The 2005 CVWD Board, including current Directors Curatalo and Reed, was at the forefront of a growing trend when they changed their elections from odd to even years, to increase voter participation and to save money on election costs. They delayed their 2007 election until 2008 and extended their terms in office by one year.
For the next four even year elections, voter turnout was up considerably, compared to the usual 7% or 8% in odd years, to nothing less than 35% and as much as 75% in presidential election years. CVWD enjoyed lower elections costs because they shared the ballot with many other offices and measures. All was running smoothly, until 2015.
Inexplicably, in 2015 the CVWD Board of Directors voted to change elections back from even years to odd years, supposedly to save money and to increase voter participation, extending their terms of office by one year again, the second time for Directors Curatalo and Reed. The County Registrar of Voters told CVWD they would have considerably increased election costs by changing. Many residents complained and told the Directors the exact opposite of their stated goals would happen, wasting valuable District resources. They went ahead with the change.
After having 74% voter turnout in 2012 with election costs of $81,942 and 35% voter turnout in 2014 with costs of $45,234, voter participation plummeted to 8% and election costs soared to $281,149 in the 2017 election. Meanwhile all the Directors got one year added to their terms, Curatalo and Reed for the second time.
In March 2018 they attempted to change again. Directors Curatalo and Reed would receive their third one year extension in their terms, Director Cetina his second, and in a single term, Directors Kathy Tiegs and Oscar Gonzalez would have granted themselves 6 year terms. Fortunately, the County Board of Supervisors did not approve that proposal. It prompted Supervisor Janice Rutherford to say, “This is not how Democracy is supposed to work", and Supervisor Curt Hagman brought up the topic of recalling the Board of Directors. In discussing the need to comply with State law and return to elections in even years, a CVWD spokesperson indicated they were eager to submit another proposal to make the change quickly. They still haven’t, and the coming election Nov. 5th will squander more District money on an election in an odd year with nothing else on the ballot.
It’s time for a change on the Cucamonga Valley Water District Board of Directors. Their history of changing their election schedule from odd years to even and back again, each time extending their terms in office by a year, was shrouded in mystery and completed with deception. Trust in the Board of Directors was lost. Their supposed goals of increasing voter participation and saving money with their change to odd year elections in 2017 achieved just the opposite.