humboldt County Superior Court of California claims Emerson “created a hostile work environment,” that Emerson “directed” her to record the purchase of another district’s tools into a GSD account, and that within 30 days of receiving the auditor’s report, Stillwell was placed on administrative leave and soon notified she would be terminated from employment.

The District is not free to speak their side of the issue as they are bound by confidentiality in matters concerning personnel and litigation.

In open session, Emerson expressed the increasing pressure to replace the contact chamber.  According to the Operators, to meet the gradually increasing seasonal demand for water in Garberville, the treatment plant is currently operating 17 hours a day at the maximum rate they can process water without a functioning contact chamber in place.

Emerson said, “We can provide enough water right now because we have enough 8 inch pipe between the treatment plant and town to meet the requirements for disinfection, but if we increase the gallons per minute per day based on the demands in town, we have to have a different contact chamber.”

A water system’s contact chamber is a low pressure region of the plumbing where the filtered water is treated with a disinfectant, usually some form of chlorine.  The contact chamber allows time for the disinfectant to act before water is delivered to a home or other user.  This low pressure mixing chamber allows the district to increase the rate at which water is treated so that summer time demand can be met.

In Februray, when Emerson presented his plan to replace the broken underground contact chamber with an above ground version, Emerson had told the Board he was trying to get a thousand gallon baffled tank designed for use as a contact chamber given for free to GSD in exchange to the manufacturing company for the results of the ‘tracer study.’ Positive results from the tracer study would provide the manufacturer easy entry into the California market, Emerson had suggested last month.

However, in March, when Emerson gave the update, the idea of a free tank seemed to have gone by the wayside. It was not addressed directly, though. Board Member Richard Thompson asked if the manufacturer had “finally agreed on how it’s going to be paid for?”  Emerson answered, “Well, the insurance company is involved in that. They’ve assured us, if you can use an email from an insurance company, that we will be compensated for the expense.”

Also Thompson queried Emerson on the contact chamber manufacturer’s recommendation for the tank’s foundation due to engineering concerns.  Emerson said,  “Our first priority is to get the tank ordered, and the engineers are working on the pad to support the tank. That is critical because it’s going to have to be a pretty thick slab.”

Thompson then asked, “You might need piles because the ground seems kind of damp there?”

Emerson responded, “Well, that’s the next phase.  Once we get the tank ordered, we need to get all the old pipe that failed pulled out, let it dry out and put a drain in the bottom.”

Thompson continued, “I guess I’m overly concerned about it failing because the foundation supporting the tank is crucial.” Emerson agreed, “It’s a concern that we all have and are working on it because it’ll have to be thick enough with supportive rebar and mesh to make sure it doesn’t separate.”

Thompson, who retired from CalTrans as an Engineer, explained he was more worried about the foundation settling and shifting in the wet region the treatment plant is built upon.  Emerson explained, “That’s why I want to fill that entire area with a slab because with more room it spreads it all out, rather than having it with piers and footing.”

Discussion of the immediate need for the contact chamber resumed.

The tank’s manufacturer has told the District this contact chamber can produce a .7 baffling factor. GSD Operator, Dan Arreguin said GSD needs a factor of .46 to meet the community’s needs and Emerson told the Board the manufacturer will guarantee the purchase price and the shipping costs if the tracer study results fall below 0.5

The baffle factor ratio effectively decreases the rate treated water can be distributed by increasing the time treated water must travel to its first delivery destination.  This shortens supply when demand is high.

When asked what would replace this contact chamber if the results of the tracer study fail to meet the District’s minimum needs, Emerson said, “We are confident that we will meet the requirements, and that we are going to have what we need, and even if the tank were to fail, I probably would have them keep that tank in place and not send it back, and then do some other configuration of piping including that tank which would be a lot less money.”

Moving on, GSD used the need to notify customers of a planned water outage, due to the fire hydrant replacement project, to test the District’s new emergency notification system.  The need for the emergency communication system arose from the lack of communication when the contact chamber originally exploded. LINK Interim Administrative staff member Mary Nieto played the computerized voice read the message customers would hear.

The technology is provided through the company that does GSD’s billing services.  It uses the same database and “robocalls” customers to deliver emergency messages when a need arises.  The technology allows GSD staff to craft a message specific to each event. It allows them to either record the message in their voice or to have the computerized voice deliver the message.

Through the test, Nieto learned the technology’s database allows her to group customers according to the specific water distribution “routes.”  Nieto sees this would save critical time in a true emergency because all the customers of a specific section of the distribution system could easily be selected and notified of a problem that impacts them.

And, the Board approved preliminary contract language for GSD Operator Dan Arreguin to become a contract employee to Phillipsville CSD through the GSD administration.  GSD’s attorney has written the preliminary contract.  According to Emerson, the SDRMA insurance company covers both districts and says claims that arise while Arraguin is working for Phillipsville will be covered by Phillipsville’s policy and not GSD’s.

In a phone conversation after the meeting with Division of Drinking Water’s (DDW) Barry Sutter, Lead Engineer for the Northern District, the DDW does not insist on any specific relationship between districts.  DDW does insist that all districts have an appropriately licensed Operator performing the duties.  Sutter does say, however, that the DDW does encourage small districts to merge.  Sutter acknowledges loss of local control, but refers back to the improvements in consolidated management.

Lastly, the Board determined to remind landowners that property owners are ultimately responsible if their tenants walk away from their water bill. The Board agrees that doubling the deposit from its newly adopted $100.00 deposit might be challenging for people just moving into a new rental given all the costs of moving, especially given the high cost of water in this district.

The conversation then segued to a discussion of ongoing billing problems in which Board Member Doug Bryan expressed mounting frustration about people who pay their bills late especially after their water is actually shut off.

Last month, the Board heard a mid-year review of its budget and learned the district is about fifty thousand dollars ahead of projections in revenue, largely due to additional income from late fees and reconnection fees that were added by the Board last year.

Nonetheless, Doug Bryan would rather it didn’t happen, “We need to have a talk to property owners and explain to them the cost that the staff incurs, that this district continues to incur.  Our staff time is spent chasing around our own people to pay the bill.  So, we are spending money to spend money to spend money instead of just spending money to get things done around here.  Like trainings, like accounting software, like maintaining the ordinances, like anything else, anything, literally anything else than just chasing around customers.”

At the end of the meeting, it was noted that one seat on the GSD Board of Directors remains open after Gary Wellborn moved out of the area, and two others seats, occupied by Board Members Linda Broderson and Doug Bryan, will be up for re-election in November.  The filing deadline for the election is August 10.  One must be 18 or older and live in the District to be eligible for election to the Garberville Sanitary District Board of Directors.






  • Groba dude trustafarian osnt

    Walls closing in much, Garberville?

    Thanks Tina, for showing that incompetent, crooked and stupid does not pay!

  • Concerned Business Owner and Resident

    Second that. By the way GSD, you’re in customer service and serve at the pleasure of the rate payers. If WE want to pay these exorbitant water bills last minute that’s our call. That’s why you have customer service monkeys paid in the office — to chase around bills. Please don’t act like you would rather spend the time and money investing in legitimate business practices – EVERYONE knows that GSD is backwards, back door deals and a total scam!!

    • The part of this story that’s a real big “scam”, is the fact Emerson wants to spend approx $250,000 or more of GSD ratepayer funding to install a new experimental above ground chlorine contact chamber, that is untested in California and will not be tested to meet required minimum public drinking water quality standards with the State Division of Drinking Water until after it’s installed. With no guaranty GSD’s insurance will pay for anything, other than an email?

      The only reason GSD needs the new chlorine contact chamber, is for future development down at the water treatment plant and new demand with higher volume of water being served to new service connects in Garberville; aka SoHum Inn, Humboldt’s Finest Dispensary, Humboldt House exercise building, Town Square Public restroom and the undisclosed amount of new metered ag water for cannabis grows. Do the math…

      • Your first paragraph may be accurate, but your second one is clearly inaccurate.
        Time and again the district operators have said they need a contact chamber before summer demand hits.
        I’m not studied up enough to contribute, but some people say high chlorine residual levels are not so good for people. Already the district is using more chlorine than they needed to before the contact chamber broke.
        And by a certain point in the demand curve, use restrictions may be needed if they reach the top end of the chlorine allowed.
        So, despite errors in speech from previous episodes, there does appear to be a real need currently for the contact chamber to be replaced.

        • Kelley, maybe you should educate yourself and contact the State Division of Drinking Water in Redding, ask them the same question and if GSD is required by DDW to replace its chlorine contact chamber? Ask them about GSD’s levels of chlorine residual since the old one failed. Ask what they allow and what results GSD is obtaining without a new chlorine contact chamber. She can also educate you about the minimum and maximum allowable chlorine levels in public drinking water.

          If my second statement is “inaccurate”, then why did you also report, at a GSD Board meeting you attended, it was stated by GSD water operator Dan Arreguin: “When the plant was built, the contact chamber was installed to accommodate potential water needs for the Community Park. All other customers can be served without having a contact chamber.”? I talked to Dan about that and he confirms that’s what he said.

          • So, despite errors in speech from previous episodes, there does appear to be a real need currently for the contact chamber to be replaced. Iwas reporting what was said, but they’ve changed their opinion. People do.

            • Kelley, the only “real need currently for the contact chamber to be replaced” is that GSD wants to provide more water for new growth and development, without taking into account the new water consumption rates or demand on the river. 100% of GSD water is diverted from the South Fork Eel and a small backup supply from a subterranean stream called Tobin Well.

              Do you know how many new ag water/cannabis water connections GSD is proposing and approved? Maybe you should ask. When was the last time GSD did a water study, that included all these new water connections?

              At what point do you keep diverting water for new development? Do you wait until it’s gone? And what about Redway etc, anyone downstream, what do they do?

              Do you think there is an unlimited supply of water from the South Fork Eel River?

              • the district says it needs the contact chamber to meet its usual summertime demand.

                • kelley, what’s the GSD “usual summertime demand”?

                  GSD should know how many gallons of water they divert from the South Fork Eel River (raw water); either per hour, day, month or year. They should also know how many gallons of treated water is provides and sells through metered water connections, i.e. billing.

                  Now, with that being said and since GSD has replaced their leaking “like a sieve” Alderpoint Road tank; GSD should be able to disclose its supply, demand and water consumption rates with some kind of accuracy. So the difference would be leaks in the system or non-metered use.

                  Here’s an example what GSD submits to the State Waterboard thru the e-WRIMS Public Summary Page for its 2016 diversion of raw water from the South Fork Eel:


                  Since GSD provides its account receivable for water and sewer usage each month in their GSD BOD agenda; how come GSD cannot provide the total amount of raw water it diverts and stores on a monthly basis in the same public agenda packet?

                  GSD should be able to tell you on a day to day basis how much water it diverts, treats and stores, not wait for a yearly report. And these reports should be made available at GSD, its website or monthly BOD meetings.

                  Let me give you one example of water consumption, growth and demand. If you remember where Chautauqua Natural Foods was located, then relocated to a new building that included new apartments atop of a business that did not exist before. And now, where Chautauqua use to be, there is a new restaurant going in. So, with just that simple example, how much more water consumption and wastewater demand is generated? Or, what is the net lose to the South Fork Eel River? How come GSD cannot disclose that information?

                  Every drop of water matters and adds up:

                  My point; GSD should be able to disclose their water consumption and wastewater demand figures for the different areas and locations it services, without invasion of privacy for each ratepayer, i.e. how much treated water does the GSD waste treatment plant use to treat and process sewer? What is the total water consumption and wastewater demand generated by commercial businesses (hotels/motels/laundromat/restaurants/retail/medical/apartment complex etc) vs residential? None of that information is made public, why is that?

                  IMHO, and with all due respect, maybe since you attend all these GSD BOD meetings and cover them as a news reporter, maybe you could ask these pretanant questions and maybe get answers, because the public cannot…

                • “the district says it needs the contact chamber”

                  Kelley, GSD doesn’t need it, they want it; for adding new water connections i.e. to spur new growth and development, which the river cannot support.

                  Emerson has this scheme, that GSD needs to spur development for its own sake, and keep adding new water and sewer connects, which he feels is the only way GSD can make money. Now that would be great, if GSD had an unlimited amount of water, but it don’t!

                  Let me explain; the last and closest thing to a water consumption study GSD produced and made public was in 2013, that was included in GSD’s Annexation CEQA Study. In that study it was stated (page 17):

                  “Table 7 summarizes the existing water consumption from the current water customers and potential consumption from the existing permit and license POU.”


                  The total was 70,911,644 gallons, for all of 2012. GSD’s cap is 80,000,000 gallons per year. That leaves less than 10,000,000 gallons for new development, before GSD max’s out their state water diversion license and permit from the South Fork Eel River.

                  So, what’s not included in that figure is any new water connections or service since 2012. And it does not confirm what was estimated from the 20 homes at Kimtu or the new 16 unit apartment complex on Melville, as far as actual consumption thru meter readings and billing.

                  So I ask again, how many new water connections since 2013, how many new ag/cannabis water connections are proposed for 2018, how many new commercial water connections for hotels, restaurants and public restrooms are proposed since 2013 and what is that new water consumption demand total?

                  Seems to me, GSD is going to max out its 80,000,000 gallon license and permit real quick without water for fire suppression included into the mix. Good thing Doug Bryan is on the GSD BOD, he would be the one that knows how much water is needed to fight fires, right?

          • Kelley, did you ever follow through and talk with DDW?

            “Kelley, maybe you should educate yourself and contact the State Division of Drinking Water in Redding, ask them the same question and if GSD is required by DDW to replace its chlorine contact chamber? Ask them about GSD’s levels of chlorine residual since the old one failed. Ask what they allow and what results GSD is obtaining without a new chlorine contact chamber. She can also educate you about the minimum and maximum allowable chlorine levels in public drinking water.”

  • Problems with people paying their bills on time? Just wait! The money is not coming in anymore. Your problems of today will seem very small compared to what is coming soon, very soon… is over.

    • The Hermit of Grizzly Mountain

      Paying the bill at the last minute IS paying the bill on time. They want us to pay our bills early so they can coup the extra interest on the money as it sits in their account UNTIL the due date.

      • On behalf of accuracy, a water bill is ‘due and payable’ at the moment the customer receives it. It has to do with the fact the water has already been used. And the deadline on the bill is how long a district will wait before they feel impatient. They start taxing the customer with fees after that.
        In the course of time, GSD has opted to be very strict in it’s shutoff policy to show it’s impatience. It then increased reconnection fees to cover the cost of the increased work involved in all of that. It’s own budget review shows a big increase in revenue as a result.
        So something is missing because most people don’t want to fund a utility with extra money out of their pocket.
        So it begs the question, why aren’t people paying in a timely way?
        The board seems to see it as willful refusal. I don’t know enough to know what’s accurate about the reason.

        • “On behalf of accuracy, a water bill is ‘due and payable’ at the moment the customer receives it.”

          Kelley, where are you getting this information? As per GSD Sec 9.5:

          “Bills are due and payable by 4:30 P.M. on the 25th of each month and if not paid a $5 late charge will be applied”

          IMHO, it seems to me you are misinforming the public and misrepresenting the facts.

  • Doug Bryan is living proof that hypocrisy is alive and well at GSD! GSD thinks they own the water rights of the South Fork Eel River and it should only be used for their development plans. They do not want to share it with the wildlife habitat, they want to sell every drop and it’s just not Bryan!

    The last sentence of the article says it all: “One must be 18 or older and live in the District to be eligible for election to the Garberville Sanitary District Board of Directors.”

    I guess some of GSD Board Members don’t read their own requirements…

    And if you didn’t know, GSD will soon be installing a new 8 inch waterline and 6 inch sewer line to what will be called the “SoHum Inn” and “Humboldt’s Finest Dispensary”.

    Trent Sanders
    Tristin Oates

    GSD has already approved serving these new businesses with water and sewer without knowing how much water they are using or how much wastewater/sewer they will generate!

    I have concerns about GSD dewatering the South Fork Eel River from over allocation of their public State Water Board license, permit and place of use. Not just for these projects, but all foreseeable and future water use that would require water and sewer connections from GSD’s surface water diversion from the South Fork Eel River; which is currently fully appropriated under the state and federal Wild & Scenic Rivers Act.

    Let me remind GSD, neither one of these commercial projects were made public within the GSD District Boundary, nor was the public afforded the opportunity to make public comment(s). In fact, both projects were exempted from CEQA and approved by the Planning Department last year, all under the public radar.

    Let me also remind GSD, both projects are commercial and do not disclose or discuss the water consumption and or wastewater demand from each proposed project. How can GSD approve both water and sewer for these projects without knowing the projects water consumption and wastewater demand?

    The $64,000 dollar question; will GSD have enough water and water storage for its current customers and ratepayers during periods of high demand, drought, low summer flows and still have water for fire suppression without degrading the South Fork Eel River and its aquatic resources, aka threatened and endangered coho, chinook and steelhead salmon?

    If you wonder why GSD wants to have an emergency water connection with Redway? Its because GSD will not have enough water without a backup from Redway. GSD only thinks short term, not long term. Because if they did, they would know they do not have an unlimited supply of water, like they think they do. And this doesn’t even count the new number of metered water connections for cannabis. GSD will not disclose that number either!

    Could you imagine how much water you could use from an 8 inch water main? It’s the same size GSD uses to supply water to Garberville and over 400 residential, commercial and business connections it has right now…

    • The misadventures of bunjee

      If the water flows at 10 ft/s, that’s ~1500 GPM for an 8” pipe. That is a lot of water tanks filled in just a couple hours.

      • GSD already has a drive-up water truck delivery system right in front at the new Water Treatment Plant on McKee’s property, all approved by the GSD Board:

      • 8inches of potential delivery would be a real lot of water. The question though is what size meter is involved in the request. Every business, including these, on main Street is coming off that 8inch main. Chances are the largest meter is 2 inches. Most are 1 inch. The application for the businesses will have a request for a specific meter size.

        Ed voice wrote, “Let me remind GSD, neither one of these commercial projects were made public within the GSD District Boundary, nor was the public afforded the opportunity to make public comment(s).”

        I believe that the planning department had process on where these businesses can go in the county. I think these parcels meet criteria.

        An important factor to bear in mind….where water is drawn from is an important issue. Gallon for gallon water from the river is less ecologically harmful than from the headwaters. It’s therefore important to be thoughtful about pushing people out of the redway and garberville districts.. where the water is coming out of the warm river instead of the cool water refuges of the surrounding area.

        • “An important factor to bear in mind….where water is drawn from is an important issue. Gallon for gallon water from the river is less ecologically harmful than from the headwaters. It’s therefore important to be thoughtful about pushing people out of the redway and garberville districts.. where the water is coming out of the warm river instead of the cool water refuges of the surrounding area.”

          1. What does that even mean?
          2. The water is “warm” because of low flows!
          3. There are low flows because the river cannot support the high water demand from illegal diversions, new and existing development!
          4. It’s not just “warm”, its lethal to coho, chinook and steelhead salmon!
          5. You do know salmon have to swim through the “warm” water to get to the “headwaters”?
          6. No one is “pushing people out of the redway and garberville districts”, there is a limited amount of water, on top of the existing demand, because the river cannot support new development and threatened/endangered species (i.e. coho, chinook, steelhead)! salmon) too.

          The only public information we have, is that the Sanders “SoHum Inn” will need a 8 inch water line. Nothing about meter size. Its starts on page 3, of this GSD Board agenda packet:

          Please also note, this was an agency “Project Referral” only, not a public notice. And also note, there is no water consumption study included in the Project Referral, nor was it included in the Planning Departments Staff report, Projects Description or Conditions of Approval. So GSD approved a project, without knowing its water consumption or wastewater demand!

          Maybe you can obtain a copy of the “application”, since GSD doesn’t want to make it public…

    • Thank you, Ed! It’s nice to see somebody who actually cares about the river and wildlife over weed and money! I appreciate your informed posts about the Mateel and Reggae especially as they relate to the river. Many of us- yes, even people who like weed- are amazed at how out-of-whack with nature the culture here has become!

      • Thanks for saying’, and with all do respect, actions do speak louder than words.

        The amazing part, in just my lifetime, I have seen first hand how Northern Mendocino and Southern Humboldt areas along the South Fork Eel River have charged its culture from civil disobedience, educating the public about poor logging practices, enacting new environmental laws, protecting rivers and wildlife habitat ecosystems to what we have today; which is to internalize profit and externalize costs in the form of degrading watersheds, public grants for restoration projects and making a for-profit businesses model from restoration projects and public grants.

        The culture today consists of sales, marketing and venture capitalists, i.e. black market grows are now called farms, black market growers are now called farmers. They only protect the river, creeks and streams for themselves and their own private business interest and private investors. Case and point, i.e. Reggae on the River, Northern Nights Music Festival, Southern Humboldt Community Park, Southern Humboldt Business & Visitors Bureau, and now Garberville Sanitary District. And this list will grow as long as no one speaks up for the community of wildlife habitat, wetlands and rivers that cannot speak or protect themselves!

        Just look at how many 501c3 Environment groups and organization are in the area, saying they are protecting the Eel River watershed, protecting it from what, itself?

        Please remember, marijuana was not grown in Northern Mendocino or Southern Humboldt because of the perfect growing climate, organic farmland, ag soils or abundant pristine water sources, no, it was a degraded watershed, cheap clear cut land, off the grid and perfect hiding place to grow black market weed, until they got greedy. And for some reason, this gives people the right to claim its their culture. IMHO, they are no better than the decades of logging that decimated the landscape, native people, watershed, flora and fauna!

      • The truth is Ed grew up in a neighborhood that under todays regulations would not be allowed to be built. I am sure his little neighborhood leached far more sewage into the river than all the Reggaes ever did. This protector of the river crap is just his latest masquerade from a guy whose main motivation is revenge against anyone who he feels has slighted him. And what makes this guy who doesn’t even live here think he should have input as to how the local districts make decisions. You guys who encourage him are worse than he is. He’s a mean spirited vindictive crank whose input does nothing positive for the community. A lot of good people have given a lot of their time without pay to try and make our community livable only to be criticized by this guy as if we are all on the take. In the 6 years I served on the board at SHCHD I was paid for gas and a motel room once to attend a healthcare conference on behalf of the district. I know a lot of the folks this troll has smeared and to praise a guy who has done nothing in the way of contributing anything positive to the community is pathetic.

        • Wow Dave, I almost don’t know what to say. However, I’ll tell you why; because GSD is a Public Agency in California, not just Humboldt County. Which diverts surface water from a State and Federally listed Wild & Scenic River that has protected beneficial uses of Outstandingly Remarkable Values; which include native fish populations of threatened or endangered species, i.e. coho, chinook and steelhead salmon. And is regulated under its license and permit with the State Water Board, State Drinking Water Division, North Coast Water Quality Control Board, California Department of Fish & Wildlife, US Army Corps of Engineers, State Resources Agency, National Marine Fisheries Service and many more, just to name a few.

          You see Dave, you don’t have to live in a community to right a wrong or be a river and wildlife advocate. If you see something, say something. Its called citizen monitoring. Next time stick to the facts, seems ad hominems are all you got…

          • He,like Kym and I have before to no avail, addresses your tone and demeanor not the actual points you try to raise.
            You never step back and say,’oh, other people have opinions that differ from mine,’ and you use your words viciously to March over the top of their thoughts instead.
            That’s what Kirby addresses and it’s more than ad hominem. With all due respect.

            • Sorry, Kel, I’m just not seeing how what Ed brings up as invalid or wrong because of his ‘demeanor’.

              Go Ed.

              • I was careful to say that it isn’t his points that cause the Problems. It’s his demeanor. He calls people names and infers they are ‘on the take’ because they don’t agree with him or do what he thinks best. Democracy is messy. And we all have lots of variety in our perception.

                • Kelley, please give me one example when “He calls people names”?

                  Please give me one example when “infers they are ‘on the take'”?

                  Please give me one example of “It’s his demeanor”?

                • Alright Ed this one example wraps up all three in one tidy cut and paste.
                  You might not agree with Doug, but you miss the mark with your analysis, you call him a hypocrite, and you’re rude while you state your concern.
                  Doug Bryan is living proof that hypocrisy is alive and well at GSD! GSD thinks they own the water rights of the South Fork Eel River and it should only be used for their development plans. They do not want to share it with the wildlife habitat, they want to sell every drop and it’s just not Bryan!

                • That whole quote is a statement of fact, not a logical fallacy. Maybe read it again? Then read what Dave Kirby said, compare the two and get back to me.

        • Concerned Business Owner and Resident

          Really lame to attack Ed. He seems like the only person inside or outside of the county who has serious, factual information to share and educate the public. Public agencies in Humboldt have been run without citizen participation, proper regulation and oversight for way too long.

          We have the same handful of people sitting inside of every board and organization in the county making decisions for everyone else, making deals for their friends, taking in large fees and they should be scrutinized and questioned at every turn. This same level of scrutiny should be expected at the local, state and federal level.

          Journalists also need to be accountable in their reports and double-speak and inconsistencies from local agencies (GSD) particularly when it comes to issues as important as water policy should be heavily scrutinized. Water policies, water rights and water access are rife for misconduct on a local and a global scale.

          Asking questions and getting answers is critical to monitoring the activity of elected and appointed individuals. Garberville, Redway and every neighboring township are regulated more by MONOPOLY than anything else. It’s such a shame there isn’t more competition in this town to offer utilities and services.

          The local scrutiny is there because EVERYONE knows about all the backdoor BS that goes on in this town. People just don’t want to hear it, want to act like we’re all friends and stick their heads in the sand. GSD is led by a crook with a KNOWN track record for malfeasance — So glad to see it exposed! Let’s keep posting!

          • Conerned resident: I try to be accountable in my observations.
            And The people sitting on the gsd board are elected. There are three seats …one currently empty and two that will be re elected in Nov. Anyone who is18 and living in the district can run and be elected by their neighbors. It’s time consuming and requires learning and patience so people tend to avoid stepping up…. That’s my observation anyway. And also, I sit in a lot of meetings alone with the board. Not much engagement really.
            In my mind, the that’s the missing ingredient.
            If you like golf, you’ll love water. It’s the same dulcet tones and slow motion action. But the outcome actually matters.
            I’m sorry if my impatience with Ed’s approach upset you. It’s just my impatience. He can take it. He’s mean to everyone, even Kym once when she didn’t agree with him, and Kym is 100% the nicest person ever.
            I know he can take it, but I’m sorry I upset you and other readers.

            • “He’s mean to everyone”

              How about passionate and truthfully honest. I feel we should protect wildlife habitat for their own sake. You on the other hand, want to use all the water in the river, creeks and streams for development and would rather sacrifice the wildlife habitat for what you think is the greater good.

              You are living where I grew up and family owned our home from 1961-2015, it’s my hometown. I guess we agree to disagree, but I am not going to give up on saving the South Fork Eel River and its community of wildlife habitat!

            • “He can take it.”

              Really? Seems you can dish it out, but can’t take it. You can say or read too much into my comments, put words in my mouth, judge and accuse me of what you think “infers they are on the take”, I’m “mean to everyone” or its my demeanor? Who are you to judge me? It’s called a double standard or hypocrisy, take your pick.

              • For heaven’s sakes, Ed. You’ve been judging everyone. [And let me be clear, that doesn’t mean you don’t have valid points] But calling out Kelley for judging you…after you call Doug a hypocrite and freely judge local board members regularly–Remember they serve without pay and get attacked while doing so—is the very definition of being hypocritical.

                Generally, I admire your passion, your intellect, and your love for the river.

                I only wish you understood that people who disagree with you about how to do things in this community are not evil. Look, the members of the boards can make mistakes and even deliberately commit immoral and illegal acts but what seems harsh to many of us is that almost anyone who does/says something you don’t agree with gets thrown in the latter camp of immoral and criminal when generally assuming they are making a mistake might be a kinder and more accurate view.

                Also, while I’m here lecturing you in a comment thread (yes, that is sketchy behavior on my part), I might as well go for broke. What happens is people are afraid to engage in a free discussion with you because they fear your response will be a personal attack. You have a passion to dig deeply into things most of us ignore–and that’s awesome and could be really helpful. However, when someone does something that you feel opposes you, your response feels to me like it is less about trying to see if they have a point and more about proving not only they are wrong but they are personally morally deficient. Thus, your very helpful and useful skill set in research gets ignored by the very people you are trying to influence.

                That said–will people please quit attacking Ed because he doesn’t live here? Who the heck cares? Can only people who live in the Amazon care whether it is deforested? Can only people who live in the Arctic care if it is melting? Please discuss Ed’s points, or ignore Ed. But sneering at him because he doesn’t live here and he gives a damn is absurd.

                • Thank you; points taken and appreciated. My only rebuttal; I don’t do this to make friends, I do this to state the facts and share as much factual information as possible to make decisions based on the facts, not self serving interests or innuendo. Maybe the people that are “afraid to engage in a free discussion with you because they fear your response will be a personal attack.” will think twice and be accountable, transparent and responsible for their actions and the public/citizens they represent…

                • Or they’ll marginalize you as a crank and ignore the valuable things you offer.

                • Sure, if 10% understand and look at the facts, common sense will follow. If they ignore the facts and think I’m a “crank”, it doesn’t matter how you come across, they will ignore the facts anyway. Its all a crap shoot…

    • Election is different than appointment. If no one runs, then an appointment is made.

      • You are correct Kelley. When was the last time GSD had an election for its BOD? Before or after WWII? Being appointed by the County Board of Supervisors is still serving as an elected official for a public agency (GSD BOD). Being appointed doesn’t exempt you from laws, codes, rules, regulations, oath or the Brown Act. You are still held accountable, by law and sworn under the same oath of office either elected or appointed. So I don’t understand your comment?

  • The misadventures of bunjee

    “communicated their frustration with those ratepayers who wait until the last minute to pay their water bills”

    So what? Deal with it. They in a big hurry for the money? That’s part of customer service, and the CSD has it done by a 3rd party that makes robocalls. They aren’t doing any actual work on the billing side. It’s automated. And if they decide to be a pain in the ass and triple the deposits for late or slow pays, they’ll have entirely new billing issues that will be frustrating to collect. If at all.

  • Here’s the same News Article from KMUD News. You can hear what Doug Bryan had to say, the tone in his theatrical speech and disdain for GSD ratepayers…

  • Some portions of this article are a bit confusing to read but I don’t think I trust this Emerson fellow and I don’t think that the GSD board should either. Ed Voice knows what he talks about even if that makes some folks uneasy.

  • I suggest boycotting the businesses of the GSD board members. It is quite easy to find out what those are. By the way, run a cup of water out of a Garberville tap right now and experience chlorine as strong as a public swimming pool. And now Ralph has trained a buddy to operate the Pville water under the same rules. And WE still pay this guy as a GSD employee ! Good luck. 450 meters pay Ralph 120k per year, with travel time to his home in the Sierras, days off thats about 500 a day. Thank you to Gary Welborn,Rio Anderson,Richard Thomson,Doug Bryant and Linda Broderson for screwing our community. The first three were appointed by Estelle at Ralphs request ! They then voted for Ralphs pay raise ! Thank you Kelley for your cont. attention regarding this fiasco and the people responsible. I do not always like Eds approach, he brings to light very valid points. A true cleansing is needed at GSD.

    • james, it’s my understanding, after talking with the State Division of Drinking Water (DDW), who regulates and oversees the GSD drinking water, and since the underground chlorine contact chamber (CCC) failed, according to GSD drinking water reports from last month, GSD has almost twice the required amount of chlorine residual than what is required and calculated by DDW. It is my assertion that GSD is adding more chlorine than normal to justify a new chlorine contact chamber for new and future water demand from more added water use. And after the new above ground chlorine contact chamber is installed, GSD will cut back on chlorine and claim its due to the new CCC.

      Like I said before, GSD doesn’t need to replace its failed CCC, unless GSD will be serving drinking water directly and within close proximity of the GSD Drinking Water Treatment Plant (DWTP), i.e. Southern Humboldt Community Park or Bob McKee; because the 8 inch water main from the DWTP to Garberville has enough length and size to allow for adequate chlorine contact time and safe chlorine residual. Just my opinion after knowing the facts.

  • Concerned Business Owner and Resident

    Purposefully over chlorinating the water? That should be checked out. Did you turn the information over to DDW to investigate? Or is there an agency that checks into this kind of thing? It also sounds like it should be followed up on and investigated by the local press.

    • Remember, its GSD that has control over how much chlorine is added to their water. It seems odd they would use more chlorine and raise the level above the recommended level (chlorine residual) for no reason or would not let its ratepayers know and justify why. The ratepayers need to start asking questions. Ask to see the monthly water treatment reports and lab test results GSD submits to DDW. A complaint needs to come from a GSD customer/ratepayer. GSD has not even made the cause and failure of the old CCC public. And this is important, DDW is not requiring the CCC to be replaced. In other words, nothing makes any sense, because GSD will not make any pertinent information public. They make you jump through the hoops of a public records act request and then make excuses to delay your request. I know, there doing it to me right now…

  • Concerned Business Owner and Resident

    Our local news sources should really be looking into this matter and publishing on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to get answers to whats going on!! Seems like good timing for an investigative journalist piece.

    If there is enough factual information/data ready to submit to these agencies by a collective of local concerned residents, maybe that’s a good plan of action to launch and expand an investigation with the state?

    I think for rate payers to be on board, they have to clearly understand that Garberville citizen water needs are being sidelined and perhaps compromised to provide services to new connections, B&B’s, commercial ag, and the community park with Garberville resources and on their dime, with the only thing to show for it, a bloated contact chamber bid that will be profitable for some contracted firm and poisonous chlorinated water for Garbervillians due to willful incompetence , i.e., design.

    I can’t imagine how this will not end with 1) Poor water quality, 2) Water shortage for actually Garberville residents and businesses, and 3) An increase in prices for water, base rates and hook up fees rate payers.

    These issues need to featured in the local press, ie, blackbelt, Indie, KMUD, Lost Coast and other northern publications. Too much news time being devoted to petty crime, meth heads and car crashes. Let’s get to the real issues.

    • If you are a business owner, you can support local news by advertising with them. Perhaps sponsor some in-depth articles. Encourage others to advertise.

      We’re small business owners, too. And, in my case, it is just me. I can’t do all the longer research articles without help, because I also need to cover the smaller things that people need to know like which roads are closed, if there is an upswing in crime, etc.

      For other readers, support the advertisers that support your news. Consider how much you’d be willing to pay for that story you just read. Is it worth a $1. Keep a running tally and send a check or Paypal a gift at the end of the month.

      I’d love to do more stories but I short myself on sleep and exercise as it is. If I had more money, I’d be hiring help to cover those stories.

      • It shouldn’t just be a handful of journalists and concerned residents/former residents raising a red flag.

        Thanks Kym,

        I definitely was not trying to be critical about the news site. It’s actually very impressive how much content is covered in a timely fashion from all over the county and I know it’s a very small staff. There are only so many hours in a day of course.

        I was actually commenting to try and encourage more community involvement. It seems like those who should have a vested interest in local policy and politics are not very engaged.

        The information that Ed is presenting regarding the GSD is really concerning and points to a level of corruption that exists, and has always existed locally, and now it’s people from outside of the community who are largely pulling the strings. Local water rates, policy and leadership are only going to become more critical to town economics, and it would benefit the community if they read up here, start asking questions themselves and demanding answers.

        • I reread my comment and I somehow erased the part where I said it is me and some very good freelancers. I blame my cold.

          Every day I see important stories not getting covered I only wish I could hire more help to cover those stories.

  • GSD meeting tonight, go and ask questions, hold their feet to the fire, engage, be courteous and respectful.

    GSD payroll for February 2018:

    Tonights GSD BOD meeting agenda packet:

  • You know its amazing, how when you have to put things on paper, how they change from hardly anything to OMFG; I’m talking about the new GSD chlorine contact chamber Emerson wants the GSD ratepayers to pay for. Here’s the deal:

    4. The following terms specified below supersede any listed on the quotation, sales contract, or the standard Highland Terms and Conditions:
    A. The District will pay Highland Tank 25% at the time of ordering tank and 25% at the time
    that the tank is received. The remaining 50% will be paid within 7 calendar days once the
    tracer test is completed and the State DDW has certified the tank for a baffling factor of
    0.5 or higher.

    B. Should the tracer test result in a baffling factor less than 0.5, Highland Tank will refund
    the 50% previous paid by the District within 30 calendar days. Highland Tank will not be
    responsible for reimbursing the District for the costs associated with installation of the

    C. Highland Tank staff is more than welcome to attend the tracer testing at their own
    expense. The District will provide as much notice as we can for the date of such testing,
    within the limitations that the State will be scheduling the test.

    BTW, the total price, out the door and delivered, for the new chlorine contact chamber is $96,539.42 (and that doesn’t include installation). Nor does the public know how much is covered by insurance. But not to worry, because it’s less than Emerson’s one year salary…

  • Tina… You ROCK coffee lady!

  • So here it is May 5th 2018 and GSD had their last public BOD meeting April 24th (see below), as reported in the Indie May 1st. I guess no one else read what Ralph Emerson (GSD GM) stated and was quoted from that meeting, e.g. replacing the chlorine contact chamber (CCC); which by the way is estimated at (approx) $250,000.00?

    Here’s the thing, Ralph Emerson cannot justify, rationalize, substantiate or even legitimize the CCC replacement! Why? Because the original CCC was only incorporated into the new water treatment plant to serve future development for neighboring property directly off the GSD water treatment plant, not Garberville, i.e. APN 222-091-011 (McKee), 222-091-015 (Southern Humboldt Community Park), 222-091-009 and 222-241-010 (Dazey). All 3 of these property owners have development planned with the County. In the case of McKee, he already has an agreement with GSD; GSD will provide the property owner 4 new 3/4″ metered water connections at NO COST (except water use) for their “Planned Unit Development”(PUD). And the Park only needs to be annexed into the GSD District Boundary to have one 3/4″ residential metered water connection with no connection fee and restricted to 2999 cubic feet per month.

    The CCC is only critical for the neighboring properties and their private development schemes; they are too close to the GSD water treatment plant, there is no contact time with chlorine and water disinfection; as like the 8” water line that either goes up to Garberville or down to Kimtu from the water treatment plant.

    Emerson cannot even tell the public the cause and failure of the CCC back in November 2017 when he was asked during the April 24th GSD BOD meeting! Nor could he state the cost to replace the CCC for insurance, or if the insurance will cover any of that replacement cost!

    Emerson also likes to use the word “required”. However, when asked, Emerson cannot provide any documentation showing who is requiring GSD to replace the CCC. The State Division of Drinking Water or the Health Department is not requiring GSD to replace the CCC.

    It’s called fear mongering and using a straw man argument. Emerson wants the public to think, if GSD doesn’t replace their CCC, no one can safely drink GSD water, unless they boil it first. And with nothing in writing to support Emerson’s claim, even when asked during the GSD BOD meeting.

    How come Kelley Lincoln cannot disclose what Barry Sutter (State Division of Drinking Water) stated to her, in a phone interview concerning the GSD CCC? Because if she did, it would prove my point and save the GSD ratepayers at least $250,000.00. GSD should make these developers pay for it, since its only intended for their private use and development plans. However, who said GSD has the water for all this new development?

    GSD is already using 90% of more of their state water diversion license and permit. Where will they get all the water from for all this new development? Including cannabis, ag water, hotels, restaurants, public restrooms, swimming pools and spa’s? I guess that’s why GSD wants to have an emergency water connection with Redway Community Services District, so they can justify fire flow? The last so-called water consumption and estimate study by GSD was 2013, during the big GSD annexation. And at that point they were using 70 million gallons a year, out of the 80 million a year from their state license and permit. Wonder what GSD is at now?????

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