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October 13, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) –Incumbent John Linden is running for reelection for Helix Water Board’s District 1 seat against Mario Tilaro.  ECM sent questions to both candidates. Linden’s responses are below. Tilaro, a small businessman and owner of Fletcher Hills Business Center, did not respond.  Linden’s responses are below.

John Linden, Helix Water District, Division 1

1. Motivation:  What is your motivation for running?

Since serving on the HWD Board for over 10 years, my motivation to ask voters in my Division to vote for me again is to continue this important position and t continue to set policies of long range planning in a pragmatic manner.  This business approach has served the rate payers’ well in the past with a well managed public non-profit water agency.

2. Qualifications:  What is your professional/career background, and how will it help you in the position for which you are running?

 I have been a small business owner for over 40 years.  I have worked with many small businesses and know the successes and failures many experience.  My formal education includes a Masters’ Degree in Business Administration

3. Leadership:   Describe your view of what leadership is as it applies to serving on your water board. To what degree should Board decisions be swayed by public opinion?

As a Board member, along with the four other Board members, our responsibility is to set policy for the District which is followed through by our General Manager (hired by the Board).  We are very transparent and encourage the public input with their suggestions and opinions.

4. Challenges:  What are the main challenges you believe your District faces and what ideas do you have to address those challenges?  

Long term planning is essential in sustaining a dependable supply of water.

5. Vision:   What’s your long term vision for meeting water needs in your District?   

We are currently importing (91%) the majority of our water and are planning to reduce this to under  44% within 8 years.  We are currently working on desalination, recycled water and conservation (efficient water use).  70% of our water is used on landscaping.   By founding the Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College with Otay Water District, we are demonstrating how low water use plants can reduce the family water budget.    Vision 20/20 is our current plan approved by the Board of Directors for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.  This plan includes annual updates on accomplishments and completions such as small & large valve replacements, cast iron replacements on a 10 year project, new updates on our computer systems and many others.

6. Implementation:   Has your District published a Strategic Plan to implement its goals and visions? Would you please expand on this, and any other ideas you have to implement your vision expressed in the previous question.    

All projects, goals, and objectives are developed by Staff and presented to the Board for discussion and approval and is integrated with a mission plan.  We have a five year financial plan with updates usually on an annual basis.  Helix Water District is a pro-active agency using Best Business practices to accomplish its mission.

7. Rates:   Do you believe all water users should pay the same rate, or that some users should subsidize others? Please explain.  Would is your view of your District’s rate structure?

We have a 3 tier rate structure which we have used for many years.  This structure is endorsed by the State Water Resources Board and encourages efficient water use.  I fully support this approach.

8. Transparency:  What have you done or will you do to promote transparency in your district?

Our District has Board meetings twice a month.  At each meeting there is a public comment opportunity to speak.  We also have several public workshops during our rate increase hearing each year with Staff going into great detail justifying the matter.  This is a question and answer workshop.  Helix Water District is very transparent and our Staff is ready to answer all questions. 

For more information visit my website at


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