Water board hopefuls make their cases

Two candidates with experience on the Crescenta Valley Water District’s Board of Directors are vying for another crack at the board’s open two-year seat.

Ken Putnam, who currently sits on the board, and Charles Beatty, a former board member who also is running for the Crescenta Valley Town Council as an incumbent, will face off for the position at the polls Nov. 8.

There are three seats open this election, two four-year terms and one two-year term. The two incumbents running for the four-year terms, Kathy Ross and Judy Tejeda, are not being challenged.

The election comes as the water district board mulls a water rate increase and a possible bond purchase. The board approved an 8% rate increase last winter to cope with the rising cost of water and the need to upgrade aging infrastructure — work that officials said had been deferred for too long.

Crescenta Valley water users, who include properties in La Cañada, already pay some of the highest rates in the region. Most of the utility’s water is imported, which drives up the cost.

Putnam touted his experience as a civil engineer for Los Angeles County and as a consultant for several agencies on water issues.

Beatty, a business owner who serves as an alternate on the Crescenta Valley Town Council and is a former chief executive of the Montrose/Verdugo Chamber of Commerce, said his community involvement makes him the right fit for the board.

He also said his business background makes him more inclined to think of new revenue streams for the agency, in addition to rate increases. He said he was in favor of buying bonds and added that he’d like to see the agency review the ability to rent out some facilities, an idea he’s floated in the past, with little success.

“I feel that I have enough vision. I can think outside the box and think ahead,” said Beatty, who lost a re-election effort after serving a two-year term beginning in 2007.

Both candidates said they were not flatly opposed to water rate hikes, calling them necessary to keep the agency afloat and the water system working properly.

“The biggest issue is how to sustain the existing facilities so that they can continue to operate,” Putnam said.

Both Beatty and Putnam were appointed to the board for their terms, replacing other board directors who exited prior to the completion of their terms, hence the shorter term limits.

“I feel like I’ve been a part of something getting started and moving forward,” Putnam, the incumbent, said, referring to the push by the board and officials to jumpstart the agency.


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