For the first time in California History, a public water agency was taken over by the State. On November 1st Sativa L.A. County Water District handed over it’s keys to the State Appointed administrator, the County’s Public Works Department. The Willowbrook/Compton Community is not new to being the first to be taken over by the State.
In the 1990’s Compton Unified School District became the first public school district in the State to be taken over by the State, for operational, and mis-management violations. So, when the State has to take over a troubled district/agency the current Board of Director’s lose their power to make direct decisions regarding management and operations. And a State Appointed Administrator is brought in to basically run the district.
In a press conference today, L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said, “Enough is Enough” and that the County is equipped and ready to take on the task to begin and restore clean, and safe water to the customers of Sativa Water District.
Local and State Officials attended the press conference in support of the takeover. County department heads were also in attendance. In September, Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 1577, authored by Assemblyman Mike Gipson (D-Carson), to dissolve the Sativa Board.
Sativa Water District came under heavy scrutiny early this year when customers started complaining about dirty brown, and smelly water coming out of their faucets, and washing machines. And at the beginning of summer for the first time since the Sativa Water District’s history, crowd’s of customers started showing up at the Board of Director’s meetings to complain and seek solutions.
Director of Los Angeles County Public Works, Mark Pestrella said that the County’s priority is to gain the ratepayers trust. And they plan on doing that by being transparent, and open to communicating with them. Several telephone numbers were given out (they were also printed on handouts provided at the news conference) for anyone with questions and/or concerns. The Sativa Website management has also been taken over by the County.
The County is expected to run the day to day operations of the Sativa water system for approximately 12-18 months, while a permanent water provider is secured.
One thing is for sure…. this is a great time for the Sativa community to organize, and educate themselves so that they will be better prepared to give input on how & what they would like their future water company provider to look like?