Can’t we all just get along?

Central Basin and West Basin were happily married for 16 years. And then came the bitter divorce in 2006, followed by two lawsuits and likely the squandernig of thousands of rate payers dollars.

Of course, neither agency had that number at their fingertips when I asked them how much it cost them to litigate over the past two years. At West Bast, General Manager Rich Nagel assured that the costs were “minimal,” whatever that means. And at Central Basin, the costs are significant enough that they are asking West Basin to pay for attorney’s fees.

Here is the most recent in their break-up:

Water districts remain at odds
By Jennifer McLain, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 10/29/2008 11:44:55 PM PDT

COMMERCE – A court order last week still won’t bring an end to a bitter divorce between two water districts that serve nearly half of Los Angeles County.

The West Basin and Central Basin municipal water districts have waged war against one another after the two split joint operations more than two years ago, this time disagreeing over how much each should pay for employee retirement expenses.

Judge Robert Heff on Oct.20 ruled that West Basin Municipal breached a settlement agreement with its former business partner, Central Basin Municipal Water District.

Central Basin officials said West Basin owes their district $1.09 million in employee retirement expenses.

But West Basin said that number is about $350,000 too high.

“We believe the information provided by Central Basin to the court was inaccurate,” said West Basin General Manager Richard Nagel. “We’ve been discussing with the board how to correct that step.”

After the judge ruled, Central Basin said it wants legal fees from West Basin.

Nagel said the West Basin’s board will have to decide whether to appeal.

West Basin and Central Basin from 1990 to 2006 carried out joint operations from a building in Commerce.

Just before the partnership ended in 2006, West Basin filed a lawsuit against Central Basin because the two parties could not agree what they owed one another, such as employee liabilities.

West Basin provides water to the



western portion of Los Angeles County, from as far north as Beverly Hills to as far south as Rancho Palos Verdes, and as far west from Hermosa Beach to as far east as Carson.
Central Basin serves areas from Lakewood to Montebello, Willowbrook to La Habra Heights, including Pico Rivera, Monterey Park and Whittier.

Central Basin General Manager Art Aguilar said he hoped the recent court judgement would put an end to the ongoing legal battles with West Basin.

If fights continue, Aguilar places the blame on West Basin.

“To continue this is a waste of rate payers money,” Aguilar said.

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