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Open letter sent to District Attorney, Grand Jury, ratepayers and regulators

October 18, 2014 (Descanso) – An open letter sent to ratepayers, the County Grand Jury, health officials, legislators, media and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis accuses the Descanso Community Water District board of covering up matters that could endanger health and property values—including uranium contamination. (ECM has previously reported on uranium in Descanso's water supply; see story here.)

The letter, titled “Secrecy—The Diseases of Corrupt Public Officials” urges ratepayers to attend the water board’s next meeting on Monday, October 27th at the Descanso Town Hall on Viejas Grade Road.  It is signed by Jeff Rzendal, BoardVice President, GarySanner, incoming Director, John LaPlante, former Director and Treasurer, and Ivan Heckscher, a ratepayer. Below is the text in full. We have asked the Board President, Lee Jonnson, for a response to the allegations raised and will publish his response once received.


October 13, 2014


Open Letter from:

Jeff Rozendal, Board Vice-President

Gary Sanner, Incoming Director

John LaPlante, Former Director and Treasurer

Ivan Heckscher, Ratepayer


Secrecy – The Disease of Corrupt Public Officials

Your water district board is compromising your health and your property values, and this incompetency is going to cost you in enjoyment of life and on your water bill.

How did this happen in our little community water district? It happened because the water board president, Lee Johnson, is incompetent and incapable of making decisions that affect your quality of life.

This summer, when the water board was seeking a new General Manager for the district, President Johnson kept the resume of a female applicant from the other board members for five weeks.

In the spring President Johnson kept an important correspondence from the other members of the Board for three months. This was a letter from a district ratepayer who had a property dispute with the district and it was not until legal action was threatened that the other Board members were provided a copy of the letter.

Last year, Johnson kept information pertaining to uranium treatment from the Board for four months.

The results of the Median Household Income Survey, which was done for potential grant funding, has not been made available to ALL Board members in spite of the Newsletter stating it has “been made available to the district.”

This is a small sample of the Board President’s behavior pertaining to public disclosure. Johnson has said, “I can do anything I want,” and it looks like that is just what he is doing.                                                                                                   

From Disrespect to Discrimination

At a meeting in September a Descanso resident of 30 years spoke critically of the President. The Board Treasurer, Sheri Minix, came to the defense of the President and told the ratepayer, “If you don't like it why don't you go back where you came from.” The resident who dared to criticize was born in Europe and speaks with an accent.

It is because of this kind of blatant disrespect for people, for order, and for openness in government that we have so many problems. And this is a little one-horse public water district! This is how a project bid for $40,000 becomes $ 110,000. This is why it is going to cost $80,000 more per year to run the water district. This is why we have vacant seats on the board. This is why the high uranium level in the water has not been taken care of. This is why no progress has been made on the $1,700,000 in needed repairs. 

The Board President always says he is, “acting in the best interest of the District,” but he needs to know that following the law and respecting people’s rights is what is best for the District.

You are urged to attend the next water board meeting, scheduled for October 27, 2014, and watch the water board president act in your best interest.

Next Meeting, Monday, October 27, 2014 (unless Johnson changes it after this letter comes out)


Letter to:

District Ratepayers


President Lee Johnson                                             

Treasurer Sheri Minix                                              

Director Maureen Phillips                           

Dan DeMoss, SUSP, GM DCWD   


NV5 Engineering

BBK, Attorneys at Law

Sean Sterchi, Ca. Dept. Pub. Health


SD County Supervisor, Dianne Jacob

Calif. State Assemblyman, Brian Jones                   

Calif. State Senator, Joel Anderson                          


SUSP, Operations and Management Applicant

ES, Environ Strategy Consultants, Inc., Operations and Management Applicant

Ralph Felix, GM Applicant  

Murray Tomlinson, GM Applicant

Julie Seevers, SUSP, GM Applicant  


East County Magazine                                                  

Channel 10 News                                                      


San Diego County Grand Jury                                  

Bonnie Dumanis, District Attorney  




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