OC ENDORSEMENTS #4: Water & Sanitation Boards

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Left to right above our watery background: Top row: Adam Ereth (with water sprites), Megan Yoo Scheider, Michael Elliott, Karen McLaughlin. Bottom row: Warren Martin, Marcus Lenger, Julio Morales. Kris Beard.

Our site’s daily reports of hits on various pages tell us that Water Boards are near the top of voters’ minds.  (Our August article on who was filing for them has been in our top 10 for weeks.)  That means that these races — along with the propositions — are what might be delaying your turning in your ballots.

Can’t have that!  So here is our long-awaited solo piece on water boards, which summarizes and expands upon what you’ve already been able to find on our main endorsement page.  If you have any remaining questions, please put them into the comments!

(We also encourage you to check out our friend John Earl’s great post endorsing KARL SECKEL for the MWDOC District 4 seat, covering Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, and Costa Mesa, where  corporate interests have spent $68,000 so far to elect his Poseidon-besotted opponent, Stacy Taylor)

Our choices, where we have them, are in orange!  (Second rank choices are in gold.  And there’s one third choice in peach.)

LARGER Water Districts

Not to disparage any other city of regional or city water districts out there, but the Orange County Water District (“OCWD) and Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC) — respectively a water retailer and wholesaler — as the big kahunas of this category within Orange County.

They are the ones that the greedy investment firm leaders from back east who have been aching for more than a decade to turn Orange County into their faithful money spigot — at a huge cost to ratepayers and the environment — and overcharge consumers (except in South County and a few other places like Brea) for water for decades.  That’s water we aren’t likely to need — and that we could in any case get more cheaply by putting a desalination project out to open bid.

That is the “Poseidon Project.”  They are spending like mad in this election to get members of these two water districts to guarantee the money that they want to profit from Poseidon.  And the only people who can stop them — maybe only temporarily — is you and your fellow voters.

Orange County Water District

OCWD has 5 of its 7 district (as opposed to city) seats  up this year — although the elections in Anaheim, Fullerton, and Santa Ana may well determine three additional seats.  The open seats are:

  • Division 2: a full-term (4-year seat occupied by Denis Bilodeau, who has been bad
  • Division 3: a full-term seat occupied by Roger Yoh, who has been great
  • Division 4: a full-term seat occupied by Tri Ta, who has been quite bad
  • Division 6: a full-tern seat occupied by Cathy Green, who has been terrible

The city seats have been represented by:

  • Jordan Brandman of Anaheim, terrible
  • Ahmed Zahra of Fullerton, (we’re unsure where he stands)
  • Vince Sarmiento of Santa Ana, whom Poseidon has loved but claims to be secretly good

So if you’re in one of those cities, pay close attention to our city council choices below!

Division 2

Denis Bilodeau won without opposition, sad to say.  Opportunity lost.

Division 3

Roger Yoh won without opposition, happy to say.  An important victory!

Division 4

  • Kris Beard, Retired Administrative Manager
  • Tri Ta, Appointed Incumbent
  • Samantha Bao Anh Nguyen, City Commissioner/Businesswoman
  • Tai Do, Councilman/Police Officer
  • Jasmin Carmadella, Small Business Owner

This one is tricky.  Tri Ta, the incumbent, is quite  But who can beat him?  Not Caremendella.  Samantha Nguyen told Martin Wisckol that she didn’t know what the Poseidon project is, so she’sl out.  (And she didn’t do well in the recall election anyway.)  Tai Do might be OK, but John Earl prefers Kris Beard, who is also running for Mayor and so has lots of signage, and that seems like a good pick.

Division 6

  • Michael Elliott, Computer Systems Engineer
  • Cathy Green, Incumbent

Green lives in Huntington Beach and is happy to risk its beach (and pier fishing) being destroyed, as well as its ratepayers soaked by the robber barons.  Elliot seems truly excellent.  This is as important as any race on your local ballot!

Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC)

Division 1, Short Term

  • Scott Hupp, Business Owner
  • Fred Smith, Mayor/Business Owner
  • Al Nederhood, Director, Yorba Linda Water District

Our advice: DO NOT vote for Nederhood!  He used to be a Poseidon critic, and is now one of their biggest boosters.  Hupp is the husband and real-estate business partner of Brea City Councilwoman Cecilia Hupp, who is sort of Brea’s Kris Murray, so he’s out.  Smith is Mayor of Buena Park, which is generally a pretty corrupt place — but I don’t find evidence that he himself is especially bad.  So — and this is my district — I plan to vote for Smith.

Division 3

  • Kathy-Nguyet Pham, Registered Nurse
  • Linda Moulton-Patterson, Businesswoman/Mother
  • Robert McVicker, Water Resources Engineer/Incumbent
  • Tyler Diep, California State Assemblyman

We, like all good-hearted people in the world, don’t want to see corrupt Tyler Diep returning to any sort of office, let alone one where he could sell out profitably to Poseidon.  While we thank Nurse Pham for splitting the Vietnamese vote, she doesn’t seem qualified for the job.  But who among the other two can beat him?

Water Politics expert and our occasional contributor John Earl makes a strong case for Linda Mounton-Patterson — who is from what I can tell, the wife and business partner of former Rep. Jerry Patterson, against whom (but without rancor) we’re endorsing for re-election to his Community College Board seat, on the grounds that she served on the Coastal Commission.  It’s a good point, but I’m not convinced.  McVicker is the incumbent, he’s not bamboozled by Poseidon, and I think that he’s better positioned to win.  You can judge for yourself with reference to their candidate statements — here is McVicker’s and here is Moulton-Patterson’s.  I don’t know whether she is anti-Poseidon — but Jerry Patterson’s longtime union ties make that a possibility.  (Pham tries to depict this as a position where a medical background is a useful requirement — and it just isn’t.  Diep tries to take personal credit for the successes of OC’s wastewater treatment and vector control successes — which is laughable — and says that he wants to “restore some common sense” to MWDOC.  I have no idea what he means — MWDOC seems quite sensible — unless it means support for Poseidon.)Mouton-Patterson also says that she can bring “fresh new leadership” to MWDOC — without explaining why that is needed.  The statement by McVicker — whom I believe to be anti-Poseidon shows expertise and an appreciation for what the job requires.  And as the incumbent, he seems like a much better bet to beat Diep.  (But read the linked statements yourself and decide!)

Division 4

  • Stacy Lynne Taylor, Water Policy Manager
  • Christopher Ganiere, Architect
  • Karl Seckel, Water District Engineer
  • Allan Mansoor, Councilmember/Orange County Parent
  • Dana Reed, No Ballot Designation

We’re strongly for Karl Seckel, a water engineer who seems like as great a contributor to MWDOC as Kelly Rowe is to OCWD.  John Earl agrees with our conclusion in his companion story, but if you want to think more about it yourself, here’s his campaign website.  There is no second choice here.  Mansoor is generally awful and Poseidon is spending heavily to promote Taylor, so she’s guaranteed to be bad news.

Division 6

Incumbent Jeffrey Thomas won reelection without challenge, and as I recall he’s good.

Division 7

  • Megan Yoo Schneider, Incumbent
  • Debbie Neev, Laguna Beach Water Commissioner

Schneider has been an excellent Board member (in many areas, not merely Poseidon.)  Neev is being funded by Poseidon.  This is an easy choice.

Water Districts — Local & Regional

El Toro Water District

Incumbents Jose VergaraMark Monin, and Kay Havens all won without opposition.  Vergara in particular is very good.

Irvine Ranch Water District

Vern: The BEST Water District!

Division 1

Incumbent John Withers has won without opposition.  He endorsed Scott Goldman, whom you’ll meet below, so this is probably a shame..

Division 4

  • Mary Matheis, Incumbent
  • Karen McLaughlin, Water Quality Scientist
  • Aarti Kaushal, Teacher/City Commissioner

We’re following John Earl’s recommendation here.  I’ve recently learned that Kaushal is promoting her endorsement by Harry Sidhu, so she’s benched for the foreseeable future.

Moulton Niguel Water District

Incumbents Richard Fiore, Duane Cave, and Brian Probolsky, and newcomer Sherry Wanninger, all won without opposition.

Santa Margarita Water District

  • Charles Gibson, Incumbent
  • Betty Olson, Incumbent
  • Warren Martin, Environmental Non-Profit Director
  • Frank Ury, Incumbent

100% of you should vote for Martin, 75% of you should vote for Olson.  In other words, flip a coin twice and if you get tails both times, vote only for Martin. Otherwise vote for both.

East Orange County Water District  (Two seats open)

  • John Sears, Incumbent
  • Julio Morales, Municipal Financial Advisor
  • Douglass Davert, Incumbent
  • Noble Alejandro Drakoln, Business Owner/Father

John Earl endorsed only Julio Morales.  Vote only for him; let the others fight it out.

Rossmoor/Los Alamitos Area Sewer District, Full Term

Incumbents Van Jew, Jim Bell, and William Poe won their three seats without opposition.

Rossmoor/Los Alamitos Area Sewer District, Short Term

This short-term seat went unfilled; the Board will appoint to the vacancy

Mesa Water District

Division 1

Fred Bockmiller has been re-elected without opposition.

Division 2

  • Adam Ereth, Non-Profit Programs Director
  • Jim Fisler, Incumbent

Fisler is truly awful — a climate change denier, on top of everything else — and Ereth is one of the brightest new lights we’ve seen running this year, with support from honest Democrats and Republicans (like Geoff West) alike!

Division 3

Marice DePasquale has been re-elected without opposition.  Oh well.

South Coast Water District

  • Douglas Erdman, Incumbent
  • Rick Erkeneff, Incumbent
  • Markus Lenger, Water Innovator
  • Scott Goldman, Environmental Engineer
  • Wayne Rayfield, Incumbent

OK, this is complicated.  Everyone vote for Lenger.  Then flip a coin once.  If it’s heads, also vote for Erkeneff and Erdman.  If it comes up tails, don’t vote for Erdman, but do give Erkeneff a second flip.  If the coin comes up heads the second time, vote for Erkeneff; if tails, don’t.

This may seen silly, but it’s the sort of strategy that you need to follow if you you want to get one great challenger past one of the incumbents, but you don’t want the other challenger — Scott Goldman, who runs with a very bad crowd — to win.

Look to our main endorsement page for the underlying reasoning!

Trabuco Canyon Water District

Incumbents Don Chadd and Stephen Dopudja won unopposed.

Yorba Linda Water District

Incumbent John Wayne Miller and newcomer Trudi Kew Desroches  were elected unopposed.

If there are any races we missed please check the main page.

City Water Board Seats

Here, we often don’t have statements from candidates on where they stand on issues such as Poseidon.  But we have a good sense of people’s character — and who, therefore, we believe might make a good decision.  (For example, not Jordan Brandman.)


  • District 1: Denise Barnes, without question!
  • District 4: We’ve been split all year: Vern and Greg like both Jeanine Robbins and Annemarie Randle-Trejo and DO NOT like Avelino “Vendido” Valencio — but Vern thinks that Jeanine can win based on grassroots activist popularity and Greg thinks that Annemarie can win based on her electoral track record.  We’ve seen this train wreck coming all year and can’t stop it.  Vote for one or the other.
  • District 5: Kenneth Batiste, without question!


  • District 1: Fred Jung, without question!
  • District 2: Greg like Faisal Qazi; Ryan likes Nick Dunlap!  Vote for one of these two.
  • District 4: Greg and Vern prefer Aaruni Thakur over Bruce Whittaker, whom they also like (and who has a good record on water issues.)  Ryan prefers Whittaker.

Santa Ana

  • Mayor: Vern and Greg both endorse Vince Sarmiento as the best feasible candidate to keep unctuous super-vendido  Jose Solorio out of office.  Solorio’s the kind of politician Poseidon loves, whether or not they’ve already rented him.
  • Ward 1: We’re all behind Thai Viet Pham!
  • Ward 3: We prefer Jessie Lopez
  • Ward 5: Solorio ally Juan Villegas is sitting pretty in this seat, with progressive votes split between Jonathan Ryan Hernandez (whom Greg slightly favors) and Laura Perez (whom Vern slightly favors.)  Like Anaheim 4, it’s a mess.  Vote for one of those two.

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 (in violation of Roberts Rules) when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Expelled from DPOC in October 2018 (in violation of Roberts Rules) for having endorsed Spitzer over Rackauckas -- which needed to be done. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level, nor do they now. One of his daughters co-owns a business offering campaign treasurer services to Democratic candidates and the odd independent. He is very proud of her. He doesn't directly profit from her work and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he truly hated.) He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)