Monday, May 13, 2013

Mesa Water Stifles Public Awareness?

I don't know how many of you read the Surf City Voice, a blog operated by John Earl that focuses mainly, but not exclusively, on Huntington Beach issues, but I suggest you give it a look when you have time.  You can find it HERE.


Earl has been tightly focused on Mesa Water District recently, primarily due to their involvement in the Poseidon desalination plant that's being planned for Huntington Beach.  He's become a real burr under Mesa's blanket in recent months, writing critically about many issues involving their operations, including their expensive "branding" effort that's been in the news lately.


Sunday he published an entry titled, New Mesa Water Press Credential Policy Weeds Out Journalists and Terrorists.  Click on that title to go to the site.  As you read through this entry - watch the video first - you find some issues that are pretty darn distressing from a censorship standpoint.

I've not paid much attention to Mesa over the years.  I've felt the operation was well-run and cost effective, so there didn't seem to be much to criticize.  However, lately I've become a little more in tune with operations there and the major players involved.  It's become more visible on my radar because of the cross-pollination of members of the Mesa Board and Costa Mesa city committees and commissions.


For example, Mesa recently proposed using a for-profit organization to help manage their cash.  Then, out of the blue, a similar scheme is proposed by the new Finance Advisory Committee - which includes members of the Mesa board.  And then there's the whole "re-branding" issue on which they will have spent nearly $300,000 of ratepayer dollars.

According to John Earl in his piece, no bloggers will be credentialed to attend any Mesa official function.  I guess there is an assumption that bloggers are automatically critics of their operations, hence they will lock them out of any chance to observe and ask questions about operations at Mesa events.  You can read Mesa Water's Media Credentialing Policy HERE.  As an aside, in that video you'll hear Mesa Communication Director Stacey Taylor tick off the names of media organizations credentialed for the event Earl was attempting to attend.  The only local media outlet she mentioned was KOCI - the local radio station to which Mesa provides significant funding.  No mention of the Daily Pilot nor the Orange County Register - the two main sources of local news in our area.  I thought that was more than a little strange.

Mesa touts its "transparency", yet apparently seeks to stifle reporting of their operations by some of us with a large local readership.  Unfortunately, this kind of attitude is insidious, so I'll be watching to see if this infection spreads to City operations, too.

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Anonymous johny wants a badge said...

i read the policy link, did you? you may still attend if open to the public but not as a credentialed media if you are just a blogger. You would be a private person. Policy doesn't appear to be focused on bloggers, it is about credentialing legitimate press from what i read. we have that at my private place of work and most large corporations have a policy too. Very smart. Not everyone is legitimate press except in their own minds. some are opinion bloggers who don't know how to act in public. that's why the Pilot, koci, and even the city of costa mesa's brad long and camera got into the event and Earl didn't. But many regular citizens, including me, were there too, just not as press.

5/13/2013 06:51:00 AM  
Anonymous photoshop said...

just read all the links. interesting finds: west says water has a policy for outside investment firms to manage investments, uh, nope, wrong.
earl comments on "all male" board of directors (who are elected, btw)and shows an all male picture he labels as "clueless directors pointing shovels..." there are four male directors shown BUT a FIFTH shovel in the picture, as if a Director has been cropped out on the right hand side. looks like FEmale hands holding shovel? Hall?
Earl states he didn't bother to apply for credentials yet complains they were not issued to him? Gotta say, one real reporter there, he should be given the Pulitzer in fact. Puhleese....

5/13/2013 10:38:00 AM  
Anonymous sk said...

photoshop - are you talking about Trudy? The person kinda of cast off to the side in the photo? It was obvious she wasn't as into the scene as the others, anyone can can see that. I find Mesa's top management decision making a bit smelly lately.

“Like my boy tells me; if it looks like a rat and smells like a rat, by golly, it is a rat.”
Terrell Owens quote

5/13/2013 02:06:00 PM  
Anonymous 49er fan said...

terrell owens? what a loser. universally disliked for 25 million reasons. made fun of on all the sports talk shows. not surprised sk found that.

5/13/2013 05:41:00 PM  
Anonymous photoshop said...

i didn't call anyone a rat mr sk.
i just said there was a 5th shovel being held by an apparent pair of female hands. u draw ur own conclusion on the mystery person sir. i not know if they look or smell like a rat, they have been cropped out. i pointed it out as a reason to distrust the "reporter".

5/13/2013 05:46:00 PM  
Anonymous John Earl said...

Dear Johnny:

No, you could NOT attend the VIP "invitation only" event unless you were invited, duh!!!
In government, "legitimate press" are usually the ones who don't challenge you. I guess knowing how to act in public, to you, means being a stooge.

Dear Photoshop: As to the picture of the missing Trudy-- I did not intend to cut her out, it just appeared that way for reasons beyond my programing knowledge. But once I saw it I liked it that way because Trudy had nothing to do with the press credential fiasco but the five men (including the four pictured) did.
Also, you got it wrong about my wanting press credentials. I did not object to not receiving that which I didn't ask for but because I didn't need any credentials from Mesa Water--I get mine from my experience as a journalist and from the First Amendment and all that it means to live in a democracy, the latter being quite sufficient in itself, thank you.

5/13/2013 08:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Lynn said...

If you click on the picture the full shot pulls up and everyone who is holding a shovel can be seen.

5/13/2013 08:58:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

byboiThe Mesa Water Board Directors allocated $500,000 for a PR a water district that almost 60% of it's residents can't even say where their water comes from. The Districts reasoning behind this is because they want more residents to feel better about where their water comes from.
Of course .....along the way they raised our rates to do this......

5/13/2013 09:22:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

Greg and I disagree on many, many (how many "many"s could I use here? Yes, many!) things, but I am with him on this one. Re-branding a monopoly? Seriously? I also don't understand a private VIP party at the expense of ratepayers. If I am paying for this party why wasn't I (and all other ratepayers) invited?

5/14/2013 07:22:00 AM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Ha Ha Bruce......I just checked the weather forecast for Hell.....they're calling for snow.

5/14/2013 07:38:00 AM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

Greg, Must be that Global Warming thing! :)

5/14/2013 08:12:00 AM  
Anonymous PiratePress said...

ATTENTION, just released: I wrote these words. they are posted on the internet. i am now a journalist. fairly warned be thee sez I.

5/14/2013 01:10:00 PM  

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