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Santa Clarita CA
Today in
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October 19
1945 - Acton Hotel, est. 1890, burns down; arson is suspected [story]

The four candidates who are vying for two seats on the Newhall County Water Board faced off Saturday in a forum hosted by KHTS AM-1220, SCVTV, The Signal and COC Cougar News.

The forum will be televised beginning this week and will run through the Nov. 3 election on SCVTV (Time Warner Channel 20, AT&T U-verse 99, and online 24/7 at SCVTV.com).

The forum was held at the SCVTV studio in Newhall and a panel of Santa Clarita Valley journalists asked each of the candidates questions.

Leon Worden, president and CEO of SCVTV, moderated the forum. He kicked it off by allowing each of the candidates a 90 second opening statement.

First was current board member Lynne Plambeck, who has been a member of the district since 1996.

Plambeck opened with explaining her concern for water pollution from contaminated sources, such as the Whittaker Bermite property and her fight against it inside the district.

Next was Jeff Ford who talked about his past experience as a member of the Castaic Lake Water Agency, an employee of L.A. Department of Water and Power and Metropolitan Water District. He has also been involved with environmental and water resource planning.

Don Cruikshank, owner of AV Equipment Rental, followed detailing his history as a long time business owner and resident of Santa Clarita Valley. His goal is to bring sensible and controlled growth to the district, he said.

Dan Mortensen, another current sitting board member, finished the opening statements by explaining his record at the district.

Mortensen claimed that since he joined in 2008, the district has revamped the way it does business, where the district is almost debt free and plans to be by 2018, Mortensen said.

The candidates were then asked questions, which included topics such as how they, as candidates, expect customers to conserve water when there is new development plans using water.

“The allotment to the new developments going on in the Santa Clarita Valley, which doesn’t have a lot to do with the NCWD, but has a lot to do with the outlying areas,” Cruikshank said.

There is options that the NCWD has, such as buying water supply from agriculture sources and water banking, said Mortensen.

“The governor said, everybody with a ‘meat cleaver’ approach, will conserve 25 percent or you’ll receive huge fines,” Mortensen said. “However it is not necessary for us to do so.”

“I don’t support approving new development and, in fact, our urban water management plan doesn’t either,” Plambeck said. “It says when a water emergency is declared, that we suggest to the city and county that they consider delaying housing.”

Ford explained that the development plans were part of a long term plan, which is changed every five years and makes adjustments for short term needs. Though when it is next updated, Ford believes that it will have tighter constraints due to the drought.

The candidates were also given a chance to ask each other questions,

Plambeck simply asked Ford why he was running for the office.

Ford responded by telling Plambeck that after one district filed lawsuits against the others in Santa Clarita, there is animosity between them and he wishes to build cooperation between all the districts in Santa Clarita.

Ford asked Mortensen why, when the district was asked to annex some areas and de-annex others, why the de-annexing didn’t happen.

Mortensen explained that the district has the ability to assess what agency is best to serve that area, and if the area was better serviced by another agency, NCWD would let them.

Cruikshank asked Plambeck, “over the past 10 or 15 years you’ve been involved with several activist groups in the valley. Those activists brought up lawsuits against Castaic Lake Water Agency, is your motivation to file those lawsuits strictly for the purposes of anti-growth.”

Plambeck responded to both explaining that she was not responsible for the lawsuits directly and also responded to a “hit piece” that was sent out against her on her website.

The NCWD election will be held on Nov. 3, 2015 for areas that are serviced by NCWD.


| Skylar Barti



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  1. Javi says:

    Do any of these candidates possess a degree in freshwater biology/limnology?

    I think that would gona long way in deciding who is right for the job.

    Water is such an emotional issue right now, but we need someone who understands water and water ecosystems.

    Clearly NOBODY has a clue in LA where they decided to cover the reservoir with black plastic balls completely disrupting the ecosystem there and possible releasing large amounts of BPA and/or polyphenols into the water supply.

  2. Thanks for sharing Jamie Lynn Lessing!!!!

  3. A big thank you to SCVTV for getting the real word out to the voter decision makers. The efficacy of the democratic experiment depends on good information getting to decision makers. The forum was professional, informative and it allowed each of the participants to make their important points. My sincere gratitude to everyone involved for that opportunity.

  4. Ann Hustis Ann Hustis says:

    Four more looking forward to an easy job. High pay

  5. Evangeline Shaw says:

    Dan, you should disclose that you have in the past and perhaps currently do tax law work for Newhall Land.

    Lynne Plambeck is the only Newhall County Water District director who is not in the pocket of developers, and never has been.

    Since you’re only a lawyer, and had not background in anything pertaining to water prior to your election to the Newhall Board, perhaps you’d learn something if you would go to the “continuing education” courses held by drinking water supply groups in California. Lynne Plambeck knows more about drinking water in California than you ever will.

    However, I get your schtick. Complain, complain, complain. You’re just a tea bagger who votes for over-commitment and over-use of Newhall’s water supply to real estate developers like your client, and to heck with the water needs of Newhall residents who have been relying on its water supply for 40+ years.

    • Hi Evangeline,

      Please don’t make things up when you don’t know the facts. I have never done work for Newhall Land. I and my family are just regular residents of this valley who are trying to help use what skills we do possess to help the local community. An organization like NCWD has a lot of financial management to do, which happens to be my strength. I bring that to the board. I am the only one who does. With me as the catalyst we have paid down our debt, reduced employees from 35 to 31, and enacted pension reforms which dramatically reduce the cost to our district’s ratepayers over the long term, and the NCWD will be almost entirely debt free in 2018.

      Director Plambeck has not passed any motions or done a single quantifiable thing for the NCWD in the eight years I have been on the board. She just bills the ratepayers every month for her expensive junkets to environmental conferences which have not translated into anything of benefit to the NCWD.

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