Here are a few excerpts of emails I’ve received about the water district story that ran on Monday. I left the names out because when they sent them to me, it may have not been with the intention to print.
As a former ten-year employee of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) … I am shocked and outraged by Director Murrray’s agregious behavior; however, I am not surprised!
In fact, while on the West Basin Board, anticipating this potential for corruption, I tried to sponsor and have legislation intoduced that would have reformed this antiquated system by going to a flat rate of compensation and bring the water community into parity with other local governmental entities.
My proposal was vigorously opposed by the “Good ‘Ole Boys of Water” and my legislation ultimately died in policy committee. In fact, the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), the omnibus trade organization representing the water community in California, is on record as “vigorously “opposing the legislative proposal to reform the antiquated per-diem compensation system.
I hate to say it:”but I told you so!”. Maybe now, the Legislature will take note of this antiquated system, reform it with a flat rate rate of compensation, and bring the water community in-to-line with other local jurisdictions.
All humans have the right to clean healthy water, people that live in California are humans, and therefore Californians have the right to clean healthy water. What gives the right to others in a seniority position throughout the San Gabriel Valley and Los Angeles County to take advantage of their privileges and steal nearly $1.6 million that were paid to directors for board meetings and travel expenses.
After having read this article on these two individuals, Willard Murray and Leon Garcia, that benefit from their job to the maximum, I am aggravated to know that they find devious ways to sum up their expenses and legally obtain more money than they should, simply for dining at prestigious restaurants, booking elegant expensive hotels, playing golf, and calling this a part of their job.
How is this possible, to let Willard Murray, director at the Water Replenishment District of Southern California attend meetings and take trips to Mexico City, and acquire close to $90,000, just for these work trips? If you ask me, this sounds more like an all expense paid vacation. Half of the population in California does not even make a yearly income of this amount.
I believe we should expose these crooks, and bring them to justice for the amounts of funds they are over spending, masquerading under a legal transaction. If we continue to permit people on these boards to abuse our funds this way, then I would not mind initiating a course of action that will bring them to justice.
Dear Ms. McLain,
Water-boarding the ratepayers is bad, but investigative journalism is good — wonderful! — after its long absence from the Star News.
This is what concerns us as taxpayers the most–are elected and appointed officials using our money for the people’s benefit or for their own? In many cases (and you should really look at the expenses incurred by councilmembers and mayors, they are just as bad) they are poor excuses for free travel, hotels and food, etc by the elected officials and not for the benefit of the public at all.
These jobs are volunteer jobs that should have no benefits (health, cell phones, car allowance vs. actual mileage reimbursement) and very little for conferences and travel. It is bilking the public left and right and should be stopped.
Thank you for the story. I wonder if there are any females on the water district boards. If not then maybe the Boards are good old boys club. Again thank you for your research covering this story.